Hey, as God is my witness, I didn't give the Slayer nothing. Yeah, I carried a box over to the Watcher's library. What of it? I gotta get by in this town. Remember, when I opened up there was no Slayer in Sunnydale. I had a bar. I had my clientele. Life was pretty good. Then the Slayer shows up and she finds my place and she thinks she can waltz in anytime she wants, not thinking twice about what it does to my business. I'm in a delicate situation. I mean, I gotta keep my clientele happy but I can't piss off the Slayer either.

So, yeah, I did lug that box to the Watcher. He comes in, tells me it's being delivered discrete like, which means to my place. Am I supposed to say no? I upset the Watcher, well then I got one brassed off Slayer on my hands. Like I said before, not good for business. And that box was damned heavy, let me tell you. I thought I was giving myself a hernia, lugging that thing about. I dumped it on that table in the library and, geez, it practically took up half the space.

The damn Slayer doesn't even thank me, just goes straight for the box. "So, how do I open it?"

"Hey, hey, money up front." As I said, I'm a businessman. I gotta make my dough somehow.

"How about I don't break your shop?" That Slayer, not a nice girl.

"No, no, it's quite all right, Buffy. I did agree to pay the man."

The Slayer made a derogatory comment about my manhood but I let it slide because that's the kind of guy I am. After I pocketed the cash, they both turned on me. "You an go now."

"What? After all that lugging and lifting, I can't see what it is?" I didn't know what was in the box, see. I mean, I knew where it came from – which is more than the Watcher knew let me tell you – but that was it. If it did interest the Watcher, well, that kind of info it's better to be in on the ground floor.

The wooden box, heavily carved with occult symbols, didn't have an obvious lid or anything and I was wondering what the Watcher would make of it. He skimmed over it a couple of times and then pointed out two symbols set at the center of one of the sides. "This should be it Buffy. Just set your hand there and the casket should open."

She did as he'd said and there was this flash of bright light. Inside was a clay tablet full of markings. It looked sort of like a kid had taken a stick and drawn in the sand, but, you know, it wasn't English or anything. The Watcher got down to business. "Seems to be fairly standard Akkadian. This shouldn't take long." He pulled out a dictionary and compared the markings on the tablet to those in the book. "This first bit seems to be a greeting of some sort." He went back and froth between the tablet and the book a couple of times but came up for air pretty quick. "That … doesn't make sense."

"What?" The Slayer looked over his shoulder as if she thought she'd be able to read what he needed a dictionary to plow through.

"It is a greeting. I was right about that. It's just not one I expected on an artifact of this nature."

"What is it?"

"Uh, basically it reads Dear Mother and Father."

She raised a fuss and he told her to calm down before he got really busy, translating down the page, checking it again and again. A good hour had gone by before he stopped. "I'm afraid this was all for naught."

The Slayer stopped her pacing. "Why? What is it?"

He looked a bit abashed as he read it out. "Dear Mother and Father, I hope you are well. One of the children was ill but is better now. We are all fine. Not much has happened otherwise." He paused. "It goes on like that.

"It's a letter? What happened to the all powerful mystical object stored for all eternity where no demon could get at it?"

The Watcher blushed at her words. "These things happen sometimes. Items do get misidentified."

"Which means this mystical doodad might still be out there."


That's when she turned on me, as if I wasn't expecting that to happen sooner or later. "Or maybe somebody delivered the wrong box."

Of course I defended myself. "Hey, I'm not gonna mess with the Slayer. It's bad for business. Besides, if I was gonna give you the wrong box, do you think I'd have stuck around waiting to get beat up?"

"It is unlikely, Buffy." The Watcher came in on my side. I hadn't seen that coming.

"Because he's not a lowlife snake?"

Damn Watcher smirked at that. "No, but it wouldn't do him any good to keep the casket given that it can be opened only by a Slayer."

"Oh." She was sounding a bit discomforted by that thought and I can't say I was that much happier with his words, but she did give up on trying to beat me up so I suppose that was okay.

I hightailed it out of there as fast as I could. The Watcher was right. Nobody was going to pay me for a box only the Slayer could open, but that's not the kind of thing you want taking up space in the bar. An object like that, in the vicinity of, well, pretty much anything, always leads to trouble. I'm hoping I can sell it on ebay, unless you'd be willing to take it off my hands?