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Miguel Starkweather

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Dr. Miguel Starkweather: Former UCLA Professor of Literature; Los Angeles Co-Chair of the influential New World Press Publications Committee

Hometown: Dr. Starkweather, recently divorced (again), lived in East Los Angeles for over ten years before moving to the beach in Venice upon the second divorce.   Grew up in El Dorado, Kansas, but with several long stays in his mother’s home village in Guatemala.   In college, he became lifelong friends with the future scam artist Edgar Scattergood during a semester abroad in Dublin.

Drinks: Silver Patron tequila.

Funeral/Memorial Plans: Whatever most pisses off his ex-wives.

Other: Dr. Starkweather was just terminated as a UCLA Associate Professor of Literature because of the unusual publishing deal he makes with Scattergood and the family of Demod Smith.  Terminated even though his classes were one of the most popular on campus.     He was also the Los Angeles co-chair of the New World Press’s Publications Committee and a consultant for the University of California Press.   Dr. Starkweather was always willing to do anything to get more cool writers and poets published, a passion which  gets him fired.   He’ll do anything–even visit the Ozarks of Missouri–to get himself unfired.


Nathaniel Delaunay
Demod Smith  (1923-2010)

Demod Smith (No known photographs): Poet, Farmer; Author of the The Hayfield, an exceedingly long free blank verse meditation on drinking, creation, bugs, and physics.

Hometown:  Ironton, Missouri

Drinks: Budweiser

Funeral/Memorial: Demod’s grave can be found in Pisgah Cemetery at the foot of Taum Sauk Mountain. His e-Grave with Forever Prized.com pending final payment by his estate.


Hotaru Miyake

Hotaru Miyake

Hotaru Miyake: UCLA PhD program in Entomology

Hometown: Eugene, Oregon

Drinks: Absinthe

Funeral/Memorial Plans: Cremation, urn buried near Mount Rishiri-zan, Hokkaido, Japan

Other: Hotaru, 26, is pursuing her PhD in entomology at current at UC Riverside. Her project focuses on firefly unique to the autumnal Ozarks, B. Coleoptera. This firefly’s chemically-produced light, emitted from the lower abdomen, has a wavelength from 510 to 1700 nanometers. Hotaru is investigating B. Coleoptera behaviour to determine if differences in wavelength relate to its pursuit of mates versus prey. She was pleasantly surprised to be called up (mysteriously!) on The Hayfield duty as this firefly’s season is almost always turned on in the post-climate-change Ozarks.


Carla Found

Carla Found

Carla Found: Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles; lead prosecutor in People v. ForeverPrized.com, Inc.

Hometown: Santa Monica, California

Drinks: Cosmopolitans

Funeral/Memorial Plans: Not looking that far ahead yet.

Other: Carla is a 40 year old single mother of one daughter.  As a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles who has prosecuted several blockbuster fraud cases, she also wrote the definitive text on cyber-fraud.  Already an inconoclast in her profession, she negotiated for and got from the county her own ocean front office suite on Venice Beach, just upstairs from Dr. Scattergood’s office. She’s happiest when she’s putting the finishing touches on an unlawful business practices complaint or while traveling to Greece, France, and the Central and South American countries.   She has filed fraud charges against Dr. Scattergood and ForeverPrized.com.


Thomas Pinkhurst

Thomas Pinkhurst

Thomas Pinkhurst: UCLA PhD program in Literature

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Drinks: Dry martinis

Funeral/Memorial Plans: Due to his father’s considerable investment in cryogenics, Thomas’s will calls for the removal of his head for freezing with his body buried in the Arizona desert.

Thomas is getting his PhD in Literature at UCLA.  A semester abroad in London three years ago, as a junior at Arizona State University, made him a anglophile and the expert on British literature at any party that he manages to get himself invited to.   His brother is Nathaniel Delaunay (Nathaniel changed his name when he turned 18) and they haven’t spent more than a half-day together since Thomas left home for college in ‘05.


Dr. Odie Leucas

Dr. Odie Leucas

Dr. Odie Leucas: UCLA Professor Emeritus of Classics; Author; Poet

Hometown: Born in Tennessee, raised in Missouri and New York.   At thirteen, he had an influential summer staying with his Greek grandparents on Ithaca.

Drinks: Brandy; Budweiser

Funeral/Memorial Plans: Woodlawn Cemetary in Santa Monica next to his daughter.

Other: The legendary Dr. Leucas retired from UCLA’s Classics Department in 2007.  He lives with wife Ruth and granddaughter Sadie in Mar Vista.   Dr. Leucas has lost most of his sight to diabetes, and his disability has brought him even closer to Homer, the subject of his translations and many of his books and articles.   The Ozark poet Demod Smith so treasured Leucas’ tanslation and annotation of The Odyssey that Smith’s family attached one string to their generous “donation” to the University of California Press: that Dr. Leucas come out of retirement to work on the commentary for  The Hayfield.


Dr. Catherine Shockley

Dr. Catherine Shockley

Dr. Catherine Shockley: UCLA Professor of Literature

Hometown: New Orleans

Drinks: Malbec Wine

Funeral/Memorial Plans: New Orleans! Nuff said.

