The registered letter came on Wednesday.

Anya put it on the pile by the door.

Xander walked past it on his way to work.

Thursday, Anya put more mail atop the registered letter, which had been atop the previous stack of mail, mostly bills.

Xander walked past it on his way to work.

Friday, yet more mail was stacked by the door by Anya.

Xander walked past it on his way to work.

The weekend was a good time for the entire stack. It sat unnoticed, fermenting a little even, until payday.

Which was Monday.

Monday was when the explosion occurred.

Normally, Monday, as far as Spike was concerned, was just one more day to sit in the eternal holding pattern that was Sunnydale with a chip in his head.

But if he got started with what he had in mind on Friday, Monday would be worth it.

Because "it" involved smoking.

A lot.

"It" involved beer.

A lot.

(Even if it was cheap American beer. Beer was beer.)

"It" involved telly.

A lot.

And telly meant, "Passions".

Three things which almost, but not quite, made being chipped bearable.

Still, as with what Spike was anticipating happening come Monday, there were other things that almost made his current holding pattern almost bearable.

One of them, as mentioned earlier, was beer and fags, preferably expensive and nicked in front of the shopkeeper for a bit of a cheap thrill.

The other was tormenting Xander, Special Ed, as it were.

It was little stuff, right enough, but it just made a bloke's life worth almost living, er, dying, whatever, like sucking out all the red jelly (Presumably strawberry or possibly even raspberry. What the Hell, it all came out of the same chemical vat anyway – gave 'im a hella bellyache from all that Red Dye #5, but worth it, mate, worth it…) in the jelly donuts, leaving Xander, who liked the red filled ones almost as much as he did making an arse of himself in public, a bunch of empty cheap pastry shells as tongued by the Big Bad 'imself – good times, mate, go with it!

Then there was the time Spike had gone through Xander's sock drawer in Xander's vile little basement apartment and carefully tied knots in every last one of 'em. It had been easier for Special Ed to throw away two-dozen pairs of socks with knots in 'em and buy new ones.

Ditto Xander's favorite pair of trousers. (Bit of a public service there on Spike's part, watch it there mate, you're slippin'!) Like clown pants on acid.

And today, Friday morning, with "Passions" blaring away and Timmy doin' whatever it was that Timmy does, proved no different.

The beer had been cast aside, but not the mentholated smokes, and replaced with a case of blatantly nicked Peppermint Schnapps – last night he'd swaggered out of the liquor store with it under one arm right in front of the clerk who was too busy cleaning up the tipped over jerky display to notice.

Spike cracked open the first bottle, savoring the perfume of presumed peppermint, lipped the bottle, tipped his head back and let the peppery goodness gurgle down his throat before ripping open the first box of Girl Scout Thin Mints, pulling out a silver foil-wrapped tube of cookies, ripping it open, and contentedly eating each cookie in the tube one by one by one, savoring each one's light, crispy slightly chemically, mentholated choco-goodness.

Washed down with peppermint schnapps.

It would lead to a considerable amount of gastric discomfort in the end, but oh, the results, mate, oh, the results!

A few blocks over, Xander, going through the bills after work, found the registered letter.

From the local Girl Scout council.

It seemed to be something about cookies and non-payment.

It also hinted at pressing charges.

For non-payment.

For Spike, it had been a lovely deal.

The Niblet had shown up at the door a month or so earlier in a Girl Guide, no Girl SCOUT uniform, wrong side of the pond, though those little juicy morsels in uniforms were all equally tasty no matter what you called 'em…

She was selling cookies.

Or at least taking orders.

She showed Spike the prizes she wanted: a week at some camp, Camp Skeeter Breeder or whatever, and a stuffed hedgehog, purple.

She wanted him to buy cookies so she could get the unnaturally colored hedgehog and a week slappin' bloodsuckers that weren't him, come summer. "Bloody hell, Niblet, you can do that for free, just come to the cemetery come sundown…heh heh heh..."

Dawn had given him the stinkeye. "Spike, you always have money. Order lots of cookies and I'll go away."

Spike was broke, having been cleaned out by a human mugger the previous night on his way back from rooting through the local blood bank's dumpster in the hopes of finding something tasty improperly disposed of. (Which he didn't, those Red Cross buggers were unfairly scrupulous about these things, but still, a lad could hope…)

No money, ergo, no cookies, and Dawn hanging around his doorstop like an entire cake waved in front of a Type I diabetic determined to make a go of it without insulin.

"Spike, I'm just taking orders, you pay on delivery." Dawn impatiently thrust the form at him.

With the sun making his face and hands itch like fire ants were having their way with him and the Niblet within snagging distance - Spike tucked his fag behind one ear and gave a long, slow grin that showed every tooth he owned, including his back molars.

