The Month Of Change
Tuesday, September 22, 1897
The sun was shining brightly in the clear, blue September skies, & Mouse London was alive with activity! On every street, you could see a cavalcade of cars, trucks, & vans parading down the shoulders of the cobblestoned lanes, as pedestrians promenaded down the pavements in different fashions & forms of dress; elegant gowns & fancy suits clashed with T-shirts, jeans, sneakers, & other outfits of a modern persuasion, all in a swirling sea of garments that were splashed in all the colors of the rainbow! Neon signs & electric lights could be found in every mouse building, & there wasn't a single, solitary structure—no, not one place!—that didn't have at least one of the millions of gadgets & gizmos that had been produced in the last month. PA systems & stereos released the resonating strains of jazz, funk, blues, hip-hop, rap, rock-&-roll, techno, New Wave, & other musique nouveau. Restaurants of every variety served a veritable collection of countless confections & culinary delights—some old, some new—while the latest slang terms & expressions peppered rodents' conversations. Male & female fursons of all races, species, ages, nationalities, religions, & types interacted together in perfect peace & harmony, with no bias or bigotry to be found among the pint-sized populace. Rodent men & women no longer remained contained in separate spheres, but worked together inside & outside the home. This was the birth of a new era! This was the dawn of the Neo-Mousetorian Age!
In the West End of Mouse London, inside the place that was known as Cumberwell Market to rodent citizens (& Cumberland Market to hominoid citizens), there was a large mouse marketplace that spread all throughout the square, mysteriously managing to be unseen by any humans who wandered the area.  Nicely-dressed rodent denizens in old & new outfits walked through the bazaar, as the sounds of cheering, talking, conversing, laughing, shouting, wailing, singing, & clamoring could be heard from mouse miles around. Lots of rodent kids were running around, chasing each other, playing games, & suchnot, while some of them were being pursued & called out to by their frantic mothers. Other rodent families paraded through the market & the surrounding streets, with the children clutching a favorite toy or two, & some of the mothers holding big, brightly-colored umbrellas in their paws to keep off the sun. Newspaper mouselings in sporty clothing & English caps looked around every which-way, scouting for potential customers, as they hawked copies of the afternoon editions of every gazette to them.
Mouse vendors stood at booths, discussing with shoppers, & helping them purchase from a wide variety of items—toys, books, purses & other accessories, clothing, jewelry, food (especially dishes fashioned out of cheese), school supplies, flowers, novelties, & just about anything else you could think of. Smoke & steam emitted from the ovens, kettles, & appliances at the food stands, while other costermongers peddled their culinary wares in wheeled carts.
One of these food vendors was an elderly Scotsmouse, who was of average height & weight for a male mouse for his age. His body was covered in light-brown fur, & thinning light-silver hair (along with a matching moustache & pair of sideburns) adorned his face. A slightly-prominent pink nose was juxtaposed between his hazel eyes, & a big white bucktooth jutted out from his upper lip. A pair of curvy pink ears (both of average size) flanked either side of his head, which sported wide & curvy cheekbones. Pale-green shirt-sleeves covered his upper half, while dark-green trousers adorned his lower half; a medium-sized red bow-tie fastened the wings of his upturned shirt collar, & a chartreuse apron covered much of his clothing. His feet were snugly contained in large black shoes, & a medium-sized pair of round glasses were perched upon his nose. The peddler—who was affectionately referred to by the micefolk as Old Mouse Porter—was trying to keep a rowdy bunch of naughty mouselings away from his produce stand, which was filled with all kinds of delicious fruits & vegetables (all of which had been grown & harvested on Porter's farm on the outskirts of Mouse London).
As he vainly attempted to chase the mouselings off, Old Mouse Porter shouted, "Away! Away, you naughty rascals! Shoo! I mean it, now..." While turning to deal with one of the mischievous youths, Porter got his tail yanked by another mouseling, & he began to give chase after him. "Get back here, you little urchin!" Old Mouse Porter snarled, as he ran after the second mouseling...only to have his efforts to capture him fail.
Before he could get ahold of the ill-disciplined imp, the farmer fell into a pool of mud, getting his clothes & glasses filthy. The naughty mouselings laughed at Old Mouse Porter, & ran away from the area, but Porter still wanted to make sure those scalawags got what they deserved. He started chasing after the mouselings again...but with his glasses all muddied up, he couldn't see, & he accidentally crashed right into his produce stand, causing it to fall & break apart—an unfortunate event that always seemed to befall Old Mouse Porter, much to his never-ending dismay. When he realized what he had done, Old Mouse Porter (understandably) became quite upset, & he moaned, "Oh, Great Belin! Not again!"
Soon, Old Mouse Porter was joined by another figure—a Scotsmouse, like himself. Unlike Porter, however, this mouse was extremely tall, & his figure was extremely stout (almost corpulent)—especially in the area of his midsection. His fur was tan, & his face was adorned with blazing red-orange hair, along with a moustache, beard, & sideburns of a matching color (all of which were kept neatly-trimmed & tidy). A pair of long whiskers flanked either side of his slightly-prominent dark-brown nose, &, like Old Mouse Porter, a big white bucktooth protruded from his upper lip. Thick, bushy red-orange eyebrows topped his pair of stern blue eyes, & small pink ears flanked either side of his head, which also sported wide & curvy cheekbones. His limbs were stout, & his paws & feet were of a massive size. He was dressed in a navy-blue bobby's uniform (consisting of a tunic & trousers), along with a matching helmet, white silk gloves, & shiny black shoes; in one paw, he clutched a wooden nightstick (one of the items that he could usually be seen carrying around with him). The rodents of the Mouse London police force considered him to be their finest associate; to family & friends, he was known as Scott, but all law-abiding locals of the London mousetropolis respectfully referred to him as Constable McBrusque.
"Whatever is the matter, Old Mouse Porter?" McBrusque asked sympathetically, taking pity upon the unlucky peddler...who was now stumbling about blindly, & trying to feel his way around, as he fumbled clumsily along the ground.
"My glasses are all muddy, & I have nothing to clean 'em with," Old Mouse Porter replied irritatedly, as he continued to grope & stagger about in his state of sightlessness, brought on by the thick coatings of sludge that caked the lenses of his spectacles. "How can I expect to see well enough to fix my produce stand without them?"
"Allow me," Constable McBrusque said politely, taking the muddy glasses off of Old Mouse Porter's nose. After taking a moment to spit on the lenses, the bobby wiped them down with a few rubs of his tunic sleeve, before returning the bifocals to Porter. When he saw how nice & sparkling clean his spectacles were, the costermonger couldn't help but burst into a wide smile.
