Youre Hogwarts Only Guidance Counselor. Can You Convince Anyone To Go To College?

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Wow. Another day is dawning at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the U.K.s top-ranked secret magic school where sometimes a kid will die and everyone just rolls with it.

In the Great Hall, the flickering glow of a thousand enchanted candles illuminates the goblin custodians as they scrape up the absolute carpet of last nights chicken scraps, pocketing some for later.

In their studies, venerable professors of enchantment and spellcraft heave sweat-soaked robes over their awful bodies and quaff their morning vials of griffins blood to help with their groin problems.

In the cellar, ancient stones quiver and groan as some kind of fucking demon shows up for no reason.

And in the parking lot, youre having a panic attack in your car.

Okay, its passing.

You are Hogwarts only guidance counselor, and this happens to you every morning, because your job is a nightmare.

Thanks to unholy powers they manifested before they knew the word puberty, the magical children in your care have no emotional vocabulary and zero coping skills. Your job is to help them sort their lives out, but their eyes completely glaze over at any problem they cant zap with purple lightning.

One time you attempted to tell a kid he should try exercising, and he turned your appendix into a cactus.

Also you get no benefits, and sometimes they pay you in dried lizard parts.

You make your way up to your musty little office in the Hoobley Grundelthwait Memorial Spire. Its named for your predecessor, who got pulled in half when some Ravenclaws tied him to two brooms and sent them flying in opposite directions. They never found his top.

On your way up, you pass a pair of students taking turns ripping each others souls partway out of their bodies and then shoving them back in, the latest school fad that the seniors claim gets you high. Their noses are both bleeding freely onto the carpet. One of the nearby enchanted paintings begs you to lick it.

It takes 45 minutes to get there because the stairs keep fucking spinning.

Finally, you toss your briefcase on the couch and sink into your desk chair. Sensing your presence, the enchanted portrait of Hoobley Grundelthwait on your wall starts back up screaming at you to tell it how he died, as it does every morning, but its blessedly muffled by the extra-thick towel youve tossed over it.

This half hour before your first appointments is by far the best part of your day. How will you spend it?

Do you really think youd be a guidance counselor if you were any good at magic?

No, unfortunately, you graduated near the bottom of your class from Mistress Salamandereaters Remedial Trade Academy for Barely Magical Androgynes, just ahead of Belial Goosehips (now a rare lizard farmer) and just behind Capricorn Montenegro (recently got turned into a permanent baby). Youre roughly as magical as a very lucky rooster.

But because you know that magic exists, the mandatory non-disclosure agreement you were forced to sign as a tiny child prohibits you from ever holding any secular job. Otherwise, youll be magically sued by the secret government and/or have all your memories repossessed.

That said, you do know one spell!

Plopam pepperonus! you cry, and cast the spell that conjures a single loose nipple.

With a flash and a squish, a brand-new individual nipple appears over your desk and flops onto the wood with a deli sound. This one seems male, but its hard to say.

Gingerly, you peel the nipple off your desk and put it in a drawer with the rest. No way in hell youre gonna get the reputation as the faculty member with a trash can full of nipples.

At this point, youre so good at that spell, you could cast it in your sleep, and sometimes you do!

Youve still got a little more time before your day starts.

Looks like youve got four appointments on the docket today. Four mandatory counseling sessions with hormone-swollen prep-school teenagers, their egos throbbing with the power of young gods. Who will ignore everything you say and stare at you glassy-eyed as they imagine bending you to their will with sorcery, or at least blinding you.

Another useless day. Pretty long lunch, though!

No, you know what? Its time to change your life. You read a very persuasive Chipotle bag last night, and thats what it said, You must change your life.

Youre tired of bunting. Today youre going to hit a home run, or do the best thing that you can do in Quidditch. Youre going to scribble the Big Screamer, or whatever.

Todays the day you finally make a difference in these kids lives. Todays the day you finally break them out of their charmed autopilots and get them to seize the broom handle of their own destinies.

