Awake, You Sleepers!

Once there were three citizens of a bungalow-kingdom.

There was Lord Delancey, brave and strong and true, who strode forward each day, leaving the bungalow-boundaries. He went forth and slew any pesky dragons he encountered and then he returned, around 5:45, for dinner and a couple of episodes of Twin Peaks before retiring to his reading chair with a thick book of modern wisdom.

Lord D

(Someone once suggested to him that he could be known as the BungaLord, but he said, “No. Lord Delancey will be just fine, thank you.”)

There was Dame Dowenwanna. She’d slewn a few of her own dragons in the day, thank you very much, but, for the most part, she was pretty happy now to be the main bungalow-maintainer. She greased the wheels and stoked the fires and made sure the lamps were lit in the gathering dark.

Dame D

And finally there was young Lord Lyric, who was slowly but firmly, step by tender step, learning the art of dragon-slaying. He ventured out into that noble world just a little, but, every season, a little bit more.

And meantime, he chronicled BungaLife with his clever and witty songs.

Three citizens of Bungalow

All for one to make life go

Swift and smooth and straight and slick

Collaborate to make things tick!

And things hummed along pretty smoothly.

And then the power stopped surging to things here and there.


First it was the garbage disposal. Dame Dowenwanna was preparing a lovely stew, with carrots and potatoes, celery and onion, and she gleefully peeled and diced and rough chopped. And then she sink-dumped the peelings and the scrapings and she pushed them toward the disposal’s metal maw—she pushed with a wooden spoon, turned a strong stream of water on the mushy mess, and hummed while she reached under the sink to flick on the disposal switch.

But, instead of the expected electronic, metallic gnashing, there was silence. No whirring into action. Nothing.

The sodden veggie peels waited, limp and disgusting.

Dame Dowenwanna toggled the switch. She took a break and let it rest and tried again. She kept it up for 15 minutes and then she said, “Something’s wrong.” She went and got a plastic bag and scraped all the veggie residue into it, and she disposed of those leavings by hand.


When Lord Delancey came home for dinner, she informed him of the issue. He stood at the sink, ran the water, and flicked the switch. And still, nothing happened.

There was a time of quiet, and then, between them, Lord and Dame, they called it.

“The garbage disposal,” they said, sadly, “is dead.”

Oh, we have lost our garbage disposal!

Will it be replaced?

Who knows,

Who knowsal?

Peely scrapey, where’ll you go???

“Why, thank you, Lord Lyric,” said Dame Dowenwanna. And the young Lord bowed and went to sit at the dining table. Disposal or not, dinner must be served.


The next morning, Lord Lyric went to work at his computer. He was humming a merry little lay-about-y tune, brisk and sunny. The tune grew slower, and then it grew less sunny, and then a despondent Lord Lyric stuck his face through the kitchen doorway.

And he said this:

My monitor keeps dying!

“Oh, NO,” said Dame Dowenwanna.

“Perhaps,” said Lord Lyric, “when Lord Delancey comes back, we will call the corporate help desk together. Meanwhile,” and he pulled himself up to his full height, pointed his left index finger at the ceiling, and firmed up his voice, “meanwhile, I have no choice. I will have to type on my laptop.”


Dame Dowenwanna shook her head sadly and went back to stuffing food scrapings into an old Kroger bag. She heard young Lyric singing from his workspace.

Oh, oh, lackaday me!

My monitor’s dark

And I can’t see

The words I’ve typed

Though I’ve squinted and stared

Oh, how long

Till it’s repaired?


She bagged the garbage.

He used his laptop.

And the next night, as darkness spread its inky stain over the world, Lord Delancey opened the dishwasher door, and he stood assessing. Hip cocked, lips pursed, he looked, and then he thought, “Aha!”, and he bent down to act. He rearranged a glass and a plate. He moved a serving dish from top rack to bottom. He rinsed out his ice cream bowl, lodged it securely into the new space he’d created, and stepped back to look once more.

Satisfied, smiling, he drew a dishwasher pod from the cupboard under the sink, and he secured it firmly into the pod-place. And then he turned the dishwasher on.

