Harry Rotter

Harry Potter? No, silly, it’s Harry Rotter! HARRY – Oh, she is a ROTTER! I wrote this story, this skit, for a bit of fun, that’s all, but so many of you asked me to publish it, I felt obliged to do so. Who am I to say no to such desperate pleas? Harry is a girl and a bad one at that! Her real name is Harriet. From an early age she insisted that everyone call her Harry. She has lost her Magical Marbles and enlists the help of her cousin, Box Privet, to retrieve them. At her behest, Box, who is a wizard with all things electronic, makes Harry an electro-magical wand, melding magic and electronics. Pandemonium ensues...

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3. Secrecy, at any Cost

Next morning, Harry, knocking softly on Box’s bedroom door, whispered, “Box, are you awake?”
“Hmm, what is it?” he mumbled sleepily.
“I said, are you awake?”
“What time is it?” Box asked, rubbing his eyes.
“It’s half past six.”
“Half past six, are you sure?” Box asked, unwilling to believe that even she would consider awakening him at so early an hour. Reaching for his glasses on the bedside locker, and then grabbing hold of his watch, Box gazed sleepily onto its face, to see if he had heard her correctly. Staring at the dial, he saw that it was indeed six thirty.
“Yes, I am sure of it,” said Harry, louder this time. “Now are you getting up or do I have to send off for that snake?”
Jumping out of bed, putting on his dressing gown and slippers, Box unbolted the door. Bang, bang, bang, the bolts slid back from their nighttime position. The door, creaking open, revealed the sleepy face of Box, Harry’s tall and whimpishly thin cousin. “What’s the problem,” he asked, yawning and scratching his head.
“There’s no problem,” she replied casually. “We have to get started.”
“But it’s Sunday,” he protested, “and I always have a lie in on Sundays.”
“Not anymore, you don’t,” she said. “Not until our work has been done.”
“But we have to buy supplies,” he protested again, “and the electrical shop isn’t open until tomorrow…” But it was useless complaining, Box was simply wasting his time trying to put Harry off, she wanted to get started and nothing would dissuade her from it, absolutely nothing. And he thought, ‘she might really have that snake stashed somewhere nearby, mightn’t she?’ Agreeing, he said, “All right, I’ll get up, but I want some breakfast, first.”
“Okay, I’ll see you downstairs,” Harry replied, and with that she dashed down the stairs at full pelt.
Scratching his head, Box wondered what he had done to deserve a cousin such as Harry.

“Here you are,” said Harry, pointing to a plate on the table, when Box entered the kitchen.
“What’s that?” he asked, sitting down and inspecting the plate with some interest.
“A fry-up, of course,” she replied, pushing it closer. “That’ll keep you going…”
Even though he was puzzled – for there was no smell of cooking – Box said nothing; he knew better than to ask her such ‘Muddling’ questions.
“And keep the noise down,” Harry warned. “We don’t want to be waking the old cronies.”
Old cronies? Oh, you mean mum and dad,” he said with a laugh. “Y’know, I used to call them that, a while back.”
“You did?”
“Yep, it’s a funny old world, isn’t it?”
“It sure is,” Harry replied, thinking about how many other silly Muddles were living in Dorsley Drive.

When he had finished eating his breakfast, and it was a surprisingly good fry-up, Box asked Harry what was first on the agenda.
“Secrecy,” she replied, again in a whisper.
“Pardon?”
“I said secrecy is the first thing on the agenda,” she insisted. “You must keep everything that we do a secret from your parents!”
Box gulped. “Everything?” You see, up until then he had no secrets hidden from them.
“Yes, everything,” she insisted. “And not just them, but everyone you know. Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes, I suppose so – but it won’t be easy.”
Harry ignored this comment.
“Where are we going?” Box asked, following Harry out from the house.
“Somewhere private…”
Harry walked, Box followed.
After buying a pen and a notepad from the local newsagents, Harry led the short distance to the park. After climbing over the locked gates, Harry chose a spot on the grass where they could sit. “Sit down,” she ordered.
“Here?”
Yes.”
It might be damp…”
“SIT!”
Obeying her, Box sat upon the grass, and then he watched as his troublesome cousin scribbled her thoughts down onto the notepad. It took her a while, to do this, a good while. Bored, waiting for her to finish, Box nonchalantly watched the sparrows scurrying ever closer, hoping for a handout of some food scraps they might have.
When Harry had finally finished recording her thoughts onto the notepad, she handed it to Box, saying, “Take a look, and then tell me what you think.”
Box studied the notes with some interest – all two pages of them. Then turning to a new page, and without saying a word, he asked for the pen. Harry gave it to him. Writing feverously, Box recorded his own thoughts and ideas into the little notepad, filling page after page with ever more complex ideas. Every now and again he would pause for a moment to refer back to his cousin’s scribbles, and then he would start off again, working his way through to the final design. When he was finished, Box had filled fifteen pages with notes, and another two with a list of the materials required for the task.
“Here,” he said, returning the notepad to Harry. “Now you take as look…”
Harry studied the plans. When she had seen enough, she said, “It might as well be in double-dutch for all that it means to me, but I trust you, cousin, so lets gets on with it.”
Box grinned; he loved a challenge and this was most certainly a challenge. The grin disappearing from his face, Box looked terribly worried.
“What’s wrong?” said Harry, confused by his change of emotions.
“Money!” he replied.
“Money, what about money?” Harry asked.
“We need some – loads of it,” Box groaned. “That lot will cost us a bomb.”
“Leave the matter of money to me,” Harry replied calmly. “You just concentrate on getting the work done.”

