Chapter 9:

More Exciting Escapades

Wednesday, November 25, 1897

(CUE MUSIC: "Humoresque", by Antonin Dvorak)

It was a beautiful morning on the English seaside. The sun shone brightly in the clear blue skies, painting the scenery with warm golden light. Birds cried out as they flew over the land, & the roaring waves of the ocean gently lapped against the shore. A short distance from the shoreline, there was a Victorian two-story beach house for vacationers to stay in. And who should occupy this residence but the Baker Street Family! In the upstairs quarters of the house (sporting lavender flower-printed wallpaper, small windows, & a wooden planked floor), Basil, Victoria, Olivia, Arden, Ratigan, Fidget, Cousin Timmy, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursula, Cousin Samantha, Hiram, Mrs. Judson, & Dr. Dawson were getting ready to go out to the beach. The rodents were dressed in nice-looking swimsuits—the boys in two-pieces with shorts & tank-tops, the girls in pretty one-pieces with skirts, bloomers, bows, & frills attached to them. [1]

A smiling, gleeful Victoria (dressed in a pink one-piece swimsuit with a frilly skirt, bloomers, & puffy sleeves attached to it) waltzed across the floor of the upstairs quarters, modeling in her new bathing outfit. The blissful bride whirled & twirled over to Basil, who caught her in his arms. (The detective was dressed in a navy-blue shorts-&-tank-top ensemble with white stripes.) As she danced her way over to her husband, Victoria exclaimed happily, "Oh, Basil, darling, what a wonderful way to spend our honeymoon...a family vacation to the English seaside!" (She let out a pleasant sigh.) "How very delightful..." Looking up at Basil, Victoria asked, "So, do you like my swimsuit I bought the other day?"

"It looks positively great on you, Victoria!" Basil replied, smiling.

"Thanks, Basil!" Victoria said, as she hugged her husband, & gave him a kiss on the cheek. "I just knew you would love it!" Victoria then broke away from Basil, & went over to Olivia (dressed in a blue one-piece swimsuit with a frilly skirt, bloomers, puffy sleeves, & a big baby-blue bow in the front, along with a blue hair-bow to go with it), Arden (dressed in a fuchsia one-piece swimsuit with a frilly skirt, bloomers, puffy sleeves, & a big pink bow in the front, along with a fuchsia hair ribbon to go with it), Ratigan (dressed in a purple shorts-&-tank-top ensemble with lavender stripes), Fidget (dressed in a cream shorts-&-tank-top ensemble with blue stripes), Cousin Timmy (dressed in a golden shorts-&-tank-top ensemble with orange lining), Cousin Tina (dressed in a purple one-piece swimsuit with a frilly skirt, bloomers, puffy sleeves, & a big lavender bow in the front, along with a purple hair-bow to go with it), Cousin Ursula (dressed in a light blue one-piece swimsuit with a frilly skirt, bloomers, puffy sleeves, and a big black bow in the front along with a light blue hair-bow to go with it), & Cousin Samantha (dressed in a green one-piece swimsuit with a frilly skirt, bloomers, puffy sleeves, and a big yellow bow in the front along with a green hair-bow to go with it). Upon approaching the Baker Street Kids, Victoria crouched down on her knees in front of the Flaversham cousins & Fidget to speak at their level. "So, children, how are you liking our vacation so far?" Victoria asked the four youths with a smile.

Olivia smiled broadly at Victoria as she took out a pail, shovel, Rainbow Beach Ball, & some other beach toys. As she did this, Olivia replied ecstatically, "Oh, it's absolutely fantastic!"

"Simply wonderful!" Cousin Samantha squealed with a giggle.

"I just love the beach!" Arden beamed in delight.

"Me too!" Cousin Ursula added happily.

"Just wonderful, Victoria!" Ratigan gushed.

"Yeah, dis is a real swell house we got to stay in!" Fidget exclaimed, nodding his head in agreement.

"And I can't wait to go to the beach today!" Cousin Timmy declared enthusiastically, as he took out some of his own beach toys (including a sailboat).

"Me neither!" Cousin Tina added emphatically, taking out some beach toys of her own.

"I'm sure you and Timmy can't, Tina!" Victoria acknowledged with a chuckle, as she reached out a paw to lift Cousin Timmy's brown cap off of his head, & tousle his fur-hair. When she was finished doing this display of affection, Victoria placed Timmy's hat back where it was, then turned to face all the children again, & said, "Well, it looks like you're all set to go out & play! You've got your beach toys & everything." With that, Victoria got up, then walked over to Mrs. Judson (dressed in a sky-blue one-piece swimsuit with a frilly skirt, puffy sleeves, light-blue bloomers, & a small light-blue bow in the front, along with a sky-blue bathing cap) & Dr. Dawson (dressed in a periwinkle shorts-&-tank-top ensemble with white stripes on the tank-top, & white lining on the trouser cuffs). "Hello..." Victoria greeted genially as she approached Mrs. Judson & Dr. Dawson, stopped in front of the two mice, & looked at them. "You're both looking splendid today!"

"Well, thank you, Victoria!" Mrs. Judson chirped cheerfully in response. Placing a paw on Dr. Dawson's shoulder, Mrs. Judson brought the medical mouse closer to her, as she told Victoria about her friend's current attire: "I picked this out for David while we were at the pier store the other day." Unbeknownst to Mrs. Judson or Victoria, Dr. Dawson was quite embarrassed to be wearing his beach outfit—so much so that his cheeks were blushing a bright red! Oh, I do wish we had gotten another outfit, Dr. Dawson complained to himself. This bathing suit does not compliment my figure at all! I look absolutely horrendous in it! [2] "For some reason," Mrs. Judson obliviously continued, "Dr. Dawson always appears embarrassed to be wearing his swimsuit—especially in public. I'm not really sure why, but it's a shame—he looks so cute in it!" (Mrs. Judson then proceeded to pinch Dr. Dawson's cheek, making him blush even more profusely.) "So, everyone's ready to go?" the mousekeeper asked.

"Uh...everyone except for Hiram," Dr. Dawson answered, suddenly looking around for the toymaker.

At the mention of Olivia and Arden's father, Victoria & Mrs. Judson joined Dr. Dawson in looking about every which-way for Hiram, moving their heads & darting their gazes in every direction. "Where is he?" Victoria inquired.

At this point, Hiram appeared in the open doorway, passing through the threshold to enter the upstairs quarters. (Incidentally, Hiram was dressed in a blue shorts-&-tank-top ensemble with red stripes.) "Did someone call me?" Hiram asked with a cheerful smile, holding up his paw briefly to wave at his loved ones. As he approached Victoria, Dr. Dawson, & Mrs. Judson (who had now turned to face him), Hiram explained, "Just needed a few extra minutes to get the picnic basket ready." To Basil, Hiram queried, "Have we got everything we need, Basil?"

Basil produced a checklist, & began checking off the items on it with a pencil that he removed from behind his ear. "Hmm, let's see..." Basil muttered while crossing off each entry on the checklist. "Swimsuits, check. Beach toys, umm..."—Basil looked up from his paper to see the Baker Street Kids smiling as they presented all their beach toys they planned to bring with them—"...Triple-check. Picnic basket with food & beverages, check. Umbrella, check. Sunscreen, check. Shade-glasses, check. Towels, check. Blankets, check. Pocket novels..."—Basil patted the book stored in the pocket of his shorts—"...Check. And...Am I forgetting anything, Dawson?"

"Did you mention the first-aid kit? In case of injury?" Dr. Dawson asked.

Basil turned back to the list, smiling & nodding his head as he answered, "Yes, it's at the very end of the list. And I made positively certain that I didn't forget to put it with the rest of our stuff." (He crossed the first-aid kit off on the checklist.) "Well, that's all the items," Basil announced, as he put up his checklist & pencil. "I think we've got everything we need, Dawson!" With that, Basil walked over to join Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, Hiram, & Victoria, as did Olivia, Ratigan, Fidget, Arden, Cousin Timmy, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursula, & Cousin Samantha (all carrying their beach toys.) "Is everyone ready?" Basil asked, looking around at his loved ones. When all the Baker Street Family members nodded their heads in response, Basil exclaimed exuberantly, "All righty, then! On we the beach! Tally-ho!"

(CUE MUSIC: "Panorama", from Peter Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty")

Outside, the sun was still shining brightly, & seagulls cawed & cried as they flew across the skies. The blue, foamy waters of the ocean continued to gently lap against the sandy shore, as the Baker Street Family stood together on the beach. All of their stuff had been taken out & set up—blankets, towels, umbrella, beach toys, picnic basket, & all. Right now, Basil was squirting sunscreen from a small bottle. Everyone except for Olivia had been properly covered with the cream-colored ointment. "OK, Olivia, let's get your sunscreen on," Basil said to his goddaughter, as he squirted some sunscreen into his hands, & closed the bottle shut. Basil then tucked said bottle away, & prepared to rub the light-shielding lotion on Olivia, who stood obediently in front of her godfather, sporting a sweet smile as she waited to have her sunblock applied.

Olivia's smile widened when Basil leaned over to gently place his paws on her face; he then began to rub the sunscreen all over Olivia's fur, making the mouseling giggle & flinch from the tickling touch. Basil ended up laughing, too, as he playfully applied the sunscreen to Olivia's nose, forehead, & cheeks, as well as the nape of her neck, & behind her ears. When Basil was finished putting on the sunblock, he leaned over to kiss Olivia on the nose, causing her to giggle (again) & blush. Afterwards, Basil looked around at his loved ones with a broad smile & arms akimbo, as he asked eagerly, "Now, are we ready to have some fun?" The members of the Baker Street Family all nodded their heads, & Basil cried joyfully, "Then, fun we shall have!" With that, Basil & the others all made their way to the shore, & proceeded to partake in their pelagic pastimes.

First, Basil & the Baker Street Family swam in the ocean waters. Then, Olivia, Arden, Cousin Timmy, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursula, Cousin Samantha, & Fidget made a sandcastle together, while Basil, Hiram, Ratigan, & Victoria watched them. Then, Ratigan, Basil, & Fidget rode the waves on brilliantly-colored pieces of painted plywood that had been sculpted into makeshift surfboards. Next, Olivia, Arden, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursula, Cousin Samantha, Victoria, & Mrs. Judson collected seashells & other treasures. Then, Fidget went scuba-diving in the ocean, with a snorkel & the latest safety gear on his furson. Later, while exploring the beach, Cousin Timmy stooped over on his knees, & peered down curiously at a grouchy-looking crab...which pinched him on the nose with his claw! Meanwhile, Ratigan & Fidget played "catch" with a Rainbow Beach Ball (but not without losing it to Olivia at one point!). Then, Olivia, Arden, Cousin Timmy, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursula, Cousin Samantha, & Hiram waded their feet in the water as they sat on the edge of a tide pool. Afterwards, Olivia, Arden, Cousin Timmy, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursula, Cousin Samantha, Hiram, Ratigan, & Fidget played with their beach toys together. At the same time, Basil & Victoria lay in supine positions on their beach blankets in the shade of the umbrella, reading pocket novels.

Then, the Baker Street Family had a picnic lunch together. After that, Mrs. Judson & Dr. Dawson ran alongside Cousin Timmy & Cousin Tina as they watched him fly a kite. Then, Olivia, Arden, Cousin Ursula, & Cousin Samantha watched a proudly-smiling Fidget use a wooden stick to draw a message in the sand ("I love my family...& Rodent's Delight!"), which soon got swept away by the water of the incoming tide, much to Fidget's chagrin. Next, Basil & Dr. Dawson played a game of cards as they sat on their beach blankets, under the umbrella. Meanwhile, Hiram placed a necklace of seashells around Olivia's neck, prompting the delighted girl to hug her father in a gesture of thanks. Then, Olivia, Arden, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursula, Cousin Samantha, & Hiram watched as Cousin Timmy sailed his toy boat in the tide pool. Finally, Fidget & Ratigan played "Marco Polo" with the rest of the Baker Street Family in the ocean. At one point during the game, Fidget playfully splashed Ratigan in the face with water, causing the rat's head-fur & hair to be soaked. When Ratigan glared in annoyance at him, Fidget just smiled sheepishly, & tittered. Sorry, Ratigan, Fidget thought to himself in mild embarrassment. I couldn't help myself!

When the sun went down that day, the Baker Street Family (still dressed in their swimsuits) sat together around a roaring campfire. It was a beautiful, clear night, with plenty of twinkling stars out. For their dinner, Basil & the others were roasting weenies & marshmallows on sticks. Fidget removed the two marshmallows from the end of his stick, then splooshed them down onto a piece of chocolate placed between two graham crackers. Fidget put the confection-covered crackers together, took a big bite, & munched happily on his S'more, before swallowing his first mouthful of the delectable treat. He then turned to face Olivia, who smiled at him, looking up from the S'more she was holding in her paws. "Boy, Livvy," Fidget declared with a wide smile on his own face, "it was pretty cool of Basil to let us camp out for the night!" Olivia nodded her head a few times in agreement, before moving to take a bite out of her S'more; Fidget immediately did the same.

After they ate some more of their S'mores, Olivia & Fidget both looked up at Basil when the detective cleared his throat a little, prompting the rodentlings to give him their attention. Smiling at Olivia & Fidget, Basil held up a warning forefinger as he reminded them, "Yes, but tomorrow, we go back into the beach house." Fidget & Olivia moaned in disappointment, but Basil just smirked playfully at his godchildren, then brought in his roasted weenie, removed it from his stick, & ate it. After gulping his snack down, Basil got up off the ground, & rose to his feet, stretching his arms with a big yawn. "I suppose it won't be long till you finish your supper," Basil told his loved ones. "I'll start getting the tents ready. Let me know when you're done eating, & we'll all prepare for retirement." With that, Basil went off to set up his family's makeshift campground.

Not too long afterward, a series of four green canvas tents had been set up on the beach, around the extinguished campfire. A light could be seen glowing in one of the tents, where Hiram & the Flaversham cousins were spending their night out. Inside the Flavershams' tent, a snoring Hiram (dressed in his pajamas) was already fast asleep in his sleeping bag. Olivia, Arden, Cousin Timmy, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursula, & Cousin Samantha, however, were sitting up in their "twin sleeping bags" (dressed in their baby-blue footy pajamas, fuchsia silk nightgown, golden pajamas, frilly lilac pajamas, fuchsia flannel pajamas, & yellow footy pajamas, respectively), leaning in towards one another as Cousin Timmy used a flashlight to illuminate the words of the book that Olivia was reading softly under her breath. "And, then, just when Nancy Shrew thought she was safe," Olivia narrated, "she turned around...& was surprised to find a dark, ominous shadow looming over her!" Totally caught up in the suspenseful mood of the story's current scene, Cousin Timmy began to shiver with chattering teeth, & bite the nails of his free hand nervously, while Olivia continued reading: "'A-ha!' Nancy cried, pointing a finger at the figure that had just approached her. 'Professor Glockenspiel! I knew you were following me this whole time!'"

By this point, Cousin Timmy couldn't contain his inner anxiety anymore, & the boy suddenly panicked, dropping the flashlight & ducking for the safety of his sleeping bag covers. Cousin Timmy continued to shiver noticeably underneath them, as Olivia turned her head from her book to gaze at her kid kinsmouse in concern. "The suspense is terrible!" Cousin Timmy whimpered fearfully from underneath his sleeping bag. "Tell me it won't last!" [3]

Olivia put a finger to her lips to shush Cousin Timmy, who slowly peeked out from underneath his sleeping bag, & cautiously emerged from his hiding place, watching as Olivia darted her glance left & right, before turning to face her rascally relative. Olivia then leaned in towards Cousin Timmy, as she whispered in his ear, "We need to be really quiet, Timmy...or—"

Just then, Olivia was cut off in mid-sentence, & all 6 Flaversham mouselings suddenly sat up in alertness, cocking their ears attentively as they heard Basil speaking to them from one of the other tents. "Olivia, Timmy, don't think I can't hear you talking," the detective said somewhat sleepily. "It's awfully late at this hour, so do Uncle Basil a favor, & please go to sleep, like good little mouselings should. Thank you."

"I'll finish the story for you tomorrow, Timmy. Promise," Olivia told her cousin in a hushed tone. Olivia bent down to gently lift her book up out of her lap. After closing the book shut, she placed it down on the ground by her bedside, then picked up the glowing flashlight from the floor, & turned it off. Once she had put away the flashlight, Olivia then lay back down in her sleeping bag, & cuddled up under the covers, as Cousin Timmy did the same. "Goodnight, Timmy," Olivia whispered.

"Goodnight, Livvy," Cousin Timmy whispered back. With that, both mouselings turned over on their sides, & quietly fell asleep, dreaming pleasant dreams all through the starry night.

Thursday, November 26, 1897

(CUE MUSIC: "Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun", by Claude Debussy)

Early the next morning, the waves were still lapping against the shore, but the sun had not yet fully risen, leaving the skies with a pale, husky blue color. In the Flavershams' tent on the Baker Street Family's makeshift campground, Hiram, Olivia, & Cousin Timmy were still fast asleep in their sleeping bags, with Hiram & Timmy snoring as they continued to doze. Meanwhile, the curtains of the tent were pulled open, & Basil (now dressed in his mouse detective outfit) stepped into the canvas shelter. Basil carefully tiptoed over to the Flaversham cousins' sleeping bags, then leaned over to extend a paw towards Olivia, placing his outstretched hand upon Olivia's shoulder. Then, gently shaking the mouseling awake, Basil whispered to his goddaughter, "Olivia! Olivia! Wake up, dear!" At this point, Olivia opened her eyes, rolled over onto her back, & sat up, rubbing the sleep out of her little peepers. "Get out of bed, & help me wake up Cousin Timmy & your father," Basil gently urged Olivia.

Olivia pulled back the covers of her sleeping bag, then got up out of bed, & rose to her feet, stretching her arms with a yawn. After she finished, she opened her eyes again, & looked up at Basil. "What's going on, Basil?" Olivia asked her godfather.

"Shhhh!" Basil whispered. "It's a surprise..."

Upon hearing those words, a wide smile of anticipation forms on Olivia's face. She turned around, & went over to Cousin Timmy's sleeping bag, before leaning forward to wake her kinsmouse up, shaking him by the shoulders for several seconds. Finally, the boy awakened with a start. Bolting upright in his sleeping bag, Cousin Timmy blurted out as he woke up, "OK, OK, Mom! I'm up! I'm up..." Once he became fully alert, Timmy turned around a bit to see Olivia, & said, "Well, you're up awfully early today, Liv. What's going on?"

Olivia shushed Cousin Timmy, putting a finger to her lips. Then, with a mischievous smirk, Olivia replied in a "conspiratorial" whisper, "Basil says it's a surprise..."

"Dang—I so wanted to find out!" Cousin Timmy pouted.

"Come on, Timmy! Get up! Get up!" Olivia whispered excitedly, helping Cousin Timmy up out of bed, & watching him rise to his feet. After Timmy finally got up, Olivia nudged her cousin in a gesture for him to go & arouse the still-sleeping Hiram. "Now, go wake up Daddy, Timmy!" Olivia goaded with an enthusiastic expression, unable to contain her excitement. "Hurry!"

And, so, Cousin Timmy walked over to Hiram, & leaned down over him to wake him up. Timmy gently poked the toymaker with his finger a few times, eventually causing Hiram to stir & open his eyes. When he saw his nephew standing above him, Hiram greeted, "Oh, hello, Timmy. Good morning." Hiram then sat up in his sleeping bag, & yawned with a stretch of his arms, before leaning over to grab his glasses from the floor. After donning his spectacles, Hiram turned to face Cousin Timmy, & asked, "Why is everyone up so early?"

Putting a finger to his lips, Cousin Timmy shushed Hiram, & explained, "Shhh...Basil has a surprise planned for us."

"Oh, a surprise, eh?" an interested Hiram inquired, perking up. "Well, you can count me in!" With that, Hiram got out of his sleeping bag, & rose to his feet. "Shall I get dressed?" Hiram asked Basil.

"Oh, don't bother with that now, Hiram," Basil replied. "It's best if we all go at this exact moment to see the surprise."

"Very well, then," Hiram acquiesced. He then proceeded to exit the tent, as Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Basil followed him. Once Basil & the Flavershams stepped out onto the beach, they were quickly joined by Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, Victoria, Ratigan, & Fidget—all of whom were rubbing their sleep out of their eyes, yawning, stretching, & dressed in their nightclothes.

"Morning already?" Mrs. Judson asked after letting out a yawn.

"I say, Basil, what on Earth is going on?" Dr. Dawson asked while suppressing a yawn of his own, stretching his arms & back out.

"Is it breakfast time?" Fidget queried, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

"Nope!" Basil answered with a smile, shaking his head in negation. "Well, not yet, anyway. You're all going to love this! I had woken up a little early this morning, as you can tell, & on a whim, I thought I would do some exploring around the beach. Not too far away from our beach house, I happened to stumble across a cave; I took a look inside it, & there's something most extraordinary that I found in there! I want you all to come down to the cave with me, & see it for yourselves!" Upon hearing this, the members of the Baker Street Family all perked up, formed smiles on their brightening faces, & began to mutter in excitement. Basil's smile widened when he saw his family's reaction to the news he just shared with them. "Somehow, I just knew you would want to check it out!" Basil exclaimed happily. Beckoning with his arm for the others to come with him, Basil added, "Let's go, everyone, & quickly! It's almost sunrise!"

With that, the members of the Baker Street Family followed Basil in the direction he was walking, until the rodents finally approached the entrance to the secret cave that Basil had found. Basil & his loved ones then entered the caverns, & as they slowly made their way inside, the members of the Baker Street Family looked around the cave with curious, then confused or befuddled expressions...except for Basil, who just smiled in anticipation. "I don't see anything, Basil..." Victoria remarked.

Basil put a finger to his lips, shushing his wife, before leaning in towards Victoria & the others as he whispered to them, "Silence, everyone...or you'll spoil the magic! Now, look carefully..." Basil swept his left arm out with a grand flourish, signaling for the Baker Street Family to look up with him at the interior of the cave. At first, it didn't look like anything special. Then, the Baker Street Family saw the rocks, stalagmites, & stalactites protruding from the walls, floor, & ceiling of the cave, quickly noticing that they were made of hardened crystal. The Baker Street Family & Basil all looked around at the inside of the cave, watching & waiting to see what would happen. With the exception of the slyly-smirking Basil, the other members of the family didn't realize that the sun was beginning to rise in the sky behind them, its golden rays spilling through the cave's entry hole like water in a babbling brook that branched out in different directions.

As the sun came up higher & higher on the horizon, the walls & sides of the crystal cave (along with all the rocks, stalagmites, & stalactites in it) started to glimmer & gleam with dazzling, iridescent radiance, which gradually became brighter & brighter with every second that passed. Sporting awed & amazed expressions on their faces, the members of the Baker Street Family stood together, absolutely transfixed & mesmerized, as they watched the crystal cave begin to shimmer & sparkle with dazzling rainbow light. The brilliant, scintillating fluorescence of the multicolored spectral beams of kaleidoscopic rainbow colors that danced upon the illuminated crystal became increasingly intense, & yet, it wasn't so intense that Basil & his loved ones couldn't bear to look at it anymore. It was at a level where they wanted to keep looking at it...because it was so beautiful...

As the moments went by, the Baker Street Family was still watching in fascination as the dazzling rainbow light got brighter & more colorful. At one point, Basil offered everyone their sunglasses, & without looking away from the eye-popping sight around them, the rest of the family members "blindly" grabbed the glasses, & held them in their paws. "If it should get too bright for you, put these on," Basil said. And with that said, Basil & the others went back to looking at all the pretty colors & lights that filled the crystal cave, which continued to fill up with dazzling rainbow light that got even more so with each second that passed. The Baker Street Family spent the next several minutes witnessing this breathtaking sight, not wanting to leave until they had seen the very last of the iridescent lights disappear. [4]

That night, after having spent the rest of their day doing the same activities as yesterday, the members of the Baker Street Family were now sitting together in their swimming outfits on the beach, but they had taken down their camping tents. Tonight, the rodents were spending their seaside evening looking at all the twinkling stars that filled the violet night skies. Basil & the others pointed at all the constellations they saw, directing everyone's attention to them. "Oh, look, everyone, there's Orion!" Basil said, gesturing to some of the constellations in the sky. "And Andromeda...And Hercules...And look over there! That's the Big Dipper!"

"Hey, I think I see Scorpio, too!" Fidget exclaimed, pointing to another constellation.

"Oh, I see Lyra, the harp—my favorite constellation!" Ratigan proclaimed, pointing to another group of stars.

This comment prompted everyone to laugh in great amusement. "No, duh!" Fidget chortled, rolling around on the ground as he laughed.

After everyone's laughter subsided, they looked back up at the stars again. "Oh, don't the stars look so beautiful tonight, Basil?" Victoria asked in a soft whisper.

"Indeed, they do, darling," Basil replied, nodding to Victoria. At that point, Basil got up onto his feet, & the others did the same. "Well," Basil said as he & the others rose, "I think it's about time we get along to the beach house."

"Hard to believe that we'll be going home in just a few more days," Dr. Dawson sighed, walking back to the house with his companions.

'Sunday, November 29, 1897'

The end of the month was drawing near, & Basil & the Baker Street Family were finally back home after several days abroad. A jaundice-eyed Olivia (dressed in her regular inside clothes) was sitting cross-legged on the floor of her bedroom, planting her elbow on her leg, & resting her head against the palm of one paw as she idly played with a Rainbow Top, giving it a spin with her other paw. The Rainbow Top spun around for a few seconds, then lost momentum, & eventually tipped over, landing on its side. Olivia sighed jadedly, then frowned askance as she drummed the fingers of her other paw on her left leg.

Truth be told, Olivia was quite bored. There was nothing for the mouseling to do today! Even Olivia's mega-playroom wasn't keeping her entertained—& that was the last thing in the world that Olivia would expect to not satisfy her thirst for the simple pleasures that life had to offer! And if Olivia wasn't finding her mega-playroom to be fun enough to ebb her ennui, that could only mean one thing...Olivia needed to do something different this weekend. Something exciting. Maybe even a little dangerous! (But not life-threatening...) Looking back on some of the crazy things she had done throughout the course of her brief existence, Olivia remembered the misadventures that she, Dr. Dawson, & Basil had experienced at that large toy store only 4 months ago...&, then, she got an idea!

In the living room downstairs, Basil was sitting in his favorite red chair, reading the newest morning edition of The Illustrated London Mouse...&, quite frankly, Basil was bored, too—even more so than Olivia. There was nothing interesting in the newspapers—no crimes to solve, no cases to close, & no criminals to catch! In fact, Basil was just about to fall asleep from all the tedium, when a small voice chirped his name. "Basil?" Olivia asked, standing at the detective's side, & tugging on his sleeve to get his attention. When Basil stopped reading his paper, & looked down at Olivia, the mouseling looked up at her godfather with a smile, posing coyly as she asked, "I was just you wanna go to the humans' toy store?"

"What humans' toy store, dear?" Basil inquired as he raised an inquisitive eyebrow, not quite catching on.

"Oh, you know!" Olivia replied. "That big one we went to...during the case where we had to find my daddy! Remember?"

"Why would you want to go there, of all places?" Basil queried, still not understanding the motives behind his goddaughter's suggestion for today's outing.

"Just to see what it has to offer," was Olivia's simple answer.

This is a most unusual proposition, Basil thought. And, yet, the idea is rather tempting...But on the other hand, what if we get caught? We'd be in big trouble then! Still, the very notion of frolicking in such a potentially-unsafe place fills my every nerve with adrenaline, & all my earlier feelings of boredom immediately disappear! Hmmm...What to do, what to do...But before Basil could say anything, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget had soon joined Olivia at her side. Standing up on their tiptoes, with their paws clasped together in front of their chests, the Baker Street Kids all sported big, toothy grins, as they asked like little toddlers who wanted pieces of their favorite candy, "Pleeeeeeeeeeease?"

"It would be most interesting!" Ratigan coaxed, trying to convince Basil to let them go.

Finally, Basil conceded with a smile, "All right. I'll go tell everyone where the first of today's family outings will take place." With that, Basil put away his newspaper, & got up out of his chair, before exiting the living room. When Basil was gone, the Baker Street Kids all turned to face one another, & gave each other high-fives. This was going to be a very interesting day out, no doubt about that!

Not too long afterwards, in a part of London's West End that was a little closer to the center of town, Olivia, Basil, Hiram, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, & Victoria were holding on tightly to Toby as they rode their canine-steed down the streets of the city. After traveling for a short while, our heroes quickly made it to their destination: a certain human-sized toy store, which was scenically located on the mouse street of Hamley Road (known to us humans as Long Acre Road). [5] "Toby, heel!" Basil cried. Toby then came to a screeching halt outside the humans' toy store. The smiling, panting dog lifted up his muzzle so that the Baker Street Family could depart from their ride, & climb onto the window ledge of the toy store.

Once Basil & his loved ones were all standing on the windowsill, they proceeded to walk alongside the adjacent row of small, round windows, looking around for one in particular. "Now," Basil mused, "where was that window with the tiny hole that Fidget had used to get in earlier?" Sure enough, after only a few moments of searching, the Baker Street Family eventually found the very window that fit Basil's description. "A-ha! Here it is!" Basil exclaimed upon seeing the circular pane, before putting his finger in the hole that had been drilled into it not so long ago. "I'll open the door for you."

(CUE MUSIC: "Fugue In G Minor", by Johann Sebastian Bach)

Basil used his finger to pull out the window, opening it like a glass door. Needless to say, the rest of the Baker Street Family was impressed by what they saw. "Say, that's a pretty sweet trick!" Cousin Timmy said to Basil.

"Indeed, it is," Basil assented, nodding his head. "Now, let's go in." The detective then climbed through the open window to make his way inside the toy shop, & the rest of the Baker Street Family followed suit. Only Dr. Dawson came back out to place his finger in the hole, & close the window shut. Once that was done, Dr. Dawson joined the others, & all of the rodents stood together, looking around in awe & amazement at the interior of the building they were now visiting. The store was filled with all kinds of people-sized toys—dolls, teddy bears, stuffed animals, playsets, wind-up toys, dollhouses, balls, blocks, puppets, musical instruments, & much, much more! In one section of the toy store, there was even a bunch of Rainbow Toys! With a clearing of his throat, Basil turned to face the others, & vice versa. "Well...shall we proceed to make our entrance?" Basil asked with a smile.

With that, the members of the Baker Street Family all began making their way further into the humans' toy store. The humans' toy store was awfully quiet. The shopkeeper was not in, & neither were any customers, as there was a sign on the front window that said, "Closed"; all the lights had been turned off, leaving only the early morning sunlight to brighten the empty building. As their shadows crept along the floor & walls, illuminated by the sun's rays, Basil & his loved ones walked down the large shelf they were standing on, looking around at all the toys in the toy store, including: a marionette puppet (dressed like an Italian opera buffoon with a polka-dotted outfit); a Noah's Ark playset with "action figures" of Noah's family & some of the animals; a rotating merry-go-round with pony figurines; a tower of blocks fashioned into the shape of a castle; a music box with a dancing ballerina figurine; a jester-like jack-in-the-box leaning over out of its open box; a bubble-blowing toy featuring Dumbo; a chess board with a full set of pieces on it, placed in various positions; a mechanical toy featuring a strong-man using a mallet to take a whack & test his strength at a carnival game; a green, golden, & red dragon mask with golden whiskers & silver horns; & a set of toy solders, dressed in royal guard uniforms.

Finally, Basil & the rest of the Baker Street Family stopped in the middle of the shelf, & Basil turned to face the others with a broad smile. Gesturing for his loved ones to start exploring the toy store, Basil pleasantly proclaimed, "Let's scurry off, everyone, & start poking our little noses...& big noses...into every nook & cranny! There's much that this toy store has to offer for our amusement!" And, so, the Baker Street Family immediately began rushing off to the various parts of the toy store. "Have fun!" Basil chirped, smiling & waving at his companions as he watched them leave, before going over to join them.

And, oh, what fun the Baker Street Family had during their preliminary exploration of the humans' toy store! First, Olivia watched a wind-up mechanical toy featuring an Easter bunny that opened & closed half of an eggshell, revealing a chirping baby chick inside it that popped out whenever the egg was opened. Next, Ratigan put together a large jigsaw puzzle with Dr. Dawson, Olivia, & Basil. Then, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget played around inside a playset resembling an old shoe that a certain woman lived in. Then, Olivia interacted with some of the dolls in a dollhouse. After that, Fidget tried to "test his strength" with the mallet that he stole from the strong-man...& got conked on the head with the man's fists as he bent down. Next, Olivia & Cousin Timmy slid down a long, winding slide that was actually part of a toy resembling a pink flower with petals that opened up to reveal an upside-down man holding two Union Jack flags.

Then, Cousin Timmy played with a set of human-sized marbles that he found. Next, Ratigan rode the wind-up toy pony (void of its original knight) as he prepared to joust an invisible enemy. Then, Olivia, Ratigan, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy built a tower out of brightly-colored blocks. After that, the Baker Street Family rode inside the cabins of a toy train, with Basil as the conductor. Then, Olivia & Fidget checked out the "Round The World" toy. Next, Hiram rode around inside a toy motorized car. Then, Ratigan & Dr. Dawson played a game of tennis on a playset resembling a tennis court. Then, Basil watched the mechanical violinist perform a tune on his instrument. After that, Fidget walked around, & looked at some of the toys...& got spooked out of his wits when a clown marionette fell down, landing just a few mouse feet away from his face! Finally, Dr. Dawson & Mrs. Judson rode in a toy hot-air balloon that rose up from the ground, giving them a good look of all the activity that went on below them.

(CUE MUSIC: First half of "Promenade", from the orchestral version of Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition")

After their preliminary exploration of the toy store was finished, Basil & his loved ones went to check out each individual section of the shop. Olivia was now standing by herself, in the section of the store where all the Rainbow Toys were kept. As she approached the vast treasure trove of multicolored playthings she had found, Olivia was in absolute heaven right now! There were so many Rainbow Toys for her to play with...much more than she had at home! "I never knew there were so many!" Olivia whispered to herself in awe, as she gazed at the paradise she was walking into. Olivia looked over to the left, & reached out a paw to caress one of the Rainbow Sherbet Teddy Bears that could be seen in the mountain of toys. "Wow..." Olivia marveled while looking up at the teddy bear, her mouth gaping in amazement. The mesmerized mouseling looked around at all the Rainbow Toys, unable to contain her astonishment & delight. "They've got more Rainbow Toys here than in any other place!" Olivia exclaimed ecstatically, her voice still escaping her lips in hushed tones. "That's more than all the ones in my mega-playroom...& the ones in the store we went to a few weeks ago!"

At that point, Olivia began to play with all of the human-sized Rainbow Toys. First, Olivia extended both her paws to take out a Rainbow Slinky from one of the piles of toys. [6] She eagerly proceeded to play with it, moving the slinky back & forth in her paws as best she could, playing it like an accordion, using it like a hula-hoop to make it swivel around her, making it spring up & down across the floor, stretching it out, & coiling it around. When Olivia was finally done playing with the Rainbow Slinky, she put it up, then took out a set of Rainbow Stack Cups. She removed all the cups, & placed them all on the floor, before stacking them together, going from the largest blue cup to the tiniest purple cup.

After that, Olivia grabbed a Rainbow Noisemaker from the pile. She opened her mouth wide, put her lips around the hole, & blew into the noisemaker as hard as she could, managing to make the paper tip uncurl with a loud toot. Then, Olivia put down the Rainbow Noisemaker, & turned to find some Rainbow Blocks not too far away. She went over to the blocks, sorted them all out on the floor, & used them to make a tower. Olivia then found a Rainbow Top nearby. She grabbed it from the pile, then gave it a great big spin. She watched in fascination as it whirled & twirled around, going dizzily across the floor...before crashing into her block tower, & knocking it down. "Oops," Olivia said, smiling & posing sheepishly when she saw her collapsed tower.

Then, Olivia turned away from the pell-mell pile of blocks, & spotted a Rainbow Rattle lying at the foot of one of the Rainbow Toy piles. She went over to the rattle, & tried to pick it up off the floor, straining as she struggled to lift it. After exerting some physical effort, Olivia managed to pick up the rattle, & give it a good, hard shake; she smiled widely as she listened to the rattling noise that played as she shook the rattle up & down. After shaking the rattle for a few seconds, Olivia then placed the plaything down on the floor, & went over to a Rainbow Pinwheel sticking out from one of the piles of Rainbow Toys. She stood up on her tiptoes, & blew on the pinwheel as hard as she could, watching with fascination as the rainbow-colored leaves of the pinwheel whirled about in rapid rotation.

When the Rainbow Pinwheel stopped spinning, Olivia went over to one of the other Rainbow Toy piles, & pulled out a Rainbow Heart (a large, heart-shaped squeak toy painted with brilliantly-colored diagonal stripes that went all across it). Olivia wrapped her arms around the Rainbow Heart, & used all the physical force she could to successfully squeeze it. When she did, the Rainbow Heart let out a loud squeak, much to Olivia's delight. After Olivia put up the Rainbow Heart, she turned around, & walked over to the other side of the Rainbow Toy section—this was where all the larger Rainbow Toys were.

Olivia approached a giant purple box with a big blue star on the front, & a ball-tipped crank on the side. She went over to wind up the crank, causing a tinny version of "Pop Goes The Weasel" to play, & when she finished cranking by the time the song ended, Olivia looked up in delight to see...a golden-skinned clown with puffy orange hair, a lime-green cone hat with a fuschia pom-pom on it, & big, beady blue eyes over his smiling red lips (with the six different folds of his accordion-like body painted in bright colors of fuschia, orange, golden, lime-green, blue, & purple—the golden fold had a pair of golden arms & matching mittens attached to it on either side) pop out of the box, boinging as he sprung out of his hiding place. The Rainbow Jack-In-The-Box continued boinging as he bounced up & down a bit, before leaning over in front of Olivia as he slumped forward, his body, head, & arms drooping low. Olivia giggled, then turned away from the Rainbow Jack-In-The-Box, & started walking towards a nearby set of Rainbow Rings.

As she approached said Rainbow Rings, Olivia gazed up at the towering toy with a marveled look on her face—it looked like a multicolored mountain to her! "Golly!" Olivia exclaimed, looking up at the giant set of Rainbow Rings in absolute wonder as she pointed to it. "Look at the size of that thing!" Olivia then went over to the stack of Rainbow Rings, & proceeded to climb it, starting with the red ring on the bottom, followed by the orange ring, the yellow ring, & the green ring. Finally, when Olivia got to the blue ring at the very top of the tower, she sat down, & wiped the sweat off her brown with her left arm. "Phew!" Olivia sighed, before looking down with a smile, as she placed her arm down by her side. "Now, to take this baby apart!"

And, so, Olivia proceeded to separate each of the Rainbow Rings, removing them all from the white pole that they surrounded. Once the red, orange, yellow, green, & blue rings were all lying on the floor, Olivia took each individual ring, & put it in its proper place around the pole. The red ring came first, followed by the orange ring, & the yellow ring. When the yellow ring was returned to its previous position, Olivia stood upon it, smiling as she placed her paws on her hips, & exclaimed, "Well, only two more to go!" With that, Olivia climbed down the yellow, orange, & red rings to retrieve the next ring. She came back up with the green ring, which she proceeded to stack on top of the yellow ring. Olivia then went back down the nearly-finished tower of Rainbow Rings, before coming back up with the blue ring. She stacked it on top of the green ring, then smiled proudly as she surveyed the satisfying results of her accomplishment of completing the tower. "Ta-da!" Olivia chirped in a sing-song voice.

Olivia climbed up onto the blue ring, then slid down the tower of Rainbow Rings, stretching her arms out wide with a delighted expression as she went down. "Wheeeee!" Olivia cheered during her descent. When she finished sliding down the tower of Rainbow Rings, Olivia landed feet-first on the ground, before standing up, & walking away. While strolling off, Olivia accidentally bumped into what looked like part of a giant Rainbow Beach Ball. After rubbing her nose a little, Olivia looked up to see that she was, indeed, standing at the bottom of a giant Rainbow Beach Ball. The spherical plaything's shadow loomed over her, as it teetered a little. "Uh-oh..." Olivia said timidly, as she saw the Rainbow Beach Ball shifting. The ball began to roll towards Olivia, who immediately turned around, & started running away, hoping she wouldn't get run over & squashed like a bug!

Thinking quickly during her dash for safety, Olivia swiftly jumped into one of the piles of Rainbow Toys, diving for cover. She burrowed out of the pile, & peeked out just a little as she watched the Rainbow Beach Ball roll past her, barely missing her. The ball continued rolling across the surface of the shelf, before bouncing & thudding as it fell to the floor. When she was sure the coast was clear, Olivia emerged from the pile of Rainbow Toys (accidentally knocking one of the toys out from said pile in the process), & crawled down the side of it, lowering herself onto the ground until she landed on her feet. "Boy, that sure was a close one!" Olivia said to herself. "For a second there, I thought I was..."

Olivia's words trailed off when she turned her head about, & looked down to see the toy that had just landed on the floor. This toy was a lime-green Rainbow Camera with a blue shutter, golden-tinted glass over the flash-bulb area, & an orange ring in front (surrounding an accordion-like zooming apparatus with fuschia folds). Olivia bent over to pick up the Rainbow Camera. As the mouseling held the plaything in her paws, she gazed at it curiously, & murmured inquisitively, "A Rainbow Camera? Hmmmm..." Just for a lark, Olivia put the Rainbow Camera up in front of her face, aiming the viewfinder at some of the toys in one of the Rainbow Toy piles. She put her finger on the camera's shutter, & pressed it. The flash-bulb came off...& out came a photo, much to Olivia's delight! "Oooh..." Olivia cooed as she took out the photograph, & looked at her picture with an amazed, wide-eyed look of astonishment. Olivia immediately stuffed the photo into her right dress-coat pocket, then clutched the camera in her paws as she turned around, & dashed away to exit the Rainbow Toys section, exclaiming in excitement, "I gotta check this out!"

Meanwhile, Basil was walking through the musical instruments section of the humans' toy store, looking around at all of the interesting items stored there. Among the many instruments that could be seen were a horn (suspended by a rope dangling from above), a flute, a guitar, a lyre, & a bassoon. Basil came into a sub-section of the musical instruments area that was dedicated entirely to percussion instruments. In this sub-section, one would find a pair of silver finger-cymbals, an accordion (with brown wood & maroon folds), a large red drum with two wooden sticks on top of it, a wooden block with a ball-tipped mallet, a big pair of maracas (with brilliantly-colored, horizontal rainbow stripes going all across them), a pair of castanets, & a triangle with a striking rod, along with many other percussion instruments.

At one point, while looking around the percussion section, Basil noticed a large rainbow-colored xylophone with two crossed mallets on top of it. "Hallao...? What's this?" Basil uttered, gazing curiously at the rainbow xylophone as he reached out his paws to grab the mallets. The xylophone mallets, though designed for humans, weren't very heavy for Basil. The detective took up the wooden sticks without much effort, & stood over the rainbow xylophone, looking over the instrument as he prepared to play a tune on its multicolored bars. With a clearing of his throat, Basil proceeded to play the familiar refrain of Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" (in the key of C), striking the appropriate keys with the mallets he was holding. When Basil was done with his performance, he took a few smug bows, before gently placing the mallets back on top of the rainbow xylophone, & walking away.

Not too far away, there stood a small toy piano. Basil walked over to the ivory-keyed instrument, & took his seat at the bench that came with it. Preparing to play the piano, Basil announced to an imaginary audience with a smug smile, "And, now, ladies & gentlerodents, the great Basil Of Baker Street will now be performing a series of six dances in Bulgarian rhythm." After another clearing of his throat, Basil flexed his fingers, placed them on top of the piano keys, & began to play an odd, but stirring, melody... [7]

(CUE MUSIC: "Six Dances In Bulgarian Rhythm", by Bela Bartok)

Meanwhile, Fidget was walking through the dolls section of the humans' toy store. He wasn't very pleased with his browsing results, however. "Man...What a dumb place!" Fidget complained, frowning grumpily as he trudged through the dolls section. "All dese dolls in dresses & wigs...Makes me wanna gag!" (He made an unpleasant face, sticking his tongue out as he pointed to the inside of his mouth.) "Blech!" Despite his displeasure, Fidget continued walking for a few seconds...then suddenly stopped, & perked up in fascination when he saw something interesting lying not too far ahead. "Hey, now...Dat's not too dumb!" Fidget exclaimed.

As it turned out, Fidget was staring at a familiar wind-up toy cradle that rested on a round platform. He remembered that toy cradle all-too-well, for he had hidden in there prior to kidnapping the little mouseling who would become like a sister to him...Fate worked in such crazy ways sometimes! With his interest now fully grabbed, Fidget stepped onto the platform, & made his way over to the wind-up cradle, which was rocking back & forth. The young bat leaned over to peek inside the cradle...then suddenly jumped back, covering his ears in agony, as he was startled by the sudden crying of the baby doll that was resting in her "bed".

As the baby continued to wail, Fidget grunted in annoyance, then reached over to yank the doll out of her cradle. He turned off the switch on the doll's back, ending its crying spell...then suddenly smiled as he noticed that she was wearing a pink bonnet. Remembering how he had donned that very same bonnet while ambushing Olivia, Fidget got an idea. Just for a lark, he wanted to play a prank on his sister...a harmless one, though. No injury, physical or psychological, would come to Olivia—after all, it was all in good fun! With that in mind, Fidget removed the pink bonnet from the baby doll's head, & tossed the doll aside. He then put on the bonnet, & hopped into the cradle.

Boy, is Olivia going to be spooked! Fidget thought with mischievous glee, snickering devilishly as he burrowed underneath the baby doll's blanket...but, then, he suddenly moaned as the cradle continued to rock back & forth, pitching him about. " head!" Fidget moaned queasily, as he jostled about in the rocking cradle. He hoped he wouldn't get sick to his stomach, & lose his breakfast...

Not too far away from Fidget, Olivia was wandering through the doll section; during her trek, she had been using her Rainbow Camera to snap some pictures of the dolls she saw. At one point, Olivia took a picture of a porcelain china doll, before grabbing the photo, & stuffing it into her coat pocket. Then, as she was going off to find more dolls, Olivia spotted the wind-up cradle, & made her way over to it. Upon approaching the toy cradle, Olivia peered down to look inside it, leaning forward a bit on her tiptoes. From her vantage point at the side of the cradle, Olivia could see the frilly fringes of a pink baby bonnet peeking out from underneath the blankets. The hat's apparent owner gurgled & cooed as he hid beneath the covers, unseen by Olivia.

"Aww, look at that little baby!" Olivia cooed sweetly as she gazed inside the cradle, before extending her paw towards its occupant. Her hand came closer & closer towards the baby's blanket...but just as she was about to pull it back, Fidget rustled underneath the covers, & jumped out from his hiding place, snarling at Olivia. The startled Scotsgirl gasped in surprise, & stepped back away from the cradle, turning her head to avert her gaze as she held her Rainbow Camera up in front of the side of her face. Then, when her heart had finally stopped its frantic racing, Olivia slowly brought down the camera, & turned to look back at the furson who had given her such a fright. Fidget was now sitting up in the cradle, with the baby blanket pulled down from off of his head. The bat smiled playfully at Olivia, still wearing the pink bonnet, as he said, "Boo...Uh, goo!"

Olivia burst into laughter, & Fidget's smile widened at her reaction—just the response he was hoping for! "Oh, Fidget, you look ridiculous!" Olivia exclaimed in between gleeful giggles of amusement. "Get out of that thing!" (Fidget chuckled, & Olivia took a moment to settle down & control her laughter.) "But before you do...let's get a picture of you!" Olivia said, as she brought the Rainbow Camera up to the front of her face, looking through the viewfinder. The mouseling's gaze—& the camera—closed in on Fidget in the wind-up cradle, focusing on the little bat. Fidget smiled up at Olivia, wearing the pink bonnet & looking cute as can be, as he sucked on the thumb of his right hand, & snuggled up with the baby blanky that he held in his left wing. From the side of the cradle, Olivia smiled as she aimed the Rainbow Camera at Fidget, placing her finger on the blue shutter. "Say 'cheese'!" Olivia chirped cheerfully.

With his right thumb still in his mouth, "Baby Fidget" smiled for the camera—blanky, bonnet, & all. The camera flash then went off, & the picture was taken. Fidget kept smiling for a couple of moments...but, then, his smile turned to a frown as he grimaced in pain, & put his hands to his eyes, screaming. Still holding the Rainbow Camera, Olivia watched Fidget in concern. What's wrong? the little Scotsmouse wondered worriedly. Did I hurt him when I left the flash on? Goodness, I hope he'll be all right! Still screaming & covering his eyes with his hands, Fidget bolted up in the cradle, & tried to get out. Fidget tumbled over the side of the cradle, & landed face-first on the platform. The bat abruptly got up onto his feet, & rushed around in a blind panic, yelling, "Oww, my eyes! Dey hurt! I can't see! Ahhhh!" After scampering around madly in circles for a few seconds, Fidget ran off the platform, & dashed across the floor of the doll section of the toy store, eventually winding up in another area nearby. All the while, he continued to scream & cover his eyes. Not watching where he was going, Fidget bumped quite hard into the stand of a giant toy Ferris wheel.

