The Non-Expert

That Boy

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we help a family travel safely to Chicago, and urge them to protect their daughter from the boyfriend from hell.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


Question: Hello my name is Lynn. I am trying to suprise my daughter. She is traveling to Chicago to compete in the National Future Business Leaders of America. Due to expenses of her travels we cant go with them. But we are trying to suprise her by driving up from alabama to be there for the awards program. We are hoping to find some way to stay close to her hotel but at a less expensive place. They are staying at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown. I was hoping that you could give us some ideas on where we could stay and possibly get some discounts for lodging and food. Not wanting to embarass her or our self. I guess you could say that the (country mice are wanting to come to town on a tight budget).

It will be my wife, my daughter’s boyfriend (better known as THAT BOY), and my self. He told me that if I would allow him to go that he would sleep on the floor or any where I told him to sleep and that we would not know that he was even there. ANYWAY. Thank You for any advice on our trip or even on (THAT BOY).


Answer: First, consult Google Maps or a similar search engine. You will see that Montgomery, Ala. to Chicago, Ill. is a fairly straight shot:

Pretty direct, but not entirely so. In the spirit of saving time and gas money, I would recommend a slight detour:

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Obviously, the more you can avoid fussy interstates, the less mileage you will travel and fewer traffic jams you will hit. One quick note: it would be nice if you had a Humvee for this route—not the commercial kind, but the one the Army uses. Think you can borrow one?

After you’ve reached Chicago, you’ll easily find inexpensive lodging in the Rosedale neighborhood on the South Side, possibly even a motel that charges an hourly rate. When checking in to such an establishment, be sure to clearly state that the woman with you is your wife, in case they suspect you of soliciting prostitutes. Also, don’t leave anything of value in or on your car (this includes tires). Though southern Chicago is not necessarily “close” to the downtown area, you can catch the El train at numerous spots throughout the city, as long as it’s during the day. And as for cheap eats, what better than a 48-hour steady diet of Old Style Beer and Chicago dogs? Just don’t ask for ketchup.

But that’s not really why I’ve chosen your question out of our stuffed mailbag. We need to address a topic of higher import here, one that poses a substantially greater threat to you and your family than do the mean streets of Chi-Town …

(Cue audio intro to 2001: A Space Odyssey.)


What the hell are you thinking, Lynn? Are you completely unaware of the legend of THAT BOY? I, for one, am appalled that you would let THAT BOY date your daughter. Appalled, Lynn.

You must be oblivious. There can be no other answer, for if you knew, you would not even consider allowing him to tag along on your trip. Luckily for you, I know a thing or five jillion. Allow me to present a brief historical summary of THAT BOY.

The first known accounts of THAT BOY date back as far as fifth-century Denmark, where THAT BOY quickly made a name for himself as a monster of unfathomable viciousness and depravity. Perhaps you’ve read Beowulf? Then you know that the poem’s protagonist, Beowulf, battles three horrendously powerful monsters throughout the plotline: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. With much tenacity and some really strong lungs, Beowulf conquers the first two of these creatures. But, ultimately, the aged Beowulf is bested by the dragon.

But what you didn’t know was that in Beowulf 2, The Geatish Ghost, Beowulf comes back to life as zombie-Beowulf and slays the living fuck out of that dragon. In three minutes. Beowulf, in fact, is no longer even Beowulf, but an evil and mischievous spirit inhabiting his corpse. Care to take a shot at the name of that spirit?

Since that time, THAT BOY has been on a worldwide mission to terrorize innocent people by repossessing the dead. Able to transfer from body to body like in that movie Fallen, THAT BOY has been able to stay incognito through his enhanced mobility. No one has ever made a successful attempt at stopping him. He could be anywhere, at anytime—even Alabama. Indeed, THAT BOY has gone by many names: the Headless Horseman, Kaiser Soze, Snidely Whiplash—frankly, I’m surprised he revealed his true identity to you; I’m thinking you may not be long for this world.

I bet you’re thinking: No way, not our THAT BOY. Our THAT BOY is about as sinister as a bed of daisies. Sure, he’s lazy and out of work. He lives with us and doesn’t pay rent. But he’s had a hard lot in life, what with his parents dying in that tractor accident and all. THAT BOY may be a lot of things, but he’s good at heart and surely wouldn’t do anything to hurt our daughter.

You are mistaken. It was no accident that caused the tractor’s fiery destruction. It was…

THAT BOY has chosen your family for a reason. As to what reason, I cannot speculate. But one of you must have done something pretty bad to gain his attention. He found you, and entered your lives with his seemingly innocent and pitiful dead-parents story, and you bought it hook, line, and sinker. THAT BOY is biding his time, waiting for the proper moment to strike.

Ask yourself: Why does THAT BOY want so badly to attend our daughter’s special event? He is willing to sleep on our floor, or wherever we tell him? I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very much like a human to me. No, to me it sounds like some kind of unfeeling, nefarious monster who is plotting something. Something big.

Imagine it: THAT BOY enters the auditorium (or whatever), waits patiently for everyone to be seated, watches quietly as the National Future Business Leaders of America march on stage, and then, rising out of his seat, producing a long samurai sword from his coat, proceeds to lay bloody waste to each and every Future Business Leader in the joint, your daughter included, thereby not only exacting his revenge on your family (what did you do to deserve this, anyway?), but totally screwing the future of American commerce as well. Cold, calculated, and efficient—this is exactly how THAT BOY operates, Lynn.


I think he should probably stay back in Alabama for this one.