But nothing happened.

He started over. He checked for obstructions. He insured the machine was plugged in.

And then he closed the door and tried again.

The machine did not respond.


Oh, sang Lord Lyric,

There’s sadness in the land

And all the bungaladishes,

They must be washed by hand.

Those nasty pots a-soaking?

Attack them with a will-oh!

The dishwasher died,

And you’re left with just a



Life went on in the bungalow, but it was just a little more bumpy. Dame Dowenwanna sighed a lot more often, and she clattered dishes when it was time for clean-up, and Lord Delancey found himself elbow-deep in soap suds much more regularly. And young Lyric muttered and grumbled as he pounded the fragile keyboard of his laptop.

Once a day, at least, one of them would mutter, We have to get this fixed!

But time went by, as time is wont to do. Days began and ended, months slipped by, and seasons changed.

Years,–yes, even years--passed.


And then one morning—well, who knows why Dowenwanna did it? There, in the midst of her Saturday morning cleaning, she reverted to old habits, turned on the water, flipped an under-sink switch,—and Dame Dowenwanna began dancing around the kitchen, breakfast dishes be damned.

“Listen!” she caroled, and both the Lords came running—running to hear a raspy metallic chortle.

“The disposal!” she cried “It’s working!”

Lord Delancey grabbed her and they swung around in an elegant waltz, and Lord Lyric sang,

To life!

To life!


…which was the best he could do under such frenetic circumstances.

And Lord Lyric got a thoughtful look, and while Delancey and Dowenwanna danced, he slipped away to his desktop.

The only noise for just a bit was the musical chomping of the disposal and the pounding of four dancing feet,…but then! A triumphant song!

Oh, my monitor:

Happy day!

The lights are on

And I have to say,

A new cord’s

What made it work!

Two years dormant;

Oh, I feel like a jerk!

Ho, de hidey, ho de ho!


And Dame Dowenwanna shooed Lord Delancey out of the kitchen, turned off the disposal and pulled out the mop so she could clean the floor. She swept and she scrubbed. She maneuvered the mop into corners and nooks; she mopped around Lyric’s large sneakered feet when he sidled in, in his joy, to get a snack. She pushed the mop beneath the moribund dishwasher and she hummed as she twiddled the mophead around, pulling out dust and ditties.

And then she swirled around, dancing the mop into the space surrounding the stove.

And Lyric stopped short.

“Dame,” he said.

And when she, humming, didn’t hear him, “DAME,” he said, louder.

And pointed toward the dishwasher.

Which was on.

They shouted in wonder; Delancey came running. They fiddled with buttons, touched spots on the touchscreen. They ran a refreshing rinse cycle.

Because it was true: the dishwasher, too, was working.


Oh, oh, what do you know?

Machines must sleep!

Nap’s over, though.

A turn of events

Precisely stunning:

What once was junk,

Now is running!

Happy happy hey hey hey!


Oh, the happy bungalow hum! Garbage disappeared, a desktop keyboard preened under a long overdue stroking, and three people woke up to gleaming, sanitized dishes.

What a day! What a wonderful day! Who knew that appliances, electronic devices, machines, could heal themselves!

Breakfast was a grand affair, and Delancey garbed himself for his daily foray—dragons were no match for a man with his dishwasher restored—and strode off into the thick of it.

Lyric, words pounding in his head, marched off to pound on his keyboard.

And Dowenwanna, after checking her email and ordering a book or two online, swirled through the house with the dust mop. She vanquished a few stubborn cobwebs, and she swiped a bit of fuzz from the woodwork.

And then she pulled the heavy old vacuum cleaner from the closet, let lose its cord, and plugged it in.


Lyric came running when he heard her wail. He saw her, bent over the lifeless cleaning machine, the vacuum cleaner that refused to suck, and a dirge leapt into his mind. He opened his lips to sing.

But Dowenwanna lifted a hand, palm out.

“Don’t EVEN,” she said, and she wrapped the cord around the prongs and trundled the vacuum, verve vacated, back to its dark and lonely hiding place.