Ha Ha, Suckers!

The Epic Adventures of Mark Evans

Disclaimer: Mark Evans, Harry Potter, and the excerpt from jkrowling.com all belong to – get this – J.K. Rowling. I know, I know. Gasp.

Author's Note: I think I was far too amused by this.

I mean, it really can't be healthy.

(Also, I have no idea about the television tastes of British people, and assume that they actually enjoy Xena cough just as much as we crazy American folk. This is just me attempting to be funny, so please don't take offense if it is, in fact, somehow offensive.)

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            BAM!!!

            Dudley 'Big D' Dursley's unnaturally large fist came barreling towards Mark Evans's unnaturally unfortunate face. As it met Mark's nose with not so much as a 'hello there, nice to meet you' and a sickening crack sounded, Big D's gang chuckled mindlessly, letting out whoops of approval.

            "You don't talk back to me, Evans!" Big D informed him, looking as though he were rather tempted to chuckle mindlessly himself. (However, as he happened to be the brains of the operation, he simply could not – it was a tragic sacrifice, but one that quite had to be made.) "I hope you've learned your lesson now!"

            In response, Mark sneezed rather violently – he'd been fighting a nasty cold over the last few days – and a few specks of blood splattered across Big D's t-shirt.

            Big D stared down in horror at the stain for a prolonged amount of time – Mark yawned, looked at his watch, and mentally composed a revolutionary seven-book series in which a boy wizard attended a magical school and defeated the greatest Dark Lord since Michael Jackson – and then, as though in slow motion, looked up, fury etched across his features. Fury didn't look all that great on him, but Mark figured that nothing else would either when one was that large.

            Shame, really.

            "AAAAAIIIIIAAAAIIIIAAAAIIIII!" shrieked Big D, sounding eerily like a certain warrior princess. Mark, who had always been a bit peculiar, only knew this because he enjoyed bizarre American television instead of Coupling and Monty Python, like normal British people.

            But Mark was hardly normal.

            Oh, no.

            Not in the least bit.

            (Mwa . . . ha . . . ha . . . ha.)

            "Oh," Mark said, mildly interested, "do you watch Xena t—"

            Mark's rather polite inquiry, however, was cut off as Big D slammed his head against the pavement. Unfortunately, throughout this process Mark managed to completely forget his revolutionary boy-wizard idea, which was really quite a shame because otherwise he would have been fabulously rich. But ah well – such was life.

            "Okay guys," Big D said after staring at Mark rather menacingly (menace, Mark noted, looked a bit foul on him as well) for quite sometime. "Let's go. We've taught the cheeky little midget his lesson, haven't we?"

            "Ah . . . yes . . ." Mark said weakly from where he clung to the pavement. For Mark, you see, did not get much attention from his parents at home, and therefore took affection where he could get it.

            "Thought so," said Big D, sounding terribly triumphant. He let out a few victorious snickers before disappearing with the rest of his entourage into the night.

            Mark, however, was not downcast in the least bit. On the contrary, he began to laugh – a dark, triumphant laugh that rang through the nearly deserted lawns and sidewalks of Magnolia Crescent. Now, don't get any ideas – our Mark was no sadist who reveled in his own pain. Oh, no.

            Rather, Mark was—

            At that very moment, a rather moody looking boy of around fifteen with glasses and a peculiar scar walked by, completely destroying the dramatic Mark-related revelation. His name was Harry Potter, and he tended to steal the show quite often.

            Bastard.

            "Mark," Harry Potter said, rather bemused, "why are you clinging to the pavement?"

            Mark stared at Harry Potter, overcome with emotion. He was nearly a grown man now, Harry was, and such sorrow and sadness lurked behind his spectacles. If only . . .

            But no.

            Now was not the time.

            (But when two and a half books had passed, oh, tears would be shed.)

            "Oh," said Mark nonchalantly, "just tripped."

            "And broke your nose?" asked Harry Potter.

            Mark inwardly cursed the boy's intelligence.

            "Er . . . yes. Of course I did."

            "Mark," Harry Potter said slowly, his tone drenched in the subtle, instinctive concern that made him so darn lovable, "did Dudley's gang get ahold of you?"

