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Cast of Characters

People mentioned more than once, in Breakfast at the Diner (BD), Company Culture (CC), Pathetic Life (PL), or any other vaguely autobiographical entries.


Adelle: My sister Katrina's close friend since they were kids.

Anna: FiancĂ©e of my late brother Ralph. A therapist of some kind, but as I haven't been close to the family, that's about all I know about her. 

Annie: Another close friend of my sister Katrina, since they were kids.

April: A long-time girlfriend who dumped me, which left me depressed for several years and took me from fat to very fat. PL

Babs: My boss's boss at Macy's. A tall 40-something with an accent I suspected was affected, and a streak of cold-blooded meanness. PL

Bearded Brimstone: A Christian street-preacher, usually at Ellis & Stockton. "Repent, ye sinners, repent!" PL

Beatrice: A worker in a different department at Macy's, who was briefly a semi-friend until we disagreed about politics. PL

Becca: Musically-inclined co-worker at AA, who left the company under mysterious circumstances. CC

Brian: My best friend in my 20s and early 30s. Very smart, bit of a dreamer, very successful in his high-tech career, and he's become a Republican.

Bruno: My best friend from childhood, now dead. He was plump and shy like me, but with more sympathy for right-wing and Christian perspectives.

Cam: Dingbat downstairs neighbor at the Union Square rez hotel. PL

Carlotta: A co-worker at Macy's. Asian, young, very pretty and married, but still oddly flirtatious at work. Which was OK by me. PL

Cathy: Two women I dated in the late 1970s, Cathy #1, and Cathy #2.

Cindy: One of the slicers at AA, working in the basement. Nice lady. Been there 30 years. CC

Clay: My second-oldest brother. Mathematician. Divorced and remarried, his wife is Karen, their sons are Tom and Michael, and they're all very Christian but also good people.

The Crooner: A street-singer in the Union Square area, specializing in 1940s and '50s standards. PL

Cy: A flatmate at my place in Berkeley. Worked from home, so he was always there. PL

Dad: Scientist, good husband and father, very Christian, and now very dead.

Daniel: Boss in the mailroom at AA, for my first six years at that job. Smart, helpful, gave a damn. CC

Darla: My boss at Macy's, from 1994-95. Nice enough lady, but she never learned much about what we did. PL

Dave: Boyfriend of my sister Katrina, in the 1990s.

Dr Dentist: Briefly my dentist in 1994, and he might be the reason I've had recurring fevers ever since. PL

Dahlia Diamond: Low-level but charming drag and drama queen in San Francisco. PL

Dick: My oldest brother. Divorced and remarried, his wife is Young-sook. Loves music, and directs the church choir and orchestra.

Doug: Why, that's me. Pleased to meet you.

Duncan: Had my job at AA, before me. Now he's an assistant VP. CC

Elton: Nobody's cat, but she adopted me when I lived at the house in Berkeley. Had lots of fleas. PL

R Seth Friedman: Publisher of Factsheet Five, the mega-zine of zines. PL

George: My nephew, oldest child of my sister Katrina. There's nothing much to say about him, except that he smokes a lot of doobie. 

Another George: A janitor an Macy's who became a friend, and became Stanley. PL

Geraldine: The arrogant, angry woman who owns the shop under Unusualia. PL

Gray: A remarkably stupid white man who looks good in a suit, for which he was promoted from vice president to senior vice president at Macy's. PL

Linda Guerrero: One of the company VPs at AA. My boss's boss's boss. CC

Harvey: One of the Michelin chefs at the diner. BD

Hazel: My oldest sister, mother of John and Roy Jr. She's in a wheelchair, and lives in a nursing home. Has all her smarts, but has great difficulty speaking.

Heather Locklear: A beautiful face on billboards all over town. PL

Hector: A co-worker at Macy's, until he was laid off. Catholic, and don't you forget it. PL

Doogie Howser, MD: My doctor at Kaiser Permanente. Looks about 15. PL

Jake: Judith;s husband, so my flatmate while I lived in Berkeley. PL

Janey/Jilly/Judy/Jodie: Kallie's kinda hippie-dippie flatmate, whose name I could never remember. PL

Jay: Maker of fish, and my boss when I ran the fish stand. PL

Jennifer: My 'lead' on the price-change team at Macy's regional offices. What she lacked in brains, she made up in meanness. PL

Joanna: Daughter of Margaret, born circa 1990. I'm not her father, I was told when I asked. 