Todays the day you finally fucking convince a single Hogwarts student to even consider going to college.

You whoop and holler at your desk for a while and become very lightheaded. Behind the towel, the enchanted painting whoops along with you. You force back the thought that it might be your one friend here.

Someones knocking at the door. That must be your first appointment, Cumley Butterbreath.

You grit your teeth, lean forward, and focus very hard. You feel a great power moving through you, making your whole body quiver with energy. It surges upward, drawn by pure willpower. Yes! Yes!

Finally, a huge blood vessel in your eye bursts. Some blood squirts from your eyeball over your desk and onto your carpet.

The energy fizzles. The door is still closed.

Hiya! chirps Cumley, plopping down on one of your enchanted armchairs, the one that tells lies about Tony Blair for money.

Did you know that Tony Blair once spent 68,000 on imported snow because his wife insisted it melts faster if you bury it, and refused to get out from under her car until he proved it? says the armchair. Anyway, if you liked that, I have a Patreon with a lot of great incentives for subscribers. Definitely check it out.

Hiya! chirps Cumley, plopping down on one of your enchanted armchairs, the one that tells lies about Tony Blair for money.

Did you know that Tony Blair once spent 68,000 on imported snow because his wife insisted it melts faster if you bury it, and refused to get out from under her car until he proved it? says the armchair. Anyway, if you liked that, I have a Patreon with a lot of great incentives for subscribers. Definitely check it out.

Theres blood on your rug! says Cumley.

Oh, I absolutely love it here! Hogwarts is the greatest place on earth, and everyone here is so nice!

I still remember, on my very first day here, a girl walked right up to me and said, Im Lucretia Ossobuco. Do you want to see how time began? Then she cast a spell to open a portal to the beginning of time, where together we watched God get the idea for time from reading Sports Illustrateds annual What Time It Is issue.

After that, we were fast friends, until she went through a very rapid growth spurt and got permanently wedged in one of the bathroom stalls.

Oh, I dont know, Im just your average Hogwarts student! Im from a small oil rig off the coast of Dunfordham-On-Top-of-Another-Dunfordham. My parents sell counterfeit newspapers.

My favorite class is Which Animals Is It Okay to Boil Alive in Pursuit of Sorcerer Powers with Professor Kennedy-Shriver, because he makes boiling certain animals alive fun. My least favorite class is Just Two Potions with Professor Porm, because thats not enough.

My best friend is a living rose bush in the school woods thats guarded by a gigantic seagull you have to trick into eating its own beak. I have a crush on Albert Mephistopheles, even though Dumbledore turned his head into a mannequin head as punishment for smelling too much like one of his dead friends.

My favorite food is fettuccini alfredo eaten out of my mothers cupped hands, and my favorite spell to cast is the one that summons most of a cowboy!

Just like you thought, shes a stereotypical Hufflepuff.

Thats easy! I want to live deep in the woods, seduce younger men, and then shrink them down to the size of crickets and trap them in this spooky squash.

Itll be sort of like a terrarium, for boys. Ill feed them corn kernels.

Oh no. Bad start.

Of course not. Theres a part that goes on top. Im not stupid!

If they do, Ill punish them, says Cumley, no longer smiling. Ill punish them very badly.

Tony Blair is a Virgo, says the enchanted armchair.

Of course I will! Cumleys eyes are glittering like two CDs sparking in a microwave.

If I ever get tired of hunting for younger men to make army-man-sized, Ill just start playing god to my tiny boy gourd society. Ill blast Lupe Fiasco until the bass shakes their tiny pumpkin-seed huts apart and make them start over from scratch. Or Ill shrink a single lady down and force them to compete for her affection, like a tiny, pumpkin-themed season of The Bachelorette.

Oh, Im already very wealthy!

Last year I came up with a potion that sends you into a blissful, tranquil, dreamless sleep. You can take a smaller dose just to feel a gentle, long-lasting euphoria. I call it Cumleys Brain Glop.