(CUE MUSIC: Second half of "Promenade", from the orchestral version of Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition")

The impact of Fidget's collision caused the Ferris wheel to wobble about in its restraints. A screw came loose from the stand, & fell to the ground, freeing the Ferris wheel. Unbeknownst to Fidget, who was sitting down on his bum on the floor, & rubbing his eyes with his hands, the giant Ferris wheel broke off its stand, & started to roll away. As it made its merry way down the toy shelf, the Ferris wheel gradually went towards Basil, who was still playing the toy piano in the musical instruments section. Oblivious to what had just happened, Fidget kept rubbing vigorously at his eyes until they felt better, & once the pain in his peepers was finally gone, he removed his hands from his face, & sighed in relief...before instantly becoming alert when he saw what he'd inadvertently done. "Uh-oh..." Fidget said sotto voce, now quite shocked & alarmed. Immediately, Fidget thought of Basil, & realized that he had to get him out of the path of the giant Ferris wheel, before it was too late!

Blissfully unaware of the impending danger, Basil was in the middle of playing Franz Liszt's "Mephisto Waltz". Then, he suddenly stopped, looking up from the piano when he heard Fidget yelling, "Basil! Look behind you!" Basil turned around just in time to see the Ferris wheel rolling towards him. "Oh, my goodness!" Basil blurted out. He immediately rose off the piano bench, & began running for his life, looking panicked. Basil rushed madly down the toy shelf as he tried to scurry away from the path of the giant runaway Ferris wheel. The detective was soon joined by Dr. Dawson, who ran alongside him.

Not yet realizing the situation he had gotten himself into, Dr. Dawson asked, "I say..."—he gasped for air—"What's going on, Basil?"

Not looking back at Dr. Dawson, Basil replied fearfully (with occasional pants for breath) as he continued to run, "Giant...runaway...Ferris wheel! N-N-No time to explain any further! Just run! Run for your life!" With nothing but pure adrenaline to fuel their frenzied flight, Basil & Dr. Dawson hurried to escape the crushing weight of the runaway Ferris wheel, which continued to silently pursue them. All the while, the two mice prayed for some miraculous intervention to deliver them from the shadow of death...

Meanwhile, Ratigan was in another part of the humans' toy store. When he heard Basil & Dr. Dawson screaming, Ratigan gasped, & rushed over to investigate what was going on, stopping to look out from behind a neatly-lined row of toy blocks. As he stared out from his vantage point, Ratigan watched in horror as Basil & Dr. Dawson scurried to evade the giant runaway Ferris wheel that was following them. Consumed with fear for his two friends & father figures, Ratigan continued to watch the scene with a scared expression, as his eyes worriedly darted left & right. Oh, good heavens, he thought, this is not good for Basil & Dr. Dawson! Not good at all!

At this point, Cousin Timmy swung into the area from a doll's pullstring, before letting go of said pullstring, & landing on his feet behind Ratigan. Apparently unaware of the danger that Basil & Dr. Dawson faced, Cousin Timmy walked over to Ratigan, gazing curiously in the same direction that he was. Curious to know what was going on, Cousin Timmy pointed to the chaotic scene below, & inquired inquisitively, "What's that?"

Ratigan suddenly snapped out of his fearful state, & turned his head to glare down at Cousin Timmy. "Oh, nothing," Ratigan retorted with annoyed sarcasm. "Just Basil & Dr. Dawson trying to evade the path of a giant runaway Ferris wheel."

"Oh, good!" Cousin Timmy said with a smile of relief, wiping the sweat off his brow. "I thought they were in trouble!"

"They ARE in trouble, you twit!" Ratigan snapped, glaring at Cousin Timmy even more as he whisked his arms out to show the young mouse the frightening reality of the situation.

When Cousin Timmy took a second look, he didn't look so relieved anymore. Now becoming just as scared as Ratigan, Timmy ejaculated, "Oh, snap!"

At the foot of the stand that the giant Ferris wheel was formerly attached to, Olivia rushed over to Fidget, helping him up off the floor. "Fidget, are you all right?" Olivia asked.

"Yeah, I think so," Fidget replied, getting up onto his feet. Then, turning to glance fearfully in the direction of two certain mice, he added anxiously, "But it's Basil & Dr. Dawson you should be worried about, Liv!"

"Why?" Olivia inquired, turning away from Fidget to look in the direction that he was gazing. When she saw what was going on, her eyes widened, & she gasped in fright. Basil & Dr. Dawson were still running from the giant Ferris wheel, which was gaining on them like Toby on a scoundrel's scent. Olivia & Fidget watched the scene in increasing terror, horrified to the point of tears. Cousin Timmy watched fearfully as he bit his nails, while Ratigan glared in determination from behind the row of toy blocks. This is my greatest chance to atone for every misdeed I've ever committed, Ratigan thought to himself. If there was ever a moment—one optimal opportunity—to demonstrate to Basil how much I've really changed, this is it! I mustn't let everyone down!

With that single, solitary purpose in mind, Ratigan swiftly ducked out from behind the toy blocks, & darted into the path of the oncoming Ferris wheel. Spreading his arms & legs out wide, Ratigan tensed up for what he was about to do next. At this point, Basil & Dr. Dawson came up to Ratigan while trying to keep running from the Ferris wheel, but Ratigan stood in front of his older companions, blocking their path. The two mice looked up at Ratigan in bewilderment & befuddlement. "Ratigan?" a confused Basil asked. "What on Earth are you doing?!"

Ratigan stood his ground, still holding out his arms & legs. He simply refused to move. Not turning to face Basil or Dr. Dawson, Ratigan commanded, "Get behind me! Quickly!"

Basil & Dr. Dawson looked up at Ratigan again, this time in shock. "Ratigan, you're...?" Basil uttered, at a loss for words.

"You can't possibly be serious!" Dr. Dawson exclaimed, shaking his head fearfully.

"I am serious," Ratigan replied as he continued to glare in determination, readying to defend Basil & Dr. Dawson in the only way he knew how.

Basil & Dr. Dawson approached Ratigan on either side, trying to convince him to seek safety. "Ratigan, no!" Basil pleaded.

"You'll be splatted for sure!" Dr. Dawson cried, scared.

"Just do as I say!" Ratigan shouted. Basil & Dr. Dawson, chastened, both nodded their heads, & ducked for safety behind Ratigan, peering out from behind his back on either side. Meanwhile, Ratigan glared in determination once more, as his heart swelled with pride. His redeeming moment was nigh! After several suspenseful moments, the Ferris wheel came rolling right up to Ratigan, Basil, & Dr. Dawson. At this moment, Ratigan's outstretched hands made contact with the Ferris wheel; the Ferris wheel lightly touched his paws, & then came to a stop. [8] When they realized what had just happened, Basil & Dr. Dawson both looked up at Ratigan in pleasant surprise & relief, while Ratigan turned to face them, sporting a humble smile.

Overcome with joy at their rescue, Basil & Dr. Dawson both ran up to Ratigan, & gave him big hugs, looking up at their friend with grateful smiles as they embraced him. "Ratigan!" Basil cried merrily.

"You saved us!" Dr. Dawson exclaimed ecstatically.

"How can we possibly repay you?" Basil asked.

Ratigan just kept on smiling humbly at Basil & Dr. Dawson, waving the matter off with a swat of his paw as he replied, "Ohhh, it was nothing, really! I guess I don't know my own strength!" Basil, Dr. Dawson, & Ratigan couldn't help but burst into merry laughter, amused by the latter rodent's display of mock-modesty. When their laughter subsided a few seconds later, Ratigan asked his older comrades with a cheerful grin, "So, shall we continue with our toy store escapades?"

"Yes, let's," Dr. Dawson answered, as he & Basil broke away from Ratigan. With that, Basil, Dr. Dawson, & Ratigan walked off to continue their adventures with their loved ones.

(CUE MUSIC: "Intermezzo", from Felix Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream")

Not too long afterwards, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget were exploring the wind-up toys section of the humans' toy store. Olivia went over to a giant black top hat with a wind-up key on the side. She wound up the key, & watched with a fascinated look as a brown puppy doggy popped out of the hat, & barked. The toy continued to repeat these actions for a few seconds, & Olivia turned to face Ratigan, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy with a wide smile. "Hey, this place is pretty nifty!" Olivia declared in delight.

Fidget was looking at a moving wind-up toy featuring Little Bo Peep, who looked around in vain for her four sheep as they danced around her feet. "I'll say!" Fidget agreed, watching the Little Bo Peep toy with great interest. Unbeknownst to Fidget, a wind-up porcupine was making its way towards him, the fake quills on its back popping up every two seconds. When the porcupine got close enough to Fidget, it stopped walking, but its quills were still extended. Not realizing that he was about to take a seat on the wind-up porcupine's pointy pin-cushion, Fidget sat down to continue admiring the Little Bo Peep toy...& immediately bolted up onto his feet, running around in circles & yelling in pain as he clutched at his bum. Cheese & crackers, that really hurt! Fidget griped to himself.

Meanwhile, Ratigan was busy winding up the key on the side of a wind-up Hessian soldier. He watched as the stern-faced soldier began to march about in a stiff, goose-stepping manner, holding his rifle over his shoulder with one hand as he saluted every two seconds with the other hand. At the same time, Cousin Timmy wound up the key on a little toy frog. Upon being activated, the animatronic amphibian repeatedly croaked & hopped around on the floor, much to Timmy's amusement. Erstwhile, Olivia wound up the key on the back of a Chinese acrobat. It proceeded to do a series of back-flips, hand-stands, & somersaults, as Olivia watched in amazement. Nearby, Fidget wound up the key on the back of a toy armadillo. It curled up in a ball, & rolled around on the floor, circling an astonished Fidget. Cousin Timmy wound up the key on the side of a toy monkey in a fez & vest, with a large drum on his back, a pair of cymbals on his head, & a tuba that he held in his hands. The monkey proceeded to march about & play on his instruments, providing the Baker Street Kids with many marvelous moments of musical merriment.

Then, Ratigan wound up the key on the back of a grim-faced Cossack soldier. The soldier did a series of jumping jacks & high-kicks with his arms crossed over on his chest. While doing his dance, the wind-up soldier kicked Ratigan in the shin, making the reformed rogue clutch the injured limb with a shout of pain as he hopped up & down on one foot in agony. Later, Olivia wound up the key on the side of a large toy brontosaurus with a saddle on its back. Olivia beckoned for the other Baker Street Kids to join her, & Ratigan, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy rushed over. The four rodentlings all climbed up onto the brontosaurus' back, & took a seat on the saddle, riding the toy dinosaur across the floor.

After the Baker Street Kids' joyride, Cousin Timmy activated a wind-up Indian kachina dancer (dressed in an outfit resembling a blue jay) & a wind-up ladybug that skittered to & fro, opening its wings & shutting them. Suddenly, Cousin Timmy looked up, & sported a look of fright when he saw a wind-up toy snake slithering towards him with a stealthy, sneaky grin. With his deep dread of serpents now fully awakened, Cousin Timmy yelled fearfully, & ran away, as the snake continued to pursue him. A panicked Cousin Timmy rushed over to a toy wishing well, & jumped inside it. As soon as Timmy sought shelter, the snake slithered past the wishing well, & finally disappeared. At last, the coast was clear!

Then, a wind-up German boy (in lederhosen & a feathered hat) winded the crank on the side of the wishing well, & a glaring Cousin Timmy was brought back up out of the well via the wooden bucket that he was sitting down in; his arms, head, & legs were hanging out from over the sides of the pail, dripping wet with water. Needless to say, Cousin Timmy was not too happy about this irritating turn of events. Nevertheless, he made his way out of the wishing well, dried off, & went over to see what his cousin Olivia was up to. Nearby, Olivia went over to the wind-up toy with the Easter bunny & baby chick, which was hiding in the closed halves of the eggshell. Cousin Timmy went to join Olivia at her side, gazing at the toy she was looking at. Then, Timmy looked up at his kinsmouse in puzzlement, as he pointed to the Easter-bunny-&-chick toy, & asked, "Uh, many times have you played with that toy?"

"Oh, lots, Timmy! Lots of times!" Olivia replied with a smile, as she bent over to wind up the key at the bottom of the paschal plaything. "I can't get enough of it!" Olivia & Cousin Timmy both watched as the Easter-bunny-&-chick toy came to life before their eyes! The Easter bunny proceeded to open & close the eggshell, & every time that her shell was opened, the baby chick popped out, chirping. On & on, this amusing activity went, while Olivia & Cousin Timmy watched & witnessed in childlike fascination, smiling & fawning in delight.

After a while, the Flaversham cousins both turned their heads to face Fidget, who called out to them, "Hey, you guys, check dis out!" Fidget was standing next to a wind-up Arabian belly dancer. He wound up the key that made her dance. As the belly dancer did her routine, Fidget reached out to grab a nearby hula-hoop. Then, Fidget smiled broadly as he placed the hula-hoop around the belly dancer, who proceeded to swivel it about over her hips as she continued with her dance. "How 'bout dat?" Fidget asked proudly, gesturing to the hula-hooping belly dancer with a flourish of his wings. Bursting into wide smiles, & giggling in amusement, Olivia & Cousin Timmy rushed over to join Fidget & watch the belly dancer performing with the hula-hoop.

Then, Ratigan called out to the other Baker Street Kids, directing their attention to him as bubbles began to float around in the air. "If you think that's interesting, then take a look at this!" Ratigan exclaimed. At this point, Ratigan walked out from behind the bubble-blowing toy featuring Dumbo, which he had just turned on. A continuous stream of big, round bubbles came out from the end of Dumbo's trunk, filling the area. Gesturing to the Dumbo toy with a flourish of his arms, Ratigan smiled broadly, & cried cheerfully, "Bubbles for everyone!" As their smiles widened even more, Fidget, Olivia, & Cousin Timmy cooed in fascination, & rushed over to join Ratigan by the bubble-blowing Dumbo toy. All four Baker Street Kids proceeded to laugh, giggle, coo, & marvel as they danced, skipped, reached out to touch the bubbles, popped & poked them, held them in their hands, & looked through the bubbles' surfaces with distorted looks of fascination & delight. Oh, what fun our merry band of rodentlings had together!

Meanwhile, Basil was wandering through the music box section of the humans' toy store. Some of the music boxes to be found in the area, were a familiar one featuring a fireman band, a music box featuring a blonde girl dancing in a field of flowers, a music box featuring a rotating pair of figurines that looked like a waltzing couple, a music box with a Viking war goddess, & a music box with satyrs & nymphs, among others. Just for a lark, Basil went over to the music box with the firemen on it. Gazing at the mechanical melody-maker with a smirk, the detective declared, "I never did like that music box..." Twice had Basil come across the firemen music box during his last trip to the humans' toy store, & both encounters hadn't been particularly pleasant for him. And Basil was about to get a blast from the past (not to mention a mouthful of music)!

Suddenly, the music box came to life, much to Basil's surprise, & as the firemen-musicians played their noisy band tune, Basil got slammed in the head with the pair of cymbals that one fireman was holding. Basil's head shook around for a while, before he gradually settled down, & regained his bearings. Not too happy with what had just happened to him, Basil frowned in irritation, & clutched his hand to his aching head, looking around with a ticked-off glare. As he did all this, Basil fumed, "Now, who just did that? I know that music box didn't come to life, & deliberately try to attack me on its own!"

Unbeknownst to Basil, Victoria was hiding behind the base of the firemen-band music box, her hands resting upon the switch that activated it. The former princess peered out with a playful, mischievous smile to look at Basil, & tried to stifle a giggle with a paw to her mouth. She had played the perfect prank on Basil, & her husband didn't suspect a thing! Meanwhile, Basil called out irritatedly, "Olivia? Fidget? Ratigan? Victoria? Is anybody here? Anybody at all?" From her hiding place, Victoria watched Basil walk about as he looked around the music-box section for the mysterious presence that he sensed might be here. "Come out, come out, wherever you are!" Basil exclaimed.

(CUE MUSIC: "The Skaters' Waltz", by Emil Waldteufel)

While looking around in annoyance for whoever was hiding in the music box section, Basil came across a rather beautiful music box (shaped like a Faberge egg, & resting on four golden legs) covered with purple amethysts that formed a sky speckled with scintillating, star-like diamond gems. Basil's irritated frown turned into a curious expression as he went to take a closer look at the music box. "Halloa...What's this?" the detective asked to himself. Basil reached his paws out to wind up the small golden key protruding from the side of the music box. After Basil removed his hands from the key, the top shell-half of the music box opened, & a pair of two small figurines (resembling a human couple) rose into view. The pair of figurines approached one another, & began to dance together, waltzing across the golden platform that served as their ballroom floor.

Caught up in the catchy waltz that started to play, Basil closed his eyes, & bobbed his head left & right, waving his right forefinger about like a conductor's baton as he hummed to the music. After a few seconds, Basil broke out of his reverie as he slowly opened his eyes, & saw Victoria emerge from behind the music box with the firemen on it, humming the tune of the currently-playing melody. With her love for Basil blazing like a wildfire in her heart & soul, Victoria waltzed over to her husband, taking Basil in her arms, & gazing at him with a sweet, loving expression. "Oh, Victoria, there you are!" Basil exclaimed with a smile. "I was worried about you for a minute..." Basil's words were suddenly cut off when the detective yelped in surprise as Victoria took his paws in hers, & began to dance with him across the floor of the humans' toy store. As the two married mice waltzed their way out of the music box section, & across the store shelves, Basil smiled at Victoria. "Goodness,'re an excellent dancer!" Basil complimented his wife.

"Thank you, darling!" Victoria replied pleasantly, kissing her beloved Basil on the nose. "Father taught me how to waltz. I'm not really sure why he did it, but I thank him for it! It's one of the few kind things he's ever done for me..." But Victoria didn't wish to dwell on such unpleasant thoughts of the past she had left behind so long ago. She wanted to stay in this wonderful moment with Basil, in this brand-new life she had forged with him & his family! And, so, Victoria & Basil continued dancing together, only focusing on each other, &

the delightful experience they were both sharing now...

Meanwhile, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget were now in the mechanical toys section of the humans' toy store. Among the many marvelous machines to be found here, were a rotating merry-go-round with four pony figurines; a windmill toy with four spinning blades; a mechanical toy featuring a dancing ballerina figurine that rotated on one foot & did a pirouette; a large mechanical toy built in the shape of snow-hills surrounding an ice-covered lake (with two skating figurines, a boy & a girl in winter clothing, gliding upon its surface); a mechanical toy designed like a square-shaped fighting arena (with two boxer figurines standing in opposite corners); a mechanical toy designed like a pond (with a rotating set of six ducklings that quacked as they "swam" around the "pond"); & the mechanical toy featuring the strong-man with his mallet at the "test-your-strength" carnival game. The Baker Street Kids eagerly went to check out all the playthings in the area.

First, Cousin Timmy looked up in amazement at the giant windmill toy. He was standing awfully close to close, in fact, that when one of the windmill blades came down, it caught onto Timmy's vest, bringing him up into the air. Cousin Timmy yelled while he rode the windmill up & around a few times, going on a crazy ride...until he got to the top of the windmill the eighth time, & his vest came loose from the blade. Cousin Timmy screamed as he fell to the ground...but, then, he sighed in relief when Olivia rushed over to catch him in her arms. The smile on Olivia's face was enough to assure Cousin Timmy that he was A-OK! [9]

Nearby, Fidget was standing at the foot of the carnival-game toy. The little bat glared in determination at the strong-man as he pushed up his imaginary sleeves, & went over to grab the mallet from the strong-man's hands. "OK, Mr. Strong-Man..." Fidget declared doggedly. "Let's see how strong you really are dis time!" Fidget snatched the mallet from the strong-man, then took a few steps to the right to avoid getting hit. With a deep breath, Fidget reared back, & used all his effort to give the squeeze-pad a good, hard whack with the mallet. Fidget then looked up as the air expelled from the squeeze-pad caused the little metal cylinder to go up, up, up...then hit the silver bell at the top of the pole with a ding...before rapidly falling back down & landing, much to Fidget's delight. "Hey, I did it!" Fidget congratulated himself, gazing at the stationary cylinder with an impressed smile. At this point, the strong-man immediately bent over, & conked Fidget on the head, making his eyes bulge as he dropped the mallet to the floor. Ouch!

Then, Cousin Timmy climbed onto the platform of the mechanical toy with the ballerina. Timmy didn't notice the dancing ballerina figurine at first, however, as he took a few seconds to sweep the dust off his clothes, & readjust his hat. Cousin Timmy then looked up, & finally took notice of the ballerina figurine dancing in front of him. Timmy smiled as he watched the ballerina dance for a few moments, then went over to her, & gave a bow, chivalrously extending his paw towards her. "May I have this dance, mon cher?" Cousin Timmy asked politely. The ballerina just kept dancing across the platform, not saying anything. Cousin Timmy took this as a signal to approach the ballerina figurine. He then took her in his arms, & immediately proceeded to dance with her.

Meanwhile, in the mechanical boxing arena, Ratigan had taken the place of one of the boxer figurines. He put up his dukes, & prepared to battle his opponent. Ratigan & the other boxer figurine approached one another. Ratigan was just about to take a swing...but the boxer beat him to it, sending him flying with a sucker-punch to the jaw. Undaunted, Ratigan got back in the ring, & fought his foe with everything he had, until he finally came out the victor! Afterwards, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget rode the four ponies on the rotating merry-go-round, each of them holding the clockwork carousel's support poles with their left paws as they spread their right arms & hands out wide in a joyful flourish, smiling broadly & giggling gleefully all the while.

Finally, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget skated across the ice-covered lake of the mechanical toy surrounded by snow-hills, joining the boy & girl "skaters" in their winter play. As the Baker Street Kids skated around the lake, they performed various tricks & stunts (triple-Lutzes, spins, twirls, leaps, grand jetes, pirouettes, & what-have-you-not). While all this was going on, Basil & Victoria waltzed into the mechanical toys section. The two mice continued to dance obliviously in one another's arms as they approached the mechanical toy where the Baker Street Kids were skating! After a few seconds, when he heard the children laughing, Basil opened his eyes, & looked up from Victoria with a pleasant smile. He immediately became shocked, however, & tugged nervously on the collar of Victoria's dress with his left hand, as he brought up his right forefinger to point in the direction that they were headed. "Uh, Victoria, look alive...Ice-skaters ahead!" Basil warned.

Victoria opened her eyes, then looked up in the direction that Basil was pointing. She, too, became shocked when she saw the Baker Street Kids playing around on the mechanical skating pond. "Oh, my goodness!" she cried.

As Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget continued to skate, Ratigan fell to the ground, & gracefully landed, having just finished a triple-Lutz. He turned around...& suddenly became scared, pointing fearfully with his right forefinger as he slapped his other paw against his left cheek, alerting the other children of the two mice who were quickly approaching them. "Watch out!" Ratigan shouted, prompting Fidget & the Flaversham cousins to stop what they were doing, & look in his direction. Basil & Victoria, unable to stop, screamed as they held one another tightly, skidding towards the mechanical pond. Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget all screamed in terror, & immediately moved to shield themselves with their arms. "Everybody brace for impact!" Ratigan cried.

Looking scared & continuing to hold one another tightly, Basil & Victoria were still skidding on their feet towards the mechanical toy pond. Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget all winced & cringed as they shielded themselves with their arms, bracing for the forthcoming collision. "I can't watch!" Fidget groaned, covering himself with his wings as he winced. Basil & Victoria continued skidding & sliding towards the Baker Street Kids...before finally crashing into the mechanical skating pond, causing their surroundings to shake back & forth from the impact. When it was all over, Basil, Victoria, Olivia, Ratigan, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy lay sprawled out on the skating pond & the surrounding snow-hills.

After a couple of seconds, Basil got up onto his feet, then walked over to Victoria, & asked her in tender concern, "Victoria, are you all right?"

Victoria looked up at Basil. She was a little dazed from the accident, but otherwise unhurt. "I...I think so," Victoria replied, nodding her head. Victoria tried to get up onto her hands & knees, but fell.

Basil stooped down on one leg, & reached out a helping paw to his wife. "Let me help you up, dear," the detective said gently.

Victoria took Basil's hand, & he helped her rise to her feet. After Victoria got up, & swept the dust off her clothes, she & Basil both went over to Fidget, who was lying flat on his back on one of the snow-hills, wings spread out wide at his sides. Fidget moaned as he stirred, & sat back up on his bum. He leaned over to pick his hat up off the ground, then put it on his head, & slid down the hill, landing feet-first in front of Basil & Victoria. Basil & Victoria smiled in relief when they saw that Fidget was OK, but Fidget looked a little grumpy as he tilted his head up to face them with a glare. "Remind me next time we come here, Basil, to bring some padded helmets," Fidget said sullenly.

Then, Basil, Victoria, & Fidget walked over to the other side of the lake, looking for any sign of the remaining Baker Street Kids. Olivia & Cousin Timmy both slid down the snow-hills, landing on their feet in front of their kinsrodents. The Flaversham cousins then looked up to smile at Basil & Victoria, who returned the smiles at them. "Well, that was kinda fun!" Olivia declared in delight.

"Yeah...If you call crashing into each other 'fun'," Fidget retorted, glaring grumpily at Olivia & Cousin Timmy, who tilted their heads down, & turned to face their batty brother-figure with puzzled looks. What's gotten into him all of a sudden? the Flaversham cousins wondered.

Nevertheless, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Fidget, Basil, & Victoria all walked off together towards the middle of the lake, where poor Ratigan was sprawled out on his back. The reformed rogue grunted in frustration as he struggled vainly to get up, waving his arms & legs about like an upside-down turtle while he did so. "A little help here, if you please?" Ratigan inquired irritatedly. Basil, Victoria, Fidget, Olivia, & Cousin Timmy all rushed over to their fallen comrade, before encircling Ratigan, & bending down to help pick him up off the ground. After a few seconds, Ratigan managed to rise to his feet, & said, "Thank you very much!" Basil, Victoria, Fidget, & the Flaversham cousins stepped back away from Ratigan, who swept the dust off his clothes, & reached up to adjust the crown on his head. When he had done those things, Ratigan looked down at his relatives with an annoyed glower as he placed his paws on his hips, & declared, "Now, if you wouldn't mind, I would like for us to return to our earlier activities—hopefully, without any further collisions." With that, Basil, Victoria, Fidget, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Ratigan all walked off to continue their toy store adventures.

(CUE MUSIC: "The Play Of The Waves", from Claude Debussy's "La Mer")

Shortly afterwards, the entire Baker Street Family was now in the games section of the humans' toy store. Fidget played with some giant marbles, while Olivia & Cousin Timmy played badminton on a small mouse-sized court. Ratigan played golf on a mouse-sized course. Dr. Dawson played solitaire with a deck of miniature cards. Basil played with a large, multicolored Rubik's Cube puzzle, trying to sort out all six colors on the same side. [10] Victoria tried her hand at a game of darts, trying to land the bull's-eye. And Hiram & Mrs. Judson were standing near a chess set, arguing with one another. "Come on, now, Mrs. Judson, let's be fair!" Hiram begged, trying to plead with the mousekeeper.

"Fair?" Mrs. Judson repeated sarcastically. She scoffed & tilted her nose up in the air haughtily, crossing her arms over her chest as she turned around, facing away from Hiram. "What's so fair about saying you're better than me at chess?" Mrs. Judson asked angrily.

Walking over to approach Mrs. Judson, Hiram tried to explain his reasons for having said such a thing: "I'm just saying that, maybe, I might be a slightly-more-skilled player than you, because..."

"Because you're a man, & I'm a woman? Is that it?" Mrs. Judson snapped, turning to face Hiram with an angry glower as she pointed at him, poking him in the nose with her forefinger.

"No, no, Mrs. Judson!" Hiram replied as he waved his paws about, & shook his head in negation. "It's not that at all! But..."—Mrs. Judson raised an eyebrow curiously—" haven't played in years—since your husband passed away—& you just need to practice a little more." With a smile, Hiram said encouragingly, "You'll get better!" But Mrs. Judson was not convinced; with a "humph", she turned to storm off, as Hiram followed her. Walking behind his friend & fellow Scotsmouse, Hiram continued to plead, "Please, Mrs. Judson, don't be like this! There must be something we can do to settle this issue!"

Mrs. Judson stopped for a moment, considering Hiram's words. Then, she turned to face the toymaker with a cocky, mischievous grin, & said, "All right, then! You..."—she pointed to Hiram—"...& me..."—she pointed to herself—"...have a match..."—she pointed in the direction of the chessboard & pieces—"...on that chessboard!" Turning to face Hiram again with her arrogant grin, & sticking out her paw to shake, Mrs. Judson challenged, "What do you say, Flaversham?"

Hiram glanced unsurely at the smugly-smiling Mrs. Judson, then moved his gaze down to look at her extended paw. As he darted his eyes up & down, Hiram uttered, "Umm..." The toymaker slowly looked back up at Mrs. Judson again...then smiled as he extended his paw to shake hers. "All right!" Hiram conceded cheerfully. With that, Hiram & Mrs. Judson shook hands heartily, then let go. Hiram turned to start walking towards the chessboard, beckoning with his arm for Mrs. Judson to follow him, as he added, "Let's have ourselves a good, fair go at the sport of kings & queens, Mrs. Judson!" And, so, the two mice went off to start their game.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dawson continued with his game of solitaire. He turned his head to face Basil, & asked, "I say, Basil, what's gotten into those two lately?"

Still playing with the Rubik's Cube (& not looking at Dr. Dawson), Basil replied, "Oh, it's probably just a spat over little trifles. Nothing to worry about, I'm sure." Basil turned one of the sides of the Rubik's Cube, smiling when he saw that he got all the blue squares on one side.

Erstwhile, Olivia & Cousin Timmy were still playing their game of badminton on the miniature court. They kept tossing the shuttlecock back & forth, back & forth, to one another with their racquets. At one point, when it was her turn to serve, Olivia hit the shuttlecock with her racquet really hard. Olivia (along with Cousin Timmy) watched as the shuttlecock bounced off her racquet, & soared off into the air, going up, up, & away from the badminton court until it landed a good distance yonder. "Uh-oh," Olivia uttered, turning to face Cousin Timmy with a worried look. "How are we going to finish our game, Timmy? We can't play anymore without our shuttlecock."

"I'll go get it, Liv," Cousin Timmy replied, as he tossed his racquet down to the floor, & walked off the badminton court to begin searching for the missing item. "Just stay put." With that, he exited, leaving Olivia alone to wait for his return.

At the same time, Victoria was still playing darts. She reared back with all her might, & threw a dart at the board...but it missed, joining the several other stray darts that she had already thrown. "Oh...blast!" Victoria pouted, stomping her foot & sulking. She wasn't having any luck at all with this game! [11] Nearby, Fidget was kneeling on the floor, still playing with the human-sized marbles. Fidget aimed a shooter marble, & launched it. When the shooter marble hit the other marbles, it caused them to fly out in different directions. A bunch of marbles started to roll away from the others, before falling off the ledge, & hitting the ground in one of the lower sections of the toy store. Fidget formed a grumpy frown on his face, for he was not too pleased about losing most of the marbles he needed for his game. "Awww, nuts!" Fidget griped, pounding his fisted hand against the floor in irritation. He then crossed his arms over his chest, & pouted angrily.

Meanwhile, Cousin Timmy was walking through the toy shop's "miscellaneous" section (filled with nonspecific assortments of toys), positioned on a shelf below the games section. He looked around for the missing badminton shuttlecock, which—unbeknownst to him—was resting behind the hull of a toy paddleboat. "Upstairs", on the miniature golf course, Ratigan was holding a silver club, preparing to tee off. "Four!" Ratigan yelled with a paw cupped to his mouth. Ratigan then reared back, swung the club as hard as he could, & whacked the golf ball, which went flying away. Back in the miscellaneous section, Cousin Timmy continued looking through all the various toys for any sign of the badminton shuttlecock. Where could that darn thing be? Timmy thought.

In the games section, Basil was still playing with the Rubik's Cube. Now, he had the blue & green squares on the same sides! He was making progress! Nearby, Victoria was standing in front of the dartboard, & plucking darts out of it. It was at this time that a thought occurred to Victoria: she hadn't seen or heard from Cousin Timmy in several minutes. Has he wandered off & gotten lost, or gotten into trouble of some kind? the former princess worried. Dear goodness, I hope not! Turning these troublesome thoughts over in her head, Victoria briefly stopped what she was doing, turned away from the board to face Basil, & asked, "Basil?"

"Yes, dear?" Basil replied.

"Have you seen Timmy?" Victoria inquired, as she went back to face the dartboard, & plucked out another dart from the board.

"No," Basil answered. "Have you?"

When Victoria heard this, she immediately looked concerned, & dropped all her darts, which fell to the floor around her. She was right in wondering about Cousin Timmy's welfare & well-being! Meanwhile, Olivia was pacing the floor of the badminton court with her paws behind her back, looking worried. It's been several minutes since Cousin Timmy went to find the shuttlecock, & he hasn't returned with it! Where could he be, & what on Mouse Earth happened to him? Olivia thought fretfully. Blissfully unaware of his younger kinsmouse's predicament, Dr. Dawson finally finished his game of solitaire. After smiling in satisfaction, the medical mouse put up all the cards, & walked over to Hiram & Mrs. Judson. The two Scotsmice were now playing their game of chess, using all their strength to push the pieces across the board (Hiram was on the black side, while Mrs. Judson was on the white side). "Say, Hiram? Emily? Have you seen Timmy?" Dr. Dawson asked with a smile, as he approached the toymaker & mousekeeper.

In response, Hiram & Mrs. Judson both turned to give Dr. Dawson blank, confused stares. "Wasn't he with you?" Hiram inquired, pointing at his corpulent companion.

"," Dr. Dawson replied, as his face fell, & he shook his head. On the miniature golf course, Ratigan wiggled his bum & tail as he prepared to tee off again. As before, Ratigan reared back, swung the golf club as hard as he could, & whacked the golf ball, which went flying away. Back in the "miscellaneous" section of the humans' toy store, Cousin Timmy was still searching for that elusive badminton shuttlecock. He looked high & low, in every nook & cranny of the area, but with no success...that is, until he realized that he forgotten to search in one particular place. Kneeling down by the hull of the toy paddleboat, Cousin Timmy soon spotted the stray shuttlecock. With a smile, the mouseling reached in to grab the game item, picked it up, & took it into his paws. Now, he & Olivia could get back to their badminton match!

Suddenly, Cousin Timmy's ears perked up to a whistling sound from above. Timmy looked up in that direction, before immediately gasping in shock when he saw that Ratigan's stray golf ball was falling down towards him! Frightened & fearing for his safety, Cousin Timmy rose to his feet, & tried to run away, but he slipped on the marbles that Fidget dropped earlier. The golf ball hit Cousin Timmy on the head, & he fell backwards onto the deck of the toy paddleboat, knocking himself out. Upon losing consciousness, Timmy's body went limp over the railing.

Back in the games section of the humans' toy store, Dr. Dawson watched Hiram & Mrs. Judson continue with their chess game. As Hiram was trying to move a knight piece across the board, Olivia scampered up to her father, gazing worriedly at him as she asked, "Daddy, do you know where Cousin Timmy is? He went off to look for our badminton shuttlecock, but I don't see him anywhere!" Looking around to the left & right, Olivia fretted, "Where could he be?"

Waving the matter off with a swat of his paw, Hiram replied with an optimistic smile, "Oh, don't worry, my Bairn! I'm sure he's just playing around somewhere."

With that having been said, Hiram went back to moving his knight piece. Olivia rushed off in pursuit of Hiram, however, & exclaimed emphatically, "But he's been gone for 10 minutes!"

Upon hearing this, Hiram immediately stopped what he was doing, & turned to face Olivia with a concerned look. "10 minutes?" he inquired. "Are you sure?" When Olivia nodded her head in reply, Hiram gulped nervously, now beginning to fear the worst about his nephew. With a worried look on his face, Hiram slowly turned to address Dr. Dawson, & said to the medical mouse, "Uh, Dr. Dawson...maybe you should go look for Timmy."

"Perhaps so," Dr. Dawson agreed. The doctor then started walking off of the chessboard to begin his search for Cousin Timmy. As he departed, Dr. Dawson announced, "I'll go see if I can find him. He's got to be around here somewhere." Once Dr. Dawson had exited, Hiram & Olivia turned to look at one another in concern, wondering about the whereabouts of Cousin Timmy. Meanwhile, in the "miscellaneous" section, Cousin Timmy lay sprawled out over the deck of the toy paddleboat, with his cap dislodged from his head, & his left arm resting limply on the floor. Behind his closed eyes, who knew what fantastical visions or magnificent dreams filled Cousin Timmy's head? Only he...

(CUE MUSIC: "Lux Aeterna", by Gyorgy Ligeti)

Cousin Timmy soon found himself in the most peculiar & picturesque of places. With his cap on his head, & his arms spread out at his sides, the mouseling lay sprawled out over a large cloud, which happened to be one of several in this strange new world among the heavens. The clouds & the skies were bathed in brilliant pink, orange, & golden hues. As he slumbered on his puffy cumulus bed, Cousin Timmy smiled peacefully, undisturbed by anything & anyone. After a few seconds of lingering in this placid state, Cousin Timmy opened his eyes, then sat up, looking around in awe at his new surroundings. "Where am I?" he asked in astonishment.

For several minutes, Cousin Timmy sat upon the surface of the vast, neverending sea of clouds, watching the world around him. The skies remained pink, orange, & golden for much of that time, before gradually turning green, turquoise, blue, & purple. Twinkling stars & shooting comets filled the night skies, adding additional beauty to the celestial landscape. Cousin Timmy was even more amazed by what he was seeing. "Wow..." he whispered to himself in absolute amazement as he looked all across the skies, taking in each wonderful sight, sound, & sensation that stimulated his senses & pleased his soul...

At one point, a spirit resembling a baby mouseling gradually faded into view, its body covered in a glowing blue radiance. The mystical being slowly floated towards Cousin Timmy, who could only stare at it in a stunned stupor. Upon finally approaching Cousin Timmy, the star mouseling floated in front of Timmy's face, & reached out a paw towards the boy, extending a tiny forefinger. The star mouseling then touched Cousin Timmy's nose with his finger, causing it to glow. Cousin Timmy smiled, & the star mouseling smiled back at Timmy, waving a friendly paw. In that instance of interaction, Cousin Timmy felt as though he had made direct contact with the spiritual world that he had heard so much about during his years of religious education—simply put, he was now in the presence of God (or, at least, one of his angels)! As the smile on his face widened from ear to ear, Cousin Timmy closed his eyes in silent reverence, bowing his head humbly...

Then, a few seconds later, Cousin Timmy opened his eyes to find himself in an entirely-different place altogether! Now, he was floating around in the air in a strange room filled with red light. Cousin Timmy floated around the room for several moments, admiring the aesthetic appeal of the area. It feels like I'm in a darkroom or something, the mouseling thought to himself with great interest. Neat! I've always liked going into darkrooms...Photography's one of my all-time favorite subjects & hobbies! At one point, Cousin Timmy spotted something of interest on one of the room's walls, & he floated over to it. Within seconds, Timmy found himself gazing into the round stone of a giant red ruby, his reflection staring back at him from the jewel's smooth surface. His curiosity aroused, Cousin Timmy reached out a paw towards the ruby, wondering what would happen if he came into contact with it. Timmy lightly touched the ruby with his finger...causing the red room to disappear!

Now, Cousin Timmy was rapidly flying through a vortex of a wormhole. The walls of this wormhole were filled with intense rainbow light that permeated Timmy's surroundings. As he flew through the vortex of iridescent radiance, Cousin Timmy's face sported a spaced-out expression. Wow! the boy thought to himself. This is the most far-out thing I've ever seen in my life! And I'm really digging the scene...I mean, it's just so beautiful, with all those pretty rainbow lights everywhere...If Cousin Olivia were here, she'd get a kick out of this! Cousin Timmy kept flying through the wormhole, as the walls of rainbow light whisked past him like brilliant multicolored streamers racing in the wind. This lovely ride continued for several minutes, going faster & faster...until, finally, Cousin Timmy reached the end of the wormhole, & arrived at the entrance of a well-lit bedroom. Timmy floated into the bedroom, & gently landed feet-first upon the floor. Ah, he thought pleasantly, it feels so great to be back on solid ground again! Gee, am I feeling kinda tired...Sporting a relaxed expression, Cousin Timmy went over to the nearby bed, lay down upon it, & rested comfortably under the covers, feeling at peace with himself & the world... [12]

Cousin Timmy still lay sprawled out on the deck of the toy paddleboat, where Dr. Dawson had found him just a few moments ago. Dr. Dawson reached out a paw to gently slap Cousin Timmy's cheek in the hopes that it would wake him up. As he did this, Dr. Dawson goaded gingerly, "Timmy! Timmy! Wake up!" As soon as he opened his eyes, Cousin Timmy's vision cleared up, bringing Dr. Dawson into focus as the good surgeon loomed over him, sporting a relieved smile as he removed his paw from Timmy's face. "Oh, thank goodness you're OK!" Dr. Dawson exclaimed ecstatically. Cousin Timmy helped himself up, & sat on the railing of the toy paddleboat, rubbing his forehead with his paw. "Does your head hurt?" Dr. Dawson asked Timmy.

Upon making sure that he was all right, Cousin Timmy removed his paw from his forehead, & planted it down at his side. "Nah. It's OK," Cousin Timmy replied. With that, Cousin Timmy pushed himself up off the railing, & landed feet-first in front of Dr. Dawson, who gingerly took him by the hand, & began leading him back to the upper levels of the humans' toy store, where the rest of the Baker Street Family would eagerly be waiting for them. "You won't believe this cool dream I had, Dr. Dawson!" Cousin Timmy exclaimed excitedly as he & the older mouse walked away together, holding hands & smiling at one another. Indeed, Dr. Dawson was quite fascinated when he heard what Cousin Timmy had to say about his vision!

Not too long afterward, in the puzzles section of the humans' toy store, Ratigan, Basil, & Olivia were all putting together large puzzles. Cousin Timmy & Dr. Dawson entered the puzzles section to join their friends. "Hello, everyone!" Dr. Dawson greeted with a wave & a smile. "Look who's back after a lengthy absence!" When they heard this, Basil, Olivia, & Ratigan all looked up from the puzzles they were working on, & turned to face Cousin Timmy & Dr. Dawson, smiling at them. Good to see that Timmy's awake, alive, & all right! the three rodents thought.

"Ah, Timmy, there you are!" Basil said cheerfully, beckoning with his arm for Cousin Timmy to come over & play with them. "Come join us!" Basil then turned back to his puzzle, & continued working on it. Cousin Timmy eagerly rushed over to join the detective at his side. He then gazed down in fascination at Basil's puzzle—a colorful jigsaw rendition of Vincent Van Gogh's "A Wheatfield With Cypresses". As he swept his paw over the jigsaw toy, Basil asked Cousin Timmy, "Now, you see this puzzle I'm working on?" Basil looked up at Cousin Timmy, smiling at the boy as he placed his left arm around his shoulders, gesturing to the puzzle with his right hand. "Can you tell me where I should put the next piece?" Basil questioned.

Cousin Timmy thought for a moment, then grabbed one of the loose puzzle pieces. He looked around for the correct spot to put the piece he was holding, then snapped it down into place when he found it. "Good boy, Timmy!" Basil cheered, patting his godnephew on the back with his left hand. The detective then reached out his right paw to lift Cousin Timmy's cap from his head, & tousle his fur-hair. Cousin Timmy couldn't help but smile & chuckle when Basil did that; it really made him feel like part of a real family! A whole family, not broken or torn apart by any mishap, mistake, or misfortune! This is the kind of family I've been searching for my whole life, Cousin Timmy thought blissfully. I thought I would never be blessed with such a thing, but God sure surprised me!

At that point, Cousin Timmy decided to see what his cousin & stepbrother were up to, so he left Basil alone to continue working on his puzzle. Timmy then went over to join Ratigan, who was working on a puzzle of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night". As he stood by Ratigan's side, looking down curiously at the puzzle his surrogate sibling was playing with, Cousin Timmy recalled the amazing hallucination he had had during his earlier bout of unconsciousness. Now lost in the marvelous, mesmerizing memories of that dream, Cousin Timmy let the world around him disappear once more, as he returned to that lovely land of stunning skyscapes, radiant red rooms, & beautiful vortexes of rainbow light...

"Timmy? What's the matter?" Ratigan asked, finally bringing Cousin Timmy out of his reverie after several moments. The boy quickly snapped out of his trance, & turned to face Ratigan, who was staring at him with a quizzical raise of his eyebrow. Cousin Timmy didn't realize that Ratigan had been watching him "space out" the whole time! However, it wasn't that big of a deal, really. Foregoing any embarrassment he might have felt, Cousin Timmy shook his head to & fro, & replied, "Nothing, Ratigan."

With that, Cousin Timmy walked over to Olivia, who was working on a puzzle of a bright & colorful rainbow going across clear blue skies, with a smiling golden sun & puffy white clouds behind it. Standing by his cousin's side, & looking down curiously at her puzzle, Cousin Timmy asked, "Mind if I join you, Olivia?"

Concentrating heavily on her current task, Olivia did not face her kid kinsmouse, but nevertheless smiled as she answered, "Nope! Go right ahead, Timmy." And, so, Cousin Timmy knelt down beside Olivia to help her work on the puzzle. "So, Timmy," Olivia asked as the two mouselings played together, "why were you acting so...spaced out earlier?"

"It's not that big of a deal, Liv," Cousin Timmy replied with another shake of his head. "Really." With that matter resolved, Cousin Timmy & Olivia went back to their leisurely labor.

(CUE MUSIC: Orchestral version of "Wedding Day At Troldhaugen", from Edvard Grieg's "Lyric Pieces")

A short while later, the Baker Street Kids were now in the playsets section of the humans' toy store. Among the plethora of playthings in this area, were a playset resembling an old shoe that a certain woman lived in, a Noah's Ark playset with "action figures" of Noah's family & some of the animals, a playset resembling a grand palace, a playset resembling St. Basil's Cathedral, & a playset resembling a house built into a large mushroom. The Baker Street Kids explored each & every one of the playsets in this section, with the last one being the palace playset.

Inside the palace playset, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget were walking around, looking at the miniature objects & people that occupied the toy building. At one point, Olivia approached a tea set resting on a small table. Just for a lark, Olivia took a teacup from the set, & brought it up to her lips, sipping an imaginary liquid from it. Then, she placed the teacup down with the rest of the set, & walked off with Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget to continue exploring the playset until it was time to meet back up with the grownups.

Later on, back in the games section of the humans' toy store, Olivia, Ratigan, Fidget, Cousin Timmy, Dr. Dawson, Victoria, & Basil were watching Mrs. Judson & Hiram finish their chess game. And it looked like Mrs. Judson was winning; Hiram had his king piece cornered, & nearly all of his other wooden warriors were in the Scottish mousekeeper's possession, having been captured by her throughout the course of the previous hour's battle. With one last push of her white queen piece, Mrs. Judson dealt the final blow that would grant her victory! "Checkmate," Mrs. Judson said with a smirk. Hiram pretended to frown, acting disappointed that he lost the game. Striking a victorious pose, Mrs. Judson declared delightedly, "A-HA! I have trapped your king!" The middle-aged maidservant then pointed to Hiram with a triumphant grin, & stated, "From now on, Mr. Flaversham, you will refer to me as Mrs. Emily Melvina Judson, the mousetress of chess!"

Smiling in resignation, Hiram stepped back from his trapped king piece. "Och...All right, lassie, you win!" the toymaker conceded, trying to be a good loser. Then, Hiram gave a deep bow, & chanted, "All hail the mousetress of chess!" Mrs. Judson stood upon the chessboard, crossing her arms over her chest as she tilted her nose up in the air, sporting a confident, smug grin. Her chess-playing skills were still as sharp as ever, & if she would ever need to display them again, she could certainly rise to the challenge! Joseph would be so proud! Mrs. Judson beamed.

It was then that Basil decided to see what time it was. The detective dug into his trenchcoat pocket, & pulled out a golden pocket-watch. When Basil saw the positions of the hour & minute hands, his eyebrows flew up in surprise—it was almost 10:00 A.M.! "Well, fancy that!" Basil exclaimed, before stuffing the watch back into his pocket. "Time to go, everyone!"

The members of the Baker Street Family all frowned & moaned in disappointment, reluctant to leave the humans' toy store after spending such wonderful 3 hours there. "Oh, so soon, Basil?" Victoria asked sadly.

"But we were having so much fun!" Olivia lamented.

"We'll come back again one day, dear," Basil replied assuringly. "I promise." Upon hearing this, everyone perked up, & cheered happily. Already, they were looking forward to their future visits! "Now, let's hurry along!" Basil goaded his loved ones eagerly. "We've lots more to do today!" With that, the Baker Street Family all rushed over to the round window-door, opened it, & climbed out onto the windowsill of the toy store. Toby had been patiently waiting for our pint-sized protagonists this whole time, & the basset puppy smiled & barked happily when he saw his little rodent friends coming out to meet him! Then, Basil & his companions all climbed onto Toby's nose, & boarded their canine steed. After getting onto their ride, the Baker Street Family held on tight as Toby howled, & took off down the streets, heading in the direction of their next destination.

