Ronald. Fucking. McDonald.

Ronald. Fucking. McDonald.
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson

I don’t like sharing this story, and I don’t think I’ve done it justice.  But, here it is.

When I was three, I remember sitting in an otherwise vacant driveway—peeling off the brown, rotting skin of a walnut. By the time I was done, my hand was covered in maggots—which I found fascinating, just because I didn’t know what they were.

“Hey, there buddy!”

The shrill voice shot out of nowhere, while this gaunt, dark-haired, thick-eyed glasses guy paced his scrawny gait down a chipped sidewalk, and made his way toward me from the apartment complex behind where my mother, her mother, and her mother’s mother and I all lived. “Whatchu got there?”

“None of your business!” I squealed.

“Oh, it’s okay. I’m not a mean guy. My name’s Ronald—you know, like Ronald McDonald.” He smiled.

He had this…body language…about him. Like he’d done this before.

Mind you I didn’t think any of that at the time. My hands were covered in maggots, and I was only three. You wouldn’t think my memory would scratch that far back, but—

“Hey, why don’t you come wash off your hands! You’re mom’s not gonna like it that you got all filthy!”

And he talked to me all the way up the windy stairs, into his apartment.

And this guy…he was good with kids. He had stuffed animals, and candy, and turned the television on to Sesame Street.

And then, he began his speech.

“You know, I like kids! I wish I had some of my own! Where is your mother, now?”

“At work.” I said, “she works all the time.”

“That’s too bad,” he frowned. “I’ll tell you what: While she’s gone, we’re gonna have so much fun!”

And then, he talked about things I didn’t quite get. And he smiled that same smile. And then, he said:

“What color are your underwear?”

I didn’t answer him.

Then, he proceeded to pull down his pants, “See, these are the kind I wear. I like them because they’re so comfortable! Do you like Fruit-of-the-Loom?”

Which is the part where I wish I could tell you that I was smart enough to run for my life. But that’s not what happened.

I think you know what happened—which, in my three-year-old mind, was normal. After all, this person was an adult—and adults knew everything.

“You shouldn’t talk to strangers!” My grandmother warned me.

And then, she met him.

And everybody in the neighborhood loved Ronald-Fucking-McDonald, because he was friendly, and loved children.

*
“You probably liked it, didn’t you? You child-molested faggot!”
And those words would ring out their own dirge in my skull for the rest of my life. Some of the neighborhood kids found out, years later.

I just stood there while they hurled insults at me.

Eventually, I’d learn the hard way: “This is where you went wrong. Never trust strangers.”

And I haven’t trusted them since.

 

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Ronald. Fucking. McDonald.

    • Thank you. I should mention that I lived with my mother, grandmother, and (fortunate to have met her) great-grandmother at the time.

      You can imagine the guilt they all felt when they found out.

      Nobody knew. Nobody could have. I should write an epilogue to this, however: he did go to prison. And, when I was in junior high, I met a girl who was his niece:

      Which meant that he went to prison, again, after she testified against him.

      Years later, I saw a sign posted with his picture: one of those “Warning, sexual predator lives in your neighborhood” signs. I haven’t ventured back to carve out his intestines to hang him with, yet:

      Which must mean that I’ve either grown as a person, or I’m still biding my time.

      • Once upon a time I loved someone who had gone through this with his father. As a boy he used to creep into his dad’s bedroom at night and hold a knife to his throat as he slept. He never went through with it though. I think that’s a good thing. Maybe. I still write for him on occasion.

        I’d like to believe the universe has a way of balancing these things, and appropriate punishments are eventually doled out. Maybe I am just being naive.

    • Thanks, although I should have hired an editor. This story was hard enough to write, once, and then trying to proofread it…. Well, let’s just say it wasn’t easy to write–let alone re-read.

      But I think those are among the kinds of things that we create–the ones that either make or break us–that become the kind of stories that have their own self-inherent need to be told.

  1. You are an amazing and brave person for sharing this story. I, like H.M. Nolan, have kids. I have a two year old and a four year old. This is the scariest thing that could ever happen to anyone. To a parent, to a child, to anyone. I am so sorry this happened to you. But I’m sure you are sick of hearing that. Thank you very, very,very much for sharing this piece with everyone.

    • “Thank you for letting me share.” Now, I stole that line from an AA meeting. Lol.

      Also, I should mention that it’s not the worst thing that could happen. Not to fill anybody’s mind with pointless fears (which I do, anyway–intentionally, or otherwise), but, shortly after this incident (I was about the same age), two guys rolled up in a sedan on the street in front of the house I lived in, and tried to lure me off of the porch, and into their car.

      So, somebody tried to kidnap me, once. Of course, they didn’t succeed.

      I suppose that’s a story for another time.

    • No, I didn’t. No child does. Yet, worse things have happened to better children.

      But I’m no child, anymore. Luckily, for the most part, I’ve moved on, and I’ve grown up (somewhat…).

      I don’t think that the world balances itself out: Karma has little foothold in this place. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it does, and it often does so in surprising ways. More importantly, I think that our goal as adults is to do what we can to balance it, ourselves.

      It has become OUR debt: to ourselves, our children, and those less fortunate.

      And THAT…is the only thing I’m ashamed of these days: that I’ve failed in that regard.

  2. That must have been very hard to write and you did a great job with that. I’m so sorry you had to go through that at an age where you do trust everyone. And your innocence was robbed. It was even more heartbreaking to read about the taunts by others. I’m glad this man went to jail. But it doesn’t repair the damage he did prior to that. Thank you for trusting your readers and sharing this. x

    • That was one thought that went through my head: “Should I trust people enough to post this to the internet?”

      But I don’t feel bad about letting my walls down on this one. I think trust is a matter of discretion.

  3. Such an awful experience – mine, and I’m sure every person’s worst nightmare. What a sick excuse for an individual that guy is. Thanks for sharing, I can imagine how hard that must have been.

  4. Kudos for your bravery in retelling such a horrible, personal story. Childhood should never include anything close to what you went through.

  5. I know I’m repeating the other commenters when I say that this *is* well written, painful to read, especially as a parent, and truly brave of you to have shared with us – and that I am so sorry you suffered like this. But I couldn’t read it and say nothing. You have a disinctive voice and you tell the story with a rawness and an honesty that really cuts straight to the heart.

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