How My Light Is Spent




Inspired By The  SFC Prompt    

” Milton And The Muse “    

Delarious Mandusa and Quash Mowers  work in a Funeral Home and they had great stories ( that they made up ) for how it was they came to be Grave Diggers that had nothing to do with reality but they were great stories.    

The problem was nobody ever asked.    

Delarious guessed that people assumed he dug graves for a living because of his name and Quash guesses that the fact he had born with a parasitic twin attatched to the top of his head ( his parents had named it Lawton ) that was removed a few months after they were born- was his reason for working at the Cemetery.    

But those weren’t the reasons- and the story about finding graves with their names and dates of  birth as the dates of death on the hundred year old headstones wasn’t even remotely close to the truth.    

The Grave Diggers with the colorful lives and equally colorful names became grave diggers because of a girl named Bonnie Sandeen.    

Years ago, when Delarious and Quash were kids they lived next door to each other and one day a little girl with big brown eyes and tangled brown hair moved into the   Bronson  House across the street.    

Her name was  Bonnie Sandeen and she collected bugs, comic books and bubble gum.    

She chewed it out of eyeshot of her Mother who wouldn’t allow Bonnie to chew gum because   Bonnie’s mother said that the gum would wear Bonnie’s teeth down to stumps and then where would she be in life?     

” I guess I’d be living somewhere with stumpy teeth and a tree full of chewed up bubblegum.”    

Akela looked down at her daughter and said, ” Bonnie, why on earth would you stick your chewed up gum on a tree?”    

” That’s how I get bugs for my collection.”     

” Oh  Bonnie. That’s just awful.”    

” I know, but look at it this way Mom, if anyone ever decides to collect bug’s legs they’re not going to care if I have a mouth full of stumpy teeth. They’re just going to be glad I was a bubblegum chewer.”    

So Bonnie continued to chew bubble gum, which when she snapped it between her teeth was as loud as gunshot and she also bought comic  books once a week at the 52nd Street Quickie Mart which is where Delarious and Quash met Bonnie.    

” The world is full of comic books and they’ve only got six titles here- can you belive that? And look only one scary one ” she said to them as they stood behind her waiting for their turn at the spinner rack.   

” We don’t collect those- we collect the Archie Comics. My friend had a parasite twin attached to the top of his head, show her Quash. ” Quash took off his hat so that Bonnie could see the top of his head which was flat and angled to the left.    

” That is amazing.” Bonnie sighed.    

” Yeah. We got plenty real weird in our life. ”    

” Oh. Did you have a parasite too?”    

” No, I’m Delarious Mandusa.”    

Bonnie’s mouth fell open and her gum fell out and stuck to the front of her t-shirt. ” You got named after the guy who found the Flying Dutchman?”    

” He was my Granfather.”    

Bonnie pulled the gum off her shirt and popped it back into her mouth.    

” You guys are the coolest human beings ever.”    

” You’re a pretty cool human too, ” Quash who was falling in love with Bonnie right then and there in front of the comic book rack said.    

And Bonnie laughed.    



 So Bonnie and Quash and Delarious grew up together and goofed off together and on the day Bonnie’s family sent her away to go to school in ” the old Country ” they made one last trip to the empty building where they first became friends.    

The comic book rack was still there and Bonnie told them, ” you just wait. One of these days you’re gonna see one of these things full of books and comics by Bonnie Sandeen.”    

” What? I thought you were going away to learn the family  business.” Quash said.    

” Yeah. Then I’m going to write about it. I figure I better get something out of being sent out to the middle of nowhere to learn how to find dead people. Geeze. Like that’s hard. ”    

” I thought your Mom said that wasn’t the hard part- she said the hard part was killing them.”    

 ” Blah blah blah.” Bonnie said.     

” But you don’t have a choice- right? I mean, you’re family hasn’t ever done anything except for-” Delarious mimicked  putting a stake to his heart with one hand and with the other pretended to pound it in with a mallet.    

Bonnie pulled a green square of bubblegum out of her pocket and tossed it into her mouth. ” Yeah. But I think there’s more to life then chasing around pale people with pointy teeth and bad breath. It ain’t like the movies guys. Those things are so dumb that they still haven’t figured out that if they don’t want to be found they need to quit putting their real names on their tombstones. You know what’s worse? I’ve got to go to the other side of the world and get a college degree to learn about them.    

Geeze, all my family has to so is rent me some movies and buy me a stack of comic books- they’d save themselves a ton of money and they’d save themselves the embarrassment of the sucky novel I’m going to write about them based on the Santa’s Village Incident.”    

” The Mountlake Mall will probably never get another guy to do the Santa thing at Christmas and forget getting anyone to dress up like elves in this town again.”    

