Friday, July 15, 2011
Coach Taylor parked outside Hagrid's hut. Cars weren't allowed on the grounds but it was 3am and Julie just called him on the cell phone he bought her for Christmas. She sounded drunk.
He looked out through his windshield at the hut. He watched the candle light illuminate their silhouettes. There was his little girl. And the wall that moves was Hagrid. What were they doing in there? He kicked in his seat. Thank goodness the car was in park or he would've accelerated right through the wall. The candlelight was moving toward the front door of the hut. It swung open and there she was, Julie Taylor, sweeping her blonde hair over her ear and Hagrid behind her adjusting his pants and leaning down to kiss her goodnight but his eyes drifted and caught Coach Taylor. He jolted up and readjusted his clothing again. As quick as lightning Coach was out of his car and walking toward Julie. He grabbed her hard on the arm and moved her aside. He was staring at the mountain now. Hagrid's beard was at his nose. It had bits of food stuck in it and stunk of pumpkin juice. Coach lifted his finger at the beast's round droopy nose and couldn't say a word. He was embarrassed. Frustrated, even. The idea that his girl was with this thing that was more oaf than man was more than he could respond to.
"Julie, get in the car," he said as he himself backed toward it.
"Eric," Hagrid started.
Sharp as an eagle, Coach turned back to Hagrid and his breath formed only enough sound to warn "don't you dare."
In the car there was only quiet. Julie could think of things to say but her thoughts would only culminate in her rolling her lips into a seal. She had called her father and she had gotten him. The light in the hut was snuffed and like a spell had been lifted, Coach was again able to speak.
"I can't have you seeing him."
"He used to be a teacher here and then he wasn't. I don't trust him and he's too old for you. That's it. It's not a discussion."
The drive back to the castle was long. Even the creature in the lake didn't stir.
In the morning, Julie was upset but she understood her father's anger. She learned a lot about Hagrid that night and though at the time she wasn't ready to admit it, she knew that no good was going to come from it. Coach had told Tami and they decided that it'd be best to let Julie be for now.
As the afternoon's rain coated the castle, Coach Taylor spread out his fingers searching for the Texan sun. He was not himself here. He couldn't help but think about Julie. Tami was busy teaching Muggle Studies and Gracie Bell was exceeding expectations in all her day care activities. Mrs. Flupplebupple went as far to predict that Gracie Bell may well be a witch. To this Coach Taylor pasted on a smile as he lifted Gracie Bell from under the arms and took her away.
"Thank you, Mrs. Flupplebupple but Gracie's going to work with me today..." he said insincerely.
But Gracie Bell was more than he could handle, making glass walls disappear without warning, and she was back in day care by the end of the day.
The rain smacked him on the face as his thoughts went back to Julie.
She was exiting Trelawney's class which she enjoyed sitting in on. Late one night after bonding over ping-pong Julie felt like she could tell him anything and admitted that she went to the class to get a sense of her future. Coach didn't know how to respond to this and said nothing. Julie always thought of that night and how dismissive he was to her thoughts. Only Coach knew that it was that moment he first understood that Julie has lived through a past that could only make one question what's next to come. He loved her for that but that night holds a place in her heart as the one where she felt more alone and distant from her father than ever.
"Come here," he said to her as he sat on the stone wall of the courtyard in front of the giant clock. She sat next to him and again was a child, kicking her feet over the edge. From a paper bag he took out a milkshake in a wax paper cup.
"What is that?" she said, knowing the answer.
"Fresh from the Alamo Freeze," he added as he sipped from the straw.
"Mmm, this one's yours," he said tasting as he handed it to her. And then he took his out from the same bag.
"But how?" She pushed, knowing her father was no fan of magic.
Just then three Snowy Owls flew out from the Owlry.
"Ain't they somethin'?" he said rhetorically.
Julie nudged her father and the Whomping Willow shook off its snowy branches.
Friday, March 11, 2011
A car radio tunes itself to a clear station.
"It's a hot day out here on the grounds and that means one thing, Quidditch..."
Through its windows are the trees of the Forbidden Forest, the hut of Hagrid ornamented with a sign post reading "Potter #7", three Wizards pulling up to The Three Broomsticks, this is Hogwarts. The radio continues to play through the speakers of this beat-up green car as it flies without pilot. On the other end, two commentators duel on the mics originally calibrated by muggle expert, Arthur Weasley.
"It feels like First Years that pulled up in their boats just months ago are now preparing for what looks to be an exciting new season."
"Well what I'd like to see is if this Headmaster Taylor can turn around what can only be described as a rag tag Hufflepuff offense."
"I am stupified that the Hufflepuff headmaster would even accept the help from this muggle who's only experience in coaching is for a game called 'football'."
"Just be happy that Minerva had the good sense not to release her command of the Griffendor team. With Potter missing this season the last thing they need is input from someone who doesn't know the sport. Forgive me, but even though Dumbledore may have vouched for this Taylor as a headmaster, I just don't see him wrapping his head around this... well, I'll say it... Wizards' game."
With the rush of the morning, Eric Taylor speeds into his kitchen as Tami is already washing breakfast's dishes. Gracie Bell sits in her high-chair chewing on something long and droopy.
Headmaster Taylor grabs the slobbery mess out of her mouth, revealing the what looks like a mangled ear.
"Tami, what is this?"
"I don't know, is it alive?" she asks genuinely as she takes it from his hand and bangs it against the table.
"OW!" shouts Julie as she bursts into the room clutching the side of her head.
"Julie, what is this?" asks Headmaster Taylor.
"It's an extendable ear. Everyone has one."
His jaw drops with disdain. He tongues his cheeks as if they were coated with a strange taste.
"Oh I've seen these around... Hey, were you listening to me and your mother this morning?"
"What's the point of living in this stupid magic castle if we can't use the magic?!"
She grabs the extendable ear from her mother and stuffs it into a bag without end.
"And you can't enroll Matt just so I stop going out with Hagrid. He found his Chicago already and Hagrid is mine!" Her voice softens.
"You should be happy for me. You're the ones who wanted me to like this place."
Julie storms out the portrait door and into the hallway. The stairs move away as she climbs them. A nearby student remarks how he hasn't seen those stairs move in the castle since 2001.
Headmaster Taylor looks at Tami, a little defeated but mostly with an air of delegation, "you're going to have to talk to her."
Headmaster Taylor opens the portrait door to find Buddy Garrity pretending that he wasn't just eaves dropping.
"Hey Eric, look what I found! Someone told me it belonged to a guy named Madeye... neat, huh?" Buddy exclaims as he holds up an enchanted eye that seems to roll on its own accord.
"Not now Buddy." Headmaster Taylor walks past him. Buddy looks to Tami like a puppy who just found an alternate source of attention.
"Not now Buddy," she restates as she closes the portrait on him and turns to Gracie Bell with a sigh.