this gave Percy a migraine.
stood, a sack of food from the market in his hand, surveying the Muggle-style
refrigerator in his equally Muggle-style flat.
The sack contained yogurt. There
was a shelf in his refrigerator that he used specifically for the storage of
yogurt. This should have been simple.
Percy called, “could you come here for a moment?”
who was eating Chinese takeaway out of the carton, shuffled into the small
rolled his eyes at the seldom-used nickname and indicated the door of the
refrigerator. “What do you see on this
stuffed some lo mein into his mouth. “Looks like some yogurt and… some other
the fingers of his free hand to his temple.
“Specifically, there are three cartons of peach yogurt, a jar of wheat
germ, a squeeze-bottle of lemon juice, and a half-empty container of Tongue-Searing
Wizards’ Hot Sauce with Essence of Jarvey Saliva, which, by the way, I don’t
think is even legal. Or
hopped up to sit on a countertop. “And?”
him a very hard look. “George, when I
offered to let you and Fred stay at my flat while the construction was being
done on the rooms above your shop, I never expected you to change things.”
poked around in the takeaway container with his chopsticks before abandoning
it, empty. “Is this about the Sleekeasy’s we put in your medicine cabinet? Because really, Perce, you’re not doing those
Weasley good looks justice.”
his still-curly-haired head. “This is
about the yogurt shelf.”
hopped off the counter to walk closer to the fridge. “There’s a yogurt shelf?”
there ought to be,” Percy responded, “but there isn’t. Instead, there’s a yogurt-wheat germ-lemon
juice-hot sauce shelf. The system has
system?” George asked, raising one eyebrow.
“Exactly!” Percy exclaimed as if experiencing a great
triumph. “There is no longer any system. The system is gone.”
is gone because there’s hot sauce on the yogurt shelf?”
nodded. “It’s not only that there’s hot
sauce on the yogurt shelf—never mind the fact that there’s another shelf
specifically for the storage of condiments, because that’s another tragedy
altogether—it’s that since there’s
hot sauce on the yogurt shelf, there’s no room for further yogurt.” He brandished his sack for emphasis.
stared. “Couldn’t you put the yogurt
heaved a mighty sigh. “At least now
there’s some recognition that there ought to be a system. If I just put the yogurt in, say, the cheese
drawer, there would be no indication of a system whatsoever.”
George said, “the wheat germ actually sort of belongs on the yogurt shelf. It goes with it, like.”
The side of
Percy’s mouth twitched. “You’re not
helping. The point is, the non-yogurt
items—the wheat germ included—have to be moved off of the yogurt shelf before
more yogurt can be put away. The thing is, when I go to put away the lemon
juice and the hot sauce, I find that the condiment shelf is quite full
itself. This brings me, as I said, to
the tragedy of the condiment shelf.” He set
the sack of yogurt on the counter, reached into the refrigerator, and pulled
out three identical jars. “Do you know what these are, George?”
one of the jars from him. “Looks like
nodded again. “Do we need three jars of
shrugged. “I guess not.”
”Do any of
us even eat green olives?”
shrugged again. “No,
then. I’ll just bin them, then, shall
snatched the other two jars out of his brother’s hand. “You can’t just throw them out!”
seemed to have to work very hard to retain his composure as he took back all
three jars. “Yes, George, I can. Very easily. You see, there’s a trash bin over there, and there are too many jars of
green olives over here.”
“Aha! I knew you had a sense of humour!” George clapped roughly him on the back, catching
him by surprise and inadvertently sending all three of the jars on an
unexpected voyage downward.
The jar of
olives hit floor and shattered. Both Weasleys found themselves doused in a smelly green liquid.
Percy said. “You see what happens when
there are too many jars of olives in my refrigerator?”
“Percy. Is this really about the yogurt shelf?”
to shake off some of the olives from his shoe.
“Not anymore, it’s not. Now it’s
about the deuced olive juice all over my kitchen!”
bloody hell, Perce, don’t burn me away with the strength of your tongue. I don’t know if I can take the cursing.”
“Ho ho, very witty. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to pick up the mess for which you’re responsible.”
flung a hand to his forehead. “O! Alas, but my life has been ruined by the mere presence of my younger brothers in my flat, whatever will I do? Alas, alas!” He
staggered around the kitchen, stepped directly in a pool of olive juice, and
fell straight on his hindquarters.
before you say anything,” he said while staring up at the ceiling, “I want you
to know that this could have happened to anyone. I don’t need a lecture on home safety, and I
don’t need to hear that I would still be upright if it hadn’t been for the
olives I’m responsible for smashing. I
also don’t want to hear about how this ties in with what is apparently the
Great George and Fred Scheme to Ruin Percy’s Refrigerator, so if you were
planning on saying any of those things, don’t.
Just don’t. And, you know, it’s
not like we wanted to live here and
ruin your yogurt shelf anyway. You know
Mum made us.” As soon as the words left
his mouth, he fell silent, waiting for a response. None came.
shifted his gaze to look at his older brother.
