I don’t own the members of Ms. Rowling’s world; I only live in it. Okay,
so the above line doesn’t belong to me either, but Mr. Leigon does. Anyone
and anything you recognize is the brilliant work of JKR.
Note: I’d like to thank the lovely ladies of the Sugar Quill for conducting
this contest (and for putting up with my constant emailing mistakes) and
to Javiera, my brilliant beta. It was tons of fun writing this story and
may there be many more annual tournaments to come!
“You are here, at one of the
many Sugar Quill Factories worldwide.” Mr. Leigon (pronounced, Le-hon,
as he never failed remind) pushed open the twelve-foot double-doors as
if they were feather quills themselves, letting the students scurry excitedly
in. “Every Sugar Quill that you have ever set your tongues upon has been
sweetened by our sweeteners, been tested by our tasters, and has been
designed by our designers for your very own, personal satisfaction.”
eyes widened so far he practically dropped Colin’s camera. Did that
“Uh, sir? Excuse me?”
His scrawny hand slowly rose into the air, the scent of which came very
close to that of Dennis’s eleventh birthday cake.
“Ah, yes,” the tips
of his gray moustache curved upwards, much like his glossed lips. “You
had a question, young man? I’d be happy to accommodate any concerns you
may have, though,” he abruptly adjusted his navy color, and his face grew
a rather uncomfortable shade of red, “though I’m sure that any
apprehensions you may have are, of course, unnecessary, as we have perfected
the creation of Sugar Quills over our hundreds of years in serving the
assembly of Hogwarts first years turned from their whispered tête-à-têtes
to Dennis, who was hit with the sudden temptation to slip the charcoal
hood of his robes over his mousy brown hair and step behind one of those
fifty-foot sugar generators.
“Err, uh… all
of the Sugar Quills that come through here are taste tested, right?”
of frustration came from the cluster at this, and a number of heads were
flung back in disgust. Dennis Creevey wasn’t necessarily the brightest
quill in the box when it came to matters of rationality.
midnight blue eyes darted about in a manner that would suggest more than
the slightest bit of uneasy confusion. “Yes, young man- what did you say
your name was, again?”
He hadn’t said his name. “Dennis,” he spoke up, “Dennis Creevey.”
“Ah,” the man
behind the moustache nodded, “yes, Dennis. Yes, we have thousands of witches
and wizards stationed worldwide whom we pay good money whose only purpose
is to make sure that each and every one of our Sugar Quills is worthy
of its revered title.”
had never heard of candy being honored before, but he figured that after
years of working in a Sugar Quill factory—and it was evident that this
man had, in fact, spent a good many years working in the Sugar Quill factory—a
wizard gathered a certain respect towards the pleasurable treat. “So do
they get taste tested before they get put into the box?”
Mr. Leigon obviously
wasn’t used to getting these sorts of questions, and it was quite clear
that he didn’t appreciate them. His perfect teeth gritted together and
his pasty fists clenched so tightly that indents of his nails were making
themselves apparent in his pudgy palms. He must have been a talented wizard,
Dennis concluded, because it was magical the way his voice remained at
such a calm. “Do you by any chance have a brother, Dennis?”
and nodded, “Yep, sure do! Colin- Colin Creevey.”
nodded, “Right, of course. Is he, by- by any chance, is he the one Harry
Potter said hello to in the hallways?”
nodded quickly, “he sure did!” He subsided from his burst of enthusiasm.
“But I have to admit,” the first year giggled, “Colin did hound
him a bit.”
“I see,” Mr.
Leigon muttered. “I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.” He uncrossed
his arms and shook his head, toupee swaying. “Now, about the Sugar Quills…?”
jumped, “Right. You said that they all get taste tested before they get
put in the purple boxes, right? My aunt loves those boxes; she says they’re
just so darling she could take them home and put them in cousin Silvia’s
that if you could deposit the look on Mr. Leigon’s face into a bright
blue feather and lick it, it would be the sweetest Sugar Quill he’d ever
your aunt that we appreciate her business. We put all of our taste buds
onto each and every one of the quills, and-”
“Yeah!” Dennis stopped Mr. Leigon in his beating of the dead horse, for
which more than one of the eleven-year-olds was grateful. “About your
taste buds-- if all of the quills are licked before they’re put in the
cartons, wouldn’t that mean that we’re sucking on ABC Sugar Quills?”
Even the Slytherins
recoiled in disgust at this, each and every one of the first years re-evaluating
their childhood treats. A certain Hufflepuff girl shrieked: another looked
as if she would burst into tears.
“Ye-” his bushy
gray eyebrows furrowed; eight solid wrinkles were slowly embedding themselves
into his forehead. “ABC?”
Chewed, sir. But I suppose they would be Already Been Licked in this case.”
“I…” Mr. Leigon’s
eyes narrowed and widened; his double-chinned jaw dropped a good few centimeters.
“You know, I never thought of it like that before…”
gaped. Did- did this man have a soul?
“But,” he found
a way to reconcile it with his conscience: in the nick of time, it seemed.
“You can be assured that your Sugar Quills are just as sanitary as Bertie
Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and you will never have to worry about
finding a mucus Sugar Quill in your box. The taste testers employed by
the Sugar Quill factory have impeccable hygiene, and each and every one
of them brushes their teeth three times a day.” Mr. Leigon looked about
the disgruntled first years nervously, waiting for a result: he liked
his job and he intended to keep it.
The first years
seemed to have relaxed some, to the old man’s relief; a few of the boys
seemed to have even gotten comfortable with the idea of ABL Sugar Quills.
wasn’t so sure. It was clear to him, however, that no matter how pretty
a Sugar Quill box might look in a pink polka-dotted baby bonnet, he wasn’t
giving them to anyone this Christmas. Well, maybe Colin.