Next day, Monday, Harry and Box set off for town and the electrical supplier located therein.
“I can’t imagine what has gotten into those two,” said Mrs Privet, pulling back the curtain, watching Harry and Box step up to the bus. “One day they are mortal enemies, and the next they are bosom buddies.”
Sitting at the kitchen table, studying the remains of his son’s fried breakfast, Mr Privet asked, “Any more where this lot came from?”

Town was busy; Harry hated towns, there were far too many Muddles in them for her liking. “Which way?” she asked, narrowly avoiding a youth speeding passed, on a motor scooter.
“This way,” said Box, pointing up the hill.
It was a long walk, up that hill, to where the best electrical supplier in town was located. Unaccustomed to such extreme walking, Harry’s legs soon began to ache. “Why couldn’t they have built their shop at the bottom of the hill?” she complained. Then remembering that it was Muddles she was talking about, she laughed, saying, “No, don’t answer that.”
As they stepped into the old shop, the bell over the door jingled signalling their arrival. An ancient man standing behind a dusty old counter studied them over the top of his equally as dusty spectacle lenses. “Can I help you?” he asked.
“I certainly hope so,” said Harry.
“Box handed the man their list of requirements.
“Hmm,” he said, making his way through the long list, “a most unusual mixture of items… What is it you said you were making?”
“We didn’t,” Harry snapped.
“We’re making a transmitter,” Box lied, thinking this approach better than his cousin’s confrontational one.
“A transmitter, you say,” said the man, pushing his grimy glasses up to the top of his head. Harry wondered how he had managed to see through them at all.
“Yes,” explained Box, “but it’s only an experiment, nothing big, you know…”
“You really need a licence, you do know that?”
“We do, but it’s only an experiment, for school, and a temporary one at that.”
“Hmm,” said the man, reaching under the counter for his order book into which he began writing. “In that case, I suppose it’s all right.” When he had finished copying Box’s list into his book, he stepped through a doorway leading into the rear of the shop and disappeared from sight.
Relieved that they were getting their supplies, Box turned away from the counter and studied the electrical advertising posters sticky taped to the walls. Harry stared out the window, bored.
After waiting for a good twenty minutes, they heard the sound of slow footsteps signalling the return of the old man. Puffing and panting he emerged through the doorway, carrying two cardboard boxes, one under each arm, loaded with electrical items, that he plonked down heavily on the counter. A cloud of fine dust rose high into the still air. Harry coughed.
“There you are,” he said, “everything you were a wanting. Some of these things were stashed way back to the rear of the shelves, hadn’t sold any of them for years. Thought I never would. Just goes to show, doesn’t it?”
“Thanks,” said Box. “How much do we owe you?”
“I have the bill in here somewhere,” he said, rummaging about in one of the boxes. “Ah, here it is.” He handed it to him. Box almost fainted when he saw how much it amounted to.
Snatching the bill, Harry said, “Give that to me.” After inspecting it, the final figure that is, without flinching as much as an eyelid, Harry opened her shoulder bag and withdrew a small purse.”There you are,” she said, offering three golden coins to the man, “and you can keep the change.”
Inspecting the coins, he said, “Are you sure? These are worth an awful lot more that the bill amount to!”
Without saying another word, Harry opened the door and instructed Box to carry the boxes. Grabbing hold of them, struggling under their weight, he followed her out from the shop, asking, “Where did you get those coins from?”

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