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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 01.19.08
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

McJungle Book: The Legend of McBoy

STANSTEAD, QC | I'd heard the stories. Like most people, I dismissed them. But now I know they're true. I've seen him. The Legend of McBoy is real, as real as Double-McCheese-induced heartburn.

This particular story starts out sadly, namely with me at McDonald's. As I sat there last week with my kids, I could feel my soul corroding. Or it might have been the special sauce. Whatever.

It was not my choice to be there. I was fulfilling a promise to Abby for fries, the good kind, the McDonald's kind, the kind that don't count as a vegetable.

And this McDonald's had a PlayPlace! My hell was Abby's heaven. She'd live there if she could. Not unlike... the McBoy.

We found a table in the playground section. Abby quickly gobbled her fries and disappeared into the mesh and tubes that wrapped around the room like the entrails of whatever we were trying to force down our throats.

And then, out of nowhere, he appeared - a child with eyes as wide as McNuggets, crouched on all fours inside the meshed climbing apparatus directly beside our table. "Rrruph," he said and pawed at the screen.

"Hi there," we said, thinking it was just another child hopped up on Oreo McFlurry.

"Grrr," he replied.

Of course, I realized. He speaks French.

"Bonjour," we tried again. And then he tried to kick us.

No. Could it be? The McBoy? Could the legends be true?

No one knows for sure where the McBoy came from, this feral child under the golden arches. Some say he was abandoned by a couple who met at McDonald's, dated there and, uncomfortably for them and those in line, conceived a child at a Drive-Thru while waiting for their Filet-O-Fish. Some say he was even born there. The delivery, not surprisingly, was fast.

Not ready to deal with parenthood, the couple chose to leave their child behind in the PlayPlace where they knew he would find plenty to eat, be safe in the enclosed space and have ample opportunity for exercise. The parents' knowledge of child care, it's said, was based on raising hamsters.

Some say he spent the first years of his life in the bottom of the ball pit, emerging only after-hours to forage for scattered fries and discarded pickles. But then one day, in the wake of the Great Scabies Scare of '03, the restaurant management drained the ball pit, because we all know how filthy balls can be.

The story goes that when the workers removed the balls, they uncovered the McBoy sleeping on a bed fashioned from Big Mac cartons. Awakened, he shrieked, "MAC ATTACK!" and clambered swiftly up into the playground apparatus, disappearing from sight. Because the playground was restricted to those ten years or younger, the workers were powerless to pursue.

It all happened so fast that the workers couldn't be entirely sure what they had seen, and so they swore that they would tell no one and, really, they weren't paid enough to care all that much anyway.

Despite their promise, word got out and the legend grew. Most experts, however, dismiss the McBoy as an urban legend, like alligators in the sewer or a Britney Spears comeback. I too scoffed at the stories.

Until now. He was in front of me, barking at Abby.

When this boy grew tired of growling, kicking, and pawing at us through the mesh, he emerged from the playground apparatus and latched onto my leg. I knew only an orphaned wild child would act this way.

I know what you're thinking: Couldn't this just have been some kid whose parents had ditched him unsupervised in the playroom while they stuffed their faces in the restaurant, unaware or indifferent to the fact that their son was manhandling the customers? Of course not -- that would be positively savage…

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