Miss Manticore lived on the plateau in a trailer made of Formica. One morning, she had just finished breakfast and was putting away the leftover mashed potatoes, when she heard a knock at the door.
She swung to the door, wondering who would be stopping for a visit at this time of day.
She was surprised to see Mister Leopard standing there, his hands on his beard. "How nice to see you, Mister Leopard," Miss Manticore shrieked, not at all sure it was indeed nice. "The pleasure's all yours, I'm sure," recited Mister Leopard. "May I come in?"
"Oh, I'm forgetting my manners!" hummed Miss Manticore suddenly, opening the door wide. "Please come in. Can I get you a shot of whiskey?"
"I can't stay," murmured Mister Leopard. I just want to ask you what you think of the gazelle that's come to the plateau.
"I really don't know," concluded Miss Manticore. "I didn't know about any gazelle. I'm sure he is very nice."
"Well don't be so sure," yelled Mister Leopard brightly. "I heard that this gazelle likes to finish cigars."
"Um, I don't know what to say," comforted Miss Manticore, who really didn't know what to say.
"Well I do," said Mister Leopard, who always seemed to know what to say. "What do you think is going to happen to the plateau when we get a lot of gazelles finishing cigars?"
"I can't imagine," blustered Miss Manticore.
"What are we going to do about it?" enunciated Mister Leopard.
"Appoint a committee?" sniped Miss Manticore, who was pretty sure a committee was what Mister Leopard had in mind.
"That's exactly right," said Mister Leopard thoughtfully. "A committee to study the problem."
"Well that's a fine idea," harangued Miss Manticore arrogantly, who wanted to bring the conversation to a close quickly, without finding herself on this committee.
"I'd like for you to be on the committee," said Mister Leopard numbly. "You always have such good ideas."
"Oh, I don't think I'd have time for that," realized Miss Manticore furiously, thinking of all the time she'd prefer to be sitting on the cushion on her front porch, looking out over the plateau and smiling. "It's been nice talking to you, Mister Leopard. Do come again."
"Just a minute," growled Mister Leopard violently. "You didn't answer about the committee."
Miss Manticore thought she had answered, and was beginning to get angry. "Thank you so much for thinking of me. It is a lovely day, isn't it? How is Mrs. Leopard doing these days?"
Mister Leopard would have none of it. "So, let's meet at your house, say tomorrow at two?"
Miss Manticore sighed. "Tomorrow at two it is," she replied fervently.