Who would have ever thought that Dudley Dursley had a sense of humor?
on. Most people require a literate mind to be funny, and Harry
never suspected that his cousin had a brain in his head. Somehow
Dudders kept getting promoted to the next year, but Harry had always
thought his teachers moved him forward out of fear of having him in
their classes again.
Though in the same school
together until they were eleven years old, they’d never had the same
teachers. Harry had suspected his aunt had arranged this so
Dudley wouldn’t be embarrassed by his slower, stupider cousin.
Their first report showed that Harry had done better than Dudley, so
from there on out Dudley never showed his marks to Harry. Uncle
Vernon only saw the reports and he rewarded the boys accordingly –
according to how he’d always given everything to Dudley and nothing to
Harry went off to Hogwarts and his cousin went to
Smeltings. Dudley always arrived home for summer holidays seven
or eight days before Harry did. Nothing regarding either lad’s
marks was ever mentioned again.
Oh, sure, Dudley had several new gifts from his parents for ‘doing so well this past year,’ but many of them were broken by the time Harry reentered residence at number four, Privet Drive. After being re-ensconced in ‘Dudley’s second
bedroom,’ Harry had to rearrange Dudley Discards, the pile of broken
paraphernalia that had grown bigger since he’d left the Dursleys’ the
It wasn’t that Dudley really
had a sense of humor, but in the past school year he had discovered
pranks and practical joke items. The night that he returned from
Hogwarts, Harry sat down on a whoopee cushion at the dinner table.
Petunia was particularly disconcerted by the sound, but Vernon and
Dudley roared with laughter at Harry’s embarrassment. Next, Harry
couldn’t stop spilling water down his shirt as he tried to drink.
He’d made it a practice to keep his eyes averted from his relatives
during meals, so it wasn’t until his second attempted drink, and
consequential spill, that he heard his two male relatives giggling and
snorting at his wet jumper. Harry was drinking from a dribble
glass. He hadn’t really noticed that his glassware differed from
the rest on the table.
Petunia was mortified at the mess being created.
the end of the meal, Dudley forced on Harry a stick of chewing
gum. Of course Harry dropped it on his cleaned plate like it had
been on fire. He saw nothing odd about it, but his cousin and
uncle’s assurances of its genuineness did anything but give him a desire to pop it in his mouth.
He leaned over and smelled it, stopping before his nose was less than ten inches from the gum.
It was dirt-flavored gum.
finally spoke, “That’s enough boys, all three of you. Take your
pranks away from the table – out in the garden would be best, I think.”
Harry made the inevitable verbal faux pas. “I should owl Fred and
George for more Ton-Tongue Toffee. Maybe Nose-Bleed Nougats also.”
His aunt and uncle started shouting all at once and Harry found himself bolted in his room before he knew it.
Vernon yelled through the door, “Boy, if you use that bloody pigeon tonight, I’ll fricassee it in the morning.”
The next evening, Harry
found himself in the park in their estate. Like a bad penny, he
found Dudley and his gang of ruffians together, but they were not in
their usual vandalism or bullying mode. Instead, they were
knocking over tin cans with slingshots. These weren’t simple
slingshots made from ‘Y’ shaped branches, these were rather expensive
metal slingshots used in hunting small game. Of course Harry was
unaware of that particular use of the designs.
Our hero walked
past them in the shadows and was not seen by Big D’s followers, but
Dudley did see him. As Harry walked speedily home he heard, “Oi,
Potter! Wait up! I want to talk to you.”
still huge and carried a lot of extra weight, but he’d continued his
boxing. The coach had him running and weight lifting and Dudley
was carrying the excess weight better than Harry had ever seen him
carry it. Dudley panted a little as he approached.
Harry looked around and found a tree to stand partially behind as Dudley came near.
Potter… Harry. I’m not going to beat you up. You’ll just
pull that wand of yours and I’ll have another pig’s tail, or worse.”
seemed to be some degree of earnestness in his cousin, so Harry
hesitantly stepped from behind the tree, but he kept his right hand
near his back pocket where he’d hidden his wand under his un-tucked
tee-shirt. “What do you want, Dudley?”