It turns out its actually super addictive, too, so Ive been cooking up huge quantities of it in the potions lab, shipping it all over the wizarding world, and turning a massive profit. Then I invest that in gold and trick Hagrid into swallowing it, for safekeeping.

Yes.

If I have, someone must have pulled the idea out of my mind and trapped it in some kind of magic music box. That happens a lot here. Whats college?

Huh. That doesnt sound appealing at all! Will I learn a bunch of cool new spells at college? Like one that melts someones teeth all together into one big tooth?

Why would I need to learn about literature when I can magically teleport myself into any book I want? I once teleported into the text of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, tracked myself down, and strangled myself in the Quidditch supply shed. Now I know exactly what Ill look like at the moment I die.

Is that something they teach you in college?

Why, Hogwarts has given me all the lifelong friends Ill ever need! Me, Gupsie Crane, the Yinjang twins, and our friend the living rose bush have already been through so much together:

Missing the train to Hogwarts and having to hitch a ride with Fidel Castro, who was on his way to visit his teen girlfriend

The time Voldemort forced the whole school to watch him struggle to eat a human ear

And Ill never forget when we all permanently switched bodies.

Are those the kinds of experiences you can have at college?

Ive already expanded my mind with drugs! The drugs we have at Hogwarts are unbelievable. Theres one called Weed by Snape that just straight-up puts you on the International Space Station. I once took Weed by Snape and frightened an ISS astronaut so badly that she punched a hole in their artificial womb, and they had to start growing the first ever baby incubated in an artificial womb in space all over again. They have my picture up in the International Space Station now to kick me out if I show up, but they cant stop me getting in there.

Dont worry, though, its very safe! No side effects.

Its obvious youre lying. The ornate tattoo on your neck that says LIAR is glowing.

Shes right. Shes found your tell. For the umpteenth time, you curse your mothers unconventional parenting style.

Why would you lie to me? Why would you lie to a child? Youre a faculty member, and youd lie to a child, just like that?

Yeah, I dont think this college is really for me. Ill stick to trapping shrunk boys in my o-lantern in the woods, thank you very much.

Well, Ive got to get to class! Have a great day! A truly great day!

Cumley flounces out of your office, leaving you alone with your failure.

Im Tony Blair himself, says the enchanted chair.

Now that theres less air in your body, you feel a little bit better. You beefed it with Cumley, thats for sure, but youve still got three more chances to get it right. Might have to adjust your tactics, though.

Plus, a nice long lunch break!

Youve got a little bit of time before your appointment with Spigot Saltimbocca. What do you want to do?

You lean forward in your chair and take another crack at shutting down your autonomic nervous system. Its not hard to do; you just need to concentrateconcentrateconcentrate

Thirty-six whole seconds! A new personal record. As soon as your vision returns and the feeling drips back into your fingers, you scribble your time down in your necrojournal.

One of these days, youre finally going to pull off the Big Cease, just like your hero, David Irish Exit Knievel.

If theres one thing youve learned from your one free consultation session with a life coach, its that its never too late to learn new skills. The other thing you learned was that life coaches are both super expensive despite definitely doing worse in their lives than you are. It was a very helpful session!

With a grunt, you heave your barely used copy of The Dullards Tome Of Spells That Probably Wont Kill You (But Might!) onto your desk.

TOTINUS FOLDEMUP

When performed correctly, the spell instantaneously converts a single pizza into a calzone, and vice-versa.

If performed incorrectly, the spellcasters skin may switch places with their skeleton, or vice-versa.

Yikes. This one looks maybe a little heavier duty than you want.

OMNIBUS INFLAGRADO

When performed correctly, the spell creates an absolutely massive pillar of fire that ignites the Earths atmosphere.

If performed incorrectly, the spell will create an absolutely massive pillar of fire that ignites the Earths atmosphere.

Okay, youll definitely learn some new magic at some point, but maybe nows not the time. Good on you for trying, though!

Great call. The last thing you need is to lose control of your bladder in front of another student.

You hoof it down the carpeted hallway to the little androgynes room.

