“We all need to be mocked from time to time… lest we take ourselves too seriously.”
― Tyrion Lannister, A Game of Thrones
Bob Parks walked up the concrete sidewalk that was lined with solar powered torches illuminating the path before him. The two bedroom ranch house was smaller than Bob had anticipated, and he could tell by the neatly laid, crimson brickwork that this house was built by a long fallen contracting company in the mid-1960s. Many years before Bob’s own nameday.
The red oak front door was adorned with a single brass knocker that was dulled and oxidized from years of use. Beneath it hung the sigil of House Martin. The words, “NY Jets,” were emblazoned in bold white letters against a backdrop of triumphant green.
Bob wished he had not come alone, or without his “Hebrew Hammer,” the .50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol that his father had bestowed upon him for safekeeping. Bob had immediately hidden away the pistol, and his father suddenly left Poughkeepsie and went ranging into the Great White North, never to be seen or heard from again.
Bob knocked on the door and it appeared to open of its own accord. He peered inside and mumbled under his breath, “What type of sorcery?” At the head of a long mahogany dining table that was covered with a fine cloth of intricate lacework sat George R.R. Martin. The guests from other houses had already arrived and were seated around the table in sturdy, deep velvet, high backed chairs. George R.R. Martin’s chair was similar, but larger, and had massive armrests that were carved to resemble leathery footballs.
On the table sat a feast for forty people. A 25 pound turkey fried to a golden crisp sat atop a bed of roasted apples. The cavity of the great bird was stuffed with bits of stale bread, slices of celery, rounds of carrot, bits of boiled pork sausage, and seasoned with dried marjoram, savory, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, and onion powder. Around the fried fowl were side dishes of instant mashed potatoes swimming in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil spread, frozen green bean pieces steamed in the microwave and tossed with almond slivers, oven warmed dinner rolls with a squeeze bottle of strawberry jam, shimmering stacks of sliced canned cranberry sauce, and golden corn kernels in a pool of its own brine.
Guests were draining and refilling their long stem wine glasses from squat bottles of chianti covered in baskets of straw. Everyone was eating with only the finest Chinet diningware.
Bob would have thought it was a Thanksgiving feast, had it not been February, and the State of New York had not been under a winter weather advisory. Over in the Meadowlands, the security forces were trying to stifle the lower classes from burning everything to the ground as they rioted in celebration over the recent football tournament.
As Martin boisterously laughed he turned his head and saw Bob standing in the doorway. “Bob, enter and join us at the table! Close the door before you extinguish my hearth fires with the winds of winter! It isn’t every year that the New York Jets win the Super Bowl!”
Bob replied tersely as he closed the door and entered the dining hall, “You know I’m a Giants fan, Martin.”
George R.R. Martin did not flinch, “The Giants are honorable, but they have had their day! Sit and feast with us and celebrate this crushing victory by the Jets of New York!”
Bob sat down in the only empty chair at the other end of the table. Drunken guests began passing dishes down to Bob as he filled his plate. He still couldn’t believe he had come here without the Hebrew Hammer. Bob’s face was stoic, but inside he trembled with fear. He was afraid, but he did not know why. He was weak before what he could not understand. How in the Seven had the New Jets won the Super Bowl?
As Bob watched the guests at the table his eyes slowly grew wide with understanding. Every Jets fan was seated at the table between New York Giants fans. The bannermen for Big Blue were reaching a crescendo of drunkenness from consuming bottles of wine, but the Jets supporters slowly poured from flagons of water. Bob stood up and hurled his wine glass down the table at George R.R. Martin. It shattered harmlessly against the novelty New York Jets helmet that he wore as his helm.
The conversation stopped and all guests turned their eyes to Bob. He stood defiantly, his bottom lip trembling, his eyes burning with rage. George R.R. Martin laughed. The Jets fan sitting to the right of Bob plunged a hunting knife into his chest and cut him from sternum to groin. As the crimson red of his blood washed over the table, he watched a massacre unfold as the light drained from his eyes.
Tim Manderling, who had just moved here from Missouri and really only liked the Giants to try and fit in with everybody, had his head shorn clean off by an electric carving knife. His decapitated body collapsed to the ground, blood spray arcing across the room. The Jets fan who had slain Tim affixed took Tim’s eviscera covered head, affixed it to the fried turkey carcass, and then danced the horrifying effigy across the room humming, “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
Jeyne Starling, who had just reached her 21st nameday, and only learned about football to impress her unemployed loser boyfriend, was stabbed again and again with a meat thermometer until she lay still with an expression of regret frozen on her face. Piles of Giants fan’s corpses were soon sprawled across the great dining table while the rest of them lay drained of life on the hardwood floors in the hall. Arcs of blood and entrails clung to the fleur de lis patterned wallpaper from the hamfisted hacking to pieces of those loyal to the New York Giants. George R.R. Martin sat looking quite pleased, taking in the carnage around him,sucking bits of turkey flesh and grease from his fingers. With no one left to kill, the Jets supporters paused, breathing deep heaving breaths from the exhaustion of the slaughter.
George R.R. Martin smiled and stood up as the Jets bannermen cheered. He shouted, “Football is like sausage making, and we just put them through the grinder!” The enthusiasm of his supporters rose to a crescendo. He then walked into his office, closed the door, and continued working on “The Winds of Winter.” At least, until football season starts again.