"Oh, thank you, Constable McBrusque!" Old Mouse Porter exclaimed gratefully, as he went over to shake the officer's paw. "You've done me a great service!"
"Don't mention it, Porter," Constable McBrusque responded with a genial smile. "After all, that's what neighbors are for."
"Yes, things are certainly much nicer in Mouse London, now that Professor Ratigan & his minions are gone," commented one of the other mouse vendors, who had witnessed the incident with Old Mouse Porter. "Why, they're nicer than they've ever been before!"
"Especially when we've got that new technology & stuff around!" added a young paperboy, who had been wandering through Cumberwell Market, hawking the newspapers he held in his paws. After uttering his recent remark, the newspaper mouse continued on his rounds, making his way out of the market to enter Regents Park (which lay not too far away). Upon arriving at the aforementioned place, the newspaper mouse strolled down the cement walkways, heralding the latest headlines to passersby & park-goers in his Brooklyn accent, in the hopes of receiving their patronage. One mouse couple, seated at a park bench, offered to buy one of the mouse's newspapers; after paying the lad two shillings, they both took a copy of the afternoon edition of "The Illustrated London Mouse". The male mouse of the couple opened the pages of the paper, & took a look at the articles inside, gasping with delight at each thing he read.
(CUE SONG: "This Month Of Change")
At one point, the male mouse turned to face his wife, & showed her one of the pages of their newly-purchased newspaper, which featured part of an article about the latest invention that had been made at the New Technology Factory. Pointing to the lavishly-colored photo of the machine that came with the aforementioned article, the male mouse declared in surprise...
Henry: Lookie here!
They've just produced new electronic maps!
But the male mouse's wife couldn't comprehend why her husband was acting so excited about this announcement, for she was certain that this new technology was all merely part of a passing craze—a wave of "stunning industrial developments" intended to incite materialistic greed & consumerism with convoluted contraptions that were sure to go off in the market in a short period of time. Continuing to work on her sewing, the male mouse's wife shook her head dismissively, as she made her cynical reply...
Lulu: Oh, Henry, dear,
You don't realize we're being played for saps!
Upon hearing this, the male mouse immediately gathered his wife into his arms, gazing deeply into her eyes, as he held her against him. Trying to convince his beloved that her fears were unjustified, the male mouse told his wife with an elated expression on his face...
But, Lulu, love, Our world is not the way it used to be! "It's NOT?" the male mouse's wife asked in incredulity. Unable to contain his enthusiasm, her husband happily replied... No! This month of change Has changed the very course of history! The mouse couple, the newspaper boy, & the rest of the rodents in Regents Park quickly launched into a rousing chorus, singing & dancing together in perfect harmony, as they reveled in their heartfelt happiness. All the other inhabitants of Mouse London—the pedestrians, peddlers, preachers, teachers, mousicians, magicians, artists, authors, tinkers, tailors, soldiers, sailors, students, & whatnot—casually carried on about their business, enjoying the blessings & benefits that now graced their daily lives, as they joyfully joined in the merry melody that burst forth from their lips... This month of change, It's turned our lives around! This month of change, It's turned London upside-down! This month of change, It's made all good & proper! May we live & prosper On this merry month of change, This month of change! In one particular building, a shopkeeper mouse watched his customers checking out the various items he had on display in his music store. Traditional instruments, such as the violin & oboe, could be seen alongside newer instruments like synthesizers, euphoniums, vocoders, electric guitars, digi-drums, & so on—all of which, the customers were eager to purchase. To his perusing patrons, the shopkeeper mouse sang... This month of change Has made me well-to-do! I have new kinds of instruments To sell to all of you! One of the customers—a jazz mousician—spotted a saxophone resting on a display stand. He couldn't wait to buy it...but not without trying it out, first! As he took the aforementioned instrument into his paws, the jazz mousician exclaimed... This saxophone of purest gold Will make the sweetest sound for me! The jazz mousician proceeded to play a snazzy tune on the saxophone, before pulling its mouthpiece away from his lips...& smiling in satisfaction. His words, indeed, had rung true! And not only was the jazz mousician pleased with the pleasant sound of the saxophone, but he was now eager to buy the instrument! The jazz mousician went over to the front counter to make his purchase, & after the transaction had been completed, the shopkeeper's latest customer left the music store with his newly-bought saxophone in his paws. As he took the money that had been given to him by his gracious patron, & placed it in his cash register, the shopkeeper sang happily... And with my customer satisfied, That means another pound for me! Meanwhile, in another part of Mouse London, the area of Jollywood Square (known to us humans as Oakley Square) was busy & bustling with activity...mainly at Zenith Movie Studios. On Set B, a big fight scene was being filmed for an upcoming action movie, & the hero was to battle a band of villainous assassins with the use of his bare paws...but the actor portraying the male lead couldn't seem to muster the courage to even put up his dukes! After witnessing the latest of several unsuccessful takes, the director of the movie  looked out from behind the viewfinder of his video camera, glaring at his star with an irritated expression, as he shouted... CUT! This brand-new action movie Will earn me bucks galore, But I won't be in the money If I kick you out that door! When the director mouse had given him his ultimatum, the actor mouse winced, & for several reasons—at the prospect of earning the wrath of his employer, at the prospect of being fired, at the prospect of not reaping the benefits of being in a box-office hit...& especially at the prospect of being forced to "battle bad guys", when he couldn't even stomach the thought of hurting a fly! Oh, why couldn't I just have offered to play a part in that romance movie? the actor mouse complained mentally, but he did not voice his thoughts aloud. Instead, the timid, timorous thespian continued to sport that oh-too-uneasy look on his face, as he muttered to himself nervously... This movie's not the kind for me! I don't like blood & gore! I'll be screaming like a baby When I knock him to the floor! Shutting his eyes tight—& hoping that he would be able to please the director mouse in just one more take—the actor mouse threw a punch at one of the "assassins"...& literally sent him flying off the set! When the actor mouse opened his eyes, & saw what he had done, he felt shocked, then relieved...& only became more so when he watched the director mouse look at him with a pleased smile, as he said in satisfaction, "CUT! Now, THAT'S a show!" The actor mouse began to feel all the earlier anxiety leaving his body, as his soul became filled with feelings of courage & confidence; he was now sure that he could play this role easily! Meanwhile, on a mouse street in the Whitechapel district of London's East End, a shady-looking mouse in grubby clothing was standing by a crude display of several televisions, which he was hawking out to passersby. Hoping to pique the interest of potential customers, the shady-looking salesmouse called out in a gravelly Cockney accent... 'Ello, chaps, I'm offerin' ya a bargain not ta miss, A fabulous invention that'll bring yer fam'ly bliss! It's called a television, & it's 'mazin' as can be! A talkin' box with movin' pictures! Get one free! On the other side of town, things were swinging inside one of Mouse London's most-popular teen clubs! The air was filled with the strains of the latest techno music, which was blaring at full volume, so that all the dancers could feel the pulse & throb of the bass-beats, as they moved & grooved together to the energetic dance melodies. A veritable rainbow of bright, colorful lights danced along the walls & ceiling of the dark room, & as the adolescent clubbers let themselves loose on the disco floor with brilliantly-colored tiles, a DJ provided the music with the help of the radio station playing on his stereo system, as he rapped... Citizens of London, DJ Ronnie's here to say That this month of change has really made our day! The radio is treating us to brand-new sound & song, And pretty soon, the city will be jammin' all night long! Back in Regents Park, the mouse couple, newspaper boy, & other rodents were still singing...but, now, they had split up into separate groups. Holding each other by the paws, the rodents in each ensemble were merrily dancing around in circles on the park green, as they began to wrap up the number that they had been performing... This month of change, It's changed the world forever! An inventor mouse  in the crowd ecstatically exclaimed... This month of change, It's made our city better! An author mouse  in the crowd delightedly declared... This month of change, It's a blessing to us all!