” Yeah. Well. That  entire deal was a train wreck just waiting to happen.”  Bonnie said   

Like good friends the boys agreed.    


It was about four years after Bonnie’s second book was turned into a movie that Quash and Del decided to chase after their own dream- and that dream involved the smell of fresh cut grass and heavy machinery.   

So instead of chasing after ghosts, or going out of your way to make sure that the world never found out that the parasitic twin that was removed from your head was alive and screaming in silence in a jar in a museum basement and that it was still growing – Bonnie’s friends took her advice.   

And in case you’re curious.   

Yes she did write about it and she dedicated the story to    

Del And Quash.   




I Guess It Was A Secret

When I was about eight my family moved out of Seattle- they took me away from Greenlake, my friends Bonnie and Laurie who belived that when we grew  up we would   fight monsters, become Captains of our own spaceships  and if we were lucky move to Transylvania and get little castles with cypts in our basements next door to each other.

I was not happy about this great big idea that was being forced on me by my parents.

So, just before we left Seattle for the wilds of Mountlake Terrace my Grandma’s sister told me a story about the place I was moving to. I guess she told it to me because she believed it would cheer me and a give me something to look forward to.

I wasn’t like other kids, as you may have guessed, so you couldn’t cheer me up the way you would cheer well, a normal kid up.

 My Grandmother’s family learned this little factoid about me started shortly after we had just moved from Hawaii. One day they took me  the zoo and we would saw these wild rabbits running around and I said out the blue – ” I’ll bet they catch those and feed them to the tigers .”

” A few years ago a plane crashed in Mountlake Terrace.”

I stopped hoping that Zombies would eat  the entire population of Terrace and thus save me from this awful fate long enough to say ” Really.”

” It was awful.”

I was all ears.

” There was a fire and…”

And this is where I sort of got some points wrong.

When my Granmother’s sister told me that a plane had crashed, just blocks away from my new house and that people had been ‘ lost’ I assumed it meant

” How come they never found it?”

” What?”

” The burning plane, how come they never found it?”

” What?”

” Are they all blind up there, couldn’t they see where it crashed?”

My Grandpa was helping to take boxes out to the moving truck and he told my Grandmother’s sister as he walked by “That girl’s brain is like a meat grinder. Anything you put into it is going to get turned into mush at the other end.”

I stopped and pictured it and found I really liked  the idea of having a meat grinder inside of my skull. When I was done turning that nifty picture around my head I was going to ask some more questions about the plane- but my Grandmother’s sister was gone- in fact she never had much to say to me after that day.

A week or two after moving to Terrace I hadn’t made many friends.

So pretty much friendless and with all of that free time on my hands I decided to go and look for the crashed plane that had been ‘ lost’.

I had this bag of snacks, a little notebook and a camera and every Saturday morning I started to go through the ‘woods’ that used to be around here looking for plane wreckage.

On one of my trips some of the neighbor kids  asked me where I was going and I told them. After that it became something we did in our spare time. I won’t fool you, I wasn’t fond of my new ‘friends’ who didn’t know about Space Ships or Monsters or grave robbing. But it was something fun to do in the days before Malls and Computer Games.

It was on one of our last trips mostly because  I had this great idea involving a Pirate Ship / Fort  and the search for the ” Burning Plane ” was drawing to a close that this guy who lived on the next block over asked what we were doing and I told him.

” Well. That’s about the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard no planes have ever crashed around here. Ever. Let alone a burning plane.”

In fact, that wasn’t the only time I had heard that.

Every time  I told anyone what I was doing on Saturday Mornings a lot of older people seemed to go out of their way to tell an eight year old to grow up and quit looking for things that weren’t there.

No planes had ever, ever crashed in Terrace or anywhere near it I was told over and over again. I thought that the people who kept on insisting on that point were full of baloney and  in time I moved on to other ‘great ideas.’

But they must have worn me down because just about a month ago my husband asked me if I had seen the newspaper story about oh yes, a plane that crashed right here in Mountlake Terrace. Two people were killed ( lost ) on the ground and indeed a fire was involved.

I was stunned, ” You mean that was a true story?”

Here’s an interesting quote made 48 years later in from a story that the MLT News ran back in April

I never really heard anything about the crash anymore and so many people have moved or passed on and it was getting harder to verify the crash. Sometimes I would wonder if I really had witnessed the crash or was it a dream. I can still see it happen in my mind.


The thing of it is, less than 10 years after the crash when I turned up in Terrace- the burning plane was not only all but forgotten some people were insisting that the story was just that.

But let me tell you, if this kid who went hunting for Vampires and Zombies and burning planes was still around- she’d be all over this little story like ants crawling all over somebody buried up to their necks in sand and covered with honey.

Indeed she would be.