With a suspicious
sincerity, Dudley said, “I’ve thought a lot about it over the past
year. You probably saved my life or something last summer, so…”
holding out his hand, he continued, “Put ‘er there.”
almost shook his hand, but he remembered the most hackneyed gag in
Muggle existence. “Put the hand buzzer away, Dudley. I’m
not stupid, you know.”
Dudley looked disappointed but said after a while, “No, ‘sppose you’re not. Figg told me about you.”
“What? Mrs. Figg talked to you? What... what did…?”
Potter, er Harry. She explained what you did for me. She
told me that what you did was remarkable, that many grown-up wizards
couldn’t do it. We talked at Christmas time and I stormed out of
her house, angry. How could you be so
special? But after several months it hit me that you can be
special and it doesn’t make me any worse or any better.”
“Who are you? Where’s the real Dudley?”
both laughed at that. Dudley went on to explain that he’d gone to
the school counselor when he kept having bad dreams about the
dementors. Though he had not told the counselor that the dreams
had been a real memory, their visits together had helped.
counselor’s the one who suggested I take up pranks and practical jokes
rather than hitting people. So, Harry, where do I get hold of
some of those great pranks like Ton-Tongue Toffee?”
evening Harry wrote to his senior partners at Weasley’s Wizarding
Wheezes. He told them of Dudley’s strange turn around, and
suggested that the two consider a Muggle line of prank items. A
Skiving Snackbox for Muggles, sans magic, should be a big underground
bestseller among school-aged kids all over.
Harry and Fred and
George corresponded for several days, and Dudley participated with a
few fairly good ideas of his own. At first, the twins did not
want to believe that Harry’s cousin could be legitimately friendly with
their silent partner. Like in many good families, the
twins were more offended for Harry than he was for himself.
Finally, Dudley volunteered to be the test subject for anything
developed - for Muggle or magical pranks.
It was a time in the
summer before Harry’s sixth year, when all of those in the Order of the
Phoenix, at Dumbledore’s behest, were trying very hard to make Harry’s
life more enjoyable than it had been. The threat at the train
station had been taken to heart by the Dursleys, and they fearfully let
Harry do whatever he wanted so long as they did not see or hear anything abnormal.
had a number of visitors who came and went in normal cars dressed like
normal people and behaving like any normal person would. Petunia
allowed the visitors to sit with Harry in their back garden under the
shade trees, and talk quietly.
The minders that
watched Harry’s summer residence were always there, but they were under
Invisibility Cloaks. They cast Silencing and Disillusionment
Charms the moment Harry and his visitors had settled. The
discussions could be raucous and most active, and the Dursleys would
The only restrictions
placed on these visits by Harry’s aunt and uncle was that no ‘appearing
and disappearing’ occur, and no fireplace traveling. One more
restriction was placed on the proceedings when five redheads arrived:
Mr. Weasley, along with Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny.
said, “No more than two red heads of hair at once, and these two that
gave my son that… that piece of abnormality that turned his
tongue… They must leave RIGHT NOW!”
Disapparated immediately, which upset Vernon even more. It took
Arthur Weasley nearly a half hour, and a mildly veiled threat of ‘more
serious interest in Harry,’ to settle everyone back to the routine that
had been established.
So no twin visits were possible to test products designed for Muggles in general and Dudley in specific.
having the best summer he’d ever had, did not mind this
restriction. Dudley, having a good summer and not wanting to
admit it, did argue, but to no avail.
Vernon and Petunia had
planned a long weekend at a swimming beach starting first thing on a
Friday morning. Dudley refused to go, and since a large deposit
had been paid, his parents hesitantly left their Duddikins alone in the
same house with ‘that boy.’
Harry and Dudley had been owling
and planning for a week. Right after Vernon and Petunia left, the
two cousins set out to visit London and Diagon Alley. They
planned to make a relaxing daytrip out of it, and thought it might be
memorable – they would be correct.
A bike ride, a bus ride,
two train rides, and a walk later, and they were entering Weasley’s
Wizarding Wheezes – Makers of Fine Pranks since 1996 A.D.
“We welcome to our humble establishment…”
“…the great Harry Potter and his great big cousin,” Fred and George spoke sharing the sentence.
“What do you…”
“…think, Harry? We didn’t spend too much…”
“…on decorations yet, only on research…”
“…and development, and inventory.”
The two split the sentences again.
Dudders asked, “How do you two talk like that?”