A preacher mouse  in the crowd jubilantly shouted...
- Preacher Mouse: May God bless us all
On this merry month of wonder!
Finally, all the park-goers stopped dancing, & came together to sing the last part of their triumphant final chorus, smiling broadly from ear to ear, as their voices rang in harmonic unison...
- Park-goers: May we live & prosper
On this merry...month...of...change!
This month of change!
This month of change!
This month of change!
Upon finishing their rousing melody, the rodents at Regents Park soon returned to their earlier business. Unaware to the park-goers, however, a much-different kind of action was taking place in another section of the recreational area...if one could really use the word "action" to describe the activity that was going on there.
(CUE MUSIC: Scherzo movement from Peter Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 4 In F Minor")
On an "isolated" part of the green at Regents Park, a ragtag round of rogues sat together on the grassy ground, lounging about idly on this sunny September day. These particular critters (as well as the large cat who was with them) weren't just any rogues; they were none other than the former thugs of Professor Ratigan, & they had spent the last two months wandering the streets of Mouse London, looking vainly for a place to stay. Over the course of the previous weeks, the ex-minions had lost many of the members of their "family"—whether due to death, incarceration, or reformation—& all that remained of Ratigan's team were 15 mice, 2 bats, 1 cat, & 1 lizard. The ex-minions were bored & not quite sure what to do with themselves, now that they were unofficially "retired" from the criminal business (well, really, it's more like they were fired...but more will be revealed about that later).
One of the thugs was sitting down on the grass by himself. He was a tall mouse with a lean, lanky figure; his body was covered in tan fur, & a matching wave of neatly-combed fur-hair adorned the top of his head. A slightly-prominent brown nose (flanked by a pair of short whiskers on either side) was juxtaposed between two wicked gray eyes that were half-lidded in languor. His frame was covered by a buttonless mauve jacket (which was worn open over his other clothing), a snug-fitting plum-colored shirt, & a form-fitting pair of ankle-length brown trousers; a pair of dull dark-brown shoes sheltered his feet, & his crown was covered by a dark-navy-blue bowler hat (decorated with a mauve ribbon around the "dome"). Normally, one could see a large Cuban cigar hanging from his mouth, but this was absent from his boca today.  The thug—a forger by the name of Walker DeBeaumont—stretched his arms & legs, as he gave a great big yawn. It was evident that, after two whole months of having nothing to do to occupy his time, Walker was becoming very drowsy & tired from the ennui that ate at him each day.
Planting his legs down on the ground, & his arms at his sides, Walker turned his head to lazily face his co-thugs, as he said jadedly, "I'm bored."
Not too far away, two mice were sitting together on a red-&-white-checkered picnic blanket, sharing an early lunch. The first mouse was a short, slender woman with white fur; she had straight golden-blonde hair that ended at the level of her shoulders, & a small pink nose jutted out from between her sweet blue eyes with long lashes. A pair of small, curvy pink ears extended from her head (which sported wide & curvy cheekbones), & her slim limbs ended in delicate paws & feet. She was mostly clad in an ankle-length pink dress with short, puffy sleeves, no collar, & light pink lace trimmings that went all along the sleeves, neckhole, & hem; a pink bow was neatly tucked into her hair (right in the middle of her head), & a pair of red shoes with small heels covered her feet. She wore no jewelry, but a modest amount of makeup adorned her pretty face. Her name was Miriam Richards, & although she was not really a thug of Professor Ratigan, she was the girlfriend of one thug...at least, a thug in the occupational sense of the word.
That "thug" was the second mouse on the picnic blanket—the very one who was dining with Miriam. He was a rather short fellow with a plump, chubby figure (especially in the area of his midsection). Tan fur covered his body, & a wave of neatly-combed fur-hair adorned the top of his head. A slightly-prominent nose (which had literally turned red from excessive alcohol consumption, & was flanked by a pair of long whiskers on either side) was positioned between his sweet, but bloodshot, brown eyes. His ears were small & curvy, like Miriam's, & his stout limbs ended in small paws & average-sized feet. He wore an oversized red sweater (which had long sleeves that tended to drape over his hands), a pair of loose-fitting dark brown trousers, a snug-fitting pair of dull brown shoes, & a worn-out dark brown top hat (with a black ribbon-stripe & bits of fuzz decorating the "dome"). The mouse's name was Bartholomew Favell.
But wait a minute, you readers are probably wondering, didn't Bartholomew get eaten up by Felicia? As a matter of fact, no; Bartholomew was supposed to have been "executed" by Felicia, but he managed to escape from the jaws of death at the last moment (this will be explained further at a later point in the story). And as a result of his miraculous survival, Bartholomew had decided to permanently abstain from alcohol...& slowly, but surely, he was making steps in that direction.  Weaning oneself off of intoxicating beverages is not exactly an easy process...but, in any case, the only drinks that Bartholomew (& Miriam) had with the midday meal were several Coke-type bottles of grape-flavored sugary soda! Taking a big piece of cheese from the picnic lunch, & preparing to eat it, Bartholomew said to Walker in reply, "Well, we could play checkers." Bartholomew then quickly opened his mouth, stuffed the cheese into it, & swallowed the dairy item in one gulp, before reaching for one of the bottles of grape-flavored sugary soda. After opening the bottle (& raising it in a mock-toast), Bartholomew put the container to his lips, guzzling its contents to wash down the recently-eaten cheese...before accidentally giving out a belch. Miriam wrinkled her nose in disgust, & fanned her hand in front of her face to ward off the stench, as Bartholomew turned away from his girlfriend with an awkward expression & a sheepish smile, blushing profusely as he put a paw to his mouth, & said, "Oops...'Scuse me."
