I need you to sign the permission form,’ said Harry in a rush.
‘And why should I do that?’ sneered Uncle Vernon.
‘Well,’ said Harry, choosing his words carefully, ‘it’ll be hard work, pretending to Aunt Marge I go to that St Whatsits …’
‘St Brutus’s Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys!’ bellowed Uncle Vernon, and Harry was pleased to hear a definite note of panic in Uncle Vernon’s voice.
‘Exactly,’ said Harry, looking calmly up into Uncle Vernon’s large, purple face. ‘It’s a lot to remember. I’ll have to make it sound convincing, won’t I? What if I accidentally let something slip?’
‘You’ll get the stuffing knocked out of you, won’t you?’ roared Uncle Vernon, advancing on Harry with his fist raised. But Harry stood his ground.
‘Knocking the stuffing out of me won’t make Aunt Marge forget what I could tell her,’ he said grimly.
Uncle Vernon stopped, his fist still raised, his face an ugly puce.
‘But if you sign my permission form,’ Harry went on quickly, ‘I swear I’ll remember where I’m supposed to go to school, and I’ll act like a Mug – like I’m normal and everything.’
Harry could tell that Uncle Vernon was thinking it over, even if his teeth were bared and a vein was throbbing in his temple