And not a moment too soon! Just a few seconds after the Baker Street Family had departed, the human shopkeeper had arrived to open the toy store...& he did not like what he saw. With a groan of exasperation, the shopkeeper complained, "The little vandals have struck again." The shopkeeper then reached for a broom, with which he proceeded to start cleaning up the huge mess that was created by the Baker Street Family. "Maybe, I should get one of those cockamamie burglar alarms," the shopkeeper said sotto voce while sweeping. This was going to be a long morning for him...

(CUE MUSIC: 1st movement of Igor Stravinsky's "Violin Concerto")

Not too long afterwards, the Baker Street Family had arrived at the nearby mouse street of Carnival Square (known to us humans as Portman Square), where the Carnival Of Fun was located. The Carnival Of Fun was one of many amusement parks in Mouse London, & several of the locals considered it to be the very best of all! All across its premises, there were myriad rides, exhibits, & other attractions to please kids & adults alike! To kick off their trip to the Carnival Of Fun, the Baker Street Family rode the Tilt-A-Whirl ride. Olivia squealed in delight as she rode between Hiram & Basil. Ratigan & Cousin Timmy whooped & hollered joyfully as they rode together with Fidget, but poor Fidget looked a little green (he wasn't used to going on rides like these!). Mrs. Judson & Dr. Dawson cried out cheerfully as they rode with each other. And as for Victoria? Well, Victoria was having an absolute blast!

Then, the Baker Street Family went to the Bumper Blocks-O'-Cheese ride. The grownups didn't want to go on the ride this time, so Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget would have to ride by themselves. The Baker Street Kids didn't mind, of course; in fact, they were quite eager to do so! Soon, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, & several other rodentlings were bumping their cars (fashioned in the shapes of yellow pieces of cheese) into each other. Fidget went over to bump Olivia, Olivia went over to bump Cousin Timmy, Cousin Timmy went over to bump Fidget, Ratigan went over to bump Olivia, & so on, & so forth. At one point, Fidget tried to bump Ratigan, but Ratigan ended up bumping him, instead! Oh, what fun the Baker Street Kids & their fellow rodentlings had riding the Bumper Blocks-O'-Cheese together!

After that, the Baker Street Family went to ride on the carnival's long & winding rollercoaster. Basil sat with Victoria up front, Olivia & Cousin Timmy sat together in the second car, Ratigan sat with Fidget in the third car, Mrs. Judson & Dr. Dawson sat together in the fourth car, & Hiram sat by himself in the fifth car. The Baker Street Family & other rodent passengers yelled, cheered, & whooped in delight as they rode the rollercoaster, passing through several tunnels, going around in loop-de-loops, taking sharp twists & turns, & rising & falling down steep hills. It was a rousing, rollicking ride from start to finish, & the Baker Street Family enjoyed every second of it!

Next, the Baker Street Family went to the super-slide. Once again, just the Baker Street Kids would be going on the ride. Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget each took a sliding mat, & climbed the stairs to the top of the slide. Then, the four youths laid the mats down, sat on top of them, & rode them down to the ground. During their descent, the Baker Street Kids laughed & cried out in delight as they made their way to the bottom of the slide, where Basil, Victoria, Hiram, Dr. Dawson, & Mrs. Judson were waiting for them.

Then, the Baker Street Family went to the rotating swingset. Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget each took a seat in one of the swings, & waited for the ride to start. Within minutes, the rotating swingset came to life, & the swings slowly rose into the air, gradually going higher & higher as they spun about. As the swingset went around & around, the Baker Street Kids held out their arms, clutching their caps & hats in their other paws, as they squealed & cheered joyfully. This is fun! the rodentlings all thought, enjoying every last second of the ride until it finally came to a slow, gentle end.

Afterwards, the Baker Street Family went to the carousel. The carousel was a lovely-looking ride, with gilded mirrors, shining lights, a colorful canopy, intricate paintings & other decorations, polished mahogany platforms, & beautifully-colored riding statues of ponies, zebras, unicorns, dolphins, peacocks, parrots, bears, dragons, & other creatures. Upon taking their respective seats on the animals they wanted to ride, Basil & his loved ones waited for the carousel to start up. Soon, our heroes (& the other riders on board) were all gleefully riding the ponies & other animals on the carousel, watching the scenery go by as they went up & down, up & down, on their "galloping" mounts.

Next, the Baker Street Family went to the Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel was the largest ride at the Carnival Of Fun—just over 264 mouse feet in height—& it certainly had a lot to show for its impressive size! The ride's primary structure was completely covered with glittering gold paint that sparkled & shined in the sunlight, & the hubcaps of the wheel's axle were brilliantly decorated with designs of golden-yellow starbursts radiating against royal-blue backdrops. The passenger cabins were all maroon-colored, box-shaped structures, & each one contained comfortable couches of fine burgundy upholstery, safety belts, & big glass windows that gave riders a grand view of the outside world. Olivia, Basil, Hiram, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, & Victoria all boarded four of the cabins on the Ferris wheel, & once they were all safely secured to their seats, the ride began. The Baker Street Family were absolutely amazed as they saw the breathtaking scenery outside the windows of their cabins, with the carnival & its patrons looking like little toys whenever they got to the top of the Ferris wheel.

Then, the Baker Street Family went to the lift-&-drop-down ride. As its moniker may suggest to you, this ride was incredibly simple—not only in function, but also in form, for it was designed to look like a fancy glass elevator. Looking forward to their forthcoming ride, the Baker Street Family entered the glass elevator. After an attendant shut the door closed, Basil & his loved ones slowly went up, up, up...then rapidly rushed back down to the ground. The attendant opened the door, & the Baker Street Family exited the ride. "Dat wasn't much fun," Fidget commented bluntly.

Afterwards, the Baker Street Family went to the hot-air balloon ride. This ride had baskets attached to balloons that brought passengers high up over the carnival, giving them a good view of the scenery. Olivia, Basil, Hiram, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, & Victoria all boarded five of the balloons on the ride; Basil went with Victoria, Olivia went with Hiram, Cousin Timmy went with Fidget, Mrs. Judson went with Dr. Dawson, & Ratigan went by himself. The balloons then rose high into the air, bringing the Baker Street Family (& the other passengers) up over the fairgrounds. As they flew through the sky, the Baker Street Family all looked down at the Carnival Of Fun from their baskets, enjoying the marvelous view.

Upon finally landing, the Baker Street Family then went to the spinning teacup ride, which had become quite a popular attraction in many amusement & theme parks as of late. Basil, Hiram, Olivia, & Victoria boarded a pink teacup; Ratigan, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy boarded a golden-orange teacup; Dr. Dawson & Mrs. Judson boarded a green teacup. Once the ride started, the members of the Baker Street Family spun the round disks placed in the middle of each teacup, causing their "chinaware" cabins to whirl around & around at increasing speed. Our pint-sized protagonists spun their teacups around so fast, they nearly got dizzy!

Then, the Baker Street Family went to the Carnival Of Fun's newest addition—a spinning ride resembling a large yo-yo. Eager to experience this brand-new ride for the first time, the Baker Street Family enthusiastically boarded the yo-yo. After an attendant shut the door, the yo-yo slowly went up...then rapidly came back down. Basil & his loved ones yelled & shouted as their yo-yo ride went up & down, up & down, for several minutes. Finally, when the ride stopped, the attendant opened the door, & the Baker Street Family got out, their hair & clothes all disheveled & mussed up.

Next, the Baker Street Family went to another flying ride. This ride featured a rotating ring of six airplanes (all of similar color & design) that flew into the air. With the grownups deciding to stay & watch, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, & Fidget each boarded one of the flying airplanes. The ride came to life, & the Baker Street Kids had an absolute ball for the next several minutes, squealing & cheering in delight as their airplanes went up & down! Oh, what a lovely time the rodentlings had pretending to be pilots! It was just oodles of fun for the Flaversham cousins, Ratigan, & Fidget!

After the airplane ride finally came to an end, the Baker Street Family headed out into the carnival's midway. During their leisurely stroll through the outdoor arcade, Basil & his loved ones approached one of several snack stands, & when they saw what gastronomic goodies it had to offer, they could feel their mouths watering & tummies rumbling! "Snacktime!" Basil chirped cheerfully, leading his clan over to the stand. The members of the Baker Street Family told the clerk what each of them wanted to eat, & as soon as Basil handed over the appropriate amount of money, it only took a few moments for the clerk to come out with some cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream, salty pretzels, pickles, caramel apples, & peanuts. Happy to have their hunger satisfied at last, the Baker Street Family eagerly munched on their treats as they continued strolling down the midway.

After eating most of their pre-lunch provisions, Basil & his clan of companions proceeded to play games on the midway. Olivia & Cousin Timmy tried to pop some balloons with darts. Fidget & Ratigan played a squirting-gun game. Dr. Dawson played "Guess My Weight" with a lady barker. Hiram & Mrs. Judson played skee-ball. Basil used a baseball to knock down a pyramid of milk bottles, so he could win a prize for Victoria. As Victoria watched Basil knock down the bottles, she clapped & giggled happily. Basil smiled as he presented her with a big, smiling teddy bear. Victoria immediately went up to give Basil a big hug, before taking the teddy bear into her arms. What a wonderful present her husband had gotten for her!

At this point, a brilliantly-dressed clown mouse with rainbow hair & a funny costume went up to Victoria, clutching a set of rainbow balloons in his paw. When Victoria turned around to see the clown offering her a balloon, she let out a startled shriek—much to the clown's dismay. The poor fellow immediately ran off, sobbing. Having caught wind of the recent commotion, Basil turned to look at Victoria with a concerned expression. "Victoria, what's the matter, dear?" Basil asked his wife.

"I just...saw a clown," Victoria replied, trying to calm down from her panicked state...but, alas, to no avail. Shivering fearfully, Victoria turned to face Basil with wide, frightened eyes, & added anxiously, "I'm terrified of them!"

Oh, poor Victoria! Basil mused sympathetically. I had no idea you suffered from coulrophobia! But you don't have to be afraid of clowns! Basil went up to Victoria, smiling at her as he placed a supportive paw on her shoulder, prompting her to look back at him. "I know just how we can help you overcome your fear!" Basil exclaimed encouragingly.

"How?" Victoria asked.

"You'll see, Victoria," Basil replied. "You'll see soon enough..."

When Basil told his family about his plans for the next part of their day-long outing, the crimefighting clan made their way to Piccadilly Roundway, scenically located in London's West End. "Local residents" usually referred to the street as Piccadilly Circus, but in the people world, it was not a very appropriate name—there was no circus! But in the mouse world, beneath the sea of human pedestrians & automobiles, Piccadilly Circus couldn't have been a more fitting name for the place our heroes found themselves in now! At the base of the large statue in the middle of Piccadilly Roundway, there was a large, mouse-sized tent covered with colorful rainbow stripes, streamers, & flags. This structure was home to none other than Piccadilly Mouse Circus, the most-famous circus in all of Mouse London.

Inside Piccadilly Mouse Circus, all sorts of rodents of every age & nationality were gathered on the bleacher-seats, muttering & murmuring to themselves as they waited for the show to start. The Baker Street Family were among these rodents; Basil & his loved ones sat together on the bleachers, smiling at one another (except for Victoria, who looked nervous) as they munched on their leftover treats from the carnival. "Well, everyone, the show's about to start. I bet it's going to be fantastic!" Basil exclaimed, smiling at his relatives. The detective then turned to face his spouse with a sly grin, as he gently elbowed her in the ribs, & asked, "Right, Victoria?"

Victoria smiled nervously up at Basil, wringing her paws together. "Sure...I suppose it will be!" the former princess proclaimed positively. I can't help but have a bad feeling about this...I'm so worried! Victoria thought to herself, but she did not say this aloud; after all, she didn't want to dampen the festive mood, or spoil the lovely day she & her family had been having so far. Even so, Victoria's expression became even more anxious, but the rest of the Baker Street Family continued smiling as they eagerly awaited the circus show.

Soon, the lights dimmed, & a drumroll played. In the center ring, a bright spotlight came on, focusing on the circus ringmouseter as he stepped onto the scene. When the ringmouseter got to the middle of the center ring, he took out a microphone, & held it up to his lips as he spoke to the audience with a big smile: "Ladies & gentlerodents, boys & girls of all ages & nationalities...welcome to Piccadilly Mouse Circus!" As the circus-goers applauded, the ringmouseter took a few bows, then addressed the audience again: "And now...please turn your attention to the right side of the tent, 'cause here comes...the grand procession!" The ringmouseter gestured with a flourish of his arms towards the aforementioned area, & the spotlight moved away from the ringmouseter, heading in that direction. Another drumroll played as the spotlight moved in to focus upon the right side of the circus tent, which were slowly drawn open. When the curtains had been opened, the drumroll finally stopped playing. A slight pause followed...

(CUE MUSIC: "Mazurka", by Aram Khachaturian)

Then, from the open curtains, the grand procession began to emerge—acrobats, clowns, pretty ladies on miniature white horses & miniature elephants with pretty decorations, magicians, jugglers on unicycles, fire-breathers, ballerinas, pole-walkers, & more! The Baker Street Family & the other rodents in the audience watched with delighted looks as the circus kicked into full swing. Victoria tried not to look too nervous, doing her best to enjoy the show. In all three circus rings, the activity was thriving as the two spotlights on the ceiling swung to & fro, illuminating the performers. Jugglers juggled various objects as they balanced on their unicycles. A mouse did a fire-breathing trick. A pretty acrobat balanced on a tightrope, while two twin mice in identical outfits performed stunts on the trapeze. A miniature elephant trumpeted as it balanced delicately on top of a small stand, while a lovely young assistant coached it. A magician maneuvered a deck of cards betwixt his paws. A ballerina danced delicately on one foot while she rode upon the back of a white miniature horse. Above her, a mouse was walking on stilts.

As she watched the circus show with her family, Victoria looked less & less nervous. Her earlier fears gradually disappeared, & she felt a lot better about being here! I'm actually quite enjoying this! Victoria thought happily. I don't know why I was so scared earlier...But, then, in the center ring, a small yellow car with pink polka-dots (& a silver wind-up key on the back of its trunk) zipped into view, & parked. The car doors immediately opened, & out came several mouse clowns of various motley designs, all with tacky or outlandish outfits, red rubber noses, bright makeup, & unusually-colored hair (a few wore rainbow wigs on their heads). The clowns held different objects in their paws—balloons, bicycle horns, bouquets of flowers, & whatnot—as they smiled broadly & waved at the audience.

When she saw all the clowns, Victoria gulped. She was now paralyzed with fear. Victoria turned to face Basil with an anxious expression, tugging on the hem of her husband's invertness cape to get his attention. "Basil..." the former princess said as she did all this. When Basil finally faced Victoria, his happy smile turned into a concerned look. "I'm scared," Victoria whispered worriedly, her facade of fortitude crumbling down in the face of her worst nightmare.

Basil smiled again, this time in a tender manner, as he reached out his arms to wrap them around Victoria, & bring her in close for a warm hug. "You'll be all right, Victoria," Basil assured his wife, gently patting her back to comfort her.

"But what about the clowns?" Victoria whimpered fearfully as she peeked out a little, pointing to the performers with a quivering forefinger.

"Shhh..." Basil said soothingly, shielding Victoria's head with his arms as he brought her back into his embrace. "I'll protect you, dear heart." Basil then kissed Victoria's temple, & added assuringly, "Don't worry." Victoria couldn't seem to calm down, however; she began shaking from head to toe as she clutched tightly at Basil, who continued to comfort her.

At this point, one of the clowns (who had a flower pinned to his shirt lapel) broke free from the others, & walked towards the bleachers, smiling innocently. Upon approaching the audience, the clown stopped to look up at Basil, Victoria, & the rest of the Baker Street Family. Basil continued to hug Victoria, holding her against him, as Victoria peeked out a little to look at the clown...but then turned her head away to bury her face in Basil's chest. The ex-monarch was now quite terrified, & she shivered uncontrollably as she tightened her embrace on Basil, still shaking all over from top to tip. Basil just smiled as the clown, sporting a harmless expression, stepped over to him & his loved ones. The clown removed the flower from his shirt lapel, & handed it to Victoria as a genial gesture of goodwill.

When the clown reached out his paw to give her his gift, Victoria cautiously peeped out from Basil's chest, then slowly turned her head to gaze at the clown with an anxious look. The clown smiled innocently at Victoria as he offered her the flower. Looking a little less scared, Victoria slowly broke away from Basil, & turned to face the clown more directly. Upon second glance, the clown didn't seem nearly as scary as Victoria initially thought he did; as a matter of fact, he didn't seem scary at all! He didn't look like he would hurt a soul! And look...he even has a present for me! Victoria beamed. How kind of him!

Not looking so scared anymore, Victoria took the flower from the clown's paws. The former princess then brought the flower up to take a closer look at it, fawning in adoration...before getting squirted in the face with a spray of water. Now, Victoria's hair & facial fur were dripping wet! The clown's innocent smile took on a puckish look as he posed coyly in front of Victoria, in keeping with his impish character. When they witnessed the clown's playful prank, Basil & the others tried to suppress a few chuckles, but to no avail. The clown & the entire Baker Street Family ended up bursting into hearty, hysterical giggles. It wasn't long before Victoria burst into a wide smile, & joined the laughter. That was just the thing I needed to get over my coulrophobia! Victoria thought cheerfully. Now, I don't have to be afraid of clowns anymore! And I owe it all to my family for helping me out!

After the show at Piccadilly Mouse Circus came to an end, the Baker Street Family went to the mouse street of Shoppers Road (known to us humans as Regent Street), where shops, stores, & restaurants could be found everywhere. One particular place on this avenue, 183 Shoppers Road, was home to one of the hundreds (if not thousands) of McDillan's Fast-Food Eatery franchises in Mouse London. It was here that Basil & his loved ones decided to stop for lunch. McDillan's had a lot of delicious dishes, drinks, & desserts on its menu, & the Baker Street Family had little trouble picking out the things they wanted to eat. When their food & beverages were ready, Basil & his loved ones got their respective midday meals, & sat down at one of the larger tables to dine upon their luncheon.

As they ate, the members of the Baker Street Family engaged in several conversations with one another. "So, what's the proverbial haps in the entertainment industry?" Basil asked. "Anything of interest going on in the theater? At the cinema? On television?"

"Well," Hiram replied, "for starters, there's quite a good crop of stage shows sprouting up! I've been hearing great things about 'The Music Mouse', 'Mouse Of La Mancha', 'The Beetmonger's Pie', 'Good For The Gander', & 'Anything Goes!'...Oh, not to mention operas! 'Romano & Julienne', 'The Gypsy Bride', & 'The Magic Hammer Of Grimmold' just debuted!"

"We'll have to make some time to see all of these productions & performances," Basil proclaimed pleasantly. "And as for film & TV?"

"The movie critics are going absolutely ape about 'Eyes Wide Open', 'Cheddarblanca', 'Knight Night', 'Out Of Thin Air', & 'Mortality Manor'! And the TV guide is glowing with praise for 'Uncle Mikey's Cartoon Show', 'Mystery Hour With Vincent Price I', 'Really Incredible Mice', 'The Gibson Girls', & 'Reality Check'! We all ought to check those shows out, as well!" Dr. Dawson answered enthusiastically.

"And, so, we shall!" Victoria vowed. "Oh, by the way, have we been assigned to any new cases from the Mouse Detective Agency?"

"Nope, not yet," Basil replied. "And we've also yet to receive calls from any clients."

"This is most peculiar!" Mrs. Judson exclaimed. "It's one thing to have an occasional spell of inactivity, but this hiatus has been going on for months!"

"I guess it's not that surprising, though," Olivia opined. "Ratigan & Fidget were responsible for a lot of the criminal activity in the city, but ever since they've reformed, crime in Mouse London has gone down to really low levels! We should all be happy about this!"

"I fear this may just be the calm before a mighty storm," Ratigan warned worriedly. "Don't forget, Mouses Fiennes is still alive & well, as are Felicia & my former thugs. Not to mention that Mouses & his minions aren't the only villains lurking around Mouse London. I should know—I've met several of them during my lifetime, & I've no doubt that Basil has met them, as well."

"You're right, Ratigan," Basil declared. "We need to keep our eyes & ears peeled for any suspicious activity that might crop up in the future. We, & the rest of Mouse London, may have been lured into a false sense of security, which is why we all need to be on our toes! Trouble might be lurking beneath the surface, just waiting to erupt when we least expect it! And if any rascals or rapscallions catch us off guard, it could spell doom for innocent fursons! Never mind us!"

With that issue unanimously decided upon, the Baker Street Family continued with their conversations as they ate more of their lunch. "Say, you guys," Cousin Timmy commented, "I just realized something...Livvy, Ardie, Cousin Tina, Cousin Ursa, Cousin Samie, & I haven't been to school since October 23rd! We've missed a whole freakin' month, plus another week, of lessons & lectures that would otherwise prove integral to our education, erudition, & enlightenment!"

"Oh, my gosh, you're right!" Olivia gasped. "I totally forgot about going to school! Why didn't you remind us, Daddy?"

"I meant to tell you, your sister, & your cousins earlier, but it slipped my mind. I had to pull you six out of school when we moved to Basil's place," Hiram explained. "I wasn't sure exactly what was going to happen, or what we were going to go through, after we arrived, & I didn't want anything to unexpectedly interfere with your attendance. But, now, things have settled down for us quite a lot, & we've gotten used enough to our situation to the point where you're all ready to return to school, starting this Tuesday!"

"Oh, boy!" Olivia exclaimed ecstatically. "I can't wait to go back to school! It'll be great to see all my teachers & friends again!"

"Me, too!" Cousin Samantha cheered. "It's gonna be so awesome!"

"I'm so excited to go back to school!" Arden cried happily. "You know, I just started 2nd grade."

"So did I." Cousin Ursula declared.

"We may go back to school," Cousin Timmy said. "But I'm afraid. What if our classmates don't know us?"

"Don't worry, Timmy." Cousin Tina assured her brother, "I'm sure they'll get to know us once we present ourselves to them."

"But what about me & Ratigan?" Fidget asked. "We've never even been to school at all! What are we gonna do?"

"Well, we'll just have to enroll you, too!" Basil replied. "Let's see, Ratigan is 17, & you're..."

"15," Fidget replied.

"Which would ordinarily make you both eligible for classes in high school," Basil responded. "However, given your very unusual upbringings, I think it would be a lot more advantageous for the two of you to start your education by attending junior high & the freshmouse level of high school. I'll call the school tomorrow morning, & make arrangements for your arrivals!"

"Thank you so much, Basil!" Ratigan said with a smile. "Fidget & I really do appreciate you doing this for us."

"It's no trouble at all, son!" Basil beamed. "Oh, that reminds me...Have you sent in your job application to The Illustrated London Mouse yet?"

"Yes, indeed!" Ratigan replied pleasantly. "I mailed it to the paper's headquarters this morning! I can't believe it...I'm actually going to be employed in a real job! I feel so proud of myself!"

"I'm proud of you, too," Basil said warmly. "We all are."

"So, what job did you apply for at the paper?" Olivia asked.

"I applied for a position as an editor," Ratigan answered. "I think I'd do a marvelous job at catching & correcting errors!"

"I know you would," Victoria complimented. "After all, you have a good eye for detail!"

"Thank you," Ratigan said with a smile. Then, he raised his cup of soda pop, as his loved ones did the same with their drinks. "To new beginnings!" Ratigan cheered.

"To new beginnings!" the rest of the Baker Street Family echoed as they tapped their cups together, before taking sips from their beverages.

After dabbing his mouth dry with a napkin, Ratigan said, "Well, I think that's quite enough about me...What about you, Fidget? How's your relationship with Cecelia Green coming along?"

"Pretty great so far," Fidget replied happily. "Cecelia appears to be really interested in me—more so dan I initially t'ought!—but I'm trying to take everyt'ing real slow. Don't wanna rush dese t'ings!"

"That's a very good approach, Fidget," Dr. Dawson praised. "Have you met her parents yet?"

"No, but I'm hoping to arrange a meeting with dem after school on Wednesday," Fidget answered. "I want you guys to come with me, so you can meet dem, too."

"Oh, that would be wonderful!" Olivia gushed. "I'd love to meet Cecelia & her parents!"

"Likewise!" Mrs. Judson assented.

"Here, here!" Hiram agreed.

"OK, den, it's settled!" Fidget declared. "We'll all meet up at da Greens' house on Apple Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon!"

"Sounds like a capital idea to me!" Basil beamed. "Incidentally, children, I've no doubt that you will run into Mr. & Mrs. Green during your weekday lessons. Both bats are teachers at the Basil Of Baker Street School District."

"I know," Olivia chirped. "Mrs. Green's my music teacher!"

"Mine, too!" Cousin Samantha piped up.

"Well, my music teacher is Mr. Miller." Arden declared.

"Mr. Miller's my music teacher, too!" Cousin Ursula proclaimed.

"And don't forget," Cousin Tina added. "My music teacher is Mrs. Holloway."

"So is mine." Cousin Timmy said.

"Oh, interesting!" Victoria said. "What do you think of her, children?"

"Mrs. Green's fantastic!" Olivia proclaimed pleasantly. "She's so lively & cheerful, she's nice to talk to, & she cares about music so much! It's really inspiring to have a teacher like her!"

"Oh, no doubt of it!" Victoria agreed with a nod of her head. Then, looking at Cousin Timmy, she asked, "So, Timmy, may I ask you a question?"

"Sure, go right ahead!" Cousin Timmy replied.

"How are things between you, your sister, & your parents?" Victoria inquired.

When he heard this, Cousin Timmy froze a little bit. He certainly wasn't expecting his godaunt to ask him this! But, then, his voice returned to him, & he answered, "They're getting better. Since we moved to Baker Street, I've been writing letters to my mom, & telling her about everything that's been going on in my life. She was very happy to hear what I had to say...especially when I told her about how much I've changed, & about all the good things I've been doing lately. Mom & I may not have always had the greatest relationship, but even after all we've been through, I know she wants me back in her life as badly as I want her in mine. I really feel like we can work on repairing things between us, & I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that we do!"

"That's wonderful, Timmy," Victoria said warmly. "I'm very glad to hear all that." At this point, Victoria went back to eating her Cheezer salad, fish fillet, fruit-&-yogurt parfait, & cup of green tea. The Baker Street Family couldn't help but notice Victoria's particularly-peculiar choice of food; considering the kind of treats she ate earlier in the day, her midday meal was awfully light in nature. Nevertheless, Victoria dined upon her lunch with the meticulous manners of her royal upbringing, not stopping until she had eaten every last bite. Then, after taking one last sip of her tea, Victoria looked at her family, & remarked, "After all the junk food I ate today, I needed to balance out my dietary intake, so I picked some of the healthiest food McDillan's has to offer. It's always a good idea to make sure that you..." Suddenly, Victoria stopped in mid-sentence when she felt a sickening feeling in her tummy. Rising from her chair, the former princess said sheepishly, "Excuse me, everyone...I have some urgent business to attend to..." Victoria then scurried off to the women's washroom, whence the sounds of retching & heaving could be heard if one were to pay close attention. After a few short minutes, Victoria came back out of the "refresher", & took her seat at the table with her loved ones. "Now, who's in the mood for dessert?" Victoria asked cheerfully, acting as though nothing had ever happened. [13]

(CUE MUSIC: "Dance Of The Clowns", from Felix Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream")

After leaving the McDillan's restaurant, the Baker Street Family went to their next outing location—none other than the London Zoo, scenically located at the northern edge of Regents Park. Upon passing through the front gates, our pint-sized protagonists made their way onto the main grounds of the zoo. As they traveled about, the Baker Street Family & other rodential zoo-goers took great care to avoid being crushed by the feet of human visitors. The temporary anxiety that gripped the hearts of Basil & his loved ones, however, soon gave way to excitement & enthusiasm when they began exploring all of the exhibits in the zoo!

During their visits to each of the zoo's sections, several interesting things happened to our heroes. First, the Baker Street Family watched a family of monkeys playing in a giant banyan tree. Then, the Baker Street Family watched a pretty peacock strut across the grass. After that, the Baker Street Family went up to greet a large scarlet macaw in a cage. Then, the Baker Street Family watched a mommy kangaroo carry her baby in her pouch as she hopped around. Next, the Baker Street Family watched a giraffe stretching its neck to eat leaves from a tree. Then, the Baker Street Family watched cute little bear cubs play around. After that, the Baker Street Family watched a dolphin swim around in its special pool, before resurfacing from the water, & cheerfully chirping with a smile at Basil & his loved ones.

At a later point during their trek through the London Zoo, the Baker Street Family went to the bat house. While exploring the darkened area, the rodents stood in front of a window, which allowed them to see a family of vampire bats squeaking & flying around their display cage. (Unlike Fidget, these bats didn't wear clothes or talk.) "Hey, Dad...Are dese my cousins?" Fidget asked Basil, pointing at the vampire bats in the cage.

"Well, you could say that, Fidget," Basil replied. "They're your cousins from South America." Wanting to get a closer look at his (feral) fellow flying rodents, Fidget went up to the display window, & came face to face with one of the vampire bats. The bat gazed curiously at Fidget...before snarling as it bore a creepy, fang-filled grin. He looked as though he wanted to eat Fidget alive! Spooked out of his wits, Fidget turned away from the display cage, let out a big gulp, & immediately rushed off for the safety of his family's loving embrace. He would definitely need it to calm his nerves!

Within only three hours, the Baker Street Family had explored nearly all of the London Zoo. Now, there was only one place left to check out—the big cats exhibit! To get to their destination a little more quickly, Basil & his loved ones walked through a stone tunnel, before turning a corner, & exiting out through the tunnel's end to enter the big cats exhibit. The Baker Street Family then hopped onto a wooden ledge, & went up to the window that allowed them to view the lions' portion of the exhibit. They leaned over for a better look, & pressed their paws & faces against the glass. Inside the exhibit, a male lion roared as he rested on a large gray boulder, while his lioness wife strutted about across the grass. Two lion cubs played nearby. All the while, the Baker Street Family watched everything from behind the invisible barrier of glass with pleasant smiles.

"Thank goodness the lions can't get to us!" Dr. Dawson declared happily. Just then, the lioness turned around to face the window, & got closer & closer to the glass until she was right behind it. The ferocious feline licked her chops hungrily when she saw the Baker Street Family standing in front of her...& Basil & his loved ones became paralyzed with fear. Even though the rodents were separated from the large predators, they knew that a lion would do anything to get whatever food was available, & they did not want to stick around to become the lioness' lunch!

Looking frightened, the members of the Baker Street Family immediately turned away from the exhibit window. "Run!" Basil screamed in a desperate urge for the family to flee, waving his arms about in the air. With that, the Baker Street Family took to their heels, & ran as far away as they could from the lions' portion of the big cats exhibit. As our heroes hurried to find a safer spot for spectating other feline specimens, the lioness watched them leave, before forming an annoyed glower on her face, & sulking off angrily. Darn it, the lioness thought to herself. Oh, well, there's always big game to fill my stomach...but, still, mice would make such a lovely appetizer!

After exploring the rest of the big cats' exhibit, the Baker Street Family's trip to the London Zoo was finally complete! Basil & his loved ones then went to the mouse street of Fitzhugh Lane (known to us humans as Swinton Lane), where they intended to attend a show at Chevington Concert Hall. Upon arriving at Lower 2810 Fitzhugh Lane, the Baker Street Family entered the lobby, purchased their tickets, & made their way into the main auditorium, before sitting down in their seats with the rest of the audience. Quite a line-up had been prepared for the concertgoers, with the Mouse London Symphony Orchestra performing fantastic renditions of "Night On The Rat-Witches' Mountain" by Modest Mousesorgsky, "My Country" by Antony Dvorat, "Moonlight Symphony" by Sophocles Braveheart, "The First Sign Of Spring" by Henry Furcell, "Fractal Symphony" by Amergin Burgess, "Garden In The Mists" by Sophocles Braveheart, & "The Well-Tempered Yodeler" by Antoine Cherbou. [14] It was the chosen performer for the final act, however, that really surprised the audience, for none other than Larry Grossmouse had been invited to play the last concert piece!

Cousin Timmy was so excited to see his friend, idol, & piano teacher come up on stage! Upon making his humble entrance, Larry gave a few bows to the audience, then sat down at the bench in front of the grand piano that had been set up for him. With a smile, Larry declared to the concertgoers, "And, now, ladies & gentlerodents, it is my great pleasure to announce that, for today's show, I will play the beloved piano standard 'Rustle Of Spring', originally composed by Christopher Sinding. I sincerely hope you enjoy." Then, after flexing his fingers & doing a few warm-ups, Larry began playing.

(CUE MUSIC: "Rustle Of Spring", by Christian Sinding)

Illuminated by the glow of the bright stage lights, Larry let his hands glide across the keys of his piano, playing a stirring melody. Larry stared down at the piano intently, concentrating on the song he played. The mousician watched his fingers as he moved them across the piano keys, making sure they struck the appropriate notes of his song. All the while, he was watched with great interest by the massive audience, especially the members of the Baker Street Family, who all smiled as they leaned back in their chairs, & listened to the melody being played. Cousin Timmy looked up at Larry in admiration, amazed by his piano tutor's fantastic skills. Someday, I'm gonna be as good as he is! the boy thought optimistically.

Meanwhile, Larry continued playing his song, which gradually increased in volume & intensity, getting louder & louder...until it started to decrescendo. Larry looked down at the piano, playing his song much more quietly now...before playing it more loudly. Larry gazed down with a determined glare as his fingers danced rapidly across the piano keys to play the last of the song, before striking the final five chords. After that, Larry gently took his paws off the piano keys, then got up from his bench, & turned to face the concertgoers with a smile. "Thank you," Larry said, as he took a few bows in front of his adoring, applauding audience. It was at that point that Larry saw Cousin Timmy & his family in the crowd, smiling & clapping in praise of Larry's splendid performance. Larry smiled & winked at Cousin Timmy, before leaning down to give him a thumbs-up. Cousin Timmy gladly returned the smile, wink, & thumbs-up to Larry. Thanks so much for being there for me, Larry! Timmy thought gratefully. I don't know where I'd be today without you!

With the concert finally concluded, the Baker Street Family exited Chevington Concert Hall, & made their way outside onto Fitzhugh Lane. Basil & his loved ones strolled leisurely down the pavement of the street, enjoying the afternoon sunshine & the cool autumn breeze...until, at one point, Basil accidentally bumped into a female frog that had just walked in with her two male friends, a newt & an octopus (respectively). "Oh, dear, I am so sorry, madam!" Basil apologized to the lady as he stepped back away from her, deftly catching the deerstalker cap that had dislodged from his head in the collision (before subsequently putting it back on, & adjusting it).

The frog, newt, & octopus just smiled sweetly at the Baker Street Family in response. "That's OK," the frog said in a deep, cheerful voice with a New Orleans accent. The frog was of average height for her age, with a chubby, corpulent figure. She was covered in deep-green skin, with light-green markings going all across her muzzle & underbelly. Her elliptical-shaped head had wide cheekbones that curved at an angle, as well as a slightly-prominent muzzle with a protruding jaw & a bulbed, beak-like nose. Her jolly eyes were rather small in size, & were light-yellow in color (with three long lashes decorating each eyelid, & thin, curved black eyebrows arching over them). Her thick arms & legs got increasingly thin as they tapered out, ending in small hands & average-sized feet. She wore a short-sleeved pink T-shirt (which didn't quite cover her fat tummy), a pair of knee-length shorts (completely covered with thick vertical stripes in colors of purple & lavender), & a black bowler hat (decorated with a purple ribbon around the "dome"), but did not wear any shoes. Her name was Rosie The Ribbiter, & she was a former circus performer from Louisiana who had immigrated to Mouse London several years ago.

The newt was of average height for his age, with a lean, skinny figure. He was covered in ochre-brown skin, sans any markings. His rounded head had small & curvy cheekbones, as well as a slightly-prominent muzzle with a protruding jaw & a bulbed, beak-like nose. His round pale-yellow eyes (topped with thick, curved black eyebrows) appeared to bulge out from his head. He had a long (& very thick) tail, along with thin arms & thick legs (which got increasingly thin as they went down); all four limbs ended in small hands & feet. He wore a snug-fitting T-shirt with dodger-blue & yellow stripes, but didn't wear shoes or any other clothing. His name was Ned The Newt, & he was a long-time friend & partner of Rosie The Ribbiter.

The octopus was of average height & weight for his age, with a body covered in light-coffee-brown skin. His rounded head had small (& very low) cheekbones that curved at an angle, along with a prominent (& very bulbous) muzzle, not to mention a large overbite. His merry pale-yellow eyes were rather small in size, & topped with a pair of thick, curved black eyebrows. His neck was short & very thick, & his large, pear-shaped midsection was adorned with a set of eight thick arms & legs (each of which had a coffee-brown underside that was covered with dark-coffee-brown suction-cups). He wore a sky-blue turtleneck sweater that completely covered the main part of his body, along with a cornbread-yellow boater hat (decorated with a sky-blue ribbon around the "dome") that fit snugly around his scalp. Like his two reptilian companions, he didn't wear any shoes. His full name was Joachim Reuben Jolson, but everyone called him Jiggy The Juggling Octopus. Like Rosie & Ned, he was also a foreigner who had come to call Mouse London his home away from home, but he hailed from Mouse Jerusalem, Israel.

After a couple of seconds, Dr. Dawson went up to the trio of non-rodents, staring at the friends quizzically as he looked them over, & said, "Pardon me for staring, look awfully familiar." Then, the medical mouse stepped back from Rosie & her comrades, & added, "I...I don't know why, but...somehow, I can't shake the nagging feeling that I've seen you somewhere before..." [15]

(CUE MUSIC: "Trout Quintet", by Franz Schubert)

Rosie, Ned, & Jiggy looked puzzled at first, & turned to look at each other in confusion...before looking back at the Baker Street Family, at which point they smiled widely, & burst into fits of musical laughter, much to the befuddlement of Basil & his loved ones. Smiling in amusement, Rosie approached our pint-sized protagonists with Ned & Jiggy, & asked, "So, you think you've seen us someplace before?"

"Umm...probably," Dr. Dawson replied. "But I'm not quite sure where."

Then, Jiggy gasped in surprise, & pointed to Dr. Dawson. He suddenly recognized him! "Hey!" Jiggy exclaimed excitedly. "I think I know where you might have seen us!" Placing his tentacled hands on his hips, Jiggy smirked playfully at Dr. Dawson, & inquired, "Weren't you that chubby mouse was clapping for me at the end of my act?" Dr. Dawson looked a little surprised to hear this. Jiggy took the surgeon's change in facial expression as a sign that he was definitely the same mouse who had shown him such courtesy & kindness, when everyone else just booed & jeered at him! "He is that same guy!" Jiggy cheered with a widening smile, as he pointed to Dr. Dawson again.

"I remember him now!" Rosie reminisced, recalling how she saw Dr. Dawson in the audience when she & Ned came up to perform after Jiggy had left.

"He sure was a nice guy, wasn't he, Rosie?" Ned asked.

"Yeah!" Rosie agreed. The frog & her two friends then looked at the Baker Street Family again, before quickly noticing that Dr. Dawson was just staring blankly at them. "Don't you remember?" Rosie questioned the good doctor, her friendly smile not leaving her face. "That night at the Rat Trap? A few months ago? Huh? Remember?"

Dr. Dawson thought for a bit...& then recalled that he had, indeed, been at the Rat Trap on the night in question. For the most part, it wasn't the greatest experience he had had, & with a nod of affirmation, he blushed & frowned a little bit as he recalled the embarrassing events that had happened to him there. At this point, Jiggy gently scolded his reptilian companions, "Oh, don't remind him! He doesn't need to put up with the embarrassment. Besides...that was four months ago. The Rat Trap's changed a lot since then."

When they heard this, the members of the Baker Street Family all stared at Rosie, Ned, & Jiggy in confusion. "Just what do you mean by that?" Basil asked unsurely, pointing a finger at the trio of performers, who subsequently stared at our heroes in surprise.

"They never told you?" Jiggy inquired, astonished to hear Basil ask this question. When Basil & the rest of the Baker Street Family shook their heads in negation, Jiggy formed a look of annoyance on his face, then said with a sigh & a roll of his eyes, "I told Auburn to contact all the newspapers & tell them about the darn..." Then, the annoyed look suddenly disappeared from Jiggy's face, & turned back into a happy smile as he returned to the topic at hand: "Well, a-anyway, what happened is this...After the big bar fight that broke out four months ago, the Rat Trap owners were able to sue for damages. And they used the money they got to finally change the Rat Trap into what they really wished it could have been for all these years! A family restaurant!"

The Baker Street Family gasped in surprise upon hearing the news! Rosie exclaimed excitedly, "I know, I know, it's so hard to believe that, but the business has only just started booming lately! Rodent families from all over the United Kingdom come to the Rat Trap every day to eat, & spend quality time, & watch the good, clean entertainment..." (She let out a blissful sigh.) "It's just wonderful!"

"And we've been rehired!" Ned & Jiggy chirped in unison, as they tossed their arms out wide with a flourish.

"Jiggy, Ned, & I now perform daily routines for all the kids & their families," Rosie said happily. "Why don't you come over to the Rat Trap, & see us sometime?"

The members of the Baker Street Family all thought to themselves for a moment...then looked back up at Rosie & her pals with big smiles, nodding their heads eagerly. "That would be great!" Victoria decided.

"OK!" Rosie said. "Let me know when you get there, so you can make a special request for entertainment during your meal! Just ask for Jiggy & the Terrific Two! They'll know who you're talking about!" With that, Rosie, Ned, & Jiggy departed, but not without smiling & waving "goodbye" to the Baker Street Family (& vice versa). When Basil & his loved ones were alone once more, Basil's smile became a miffed glower as he turned to glare at Victoria, who cracked a nervous grin, & giggled sheepishly at her husband. Was it something she said?

That night, the Baker Street Family were seated on the chairs, couches, & chaise lounges in the living room of their house, still wearing their outing clothes. The rodents had been discussing & debating about where to eat for their evening meal, but when a few of them suggested the Rat Trap, Basil answered angrily, "No, no, no! Absolutely not!" A glaring Basil furiously paced the floor of the living room, with his arms behind his back. Imagine—dining at the Rat Trap! the detective scoffed mentally. The very idea!

"But, Basil, we've got to go somewhere to eat for dinner tonight!" Victoria proclaimed pleadingly.

"Well, it's certainly not going to be the Rat Trap, that's for certain!" Basil replied, pausing his pacing to glare at his wife. Basil resumed pacing the floor, but then stopped again when Victoria piped up, "Basil, please! Just think about it for a second, will you?"

"It's out of the question, Victoria!" Basil snapped, poking Victoria in the nose with his forefinger. "We are NOT eating dinner at the Rat Trap, & that is final!"

With that, Basil stormed off angrily. As he did so, the supersleuth walked past Olivia, who got up out of her chair, & scampered after her godfather, reaching out a paw as she tried to plead with him to reconsider his decision. "Pleeeease?" Olivia asked, smiling & trying to look cute for Basil in the hopes of winning him over. "Pretty please?"

In response, Basil turned around to face Olivia with an irritated glower, & replied firmly, "No. Nein. Nyet. And a big...fat...negatory!"

With a sad sigh, a frowning Olivia trudged back to her seat in defeat. Meanwhile, Basil continued to storm & stomp across the living room. At one point, he was stopped by Mrs. Judson, who tried to speak with him about the matter. Keeping Basil from going any further, the mousekeeper pleaded, "Now, Basil, be reasonable! Jiggy & his friends said..."

"For your information, Mrs. Judson," Basil interrupted irately, "those three used to be performers at that pub!"

Basil then walked around Mrs. Judson, continuing on his way, but Mrs. Judson grabbed her employer by the tail, pulling him back towards her as she exclaimed emphatically, "But that's just it! It's not a pub anymore!" Basil yanked his tail free from Mrs. Judson's grasp, still glaring at her. Mrs. Judson continued to try & plead with her young friend: "Mr. Basil, I beg of us a favor, & let us go eat at the Rat Trap tonight! You can see for yourself, & have a look-see! Please?" The Scotsmouse then smiled broadly at Basil, clasping her paws together in front of her chest, hoping that she would have success in winning the detective over to the family's side.

Basil thought to himself for a moment. Then, he gave in with a sigh of resignation. "All right! Fine!" Basil conceded irritatedly. He then walked over to the suit of armor where he hung his deerstalker cap, & warned, "But if I see one drop of alcohol there, I'm taking the lot of you to McDillan's!"

"But we already ate there for lunch today!" Mrs. Judson blurted.

"I'm not taking any chances!" Basil replied, as he grabbed his deerstalker cap off the suit of armor, put it onto his head, & adjusted it.

Traveling together in their red van, the Baker Street Family drove through the London streets, making their way all across town, before finally ending up on a road leading to the docks by the Thames River...specifically, the mouse street of Lower Thames Street (known to us humans by the same name). The Rat Trap was located beneath the pier at Grants Quay Wharf, which was only a short distance away from where our heroes were now. In the van, Basil & Victoria sat up front; Dr. Dawson, Hiram, & Mrs. Judson rode in the middle row of seats, & the Baker Street Kids were seated in the back row. "We're getting close to the exit," Basil said. Looking at Victoria, he asked, "Have you got your purse ready, dear?"

"Yes, Basil," Victoria replied, holding up her purse to show it to her husband. After putting her pawbag down in her lap, Victoria looked ahead to see that the family was now approaching a wooden sign. The van's headlights illuminated said sign to reveal that it sported a big red arrow pointing to the right, along with blue painted-on text that said, "Rat Trap Entrance — Turn This Way". The Baker Street Family's van turned at the appropriate moment to exit the main road, & started to make its way down to the area of the docks where the Rat Trap was. A few seconds passed...& then, suddenly, everyone screamed as the van began to plummet down rapidly!

The Baker Street Family's van started to pick up speed as it descended down the pathway, which turned out to be a long, winding rollercoaster leading under the docks, full of twists, turns, & loop-de-loops. As Basil & his loved ones rode their vehicle down the wild & wacky rollercoaster, their screams turned to delighted whoops, cheers, & laughter. This was fun—no, even better than that! This was absolutely awesome! When the Baker Street Family finally reached the end of the rollercoaster, their van slid off the exit ramp, then gradually skidded to a stop in front of their destination. Next to the front door of the building they had just arrived at, there was a sign that said...

Welcome to the Rat Trap Family Restaurant! Open all week Hours of operation: 7:00 A.M. - 11:00 P.M.

"Well, here we are!" Basil said happily. The van doors slid open, & Olivia, Basil, Hiram, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, & Victoria all jumped out of the vehicle. The Baker Street Family then rushed towards the entrance of the Rat Trap, & climbed up the small set of steps leading to the front door. Who knew what would await Basil & his loved ones once they went inside the building? Our heroes would soon find out...

(CUE MUSIC: "Maple Leaf Rag", by Scott Joplin)

Basil opened the front door, & the Baker Street Family followed him inside. The Rat Trap Family Restaurant was a fantastic family-oriented establishment, the much-brighter remains of that dark, dreary, & dangerous saloon from long ago. The old pub used to be littered with trash, saturated with smoke, & tainted with all other kinds of nastiness, not to mention prone to the occasional bar fight. But there were no more of these unsightly, unpleasant, unwholesome things to be found! Everything in this eatery was suitable for children & adults alike! What were once barmaids & barmen, were now waiters & waitresses; likewise, what were once sultry showgirls & plebeian performers, were now family-friendly entertainers. In fact, a familiar face—none other than Jiggy The Juggling Octopus—was doing his routine on stage right now. Kids of all ages, as well as their parents, were seated at the tables, with babies in high chairs. The kids colored on placemats with crayons, & played with toys from their Merry Meals. What was once a dirty drinking counter, was now a friendly food counter, complete with little stools for the customers to sit on while they ate. Children & grownups sat on these "barstools", eating, chatting with each other, & sharing the latest gossip with the staff. What were once alcoholic beverages, were now various types of drinks ranging from soda to milk, & everything in between. No customer, child or otherwise, was without a Rodent's Delight cola or Earl Gray tea. Not a hiccup to be heard!

Among the staff members chatting with the customers at the counter, was a mouse who had been associated with this place for a very long time. He was awfully short for his age, with a stocky, big-boned figure. He had dark-tan fur & straight auburn-red hair (which was separated into two neatly-combed partitions on either side of his head). His elliptical-shaped head was adorned with wide & curvy cheekbones. A slightly-prominent brown nose (flanked on either side by a pair of long whiskers) was fixed between his gruff blue eyes (topped with thick, smooth, & angular black eyebrows). A big white bucktooth could be seen jutting out from his upper lip, & a small five-o'clock shadow adorned his chin & muzzle. A pair of average-sized, curvy pink ears prominently perked up from either side of his head (the left ear had a triangular notch in the middle of its edge, just between his two earfold-lines). His pink tail was long & thick, & his thick arms & legs ended in large paws & feet. He wore a single-breasted maroon vest, a golden bartender's shirt (with long, puffy sleeves divided into two parts with a tight red armband, starched white cuffs, & a stiff, starched white collar), a snug-fitting pair of olive-green trousers (held up by a brown leather belt with a golden buckle), a topless white apron, a black silk bow-tie, & a pair of dull brown shoes. His name was Auburn Patterson, & he was the former bartender of the Rat Trap, who had now become the self-proclaimed "headwaiter, head chef, co-owner, & co-manager" of the family restaurant.

