Crisis at Privet Drive.
had been caught selling drugs and expelled from school. Charges were laid.
"You're a disgrace! I don't want you under my roof. You can stay until you find a job, then get out
and stay out!" he bellowed.
"Vernon, please ....."
"No Petunia, this is my final word. I've always done everything I could for the boy. The only thing
I couldn't do is keep him away from your worthless nephew."
At Dudley's first court hearing, the Magistrate requested a home study report. A social worker visited
a few days later.
"Er, I suppose you don't see many cases from our ... er.... station in life?" Vernon began.
"More often than you expect, material wealth is often coupled with emotional neglect," came the cold
The questioning was thorough and relentless. After an hour, the social worker asked, "Your
neighbour mentioned that you had another boy living with you, your nephew Harry, what can you
tell me about him?"
Vernon and Petunia looked at each other. What could they say? This woman was bound to know
that there was no such school as St. Brutus's Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys. (Hogwarts
provided muggle parents with the name of a school they could use for a cover story in this sort of
situation. It was on all the official registries and would reply promptly to all inquiries. Vernon didn't
known this because he had thrown away Harry's Hogwarts letters without reading them.)
The telephone rang. It was Mr. Prewett. Inland Revenue had more questions and he needed to meet
urgently. Vernon sighed with relief. "Very important business meeting, have to run," he said.
The social worker looked at her watch. She wrote "Conclusion: s/r" (her private code for spoiled
rotten) and closed her note book. If she left now, she could get her report translated into
gobbledygook before the end of the day.
The court case was the least of Dudley's problems. He owed money for the last drug shipment. His
dealer had sidled up to him as he waited for the train home from Smeltings. "I know where you live,
Pig Boy" he whispered. "I have friends in Little Whinging."
Dudley needed to get away. He needed a job. But where? Who would hire him?