“How many you got there?” asked the young man with scraggly ginger hair, nodding towards a small jar.
“Ten, at least,” said the tanned stranger. “There’ll be a lot more in a couple weeks.”
“Couple weeks, eh?” asked Mundungus Fletcher. “How many d’ya figure I’ll get?”
“Hundreds,” said the stranger with a grin. “Then those have hundreds more. Sell ‘em for a couple of sickles each, and you’re set, mate.”
Mundungus eyed the jar greedily. “How much for the lot?”
“That’s a galleon each! You just said I could ask a couple sickles. What kind of gormless prat d’ya think I am?” asked Mundungus hotly.
“Well, this is your initial investment. You’re paying for shipping and handling, mate. But if you’d like to try your hand at smuggling them all the way from Australia, be my guest.” The stranger made like he was going to leave.
“Fine, ‘ere you go, that’s ten galleons,” Mundungus said, grudgingly parting with the coins. But he knew there would be a good market for the Billywigs when he got back to Hogwarts, especially among the fifth and seventh years who would be desperate for something to take their minds off of their upcoming O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. It was the same each year, but Dung had never had an opportunity to get hold of Billywigs before. He couldn’t pass this up.
Mundungus held the jar up to the street lamp to examine the contents. Sure enough, roughly ten, bright blue, spinning insects flitted around the jar so quickly that it was hard to count them. Only when one came to light on the bottom of the jar, could he see the wings on the top of its body and the long stinger tail.
Mundungus smiled. Yep, his fellow students would pay nicely for Billywig stings.
He slipped the jar into the inside pocket of his overcoat and went to meet the Knight Bus, whistling happily.
He climbed aboard and started to make his way to the back of the crowded bus. As it lurched forward with a bang, Mundungus, still focused on the profit he would make off of the Billywigs, lost his balance and fell heavily to the floor. He felt something pierce his backside.
For a brief moment, he was aware that his profit was about to get away, but in the next instant, he couldn’t care less. He started to laugh giddily. His fellow riders gasped as he floated to the ceiling. What a wonderful feeling! It was even more fun when a couple of other passengers drifted out of their own seats and joined him in the air.
It would be two days before Mundungus came back down to earth, literally. But until then, he didn’t care that he’d lost his ten galleons, been placed on probation for unlicensed possession of Billywigs, and confined to his room for the remainder of the holiday. Of course, that would all change when the Billywig stings wore off.