At one point, Auburn turned away from the customers to refill one teenager's empty glass with liquid from one of the large kegs resting behind him. Auburn held the glass as he brought it up under the spigot of the keg, which filled the glass with fizzing, foaming root beer. Auburn smiled as he took the refilled glass, & walked back over to the counter. "Here you are, kid!" Auburn said cheerfully as he tossed the glass aside, making it skid across the table to its teenage consumer. "One Fizzy Fountain Soda!"

The teenage mouse smiled up at Auburn as he took his drink into his paws, & said, "Wow...Thanks, Auburn!"

"Don't mention it, kid!" Auburn answered amiably. He winked & cocked a forefinger, clicking his tongue. The teenage mouse & his friends returned the gestures, before sipping on their glasses of soda, juice, & other beverages.

Meanwhile, in the midst of all the affectionate activity, Jiggy was still doing his routine for the kids & adults in the audience. He smiled merrily as he tap-danced across the stage floor, juggling a bunch of rainbow-colored juggling balls in the air. As the Rat Trap customers watched Jiggy perform for them, they smiled, & appeared to be quite entertained by his vaudevillian act. Spurred on by this encouraging reception, Jiggy could feel his confidence rising as he continued to tap-dance & juggle for the patrons...Could it be that Jiggy at last had found acceptance? Suddenly, Jiggy stopped in the middle of the act, & sported a confused look when the background music abruptly stopped playing.

On a square balcony next to the stage, was the section of the restaurant that housed the Rat Trap Band (which was currently quite small, but was scheduled to gain future members in the upcoming months). Tom The Trombonist, Morey The Trumpet-Player, & Arnie The Drummer each sat down on stools, holding their prized instruments. Jerry The Guitar-Player slept soundly on a crate at the foot of the balcony, clutching a teddy bear & blanky, while his guitar lay at his feet. Don The Pianist took his fingers up from the piano keys, & glared irritatedly at the music book on his piano stand, which was missing some pages.

Don (whose full name was Donald Alastair Garrison) was tall for a male mouse his age, with a lean, lanky figure. He had tan fur (with light-tan markings going all across his muzzle & underbelly), along with a matching wave of neatly-combed fur-hair. His rounded head had small cheekbones that curved at an angle. A prominent dark-brown nose was fixed between his cheerful blue eyes (topped with a pair of thin, curved black eyebrows). Two large (& somewhat-"triangular") pink ears flanked the top of his head. His long pink tail was of average thickness, & his slim limbs ended in large paws & feet. He wore a buttonless burnt-orange vest, a sky-blue bartender-style shirt (with long, puffy sleeves divided into two parts with a tight red armband, starched white cuffs, & a stiff white collar), navy-blue trousers (held up by a black leather belt with a golden buckle), a black silk bow-tie, a black bowler hat (decorated with a red ribbon around the "dome"), a large sapphire ring (set in gold) on the third finger of his right hand, a pair of knitted white socks, & dull black shoes.

Arnie (whose full name was Arnoldo Juan Escovedo) was tall for a male mouse his age, with a lean, lanky figure. He had tan fur (with light-tan markings going all across his muzzle & underbelly), along with a matching wave of neatly-combed fur-hair. His rounded head had wide cheekbones that curved at an angle. A prominent dark-brown nose was fixed between his playful brown eyes (topped with a pair of thick, angular black eyebrows). Two large (& somewhat-"triangular") pink ears flanked the top of his head. A big white bucktooth jutted out from his upper lip. His pink tail was of average length & thickness, & his thin arms & legs ended in large paws & feet. He wore a buttonless maroon vest, a golden bartender-style shirt (with long, puffy sleeves divided into two parts with a tight red armband, starched white cuffs, & a stiff white collar), black trousers (held up by a black leather belt with a golden buckle), a red silk bow-tie, a black bowler hat (decorated with a red ribbon around the "dome"), a pair of knitted white socks, & dull black shoes.

Morey (whose full name was Morey Elvis Baxter) was awfully short for a male mouse his age, with a stout, portly figure. He had tan fur, along with a matching wave of neatly-combed fur-hair. His rounded head was adorned with wide & curvy cheekbones. A slightly-prominent dark-brown nose was fixed between his thoughtful green eyes (topped with a pair of thick, angular black eyebrows). Two average-sized (& somewhat-"triangular") pink ears flanked the top of his head. His short pink tail was of average thickness, & his plump arms & legs ended in large paws & feet. He wore a buttonless deep-turquoise vest, a periwinkle bartender-style shirt (with long, puffy sleeves divided into two parts with a tight red armband, starched white cuffs, & a stiff white collar), jade-green trousers (held up by a black leather belt with a golden buckle), a red silk bow-tie, a black bowler hat (decorated with a red ribbon around the "dome"), a pair of knitted white socks, & dull black shoes.

Tom (whose full name was Thomas Barnaby Hayword Anderson) was quite tall for a male mouse his age, with a lean, lanky figure. He had tan fur (with light-tan markings going all across his muzzle & underbelly), along with a wave of neatly-combed fur-hair. His rounded head had small cheekbones that curved at an angle. A prominent dark-brown nose was fixed between his genial violet eyes (topped with thick, angular black eyebrows). Two large (& somewhat-"triangular") pink ears flanked the top of his head. His pink tail was long & slender, & his thin arms & legs ended in large paws & feet. He wore a buttonless dark-magenta vest, an olive-green bartender-style shirt (with long, puffy sleeves divided into two parts with a tight red armband, starched white cuffs, & a stiff white collar), blue trousers (held up by a black leather belt with a golden buckle), a red silk bow-tie, a black bowler hat (decorated with a red ribbon around the "dome"), a pair of knitted white socks, & dull black shoes.

Jerry (whose full name was Gerald Robert Stanford) was tall for a male mouse his age, with a lean, lanky figure. He had tan fur (with light-tan markings going all across his muzzle & underbelly), along with a wave of neatly-combed fur-hair. His rounded head had small cheekbones that curved at an angle. A prominent dark-brown nose was fixed between his drowsy hazel eyes (topped with thin, curved black eyebrows). Two large (& somewhat-"triangular") pink ears flanked the top of his head. His pink tail was of average length & thickness, & his thin arms & legs ended in large paws & feet. He wore a buttonless turquoise vest, a light-green bartender-style shirt (with long, puffy sleeves divided into two parts with a tight red armband, starched white cuffs, & a stiff white collar), mauve trousers (held up by a black leather belt with a golden buckle), a red silk bow-tie, a black bowler hat (decorated with a red ribbon around the "dome"), a pair of knitted white socks, & dull black shoes.

"Rats—I mean, nuts!" Don exclaimed irritatedly.

"What's wrong, Don?" Jiggy asked in concern.

"This ding-dong sheet music book, that's what's wrong!" Don complained, angrily glaring & gesturing to the incomplete book of sheet music on his piano stand. Don then reached up to grab the last remaining leaf of libretto paper in the tome, & griped, "Look at it! It's missing the last few pages!"

"Aw, gee, that stinks," Jiggy said sympathetically.

"You're darn right it does, Jiggy!" Don huffed, grumpily placing his paws on his hips.

Meanwhile, Morey The Trumpet-Player was eating his favorite Rat Trap menu item, a Super Salsa Verde (which was a large basket of tortilla chips, with plenty of green sauce for dunking). Speaking to Don with his mouth full of food, Morey asked, "Then why don't you..."—he swallowed his mouthful of chips & sauce—"...go get yourself another copy, Don?"

"I'll get to it eventually, Morey," Don replied. "You know me."

"Indeed, I do," Morey remarked, before swirling a chip in some sauce, & eating it. Next to Morey, Tom The Trombonist was just about to eat a Waffle-&-Whipped-Cream Sandwich (the name speaks for itself). Morey couldn't help but notice this, & the thought of the sweet treat tingling his taste buds was just too much to bear! "Say, Tom," Morey asked his friend, "are you gonna finish that Waffle-&-Whipped-Cream Sandwich?"

Tom thought for a moment...then, upon realizing he wasn't really as hungry as he thought he was, he shrugged with a nonchalant look. With a smile, Tom gave the Waffle-&-Whipped-Cream Sandwich to his corpulent companion, & said, "Sure. Go right ahead, Morey."

"Thanks, pal!" Morey gushed gratefully. With that, the trumpet-player proceeded to eat the Waffle-&-Whipped-Cream Sandwich hungrily.

Erstwhile, a mischievously-grinning Arnie The Drummer leaned over the balcony, waving a giant toy spider in front of the sleeping face of Jerry The Guitar-Player. Jerry opened his eyes...& when he saw the toy spider dangling before him, he bolted upright with a scream of terror, as Arnie snickered impishly. Pointing to his panicking partner, Arnie gloated with a smirk, "Gotcha, Jerry!" His joke on Jerry had worked without a single hitch! What a great prank!

Arnie, however, was quickly reprimanded by Don, who had witnessed the whole incident. "Arnie, leave Jerry alone," the pianist scolded. "You know he doesn't like that."

Arnie became struck with guilt at the realization that he had done wrong to his friend. "Ay, forgive me, Don," Arnie said softly, looking chastened. The drummer turned to face Jerry, then suddenly wrapped his arms tightly around the guitarist, & brought him in for a great, big hug as he blurted out in a choked-up voice, "I am so sorry, mi amigo!" Arnie then burst into a melodramatic fit of tears as he hugged Jerry tightly, & patted him on the back. At that point, Don flexed his fingers, & put them down on top of the piano keys, proceeding to play his earlier tune all over again.

(CUE MUSIC: "Maple Leaf Rag", by Scott Joplin)

As the music picked up once more, Jiggy smiled, & returned to his tap-dancing / juggling routine. Only when he finally got to the end, did he stop to take a grand bow. The kids & adults cheered & clapped for Jiggy, delighted with the performance he had given them. Jiggy beamed proudly as he took a few more bows, & basked in his applause. What a delightfully-different reaction than what Jiggy was accustomed to! It felt so great to be loved & admired by folks who appreciated your talent! "You like me!" Jiggy exclaimed, smiling happily. "You really like me!" The kids chanted Jiggy's name over & over again, inspiring him to do an encore of his routine. As he continued tap-dancing & juggling for his cheering audience, Jiggy was so happy right now, he could have keeled over from the bliss!

At this moment, the Baker Street Family made their way over to the largest table they could find, & took their seats around it. After sitting down in their chairs, Basil & his loved ones all picked up each of 9 menus that had been laid out for them. "Well, let's see what they've got to eat here," Basil said. Everyone opened up their menus, & checked out the items listed upon them. "Hmmm...There's quite a list of goodies on this menu," Basil muttered sotto voce, as he scanned the text upon his card. Some of the items listed upon the Rat Trap menu included (but were not limited to) Gummy Worm Spaghetti, Gooey Grilled-Cheese Sandwich, Waffle-&-Whipped-Cream Sandwich, Super Salsa Verde, Fizzy Fountain Soda, Basket O' Fish-&-Chips, Ice Cream Castle, Chocolate Rocket, Fruit-Kabob, Rainbow Jelly Cake, Gumdrop Mountain, Mega-Taco, Pea Soup, Rainbow Fruit Salad, & the Merry Meal.

Basil & the rest of the Baker Street Family finished reading their menus, then folded them up, & placed them down on the table. At this point, a waitress approached their table, carrying a pen & notepad in her paws. The waitress was tall for a mouse woman her age, with a stout, big-boned figure. She had tan fur, along with a short mop of curly brown hair. Her rounded head had wide & curvy cheekbones, & a mole adorned her left cheek. A small dark-pink nose was fixed between her sweet violet eyes (with three short lashes decorating each eyelid, & thick, angular black eyebrows arching over them). A pair of small pink ears flanked either side of her head. Her thick pink tail was of average length, & her plump arms & legs ended in small paws & feet. She wore a sleeveless navy-blue dress, a mauve apron, & a pair of navy-blue slip-on shoes; additionally, a small sky-blue flower was tucked behind her right ear, & a modest amount of makeup adorned her face. Her name was Evelyn Rosedale, & she was the former barmaid of the Rat Trap, who had now become the self-proclaimed "headwaitress, head chef, co-owner, & co-manager" of the establishment. As she approached the Baker Street Family, Evelyn greeted with a pleasant smile, "Welcome to the Rat Trap Family Restaurant. My name's Evelyn. What's your pleasure, dearies?"

"We'll have everything on the menu," Basil replied, returning the smile.

When she heard this, Evelyn almost couldn't believe her ears! The restaurant had only been open for a few months, & no one had ever made such a large order before! Though a little surprised by Basil's request, Evelyn kept that smile on her face as she answered, "OK...Coming right up."

In the kitchen of the Rat Trap Family Restaurant, crickets & cockroaches in white chef's outfits were busy working on food for the customers. The door swung open, & Evelyn stepped into the kitchen. "'EY, GUYS! Table #7 wants everything on the menu!" she called out to the staff.

A cricket cook was standing on a wooden stool as he stirred a ladle around inside a large silver pot, filled with thick, green-colored pea soup that bubbled & boiled. When he heard what Evelyn had said, the shocked cricket cook turned to face Evelyn with a surprised look, & asked, "Everything, Miss Rosedale?"

"Yes, everything!" Evelyn replied testily, as her face sported an impatient frown. She opened the kitchen door, & began walking away, but not without turning to face the kitchen staff one last time. "When I say 'everything', I mean every flippin' thing!" Evelyn said grumpily. With that, she exited, shutting the door behind her. And, so, the cricket & cockroach cooks immediately got to work. They all started cooking food, cutting up foodstuffs (e.g., fruits, cheese, vegetables, bread, etc.), sprinkling seasonings, stirring things, baking things, & whatnot. This was going to be their biggest job yet!

Meanwhile, back in the restaurant's eating area, the members of the Baker Street Family were chatting merrily amongst one another as they waited for their meal. At one point, their conversation was interrupted as the room's lights darkened, a timpani began to roll, & an emcee boomed out, "Ladiiiiies & gentlerodents...please give it up for tonight's first act, Melissa Mousechester!" Everyone in the restaurant cheered & applauded, as the curtains on the Rat Trap stage opened to reveal a young mouse woman. She was of average height for her age, with a slim, slender figure. She had soft white fur, & straight light-blonde hair (which she kept tied in a big, long ponytail with a pink silk ribbon). Her rounded head was adorned with wide & curvy cheekbones. A small pink nose was fixed between her sweet almond-shaped eyes (which had sky-blue "whites" & cerulean-blue irises, & were topped with slender, curved light-blonde eyebrows). A pair of small pink ears flanked either side of her head. Her pink tail was long & slender, & her lean limbs ended in small paws & feet. She wore a pink Western-style shirt, a fringed rose-colored shawl, a snug-fitting pair of blue jeans (held up by a brown leather belt with a golden buckle), a snugly-fitting pair of shiny, brown leather boots with silver spurs, & a modest amount of makeup on her face. This was none other than popular country-&-western singer Melissa Mousechester. [16]

"Good evening," Melissa greeted, smiling at the audience as she spoke into a microphone. "It's nice to see y'all here today. Tonight, I'm gonna sing a special song for you. I hope you like it." Melissa put the microphone onto the stand resting in front of her, then took the guitar that was slung around over her shoulder. She subsequently began to sing as she strummed upon the guitar...

(CUE SONG: "The World Doesn't Understand You") [17]

You look at the rodents around you They stare at you with puzzled gazes And yet, you don't quite understand Why they sport such inquisitive faces

When they reach out a paw to touch you, You feel pain & you back away You don't understand why they're startled To be seeing you in such dismay

You feel puzzled by riddles & sayings Whose meanings tend to flee your brain, And you don't comprehend why they understand Funny things that are never explained

But don't be embarrassed or shameful! There's no need to be forlorn or blue You may think that the world's a big mystery, But the world doesn't understand you

The song ended, & the audience applauded. Melissa got up to take a few bows, & said with a smile, "Thank you." Once the applause had subsided, Melissa took her guitar, & gracefully exited the stage.

Outside the Rat Trap, everything was quiet & peaceful; the waters of the Thames River gently lapped against the walkway leading from the rollercoaster to the restaurant entrance, & every few seconds, a seagull or other bird would let out a cry that resonated through the clear, moonlit night...but not everything was as normal as it seemed. Unbeknownst to any of the Rat Trap staff or their customers, a mysterious mouse was lurking around the area outside the eatery. The figure—a lean, lanky fellow—was rather tall, with yellow eyes, tan fur, a prominent pink nose with a pair of whiskers on either side, & thin, long limbs with nimble paws & feet of average size; he was wearing a bandanna-mask, a ski cap with a small pom-pom on top, & a two-piece suit consisting of a turtleneck sweater & sweatpants—all in black. Clad in the clothes that helped him blend in with the dark dusk atmosphere, the figure quietly emerged from behind a tall wooden pole that served as one of the dock's support beams, before looking around & checking to see if anybody was there.

Upon finding out the coast was clear, the mouse—none other than Mouses Fiennes' top minion, Agent 001—reached into his trousers pocket, & got out a small cell phone. After pressing a number on speed dial, Agent 001 put the phone to his ear...but all he heard on the other line was a "busy" tone. The thug, getting increasingly irritated with each second that passed, yelled into the phone's mouthpiece in his slight Russian accent, "Mouses? Mouses? MOUSES?" But, still, he got no response! What on Earth could be keeping Mouses so busy? Agent 001 wondered to himself in bewilderment, unaware that his employer had just gotten involved in a very dire predicament...

(CUE MUSIC: "Hungarian Polka", by Johann Strauss)

In the sewer lair of Mouses Fiennes, all Hades had broken loose! The thugs had left Old Blind Joe & the members of the Goodie Gang bound & gagged on the floor, & were now rebelling against Mouses. The minions laughed insanely as they ran around the hideout, chased each other with weapons, tossed things, scarfed down food & drink, brawled each other, goofed around, &—in general—caused a big, chaotic mess (complete with garbage & junk flying everywhere). Eunice & Shellington Batly tried to control the madness going on around them, but to no avail. Mouses' crudely-built cell phone was lying on the floor beside the empty throne. [18] As his thugs ran around him, & committed various acts of mischief & mayhem, Mouses was standing in the middle of all the chaos, angry as heck.

You ungrateful swine! Mouses steamed mentally. I took you in after Ratigan reformed, & gave you your jobs back, & this is how you repay me?! I don't know what prompted you into openly opposing me in such a manner, but I'm going to find out, even if I have to torture you for answers! Suddenly, Snotty Sam went up to Mouses, picked his nose, & wiped his mucus on Mouses' face. The crime-lord retched in disgust, then turned to face Sam, & tried to grab him by the tail. Sam was too quick for him, however, & he managed to dash off from Mouses, leaving his ex-master to fall face-first to the floor. At that point, Jaywalk James pulled Mouses' tail, making him yelp in pain as he sprinted to his feet. James also managed to evade Mouses before he could be caught; as he dashed away from his "former" boss, he cackled wickedly. Mouses fumed angrily, snarling in rage. Those bratchnies! Those bloody bratchnies!

Not caring about how Mouses was feeling, the thugs carried on with their uprising. Some of the minions threw garbage & junk at Mouses, hurling insults at him. "We're sick & tired of you bossing us around, Mouses! We're bored under your rule!" Peewee Pete proclaimed, glaring at Mouses as he threw stuff at him (along with Gunsmoke Gary, Snotty Sam, & Jaywalk James).

"Who needs Mouses Fiennes?" Gunsmoke Gary mused mockingly.

Snotty Sam chuckled, & assented meanly, "Yeah! Right on, Gary!" (He let out a snort.) "Who needs Mouses?"

"Down with Mouses!" Jaywalk James cried, pumping his fist into the air. The thugs all clamored in agreement, & continued with their rebellion.

Unable to tolerate this obstinate opposition any longer, Mouses fumed once more, then immediately went to confront his thugs. "Now, you rebellious 'serbs', listen to your master!" Mouses said angrily as he attempted to intervene...before getting hit with rotten tomatoes. The criminal tried to keep his cool, however, as he wiped tomato splatter off his face. Then, smiling "sweetly", Mouses tried to coax the thugs into listening to him: "My dear thugs...your master commands that you kindly settle down right now..."

At that point, Mouses suddenly gasped & ducked to avoid getting hit by Walker, who swung down on a chandelier, barely missing Mouses' head. "We don't need no stinkin' orders from you, Mouses!" Walker declared defiantly, as he rode the light fixture up to the ceiling. Walker landed upon another chandelier, then stood upon it, & turned to face Mouses, smirking defiantly at him as he placed his paws on his hips, & stated bravely, "We got a new leader...Bartholomew!"

Bartholomew was now sprawled out across the seat of Mouses' throne, dressed in some of his own royal garb. He took a swig from a bottle of grape soda, then belched, not having bothered to adopt the meticulous manners of his "predecessor". The newly-appointed leader of Mouses' minions then announced drowsily, "Now, me loyal subjects, yer boss commands ye..."—he yawned, & stretched his limbs out—" party like it's Eighteen...Ninety...Nine." With that, Bartholomew closed his eyes, & fell asleep, snoring loudly. His bottle of grape soda fell to the floor with a clatter, its contents spilling out everywhere.

Fed up with his thugs' defiance, Mouses slapped his forehead in irritation, & thought, How DARE they? How DARE those infernal lowlives try to replace me with some insane hierarchy? Meanwhile, the thugs shouted & clamored as they continued to run around Mouses, & commit myriad acts of mischief & mayhem, while garbage, weapons, food, & drink flew everywhere. By this point, Mouses' fury & frustration was so great, he couldn't fight the urge to slap his paw against his forehead repeatedly. Finally, with a moan, Mouses stopped facepalming, before casting a martyred glance to the ceiling as he cried with gnarled hands extended towards the heavens, "Oh, why me? Merciful Dickens, why me?"

Back at the Rat Trap Family Restaurant, the Baker Street Family was sitting at their table, still waiting for their dinner to be served. Basil & his loved ones looked towards the stage as the room's lights darkened, & a timpani began to roll. A pair of bright spotlights came on, moving up to shine upon the stage curtains, as the Rat Trap Emcee boomed, "Ladies & gentlerodents...please welcome Rosie The Ribbiter & Ned The Newt, who will be performing a series of death-defying stunts!" The audience gasped & marveled upon hearing this, eager to see the forthcoming performance. Don The Pianist, Arnie The Drummer, Morey The Trumpet-Player, & Tom The Trombonist smiled as they prepared to play their instruments. This was gonna be a great show!

(CUE MUSIC: "Sabre Dance", from Aram Khachaturian's "Gayane")

Once Arnie brought his drumsticks down to strike the surfaces of his drums, the rest of the Rat Trap Band began playing. The curtains of the Rat Trap stage drew open, & the spotlights moved up to focus on Rosie The Ribbiter & Ned The Newt as they made their entrance, & rode their unicycle down a tightrope across the stage. At first, only Rosie could be seen on the unicycle, but she was soon launched into the air with a mighty push, before landing on her bum upon Ned's supporting arms. Ned struggled to lift Rosie while balancing on his unicycle over the tightrope. As Rosie & Ned rode together, Rosie smiled & waved her tiny, chubby hand to greet the audience. Ned cracked a toothy "grin" of his own, but didn't wave—he had to use both arms in order to support Rosie! Blissfully unaware of Ned's plight, the kids & families in the audience watched the entertainment with wide smiles. They all returned the wave at Rosie.

Ned grunted as Rosie's weight sank down on him a little. The lizard struggled underneath his froggy friend, somehow still managing to keep his balance as he rode his unicycle down the tightrope. As he tried to lift Rosie back up on top of him, Ned glared at her, & whispered irritatedly, "Get off me, Rosie!"

"Sorry, Ned, but it's hard for me to stay on top of you!" Rosie replied with a sheepish smile. Gesturing with her right forefinger & thumb to indicate Ned's size, she added, "You're a tiny, little guy!"

"I can't help it! I was born that way!" Ned growled angrily, continuing to struggle underneath Rosie's weight. After exerting some effort, Ned finally managed to lift Rosie back up. And, so, the smiling Rosie & the grimacing Ned continued to ride their unicycle down the tightrope across the Rat Trap stage.

Moments later, Rosie looked down at her pint-sized partner, & asked him, "Say, Ned...did they just say we're about to do a series of death-defying stunts?"

Ned gulped, before sweating a little as he answered nervously, "Yeah..."

With her face forming a broad smile extending from ear to ear, Rosie looked up from Ned, pointed ahead with her right forefinger, & said happily, "Then, you should be glad we spent all those years training in my family's circus at the bayou!"

Ned looked up in the direction that Rosie was pointing...& let out a scream of terror when he saw that he & Rosie were approaching a ring of fire that surrounded the tightrope! As Rosie & Ned rode their unicycle further down the rope, they ended up jumping through not one, but four, rings of fire! After leaping through the last flaming ring, the two reptiles carried on with their trek. At that point, a red apple fell down from the ceiling, & Rosie reached out to catch it in her hand. The apple was soon followed by a round orange, a golden banana, a lime-green pear, a bunch of blueberries, & a purple plum, all of which Rosie was forced to juggle around in a rotating rainbow of fruit after she put her black vaudeville cane in her mouth.

The juggling Rosie & the straining, struggling Ned continued to ride their unicycle down the tightrope, which was now suspended over a fake sea of choppy, blue wooden waves that "roared" across the stage floor, hiding it from view. A rotating ring of four gray, robotic sharks could be seen circling around, their dorsal fins visible above the crests of the "waves". One of the robotic sharks jumped out from the "ocean" to grab Ned's tail in his fangs, biting & tugging at the end of it. Ned screamed in pain, then suddenly bolted away, freeing his tail in the process. Rosie & the frightened-looking Ned sped down the tightrope as fast as they could, while they tried to evade the wrath of the robotic sharks as they jumped up & down, chomping hungrily at Ned's tail. (All the while, Rosie was still holding her cane in her mouth, & juggling her six rainbow fruits in her hands.)

Now, a large axe blade was swinging back & forth over the tightrope, getting closer & closer towards it as it gently descended from the ceiling. Rosie & Ned's eyes bulged fearfully when they saw the swinging axe in front of them. Thinking quickly, Rosie tossed each of her rainbow fruits into the air, & reached her right hand up to take her cane out of her mouth. One by one, Rosie took the red apple, orange, golden banana, lime-green pear, bunch of blueberries, & purple plum into her mouth, until her cheeks were both completely stuffed with food. This is it! Rosie thought. Here we go! With that, Rosie took her cane, & jumped off the unicycle, while Ned grabbed on tightly to her. Rosie used the hook of her cane like a swinging pole as she & Ned continued riding across the tightrope, with both reptiles looking up as the cane approached the blade of the axe.

Said blade cut across the hook of Rosie's cane, severing it in two. With the destruction of the one thing keeping them aloft, Rosie & Ned fell down towards the stage floor, before landing on their bums on the planked platform. Rosie & Ned then opened their eyes, & looked up with blank stares (with Rosie's cheeks still stuffed with fruit, & the remains of her cane clutched in her left hand). As Ned started to burst into a toothy smile, Rosie gulped down the fruit in her mouth, swallowing it. Then, Rosie held up the remains of her cane in the air, smiling broadly at the audience with an open-mouthed grin. Once again, the Terrific Two had put on another fantastic performance! Ned, still smiling toothily, let his eyes roll back into his head, & fainted to the floor. That had been too close for his comfort!

Meanwhile, back in the sewer lair, Mouses' thugs & minions were still shouting, cackling, yelling, & laughing as they ran around the barrel-throne room, continuing with their rebellion. Eunice & Shellington Batly were still having no success controlling the unruly mob, & Old Blind Joe & the members of the Goodie Gang (with the exception of Bartholomew, who was still fast asleep on Mouses' throne) were still lying bound & gagged on the floor. In short, it was pretty much the exact same situation as it was earlier. Mouses Fiennes was now completely covered in garbage, food, & drink. He fumed angrily, with his face a deep shade of scarlet-red, as his thugs continued to run around, causing the usual acts of mischief & mayhem. Finally, after several seconds, Mouses yelled as he snapped into a sudden outburst of fury. He had had enough of this!

Meanwhile, Bartholomew was still snoring as he lay sprawled out across the seat of Mouses' throne. He woke up with a startled yelp, however, as Mouses stormed over to him, grabbed him up from the throne by the neck, & yanked him into the air. Clutching Bartholomew tightly by the throat to the point where his eyes bulged out, Mouses struggled to refrain from throttling his stout thug as he turned to address the other minions. With a forced smile on his face that didn't exactly hide his less-than-pleasant attitude, Mouses snarled, "My dear, loyal minions...if you do not settle down, & go to your quarters immediately..."—his insane grin turned into an angry, fang-filled frown, & he yelled to be heard above the noise that the thugs were making—"...I can assure you that you'll ALL be in Felicia's stomach!"

(CUE MUSIC: "No. 3 In F Minor", from Franz Schubert's "Musical Moments")

Upon hearing this, the thugs all stopped what they were doing, & fell silent, before turning to face Mouses with wide-eyed, terrified looks. The boss had certainly gotten their attention! With fearful gulps, the thugs & minions rushed out through the doorway of the barrel-throne room, hurrying to make their exit (& thus flee the wrath of Mouses). Once the goons were all gone, Mouses turned to glare at Bartholomew, before releasing the stout little fellow's neck, & letting him fall to the floor. After Bartholomew landed on his bum, he rubbed his backside back & forth with his paws to soothe the aching feeling in it, but not without hearing the following instructions from Mouses: "You, Manchester Maurice, Old Blind Joe, & the rest of the Goodie Gang are going to clean this mess up."

"All of it?" Bartholomew asked, looking up at Mouses in shock.

"Yes," Mouses replied smugly with a smirk, nodding his head. Dismayed to hear this, Bartholomew frowned sadly, & slumped down in dejection, before getting up to gather his friends & the necessary supplies for the job. At the same time, Mouses strolled down the red carpet to the back of the barrel-throne room, then stepped up onto the platform where his throne was. Taking his seat in said throne, Mouses barked at Bartholomew with a gruff glare, "And you had better use the right type of soap!" Now sporting a grumpy frown on his face, Mouses placed his arms on the arms of his chair.

Suddenly, Mouses looked down to his left as he heard the sound of ringing from the cell phone resting by the foot of the throne. Mouses swiftly picked the phone up, & put it to his ear, just in time to hear Agent 001 calling his name. "Ah, hello, Agent 001!" Mouses said to his much-loved minion in a pleasant tone, smiling amiably. "Have you found the location of the Baker Street Family?"

"I followed the tracks of their van," Agent 001 answered. "They lead to the Rat Trap."

"Oh, good, the Rat Trap!" Mouses exclaimed. "I'm in desperate need of a Margarata to quench my thirst, so could you pick one up for me?"

"Well, the place looks packed, but I'll see what I can do," Agent 001 avowed.

"And while you're there," Mouses asked, "could you try to see if you could lure Ratigan & Fidget away from the Baker Street Family, so you can bring them back to the hideout?"

"I'll do my very best, Mouses," Agent 001 avowed.

"Thank you, Agent 001," Mouses said. "You're the tops." With that, Mouses hung up the phone, then leaned back in his throne with a smile. Just then, a thought occurred to Mouses: Wait, the entire Baker Street Family is at the Rat Trap? Why on Mouse Earth would Basil bring his children to a pub? Ah, well, no matter, I suppose...

Having just finished his conversation with Mouses, Agent 001 dialed the number of the Rat Trap to carry out the first of his tasks. When someone from the Rat Trap's office picked up, & asked if they could provide any service, Agent 001 said, "Yes, I need a Margarata. One with extra salt, & go easy on the ice. Send it to the sewer lair. As in, the one by the docks." Listening to the respective responses from the Rat Trap representative, Agent 001 blurted out in a mixture of shock & anger, "WHAT?! What do you mean you don't sell Margaratas anymore?" (Beat.) "Afamilyrestaurant?! I have not heard of you being a family restaurant! You're the Rat Trap, the seediest of all riverfront pubs!" (Beat.) "There is no sign above my head that says 'The Rat Trap Family Restaurant'!"

Almost as though this were a cartoon cliché, there was a multicolored blinking sign above Agent 001's head that clearly said "The Rat Trap Family Restaurant" in big, bright letters. But Agent 001 didn't seem to notice, nor did he care as he grunted in rage, before shouting, "You fursons are idiots!" Agent 001 then angrily hung up his phone, before stuffing it into his trousers pocket. What a ditzy dolt! he fumed mentally. Doesn't she have any idea where she works? Well, forget her! Guess I'm going to have to do this the old-fashioned way! With that, Agent 001 ducked back behind the wooden support pole, & proceeded to don the disguise he had brought along with him...

(CUE MUSIC: "Golliwog's Cakewalk", from Claude Debussy's "Children's Corner")

Inside the Rat Trap, things carried on as usual. The Baker Street Family was sitting at their table, still waiting for their dinner to be served. A smiling Don The Pianist played ambient ragtime music for the patrons, while Morey & Tom shared some food, Arnie flipped through a comic book, & Jerry slept with his teddy bear & blanky. Auburn stood behind the dining counter, serving some of the seated customers their food & drink—hamburgers, French fries with ketchup, Super Salsa Verdes, Baskets O' Fish-&-Chips, ice cream sundaes, Fizzy Fountain Sodas, glasses of water & juice, & Merry Meals for the kids (complete with free toys inside). At one point, Auburn stepped aside to make way for Evelyn, who walked behind the counter, & approached her pal & partner with a friendly smile. "Auburn, dearie, I see you've just handed out some food to our customers!" Evelyn exclaimed.

"Indeed, I have, Evelyn!" Auburn replied with a smile of his own, as he gestured to the patrons dining in front of them. "They're all tucking in happily!"

"Wasn't turning this Rat Trap into a family restaurant a marvelous idea, Aubie?" Evelyn asked happily.

"Yes...Yes, it was..." Auburn replied, still smiling at Evelyn as he nodded his head in agreement, & moved to adjust his bow-tie. Then, with a clearing of his throat into his fist, the restaurateur leaned over to Evelyn on his tiptoes, & whispered, "But, um, please don't call me 'Aubie'. Only my mother & uncle can do that."

Evelyn rolled her eyes in mock-annoyance, before looking down at Auburn with another smile—this time, of a more-affectionate nature—& saying, "Suit yerself, sweet pea."

"By the way, how's the order for Table #7 going?" Auburn asked, looking up at Evelyn.

Evelyn pretended to think to herself, then answered with a playful grin, "Should be done in...a couple of hours."

When Auburn heard this, he immediately freaked out! "Two blinkin' hours?!" Auburn yelled in shock as he clasped the palms of his paws to the sides of his face, staring ahead with wide eyes & an alarmed expression.

Evelyn laughed, waving it off with a swat of her paw. "I'm just kiddin', Auburn!" the eatery employee exclaimed as she did all this, before placing her paws on her hips, & adding reassuringly, "It'll be done in a few minutes!"

Auburn sighed in relief, smiling again as he wiped the sweat off his brow with a dishrag he'd withdrawn from his pocket. "Oh, thank heavens!" Auburn said. "For a second there...I thought we'd have to carry out the company policy: 'We'll have your food done in 30 minutes or less...or your meal is free!'"

Evelyn didn't like the way Auburn phrased that last sentence. She frowned disapprovingly at Auburn, & leaned down towards him with her arms still akimbo, raising an eyebrow as she asked, "Are you tryin' to be a cheapskate, Auburn?"

Now sporting a shocked, alarmed look at the realization of what he had just said, Auburn waved his paws about wildly in front of him to gesture "no", shaking his head vigorously in negation. As he did all these things, Auburn exclaimed emphatically, "No, no, no! Of course not, Evie!" Gesturing to himself with his left thumb on his chest, Auburn grinned broadly at Evelyn, & said, "You know me! I'm generous...selfless...munificent...& the most altruistic, warm-hearted guy around these parts!" Upon finishing this statement, Auburn crossed his arms over his chest, closing his eyes & still smiling confidently at Evelyn.

At this point, Evelyn stood back upright, & smiled at Auburn again, convinced of the truth in his words. "Of course, you are, Auburn," Evelyn said sweetly. "I know you could never find it in your heart to deny anybody truly deserving of something."

The ding of a bell suddenly resonated through the restaurant, attracting the attention of Auburn & Evelyn. A cricket cook popped his head into view from behind the Rat Trap's kitchen window, as he called out to Evelyn, "Pick up order for Table #7!"

"Well, the meal's done, Auburn," Evelyn proclaimed pleasantly as she removed her paws from her hips, & let her arms fall down at her sides. Turning away from Auburn, Evelyn began walking off to the kitchen, & added, "I'll go fetch the food, & bring it all to our lovely customers at Table 7."

"Anything you say, sweet cheeks!" Auburn chirped, smiling at Evelyn as he watched her leave. Auburn then went back to work, proceeding to clean the inside of a glass with his dishrag.

Evelyn came back for a moment to speak to Auburn one more time. "And, Auburn...?" she began.

"Yes, sweet cheeks?" Auburn asked, looking up at Evelyn with a grin.

"Don't call me 'sweet cheeks'," Evelyn replied jadedly, as her face fell into a flat frown.

With a sad look adorning his countenance, Auburn lowered his head, nodding it up & down as he remarked, "Noted, Ev." With that, Evelyn exited. When he was alone, Auburn sighed & continued cleaning out the empty glass with his washrag, sporting a wistful smile on his face as he cast a starry-eyed gaze to the heavens, & exclaimed ecstatically, "God, how I just love that woman!" Suddenly, Auburn was brought out of his blissful reverie as his ears perked up to the sound of someone knocking on the front door. Now, who could that be? Auburn wondered. The former bartender put down his glass & washrag on the surface of the counter, then walked out into the dining area. Some of the customers at the counter looked up from their dinner at Auburn as they watched him leave, but the others continued to eat their meals without any interruption.

Auburn proceeded to walk through the eating area of the Rat Trap Family Restaurant, passing the tables with dining customers along the way. Finally, Auburn got to the Rat Trap entrance, & walked over to the front door. He grabbed the handle, & slowly started to open the door, looking outside. Standing in the threshold was a tall, lanky tan mouse dressed in black spy clothing, with a matching snow-cap on his head, & a matching bandanna-mask going all around his face (complete with holes for his bright-yellow eyes to see through) well as a prominent pink nose with a pair of whiskers on either side, a bucktooth, a large black moustache that was obviously fake, & a pair of semi-transparent sunglasses perched upon his nose. "Yes...Can I help you?" Auburn asked the mysterious stranger in a friendly tone. [19]

The "stranger"—none other than Agent 001 in a cruddy disguise—cleared his throat into his fist, then spoke to Auburn in a thick Russian accent: "Previet, my good chelloveck. I would like to make an order to go."

"Aye, & what'll you have, sir?" Auburn inquired genially.

"A Margarata, if you please," Agent 001 replied, smiling broadly at Auburn.

Glaring flatly at Agent 001, Auburn pointed out, "We don't serve Margaratas here, sir. In case you haven't heard, the Rat Trap is now officially a family restaurant."

"Oh, yes, of course, I should have known that! My mistake!" Agent 001 blurted out, unknowingly slipping into his regular voice.

Auburn raised an eyebrow at Agent 001, glaring suspiciously at him. He didn't think he could trust this strange visitor. "Let me guess...You're not just here to pick up a Margarata, are you?" Auburn said skeptically.

Agent 001 smiled up nervously at Auburn, sweating a little. "With your permission, good sir...may I be allowed inside the restaurant, please?" Agent 001 asked timidly, slipping back into his fake Russian accent.

"Why do you need to get in, sir?" Auburn questioned suspiciously.

Agent 001 gulped & tugged at the collar of his shirt, before looking up at Auburn with the same nervous smile, & answering, "I would like to speak to the large rat & little bat seated at Table 7...if you wouldn't mind."

At this point, Auburn's suspicious glare turned into an alarmed look, as his eyebrows flared up in shock, & his eyes widened in recognition—he now realized who the "stranger" really was! "Hey...I know you!" Auburn exclaimed, pointing at the visitor. His shocked expression melted into a look of fury as he stomped down the front steps to stand in front of the other mouse, placed his paws on his hips, & added accusingly, "You're Agent 001...Mouses Fiennes' top minion!"

Agent 001's eyes widened in terror as he immediately became shocked, then scared. He was absolutely frightened to know that he'd just been found out! Sweating & casting a fearful glance askance as he stepped back away from Auburn, Agent 001 stuttered in his normal voice, "I-I-I-I..."—he looked up at Auburn with a panicked expression, still speaking in his fake Russian accent—"I have no idea what you are govoreeting about!" As he continued to sweat, Agent 001 tried to crack another toothy, nervous grin at Auburn, & added assuringly, "I am a perfectly horrorshow, law-abiding citizen!"

But Auburn was not convinced. Glaring at Agent 001 as he stepped over to him, & reached for his fake moustache, the restaurateur retorted, "Don't try to fool me with your lies, you scoundrel!" With one hand, Auburn ripped off Agent 001's fake moustache, causing the mouse to scream from the burning pain, before leaning forward on his tiptoes as he reached up with the other hand to roughly snatch Agent 001's sunglasses from off of his nose. "I can see right through that cruddy disguise of yours!" Auburn exclaimed as he removed Agent 001's accessories. He took the sunglasses & moustache into his paws, then tossed them to the ground, before leaning over to Agent 001. Giving Agent 001 a death glare as he poked the rogue in the nose with his forefinger, Auburn snarled angrily, "Now, get out of here! I want you to leave these premises this instant—& don't even think about coming back here, or I'll have the Yard on your tail!" With that, Auburn turned around, stumped up the front steps, & slammed the door shut, leaving Agent 001 all alone.

(CUE MUSIC: "No. 3 In F Minor", from Franz Schubert's "Musical Moments")

Quite shocked by the heated exchange that had just taken place, the renegade spy stared blankly ahead...then fumed for a moment, as his face turned a deep shade of scarlet-red. Then, Agent 001 suddenly reared his head back, & let out a long, loud yell of rage, waving his arms & fists about in the air in a fit of fury. After a few seconds, Agent 001 calmed down, but he was still angry as heck. Tossing his arms & paws up into the air in a furious flourish, Agent 001 complained crabbily, "Great! Now, I'm going to have to sneak in!" Agent 001 let his arms fall down at his sides...then sported a sly, mischievous grin as he rubbed his paws together in front of his chest, & said, "But that won't be a problem!" Agent 001 chuckled devilishly, before rushing off into an alley located by the side of the Rat Trap.

In this area, there was a staircase with a brown rope banister going down alongside its six steps, which had been constructed out of wooden planks (the rope was tied to two stakes on the top & bottom steps). A set of three large, brown "trash-barrels" (along with a few stray pieces of garbage) rested together on the ground at the foot of the stairway, which led up to a big door (illuminated with yellow light from a single hanging lamp). Sporting a crafty grin on his face, Agent 001 scurried up the steps to the Rat Trap's side-entrance, then opened the silver-handled door, & made his way through the threshold, shutting the door behind him as he exited. Observant as he usually was, Agent 001 was in a hurry to get his second task done, so he did not see the sign taped to the door that said in big, black, marker-printed writing, "Stage Employees Only".

In the private area behind the Rat Trap's stage curtains, three female mice (all dressed in fuschia, turquoise, & blue tri-colored dancing leotards with fuschia dancing shoes, turquoise elbow-length gloves, blue chokers around their necks, & a set of three large fuschia, turquoise, & blue feathers tucked behind their left ears) were donning fuschia face veils, turquoise shawls to go around their arms & shoulders, & blue gauntlets for their wrists & ankles (all of which were made out of transparent silk fabric). It looked like they were getting ready to do a big performance for the kids & their families! [20]

When their ears perked up to the sound of approaching footsteps, the three girls suddenly stopped what they were doing, & all looked up with shocked & surprised expressions as Agent 001 ran onto the scene, dashing madly in their direction. "Get out of my way, you devotchkas!" Agent 001 snapped, nearly knocking the female performers over as he tried to barrel past them. The performers were not too happy about this, & they were quick to voice their irritation, glaring in annoyance at the uninvited guest as they said, "Hey, watch it!"

"Sorry, girls," Agent 001 apologized as he continued running through the backstage area, "but I need to borrow your dressing room for a few minutes!" The lead performer grabbed Agent 001 roughly by the tail, before pulling him back towards her & her colleagues, & tossing him with a mighty hurl onto the stage floor, where Agent 001 landed roughly on his bum in front of the three girls.

"Just what do you think you're doing?" the lead performer asked angrily, glaring down at Agent 001 as she placed her paws on her hips. "We're trying to get ready for a big performance!" (Clearly, she was not too pleased with the rude behavior Agent 001 was displaying towards her & her companions.)

"Yeah!" the other two performers agreed in unison as they folded their arms over their chests, & gave a single node of their heads, with their noses tilted up haughtily in the air.

Agent 001 couldn't help but glare at the three performers when he realized that they were impeding his mission. The high-ranking minion rose to his feet, & reached into his trousers pocket, before taking out a few golden ropes & three gags. "I'm dreadfully sorry that I have to take such drastic measures against you fine, young ladies...but I'm afraid I am left with no other choice," the rogue remarked regretfully. With that, Agent 001 advanced towards the three female performers with a solemn frown, holding up the ropes & gags that he planned to use to restrain his hostages. The stage performers backed up away from Agent 001, eyeing him fearfully, until their backs hit the wall of the backstage area. When they realized they could go no further, all three girls looked up at Agent 001's approaching shadow with terrified expressions & worried, wide-eyed gazes. Uh-oh...

Meanwhile, the Baker Street Family was sitting at their table in the main dining area of the Rat Trap, still waiting for their dinner to be served. Olivia, Ratigan, Cousin Timmy, Fidget, Hiram, Basil, & Victoria were coloring with crayons & doing activities on the special placemats that had been provided for them. It wasn't long before Evelyn, Auburn, & several other waiters & waitresses (male & female mice, rats, bats, shrews, squirrels, & overly-dressed cockroaches in tuxedo outfits) arrived, smiling as they brought our pint-sized protagonists their evening meal.

For entrees exclusive to the Rat Trap, they had Gooey Grilled-Cheese Sandwiches, baskets of Super Salsa Verde filled with green sauce & plenty of dunking chips, Baskets O' Fish-&-Chips, Fruit-Kabobs, Mega-Tacos, thimble-pots filled with simmering green Pea Soup, Rainbow Fruit Salads, & 4 Merry Meals for the Baker Street Kids (all with burgers, fries, & free toys inside). For other entrees & side dishes, they had bowls & plates filled with hot dogs, corn dogs, hamburgers & French fries, steaks, sausages, cheese soufflé, cheese soup, Swiss cheese on crackers, sandwiches, fruits & veggies, pretzels, potato chips, breadsticks, & trail mix. For desserts, they had bowls of Gummy Worm Spaghetti, Waffle-&-Whipped-Cream Sandwiches, Ice Cream Castles, Chocolate Rockets, Rainbow Jelly Cakes, Gumdrop Mountains, cheese & cherry tarts, cheese-cake, cheese muffins, cheese pie, cheesemallow delights, candy, kettle popcorn, cookies, cakes, & ice cream. For drinks, they had Fizzy Fountain Sodas, Coke-style bottles of Rodent's Delight cola, glasses of water & juice, cartons of plain & chocolate milk, & cups of tea with plenty of cheddar-cheese crumpets. For condiments, they had bottles of mustard & ketchup, salt & pepper shakers, & packets of sugar.

"Here's your food, dearies! Dig in!" Evelyn said cheerfully as she, Auburn, & the other servers handed the Baker Street Family all their entrees, side orders, desserts, drinks, & condiments, until they were completely finished with the task. Then, Evelyn, Auburn, & their colleagues turned to leave, & the Baker Street Family immediately began dining on their dinner banquet, digging into their food heartily.

Soon, the room's lights darkened once again, & a timpani began to roll. Continuing to eat their food, the members of the Baker Street Family smiled & looked up at the stage, as the Rat Trap Emcee announced the forthcoming entertainment: "Ladies & gentlerodents...for our next act...the Dazzling Devon Divas will be performing a spectacular...Ritual Fire Dance!" The curtains on the stage were drawn open, & the pair of bright spotlights both shined upon said stage, positioned over one another. The audience, however, did not clap or cheer this time. They wanted to hold their applause for the end of the act.

(CUE MUSIC: "Ritual Fire Dance", from Manuel De Falla's "Love The Magician")

A tall, thin, silhouetted figure, not yet illuminated by the spotlight, was lowered onto the stage via a cable. After the figure landed on his feet, the cable detached from his clothes, & rose up out of view. The figure was then immediately revealed to be Agent 001, dressed in a black ballet costume. [21] Unaware of the uninvited guest who had shown up, the Baker Street Family smiled & looked up at the stage, continuing to eat their food. At the same time, Evelyn was at the food counter, serving customers seated on the stools in front of her. She looked up at the stage with a puzzled gaze, wondering who had made the last-minute changes to the performance schedule.

As the accompanying music on the P.A. system picked up in volume with a sprightly strings melody, Agent 001 clasped his paws together, brought his arms down in front of him, squatted down, & sprang into the air, whooshing his arms & paws above his head as he jumped with a merry wiggle of his feet. He did this squat-plié-jump move for a total of three times, punctuating the three little strings parts that played on the "soundtrack". On the fourth performance of these steps, Agent 001 squatted, rose to his feet, spread his arms out with a flourish, & brought his left leg up behind him to do an arabesque, balancing delicately upon the toes of his right foot. While he did this, Agent 001 slowly pivoted around in a clockwise motion, executing this motion two times in accompaniment with the first four measures of the background music's refrain.

