Nearly ten fucking years had gone by since the Dursleys had woken up to find their goddamn nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive was still pretty much the same shithole. The sun rose on the same anal-retentive front gardens and lit up the brass number four on the Dursleys' front door—it shone its rays into their living room, which was just about as dull and lifeless as it had been when Mr. Dursley saw that shitfaced news report about the horny owls. The only thing that really showed how much time had passed was the asshat photographs on the mantelpiece. Ten years ago, there had been a bunch of pictures of what looked like a huge pink beach ball in pussy-hats, but Dudley Dursley was no longer the ugly-duckling baby. Now the photos showed a dickhead blonde boy riding his first dumb-as-fuck bike, sitting on a horny carousel, twiddling his joystick on a computer game with his dad, and getting smothered and groped by his overbearing mom. It's like Harry Potter didn't fucking exist in that house, even though that poor kid was still stuck in there, snoozing for now but not for long.

His Aunt Petunia was up, unfortunately, and it was her goddamn naggy shrill voice that made the first ear-piercing noise of the day. "Up! Get up! Now!" That bitch could raise the dead.

Harry awoke with a jolt. His aunt pounded on the fucking door again like she was scoring points. "Up!" she screeched like some fucking banshee. Harry heard her stomping away toward the kitchen and then the ominous sound of the frying pan getting ready to greet his balls. He rolled onto his back and tried to remember the wet dream he'd been caught up in. It'd been a good one. For some crazy-ass reason, it'd involved a flying motorcycle. He had a bizarre feeling he'd had the same erotic fantasy before.

Auntie Dearest was back outside the door like a sleep-deprived warden. "Are you up yet?" she demanded like he'd missed the bus.

"Nearly," said Harry, gritting his teeth.

"Well, get your lazy ass moving! I want you to babysit the bacon. Don't you dare let it go crispy like you always do, I want everything perfect on Duddy's fucking birthday."

Harry groaned so loud every dog in the neighborhood howled. "What the *fuck* did you say?" his aunt snapped through the door like a turtle with a short temper.

"Nothing, nothing..." Yeah, as if Dudley's shitty birthday was something to celebrate.

How the fuck could he have forgotten? Harry dragged himself out of bed and started pawing around for some raggedy-ass socks. He found a pair hiding under the bed and, after evicting a spider, put them on. He'd made friends with creepy crawlies because his bedroom was crawling with them, thanks to that dank-ass cupboard he had to call home.

Once he was dressed, Harry schlepped his way down the hall into the kitchen. The table was so crammed with Dudley's shit that it looked like Presents R Us. Dudley had gotten himself a new fucking computer, a second TV (as if one wasn't enough), and an overpriced racing bike for his pudgy ass. Who the hell knew why? Dudley was like the Michelin Man, uncomfortable with anything not involving a good stuffing, and definitely with a fondness for knocking the stuffing out of someone else. Harry had the bruises to prove it, though lucky for him, he could usually dodge the blows. It paid to be nimble when you were small and skinny like a strangely fast scarecrow.

Maybe it had something to do with living in that godforsaken dark cupboard, but Harry had always been a shrimp. He looked even leaner than he was because he was stuck wearing Dudley's enormous hand-me-downs which hung on him like a wet tent. Harry had the face of a greyhound, knobbly knees a late-night radio personality, hair blacker than Satan's armpits, and bright green eyes that you could get lost in if you weren't careful. His glasses, round and held together with an ungodly amount of Scotch tape, always looked like they were one blow from falling apart, which they would if Dudley caught him in the act. The only thing Harry really appreciated about his appearance was the badass scar smack dab in the middle of his forehead that looked like a bolt of fucking lightning. It'd been there as long as he could remember, and the first question he could ever recall asking his Aunt Petunia was how the hell he'd gotten it. "In the car crash when your parents fucking died," she retorted. "And don't ask dumbass questions."

Yeah, "don't ask questions" was rule numero fucking uno for a quiet enough existence with the Dursleys.

Uncle Vernon stormed into the goddamn kitchen just as Harry was flipping the bacon like a pro.