Another thug was sitting down on the grass at the base of a big rock. Like Bartholomew & Miriam, he was on the short side, but his figure was lean & lanky. Light-brown fur covered his body, & a wave of neatly-combed fur-hair adorned the top of his head (which sported wide & curvy cheekbones). A slightly-prominent pink nose (flanked on either side by a pair of medium-length whiskers) was positioned between his cunning brown eyes, & a big white bucktooth could be seen jutting out from his upper lip. A pair of large, curvy pink ears extended from his head (the "right" ear had a notch in it), & his average-sized appendages (i.e., paws & feet) & thick pink tail seemed to be disproportionate with his skinny arms & legs. A buttonless gray jacket was worn open over his other clothing, which mostly consisted of a snug-fitting light-blue shirt, & a pair of ankle-length gray trousers (which matched the jacket, & were held up by a brown leather belt with a golden buckle); dull dark-gray shoes covered his feet, & a red scarf (decorated with a yellow plaid pattern) was wrapped around his neck, with two long, loose ends trailing down over the "right" side of his body. And, to complete the outfit, a gray English cap rested snugly upon his head. The mouse—an Australian pickpocket, burglar, & general petty thief who had come to earn the nickname of "Jaywalk" James Clarke  (due to his escape method, which will be demonstrated for you at later points in the story)—glared when he registered Bartholomew's earlier words to Walker. Not at all pleased with his stout co-thug's suggestion, Jaywalk James complained, "Checkers? Crikey, I hate that game!"
Nearby, a fifth mouse was seated on a makeshift park bench. This mouse, like his two previously-mentioned cohorts (& Miriam), was short in stature, but he shared Jaywalk James' lean, lanky build. He also had many of the same physical characteristics shared by Bartholomew, Walker, &/or Jaywalk James—the tan fur & matching fur-hair, the rounded head with wide & curvy cheekbones, the slightly-prominent brown nose with the pair of medium-length whiskers on either side, the brown eyes (which often had an impish quality to them), & the small, curvy pink ears. Unlike Jaywalk James, however, his short (& slender) pink tail & average-sized appendages looked to be more in proportion with his slim arms & legs. He was dressed in an ensemble that was rather appropriate for this time of year (for aesthetic, as well as practical, reasons)—a buttonless maroon jacket (which was worn open over his other clothing), a burnt-orange turtleneck sweater, a form-fitting pair of ankle-length brown trousers, a pair of dull dark-brown shoes, & a knitted dark-red ski cap with a pom-pom on top. This mouse—a vandal who often went by the moniker of "Snotty" Sam Fitzgerald (exactly how he got his nickname will be revealed to you at later points in our tale)—was leaning back in his seat with a satisfied smile, relaxing as he was being given a shoulder-rub from a sixth mouse, who stood behind the park bench where he was resting.
The sixth mouse was a tall, athletic-looking woman with a big-boned figure. Tan fur covered her body, & a short mop of curly brown hair adorned the top of her crown (with several twirly tendrils & bangs hanging down in front of her forehead). Her rounded head sported high cheekbones that curved at a slight angle, & a small pink nose jutted out from between her gruff blue eyes (topped with a pair of thick, angular brown eyebrows). A mole decorated her "left" cheek, & a small pair of curvy pink ears extended from her head; her tail was thick, & her muscular limbs ended in massive paws & feet. Despite the woman's homely appearance, however, the thugs always seemed to find her attractive...for all the wrong reasons! They insisted that she constantly wear a sleeveless, form-fitting red dress (which had a wide square neckline that went down to her chest area, thick shoulder-straps, & a hemline that reached the level of her knees—how humiliating!), along with black fishnet stockings, red shoes with small heels, red bead earrings, makeup, & a red choker with a small white pearl in the middle; the ensemble was meant to make the woman look more "gorgeous" when she fulfilled her duties as the thugs' masseuse, cook, mousekeeper, general servant...& occasional concubine, when Ratigan or his minions had no other girls to "spend fursonal time" with. As she continued to rub Snotty Sam's shoulders, the disgruntled woman (named Olga Mousekewitz)  glared bitterly, as she made her curt response to Jaywalk James' complaint, telling the pickpocket in her thick Russian accent, "Then go play cricket!"
Meanwhile, on a large rock, two other thugs were sitting together...though these "minions" were really more of a kindly & benevolent pair. The mice were of different build & stature—the first was short & stout, while the other was lean, & of average height—but they shared a few common characteristics, such as tan fur (& matching fur-hair), rounded heads with wide & curvy cheekbones, slightly-prominent brown noses with whiskers on either side, & pairs of small, curvy pink ears. For all the similarities in their appearances, however, the two mice did not look entirely alike; for instance, the first mouse had brown eyes (while the second one had violet eyes), the first mouse's whiskers were much shorter than the second one's, & the first mouse had thicker limbs & larger appendages than his partner (not to mention a shorter & somewhat-thicker tail).
The mice also dressed in individual sets of clothing that helped to differentiate them even further. The first mouse, like Snotty Sam, wore an outfit that was well-suited for September in design & appearance: a buttonless dark brown vest (which was worn open over his other clothing), a red-orange sweater, a form-fitting pair of brown pants (which were held up by a dark brown leather belt with a golden buckle), a pair of dull dark-brown shoes, & a brown bowler hat with a red-orange ribbon around the "dome". (Like Walker, he normally smoked a cigar, but this was absent from his mouth.) In contrast, the second mouse wore an outfit of a more-"wintery" variety: a buttonless pum-violet jacket (worn open over his other clothing), a lavender-&-brown-striped shirt, a pair of dark-plum-violet trousers, a pair of dull dark-gray shoes, & a dark-purplish-gray English cap that fit snugly upon his head. It seemed that the mice—whose names were John Robertson & Maxwell (nicknamed "Max") Henshaw, respectively—had found a way to keep themselves entertained, as they were now engaging in the latest of several card games. Having heard Olga's suggestion for Jaywalk James to play cricket, John turned to gaze in the direction of the Russian masseuse; then, smiling at Olga, John nodded his head in agreement, as he said, "That would be good."
Max, however, did not take well to John's comment, & he also did not bother to hide his displeasure. As he took one of his cards, & placed it on top of the stack between him & John, Max glowered angrily, & remarked sotto voce, "Cricket reeks."
When Max said this, John couldn't help but overhear him, & he swiftly turned back to face his friend with an irritated expression, as he retorted, "Does not!"
