Find it here, at Paper Darts magazine.
Heyo, all! This one has been stewing around in my head for a while. My real stews don’t turn out very well, if I’m being perfectly honest, but I have a good feeling about this one. If it were a real stew, it would be rich, tangy, and brown. (Brown isn’t particularly appetizing, I know, but it’s the appropriate color for stews.) Also, this slash/stew wouldn’t be poisonous. That might seem like a given to most of you, but, trust me, it’s not.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago I was sitting in my closet, watching a film from a then-little-known producer by the name of Jerry Bruckhimer. The movie was about a troubled and short young man with dark, tousled hair. This boy had rare and exceptional abilities, and was accepted into an exclusive school for other special children like him.
At the school, the lad made a sidekick out of an oafish bootlick, formed a curiously asexual relationship with a very clever girl, and found an enemy… and then a friend in a blue-eyed, blond haired classmate. And, of course, he ultimately excelled at the unusual academy.
I’m talking about Harry Potter, right?
No! But, see, that’s what I thought too! It turns out that I was high as a kite from a Freon leak (my neighbor’s vintage refrigerator vents right into my closet) and I had actually been watching Top Gun all night.
But the mix up got me thinking: if I could so easily get these two films confused… maybe they were really meant to be mixed up. Mashed up. Slashed up!
And so, without further ado, I give you…
Top Potter/Harry Gun
The men’s locker room at the Navy’s elite Fighter Weapons School. The room is empty, the showers temporarily dry and free from concealing clouds of steam.
The doors open, and a crowd of boisterous young men jostle and shove their way into the locker room. Many of the young men wear the FWS’s standard-issue sport jeans, the official volleyball wear of the school. For they have indeed been playing volleyball, in a much anticipated intermural match with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Hogwarts students have been graciously allowed to use the FSW’s locker room, and still flushed with the excitement and sportsmanship of the afternoon’s match, the cadets are happy to share their space.
The Hogwarts students have lost the game. It was a close game, close enough that they very well could have won if luck had gone their way, but the defeat is a stinging one nonetheless. Hogwarts boys are used to getting what they want, and these boys wanted to win. They shuffle into the locker room, their shoulders slumped in their sleeveless sport robes. The last two to come in are the captain and co-captain of the team, and they can’t help but feel responsible for the team’s loss. They are, naturally, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. (Respectively. Ron knows the only reason he is co-captain is because of his famous and athletic friend.)
Harry: Ron! You’re a co-captain! Act like it for once.
Ron: Ah, sorry, mate. I just… I just…
Harry: I know. It’s the worst. But without the losses, the victories would mean nothing.
Ron: If you say so, mate.
Ron slouches onto a bench and bends down to struggle with his shoes. He has never gotten the hang of laces. He stays at it for several seconds.
Ron: Ah, Harry, mate…
Harry looks down to see the tangle Ron has made of his laces.
Harry: No problem, Ronno.
Harry crouches next to Ron, and concentrates on the knotted laces. He’s amazed that Ron could have created such a mess with only two strings and no magic. His prescription goggles have become fogged in the warming locker room, and he pulls them from his eyes.
Ron: They make you look like Scotty Pippin.
Ron: Your goggles. They make you look like Scotty Pippin. It’s a good look on you.
Harry: Thanks, mate, but I know what they make me look like: a git.
Ron: No! Harry, I’d never…
Harry: Don’t worry about it. I know.
Harry stands up and gives Ron’s bare shoulder a firm squeeze.
Harry: There you go. Laces sorted out. Why don’t you hit the showers? The next game will be better. I know it.
Ron: Yeah. We’ll beat these retards yet!
Harry: I wish you wouldn’t use that word. But… (Harry grins) Yeah, we will.
Ron ambles off towards the showers, his mood already lifting. Harry wishes he could be so carefree. He stretches, and scratches his temple with his wand.
A voice comes from behind him: Nice moves out there, Potter.
Harry whirls around, his wand at the ready, prepared to face the shriveling sarcasm of the Malfoy. But it’s not Malfoy that stands in front of him.
But then he places the young man in his memory. He is Maverick, the captain of the FWS team. The boy, in many respects, looks like a stockier, more muscular version of Harry. Harry sees so much of himself in the other captain’s eyes, he half expects to see a vivid, zigzag scar on his forehead. But his brow is smooth and unmarked. A mischievous grin crawls across his mouth and creases his eyes.
Harry relaxes, and sits on the bench to untie his own shoes.
Harry: Er… Maverick. Thanks. But not quite nice enough, I guess, huh?
Maverick thrusts a jean-clad leg up on the bench, and rests an elbow on his knee.
Maverick: Ha ha! Nah. Just bad luck. Plus, the Iceman was in rare form today.
Harry: “The Iceman”?
Maverick: The cool customer with the highlights in his hair and the chip on his shoulder.
Harry: Ha. Practice that one?
Maverick’s grin widens.
Maverick: You know it. Maverick’s a real asshole, but he sure can play ball.
Harry: Yeah… I’ve got one a lot like that.
Maverick: The ginger?
Harry: Ron? No, Ron’s a puppy dog. Well, a puppy dog who can’t be trusted with matches, but you see what I’m saying. I’m talking about Malfoy.
Maverick: The golden snake with the killer spike?
Harry: That’s the one. “Golden snake”—that about sums it up, I suppose. Malfoy… sometimes I just want to break his little neck. And sometimes…
Maverick: Yeah. But that’s captainship for you. It’s not what people think it is.
Harry: No, it’s not. It’s… stressful.
Maverick: You said it. It just builds up, right up here.
Maverick places his thick hands on Harry’s shoulders. Maverick is right. The muscles in his shoulders are tense, and as knotted as Weasley’s pathetic shoes.
Harry: Yeah, right up there.
Maverick squeezes Harry’s shoulders, kneading the tight muscles.
Maverick: You just have to let the game in, you know? The action, the movement… Let the game lead you, and you’ll lead your boys just fine.
Harry: Yeah, I forget that sometimes. Say, I don’t suppose you’ve ever played quidditch…
Ron calls excitedly from the other side of the locker room: Harry! Mate, they have some sort of tub full of hot water, like a… a… a hot-tub. You can get in it!
Harry reaches back to give Maverick a pat on the bicep.
Harry: I better go check on him. Last time he went in the lake by himself, he almost drowned. From eating mud.
Maverick gives Harry’s shoulders one last squeeze, tight and strong.
Maverick: Ha. You should have seen Goose. Until next time, Potter.
Harry: Yeah. Until next time. Oh, and Maverick?
Harry, with a wink: Watch your back at the next match. I’ll be gunning for you, bud.
Maverick: Ha ha! I don’t doubt it!
Maverick flashes a grin, and gives Harry the thumbs-up. The curtain falls.