            "'Course not," said Mark immediately.

            Harry Potter looked quite skeptical.

            "Really," Mark threw in, though a bit unconvincingly.

            "All right," Harry Potter said after a moment. "If you say so . . ."

            Mark nodded firmly. "I do. See you later, then."

            He then promptly turned and ran away as fast as his legs could carry him, aided somewhat by his highly impressive arm-pumping action that he'd picked up on after watching approximately two hundred and ninety-eight hours of Xena: Warrior Princess. He could still sense Harry watching him, and the very thought stirred all sorts of emotions.

            If only it were halfway through book seven, Mark thought morosely. Then he could finally discover the truth!

            He kicked a rock glumly – the rock let out a tiny little scream of anguish, but Mark paid no notice. He hardly had time to worry about rocks when he had so much on his mind. Everyone, no doubt, was completely fooled as of now. He'd been quite casual indeed; hadn't even made it into the actual book, he figured, but there was a rather large chance that Harry would mention him when reminding his cousin of his general nastiness. Of course, that was only one sentence, and the readers would be so eager to find out whether or not Ron and Hermione would get to snogging already that they'd completely ignore him altogether.

            No one had probably even noticed that Mark in fact shared a surname with Harry Potter's dead mum.

            Evans was a reasonably common name, after all.

            "Oh, those poor fools," Mark muttered to himself, with wisdom beyond his apparent ten years. "If only they knew. If only all of them knew."

            He was fully prepared to continue his dramatic monologue, but realized that he had reached home sweet home. Quite glad to be there, he beamed up at the majestically dazzling Pillar of Storgé.

            "Ahhh, Grand-pappy," murmured Mark; this was how he fondly referred to his great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather, Godric Gryffindor. Godric himself had built the luxurious Pillar after getting in a rather nasty fight with Salazar Slytherin over who owned more Sweet Valley High novels and deciding that the Hogwarts way of things simply wasn't going to cut it for him anymore.

            "Grand-pappy," Mark said again, simply because the flow of the story had been slightly jeopardized by all those 'great's and something had to make it seem as though no time had passed at all, "thanks for letting me inherit your little slice of Paradise."

            The sun shone, birds sang, and somewhere in the world Gilderoy Lockhart began his joined-up writing lessons; Mark, feeling quite pleasant indeed, began the epic climb up the Pillar of Storgé. Why anyone would live on a pillar was a bit of a mystery, but the name was so damned glorious that it was very rare for anyone to actually dwell upon this oddity. Mark suspected the accented e had something to do with that.

            Once inside, Mark took off his trainers and stepped into some very cushy bunny slippers; he also shrugged on a rather magnificent purple cloak lined with fur. He too felt compelled to place atop his head an impressively sparkly crown that spelled out 'Half Blood Prince' in diamonds and rubies.

            "Oh yeah," Mark said to himself, quite smug indeed. "I'm gonna be da bomb in book six, yo. Half blood powa!"

            He then recalled that he was, in fact, not due to show up until halfway through book seven, and pondered this a moment.

            Hmm.

            Oh well. It would all work out somehow, he decided, and made his way into the kitchen. He rather fancied a cup of tea at the moment – getting beat up by Dudley Dursley and subsequently winning the sympathy and affection of every single reader except the oddball who alternately lusted after Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy, and Tom Riddle was hard work indeed.

            Humming merrily to himself, he moseyed over to the stove and filled the Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk with water. He'd been lucky enough to find it at a garage sale a few years before, and it had proven quite useful. It had yet to display any sort of mystical power, but at least he'd had a spare kettle after somehow misplacing the other that very morning.

            As the water began to boil, he sat down at the table and turned to more deep and anguished thoughts. Seeing Harry Potter again had brought many emotional conflicts to the surface that he'd been attempting to fight down for the past eighty-six years. How, Mark wondered, would he react once he found out that Aunt Petunia was not, in fact, his only surviving family? Would he be angry? Joyous? Oddly compelled to do a little jig?