"Does too!" Max countered, & the two "minions" immediately began arguing back & forth—almost like children fighting over a toy! If one were to see & hear the heated exchanges between John & Max, one couldn't help but laugh, as (s)he witnessed the mice's asinine argument with one another.
Then, the debate became more fursonal in nature, & John & Max resorted to using an ad rodentem defense of offensive epithets, which the mice took turns hurling at each other, much as one would throw balls or water balloons: "Stupid-head!" 
John's last insult really got Max riled up! Yes, it was true that the sensitive Max did have a great fondness for his loving mother, with whom he shared a very close bond (he had done so since the day of his birth!)...& it was also true that Max tended to flaunt his relationship with his "dear Mum" (whether he read his latest letters from her, used one of her possessions in his own home, baked some of her favorite recipes, or made constant references to her)...but unless you wanted a tail-kicking from the normally-meek mouse, you did not dare call him out on any of those things! Launching into a deep rage, Max lunged for John, & even went so far as to try & strangle him during the ensuing scuffle...but before they even knew it, their squabble was soon broken up by the arrival of a third "thug"—their closest friend & companion.
Like John & Max, this particular fellow was also of a not-so-malicious nature...but, appearance-wise, he easily stood apart from his pals, due to the fact that he was a lizard. His tall & lanky body was completely covered in green-yellow skin, & his rounded head had high cheekbones that were rather small & curvy. His slightly-prominent muzzle consisted of a protruding jaw underneath a bulbed, beak-like nose, which jutted out from between a pair of kindly green eyes; a large sac of flesh hung under his chin, almost like the waddle of a turkey or some other bird. His neck & tail were both long, with the former being much thinner than the latter; his skinny limbs ended in large hands (each containing a set of 4 fingers) & feet (each containing a set of 3 toes). Being a cold-blooded creature, he was dressed in clothing that would keep his body temperature at a comfortable level: a snug-fitting light brown sweater (which had long sleeves, as well as a tall, turtleneck-style collar), a pair of ankle-length olive-green trousers, & a dark green English cap that was much too big for his head (so much so that most of the hat was flopping down over the back of his crown, with the bill sticking up over his eye area!). The only thing he wasn't wearing was shoes. The reptilian "minion"—usually known by the name of Bill The Lizard—may have been a servant of Professor Ratigan, but he was that in title & occupation only; in word & deed, he acted as the altruistic, noble, & good-hearted leader of the heroic vigilante group known as the Goodie Gang (of which John, Max, Bartholomew, Miriam, & Olga were members). Dodging in between John & Max to break up the fight, Bill pushed the mice apart with his hands to their faces, as he told them in a reprimanding manner, "That's enough, both of you! I want you two to kiss & make up!"
In response to Bill's orders, John & Max just turned aside, facing away from each other, as they shut their eyes, tilted up their noses, & crossed their arms in front of their chests in a display of obstinate stubbornness. "Ewww, no way, Bill!" John retorted angrily, as he did the aforementioned gestures.
"I'd rather jump in the Thames River!" Max replied irately, performing the same acts. At the base of the rock where Bill, John, & Max were standing, Jaywalk James was seated on the grass with 3 other mice. The first 2 mice, who made up a notorious duo known as "The Flashy Farrell Brothers", were a pair of fraternal twins—both males, with somewhat-different appearances. The oldest of the twins was named Terry; he was tall, with a big-boned, stocky figure. Tan fur covered his body, & matching fur-hair adorned the top of his head. Like Bill The Lizard, he had a rounded head with high cheekbones that were rather small & curvy; a small brown nose was juxtaposed between his malicious blue eyes. A pair of small, curvy pink ears flanked either side of his head, & his thick, muscular arms & legs ended in large paws & feet. He was dressed in a buttonless dodger-blue vest (worn open over his other clothing), a snug-fitting sky-blue sweater (which had sleeves that he kept rolled up to his elbows), a pair of ankle-length brown trousers, a pair of dull dark-brown shoes, & a brown bowler hat with a black ribbon around the "dome". In one hand, he clutched at the handle of a large wooden billyclub, which he swacked against the palm of his other paw in the lingering state of idleness that he had grown accustomed to.
The younger of the Flashy Farrell Brothers, Thomas, was also tall, but not quite as much as Terry. He shared his older twin sibling's tan fur & matching fur-hair, small brown nose, thick limbs, & large appendages...but he had plenty of his own unique traits, as well—his figure was stout & plump, he had an elliptical-shaped head with wide cheekbones that curved at an angle, a pair of medium-length whiskers flanked either side of his nose, green eyes, purplish markings surrounded his eyes, & his ears were of average size. Like Snotty Sam & John, Thomas wore an outfit that was perfectly fitting for the fall season: a snug-fitting medium-violet-red sweater, a pair of ankle-length dark-magenta trousers, a pair of dull dark-brown shoes, & a knitted dark-orange-red ski cap (minus a pom-pom). And, much like his brother Terry, Thomas was also consumed by a sense of gnawing boredom, although he tried to alleviate this by listening to some of the calming classical music that flowed from the speakers of a recently-stolen boom-box, which the third mouse was trying out.
The last mouse was tall, like the Farrell twins, but his frame took on a lean, lanky figure. He, too, had tan fur & matching fur-hair, both of which he kept neatly combed; his rounded head sported wide & curvy cheekbones, & a prominent pink nose (flanked with a pair of long whiskers on either side) jutted out from between a pair of crafty eyes with yellow "whites" & dot-like black irises (said eyes were topped with a pair of thick, angular black eyebrows). A big white bucktooth could be seen jutting out from his upper lip, & his head was flanked by a small pair of pulled-back ears. His tail was long, & his limbs were thin, ending in average-sized paws & feet. His choice of clothing was rather simple in color & design, yet practical for the particular kinds of criminal careers he often pursued: a black turtleneck sweater with matching sweatpants, a knitted black ski cap (with a small pom-pom on top of it), & a thick black bandanna-mask that fit snugly around the middle of his head, with two oval-shaped holes for his eyes to show through. Like Bill The Lizard, he preferred to walk around in his bare feet, but just as long as there were no sharp objects on the ground, he didn't mind. In fact, the mouse—who preferred to be referred to as Agent 001—was quite content to feel the grass underneath his nagoy nogas, as he, the Farrell Brothers, & Jaywalk James listened to the soothing strains of Tchaikovsky...until Agent 001's ever-acute ears perked up to the sound of Max commenting to Bill about "rather jumping in the Thames River", than apologizing to John.  Unable to resist going for a touch of wicked humor, Agent 001 chuckled darkly, & as he tilted his head up to face a certain mouse standing on the rock, the Russian minion said with a mischievous smirk, "That can be arranged, Max..."
