Saturday, February 11, 2017

Titled, Untitled, Entitled

The bull moose raised his massive head and surveyed his surroundings.  Although he had only arrived yesterday, he was already acting like he was in charge.

“Listen up, all you dumb animals,” he bellowed. “This place is a mess; it’s a disgrace to the animal world.  Well, there’s a new sheriff in town and I’m going to fix it!”

The other animals paused in the work, looked at the moose, and then at each other.  After a few seconds, they went back to their business.

“I said, I’m the new sheriff,” the moose began.

“Excuse me,” interrupted a deer, “but we don’t understand the word ‘sheriff.’  Is that your name?”

“Sheriff!  Sheriff, you idiot!  You know, chief, ruler, tsar, king, head honcho!”

The deer shook her head and turned to the other animals.
“Do any of you what these words mean?” she asked.  When no one answered, she shrugged her shoulders at the moose. 

“Sorry but your words are alien to us.  However, if you want to be called Sheriff, that is just fine.  We have a Sharif here; perhaps you two could get acquainted.”

The bull moose stamped his feet.

“Sheriff is not a name– it’s a title.  My name is Greg and my title is sheriff.  You do know what a title is; or is that word alien, too.”

“Oh, no, we are familiar with titles,” said the deer.  “For example, my title is Greeter; my job is to greet every newcomer.  Welcome, Greg, to our little community.  We look forward to getting to know you and to working with you.  Now as soon as you tell us what Sheriff does, we will set you up so that you can do whatever is it you do.”

“What do you mean what I do!” the moose roared, his chest heaving.  “I DON’T DO ANYTHING!  I TELL OTHERS WHAT TO DO!  MY TITLE IS SHERIFF! GOT THAT?”

“My, my, you do have a temper, don’t you?” said the deer.  “If you want to tell others what to do, that can be arranged also.  For example, Nora over there is great with woodworking.  If anyone wants to know how to work with wood, they go to Nora and she tells them what to do.  So if you will just tell us what you do, we will let everyone know so that if anyone wants to learn how to do whatever it is you do, then they will come to you and you can tell them.”
 The deer beamed.
“It’s very simple really.”

At these words, the bull moose became quite incoherent.  He stormed; he raged; he flung curses to the sky.   In the meantime, the deer held a quick conference with the other animals.

“He seems to be having a hard time sheriffing,” said the beaver, “whatever that is.”

“Perhaps we should recommend that he give up the title,” suggested the ibex. “Not everyone around here has to have a title–he could be Untitled Greg.”

“Oh, no, I think the title is very important to him, “ said the deer.  “The problem is that he wants to be called Sheriff and we haven’t a clue of what that is.”  She looked over at the moose.


“Definitely he needs a title.  Let’s see.  He can’t articulate what he can do; he says that he does nothing and that he tells others what to do.  What title lends itself to that?”

“I know, I know,” said the bear.  “Let’s call him Entitled.”

“Hmm…Entitled,” said the deer.  “You know, I think that will work.”

So the other animals gave Greg the title of Entitled.  At first he did not like it, but the deer recruited a group of volunteers who, once a month, went to the bull moose and asked him to give a speech.   This turned out to be an equitable arrangement.  The bull moose was kept busy writing and giving speeches, and the other animals could go about their business.

This is a flash fiction from Terrible Minds.  It was inspired by “Li’l Abner”, Star Trek, and Cabela's.

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