And for the last time -- Whatever Happened to Harry Potter? Harry Potter at 52

I called home to let Jane know I was on the way, but she said,
"Not yet. It came through."

I knew what she meant -- I'd been trying to get an interview with the elusive Harry Potter for seven months.

"They say tonight or never."

Sightings of Potter in the 10 years since he'd been released from prison were more numerous and less verifiable than sightings of Elvis.

Potter had served 25 years in Wormwood Scrubs on charges stemming from carnage done during the final battle with Voldemort. He'd won, but in the process, eleven muggles had been killed by random hop-skip ricochets of force beams, some of them sitting at home in their comfy chairs several kilometers away.

The jury had seemed skeptical as Harry stood in the dock and told his tale of this dark evil creature that had hounded him since birth -- a dire dread thing that had killed his parents, scarred him, and over the years made repeated attempts on his life. He explained that he had acted in pure self-defense.

The judge, Lord Justice Melford Buttonhole, had instructed the jury to determine the applicability of the charges based on whether Potter's battle with Voldemort was a criminal endeavor.

"If the prisoner was acting in self defense," he said, leaning over the bench and rolling his eyes, knowing that all appeals would be made from written transcripts which do not indicate facial grimaces or sarcastic tones of voice, "if it was self-defense, the deaths constitute a lesser offense than if the battle itself was a crime."

The jury had come back with a verdict of guilty on eleven counts of what we, in this country, call "involuntary manslaughter" and one count of "cruelty to something" which was not actually a law.

Potter's cellmate for most of those 25 years was a rather notorious felon known to the London Press as "BSE Brian the Meat Monster." His crime? Selling Mad Cow-infected beef.

Brian would bid low for contracts to haul slaughtered diseased cattle to designated disposal sites - whether incinerators or landfill. Then he would sidetrack considerable amounts of meat, smuggle it into the EU and sell it to the French. Even after his crimes were known, there were many in England who argued that no charges were justified since it was only the French who were eating the contaminated beef.

But the Director of Food Service at the British Embassy in Paris had been embezzling funds and buying cheap meat on the black market, in this case, the tainted beef being purveyed by none other than BSE Brian himself. When several embassy officers fell ill with the hideous Creutzfeld-Jakob disease from the BSE prion in the meat, a snowstorm of indictments were issued.

Once Englishmen were being affected, Brian found himself in the dock in a flash.
He was, of course, convicted.

Some of the papers tried to rhyme him as “Prion Brian” but when telly news readers made the point that it would have to be “Prion Breeyon” they settled for “The Meat Monster.”

Of course once Harry Potter was convicted and became his cellmate, the London press changed Brian’s nickname, using the new word they'd learned during the Potter trial -- calling him "the Muggles Monster."

Years later, on release, Potter had emigrated to the USA.
No one knew where he'd been staying since.

He was sitting in a booth at the far wall in a bar named Marfreles.
He motioned for me to sit down and began talking.

It was that damned child star business, but worse.
Oh I wasn't the first -- there are plenty of examples: Brandon de Wilde, everyone on the street pulling a face as he passed, mimicking him, 'Come back, Shane, come back.'

Or Bobby Driscoll after Treasure Island getting that Robert Newton 'Arrrgh' everywhere he went.

No wonder they went out on drugs.

From that first damned day at Hogwarts, every one of them: 'We expect great things of you,' they would tell me, even that bloody Sorting Hat -- 'You could be great, you know.' The fame was odious. Why couldn't I have been written like Bentley Ellicott?"

"Who?" (*)

Exactly. Roderick MacLeish let him finish the battle with Prince Ombra and walk away from it, forget the heroism and let the world leave him be. But - that damned Rowling woman, she just had to make it so popular, had to do all the books, didn't she?

And the pressure wasn't the worst of it. If that was all ... well ... I wish that had been all, but the worst was the isolation. There I was, irrevocably marked from day one as the most super special wonderful amazing boy in the world. Every other boy or girl my age knew they could never even hope to be nearly as supercool hot stuff. Of course they hated me for it. Talk about Ecce Homo. I didn’t even know what they were talking about.

Who would want to hang out with a boy like that? Oh, that snide little dominatrix, Hermione, of course. And Ron Weasely, a boy born to be the consummate Igor to Dr. Frankenstein, scuttering around on his master's business.

Here's a scoop for you -- not many people know that Hermione and I were married for a while. A short while. Ill-fated.

When we were kids fooling about, we used to do things to each other late at night at Hogwarts, you know, oral things and finger things and, you know, but then one night we did a spell, each of us becoming the other for a session to learn how it felt, the difference between innies and outies. It got all mixed up. Next thing I knew, we were secretly married.

