|“||Of course you can trust me. We read the same books.||”|
— Jake Hix, When Did You See Her Last?
Jake is kindhearted and caring. He makes food for Snicket and the Bellerophon brothers even when they’re unable to pay. He cares deeply about his sweetheart, Cleo Knight, and is a generous associate who’s up for any task. Snicket describes him as “a person of honor” and trusts Jake’s word even when it looks like he might be lying. He’s dedicated to working at Hungry’s, not even going to school because he knows his aunt depends on him.
Jake has a good memory and is extremely perceptive to when people are upset, villainous, or keeping secrets from him. He can recount, in detail, orders and conversations he had with customers hours or days before; he makes a connection with each of his customers and makes sure they’re doing well. He can tell when Snicket’s questions have an ulterior motive, like figuring out a case that he hasn’t told Jake about. When it comes to Cleo, Jake is fiercely protective. He’ll do anything to stop Hangfire out of fear that Cleo could still be in danger with the villain running amok. He also cares about the town, helping Cleo develop her invisible ink formula and even jumping in to stop a suspicious fire that started in Shouldn’t You Be In School? and making sure everyone nearby made it out okay.
Jake lived in Stain'd-by-the-Sea; at some point in time, his parents left town, apparently too scared to return for him. Jake took up being an apprentice in his aunt's restaurant, working for food and board. After moving in with Hungry, he stopped going to school in order to help run the diner.
He also met Cleo Knight, his sweetheart. However Ignatius and Doretta Knight, Cleo's parents, objected to them dating due to their difference in social status, so they had to keep their relationship secret. He also has been feeding Pip and Squeak free food for some time.
Cleo makes a plan to run away from home, as her parents are suddenly insistent upon moving, and she wants to finish her formula for invisible ink that actually works. She makes a plan with Ellington Feint, who will disguise herself as Cleo and throw investigators off the trail, while Cleo plans to move into Handkerchief Heights. At 10:30, she has some tea at Hungry's and tells Jake that it may be a while before she can contact him, but she'll see him soon. He and Ellington are the only ones who know about her plans.
Upon Lemony Snicket's arrival in Hungry's the next day, Jake is reading Johnny Dixon: The Trolley to Yesterday, telling a synopsis of the story to Lemony after being asked of the contents of the book; Lemony informs him that there are some books attributed to the author's name that are not actually his. Hungry orders Jake to take Lemony's order. Not minding that Lemony didn't have money to pay for the bill, Jake makes Snicket some soup with dumplings. Being questioned by Snicket regarding Cleo Knight's disappearance, Jake pretends not to know, saying he's apprehensive in talking about his customers.
Jake finally says that Cleo was at Hungry's the previous morning, but he let it slip regarding their close relationship by calling Cleo by her name instead of the more common 'Miss Knight.' He serves Pip and Squeak some soup as well after they enter, and talks about books with them and Snicket until they leave.
He is later making gashouse eggs for the Bellerophon Brothers when Moxie Mallahan and Snicket arrive, and he makes some for them, too. Snicket continues to press him about Cleo, finally informing him that he slipped up by being so informal about her. Jake admits that he and Cleo are secret sweethearts and that Cleo is hiding and working on her formula, and hopefully once she's finished, Stain'd-by-the-Sea will be a real town and again and they can get married.
Snicket then informs him that Cleo never made it to her hideout; her car, a Dilemma, was tampered with, and she was abducted just after leaving Hungry's by her family's apothecary, Dr. Flammarion. Jake says that he can fix the Dilemma and meet them at Colophon Clinic, where she's being held, as Snicket, Pip, Squeak, and Moxie take the Bellerophon taxi. Snicket also requests that he return two melons under the Dilemma to Partial Foods.
Once Jake fixes the Dilemma, he drives to the clinic, but finds the door locked, even though people are inside. He crashes the Dilemma through the back, and meets with Snicket, just as they hear screams. They follow the noise and find a trapdoor, which they manage to lift together. Inside the cellar, they find that Dr. Flammarion is screaming, as Cleo has already escaped and started destroying the equipment they used to force her to continue her experiments.
Jake and Cleo take Flammarion to the Officers Mitchum, who have just arrived at the clinic. When they reach the front room and find an injured Moxie, Cleo sends Jake to fetch all the medicine he can find. When he returns, Cleo treats Moxie's wounds.
