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...


4. The Hybrid New Wand

It was decided (by Harry) to assemble the hybrid new wand in the privacy of Box’s bedroom, where there was a workbench, with plenty of tools at the ready. Harry might have been worried that Box’s parents would see what they were up to, had it not been for all the locks and bolts he had installed on the door. With them secreted inside, and with all of the locks and bolts set firmly in place, Mr and Mrs Privet had no hope of seeing anything.
“What can they be doing, up there?” said Mrs Privet one evening, when the two cousins were upstairs, secreted within the confines of the small bedroom.
“Didn’t you tell me they were making a radio?” said Mr Privet as he turned over the page of his newspaper.
“Yes, I did…”
“I see the wholesale price of fruit and vegetables is going up again,” Mr Privet mumbled, without giving the children, and what they might or might not be getting up to, a second thought.
Mrs Privet said nothing, but she listened intently, worried for the safety of her only son.
“Holly, did you hear me? I said the price of fruit and vegetables is going up again!”
“That’s nice, dear,” she replied. “I am so happy to hear that…”
Mr Privet turned another page of his newspaper, where he saw an article about owls dive-bombing children in the local park. “What on earth will be happening next?” he growled. “The world has gone barking mad.”
Over the following week, Harry and Box spent every waking minute in the confines of his small bedroom; Box at his workbench creating, crafting the new hybrid wand that his cousin so desperately wanted, and Harry in charge of the existing one, helping him to understand, and to meld the two seemingly incompatible standards. It was a long process, transferring her wand’s powers into the new electro magical creation, but Box persisted, and when he was in the final stages, with sparks, smoke and all sorts of magical phenomena going on around them, something quite unexpected happened. Harry’s wand, instead of shrinking away into nothingness, as Box had said out it would do, stopped short from doing this. When it was about the size of a matchstick, it stopped shrinking and it stubbornly remained at that size no matter how hard they tried to finish the process. In the end they had to accept that although the process had been a success, the last vestiges of power in her old wand remained stubbornly there – within it, the matchstick wand. With the new electro magical wand all but complete, the two cousins emerged from the bedroom tired and weary, yet happy they had achieved their objective.
“The only thing left is to test it,” Harry whispered as they made their way down the stairs.
“Can we do it now?” Box asked, impatient to see if his efforts had been successful.
“No, we’ll do it later, when no one is here,” Harry whispered as she opened the kitchen door.
“It’s good to see both of you, away from that stuffy old room,” said Mrs Privet when the two cousins entered the kitchen. “How’s the radio coming on?”
“The radio?” said Box.
“The radio is all finished,” said Harry, digging her forgetful cousin in the ribs. Box’s eyes watered.
“Any lemonade?” Harry asked, casually opening the fridge door as she spoke.
After giving each of them a glass of lemonade, Mrs Privet said, “Now go inside to the dining room, dinner is just about ready. Then calling her husband, she said, “Laurel, dear, Harry and Box have finished their radio…”

“About time too,” he replied. “They could have made a bomb for all the time they’ve spent up there.”
Hearing her husband making his way upstairs, Mrs Privet said, “Dinner is almost ready.”
“I’m just going for a piddle, be down in a jiff,” he replied.
Mr Privet did go for a piddle, but he omitted to say that he was also going to see if he could take a peep at the newly finished radio…
“There you are,” said Mrs Privet, placing two huge plates on the table in front of the children. “Shepherd’s Pie, your favourite, Box.”
Her son wasted no time in tucking into his favourite meal; he was absolutely famished after a week of such intense work, having missed so many of his meals.
Prodding her meal dismissively with her fork, Harry’s eyes looked upwards; she was worried.
“Don’t you like it, Harry?” Mrs Privet asked politely.
This time it was Box who nudged Harry in the ribs.
“Pardon, what did you say?”
“I said don’t you like your dinner?”
“It was lovely,” Harry replied. “I enjoyed every bit of it,” she said, holding her empty plate for the woman’s inspection.
Mrs Privet’s jaw dropped. “How did you do that?” she asked in astonishment.
“Come on,” Harry whispered to Box, “let’s get upstairs; I think we left the door unlocked…
“Can’t I finish my dinner, first?”
“You have,” she said as she pushed back her chair and got up.
“But I haven’t,” Box protested, “In fact I’ve hardly begun…”
“Look at you plate, dummy.”
Staring down at his plate, Box was shocked to see that it too was as clean as a whistle.
“But I didn’t eat it,” he moaned, “and I’m still starving.”
“Have you forgotten about your father?” Harry hissed, annoyed that Muddles can waste so much timing thinking about food.

