Unreliable Menus: The McGrath Family Super Bowl XLVIII Potluck
A pony keg of Red Dog floating in a laundry basket on the porch.
The Mug Shot
A mug of single-malt Scotch (AKA “The Joe Namath,” AKA “The Irish Massage”).
Vodka Bread Bowl
Red Bull and vodka in a sourdough bread bowl.
The Sideline Reporter
Gallon of water, Crystal Light variety pack.
The Pink Dragon
Michael McGrath, 28, blogger/stay-at-home grad, “taps” a box of blush wine while live-tweeting his “chili disaster.” He says last year “in Jackson” the “whole lodge” dissolved into a “grind pile” by halftime.
Scott, a neighbor with a bigger TV but empty cupboards, arrives in slippers, eating a chunk of malt whiskey-soaked sidewalk snow, sullen children with gluten allergies in tow.
Tara McGrath dips a graham cracker into her brandy.
The Pregnant Mannequin
Silent and long-suffering Muriel mixes a dairy-based drink, forgets it by the stove and later throws the curdled mess in the sink.
Roger McGrath—backslapper, hardcore supply-sider, waitress abuser, All-Conference Asshole, reluctant host, husband to Muriel, father of Michael and Tara, son of Rose—holds court in the den, double-fisting the remote and a “frosted glass” of Michelob Ultra.
Ted Nugent’s Chicken Nuggets
Microwaved chicken tenders hand-delivered by Greg, a local Truther with a sticky pistol strapped to one ankle and a rusty flask strapped to the other.
Upside-down Nachos Bel Tarde
Wet, jostled, forgotten in the truck bed while Granny Rose and her “man friend” Jarret haggled over scratch money, loaded with thin ropes of cold spray cheese and cocktail olives.
Muriel’s 17-Layer Dip
Beans, clams, bacon, aioli, Cajun croutons, pulled dork, dandruff, gravy, goat cheese, shredded Afternoon Yak transcripts, KY Jam, crushed Abilify, Jenga splinters, gauze, Goldfish crackers, Yemen salmon.
Staten Island Clam Chowder
For the kids. One bowl, six straws.
Bologna & Cheese Croissants
Scott is offended by an advertisement for Crohn’s disease but cheers up when Roger loses his snowblower to Greg after a field goal gamble.
Muriel soaks a subpoena in Old Bay. Greg calls the Jacksonville Jaguars “America’s Team.” Tara trades Granny Rose a Battleship DVD for Oxy. Michael drags an indoor chair to the empty patio.
Scott walks out of the bathroom with his button-fly unfastened. Granny Rose makes a “wardrobe malfunction” joke. Tara sends a Snapchat to Jarret. Roger retires to his private bathroom in the garage.
All the Reddi-whip canisters are dribbling weak foam. There’s no fluff or hiss. “Let me just remind everyone,” says Michael McGrath, eyes stretched painfully wide, “you’re never gonna own a Mercedes. You’re never gonna suck Kate Upton’s nipples. They’re selling a lie, bro.”
What do you know, they’re little footballs.
New Fiction by PEN/Faulkner Award-Winner Akhil Sharma
Photos by Donald Weber
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