We had just gotten in the car to drive to our friend Shelby's place for a gingerbread house party when Skylar informed me he was "like, so hungry."
This was a Sunday afternoon at 3:40 PM.
"Well, you had lunch," I reminded him, helpfully, I thought. "Why didn't you get a snack before we left to hold you over until I make you dinner later tonight?"
He wasn't in the mood, nor did he have the capacity, for argument at this point.
"Can we please stop at the grocery store so I can get a protein shake or something?"
That sounded like a fine solution to a common problem and not a minute later I pulled into the parking lot of our neighborhood market. Skylar jumped out of the car before it had even stopped moving, sprinting into the store like a cave man on the hunt for a woolly mammoth.
I waited in the car, scrolling through a mindless app or two for what seemed to me to be a much longer time than would normally be required for such a targeted and simple errand. And then I saw him, wandering back to the car, wearing the gigantic Comfy sweatshirt I've given up on trying to talk him out of wearing out in public in our good Christian neighborhood.
He had with him a sack that seemed much fuller than I'd expect for a simple protein shake purchase.
"The woman talked me into buying a rotisserie chicken," he informed me as he shut the door and reached for his seatbelt.
"Excuse me?" I asked him, sure I had not heard that correctly. But the smell of a grocery store carcass that had been sitting all day under heating lamps hit me before he could answer.
"Sky." My tone was one of flabbergasted objection. "How are you going to eat a rotisserie chicken in the car in the next five minutes on the way to Shelby's? And why are you going to eat a rotisserie chicken? I thought you were getting a protein shake. Not 3,000 calories of food poisoning in a bag."
Skylar informed me that "well, it's not a whole chicken. They had it cut up. It's just the breast and wing portion."
"Isn't that, like, still half a rotisserie chick--"
"And I got two of them because I'm really hungry," he continued over me.
"Sky, it sounds like you did get a whole chicken but just had them cut it in half before handing it over to you."
I don't think there was a response to that part. Instead I listened to a man in the passenger's seat scream from pain as he ripped chicken flesh from his newly retrieved bounty that was apparently too hot for handling by his delicate fingers.
"Well, at least give me a piece if you're going to be doing this," I said before opening my mouth in preparation for a feeding. This isn't our first rodeo.
Skylar had apparently given up on pulling apart the chicken with his bare hands by this point, scorned one too many times by the poultry burns, and instead had begun biting off chunks with his teeth.
"Here. I baby birded this piece," he told me before shoving a large glob of dark meat into my open mouth only seconds after it had been in his.
It was honestly impressive that he had finished the entire chicken by the time we arrived for gingerbread house decorating.
"Just a second," he said as I started walking away from our now parked car. "Let me grab my protein drink."
"Wait," I yelled. "You also got a protein drink??? And you still want it???"
Skylar informed me that, remember, this was the reason he went into the store. And he said it in a tone like he was worried I might be struggling with memory loss. Then he chugged the protein shake.
Two hours later we left the party, our gingerbread house in tow, and climbed back into the car.
"I am so sick." It was more of a whine than a declaration. "I think my stomach might explode."
"Gee. I wonder why." It was low-hanging fruit in the sarcasm Olympics but low-hanging fruit deserves to be picked just as much as the next crop.
A few minutes later we pulled into the driveway.
"By the way, what's for dinner," he asked.
It's honestly so unfair that that man is so skinny.
Please enjoy some Strangerville:
This time in Strangerville, are Meg and Eli too anxious to raise children, a story about an earthquake, and a discussion about what happens to your body when you turn 35.
Earthquake Drill, by Eli McCann
Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter
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~It Just Gets Stranger