Chapter 1 : Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Prints
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"Thank you." said Harry as he lowered himself down carefully onto a hard, awkwardly-backed wooden chair.
"We've been having some difficulty trying to contact you." continued Mr. Radley as he picked up a batch of envelopes and glanced at the address on the top one.
"How so?" asked Harry.
"Well, our first letter to ... let me see ... 12 Grimmauld Place ... was returned 'No such address.' Moved?"
"Yes, it's not always there." murmured Harry inaudibly.
"And your 4 Privet Drive address was returned 'Not known at this address.' "
"They disowned me. You see..." began Harry.
"Shall we put down 'of no fixed abode' for the time being and sort that out later?" asked Radley but Harry could see by the way he flung the envelopes into a side tray that it was not really a question.
"Now, I have been reading your CV - it's quite extensive - but there are one or two ... unusual items here and there."
"Unusual?" asked Harry, innocently.
"Yes - but it's beautifully presented. This simulated old parchment ... and which font is this? - it's very good - hard to tell it from real handwriting. How many prints did you produce? What printer have you got? How many copies have you made?" enthused Radley. He had just purchased his first PC and considered himself an expert.
"I used a quill and then Geminio to duplicate it three times." replied Harry cautiously.
"Laser eh?" Radley wrote something down then continued, "Slightly smeared - toner might be leaking slightly - or perhaps it's not fusing fully - but it's very impressive even if half-cooked. I recommend you fix your Geminio though before you run off more prints."
Harry stared at Radley and nodded slowly, pretending he understood.
"Well first, can we look at your references. We need contact addresses and numbers. This one for instance, S. Snape - I see he's a teacher. That's excellent. Would he be willing to recommend you?" inquired Radley.
"Well... he did actually hate and revile me for seven long years the bastard but eventually I think I had his respect. Well, not respect exactly. What I mean is he probably hated me for a good reason instead of a bad reason." Harry paused, "I'm not putting this very well am I?"
"Perhaps if I spoke to him? Have you his phone number?" asked Radley.
"Mmm.. Actually ... he's dead. He was attacked by a giant snake." said Harry hesitantly, wondering whether this would be a 'bad' thing to reveal or a 'good' thing.
"Oh ... Kay..." Radley paused then continued, "Don't worry. It's not too uncommon for references to become ... deceased. Let me see now..." he perused the list further.
"Ah! Now I see we have a headmaster here - Professor A. Dumbledore. This is even better. Have you his number?"
"Well... sadly ... he's dead too. Is that bad? Job-prospect-wise I mean?" asked Harry.
"Well it does sort of limit his ability to give you a reference does it not?" there was a slight note of sarcasm in Radley's voice.
"Actually, it might be possible..." Harry thought quickly but decided to play it safe, "No, of course, that does make it difficult."
"I hope he wasn't killed by a giant snake too!" laughed Radley, amused at his own wit.
"No, actually Professor Snape killed him." replied Harry.
"Your first reference killed your second reference. Then he got eaten by a snake?" inquired the official, eyebrows raised a notch.
"No, no. that would be silly wouldn't it?" smiled Harry realizing how that might sound unusual. "He wasn't actually eaten by the snake. It just bit into his neck and left him to die. But Neville cut his head off so it was alright in the end."
"Neville cut off ... Ah! You mean the snake. He cut off the snake's head? For a moment I thought you meant..." he tailed off.
"How about this one, Mr. R. Lupin. Is this right? It says here against 'occupation' that he's a werewolf." continued Radley.
"Well I thought it important to be open and honest about these things but there was no actual box for anthropomorphic activity so..."
"Quite." responded Radley.
"Anyway, he's dead." said Harry. "But it wasn't my fault!" he added hurriedly.
Radley paused, peering over both the document and his glasses which were perilously close to falling off the end of his nose.
"Mr. Potter. It does seem that all your references do seem to end up ... well ... dead to put it bluntly. What about this one - Mr. S. Black - Oh! escaped mass murderer. Tell me, before I even ask..."
"Dead." cut in Harry. "But I did help him escape - the second time that is, not the first time. The first time I wanted to kill him myself real bad. But I didn't. Well, not directly. I mean it was my fault but..."
"What about friends? You must have older school aquaintances who might now be in a professional capacity and might recommend you?"
"Well ... there was Cedric Diggory ... but he's dead. That wasn't my fault either. Well, only a bit."
Radley sighed. "I did notice a mention somewhere else in your CV of a member of the peerage. Let me see... yes, a Lord Voldemort. Now that would be a fine reference!" He hesitated, "He's not erm..."
"Dead." replied Harry. "Sorry, he would never have given me a reference anyway."
"It was me that killed him." replied Harry, then realized this might sound worse than it actually was, "Well, not actually killed him. You see he attacked me and there was a kind of rebound because... It's complicated." he finished suddenly
"That's alright Mr. Potter. I don't think we should include that on your CV though, do you?" smiled Radley, beginning to think perhaps he was dealing with a mental patient and wondering whether he should humour him or press the panic button.
"Right, let's come back to references another time shall we? Let's look at your qualifications. I see you answered 'Have you any flying experience?' with Broomstick, Hippogriff, Ford Anglia, Motorcycle sidecar, Portkey, Thestral, Dragon, Phoenix. Now are any of those light aircraft or helicopters as we do have a vacancy for a trainee in air/sea rescue."
