They head into one of Sunnydale's many alleys, where Amy senses "this is it." She demonstrates to Willow that the air is hot, and then walks towards what looks like empty alley. Instead, she vanishes into a squiggly special effect. Willow follows, arm outstretched. She emerges into what looks like the really sad, seedy lobby of a dingy hotel. ["It looked to me like a repainted version of Doc's lair from 'Forever.'" -- Sars] There's no metaphor here anymore -- the place is a flophouse, pure and simple. And God knows why a mysterious magic dealer couldn't spiff the place up a little more. The aura of junkie-retro about the place might amuse some rich, spoiled Sunnydale kids who crave a walk on the wild side, but that's hardly Willow's situation after all she's seen. Amy explains that the place belongs to Rack; it's cloaked and moves around town. An interior door opens, and Rack strides out. He's all stringy haired and wall-eyed and makes a bee-line for Willow and Amy as some of the other little hangers-on in the place bicker about who gets their fix next. Right about now I hear a loud whistling, and as Rack decides to play with Amy and Willow, a huge anvil slams through my roof, narrowly missing my cat as it slams to the floor.
As the cat glares reproachfully at me from under an armchair, I become blinded by a neon sign on the anvil that screams, "Check it out!! It's like a drug metaphor with Willow!! Ain't it seedy??!!" I try a little yoga breathing to slow my pulse and then drag the TV to a safer location. I finally coax the cat out with an offer of tuna juice. She's all about the tuna juice. Rack derisively says to Amy, "You were a rat!" He laughs that he hopes she learned her lesson about using spells that were too difficult for her. Nope, Rack, she hasn't learned a thing. As he rubs his hands together, they begin to crackle with red electricity. He approaches Willow, saying, "This one's giving off vibes." He can sense power coming off her, but Willow seems very nervous about the situation. She's not sure what she's there for, so Rack tells her, "Amy said I could help you. But did Amy say how you could help me?" Well, no, she didn't actually. And not to spoil it for anyone, but neither does anyone else in the entire episode. Exactly what Rack gets out of the deal is never explained, or even mentioned again. Willow offers money or computer help in exchange for the goods, man, but Rack isn't interested. Instead, he lays his hand on Willow's chest. His hand begins to glow red, and both Rack and Willow seem transported. I don't want to pussyfoot around -- they're making sex faces. Rack begins to breathe hard and then pulls his hand away from Willow, who stands looking all doped up with her eyes shut and her jaw slack. Rack puts his lips real close to Willow's ear and whispers, "You taste like strawberries." ["Hey, Ace. I don't know if you know this, but a 'strawberry' is essentially a crack whore. A neighborhood girl that exchanges sex for the rock. Straight from N.W.A. to you, 'Strawberry, strawberry is the neighborhood ho.' The song is 'Dopeman,' from their seminal album Straight Outta Compton." -- Sep] ["Wow. I totally did not know that. I spent the '80s listening exclusively to broody British music and '60s garage rock." -- Ace] Rack is creepy. Then about ten more anvils crash into my room, followed by a minor deluge of cow pies as we launch into a trippy-druggy sequence the likes of which has not been seen since The Trip and Psych-Out.