The next evening Chloe and Hans started quizzing Mervin about what they’d found out at the party. Hans had often thought that having a wizard who could attempt to explain the mysterious goings on in the village was pretty handy. Okay, so he was pretty grumpy, but he’d always had the feeling that most of his girlfriend’s fathers had wanted to kill him. It was as if there was an inbuilt thing with men to intimidate as much as possible anyone who dared to go out with their daughters. On balance, Mervin was fairly good, but that may have been due to the fact Hans employed him as the caretaker for the castle they all lived in too.
“Duck smuggling,” mused Mervin, “well I guess there’s supposed to be the Avysmere Duck Show next week, maybe something fishy is going on there. The main exhibitor would probably be Transformation Inc, they do have a new person as chairman of their board, someone called Meow.”
In the next split second something incredible happened. Whereas he was usually the man to come out with the most pointless piece of information at any given time, Hans actually remembered something useful. “This Meow person, he’s not a shapeshifter by any chance?” he asked.
“Of course, everyone in Tranformation Inc. is a shapeshifter,” answered Mervin. “They are one of the companies tha’s registered with the Wizarding Council as having magic related activities, I always thought it’d pay to keep up with these things.”
“Can they turn into lots of things or just one,” asked Hans
“Just one, it’s fairly obvious what Meow turns into,” explained Mervin
“What, a dog?” asked Hans genuinely.
Silence swept the room, if there had been any tumbleweed in the vicinity at that moment it would have rolled past at least once.
“Hans, I love you, but you are so thick sometimes. He’s a bloody cat,” said Chloe, the turning to her father continued, “Crazy Dave mentioned something about that at the party.”
“Well, yeh see tha’s the thing wi’ these conspiracy nut types, sooner or later they gotta stumble across something tha’s actually true,” Mervin pointed out.
“What like that thing they say about if you got a hundred typewriters and sat a hundred Shakespeare’s at them they’d type out the complete works of monkeys,” blurted out Hans before he realised he’d got it the wrong way round.
Mervin thought he should look befuddled by this statement of Hans’. However, there was one slight flaw in that plan, he had know idea how a befuddled person should look, so he had to settle for puzzled instead.
“So how come Sherman’s got all this information telling him to crackdown on ducks?” asked Hans breaking the silence, “I mean I’ve never seen him be that close to being onto something magical before.”
“Could residual magic from tha’ bugging yeh had me do,” answered Mervin.
A few weeks before they had ‘bugged’ the police station when they were trying to find a missing wizard. Mervin had cast a spell that made all the bugs that inhabited the building act as listening devices for them so they could snoop on the details of who PC Plod had been interviewing.
“Yeh know,” continued Mervin, “yeh use so much of the stuff it tends to linger, just like in the Magic Moose Room. It can do all kinds of weird things.”
Hans pondered this for a while, despite the Magic Moose Room being the only place where he could really practice magic safely, it was saturated with so much magic it freaked him out every time he went into. So much so that he’d been put off trying to learn all that much magic. Lately he’d noticed that the floor had been vibrating whenever he went into the room, but it had always been the eyes of the moose portraits on the walls that had really freaked him out.
“Like change the content of anything he’d receive?” asked Chloe, “Cos it sounded like he should have got anti-drug stuff instead.”
“Well potentially, it could do anything – just be glad tha’ it hasn’t turned him into a duck-billed platypus like it did to Jimmy McGregor tha’ time,” replied Mervin. He remembered it well; he’d had to call up the local wizarding union for back-up to put everything right again.
“Maybe we should go around to Ted’s so we can find out more about this Transformation Inc.?” suggested Chloe.