How could I have known about fucked-up Scorpio girls? We didn't study astrology at school. It was considered a muggles thing.

It was rocky from day one, but then…

I came home late one evening and there she was -- there THEY were -- En flagrante! And believe me, there was nothing delecto about it.

She was in bed with Ron Weasely.
And Doby.

Sounds like a joke, doesn't it? 'My wife! My best friend! My house elf!'

A bad joke, and the pain was overwhelming.

I was not yet 21. I had already defeated the dark power of the age, and of course, after the victory, I foundered. My raison d'être was gone and I hadn't yet regained my balance, not yet found a subsequent path. That damned shadow had been in every aspect of my life, so -- ahh, what's the old Yank saying? 'Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy.'

And there she was, the only thread still connecting me to my life -- Magical Mistress Hermione with her discipline suits and silk whips and ropes and handcuffs and gags and leather masks -- all the items of her love --- and she was using them on Ron Weasely.

Even our special Bifurcated Butt Plug!

We used to joke that if love didn't keep us together, that double-ended device would.

He paused and we sat in silence for a while.

We used to really like the Captain and Tennille.

It broke my heart. It just destroyed my will. It was like being spun into the outer darkness.

I started drinking potions, conjuring up succubae, creating apertures and protuberances and having the kind of sex that makes what most people call sex about as interesting as lunch meat. To no avail - I found no joy in it, no happiness.

And it cost me my powers as I fell farther and farther away from my source.

Am I bitter? Yes, of course. Sometimes bitterness is all one has left.

And then those years in a cage with Brian."

There was another long silence here.

Very well. Yes, I was his bitch. Remember -- I was a slender young lad. Even as dissipated as I'd become, I still was considered attractive. And he was the most powerful and feared inmate in the place. I sought his protection.

He wasn't all that bad, rather gentle for a man his size. He had a joke - he'd bend me over and tell me 'Well, laddie, of course I'm only a Muggle, but I have it on good authority that this is the way Aleister Crowley taught magick to his lot.'

Of course by the time I was released, I had regained enough of my powers that I had become the most powerful and feared one there. Not soon enough to prevent this, though."

He pushed back his hair to show me the famous lightning bolt scar on his forehead, but now there were two, side by side.

Damned skinheads. Damned Oswald Mosley Neo-Nazi youth thugs. He'd been dead for 40 years and they still ran around with their psychotic dreams of race perfection.

I was still weakened by my debauchery. They cornered me one day in the shower -- Brian was nowhere to be found -- and they held me down. I thought it going to be -- you know -- the typical business, but no. They decided my childhood scar would look better as an SS sigil. There was nothing I could do. Not then. But later, when I was stronger..."

Another silence as he mused about it.
The look on his face was chilling.
I didn't want to know what he'd done later, when he was stronger.

What else do you want to know? I don't have much in the way of powers any more, pissed them away. Oh I still have a few. Oh, you might enjoy this. I find I'm extremely adept at the same trick Saint Hilarius** used when he sat at the Council of Nicaea -- making someone defecate on the spot. Good for a few laughs. Would make a good party trick if I ever went to a party.

As for Hermione and Ron -- oh, I should have known better. She and I should have never done more than the 'boys and girls together' fooling about. He was always the right one for her, the little sniveling crawl-around. They were a perfect match. That was what she needed, someone to lord it all over. And she was what he always needed - someone to tell him what to do and whom to be.

They fit.

I just want people to understand. So let this interview be a cautionary tale.
All that power, all that gold. It can be a curse.

All that celebrity. All those fans.

We think we're so damned clever. But we learn the hard way that what we need is some wisdom. It still all comes back to Voltaire -- sit down, be without expectations and make your garden grow. Well, Voltaire and the Dalai Lama.

So go now, tell them. They won't believe it. They think magic and power is a blessing.
I may have decayed, but I'm still not cruel enough to laugh at what happens to the people who believe that.



(*) Bentley Ellicott is the main character in Roderick McLeish's wonderful (and now back in print) novel Prince Ombra

** Hilarius aka Hilarus, from which comes the name, either male or female, "Hillary." I mean, the Senator from New York is a fine debater -- often crisp, clear, and to the point, but -- DAMN! -- think about how it would be if she had that same ability as he from whom her name derives. )

"I must disagree with the Senator from New York," sez Joe Biden.
"Oh yes?" Sez Hillary, pointing her enema-finger at him. "Yes?"
"Uhh, I think I need to leave for a moment," sez the Senior Senator from Delaware...)


This is for Jack Rems of Dark Carnival who originally suggested it.
Great idea but I'm not taking the blame alone.

Portions of this parody appeared in Crapshoot in a somewhat different form.


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