"Ah, shut it," Max shouted at Agent 001, now looking indignant. "I don't need to hear your sarcastic remarks!"
Retorting with his usual trademark mockery, Agent 001 countered, "Oh...&, yet, you've managed to put up with John's 'sarcastic remarks' numerous times. Are his wisecracks becoming a little too 'soft' for you, Max?"
Back on top of the big rock, where he was still standing with John & Max, Bill The Lizard glared at Agent 001 with a scolding look, as he admonished him, "Agent 001, don't be so mean!" Then, Bill turned his head to gaze in the direction of another thug, before putting on a big, toothy smile. "So, how's that lollipop tasting, Gunsmoke Gary?" he asked.
On another part of the park green, a few mouse yards away from Agent 001 & co. (along with Bill, John, & Max), were 3 other thugs. The first of these particular minions was a tall bat-mouse hybrid in her early 60's; despite the various wrinkles & signs of aging on her face, she still remained a voluptuous vixen with her slender, shapely figure, & managed to look quite good for her age. Her body was covered in golden fur, & her head was topped with short, straight red hair that she always kept neatly combed, neatly cut, & neatly groomed. A pair of large bat wings with light-golden webbing adorned her arms, two rows of sharp white teeth (complete with a small pair of front fangs) filled her mouth, & two tall ears (one of which had a notch in it) flanked either side of her head with wide & curvy cheekbones. These were the only traits that came from the battier half of her heritage, for all her other physical features resembled those of the mousier side—a slightly-prominent pink nose (flanked by a pair of long whiskers on either side), a long pink tail, & mouse-like fingers that were tipped with sharp claws. Her green eyes had a cold & callous air to them, & were topped with a pair of thick, angular red eyebrows. She wore an outfit that would have shocked the rodents of Old Mousetorian society (though it was now the Neo-Mousetorian Age, &, so, it did not really matter): a long, sleeveless deep-turquoise dress (which was cut up so that it revealed much of her legs, had a hemline reaching down to her ankles, & had a low, V-shaped neckline that went down to her chest), a deep-turquoise garter with frilly light-turquoise trimmings, & a pair of black leather combat boots that reached up to the middles of her calves. Strapped to her right thigh with the garter, was a large knife that she always carried around with her.
The bat-mouse woman, whose name was Eunice Karlin, was once one of Professor Ratigan's top minions (& one of his few female thugs), but in the months that had passed since Ratigan's departure, she had contented herself to spending time with her boyfriend & fellow thug, who was sitting across from her, as they engaged in a game of chess—their favorite sport. (I thought I should take the time to mention that Felicia had just started regaining the weight she lost during her frantic escape from Queen Mousetoria's Royal Guard Dogs, & this was accomplished with the help of Ratigan's former thugs keeping her fed with fish, meat from the local butcher shops, & dead beggarmice that they found on the streets. But it was Eunice who managed to keep Felicia from fulfilling any urges to eat the thugs; you see, Eunice happened to have a rare ability to communicate with cats in their own language, & she was able to convince Felicia to leave the minions alone...or else!) 
Unlike his lady-friend, Eunice's companion was a pure-bred bat, of average height & slim build. His body was covered in gray fur (complete with matching fur-hair that, like Eunice, he always kept neatly combed); his rounded head sported high cheekbones that curved at a slight angle, & a small pug nose with two open nostrils was fixed between his roguish yellow eyes (topped with thick, angular black eyebrows). His big bat wings had silver webbing (although one couldn't normally see this under his clothing), as did his large hands; his feet were of a similar size as said hands, & his arms & legs were thin. He had the same rows of sharp white teeth, front fangs, & tall pink ears as Eunice (but his "right" ear did not have a notch in it). In addition to a set of crisp white shirt-sleeves, a red silk necktie, & black patent-leather shoes with white spats, his frame was covered in the clothing of a mouse detective's ensemble—trenchcoat, trousers, tunic, invertness cape, & deerstalker cap—but they were all in black, & the sleeves of certain garments were fashioned to fit over his wings like a poncho or shawl. The ruffian's name was Shellington Batly, & he was eagerly enjoying the game of chess he was playing with his dear Eunice...but, oh, how ironic it was that he was "fighting on the side of black"—the very color of his custom-made detective uniform, not to mention the very color of evil itself! Like that measly do-gooder Basil Of Baker Street (with whom he sometimes worked on cases), Shellington couldn't help but notice the little things; it was practically second nature for him to do so! 
The third thug, who was standing a few mouse feet away from Eunice & Shellington Batly, was a mouse of short stature, with a stout, portly figure. His body was covered with tan fur (along with matching fur-hair), & a slightly-prominent brown nose was juxtaposed between his roguish deep-green eyes. A gray five-o'clock shadow adorned his chin & muzzle (except on the area of his lower lip), & a pair of small, curvy pink ears extended from either side of his head (which sported wide & curvy cheekbones). His arms & legs were stocky, ending in large paws & feet. He was smartly dressed in a buttonless forest-green jacket (which was worn open over his other clothing), a snug-fitting pair of cobalt-blue trousers, a single-breasted navy-blue waistcoat, a set of periwinkle-blue shirt-sleeves (which had a starched white collar that he kept turned up around his neck), a red silk necktie, & a pair of blackish-blue shoes that he always made sure to keep spotless & shiny. In his paw, he clutched a big red lollipop, which he was slurping on in a slow, leisurely manner, savoring the sweet cherry flavor of the candy.
Upon hearing Bill The Lizard ask him how his sucker was treating his palate, "Gunsmoke" Gary Mousedale paused for a quick beat, then finally responded in a casual tone, "Hmmm...tastes pretty good." With that, the hitmouse, assassin, & occasional bank robber went back to sucking on his lollipop, making very loud slurping noises as he did so.
Unfortunately, Gunsmoke Gary's aforementioned slurping provided an annoying distraction for Eunice & Shellington, who were both trying to play their chess game. After Gary slurped on his sucker for several minutes too many, Shellington couldn't take the noise anymore. To his girlfriend & fellow minion, he asked in an annoyed tone, "Eunice, darling, could you please go over to Gary, & talk to him about his most impolite behavior?"
"Certainly, my dark knight," Eunice replied, before getting up on her feet, & walking over to Gunsmoke Gary, who did not face her...or stop slurping on his lolly. Sporting a "sweet", fang-filled smile, Eunice crossed her wings & arms behind her back, leaning in closer towards Gunsmoke Gary, as she asked him, "Gary, dear...How many times have I asked you..."—her smile immediately disappeared, & she sported an angry expression—"...NOT to slurp on that lollipop while you're sucking on it?"
