“Mr. Mumsford” Summary: Larry French Short Story Plot Synopsis

“Mr. Mumsford” is a very short flash story by Larry French about a janitor who feels pushed to the edge because people don’t know his real name. The actual story isn’t much longer than this summary, so I suggest reading it as well. Here’s a summary of “Mr. Mumsford”.

“Mr. Mumsford” Summary

Bibs, a tall African-American man, has been working at a small southern school as a janitor for twenty-seven years. On his first day, he wore a pair of bib overalls, which earned him his nickname.

He plans to kill the principal tonight. He’s never killed a person before, only rabbits. He’s not very intelligent and doesn’t have any qualms about what he’s decided to do.

Earlier, Bibs got a baseball bat from the equipment room and hid between the lockers in the hallway. He waits there now for the principal to come out of his office.

A little after ten, the principal comes out, locks up and walks down the hall. Bibs steps out in front of him. The principal is surprised to see Bibs at this time of night.

Mr. Mumsford SummaryLarry French Short Story Plot Synopsis
“Mr. Mumsford” Summary

Bibs grips the bat tightly and says he’s going to kill him because no one at the school has ever learned his real name. Even the woman who has to write his real name on his paycheck puts it in an envelope marked “Bibs”. He knows many of the student’s names but none of them know his.

The principal asks his real name, which is Ralph Mumsford. This is an unusual name for a Black man, and the principal urges him to look it up in the school library. He asks if Bibs wouldn’t kill him if he and the teachers used his real name from now on. Bibs agrees.

Noticing the principal looks tired, he says a Christian man should always have supper with his wife. The principal agrees and calls Bibs “Mr. Mumsford”. He walks down the corridor and exits the building.

I hope this summary of “Mr. Mumsford” by Larry French was helpful.