Hide From the Murderer or Get Free McDonalds???

Now before you go thinking that I’m kidding, I’m not.

This is a true story.

The night I spent with a murderer….

Only I didn’t know it at the time


It was 1981 or 1982 I think. My best friend and I were 16 or 17. One day my best friend asked if I wanted to go do a babysitting job with her. Her sister was supposed to do it, but had to back out. Sure why not.

Now this house was huge! These folks had some money. The parents asked that we watch the kids upstairs in the playroom until they had to go to bed (the kids that is, not the parents). They would appreciate it if we just stayed up there until they returned.

While we were getting our instructions, three guys walked down the stairs. The mother explained that one was her brother and the other two were his friends. However, they would be leaving and we weren’t to let them in the house while they were gone.

Shortly thereafter, the parents, the brother and the friends all left and my best friend and I took the kids upstairs to hang out in the playroom.

About a half hour later we heard the door downstairs open and we were like…Huh??

We pop our heads around the corner and looked down the stairs. Walking in was the brother and his two friends. We were like…

“Uh, I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to be here when they aren’t here.”  One of us said.

“We will only be here a few minutes”.  The brother shouted as they headed up the stairs.

We noticed one was carrying a box of some kind and assume they are dropping it off.

A few minutes later they strolled into the playroom. Now, let me tell you about this playroom. This is long before they became the norm. The room was huge. A full play area and two tables set up in it for them to play games on or draw.

My friend and I were sitting at one of them, when the three guys decide to sit at the other. We look at each other and wonder what we were supposed to do.

We mustered up the courage.  “Ah, guys, I thought you were told you couldn’t hang out here tonight?”

The brother is the one who did all the talking. “We are leaving, but we just thought we would see if you two wanted to help us.”  He then opens the box he had placed on the table. It was as if the heavens had opened up and the angels began to sing. In the box were thousands of little game pieces to the McDonald’s Monopoly game.

I’m not sure if you recall, but way back in the 80s, they weren’t attached to your food. Back then, they were little things you tore off the sides and unwrapped them to find your prize. You either won a piece of the Monopoly board or you won instant food.

Like most teenagers it took all of 10 seconds for my friend and I to realize that we so wanted to dive into this box of Golden Arches Love. But we knew we shouldn’t. We protested that we didn’t want to get into trouble with either his sister plus we figured they probably stole the box.

He explained that his friend worked there and gave him this box. Yea right we thought. But then he said those magic words to us…

“You can have anything you win.”

That is all it took. You cannot offer two ultimate fans free McDonald’s and not expect them to cave. So we eagerly agreed and went over and scooped up two big handfuls of tickets to unwrap.

We sat down and started peeling. OMG, the mother lode! About every 10th ticket we unwrapped free fries, free Big Macs, free hash browns and free McRibs. Some new product they were rolling out. We had stacks and stacks of stuff, enough to last the entire summer vacation – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We were so caught up in our bounty; we didn’t realize that these guys had been there for a long time now. Then it happened.

I walked over for another handful when I noticed that the bottom of the box had some books in it underneath the few remaining tear tabs. As I scrapped up a few more, I notice the title of the first book. It was something like “How to get away with the perfect murder”

Now, that was enough to freak me out. I wasn’t sticking around long enough to find out if it was a how to book or some murder mystery. All I knew was, these guys needed to go and they needed to go now!

I tried to be casual as I walked back over to our table. My heart beating fast. Then all of a sudden it hit me. We were in some strange house, late at night with 3 strange guys and they had a book on how to commit a perfect murder.

I told my friend that they needed to go. Obviously she protested wanting to add to our every growing stack of hamburgers. I’m like no, they need to go now. I’ll explain later.

“Guys, we really appreciate you letting us open these and all, but you probably should get going. They will be home soon.”

They begged to stay but we stood our ground. It took a bit, but finally we got them to go.

Once we knew they were gone, we quickly got back into celebrating our mass haul. Stacks and stacks of free McDonald’s. Every kid’s dream.

The night ended and even though it took a while for the guys to leave, they did leave us alone.  However, a few days later we learned how lucky we really were.

I was at the park by our house when my friend came walking up with a newspaper in her hand. We had gotten into one of our best friend fights the day prior so I was my typical smart ass self with my greeting. “What do you want?”

“You have to see this” she said. She then opens up the paper and shows me this picture of some dude. “Recognize him?”

I looked at the big mug shot picture in the paper and have the look you get when you know you should know but you don’t remember how you know . “Looks kind of familiar” I mumble.

“It’s one of the guys from the other night!” she shouts. Sure enough, after taking a closer look I realize it is one of the quiet guys with the brother.

“So why is he in the paper?”

She then shows me the headline. MURDER!

Turns out this guy had killed his roommate not 3 hours after leaving that house that night. He had returned home and got into a fight with his roommate. His roommate had accused him of stealing his Playboy magazines. A fight ensued and he stabbed him. But it gets better. He then cut off his head and buried it in the backyard.

The paper said that he had escaped some mental institution in Montana a few months prior. And lucky us, he ended up in our town.

Oh my god! We had spent a night with a murderer!! Then I recalled the books I had seen in the box. I’m not sure if they were his inspiration or if he had been plotting for a while. All I knew and know to this day is…we were lucky!

That was one heck of a summer. We got a great story to tell for the rest of our lives (which by the way is way better when I tell it in person since I can fill in the details better).  But even better than that, we had McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner for like 10 weeks.

And the icing on the cake? I was introduced to my all-time favorite McDonald’s item…. The McRib! I had one a day that summer and to this day, I get excited each time it come out for its limited release. And each time I eventually start sharing how I fell in love with it the summer I spent an evening with a murder.


I promise… the story is 100% true.  I’m not proud of us taking all that free stuff. I really don’t know how they got the box. Sure I could assume but will never know. I can guarantee one thing, it was the last time I ever did. I never took anything that wasn’t mine and I never let strangers in again. That was one memory that taught me a lesson.


~~~till we laugh again~~~