Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Wazlibs' Wizzil Woozis
Ron's first day on the job at his brother's joke shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, was marked by several unusual occurrences. He had arrived at 93 Diagon Alley early in the morning to open up, only to discover that the latest litter of Pygmy Puffs had mutated overnight, escaped the back room, and run amok in the store. It took him and George two hours to catch most of the little buggers and set everything right.
But as Ron was distracted trying to catch the last Pygmy Puff, a kid accidentally set off a box of Wildfire Whiz-Bangs, which rocketed around the store in a frenzied shower of sparks. If that wasn't enough, one of the green-and-purple sparkler bats zoomed straight into the display of Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder, sending half the store into total blackness.
George actually had a good sense of humor about it all. He tried to reassure Ron that these sorts of mishaps had happened when Fred was around, too, but Ron was in a sour mood.
"Scourgify," he muttered angrily. He had finally caught the last mutated Pygmy Puff, which had defecated all over his hand in protest. "If this is the sort of craziness you have to deal with, I'm going straight back to Hogwarts."
George snorted. "Hah! We both know you'd rather kiss Auntie Muriel full on the mouth than go back to school. Now quit fooling around and go help some customers."
Ron would have liked to grumble more, but the truth was the shop was very popular, and he spent the rest of the day helping one customer after another. By the time it was late, he was completely bushed. He was looking over the record book and was just about to close up shop when the door swung open, bells tinkling loudly, and a man walked in.
"Oi," Ron yelled without looking up, "come back tomorrow. We're closed!"
"Ron!" George called warningly from the back room.
"Oh, all right." Ron sighed and stood up behind the counter. "How can I help you?"
The man walked over to him, and Ron was instantly struck by his unusual appearance. He was tall, taller than Ron even, wearing bright purple wizard's robes and over his left eye, a monocle, through which he peered down at Ron with a serious expression. He was mostly bald, but the hair on the sides of his head was shockingly red, as was the matching handlebar mustache that drooped down past his chin. It reminded Ron suspiciously of the mustache that he had once accidentally given himself during a Transfiguration lesson in his Sixth Year.
"Sorry to bother you, old chap," the man said. "This shouldn't take much of your time. I'm simply here for a replacement quill."
The man dug into his robes and held up a quill that Ron recognized as one of the kinds they sold in the shop.
"You see, I made the purchase of this writing instrument at this establishment yesterday, and it appears to be malfunctioning."
"What's the problem?" Ron asked.
"It's the damnedest thing," the man said, twirling his bright red mustache with one hand. "Observe."
He took the quill and a spare bit of parchment and began to write in earnest. When he finished, he held up the paper for Ron to read.
"'The fuzzy kitten frolicked in the daffodils,'" Ron read, perplexed. "So, what, it makes you write gibbering nonsense?"
The man gave him a most offended look. "Heavens no! That was just an example of an everyday sentence one might write. Nothing out of the usual. But now look what happens when I try to write my name…."
Taking up the quill once more, the man wrote his name down, and then held up the paper for Ron again.
"'Ronald Weasley,'" Ron said, reading the name off the page in awe.
"Yes. Isn't it the most absurd gibberish? I cannot for the life of me figure it out. It happens every time I try to write a proper noun. For example, my prestigious name, Roonil Wazlib!"
These last words the man had drawn out and enunciated loudly. Ron's jaw dropped, and he burst into laughter, finally catching onto the gag. "Oh, I get it," he said. "That's a good one, Harry. You had me going there for a sec."
The man gave him a confused look and said in a haughty voice, "I beg your pardon?"
"You figured, 'Oh, it's Ron's first day on the job, I'll jinx this quill and dress up like an idiot and give him a hard time!'"
"You know, it wasn't a bad idea for a prank, but you made a serious flaw in your execution, mate. I mean, using that ridiculous mustache from Sixth Year, I knew something was up. But it was a nice try, Harry. Although turning into a guy that ugly, the Polyjuice Potion must've tasted terrible."
"Now see here, young sir!" the tall man bristled, his mouth quivering furiously. "I won't be spoken to like that by an impertinent whippersnapper like you!"
Ron laughed. "Give it up, Harry, I know it's you. You already showed your hand, using that stupid name. And stop talking like a prat."
"That's it! See if I shop here again! Good day to you, sir!" The man threw down the quill, adjusted his monocle, and exited the store in a huff.
"Geez, Harry, don't get mad just because you couldn't fool me!" Ron called after him, but the man had already Disapparated.
A few seconds later, George appeared from the back of the store.
"What was all that about?" he asked.
"Oh, nothing," Ron said, picking up the jinxed quill lazily. "Harry thought he'd come by and have a little fun."
"Hey," George said suddenly, staring at him. "Is that one of the new Spell-Checking quills I put out on the shelves yesterday?"
"Uh, maybe…? Why?"
"That batch went wonky. Must've been a small glitch in the spell-work. I found out last night when I was filling out paperwork." George took the record book from Ron and turned to the previous day's entry. "See, it messes up all the proper nouns?"
There at the top of the page, instead of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, it read: Wazlibs' Wizzil Woozis.
"I had to throw the whole batch out, but I'm sure I'd already sold a few of them yesterday. Been figuring people might show up today asking for a refund. Sorry, I meant to tell you, but then the Pygmy Puff debacle happened, and I forgot about it."
"Wait a minute," Ron said. "Then that old man with the red handlebar mustache wasn't Harry?"
"Handlebar mustache?" said George, thinking. "Sounds like one of our regulars. Weird guy, a bit daft, but he's quite wealthy and… oh my God!" he suddenly yelled. "DID YOU JUST TELL OFF ROONIL WAZLIB?"
"Roonil Wazlib?" Ron said incredulously. "You're kidding me!"
"No, you idiot! Mr. Wazlib is one of our best customers!"
Ron stared at George in amazement while his brother chewed him out. He didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. It had just been one of those days.
And while George hastily scribbled out an apology letter to send to Mr. Roonil Wazlib, Esq. by owl (in which he explained that his brother was both new to the shop and a blathering buffoon), Ron just stood there thinking.
"You know," he realized, "the name really suits him."