A truly happy Spike beamed down at the trembling victim held captive in his relentless grip, as he confided to the young girl in her ornate noblewoman's gown, who barely heard through her terror such odd statements as, "Lovely gel, my Dru, but for everything she gets right, there's always a 'alf-dozen bits of pure codswallop you have to suffer through. I mean, she nattered away all last bleedin' night about me meeting my fate on Halloween, and let me ask you, does this look anything like that?"

The vampire then smirked at how Buffy Summers' eyes rolled back in her head in a near-faint at that point, and momentarily ignoring his prey about to pass out, Spike lifted his head to share an evil grin with his band of minions scattered around the Sunnydale alley and eagerly watching their leader. Those idle buggers were for once being properly respectful, since it was clear to them all that they were about to witness history: the death of a third Slayer at the hands of William the Bloody. Even that blond bint's friends, including the poofter himself, were staring in horror while being subdued by the strongest demons of Spike's mob. Well, enough of savoring the moment; it was time to instead once more drink the sweet, sweet blood of a Slayer.

Pulling back his lips to reveal teeth that were about to change into fangs as he started to shift into game face, Spike abruptly froze in mid-transformation, as the vampire and the rest of the group of monsters were all taken completely by surprise at the sudden appearance of a speeding vehicle that loudly announced its entry into the alley with an immense, squawking blast from its rubber horn. All of the demonic minions that had been formerly standing there in the middle of the alley now frantically hurled themselves out of the way, winding up pressing their misshapen forms against the brick walls on the alley sides, as the breeze from the rapid passage of this bizarre motorcar blew against their unearthly faces with eyes wide open in shock. Spike himself was also gaping at the onrushing machine, too startled to notice how he'd relaxed his grip to allow an out-cold girl to drop onto the alley floor. Just as he was about to spin around and run for his unlife, a horrendous screeching sound echoed throughout the alley, as the car slammed on its brakes, coming to a stop only a few feet from the body of Buffy Summers missing all of this in her current state of being an unconscious French noblewoman.

For a few moments, there was both absolute silence and stillness in the alley, until this immobility of all those present there - Spike, his minions, Angel, Cordelia, and ghost-Willow, not to mention Buffy herself - was interrupted by someone else magnificently arising from his driver's seat, as the operator of the open-topped automobile stood in front of his steering wheel, arrogantly placed his fists on his hips, directed a very cold look at the flummoxed vampire illuminated in the flickering, yellow glow of the old-fashioned car headlights, and then this stranger drawled in his most contemptuous tone:

"Look here, you foul creature of the night, be off with you! Tonight, as is only right and proper, I'm the one who'll be placing the heroine in jeopardy!"

Earlier that day, Ethan Rayne was brusquely jerked out of his contemplation of how many of his Chaos magic-imbued costumes he'd sold so far, as the sound of the "tinkle-THUD!" coming from the bell hanging onto the front door that had now been impatiently pushed open, to slam against the inner costume shop wall. Standing behind the cash register counter, the English sorcerer blinked at seeing the short man there framed in the open doorway and bestowing upon not only the proprietor but the entire stock of the costume shop an extremely sour look, the equivalent of a gallon of milk left out of the refrigerator for at least a fortnight.

Keeping a grouchy sneer fixed upon his face, the visitor stomped towards the bemused shopkeeper, with the very first irritated words then being barked from the unknown man, "Listen, you, I need a costume right now, and it better be cheap, because I don't need to be ripped off by paying for something I didn't want in the first place!"

Just managing to quell his immediate dislike towards his latest customer, Ethan hastily swallowed his derisive suggestion that for all he cared, this bloody dwarf was perfectly free to look for a costume anywhere else than his shop; say, on the next continent over. Instead, the Englishman simply murmured in his most syrupy voice, "Ah, Halloween is a time when most people don't mind dressing up-"

"Well, I'm not most people!" snapped the rude man who was making Ethan's fists itch. Unaware of just how close he was getting to GBH, this oblivious individual now declared, "I'm Principal Snyder of Sunnydale High School, and I make other people wear what I want! Unfortunately, when I told my boss today about my latest plan to have those young criminals in my charge do something useful tonight, like escorting trick-or-treaters around town, he thought it was an absolutely wonderful idea, so much that he ordered me to join them!"