Then, as the next four measures of the refrain began playing, Agent 001 stopped, brought his left leg down, clasped his paws together, brought his arms down in front of him, squatted down, & sprang into the air, whooshing his arms & paws above his head as he jumped with a merry wiggle of his feet. He did the squat-plié-jump move twice to accompany two sprightly strings notes, then as the background music trilled a little, he stood, brought his left leg up behind him to do an arabesque, & did another clockwise rotation while balancing upon the toes of his right foot. Then, Agent 001 brought his left leg down, & quickly did two more squat-plié-jumps to accompany the second pair of sprightly strings notes.

The background music repeated the first four measures of its refrain, but much louder than earlier, as Agent 001 (now standing up on both feet, but with his paws clasped together & his arms over his head) turned his head to look up towards stage-right—just in time to see a Q-tip with fiery flames on both ends falling down towards him! Agent 001 quickly reacted, grabbing the flaming Q-tip with both paws, & holding it up over his head as he turned to face the audience. Then, Agent 001 spun the flaming Q-tip around over his head, before bringing it down, & turning to face the left as he spun the flaming Q-tip around again, completely showing it to the audience. After that, Agent 001 turned to face the right, spinning the flaming Q-tip around in the same way as earlier. Finally, Agent 001 brought the flaming Q-tip back up over his head, & spun it around again, turning to face the Rat Trap patrons as he did so.

The Baker Street Family still smiled & looked up at the stage, continuing to eat their food; the same could be said for all the other customers. Evelyn, however, stared up at Agent 001 with a look of confusion. Nevertheless, Agent 001 carried on with his performance. Still holding the flaming Q-tip in his paws, he crouched down...then jumped into the air, & did a slow succession of three great, big somersaults. On the last somersault, Agent 001 rolled over to face the audience as he fell down with his legs extended outward, before landing swiftly on his feet, at which point the fiery flames on both ends of the Q-tip flared out with a flourish. The audience gasped in awe, astonished by what they had seen.

Agent 001 then rose to stand up high on his tiptoes, bringing the flaming Q-tip up over his head, & holding it there as he spun it around. Then, with the strings on the soundtrack accompanied by a piano, Agent 001 stopped spinning the flaming Q-tip, but still held it in his hands as he crouched down, jumped, did four quick somersaults, & landed on his feet with another flourish of flames. After that, Agent 001 rose to stand, & raised the flaming Q-tip up in front of him, showing it completely to the audience as he spun it around. Then, he turned to face the right as he spun the flaming Q-tip around again, completely showing it to the audience. After that, Agent 001 turned to face the left, spinning the flaming Q-tip around in the same way as earlier.

Finally, Agent 001 turned to face the audience, took the flaming Q-tip in both paws, lifted it up over his head, pulled the Q-tip down as he jumped backwards over it, did a great big back-flip with three quick somersaults, & rolled over to face the Rat Trap patrons on the third somersault as he uncurled his legs, before landing swiftly on his feet with another flourish of flame from both ends of the Q-tip. Then, Agent 001 took the flaming Q-tip, brought it up over his head, & spun it around. Meanwhile, Evelyn stared up at the figure on the stage with a totally-bewildered look that bordered on an expression of anxiety. She knew this strange mouse was not supposed to replace the Dazzling Devon Divas during their act. At the same time, the Baker Street Family (& the rest of the Rat Trap patrons) smiled & looked up at the stage as they continued to eat their food, blissfully unaware of what was going on.

After spinning the flaming Q-tip around in front of him for a while, Agent 001 then turned to face the right as he spun the Q-tip around again, completely showing it to the audience. After that, Agent 001 turned to face the left, spinning the flaming Q-tip around in the same way as earlier. Then, Agent 001 turned to face the audience again, spinning the flaming Q-tip around in front of him once more. Suddenly, as the background music repeated the first two measures of its refrain at a much louder volume, Agent 001 stopped spinning the Q-tip, & brought it down as he looked up towards stage-left, from whence another flaming Q-tip was falling as it plummeted straight towards him! Again, Agent 001 was quick to react; while he held the first flaming Q-tip with just his left paw, he swiftly reached out with his right paw to grab the second flaming Q-tip. Then, he turned to face the audience as he brought up both flaming Q-tips, holding one in each of his hands.

Agent 001 subsequently tossed both flaming Q-tips up into the air with mighty flings of his paws. The Q-tips spun around in the air, then came back down—just in time for Agent 001 to catch them in his paws again. Then, Agent 001 took both flaming Q-tips, & crossed them over one another in front of him, forming them into an X-shape. After that, he brought the cross of flaming Q-tips up into the air in front of his head, & spun it around. As the background music reached a sudden crescendo, Agent 001 took the flaming Q-tips apart, & brought them down; then, he tossed both of the Q-tips up high, crouched down, jumped into the air, & did a great big somersault...before rolling over to face the audience as he fell down with his legs extended outward, & landing swiftly on his feet. Agent 001 then rose to stand up, & caught both flaming Q-tips in each of his paws, while the audience gasped in awe, muttering amongst themselves.

The Baker Street Family (& the rest of the Rat Trap patrons) smiled & looked up at the stage, continuing to eat their food. Evelyn faced the phantom performer with a look of absolute fright! What on Earth happened to the Dazzling Devon Divas, & what the heck was going on here? Unaware of the thoughts running through Evelyn's head, Agent 001 held up both of his flaming Q-tips in each of his hands. Then, he turned to face the right as he spun the Q-tip around again, completely showing it to the audience. After that, Agent 001 turned to face the left, spinning the flaming Q-tip around in the same way as earlier. Then, Agent 001 took both flaming Q-tips, crossed them over one another in front of him (forming them into an X-shape), & turned to face the audience. Agent 001 stood up on his tiptoes, & brought the cross of flaming Q-tips up into the air above his head, before beginning to spin around rapidly on his tiptoes in a clockwise motion.

As the background music started to speed up, Agent 001 (still spinning around & holding the cross of flaming Q-tips above his head) hopped up, then swiftly landed upon the toes of his right foot, pivoting around on the stage floor as he did an arabesque with his left leg up in the air behind him. All the members of the Baker Street Family looked up at the stage with the same smiles as earlier, their eyes wide with excitement & their jaws hanging open in astonishment by the incredible performance they had witnessed. Meanwhile, Evelyn faced the dancing figure on the stage with a look of wide-eyed shock, as her jaw hung open.

Agent 001 continued spinning around & holding the cross of flaming Q-tips above his head. He lowered his left leg down, bending it at the knee so that the toes of his left foot were touching his right knee, as he continued spinning around, faster & faster, while the strings & piano in the background music played a rapid succession of 10 E notes. Finally, Agent 001 stopped spinning, then faced the audience as he quickly bent down on both knees, bringing the cross of flaming Q-tips down in front of him. Four more piano & strings notes played, punctuated by Agent 001's exhale of breath as he rotated the cross of flaming Q-tips around in his hands, blowing out the flame on each of the four ends in a single movement. As the flames were all put out, they formed large, thick, heavy clouds of gray smoke that disguised Agent 001 as he disappeared off the stage, with the final falling strings & piano notes heralding his departure. [22]

The background music came to an end at this point, & as the lights slowly came back on, the last of the smoke disappeared into thin air. Bit by bit, the audience's applause grew. First, all the members of the Baker Street Family (still smiling broadly) got up from their seats at their table, & clapped their hands, cheering enthusiastically. Then, the other Rat Trap patrons rose from their seats at their tables, clapping & cheering their hearts out. Finally, the waiters, waitresses, & band members joined in the applause. Evelyn, however, just stared at the cheering audience, then tilted her gaze up at the stage, sporting a bewildered look of confusion & anxiety.

At this point, the Rat Trap kitchen's door opened to reveal Auburn, who stepped out, & turned to make his way over to the dining counter. "Say, Evelyn, what's going on out there?" Auburn asked, sporting a puzzled look. "The audience is making quite a racket!" Auburn then stepped behind the food counter, & approached a befuddled Evelyn, who turned around to face him.

"It's the Dazzling Devon Divas, Auburn," Evelyn replied as she cast a nervous glance down to the left, before looking up at Auburn with a worried, troubled expression. "Th-they were supposed to come on during their little fire-dance act, but they didn't show up. All anybody ever saw was this stranger in black clothing. For some reason, though...he looked kinda familiar..."

Auburn immediately glowered upon realizing who Evelyn was talking about. "Now that you mention it, that 'stranger in black clothing' does seem to ring a bell with me, Evelyn..." Auburn said, drumming his fingers on the surface of the counter. He didn't know what was going on, but he was sure as heck gonna find out, one way or another!

Meanwhile, at Mouses Fiennes' sewer lair, Bartholomew, Manchester Maurice, Bill The Lizard, Red Robertson, Snakes Henshaw, Miriam Richards, Olga Mousekewitz, & Old Blind Joe were busy cleaning up the barrel-throne room. (Since we didn't describe him during his introduction, allow us to briefly elaborate on Old Blind Joe's appearance to you. Old Blind Joe was a bit short for a mouse his age, with a thin, lean figure. He had tan fur, with a neatly-combed wave of matching fur-hair on top. His rounded head had wide & curvy cheekbones. A prominent dark-brown nose [flanked on either side by a pair of medium-length whiskers] was fixed between his friendly brown eyes [topped with thick, angular black eyebrows]. An empty socket occupied the space where his right eye once was. A big white bucktooth could be seen jutting out from his upper lip. An average-sized pair of curvy pink ears flanked either side of his head. His pink tail was of average length & thickness, & his lanky arms & legs ended in average-sized paws & feet. He wore a red turtleneck sweater, a snug-fitting pair of black trousers, a black English cap, a black eye patch covering the empty socket of his right eye, & a pair of dull black shoes.)

At one point, Bartholomew slouched down against the wall, utterly exhausted. Manchester Maurice immediately took pity on his beloved sibling, & gave him a bottle of sparkling grape juice to perk him up. "Here, dear brother," Maurice said warmly, as he offered Bartholomew the drink with a smile.

Bartholomew returned the smile at Maurice as he reached for the container of grape soda, & replied, "Thanks, Maurice." After eagerly taking the bottle of sparkling grape juice into his paw, Bartholomew brought the beverage up to his lips, & guzzled it down his throat, sighing when he finally finished the drink & quenched his thirst. Bartholomew subsequently proceeded to wipe his mouth with his left sweater-sleeve, then took Maurice's hand, & helped himself up onto his feet. By now, the mess from the thugs' earlier rebellion had been mostly cleaned up, & Old Blind Joe, Bill, Red, Snakes, & Olga were tending to the very last of said mess. Miriam was sitting daintily on the rim of the champagne fountain, her legs crossed over one another as they dangled down over the floor. Bartholomew & Manchester Maurice walked over to approach Miriam, stopping when they got to her.

Looking up at the others as he addressed them, Manchester Maurice asked, "So, Old Blind much work do you guys have left to do?"

Old Blind Joe bent down to soak his washrag in a bucket of water, & answered, "Ah...not much, Manny Moe." The honorary member of the Goodie Gang got back up to continue scrubbing the last of the food & drink remnants off of the walls, & continued, "Just need to do a few more odd tasks here & there, & then, we'll be done!"

"Yeah...Thank goodness!" Bill agreed with a weak smile, sweeping the floors with a broom. As he carried on with his task, however, Bill's smile soon turned into a sad frown. How he & his friends hated working & living down here for the worst mouse in London! If Mouses hadn't made them all take that infernal blood oath, they would be free to come & go as they pleased, with clean consciences & no unnecessary loss of lives involved!

"If only Mouses wasn't our boss!" Miriam lamented wistfully with a sigh.

"Indeed, Miriam, indeed," Manchester Maurice concurred, nodding his head wearily.

"I hear ya," Old Blind Joe assented, nodding his head as he continued working.

"Da, da," Olga piped up in her native Russian.

Bartholomew walked to the center of the barrel-throne room, & turned around to address his brother, girlfriend, & kindhearted comrades. "Think of all the things we'd do if Mouses wasn't around!" Bartholomew proclaimed proudly, with his paws stretched out wide at his sides.

Manchester Maurice, Miriam, Old Blind Joe, Bill, Red, Snakes, & Olga all muttered in agreement. Maurice then went up to Bartholomew, & placed his right arm around his twin's shoulders, as he said happily, "I'm willing to bet you my last five pounds that if we didn't have Mouses, we could do anything we wanted! Anything!" Smiling encouragingly, Manchester Maurice added to Bartholomew, "That means...drink all the sparkling grape soda we wanted!"

Becoming increasingly excited, Bartholomew rambled on, "And eat all the fish & chips we could eat...& go to the park, & play in the sunshine, & pick pretty flowers...& see all the lovely London sights...& swim in the terribly filthy rivers without a bloomin' care..." [23]

"...& dance the night away!" Miriam exclaimed merrily, grabbing Bartholomew & twirling him around in her arms. Then, lowering Bartholomew down in a tango position as she leaned over him, Miriam smiled coyly at her lover as she tapped his nose with her right forefinger, & added, "Perhaps do a little shopping, while we're at it!"

Manchester Maurice smiled even more widely. He was beginning to enjoy this conversation! "And if we didn't have Mouses..." he began, but couldn't bring himself to finish.

"Are you guys thinking...what I'm thinking?" Bartholomew asked with a sly smile.

(CUE SONG: "Finally Free")

Miriam & Maurice both nodded at Bartholomew, still smiling. At the same time, Old Blind Joe, Bill, Red, Snakes, & Olga were all sitting together on the rim of the champagne fountain. They all looked up with wistful smiles & a dreamy look in their half-lidded eyes, nodding in agreement with Bartholomew's sung words...

If we didn't have Mouses, Our lives would be oh-too grand... We could all do what we wanted to! Without Mouses, we'd have the upper hand!

Manchester Maurice stepped forward to approach the rest of the Goodie Gang, accidentally knocking the wind out of Bartholomew with his elbow in the process. Smiling broadly, Maurice elaborated further...

If we didn't have Mouses, Think of all the things we'd do... We wouldn't need leave to do what we please! Without Mouses, life would be so jolly good!

Miriam grabbed Bartholomew in her arms once more, & danced across the floor of the throne room with him, singing all the while...

Without Mouses, I'd be free to roam the city! I could spend all day & night out on the town! In my nicest outfit, I'd sure look real pretty While my darlin' Bart took me to dance around!

On the rim of the champagne fountain, Bill, Red, & Snakes were sitting together with happy smiles on their faces. Old Blind Joe came up to the trio, singing happily...

And if we didn't have Mouses, Our gray skies would turn to blue! All the sights he wouldn't let us see, Our eyes will someday view!

Bartholomew, Maurice, & Miriam joined Bill, Red, Snakes, Old Blind Joe, & Olga in a group pose, & all of the animals sang together in perfect harmony..

Without Mouses around, It's here we wouldn't have to be! Without Mouses, we could finally be free!

Bill eagerly launched into his own verse of the song he & his comrades were performing. Punctuating the lyrics with vivid gestures, he sang his stanza with heartfelt passion, becoming more & more invigorated as he belted out his hopes for the future...

If we didn't have Mouses, There'd be no more cause to grieve! Crime would be fought! Lessons would be taught To all murderers & vandalists & thieves!

Red performed his verse of the song, singing with a broad smile...

If we didn't have Mouses, My life would be darn easy! I'd not have to deal with attempts to conceal My crude, coarse, & unrefined vocabulary!

"Red!" Bill shouted in reprimand when he heard this.

"Sorry, Bill!" Red replied, smiling sheepishly at his reptilian friend as he shrugged his shoulders. Meanwhile, Olga twirled around the floor of the barrel-throne room, singing with a wide smile on her face...

Without Mouses, I'd be free to be unbridled From the burden of serving as his masseuse!

Miriam rooted for Olga, shouting her support for her Russian ally. "Tell 'em, Olga!" she cried. Olga then continued singing...

To all nasty men, I say to you, "Eat earthworms!" "I've a right to live precisely as I choose!"

Smiling broadly, Snakes formed a starry-eyed look on his face as he sang optimistically...

And if we didn't have Mouses, Everyone would live in peace! Earth would be nothing but paradise, Where all bad things would cease!

All the members of the Goodie Gang (as well as Old Blind Joe & Manchester Maurice) sang together with happy grins as they placed their arms over each other's shoulders...

Without Mouses around, We'd live in total ecstasy! Without Mouses, we could finally be free!

Bartholomew looked up towards the heavens with a dreamy look on his face, fantasizing about all the things he & his companions could do together without having Mouses order them around constantly...

If we didn't have Mouses, we could party the night away, Sleep in as late as we wanted to, & then, get up & play!

"If we didn't have Mouses, life would be as sweet as pie!" Manchester Maurice gushed gleefully.

"Yes, & without fuss!" Olga exclaimed ecstatically, tossing her arms up into the air with a flourish.

"I'd cuss!" Red declared with a toothy grin, pointing to his chest with his thumb.

"Do hush!" Snakes said, wincing & plugging his ears with his fingers.

"I'd get a new glass eye!" Old Blind Joe sang joyfully. Looking up towards the heavens with an ecstatic expression, Bill musically expressed his dreams for a brighter future in Mouse London...

If we didn't have Mouses, we could commit noble deeds, Perform random acts of kindness, & bring help to those in need!

Snakes, too, looked up towards the heavens with a big smile on his face, as he sang about his hopes for a better fursonal life...

If we didn't have Mouses, I could live in privacy, Without worrying about him peeking in my diary!

Miriam jauntily strolled through the barrel-throne room, & made her way over to Bartholomew, bopping her head to & fro as she did so. All the while, she sang with a smile...

Without Mouses, I could stroll in the bright sunshine In the company of good ladies & gents! Without Mouses, I'd be free to have some fun time! Bart & I could nurture our loving romance!

Miriam leaned over to smooch Bartholomew on the forehead. Bartholomew couldn't help but smile bashfully as his cheeks blushed a bright red. "Aw, Mimsy!" the portly mouse gushed, coyly putting a paw to his mouth as he turned away from his girlfriend in sheepishness. Meanwhile, Red spread his arms out with a flourish, twirling around as he looked up with a broad, ecstatic grin, singing all the while...

If we didn't have Mouses, We'd be o'er the flippin' moon!

"Red, I couldn't have said it better!" Bill exclaimed enthusiastically, pumping his right fist into the air.

"That would be a dream come true!" Old Blind Joe sang as he clasped his paws together at cheek level, & cast an ecstatic smile up towards the heavens. Olga then announced in song...

And if Mouses wasn't here, I'd say the things I've dreamed to say!

"Wish we didn't have Mouses..." Bartholomew said with a wistful smile, as he rested his head in his hands. Then, he, Manchester Maurice, Old Blind Joe, Bill, Red, Snakes, Miriam, & Olga all sang together, "...'cause that would just make our day!"

At that point, the scenery around the Goodie Gang & their allies seemed to change, & the octet saw themselves standing on the steps of a tall purple staircase, adorned with a long red carpet, lush green ferns in golden pots, & two columns of bright white spotlights on either side of the steps, along with a light-purple backdrop behind them. Bill, Red, Snakes, & the others were now dressed in sparkling white tuxedos with matching trousers, purple waistcoats, lavender shirts, black dancing shoes, & sparkling white top hats with purple ribbons; they also clutched black, gold-tipped canes in their hands. As the merry Broadway-style music that had been filling their heads changed to a snazzy jazz tune, the members of the Goodie Gang (official & otherwise) sang in unison as they all danced down the steps of the purple staircase, keeping time to the beat with rhythmic steps & high-kicks...

If...we...didn't have Mouses, We'd all be so full of glee! If he weren't around to make our smiles frowns, We'd be the happiest blokes in history!

'Cause if we didn't have Mouses, All the heavenly hosts would sing Of the day a wicked tyrant Fell from his status as king!

Without Mouses around, The world would live in harmony! Without Mouses, we could finally be free!

Without Mouses around, Life sure would be a cup of tea! Without Mouses, we could!

The rousing tune that the members of the Goodie Gang sang came to an end as Mouses returned with a steaming cup of tea in his hand. The Master Of Evil was absolutely shocked to see his minions standing at the bottom of the large pile of jewels in the corner of the barrel, posing as if they were taking a promotional photo for a big, splashy musical. Mouses glared daggers at the reluctant rogues, before ordering, "You lot...fetch the chair & fans!" Sporting drooping frowns, Bartholomew was the first to climb down the jewel-pile, followed by Maurice, Miriam, & the others.

As they went to retrieve Mouses' sedan chair & palm-leaf fans, Bartholomew whispered to his chums, "And I think I have a way to get rid of Mouses once & for all!"

"Don't even think about it, Bart," Manchester Maurice said flatly.

"Hey, it was just an idea," Bartholomew replied with a shrug. "Besides, you were the one who said we should all have leave to do what we please..."

"That may be true," Maurice responded, "but what good will it do if we all become Felicia's dinner? Besides, your hearts travel down a different path than mine..." [24]

"Don't I know it?" Bartholomew said with a disappointed sigh. "Don't I know it, brother dear?"

Back at the Rat Trap Family Restaurant, the Baker Street Family was getting to the end of their gigantic banquet. "Boy, I'll tell you one thing..." Fidget started to say. He gulped down the food in his mouth, & smacked his fingers, before leaning back in his chair with a satisfied grin as he folded his wings behind his head, & continued contentedly, "Dis place is pretty freakin' awesome!"

"Ab-so-lutely!" Dr. Dawson agreed with a wide smile, nodding his head as he took a bite of some of his food.

"I don't think I could have said it better myself, Fidget," Basil concurred, smiling as he dabbed at his mouth with a napkin.

Olivia finished drinking her sixth glass of soda, & wiped her mouth with the left sleeve of her dress-coat, before smiling & nodding her head in agreement. "Yep! I can't wait to come back here next time!" the little Scotsmouse exclaimed happily. Then, turning to face her father, she asked, "Can we come back to the Rat Trap again, Daddy?"

Hiram smiled at Olivia, reaching out his left paw to lift her tam-o'shanter cap up from her head, & tousling his daughter's fur-hair. As he did this, the toymaker replied pleasantly, "Of course, we can, baby! We'll be sure to come dine here whenever we get the chance."

"Great!" Olivia cheered, delighted with the news.

With that, the Baker Street Family continued to eat the last of their food. There was still quite a bit left over, though. After eating some of his Rainbow Jelly Cake, Dr. Dawson looked at the food remaining on their table, & marveled, "Goodness...By the time we're full, we'll still have plenty of leftovers!"

Fidget let out a small belch. "I t'ink I'm starting to get full already," Fidget said, resting his webbed hand on his stomach.

Olivia hiccuped, then patted her tummy with her left paw as she remarked, "Me, too." She put the same paw to her mouth, & hiccuped again. But before the Baker Street Family could take a few moments to rest & let their fully-eaten food satisfy their stomachs, the Rat Trap Emcee started to speak: "Ladies & gentlerodents, for our next act, we..."

The Emcee was suddenly cut off in mid-sentence, & the sound of a crash resonated, followed by the squealing of microphone feedback. The Baker Street Family & the other Rat Trap patrons winced & plugged their ears upon hearing the feedback, but relaxed when it was over. A strange voice cleared his throat, & muttered over the P.A. system, "Are we on? Sorry..." Then, to the audience, he announced, "Ladies & gentlerodents...for our next act...Er, we would like to make a little announcement regarding the next act..." (Beat.) "The Baker Street Family is cordially invited to partake in a special dance...which we would like to call...the Schottish!"

When they heard this, the other audience members applauded & clapped. On the Rat Trap's stage, the curtains parted to reveal 9 German & Scandinavian mice—2 adult men, 3 adult ladies, 3 young girls, & 1 boy mouseling. The girl & lady mice all had braided hair, & were clad in long dressed with petticoats, stockings, & shoes; the boy & adult males wore shirt-sleeves, lederhosen, dancing boots, & feathered porkpie hats. Fidget looked at the dancers on the stage with a wide-eyed look of pleasant surprise. "Papa, I didn't know you had a special song-&-dance request for us!" Fidget exclaimed happily.

"I didn't..." a bewildered Basil stated, looking up with a wide-eyed look of befuddlement. As the rest of the Rat Trap patrons continued to applaud, the members of the Baker Street Family all looked around with confused or puzzled expressions...then turned to look at one another with simple smiles & shrugs of their shoulders. Ah, what the heck? they thought. This'll be fun! With that, Basil & his loved ones got up out of their seats, & walked onto the Rat Trap's stage. Each of them then went to pick a partner; Victoria & Mrs. Judson offered to dance with the 2 adult men, while Basil, Hiram, & Dr. Dawson offered to dance with the 3 adult ladies, Olivia offered to dance with the boy mouseling, & Ratigan, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy offered to dance with the 3 young girls. When everyone had chosen their dancing partners, the restaurant lights dimmed, & the audience applauded again. Then, the Baker Street Family & their German / Scandinavian partners prepared to dance. Meanwhile, in the backstage area, Agent 001 stood by a large Victrola phonograph. [25] He reached out his right hand to set the phonograph's needle on the grooves of a large, round record that had a red label on it. Within seconds, the record started to spin around & play music.

(CUE MUSIC: "The Schottish")

The members of the Baker Street Family & their German / Scandinavian partners began dancing to the strains of the Schottish. The dancing, like the music, played slowly. Ratigan danced with his girl partner, with both rodents smiling fondly at one another as they danced in each other's arms. "I must say, you're a very talented dancer!" Ratigan complimented. Glancing askance for a bit as he tried to think of the right words to say, the reformed rogue finally added, "Um...sehr gut!"

"Oh, danke schone, mein freund!" the German dancing girl gushed gleefully as she twirled Ratigan about for a bit, then stared warmly at him with a large smile on her pretty face. "You are too kind!"

Meanwhile, Olivia was dancing with her boy partner. Both children smiled at each other as they danced together. "You know, this is kinda fun!" Olivia exclaimed cheerfully.

"Ja, ja! It is much fun to dance to the music!" the German dancing boy replied with a broad grin, nodding his head in agreement.

Backstage, Agent 001 took his paw off the phonograph needle, then moved it down towards a small switch on the right side of the record-player box. The switch had three big, bronze numbers beside it (marked 1, 2, & 3) that indicated the different speeds the record could be played at. Agent 001 grasped the shifting knob of the the switch, & raised the little lever up to Level 2 on the phonograph. The music on the record gradually started to speed up. Agent 001 smiled evilly as he gazed down at the record on the turntable, watching with villainous glee as the spinning vinyl disc continued to play faster & faster. Then, unable to resist basking in the glory of his wicked triumph, Agent 001 turned to sneer at the wide-eyed, terrified-looking Rat Trap Emcee, who he had bound & gagged just minutes earlier. The poor Emcee flopped about like a frightened fish on land, & squirmed around helplessly on the floor, letting out muffled cries for help, which were made unintelligible through the white scarf that had been tied around over his mouth.

After letting out an evil laugh, Agent 001 turned away from the Emcee, & looked at the stage curtains, before reaching out to grab the edges of the drapes. Being absolutely careful not to expose himself, Agent 001 pulled back the curtains to see the Baker Street Family & their partners dancing for the Rat Trap customers. With the way Agent 001 was holding the curtains, no one would be able to see him, but he could get a good view of the action on the stage! Agent 001 gazed at the performance going on in front of him with a nasty, devilish grin; he liked what he was seeing! Unaware of who was orchestrating this musical mayhem, the Baker Street Family & the German / Scandinavian mice all danced together in their pairs, going to & fro across the stage, as they hurried to keep up with the quickening speed of the dance.

Dr. Dawson danced with his female partner. The portly surgeon struggled to keep up, but the lady mouse was having less trouble. Alas, poor Dr. Dawson kept stepping on his partner's dainty feet with his heavy shoes, unable to gain a proper foothold (no pun intended) due to the current pace of the music. Every time Dr. Dawson stepped on the woman's feet, she yelped in pain. "Sorry about that, m'dear!" Dr. Dawson apologized at one point.

At the same time, Fidget was still dancing with his partner (a pretty mouse girl). As both rodentlings struggled to keep up with the speed of the dance, Fidget tried his best to maintain balance, but the girl (who was a little clumsy) accidentally stepped on the toes of the little bat's left foot. "Ow!" Fidget cried out in pain. "My foot! My ONLY foot!"

Fidget reached down to try & grab onto his hurt appendage, but before he could relieve the pain of his injury, he was kept busy by the quickening pace of the music, as the Scandinavian dancing girl took Fidget in her arms & twirled him around. "Oh, Inga so sorry about zat!" the dancing girl exclaimed, looking embarrassed. "My bad!"

Back in the backstage area, Agent 001 moved his paw towards the switch on the phonograph, before chuckling evilly as he raised it up another notch. Now, the switch had been set to Level 3—the fastest speed of all! Meanwhile, the Baker Street Family & the German / Scandinavian mice were still dancing together in their pairs, going to & fro across the stage, as they hurried to keep up with the pace of the dance, which was now getting faster & faster! All the while, the Rat Trap customers watched on in innocent delight from their tables.

Ratigan danced with his girl partner. Despite all his best efforts, Ratigan was having trouble keeping up with the quickening speed of the Schottish. Suddenly, at one point, Ratigan yelped in surprise as his partner grabbed him by the paws, & started to spin him around in a counterclockwise motion. With each time he was whirled & twirled around by his partner, Ratigan gradually seemed to become a blur, but his wide golden eyes continued to stand out as he went around...& around...& the point where he was actually turning green from nausea. "I don't think I'm going to be able to keep myself from losing my dinner!" Ratigan moaned queasily. While he continued to be spun around by his dancing companion, Ratigan managed to free his left paw from his partner's grasp, & covered his mouth with said paw to stifle a retch.

At the same time, Olivia was still dancing with her boy partner, who let Olivia fall back as he held her safely by the paws, spinning her around & around. As they whirled & twirled across the stage together, both children were smiling even more broadly than they were earlier; clearly, the mouselings (especially Olivia) were having a blast! "Wheeeeee!" Olivia squealed happily in delight.

Meanwhile, Agent 001 smirked devilishly at our heroes as he poked his head & paws out from behind the stage curtains, watching the Baker Street Family & their partners trying to keep up with the ever-increasing speed of the Schottish as best as they could. After a few seconds passed, Agent 001 slowly sank out of sight, drawing back into the safety of the backstage area as he removed his hands from the edges of the curtains, & let the drapes fall back into place, concealing him from view. With an evil chuckle, Agent 001 looked down at the rapidly-rotating record on the turntable, pleased that his plan was progressing so perfectly! When the dance was finally over, Agent 001 would rush back out to the entrance, dash in, & lure Ratigan & Fidget to come away with him while everyone was still disoriented from their dizzying dance. Then, he would bind & blindfold Ratigan & Fidget, & take them to Mouses, who would then corrupt the two! It was a maleficently-magnificent plan!

After a few moments, Agent 001's look of wicked triumph suddenly turned into a shocked look of surprise when the record-player began making sounds it shouldn't have been making. "Huh?" the Russian spy muttered, bending down to inspect the phonograph. "What on Bog's green Earth is...?!" The odd, terrible noises coming from the record-player gradually worsened, & Agent 001 soon looked horrified. Clasping his paws to the sides of his face, Agent 001 moaned dismally, "Oh, no!" Then, Agent 001 quickly shielded his arms over his head to protect himself as he turned away, bracing for impact. The record spun around even faster & faster, unable to stop or slow down, while those strange, horrible sounds continued to get worse & worse, to the point where they were almost unbearable to hear!

Finally, after several suspenseful moments, the record-player could take no more. In a loud explosion, the "Schottish" music suddenly came to an abrupt end as the phonograph needle broke off from the record, flying away from the force of the blast. The record soon followed after the needle, & when it landed a few mouse feet away, it shattered into pieces on the floor. Then, the dials, switches, & turntable all popped out of their hollow spaces, flying out from the demolished record-player in a mass of springs & various clockworks. The only thing coming out of the Victrola now was thick, black smoke.

After a pause, Agent 001 opened his eyes, before slowly unfold his arms, letting said arms drop down at his sides, turning to look back at the phonograph...& sporting an even more shocked look than the one he had earlier! When he saw the smoking, demolished remains of the record-player, the minion couldn't believe what had just happened! Now, his plan to capture Ratigan & Fidget was in ruins! With his shock soon turning to anger, Agent 001 fumed in rage as he gritted his teeth & clenched his paws into fists, which he shook about wildly. "Oh...CAL!" Agent 001 cursed in Russian, stomping his foot on the floor in a fit of fury.

Meanwhile, on the Rat Trap stage, the tired & fatigued German & Scandinavian dancers put cool washrags to their foreheads, & drank from water bottles that were being offered to them, as they tried to relax from the exhausting dance they just did. At the same time, the members of the Baker Street Family were all waddling & wobbling & walking around woozily. Our heroes were dazed & disoriented about their bout of "dizzy dancing", but they were all smiling like drunken idiots; in spite of their earlier unease, it looked like Basil & his loved ones had a pretty good time, overall. Some waiters & waitresses walked onstage, & went up to Olivia, Basil, Hiram, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, & Victoria, who they all took gently by the paw. One of the waitresses said kindly, "OK, guys...Why don't we lead you all back to your table now?"

With that, the 9 waiters & waitresses led the Baker Street Family off of the stage, & back to their dining spot. When they'd made sure that Basil & his loved ones had gotten settled back into their table, the waiters & waitresses all walked off, but one pretty teenage waitress stayed behind to talk to the Baker Street Family. "So, shall I get some to-go boxes for you?" the waitress asked with a smile, noticing the load of unfinished food, drinks, desserts, & whatnot that were still lying on the table.

Basil gulped for air, then responded with a weary smile (albeit in between gasps of breath), "That would be nice...Thank you..." Much to the waitress' surprise, the entire Baker Street Family collapsed out of their chairs, & fell to the floor in a group faint, utterly exhausted (& yet, still looking positively ecstatic).

Unbeknownst to the Great Mouse Detective & his crimefighting clan, Evelyn & Auburn had witnessed the entire incident from behind the dining counter. The two partners simultaneously turned to face one another; Evelyn looked quite frightened & worried, while Auburn had an anxious, blank-eyed expression on his face. "Oh, Auburn, this is terrible!" Evelyn exclaimed. "First, the Dazzling Devon Divas...then, the Emcee...&, now, our dear customers at Table 7!" Casting a melancholy gaze to the heavens, Evelyn clutched at her forehead with her paws, & moaned miserably, "Oh...There's got to be someone behind everything that's been everything that's been going on here lately! I just know it, Auburn..." After a few seconds of silence passed, Evelyn became alert as a thought suddenly occurred to her. As a sinking feeling of foreboding filled her, Evelyn said haltingly with a wide-eyed look of fear, "And for some reason...I think that, maybe, that same bloke might be after the Baker Street Family!" Getting increasingly upset with every word she spoke, Evelyn exhorted, "You remember how he called them all onto the stage, Auburn! Out of all the kids & their folks we got dining here tonight, the Baker Street Family—& no one else—was asked to come up & to do that dance! And, then, there's that explosion we heard, &—Auburn, we've got to do something about that cad who's trying to cause all this mousechief! He could really end up hurting somebody!"

After a few seconds, Auburn's anxious, blank stare melted into an angry glower. The ex-bartender then looked up at Evelyn, glaring furiously in her direction as he stated, "There's only one possible place that sneaky little bugger could hide & not be noticed by anyone!" Beckoning with his arm for his female friend to follow him, Auburn ordered, "Come on, Evelyn!" With that, the two restaurateurs rushed outside to the side-alley, & made their way up the stairs to the backstage door, which Auburn reached up on his tiptoes to open. Both mice then entered the backstage area, & Evelyn gasped & put her paws to both sides of her face when she saw what was waiting for them inside the room! Auburn glowered even more, growling & gritting his teeth; he now wielded a wooden stick in his left hand, & he was not afraid to use it!

The Dazzling Devon Divas stared up at Auburn & Evelyn with wide-eyed looks of fright on their faces as they wiggled around on the floor, restrained by the tight ropes that bound their hands & feet together. The girls' cries for help were muffled by the gags (made with the silk shawls & scarves from their dancing outfits) tied around their mouths. Not too far away, the hog-tied, horrified Rat Trap Emcee emitted muffled shouts from behind his gag as he writhed around helplessly on the ground. And right behind the curtains, Agent 001 stood with his back to everyone else as he glared down at the broken, smoke-spewing record-player with arms akimbo. He didn't know it yet, but he'd been caught red-handed! Auburn snarled, & shouted, "You!" When he heard Auburn calling out to him, Agent 001 turned around. Once he saw who was behind him, Agent 001 put his arms & paws behind his back, & cracked a nervous, toothy smile at Auburn & Evelyn, sweating & tittering bashfully.

Now at the boiling point, Auburn roughly grabbed Agent 001 in his hands by the hem of his clothing, & dragged him back outside onto the top of the staircase, preparing to toss the spy out on his bum. "I'm warning you for the last time, knave," Auburn yelled furiously, "get out...& STAYOUT!" Auburn reared back with all his might, then exerted every last bit of energy as he pushed his arms forward, & let go of Agent 001. With a yell, Agent 001 went flying down the stairs, somersaulting his way down to the ground, until he ended up flipping over flat on his stomach, with his knees pushed up behind him on the bottom step, & his arms spread out at his sides. Wincing uncomfortably, Agent 001 grunted with effort as he struggled to get into a more-comfortable position, & when he finally wound up kneeling on his haunches, he looked up at Evelyn & Auburn. The former glowered at Agent 001 with her arms akimbo, & the latter sneered menacingly at the thug as he wielded & waved his wooden stick in his left paw, & yelled, "And don't you DARE be foolish enough to come back here again, you scoundrel!"

With that, Auburn & Evelyn both turned around to enter the backstage area, made their way through the doorway, & slammed the door shut behind them, sealing off further access into the Rat Trap. Agent 001 gazed sorrowfully in the direction of the stairway, & had his right paw extended out, as if he were still intending to protest to Evelyn & Auburn. "But...but..." he whimpered weakly, but he quickly decided that it was no use to try & argue. Bowing his head in defeat, a sad-looking Agent 001 sighed, & then pushed himself up onto his feet, before setting off on his lonesome journey back to the sewer lair...

Not too long afterward, Agent 001 stood before the entrance to Mouses' barrel-throne room. He stared up at the glowing pink interior for a few moments, sporting a timid look on his face...then finally gulped, mustered his courage, & stepped up the stairs to make his way inside. Mouses was lying comfortably on his back on a luxurious sedan chair, his feet propped up on Snakes' back for Red & Bill to massage. Bartholomew & Manchester Maurice both fanned Mouses with large green palm-leaves. A bitterly-glowering Olga gave Mouses a shoulder rub. On Mouses' left, Old Blind Joe sat on a stool, sharpening Mouses' claws with a nail file. On Mouses' right, Miriam stood by with an empty golden plate as Mouses drank red wine from a golden jeweled goblet. After Mouses finished drinking from the goblet, he put it back down on the plate, & Miriam took the golden dish & goblet back to the kitchen. Mouses followed Miriam's movements with his gaze, & after he watched her leave the throne room, he looked up & smiled when he saw a certain minion here to greet him. "Ah...Agent 001...There you are," the crime lord purred contentedly when he saw the spy at the door. With the fingers of his right paw, he beckoned for Agent 001 to come forward.

Agent 001 gulped, then stepped forward to approach Mouses, sporting a nervous expression on his face. "Hello, Mouses," Agent 001 said timidly. "I have for you."

"News, eh?" Mouses asked, smiling with interest as he registered the word. He brought up his left paw, & snapped his fingers, motioning for Bartholomew & Manchester Maurice to stop fanning him. The Favell twins, relieved & worn out, sighed as they both fell backwards to the floor, landing with a thud. "Pray tell me, my dear minion: Is it good news...or bad news?" Mouses asked as he moved to sit up in his seat, letting his legs dangle over the edge of the sedan chair, planting his feet down on the floor, & resting his hands in his lap. When he felt Mouses' feet being lifted off of his back, Snakes groaned as he got up off his paws & knees, before flopping to the floor in exhaustion. At the same time, Old Blind Joe put away the nail file, while Bill & Red shook out their weary hands.

As he finished walking over to Mouses, & stopped to stand before him, Agent 001 took off his cap, & placed it over his chest, hanging his head low in shame. Afraid to face Mouses directly, the rogue replied, "Well, I've got bad news...really bad news...& really, really bad news."

Upon hearing this, Mouses' pleasant smile turned into an angry frown. "Agent 001...I sincerely hope that it's not the sort of bad news that would completely send me into a rage..." the villain snarled with a sneer. Leaning in toward Agent 001 with a menacing glare, Mouses pointed a clawed right forefinger at him, & intoned icily, "For your sake, it had better not be the kind of bad news that I think you are intending to tell me!" Mouses then brought his right paw back into his lap, letting it rest on top of his left paw as he leaned in even closer to Agent 001, & asked, "Is it?"

For the next several seconds, Agent 001 continued to hold his cap over his chest with his head down low, wringing his hat in his paws as he squirmed guiltily, & cast a downcast glance to the floor. The spy didn't want to tell Mouses the bad news, but he knew that one way or another, the truth would have to come out. With a sigh, Agent 001 looked up at Mouses with an ashamed frown as he placed his cap back on his head, & answered, "All right, Mouses...I won't lie to you." (He sighed again.) "First of all, the Rat Trap is now a family restaurant. Actually, it's been a family restaurant for the last few months, since the big brawl on the night of the Diamond Jubilee...Well, anyway, because the Rat Trap is a family restaurant, they don't serve Margaratas anymore, so I'm afraid that I was unable to get you one. I'm terribly sorry, Master."

Mouses was a little disappointed over how the whole Margarata deal turned out, but he tried not to let it get to him. After all, having no Margaratas was the least of his problems! "Thank you for telling me, dear minion," Mouses said calmly. "I appreciate your honesty. Now, what's the really bad news you have to share with me, Agent 001?"

Agent 001 answered hesitantly, "Well, the really bad news is...I couldn't get Ratigan or Fidget, either."

"And why not?" Mouses asked, cool as a cucumber.

"Er, because...well, for several reasons, Mouses," Agent 001 replied. "When I first asked the former bartender—one Auburn Patterson—if he would allow me in to speak to Ratigan & Fidget at the table where the Baker Street Family were seated...he, um, refused..." Cracking a nervous grin, Agent 001 added, "But I was not about to be deterred from my mission, of course." The spy chuckled a bit, then continued telling his story with a weak smile on his face: ", I went to the backstage area, & sort of, well, took the place of these three dancing girls in this very wonderful fire-dance routine I did...You really should have been there to see it, Mouses! It was spectacular!" (He cleared his throat.) "Anyway...While I was doing my fire-dance act, I sort of spied on the Baker Street Family at their table, & formulated a plan to lure Ratigan & Fidget away from them..."

When the spy paused in anticipation of a response from his master, Mouses simply said, "Go on, Agent 001."

With that, Agent 001 continued with his story: "All right...So, after I did my fire-dance act, I went into the backstage area where the Rat Trap Emcee's office was. I tied him up & gagged him, then took his place, & made an announcement for the Baker Street Family to come up onto the stage for a special dance with this group of German mice that were performing...So, they did...And while they were all dancing onstage with the German mice, I spied on them, & tried to get Ratigan & Fidget to come to me...but before my plan could work, the record-player broke, & I was caught by Auburn & his assistant, Evelyn...They threw me out, & told me never to come back." Agent 001 frowned again, bowing his head shamefully.

With even more disappointment in his voice, Mouses sighed, & said, "Somehow, I was afraid that a thing like that would happen...but don't worry, Agent 001. We'll deal with the issue of Ratigan & Fidget before too long..." Then, Mouses asked, "Now, as for the really, really bad news?"

Agent 001 waited a second before responding. Then, looking up at Mouses timidly, he said, "Well, as for the really, really bad news..." (Beat.) "You remember Victoria, right?"

"The waitress from the Chez Chic?" Mouses inquired. "Of course, I remember her! I saw her only a few months ago, when we were getting dinner for the thugs in disguise...But what about Victoria?"

"Um, you see, Mouses...I spotted Victoria at the Rat Trap, as well. She's, Basil," Agent 001 replied. "You can understand why I thought it was best to save this news for last...I-I hope you won't take it too hard, Mouses..." But the spy's excuses would not soothe the savage beast this time. Agent 001 suddenly looked scared, & cowered in fear, shivering a little as he braced himself for what would likely by a very unpleasant reaction from Mouses.

Within seconds, Mouses' face turned a shade of scarlet-red, as he fumed angrily, " Basil?! That tawdry little trollop! That tease! That tart! I'll..." The crime lord suddenly cut himself off in mid-sentence as he clutched at his chest with both paws, looking agonized. "!" Mouses begged. He then began wheezing & gasping for breath, continuing to clutch at his chest as his eyes bulged, & the color of his face turned from red to blue. A sad-looking Agent 001 walked over to Mouses, & gave him an oxygen mask to breathe in. Mouses took the oxygen mask into his paws, put it to his mouth, & took a few deep breaths, before handing the device back to Agent 001, & turning to face his minion with an angry look.

Knowing he would now have to deal with Mouses' wrath, Agent 001 bowed his head shamefully (again) & sighed. "All right, Master. Go on & do it..." Agent 001 said sadly, turning to walk away from Mouses as he made a melodramatic pose. "I deserve to be fed to Felicia!"

Mouses suddenly called out to Agent 001, forcing him to stop in his tracks, & walked back over to him: "Not so fast, Agent 001! I'm afraid we'll have to make some slight changes in our plans."

"What kind of changes, Mouses?" Agent 001 questioned, as he shrugged his shoulders, & stared at his leader with a puzzled look.

Smiling craftily, Mouses explained, "In addition to kidnapping Ratigan & Fidget for the purposes of corrupting them, we will also have to kidnap Victoria, & make sure she stays away from Basil at all costs. She only deserves to play one role in life, & that is the role of my concubine!" Bringing up his paws together, & rubbing them with wicked glee, Mouses plotted, "When I have Victoria in the sewer lair with me, that pretty little waif will move on to become my beautiful wife! My wife...not Basil's!"

"And just how do you propose to separate Basil & Victoria?" Agent 001 asked with a challenging glare, raising his eyebrow as he placed his hands on his hips.

"Before too long, Agent 001, Basil will be out of the wedding picture, & Victoria will be a widower," Mouses answered with an evil smirk. "And according to the bylaws of the London Mouse Underworld, that means she will have to remarry someone...Naturally, that someone will be me."

"But I don't understand, Mouses..." Agent 001 commented in confusion while shrugging his shoulders, & shaking his head to & fro. "Wouldn't it be easier if you didn't go through all that trouble? I thought you only wanted Ratigan & Fidget, anyway." Smiling at Mouses in a pleading manner, Agent 001 inquired, "Can't you just let Victoria go, & carry on with your mission as you originally planned?"

"Of course not, Agent 001!" a miffed Mouses retorted, glaring irritatedly at the spy as he placed his paws on his hips. "Do you know why I don't want Victoria to be married to Basil in the first place?"

"Um...I can make a few guesses," Agent 001 replied unsurely, as he put his left forefinger to his chin in thought.

"So that Victoria won't have a chance to have a child with Basil!" Mouses explained. "If she remains with Basil & the Baker Street Family, Victoria will no doubt bear my enemy's offspring! Sons & daughters that could grow up to follow in their father's footsteps! I simply cannot allow that to happen! If you think it was already bad enough that the Baker Street Family is working together to stop us & our evil schemes, imagine what it would be like with the children of Basil & Victoria joining in their crimefighting capers! And their grandchildren? Oh, the horror!"

"So, you're really sure about this, Mouses?" Agent 001 queried. "You're certain that you want to kidnap Victoria, too?"

"Yes, Agent 001...I truly do," Mouses responded with a smile, nodding his head in affirmation.

"And when will you be able to bring Victoria, Ratigan, & Fidget back to the hideout?" Agent 001 asked.

Mugging smugly at his top-level thug, Mouses replied, "When I finish forming our plan, & we launch it into action. Hopefully, that shouldn't take too long..." Mouses then looked up ahead, lowering his eyebrows devilishly as he continued to sport that smug smile on his face, which broadened to reveal two rows of sharp white fangs that curled into an evil, sinister grin. You had better keep both eyes open wherever you go, my family of foes, the villain thought to himself in grim determination. Before you know it, my thugs & I will strike you when you least expect it, & we will do everything in our power to make your lives as miserable as possible! Oh, I will enthusiastically enjoy causing you dratted do-gooders persistent pain & suffering in every possible form & fashion! Taking Ratigan, Fidget, & Victoria away from you will just be one final twist of the knife...&, oh, how wonderfully it will hurt!

Monday, November 30, 1897

(CUE MUSIC: Orchestral version of "Reverie", by Claude Debussy)

Meanwhile, the Baker Street Family had left the Rat Trap in good spirits, & had gone to bed with happy hearts & sated stomachs. At Basil's suggestion, the rodents awoke early the next morning to watch the sunrise. Dressed in their nightclothes, Olivia, Basil, Hiram, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, & Victoria sat together on the grass of Basil's front yard, smiling as they watched the sun gradually come up over Baker Street. "Oh, isn't it beautiful, everyone?" Victoria whispered pleasantly.

