Chapter 1 : On Unicorns, Parents, and James
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Chapter One: On Unicorns, Parents, and James
FIVE THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN MY SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD LIFE THAT I RECOMMEND YOU TAKE SERIOUSLY BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T YOUR LIFE WILL END UP PRETTY MUCH SCREWY AND YOUR KIDS WILL HATE YOU. ON THE BRIGHT SIDE YOU WON’T HAVE TO COOK ON CHRISTMAS EVERY SINGLE YEAR AND CAN WATCH TV IN YOUR SWEATPANTS WHILE CONSUMING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF CHEESECAKE (OR ALCOHOL, IF YOU ARE A SINGLE AND UGLY PARENT. I DON’T JUDGE):
1. The alarm WILL ring every morning, because you have SET it to do so. Don’t take your anger out on it or attempt to blast it into smithereens with your wand while half-asleep because knowing you, you probably used the wrong spell. In the unlikely event that you did remember the correct incantation in your state of half-death, you probably aimed incorrectly and set your carpet on fire.
2. You are underage when all the above events occur. Your parents are Muggles. Two and two make four and you are issued a warning from the Ministry for “underage sorcery.” You attempt to explain that attempting to destroy a non-descript object like an alarm clock cannot be perceived as “sorcery” surely! But the talking parchment does not care and self-destructs.
3. The aforementioned parents are clueless about everything. Do not rely on them to do anything for you. The things they ought to be doing may range from putting food on the table at mealtimes to letting you know when they decide to take an impromptu tour of the country for some “fresh air and bonding with nature.” Always assume that they do not exist. You are alone in the world.
4. Don’t be that parent to your kids unless you want them to be mentally scarred enough to be writing a list like this in their unicorn journal. Oh, and don’t give them a unicorn journal. It gives them the impression that you are unaware of the cynicism and negativity with which they view the world, thus making them ever more pessimistic.
5. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. DON’T ever name your child after a fruit.
Yes, I know my happy little unicorn, what it is that you are thinking right now. She’s back, you whinny (do unicorns whinny?) complaining about her lovely, INSPIRATIONAL name. It’s so UNIQUE, I wonder why she seems to LOATHE it so much?
Well, screw you, you little horned freak. How would you feel if you were called LEMON?
Yes, that’s right, readers of this fascinating little notebook. My name is Lemon. Why? Because my parents are hippies who, having been given horrifically normal names by their own completely sane parents, decided to bestow (INFLICT) upon their daughter the blessing (ABSOLUTE, SHEER RIDICULOUSNESS) of having an original (IDIOTIC) name that no one (IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS) would have ever given their child.
Okay, I get that. They wanted their kid to be different. To stand out. Uh-huh, I totally understand that. Even without that name, I wasn’t ever going to blend in, being the way I am. But thanks to this monstrosity following me around everywhere, three hundred and sixty five (and one-fourth) days a year, I stand out for all the wrong reasons. And I HATE my parents for that.
I suffered all through my eleven years as a Muggle with evil little preppies pointing fingers at me and laughing at my patched-up clothes, my flyaway hair, and my lunches of toffee and Coke. Actually that last part wasn’t so bad, because it taught me to survive on the most meager food supplies. It especially came in handy when my parents decided to take a six-month cruise in the Atlantic Ocean and forget to tell me they were leaving. After about a week of missed meals, I realized they weren’t home. Since my parents are estranged from their own parents, probably because my parents are total FREAKS, I didn’t have any relatives to call. My parents also don’t have any normal friends I can rely on. Their only friends either belong to nudist colonies or feed their kids the barks of trees.
I really prefer Coke to that.
Anyway the point is that getting my Hogwarts letter was like…my own personal Big Bang, or the coming of the Messiah in parchment form. I’m not saying I don’t love my parents…they’re endearing sometimes. Well they’re asleep. Or…not around.
It just felt like I would finally be able to live the life of a KID. Sure, I’d be living in a boarding school that I wasn’t even sure existed (refer to my lack of enthusiasm about unicorns, and you will see why I wasn’t totally psyched about magic). But there would be TEACHERS to take care of me. PEERS who would help me. PEOPLE I could trust to not take off without warning. FOOD I wouldn’t have to search for from within the depths of our refrigerator.
My parents were thrilled of course. What could be freakier than me being an actual, honest-to-goodness witch? Nothing. It was all I could do to keep them from throwing me a party and inviting all their weirdo friends to celebrate the existence of a wizarding world. I even convinced them not to come up to London with me. They were extremely put out. They had “costumes and everything!” and they couldn’t understand why I was being so adamant and “uptight” about it.
