Notes: The eSKay “gods and goddesses” appear here mainly in order of their first mention /appearance.
Stoned Kitchen thanks our dear friend and amazingly talented artist, Arnaud Faugas, for generously creating the illustration of the book’s opening scene shown here.
At some point, eSKay hopes to include “icons”/ thumbnails (or emojis) for all the characters. (If you are an artist and have interest in helping with that, get in touch!)
Haley Zimmermann/ “Thalia” (51, American) is a just past newly-wed, free-spirited, optimistic ex-pat living on Crete who works as a freelance English teacher, proofreader, translator, and writer. An out of the blue idea to create an incognito podcast to help Greece get itself out of the financial crisis ends up creating a crisis of its own for Haley and her husband, Dan. The many Stoned Kitchen ideas that get Haley into hot water include promoting full legalization of cannabis, doing away with taxation, and encouraging participants to give themselves a god or goddess name. Her own po(t)cast name is Thalia, the Greek Muse representing Comedy and Poetry and has the meaning “rich festivity,” “abundance,” and “blooming.”
Dan Zimmermann/ “Pontos/Daedelus” (54, German) is a laidback carpenter by trade, handy-man by nature who’s called Crete his home for almost 20 years —and been married to Haley for the past two of them. His (at times reluctant) role in Stoned Kitchen’s “High Five” is at first Pontos—the ancient god of the deep sea. Dan, though, decides to change the eSKay name Haley chose for him to Daedelus (Daed), the builder, inventor, and famed father of Icarus.
Miamou /“Mafdet” (circa 12, German “house” cat) is Haley’s diva of a cat who knows all, but can keep secrets. In the po(t)cast, her character is based on the Egyptian cat goddess, Mafdet, and in this capacity, Miamou will contrive to keep the show on track when the High Five imbibe too freely and tend to go off on tangents.
Zacharias “Zach” Androulakis/ “Zeus” (42, Cretan) Haley and Dan’s friend and neighbor is a fisherman/shepherd/taverna owner with a vast network of cronies he can call on in times of need and want. He and his wife Petrina have a “patchwork” family of seven children including Filippos (13) their youngest son, and their youngest daughter, Loulouthie “flower” (7). Zach’s alter ego in Stoned Kitchen is Zeus, of course. Just like in real life, Zach’s eSKay role of Zeus is the spirited, unpredictable leader who is always able to find a correlation between present and past, a suitable myth to explain everyone’s fate, foibles, and idiosyncrasies, and the guy to suggest solutions to almost all that ails the modern world.
Hector: (circa 3, unknown) is a clownish mongrel living across the street from Dan and Haley and belongs to the elderly Cretan shepherd/table dancer Stomatis.
Evangelos “Vangelis” Papadakis (49, Cretan) and his wife Zoe (49, Cretan) live just down (or up) the street from Dan and Haley. Vangelis is a full-time shepherd and farmer with powerful family ties that stretch across the island all the way to Athens, while Zoe (whose name literally means life) gently and lovingly rules the roost, home, and family (just like most Cretan women are said to do.)
Stomatis Saatsakis (8?, Cretan) was a rebel fighter in his youth, a long-stretch trucker until his retirement, and in his golden years is a local institution. He is the life of every village festival, married to Christina (8?, Cretan), and supplements their pensions by keeping sheep, goats, and chickens.
Melina “Honey” Kastellanou/ “Nyx” (41, Greek) is a tiny, big city woman who fell in love with village life in Living whilst on holiday, Haley’s best girlfriend and koumbara is an infinite source of wisdom for others and is trying to make a success of her café/bar, Honey, Be! In Stoned Kitchen, Honey is also a member of the High Five, and her character is “Nyx” – goddess of the night.
Themistocles Androulakis (54, Cretan) is Zach’s eldest brother and Haley and Dan’s koumbaros. Themistocles is as serious as Zack is happy-go-lucky and he heads the respected Androulakis clan, which includes his wife, Mara (50), and their teenage children Ophelia (18), Panathea (17), and Persius (14).
Karl (deceased age 64, German) was a renowned psychoanalyst in Germany and Haley’s first love and former partner. His role in Stoned Kitchen remains unclear.
Achim Schmidt (67, German/Austrian) has homes on Crete and in Vienna and Hamburg. Professionally, he’s practically a modern Renaissance man who can’t seem to retire. One of Dan and Haley’s favorite part-time neighbors, Achim is a mix of the conventional and quirky with a soft heart, lots of hard cash, and an up-and-down love life.
Polly-Anna Müller (58, Swiss) has a name that is hard to live up to, given her slightly pessimistic nature and phobic tendencies. Polly-Anna (also known as Polly and sometimes “Pan” for short) is a recent widow in her first full-time year on Crete after having relocated to the island from Bern. She’s a neighbor on the way to becoming friends with Haley, and unfortunately, an occasional target of Miamou’s nasty side.
