"Well, Little Chef, I guess this is it," said Linguini as he locked up Gusteau's for the last time. "We'll never see the place again."
Remy, perched in his regular spot on Linguini's head, sighed and nodded.
"This is all my fault. If I hadn't gotten such a big head, I wouldn't have yelled at you, and then you wouldn't've . . . I always screw things up."
"Oui, zat is true." Collette had just finished strapping the small box of their things to her motorcycle. "But at least Gusteau's restaurant went out in style. I think zat is what he would have wanted."
Someone was singing in the street. An old folk tune, far from artfully sung, projected over the sound of quiet city traffic.
"The foes of my country and King I have faced; In city or battle I ne'er was disgraced . . . "
Collette continued, "If you had not come along, Tiny Chef, Gusteau would have been lost to the disgrace of frozen food forever. It is better this way."
"Ye riots and revels of London, adieu! And Folly, ye foplings, I leave her to you!"
Collette groaned. "British tourists! Let's get out of here before he catches up to us." She mounted her cycle.
Linguini nodded and began to follow, but stopped when Remy yanked him away. "What is it, Little Chef?"
Remy had yanked him away because the caroler approaching them didn't smell like a tourist or even a drunk. He smelled like ink . . . and paper . . . and ratatouille! This couldn't be just any Englander, now, could it?
A tall dark figure appeared under the next streetlight, singing and skipping and laughing between lines.
"For myself I seek peace and an innocent life:
I'll haste to the Highlands, and visit each scene
With Maggie, my love, in her rocklay o' green;
On the banks o' Glenaray what pleasure I'll feel,
While she shares my bannocks o' barley-meal!
"Oh, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
"Is that . . . Ego?" asked Collette.
Linguini shrugged. "Ego?" he called out to the dark figure. "Is that you?"
The figure called back, "Linguini!" and he skipped until only a few inches remained between them. Indeed it was Ego. "Isn't it a beautiful night?"
"Um, I guess so . . ."
Ego giggled. "Guess what."
"I've lost my job." He laughed again. "No more publishers, no more deadlines, no more nasty battles over stars and customers! I feel like a new man. Ha ha ha ha! And from what I hear – oh hoo hoo hoo hoo – you are in the same unfortunate predicament!"
"Um . . . Ego? Are you alright?"
"Alright?" said Ego. "I'm positively ecstatic! You'll have to forgive me if I'm not quite myself, but" - and he giggled again - "I'm hardly ever ecstatic! It's been years upon years and years and years and years since . . . since. . . . Look at me, I'm at a loss for words! That never happens either!"
If Ego was at a loss for words, so were Linguini and Collette and Remy. Their eyeballs popped so much that Ego could have used them for marbles were he so inclined.
"Listen, I'm tired of words! I'm tired of sitting back and spouting opinions about food! I want to do something! Why, standing up for you and standing by my opinion of you is the best thing I've done in ages. So when they fired me, I thought 'They haven't shut me down, they've set me free!' And you, you're the start of it, of everything!"
"I am?" asked Linguini timidly.
Ego shrugged dismissively. "You, her – Collette, I mean . . . your rat! Your rat most especially."
"'Little Chef,'" said Ego derisively. "An artist like yourself ought to have a name, you know," he addressed Remy. "Don't you have one?"
"You'll have to tell us, then, once we sit down to a drink."
"A drink?" asked Collette.
"But of course!" cried Ego. "If we don't talk about it, how will it ever go anywhere?"
"How will what ever go anywhere?"
"Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself. I apologize. You see, I have a business proposition for the three of you. I happen to have a good deal of money, perfect for investing in a new name. A new restaurant," he smiled, "for a particularly talented rat."