Wednesday, May 19, 2010


As promised, here is Part One of the official WHO'S WHO in PLEASANTVIEW! These entries will be interspersed with various chapters of Spy Guys until our WHO'S WHO is done.

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Skip Simpson, a/k/a the "Skipster" -- The Skip Simpson you see on this blog, a/k/a "The Skipster," is in his late thirties. Romantically, he's always been somewhat of a loner... until recently. After a short career in the military, which (we can now safely assume) was followed by a five-year stint with the international spy organization known as GLOBE, the Skipster decided to rejoin the "real" world and indulge his creative side. He wound up at a Boston TV station, which in turn brought him into contact with the man he calls "the Foxster," approximately five years the Skipster's junior. They collaborated on and sold the screenplay for an immensely-popular cult film called Son of Reefer Madness, and the rest is history. In no time at all, the two were enormously wealthy, becoming friends and/or associates of some of the biggest names in the entertainment field... as well as Ben Affleck and Paris Hilton, apparently. Approximately two years ago, however, the Skipster relocated from Massachusetts to Alabama, where the distance from the Foxster eventually put a strain on their partnership. (Oh, and by the way: Neither the real Skip Simpson nor his blog counterpart have the name "Skip" on their birth certificates. Just sayin'.)

David M. Lynch, a/k/a the "Foxster" -- Things don't always go according to plan... For Massachusetts-born David M. Lynch -- his "M" stands for Macaulay, by the way, unlike my own middle name of Michael! -- said plan was for him to become an investigative journalist right out of high school, roughly fifteen years ago. Instead, he worked (briefly) writing "goo-goo love poetry" for a greeting card company before landing a job in New York on the writing staff of a daytime soap opera called Ocean Haven, under the pseudonym of "David DaSilva." The restless young David then migrated west toward California, stopping off in Las Vegas, where -- again, briefly -- he was employed by headliner Barry Cabana. (Sometime during this period, David picked up the nickname of "The Silver Fox," which years later became "the Foxster," thanks to Skip "Skipster" Simpson.) After finding work in Tinseltown -- mostly as an uncredited re-write man for the major studios -- David used emails & faxes to keep his foot in the proverbial Hollywood "door" so he could move back to Massachusetts. While working for a Boston TV station, he met and formed a creative partnership with the Skipster. Their collaborative efforts soon made them rich, but a strain between them resulted from the Skipster's move to Alabama roughly eight years later, a strain which resulted in a mercifully-short "feud" during which the two dissolved their partnership. At feud's end, the Foxster relocated to Alabama to prevent further occurrences of this sort. The Foxster is in his early thirties. He has very weak, light-sensitive eyes, and usually wears dark prescription sunglasses, even at night... which many mistake for an eccentric affectation. Romantically, the Foxster has always see-sawed between being somewhat of a committed idealist, and somewhat of a self-proclaimed "male slut"... until recently.

Gretchen Von Grüber -- Hailing from Germany, along with her Uncle Kris Von Grüber, his wife Dotty, and several family members who comprised the Kris Von Grüber Happy Oompah Band, Gretchen was orphaned as a youngster. Gretchen is in her late twenties. While still a teenager, she entered into an unhappy marriage with a verbally and physically abusive husband named Friedrich. For all intents and purposes, the marriage ended when Friedrich pushed a pregnant Gretchen down a flight of stairs, causing her to lose the baby. Eventually, the Von Grübers relocated to South Dakota. When Gretchen read that the Simpson/Lynch partnership had (temporarily) ended, she applied for the job of the Skipster's Personal Assistant (later Executive Assistant to both the Skipster and the Foxster). In no time at all, she had fallen deeply in love with the Skipster, but had no idea he felt the same about her until he proposed to her at the grand opening gala for the Kewl Beanz! coffeehouse, restaurant, & night club. Before another month had gone by, the Skipster had whisked her away for several romantic weeks in Hawaii. Soon after their return, however, she developed doubts about their relationship...

