Pamela stormed into the living room, where George was lying on the sofa reading a science magazine.
“You’re an idiot!” Pamela stood over her husband, hands on hips, red in the face.
George dropped the magazine.
“A blithering idiot.”
“What are you talking about?”
“At the Idiots’ Olympics, you’d come away with gold in all events.”
George jumped up from the sofa. “I . . . I’m an ‘idiot,’ you think?!”
“Well, I don’t know what’s brought this on, but just . . . just let me remind you . . .”
Pamela rolled her eyes.
“Here we go.”
“Yes, here we go. I got five A-levels at school—all A-stars. Five! How many did you get?”
Pamela left the living room, George on her heels.
“A first from Oxford! What did you get?”
“A Masters, with distinction! Have you got a Masters?”
George followed Pamela down the hallway and with each qualification, he jabbed a finger at her back.
“No, you know I haven’t.”
“Oh. So you haven’t got a Masters either?”
They were in the kitchen now. Pamela glared at her husband before opening the fridge and peering in. A large turkey took up most of the space.
“A doctorate! I’ve got a bloody doctorate!” George was still jabbing.
Pamela closed the fridge door and moved to the cupboards, pulling out packets and boxes, taking a quick look and putting them back again.
George moved between his wife and the cupboards.
“A post-doctorate, for God’s sake!” His voice had risen to a crescendo. He stood waiting for the barrage of bragging to take full effect, a grotesquely twisted smirk on his face.
Pamela took a deep breath and measured her words.
“I know all of this—you remind me of it often enough.”
“Then what’s all that talk about me being an ‘idiot’?” George lowered his voice now, more in line with Pamela’s, but the words hissed through his tightly-clenched teeth.
“Of course you’re brilliant . . .” Pamela paused for effect, then did her own jabbing for each syllable of: “A-CA-DEM-IC-AL-LY.”
A counter-attack? George’s smirk froze on his face.
“You bright . . . spark.” It was Pamela who was smirking now. “You had one job, and one job only. It was a simple job. A job a monkey could do.”
George took a step back as Pamela leaned in.
“A job an amoeba could do!”
“To pay the bloody gas bill on time!”
A look of awful realization spread across George’s face.
“I . . . yes, well . . . it’s . . .”
“Idiot,” Pamela muttered under her breath as she turned on her heel and stalked out of the kitchen, leaving George to contemplate the usefulness of a post-doctorate in statistical mechanics while Christmas dinner sat uncooked in the fridge.