You hike up your robe, undo both pairs of overalls, and squat for the Act. Just before you can blast, though, a pair of spectral figures float up through the floor, intertwined and moaning.

Sebastiantouch me, Sebastian

SebastinaIm touching youwhat Im doing is Im touching you, Sebastina

Christ. Its the ghosts of the couple who died fucking in this bathroom. Their heads got stuck in the same toilet, and now theyre cursed to haunt this lavatory forever.

The lust-boggled ghosts completely ignore you, preferring to focus on giving each other dry, full-body handplay. You try to force your body to carry out the Act, but it seems like HALs just not going to open the pod bay doors (like from the movie 2001).

SebastianI believe Im going to go offyes, Im absolutely going to spray

SebastinaI am also going to gushmy entire blurt is squirting its way right to my tippy

You notice that the ghosts hands do actually pass right through each others bodies, but theyre very carefully positioning them so it looks like theyre solid. Its both weirdly touching and pathetic.

Youre here, youre swollen with waste, and youve unbuckled both of your overalls. Youre not about to let a couple of fuck-wraiths force you to cram up your guts and ruin the day you seize your destiny.

You grit your teeth, lean forward, and focus very hard. You feel a great power moving through you, making your whole body quiver with energy. It surges downward, drawn by pure willpower. Yes! Yes!

Finally, a huge blood vessel in your eye bursts. Some blood squirts from your eyeball through the ghosts and onto the tile floor.

SebastianIm gumbingIm fully gumbed

Sebastinathats itwelcome to the Gumb Pit

You can never get anything out of yourself with those ghosts around. Some people are wired to be able to make numbers in the presence of the restless dead, but youre just not one of them.

With a sigh and a great creaking of valves, you hobble back to your office, leaving the ghosts wiggling around inside each other. You wish you hadnt spent the morning doing competitive eating tutorials from YouTube.

Theres a firm, meaty knock at your office door. That must be Spigot.

For a couple quid, Ill tell you why Tony Blair sleeps inside a shellacked beaver dam, says the enchanted armchair.

Hey, uh, Im here for my appointment?

Jesus, what the hell? This guy seems way too grown up to be a Hogwarts student. And he smells like an Amtrak hot dog.

Uh-huh.

Yeah, I got held back a bunch.

Spigot settles into the enchanted armchair with a grunt. Up close, the hot-dog smell is overpowering, and underneath it, you catch whiffs of what youre pretty sure is Abercrombie Fierce cologne, the one with the hunk torso on the bottle. It is losing the battle with hot-dog smell.

Oh, sure.

First time was cause my grades were so bad. Next time was cause I pranked Snape by switching his medicine with rare fish eggs and accidentally got him desperately addicted to expensive rare fish eggs.

Then there were a bunch of years where a dark wizard had trapped me in the same looping minute, so I kept getting marked absent and having to do the year over. The jokes on them, though, because I got to eat a totally good hot dog, like, a billion times.

After that, classes didnt seem so important and all my friends had graduated, so Ive just been trying to see if I can steal a teachers glass eye. I havent pulled it off yet, cause none of the eyes Ive gotten up close to have turned out to be glass. They hold me back every time they catch me doing it, which is every time.

I figure its gotta happen soon enough, though. Law of averages and all.

Oh, for sure. Im probably the most powerful wizard in the U.K. at this point. I can cast all the forbidden spells: the one that turns someone permanently Lebanese, the one that gathers all the worlds ants in one spot, even the one that braids three people together.

Would you mind keeping that quiet, though? I think Dumbledore would have me killed if he found out. Im pretty sure Im technically a weapon of mass destruction.

Its okay, I guess.

Definitely its better than it was in the 80s, when the professors all got big into cocaine and constantly competed to see who could summon the biggest ogre and then age it to death the fastest.

I once saw Professor Teagarden age a two-story ogre into a withered husk in nine seconds flat, while the entire student body watched from the windows and screamed. And she was using one hand to hold her septum in place the whole time, too.