"Comb your fucking hair!" he barked, as if that was a normal way to say good morning.

About once a week, this prick Uncle Vernon would glance over his newspaper, and yell that Harry needed a fucking haircut. Harry probably had more of these bastards than any kid in his class put together, but it didn't make a rat's ass difference. His hair still looked like a clusterfuck - all over the damn place.

So there's dumb Harry, frying some eggs when Dudley's fat ass arrived in the kitchen with his mother. Dudley pretty much looked like a pathetic carbon copy of Uncle Vernon - pink chubby-ass face, not much neck, small watery blue eyes that looked borderline stupid, and a thick, fucking mop of blonde hair on top of his fat head. Aunt Petunia would go all gooey-eyed and say Dudley looked like a little cherubic teletubby, but Harry said that big buffoon looked more like a goddamn pig in a wig.

Harry tried to squeeze plates of egg and bacon onto the table that looked like a fucking circus with all of Dudley's shit. Meanwhile, that greedy bastard Dudley was counting his precious presents with a shit-eating grin. His face then fell like a ton of fucking bricks.

"Thirty-six," he whined, looking up at his equally pathetic parents. "That's two less than last fucking year."

"Darling, don't be such an ass, Auntie Marge's present is right here, under this big one from Mummy and Daddy, so you can shut the fuck up."

"All fucking right, thirty-seven then," said Dudley, cheeks turning redder than a horny baboon's ass. Harry, sensing the imminent arrival of Dudley's mega-tantrum, started wolfing down his bacon as fast as humanly possible. Oh, Aunt Petunia also smelled the disaster coming 'cause she chimed in, "And we'll buy you another two fucking presents while we're out today. How's that, my sweet-ass lardball? Two more. Is that too bloody much?"

Dudley thought for way too fucking long, which looked exhausting. Finally, he said slowly, "So I'll have thirty... thirty... "

"Thirty-fucking-nine, honey buns," Aunt Petunia corrected.

"Oh." Dudley's fat ass sat down with a thud and grabbed the nearest parcel like it was a dying wish. "All right then, let's get to it."

Uncle Vernon chuckled in that douchey way of his. "Little shit wants his money's worth, just like his daddy. 'Atta boy, Dudley!" He mussed Dudley's hideous hair.

Just then, the fucking phone rang and Aunt Petunia scurried off to answer it, while Harry and Uncle Vernon watched Dudley go to town on his presents: a fucking racing bike, video camera, remote control airplane, sixteen new computer games, a VCR, and a gold wristwatch. Aunt Petunia came back looking as if she swallowed a whole bag of sour dicks.

"Vernon, bad fucking news. That old bat Mrs. Figg broke her leg. She can't take him," she jerked her head toward Harry like he was a parasite.

Dudley's mouth dropped open like a dumb fish, but Harry's heart leapt. Every goddamn year on Dudley's birthday, his shitty parents took him and a friend on some stupid-ass adventures. And every year, Harry was left behind with old Mrs. Fucking Figg, the weird lady who lived nearby. Fucking place smelled like cabbage, and she made him look at every cat photo she ever took.

"Now what?" bitched Aunt Petunia, giving Harry the stink-eye as if he planned this whole thing. Harry knew he should feel bad about Mrs. Figg's broken leg, but it wasn't bloody easy when all he could think was "Thank fuck, it's gonna be a whole year before I see those fuckers Tibbles, Snowy, Mr. Paws, and Tufty again."

Uncle Vernon, looking like his brain was smoking just trying to come up with ideas, said "We could phone Marge,"

"Don't be a buffoon, Vernon, she fucking hates the boy," Aunt Petunia bit back.

They often talked shit about Harry like he wasn't there, as if he was some slimy fucking slug who couldn't understand human speech.

"How 'bout that broad Yvonne, your friend?"

"In goddamn Majorca on vacation," Petunia snapped.

"You could just leave me here," Harry suggested, desperate for some chill TV and computer time.

His aunt looked at him like he suggested they spew diarrhea everywhere. "And come back to a fucking ruined house?" she snarled.

