[ At home with a young couple. The door knocks. ]
Occupant: You don't suppose it matters who I think it is?
Spouse: It does. Suppose you don't answer and it's a person giving you an award for door-answering. You discredit the whole organization.
[ Another knock. ]
Spouse: The selection committee loses face. There might have to be resignations from the chair on down. Countless lives could be affected.
Occupant: If I must, I must. [ Opening door. ] Hello there.
Detective: Ah! Good morning or evening sir and/or ma'am.
Spouse: That should cover us.
Detective: I don't want to really intrude?
Occupant: And you don't extremely well. Thank you. [ Starts closing door. ]
Detective: Wait, please. [ Waiting. ] I'm a detective, you see, investigating an elephant that's lost, suspected stolen.
Detective: Gee, most people focus on the ``elephant'' part.
Occupant: Who would steal an elephant?
Detective: I wondered that too! Do you know any person who seems likely to want to?
Spouse: I don't even know where you'd keep one.
Detective: They can keep just about anywhere. Just a bedroom, a bathroom, maybe somewhere to make snacks and you can keep one nearly indefinitely.
Occupant: You can keep an elephant in as little as that?
Detective: You can? [ Starts writing a note. ] That could change my whole investigation.
Spouse: Wait, can you?
Detective: Oh, yes, it's all my investigation; I just have to report back when I've found them.
Occupant: The people?
Detective: The elephants. There's a pair of elephants gone missing.
Spouse: I thought you were investigating just the one.
Detective: That's how the investigation started, an elephant missing from the Hippodrome. In the search was another one not found. We theorize the two elephants are missing.
Occupant: What would two elephants need with one bathroom?
Detective: I don't know anything two elephants would need with a bathroom. I thought they used jungles or something.
Spouse: Then how could you keep two elephants in a bedroom and bath?
Detective: Oh! Oh, you're confused, then. You could keep a person in something as simple as a bedroom, a bathroom, maybe someplace to make snacks. Just finding people doesn't mean you've found elephants, but if you find someone with one or more elephants for which they can't account there's a chance you've found an elephant resulting from some mischievous endeavor.
Occupant: Didn't the Hippodrome close in ... the late 30's?
Detective: Yes, these particular elephants were reported missing, presumed stolen, the evening of November 29th, 1932.
Spouse: 1932! That's quite a while ago.
Detective: Think of those poor people also in the elephants' act, who can't go on until the elephants are recovered and rest from their ordeal.
Occupant: And you've been searching for this purloined elephant all this time?
Detective: Oh, no! Just since Wednesday. I inherited the case ... my dear mother ... [ Falls silent ]
Occupant: Your mother was a detective?
Detective: Not that I've heard of.
Spouse: Your father?
Detective: What about him?
Occupant: How did you inherit this case?
Detective: That's another mystery, there doesn't seem to be any accounting for it.
Spouse: All this and you've got a missing elk.
Detective: I have? Where? [ Checks own pockets. ]
Spouse: I'm sorry, I was thinking elephants.
Detective: Well, there I don't have missing elephants, which is what's got me come around to see if you might have any suspicions yourself.
Occupant: Not regarding elephants, no.
Detective: Now what would get you saying elk when you think elephants?
Spouse: They're both big things starting with the letter 'e'.
Detective: Yes ... but in that case, why not also think of the Jovian moon Europa, which is also big and starts with 'e'?
Spouse: I didn't know Europa had gone missing.
Occupant: This is a big pile of mysteries you've built up.
Detective: [ Momentarily down ] You're right. It'll take years to sort this out ... [ Brightening ] Oh! Job security, isn't it?
Occupant: You're right!
Spouse: Good for you.
Detective: Well! Thanks for all your help; won't need any more of your time now. Evening and/or.
Occupant: Take care, then. [ Detective leaves. ]
Spouse: What do you make of that?
Occupant: We have to move. After that slip they must know of Europa.
Trivia: While British athletes competed in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, the government refused to let British Airways fly anyone (or anything) involved with the games to Moscow. In concession to the boycott, The British chef de mission would not take part in the opening ceremony, and the Union Jack not raised nor the national anthem played at any ceremonies. Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle.
Currently Reading: The Starwolf Trilogy, Edmond Hamilton. I don't wish to tell the Starwolf what he should do, but perhaps he would be less anxious about people finding out he's a Starwolf (a planet of remorseless space pirates, though he's quit and gained remorse) if he would occasionally not mention aloud how he's a Starwolf and this mustn't be found out, and maybe got his best friend to stop mentioning how much trouble it'd be if anyone found out he was a Starwolf every three pages. (I remember Edmond Hamilton space opera being entertaining; why does it turn out also to be pretty dopey?)