Walkie Talkie/Through the Window
Jake fixes Snicket some spaghetti, at the same time that Leroy (though Jake doesn't know his name) and Stew Mitchum are being served; Stew is trying to bargain his way to a fourth chocolate muffin, though he doesn't have enough money and Jake thinks he's had enough sugar for one day. Stew sulks and leaves to use the bathroom, and Leroy also pays and leaves. Jake tells Snicket that he's not enjoying his book recommendation- one of the stories about a clever kid in Utah- but they are distracted by a sound from under the counter.
A walkie-talkie is found, marked OFF-SBTS-USE, and on the radio is a cry for help; the person on the other end, claiming to be a spy, is calling for George. Jake thinks that Leroy might be George, as he only knows him as the man who comes in once a month for steak frites. They go outside the diner to find the customer, as the other person continues to cry for help. They find Leroy, who assures them his name isn't George, and the two of them return to the diner, as Snicket realizes that there isn't a spy at all, and Stew Mitchum stole his parents' walkie-talkies to use for this prank. They enter the diner to find Stew stealing his fourth muffin. Jake's next batch of muffins was pecan, offered on a sliding scale- "free for Lemony Snicket, but not to be sold to Stew Mitchum under any circumstances."
On a Saturday, while Snicket is unchaperoned, Jake fixes him a frittata for breakfast, but Snicket leaves it half-finished after Jake tells him about the vandalism at Swords.
Snicket arrives at Hungry's for breakfast to find Jake serving Hans Mann some banana waffles, and he makes some more for Snicket, asking if he wants to hear a ghost story. He tells Hans that Snicket has been known to help around town, and tells Snicket that Hans used to work at the Stain'd Playhouse; Hans explains to him how they split a passenger car onstage in Look Out for That Train Wreck. The Stain'd Playhouse is now closed, and Jake explains that the only actors left in town are Sally Murphy and Billy Becker, who lives in the Anchovy District and catches rats in an old pillowcase.
Hans explains that his mother still lives in the family mansion, but she has become frightened of the ghost of her dead husband, which she believes to be haunting her. After Hans explains the haunting, Snicket asks what makes the bananas on the waffle taste so good, and Jake frowns and explains that he carmelizes them, though that is a professional secret. Snicket then reveals that Billy Becker is faking the haunting in order to drive Old Lady Mann from her home.
After Cleo moved to Handkerchief Heights, Jake started a garden just outside the cottage in order to get fresh vegetables; the two sweethearts tend it together. Kellar Haines comes into Hungry's, and Jake fixes him a Reuben with extra Russian dressing; he talks incessantly about Lemony Snicket, saying he'd looked for him at the library and the Lost Arms in order to deliver a message. Snicket eventually does arrive, meeting with Jake, Kellar, and Moxie. As Jake cooks, he describes the plot of the book he's reading to Snicket and Moxie, and Snicket recommends The Children's Hour. Kellar asks if Jake and Moxie go to school, and then starts talking about Italian limes, and how there are none in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. When Snicket gets confused, Kellar leaves.
After Jake serves tomato-watermelon gazpacho to Snicket and Moxie, S. Theodora Markson and Sharon Haines enter and announce that they've solved the string of arsons that's been happening around Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Theodora orders buttermilk, and limeade for Sharon, and then explains that they have decided the arsonist is Dashiell Qwerty, the librarian, as the recent victim of the arson, Harold Limetta, supposedly lived with moths, which Qwerty hates. After the adults leave, Snicket reveals that he suspects Hangfire, the one behind Cleo's kidnapping, is the true arsonist, and h
e explains the case before asking Moxie to look into the Department of Education.
That night, Jake visits Cleo and tells her about the suspicious fires, and about then, Stain'd Secondary is set on fire, and the two sweethearts rush to the scene to see if they can help. When the firefighters, the Talkie Brothers, turn on the hose, however, the water in the hydrant made the flame worse, as it had been sabotaged with a flammable chemical. Jake and Cleo pull the brothers out of the blaze.
The next morning, Jake makes breakfast for Snicket, Cleo, Moxie, and the Talkie Brothers. None of them are sure who to trust outside of their associates, so Snicket asks for them to go with him to the Department of Education. When Hungry forbids Jake to go, he says that he'll just take the garbage out and come back "as soon as the garbage is in the proper receptacle."
