|“||Everybody does something wrong at one time or another.||”|
— Prosper to Lemony Snicket
Prosper Lost is a recurring character in the All the Wrong Questions series. He is the owner of The Lost Arms, the motel S. Theodora Markson and Lemony Snicket stay at in Stain'd-by-the-Sea. He is also the father of Ornette Lost.
Prosper Lost lived in Stain'd-by-the-Sea and was married to Alice; they had a daughter, Ornette. Prosper ran The Lost Arms, while Alice was a sculptor and hoped to use her glyptotheca as a tourist attraction. However, a fire broke out in the Far West Wing, where the sculptures were displayed. While Ornette got all the guests out, the wing burnt down and Alice was killed. Prosper sent Ornette to live with her uncles, the Talkie brothers, in order to be safer, as they were Stain'd-by-the-Sea's only firefighters.S. Theodora Markson arrives in town with her apprentice, Lemony Snicket, she makes arrangements for them to stay in the least expensive room- in the Far East Suite, on the second floor. After a while, Snicket approaches him and asks if he can use a telephone- the only one nearby is in use, so he cannot. Snicket then asks for a ride, which Prosper offers him in exchange for a fee. Snicket does not have money, so he departs.
The next morning, Prosper provides Snicket with a package. When he returns a while later, Prosper interrupts an argument between him and his chaperone, as someone had just called asking for Snicket. He eavesdrops on Snicket's conversation, who flinches when he hears about Hangfire. After the phone call, Snicket gives a decoy package to Prosper to hold before leaving. While he is gone, a man arrives and takes the package. When he seems displeased with the contents, Prosper sends hiim up to the Far East Suite to have a word with Theodora. Snicket returns and is shocked by this, and they soon hear Theodora screaming. Prosper asks if he should call the police, and Snicket sarcastically tells him to instead find a clean sheet of paper and a sharp pencil and sketch out nine rows of fourteen squares each, which he actually does.
About four days later, Prosper eavesdrops on Snicket's conversation of Hector. After Hector angrily leaves, Prosper asks if they hadd a fight, and then assures him that "everybody does something wrong at one time or another."
Prosper Lost is in the lobby when Snicket receieves a phone call from his sister, Kit, and he hurries the conversation before Prosper can notice and eavesdrop.
At the end of the day, Prosper once again interrupts an argument between Theodora and Snicket to announce that Snicket has a visitor in the Lobby. Snicket meets with Widdershins, and they leave to prevent Prosper from eavesdropping.
Inside JobProsper goes to the Far East Suite to tell Snicket that he has a visitor in the lobby. He escorts him down, saying that the person there to greet him is both a miner and a minor.
When a fire breaks out at Stain'd Secondary, Prosper sees the smoke and drives the Talkie Brothers' jalopy to the scene. He takes Snicket into the car when he sees him there and tells him that he hopes the fire isn't too much for the Official Fire Department to handle. Taking a risk, Snicket asks if there is a Volunteer Fire Department, to which Prosper simply says there isn't.
He is upset about the burned school library, and admits to Snicket that Ornette attends Stain'd Secondary, and he had been worried she was there, but all the chilren had gone home before the fire broke out. Snicket was unaware he had a daughter, and Prosper tells him that while he misses her, he wants her to be safe. Prosper then drives him back to The Lost Arms.
|“||There are some stories you never get to finish.||”|
— Prosper Lost, Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
Snicket comes down after her some time later, and Prosper gives him Ornette's train and tells him about her mother. Snicket then asks him where the nearest train stop is, and Snicket says that if he doesn't return by the next day, to give the book beside his bed to the Bellerophon brothers. Snicket leaves, and never sees him again.
He is described as being a thin man who rubs his hands together often. His voice is equally as thin, and his manner reminds Lemony of a word he's been taught, but now forgets. Prosper Lost tells Lemony that he may refer to him as Prosper. Lemony later remembers the word to be "obsequious", a word which here means someone who is disingenuous and overly helpful. Lemony defines the word as meaning "people who behave like one's servant even when they aren't" (p. 96-7). Since Prosper is wearing an "eager smile" when Lemony walks into The Lost Arms, this is an accurate description.
- Prosper Lost could be a play on words "prosper" meaning "to make successful" and "lost" meaning "to be taken away." Stain'd-by-the-Sea is also no longer successful.
|Prosper Lost||Alice Lost †|