"Sorry, no." replied Harry, "no light aircraft or helicopters. But I did rescue some people underwater using gillyweed." he finished brightly.
"That's not a kind of lifeboat is it - No." Radley saw Harry shaking his head firmly. Radley wrote something down then continued studying the CV.
"This paragraph about robbing the bank... I think perhaps we should not include that..."
"But it was for a good cause!" interjected Harry, "It erm... it helped me kill Lord Voldemort."
"No doubt. No doubt. Now against 'Languages' you've put parseltongue. That's an Indian dialect isn't it?"
"Snake." corrected Harry.
Radley frowned and studied Harry for a few seconds. "Could you say a few words for me now?"
"Well, suddenly I can't speak it anymore." confessed Harry. I forgot when I wrote that..."
"You must keep your CV up-to-date Mr. Potter for anything that might suddenly change - like how to speak a language." chastised Radley rather firmly.
"Let's see..." he continued, " 'retrieved a dragon's egg; killed a basilisk.." he looked up inquiringly over his glasses at Harry.
"Kind of huge, giant snake with eyes that petrify..." began Harry.
"Always with the giant snakes." Radley resumed his study of Harry's CV.
"Dueling? Not pistols at dawn I hope?" smirked Radley.
"No, wands." then seeing the look in Radley's eyes, Harry finished lamely, "They're just sticks really. We duel with sticks."
"You hit each other with sticks? I bet that makes you yell." grimaced Radley.
"Well, we do curse a lot!" laughed Harry, hoping unsuccessfully to break the tension.
"Disabled a troll... vanquished scores of dementors... escaped thousands of giant spiders, three-headed dog... impersonated a ministry official, sneaked into a ministry court room and stole a locket off the judge... only person to be master of all three deathly hallows at the same time... stopped a teacher from getting a stone... What was that? How did you..."
"Dead. I killed him. Killed him with my bare hands. ... But it wasn't really my fault, honest."
"No of course not." said Radley, rather stiffly. He continued, "These 'hallows'..."
"One is a stone..."
"Is this the same stone..."
"No no - that was just a stone to make you immortal." replied Harry.
"Have you still got it?" asked Radley.
"No, we destroyed it."
"You ... destroyed a stone that would make you immortal?"
"Yes. No, the stone I had was a different stone - to bring people back from the dead." Harry explained.
"And you still have that stone?" persisted Radley.
"Well no. I threw it away." replied Harry sheepishly.
"Naturally. I hope it's in a safe place or we'd have all sorts of dead people walking about wouldn't we!" Radley laughed drily.
"Actually ... I just dropped it on the ground right next to where some outlaws were camped out. Bit stupid really." Harry said thoughtfully.
"So what of the other ... 'hallows'?"
"Well there was a wa..." Harry hesitated, "a stick - but it was a special kind made of elder wood so it was erm... special. It made me the most powerful person in the world."
"I'm sure it did Mr. Potter. I'm sure it did. And do you still have this big stick?"
"Erm... No I put it back in someone's grave. That's where it was got from in the first place so nobody would think of looking there would they? Actually that was a bit stupid too."
"Do we know who this 'someone' is? Maybe I can get his stick? Though it sounds like it didn't do him much good did it?" laughed Radley even more drily.
"He's ... one of the references in my CV."
"This is not one you killed - for his stick I mean?" asked Radley.
"No, no, of course not. Well ... not directly anyway. I mean, I stood by and let my other reference kill him. I could have stopped him I suppose. I guess it was my fault really."
"Mr. Potter, have you actually got any of these hallows at all?" asked Radley.
"Yes of course. I have a cloak. Nobody can see me when I hide under it."
Radley looked at Harry for several seconds. "Mr. Potter, are you ... are you wearing your coat now?"
"Mr. Radley, can you see me?" asked Harry indignantly.
"Yes I can. I can see you Mr. Potter."
"Then I'm not wearing it am I?" answered Harry. He folded his arms in annoyance. Clearly he was dealing with an idiot.
"Mr. Potter, when applying for unemployment benefits you declared many millions in your bank account..."
"Yes, but that's only a very rough estimate. It's probably tens or hundreds of millions - I never counted it."
"Of course not." Radley wrote something down on a form. "Tell me, who are your next of kin? At your age that's normally your parents."
"No, that was Lord Voldemort. He tried to kill me too. Several times actually - but that wasn't why I killed him honestly!" Harry added this last in case Radley might take a dim view.
"Mr. Potter you are... just eighteen years old and you left school last month is that correct?"
"Yes that's right."
"How many certificates did you get? How many GCSE's have you got?"
"None. I didn't go to school for the whole of last year. I ... I went ... camping in the woods instead."
"But you said you left school only last month?" Radley said with a puzzled expression.
"Yes, I went back just to kill Lord Voldemort."
"Of course. I was forgetting..." Radley scribbled down a few more words on his form.
"But in fairness - I did let him kill me first." added Harry enthusiastically.
"So to sum up, You have been involved in robberies and murders, wasted your last year of school, have no qualifications, and all your references are dead - some you killed and some killed each other - is that about right?"
"Well on the plus side I saved the lives of most of the people in the world." said Harry defensively.
"Except your references it would seem."
"Well yes, not them of course." admitted Harry.
"Mr. Potter your entire presentation is reckless, dangerous, criminal, and a devious pack of lies. What kind of job did you possibly hope to get here?"
"Well I had considered becoming a politician." said Harry, then after a while, added, "Aren't you going to write that down?"
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