After irately saying those final words, this Snyder bloke spun around to glare at the costumes stocked throughout the store, missing how Ethan then suddenly grinned from ear-to-ear at the glorious chance of getting that obnoxious chap there into the maximum amount of trouble tonight, if he could only talk this customer into the proper outfit- Quickly shifting his eager expression back into the right amount of proper interest, Ethan watched as the head of this city's main higher-education facility returned his attention to the other (and much taller) man, and began to loudly express his demands. "Now, like I said before, I'm not going to pay a penny more than I have to! Plus, it better be dignified, as benefits my position! Nothing from the comics or cartoons, nor any other children's entertainment!"

As his customer continued ranting, Ethan maintained his air of imperturbable attention, all while inwardly trying to decide what he could con this prat into wearing. At last, a proper challenge. Let's see, now…

Several minutes later, Snyder was approaching his maximum level of incandescence, all easily discernable by the reddening of his entire bald skull, as he bellowed across the counter, "Have you lost your mind! I'm not wearing that! He's the butt of everyone's jokes, what with him never winning and always being humiliated!"

Patiently awaiting the opportunity to slip in a word edgewise, Ethan seized his moment when Snyder paused for a moment to take in a breath, as the shopkeeper then persuasively said, "That may be, but you must admit that at least until the conclusion, this character does enjoy himself. Besides, if you want to get philosophical about it, there's also the point that if there's an Eternal Hero, there must also be an Eternal Opponent. As you just said, the word 'always' means no matter what happens in the end, a proper villain will forever survive, to again torment the leading man."

As he glared over the ludicrous costume laid out on the countertop at the idiotic foreigner there who'd come up with such a stupid suggestion, Snyder opened his mouth, about to pour absolute scorn upon what had just been said, only to be cut off by Ethan hastily adding what was sure to be the clincher: "It's your exact size, and it's the cheapest costume in the whole store! In fact, I'll do even better. If you chose this, I'll throw in another costume, free of charge!"

A suddenly-suspicious Snyder grumbled, "I don't want a costume in the first place! Why would I want another one?"

"Oh, not for you," Ethan denied, firmly shaking his head. He then pointed out, "Didn't you say you ordered your disruptive students to escort the local tykes around this town later on in Halloween? By any chance, would there be a particularly troublesome pupil among those rowdies, that would surely benefit from the firm hand of authority held ready tonight by a zealous guardian of discipline and propriety?"

After that last question, there was absolute silence in the costume shop, with Ethan carefully watching how Snyder was standing frozen there, staring ahead with a faraway look in the bald man's eyes, that slowly shifted into a gleam of pure evil. In a distant tone, a single name was whispered by someone now utterly won over by a silver-tongued Chaos mage, who was also at that precise moment unobtrusively slipping a little toy car from the box below the register counter into one of the pockets of the just-sold costume.


A certain teenage boy dressed up in his Army fatigues came down from his startled leap caused by that happy bellow behind himself unexpectedly coming from further up the high school corridor. Frantically grabbing for his loose toy rifle also bought from the costume shop he'd visited earlier today, Xander Harris managed to keep from dropping this fake weapon on the floor, as he then turned around to see what a truly despised troll wanted now.

In the very next moment, Xander was struck dumb, as was everyone else in the high school foyer, which included his fellow Scooby Gang members, Buffy and Willow dressed in their own holiday outfits, plus the numerous excited younger schoolchildren in their Halloween costumes. All of these people now gawked at the short man presently strutting towards them.

Proudly stroking with a fingertip the large, fake handlebar moustache attached with spirit gum to his upper lip, a smirking Principal Snyder finally stopped in front of the fascinated crowd, who all disbelievingly stared at a perfect example of a late nineteenth-century stock melodrama villain, right from a music-hall theater. In his top hat, swallowtail coat, vest, long-sleeved shirt, good pants, and high boots, all of this menacing clothing was in shades of deepest black, as if to illustrate the utter darkness of this scoundrel's heart.

At the proper moment, right before anyone could blurt out an incredulous giggle or disrespectful comment, Snyder casually informed the goggling young man before him, "Harris, I've changed my mind."

Hardly able to believe his luck, Xander stuttered, "You, uh, mean we don't have to take the kids around-"

"Wrong!" the principal barked in his best tone of jovial sadism, which further continued. "You and the other offenders here are still going to do that, or else. No, what I meant, you're not wearing that disreputable outfit you have on now."

A malevolent smile then appeared on the baddie's face, as he regarded Xander's Army costume. In his haughtiest voice, as if turning down the local widow's plea for more time to keep her orphanage from being foreclosed and turned into a high-class brothel, Snyder ordered an astonished Twinkie-lover, "Your new costume for tonight is in the first classroom behind me. Get in there and change into it, now!"

