Friday, July 22, 2011

800 Words: Harry Potter and the Magic of Money - Part 2

For Part I, go here.

(Evan wakes up tomorrow morning. He is already standing. He is in an enormous waiting room that looks vaguely like King’s Cross Station, staring face to face across the station with somebody too far away to be in focus. The person is in blue robes and has an enormous gold-grey beard. Gradually Albus Dumbledore comes into focus and comes up to Evan. He does not say anything for a time. He simply looks at Evan, enigmatically. After a few minutes of this...)

Evan: So am I dead?

Dumbledore: Aren’t we all a little dead inside?

Evan: Some days more than others. Does this mean I’m Harry Potter?

Dumbledore: We are all Harry Potter. He is a force that surrounds us and penetrates us. He b...

Evan: Alright, stop right there. That’s from Star Wars. And hearing a 150 year old man talk about Harry Potter penetrating is creepy.

Dumbledore: ….So that’s why McGonnegal didn’t want me to buy the ice cream truck.

Evan: Bravo. The Dumbledore ex machina comes through again.

Dumbledore: I sense you don’t fully believe in our universe.

Evan: My parents inoculated me early against elfin whimsy.

Dumbledore: A shame, not to let your imagination roam.

Evan: My imagination roams fine. An elf bit me when I was three.

Dumbledore: Ooof.

Evan: I started smelting gold at night.

Dumbledore: Truly, they were wise.

Evan: My father wanted me to keep smelting, we can thank my mom for getting me to the ER.

Dumbledore: Well..there is an old gobblin proverb, ‘Whoever smelt it dealt it.’

Evan: …....Not bad Albus.

Dumbledore: I try.

Evan: So why am I here?

Dumbledore: Mr. Tucker. The greater question is, why am I here?

Evan: Well it’s my blogpost.

Dumbledore: Seriously, I have appear at a birthday party in Akron at 10.

Evan: The kids can wait. You can tell them you were hunting horacruxes. And can’t you just evaporate or whatever it is you call it?

Dumbledore: I was hoping to stop at a Stuart Kitchens first.

Evan: Alright, I’ll make this quick. It only has to be 800 words.

Dumbledore: Your answers are but a question away.

Evan: 450 million copies sold. 68 languages. A billion dollars!!!

Dumbledore: None of those are questions.

Evan: I know, I’m just saying them out loud before I hurl myself into a fire with everything I’ve ever written.

Dumbledore: Considering that your writings, such as they are, are only on hard drive, that would not be an impressive funeral pyre.

Evan: Is it so wrong to want people to line up for blocks and blocks for something you write?

Dumbledore: My dear sir, I suppose it should go without saying that you’d be lucky to ever write something merely underappreciated. If you even have talent.

Evan: Oh who cares about talent?! I want that money!!

Dumbledore: Then might I suggest a different industry with better prospects? Janitorial work for example.

Evan: Seriously. You have that beard so you must be wise. Is it so terribly wrong to resent fantasy literature?

Dumbledore: Why would you dislike something that has given such pleasure to so many millions?

Evan: I don’t dislike fantasy literature, I just resent it.

Dumbledore: Precisely what about it do you resent?

Evan: Where do I even begin? (Evan spends an hour listing all of his problems with fantasy literature, ending with the fact that in spite of all of them, he still sometimes manages to like the books)

Dumbledore: You make a convincing case Mr. Tucker. I shall consider blotting all fantasy literature out of existence.

Evan: You don’t have to go that far Albus. Just beating the shit out of Gandalf would be perfectly fine.

Dumbledore: What do you have against Gandalf that you do not hold against me?

Evan: I can skip your bits of cliched wisdom because they always come at the end of the books. I can’t skip Gandalf’s because they pop up at every point in Lord of the Rings. It’s like Tolkein had a fortune cookie factory in his cellar. And besides, why do you or Harry or Gandalf or the Pevensies need my approval? You have the world’s!

Dumbledore: Which world?

Evan: The real one.

Dumbledore: I’ve never been fond of that one.

Evan: Neither have I. But it’s what we got.

Dumbledore: We can still escape from time to time.

Evan: Well how can I escape the real world when the smartest people in the real world are reading almost nothing but fantasy literature?

Dumbledore: A fair point.

Evan: They’re all getting away from the real world. Together! This is how every false utopia gets started. Pretty soon they try to make the real world as much like the fake one as they can. That’s not escape, that’s collective delusion. This is how bad things begin: like Soviet gulags, and Renn Faires!

Dumbledore: Oh dear. I wouldn’t start insulting Renn Faires in public. People might get angry.

Evan: The people who go to Renn Faires are often the smartest America has to offer. And they’re using time they should spend curing cancer to find a tighter corset.

Dumbledore: Tight corsets have their place in the world.

Evan: So does cancer. Both involve lumps.

Dumbledore: Mr. Tucker. Pleasant as you are, I’m afraid must interrupt you. I believe I have located the source of your Potter Envy.

Evan: Again, don’t say things like Potter Envy. You’re a super-centenarian who works with kids.

Dumbledore: You have told yourself the lie to which all with pretense to artistic ambition are vulnerable. You have convinced yourself that suffering for art must be an indication of quality. The fact that your ambitions have led you to dependence on employment in your father’s business to preserve you from penury leads you to resent those who have pursued what you covet more successfully.

Evan: Actually...Aside from the run-on sentence that makes a lot of sense.

Dumbledore: All of the most eminent fantasy authors have far more readers than the most successful writers of more traditional literary forms. They make more money. They have the adulation of millions. They bestride your literary time like colossi. And you petty man...

Evan: Alright I get it. Don't bring Shakespeare into this.

Dumbledore: You must learn the ways of fantasy literature, if you are to...

Evan: Don't say accompany me to Alderaan! Is there a single line of yours that isn't cribbed from another source?!?

Dumbledore: Not really. Most of Harry Potter comes from other sources. But it's still a fine series, don't you think.

Evan: Alright. YES! YES I DO!!

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