Enough of my parents though. This is where the good part of my life starts.
Sure, people at Hogwarts were still human and didn’t let go of the fact that my name was Lemon. But everything was so much…more normal. Ironic, huh, that I had to become a witch and enroll in a school of magic to find regularity in my life? Yeah, I’m really feeling the hilariousness.
Okay, I HAVE to stop this constant digression into depression.
On the Hogwarts Express (which I got to after watching about ten different wizarding families randomly disappear through the barrier between platform 9 and 10. It was AWESOME), I obviously did not know a soul. Funnily enough, I was too excited to care very much. Since I didn’t have anyone to say goodbye to, I scored an empty compartment. I could tell this was a great achievement already. I shoved my entire luggage out of sight and sat by the window, watching an overwhelming farewell party outside my window.
There could not have been more than six actual Hogwarts students in the party, but it seemed like half the country was there to see them off. There was an old couple that I took to be the grandparents of all the kids, and about five sets of parents, all surrounded by younger looking, teary-eyed kids. It was absolute chaos, but it was probably the most sickeningly cute thing I had ever seen. Yes, even at age eleven, cute meant sickening.
I was a little jealous of this send-off. It really wasn’t fair that I had to be all by myself while these children got so much attention. They probably didn’t even want it. They probably couldn’t wait to get on the train and leave their parents behind. Jerks.
SPEAKING OF WHICH, FIVE THINGS I ALWAYS WISH I HAD THAT PRACTICALLY EVERY CHILD IN THE UNIVERSE DOES AND SEEMS TO NOT WANT OR SHOW ANY APPRECIATION FOR AT ALL, ONLY I WOULD HAVE KILLED TO HAVE THEM:
1. Normal parents. Duh. We’ve been over this. Always first on these lists.
2. Braces. My cross bite will, I feared, would always remain a cross bite. Unless I managed to learn some amazing spell at Hogwarts that would allow me to magically normalize the positioning of my teeth (I haven’t yet).
3. A bedtime. I know that sounds ridiculous, but not having a bedtime meant that I stayed up for ages without parental supervision (ha) and now I have permanent bags under my eyes. Still looking for a charm for that as well.
4. Home-cooked food. I’m a freaking skeleton.
5. A best friend. We’re getting to that part now.
The spoiled little idiots from the overly emotional group that had chosen to besmirch my window with their fond farewells decided to pick my compartment to place themselves in. They didn’t even ask if it was okay for them to take over my haven like that. They just did it! The nerve!
There were three blonds, two girls and a boy that I took to be siblings. The oldest looking was prattling on about some bloke called “Teddy” and how she just knew they would be together forever. The younger girl was rolling her eyes and muttering under her breath about how she would “kill Teddy for subjecting her to this utter craposity.” I liked her better. The boy didn’t say anything and I didn’t blame him.
There were two more boys and one girl that accompanied the other three into the compartment. The girl was scolding – yes, SCOLDING – the boys about putting “maggots in her pumpkin juice” as they sniggered and rolled their eyes at her. One of the boys had olive skin and a strange mix of red-black hair that confused me greatly while the other had the messiest black hair and the most obnoxious smile I had ever seen.
Ignoring his cousin (I assumed that’s what she was), he took a seat beside me. The entire time they had all been acting like I wasn’t even in the compartment which had annoyed me to no end, because I like being taken notice of. I can see why that is, considering my parents ignored me all my life.
Anyway. The boy turned to me, FINALLY, and said, “Sorry about Molly here. She has an unnatural dislike toward maggots in her meals.” He shrugged, his eyes glinting devilishly. “I don’t see why. They’re the most natural garnish there is.”
I grinned at him. “Oh yeah, I’ve practically lived off them my entire life. Have you ever had maggot lo mein?”
“Of course,” he said, rolling his eyes, “but that’s only best when the insides of the maggots are really covering the noodles.”
“Yeah, really slopping over it. Blood and guts and all.”
The girl named Molly jumped up out of her seat, looking annoyed.
“You really shouldn’t encourage him!” she SCOLDED me. “He’s turning into the most disgusting little boy, and this sort of nastiness needs to be stamped out of him!”
“Feel free to stamp out of this compartment, Your Molliness!” I did a little fake bow and watched her turn pink. She turned away with her nose stuck in the air. “I have people to see anyway!” she exclaimed as she walked out staidly.