"Well, well, Niblet, you got a pen?" Dawn handed him a pen that was covered in rhinestones and ended with a hot pink daisy that left an afterimage on his retinas with its neon glory. Still... "Let your ol' uncle Spike…" he'd smirked as he filled out a line on the order form, about three dozen cases should do it… "Eh, 'ere you go, Niblet, you're good ol' Uncle Spike'll see to it you get to slap mosquitoes and scratch all the poison ivy you can wear on your lit'l bum this summer with th' rest of your lit'l terrorist friends, and a dozen purple hedgehogs, sod all, have three dozen of the lit'l purple pricklers, on…, heh, me."

Smirking, Spike handed her pen back with an itchy flourish; this would be better than the time he sent every Avon lady he could find in the local phone book to Xander and Anya's apartment. Anya had ordered fifteen bottles of anti-aging cream because it was on sale. Xander just about had a stroke on that occasion - it had been gratifying to watch Special Ed turn three shades of puce at once. The fight with Anya when Xander ordered her to return the bottles made Spike regret not having charged admission. Oy, now that's somthing to look forward to... he studied his penmanship with great satisfaction.

Dawn grabbed the form, Spike pulled it and the pen, back out of her reach, "No, Niblet, I've a better idea…" Grinning, he'd scratched out the three and replaced it with a six.

Oh yeah, it was all sooooo simple. All a lad had to do was put down a name, address, and phone number, mark down which cookies he wanted plus how many, and a few weeks later, cookies.

Right at his doorstep.

Plus a lovely side-order of torment.

For Xander.

It didn't take Xander long, about 2.5 seconds, to realize what had happened.

Somewhere along the line he'd ordered one box of cookies from Dawn, who'd pestered him and the rest of the Scoobies into buying before she'd go away.

One box.

Just one box.

Which had lasted about fifteen minutes, washed down with beer.

He'd paid Dawn on delivery, having once again to explain this obscure human custom to Anya, who had more or less liked the cookies and then had to be talked out of trying a similar scheme…

…so why was he getting a threatening… letter from… the local Girl Scout Council, for how many... CASES?

Xander looked at the dunnage notice again and sat down.

That many cookies?

For how much?

"Son of a bitch!" Xander screamed, "Anya, get the baseball bat, we're going to the cemetery.

Anya happily complied. She was anticipating the enactment of a tradition she remembered back in the days she was human the first time.

It involved large sticks and a lot of yelling.

And it was quite satisfying.

For Anya, anyway.

After nearly four days of determined gorging, most of the cases were empty, tossed aside; Spike's stomach felt like it had been packed full of live weasels, mentholated ones, plus he'd run out of schnapps, but it had been worth it.

Oh yeah, it'd been worth it all right.

The look on Xander's stupid face when he got the bill? Soddin' priceless! Spike gave out a long, low mentholated belch of vindictive satisfaction, and yeah, good ol' Spike, the Big Bad, had engineered it all, even helping the Niblet load the Summers's family car to the brim with minty chocolate goodness at Xander's expense on delivery day.

Dawnie'd been a right bother about the money as he drove the car twice to his lair with her under a pile of cases on her lap beside him, but still, she'd helped Spike unload – after he promised her that she'd get her money and her trip to Camp Itchy Goomie or what ever the soddin' place was. And a soddin' purple hedgehog.


He'd had to control himself for a few weeks, keeping them under a tarp out of sight in his crypt, waiting for Xander's lovely surprise in the mail.

His guestimate had been right, still these things took time mate, wheels within wheels, and when the home office didn't get their money pronto, they had their ways... anyway, a little patience made things taste better… Spike belched again, grinning despite his demonic indigestion... oh yeah… oh yeah, right… He sat up slightly groaning in a cascade of torn boxes and foil, Oy, was that a beat-up car he heard outside his crypt? Slowly, painfully, Spike made himself comfortable as demon-faced he ate the last Thin Mint, fangs reluctantly grinding the little round of torment to dust, to be swallowed dry.

Surrounded by empty bottles, torn foil wrappers and little green boxes, Spike smirkingly propped his feet upon the battered coffee table, leaning back in discomfort and anticipation of the show to come in his battered easy chair in front of the telly, contentedly belching out a cloud of peppermint schnapps and Thin Mints with a delicate lacing of mentholated smokes for dessert.

Wait for it... wait for it...

The door slammed open, Xander clutching a crumpled letter in one hand and a baseball bat in the other, strode in with Anya not far behind, oh yeah, mate, even if it meant a beating, it had been worth it.

Hell, a lad's got to get a giggle now and then wherever he can, right?

And anyway, the Niblet got to go to Camp Itchy Scratchy, all thanks to Uncle Big Bad, even if Special Ed had to foot the bill.

Good times, mate, good times!