"I won't implode the fucking house," Harry tried, but they ignored him.

"I guess this little shit could join us at the zoo," Aunt Petunia said slowly, "and we'll just leave him in the goddamn car..."

"That car is new! He's not sitting his ass in there alone..."

Dudley made a show of crying like a fucking baby. He hadn't really cried in years, but that annoying fucker knew if he threw a fit, his mother would give in to anything.

"Dinky Duddydums, don't be a little bitch, Mummy won't let Harry ruin your special fucking day!" she cooed, pulling him into a suffocating hug that would've killed a lesser creature.

"I...don't...want...him...t-to come!" Dudley yelled between huge, fake-ass sobs. "He always fucks everything up!" He shot Harry a nasty grin through the gap in his mother's arms. That little shit.

Just then, the doorbell rang - "Oh, for fuck's sake, they're here!" Aunt Petunia frantically blurted - and a moment later, Dudley's best fuckbuddy, Piers Polkiss, walked in with his mother. Piers was a scrawny shit with a face like a rat. He was usually the douchebag who held people's arms behind their backs while Dudley smacked the crap out of them. Dudley stopped pretending to cry like the little drama queen he was.

Half an hour later, Harry, who couldn't believe his goddamn luck, was sitting in the back of the Dursleys' car with Piers and Dudley, on the way to the zoo for the first time in his miserable life. His aunt and uncle couldn't come up with anything else to punish him, but before they'd left, Uncle Vernon had taken Harry aside.

"I'm warning you," he had said, putting his large purple face all up in Harry's grill, "I'm warning you now, boy - any funny business, anything at all - and you'll be locked in that cupboard from now until fucking Christmas."

"I'm not going to do anything," said Harry, "fucking honestly."

But Uncle Vernon didn't believe him. Hell, no one ever did.

The problem was, strange shit often happened around Harry, and it was just no fucking good telling the Dursleys he didn't make them happen.

Once, Aunt Petunia, tired of Harry coming back from the barbers looking like he hadn't been at all, had taken a pair of kitchen scissors and cut his hair so fucking short he was almost bald except for his bangs, which she left "to hide that goddamn scar." Dudley had laughed his fat ass off at Harry, who spent a sleepless night dreading school the next day, where he was already laughed at for his baggy bullshit clothes and taped glasses. Next morning, however, he woke up to find his hair exactly as it had been before Aunt Petunia fucked it up. He had been locked up in his cupboard for a week for this shit, even though he tried to explain that he couldn't, for the life of him, explain how it had grown back so damn quickly.

Another time, Aunt Petunia had been trying to force him into a nasty old sweater of Dudley's (brown with ugly-ass orange puff balls). The harder she tried to pull it over his head, the smaller the damned thing seemed to become, until finally it might have fit a hand puppet but sure as hell wouldn't fit Harry. Aunt Petunia had decided it must have shrunk in the wash, and to his great relief, Harry wasn't punished.

On the other hand, he'd gotten into some deep shit for being found on the roof of the school kitchens. Dudley's gang had been chasing him like usual when, as much to Harry's surprise as to anyone else's, there he was sitting on the fucking chimney. The Dursleys had received a pissed-off letter from Harry's headmistress, telling them Harry had been climbing school buildings. But all he'd tried to do (as he yelled at Uncle Vernon through the locked door of his cupboard) was jump behind the big-ass trash cans outside the kitchen doors. Harry supposed that the wind must have caught his ass mid-jump.

But today, nothing was gonna go tits up. It was even worth being with Dudley and Piers to be spending the day somewhere that wasn't school, his shitty cupboard, or Mrs. Figg's cabbage-smelling living room.

While he drove, Uncle Vernon bitched to Aunt Petunia. He loved complaining about shit: people at work, Harry, the council, Harry, the bank, and Harry were just a few of his favorite whining topics. This morning, it was motorcycles. "...roaring along like maniacs, the young fuckwits," he said, as a motorcycle overtook them.

"I had a dream about a motorcycle," said Harry, remembering suddenly. "It was flying."

