Meme Bracket, Round of 32, Match 4.

Ron Prince and the Closet of Spiders

A sense of dread racked Ron's entire body, although there was nothing in the otherwise quiet room to prompt it, as if he had just seen his team favored by 10 over Nebraska in the Vegas lines. If he were a painter, he might have remarked on the strangeness of the shadows- how they projected across the dank cellar wall much further than their light source would have allowed- but Ron Prince wasn't a painter. At this moment, he wasn't sure what he was, in fact, and realizing that, for the first time, but assuredly not the last, Ron regretted the entire past year. He should have ignored the large, snowy owl the way Rice alumni ignore theirs. He should have wadded up the scroll the second it had been opened, and thrown it into his quaint-yet-well-furnished duplex's faux fireplace. He should have ignored the words that dictated this past year, that put him in this terrifying situation.

"RonP4Hogwarts." That simple hashtag both created and ruined his entire life.

The door he came for loomed before him, daring him, teasing him. The shadows around the looming doorframe danced like Miami players after a routine sack, dangerous and ludicrous at the same time. His hand trembled as he reached, withdrew, and then reached again. He half expected the door to burst open of its own accord, revealing some awful piece of dark magic waiting to eviscerate him, a blast of green light waiting to Avada Kedavra him right out of the world.

As he pondered the worst situation, the door moved. Not a burst, not flying off the hinges, but opened ever so slightly. And then he heard it. A million tiny little voices, overlapping with sadistic glee. He didn't dare to move an inch, so he listened to the cacophony, trying to make out any words. It wasn't Parseltounge, the language of snakes, he was fluent in that from his proximity to Al Groh for all those years. This was English- a million tiny voices chanting their own phrases over and over. He put his ear as close to the door as he could get up the courage to do, and, given the slightest bit of attention and validation, the millions of spiders rushed out en masse. Everything he had read in Hogwarts, a History was wrong. The long-fabled Closet of Spiders was far from a myth; the proof was now swarming over Ron's body and face, each chanting its own squeaky-voiced mantra.

"The separation of church and state ISN'T IN THE CONSTITUTION!" a tarantula yelled as it weaved its eight hairy legs into his hair.

"The second amendment was written for men with muskets and has no modern relevance." squeaked a daddy longlegs, indifferent to the fact that he wasn't a real spider.

"Jerry Sandusky wouldn't ha..." Ron didn't let that one finish before he smashed it into a pulp on the ground. Some things are too terrible and stupid to listen to, even when one is covered in spiders.

With all the strength he could manage, Ron pulled himself from the ground. Unfortunately Professor Saban had left Hogwarts for Alabama before he could teach them this part of the dark arts, so Ron racked his brain to remember anything, anything at all from his textbooks. Then there it was. It wasn't precise, but it might just do the trick. He shook his wand free from the horde and pointed it at a small group of garden spiders discussing collectivism and Atlas Shrugged.

"TYRANNOSAURUS REXIUM!" he shouted. He wasn't sure what to expect, and at first glance, it seemed as if the spell had zero effect. Then he realized the din was just a little bit quieter. The small group that had been hit with his spell were now silent, and aware of their loss of power, scurried off under baseboards and furniture. Ron took the slightest moment to celebrate, then went back to work. "ALEXIA MORGANA!" A group disappeared with a poof. "PANTHERA LEO!" The spiders turned into dust bunnies, which blew in the wind of the drafty room. Ron pulled back for the final spell, before they overcame him.

"HOW FUCKING FASCINATINGUM LEVIOSA." The spiders rose into the air, and Ron saw his chance for escape. He turned around to run, to come back with reinforcements, but his way was blocked by a giant shadowy figure in a robe, aiming a long, slender pecan wand in his direction. Its mouth opened as its wand rose. "Petrificus Totalus!"

"Addazio!" Ron shouted as he dove out of the way of the menacing green light, which ricocheted throughout the chamber before bouncing back to hit the shadowy figure square on in the chest, leaving it paralyzed and still. Ron dashed to the figure and tore its hood off, expecting the worst- a Death Eater, or even, Voldemort himself. But Ron would never have guessed what was waiting for him.

Mack Brown lay paralyzed on the basement floor. His eyes revealed that he was completely aware, but the spell had prevented him from talking. Ron struggled to remember the spell that would cause one to speak freely with no internal censor, and then it came to him. "Spurrierio," he said softly, and a golf ball sized orange light entered Brown's throat and he began to speak.

"How are you surprised, Ron, that I'm the one behind the Closet of Spiders? Everything Texas football does is about politics these days. This was a natural fit." Ron turned to look back at the closet, to try to make sense of it all, and then turned back to Mack Brown.

Who was now standing in front of him. "Expelliarmus," Mack yelled, and Ron's wand went flying into the air, landing as far out of his reach as if Joe Bauserman had tossed it to him.

"But, but how... how did you," Ron stuttered.

"Oh Ron, Ron, Ron. All I had to do was use this." He held up an hourglass full of burnt orange sand. "This lovely little item gives me an extra second of time whenever I need it, and that's all it took to dodge that spell and be right back here." Mack Brown's face changed from menacing to pure evil, and Ron was sure he was about to use the most painful, heart-breaking spell he could possibly dream of. "Marceldareusia!" Mack yelled. As the world went black, Ron thought he saw another figure enter, another voice speak. Maybe this was what dying was like.

He was roughly shaken awake by a pleasant voice. "Ron. Ron, wake up." The face of Bill Snyder entered his opening eyes. "You've done what you can, Ron, but from here on, you'll need a real wizard to handle things here. This wasn't the first time I had to beat Mack Brown, and it won't be the last."

"So, so I'm free to just go home? To go back to my real life?"

"Not quite, Ron. Look. He was holding this when I beat him." Bill Snyder unfolded a piece of parchment, containing one phrase: RonP4ChosenOne. "There's a new assignment for you, Ron, and it's a terrifying one. You'll have to fight millions of the worst creatures you've ever seen, and they're all invisible."

"Are they boggarts? Dementors? Demons?" Ron shuddered.

"Worse, Ron. They're New Jerseyans."

Thanks to whoever suggested the Harry Potter parody!

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