“…what?” the two asked, before they all four broke up laughing.
watched as the three jokesters started sparring like duelists.
Fred offered Dudley a Canary Creme, and Dudley offered the twins
dirt-flavored gum. All three received rude awakenings.
Dudley finished molting about the time Fred and George had finished
spitting out the gum and drinking a potion they’d developed out of
necessity for themselves to remove foul testing tastes.
corniest old Muggle pranks had never been seen by the twins.
They’d only explored the slightly unseemly side of Muggle life, such as
picklocks, but not Muggle gags.
It was Dudley’s idea that any
Muggle pranks the two developed for skiving off school, should look
like existing Muggle candies and snacks. He brought with him any
number of such small packages. He promised that he’d not tampered
with any of them, and in short order the four were sampling different
types of gums, gum drops, toffees, taffies, pastilles, bars of
chocolate - with and without nuts and creme fillings - and other
Dudley had agreed to test a
number of products for the twins, but first they decided to go to an
early lunch at Florean Fortescue’s. Dudley continued to amaze the
three by ordering a dragon burger and pumpkin juice, and anything else
on the menu that was strange sounding - the more abnormal the better.
two minders watching Harry this day were Hestia Jones and Mundungus
Fletcher. There had been no activity by Death Eaters since the
Department of Mysteries battle, and a period of ‘doing-nothing’ seemed
to be in effect.
As the twin brothers and two cousins
approached the joke shop, two red stunner bolts came out of nowhere,
and completely immobilized Jones and Fletcher, who were not cloaked.
Four Death Eaters revealed themselves from under two Invisibility Cloaks. One went further, removing her mask.
Har-ree comes out to pway with the other wittle tykes, I see.” It
was Bellatrix Lestrange. The three young wizards shot a variety
of spells and curses at the four as they pushed Dudley into the joke
shop and ran in after him.
“It will only be a few minutes before Aurors arrive,” said George. “We can hold them off in here-”
that moment, the first of eight Reductor Spells ripped the front off of
most of their shop and caved in large parts of the ceiling. No
one was hurt, but they all coughed a bit before returning accurate
At first, Dudley was terrified. He kept
trying to shrink as a target and he moved behind the limited cover
towards the back of the shop. While doing this he discovered the
large bag of sweets he’d brought with him.
“Harry, they destroyed my sweets bag.”
“Not now, Dudley!”
“But I spent over twenty pounds on different-”
“NOT NOW, Dudley, can’t you see-” Harry was cut off, ducking an incoming Body-Bind Spell.
“But who’s going to pay-”
“NOT NOW, DUDLEY!” all three shouted over their shoulders.
“I’ll pay, Dudley,” said Bellatrix in a whining, yet seductive voice.
Before anyone could stop him, Dudley looked up – and dodged the spell heading his way with his boxer’s reflexes.
“Harry, she tried to kill me.” The disbelief was evident in his voice.
“She just tried to stun you. For some reason they haven’t tried to kill anyone yet.”
“But she tried to kill me! And she destroyed all my sweets.” Dudley was not listening, and the other three couldn’t help chuckling.
that moment, all four Death Eaters charged the shop, blazing away with
their wands. Time was getting tight for them, Harry thought, as
more of the shop ceiling came down on them. Harry and the twins
stopped the first three attacking, but Bellatrix disarmed all three
young defenders. “Expelliarmus!”
Bellatrix advanced cautiously, wand at the ready. “Harry, take hold of this portkey, or I’ll kill your three friends.”
“Don’t do it Harry!” the twins yelled raggedly in unison.
George was under a good bit of debris, and was the most visible to their assailant.
Bella aimed her wand at him. “Avada Ke- Ogk! Ack!”
The curse had stopped in mid cast.
looked and saw Bella’s tongue sticking out of her mouth over nine
inches, and still visibly growing. He looked back and noticed his
cousin standing there with his slingshot in his hand, another
Ton-Tongue Toffee in the pouch, ready to interfere with any other spell
As Harry and the twins ran for their wands, several Aurors Apparated into the battle zone.
firmly securing all four Death Eaters, Tonks made her way to Harry’s
side. “Wotcher, Harry. What happened here?”
“Tonks, you are NOT going to believe it,” he said shaking his head.
In the background Harry heard, “But, George, who’s going to pay for all my smashed sweets?”