Joe: A flatmate when I lived in Berkeley. Very introverted, just like me, so we never said anything to each other. PL

John: My nephew, son of my sister Hazel and her first husband, Linc. PL

Jose: Proprietor of Jose Sounds Sensational, where you could rent speakers and microphones and woofers and tweeters and me. PL

Judith: A writer and Berkeley eccentric who rescued me from Pike and Terry and let me live in her house. PL

Judy: A co-worker at Macy's. Patriotic. "We're not going to sit here and listen to you bad-mouth the United States of America!" PL

Kallie: A co-worker and friend from Macy's. About my age, she was also a crush, but me being me I never said anything. PL

Karen: Wife of my brother Clay, and mother of Tom and Michael, their two now-grown children. She's retired now, but used to be a scientist. Ain't no dummy, her. PL

Katrina: My second-oldest sister. A responsible adult, but cool enough to smoke dope and laugh a lot. Mother of George and Kimberly. PL

Kimberly: My niece — a little kid when I knew her, but I was away for a long time and she grew up, became a successful lesbian businesslady. PL

Kirstin: The only waitress at Bob's Diner. BD

Jeff Koyen: Roach-wrangler, and publisher of the zine Crank. PL

LeeAnn: Co-owner of Unusualia/Urban Mermaids, where I twirled on the sidewalk. PL

Leon: A good friend from my early adulthood era. Mostly, we shared a sense of humor and an interest in sports, but I've lost the interest in sports.

Libby: Co-worker at AA, sometimes on the audit team, and sometimes on the basement's other team, slicing and scanning incoming mail. CC

Linc: My sister Hazel's first husband, father of their son, John. PL

The Littlest Pervert: My disparaging nickname for a short and annoying homeless guy who once manhandled me. PL

Lottie: That's Carlotta, which see.

Louie: A co-worker at Macy's. Gay, chill, funny, and almost a friend, until he was laid off. PL

Lugosi: Big dog with a history of biting people, but he always liked me, when I lived at the shared house in Berkeley. PL

Luke: A resident of the Union Square rez hotel when I lived, and definitely not a Christian. PL

Madeline: First wife of my brother, Dick. She divorced him. PL

Maggie: An ex-girlfriend, lady of mighty mood swings and a good uppercut punch. PL

Stuart Mangrum: Publisher of Twisted Times, and a Cacophony Society regular. PL

Marcia: A co-worker at Macy's, who was brilliant and should've been the boss. PL

Marianna: Daughter of my brother Dick and his first wife Madeline. PL

Margaret: A Maggie by any other name. 

Michael: Youngest son of by brother Clay and his wife Karen.

Molly: Co-worker at McDonald's, my first job. She was my first kiss that mattered, and my first almost everything.

Mom: She's my mother. Christian. Wants me to move home. Knows better than me how my life should be run, and heck, maybe she's right. PL

The Mumbling Man, or Mr Mumbles: My non-speaking neighbor down the hall at the rez hotel near Union Square. PL

Nanette: Lead, on my auditing team at AA. Astoundingly kind, but none too clever. She'd been working there for nearly 25 years. CC

Olivia: Lead, on the slicing and scanning team at AA. Friendly, smart, been there 45 years, and knew the answers to absolutely all work-related questions. CC

Mr Patel: My landlord at every rez hotel where I've ever lived, though it was always a different Mr Patel. PL

Peter: A co-worker on the price change team at Macy's. Briefly my hero, when he refused to donate to United Way. PL

Phillip Stone: A reader of the zine whose subscription was cancelled by me. PL

Ralph: My youngest brother, and the first of us to die. A petty but repeat criminal in his younger years, he went nice and straight toward the end. PL

Robin: A co-worker at the survey job, before Pathetic Life. She was young and pretty, and we both liked the same song on the radio. 

Roy: My sister Hazel's second husband, and father of Roy Jr. PL

Roy Jr: The son of my sister Hazel and her ex-husband Roy. PL

Stanley: A friend from work at Macy's, who bought the truck that brought me to California. He started as George but asked for the name change. PL

Stephanie: My wife since 1997, gone since 2018, and the best human I've ever known. 

Stevi: Co-owner of Unusualia/Urban Mermaids. Charmingly butch. PL

Stu: A friend, mostly in my 20s. He was a brash but funny man, who (after I knew him) later married, had two kids, and then simply disappeared.

Tim: Quiet co-worker on the auditing team at AA, who eventually quit to work with tigers and other big cats. CC

Tom: Oldest son of by brother Clay and his wife Karen.

Tommy: My boss at the survey company, before Pathetic Life started.

Vance: My sister Katrina's husband. Nice guy. Atheist. Father of George and Kimberly. Died young. PL

Bob Vaughn: Played a mighty Wurlitzer. PL

The Whoremonger: A Christian street-preacher at the cable car turnaround in San Francisco. "America, repent your whoring ways!" PL

Young-sook: Wife of my brother Dick. She's a Korean immigrant, and more than a little loopy in the head.

Yvonne: Overprotective older sister of Margaret. Hated me. Probably a good judge of character. PL

Zeke: Brilliant but stressed out about everything, and far too persnickety about auditing policies at AA. Nice guy, though. CC