Sometimes I wonder how things like bills are paid in the HP universe. Snape shows us how it's done...
‘I’d like to renew my Floo License’
The wizened little man at the desk didn’t even look up
‘Location of prospective Floo Portal’
He passed over a small parchment with the Floo network coordinates neatly written in an elegant copperplate. As far as he could see the beady eyes didn’t even glance at it.
‘This Floo address is already connected’
Snape had waited an hour just to get through the queue to join a queue – another fifty minutes to get to an irritating gnome-like Thing had not improved his temper.
‘I am’, he paused to lower his voice, ‘perfectly aware of that. Which is why I asked for a renewal of the license.’
The tiny head looked up at last. A small hand reached into a drawer under the counter and brought out a battered brass plaque: New connections only – strictly no renewals. It thumped onto the desk with weighty finality.
For a rare single second Severus was stunned into silence. An elderly wizard behind him stuttered into wakefulness and started forward. He was stopped by a rigid arm and dark glare.
'Sir. You have just put that plaque upon the desk - there is no such plaque above it and I was directed here by an individual purporting to be the Head Administrator of this monolithically stupid and uncompromisingly inefficient governmental body…'
He stopped. The thing behind the desk was pointing to a sign: Insults to the Department will result in Summary Ejection to the Start of Queue One
The Thing sighed: 'Do you have form 46a?'
Snape loosened his clenched fist just enough to pass over a crumpled red-bordered parchment. The Thing took it gingerly.
'The Green 46a, sir. Red is strictly for those who wish their Floo license to be self renewing'.
By now, Severus wished for nothing more. 'That will be fine'
The Things lips twisted into a wide, incredibly ugly smile. 'A wise choice, sir. Your license for a self perpetuating license if you please…'
The whole line was in silence by now and the grinding of teeth could clearly be heard by those closest to the front.
Almost inaudible: ‘What?’
'Your license for a…'
Louder but strangled: ‘What?’
'Form 81f (discontinued). The puce one'.
'What. If. I. Don’t. Have. One?'
'Then I’m afraid you will have to get one, sir. Line 21b.'
'Let me get this right. The form which a disturbingly ignorant member of your staff handed me with his inbred paws is the WRONG FORM. To get the RIGHT form I must re-queue to see again the aforementioned obtuse moron who gave me the wrong form in the first place?'
'Or obtain the license for a self perpetuating license that 46a (red) clearly says you need in paragraph 97'.
Snape opened his mouth. And closed it firmly as he saw again the sign about Queue One over the irritating Things head. When he did speak again his voice was dangerous. Yet tinged with hope.
'Is this form the same as 46a (green)?'
A long-suffering sigh came from the Thing, 'No sir, it clearly has a red border'.
'But nothing else?'
'Just the Border, sir. But it really is very important'.
With a flourishing gesture, wand tapped paper, 'Verdigris'
The thing looked down and smiled, 'That will do nicely sir. One Knut, please'
Snape patted his pockets in horror…
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This one raised a chuckle. I always thought the wizarding world had an overwhelming amount of bureaucracy for such a (comparatively) small population. But, ah, to turn the form from red to green with just a tap of the wand! How many times have I wished I could do that...