Overheard at the Quidditch World Cup

by Jude

"Nice day for it," said the old codger with the glowing green dancing shamrock hat.

"Yep," said the other old codger, whose rocking chair played bits of "The Irish Washerwoman" as he rocked.

"You Brits have strange ideas about nice days," said the American codger, the band of whose giant cowboy hat was ringed all around with bobbing, waving faux veela.

"Indeed," grunted the Russian codger, who had scarlet robes for the Bulgarian team.

"It seems pleasant enough," said the Chinese codger, who had apparently given herself green shamrock antennae.

"Look there," the American codger said. "Who's that kid getting stared at by everyone?"

"Harumph," said the shamrock-hatted codger. "That there is Harry Potter."

"Harry Potter?" the Chinese codger asked politely.

"Yep," said the codger, rocking his chair more vigorously, drawing forth more vigorous fiddling sounds. "He's the Boy as Lived when You-Know-Who killed his parents."

"'You-Know-Who'?" said the Russian codger, squinting critically after Potter.

"You know," the American codger said, "the British dark lord."

"Oh!" said the Russian codger, considerably enlightened.

"I have heard of this Potter," the Chinese codger said. "Prophecied to fight the dark lord again, yes?"

"Yep," said the first codger.

"Hmph," said the Russian codger. "Looks old for that."

"What do you mean?" asked the American codger.

"We have very hardy saviors in Russia," the codger replied. "Always they fight our dark lords by age nine!"

"Sounds a bit dodgy," said the second codger. "Nine year olds aren't much on magic here."

"Ah, yes," said the Russian codger, "many do fail. But it is always glorious! And about one in three win, usually because our dark lords have very complicated weaknesses, so complicated only small children sometimes stumble onto them. Our last one was a six-year-old girl who found the duck egg holding the dark lord's soul! Very noble she was as she flung the egg down onto the rocks and crushed his soul under her tiny foot!"

"You have foolish dark lords," the Chinese codger said. "Our dark lord is an evil eunuch who is reborn once every hundred years. We only have one because he is so very powerful."

"Why does he have to be reborn every hundred years then?" asked the American codger.

"Because our saviors are singularly gifted," the Chinese codger said, "and always face him after careful preparation."

"So you've got a dark lord now?" asked the second codger curiously.

"No," said the Chinese codger. "Our savior was born a little early, and prepared for a decade before the dark lord was reborn. She hunted him down and killed him before he was out of diapers. So no dark lord this century, but we're looking forward to the turn of the millennium."

"We used to have dark lords in Ireland," said the second codger, now proving himself Irish. "Back before the invasion. The geasa for killing both heroes and dark lords were magnificent. You know, the 'must be balancing on one foot on the back of a black virgin billy goat in the middle of a river, but not being wet, at sunrise on the third day following his birthday' variety."

"Harumph," said the first codger, who was thoroughly English. "What about you?" he asked the American codger.

"Oh, us?" said the American codger. "Our dark lord is incorporating the American wizarding world in Delaware. We're told it's got very good laws for that sort of thing."

The other codgers blinked at him. "So, er," said the Russian codger dubiously, "what about your savior?"

"Oh, him," the American codger said with a snort. "We knocked him off a few years ago, obnoxious communist brat. From California, I think. Bunch of unAmerican little anticapitalists out there, if you ask me."