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Trivial Pursuits

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The Doctor knocked on the door. “Jamie? Are you decent?”

“Aye,” said Jamie, who was young and human and therefore inclined to spending time alone in his bedroom without wanting to be disturbed. One day the Doctor hoped to learn what they did and why they always looked so guilty afterwards.

He opened the door and looked into the surprisingly tidy room. “Jamie,” he said, “Zoe and I were wondering if you'd like to play a game with us.”

“You threw the last one out the TARDIS when Zoe got all the wee red buildings on all the those purple squares.”

The Doctor pulled back his shoulders. “Well, I don't like Monopoly. It teaches unpleasant lessons about life and the universe and privatisation.”

“You liked it until you lost that beauty contest,” Jamie pointed out.

“It was degrading,” said the Doctor. He eased himself into the room and glanced at himself in the full-length mirror in the corner. “Anyway, I'm sure the judges were bribed. I was considered quite dashing in my youth.”

“You're not too bad now when you dress yourself with the lights on,” said Jamie, generously.

“Thank you,” said the Doctor, accepting the compliment in the spirit it was probably intended. “Shall we play Scrabble?”

“No,” said Jamie, “you use that as an excuse to oppress the Scots language.”

Sometimes the Doctor really regretted taking Jamie to the opening of the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood. “Well, we're not playing Twister again unless you put on some trousers.”

“I won that one,” said Jamie.

“Only because Victoria fainted.”

“You snooze, you lose,” said Jamie anachronistically.

“We'll pick a game that's fair to all of us, where nobody has any sort of advantage.”


“I'm not sure about this,” said Jamie.

“What's the matter with this one?” sighed Zoe.

“You two are geniuses, that's what's wrong with it.”

“Trivial Pursuits tests a variety of areas of knowledge,” said the Doctor. “I'm sure you'll know the answers to plenty of questions.”

“Like what?”

The Doctor picked out a card at random and read it without moving his lips. “Well... here's one about claymores. And another one about... about sporrans.”

Jamie narrowed his eyes. “Are you lying to me, Doctor? You know how I feel about you lying to me.”

Zoe took the board from the box and set it up on the floor of the console room. “If it's any help I know almost nothing about sport.”

“See?” said the Doctor, “we all have our weaknesses.” He sat down, crossed his legs, and clapped his hands. “I'm sure this will go swimmingly.”


The Doctor looked across the board at Jamie's sole piece of plastic pie. This wasn't going as well as he'd expected it to. It wasn't that Jamie was stupid, it was just that he wasn't born when most of the history, science, and culture had happened. That would bring down anyone's score.

The Doctor wasn't doing that well either, but that was because his friends kept insisting that the answers on the cards were the correct ones. Even a quick trip to Venus to prove himself right had only resulted in Zoe shaking her head sadly at him and denying him a bit of pie. It wasn't really going well for the honour of the great race of Time Lords.

Zoe was winning, of course, though that orange piece for sport still eluded her. Eventually she would get it on a wild guess, and then it might go to her head. What if she decided to take over a galaxy while high on the hubris brought on by winning a board game?

No, Zoe had to be stopped. The Doctor picked out a card and looked at Jamie. “Science,” he said. Jamie winced. The Doctor cleared his throat. “What colour is the door lever on a Type 40 TARDIS?”

“Red,” said Jamie, looking a bit surprised at his own luck.

“Correct!” The Doctor handed Jamie the dice. “That gives you another go.”

Jamie moved his piece around the board. “History,” he said. Jamie tended to go for history on the off-chance that it would be about what he considered to be current events.

The Doctor read the question on the card and then said “Where did we go for lunch last Thursday?”

Zoe looked up from presumably planning galactic domination. “What?”

“It's Jamie's question, Zoe.”

“That can't be a real question!” she protested. “Let me see the card!”

The Doctor held the card against his chest and looked at Jamie for an answer.

Jamie frowned. “Thursday? Let's see... that was after the Cybermen, so... I think that was when we had lunch in China.”

“Another correct answer! Well done, Jamie!”

Jamie took his next move as Zoe shuffled round the board in an attempt to read the card the Doctor had just picked up.

“Popular Culture for a wee bit of pie,” announced Jamie.

The Doctor peeked at the question. No chance. “Um... what's your favourite colour?”

“I don't know,” said Jamie.

“Also co- …what?”

“I can't choose,” Jamie elaborated. “So I don't know the answer.”

The Doctor rubbed his face with his palm.

“My turn now!” said Zoe eagerly. “Sport for a pie and ultimate victory.”

The Doctor took a card. “Which...” A-ha! A chance to end this awful game once and for all! He read the question with a cheerful grin on his face. “Which team won the World Cup in 1966?”

Jamie stood up. “How can you ask that with a Scotsman in the room?” he asked angrily. He leaned down and snatched up the board, pretend pies and all. He crossed the room swiftly and opened the exterior doors. “I defeated the Daleks in 1966, but I don't go on about it.” And with that he tossed the game out of the doors and into deep space.

“Right,” said the Doctor, “I think that means we all win.”

“But I had the most-” started Zoe.

The Doctor cut her off. “Let's not dwell on the past, eh?”

“It was only a minute ago!”

“It starts with Trivial Pursuits and next thing you know you're growing a rubbish beard and trying to kill all your friends.”

Zoe and Jamie looked at him like he wasn't quite all there. “What?” asked Zoe.

“Nothing, nothing,” said the Doctor, standing up and going to close the doors. “Now, let's make some popcorn and watch reality television instead.”