            It was too early to tell, Mark supposed, but still he couldn't help but worry. He did quite a bit of worrying, it seemed – it was simply inevitable, when one was Harry Potter's great aunt.

            "I do hope he sorts out his emotional conflicts by Christmas," Mark said aloud as the kettle began to screech. He made his way over to it. "I'll die without the complete third season of Xena on DVD . . ."

            If Mark had not been lost in deep, Lucy Lawless-centric reveries, he would have perhaps listened more distinctly to the kettle's screeching, which went a little something like this:

            "Don't drink anything out of me! Doooo noootttt, for I am the Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk! I repeat, don't drink anything out of me! Doooo nooooottt . . ."

            Mark, quite oblivious, lifted the kettle from the burner and then retrieved his favourite #1 Grandma mug from the cupboard. With the expert movements of a one-hundred-and-eight year old great aunt of Harry Potter, he poured the water, then tossed a tea bag and a few sugar packets into the mug.

            "Harry Potter, look out," he said, picking up his tea and settling down into his chair once more, "for much like my predecessors Sirius Black, Arabella Figg, and Mundungus Fletcher, I'm gonna rock the books. And to think that no one even saw me comin'. Heh. Heh."

            Mark allowed himself a minute or so of sneaky, sneaky laughter before taking a rather triumphant swig of tea and promptly turning into an ostrich.

            "Told ya so, you stupid moron," said the Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk.

            Blast, Mark the Ostrich thought furiously, now I'm not going to be able to show up in book seven after all.

            He couldn't help but wonder as to how Jo was going to get herself out of this one.

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THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT OF ACTUALLY POSTED MATERIAL FROM JKROWLING.COM ON JULY 6, 2004.

What is the significance, if any, of Mark Evans?

I couldn't answer the poll question before now, because I've been making arrangements to take my family into hiding. It takes time to arrange fake passports, one-way air tickets to Bolivia and twenty-four hour armed security.

Why should I resort to such desperate measures? Because after you've heard this answer, I'll have to disappear for my own safety.

Now before I get down to it (you can guess what's coming, can't you?) I am going to put up a feeble pre-emptive defence. Firstly, you were all spinning highly ingenious theories about Mark Evans, so I thought that you would welcome the chance to hear the truth about him. Secondly, I tried hard not to raise hopes or expectations by adding the crucial words 'if any' to the question. Thirdly... there is no thirdly. I'm just killing time.

(Takes a deep breath)

Mark Evans is...nobody. He's nobody in the sense that Mr. Prentice, Madam Marsh and Gordon-Dudley's-gang-member are nobodies, just background people who need names, but who have no role other than the walk-on parts assigned to them.

(Checks that Neil has immunized the dog and that Jessica has packed her Gameboy, and continues)

I've got nobody to blame but myself. Sirius Black, Mrs. Figg and Mundungus Fletcher were all mentioned in passing well before they burst onto the stage as fully-fledged characters, so now you've all become too clever, not for your own good, but for mine. The fact is that once you drew my attention to it, I realised that Mark Evans did indeed look like one of those 'here he is, just a casual passer-by, nothing to worry about, bet you barely noticed him' characters who would suddenly become, halfway through book seven, 'Ha ha! Yes, Mark Evans is back, suckers, and he's the key to everything! He's the Half Blood Prince, he's Harry's Great-Aunt, he's the Heir of Gryffindor, he lives up the Pillar of Storgé and he owns the Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk!' (Possible title of book seven there, must make a note of it).

Then why - WHY - (I hear you cry) - did I give him the surname "Evans"? Well, believe me, you can't regret it more than I do right now. "Evans" is a common name; I didn't give it much thought; I wasn't even trying to set up another red herring. I could just as easily have called him 'Smith' or 'Jones' (or 'Black' or 'Thomas' or 'Brown,' all of which would have got me into trouble too).

What else can I say? Many of the theories you presented were highly plausible. If you knew how often I've checked the FAQ poll hoping that one of the other questions might edge into the lead...

Well, that's that. The car with false license plates is at the door and I've got to glue on my goatee. Goodbye.

Suuuure, Jo.

Suuuure.

THE END