‘Hmmm…’ he pauses, scowling over his pince-nez. ‘Hmmm…no…hmmm…’, he finally looks up, ‘not at all up to scratch Frederick. Sloppily written, hardly any secondary reading – If I wanted to read a Wikipedia article then I’d do just that. You’re an Oxford undergraduate, you need to be doing much better than this.’
He shakes the essay in Freddy’s face. The stupid words seem to jump straight out at Freddy’s stupid face. ‘I expect you to write something exceptional next week, or I’ll have to have a word with the Senior Tutor…’
Walking out of his tutorial, onto freezing cold Turl Street, Freddy can’t help but despair. After a solid week of euphoric sex and toe-tapping manliness, he’s finally back down to Earth. He’s going to fail his degree, get kicked out and Bernadette won’t wait for him – he’ll be off to UCL and she’ll be hooking up with some rugby playing misogynist before you can say ‘Fuck Freddy!’
No, this is her fault. She’s been distracting me from my work, he thinks, kicking a Missing Bean coffee cup into the gutter. If it hadn’t been for her I’d be a political theory wunderkind! I’d be the wet dream alumnus of all special measures headmasters! I am Freddy, hear me roar!
‘How was your tute?’, says the voice on the other end of his phone. ‘Fine,’ he lies, stepping out onto the High Street, ‘you know, pretty standard. PPE’s a bit of a doss.’ She voices her agreement, ‘Yeah, my tutor totally lapped up my last essay- gave me a 72 and I only spent like a day on it.’
Good for you Bernadette. Good for you and your eff ortless success. Good for you and your pretence of not giving a shit whilst secretly studying like a serial killer.
I think you’re fantastic and clever and sexy, but if you continue to succeed whilst I fail hopelessly then I’m going to burn down this entire city.
‘Well done baby!’ is all that he actually says.
‘Are you coming over tonight?’ she asks.
Guiltily, he looks down at the stack of books that he has to read and, sitting on top of them, his latest essay. The ‘48’ glares up at him like a little cock-blocking psychopath. He needs to work; he has to do better; he has to study harder.
‘Sure, what time?’