A Nice Squid Like You In A Place Like This
NOTES: It started with a picture. Go and look at the picture. Go on. Please understand that you're not getting a choice about this.
So yes, there was a picture, and I rejoiced at my brilliance. But the dialogue demons got their hands on me, and a ficlet had to follow.
Snape peered at the figure behind the bar. True, his eyes had been weakened by decades of working in poorly lit dungeons, and peering through noxious fumes into dangerous potions, but either Madam Rosmerta had made a quite unexpected and inappropriate choice for her Animagus form, or--
"So what'll it be, Professor?"
"You're a squid."
"Yup. Now, what'll you be having?"
Snape attempted to get his mind around the fundamental conundrum. "You're a squid."
"I thought we'd covered that."
"Why, precisely, are you working at the Three Broomsticks?"
The squid shrugged. It was quite an eloquent shrug, encompassing several tentacles and knocking a bottle of Firewhisky off the shelf behind him. He caught the bottle with one tentacle and said, "Do you know what Dumbledore pays me? Not a damn lot, I'm telling you."
"Dumbledore pays you?" For a moment, Snape wondered what the going rate was for a School Squid, and if it was a more lucrative career than Underappreciated Potions Master. He'd have to learn to swim, though. That would be a problem.
"Weren't you listening? If I was making decent money, instead of the pittance the Board deems appropriate for the Official Hogwarts Cephalopod, would I be working in a bar?" The squid sighed. "I can't tell you how many times I've applied to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts. And do I get the job? No. Dumbledore will hire a Centaur for Divination, but a squid's just not good enough for Defence -- you know, he told me once, there's only one person in England who's applied for the job and been rejected more than I have. I wouldn't want to be that poor sucker, would you?"
"So I got another job. Friday nights, just to cover a few bills. Madam Rosmerta likes the night off. And," the squid nudged Snape with a brotherly tentacle, "there are perks." He looked past Snape and winked; turning, the Professor saw a cluster of giggling young women. "Squid groupies. Shameless."
Wonderful, Snape thought. It was just like his schooldays: the squid got more female attention than he did.
It was almost enough to make him wish he had tentacles.