Lord V's Interrupted Tea
by Tony Noland
The kitchen smelled of mouse droppings and three-day-old dishes. In the dimness of a cold, gray morning, a pale, thin man seated at the scarred table leaned in close to his newspaper, avidly scanning every line. His tea sat unregarded in front of him, already cold. It was of no consequence; the tea was of the cheap, tasteless American variety, the kind that came two hundred teabags to the box.
He despised tea. He loathed the newspaper he was reading. He was steeped in bile and vitriol, consumed with contempt for the entire world and everything in it. But most especially, he burned white-hot with fury and hatred for one man above all others, a man whom he could not touch in any way. As he did every morning, he searched the paper for bad news about the object of his impotent bloodlust, but found nothing.
His roommate swept into the kitchen, striding like a master of the universe. He picked up the empty tea kettle and shook it. In disgust, he slammed the practically empty kettle back down on the counter. "I see you didn't bother to heat enough water for two cups. Again." His asthmatic voice rasped. The thin man said nothing, just continued glaring at his newspaper. His roommate said, "Any fresh news about Harry Potter? Last I heard, he got a promotion to Chief Auror. Bad luck, Tom. You have my sympathies."
The man at the table grimaced. "No, there's nothing in the paper about him. And you needn't be such a snot about it... Anakin," he replied. The acid emphasis he put on the name was unmistakable, and it got the reaction he'd intended.
Behind his faceplate, his roommate's expression was unreadable, but his body language was unmistakable. The pause as he refilled the tea kettle, the fractional squaring of the shoulders... the morning was off to a bad start.
"Do not use that name. Anakin Skywalker is dead."
"Oh? I'd forgotten. Just like you seem to have forgotten that Tom Riddle is dead."
"You signed the lease as Tom Riddle. Just because you have adopted a stage name for use with your lackeys does not change your true identity."
"And yours isn't fake? How is Darth Vader any more real a name than Voldemort?"
"My name was conferred upon me by the Emperor."
"That's not legally binding. He took power in a coup; he's not even a legitimate head of state!"
"It doesn't matter. He was a Senator before he became Emperor, so I'm covered either way. You, on the other hand, plucked a name out of thin air. Or should I say, you conjured it?"
"Ha ha. At least I chose the name Voldemort for myself. I was captain of my own destiny, not manipulated and turned to evil like a puppet on a string."
"I embraced my destiny!"
"You were led to it like a mindless animal."
"My ambition was to help conquer a galaxy. You only wanted the U.K.!"
"But I wanted to be in charge, to run the show! My plan was to be the one sitting in the big chair - you only wanted to kneel beside your Emperor and do his bidding.'
"Limey small timer!"
"No-nose snake charmer!"
"No-face burn victim!"
With blinding speed, Darth Vader drew his light saber and slashed down at Voldemort. His blow was deflected by an eruption of red fire that exploded from Voldemort's wand, already to hand. "Sectum Sempra!" cried Voldemort, his face twisted in rage. Rebounding from the ionized plasma column of the light saber's blade, the spell blasted against the wall of the kitchen.
Voldemort bellowed with rage. "That's coming out of YOUR half of the security deposit! AVADA KEDAVRA!" A bolt of green-whte lightning blasted from the wand; Darth Vader deflected it with the palm of his hand.
"Do not underestimate the power of the Dark Side!'''
"You are nothing! The Dark Lord will triumph!"
Their battle was horrific, an evil hurricane of lightning and flame that whipped around them with energies eldritch and mystic, science and sorcery pitted against each other in a battle to the death, until...
Both men froze.
They looked at each other, neither willing to be the first to lower his weapon.
DING DONG! DING DONG!
The doorbell's insistent ringing was joined by a loud knocking on the flat's front door.
"You'd better answer that," said Voldemort.
"I'm not going to answer the door," Darth Vader said, " I'm still in my slippers. YOU answer it."
DING DONG! DING DONG! DING DONG!
Scowling, Voldemort left the kitchen and went down the grimy hall toward the front door. Despite being in slippers, Vader followed. Voldemort looked through the security peephole.
"It's the landlord!" he hissed. Quickly, he put away his wand.
Vader retracted his light saber and stuffed it under his cape. "Do you think he heard us?"
"Of course he heard us! You make a WOO-WOO noise every time you wave that thing!"
"Me? What about you, yelling spells at the top of your voice!"
DING DONG! DING DONG! DING DONG! A voice from the hallway said, "Open the door! I know you're in there!"
Voldemort snarled at his roommate, but composed his face before opening the door. A huge man stood on the doorstep, his iron-shod foot tapping angrily on the mat.
"Ah," said Voldemort, in an oily, persuasive voice, "good morning, Dr. Doom. What can I do for you?"
"You can stop making so much racket, that's what!" Even behind his riveted iron mask, his scowl was evident. "I'm sick to death of both of you, bickering and arguing. If you two can't get along, I suggest you break it up and seek other arrangements."
"And, ah, which of our neighbors complained this time?"
"Don't you go adding names to a revenge list, you Abracadabra little pup. I heard it myself, plain as day. The lease CLEARLY states that no weapons shall be drawn OR discharged within the confines of the apartment. Section 5, clause 2. It'll come out of your security deposit if there's any damage. And you needn't puff out your chest, Mr. Walking I.C.U. I'm talking to both of you. Is that understood! No more noise! I've had my fill of it! Once more and you're out! O - U - T, out!"
Meekly, Voldemort said, "Yes, sir."
Dr. Doom glared at Darth Vader, mask to mask. Finally, the fallen Jedi said, "Yes, sir," and retreated further into the apartment.
"Good! I'd better be rightly understood, or you're both in for it." Still muttering, he turned away, his green cape swirling. Then, one foot on the stair, he turned back and held out a small box, wrapped in brown paper. "Oh, with all the racket and ruckus, I forgot why I came up here in the first place. Someone left a package for this apartment. It's addressed to Lord V, Apartment 4B."
Both roommates reached out a hand. "I'll take it", they said in unison.
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NOTE: I got the idea for this #FridayFlash from the very chic Ms. L. and the very Minecraftian Mr. N. Aside from giving credit where credit is due, I should note that they wanted the story to include a scene of Ginny (Weasley) Potter bitch-slapping Darth Vader for killing her husband, Harry Potter. But that, of course, would have been silly.