"Aye, very much, Victoria," Hiram replied, nodding his head in agreement.

Caught up in the beauty of the moment, Ratigan couldn't help but go off on a poetic tangent. With the words flowing forth from his lips like sweet birdsong, the reformed rogue said...

What a wonderful thing to see a sunrise Early in the autumn morn... It goads one on to greet the day When twilight's last few hours are worn...out

Victoria giggled, & complimented Ratigan with a sweet smile, "That's very poetic, Ratigan. You really do have a way with words."

Ratigan smiled bashfully at Victoria, then looked back up to watch the sunrise with the others. As the sun came up higher into the sky, it filled the street, the houses upon it, & the Baker Street Family's fur & clothing with its warm, cheerful, golden glow. Birds could be heard chirping & singing, as well. After a few more minutes, Basil rose to his feet, swept the dust off his robe & sleep-trousers, & said with a cheerful smile, "Well, everyone, a new day has begun! Let's go have breakfast, & after that, we'll all take a nice morning stroll through Kensington Gardens." With that, Basil & his loved ones went back into the house, & took their seats in the dining room. Within minutes, they were all dining on a delicious breakfast banquet of delightful dairy dishes—cheese pancakes & cheese waffles with plenty of maple syrup & butter, cheese tarts, cheese muffins, herbal tea with cheddar-cheese crumpets, & what-have-you-not. "Eat up, children!" Basil goaded while helping himself to his morning meal. "We'll need plenty of energy to keep us active."

Keeping Basil's words in mind, Fidget gobbled his food down greedily. "Yeah!" the little bat jabbered excitedly as he devoured his breakfast with a ravenous hunger. "Must get energy, must get energy, must get energy..."

"Now, Fidget, slow down, & take your time," Dr. Dawson declared delicately, placing a paw on Fidget's shoulder to calm him. "It's not a race, you know."

Fidget gulped down his mouthful of food, then smiled sheepishly at Dr. Dawson, & said, "Right..." And, so, Fidget continued eating with the others (but more slowly, this time) as they all enthusiastically awaited & anticipated the activities that they would do today.

Once the Baker Street Family had finished breakfast & gotten dressed, they took the Mousetro tram to Hyde Park, which Kensington Gardens was right next to. Kensington Gardens was a very peaceful place to visit in the wee hours of the day. The lush green grass & vegetation were filled with life, bathed in the golden glow of the early morning sunlight. Flowers of every genus & color blossomed & bloomed in just about every place. A few mushrooms sprouted up from the ground. Gray pebbles & small rocks could be seen here & there. Bluebirds, robins, finches, & other birds sang as they perched upon the leafy branches of the tall trees in the garden. Butterflies fluttered about every few seconds. As the members of the Baker Street Family strolled through Kensington Gardens, they all looked around at the beautiful, breathtaking scenery surrounding them. "My, my...This is simply a beautiful place!" Basil proclaimed pleasantly. "Wonderful to visit in the early morning!"

"It's as though I've entered paradise..." Mrs. Judson marveled, looking around at the gardens in awe.

"Yes...Like the Garden Of Eden," Ratigan agreed, nodding his head thoughtfully.

When Basil & his other loved ones heard this, they stopped walking, then turned their heads to face Ratigan with surprised or amazed smiles. "You've read the Bible, Ratigan?" Dr. Dawson asked.

"I've been reading it every day, Dr. Dawson!" Ratigan replied, smiling back at Dr. Dawson. "And not only is it a truly marvelous book...but it gives one so many ideas for how to live a law-abiding lifestyle...which is exactly what I'm looking for in a book these days."

"That's good, Ratigan," Dr. Dawson said, smiling as he turned his head back to look at the gardens. "That's very good." With that, the Baker Street Family continued walking on their way. Soon, Basil & his companions stepped into another part of Kensington Gardens, filled with sun-bathed bushes of all sorts of beautiful flowers (e.g., fuschias, roses, Queen Anne's lace, buttercups, orchids, etc.). Butterflies were flying to & fro around the area; a few of them landed on the flowers to sip the nectar.

"Check out all the flowers, everyone!" Olivia exclaimed, fawning in delight when she saw the garden. The little Glaswegian girl pointed to one of the bushes full of blossoming blooms, & remarked, "Look! There's one of my favorite flowers—fuschias!"

"They're beautiful!" Mrs. Judson gushed when she saw the lovely pink flowers.

"I didn't know fuschia was more dan just a color," Fidget stated, gazing at the fuschia bush with a puzzled look.

"It's Olivia's #1 favorite color & flower," Cousin Timmy articulated. "Four months of spending time with her should've taught you that."

At that point, the members of the Baker Street Family all went over to approach the different bushes of flowers. While Basil, Hiram, Victoria, Dr. Dawson, Ratigan, & Fidget admired the other shrubs, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Mrs. Judson stood in front of the big bush of fuschias. Gazing around at all the fuschia flowers, Olivia declared delightedly, "The fuschias look so pretty!" She leaned down to sniff from one of the pink plants, & added, "And they smell pretty, too!"

Cousin Timmy bent forward to sniff from the same fuschia flower that Olivia smelled. Upon taking in the blossom's sweet scent, he smiled, & said in agreement, "Hey, you're right, Livvy! They do smell good!"

After taking a big sniff from another one of the fuschia flowers, Mrs. Judson divulged, "Fuschias have always been one of my favorite flowers, too, Olivia." Looking up with a wistful smile, the mousekeeper continued with her cheerful, charming confessions: "Sometimes, I think the word 'fuschia' would make a cute name for a girl child—perhaps, not a very musical name, like Anastasia or Santiago, but very pretty, nonetheless...& an appropriate choice for those who like color or flower names." As she gazed off into space in the midst of her tender reverie, Mrs. Judson added thoughtfully, "If Basil & Victoria ever have a wee daughter of their own one day, I would gladly recommend the name 'Fuschia' to them."

"Me, too, Mrs. Judson..." Olivia concurred with a fond smile, nodding her head in agreement as she continued to gaze down at the fuschias.

Cousin Timmy, however, snorted & stifled a chuckle when he heard the suggestion. On the verge of laughing, the little lad asked in amusement, "You wanna name Basil's kid 'Fuschia'?"

"Well, Mr. Basil would probably like the idea," Mrs. Judson explained, turning to look at Cousin Timmy with the same smile on her plump, pleasant face. "His side of the family has always shown an attraction for odd or unusual names."

Cousin Timmy's smirk disappeared, & he didn't look so amused anymore. Chastened, Cousin Timmy simply replied with an air of heartfelt humility, "Oh...OK." With that, Mrs. Judson & the Flaversham cousins went to check out the other bushes of flowers with the rest of their family.

Later that morning, the Baker Street Family had finished exploring Kensington Gardens, & our heroes were now riding together in the undercarriage of a human's hansom cab that was traveling down a street leading to Trafalgar Square. To his loved ones, Basil said, "Well, everyone, it's getting close to 11, & I think we'll spend our last hour before lunch at Trafalgar Square. I know there isn't much to do there, but the street performers should provide plenty of entertainment for all of you while I try to figure out where we'll go after lunch. What do you say?" When the rest of the Baker Street Family nodded their heads & muttered in agreement, Basil smiled, & cried cheerfully, "Very well, then! It's settled."

At this point, the Baker Street Family's journey came to a stop as the cab pulled to a halt, & the horses driving the carriage let out a whinny. Basil & his loved ones then made a huge leap to the ground from the undercarriage of the hansom cab, which subsequently started to move again, & made its way further down the street. Now standing on the pavement circling Mouse London's most-famous plaza, the members of the Baker Street Family all swept the dust off their clothes, & adjusted their hats on their heads, as Basil announced, "Here we are, everyone! On to Trafalgar Square!" With that, Basil & his comrades made their way into the city courtyard.

Trafalgar Square appeared to be awfully busy this morning, with male & female rodents of every species, age, & nationality wandering through it. The sounds of laughing, chattering, talking, & other noises resonated as our pint-sized protagonists traveled through the square. As he & his kinsrodents walked across the bustling plaza, Dr. Dawson looked around in awe, & marveled to himself, "My goodness, there's a lot of rodents here today!"

(CUE MUSIC: Johannes Brahms' "Hungarian Dance, No. 5", as performed by Leonard Rosenman)

Not too far away, at the base of Nelson's Column, a group of Mouse Gypsies were standing just outside the main grounds of the Mouse Gypsy Caravan. The Mouse Gypsies juggled, performed magic tricks, & put on impromptu skits for the curious crowds of rodent tourists & passersby that gathered around to watch them. A few Gypsy girls in beautiful native dress were performing a spirited dance to the music played by a small band. One of the girls played a tambourine to the beat of the currently-playing song; the others smiled & twirled brilliantly-colored silk scarves around as they danced for their audience, who muttered amongst themselves in awe as they watched the show with great interest. It was then that the Baker Street Family came up to join the crowd of rodents, & watch the Gypsy dancers' performance. "Wow!" Fidget cried, delighted with what he & the others were seeing. "Look at dose Gypsy dancers!"

"Yeah, they're really good!" Olivia exclaimed, leaning forward with Cousin Timmy to get a better look.

"I'll say!" Cousin Timmy assented, smiling & nodding his head in agreement.

At one point during the Mouse Gypsies' musical number, one of the girls stopped dancing, then turned to face the Baker Street Family. She smiled, & beckoned with her arm for them to come forward. The Baker Street Family were amazed that they had been asked to come join the Gypsy girls in their dance. Dr. Dawson clutched a paw to his chest, unable to contain the look of utter surprise on his face. Holding back an amused chuckle, the medical mouse pointed out, "I-I think they want us to come dance with them, Basil!"

Still looking pleasantly-surprised, the members of the Baker Street Family all turned their heads to look at Basil, whose face formed a broad grin & an enthusiastic expression as he pointed at the Romani rodents, & cried out, "Well, let's not keep our Gypsy friends waiting!"

Sporting eager smiles, Basil & his loved ones all rushed off to join the Gypsy girls in their spirited musical routine. For the next several minutes, the Baker Street Family & the Gypsy girls had a grand, gay old time dancing together. Oh, what fun they all had moving & grooving to the lively music of the Gypsy band! At one point, two of the Gypsy performers grabbed Dr. Dawson by one arm, & twirled him around so that he stopped between them, with both girls standing on either side of him. The two dancers then leaned in to give the good doctor a smooch on both cheeks. Now sporting lipstick prints on either side of his face, Dr. Dawson smiled & chuckled bashfully as he put a paw to his left cheek. [26] The two girls who kissed him, just grinned mischievously, & then darted away from Dr. Dawson. At that point, the Gypsy dancers & the tambourine-player all got up, walked over to each other, stood in a row, joined hands, & took deep bows, as the audience clapped & cheered. The Baker Street Family soon went to join the Gypsy dancers & tambourine-player for their curtain call, bowing to the applauding audience with huge smiles on their faces. When the audience's applause finally subsided, Olivia & the others finished bowing. Then, Olivia's ears suddenly perked up to the sound of different fursons calling out to her: "Konichiwa, Olivia-chan!" "Commez-vous, mon ami?" "Top o' the morning to ya!"

(CUE MUSIC: 1st movement of Felix Mendelssohn's 4th Symphony)

Olivia's smile widened when she saw the rodents who were addressing her. Grandpa Takumi Mitsubishi, Monsieur Victor Claudius, the Flahertys, & the entire Merchiorre clan had come to Trafalgar Square, too! How wonderful it was that they could all see each other! Her spirit soaring with glee, Olivia rushed over to greet her friends & their families, who all smiled warmly at Olivia as they stood in front of her on the cobblestones of the square. "Luciano! Ben! Mr. Mitsubishi! Monsieur Victor!" Olivia exclaimed happily. "What are you guys doing here?"

"Oh, just spending some quality time with the dear ones," Ben answered amiably. "Nothing too out o' the ordinary."

At this point, the rest of the Baker Street Family all walked over to join Olivia at her side. When he saw his clan of companions appear, Monsieur Victor told Olivia, "Ah, I see that you have brought your family along, Mademoiselle Flaversham."

"Bonjour, Monsieur Victor!" Basil chirped cheerfully, smiling affably as he gave a bow, & tipped his deerstalker cap in greeting to each of his family's friends. "Top o' the morning, Flahertys! Buon giorno, Merchiorres! Konichiwa, Mitsubishi-san!" Basil bent back upright, & placed his cap back on his head, before asking genially, "So, did you enjoy the sleepover at our house three weeks ago?"

"I've said it before, & I will say it again..." Alfredo Merchiorre answered pleasantly. "It was absolutely delightful! Carmietta, Bene, Perra, the children, & I all greatly enjoyed our time at the sleepover!" Then, turning to face his wife with an affectionate smile, the restaurateur added, "Didn't we, mia cara?" Alfredo reached up a hand to pinch Carmietta's cheek playfully, causing her to giggle, & turn away from him with a bashful smile as she put her paws to her mouth. Luciano, his brother Tony, his sister Maria, & his cousins Mario & Luigi stood at their respective parents' feet, staring up at Basil & his loved ones with wide smiles.

"Sì, Baker Street Family!" Luciano replied happily. "We had so much fun staying with you at your place!"

"I wish me & my family could sleep over at your house forever, & ever, & ever!" little Maria declared dreamily.

"Well...probably not that long, mia figlia," Carmietta said gently. "We don't want to wear our friends out..." When they heard this, Ratigan & the adults in the Baker Street Family put paws to their mouths as they all laughed in gentle amusement.

"Just outta curiosity, Olivia...How are you, your cousin, & your brothers liking your lessons at Mother's academy?" Ben inquired with his characteristic cheerfulness. "Are they challenging enough for ya? Do they nurture your artistic talents, & broaden your creative minds?" (He gave a little wink of his left eye.)

"Oh, most definitely, Ben!" Olivia replied pleasantly as she smiled from ear to ear, nodding her head in affirmation. "It's been a real blast spending our weekday afternoons with you at the academy!"

"Yeah!" Fidget agreed, also smiling & nodding. "We're having lots of fun!"

"And I'm really looking forward to the big talent showcasing at the end of the semester!" Cousin Timmy exclaimed ecstatically. Turning around to face Ratigan, Timmy asked his surrogate sibling, "What about you, Ratigan? Do you like the academy, too?"

Ratigan hemmed & hawed as he brought his right hand up to his chin, & stroked it thoughtfully with his fingers...before finally replying with a broad grin, "I think...that I will definitely be taking lessons at your academy for the next several years, Mme. Flaherty!" (Upon hearing this, Cousin Timmy, Olivia, & Fidget enthusiastically muttered words of agreement.)

"Oh, how delightful to hear that!" Mme. Flaherty cheered. "In that case, Ben & I will sure be looking forward to more visits from the lot of you!"

"And what about the toy shop, Mr. Mitsubishi?" Hiram asked with a hopeful smile. "Have you any news for me & the wee ones regarding that?"

Hiram's look of anticipation soon changed when he saw Grandpa Mitsubishi's reaction. Now sporting a melancholy expression on his face, the toymaker slumped forward a bit, & let his tail, arms, head, & ears droop sadly, as Grandpa Mitsubishi replied with a shake of his head & a solemn frown, "I am sorry, Mr. Flaversham. I have not yet been able to get in touch with any of your former customers." Then, sporting a warm smile, the kite-maker said assuringly, "But do not despair. I will keep trying to reach them, & convince them to return to your toy shop. And in the meantime, I can persuade some of my other customers to be a little more generous to certain competing businesses."

"Thank you so very much, Takumi!" Hiram gushed gratefully. "I truly appreciate your kind assistance!"

"Don't mention it, Hiram," Grandpa Mitsubishi responded tenderly.

It was then that Dr. Dawson decided to change the subject. "So, um...have any of you had lunch?" Dr. Dawson asked his family's friends & their folks. In response, the members of the Merchiorre clan, the Flahertys, Monsieur Victor, & Grandpa Mitsubishi all shook their heads simultaneously, muttering words of negation in English or their native languages.

"Oh...Well, we simply must do something about that!" Basil declared. The Merchiorres, the Flahertys, Monsieur Victor, & Grandpa Mitsubishi all perked up with sudden looks of interest, & Basil continued with a friendly smile, "Why don't you come along with us to Ollie's Garden, & we'll all share a midday meal? My treat!" The Baker Street Family's friends all smiled & nodded their heads simultaneously, muttering words of agreement in English, Italian, French, & Japanese. Pleased with the others' decision to accompany his family for lunch, Basil exclaimed exuberantly, "Wonderful!" Then, gesturing with his arm for the others to follow, Basil directed, "Come along, everyone!" With that, Basil, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, Victoria, Hiram, Dr. Dawson, & Mrs. Judson set off for their destination, with Monsieur Victor, Grandpa Mitsubishi, the Flahertys, & the Merchiorres following close behind.

Within minutes, the Baker Street Family & their comrades had arrived at the mouse street of Lyle Street (known to us humans as Lisle Street). At Lower 564 Lyle Street was the nearest Ollie's Garden, which had been built into the side of a human's restaurant. (Ollie's Garden, by the way, was part of an international chain of Italian restaurants that was quite similar to the popular Olive Garden of today's time.) Our heroes & their friends passed through the wooden double-doors leading into the restaurant, strolled through a short corridor, & made their way into the dining area, where rodent customers were all eating at their tables, while waiters & waitresses in elegant uniforms served them.

After checking in with the clerk, the Baker Street Family, the Merchiorres, the Flahertys, Monsieur Victor, & Grandpa Mitsubishi were seated together at a very, very large table. Everyone looked at their menus, decided what they wanted to eat, & made their orders to the staff. Soon, Basil, his loved ones, & all their friends were dining on spaghetti, lasagna, salad, breadsticks, other Italian foods, cheese dishes, & rich desserts, with cups of soda & sparkling grape juice to wash it all down. Oh, how the rodents enjoyed every bit & bite of their meals! By the time everyone was finished eating, their stomachs were practically swollen! They could barely save room for the little mints that their server gave them before they left! "I must say to you in complete honesty that that was the most scrumptious meal I've ever had!" Basil proclaimed pleasantly as he, his relatives, & their pals all walked out of Ollie's Garden together, & stepped onto the pavement of Lyle Street.

"Don't forget last night's dinner at the Rat Trap, Basil..." Dr. Dawson chided teasingly as he leaned in toward the detective, & waggled a forefinger at him. "We'll need to have some of our leftovers for supper tonight, by the way."

"Oh, of course..." Basil said sheepishly. "Nearly forgot about that, Dawson." Everyone laughed in response to this amusing little exchange. Then, smiling at the Merchiorres, the Flahertys, Monsieur Victor, & Grandpa Mitsubishi, Basil asked, "So, is there anything else you would like to do right now, or shall we see each other again later on?"

"Perhaps, it would be better if we all met up sometime this afternoon," Monsieur Victor answered.

"Aye, Monsieur Victor," Ben agreed, nodding his head. "I think that's a good idea."

"The folks & I need to work at the pizza parlor until 5:00," Luciano pointed out.

"Bennie & I need to take care of some business for Monday's lessons at the arts academy," Mme. Flaherty declared, placing a paw on her son's head.

"And I...need to go prepare for our next meeting," Monsieur Victor said.

"It's settled, then," Basil decided. "We'll all meet up at, um..."

Perra Merchiorre immediately perked up with an idea: "How about Cirque Du Mousini?" Realizing that she had inadvertently given away a major spoiler for our heroes' afternoon, Perra put a paw to her mouth, & acknowledged, "Oops! That was supposed to be a surprise for all of you!"

"Don't worry, Perra," Hiram said warmly. "I'm sure it'll be marvelous, anyway."

"Then, in that case," Bene Merchiorre announced, "my family & I will all meet you on the Cirque Du Mousini fairgrounds at Hyde Park...say, at 5:00 sharp?"

"Sounds good to me!" Basil exclaimed, as he & everyone else nodded their heads in agreement.

"All right, then!" Bene chirped cheerfully.

With that, the Merchiorre family all turned around to start their journey back to the pizza parlor, but as they departed, they looked back at the Baker Street Family, the Flahertys, Grandpa Mitsubishi, & Monsieur Victor as they smiled & waved "goodbye" to them. "Arrivederci for now, miei amici!" Alfredo Merchiorre said. "We shall see you later!" The Baker Street Family, the Flahertys, Monsieur Victor, & Grandpa Mitsubishi all returned the smiles & waves as they watched the Merchiorres exit. Then, when the mice were gone, they all turned to face one another.

"Baker Street Family..." Grandpa Mitsubishi intoned with a deep bow, "I hope to see you at Hyde Park this afternoon."

"We sincerely look forward to it, Mr. Mitsubishi," Dr. Dawson declared, bowing to the kite-maker with the others. With smiles & waves, the Baker Street Family, the Flahertys, & Monsieur Victor saw Grandpa Mitsubishi off. When Grandpa Mitsubishi was gone, the Baker Street Family & Monsieur Victor turned their heads to face Ben & Mme. Flaherty.

"Well, I suppose Ben & I will meet you at the circus," Mme. Flaherty said with a smile.

"Och, aye!" Ben cheered happily, as he jumped into the air, & clicked his heels together. After Ben landed on his feet, he took his mother by the paw. As Mme. Flaherty led Ben away, both mice turned to smile & wave "goodbye" to the Baker Street Family & Monsieur Victor, who returned the genial gestures as they watched them exit. Then, Basil & his loved ones bid Monsieur Victor "farewell", & saw him off. When Monsieur Victor was gone, only the Baker Street Family remained standing on the pavement.

"I suppose it's just going to be us for the next four hours," Basil said. Turning to face his corpulent comrade, the detective asked, "What do you think we should do to pass the time, Dr. Dawson?"

(CUE MUSIC: "Minuet", by Luigi Boccherini)

Dr. Dawson reached into his right trousers pocket, & pulled out a copy of The Illustrated London Mouse that he had folded up. The medical mouse unraveled the newspaper, then flipped over a couple of the pages, & brought it up to his face to look more closely at it. As his eyes scanned the text written upon the newspaper, gradually widening with interest, Dr. Dawson said, "Hmmmmmm...Here's something interesting!" Dr. Dawson turned the periodical around to display it to everyone, pointing to a particular article as he added, "According to the movie times in today's paper, there's a film showing at the Platinum Cinema-House in a few minutes...'Harry Landon'."

With a gasp, Olivia exclaimed excitedly, "That's the movie we saw Cecil B. DeMont working on at Zenith Studios last month!"

"I t'ink he finally got it ready for da theaters!" Fidget speculated.

"Can we go see it, Uncle Basil?" Cousin Timmy asked.

With a smile, Basil replied, "Why, certainly, Timmy!" Leading his loved ones away, the detective directed, "Let's depart, everyone!"

Thanks to the quick speed of the Mousetro tram, the Baker Street Family soon arrived at their destination: the Platinum Old-Time Theater & Cinema-House, located at Building No. 942 on the mouse street of Picard Drive (known to us humans as Stacey Street). Our pint-sized protagonists purchased their tickets & treats, before making their way to the auditorium where "Harry Landon" was being screened. In the darkened theater room, Basil & his companions sat comfortably in plush red chairs as they watched the film playing on the big screen, munching on popcorn, candy, & soda all the while.

As the Baker Street Family & other filmgoers could see, Cecil B. DeMont's final product was practically perfect in every way (of course, the director had done more than his due part to ensure that his movie was exactly to his liking!). Everything from the acting, to the costumes, to the music, to the scenery, to the technical aspects was simply splendid, sensational, & superb! For the entire two hours of the movie's running time, the Baker Street Family kept their eyes glued to the screen, never looking away except for an occasional opportunity to whisper comments or pass around treats. At one point, Fidget asked Cousin Timmy, "Psst...could you pass da jellybeans?" Cousin Timmy was glad to oblige, & as he took the box of jellybeans into his webbed hands, Fidget said with a smile, "Thanks, Tim." Fidget then sat back in his chair, & munched on the jellybeans from the box as he continued watching the movie with the rest of the Baker Street Family, all of whom ended up enjoying every second of "Harry Landon".

When the film was finally over, the Baker Street Family went to the mouse street of Square Street (known to us humans by the same name). As its name suggests, this road ran along the northern side of Trafalgar Square, & had plenty of things to see & do on either side. One of these things was the London Art Mouseum, located at Lower 257 Square Street. Basil & his loved ones made their way into the grand hallway of the crowded museum, which was filled with all sorts of paintings, sketches, tapestries, sculptures, & other artworks. As they strolled through the museum, the members of the Baker Street Family all looked around at the beautiful, breathtaking creations surrounding them. "Ohhh...look at all the pretty art they've got here!" Olivia cooed in fascination.

"Yes, Olivia...It is very beautiful!" Basil agreed with a smile.

Also looking around at all the artwork, but not appearing quite as impressed by what he saw, Ratigan remarked, "Beautiful...but rather..."—he thought of a good word to use—"...dull."

At one point, while continuing on their tour through the London Art Mouseum, the Baker Street Family stepped towards a particular painting adorning the wall. Much to their pleasant surprise, their friend Sophocles Braveheart was also visiting the museum, & happened to be standing in the very spot where they were now! While Basil & his loved ones looked up at the picture on the wall, they did not notice the disdained glare that was on their creative comrade's countenance. After a few moments of gazing at the painting, Basil & his relatives lowered their heads, then turned to face Sophocles with friendly smiles. "Ah, Sophocles, hello!" Hiram greeted genially.

"Who's Sophocles?" a puzzled Victoria asked.

"A family friend," Hiram answered warmly.

Not changing from his scornful frown, but trying to act friendly nonetheless, Sophocles greeted his pals, "Hello, Baker Street Family." To Basil, he commented, "And congratulations on your marriage to Victoria, Basil. Mazel tov, as they say in Israel." The artisan then turned his head away from the Baker Street Family, & redirected his gaze back to the painting everyone had been staring at.

"What are you looking at?" Cousin Timmy asked Sophocles.

"This piece of so-called 'art'," Sophocles replied bitterly. At first, the Baker Street Family couldn't see anything "wrong", or "bad", or otherwise negatively-noteworthy about the painting in question. It was a tall, tall, tall picture of famed mouse emperor Napoleon Bonappetit riding on a miniature horse during his crossing of the Alps on a military campaign, with dramatic atmosphere provided by a thunderstorm raging in the skies. Then, however, the Baker Street Family began to see why Sophocles didn't care for the picture all that much. With utter disgust, Sophocles sneered, "I just know they paid that guy—or girl—to do that portrait!" Sophocles then backed away from the painting, & stormed off through the grand hallway of the London Art Mouseum, with the Baker Street Family following close behind. All the while, Sophocles gestured to all the artwork he & his companions passed by, & ranted & raved in rage, "Every piece of work here is complete trash! The artists who made them were paid to do it! They weren't interested in making art for art's sake!" [27]

"Uh, but Sophocles," Dr. Dawson tried to argue, "don't you think that..."

"Trust me, Dr. Dawson," Sophocles interrupted irately. "I know precisely what I'm talking about." Finally, the Baker Street Family & Sophocles stopped walking, & stood in front of a particular series of paintings, sketches, tapestries, sculptures, & other artworks adorning the walls. Gesturing to all of these creative compositions as he spoke to Basil & his loved ones, Sophocles scoffed disdainfully, "You think all of this is art? Pshaw! They're not real art!"

"But, Sophocles..." Basil began, but the artisan would hear none of the detective's rebuttals. Turning to face the Baker Street Family with a mischievous grin, Sophocles exclaimed, "I'll show you what real art is!" With that, Sophocles went off to retrieve several cans of paint & makeshift paintball guns, which he placed down on the floor, still sporting that same crafty smile as earlier.

Not quite sure what Sophocles intended to do, the Baker Street Family stared up at their friend with puzzled looks. "What are those?" Victoria asked, as she pointed to the items Sophocles had brought along.

"Oh, just some of the tools we'll need to liven up the place," Sophocles replied with a devilish smirk, as he took one of his makeshift paintball guns, & filled it with paint from one of the nearby cans.

(CUE MUSIC: 3rd movement of Ludwig Van Beethoven's 3rd Symphony)

Sophocles cocked the paintball gun, then aimed it at a blank wall space between two paintings. Sophocles subsequently fired his "weapon", causing a paintball to fly out, hit the wall, & splatter upon impact. Sophocles went over to the wall, & extended his paws out toward it, touching the oozing paint with his fingers. "If fingerpainting's what you're into, then you're in luck!" Sophocles said. He then started to move some of the paint around with his fingers to make doodles.

"Uh, Sophocles," Ratigan said uncertainly, "I don't think you should..."

Sophocles simply smiled as he removed his paw from the mess of fingerpaint, & stepped back away from the mouseum wall. "Oh, don't worry, Ratigan," Sophocles assured the reformed rogue in a light, carefree tone. "I'll clean it up afterward." Sophocles picked his paintball gun up off the floor, & bent down to fill it with paint from another can, before bending back upright, & aiming the gun in the opposite direction. "Heads up!" Sophocles cried. With that, he fired the paintball gun, & the Baker Street Family braced themselves for impact. Ratigan removed his crown from his head, & held it up in front of his face like a makeshift shield. The paintball flew towards our heroes, & splattered against Ratigan's hat. Upon opening his eyes to see what had happened, Ratigan put the stained crown back on his head, & turned to face Sophocles with a wide-eyed look of shock. Acting as though he had done nothing, Sophocles looked up at Basil & his loved ones with an innocent smile, as he shrugged his shoulders. Ratigan & his relatives stared at Sophocles for a few seconds...then soon busted up laughing!

When everyone's giggles & guffaws had finally subsided, the members of the Baker Street Family all turned to face one another with wide smiles. Sophocles' idea to play with paintballs was too tempting, & they simply couldn't resist the urge to join in the fun! Beckoning with his arm for his kinsrodents to follow the artisan's lead, Basil cried cheerfully, "Come along, family! What do you say we broaden our minds a bit?"

The smile on Sophocles' own face widened when he saw the Baker Street Family come over to join him. "Who's up for some creative expression, everyone?" Sophocles asked joyfully. With that, Sophocles & the members of the Baker Street Family all either grabbed paintball guns, & filled them up with paint from the cans, or scooped up some of the cans' contents into their paws. When they had plenty of paint, Sophocles & the Baker Street Family all prepared to fire their artistic artillery. With a shout of "Ready...aim...FIRE!", Sophocles & the Baker Street Family reared back, & launched their scooped-up puddles of paint or fired their paintball guns simultaneously.

What a sight it was to see the creative carnage that ensued afterwards! A fuschia paintball hit the wall, & splattered all over it. A red puddle of paint then splattered against the wall, followed by a yellow paintball. An orange paintball splashed against one of the mouseum-goers. A lady mouseum-goer held up her umbrella to protect herself from a chartreuse paintball that splattered against her makeshift shield. A mischievous-looking Victoria hurled a pink puddle of paint at Basil. Olivia tossed a blue puddle of paint that flew out of her paws, ultimately hitting another lady mouseum-goer, & staining her clothing. With his paintball gun, Cousin Timmy fired a turquoise paintball, which splashed a male mouseum-goer in the face. Fidget used his paintball gun to launch a purple paintball, which rapidly flew towards a copy of the famous painting "Mousa Lisa"...& hit its smiling subject square in the face, dripping everywhere! When he saw what had happened, Sophocles wasn't too pleased, & he scolded the little bat, "Fidget, be careful! The paintings are not supposed to be the actual targets!"

"Sorry," Fidget apologized. Fidget refilled his paintball gun with more purple paint, then aimed & fired. Another purple paintball came flying out of the gun, & landed on the blank wall space beside the paint-stained "Mousa Lisa". "Dat's better!" Fidget said happily. With that faux pas taken care of, Sophocles & the members of the Baker Street Family continued tossing puddles of paint & firing their paintball guns in every direction, until there wasn't a single mouseum-goer or spot on the wall that hadn't been hit. Finally, our pint-sized protagonists & Sophocles tossed away their paintball guns, & turned to face the other museum visitors with big smiles on their faces.

"I declare this day to be 'Art Nouveau' Day!" Sophocles shouted merrily. "Express yourselves, everyone! Let your artistic spirits fly!" Unable to resist bursting into broad grins themselves, the mouseum-goers all cheered as they turned away, & rushed over to the paint-splattered walls. Well, I'll be a midget monkey's uncle! Sophocles thought proudly, with his arms folded over his chest. They're all so eager to partake in this puckish pastime...I'm quite pleased with them! Now, they'll get to find out for themselves what truly makes great art! Totally immersed in the activities that they were currently doing, the mouseum-goers reached out to touch the paint splattered upon the walls, move the paint around with their fingers, & make doodles of various shapes & designs. Of course, the Baker Street Family & Sophocles joined in the fun, too!

Unbeknownst to everyone, all the ruckus they were making in their happy hullabaloo had caught the attention of the art mouseum's curator, who was taking care of business in another wing of the building (& certainly did not appreciate his work being interrupted). With a swing of the oaken double-doors leading into the grand hallway, the art mouseum curator stepped out, looking quite irritated as he asked, "What in the name of Rembrandt is...?" Suddenly, the curator stopped in his tracks, & put his paws to his face, sporting a wide-eyed look of shock when he saw what was going on. "Oh, my word..." he gasped, unable to contain his surprise. There, right in front of his very eyes, all of the mouseum-goers were fingerpainting on the walls of the grand hallway! Not too happy with what he was witnessing, the curator stomped over to the mouseum-goers, ready to confront them. As he did so, he yelled angrily, "Excuse me! You are defacing public property!" Stopping to stand in front of Sophocles, the Baker Street Family, & the other mouseum-goers, the curator placed his paws on his hips, & continued with a glare, "Unless you want to be taken to jail, I insist that you cease your abominable antics immediately!"

Now caught red-pawed, the members of the Baker Street Family & the other mouseum-goers stopped what they were doing, with hurt looks appearing on their frowning faces. Aw, man! they thought glumly. Just when we were having so much fun fingerpainting together...Sophocles, however, just smiled mischievously at the art mouseum curator, & said to him, "That's the problem with you, good sir. You always see the world in black-&-white." Sophocles scooped up some of the paint from the wall, & walked over to the curator, smirking impishly as he prepared to throw the puddle of paint that rested in his right paw. "You ought to put some color in your life!" Sophocles exclaimed, as he tossed the paint into the curator's face. With his face dripping all over with garishly-colored goo, the angry curator glowered furiously at Sophocles, the Baker Street Family, & the other mouseum-goers, but they didn't seem to care. In fact, they just laughed the whole thing off, & went back to their fingerpainting. After all, one only lived once!

(CUE MUSIC: "Pas De Deux [Bluebird]", from Peter Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty")

Not too long afterward, the Baker Street Family went to Regents Park to while away the last of their spare time before their meeting with their friends at Cirque Du Mousini. Our pint-sized protagonists were welcomed with the warm warbling & whistling of various songbirds perched in the trees; said birds continued singing as Basil & his loved ones traveled together down the cement park pavement. Dr. Dawson was riding his bike. Hiram was walking with Olivia & holding her by the left hand, while Olivia clutched a big balloon in her right hand. Cousin Timmy walked by Hiram on his left side. Mrs. Judson walked along with Ratigan & Fidget. Basil & Victoria were walking together hand-in-hand, leading the way.

Victoria took a deep breath of air, & sighed, before saying happily, "Oh, what a beautiful afternoon! A perfect chance for us to spend some quality time with one another at Regents Park!"

"Yeah!" Fidget exclaimed, looking around with a big smile. "I don't t'ink I see a cloud in da sky, Victoria!"

Dr. Dawson panted as he rode his bike along. Smiling, though a little worn-out, the medical mouse declared, "Indeed...And it's a rather good thing, too...I need to catch up on my exercise." Dawson then continued riding his bike, huffing & puffing as he pedaled.

After the Baker Street Family continued walking for a while longer, Hiram pointed yonder with his left paw, & suggested, "Why don't we all sit down on that bench for a while, & rest?"

"Good idea, Hiram," Basil replied. And, so, the Great Mouse Detective & his loved ones went over to the wooden park bench beside the pavement, & sat down together on the seat. Dr. Dawson took a moment to put down his bike, before going over to join his kinsrodents. As they all sat together on the park bench, the members of the Baker Street Family looked around at all the lovely scenery. At one point, Olivia spotted something of particular interest. Pointing ahead, the little Scotsmouse cried, "Look, everyone! There's Cecil!" Sure enough, Cecil B. DeMont was just a few mouse feet away from the Baker Street Family, setting up one of two folding chairs by a small table, with a chess set resting at his feet.

"Shall we go talk to him?" Mrs. Judson inquired.

"Well, I suppose it's all right," Basil answered, "but just remember: when approaching a celebrity, you must be very careful not to..."

"Mr. DeMont, sir!" Olivia shouted with a wide smile as she jumped off the bench, & waved her left hand in greeting.

"...startle him," Basil could only bring himself to finish.

Cecil had now set up both folding chairs by the small table, & he was just about to put his chess set down on the table surface. He stopped, however, when he heard Olivia's little Scottish voice call out, "Cecil! Over here!"

(CUE MUSIC: "Fairies' March", from Felix Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream")

Cecil smiled, then placed the chess set down onto the table, & walked away from it, going over to approach the Baker Street Family on the park bench. "Name's Cecil B. DeMont," the director greeted. "Who might you fine fellas be?"

"I am Basil Of Baker Street," the detective replied, smiling amiably at Cecil. With a single sweep of his right paw, Basil gestured to the rest of the Baker Street Family, & introduced them as well: "This is my family." Then, Basil continued, "We were among the visitors at Zenith Studios during your shooting sessions for 'Harry Landon' last month."

"Ah, 'Harry Landon'!" Cecil exclaimed, smiling & nodding his head in acknowledgement. "That movie was released a few days ago. By any chance, did you see it?"

"Uh-huh!" Fidget answered happily, smiling broadly as he nodded his head in affirmation. "We loved it!"

"It was awesome!" Olivia complimented, also smiling up at Cecil.

Looking at the Baker Street Family with a warm smile, Cecil said fondly, "Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it." After a slight pause, the filmmaker continued, "You know, working on that movie—on any movie—is what I consider to be a very trying experience. It can be compared to, say, trying to write 'War & Peace' on a bumper car in an amusement park. But when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling. Except, perhaps, chess." [28]

Delighted by what he had just heard, Ratigan marveled, "You play chess, Mr. DeMont?"

"That's right!" Cecil proclaimed proudly, gesturing to himself with his right thumb on his chest. "I happen to be one of the best chess-players in Mouse London."

Tempted by the idea of facing off against one of his entertainment idols in the sport of kings, Ratigan smiled in a challenging manner at Cecil. "Oh...One of the best chess-players in Mouse London, eh?" the reformed rogue repeated, as he got up off the bench where his family was seated, & walked over to Cecil. When Cecil simply nodded in reply, Ratigan retorted with a sly smirk, "Then you wouldn't mind having a friendly match with a fellow mouseter?" Cecil stared at Ratigan with a surprised expression, not looking so smug anymore. For all he had heard in his life about Ratigan—the good, the bad, & the ugly—he had no knowledge of Ratigan's chess-playing skills! Ratigan, of course, was quick to pick up on this, & he leaped at the opportunity to expose & exploit Cecil's vulnerability! Extending his right paw for Cecil to shake, Ratigan cajoled teasingly, "Come on, Mr. DeMont. What do you say?"

A moment of silence followed. Cecil thought to himself for a second...then looked back at Ratigan with a determined glare & a smile. So Ratigan was a chess whiz with big brains & a big ego...Big deal! So was Cecil! He could take on Ratigan's challenge! Reaching out his right paw to reciprocate Ratigan's gracious gesture, Cecil declared, "OK...You're on!" With a hearty handshake, the deal was sealed, & Ratigan & Cecil went off to begin their chess match.

(CUE MUSIC: "Romanian Rhapsody", by George Enescu)

A short time later, Ratigan & Cecil were seated at the latter's little table, & the two rodents were already quite immersed in their game of chess. "You sit at the board...&, suddenly, your heart leaps," Cecil said as he & Ratigan moved their black & white pieces across the checkered playing board. Reaching out to grab the head of his black knight piece, Cecil continued, "Your paw trembles to pick up the piece...& move it." Cecil moved the black knight piece one space to the left, then two spaces forward, in an L-shape movement. Then, Cecil held up his paw, extending a forefinger as he advised, "But what chess teaches you is that you must sit there calmly, & think about whether it's really a good idea...& whether there are other, better ideas." [29] Resting his arm on the edge of the table, Cecil asked his playing partner, "Do you understand, Ratigan?"

Ratigan briefly looked up from the chessboard to glance at Cecil with a warm smile, & replied, "Of course, I do!" Ratigan subsequently looked back down at the playing board, then moved his white bishop piece, before looking back up at Cecil. Still smiling at the director, Ratigan cocked a forefinger in his direction, & said, "Your move, Cecil." Cecil looked down at the chessboard, then grasped one of his black rook pieces. He moved it forward, before knocking down one of Ratigan's white pawn pieces. Pouting in mock-disappointment, Ratigan banged his fist against the table surface, & shouted, "Blast!" Ratigan then grabbed the knocked-over pawn piece, picked it up, & handed it to Cecil, who placed the pawn down beside the other pieces he had captured from Ratigan. "I have to hand it to you, Cecil," Ratigan remarked with a playful smirk. "You truly are one of the best chess-players in Mouse London."

"Well, you deserve some credit, too, Ratigan," Cecil complimented. "You've got mad skills."

Ratigan blushed a little, quite flattered by Cecil's praise. "Th-Thank you, Cecil..." Ratigan replied coyly. Then, once the scarlet in his cheeks went away, Ratigan cleared his throat into his fist, & went back to his game with the famed filmmaker.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dawson was riding his bike down a cyclist's path, while Olivia, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy played a ball game on the park green. Unbeknownst to the three rodentlings, someone was watching them from the branches of a big oak tree nearby. In this tree, the birds had all gone away, but a few flying fiends had taken their place—none other than Eunice & Shellington Batly! Turning her head to glance at Shellington as he looked around for any sign of certain rodents, Eunice inquired, " you see them?" [30]

"Not yet, Eunice," Shellington answered. "But I'll keep looking."

Eunice gave an impatient sigh, rolling her eyes. The villainous vixen barked irritatedly, "Oh, surely, it can't take you that long to find Ratigan & the Baker Street Family! Could you kindly speed up the search process a little, dear?"

"Just be patient, Eunice..." Shellington said calmly. "Good things come to those who wait."

Eunice turned her head away from Shellington, & continued searching around, as well. "Don't you mean 'bad things', Shellington?" Eunice asked as an afterthought.

With a devilish, playful air to his voice, Shellington replied, "Hmm...Well, I suppose, in a certain context, that..."

Suddenly, Eunice cut Shellington off in mid-sentence when she blurted out, "Hold on, Shelly, I see the kids!"

Upon hearing this, Shellington immediately flew over to his lover's side, & both bats leaned forward to look down in the same direction. From their vantage point on the oak tree branch, Eunice & Shellington could see Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget playing their ball game on the park green. "Oh, good work, Eunice!" Shellington congratulated his lady love, satisfied with the success of their search. "Mouses will be so pleased!" Preparing to fly off, Shellington shouted with an evil smile, "Let's go get them!"

"Wait!" Eunice cried, stopping Shellington in his tracks. "We can't go after the kids just yet! The grownups are watching them on the bench nearby."

Shellington frowned grumpily in disappointment, & complained, "That's just great!" Huffily folding his arms over his chest, the rogue detective wondered aloud, "How are we going to get the kids without them noticing?"

"We'll need to find a way to distract them," Eunice replied, scratching her chin thoughtfully with the fingers of her clawed paw. "Do you have any ideas, Shellington?"

An evil smile crept across Shellington's face as he answered, "I just may have a few tricks up my sleeve, my darling lady of the shadows..." At this point, Shellington reached into the large knapsack that he had brought along, & withdrew one of the many self-invented gadgets & gizmos that he had tucked away in there. It was a bazooka-type weapon that fired small missiles. After picking out the right type of missile required for the task ahead, Shellington loaded his bazooka with the projectiles, & aimed it at his target... [31]

Unaware of the sinister machinations going on, Dr. Dawson was riding his bike down the dusty path going across the park green, pedaling without a care in the world. Then, Dr. Dawson yelped in surprise when his bike was suddenly hit from behind with a flash grenade. The medical mouse was so startled out of his wits, he lost control of his bike, & careened off the bicycle path. At the same time, several rodents were on the park green, enjoying the day as they indulged in leisurely activities. When the park-goers heard yelling, they stopped what they were doing, & turned around to see what was going on. Imagine their surprise when they saw Dr. Dawson speeding towards them on his runaway bike!

Dr. Dawson continued to yell as he went on a crazy ride across the park green, veering past the shocked & surprised park-goers, & ultimately crashing (& landing) into the park fountain. Poor Dr. Dawson was now completely soaked from the water spewing out of the fountain, & his demolished bike lay in a crumpled heap beside the rim of the stone structure. When she saw what had happened, Mrs. Judson cried, "Oh, no, Dr. Dawson!" Hiram, Basil, Mrs. Judson, & Victoria all rushed over to assist Dr. Dawson in the fountain.

Eunice & Shellington were thrilled with the results of their brainstorm! Their fiendish plan had worked! "The grownups have all been distracted, Shellington!" Eunice exclaimed. Smiling evilly as she & Shellington spread their wings in preparation for the forthcoming flight, Eunice cried out, "Now, let's get those kids!"

"After them!" Shellington shouted. With that, the two winged rodents both took off, flying down towards their quarry.

Meanwhile, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget continued to play their ball game on the park green. After throwing the ball to her brother & cousin, Olivia turned around...& looked up with a scared expression. "Uh-oh!" Olivia squeaked. Eunice & Shellington Batly were flying towards Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget with manic grins, eager to catch & capture their prey. When Fidget & Cousin Timmy saw the two bad bats approach them, they also sported terrified looks on their faces. "Run!" a scared Fidget screamed. Olivia & Fidget both dashed away from Eunice & Shellington as fast as they could, but inadvertently left Cousin Timmy behind. When Eunice & Shellington came closer & closer, Cousin Timmy gasped, & made a leap to the side, before ducking to the ground, & curling up in a terrified, shivering little ball as he covered himself with his arms. Thankfully for Timmy, Eunice & Shellington flew away to follow Fidget & Olivia's trail. When the villains were gone, Cousin Timmy stopped shivering, then opened his eyes, & slowly removed his arms from his head...before rising to his feet, smiling, & sighing in relief as he wiped the sweat off his brow. That was a close one!

Erstwhile, Olivia & Fidget were still running across the park green, with Eunice & Shellington starting to gain up on them. With some grunts & pants of effort, Fidget flapped his wings, eventually getting enough lift to push himself up off the ground...but just before Fidget rose any further, Olivia jumped onto his back. Olivia & Fidget then ascended into the sky, managing to evade their pursuers, with Olivia holding tightly onto Fidget's clothing as she rode on his back. "Boy, Olivia, do you t'ink we could lose some of dat extra clothin'?" Fidget asked his surrogate sister. "It's givin' me additional weight!"

As she & Fidget continued soaring through the skies, Olivia turned around to see if Eunice & Shellington were still following them. Sure enough, they were, with the same manic grins on their faces as earlier. Olivia gulped fearfully, then turned her head away, & tightened her grip on Fidget's clothing. Olivia & Fidget flew further & further ahead, with Eunice & Shellington continuing to give chase after the two kids in the direction they were headed. "Whatever you do," Eunice commanded, "do not lose sight of those kids! We mustn't let them get away, or Mouses will have our heads served to Felicia on a silver platter!"

"I quiver with fear at the very thought of it!" Shellington said with a shudder.

Meanwhile, Basil, Victoria, Hiram, & Mrs. Judson had finally gotten Dr. Dawson out of the water fountain, & the mice were all now standing together on dry ground. Dr. Dawson wrung the water out of his cap, then placed it back on his head. Then, when they noticed two dark bat-shadows flying over them, Dr. Dawson & the others all tilted their heads up to look at the sky. "I say, Basil, who are those strange figures?" Dr. Dawson asked.

Glaring angrily, Basil replied, "Eunice...& Shellington Batly!"

"And Eunice & Shellington are...?" Mrs. Judson inquired.

His voice oozing with contempt, Basil explained, "Eunice is a bat-thug who works for Mouses Fiennes—well, she's among the best of his minions, actually. Eunice often serves as Mouses' second-in-command, & Shellington is one of my fellow crimefighters at the Mouse Detective Agency. Or, rather, I thought he was..." At this point, Basil could feel his heart sinking a little. He had no idea that Shellington had been merely masquerading as one of his fellow officers of the law, let alone working for Mouses Fiennes! How long has Shellington been hiding these criminal tendencies, & how deeply does his depravity run? What horrible things has he done to innocent fursons? And how on Mouse Earth did he get a job in the Mouse Detective Agency with his villainous nature? I don't know what's going on with that bat, but I'm going to find out... [32]

Suddenly, the adults' ears all perked up to the sound of familiar voices shouting, "Help!" Basil, Victoria, Hiram, Mrs. Judson, & Dr. Dawson took a closer look at the sky, & when they saw that Eunice & Shellington were chasing Olivia & Fidget, they immediately looked horrified! "Oh, no! The children!" Victoria gasped, clasping her paws to either side of her face. Oh, please let them be all right! the former princess prayed, desperately hoping that Olivia & Fidget would be able to safely get away from Eunice & Shellington.

