May 23, 2021, 8:53 p.m.

I’d rather check this luggage

Growing up with Kit as his cousin, Drew had heard his fair share of bad ideas. The majority were mostly harmless bad ideas that Drew could go along with (knowing he might get in trouble but willing to risk it), and Drew had learned from a young age to forestall the truly dangerous bad ideas by offering up a slightly safer alternative. Once he learned he could stop Kit from swinging between the outdoor classroom trees like Tarzan by suggesting The Floor Is Lava in the theater, his ability to handle bad ideas had increased exponentially.

Right now, Drew’s partner had what could generously be described as… an idea. It wasn’t bad, but no one could go so far as to call it a good idea. It was certainly an idea. The idea arrived from what sounded like a very faraway place and worked its way through all of the radio static to lodge in Drew’s brain. The idea, unfortunately, was just Nando chanting “Shrek” in Drew’s ear. As far as ideas went it wasn’t especially well-developed, especially because Drew had missed most of the words besides “Shrek.” Admittedly it sounded funny, which was an improvement from the snowblind numb anxiety occupying most of his brain.

So okay, Shrek it was. Drew raised his cedar wand toward the boggart before she could say anything that would make him forget things like fine dining and breathing and the incantation. “Riddikulus.

The Darlene-boggart didn’t turn into Shrek, but she did turn green and her ears went all weird like the ogres in the movie, and she got thiccer which no one really needed to explore at all. She was still recognizably Darlene, just as an ogress. Some time before Drew was born, RMI had put on a production of Shrek The Musical, and apart from not being a redhead the boggart standing in front of him now would have made an excellent Princess Fiona.

The boggart looked entirely confused by what had happened, staring down at her hands, and that was funny enough for a single, startled laugh from Drew. A loud crack shattered the room and the boggart disappeared back into the ottoman.

Drew let out a long sigh and stepped back behind Nando, just in case the ottoman reopened. “Thanks, man. Good thinking. That’s probably the first time Shrek has ever saved someone from a boggart.” Darlene probably wouldn’t have wanted the entire class to see her as a literal ogre, but it was too late for that realization. Was she here? No, right? (No, but it would probably get back to her. He knew how RMI worked. Damn.) Maybe Nando would have a boggart even more embarrassing than his ex-girlfriend. “You up? I’m probably not as funny as you but I’ll try.”

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