Jonathan Jay Jacobs: (46, American) is a former colleague (and perhaps more) of Haley’s from her German years. Meanwhile, Jay has exchanged his Bohemian ex-pat life in Europe for the more lucrative one as a high-tech entrepreneur back home in Portland, Oregon. His first visit to Living inspires him to take risks again – and it will be largely thanks to his State-side initiatives that Stoned Kitchen will take off and quickly go global.
Socrates “Socs” Tzavarakis (42, Cretan) is a good guy who can be a bad boy when necessary. Together with his wife Daphne Tzavaraki (40, Cretan) and their children, Alexios Agapios (19), Erasmos (16) and, Eleni (6) they run the Laurel, an organic tavern, till their olive groves, citrus orchards, and organic greenhouses in a way that mixes tried and true traditions with promising innovations.
Yannick Auerbach (deceased at age 55, German) was Dan’s best friend on the island. Although at story begin, he’s been dead for three years or so, Yannick lives on in his friends’ memories and through his son, grandson, and granddaughter-on-the-way.
Giorgos “Giorgie” Tzavarakis (37, Cretan) is Socs’ younger brother. Not only does he work in the family tavern and have a budding organic farm of his own, Giorgie is the epitome of still waters running deep—and sometimes dangerously.
“Old” Socrates “Socs” Tzavarakis: (early 90’s, Cretan) is in fine health with a wealth of stories from days gone by, the former resistance fighter against Nazis and Communists is spending his twilight years in the bosom of his huge family and still caring for his flocks and fields and everybody’s business.
Paul Hauser (53, German) has a holiday home on Crete but finds quite a few faults with the Greek way of doing (not doing) things— especially during the financial crisis. Although Paul is kind, generous, handsome, and good-hearted, he’s been unlucky in love, and sometimes tends to be a “know-it-all-better” man with a propensity for highlighting the negative in a “my beer bottle is often half empty” way.
Christos Germanos/ “Dion/Dionysius” (45, born in Greece, raised in Germany, trying to become a Cretan) is too devilishly handsome for his own good and a man still coming to terms with a painful childhood and trying to find “his” place. One of Dan and Haley’s best friends, he is the final member of the eSKay “High Five” and his Stoned Kitchen character is Dionysius, the god of parties, grape harvests, and wine.
David Auerbach: (33, German) has inherited a fire-damaged house on Crete from his now deceased, drop-out Dad, “Jägermeister” Yannick. With the repairs finally almost complete, he visits the island with his pregnant wife, Elfie (31) and their toddler, Tom (2). But their joyful holiday ends when another fire breaks out and their house is once again in danger of burning to the ground.
Marinos Orologos (25, Cretan) lives in Heraklion, but spends his summer weekends camping wild and charming female tourists in Living. He’s got a degree in engineering, but like half the other young people in the country during the crisis years, no job prospects in site.
Agamemnon (4 horse years, Cretan) is Giorgie Tzavarakis’ Messara horse and like all of this breed indigenous to Crete, loyal only to his master—and disdainful of just about all other four and two- legged creatures.
Sanna Kanerva (59, Finnish) and Werner Hurliman (64, Swiss) live full-time on southern Crete in the village of Genadoros. Among other things, they help care for abused animals, feed stray cats, and mix up village life with their foreign ways of caring for their rescued dog, Nilo.
Sandra and Heinz Sailer: (58 and 59, German) are a couple nearing retirement with a house in Genadoros. They are close friends of Dan and Haley and many others in the community. Sandra and Heinz become behind-the-scenes Stoned Kitchen advisors, and Heinz makes the occasional guest appearance using various god names.
Lily Lichtenberg/ “Eos” (26, German) is Sandra’s daughter and has been coming to Living as a visitor since her birth. Now, she’s decided to take a year off from life in Germany and live in the house her parents had bought prior to their divorce. Lily is a welcome breath of fresh, youthful air to the (aging) crew of long-term residents, especially for Haley. Lily will be a regular Stoned Kitchen guest in the character of Eos, the goddess of the dawn.
Lycaons Pachis (48, Cretan)is a corrupt archeologist with a deserved reputation as a “skirt chaser.” He has more enemies than friends, and his death under suspicious circumstances is no big loss to most of Living’s inhabitants. However, when members of Lycaons’ family decide there is need to get Cretan-style revenge, it spells big trouble, especially for Haley.
Skilos “dog” (circa 3 or 4 human years, Cretan) is Lyacons Pachis’ beleaguered Hellenic Hound dog. Skilos’ fate improves greatly after he “escapes” from his master and Lily Lichternberg adopts him, names him Tycherós (Lucky, and Ty for short), and trains him how to be a first-class sheepherder.
