|The Crum Mungens
by Richard Tornello © 2010
Dedicated to: Summer Duck
Everything must be just so, with nothing out of place. Her world is ordered well.
Secretly she wished she could be more of a crum-bun than a mugen fuss budget. But that reality just
doesn’t sit well with the exquisitely made up, Ms Mungen.
That fact alone makes her uneasy. “Ordered disorder is the order of the day,” she says to no one in
particular as she makes a cup a tea. Ms Mungen’s first act of organized self rebellion is not to match a
sock. “Oh my,” she cries. “How can I leave the home in such a disorder, a sock out of place, miss-sorted.
Nay, not but Unsorted.” Frozen under the thresh hold, on her way to the store, the image of that sock is
stuck in her mind, a picture of calamity, a mate is missing, abandoned. And that makes her heart palpitate.
Her face is flushed embarrassed if only to herself. “If I let this fact run about, no telling what will begin to
run-a-mouth. Oh dear, oh dear. The street’s so near and yet so far. One step and away, and I’m free. No
not really.” All this self discussion even before she leaves the door.
Ms Mungen to the store with the sock still on her floor, stubbornly refusing to let her new borne strength
become sapped by the thought of that lonely only sock, astray, alone, abandoned. Oh my, oh dear how
Well, he’s another story coming from a line of Crums. Crumbun, Crumcake, and Crumless Hot
Crossbuns to name three notorious ancestors. He’s not so together as we shall see. He’s a grouch and a
grump and something of a fool! “Bah humbug,” his favorite saying followed and usually along with so as
not to make his phrases lonely, “no” and “nyet” as well as “bu-hao.” A vocabulary fit for a crumbun, or
crumcake or a real mad HOT and Cross Crum.
However, like most people, he too wishes a slight change in the disordered order he call life. “Where to
draw the line?” is his refrain and assorted complaint followed by “bah humbug, no, nyet, not yet,” and
“bu-hao,” thereby solving the decision making process for yet another day and nyet.
“Stack the dishes? Organize my dresser drawers? Let alone just stuff them away? Way too much to ask a
Crum to accomplish in just one day. A bother to be sure, a crum under the matress to disturb an
otherwise decent sleep. To much order in a normally disordered universe,” grumbles, mumbles grouchy
It was like a bee in Crum’s bonnet, if you get the picture.
Mr. Crum looks about and down at what should be the floor but alas, alack, the floor is covered, it doesn’
t look back. It’s covered with books and such, piled high so, that the door is hiding behind expired come-
on letters from phone and companies long extinct, with false desires inviting rewards to the beholder and
In Crum’s head, visualizing, he knows deep inside some of this has to go. He sees it all: dumpster diving,
back flip, swan, and cannon ball all voted a 10 by the Olympic junk diving team. This picture in his mind
glows as he searches for the door he know is near, hidden by a mound of books and magazines. “I need
this; I want that for”…and crunch underfoot of some unknown object, as he stoops to look only to bang
his head on another tower of rubble of unknown origins. “Oh well tomorrow I’ll get to this.” He moves
as a blind man, reverses his steps to the front door and to fresh air and light. It sometimes give him a
fright, the drastic change, that is.
BOTH OF THEM:
They both agree having cats gives one glee B-U-T kitty litter between the toes? That’s too much for both
and recognized as such. Kitty and litter out the door, oh please don’t get your panties in a bunch, when
step comes to crunch, a wish by both, not carried out as such. Just a “yuck” heard from both while
thinking, maybe not a joke.
Mr. Crum, food in the fridge is a must but one lets it sit to become another alien life form, and he
wonders why the EPA makes his house a standard to live-not-by, an example of how it shouldn’t be
done is the lead off on their pamphlets for new home owners, college students and witless protection
types never having lived alone away from home.
Ms Mungen’s kitchen is complete with doilies and treats, couldn’t be any more neat. Close your eyes,
and in order alphabetical, herbs and spices know their places.
Crum knows it’s time dumpster filling a duty to be consummated. He backs out the door looking at his
bulging house, backwards walking “what a crime, my home is too small for all my stuff. My house like the
mind of the great leaders of our times full of stuff but need more room to accumulate the data to make a
decision. Oh me oh my a torch and a gallon of gasoline would refine the dilemma I’m in; no good
decision. The horns they stick me either way.
Ms Mungen mumbling walking tells herself, “put a sock in it!” to her mind and the guilt of the lonely little
sock, alone and so cold runs smack into Mr. Crum.
“Pardon me, Miss.”
“No pardon me sir.” They both spontaneously say. Bowing low, honor bound polite flustered, glasses on
the ground groping blind as bats the two of them.
Oh pardon me, sorry.
PALEEESE your hand!
Madam that’s my leg.
Giggle laughing sidewalk sitting on. They look at each other,
“We have not been properly introduced,” says one
“On the contrary, I think we’ve gotten to know each other rather well…”
And quickly giggles and laughs.
“My name is Crum,” as he bows his voice is smothered. His usual ‘bah humbug’ forgotten, ‘bu-hao, nyet’
all but gone.
“Mine is Mungen,” she says bowing in a proper manner. The memory of the sock is forgotten to the
And now the lost lonely unmated sock is lost to the universal sock thief, stealing into the house, seeking
out solitary socks where only single socks will go. It takes lonely hose to care for in a proper manner, and
high foots it away.
“I would invite you in but my home is in disorder that finding the door is quite a tall order,” Crum
“Then to mine, it’s organized fine. I insist.” Mungen say with definite politeness.
“Yes, very good. Lets do.” He agrees.
Off, arm in arm this unlikely pair begins, Crum and Mungen a romance in the offing if only after a
warning of major spring cleaning whispered a bit too loudly to herself. Crum silently agreeing, a tear from
his eye leaks, to tear himself away from that heap of saved wealth, a symbol, a collection of toys, a
diorama, of his life. But in his thumping heart, joy.
Mr. Crum not quite a bum
A pack rat none the less.
A family of Crums
Long line from:
Crum Buns to Crum Les
Fastidious in mind and deed
Her home a museum.
All things placed
in their space and not
a dust spec to be seen.
Together the Crum-Mungen household
More relaxed, disorder controlled
Each with an eye to the past
A sigh, a silent cry, every then and when.
But looking around happiness within.
Bah Humbug, Bu Hao.
nyet to be heard or scene.
Happily ever after?
Well, maybe, in their dreams.
Any resemblance to any grouch, grump, crum, crumcake, bun, eaten or still on the shelf or other
characters portrayed, real or fictional in this story is purely confectional.