At that moment, Olivia & Fidget were approaching the entrance to Regents Park's big hedge maze. The two rodentlings both flew in to enter the maze. It wasn't long before Eunice & Shellington did the same. "They're going into the hedge maze!" Eunice cried. "After them!" With that, the chase was on... [33]

Olivia & Fidget soared through the first corridor of the hedge maze, their hearts pounding wildly like the beating of drums. The adrenaline was surging through their veins like the waters of a rapidly-rushing river, fueling their endeavor to escape the evil clutches of Eunice & Shellington. As much as they were desperate to rescue themselves, Olivia & Fidget were also filled with fear—fear of the flying fiends who were following them, & fear of what would happen if they were to be caught by the criminals. The rodentlings' determination to survive, however, surpassed all other emotions, & they focused on their mission to successfully evade Eunice & Shellington (& subsequently seek safe shelter, wherever that may be).

Upon reaching the end of the hedge maze's first hall, Olivia & Fidget turned a corner, & made their way into another corridor. As they flew down this passageway, Olivia & Fidget (who had both visited the hedge maze before) hoped they would be able to remember the proper paths to take to reach the exit. One wrong turn, & they would both be in big trouble! Meanwhile, Eunice & Shellington continued to pursue Olivia & Fidget in each direction they went, following the two youngsters from close behind. "You can fly, but you can't hide, twerps!" Shellington shouted evilly. "We're coming after you!"

"And we're gonna get you!" Eunice exclaimed with a villainous grin. "You better run fast! Look out...We're coming in close!" At this point, Eunice & Shellington picked up speed, flying ever faster after Olivia & Fidget. The rodentlings & their hunters turned a corner to the right, & entered another corridor in the hedge maze, which they subsequently passed through. Then, they all turned a corner to the left, & went down another hallway. On & on, this process kept repeating, with the emotional tension racking up each time. The thrilling chase went on for several long & suspenseful minutes, as Olivia, Fidget, Eunice, & Shellington all passed through the corridors of the hedge maze, made sharp twists & turns, darted around corners, avoided dead ends, & zipped & zoomed every which-way. At one point during the chase, Eunice called out to her quarry, "You can't get away from us! We're right behind you!" Olivia & Fidget flew even faster now, praying that they wouldn't be caught by their enemies.

After a while, Fidget saw something that caused his eyes to widen in shock. A big tree branch was blocking the path of Olivia & Fidget! "Uh-oh!" Fidget exclaimed, before turning around to tell his bewildered sister, "Hang on, Livvy!" An anxious Olivia turned aside, wincing & bracing herself for impact as she shielded her arms up in front of her head, before covering it with them. Just when it looked like a nasty collision was about to happen, Fidget swooped down underneath the tree branch, while Olivia was thrown off of his back. The little Scotsmouse went flying up, up, up into the air...& when Fidget turned around again to see if Olivia was OK, he immediately noticed that she wasn't riding on his back anymore! With a gasp, Fidget looked up in time to see Olivia falling down, down, down from the sky, screaming as she somersaulted through the air. Flapping his wings as hard & as fast as he could, Fidget hurried to catch Olivia before she hit the ground. Finally, Olivia reached the end of her descent...& landed safely on Fidget's back.

After sitting back up onto her bum, & turning around to ride Fidget again, Olivia realized that Fidget had just saved her life! Looking down at her batty brother with a big smile, Olivia cried out joyfully, "Fidget! You saved me!" (Olivia kissed Fidget's cheek, then wrapped her arms tightly around his neck in a tender hug, nuzzling him.) "You're my hero!"

Fidget smiled bashfully, & chuckled. "Awww, it was nothin', really..." the boy replied modestly, before carrying Olivia further down the corridor they were currently traveling through.

Now, Eunice & Shellington had frustrated frowns on their faces. "Darn!" Eunice exclaimed irritatedly. "We were just about to catch those brats!"

"That's why we'll keep chasing them, Eunice!" Shellington said.

And, so, the chase through the hedge maze continued, with Olivia & Fidget hurrying to evade Eunice & Shellington as they all passed through corridors, made sharp twists & turns, darted around corners, avoided dead ends, & zipped & zoomed every which-way. Finally, Olivia & Fidget seemed to spot the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. "I t'ink I see da exit, Livvy!" Fidget declared happily.

Olivia, however, looked scared; the danger was not over yet, & they had run into yet another obstacle. "Look out!" Olivia shouted, pointing ahead with her forefinger. "A tree branch!"

Sure enough, another big tree branch was blocking the path of Olivia & Fidget. Eunice & Shellington were rapidly closing in on the two rodentlings, & were only a short distance away from catching them! This was the critical moment that would determine the rest of Olivia & Fidget's lives as they knew them. There was no time to waste thinking, & no time to be scared. Olivia & Fidget's safe delivery from harm was entirely dependent on this one instance of instinctive impulse. "Hang on, Livvy!" Fidget exclaimed, sporting a determined glare on his face. "I'm gonna wing it!" With that, Olivia & Fidget both swooped down to avoid the low-lying tree branch, ducking out of view of their villainous pursuers, before coming back up on the other side, & continuing to fly through the last corridor of the hedge maze. Olivia & Fidget both turned their heads around in time to see Eunice & Shellington colliding right into the tree limb, having noticed it too late.

When they saw the wicked bats fall to the ground in a daze, Olivia & Fidget both smiled happily, glad & grateful to be free of their foes at last. "We've lost them, Fidget!" Olivia cheered. "Now, let's get out of this hedge maze!" As Olivia & Fidget finally passed through the maze's exit, Fidget flapped his arms more slowly, panting & looking tired. Quickly noticing that something wasn't right, Olivia looked down at Fidget in concern, & asked, "Fidget...What's wrong?"

An exhausted Fidget gulped, then gradually ceased flapping his wings as he said in between gasps of air, "My wings...are...gettin'...tired!" Unable to fly any further, Fidget stopped moving his arms, & he & Olivia soon began to sink down in the air. "Uh-oh..." Olivia uttered. Within seconds, Olivia & Fidget were both spiraling down, down, down towards the ground. Soon, the two kids bumped right into their friend Pias, knocking him down flat as they landed on his back. (Since we didn't describe him during his introduction, allow us to briefly elaborate on Pias' appearance to you. Pias was of average height for a mouse his age, with a lean, skinny figure. He had dark-tan fur [with wheat-colored markings going all across his muzzle & underbelly], & a thinning layer of gray hair. His rounded head had wide cheekbones that curved at an angle. A prominent pink nose [flanked on either side by a long pair of scraggly whiskers] was fixed between his wary blue eyes [topped with slender, angular gray eyebrows]. A big white bucktooth jutted out from his upper lip, & some signs of aging adorned his face. A pair of big, curvy pink ears flanked either side of his head. His long, slender pink tail tended to drag along the ground behind him, & his slim arms & legs ended in average-sized paws & feet. He wore a snug-fitting golden-yellow tunic with a golden waistband, & a loose-fitting pair of crimson "Turkish" trousers, but no shoes. Also, he held a wooden walking cane in his right paw to support his crippled leg.)

For a few moments, Pias lay flat on the ground as Olivia & Fidget lay on top of his back. Finally, Pias opened his eyes, then pushed himself up onto his hands & feet, causing Olivia & Fidget to tumble off of his back, & fall to the ground. Pias then grabbed his cane, helped himself up onto his feet, & turned around to glare at Olivia & Fidget. "Pardon me for being irritable," the Gypsy gardener asked, "but would you please mind watching where you're going?"

"Sorry, Pias," Olivia & Fidget both apologized in unison.

"That's all right," Pias replied, as his gaze softened. "Just be more careful next time."

(CUE MUSIC: "Syrinx", by Claude Debussy)

At this point, several cooing pigeons flew in with a fluttering of wings, before landing & huddling together in a tight circle around Olivia, Fidget, & Pias. The birds bobbed their heads a little, gazing at the three rodents curiously. "What are all these pigeons doing here, Pias?" Olivia asked, pointing to the winged creatures.

"Well, this is where they like to stay at Regents Park," Pias explained with a smile. "Every day, I come here to the Pigeon Patch, so I can find myself a good specimen to bring to the garden at the Mouse Gypsy Caravan."

"Why do you wanna get a pigeon to take to da garden?" Fidget asked, looking up at Pias with a curious expression.

"Because I happen to be the gardener at the Mouse Gypsy Caravan, Fidget, & one of my duties as such is to help get rid of the worms in the garden," Pias answered. "Without the use of a bird, I have to pluck out the worms myself. And let me tell you, it is an extremely disgusting job. So, I hire the pigeons here to do the work for me."

"Oh...OK," Fidget said, nodding his head in understanding.

"I see what you mean," Olivia uttered.

With that, Olivia, Fidget, & Pias turned their heads to look back at the circle of cooing pigeons. Then, the trio of rodents reacted to the sound of Victoria calling out, "I found Olivia & Fidget, everyone! They're right over there, with Pias!" Upon hearing Victoria's voice, the pigeons all cooed & flew away in various directions with a fluttering of wings. As the birds made their hasty exit, a few of their feathers detached from their bodies, & floated to the ground. At this moment, Basil, Hiram, Victoria, Mrs. Judson, Dr. Dawson, & Cousin Timmy all rushed over to join Olivia, Fidget, & Pias.

"Oh, Fidget! Olivia!" Dr. Dawson cried. "Thank goodness you're all right!"

"What's the problem, Dr. Dawson?" Pias asked, turning to face Cousin Timmy & the other adults with a concerned look.

"Well, Pias, the problem is...we've been attacked," Dr. Dawson replied.

"Attacked?" Pias echoed, shocked to hear the news.

"Well, it was the children who were attacked, really," Hiram elaborated, "but in a sense, it was kind of an attack against the family..."

"Yes, but who came after them, Hiram?" Pias questioned, cutting the toymaker off.

"It was...Well, it was two bats," Hiram answered. "The bats were minions for Mouses Fiennes, I believe. Their names were Eunice & Shellington Batly."

"Eunice & Shellington went after Fidget & Olivia?" Pias ejaculated, as his eyebrows flew up in shock. The Gypsy gardener sighed as he formed a bitter glower on his face; Madame Ratburn had warned him & Anya several times about the events that were to occur over the months since the latter's arrival, but they still hoped in their hearts that no villainy would be afoot. Alas, those wishes were not to come true. Shaking his head to & fro, Pias lamented, "Somehow, I just knew that those two scoundrels would wind up joining the battle against you!"

"The battle against us?" a shocked Mrs. Judson shouted.

"What battle?" a bewildered Dr. Dawson blurted out.

"I've worked with Shellington before on cases," a confused Basil commented, "but why would he want to team up with Mouses Fiennes & his cohorts?" (It was a question that had never left his mind, & would remain raging in his brain for years to come...)

"Furthermore, why would Mouses & his thugs want to try & attack us in the first place?" Victoria wondered. Shaking her head sadly, the ex-monarch said, "I just don't understand..."

"I realize that this is hard for you to comprehend, Victoria. And I completely empathize," Pias stated. With a warm smile, the gardener added assuringly, "Perhaps, it would be better if we all went to the Mouse Gypsy Caravan, & paid a visit to Madame Ratburn. She may be able to shed some light on the situation for you."

"I think that's a good idea, Pias," Basil said.

"All right, then," Pias proclaimed, taking up his cane. "Follow me, everyone." Basil, Victoria, Hiram, Mrs. Judson, Dr. Dawson, Olivia, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy all walked after Pias as they followed him out of Regents Park. After bidding Cecil B. DeMont a hasty "goodbye", Ratigan rushed across the park green, hurrying to catch up with the others. "Wait!" Ratigan shouted. "I just finished my game with Cecil! Don't leave yet!"

(CUE MUSIC: "Neptune", from Gustav Holst's "The Planets")

It only took a short while for Pias & the Baker Street Family to reach the main grounds of the Mouse Gypsy Caravan, & once they had arrived there, they went to Madame Ratburn's wagon, climbing up the small wooden staircase to approach the front door. "Well, here we are!" Pias proclaimed. He lifted up his cane, & used it to knock on the door. A few seconds passed, but no answer came from inside the wagon. Continuing to knock on the door with his cane, Pias called out, "Madame Ratburn? Madame Ratburn?" Still no answer. Pias smirked in amusement as he brought his cane down to place it in front of him, holding it with both paws.

"That's strange..." Dr. Dawson said in puzzlement. "She's not answering the door!"

"Let's go in, & see what she's up to," Pias said. Still holding his cane with his left paw, Pias leaned forward to place his right paw upon the door handle, & press down on it. The front door then swung open to reveal Pias & the members of the Baker Street Family standing in the threshold. The rodents' shadows fell across the floor as they all quietly crept into the wagon. Suddenly, everyone stopped in their tracks, & looked up with surprised expressions when they saw what Madame Ratburn was doing. The elderly psychic was curled up asleep on her cot, with her back turned to her visitors. She snored lightly in her deep slumber. (Since we didn't describe her during her introduction, allow us to briefly elaborate on Madame Ratburn's appearance to you. Madame Ratburn was tall for a mouse-rat hybrid her age, with a slim, slender figure. She had brownish-gray fur, & straight white hair [which she kept up in a bun]. Her rounded head had high cheekbones that curved at a slight angle. A slightly-prominent pink nose [flanked on either side by a pair of medium-length whiskers] was fixed between her haunting blue eyes [topped with slender, curved white eyebrows]. Wrinkles & signs of aging adorned her face. A pair of large, triangular pink ears prominently perked up from either side of her head. Her rat-like pink tail was long & slender, & her lean limbs ended in small paws & feet. She wore a long-sleeved emerald-green dress [adorned with pink-colored patches in various places], a pair of emerald-green bloomers, a purple scarf with fringed edges, a large purple turban, & a snugly-fitting pair of dull, black patent-leather boots.)

"She's sleeping!" Hiram pointed out in a hushed tone.

"Wake her up, Pias!" Basil whispered to his Gypsy friend, as he gently nudged him with his elbow.

With that, Pias grabbed his cane, & walked over to Madame Ratburn, stopping to stand at her bedside. Pias then took his cane up off the floor, & gently began nudging Madame Ratburn with it. As he did so, he whispered to his comrade, "Psst...Madame Ratburn..." At this point, Madame Ratburn stirred & opened her eyes, before turning over on her side to face Pias. In a hushed tone, the gardener alerted the psychic, "You have visitors!"

When she saw who had come to see her, Madame Ratburn sat up in bed with a look of surprise. "Oh, so sorry to have kept you waiting!" Madame Ratburn exclaimed to the smiling members of the Baker Street Family. "I had a premonition you would be coming, but I was just resting to save enough energy for me to use my psychic powers! Several decades of using my otherworldly abilities have drained me of much of my physical energy, & though I've gained some of it back, I must take long naps for several hours a day if I am to use my psychic powers for whatever reason may crop up—otherwise, without plenty of rest, I will quickly become too exhausted, & not be able to use my magic effectively."

"I am quite aware of the reasons behind your routines, Madame Ratburn," Basil stated with an understanding nod of his head. "As you already know, I have a penchant for finding rational purposes for everything." Gesturing to himself, the detective elaborated further, "I have plenty of unusual—but completely necessary—habits, myself."

Upon hearing Basil gleefully gloat about his eccentric tendencies & odd proclivities, Victoria, Hiram, Mrs. Judson, & Dr. Dawson either gave Basil weird looks, rolled their eyes, or shook their heads at him in mock-irritation, while the kids tried to stifle their laughter with paws to their mouths. Madame Ratburn chuckled, & said in amusement, "Yes, & we all know what those are..." (The Baker Street Kids then removed their paws from their mouths, & the adults put on warm smiles at Basil, their unconditional affection for the Great Mouse Detective coming to the surface once again.)

"'Aye, & though there be madness, there is method in it!'" Basil quoted.

"I love that line!" Ratigan remarked, in absolute heaven right now.

"What play was that from, Ratigan?" Olivia asked curiously.

"'Hamlet', Act 2, Scene 2," Ratigan answered aside to his sister.

"Oh, yeah, 'Hamlet'!" Olivia cried, smiling & nodding her head in recognition.

"Dat's da one where he's holdin' da skull of dat guy in da graveyard, right?" Fidget inquired, brightening when he realized what play Ratigan & Olivia were referring to.

Now completely caught up in the conversation, Ratigan launched into a Shakespeare impression of his own, complete with melodramatic voice & poses: "'Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well!'" The kids & adults all laughed, tickled pink by Ratigan's brilliant performance. Unable to resist basking in his praise, Ratigan broke "out of character", & smiled smugly at the rest of the Baker Street Family, shifting his eyebrows up & down. When the mood of merriment finally subsided, Madame Ratburn asked our pint-sized protagonists, "Now, how can I be of service to you?"

"Well, if you must know, Madame Ratburn," Basil said, "we would like to address a problem." The smile on his face then changed to a more solemn look, & so did the others'. Her attention now fully grabbed, Madame Ratburn helped herself up off the bed, & landed onto her feet; Pias then took up his cane, walking back towards the Baker Street Family. After watching Pias leave, & taking a moment to gather her powers, Madame Ratburn lifted herself up a few inches into the air, & began floating towards her friends, her eyes & body glowing a pale-blue. The Baker Street Family & Pias all parted to make way for Madame Ratburn, revealing her table with the crystal ball on it. Madame Ratburn floated over to the table, then took her seat in her chair. With a snap of her fingers, nine additional chairs popped up to join the one placed at the other side of the table. The Baker Street Family & Pias all sat down in the chairs, & made themselves comfortable, before turning their heads to face Madame Ratburn as she spoke to them.

"If I may inquire further into the matter of your aforementioned problem, what is this fursonal dilemma that you are going through?" Madame Ratburn asked.

"Well, it's like this, Madame Ratburn," Basil started to explain. "We..."

Madame Ratburn swiftly held up a paw to stop Basil in mid-sentence, & cried, "Wait!" The medium then put both paws to the sides of her head, concentrating deeply, as she revealed, "Don't tell me...You & your family were at Regents Park, trying to spend some quality time together..."

"Whoa, good guess!" Fidget exclaimed, impressed by the accuracy of her statement.

"The great Madame Ratburn never guesses, Fidget! She knows!" Madame Ratburn replied with a sly smile & a waggle of her forefinger. Then, putting both paws to the sides of her head again, Madame Ratburn continued thinking aloud: "And at one point, you, Cousin Timmy, & Olivia were all playing a game on the park green...But you were chased by two menacing figures...Timmy managed to avoid getting caught, & so did Fidget & Olivia, but only after they found their way out of a long & winding hedge maze...Quite a chase took place there, I believe, between Fidget, Olivia, & their pursuers..." After thinking for a bit more, Madame Ratburn let her paws float down to rest on the table, & said, "I can't seem to get any more snatches of the events." The psychic took her crystal ball, & pulled it in closer to her, as she added, "Let me just look into my crystal ball, & see if it can tell me what else took place at the park."

Madame Ratburn proceeded to wave her paws over the crystal ball. Gradually, as the amazed Baker Street Family & Pias watched on, turquoise smoke began to appear in the glass, as well as faint, footage-style images of what took place in the park earlier. As she gazed at the images in the crystal ball whilst waving her hands over the orb, Madame Ratburn said, "Ah, here we are, at Regents Park..." So far, the images that were playing were a recap of the things that had already been established, & Madame Ratburn was quite eager to get to a point where she would find new information. "Yes, yes, I already know about this...And that...And this, too," Madame Ratburn told her contacts from the other side. When visions of the chase in the hedge maze played out against the smoke, Madame Ratburn sighed impatiently, & exclaimed in exasperation, "I already told them about the hedge maze! Could you kindly move on, please?"

At that point, the images in the crystal ball switched to those of Olivia & Fidget's pursuers flying through the sky. More satisfied with her results, Madame Ratburn said, "Thank you..." The medium then took a closer look at the images playing, & remarked, "Hmmm...I think I'm getting visions of the two villains who went after Olivia & Fidget..." (Individual images of Eunice & Shellington appeared in the glass.) "Eunice...& Shellington Batly?!" Madame Ratburn gasped. Now greatly distressed, the Gypsy psychic lamented, "Oh, dear, I knew that Shellington would join the battle against the Baker Street Family! By teaming up with Mouses Fiennes & the League Of Villains, Shellington plans to make sure that the Baker Street Family won't be able to interfere with his criminal capers!" To herself, Madame Ratburn wondered aloud, "Could that fiend possibly sink any lower than he already has?"

Noticing the concerned expressions on the faces of the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn said sadly, "I'm afraid it's no longer just a battle between your family & the League Of Villains, Basil. It's also a battle between the very forces of good & evil. Mouses & his thugs are very formidable opponents, & they will do everything in their power to ensure that they come out as the victors of this conflict. None of you have faced such great adversity in your lives, & the League Of Villains is fully aware of that. They will use everything they've got to exploit your inexpertise, & use it to their advantage. With time & experience, your family will become stronger, & you'll find it increasingly easy to take on Mouses Fiennes & his thugs. But this is your first battle, so you're going to need some extra help. As an agent of the otherworldly, I am the only one who is able to prevent the enemy from gaining an unfair advantage over you."

"So, what exactly are you trying to tell us, Madame Ratburn?" Dr. Dawson asked.

Madame Ratburn answered, "Well, several things, really...but first, to clarify what I've said earlier, I have officially gotten involved in the war between good & evil, no thanks to Shellington. I will be serving as your ally in the forthcoming battle between yourselves & Mouses Fiennes."

"And when is this...battle to take place?" Victoria questioned.

"In about five months' time," Madame Ratburn replied. "Mouses & his thugs won't attack you for a while until then, but when they do, it will be a sign to prepare for...the war. I'm just warning you to be careful—you mustn't let your guard slip for a second, or harm may come to you or your loved ones..."

"We'll keep that in mind," Basil said. "Thank you, Madame Ratburn."

"Don't mention it," Madame Ratburn responded with a smile.

"So, is there anything else you want to tell us?" Dr. Dawson queried.

"Oh, there is so much I want to tell you...So much..." Madame Ratburn replied as she shook her head, holding back amused chuckles. Then, more seriously, she added, "But now is not the best time to discuss it, for several reasons. Whenever the need to give you further predictions arises, however, I will certainly let you know."

"Aye, understood, Madame Ratburn," Hiram stated.

"Indeed," Basil affirmed.

"Gotcha," Fidget said.

Telekinetically pushing her crystal ball back to the center of the table, Madame Ratburn declared, "Now, if I'm not mistaken, it's getting close to 5:00, & I believe you have agreed to meet up with your friends at Hyde Park. Pias & I shall accompany you to Cirque Du Mousini." The psychic gave a sly smile & a wink to the gardener, & asked him, "Won't we, Pias?"

"Oh, sure...I guess..." Pias answered unsurely. He wasn't usually a fan of big gatherings, but he was willing to make an exception for his friends.

"All right, then!" Madame Ratburn cried happily. Rising out of her chair with an adventurous pose, the medium shouted, "To the fairgrounds!" Madame Ratburn spread her arms out with a flourish, & in a poofy explosion, thick clouds of blue smoke filled the wagon, hiding everything & everyone from view as Basil, his loved ones, & their Romani comrades were teleported to Hyde Park...

When the smoke finally cleared, the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias found themselves standing in the middle of Hyde Park. Upon realizing that they were not quite at the destination she intended to take them to, Madame Ratburn smiled & chuckled sheepishly, before saying, "Oops...I just realized that we're at the park, but the fairgrounds are a short distance away from where we are. But no worries...or hakuna matata, as they say in Swahili." In another poofy explosion of blue smoke, Madame Ratburn, Pias, & all the members of the Baker Street Family exited the park green, & reappeared in front of a large crowd gathered at the Cirque Du Mousini fairgrounds.

Standing next to or near the Baker Street Family were Grandpa Mitsubishi, Monsieur Victor Claudius, the Merchiorre family, & the Flahertys. Among the other members of the crowd were Sophie, Sophocles Braveheart, Cecil B. DeMont, Slick Willie, Jellybean, Cecelia Green & her dad Martino, Larry Grossmouse, Coucou Cacheau, Amergin Burgess, Mother Caulfield, Flip, Mr. Altoid, Jemediah Fieldson, Joey & Mrs. Wellington, Nate Gregson, Jiggy The Juggling Octopus, Rosie The Ribbiter, Ned The Newt, George & Chester Cheeseman, Bessie Colemouse, Professor Doppler, Chutzpah, Cathy, & Old Mouse Porter. "Oh, Baker Street Family, you're here!" Alfredo Merchiorre said with a smile. "Good! You're just in time for the circus show!"

"I bet it will be most fantastico!" Maria Merchiorre exclaimed happily, cuddling her favorite doll that she had brought along. Maria then looked up at her mother, & asked, "Right, Mama?"

"Ah, sì, la piccola Maria," Carmietta Merchiorre replied cheerfully, as she patted her daughter's head. "I am certain your words will ring true!"

"Oh, boy, I can't wait for the circus to start!" Olivia told her friends excitedly.

"Us, neither, Olivia!" the Merchiorre mouselings agreed in unison, jumping up & down gleefully. "It's going to be so magnifico!"

"Will they have clowns or jugglers?" Tony Merchiorre wondered aloud.

"Maybe dancers or tightrope-walkers?" Bene Merchiorre asked with a warm smile.

"Do you think they will have lions, & tigers, & bears?" Mario Merchiorre asked his older brother.

"Who knows, bro?" Luigi Merchiorre replied with a shrug of his shoulders. Then, smiling, he added, "But whatever will be at the circus, I bet it's going to rock, all the same!"

"Sì, Cousin Luigi!" Luciano Merchiorre said, nodding his head in agreement. "I agree with you wholeheartedly!"

"'Rock'?" Hiram asked himself with a quizzical raise of his eyebrow, puzzled by the expression the Merchiorre mouselings had just used. The toymaker then looked down at the Italian kids, & inquired, "What's 'rock' mean in that particular context, children?"

"Just another word to mean that something is wonderful," Luciano answered, smiling up at Hiram.

"Sì, Mr. Flaversham," Maria agreed. "Wonderful!"

"Oh, OK!" Hiram exclaimed with an enlightened smile, as he nodded his head in understanding. "I see what you mean now!"

Meanwhile, Ben Flaherty & his mother were engaged in a conversation of their own. "Och, what I'd give ta be in th' circus!" Ben cried joyfully. To Mme. Flaherty, he asked, "Ye think, maybe one day, I could join, Mum?"

"Perhaps, someday, when you're older, Bennie-boy," Mme. Flaherty replied with a smile, as she tousled her son's hair with her paw. "But you need to finish your lessons at the academy, first."

"Understood, Mother!" Ben said, saluting.

"Then, it's a done deal, Ben!" Mme. Flaherty declared.

When he heard this, Ben whooped in delight as he hopped into the air, clicking his heels together. "Faith & begorrah, Mum, that's fantastic!" Ben exclaimed ecstatically. "You're a saint!"

"Careful, Ben..." Mme. Flaherty warned, waving a forefinger at her son. "Don't wanna take yer expressions too far, or you might end up sending the Good Lord into a tizzy!"

As he took a step back away from his mother, Ben said bashfully, "Aye, of course..." The boy blushed a little, & smiled sheepishly up at Mme. Flaherty as he apologized, "Sorry, Mother. I had a slip o' the lips. there."

"Oh, no worries, son!" Mme. Flaherty said, smiling once again. "No sin is too great for God to give!" At this point, the red color in Ben's cheeks disappeared, & his smile became more of a happy one. He felt a lot better already!

"Hey, Cecelia!" Fidget greeted his girl friend, waving to her. "How's it going?"

"Muy bien, Fidget, y tu?" Cecelia replied, smiling & waving back to Fidget.

"I'm doing pretty good," Fidget answered. "So's the family."

"That's wonderful, Fidget," Martino Green said warmly.

At this point, Cecelia waved to the rest of the Baker Street Family, who waved back at her. As she did so, she greeted in Spanish, "Hola, mi amigos y amigas del Panadero Calle!"

Cecil then engaged into a conversation with Ratigan. Smiling at Ratigan, & giving him a thumbs-up, the director complimented, "That was some fine chess-playing you did up at Regents, Ratigan!"

"Thanks, Cecil!" Ratigan replied, returning the smile & thumbs-up. "Although I have to give you plenty of props, as well—you should be a grandmouseter, should you decide to take a break from filmmaking!"

"Perhaps, one day, I will..." Cecil said wistfully. "But right now, my dream in life is to make motion-picture mouseterpieces!"

"Well, you certainly excel in that field, too," Ratigan praised.

"Thank you, Ratigan!" Cecil exclaimed exuberantly, unable to resist taking a bow.

"My pleasure, Mr. DeMont," Ratigan responded, graciously echoing the gesture.

At that moment, Chester Cheeseman waved to Cousin Timmy, & greeted his friend with his usual cheerful countenance, "Hey, Timmy, what's up?"

"Nothing much, Chester," Cousin Timmy said, returning the smile & wave. "What about you?"

"Ah, it's pretty much the same old stuff for me, too," Chester answered. "I'm still waiting for Dad to take me to court so I can watch him do his legal stuff during that big lawsuit your folks were talking about with him earlier."

"Oh, yeah, right! I remember!" Cousin Timmy exclaimed, nodding his head in recognition.

"Little Chester sure is eager to see his old mouse hard at work!" George Cheeseman declared with a proud smile, tousling his son's hair with his paw. "I'll bet you he's gonna make a fine lawyer one day!"

"I have no doubt that he will, Mr. Cheeseman," Basil said pleasantly.

Then, Larry Grossmouse spoke with Cousin Timmy. Giving the boy a smile & a thumbs-up, Larry praised his latest pupil, "You're doing great at piano lessons, Timmy! Keep it up!"

"I will, Mr. Grossmouse!" Cousin Timmy avowed, nodding at Larry.

At this point, Mr. Altoid & Mother Caulfield decided to talk to Cousin Timmy, & see how he had been faring. "Hello, Timmy, yes?" Mr. Altoid greeted with a smile & a wave.

"I hope you've been doing better since we saw each other last month," Mother Caulfield said amiably.

"Well, I..." Cousin Timmy started to say, but he stopped in mid-sentence when he heard a drumroll start to play. "I'll explain later!" Cousin Timmy told Mr. Altoid & Mother Caulfield. As the drumroll subsided, everyone turned their heads to face the large stage that the audience was gathered in front of. The circus show was about to begin! A mystical Italian voice announced, "Buon giorno, mia amici! Welcome, one & all, to the greatest show on Mouse, besides the one at Piccadilly Circus, anyway! Welcome to...Cirque Du Mousini!" In the center of the stage, a large, poofy cloud of fuschia smoke appeared. After a few seconds, the smoke disappeared to reveal Henry Mousini, the ringmouseter, owner, operator, head magician, & lead performer at Cirque Du Mousini (as well as part-time composer & mirror-seller, among other things that you will find out later on). [34]

Henry was tall for a mouse his age, with a thin, lean figure. He had pale-coffee-brown fur, & straight black hair that went down to his shoulders. His rounded head had a prominent, pointed chin, & high cheekbones that curved at a slight angle. A small pink nose was fixed between his wicked blue eyes (topped with slender, angular black eyebrows). A mole adorned his left cheek, & a big white bucktooth jutted out from his upper lip. An average-sized pair of curvy pink ears flanked either side of his head. His pink tail was long & slender, & his slim limbs ended in average-sized paws & feet. He wore a buttonless periwinkle-blue tunic (which had a midthigh-length hemline that flared out, long & puffy sleeves [completely covered with thick vertical stripes in colors of periwinkle-blue & fuschia], starched turquoise cuffs, a large turquoise mantle [shaped like a sunburst] attached to the shoulder area, & a stiff, starched fuschia collar), a form-fitting pair of fuschia trousers, a fuschia silk cummerbund-belt, an ankle-length turquoise cape, a round fuschia ring on his first right finger, a round turquoise ring on his second right finger, a round periwinkle-blue ring on his third right finger, a round periwinkle-blue ring on his third left finger, a round turquoise ring on his second left finger, a round fuschia ring on his first left finger, & a pair of dull periwinkle-blue shoes (with flat soles, toes that curled upward, & circular, turtleneck-style ankle cuffs).

Upon seeing Henry appear, the audience burst into hearty applause. Henry smiled & took a few bows, before standing back upright, & sweeping his arms aside to gesture to an empty spot next to him. "And, now," Henry announced, "I present my lovely adoptive daughter, Blanca!" A large, poofy cloud of red smoke appeared in the spot where Henry was gesturing to. The smoke then disappeared to reveal Blanca. Blanca was tall for a mouse girl her age, with a thin, slim figure. She had white fur, & wavy black hair that fell down to her shoulders, flawlessly framing her feminine face. A small pink nose was fixed between her crafty lime-green eyes (topped with smooth, angular black eyebrows). A small pair of curvy pink ears flanked either side of her head, & a small white bucktooth jutted out from her upper lip. Her pink tail was long & slender, & her equally-slender arms & legs ended in small paws & feet. She wore a sleeveless, strapless, form-fitting crimson dress (which had frilly dark-crimson trimmings going all along the edges of the bust & hem), a pair of crimson bloomers (which had frilly light-crimson trimmings around the leg-cuffs), a diamond-shaped garnet ring on her third right finger, a pair of diamond-shaped garnet earrings (suspended from dangling silver posts), a crimson choker (with a small diamond gem in the middle) around her neck, a silver bracelet (completely covered with small, square-shaped garnet gems) on her left wrist, a pair of crimson high-heel shoes, & a modest amount of makeup on her face.

When Blanca was fully revealed, she took a few bows & curtsies for the applauding audience. "Grazie, mia amici!" Blanca said. "You are too kind!" Blanca then blew a huge kiss to the audience, before scampering offstage. Henry watched his daughter exit with a fond, fatherly smile, then turned back to face the audience.

Punctuating his words with vivid gestures, Henry announced in a theatrical manner, "For today's show, signors e signoras, our first act will be a death-defying tightrope walk over the jaws of doom!" The audience gasped, & paid careful attention to the activity currently taking place on the stage. Clutching a red umbrella in her right paw, Blanca stood on the edge of a high wooden platform at the end of a tightrope. With delicate gracefulness, Blanca stepped down from the platform, & carefully made her way onto the tightrope, holding her arms out at her sides to maintain balance while she continued to hold the red umbrella in her paw. The tightrope was held up by a stake on each of the high wooden platforms on either end of the cable...& in order for her to safely reach the platform on the opposite side, Blanca had to make it across the hungry, wide-open jaws of an enormous alley cat sitting underneath the tightrope!

As all this was happening, Henry narrated the action: "Blanca will use her umbrella to help her maintain balance...but can she make it to the other side of the tightrope without falling into the open mouth of this hungry, 1-human-foot-tall cat?" (The cat attempted to sound ferocious, but the only thing that came out of his mouth was a strange gurgling sound—he was probably ready to hack up a hairball!) "Well, just keep your eyes on Blanca, & you'll find out!"

(CUE MUSIC: "Persian March", by Johann Strauss II)

Blanca smiled & winked at the audience, before proceeding to slowly make her way across the tightrope, her red umbrella still clutched in her hand. Meanwhile, the Baker Street Family & Pias were eagerly watching the show with the rest of the audience, but when Madame Ratburn cleared her throat, they all turned their heads to face her with puzzled looks. Magically producing 11 necklaces that appeared out of thin air, Madame Ratburn exhorted, "I suggest that you put these anti-magic amulets on. Quickly, now!"

Madame Ratburn took one of the anti-magic amulets for herself, then handed all the others to Pias & the members of the Baker Street Family. As Pias, Basil, Victoria, Hiram, Mrs. Judson, Dr. Dawson, Olivia, Ratigan, Fidget, & Cousin Timmy each took an anti-magic amulet into their paws, they stared at it quizzically. "But what will we need them for, Madame Ratburn?" Basil asked.

"No time to explain," Madame Ratburn replied tersely as she put her anti-magic amulet on. "Just put them on around your necks!" Pias & the members of the Baker Street Family immediately complied with their comrade's command. They didn't want to risk going against Madame Ratburn's orders, for fear of what might happen.

"Keep a sharp watch, folks!" Henry Mousini told the audience. Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the Baker Street Family all swiftly turned their heads to look back at the stage. When he saw that everyone's attention was focused on him, Henry wiggled the fingers of his paws as he waved his hands all about, coaching the audience in a hypnotic voice: "Whatever you do, you mustnot let your gaze wander away...Look closely at Blanca..." Mr. Altoid & Mother Caulfield were now completely hypnotized! A sneaky-looking rat goon in motley, multicolored circus clothing crept up to the two mice, & stealthily removed the golden pince-nez glasses from Mother Caulfield's nose, before running away with them. Meanwhile, Henry kept hypnotizing the audience, & said, "You can't take your eyes off of her for a second!"

Then, a shrimpy mouse goon in multicolored circus clothing crawled across the grass to approach the hypnotized Slick Willie. The goon rose to stand fully beside Willie, then rubbed his paws together in wicked glee when he took one look at the mousician's pockets. "Keep watching Blanca...Keep watching her..." Henry coached the circus-goers. The goon reached into each of Slick Willie's trousers & jacket pockets, pulling out anything he could find—gold coins, dollar bills, pound notes, a golden wristwatch, jewelry, gemstones, a wallet, a checkbook, & whatnot. "Hey! Eyes on the stage, mister!" Henry reprimanded an audience member whose gaze had wandered away. When the circus-goer turned his attention back to Blanca's balancing act, Henry said more pleasantly, "Grazie, signor..." The goon eagerly stuffed all the items from Slick Willie's pockets into a handbag, then sprinted away with the stolen goods.

Then, two mouse goons crept over to the hypnotized Bessie Colemouse & Chutzpah The Squirrel. One of the goons reached his paws into Chutzpah's trousers pockets, & started digging around in them, looking for valuables. "Keep your gaze focused on Blanca, & on nothing else!" Henry instructed the audience. After searching Chutzpah's pockets for a few seconds, the first goon pulled out plenty of dollar bills, pounds, shillings, & bank notes, all of which he stuffed into his handbag, before making his escape. The second goon retrieved a golden compass from Bessie's pocket, & ducked away with the item in his hands.

Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the members of the Baker Street Family were obviously unaffected by Henry's spell, due to the anti-magic amulets they wore around their necks, but they pretended to act as though they were in a trance. Fidget even drooled a little! Meanwhile, Henry kept coaxing his otherwise-hypnotized audience, "Keep looking...Keep looking..." At that point, Blanca (who was still holding her arms out, & clutching her red umbrella in her right paw) carefully walked over the other end of the tightrope...& successfully stepped onto the high wooden platform! "And voila!" Henry cried out merrily. "She's made it!"

As the audience applauded, Blanca turned to face the circus-goers with a triumphant smile, before taking the umbrella in both paws, & using it like a parachute as she jumped off the platform, floating down to the stage floor. The teenage circus assistant gracefully landed beside her adoptive father, & the audience's applause grew. By this point, the circus-goers were out of their hypnotic trances. They didn't know what hit them earlier! After closing her umbrella shut, Blanca went over to pose with Henry, & smiled for the audience, who continued to applaud for Henry & Blanca as they tossed flowers & gifts in their direction. After a few seconds, Blanca broke away from Henry to pick up the flowers & presents, going after them like a little mouseling scrambling for piñata candy. Henry watched his daughter with an affectionate smile, then looked up with a more smug expression, raising & lowering his eyebrows devilishly. By the time this show was over, those poor saps would come home with empty pockets, purses, & pawbags, & he & Blanca (as well as their minions) would be wallowing in riches!

As the afternoon progressed, the audience witnessed a wide variety of amazing acts & spectacular stunts by Henry & Blanca Mousini. Finally, Cirque Du Mousini began wrapping up for the day, & Henry announced to the circus-goers, "And now, ladies & gentlerodents, it is time for the final act of today's circus show!" Henry stood at the front of the stage to face his adoring public, while Blanca was positioned closer to the back. The mousette stood in front of a miniature elephant as she handled a set of five plates in her right paw. Still holding the stack of plates, Blanca carefully climbed onto the miniature elephant's back, before standing on top of the creature, who (in turn) stood on top of a round, brightly-decorated platform. All the while, Henry said to the audience, "My lovely assistant Blanca will juggle five plates while balancing on top of this miniature elephant!" The audience oohed & aahed, eager to see Blanca do her trick.

(CUE MUSIC: "Persian March", by Johann Strauss II)

The miniature elephant smiled, & trumpeted with his long trunk. Henry turned around sharply to face the audience, holding up his left forefinger as he said, "Now, I'm going to make that elephant disappear into thin air...but Blanca will land gracefully on her feet, while she continues to juggle her plates...without dropping a single one!" Blanca stood upon the miniature elephant's back, balancing delicately upon her feet as she tossed the five plates into the air, & juggled them around skillfully. The audience let out more oohs & aahs as they watched Blanca's performance with great interest. Henry grinned slyly, & commanded, "Now, watch closely..." Once again, the ringmouseter waved his paws about, & wiggled his fingers, hypnotizing the audience.

The majority of the circus-goers fell under Henry's hypnotic spell, & lapsed into a deep trance. Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the members of the Baker Street Family, however, were still protected from Henry's black magic by the anti-magic amulets they were wearing. A couple of Henry's circus goons crept up to our heroes, eyeing their amulets with interest. The first circus goon looked at his partner with a devilish grin, & pointed to the anti-magic amulets, as he said in a Cockney accent, "Oy, look at those lovely baubles! Oi bet 'Enry would love 'em!"

"Let's nab 'em from these nippers' necks!" the second circus goon exclaimed in a West Yorkshire accent, sporting a wicked smile on his face. "They won't know wot 'it 'em!" And, so, the two circus goons approached Olivia & Cousin Timmy, flanking the mouselings on either side. The knaves then prepared to remove the amulets from around the Flaversham cousins' necks.

"On me mark, Lenny..." the first circus goon commanded his partner. "!" The two circus goons reached for Olivia & Cousin Timmy's amulets, & attempted to grab them, but their paws got shocked with pale-blue blasts of electricity crackling from the necklaces. The circus goons, injured & frightened, immediately drew their paws back away from the amulets.

"Bleedin' Gob, Al, did they put electricity in these things?" the second circus goon asked fearfully.

"Oi don't know, Lenny," the first circus goon replied as he quivered in terror, "but Oi don't wanna stick around to find out!"

"Let's go find some other saps to steal from!" the second circus goon exclaimed, running away.

"Right behind you, Len!" the first circus goon cried, dashing off in the same direction to follow his partner. Olivia & Cousin Timmy pretended to act as though they were still in a trance until the goons were gone. When the two thugs had left the scene, Olivia & Cousin Timmy both sighed in relief as they wiped the sweat off their brows, & said, "Phew!"

At this point, Henry Mousini turned to face the miniature elephant that Blanca was standing & juggling on. He waved his paws, & wiggled his fingers, chanting a magic spell in Italian...

Elefante gigantesco, Iancio un sillaba! Chi saprà che lei era qui? Creatura, lei scomparirà!

The elephant disappeared in a cloud of blue smoke, & Blanca fell down, down, down to the stage floor, continuing to juggle her five plates without dropping a single one. When Blanca landed gracefully on her feet, she tossed all five plates into the air. Each plate disappeared in a cloud of red smoke, & after the last one vanished, the audience burst into thunderous applause. Once again, Blanca took several bows & curtsies. Henry walked over to join his daughter for curtain call, as more flowers & presents were tossed at them. Henry's goons tiptoed onto the stage, & darted as fast as they could for the entrance to the backstage area, clutching their handbags of stolen goods. "Grazie, ladies & gentlerodents!" Henry said pleasantly, smiling to the audience as he took his final bows with Blanca. The circus-goers continued to applaud, & Henry took one last bow, unable to resist smirking wickedly. How he loved this job!

As they started to come out of their trance, the circus-goers all proceeded to walk away from the stage, & spread throughout the park green a little as they exited the fairgrounds. Soon, the circus-goers began to feel around themselves in a daze, gradually becoming aware of what happened to them earlier. Bessie Colemouse stuffed her right paw into her trousers pocket, digging around for something. When she couldn't find it, she instantly snapped alert, & drew her empty hand out of said pocket, staring at it with wide eyes. "Oh, no, my golden compass that I use for flight navigation is missing!" the upset aviatrix cried.

Coucou Cacheau stuffed her paws into the designer handbag slung over her right shoulder, looking around for something. When she couldn't find it, she instantly snapped alert, & withdrew her empty paws from her handbag, staring at them with wide eyes. "And so is my National Rodentarian Award for all my work in charity!" a distressed Coucou exclaimed. Shaking her head in disbelief, & clutching both paws to the sides of her forehead, the fashion designer cast a dismayed glance to the sky, & cried, "Ah, non, non, non, mon Dieu, this cannot be!"

Jemediah Fieldson stood at Coucou's feet, looking dismal. "What about me, Coucou?" Jemediah said tearfully. "All my medals are missing, too! My National Rodentarian Awards, my old navy decorations, my Mousetoria Cross, my Blue Heart, my Medal Of Valour—all of my precious awards & medals are gone! Gone!" The elderly benefactor took out a handkerchief, & sobbed into it.

Not too far away, Slick Willie was sobbing into a handkerchief that Jellybean provided for him. "Oh, Lawd, all my cash & jewelry & gold favorite gold checkbook...It's ALL GONE!" the mousician lamented, before sobbing into his hankie some more.

Jellybean patted Willie's back, & tried to comfort his mouseter with an assuring smile on his face. "There, there, Slick Willie, don't cry!" the bandmate consoled. "We'll find your stuff & get it back...somehow...I guess..."

Unfortunately, Slick Willie was not convinced or comforted by Jellybean in the slightest. Crying into his hankie even more, Willie sobbed hysterically, "Wha-haw-haw-haw-haw-haw-haw-haw-hawk!"

As Slick Willie dabbed at his watering eyes with his hankie, & sniffled, Jellybean placed a supportive paw on his friend's right shoulder, hoping to comfort him some more. "It's OK, Willie...I lost a few things, too," Jellybean said. Slick Willie turned his head to face Jellybean, still sniffling & looking sad as tears rolled down his cheeks. "But they're all just things, Willie," Jellybean continued as he gave Slick Willie a big hug. "At least, we still have each other."

Again, Slick Willie was not consoled in the slightest. He sniffled once more, then glowered bitterly at Jellybean, & said in a voice dripping with scathing sarcasm, "Thanks, J.B.!" Slick Willie then pouted, while Jellybean looked hurt. After all, he was just trying to help!

Elsewhere, Cecelia Green was hugging her father Martino, crying into his chest, while Martino wrapped his wings around Cecelia, & stroked her hair with his right hand, trying to comfort his distressed daughter. "Ay, ay, ay!" Cecelia wept miserably. "I've lost my gold pocket-watch with my name on it—the one that I got for my quinceañera last year!"

"Fear not, mi hija," Martino avowed assuringly, speaking gently to Cecelia as he continued to comfort & console her. "All hope is not lost. I'm sure we'll get your watch back somehow, someway!" Martino smiled warmly at Cecelia as he took her chin in his webbed hand, lifting it up so that their gazes met. "Just keep your chin up, Cece, & everything will turn out all right," the older bat said optimistically.

Cecelia looked at her father, then smiled at him through the last of her tears. His words had comforted her. "Thanks, Papi," Cecelia said, now feeling much better. Cecelia & Martino then both hugged each other tightly, smiling warmly.

Meanwhile, Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the members of the Baker Street Family had been watching everything from afar, & their hearts went out to all the poor rodents whose valuables had gone missing. Fidget looked away from Cecelia, & turned to face the others, frowning sympathetically. "Boy...Cecelia really must love dat gold pocket-watch she got for her quinceañera...whatever dat is," Fidget commented compassionately. [35]

"I'm sure she does, Fidget," Dr. Dawson assented, nodding his head in agreement. Tilting his gaze up to face Basil with a concerned look, the medical mouse asked, "Basil, is there any way we can get Cecelia's watch back?"

"How about the rest of the stuff that our friends are missing?" Mrs. Judson inquired.

Smiling optimistically, Basil replied, "Not to worry, Mrs. Judson. I'm quite certain we can successfully retrieve the items. We just need to track down Henry Mousini & his goons first."

"You think the guys at the circus took everybody's stuff, Uncle Basil?" Cousin Timmy queried.

"Yes, Timmy," Basil answered, before grasping at the anti-magic amulet around his neck, & stating, "And I'm beginning to realize why Madame Ratburn made us wear these anti-magic amulets."

"Why?" Hiram questioned.

"To protect us from Henry's magic spell!" Basil surmised. "He hypnotized the audience, & caused them all to look up at the stage—creating the perfect diversion for his goons while they went to steal everyone's money & valuables! But since they were in a trance, & focusing on Blanca's deucedly-clever performances on the stage, the audience never suspected a single thing—unfortunately for them, but rather luckily for that melodious, odious thief & his cohorts!"

And the misery didn't stop there! "Oh, no, my money is missing!" Sophie shouted sadly, as she turned over her empty purse, & shook it up & down.

