Friday 20 September 2013

The Servant

by Sarah Harvey

It was a grey, autumn afternoon as a tall frame cut a lonely figure walking down the road. The star-strewn sky darkened and it started to spit. Dressed in long black robes, Lord Voldemort carried his wand by his side with poise and regal, but he was troubled. Oh yes, he was troubled. It had been 5 years since his ‘death’ on the final Harry Potter movie and he had struggled to find work. He felt horribly stereotyped; his image concerns had only increased as time passed. He was quite depressed. Oh, there had been a ‘Special Appearance’ or two at various children’s parties, but the GFC had hit hard and no one wanted to hire a washed-up Dark Lord anymore.  He needed a new look. He needed a change. Luckily for him, it was late night shopping.

As he walked past a hip boutique clothing store, Voldemort stopped and peered at the mannequins inside the window. He pressed his long skeletal fingers against the glass. This might do, he thought, and stepped into the store, immediately approached by a young sales girl. Voldemort observed her; a muggle most certainly, petit, blond, square black-rimmed glasses... maybe around 20-21 years old..?
‘Can I help you?’ she asked with a bright grin - Voldemort made a mental note to add ‘annoying voice’ to her list of features -‘or are you happy browsing?’
‘Are you my servant?’ Voldemort asked curtly.
The girl missed the nuances of Voldemort’s tone. ‘Yeah, sure I can serve you! My name is Penny. I’m a sales assistant here, but really this is just to pay for uni. What I really want is to be a fashion designer!’ Voldemort looked at Penny with a steely gaze and waited for her to recognise his celebrity status. She did not. He rolled his eyes.
‘Don’t you know who I am, child? I am Lord Voldemort! The most powerful dark wizard in the world! Or at least, I was...’
‘OMG! Are you a celebrity? That’s totes amaze balls! Hang on a sec; I have to Tweet/Face book/Pin/Instagram/Blog this! Oh! Would you have a ‘selfie’ with me?’
‘Have a what?’
A blinding light emitted from Penny’s phone and Voldemort winced, protecting his eyes. He was ‘totes’ annoyed by now...
‘Will you stop this ridiculous Muggle behaviour and help me child!’
‘Oh, of course, sorry. Um, so what are you looking for today? Do you have something particular in mind?’
‘Isn’t it your job to advise me?’ Voldemort wheezed impatiently.
‘Ah, sure, but I have to know what sort of image you’re looking for?’
Voldemort looked down at his robes and grimaced with pity. ‘Look at these old-fashioned clothes. They didn’t even update them on the set! I’m so 1997-2008. No one is going to hire me looking like this...’
‘Well forget about updating the robes, Mr V. You should lose the robes completely - and the wand. They’re just creepy.’
Voldemort sniffed and turned away from Penny with an indignant flounce. ‘I was playing a role! I am just misunderstood, that’s all. The movies finished, there was a big party, and that was it. There was no follow up, no counselling - nothing.’
Penny was at a loss. She felt sorry for Voldemort but she just didn’t know where to start. She measured him to waste some time, but it didn’t give her any ideas.
‘What magazines have you looked at lately? GQ or Men’s Health? Do you like Daniel Craig’s look? Or McDreamy / McSteamy from Greys?’
‘Ryan Reynolds? George Clooney?’
‘Daniel Radcliff?’
‘Ok that’s not funny...’
‘Matt Damon? Ryan Gosling..? Come on Mr V, there has to be someone you want to look like?’
‘I don’t want to look like anyone – I want to look like an updated version of me!’
 ‘Ok, ok, I have an idea.’ Penny wandered off to the nearest rack of clothes and started scanning through them. Voldemort sighed and sat down legs crossed on a Poof. Within minutes Penny skipped back and presented Voldemort with a pair of vintage-style jeans and label t-shirt. He stood up and frowned. ‘No, no, no!’ he rasped. ‘I want roles for things other than for villains, but I have to look approachable. This will just make me look like an aging hippie! Not to mention these jeans look way too small for me...’ Penny considered this. She had another idea.
‘Are you body conscious, Mr V?’
‘Body conscious?’
‘Yeah, you know – are you concerned about your figure...?’
Voldemort was embarrassed. He knew the weight had crept on a bit. He pressed his stomach and looked over his shoulder to get a better view of his bottom.
‘Well, ummm...’
Penny lowered her voice. ‘Have you considered SPANX, Mr V?’ He may have been a murderous villain once, she thought, but she didn’t want to embarrass him.  
‘SPANX? Aren’t they for – for muggle women?’
‘Well, yeah originally, but they make them for muggle men now. It’s totally cool for guys to wear them. I can show you some if you like..?’


Penny straightened Voldemort’s tie and stood back to look at him as she talked.  
‘So then I Face-stalked him of course and saw that he had been tagged at this party with her and I just knew he was lying to me. I confronted him and he admitted cheating and everything. I was totes devo...’
‘Would you like me to curse him for you? I may be out of practice but I’m sure I could conjure up a Cruciatus Curse if I needed to.’
‘Thanks Mr V, but he’s not worth it. I’m just going to focus on my career now. Right, there you go. What do you think..?’
Voldemort stood in front of the full length mirror and admired himself. Penny had dressed him in a simple charcoal-grey suit, crisp white shirt and scarlet-coloured tie. He looked pretty dapper for a ‘dead’ wizard.  As he admired himself, Penny’s manager, Scott, stormed over.
‘Penny! What are you doing?’ he snapped. ‘Why have you spent this entire time on just one customer? And who ordered a pizza?!’
Voldemort turned from the mirror slowly and walked towards Scott with a grim expression. Scott froze and the room went cold. Someone put on their jacket.
‘L-l-lord Voldemort,’ Scott stammered. ‘What an honour. I-I-I didn’t realise Penny was assisting you...’
‘This girl deserves a pay rise. See that it is done.’
‘Uh, yes, yes of course!’
‘And give her some time off. All of next week - with pay.’
‘Yes, Lord Voldemort. It will be done...’ Scott scuttled away to organise Penny’s paperwork.
‘Wow, thanks Mr V!’
‘Penny, when I first walked in here, I thought that you were my servant. You have been such a help to me that now I see I am here to serve you. Not many people have shown me much kindness since Harry Potter finished.’
‘Awww, thanks. Now don’t forget what I told you –get onto social media ASAP and build a profile for yourself. Self-promotion is the key. The NSW Writers’ Centre has some great workshops on digital media. Just call them on that number I gave you...’

1 comment:

  1. Some very useful lessons in this funny story. J K Rowling has sued someone already for breach of copyright so I'd be cateful, Sarah


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