Looking out over his backyard, the wooden planks of the deck pleasantly warming the soles of his bare feet, Geoffrey Rhodes draws in a deep breath of fresh, mid-July air, and then shoves a handful of jalapeno poppers into his mouth like so many gasoline-soaked pallets into a dumpster fire that the fire department is just going to go ahead and let burn itself out.
“Nom, nom, nom,” he says, nodding happily to himself as mozzarella falls out of his face, the melted cheese’s every bounce closely watched by a family of chubby squirrels who have invited friends over to help them clear up the crumbs later. “Nom, nom, gonna get the barbecue fired up soon, nom, nom, nom, rib day y’know.”
But before manning the grill, Geoffrey excuses himself, and retires to the shade of the living room. There to sleep, perchance to dream. Of swimming pools full of chili, in which he frolics like a dolphin, arcing high into the air to collect a fish stick being dangled by a bikini-clad trainer who closely resembles the sample lady at the grocery store. Of hiking through forests of fried calamari, past babbling brooks of beer that drunken deer lap at from their knees while their eyes enjoyably cross. And of deep-fried turkeys and cheesecake-covered fries, his dad’s recipe, may he rest in peace.
“Nom, nom, nom, Sunday. Isn’t it the best? Just wish Pop was here to enjoy it too. 48 was too young, man. Well, here’s to pop,” he says, gesturing with a half-devoured piece of fried chicken towards that big Apple Pie with extra ice cream in the sky. And then he shrugs, not inelegantly, at the randomness of life. “Here one day, eating an extra large pizza with ground beef, sausage and bacon. Gone the next. Whattayagonnado? Anyhoo. Time for a nap. Don’t eat all the wings while I’m gone.”