The clerk at the checkout desk of the Main Street Library gritted her teeth as she saw local gadfly and buttinsky Agnes Glitsch storm through the front door.
“I demand that you remove them right away,” Agnes scolded. “Remove what?” asked the clerk. “I heard you got three copies of that new Harry Potter book, and that you’re letting children read them. They are unfit for children. They are dangerous,” Agnes fumed. “I don’t have the authority to remove them,” the clerk replied, turning her back on Agnes. “Then let someone with gumption do it,” Agnes said.
Flouncing into the children’s section, Agnes spied three children, each with their nose buried in a copy of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” They were 10-year-old Jimmy, his 11-year-old sister Steffi, and their 10-year-old friend Penny – all recent converts to Pottermania.
“Put those books down now,” Agnes ordered the kids. They peered out from behind the large books. “You heard me. Hand the books to me and go read something else – or better still, go out and play,” Agnes said.
“But we want to read this book. It’s really exciting,” Steffi said as her two cohorts agreed. But Agnes only frowned. “Don’t you realize these books are unfit reading?” Agnes glowered. “Why?” Jimmy asked.
“The Harry Potter books promote the occult, which is dangerous and seductive,” Agnes warned. But Penny only smiled. “We know there is no such thing as witchcraft. This is a make-believe stuff,” she explained.
“You fail to realize that reading books like this will lead to spiritual confusion, give you psychological problems, and lead to suicide,” Agnes growled. Looking incredulous, Steffi shot back, “No! These books only stimulate our imagination with interesting fantasy-based ideas of what it would be like to have owls deliver our mail, or to fly through the air playing the 3-D game Quidditch.”
“I doubt that,” Agnes replied. “Author J.K. Rowling admitted that she thought up and began writing the first Harry Potter book while riding on a train. I have no doubt ascertaining what spiritual force was behind her enlightenment while in that environment.”
“Abraham Lincoln got the idea and wrote the Gettysburg Address on a train,” Jimmy noted.
“Don’t disrespect me. Those books have already made you think its all right to violate the fourth commandment,” Agnes scowled. Steffi, her patience shortening, replied, “I obey and respect my father and mother as the commandment orders, but I note that it doesn’t include bluenose busybodies.”
As Agnes fumed, Jimmy noted, “Isn’t she the same woman who two years ago wanted to remove ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ from this library? It had witches in it too.” Agnes added, “And it contained the dangerous idea that the scarecrow, cowardly lion and tin woodsman found what they needed inside themselves without praying for divine intervention.”
“We’ve tried to be polite to you. Now will you please leave us alone so we can continue reading this wonderful and entertaining book,” Jimmy pleaded. But Agnes would not hear of that. She snatched away each child’s copy of “The Goblet of Fire,” adding, “You’ll thank me for this years from now.”
“Man, stop acting like a lady Voldemort. Why don’t you leave on your Nimbus 2000,” Jimmy said. “To get you to leave us alone, do we have to send you a Howler, or translate our plea into parseltongue?” Penny added. “Oh, save us from persecution from the dementors,” Steffi concluded.
“What are you talking about?” a suddenly puzzled Agnes asked. “You mean you haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books?” Steffi asked. “Who needs to read them. I’m told they promote the Wicca religion, so why waste my time reading what I already know," Agnes replied.
“Then you are just a Pharisee,” Steffi said to an increasingly puzzled Agnes. “You know who Pharisees were. In the Bible, they were sanctimonious and hypocritical people who made public show of their religious beliefs while castigating others whom they believed didn’t act as holy as them. They tried to bleed all the fun out of everyone else’s lives,” Jimmy added.
“As I expected, reading these books has lead to blasphemy,” Agnes smugly noted. “No, to this,” Jimmy said as he and the two girls reached into their pockets and produced strange hand-held devices.
“These are transfiguration devices,” Steffi explained. “No magic in them; just science. We downloaded the plans off the Internet and built these devices in our homes at least a year before we read our first Harry Potter book. And now we finally have an excuse to try them out.”
All three devices emitted a greenish ray that zapped Agnes on different parts of her body. Regaining her composure, Agnes was startled to notice that the perspective of the room was changing, and that she was shrinking. She stared into the eyes of the three children as she gradually dropped to their level, before going smaller. She ended up with her eye level just above the children’s’ waists. Her own clothing had become so large that it literally dropped off her body and sat in a pile around her legs. The books she snatched were scattered below her. Agnes gasped at her body, which had lost its womanly curves, and had adopted the immature tubbiness of toddlerhood.
“Damn you brats! What is hell did you do to me?” Agnes fumed. “Mighty bad language for a 3-year-old,” Jimmy said as he pressed an additional button on his transfiguration device.
“Just what in the gosh darn golly do you think you’re doing,” tiny Agnes added. “Okay, you cleaned up her speech, but I think since she’s so young, she should have some sort of childish speech quirk,” Penny added as she too hit a button on her device.
“Aw’w get even with you if it’s the wast t’ing me do,” Agnes said, acting surprised at how her language skills had deteriorated. “Now lets do something about her clothing. She’s naked. Set your devices for clothing morph,” Steffi suggested.
Jimmy hit a button, which caused Agnes’ panties to rise and shrink to fit on her body. “Okay, but that’s a control panty with a tummy panel. Totally inappropriate for a little girl,” Steffi noted. She hit a button and the panty morphed into disposable training pants with Minnie Mouse printed both front and back.
“My turn,” said Penny, who hit a button that caused Agnes’ bra to shrink and morph into a crop-top undershirt. Steffi then hit another button that resulted in Agnes’ dress reducing and revising into a summer dress with a red/purple/green grapes print pattern. But Penny frowned at the dress. “Don’t you remember when she harangued the school council to not approve early grade readers unless they depicted little girls wearing only pink frilly dresses, rather than shorts and shirts as they do today?”
Steffi grinned and nodded at Penny, who hit another button, causing Agnes’ dress to morph into a pink dress with puffy sleeves, lace trim, and a ribbon around the waist that concluded in a large bow on the back. “She’ll really love that,” Jimmy said, as he completed the clothes morphs to give Agnes white anklet socks and black leather shoes with ankle straps. Agnes looked pretty as a 1950s reader picture.
“One more thing,” Jimmy said. “We’ll give her a child’s innocence and curiosity – and an insatiable appetite for reading,” he explained as he hit one more button.
Inspecting her new look, the now 3-year-old Agnes grinned with pleasure. Spying the “Goblet of Fire” books on the floor, she picked one up and said, “Me wead!” But Steffi took the book away. “That’s for big kids. Here’s one more appropriate for a child your age,” she said, handing a slimmer volume to the girl.
Little Agnes eagerly climbed into a stuffed chair in the children’s reading room, snuggled cozily into one corner, and avidly began to read the text and take in the large illustrations. A big smile crossed her face. “Siwwy Sam-I-Am! He should twy t’ose gween eggs and ham. How he find out it any good unwess he twy ‘em,” she giggled.