Dream Journal of Harry J Potter
The Sacking of Vernon Dursley
The original version of "Scion of Griffindor" chapter 41, "Goodbye, Dursleys", had a somewhat different ending to Vernon 's scene.
I don't know if I was still a student or not, not that it really matters.
"Who is the next one?" I asked Vice-President Cummings of Grunnings Drill Company.
Cummings looked at the page in front of him. "Vernon Dursley."
And now for the main event . . .
A polite knock on the door sounded only moments before Uncle Vernon entered the room with an obsequient smile. "Mister Vice-President? You asked to see me, sir?"
Cummings looked over at him. "Dursley, yes, come in. Take a seat."
He did just that, taking a place at his boss's right side, papers stacked oh-so-neatly in front of him, pen beside the stack. He looked at Cummings attentively, apparently waiting to learn why he'd been summoned. You'll be in for a rude shock on that one, I thought with glee while keeping a polite expression on my face.
Cummings waved a hand at me. "Mr. Griffin here has purchased enough Grunnings stock that he is now has a controlling interest."
Uncle Vernon immediately sat up straighter and smiled at me. Probably the first time he's ever done that without it involving a lot of blood and / or pain on my part. Not that he'd recognize me. A Glamour Charm made sure of that.
Cummings continued, "Mr. Griffin has assured me that he is not planning on suggesting any changes here at Grunnings, but he wanted to meet the senior staff."
Uncle Vernon smiled even wider at me and extended his hand. "Vernon Dursley, sir. Pleasure to meet you."
I smiled slightly and took his hand for a moment. "Yes, yes," I said, trying to sound as bored as possible. "I simply want to get a sense of the people in charge. Tell me a bit about yourself, Mr. Dursley." Let's see if anything you say is actually truthful.
Chest puffing out, Uncle Vernon started nattering on to me about what a wonderful person he was and how valuable he was to the company.
After less than a minute I got to the limit of my patience listening to such drivel, and I held up a hand. "I've already read the company reports of your employment, Mr. Dursley. I'm more interested in what you're like outside of work. Civic activities, volunteer work, church, family, that sort of thing."
Uncle Vernon looked panicked until the end of my statement, then his expression brightened. "Ah, yes. My family is quite important to me. My wife, Petunia, is active with a neighborhood group of friends and in her flower garden. We've a son, Dudley, who attends Smeltings. He's a successful pugilist as well, my boy is. Division champion in his weight class! Of course, he has his own circle of friends as well. Good group of boys."
I hadn't seen such a pile of steaming dung since the dragons left after the First Task.
Acting as if I believed every word of it, I nodded politely. "No other family, then?"
"Well, I have a sister, Marge. She has her own place out in the country. Breeds purebred bulldogs."
Without looking, I could hear Hermione, wearing her own Glamour, start leafing through the folder of papers she had brought in.
"And your opinion on what Her Majesty's government should do with criminals?" I asked next.
Uncle Vernon looked at me with a slight frown, an expression more suited to his pet walrus. Sorry, his son. "I'm afraid, sir, that I don't quite understand your question."
Which word didn't you understand? "Ah, sorry. Do you advocate punishment through incarceration and monetary fines, or do you advocate more strict or more lenient punishments for those who break our laws?"
Uncle Vernon set his face into hard lines. "The stricter the better. Drifters and thieves stealing valuables from us hard-working folk? And what do they get for it? A slap upon the wrist and then they go out and continue sponging off of society. No, sir. Put 'em to hard labor so they EARN their keep."
Hermione stopped her search for a moment and made a small note on the pad in front of her. No doubt to ask him later if he also believed in harsher punishments for child abusers.
I continued to lead him deeper into a grave of his own making. "And your opinion on alternate lifestyles?" Dursley again looked confused, or perhaps constipated, so I explained my question, "Oh, unwed couples living together, for instance. Same gender couples as another example. Any living arrangements that are outside of the usual family structure."
"I . . . strongly disagree with such living arrangements. A family should be man and wife taking care of their children."
"You don't believe in adoption, then?"
"Oh, certainly. I meant to say that the couple should take proper care of all of the children in their custody."
Like me? "I see." Okay, time to set the hook. "Based upon your obvious moral stance, Mr. Dursley, may I assume you believe in honesty, fair wages, and being even-handed in your business dealings as well?"
Dursley nodded firmly. "Yes, sir."
"Ah," Hermione said, drawing the attention of all of us. Good thing she said something. I was about to throw up at what Uncle Vernon was saying. "I knew it was here," she went on, pulling a sheet of paper from the stack in front of her. She looked over at Uncle Vernon. Her voice was a low, sinuous purr that wrecked havoc with my concentration. "You live at Number Four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, correct?"
Apparently it was doing the same to his concentration, too. He pulled his hanging tongue back into his mouth (okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but the dirty old man was obviously leering at my girlfriend) and nodded to her.
"According to the records, there is another minor living at your address. A nephew, one Harry Potter."
Uncle Vernon jerked as if someone had hit him with an electric cattle prod. "How . . . How did you learn about him?"
"Ah, you do recognize the name, then," I stated. "Tell us, how is the lad?" Other than sitting across the table and enjoying tormenting you?
"Uh, he's . . . he's away at school at the moment." Uncle Vernon suddenly looked very uncomfortable.
"Nephew?" Cummings asked, entering the conversation again. "What's this about a nephew, Dursley? You've always claimed not to have any more family living with you."
"Petunia's sister's boy. He was left with us as a small child." Uncle Vernon, now a pasty white, hooked one finger under his shirt collar and pulled it out a little bit.
Cummings was looking toward his employee, so when Uncle Vernon looked my way, I smirked and suppressed the Glamour Charm for a few seconds.
He yelped and jumped backward so quickly that he fell out of his chair. I forcefully kept myself from laughing at him as Cummings helped him back to his feet.
Uncle Vernon slowly climbed back into his chair, staring at me. After a few seconds of studying my "Griffin" appearance, he shook his head.
"Are you okay, Dursley?" Cummings asked, looking at his subordinate closely.
"What? Yes, yes. I'm fine," he waved the man off. "Now, where were we?"
Cummings's eyes narrowed for a moment.
You really shouldn't dismiss your boss like that, Uncle Vernon, I thought with hidden glee.
Voice low, Cummings said, "You were about to explain why you have had your nephew living with you for years yet never mentioned him nor ever brought him to the company picnics or health fairs."
"Ah, yes. Well, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but he's a very . . . disturbed youth. Always in some sort of trouble. Spends most of the year at Saint Brutus's Secure Center for Criminal Boys. I do what I can with him, of course, but unfortunately there is only so much I can do in the time I have him under my roof."
Good attempt at a save, but it won't do you any good. We can finally spring the trap.
Going according to plan we'd set up, Hermione rifled through the pages again. "How very odd," she said in a puzzled voice. "According to his primary school records, he was not a disciplinary problem, unlike your own Dudley Dursley."
Oh, nice touch, that.
"Something bothers me," I said, drawing Uncle Vernon’s attention away from her. The more things we throw at him, the quicker he'll fumble something major. "A moment ago you claimed he was away at school. Now you're saying he's in some sort of juvenile detention center. Which is it?"
"Ah, both?" He apparently tried to sound assured, but it came out sounding like a question.
Without prompting, Hermione pulled out a cell phone. "What is the number?"
Oh, girl, I'm going to kiss you silly once we're out of here.
Vernon blanched. "I d-don't remember."
She shrugged. "Okay, I'll call information for the number. Where is it?"
"In — in one of the London suburbs. I don't recall which."
Hermione hit a series of numbers and put the phone to her ear. I vaguely wondered if she was actually talking with someone on the other end. "Yes, I 'm trying to find the number of a facility called Saint Brutus's Secure Center for Criminal Boys. It should be in the London area." She paused. "You don't say? I'm quite certain it's called Saint Brutus's. Some sort of juvenile detention center." Another pause. "How very odd. Well, thank you for your time." She turned off the phone. "There apparently is no such place," she reported as she tucked the phone away.
Cummings turned to Dursley with a stern look. I quickly copied his action.
Uncle Vernon, paling even further, looked at his boss in fear. Then he turned to look toward me.
Suppressing a spell for a few seconds is so easy to do. I'm sure my wicked grin was approaching epic proportions.
This was finally too much. Uncle Vernon surged to his feet, face sporting a color that wasn't typically found in nature. One beefy finger pointing, he shouted, "You! You little bastard! You're doing something with your freak powers, aren't you? So help me, I'm going to give you the worst beating of your life for this one! Let me go! I'm going to kill this little freak!"
Cummings was trying to hold the rotund man back from lunging across the table and making good on his bellowed threats. "We need some help in here!" Cummings yelled, losing the battle against the much larger man trying to move past him.
The door burst open and a graying but wiry man came in and immediately tackled Uncle Vernon.
"Get off me! You're one of those freaks, too, aren't you? Well I'm on to you now. You can't fool me." From his pinned position, he looked over at Hermione. Spittle flew with every word. "I bet you're one of the freaks, too, aren't you, bitch? No doubt a whore, too, with the way you look. No idea why you're in on this charade with the little freak, but I'll take care of him, you mark my words! Get off me! You're just begging for a lawsuit the likes of which even your freak solicitors couldn't handle. Get off me, damn you!"
Cummings, keeping an eye on the still struggling form on the floor, shouted toward the open door, "Someone call the constables! Dursley's gone mad."
Gone mad? Doesn't that presuppose he wasn't there already?
I looked over at Cummings. "Miss Granger and I seem to be agitating him by being in the same room. Shall we leave and continue our conversation elsewhere?" No sense bellowing at each other in order to be heard over the steady stream of ranting.
"Yes, yes, grand idea," Cummings agreed absently, still watching the two on the floor.
Uncle Vernon was clearly outmatched, but that didn't stop his ineffectual struggling.
Cummings apparently decided that the situation was under control and waved Hermione and me out the door. "Let's continue this in my office for the moment."
Outside of the conference room, one of the executive assistants reported, "Police are on the way, sir." Her eyes slid from the conference room door to Cummings, a question clear in her expression.
Cummings sighed and shook his head before turning back to me, absently straightening his rumpled clothing and hair. I didn't bother pointing out the rip on his sleeve. "I apologize for that, sir," he said to me. "I have no idea what came over him. I've had reports of temper problems with him before but nothing like this. He's such a profitable salesman that I've overlooked his problems. For that, you have my most abject apologies."
Playing the understanding business owner, I waved him off. "No fault of yours. If he was a good salesman, then I can understand why you kept him on." Now to twist the knife a little. "On the other hand, based on what just happened and the rather disturbing revelations about young Mr. Potter, perhaps -"
Cummings held up a hand. "Please, sir, say no more. The rest of the board and I will terminate his employment immediately and ask the authorities to investigate him with regards to Mr. Potter's welfare. If Dursley could attack you like that and shout such threats, there's no telling what Mr. Potter's condition could be." He looked back at the conference room door for a moment, ignoring both the indecipherable shouting from behind the door and the administrative assistant blatantly listening to every word. "I don't believe I recognize the man who came in to help."
I looked over to the door, too, smiling fondly. "Oh, that's my driver. I assure you, Remus is quite capable of handling the likes of Vernon Dursley."