The Sugar Quill
Author: oybolshoi (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Hysterical  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

 

 

A/N: Please accept this story in the spirit of fun in which it was written. Religion in and of itself can be a powerful force for positive change. However, it cannot be denied that there are instances when religion can be both divisive and destructive. Having said that, I am only poking fun at those people who find JKR’s books evil and dangerous, without, I might add, having ever actually read them.

 

DISCLAIMER: Not that anyone needs to be reminded, but I don’t own these characters or their world. I filched the tortilla bit from a Simpson’s episode, but as far as I know the Encyclopedia Obsoletica is something I just came up with one day. If not, then I humbly apologize to whoever may have thought of it before I did.

 

 

HYSTERICAL

 

 

Harry had the strangest feeling of de’ ja’ vu as he watched Hagrid bound through the Great Hall towards Professor Dumbledore’s chair. Hagrid was one of the most fearless people that Harry knew, but something had frightened him this evening, and badly, judging from his pale countenance and panicked gestures.

Harry sighed. Just once in his life he wanted to experience a stress-free Halloween. And this one had certainly started off on a promising note. As in years past, clouds of bats swooped and soared over the house tables while the candles from hundreds of jack-o-lanterns winked cheerfully down upon the assembled school. Gossamer spider webs stretched across the doorways and orange and black streamers fluttered from the enchanted ceiling.

Even better than the decorations was the food, which this year was served with a generous supply of butterbeer. Fred and George Weasley confided to Harry that they had sneaked into the kitchens earlier that evening to enhance everyone’s favorite beverage with some Hilarity Hops and Wild Oats. Harry couldn’t help but smile as he inspected his own butterbeer label, which now read VOLDEPORTER. Underneath the name a snake-faced, red-eyed wizard raised his mug in a mock toast. He still thought that the label on Ron’s butterbeer was by far the best, although Ron definitely had not been amused. ARAGROG showed a fully-grown Acromantula holding a tankard in each of its eight pincers.

Harry swallowed the rest of his butterbeer and was trying to decide between HAIRY MacBOON SMOOTH and SWEDISH SHORT-SNOUT STOUT when he heard Dumbledore’s voice behind him. “We have a problem, Harry.”

Harry rolled his eyes. When did they not have a problem? “Isn’t it a bit soon for Voldemort to attack? He usually waits until the end of the school year to let the dramatic tension build.”

Dumbledore smiled widely at his young protégé. “Yes, Harry, you’re correct. Lord Voldemort never attacks this early – it would simply ruin the entire story. We have an altogether different sort of problem on our hands tonight.”

Harry waited. Ron and Hermione also waited. The rest of the school went back to their butterbeer. Dumbeldore hummed tunelessly to himself as he watched the bats fly overhead. Several of them, disoriented by the butterbeer fumes, had flown into the jack-o-lanterns and were now zooming around the hall in flames. Cheers arose from three of the four house tables as a suicidal bat dived into Professor Snape’s highly combustible, greasy hair, engulfing his head in a bright orange ring of fire.

“Sir?”

“Yes, my boy?”

“Are you going to tell us what’s happening so that we can advance the plot?” Harry asked a tad impatiently.

“What plot?” The headmaster replied in an equally testy tone of voice. “There’s no plot here – this is just a series of random events that occurred to the author after she had one too many glasses of wine.”

Harry and Ron exchanged dark looks. It wasn’t like Dumbledore to criticize; something very odd was afoot. Reluctantly Harry stood up. There were times, and this was one of them, when playing the hero was downright irksome.

“I guess we’d better see what’s happening outside,” Harry said resignedly. “That is where we’re supposed to go, right? Talk about obvious; I’ve read articles by Rita Skeeter that were more subtle than this story.”

Still grumbling under his breath, Harry, followed by Ron and Hermione, accompanied Professor Dumbledore out of the entrance hall and down the front steps of the castle. There was no need to go any further. A large crowd of people, all of them wearing brown shirts and knee-high black leather boots, was marching in military formation out of the Forbidden Forest and directly towards the school. And snippets of song carried on the wind…they were singing.

“Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war…”

Harry turned confused eyes to the headmaster. “Since when do the Death Eaters sing?”

“I told you already, Harry. Voldemort and his followers are not the problem tonight. No, for the purposes of this little yarn, we are faced with something far, far worse. Those are members of the Censorship Corp’s Book Burning Brigade, led by the most fearless right-wing religious zealot known to man.”

“Er…what is that supposed to mean, exactly?”

Dumbledore ruffled his favorite student’s predictably messy black hair. “Harry, I am sure that Miss Granger will be able to explain it to you. Having once more guided you into the gaping jaws of danger, I fear I must now leave. I have to appear on a tortilla in Mexico – it’s a little Halloween prank I like to play from time to time.”

He held up a hand to quiet their protests. “I have complete confidence that you will yet again manage to save yourselves as well as the entire school. But do try to hurry, won’t you? You’ve only got about eight hundred words left to work with.”

