"Mr. Harris," Alcalde Garcia started, "It's not that we don't appreciate you..."
Sensing Garcia would be a while looking for the right phrase, Harris jumped in, "It's just that you don't think I'm a good Sheriff." He tried to make his tone less condescending, but wasn't doing a great job. "And it's SHERIFF Harris, if you please." Respect was hard currency in Madre de la Cruz and he wasn't about to give it away.
"Sorry. Sorry. Yes, SHERIFF Harris," Garcia replied defensively. "No one wants you to stop being Sheriff."
"I think you mean 'No one wishes to see your term as Sheriff expire,'" Harris corrected the old man instinctively.
"There! You See! That's what I'm talking about," Garcia complained, "You're always correcting people's speaking." Garcia saw the sheriff taking a deep breath, preparing for another long-winded exposition on proper grammar. "I mean people's English. I haven't seen you correct anyone's Spanish yet."
"Si. Si. Mi Español es no bueno," Harris responded with a remarkably good accent for someone whose Spanish language vocabulary was limited to the names of farm animals, numbers under forty and simple pleasantries. "But you knew how I worked when you hired me," Harris replied.
"Yes Sheriff. We all knew you speak well when we hired you as editor of the Monitor," Garcia admitted, "But that's before we also hired you as Sheriff."
The old alderman was about to reiterate the complaint when Angus Arlen burst into the office, shaking visibly with excitement. "SHERIFF! SHERIFF! COME QUICK! THE COACH HAS DONE BEEN ROBBED!" Harris winced visibly at the deputy's attempt at using the present perfect.
Years of editing news and classified advertisements had made Harold Harris a pedant, but it hadn't dulled his wits. If ever there was a time for action, this was it. The Sheriff quickly attached his gun-belt, grabbed his hat and made a mental note to go over examples of perfect tenses with Arlen at their earliest convenience.