Known for her crisp, economical means of speaking, Dr. Shockley, 39,  is a rising star.  She’s just been named a co-editor of the next edition of the Norton Anthology of World Literature. She would not have come near The Hayfield project with a ten-foot hayfork were it not for Dr. Leucas’ personal and urgent entreaty.


Risa Marquez

Risa Marquez

Risa Marquez: Journalist; Author

Hometown: Corpus Christi, Texas

Drinks: Coupon Beer on Southwest

Funeral/Memorial Plans: Paris’ Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise, somewhere near Jim Morrison.  Though she’s read in the newspapers that Edgar Scattergood is nothing but a “thieving fictional character” Risa can’t help but eye Scattergood’s offer of an e-Grave in Harmony Glades that comes with video of Benjamin Bratt reading Shakespeare’s ”Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day” over her e-Grave each morning in perpetuity.

Other: Risa is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone Magazine and winner of the 2009 National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary for her article about Blind Willie Johnson’s life and music, “Willie the Revelator.”     Dr. Shockley is one of her oldest friends,  Risa will soon abruptly step out of her busy life of writing, book tours and interviews to join Dr. Shockley and the others in the Hayfield.


Nathaniel Delaunay

Nathaniel Delaunay

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Drinks: St. Pauli Girl

Funeral/Memorial Plans: Will donate body to science.

Nathaniel is a living flame capable of searing small bits of paper and heating thimbles of coffee. His mother is very proud, but his father wished he had gone into the ice cube business with him.  Otherwise, the working title of his masters thesis in literature is “Into the Next Frames of Literature: The Rise of the Graphic Novel.”


Karen Moore

Karen Moore

Hometown: Boston
Drinks: Guinness
Funeral/Memorial Plans: She and her friends have jokingly agreed to a stealth burial of Karen’s body alongside the original Mother Goose’s in Boston’s Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street.  Karen is joking about this, but realizes she has little control over what her friends and family will actually do with her body.

She’s pursuing her major in literature at UCLA with a thesis on American literature.  Her favorite class as UCLA so far has been Dr. Starkweather’s From Philip Roth to Junot Diaz:  Brilliant American Monologues. As the undergrad flunky on the UCLA “away team” she cannot publish posts or annotations here, but she does avail herself of the Comments sections from time to time.


Edgar Scattergood

Dr. Edgar Scattergood

Hometown: Dr. Scattergood is hard to pin down.  He was born in either Dublin, London or Sydney, depending on which way his accent blows on a given day.   He has lived in Los Angeles for at least 20 years.
Drinks: Blended scotch
Funeral/Memorial Plans: One of his own eGraves in the elite Whispering Dells.

It is not clear what doctorate Dr. Scattergood, 45,  holds but his family and acquaintances recall that he added the designation to his name in the early 1980s. He is a self-described self-made millionaire, a self-described published author, and the CEO of Forever Enterprises, Inc.  He and his wife Esther have four children, all of whom work for the company.


Simon Mahamitra Singh

Simon Mahamitra Singh

Hometown: Austin, Texas
Drinks: Mojitos
Funeral/Memorial Plans: Cremation, with ashes spread around the Hill Country of Texas.

Simon is Edgar Scattergood’s in-house counsel at ForeverPrized.com, Inc., and an expert in intellectual property, internet buisness practices, and website incorporation.  Alongside with the terabyte-sized chip on one shoulder, Simon hears the  wise voice and counsel of his generous father,  Sadish Singh, a doctor much respected and beloved in Austin.  On the other shoulder, or actually looking over it, he has Dr. Scattergood’s tempting voice, who has found a way to make a fortune with Simon’s counsel.  Scattergood pays Simon handsomely for that help.  Finally, Simon is taking acting classes from an unusually demanding teacher.


Dr. Sarah Carson

Dr. Sarah Carson

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Drank: Beer and wine.

Funeral/Memorial Plans: Lost at sea off the coast of Belize during a hurricane in 1961.  Upon her death, several broken-hearted scientists named stars and new species of insects after her.

Dr. Carson was one of the world’s first prominent female entomologists.   Her life, death at age 27, and beauty helped set in motion the events of this story.    Arnie himself will utter her name near the end of Demod Smith’s poem, The Hayfield, and the Leucas-Shockley team will find this photograph in the Ozark cabin where either the poet or Arnie lived.  The identity of the man sitting in the country with Dr. Carson is not yet known (the team would like to rule Arnie out since he’s a fictional character).


Arnie and The Hayfield

Arnie and The Hayfield

Hometown: Arnie (photo unavailable) was born in the opening lines of The Hayfield.
Drinks: Budweiser
Funeral/Memorial Plans: “Reckon I’d be under a stone on an Ozark hill looking west.  But if I’m just a fictional character,  then bury me in an influential footnote.”

In an earlier draft of The Hayfield (soon to be found by the scholars) the poet discloses that the t-shirt Arnie wears under his Big Smiths bears the statement, “Don’t Drink and Derive.” Along with references to doppler technology, eclipses, and starlight, the t-shirt provides another clue that Arnie may have burned through a career in physics before he turned to or returned to the Ozarks.  This photograph is of his hayfield and silo just before the poet called upon a week-long storm to heighten the effects of his haiku.

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