Lee Linux stepped out of the fireplace, brushing Floo powder from his robes, and took a deep breath. He opened his office door and was immediately assaulted by a loud buzzing sound as hundreds of bright blue insects flew past his head and into the lobby.
“Oh, Mr. Linux! Thank goodness you’re back!” a voice cried. Startled, he looked up and saw Glinda, his secretary, floating twenty feet above him with a stack of papers in her hands. “I’ve got loads of paperwork for the new imports here that I’ve prioritized based on probability of infectious disease. And expect a visit from a woman named Mrs. Higgins sometime today. She claims Atticus permanently damaged her son last weekend.”
Linux gave an exasperated sigh—he’d only been gone one day, for Merlin’s sake, how bad could things have become? He could only imagine the state Manchester Menagerie for Magical Animals would be in if he ever took a two-week vacation.
“So I told her we can’t be held liable for the abusive words of a Jarvey in heat,” Glinda said, “but she wouldn’t listen. Then she had the nerve to tell me that no ‘respectable establishment’ would exhibit an animal of ‘questionable psychological health’ in a location frequented by ‘delicate and impressionable children like her son.’ I figured it would be easier if you dealt with her.”
“That’s fine,” Linux said, taking out his wand and lowering her to the floor. “And I assume your levitation is the work of the Billywig shipment I ordered from Australia?” he asked.
“Yeah, sorry, the crate broke while I was setting it down and they stung me and flew out,” she said. “Oh, and before I forget, Hendricks told me to tell you that he used the last of the anti-Chizpurfle potion on the Nifflers, so you need to order more.”
“Thanks,” he said, sitting down behind his mahogany desk and rifling through the papers he had just been handed.
“No problem, sir. If you need anything else—”
A piercing shriek came from the lobby.
Linux jumped up, pulling his wand out, and hurried to see what the commotion was. He watched as an overweight woman surrounded by a swarm of Billywigs slowly floated up to the ceiling and began to spin around. The insects flew away, and he stared, open-mouthed, as her flowery dress fell below her head, exposing a pair of even more flowery undergarments.
Linux closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Glinda, I do need you to get something else for me,” he said slowly.
“Of course, boss,” she said.
Above him the woman was now cursing, frantically trying to pull her dress back down. Linux sighed deeply, feeling a migraine coming on.
“And a pain-relieving potion!” he shouted at Glinda’s retreating form. He had hundreds of insects to round up, an irate and embarrassed Mrs. Higgins to deal with and mounds of paperwork to finish, and it wasn’t even 9:00.