"What?" yelped Xander, staring at a smug villain clearly expecting instant obedience. Now absolutely outraged, the male Scooby demanded, "Why the hell-"

"Ah-hah!" Snyder shook a hypocritical finger at an angry teenager, whose temper only increased at a sanctimious voice then declaring, "That kind of vile language in front of these innocent children just got you a week of detention, starting Monday! And, it'll only be the first of many, all spent with me and your fellow culprits, or you can wear tonight what I got for you, and we'll call it quits. So, what'll it be, Harris?"

Not knowing what else to do, Xander then turned around, about to anxiously confer with his friends, until he halted in his tracks, to once more gape at where just a moment ago, Buffy and Willow with their groups of trick-or-treaters had been standing there in the foyer. Now, there was only his own bunch of kids dolefully regarding him while the sound of stampeding footsteps slowly died away in the school corridor, as a Slayer and a red-haired girl in her ghost costume at the forefront of their forces led a panicky retreat at full speed out of the school into the Sunnydale night. Leaving behind Xander Harris to his doom.

Knowing himself to be utterly betrayed, a teenage male's shoulders slumped, as he then gloomily wondered just what he was going to be forced to wear, anyway.

A couple of hours later:


Sometime after that:

"All right, Max, just why should I possibly care about the inbred youth of this bucolic community, which would itself only be improved by a few dozen natural disasters occurring here?"

"But, Professor, it provides the perfect chance for you to show off your brilliance when you demonstrate your latest invention! How else will anyone recognize your absolute genius, unless you prove tonight that nobody but yourself is capable of building something that'll handily defeat the monsters infesting this place?"

"Mmmm… Max, incredible as it may seem, for once in your life, you've made a valid point."

"Thank you, Professor."

"Don't let it go to your head."

"No, Professor."

"All right then, crank up the Hannibal Twin-8, and we'll be off."

"Can I drive?"

"No, you may not drive, you buffoon!"

"…grumble, grumble, grumble…"

Two comedy reels afterwards, Spike the vampire stared in total disbelief at the outdated horseless carriage parked in front of himself. He hadn't seen anything like this for nearly a century, and maybe not even back then, what with its high, boxy body over twin sets of rear wheels, an open driver and passenger compartment, gleaming brass headlights, and a bizarre spear or probe extending from the front. Matching its occupant's attire, this early 1900's-style car was painted dead black.

Speaking of that soddin' loudmouthed driver… The demon still in game face glared back at the sneering man in his top hat standing up in his car, as Spike felt his temper about to explode. He really didn't need this shite, so that berk over there could just-

"BUGGER OFF!" roared the vampire, clenching his fists in preparation for the old ultra-violence, as Spike started to step forward over the Slayer's unconscious body, only to halt in his tracks at an entirely unexpected reaction.

A currently-possessed Principal Snyder slowly brought up his right hand to his face, and he now performed an absolutely magnificent twirl of the end of his moustache (it's all in the knuckles). Right after that, a steady order was given by that villain in his gleeful tone of utter malevolence:

"Press the button, Max."

Cackling in proper minion-like fashion, Xander Harris presently under the mental control of an entirely different person and dressed up in his lower-class servant's clothing from the last century then eagerly pressed the proper button on the instrument panel of their car that had manifested itself out of thin air earlier tonight.

An instant later, a small hatch popped open on the front hood of the Hannibal Twin-8, with a short metal cylinder then promptly sliding out, aimed directly at Spike the vampire. Who found himself looking right into the mouth of a miniature cannon.


As clouds of fired gunpowder smoke then swirled throughout the Sunnydale alley, intermixed with the dust from a now-deceased enemy of the Scooby Gang, Principal Snyder thrust both of his arms up at the nighttime sky in his long-desired triumph, to then joyously bellow, "Thus shall all enemies perish when they meet…" (significant pause) "…PROFESSOR FATE!"

Author's Note: In 1965, Blake Edwards (1922-2010, director of the "Pink Panther" series, "Breakfast at Tiffany's", etc.) filmed the comedy movie The Great Race based on an actual historic event, the first around-the-world automobile race in 1908. Done in a hilarious melodramatic style, the cast includes Tony Curtis as our hero, the Great Leslie (*hurrah!*), Jack Lemmon as the dastardly Professor Fate (*hiss! boo!*), Peter Falk as Maximillian Meen, minion at your service (*idiot!*), and Natalie Wood as Maggie DuBois (*sigh*), a beautiful suffragist reporter determined to get the story and also the Great Leslie, as all of these people make their way around the globe at the turn of the century, plotting and scheming against each other.