Uncle Vernon nearly crashed into the car in front. He turned right around in his seat and screamed at Harry, his face like a gigantic beet with a mustache: "MOTORCYCLES DON'T FUCKING FLY!"

Dudley and Piers snickered like a pair of douchebags.

"I know they don't," said Harry. "It was only a dream."

But he wished he hadn't said jack shit. If there was one thing the Dursleys hated even more than his asking questions, it was talking about anything behaving in a way it shouldn't, no matter if it was in a dream or even a fucking cartoon - they seemed to think he might get dangerous ideas.

It was a scorching hot Saturday, and the zoo was packed full of families. The Dursleys bought Dudley and Piers giant-ass chocolate ice creams at the entrance and then, because the smiling lady in the van asked Harry what he wanted before they could hurry his ass away, they bought him a cheap-ass lemon ice pop. It wasn't bad, either, Harry thought, licking it as they watched a gorilla scratching its head looking like Dudley's doppelgänger, except that it wasn't a dumb blonde.

Harry had the best morning he'd had in a fucking long time. He was careful to walk a little distance from the Dursleys so that Dudley and Piers, who were starting to get bored with the animals by lunchtime, wouldn't fall back on their favorite pastime of smacking him for laughs. They ate in the zoo restaurant, and when Dudley threw a bitch fit because his knickerbocker glory didn't have enough ice cream on top, Uncle Vernon bought him another one, and Harry was allowed to finish the first.

Harry felt, afterward, that he should have known it was all too fucking good to last. It was even worth being with Dudley and Piers to be spending the day somewhere that wasn't school, his cupboard, or Mrs. Figg's cabbage-smelling living room.

After lunch, they wandered into the fuckin' reptile house. It was cool and dark, with lit windows along the walls, showin' off all those creepy-crawly bastards. Behind the glass, lizards and snakes were slitherin' all over the place, making Dudley and Piers' eyes practically bulge out their damn skulls. They wanted to see huge, venom-spewin' cobras and fat-ass pythons that could squeeze a man to death. Dudley managed to zero in on the biggest motherfuckin' snake in the joint. That beast could've wrapped its scaly ass around Uncle Vernon's car twice and crushed it like it was nothin'. Only problem was, the snake couldn't give two shits at the moment. It was snoozin' away, dreamin' of snakey things, probably.

Dudley, being the whiny little tit he was, pressed his nose against the glass and stared at the slick brown coils. "Make it move," he bitched at his dad. Uncle Vernon, not being the type to disappoint his *precious* little offspring, tapped on the glass, but that snake wasn't bothered. "Do it again," demanded Dudley, like the spoiled sack of garbage he was. Uncle Vernon, obliging as always, rapped on the glass hard enough to command attention from a fucking corpse, but the snake just smirked in its sleep.

"This is boring," Dudley whined and waddled the fuck away. Harry glided over to the tank, eyeing the snake with curiosity. He almost expected the poor bastard to be dead by now, what with havin' nothing but a bunch of dumbasses tap dancing on its glass all day long. In fact, it had to be worse than having a cupboard for a bedroom where Aunt Petunia only showed up to bang on the door to wake you up.

Suddenly, the snake's beady eyes popped open like it just remembered it had some shit to do. Slow as molasses, it lifted its head until its soulless peepers were on the same level as Harry's. Then, like some fuckin' reptile David Copperfield, it winked. Harry scanned the area, making sure nobody else caught that mind-boggling display. Coast clear, he looked back at the snake and returned the wink, feeling like he'd just joined some secret snake society.

The snake jerked its head toward Uncle Vernon and Dudley with a knowing gaze then raised its eyes to the ceiling, as if to say, "I get that shit all the time."

"I know," Harry whispered through the glass, unsure if the snake could even hear him. "Must be really fucking annoying."

The snake nodded so hard, it could've given itself whiplash.

"Where do you come from, anyway?" Harry asked the slithery creature.

_Boa Constrictor, Brazil_ the sign next to it read.

"Was it nice there?" Harry inquired further.

