In the darkened room the six doctors gathered round the bed of the dying man. The concern for him was obvious from the worried brows of each doctor.
Before them on the bed and breathing his last was Gontorlic Trubutions Master Crasis. The reason for their concern was Crasis was the keeper of Gontorlic Trubutions and as such his immanent death had taken everyone by surprise, including Crasis himself who had but the day before purchased himself a new bed.
The issue for the doctors and the gathered townsfolk outside was that Crasis had not appointed a successor. Without an appointed successor the town’s council would have to call for nominations, resumes would be submitted and interviews held which in the past had led to every crazy for miles around applying thinking they had what was needed to be the town’s keeper of Gontorlic Trubutions.
It was the keeper’s responsibility each year to issue the new Gontorlic Trubution for the following year. The Trubutions gave to the townsfolk a purpose and direction for the following year and they waited in large crowds outside the keepers house for his New Year proclamation.
Crasis had always been a shade different from past Gontorlic Trubution keepers. He liked to share the love amongst the townspeople and never favoured one group over another.
For example the past year the Gontorlic Trubution had been be easy and carry a piece of string. This had pleased the townsfolk as they liked an easy life and string was something they all had an affinity for. It also led to a great year for the string makers as their businesses thrived on the trubution.
Of course under Crasis there had been trubutions that were more popular than others.
Be calm and eat a scoop of ice cream was a popular one especially with the towns psychologists and the ice cream makers.
Laugh and throw a ball to a friend led to the proliferation of ball games and a greater use of the town’s public spaces, which saw the establishment of team sports such as baseball, netball and cricket. It was a boon time for Hot Dog Freddy the towns hot dog vendor who set up his hot dog cart in the parks and made a brisk trade.
Not every trubution was popular with everyone. The year Crasis had proclaimed we should all eat shit and die gave the sewerage workers some sense of importance and the funeral directors and grave diggers did well but the opposition to this edict was surprising to Crasis though he did see the down side to it all.
In the minutes that followed the six doctors had conferenced in the desperate hope that Crasis could be revived long enough to utter the name of a successor. Dr Smith suggested the purple lilac flower as it was known to give you jolt in all the right places, Dr Mans countered with the pink lily wand known to have the power to awaken the dead, Dr Morgan had a potion which when administered could work wonders if you held your mouth right and so it went on until Dr Groges call for order and suggested they simply give Crasis a shake and ask him.
They did and Crasis looking round asked if he was dead. When they said no he uttered a sigh of relief as if so pleased the six doctors were not his immediate future and closed his eyes. They called again and asked if he had a successor in mind.
With his dying breath he uttered Menagerie.
Phylor Menagerie? The doctors were aghast.
But Crasis had spoken.
‘Oh well,’ said one doctor as he departed. ‘Menagerie can spin a good phrase from time to time.’