On the landing Mr Privet, Laurel, having spotted the door to his son’s bedroom having been left slightly ajar, was creeping surreptitiously towards it.
Standing outside, he peeped through the crack in the door, trying to get a glimpse of the mysterious radio that had taken so long to assemble. He looked but he saw no sign of it, he saw nothing at all. Pushing the door cautiously inwards he tried to get a better look. As the door slowly creaked open it revealed his son’s workbench – and the new fangled wand sitting so innocently atop it.
Looking around, to make sure the coast was clear, that no one was watching him, Mr Privet crept surreptitiously into his son’s inner sanction, the room that he had promised never to enter on his own. A floorboard creaked. He stopped, frozen to the spot. No one heard it; no one came rushing up the stairs to catch him red-handed. He ventured further into the room, wondering where the radio could be.
Seeing nothing of any more interest than a peculiar steel rod on the workbench – the new electro magical wand – Mr Privet picked it up and began waving it. “Hmm,” he whispered, “this doesn’t look like a radio.” Then studying it closer, he spotted some buttons at one end. “Now, what are these?” he said, “Might be on/off switches, I suppose, and radios do come in all sorts of shapes and sizes nowadays.” He pressed the first button. There was a slight click, but nothing happened.
Waving it again, Mr Privet said, “I wish I could understand what’s been going on around here.” And he did. He suddenly understood everything that his son and Harry had been up to in that room. He laughed, Mr Privet laughed thinking his mind was playing tricks on him and his imagination was running into overdrive, and he said, “Hold it together, Laurel, or they’ll be carting you off to the loony bin, and sharpo.”
Waving the rod again, this time like a conductor’s baton, Mr Privet imagined he was conducting an orchestra. Then he heard music playing. Surprised by this, he stopped waving it. The music also stopped. Looking carefully at the rod, he thought that perhaps it really was a radio. That it had simply taken a while for it to warm up, and now that it had it was beginning to play music on the station it was last tuned into.
He pressed a second button. It clicked, but unlike the first one this button produced an immediate result, a very unfortunate result indeed. Flames, huge searing flames shot out from the wand, scorching the wallpaper in front of him. “No, no!” Mr Privet gasped, in fright, directing the wand away from the burning wallpaper, to his son’s wardrobe which the flames began attacking in earnest. “No, no!” he shouted again.
Hearing the commotion upstairs, Harry and Box dashed out from the kitchen, scorched down the hallway and leapt up the stairs two steps at a time. Arriving on the landing they found the door of Box’s bedroom now fully open, with huge flames shooting out through it.
Smiling with satisfaction, Harry said, “Well, at least we know that it works!”
“What about my room?” Box hollered, unable to see into it, for all the flames and smoke billowing out.
On reaching the landing, Mrs Privet began crying loudly, “Laurel, what have you done? Laurel, can you hear me? Laurel, where are you?”
Harry knew that something had to be done – and it had to be done fast – but stunned by the Muddlesome meddling of her uncle, she hesitated, unable to decide on what.
Box, however, had no such qualms and he sprang into action like he had been dealing with such things all of his life. Shouting in through the doorway, to his father, he said, “Point it out the window!”
“What?” his father yelled. “What did you say?”
“I said point it out through the window! Aim the flames out through it!”
“But the window’s shut!”
“Don’t worry about that – JUST DO IT!” he ordered.
Following his son’s instructions, Mr Privet pointed the wand at the window, and no sooner had he done this did the huge flames shatter the glass into a million red-hot pieces that rained onto the ground below.
With the charred doorway free of flames, Box, followed closely by Harry, entered the room. His father was still holding the wand; pointing the huge flames that showed no signs of abating, out through the window.
“Help, help!” he shouted, “This radio has gone berserk. All that I wanted to do was change the station.”
“Hang on a minute, Harry will stop it,” Box shouted. Then turning to her, he said, “It’s up to you now, cousin. This is your department.”
“It seems a waste,” she replied dryly, “stopping such a fine flame.”
“Oh, all right,” she said, uttering some words that Box failed to hear let alone understand, quenching the flames.
Mr Privet, his face, hands and clothes all sooty black, carefully placed the ‘radio’ onto the workbench, close to where a small fire was still burning. Wetting two of his fingers, he extinguished the flames with them, and muttered, “You know, I only wanted to change the station – that was all, just the rotten station...”
Outside, on the landing, his wife called out, “Laurel! Are you all right?”
“Holly, where are you?”
When his wife entered the room and saw the utter devastation within it, she burst out crying.
“It’s all right, Holly,” said her husband. “It’s not that bad. I just put it on the wrong station, that’s all… It was just a silly mistake…”
Mr Privet mumbling incoherently and his wife crying inconsolably left the smouldering room, on their way to their own bedroom, where they closed the door, trying to forget everything had just witnessed.
“Phew, that was close,” Harry said with a wink.
“Close?” Box yelled. “We could have all been burned to a crisp!”
“Might have, but didn’t,” she replied, hurt that her cousin’s faith in her abilities was so lacking.
With the help of her newly tested wand, Harry soon had the room returned to its former condition, down to the very last detail including a cobweb hanging from a corner of the ceiling.
Nothing more was said about this unfortunate incident, Mr and Mrs Privet preferring to believe that it had all been some sort of a bad dream, for how could it be anything other than that, when there wasn’t even the slightest sign of fire or damage to be seen anywhere?

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