I Went Undercover as a Member of the Inquisitorial Squad (And I Loved It)
*This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Dolores Jane Umbridge.
My name is Marie Cauldwater, and I am not your run-of-the-mill Slytherin prefect. Oh, no, no. You see, I pride myself on what it means to be someone who bears the green and silver. I use my cunningness to convince Madam Pince to allow me to stay in the library after hours so that I can finish assignments. I’ve become so trustworthy that she sometimes lets me hold onto the keys and I merely slip them underneath the door of her quarters when done. The younger kids of all Houses come to me for need tips on how to better improve their Potions or a late-night snack because they know I can get into the kitchens. If that’s not all, my girlfriend is a Ravenclaw. I hate the reputation we Slytherins have; we aren’t all Tom Riddles.
However, I am far too curious for my own good. I decided to take advantage of what I’ve got and go undercover as a member of Umbridge’s Inquisitorial Squad. It was absolutely nothing like what I thought it would be, and now I must come clean. The title claims that I loved it, but I lied. Umbridge approves postings by title, not content, and I had to get your attention. Here’s what happened.
8:00 a.m.: Most of what I have to do is on a “see something, say something” basis, so thankfully, my routine doesn’t change too much. I’m at breakfast in the Great Hall with my mates trying to pump myself up for a day of being a rotten sneak. I see a third-year Hufflepuff pocket a Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes Nosebleed Nougat. I consider marching up to the kid immediately but decide against it; it’s too early, and turning a blind eye won’t kill me. Or so I hope.
10:00 a.m.: I emerge from Double Transfiguration when I hear someone hiss at me. It’s Malfoy, who, despite being a year younger than myself, has somehow climbed his way to the top of the organization in a few short weeks, and he wants to know if I’ve reported anyone yet. He must be joking, it’s 10 a.m. He’s not and wants to see my notebook with reports. I show him the blank pages, and he calls me an embarrassment of a Slytherin before sulking off. Time to actually try, I suppose…
11:00 a.m.: During Charms, I slip a Ravenclaw a classy note that reads, “Hand over the enchanted quill if you don’t want Umbridge to find out.” Two minutes later, I’m resting my hand from a severe cramp thanks to my new self-writing quill. I write down his name for bookkeeping and run off once the lesson ends to avoid any nasty looks.
12:00 p.m.: It’s lunch, and Malfoy is impressed with my story about the quill. He’s invited me on a stakeout to try to discover where Harry Potter’s group is meeting to do Merlin knows what. I accept to keep my cover. Maybe when this is over, I can hand off the information and get involved with whatever it is.
1:00 p.m.: I’m on my break, and I see my ex-girlfriend cozying up with the guy she cheated on me with. They’re engaged in some not Umbridge-appropriate behavior, so I take it upon myself to dock each House 10 points. For the first time all day, I’m enjoying my new status.
2:00 p.m.: I’ve also taken points from the two kids who made fun of me for being gay last year. When they protested, I informed them that during room inspections, Filch found a particular item they were trying so hard to hide. The two start sweating immediately and promise they’ll put it back. Whatever it is, I’m slightly concerned and horrified but also incredibly pleased that my plan worked.
4:00 p.m.: The Headmistress has had Filch hang some new decrees while I was stuck in Double Potions, including the disbanding of all extracurriculars from Herbology club to Quidditch. While on my way to Umbridge’s lesson, I confiscate a Gryffindor’s broom and present it to her after class. Umbridge is so pleased with me that she excuses me from tonight’s assignment and awards my House 20 points. We’re now in the lead for the House Cup, and I’m rewarded with my favorite seat in the common room left open for doing homework in. Power feels great.
6:30 p.m.: I’m eating dinner with Malfoy, Parkinson, Crabbe, and Goyle as we relish in a great day of work. The five of us have deducted 200 points from all the other Houses, putting Slytherin back in the lead. With Quidditch canceled, our chances of staying on top are brighter than ever. I can hardly remember that my membership is only for the day and I’ll return to my normal behavior tomorrow. It’s been fun, and I’m starting to get why Umbridge has all these rules in place. They keep us uniform and running smooth, just the way school should be.
8:00 p.m.: I’m on my stakeout with the Squad when I hear footsteps nearby. I take off by myself and follow the sounds until I hear a muffled conversation. It’s a fourth-year Ravenclaw girl, and she’s crying. Through small sobs, I hear her tell someone that Crabbe and Goyle took 10 points each because they didn’t think she was pretty enough to be a Ravenclaw, that she didn’t fit the attractive nerdy vibe. My stomach begins to turn. She goes on to explain how an hour beforehand she had received word her father was taken to the Ministry for random questioning about his involvement with some kind of phoenix bird. Guilt washes over me as I remember why I had signed up in the first place. I had wanted to see for myself what was going on within my House and if the rumors of corruption were true. For the first time, I feel ashamed of the colors on my tie. I slink away before they turn the corridor. When I get back to Malfoy, I tell him it was a dead lead.
9:30 p.m.: I’m crawling into bed after a night of nothing. Whenever we were close to discovering something, everyone disappeared into thin air, or so it seemed. I handed Malfoy my badge, explaining I simply cannot keep up with him and his friends’ exceptional drive. Disgruntled and annoyed, he makes me promise I won’t say a word to anyone about what happened today. He places a hex on me to vomit snails if I do, and luckily, I don’t have plans for the next few hours. I accept my fate for what it is.
Things I Learned: Power feels phenomenal. If anything would have kept me from leaving, it would have been that. I was always able to take away points as a prefect, but this was a new level. Also, Umbridge letting me off work was awesome. I can see why people deal with it when it equates to a lighter workload.
Things You Should Know: To survive, I suggest becoming a pro at concealing any banned items. Also, if you follow the (obscene) rules, you should be safe. However, there’s no guarantee.
Final Thoughts: I’m sorry some of us are jerks. And I’m sorry to the two kids I took points from for no reason. I also hope that girl’s dad comes home. It’s a dark world.
And now to conceal this from Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad, merely raise your wand, tap the parchment, and whisper, “Resistite bufo!” This will translate my story into a pro-Umbridge and Inquisitorial Squad advertisement.