"Of course," Jean said, "but what is it you'd like to see?"
There seemed no way to avoid the truth any longer. "There's a lot I'd like to see, the rain forest, wombats, platypuses," I said. "But I—or rather we, Sam and I—what we'd most like to meet is a Tasmanian devil."
"The little beast in the cartoons?" Jean whooped with surprise. "I have a friend in films you should meet."
I shook my head.
"I may be one of the few people in the English-speaking world who has never seen that cartoon," I said. "I never even knew it existed until my daughter told me a Tasmanian devil plays straight man to Bugs Bunny. No, it's the real animal we want to find, out in the bush."
Jean raised her eyebrows.
"It's really not all that weird an idea," I said. "Like kangaroos. I'll bet nearly every tourist who comes to Australia wants to see a kangaroo. You people advertise the hell out of them in your travel propaganda."
"We do, rather."
"My thing is about the same, only more specialized," I said. I offered some disjointed biographical notes. Included was some digressive and gratuitous information on how and why to domesticate a badger. Also some confused mention of C.S. Lewis.
"Gorgeous," said Jean soothingly. "You explain it beautifully. Sometimes I'm so slow."