Harry shook his head in disbelief as the headmaster suddenly disappeared from sight. Ron looked amused. “Don’t try to figure it out, Harry. We’ve always known that he’s a few sandwiches shy of a picnic.”

Silently Harry agreed that Ron’s assessment was probably correct, so he turned to Hermione who had been waiting eagerly for an opportunity to make a contribution to the plot. “Well, what do you know about these people?” he asked, gesturing towards the cluster of uniformed figures who were setting fire to a large pile of wood.

In a very fast, very loud voice Hermione began reciting verbatim from the Encyclopedia Obsoletica. “Book burning religious zealots, while typically indigenous to North America, have been known to appear in the British Isles. They move in packs, claim the moral high ground, are oftentimes small-minded and rigid, and are extremely dangerous. As the size of their herd increases, the overall level of group intelligence tends to decrease proportionately.”

“Hey!” A distinctly American voice floated over from the group around the bonfire. “We strenuously object to your use of the word ‘herd.’ We are a flock. Do you hear me, little missy? A flock!”

Harry turned to Ron. “Is there a full moon tonight? Has the earth passed through the tail of a comet? Has everyone gone mad or are we just stoned?”

The red-haired boy shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know what’s behind this, but I know what isn’t. This is a children’s series, and like it or not, we’re role models. That means no drug use – it could unduly influence impressionable kids.”

“Let me see if I understand this correctly. Throughout the last four books we’ve had child abuse, slavery, underage drinking, racial intolerance, torture and murder. But drug use would be considered over the top?”

“Harry, we don’t have the time or the word count to debate deep philosophical questions like these. Besides, I think someone else wants to talk to you.” Ron, spying an opportunity to further the plot, pointed to a tall, stoop-shouldered man who had detached himself from the Censorship Corp.

“I am Smilin’ Bob Hermann,” the man intoned. “We come in the name of the one true Lord!”

Harry, still convinced that this was another attempt on his life by Voldemort and his Death Eaters, replied boldly, “He’s not my lord.”

Shocked whispers rippled through the crowd gathered behind Smilin’ Bob, who held up one long, bony hand for silence. “You see why we are here brothers and sisters? Our pilgrimage will not be in vain. This incarnation of evil admits to us all that he does not believe! The Satanic ‘S,’ the foul mark on his forehead, proclaims that he is an abomination. His nefarious influence on the children of the world ends tonight! He must burn!”

“Evil?” Harry asked in disbelief. “You think I’m evil? You obviously haven’t bothered to read the books, have you? And don’t you people know the difference between the letter ‘S’ and a lightning bolt?”

He noticed suddenly that the flock was tossing large quantities of books into the bonfire, cheering wildly as pages curled and burned, shooting sparks into the darkness. An unexpected wave of cold water drenched Harry and drew his attention back to Smilin’ Bob, who had hurled a bucket of holy water in his face and was now screaming at him. “Be gone, demon! Smilin’ Bob commands you – return to the putrid bowels from whence you came and trouble us no more!”

Harry sighed and reached for his wand; this story was getting entirely too weird for his taste. But before he could perform a banishing spell, he felt Hermione’s cautioning hand on his arm. She looked grimly determined. “Let me handle this, Harry. You have to use logic to confuse and disperse them, otherwise this narrative will never end.”

Confidently she approached Smilin’ Bob, who appeared somewhat disconcerted by Harry’s immunity to his holy water attack. “What exactly do you hope to accomplish by burning all of these books?”

The zealot’s eyes gleamed with a triumphant fire. “Ah, a young soul in search of the great truth! By burning these vile tomes we perform our Lord’s work. These books are an offense to God, Allah, Ganesha, Buddha, Zeus, Odin, Gilgamesh, and scores of others that I cannot possibly name now. By burning these books we prove to the purveyors of pernicious publications that we will never support their seductive evil. We will not tolerate their blasphemy!”

Hermione nodded, as if in agreement. “But, when you buy the books in order to burn them, you put money in the pockets of the publisher and the author. And if you keep buying books to burn, not only have you created wealth for those people but you have also created an increased demand for their product, meaning that even more books will be printed. It’s a vicious, endless cycle – you can’t possibly win.”

Smilin’ Bob belied his name and frowned at her. The Censorship Corp behind him began to mutter and grumble as they attempted to follow Hermione’s reasoning. Rather than admit defeat, Smilin’ Bob tried a new line of attack. “Burn the witch! Burn the witch!”

“Apparently they don’t respond well to logic, either,” Ron observed as the crowd surged forward and grabbed Hermione by the arms, dragging her towards the bonfire. “You’d better do something, Harry.”

There was no response from his best friend, and Ron felt a prickle of fear. “Harry? Harry…Harry…Harry!”

 

 

“Harry!”

Harry Potter opened one eye, squinting against the bright sunlight that streamed through the dormitory windows. Ron stood over him, grinning. “You sure are hard to wake up, mate.”

Harry reached for his glasses and shook his head, trying to wipe away the lingering cobwebs from an extremely bizarre dream. “Unbelievable,” he muttered to himself, stretching mightily. “What a predictable, utterly contrived ending.”

//
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