The group leaves, and Jake puts the garbage in Cleo's trunk- not the proper receptacle- and they drive to the Department of Energy, as Snicket believes Kellar Haines might have information for them. When Cleo mentions that the Italian word for lime is Limetta, Snicket realizes that Harold Limetta doesn't exist, and Kellar was trying to warn them; Qwerty was definitely framed, intentionally by Sharon. Moxie also reveals that there is no Department of Education, and the group enters 350 Wayward Way to find that it is completely falsified; the entire case was a setup to transfer all of the town's schoolchildren to Wade Academy, where they would all be trapped. A van marked Department of Truancy then arrives, and Sharon Haines and Hangfire exit and kidnap Jake, Cleo, Moxie, and Kellar, who was hiding in the closet.
When they are taken to the school, Cleo finds some bark that reverses the effects of laudanum, which all the children are being drugged with to keep them complacent. She shares some with her associates, now including Ellington and Ornette Lost. They meet in the library- which holds only blank books- that night, using the author of The Wind in the Willows as a password, and Ellington brings Lemony Snicket, who broke into the school to investigate. They discuss Hangfire's plot, as Kellar explains that he and his mother are being blackmailed into helping in order to save his kidnapped sister, and Ellington explains that she's disguised herself and is pretending to help Hangfire in order to search for her father. Snicket then shows the group his tattoo, which Jake realizes first are initials- VFD. After Snicket explains his organization, he makes a plan with them; the next day, Sharon is to take the kids on a field trip, and he asks that the students go as spies, and then sneak away and meet at Hungry's.
The next morning, Snicket asks them to do another errand for him, which he can't explain; they need to operate under a fragmentary plot. He asks that they throw a wheelbarrow over the wall, and when they go outside, Ornette distracts Stew and Jake, Cleo and Moxie help him toss the wheelbarrow. He also asks them to throw the library's blank books over the wall, where the wheelbarrow is, before he sneaks away.
The group manages to run off to Hungry's when they arrive in town, and when Snicket meets them there, he's been injured by Stew. Jake fixes them all lunch, and then Snicket tells them to go to Dicey's Department Store, as Hangfire plans to burn it down; this turns out to be a misdirection, as Hangfire sent Stew to burn the library. However, the associates staying at Dicey's keeps him from realizing Snicket realized his deception, and Ellington and Snicket manage to save the library.
Much later, the associates all meet at Handkerchief Heights for a celebratory dinner that Jake fixed. Snicket explains that they will have to try to not be seen together and operate on fragmentary plots, and the associates end the dinner with a game of Beethoven.
Ornette sends Jake and Cleo a folded paper train, signaling them that they need to get onto The Thistle of the Valley, the train that goes out of Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Cleo drives them in the Dilemma and suggests leaping onto the train and using the railings to climb aboard, though Jake thinks it's too dangerous. The train stops at Offshore island, and Cleo and Jake sneak aboard the train and find Kellar, Moxie, and Snicket. While getting inside, they see Stew Mitchum let a masked figure into the Officers' Lounge. Snicket tells his associates that Qwerty has been murdered and that his chaperone was framed for the crime. He leaves to meet with Hangfire and asks them to compile all their research.
When Snicket returns, the associates have been joined by Ornette Lost, and he explains that Stew was Qwerty's murderer. Jake and Cleo reveal to Snicket that they have been investigating the "bark" that they'd used at Wade Academy, as they'd realized it wasn't bark and was instead some other mysterious material. Stew arrives to escort Snicket to his meeting with Hangfire, and Jake and Cleo go to fetch the authorities. Jake and his associates later witness Hangfire summon the Bombinating Beast, and watch Snicket feed the villain to the monster.
After the train crashes, the passengers exit, and Jake helps Snicket and his associates explain everything to them; Jake is the first to realize that the bark is the shedded skin of the Bombinating Beast. Snicket says that, Jake can help the town rise again by feeding the hungry, and that he and Cleo are lucky to have found each other. Before he leaves, Snicket sees Jake smiling at something Pip had said. Jake waves goodbye as Snicket leaves the town and goes into the Clusterous Forest.
Lemony describes Jake as being taller than him with shaggy red hair. He appears to be in his late teens.
In an illustration, he is shown wearing a bowtie and a coat.
Jake has cooked a number of meals for others, such as:
- Soup with dumplings
- Gashouse eggs
- Reuben with extra Russian dressing
- Toasted bread
- Tomato-watermelon gazpacho
- Hangtown fry
- Porcini mushroom soup
- Farro risotto
- Artichoke-lemon soup with fried spring onions sprinkled on top
- Brook trout wrapped in grape leaves and poached with olives and rosemary
- Blueberry cobbler with homemade hazelnut ice cream
- The only sports Jake likes are croquet and water polo.
- Jake dislikes Old Yeller.
- According to his official profile, his favorite book is The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin.