Thursday, September 17, 2009

164. The Pocket Elephant

Contest winner: cv675

Spanky's jaw dropped. Beside him, Ilona stiffened. Behind them, Endora gasped. Sadie growled. Sir Lionel said, "Er."

Harvey faced them from the end of a blind alley in the fast-growing yew maze Sadie had planted (seeds courtesy of her friend Miles O'Roughage). Not just one Harvey, nor even both of him. Three Harveys confronted them. But that wasn't what made Spanky gape. It was partly the menacing way each Harvey's wand was pointed at them. And, partly, it was the third Harvey's outstretched hand.

"Give me the ring," he said coolly.

"Was this your racket all along?" Spanky asked.

"Don't let's have a fuss," said Harvey 1. "It's only a wee bauble. You'll come to no harm."

"What do you want with it?" Ilona demanded.

"How will I use it, you mean?" said Harvey 2. "Would you believe me if I said that I would never use it?"

"Indeed," added Harvey 3, "that I would make sure nobody ever used it again?"

Ilona looked at Spanky. Spanky turned toward Harvey again and said, "No."

"He," Sadie shouted, then corrected herself: "They must be working with Il Comte and Lee Shore. How else..."

"...would I be here when you were expecting them?" Harvey 3 shrugged. "I'm afraid I can't answer all your burning questions."

"At least," added Harvey 2, "not at present. Please to hand over the ring."

"You've really gone through time's mangle, haven't you?" Sir Lionel's voice carried an undertone of laughter. "You've messed things up properly. I wonder what you think absolute power over other people can do to sort out your, er..."

"Problem?" said Harvey 1. "I see no problem. I've seen the end of the world. I've seen its beginning. If older and wiser heads had been in charge..."

"...and, well," said Harvey 2 with an immodest air of modesty, "I'm as old and wise as they come..."

"...a lot of things might have turned out differently." Harvey 3 nodded. "Better."

"You're mad," Endora said shakily. "You can't go about history changing things. You of all people would know, if you hand't changed yourself..."

"Don't be ridiculous," scoffed Harvey 2. "I'm the same as ever."

"Haven't you noticed," Sadie said venomously, "you ought to be saying 'we,' not 'I'?"

Harvey looked at each other, then back at the prisoners who had been his friends. "I'm sorry?" Harvey 1 said. "Am I missing something?"

"Only that there are three of you," Sadie yelled.

Harvey looked around themself again. For a moment, he seemed bewildered. At that moment, Spanky struck.

"Petrificus totalis," he muttered with a flick of his right wand. "Incarcerous," he added quickly, waving his left wand. Ilona's voice cut across his, hissing: "Expelliarmus!"

None of these spells had any effect. Harvey looked back at them with a mildly surprised expression on his three faces. Surprised and hurt.

"I say," he said.

The five wizards at bay immediately began pelting him with jinxes. None of them found their target. Sizzling jets of light zoomed toward Harvey's chests, then dissipated as if nothing was there. They didn't seem to be hitting a shield.

"Come, Rumbo," said Harvey 2, tugging on a leash that snaked around his legs.

An elephant walked into view from behind Harvey 2's legs, where it seemed to have been hiding. It was about the size of a well-fed beagle, and it had a wand gripped in its curling trunk.

"Meet my friend Rumbo," said Harvey 1. "Once, when I had a lot of time on my hands - say, eighty years or so - I trained him to remember jinxes and their counterspells."

Harvey 3 added, "He's very good to have with one when one is surrounded by hair-trigger witches and wizards."

"Only look how he's shrunk," said Harvey 2 sadly. "Unfortunate side effect, it always happens. He was the size of a standard schnauzer a few minutes ago."

"Eventually the poor chap will grow so small, I won't be able to care for him," said Harvey 1.

"Alas," said Harvey 3, "it's the price we have to pay..."

"We?" Sadie challenged.

Harvey 3 blinked at her. "Yes, of course," he said. "Rumbo and I."

Sadie stared back. "You've lost your marbles, mate."

Harvey 2 and 3 simply smiled. Harvey 1 cheerfully said, "Right. Now, the ring. Unless any of you is harboring a pocket elephant, I would urge you to give it up promptly."

Spanky opened his mouth to ask a question, but Harvey 2 answered it first: "I've still got a few spells Rumbo hasn't seen."

When no one moved for a long beat, Harvey 3 anxiously added: "They'll hurt. A lot."

Sadie shook with fury as she stepped forward, clutching the ring in her fist.

"That's better," said Harvey 3.

+++ DOUBLE CHALLENGE FOR TMQ #166 +++

You can help decide what happens next in The Magic Quill! Simply leave a brief comment (up to 150 words) answering the following Survey and Contest. The survey answer with the most votes, and the contest answer that Robbie likes best, will turn up in the chapter after next.

SURVEY: Harvey is working (A) on his own. (B) for Bobs the Reality Wizard. (C) for il Comte. (D) for Uncle or Aunt Leslie. (E) for ______ (write-in candidate).

CONTEST: Describe a magical machine and what it does. The more whimsical, the better!

12 comments:

Robbie F. said...

SURVEY: Harvey is working (A) on his own. (B) for Bobs the Reality Wizard. (C) for il Comte. (D) for Uncle or Aunt Leslie. (E) for ______ (write-in candidate).

CONTEST: Describe a magical machine and what it does. The more whimsical, the better!

Linda Carrig said...

Three cheers for Rumbo! lol!

I'll be back...

Morning Star said...

Harvey is working (A) on his own. The magical machhine I´ll have to think about.

Sir Read-a-Lot said...

a & e, sort of.

A fourth Harvey that we haven't seen yet, (call him Harvey X), is creating an infinite army of Harveys to be his minions. They each think that they are the one and only Harvey.

Harvey X has caused the Harvey minions to have a sort of reverse multiple personality disorder. Instead of one person thinking they're multiple people, multiple people think they're one person.

And where does he get this disease? from his Disease Distiller, a magical machine that creates potions that when drunk, cause the drinker to have some sort of magical disease. It is mostly programmable, but Harvey X has been having some problems with it, which is why one of the 3 Harveys we're dealing with is a Necroleptic (not to be confused with a narcoleptic), someone who will unexpectedly fall dead, but then wake up, one has Tourelles Syndrome, which (like the better known Tourettes syndrome) causes the sufferer to cast spells at random times, and the third Harvey has Mislexia, which often causes the afflicted to talk and move backwards (kind of like when Harvey went backwards in time). Also, someone with Mislexia's spells may operate backwards, and their potions are... highly interesting.

Robbie F. said...

BTW, keep those submissions coming for TMQ #163!

Linda Carrig said...

A - Harvey, all three, are working for themselves.

The clip-o-nails is a magic toe/finger nail clipper.

Dragonic said...

I think A.

And for the machine, How about a Lumos Bulb? A giant machine that is a wizard's attempt to understand muggle science, with huge complex mechanisms and a lightbulb on top. In the end, though, it works my making a spell that forces a nearby wizard to perform Lumos. The bulb never lights up.

TWZRD said...

Unless he's been imperioused (I didn't spell that right, did I?), Harvey is working for himself.
Love that Lumos gadget, Dragonic. Wish I had the clippers about now...

Machine: What about a slot machine? They're all the rage in Wizard casinos. Instead of lemons and cherries, it has shreiking mandrakes and billywigs and such in the windows. You have to cast a spell on each window to stop and start the rolling, If you win, it dispenses things like galleons (but you'd better watch for leprechaun galleons) or potion ingredients when it stops. If you lose, you'd better duck. It shoots out a spell -- usually some mild jinx. If there's a cuspidor next to it, you can bet on an occassional slug belching jinx.

Or maybe something like the magical windows in the Ministry, only the private residence version. You can program your window with not only weather, but birds and fairies and grazing hypogriffs. "A great way to eliminate unsettling views of Muggle Sprawl in 'mixed' neighborhoods", the add reads. Some less reliable models have been known to leak weather into the house. (Have your seals checked every two years, or risk finding a dripping hypogriff in your parlor.)

greyniffler said...

I say that Harvey is working for Bobs. There is something at stake we don't see, something that even Chat Noir doesn't see.

_houdini said...

i would say b .. harvey is working with bobs as both of them know something the rest don't know about or cannot even percieve..


how about a Finite Fabrication Machine where the machine can create absolutely anything but the only problem is that it needs specific instrutions right up to the atomic makeup... if not it will usually end up making something silly...if someone were to ask for 'rain' ... then it might end up having cats and dogs falling from the sky or a small storm above his head... OR if someone asks for gold .. then it might end up with fake gold, leprecaun gold, gold fish.. etc...

Joe said...

Harvey is working on his own for one of himselves... the three of them or maybe more... with all of his time travel could be 20 or 30 Harvey's for all we know.

Hmmm a whimsical machine how about
The Marvelous Toy that Peter Paul and Mary sang about it sure sounds magical :-)

It went Zip when it moved,
And Pop when it stopped,
And, Whirrr when it stood still.

greyniffler said...

This one is hard! Here's my entry: the cart-o-matic mechanical cartographer. It's a brass-and-silver instrument about the size of a small saucepan (without the handle). It has three wheels with white tires, many visible gears and wheels (they are silver; the chassis is brass) and a glass ink reservoir on top that refills itself and changes color at need.

Place it on a blank parchment and name a place and it will draw a map of that place, getting progressively more detailed. Its map-drawing style is late nineteenth century, which you may consider good or bad, and it will only color backgrounds after it has put in a considerable amount of detail.

It has a tendency to miss things like tollbooths and highway interchange numbers, and it may give roads their older names and save the new ones (in parentheses) for the fine detail.

As it rolls its way over the parchment (first tracing out the edge with a border) various pastel glows come out of it, some shifting slowly, others burbling along. They cannot be seen in full daylight.