The front door squeaked open.
"Have you fed the fish, Margaret?" It squeaked closed. He set down his briefcase.
"Hello to you, too," she called from the next room.
"Sorry. I just wanted to know, have you fed the fish?"
"You get home from a week away, and you want to know if I've fed the fish?" Now she was standing in the hall, hands on hips.
"Yes. I've been wondering if you forgot."
"You were worried about the fish more than about your wife?" Margaret's voice grew shrill, her face angry.
"Well, they are rather more helpless." He pulled his shoes off as he spoke, not bothering with the laces.
"My god, Harry! We've been married for a month and already you're neglecting me for fish!" Her flair for drama was suddenly less endearing.
"Margaret, I'm not neglecting you. If you'd tell me, then it'll be out of the way and I can greet you properly." He hung up his coat.
"But the fish come first?"
"Look, it was just bothering me. It was on my mind. Please, did you feed the fish?"
"I'm not giving in, Harry."
"Giving in! Who asked for that?" I just want to know if you fed the fish." Harry, too, grew irate.
"Why do you care so much about the damn fish?"
"I don't, really. It's just irritating me, so could you tell me whether or not you've fed them and stop this nonsense?"
"Is it so hard?" Have you fed the fish?"
"There! You care more about your damn fish than about listening to me!"
"Now, Margaret..." His expression matched hers in willful anger. It had been a simple question. What right had she assume he didn't care, just because he asked about the fish?
"Don't you 'Now Margaret' me! Just forget you ever mentioned the goddamned fish!" She was about to turn back to the other room and forget the entire ordeal.
"You won't tell me?"
"Why do you have to be so stubborn?"
"Why do you care so much about some stupid fish?" Her attempt to make peace thwarted, she was shaking in anger, in a way that he had thought a little bit cute when addressed at someone else. It was no longer amusing.
"It was just bothering me, alright?" I was just thinking about it!"
"You could have said hello first, you ass!"
"I am not an ass!"
"You are! You prefer goddamned fish over me!" She appeared about to burst into tears.
"I do not! I was just asking! If you weren't so bloody hypersensitive, you would have just answered me!" Harry's anger was suddenly half concern for his overwrought wife.
"Hardly! It's hardly hypersensitive to be concerned that your spouse is more concerned about the fish than about you!" The tears that had been about to fall moments ago vanished into rage.
"Margaret, I am not more concerned about the fish than about you. I just want to know --" He extended his hand towards her shoulder, attempting calm her into reason.
"You can take your damned fish and damned well ask them!" She pushed past him and opened the door.
She turned dramatically towards him. "Goodbye!" she shouted, before slamming the door in his face and storming down the front steps.
He froze for a moment, completely taken aback. Then he threw open the door and shouted after her.
"Margaret! Have you fed the bloody fish?"