Tara King -- Tara's history is spotty at best before she was hired (as a paid intern) by the Skipster, at the same time as he hired Gretchen. All we really know about her prior to that was that she was homeless for a time and living in Gainesville, Florida, before travelling to Pleasantview to apply for the position of "paid intern." She claims a "classical education," which is not exactly borne out by her purported attendance at the University Of Florida in Gainesville on her original job application to what was then known as Simpson Studio. As it is, however, she evidently did not attend UF. She appears to be in her early twenties, but constantly remarks that "I'm older than I look." The highly-intelligent Tara is quick to anger, but just as quick to calm down and apologize when shown the error of her ways. She is also fluent in several languages... English, German, and Chinese (at least, the linguistic subdivision spoken by Luke), to name only three. In fact, she rapidly taught English to Gretchen. When Tara and Gretchen met, the two women formed an immediate bond. Similarly, even before the Skipster and the Foxster reconciled, Tara had formed an immediate, romantic (and reciprocal) attachment for the Foxster as well. She briefly left the Skipster's employ and moved to Massachusetts to live with the Foxster, but joined the resurrected Simpson/Lynch Studios when the Foxster moved down South. Shortly thereafter, Tara was promoted to the newly-created position of Manager of Kewl Beanz!, after which she and the Foxster became even closer. She moved into his newly-purchased house shortly before a terrible misunderstanding and vicious verbal argument between the two caused her to leave him. Her current status as an employee of Simpson/Lynch Studios has not yet been revealed. Tara has recently completed & sold a novel entitled Thaleia: A Love Story, for which she received a huge advance royalty check from her publisher.

Luke Tian (Xu-Ning Tian) -- Luke, who is in his mid-twenties, has been estranged from his family ever since he had an angry disagreement with his aged grandfather eight or nine years ago. He was immediately disowned by his father, Alan Tian, owner of a prosperous Boston, Massachusetts, import/export company known as Tian Global. Luke met Tara King about four years ago when the two were homeless in Gainesville; in tender conversational moments, Tara refers to Luke as her "little brother" although he is apparently two or three years her elder. At the time of their meeting, he was using the rather awkward alias of "Kato Kato." After joining Tara on her bus trip from Gainesville to Pleasantview, he used the Kato Kato alias when he applied for the multiple positions of cook, limousine driver, bodyguard, and "houseboy" for Simpson Studio. Luke recently began using his real name again, however, after attempting a reconciliation with his father. (No details of this attempt have yet been revealed, but it apparently did not go well.) Luke is a superb cook, a skilled chauffeur, and a reluctant but able fighter. He is also as obsessed with pop culture as is the Foxster, whom Luke has come to like and respect despite their initial misgivings about one another (forged during the Skipster/Foxster "feud").

More Coming Friday!

And thanks for your time.


  1. Sharp-Eyed ReaderMay 19, 2010 at 3:11 AM

    HEY! Tara's photo was first used in the "Barry's Bon Voyage" post, which took place BEFORE Tara and the Foster broke up, and I didn't notice this then, but in that photo, Tara's not wearing the necklace that the Foxster gave her months ago! I thought she only removed it in the shower! What gives? At first, I thought Barry might have swiped it when she kissed him on the cheek, but she had it on during the argument in the "I Hope There's No GUN in the House!" post, which came later! You guys have just lost ALL credibility. So sad...

  2. @Sharp-Eyed Reader: Cheer up, Sharpie, that's an easy one to answer! A couple of days before Tara escorted Barry to the airport, a diamond fell out of the necklace. At the time of "Barry's Bon Voyage," it was at the jeweler's, being repaired. (And by the way, have you seen Milo's expensive new diamond ring?)

    And how did you know she only takes it off when she showers?

  3. Could you please arrange for a signed photograph of Gretchen Von Grüber to be sent to me.

  4. you want that in sepia tones?

  5. Did Alan ever get his signed photo, btw? this was most helpful actually. thanks.

  6. @Mmm: Love it when a reader views an old post! Hope you check out the subsequent WHO'S WHO chapters. And yes, it was arranged for Alan to receive a photo of Ms. Von Grüber.