Leandros Mitsotakis (43, Cretan) is a lieutenant with the Greek police stationed in Moires. An old friend of Zach’s, he’s married to the public defender and environmental activist, Areti Paroussie (42, Athenian). Despite having a conflict of interest in the case, Leandros is assigned to investigate Lycaons Pachis’ murder-and Areti will later take on the task of being Haley and Dan’s lawyer in their time of greatest need.
Manos and Thanos Yannakakis (23 and 24, Cretan) are two brothers and shepherds with “bad” reputations from a family with an even worse one. Manos and Thanos are distantly related to Lycaons Pachis.
Peter and Nena Shumaker (38 and 39, German) have a holiday home in the Living area and are new friends of Haley and Dan’s. They are considering re-locating permanently to Crete when their house of dreams goes up in smoke.
Adonis “Tony” Alkiviadis (40, Greek) is a radical-left, upstart, Athenian politician and is plotting and scheming to become the country’s next Prime Minister. He gets his wish, but a pre-election, happenstance meeting with Haley and Dan leads to some unexpected and dramatic personal and professional consequences for Tony, his partner Sofia, and the nation.
Sofia Dragasaki (41, Cretan) is Tony’s common-law wife who gives up her career as a print journalist to support her husband’s political ambitions. But her agreement to back him has its price and the couple’s December trip to Crete to visit her family ends in a car accident, an overnight stay with Dan and Haley, Sofia’s first joint since her university days, wild sex with her husband that bears longed for, and long given up on, fruit, and a mad idea that could save the country she loves from ruin.
Dr. Sabah Fakhory (39, Syrian) is coerced by her parents into fleeing her war-ravaged homeland. Sabah endures a heartrending journey on her way to hopeful safety in Europe by way of Italy. Duped and assaulted by the human traffickers she’s trusted, Sabah ends up stranded on Crete as the sole survivor amongst those who had taken passage on a death-trap migrant ship. The next stop in Sabah’s life will be practically on Dan and Haley’s doorstep – where her great misfortune finally takes a turn for the better.
Flint Stahlmann (48, German) is a born, bred, true Berliner who has a holiday home on Crete located behind Dan and Haley’s house. At story begin, he’s lost his job in Germany, going through a separation from his long-time partner Samantha, and being forced by the Berlin unemployment office to do a re-training he hates. His occasional short (and longer) term visits to Living means he will also be a regular guest in Stoned Kitchen as “Epimetheus,” the Titan god of afterthought and father of excuses.
Ana Kounalaki (44, Greek) is a a reporter at a liberal Greek newspaper and a trusted colleague and friend of Sofia Dragasaki.
Elias Argyris (47, Greek) is a flamboyant Syriza politician and internationally-known economist, who is both a friend and rival of Tony’s and a big worry to Sofia.
Callista Argyri (45, Greek) is a beloved Greek singer and married to Elias Argyris.
Elpida,(late 80’s, Greek) is an institution in Living. Rumor has it she’s the wealthiest woman (perhaps even person) in town. Elpida has survived war, poverty, and the onset of tourism. Although she’s meanwhile confined to a wheelchair, she still runs her small tavern at the beach in Living. Her name means hope – and she is the personification of it.
His Beatitude Seraphim II, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece and Primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece (77, Greek) is the leader of the Orthodox church in Greece. In this position, His Beatitude can help either make or break Prime Minister Adonis Alkiviadis’ plan to legalize cannabis in Greece. Behind the scenes negotiations, plus a bit of blackmail and bribery will persuade his Beatitude to “rediscover” the ancient, healing aspects of the plant – and throw his considerable influence behind the PM’s “Grow, Greece!” enterprise.
Various other characters (locals, residents, regular visitors, tourists, other police officers, court officials, etc.,) pop briefly in and out, and there are also cameos from politicians and IMF and EU officials including: Angela Merkel, Wolfgang Schauble, Francois Hollande, Barak Obama, Christine Lagarde, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Wladimir Wladimirowitsch Putin, and Donald J. Trump. (Hopefully Joe Biden is coming to Stoned Kitchen soon, too, in a leading role!)
Footnote 1: (to me on 22 June 2020 (on what I think is the “day before the launch of this website!): I really need to update this list! Among other things, it is missing all the law enforcement folks, especially Judge Doukas and the DA-and more importantly, Pepper! And our new Soundtrack! See: Reaching out to….blogcast episode 1 recorded yesterday! I am going to try and upload it now. Finger’s crossed! (And in full disclosure: sort of calling out for my inner Pepper right now….)
Footnote 2: (23 November 2020) Sigh. I still haven’t updated this list. I did, though, just proofread it again (and found mistakes. Again.) I was also reminded that sadly, some of eSKay’s gods and goddesses have passed on. We mourn them, even as we treasure their memories with bittwersweet gladness and voyage on until our own journey’s unkonwn end.