Gunsmoke Gary took a moment to consider, then made his answer: "Umm...I'd say about one or two times, give or take." With that, the trigger-happy hitmouse went back to slurping his lollipop once again.
Now, Eunice was becoming quite enraged. Gritting her teeth together, the fanged fiendess snarled angrily, "WRONG, Gary. Ever since Bill first started making you give up cigars, & suck on those bloody lollies instead, I've asked you not to slurp on them exactly 214 times—EXACTLY!" 
"Yeah," Gunsmoke Gary replied in a cavalier manner. "So what?"
Gunsmoke Gary then went back to slurping his lollipop for the third time in a row, sending Eunice closer & closer to the edge. Barely managing to contain her fury, Eunice growled, "Gary...let me make one thing nice & sparkling clear to you...you slurp on that lolly one more time..." As if to spite Eunice, Gunsmoke Gary slurped on his sucker for a very long moment...&, at that point, Eunice completely snapped! Losing control of the anger she had tried so hard to contain, the villainous bat-mouse hybrid lashed out at Gary, & shouted, "That's it, you bratchny! You asked for it!" With that, Eunice began to chase Gunsmoke Gary around the park, pursuing the hitmouse every which-way...& as he tried to run as fast as he could to avoid Eunice (& therefore not have to face her unholy wrath), Gary couldn't help but scream like a frightened child. 
As he watched the rather comical chase ensue, Shellington Batly remarked dryly, "Ah, so much for lollipops—the world's..."
"And my..." Bill piped in, before Shellington finished, "...alternative to cigarettes." "He had it coming, the little bugger," Jaywalk James commented, as he & the other thugs continued to watch Eunice chasing Gunsmoke Gary. 
(CUE MUSIC: Abridged version of "Adagio Of Spartacus & Phrygia", by Aram Khachaturian)
Not too far away, a young mouse was sitting on the grass by himself. He was an extremely short, shrimpy fellow with a thin, lean figure. Tan fur covered his body, & a wave of matching fur-hair adorned the top of his head (which sported wide & curvy cheekbones). A slightly-prominent brown nose (flanked by a pair of medium-length whiskers on either side) jutted out from between his normally-mean blue eyes, & his curvy pink ears were of average size. His pink tail was short & slender, & his thin arms & legs ended in small paws & feet. His choice of clothing consisted of cool colors: a buttonless pink vest (which was worn open over his other garments), a snug-fitting turquoise turtleneck sweater with long sleeves & a folded-down collar, a form-fitting pair of ankle-length blue trousers, a pair of black shoes, & a blue baseball cap (which he wore backwards over his head, almost like one of those modern-day rappers). The mouse's moniker was "Peewee" Pete Colemouse, & as he sat cross-legged on the ground, holding his head in his hands, his face sported a sad, forlorn expression. In the two months that had passed since his "retirement" from his position as one of the burglars & petty thieves (among other things) in Ratigan's gang, Peewee Pete couldn't seem to find a reason to smile anymore—be it due to boredom, sorrow, homelessness, hunger, the inability to find a stable job, the loss of several of his old friends & fellow thugs, the staleness of his recent lifestyle, the departure of his former boss, or the deprival of the devious duties that he had enjoyed so much.
At one point, a yellow butterfly came fluttering by, dancing playfully around Peewee Pete's head, but the thug paid no attention to it; he was completely caught up in his utter misery. After dancing around Pete for several seconds (& receiving no response), the butterfly finally gave up, then flew away. Not changing his earlier expression of unhappiness, Peewee Pete complained dejectedly in his high-pitched voice, "Awww...I wish Ratigan were here, so we didn't have to sit here all day, & do nothing! When are we gonna start committing crimes again, like we used to?" 
Before Peewee Pete knew it, he was soon joined by another thug. The mouse was quite short (but not nearly as much as Pete!), & his frame took on a big-boned, slightly-stout figure. His body was covered in brown fur, & a wave of matching fur-hair adorned the top of his head (which sported wide & curvy cheekbones). A small cherry-red nose protruded from between his beady brown eyes, & an average-sized pair of curvy pink ears extended from his head. His pink tail was of the usual length & thickness for his particular proportions, & his stout arms & legs ended in paws & feet of average size. He was dressed in a buttonless turquoise-blue jacket (which was worn open over his other clothing), a snug-fitting pair of ankle-length gray trousers (which were held up by a brown leather belt with a golden buckle), a long-sleeved black shirt, a pair of shiny black shoes, & a deep-brown bowler hat with a black ribbon around the "dome". The minion—"Manchester" Maurice Favell—happened to be Bartholomew's twin brother, but unlike his younger sibling, he was more of a mean, malicious furson in nature. And, yet, one couldn't really tell that just by looking at Maurice at this particular moment. As he approached Peewee Pete, Manchester Maurice seemed to share the younger mouse's pain—&, in fact, he quite did. Sorrowfully shaking his head, Maurice forlornly told his diminutive comrade, "I'm afraid that's not going to happen, Pete. Ratigan kicked us out of the hideout, & left for God-knows-where with Fidget. I fear that he's gone from our lives forever."
When they overheard this, all the thugs (with the exceptions of Bartholomew, Miriam, Olga, Bill, John, & Max) began to groan & moan dismally, now beginning to remember & realize how much they ached & pined for the older days, when they kept themselves engaged & entertained with all sorts of delightfully-devious criminal activities...when Ratigan made sure that they were never in need of anything...when they could relax in the lap of relative luxury...when they were encouraged to cave in to the darker side of rodent nature...when they could live apart from society's rules, & not have to be bothered by anyone about it (except law-enforcement officials)! Caught up in the wave of emotions that was washing over his co-minions, Pete's eyes filled with tears, & he started to wail noisily. Managing to speak through his sobbing, Pete cried, "I wish the Boss would come back!"
Suddenly, the "poignant" scene was interrupted by the appearance of a tall, dark, ominous shadow, which loomed over Peewee Pete & Manchester Maurice. The two mice looked up at the owner of the aforementioned shadow...&, upon seeing him, they could barely contain their astonishment. "Perhaps, I can be of some assistance," spoke a smooth, suave voice that carried a posh air about it. The shadow continued to get bigger, as its owner got closer to the area where the thugs were; all the minions were practically engulfed by the silhouette, gazing up at its source in admiration & delight...with the exceptions of Bill, John, Max, Bartholomew, Miriam, & Olga (as well as another thug with an eye-patch, "Old Blind Joe" McDowell—we will meet him again later on).