The snake jabbed its tail at the sign again, making Harry glance back. "This specimen was bred in the zoo," it said.

"Oh, I see - so you've never been to Brazil?" Harry asked, genuinely disappointed for the thing.

The snake shook its head, as if knowing they were about to be rudely interrupted. Suddenly, Piers bellowed like a fucking constipated buffalo. "DUDLEY! MR. DURSLEY! COME AND LOOK AT THIS SNAKE! YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT IT'S DOING!" He could've woken the goddamn dead with that.

Dudley's pudding-like form speed-waddled over. "Out of the way, you," he said, jabbing Harry in the ribs. Harry, caught off-guard, fell hard onto the unforgiving concrete floor.

In the blink of an eye - it was so damn fast, nobody could even describe how it happened - one second Piers and Dudley had their stupid faces pressed against the glass like they were on fuckin' safari, and the next thing you know, they leapt back and howled in absolute terror.

Harry sat up, gasping for air like a fish out of water. The glass front of the boa constrictor's tank had straight-up vanished like a drunken uncle at a family reunion. The snake was uncoiling at lightning speed and slithering out onto the floor. People's screams matched the soundtrack of a goddamn horror flick as they stampeded for the exits.

As the snake slid past him, Harry could've sworn he heard a low, hissing voice say, "Brazil, here I fucking come... Thanksss, amigo."

The hapless reptile house keeper was dumbfounded. "But the glass," he muttered, bewildered, "where did the fucking glass go?"

The zoo director himself made Aunt Petunia a cup of strong, sweet tea, apologizing over and over again. Piers and Dudley could only whimper and sputter incomprehensibly. As far as Harry knew, that snake hadn't done jackshit except snap playfully at their heels. By the time they dragged their sorry asses back to Uncle Vernon's car, Dudley was yammering on about how the snake nearly tore off his fat leg while Piers blubbered that it tried to constrict him to death.

But, worst of all, for poor Harry at least, was Piers calming the fuck down just long enough to point the goddamn finger. "Harry was talkin' to it, weren't you, Harry?"

Now shit _really_ hit the fan.

Uncle Vernon waited until Piers was safely out of the house before starting on Harry. He was so fucking pissed, he could hardly speak. He managed to say, "Go-cupboard-stay-no meals," before he collapsed into a chair, and Aunt Petunia had to run and get him a big-ass brandy.

Harry lay in his dark cupboard much later, wishing he had a watch. He didn't know the damn time and he couldn't be sure that those fuckfaces, the Dursleys, were asleep yet. Until they were, he couldn't risk sneaking to the kitchen for some grub.

He'd lived with the Dursleys for nearly ten shitty years, as long as he could remember, ever since he'd been a baby and his parents had died in that goddamn car crash. He couldn't remember being in the car when his parents had died. Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long hours in his cupboard, he came up with a bizarre vision: a blinding flash of green light and a burning pain on his forehead. This, he supposed, was the crash, though he couldn't imagine where all the green light came from. He couldn't remember his parents at all. Auntie Dearest and Uncle Dipshit never mentioned them, and of course, he was forbidden to ask questions. There were no fucking photographs of them in the house.

When he was younger, Harry had dreamed of some unknown relation coming to take his ass away, but it never happened; the Dursleys were his only godforsaken family. Yet sometimes he thought (or maybe hoped) that strangers in the street seemed to know him. Strange fucks they were, too. A tiny man in a violet top hat had bowed to him once while out shopping with Aunt Petunia and Dudley. After asking Harry furiously if he knew the man, Aunt Petunia had rushed them out of the shop without buying a damn thing. A wild-looking old woman dressed all in green had waved merrily at him once on a bus. A bald man in a very long purple coat had actually shaken his hand in the street the other day and then walked away without a word. The weirdest shit about all these people was the way they seemed to vanish the second Harry tried to get a closer look.

At school, Harry had fucking no one. Everybody knew that Dudley's gang of assholes hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy-ass old clothes and broken glasses, and nobody liked to disagree with Dudley's bunch of dickheads.