Cathy Sheridan had searched her entire purse for her missing valuables, but to no avail. Cathy's empty purse lay at its owner's feet, while Cathy herself was ranting & raving over the theft of her fursonal items. "My jewelry! My cash! My ID! All my make-up & perfume! My cancer-holder!" Cathy blurted angrily. The playgirl turned to glare at her purse, & kicked it with her foot as she cursed, "Rats!" Several rats in the crowd (including Ratigan) caught wind of what Cathy had said, & they did not appreciate her usage of that derogatory interjection. When the rats glared at a surprised Cathy in indignation, Cathy switched to a more politically-correct term: "I-I mean, darn!" The rats all smiled at Cathy, now pleased, & went back to their earlier business. Cathy looked a little embarrassed...She was going to have to get used to a lot of things in the New Mousetorian Age!

An upset-looking Professor Doppler frantically searched his pockets for any sign of his valuables. When the results of said search were fruitless, the scientist lamented, "I've lost all of my scientific instruments!"

Meanwhile, Cecil B. DeMont had found nothing in his upturned pants pockets. Clasping both paws to the sides of his face, the filmmaker moaned miserably over the theft of the cherished item that had occupied the space in said trousers: "My pocket-camera!"

When he saw that his trousers pockets were also empty, Chutzpah The Squirrel felt his heart sink. The teenage troublemaker cried, "All the moolah I won in my bet..."—he immediately stopped & corrected himself, while a nervous expression formed on his face—", got in my allowance!"

"My favorite fountain pen!" Amergin Burgess wailed when he saw that his pen-case was missing from his jacket-breast pocket.

A dismayed Flip Le Bouffon wheeled onto the scene, spinning around in front of Chutzpah & Amergin as he wondered aloud, "Sacre bleu, what is going on with everyone losing their stuff?" The clown raised a horrified glance to the heavens as he clasped both paws to the sides of his face, & said, "It is terrible!"

Now overcome with great anxiety, the circus-goers looked worriedly at one another as they chattered amongst themselves. At that point, Basil cleared his throat into his right paw, & held up the same hand to wave to the circus-goers as he called out to them, "Excuse me! Excuse me, everyone! I can offer an explanation as to what happened to your possessions!" This got the circus-goers' attention, & the rodents all turned their heads to face the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias. Basil then explained, "It turns out that Cirque Du Mousini is a lively, colorful, & very clever cover for pickpocketing. Henry hypnotized you into staring at Blanca while she did her tricks, & as you were lured into a trance, Henry's motley assortment of goons pilfered from your pockets & purses." (A slight pause.) "Now, after carefully analyzing the circumstances of the situation with my brilliant powers of deduction, I have reached the conclusion that Henry Mousini, his assistant Blanca, & their henchrodents are the ones who are responsible for stealing your fursonal items & valuables."

(CUE MUSIC: "Perfumes Of The Night", from Claude Debussy's "Images For Orchestra")

As the circus-goers listened attentively to every word Basil said, the detective elaborated further with a smug smile, "However, since you were all hypnotized during the show, you do not have the ability to recall the details of the events that took place, but luckily...thanks to Madame Ratburn..."—Basil gestured to the Gypsy psychic, causing her to smile bashfully & blush—"...Pias, my family, & I did not fall prey to Henry's magic spell, & so, we have been unaffected by the hypnotic trance that affected all of you. And since we are aware of what you are not, that means my Gypsy friends, my family, & I have all the knowledge & information we need in order to retrieve your stuff. And I can assure you that we will recover said items."

Now smiling & feeling quite relieved that a solution to their problem had been found, the circus-goers turned to face one another, & chattered amongst themselves in excitement. The tension in the air was palpable, & Nate Gregson could already feel her journalist senses tingling! The current situation was perfect fodder for her next news report! At Nate's command, her loyal news crew (who had accompanied her to Cirque Du Mousini) quickly got their equipment set up, & the cameras soon began rolling. Holding her microphone in her left paw, Nate announced with a chipper smile, "This is Nate Gregson, reporting to you live from the fairgrounds of Cirque Du Mousini..."—her voice trailed off as she slowly turned her gaze to the left, gradually becoming shocked & surprised by what she saw next—"...which" Sure enough, there was now a large empty spot occupying the space where the Cirque Du Mousini fairgrounds once were.

Almost as quickly as the circus-goers' hopes for finding their valuables had soared, they came crashing down again. "Oh, no!" Sophie moaned miserably in lamentation. "Now, how are we to get our stuff back?"

"It'll take a miracle for someone to track down Henry, & retrieve all of the items he & his goons stole from us!" Jemediah said sadly.

Everyone bowed their heads, & looked dejected...except for Mother Caulfield, who kept her chin up, & smiled warmly at them. "Well, as someone who believes in miracles, Jemediah, I don't think that'll take very much effort on God's part," the nun said optimistically, prompting the others to look up at her in surprise. Mother Caulfield then turned to look at part of the crowd, & added, "He's got a good number of helping angels right here among us!" Everyone smiled again, filled with new hope, when they saw who Mother Caulfield was referring to.

Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the members of the Baker Street Family stared up at the others with shocked or surprised looks...then formed smiles on their faces, nodding their heads in agreement with Mother Caulfield's words. "That He does, Mother Caulfield...Indeed, that He does," Dr. Dawson declared. While the others continued smiling & nodding, Dr. Dawson stopped, & sighed to himself, casting a worried gaze to the ground. He just hoped that this case wouldn't be too difficult for them to solve, given the little evidence & virtual absence of clues that they had. If this is going to be our first case together, Dr. Dawson thought, You certainly picked a doozy to solve!

After everyone agreed to meet up again later in Trafalgar Square, the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias went to the former's house to prepare for the forthcoming investigation. Then, as twilight began to fall over Mouse London, our pint-sized protagonists & their pals rode Toby to the mouse street of Prokes Avenue (known to us humans as Stokes Road), located in the East End. As if Mother Nature had perfectly set the mood for the current scene, the streets were filled with thick fog, & the sun was almost gone from the sky, with the stars & moon yet to appear. When Toby brought the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias out of a patch of fog, Basil commanded, "Toby, heel!" Toby immediately stopped in his tracks. With the use of her psychic powers, Madame Ratburn lifted Pias & the Baker Street Family up into the air, before carefully lowering them onto the ground, & floating down to join them on the cobblestones of the street. Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the members of the Baker Street Family all looked up at Basil as they waited to hear the detective's instructions.

Now holding his magnifying glass in his left paw, & a large kit of mouse detective tools in his right paw, Basil directed the others, "Now, everyone, listen carefully to my instructions: Don't wander off. Don't let your guard down for one second, as Henry, Blanca, &/or their cohorts could be hiding anywhere. If any of you should find a clue, alert me immediately. Do your absolute best not to disturb any evidence—which, may I add, shall be handled properly with latex gloves. Keep your eyes peeled for anything & anyone that may be around. Use the buddy system. And last, but not least, never forget the importance of the powers of deduction."

"We won't, Basil," a smiling Olivia replied, as she did a Girl Scout salute. "Promise."

A pleased Basil beamed at Olivia, & said, "Good." The supersleuth's smile then widened into an eager expression as he turned to face the others, & brought his magnifying glass up into the air. "Now, let's start investigating!" Basil exclaimed enthusiastically. Basil brought his magnifying glass down, & held it to his left eye, then crouched down on his knees. Basil proceeded to scoot down along the street, peering closely through the lens of his magnifying glass as he held his kit of detective tools in his right paw. Toby, Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the rest of the Baker Street Family followed him. As Toby sniffed the ground to try & pick up on unusual scents, Pias & the members of the Baker Street Family all looked around for any clues they could find; all the while, Madame Ratburn tried to help everyone with the use of her psychic powers.

Putting her paws to the sides of her forehead in deep thought, Madame Ratburn coached her friends with closed eyes & a contemplative countenance, "Hmmm...I'm getting some positive energy...Yes...Yes, it's coming from over..."—she immediately opened her eyes, & pointed to a group of trash cans on the side of the street—"...there!" To the Baker Street Family, the medium advised, "I suggest you look in one of those trash cans. There could be a clue there."

Their hearts racing at the very thought of finding a lead in their case, Olivia, Fidget, & Mrs. Judson went over to one of the trash cans, opened the lid, & peered down to look inside it. After a couple of seconds, Olivia turned to look at her godfather, beckoning for him to come forward as she called out, "Basil! Come over here! We found some clues!"

Basil went over to join Olivia, Fidget, & Mrs. Judson by the trash can, standing between the latter two rodents. The Great Mouse Detective quickly noticed the wide smiles on his three kinsrodents' faces, & as he smiled at them in turn, he rubbed his paws together in anticipation, & asked Olivia, "Well, what did you find, dear?"

"Look on top of the garbage!" Olivia replied, looking up at Basil with an exuberant expression as she pointed to the things they'd found in the refuse receptacle. Basil turned to look at the garbage can, then leaned down to peer at the newly-discovered items through his magnifying glass. The sleuth soon saw the source of everyone's glee—two of the circus-goers' stolen items had been spotted! "It's Amergin Burgess' favorite pen!" Olivia cheered. "And Cecil B. DeMont's pocket-camera!" Fidget exclaimed.

After peering down at the pen-case & pocket-camera through his magnifying glass for a few seconds, Basil bent back upright, & turned to face the humbly-smiling Olivia, Fidget, & Mrs. Judson with a huge smile of his own. Needless to say, it was apparent that he was delighted with the results of their search. "Good work, children—& Mrs. Judson!" Basil congratulated. Basil then took his kit of detective tools, opened it, & pulled out a pair of latex gloves, which he snapped onto his hands. Reaching down to pick up the pen-case & pocket-camera, & placing them into a couple of plastic bags that he took out of his kit-box, Basil beamed, "We've found two of the missing items already!"

No sooner were the two plastic bags drawn closed, than Olivia, Fidget, Basil, & Mrs. Judson whipped their heads around with curious looks as Dr. Dawson cried, "Everyone, look over here!" A short distance away, Dr. Dawson pointed to several sets of footprints going down the street. "Footprints!" the medical mouse exclaimed.

Basil, Olivia, Fidget, & Mrs. Judson rushed over to join Dr. Dawson, followed by Madame Ratburn, Pias, Toby, & the rest of the Baker Street Family. The rodents & dog all gazed down at the footprints, their excitement peaking with every passing second. "Think these footprints lead to Mousini's hideout?" Hiram asked Basil, pointing to the tracks with his right forefinger.

"There's only one way to find out, Hiram," Basil answered with an adventurous smile. Basil put his magnifying glass up to his left eye, & crouched down onto his feet, peering down closely at the footprints. After a few seconds of scrutinizing the prints, Basil beckoned for the others to follow him with the fingers of his otherwise-occupied right paw, & said, "Follow me, everyone." Basil then began crawling away to follow the trail of footprints going down the street, & Madame Ratburn, Pias, Toby, & the rest of the Baker Street Family loyally trailed after him. As Basil carefully scrutinized each footmark in the patterned path with his magnifying glass, Toby sniffed the ground to try & pick up on unusual scents, while Pias & the members of the Baker Street Family all looked around for any other clues or missing items they could find; again, Madame Ratburn tried to help everyone with the use of her psychic powers.

"Can you pick up on anything, Madame Ratburn?" Victoria asked at one point.

"Hmm, no..." Madame Ratburn replied, putting her paws to her forehead in deep thought as she walked along. "Haven't found anything yet, Victoria...But I'll keep you posted."

With that in mind, our heroes continued with their search. After a short while, the fog began to get denser & thicker, nearly clouding the area. "Stay close, everyone!" Basil called out to the others. "We wouldn't want any of you to get lost!"

Unfortunately, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget were having trouble seeing through the thick fog as they made their way down the street, trying to follow Ratigan, Toby, & the grownups. "I can't see a thing!" Olivia exclaimed, fumbling around through the mist.

"Me, neither, Livvy," Cousin Timmy agreed, also groping about.

"I'd be able to see better if dere wasn't so much fog everywhere!" Fidget griped. With a sigh, he stated, "I'm gonna kick myself for sayin' dis later on, but to tell you da honest-to-gosh truth, I feel..."—he struggled to say the words—"...blind as a bat!"

"But I thought bats could see really good," Olivia remarked.

"Dey can," Fidget replied, "but not if da air isn't clear. It's like when you're tryin' to drive a car—da headlights don't work too well when dere's fog & smoke in da way." Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget continued walking, but unbeknownst to them, they accidentally strayed from Ratigan, Toby, & the grownups, ultimately winding up on the adjacent avenue of Stoen Lane (known to us humans as Roman Road). After several seconds, the three kids stopped walking when they realized that the others weren't with them. "Uh, Livvy, Timmy...Didn't Basil say somet'in' about not gettin' lost?" Fidget asked fearfully, running over to cling tightly to Olivia & Cousin Timmy.

A scared Olivia gulped, & squeaked, "Yeah..."

"But at least, we remembered to use the buddy system!" Cousin Timmy exclaimed, not the least bit scared. And since Fidget is here with us, the mouseling thought, I can put my lessons from science class to good use! To his brother, Cousin Timmy asked, "Fidget, can you make one of those...supersonic call things to Toby? Ratigan & the grownups won't be able to hear it, but Toby can, 'cause he's a dog!"

"And doggies can hear high-pitched noises!" Olivia pointed out happily.

"Um, OK...I'll try," Fidget replied hesitantly, as he unwrapped his wings from around Olivia & Cousin Timmy. The little bat could feel his anxiety growing, as the stress of being lost in unfamiliar territory & being so far away from his loved ones got to his nerves. But Fidget quickly plucked up his courage, & after taking a couple of steps away from Olivia & Cousin Timmy, he opened his mouth to make a bat call...

Back on Prokes Avenue, Toby was still sniffing the ground as he followed Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the rest of the Baker Street Family. When he heard Fidget's high-pitched squeal for help, Toby stopped, & perked his head up in alertness, before shaking & shivering from head to toe as he whimpered fearfully. When they noticed something was wrong, Basil & the others ran over to Toby, sporting concerned looks on their faces. "Toby, old boy, what's the matter?" Basil asked the dog. "Do you have a chill?"

Toby shook his head in negation. He barked a few times, then made two high-pitched squeals as he raised his ears to make them look like a bat's. Of course, this was a canine's way of saying, "Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget have gone missing!" Ratigan & the grownups were immediately alarmed by what Toby had just told them. The rodents began looking around for Fidget & the Flaversham cousins in a panic. "Oh, my goodness!" a frightened Victoria cried during the frantic search. "Where are the children?"

Suddenly, Toby turned around, putting his nose to the ground, & quickly sniffing a few times in the hopes that he could figure out where Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget went. Thankfully, it didn't take long for the puppy to pick up on the kids' trail, & he barked twice to alert everyone about his discovery, gazing in the direction that the missing rodentlings' scent went. "Good work, Toby!" Basil complimented his canine-steed with a smile. "Now, stay." To the others, Basil cried, "The kids went this way! Follow me!" With that, Basil, Victoria, Mrs. Judson, Dr. Dawson, Hiram, Ratigan, Madame Ratburn, & Pias ran off in the direction that Toby was gesturing to with his gaze.

After making their way through an alley adjoining Prokes Avenue, Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the other members of the Baker Street Family rushed out onto Stoen Lane, where the scent of the missing children grew even stronger. The roads were not yet lit, & the fog continued to fill the air, but it had thinned out a little by this point. Basil, Victoria, Mrs. Judson, Dr. Dawson, Hiram, Ratigan, Madame Ratburn, & Pias all panted for breath, looking around with fearful or terrified expressions. "I don't see them, Basil," Dr. Dawson declared in between gasps of air, his heart sinking at the thought of what could have happened to Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget.

Thankfully, Pias had not given into despair. He looked around a bit more, then smiled as he pointed yonder with his cane, & exclaimed happily, "They're right over there!" When they heard this, Ratigan & the grownups all burst into wide smiles, & ran off in the direction that Pias had pointed to.

Just a short distance away, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, & Fidget stood in the middle of the street, looking scared. Then, just when it seemed like all hope of being found was lost, the kids looked up with relieved smiles when Hiram & Basil both came over to pick them up in their arms. "Wee ones, there you are!" Hiram cried joyfully, scooping up Olivia & Cousin Timmy into his embrace.

"Thank goodness you're all right!" Basil sighed, as he picked up Fidget. "We thought something might have happened to you!"

"Nah, we're OK, Papa," Fidget said cheerfully. With the Baker Street Family reunited at last, our heroes & their comrades continued their search for Henry Mousini's hideout, gradually finding more & more of the items that had been stolen from his patrons.

Later that evening, the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, Pias, & Toby were nearing the end of their investigation. The rodents & dog were now walking down the brightly-lit mouse street of Commercial Road (known to us humans by the same name). Basil scooted down along the street, holding his magnifying glass & kit of detective tools, while the Baker Street Family & their allies followed him. As Toby sniffed the ground to try & pick up on unusual scents, Pias & the members of the Baker Street Family all looked around for any clues or missing items they could find, while Madame Ratburn tried to help everyone with the use of her psychic powers. "How much farther is it going to be until we reach Henry's hideout, Daddy?" Olivia asked Hiram, smiling & skipping merrily alongside her father.

"It probably won't be much longer, lambkin," Hiram replied, returning the smile at his daughter.

At that point, Ratigan began looking around with a thoughtful expression, getting increasingly pleased with the aromas his nose was catching whiff of. Sniffing the air before he mentioned each item, Ratigan remarked, "I think I smell pasta...Yes, spaghetti with meatballs & tomato sauce...Fettuccine alfredo from Venice...Mozzarella cheesecake from Rome...Sparkling grape juice from Genoa...Garlic breadsticks from Sicily...Ooh, ladies' perfume! Bon Vivant brand..." Ratigan glowered in disgust when he smelled another item. Fanning the air in front of his nose with his right paw, Ratigan sneered, "And who could forget the bitter, noxious fumes of cigarette smoke? Blech!"

Fidget sniffed the air, & commented, "Yep. We are definitely getting close."

"Well, we've already found Amergin Burgess' pen-case, Cecil DeMont's pocket-camera, some stray coins & dollar bills, a few pieces of jewelry, some gemstones, Slick Willie's wallet & wristwatch, Cathy Sheridan's ID, Cecelia's pocket-watch, Mother Caulfield's glasses, Bessie Colemouse's compass, Coucou Cacheau's National Rodentarian Award, all of Jemediah Fieldson's awards & medals, & all of Professor Doppler's scientific instruments," Dr. Dawson said, using a pencil to mark off each mentioned item on a checklist he had made earlier. Turning to face Basil with a smile, the medical mouse added, "Lucky for us, Henry & his goons decided not to keep most of the stuff they stole!"

"Yes, but there's still all those other coins, dollars, pound notes, jewelry, gemstones, & gold items we'll have to retrieve," Basil pointed out, "not to mention Slick Willie's checkbook, as well as Miss Sheridan's cigarette holder & makeup...Oh, & her perfume, too."

"Don't worry, Basil," Victoria stated with a scowl. "I'm certain those scoundrels will still have those things."

"I have reason to believe you're right, Victoria," Basil said with a nod of his head.

"Don't you usually, darling?" Victoria asked, now sporting a playful smile on her face.

The Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, Pias, & Toby soon reached the end of Commercial Road, & turned a corner to arrive onto the pavement of the intersecting mouse road of Bromley Street (known to us humans by the same name). Our pint-sized protagonists & their pals walked down the avenue for a bit, then suddenly stopped & looked up as Fidget pointed yonder, & inquired, "Hey, what's dat?" Further down the pavement, in a dead-end alley, there was a large, well-lit circus tent.

"I think we've just found Henry Mousini's secret hideout," Basil said, turning to smile at Fidget with the others. With that, our heroes & their allies all continued walking on down the street, until they finally got to the alley, & made their way inside it. Within seconds, they were all outside the tent. The Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias quietly tiptoed towards the flap-door entrance to Henry's hideout. Laughter, snickering, & other noises could be heard from within.

When Madame Ratburn, Pias, & the Baker Street Family finally got to the entrance of Henry's hideout, they all stopped as Basil turned around to face them, put his right forefinger to his lips, & said, "Shhh!" Basil slowly turned around, & reached for the two flap-doors, grasping the sides of them with his paws. The flap-doors were then slowly pulled back, & Madame Ratburn, Pias, & all the members of the Baker Street Family peeked into the tent from either side of the entrance. The rodents all gasped in unison when they saw what was taking place inside the hideout!

(CUE MUSIC: "Intermezzo", from Georges Bizet's "L'Arlesienne")

Henry Mousini, Blanca, & their entire menagerie of circus goons were hedonistically helping themselves to the circus-goers' valuables. Henry was in heaven with the huge collection of jewelry, gems, coins, dollar bills, pound notes, & gold items he had stolen. One of the goons smoked Cathy's cigarette holder, while Blanca tested out her makeup & perfume. Another one of the goons flipped through the pages of Slick Willie's checkbook with a greedy look in his eyes. "My precious..." Henry whispered ravenously, as he caressed a large ruby gem that he held in his hands. Henry kissed the ruby gem, then placed it at his feet, & picked up some gold coins, which he gleefully tossed into the air. After watching the coins land on the floor, Henry turned to face Blanca with a "tender" smile, & asked affectionately, "So, my little flora, how are you enjoying the new makeup & perfume Papa acquired for you?" The magician gave a roguish chuckle.

"Oh, I do love them very much, Father! They are wonderful!" a heavily-made-up Blanca exclaimed, as she sprayed some of Cathy's perfume on both cheeks. Then, turning to look at her father with an insidious smile, the circus assistant said with an insidious smile, "Thank you for stealing them for me."

"Don't mention it, mia amore," Henry replied. "I'd do anything for you, my darling adoptive daughter." After saying this, Henry looked down at some of the jewelry that rested near his feet. He picked them up from the ground, & started looking them over with a curious expression. Meanwhile, Blanca tried on more of Cathy's perfume, then put the bottle down, & reached for one of the lipstick cases in the pile of makeup. Blanca picked up the lipstick case in her paw, then opened it, twisted it upward, & brought it up to her mouth to put another layer of ruby-red lipstick over it. If it is a crime to look this good, Blanca thought, I stand guilty as charged! In every way, she was just as proud, vain, & narcissistic as her father—a chip off the old block.

Erstwhile, Henry had already put on the jewelry he picked up, & he was now admiring the accessories adorning his furson. "Lovely..." he purred pleasantly. By now, the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias had seen quite enough! Basil angrily swiped the curtains aside, & marched into the tent, as his family & allies did the same. The Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias advanced towards Henry Mousini & his collection of stolen items, then finally stopped to stand in front of the villainous vaudevillian, glaring at him. "Henry Mousini, I demand that you put down those items, & hand them over to us immediately!" Basil commanded crossly, his soul blazing with righteous rage.

Henry just smirked at our heroes & their helpers, continuing to put on more jewelry pieces. "Why should I?" Henry asked cruelly.

"You're handling objects that you deliberately stole from your audience at Cirque Du Mousini," Dr. Dawson stated sternly.

"Well, that is why I run the circus!" Henry explained, barely containing his evil joy. "How else would I be able to get all of these nice things for myself if I didn't use it as a cover for pickpocketing?"

Fuming with fury, Victoria stepped even closer to Henry, before grabbing him by the necklace he was wearing, & pulling him in towards her. As she did all this, the ex-princess exclaimed with regal authority, "All right, mister, enough games! Where are the missing items that you don't already have? And tell us immediately, if you know what's good for you!"

Henry blanked out for a second, greatly intimidated by Victoria. Then, quickly returning to his normal self, the malicious magician just smiled craftily at Victoria, & told her teasingly, "They are hidden away, in my secret vault...But, alas, I cannot tell you where my secret vault is, because then it would not be a secret anymore." By this point, the Baker Street Family & their friends were fed up with Henry, his criminal behavior, & his callous attitude towards said behavior. Madame Ratburn was just about to give Henry a taste of his own medicine by hypnotizing him, & making him tell her where he had stashed away the rest of his loot...but, unbeknownst to everyone, an inquisitive Olivia had wandered off to the part of the tent where Blanca was, & quickly discovered the truth about the whereabouts of the other objects.

"He's lying, everyone!" Olivia revealed, taking everyone in the tent by surprise. The little Scotsmouse pointed to the makeup & bottle of perfume that rested at Blanca's feet, & said, "Look! Here's Cathy's makeup & perfume!"

Olivia then turned to grab the cosmetics, & pick them up off the ground, much to Blanca's chagrin. "Hey!" the teenage troublemaker interjected in indignation. "That is my makeup & perfume you are taking away from me!"

Turning her head to glare at Blanca, Olivia corrected, "No, it's Cathy's makeup & perfume that I'm taking away from you...'cause I'm bringing them back to their rightful owner!" Still carrying the makeup & perfume in her arms, Olivia tilted her nose haughtily in the air, & walked away. As she watched Olivia leave with "her" beauty products, Blanca pouted, & thought sulkily, What a shame...And I was having such fun with those things!

At the same time, Henry had finally given in to the Baker Street Family's demands for the circus-goers' stolen possessions (but not entirely of his own volition—Ratigan had to provide him with a little "incentive" of preserving his good looks by not getting a good punch in the face!). Henry frowned sadly as he watched Basil remove the last of the trinkets he was wearing, & place them onto the large pile of stolen jewelry, gems, coins, gold items, pound notes, & dollar bills that had accumulated in front of the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias...who all smiled when Olivia came over to them, grinning as she let her arms down to place Cathy's makeup & perfume on top of the pile of retrieved items.

Before too long, our heroes & their friends were able to find & fetch the other objects that had been taken. That one circus goon was still smoking from Cathy's cigarette holder, & enjoying every intake of tobacco & other nasty things. Just before the goon could take another puff, Fidget ran up to him, snatched the cigarette holder from his paws, & darted away with the smoking stick. The goon frowned sadly as he watched Fidget disappear with the stolen item, but decided not to put up a fight. The Cirque Du Mousini team was already in enough trouble as it was! When he saw what had happened, Henry Mousini frowned even more, but the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias all smiled & watched Fidget scamper over to them, grinning as he placed Cathy's cigarette holder on top of the pile of retrieved items.

Blissfully unaware of what was going on, that other circus goon was still flipping through the pages of Slick Willie's checkbook. His greedy expression, however, turned to a surprised look when he saw Dr. Dawson approaching him. Unable to resist sporting a triumphant smirk, Dr. Dawson reached for Slick Willie's checkbook, & took it out of the goon's hands. "I'll take that!" the medical mouse declared. Now holding the checkbook, Dr. Dawson went to place it with the other retrieved items, while the circus goon pouted & sulked. This was not how he envisioned his evening...

Not too long afterward, the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, & Pias all stood at the entrance to Henry Mousini's hideout, smirking with smug expressions as they watched several male & female detectives & constables (all of various species) slapping paw-cuffs on Henry's sad-looking goons, & leading them away to their cop cars. At the same time, Henry & Blanca both stood at the back of an old-time paddywagon, which had been reserved especially for them. As they were placed in paw-cuffs by some detectives & constables, Henry glared furiously at the policerodents, while Blanca was kicking & struggling around in her restraints, putting up quite a fight...& pretending to act like she was still the innocent, good-hearted, well-behaved young lady she wanted everyone to think she was.

Trying vainly to break free from the grip of her manacles, Blanca "cried" tearfully, "Oh, please, Signor Policemouse, let me go! I do not deserve to be treated this way!" (She faked an incredibly-good sob, trying to act as pitiful as possible, in the hopes that she would be let off the hook.) "Don't you understand? I am a perfectly good girl! I do everything that's right! I never break any laws!" Blanca continued to sob & cry. The detectives & constables just stared at her, unimpressed with her attempts to disguise her true self from them.

"Is that so?" one mouse detective asked, glaring at Blanca as he opened the back doors to the police paddywagon. "Well, then, tell it to the judge at Old Bailey, Miss Blanca!"

Blanca yelped in surprise as she was roughly thrown into the paddywagon by two constables. The bobbies turned to face Henry, & grabbed him...but they were having trouble putting Henry into the paddywagon as the corrupt circus-owner struggled to keep from being thrown in—he put up an even bigger fight than Blanca! As he tried desperately to keep from being put in the wagon, Henry glared at the Baker Street Family, & yelled angrily at them, "This isn't over, Baker Street Family! You haven't seen the last of me, or Blanca, or Cirque Du Mousini! When my little rosebud & I get out of London Mouse Jail, we'll just go back to running our circus as we always have for the last several years! And when we escape with the audience's goods, there is no way you'll be able to..." Before Henry could finish his speech, his fingers were finally pried away from the edges of the paddywagon, & the two constables tossed the "melodious, odious thief" inside, before shutting the double-doors.

Henry & Blanca, of course, still had a few last words to say to their newfound foes. Peeking out through the iron-barred windows of the wagon's back doors, the twosome glared angrily at the Baker Street Family & their pals. "There is no way you'll be able to stop us, Baker Street Family, no matter how hard you & your friends will try," Henry whispered menacingly. "We are far too clever for you."

"Sì!" Blanca said meanly, before sticking her tongue out. With that, the paddywagon began driving off, but as they traveled further & further away, Henry & Blanca continued to glare icy daggers at our heroes from behind the bars of the door windows. Basil, Olivia, Cousin Timmy, Ratigan, Fidget, Hiram, Dr. Dawson, Mrs. Judson, Victoria, Madame Ratburn, & Pias just smiled smugly in response, with their arms either akimbo or folded over their chests. They all knew that if Henry, Blanca, & their goons tried to stir up any more "mouschief", they'd be ready for them.

After making their way back to Trafalgar Square with all of the retrieved items, the Baker Street Family, Madame Ratburn, Pias, & Toby met up with Grandpa Mitsubishi, Monsieur Victor Claudius, the Merchiorre family, the Flahertys, Sophie, Sophocles Braveheart, Cecil B. DeMont, Slick Willie, Jellybean, Cecelia & Martino Green, Larry Grossmouse, Coucou Cacheau, Amergin Burgess, Mother Caulfield, Flip, Mr. Altoid, Jemediah Fieldson, Joey & Mrs. Wellington, Nate Gregson, Jiggy The Juggling Octopus, Rosie The Ribbiter, Ned The Newt, George & Chester Cheeseman, Bessie Colemouse, Professor Doppler, Chutzpah, Cathy, & Old Mouse Porter. How happy everyone was to see our heroes return with their prized possessions in paw! What a wonderful wrap-up to their worrisome wait!

"Here you go, Professor Doppler," Basil said, as he handed the inventor his scientific instruments. "All of your tools have been successfully recovered!"

"Thank you so much, Basil!" Professor Doppler exclaimed happily, shaking the Great Mouse Detective's hand. "I don't know how I can possibly repay you for your help...Wait, I know! I'll make something special for your family! You can expect it to arrive on your doorstep within two weeks! Consider this a token of my heartfelt gratitude!"

Elsewhere, Dr. Dawson gave Bessie Colemouse her golden compass. "Here's your compass, Miss Colemouse," Dr. Dawson said kindly.

"Oh, mercy me, I thought I'd never get it back!" Bessie blurted blissfully, before giving Dr. Dawson a big hug as she added, "Thank you! Thank you so much!"

At the same time, Olivia gave Cathy Sheridan her ID, cigarette holder, makeup, perfume, jewelry, & cash. "Here you go, Ms. Sheridan!" Olivia chirped cheerfully. "I got all of your stuff back!"

Though her previous run-ins with the Baker Street Family hadn't been all that pleasant, Cathy could not deny that little Olivia & her relatives had worked very hard to retrieve all her valuables. The least she could do was show her thanks to the little mouseling! "Thanks a bunch, kid," Cathy said with a hint of warmth in her normally-sassy voice, as she gave Olivia a big hug, & patted her back. "I owe you one!" [36]

Then, Cousin Timmy gave Mother Caulfield her glasses. "Here's your specs, Mother Caulfield," Cousin Timmy said. "I cleaned them with a moist towelette on the way back from Henry Mousini's hideout."

"Oh, Timothy," a touched Mother Caulfield exclaimed, "you shouldn't have! I...I don't know what to say!"

"You don't have to say anything," Cousin Timmy replied sweetly, as he gently embraced the nun. "Your happiness is all the thanks I need!"

After that, Hiram gave Sophie all of her missing money. "I think this is the right amount of cash," Hiram said to his friend & former neighbor. "If you think you're still missing some money, just give me a call, & I'll give you as much as you need."

"Of course, Hiram!" Sophie said pleasantly. "Thank you so much!"

"Don't mention it," Hiram responded warmly.

Next, Ratigan gave Jemediah Fieldson all of his awards & medals. "I believe these items belong to you," Ratigan said with a kindly smile.

"Thank you, Ratigan! You're a real lifesaver!" a joyful Jemediah cried. "How can I ever repay you?"

"You don't have to worry about that," Ratigan replied humbly. "I was glad just to help you out." At that point, a thought occurred to Ratigan, & the reformed rogue said to Jemediah, "Oh, by the way, forgive me for not mentioning this earlier, but I've been meaning to apologize for my most-horrible conduct towards you on the night of the Diamond Jubilee. I was an absolute jerk, & my barbaric behavior was simply inexcusable. Do you forgive me?"

"Ever since you reformed, I've been finding it easier & easier to embrace the thought of pardoning you for your misdeeds," Jemediah answered amiably. "And I can now say with confidence that I can find it in myself to do such a thing. So, yes, I do indeed forgive you."

"Thank you, Jemediah! Thank you!" Ratigan said, touched by the older mouse's kindness towards him. "You don't know how much that means to me."

Afterwards, Mrs. Judson gave Cecil B. DeMont his pocket-camera. "Here's your camera, Mr. DeMont," Mrs. Judson proclaimed.

"Thanks to the moon & back, Mrs. Judson!" the delighted director declared. "And to show my appreciation, I'm gonna make you the caterer during the production of my next movie!"

"Oh, I'd be honored to!" Mrs. Judson gushed. "I eagerly look forward to working with you & your crew!"

"It would be my divine pleasure, madame," Cecil said with a gracious bow.

Then, Victoria gave Amergin Burgess his pen-case. "Here's your pen, Mr. Burgess," Victoria said.

"Oh, please, call me Amergin!" the author exclaimed exuberantly. "And thank you so very much for finding my favorite fountain pen! I don't know what I'd do without it!"

"You're most certainly welcome," Victoria stated sweetly.

After that, Madame Ratburn handed Coucou Cacheau her National Rodentarian Award. "I believe this medal is yours, good lady," the Gypsy psychic said with a gentle smile.

"Ah, merci beaucoup!" Coucou sighed happily. "I simply must do something to recompense you for your great service to me! I'll tell you what—I'll give you a custom-designed Cacheau outfit on the house!" When Madame Ratburn started to protest, the fashion designer exhorted, "Oh, non, I insist!"

"All right, fine," Madame Ratburn relented with a pleasant sigh. "I can't wait to see what fantastic fashion you'll come up with for me!"

Next, Pias gave Slick Willie his various valuables. "Here's all of your stuff, Slick Willie," Pias said affably. "Goodness, you certainly have a lot of valuables!"

"Indeed, I do," Slick Willie replied in a smug manner. "Now, if it's all right with you, scram! I've got to clean my stuff up, now that it's been handled by so many grubby lowlives..."

Pias couldn't help but feel hurt when he saw Slick Willie's snobbish response, & he didn't attempt to hide it with his body language. Luckily, Jellybean was kind enough to put in a good word for him. "Come on, Willie," the taller mouse chided, "don't be so mean to the poor guy! He worked very hard to get your stuff back, & you should be grateful to him for choosing to help you out, when other fursons would have just done the opposite! You should give him something of yours..."

"OK, OK!" Slick Willie snapped, eager to get his assistant off his back. The mousician dug into his pawbag, & took out a large golden ring with an extravagant, multicolored opal stone, which he then gave to Pias. "Here," Slick Willie said, barely disguising his contempt for the Gypsy gardener. "Here's your restitution for your kind assistance. Now, would you please go away? Thank you."

Meanwhile, Chutzpah The Squirrel had seen Slick Willie receive his stolen items, & he was feeling a little bit jealous, for he had yet to get his own money back. "Hey, where's my moolah?" the adolescent cad whined. Just then, Toby came up to Chutzpah, using his nose to push a bag with the latter's cash towards him. Chutzpah was so happy to have his money back, he couldn't help but give Toby a great big hug around his leg! Toby was glad to return the favor by giving Chutzpah a big lick across the face...much to the squirrel's displeasure. "Eww, dog germs!" Chutzpah cried, trying to wipe the slobber off of himself. [37]

Finally, Fidget gave Cecelia Green her pocket watch, as her father Martino watched on lovingly. (Since we didn't describe him during his introduction, allow us to briefly elaborate on Martino Green's appearance to you. Martino was short for a male bat his age, with a lean, slim figure. He had coffee-brown fur, & straight black hair [which was separated into two neatly-combed partitions on either side of his head], along with a neatly-trimmed black moustache. His rounded head had high cheekbones that curved at a slight angle, & a slightly-prominent pink nose was fixed between his friendly eyes [which had yellow "whites" & black irises that looked like big dots, & were topped with thick, angular black eyebrows]. His large wings had light-coffee-brown webbing, & two rows of sharp white teeth filled his mouth. A pair of tall pink ears flanked either side of his head, & his thin arms & legs ended in large hands & feet [the former of which had light-coffee-brown webbing]. He wore a set of yellow-green, buttonless shirt-sleeves [which had a starched yellow-green collar that he kept folded down around his neck, & long wing-sleeves that went down to his wrists], a snug-fitting pair of forest-green trousers, an olive-green sweater-vest, a small pair of glasses with circular lenses, a lime-green silk bow-tie, & a pair of shiny black shoes.) "Here's your watch, Cecelia," Fidget said. "I hope it's still in perfect condition." [38]

Cecelia was absolutely overjoyed to have her watch back in her possession! "Ayeeeee!" the girl squealed happily. Turning to look at her father, & holding up the watch in her hands for him to see, Cecelia cheered, "Look, Papi, Fidget found my quinceañera present!"

"That's wonderful, mi hija!" Martino exclaimed ecstatically.

Cecelia simply couldn't contain her contentment any longer! She immediately scooped Fidget up into her arms, gave him a big hug, & kissed him all over his face! "Thank you, thank you, muchas gracias!" Cecelia gushed gleefully as she graced Fidget with these genial gestures. "You're my hero!" After receiving one more kiss from Cecelia, Fidget sighed & swooned, before fainting in his friend's wings. Cecelia couldn't help but giggle a little when she saw Fidget's reaction, & after quickly reviving Fidget, she thanked him for his help once again. With that, a delighted Fidget went back over to his family, & Cecelia went back to her father.

By now, the circus-goers were bursting to the brim with bubbling bliss! "This calls for a celebration!" cried Jemediah. Just as the Baker Street Family was about to suggest a location for their celebratory dinner, Madame Ratburn read their minds, & teleported everyone to the proposed place...

The moon & stars were now glowing brightly in the night skies, & the ocean waters gently lapped against the wooden walkway leading to the Rat Trap Family Restaurant. A bright yellow light glowed in the restaurant's windows, & wild cheering & applause could be heard from within. Inside the Rat Trap, the members of the Baker Street Family were all seated together at Table 7, with Madame Ratburn, Pias, Grandpa Mitsubishi, Monsieur Victor Claudius, the Merchiorre family, & the Flahertys all standing beside our heroes. Also surrounding the table were Sophie, Sophocles, Cecil, Slick Willie, Jellybean, Cecelia & Martino, Larry, Coucou, Amergin, Mother Caulfield, Flip, Mr. Altoid, Jemediah, Joey & Mrs. Wellington, Nate, George & Chester, Bessie, Professor Doppler, Chutzpah, Cathy, & Old Mouse well as Evelyn, Auburn, Jiggy, Rosie, Ned, Don, Arnie, Morey, & Tom. The Rat Trap Band & the three in-house entertainers stood beside Evelyn & Auburn, who both held up trays of Fizzy Fountain Sodas. All the Baker Street Family's friends were smiling, & the happy circus-goers were holding their retrieved possessions in their paws. "Three cheers for the Baker Street Family!" Sophocles cheered, pumping a fist into the air. "Hip, hip..."

"Hooray!" everyone shouted, as the circus-goers helped up their valuables.

"Hip, hip..."


"Hip, hip..."


The members of the Baker Street Family all smiled humbly or proudly (depending on their mood) as they basked in their applause, & the victory of their accomplishment. "Now, I understand it'll take a while before our grand victory dinner is finished," Evelyn said cheerfully, "but in the meantime, we've got something to hold you off till then..." The waitress turned her head to smile down at Auburn, who grinned widely as he raised his tray of Fizzy Fountain Sodas.

"Fizzy Fountain Sodas for everyone...on the house!" Auburn exclaimed exuberantly. All the Baker Street Family's friends & the circus-goers, as well as the members of the Rat Trap Crew, went up to take a soda glass from Auburn & Evelyn's trays, then surrounded the Baker Street Family's table again, while Auburn & Evelyn watched on with affectionate smiles.

"A the Baker Street Family!" Monsieur Victor proclaimed, smiling as he raised his Fizzy Fountain Soda.

"To the Baker Street Family!" everyone else echoed, returning the smile as they all raised their soda glasses in felicitation. The animals then brought said glasses up to their lips, & drank their beverages. At one point, Tom accidentally burped. Putting a paw to his mouth, the trombonist said sheepishly, "Whoops! Excuse me!" Everyone couldn't help but laugh in response to Tom's faux pas.

After the laughter subsided, everyone heard the sound of a bell dinging. Morey perked up, & sniffed the air, before bursting into a big grin as he turned to face the others, & exclaimed, "Hey, guys...I think I smell victory...dinner!"

Everyone cheered when they heard this. "Great, the food's here!" Chester said happily. "Now, we can all eat!"

"What do ya say we all sing a special song for tonight's entertainment?" Rosie proposed.

"Capital idea, Ms. Ribbiter!" George proclaimed.

"Oui, Rosie!" Coucou said. "A perfect way to celebrate the triumph of our dear friends!"

"Merci beaucoup, Mademoiselle Cacheau," Rosie declared happily. Waving her right forefinger about like a baton, while she held her Fizzy Fountain Soda in her left hand, Rosie chanted, "And a 1, & a 2..." Don joined in with Rosie at this point, & the two chanted together whilst waving their right forefingers & holding their soda glasses, "And a 1, 2, 3, 4..." Cricket, cockroach, & rodent waiters & waitresses walked in to bring the Baker Street Family & everyone else a grand victory banquet—everything on the menu! All the while, everyone swayed their soda glasses &/or retrieved possessions to & fro, singing...

Hooray for the Baker Street Family, Hooray for the Baker Street Family, Hooray for the Baker Street Family... Our heroes of the day!

Our heroes of the day, Our heroes of the day...

(Outside the Rat Trap, Toby was sitting by the entrance, with his ear cocked to the window. He smiled & howled along to the song that our pint-sized protagonists & their friends sang from within...)

Hooray for the Baker Street Family, Hooray for the Baker Street Family, Hooray for the Baker Street Family... Our heroes of the day!

As applause, cheers, & laughter followed from everyone inside the Rat Trap, they couldn't help but feel delighted that things in Mouse London were almost absolutely perfect! The new technology was only getting better & better, nearly everyone was being so good to one another, & (aside from the recent incident with Henry Mousini) crime had gone down to an all-time low! Yes, indeed, there was great reason for the Baker Street Family & their friends to celebrate that night...but little did they know that things would soon take a sharp, sudden turn for the worse. [39]

[1] Of course, the Baker Street Family also brought modern types of swimsuits to wear at the beach, as well.

[2] Oh, Dr. Dawson really needs to lighten up, don't you think? He certainly looks a lot better in his swimsuit than in that pirate costume!

[3] As you can see, Cousin Timmy is a very emotional little mouse, & he is easily affected by whatever's going on around him.

[4] And if you think this sequence looks beautiful in your mind, just imagine how lovely it'll look on the big screen! ^_^

[5] Considering the location for our story's next several scenes, the mouse name of the street is very appropriate.

[6] The presence of a Slinky in the Victorian era may come across as anachronistic to some...but, of course, this story takes place in an alternate universe, so it's perfectly plausible & permissible in this case. ^_^

[7] In addition to the violin, Basil can also play the flute, the piano, & many other musical instruments.

[8] Although "Ratigan's Story" will explore & explain this in more detail, Ratigan was given a daily regimen of steroids by Mouses Fiennes during his childhood transformation from good to evil. This helped to give Ratigan his remarkable strength & physical prowess at such a young age.

[9] For those of you who didn't already get the reference, the scene of Cousin Timmy riding the toy windmill was inspired by a similar (& very famous) sequence from the classic novel "Don Quixote".

[10] Again, the Multiverse comes into play here.

[11] "That's OK, Victoria. We can't all be great at everything."

[12] In case you're wondering, that entire dream sequence was one big homage to "2001: A Space Odyssey".

[13] Don't fret, dear readers! Victoria is just fine. In fact, she's on her way to delivering a big surprise for you in a later chapter! ;-) (Oh, goodness me, I hope I didn't spoil anything for you!)

[14] That last composition & its creator were mentioned in one of the original "Basil Of Baker Street" books by Eve Titus.

[15] In the film version of GMD 2, Miss Kitty & her sisters meet up with the Baker Street Family after the concert. However, since that technically goes against the "rules" established by my personal fanon, that isn't the case for the fanfiction version of the story.

[16] Of course, this character is a parody of Melissa Manchester, the famous pop singer & songwriter who performed "Let Me Be Good To You" in the original GMD.

[17] The lyrics to this song allude to autism & its symptoms.

[18] Mouses Fiennes is not a big fan of the new technology, & he does his best to keep all traces of it out of his hideout (for fear that it will "soften" his thugs up, & enlighten them to the point where they won't want to work for him anymore). However, Mouses will make an occasional exception, as his use of a cell phone establishes.

[19] Like Basil, Agent 001 is a master of disguise, & he would normally don a much-better costume than the one he ended up wearing...but since he wanted to carry out Mouses' bidding before the Baker Street Family left the Rat Trap, he felt that there was no time to spare for going to a costume shop, so he had to make do with the resources at paw.

[20] In the film version of GMD 2, the Lorne sisters are supposed to perform in the forthcoming "Ritual Fire Dance" act. However, for the same reasons given in Footnote #15, that isn't the case for the fanfiction version of the story.

[21] Given his deep love of music & everything having to do with it, it's no surprise that Agent 001 is a skilled dancer in many fields, including ballet.

[22] If that last sequence was too detailed for some of you, I apologize, but I couldn't think of any other way to adapt the already intricately-written scene from script format to story format. Besides, it's kind of fun to picture the choreography in your mind! ^_^

[23] Given that Bartholomew & the rest of the Goodie Gang have been spending the last several years in the sewer lair, & don't have a whole lot of time to appreciate the changes going on in the surface world whenever they're outside, their impression of the city & its environment hasn't changed all that much.

[24] In the film version of GMD 2, Manchester Maurice is much different from his fanfiction counterpart. Chiefly, he's a member of the Goodie Gang, & he even helps the Baker Street Family out at certain points in the final act of the story.

[25] The Rat Trap Family Restaurant has a wide variety of apparatuses, both old & new, for employees to work with.

[26] A sly little nod to a similar sequence in the original GMD.

[27] Sophocles' attitudes regarding art in Chapter 7 & Chapter 9 may appear to be contradictory at first glance, but allow me to shed some light on the matter for you, so as to eliminate any confusion. In Chapter 7, Sophocles essentially says that individuals should be rewarded for their hard work, while in Chapter 9, Sophocles voices his displeasure with the notion of creating things with payment as the sole or primary incentive.

[28] This quote was adapted from a small part of Stanley Kubrick's D.W. Griffith Award acceptance speech (which can be found on Youtube).

[29] Once again, Cecil B. DeMont is quoting his main character model.

[30] In the film version of GMD 2, Madame Ratburn's evil great-niece Adrienne teams up with Mouses Fiennes & the League Of Villains, & makes her first appearance in the script version of this scene. However, for the same reasons given in Footnote #15, that isn't the case for the fanfiction version of the story.

[31] Like Basil & other characters, Shellington Batly is a gifted inventor, & has come up with an astonishing array of gadgets & gizmos (including his infamous 'Truth Extractor', which you'll find out more about in later stories).

[32] This sighting of Shellington Batly will lead Basil to launch an investigation of the rogue detective that lasts for several years (due to complications resulting from Shellington's attempts to throw off his scent by planting false clues, contaminating evidence, apprehending false suspects, establishing "airtight" alibis, & other such methods of deception).

[33] The subsequent sequence is one big reference to the climax of Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of "The Shining".

[34] In case you can't already tell, Henry Mousini is largely modeled after the villain Sarousch from "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame 2".

[35] As Obi-Wan Kenobi would say, "That's good, Fidget. You're taking your first steps into a larger world!"

[36] Even amoral jerks like Cathy have a good side, too. ^_^

[37] "Peanuts" references for the win! ^_^

[38] In earlier drafts of GMD 2, Fidget met Cecelia Green while going to talk to the police about her missing pocket watch. Of course, in this version, the two bats have already met, but I just couldn't resist keeping the idea of Fidget finding Cecelia's watch, & giving it back to her... ^_^

[39] And with that final paragraph, we wrap up what is definitely the longest chapter in this entire fanfic! I mean, look at how many footnotes this baby has! XD