“Hmph, imaginary ones,” the younger blond girl smirked. She turned to me and eyed me appraisingly. “Nice job. I’m Dominique Weasley and the girl you just sent into a flurry was our extremely irritating cousin Molly. Please do not hesitate to say rude, inappropriate or just plain mean things to her whenever you feel her presence is just too much to handle.”
The messy-boy laughed. “Amen to that. This is Victoire,” he motioned toward the older blond, “And Louis,” blond boy, “and this is Fred,” the other boy Molly was SCOLDING. “And I,” he grinned, “am James Sirius Potter, son of Harry and Ginny Potter, saviors of the Wizarding World.” He paused for a moment, beaming at me as if expecting applause or another one of my fake bows.
“I’m happy for you?” I replied, confused. His eyebrows went up in shock that I didn’t know how to respond to his obviously very significant announcement.
“You don’t know who Harry Potter is?” he sounded crestfallen.
“I’m sorry,” I quickly said, cursing myself for somehow ruining things already. “I…have Muggle parents. So I don’t really know anything about…well, anything.”
James’ eyes lit up. “Oh well, that’s it then! Oh you’ll love my story then! By the way,” he added, positioning himself as if getting ready to tell a long, long tale. “What’s your name?”
I hesitated. “Lemon. Snelling.” I sighed. “My name is Lemon Snelling.” It was all I could do to stop myself from burying my flaming face into my hands and praying for the floor to swallow me alive.
Everyone except Louis sniggered. I don't think Louis is capable of emotion, because his sisters took all of it. James looked as though it was his birthday and Christmas all in one day, but he was still getting presents for both separately.
“Well, Lemony Snicket,” he smiled widely, “get ready for the adventures of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasley, and their attempt to defeat the evil wizard Moldyshorts in HIS attempt to turn the wizarding world into an army of Oompa Loompas only without the cool orange-ness and lyrical genius. “
James Sirius Potter and I have been best friends ever since. Although we had a bit of a falling out when I found out that everything he told me about Moldyshorts wasn’t true. He was really called Voldemort and Oompa Loompas were never a part of his plan.
Speaking of James, his idiotic owl Rumpelstiltskin (James has a thing for Muggle fairy tales), is outside, pecking at my window. What does it think that it’s going to eat its way in?
It’s a LETTER! From James! Yes! I haven’t heard from him in WEEKS. He was supposed to come over and take me away from the hippie mess that is my parents’ house to his place for the summer like, two weeks into summer, but his parents had a surprise trip to America planned for him to congratulate him for taking the OWLs last year. Not PASSING them, mind you, since he only got like five OWLs. This present is to show how pleased they are with him for not blowing the exams off completely or leaving randomly in the middle to play Quidditch or pelt Peeves with Dungbombs or something stupid like that.
Yeah, James has THOSE parents.
I’m just kidding. Harry and Ginny are COOL.
Anyway, yay! Here is James’ letter:
Lemony Snickety Snicketson! (That complete ARSE!)
What’s that? Did you just call me an ARSE? HAHAHAHA I knew you would. I have missed you my darling. America was brilliant, but without you and your hurtful comments, I am becoming overly optimistic about myself. I need you to tell me I’m a nutter and was dropped on my head as a baby. Set things right, my love! Save me from myself! And if that isn’t motivation enough, I have a little presenty present for you, from the land of…hamburgers and such.
Okay I’m going to stop talking like that now. It’s giving me metaphorical hives. Seriously Snickets, I’m losing it here. I only just got back yesterday and my parents are already going off about how I didn’t “make use of the opportunity they presented to me by sending me off to America.” Apparently I wasn’t supposed to skive off live and relax but “study the vastly diverse wizarding culture that exists in that melting pot of a nation.” I’m telling you, Aunt Hermione put them up to this. I have never heard my parents utter such libel before.
So, to rid me off my misery and get a few pranks planned in for next year before the summer ends and we have to start school as bleeding SIXTH YEARS, I am coming to take you away on my winged stallion. My broom. Be ready, my sweet.
Love and other girly things,
James (AKA, BOY WONDER).
PS: I missed you. American girls don’t hold a candle to my Lemon.
PPS: Don’t forget to pack a giant jar of those orange candy things I like so much. I’ll ride off without you if you don’t have them.
I grinned. I had missed James. He was the only thing that kept me sane in the ocean of insanity that was my life sometimes. Which really was saying something considering he is totally loopy himself.
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