As he gazed up at the shadow, Bartholomew looked very frightened. It was apparent that he was not too pleased to see the strange visitor...& in a voice that quivered with absolute fear, Bartholomew whispered to himself, "It's HIM..."
Agent 001's reaction, however, was a lot more enthusiastic. The Russian minion immediately dropped what he was doing, got up, & walked away from Jaywalk James & the Farrell Brothers, before approaching the owner of the shadow. Smiling widely in absolute ecstasy, Agent 001 fell to his paws & knees before the silhouetted figure, bowing reverently towards him, as if he were a god. Then, after he finished his bowing & kowtowing, Agent 001 looked up at the visitor with tears of joy in his eyes, & said, "Oh, Master..."
Felicia was also quite delighted to see the "Master". The feline meowed happily, & got up onto her petite feet, before merrily prancing over to the shadowy figure. Said figure reached out a paw to pet Felicia tenderly; the corpulent cat purred contentedly in response to his touch. For a few seconds, the figure's eyes were closed, as if in a pleasant smile...but, then, the aforementioned eyes snapped open, revealing a pair of piercing green irises & cold black pupils against golden-yellow "whites". The sun shone brightly behind the figure, providing a sort of backlight that gave him his darkly-silhouetted appearance; one could not make out the color or details of his clothing or physical features, except for his eyes...& when those orbs sported a devilish gleam, that made the figure's presence all the more eerie...
The thugs (or the majority of them, anyway) could hardly hide their heartfelt glee. The day they had been wishing for had finally come. London's greatest rodent criminal had returned... ________________________________________  It should be noted that intelligent rodents are, for the most part, fully-aware of the existence of human beings, but human beings are seldom aware of the existence of intelligent rodents. The rodents consider their world to be apart from the human world, &—in a way—it is; humans don't usually notice the intelligent rodents living among them, & the two worlds don't mix often.
 The director mouse—Cecil B. DeMont—is a character that we'll meet again in Chapters 7 & 9 of the story.
 The inventor mouse—Professor Phineas Doppler—is a character that we'll meet again in Chapters 7 & 9 of the story.
 The author mouse—Amergin Burgess—is a character that we'll meet again in Chapters 7 & 9 of the story.
 The preacher mouse is a character that we'll meet again in Chapter 8 of the story.
 Since Disney is taking steps to discourage smoking in their films, the film version of GMD 2 will have minimal instances of brief cigar or cigarette use, with the rest of the movie featuring the use of substitutes (such as straws, pieces of hay, lollipops, gum, & whatnot) & comments / references to smoking that are of a negative nature... ...although, for the purposes of the fanfiction version of the story, that's not exactly the reason why Walker, John, & Gunsmoke Gary aren't with their usual cigars. When Ratigan's thugs were all "relieved of their criminal duties", Bill The Lizard "forced" everyone to give up smoking—mostly because he was concerned about their health, but also because he cannot stand the odor of cigars & cigarettes (he can barely tolerate his friend Red's smoking!)—& recommended that they put relatively-healthier things in their mouths, like candy or gum, to lessen the cravings.
 In the majority of my post-GMD fanfics, Bartholomew will be alternating between soft drinks, milk, juice, tea, punch, coffee, 'Kool-Aid', lemonade, water, & alcoholic beverages in his long (but ultimately successful) quest to become sober.
 One reviewer of GMD 2 (well, the previous edition, anyway) expressed a complaint about my nicknames for the thugs, which she considered to be "cliché"...while many (if not all) of my friends, fans, & other readers / reviewers don't seem to mind them so much (although one particular pal of mine didn't really care for the name "Snotty Sam"). Think whatever you want of the minions' monikers; I don't care whether you love them or hate them, just as long as you express your thoughts & opinions to me in a tactful & diplomatic manner. That is all.
But no matter what you think of the names I chose for the thugs, I would nonetheless like to make a statement, for your information. The nicknaming of Ratigan's henchmice was done in the tradition of Eve Titus' character-naming style in the original "Basil Of Baker Street" books; for instance, she used such names as Lefty Lichina, Wrongo Wright, Cactus Charlie, & Jughead Jake. And the "Flashy Farrell Brothers" epithet was directly borrowed from the fourth book in the series, "Basil In Mexico".
In fact, those who have read the books will notice that my GMD sequel & other fanfics are largely influenced by Eve Titus' works; examples of this include the use of mouse-related puns (several of which were lifted from the original BOBS stories), the "mouse vs. human world" themes, & some aspects of Basil's character (as I portray it)...along with many others that would be too numerous to mention!
 I know what you are thinking...&, no, Olga is not related to a certain mouseling or his family. Mousekewitz is a very common name for Russian-Jewish rodents.
 Obviously, "ad rodentem" is the mouse way of saying "ad hominem"; for those who don't know Latin, the phrase means, "[an argument] against the man" (or, in our case, "rodent").
 In addition to the cases mentioned in Footnote 22 from Chapter 1, I will also use Nadsat in my GMD fanfics if it is spoken by, or used in reference to, a Slavic character like Agent 001, since Nadsat is a 'slanguage' that's largely derived from Russian vocabulary.
 Hopefully, this will satisfactorily answer certain reviewers' questions as to why Felicia didn't eat any of Ratigan's thugs during their time away from the sewer lair.
 The details & aspects of Shellington Batly's "double-life" will be further explained & explored in future chapters.
 Some of you may not be pleased with the use of lollipops as a substitute for smoking products...although one has to admit, it does make for a bit of good humor.
 To any of you GMD fans who also love Kubrick: if Eunice reminds you of the Catlady from "A Clockwork Orange", she very well should! The Catlady happens to be one of Eunice's main character models, as well as an appearance / design model (note the red hair & turquoise outfit). Additionally, Eunice shares the same last name as the portrayer of the Catlady, Miriam Karlin...who, incidentally, I imagine providing Eunice's voice for the film version of the sequel (or, if Ms. Karlin is unavailable for any reason, I'll find a bloody good impersonator to do the job!).
 For those of you who didn't already get the in-joke, that entire part of the chapter was one big reference to "Chicago"—mainly the movie version, which my sister & I both love. "Cell Block Tango" happens to be one of our mutual favorite songs from the soundtrack, & I had it in mind when I wrote the dialogue for the scene with Eunice & Gunsmoke Gary.
 I can imagine Greg Duffell providing the voice of Peewee Pete for the film version of GMD 2. In case you don't know, Mr. Duffell is one of the voice actors in an animated movie called "Rock & Rule" (which I happen to be a big fan of, & would gladly recommend to any of you who haven't seen it). He provides the voice of a character named Stretch, who speaks in a high-pitched voice (very much like the one I have in mind when I'm writing Peewee Pete's dialogue).