Percy was gripping the edge of the counter with a knuckle-whitening
intensity. “Look, Perce…” George said at
length. “I’m sorry. About the olives. And the, er, yogurt shelf.”
still didn’t say anything, George added, “And, you know, I’m sorry about the Sleekeasy’s. I
suppose. I mean, you and Charlie are the
only ones of us with curly hair, and he doesn’t do anything to his, so I
imagine it’s not a horrible faux pas.”
still no response, so George said, “I know you’re trying to make it up to us,
the family I mean, for… last year.
That’s why you offered to let Fred and me stay here. So I’m sorry if it’s been too awful for
you.” He squirmed a little; the smelly
liquid was seeping through the back of his shirt. “Though you deserve it, you know. I’m not begrudging you for being all prodigal
and all, but you do deserve it. That’s
all I’m saying.”
silence was unnerving to George. “And,
you know, I’m… I’m sorry about the whole ‘Mum made us’ thing. I mean, yeah, it’s true, but it’s not like
it’s been awful here. I mean, you clean up after yourself, which is
more than I can say for me and Fred.
Though you could help, like.
Maybe act like we’re not a total
inconvenience. We haven’t always been an
inconvenience to you, have we?”
closed his eyes, drew a deep breath, and burst into laughter.
gone mad, then?” George asked from his position on the floor.
“You!” Percy wheezed.
“There you lie, after falling on your arse, and you’re lecturing
me about decorum!”
George said, “It’s not that funny. I
know funny, and this isn’t it. This is
you, going ‘round the bend.”
no,” Percy gasped. “This is quite
funny. You know you’ve got olives all
over your face?”
all the rage in America,
olives. Surprised you didn’t know.” George removed one from its position on his
forehead. “The least you could do is help me up, you know.”
“Fine.” Percy, who
was still laughing, extended one hand to George. This resulted, of course, in George pulling
him down and mashing olives in his hair.
“Augh!” Percy exclaimed. “That wasn’t fair at all!”
on, Percy, it’s the oldest hex on the scroll.”
George was rubbing the vegetables into Percy’s cheek with great gusto.
an unintelligible growling sound and placed his hand on George’s face in an
attempt to push him away. George bit
him. Percy withdrew his hand, took his
glasses off, tossed them up on to the counter, and proceeded to engage his
brother in what is can best be described as a tussle—a messy, olive-y tussle
that involved much cursing.
heavier than Percy, but the older boy had a longer reach, and so George found
himself pressed to the floor with his arms behind his back. “Say it!” Percy screeched.
‘Percy is a great prat’?”
tightened his grip. “Say it!”
a muffled sound.
that?” Percy let his brother’s head up
off of the floor.
“I said I can’t breathe.”
breathe now, so say it.”
George tried to escape from Percy’s
grasp and failed. “No. I haven’t had to say it to anybody besides Bill
since I was twelve.”
“Yes, but now you’ve lost, so say it. Say ‘I’m a great poncing nancy-boy and I bow to my
brother’s superior fighting skills.’”
“Fine. You’re a great poncing—ouch! Watch it!”
think you meant that.”
struggled. “Let me loose a bit so that I
can get the circulation back in my arms, and I’ll say it.”
so George wriggled out of his grasp, turned around, and tackled him.
sense of the rules!” Percy exclaimed.
about the rules!” George shouted back.
“Screw the system! It’s a fight
in a puddle of olive juice in the kitchen!
There are no rules!”
then!” Percy declared, and pulled George’s hair.
heard the door to the flat open. “Oi, kids!” Fred’s voice called. “Guess who’s here?” Fred appeared in the kitchen doorway. He took in the scene, said, “Oh, good,” and
launched himself onto the pile.
minute had passed when another voice from the kitchen doorway said, “Er,
boys froze. “Ah.” Fred shook an olive out of his ear. “Like I said, guess who’s here?”
out George’s sleeve. “Hello, Penny.”
bit her lower lip. “Hello. Hello, Fred, George. It’s… nice to see you.”
George responded, his head still caught between Fred’s knees.
extracted himself from the tangle of limbs on the floor. “I’ll just, er, freshen up a bit, then?”
nodded, and wrinkled her nose when Percy brushed past her towards the
bathroom. She stared at the twins, who
had managed to separate themselves into two different olive-covered masses. “What… what happened here?”
grinned. “Three jars of olives are too
many for one refrigerator, but just perfect for one floor.”
up a glob of four olives that had stuck together and lobbed it at his brother.
reappeared in the hallway with wet hair and fresh robes. “That was fast,” Penelope said.
can’t be late, now can we?” Percy said.
“Do be sure and compliment Mr Balfour on his
promotion when we get there, Penny.”
course,” Penny said. “Shall we
walk? It’s a nice day out.”
“Certainly. Why don’t
you grab your coat, and I’ll be right with you.”
smiled and left the room. Percy walked
across the kitchen to his younger brothers, leaned down, and whispered, “I’ll
be back in four hours. When I come back,
I expect you to say it.” He grinned wickedly and left the room.
“What did happen here, brother mine?” Fred
considered his words at length. “I put
hot sauce on the yogurt shelf. But it’s
flopped onto his back. “That’s it. You’ve both gone completely mad. I am the only sane Weasley in this flat, and
I’ve olives in my hair.”
nodded. “You’ve got olives in your hair,
and I’m a great poncing nancy-boy.”
already knew—ouch! Watch it!”