Papa Hayes was born long before the States War, long before anyone had thought that a Global Union could even be a remote possibility. He married a woman named Meredith (later known as "Mama Hayes"), and they lived a relatively happy life until the States War. Papa chose to fight in order to protect his family and home. Following the turmoil of that conflict, Lamson introduced the Unity in order to bring the country back together. Papa and Mama objected to both major parts of the Unity. As a result, they refused the Mark, and they rejected the religious Inclusion.
Papa and Mama eventually made their way to Slog Row. When the Fulmart went out of business, they became its self-appointed managers, essentially heading up the black market in Spokie. Because of their advancing age and their efforts on behalf of the Markless community, they received the affection nicknames “Papa and Mama Hayes.” As Papa Hayes, he became increasingly interested in giving the Markless a nationwide sense of community. He and his wife began broadcasting on the Markless shortwave radio frequency, where they provided religious encouragement along with news for their Unmarked listeners. Papa and Mama also helped develop the Unmarked River, which aided those Markless who needed to travel between the metropolitan areas of the American Union.
It was about a year before the events of Swipe that Papa and Mama met the Dust. The cold had sent them searching for an enclosed place to sleep, and the Hayeses found them in the Fulmart during their nightly security sweep. The Hayeses, fearing that the teens wanted to cause trouble, ordered them to leave. The winter was severe enough, however, that the Dust kept coming back. After ordering them out about a dozen more times, Papa and Mama realized that all the Dust wanted was a warm place to lie down. The Hayeses made a deal with the Dust—if the Dust would keep intruders out of the store at night, then they could sleep there. Eventually Papa and Mama learned of Peck’s attempts to protect at-risk Pledges, and they turned out to be one of his most faithful supporters.
Papa Hayes’ only appearance in Swipe is brief. The morning after the playground fiasco, he and Mama Hayes are walking among their customers as Blake , Eddie, and Tyler eat lunch with Rusty. Papa’s influence is felt throughout the book, however, in that the Fulmart helps support the Dust even when they can no longer stay there.
“With all their fancy equipment and satellites, shortwave is the last place on the radio spectrum DOME would think to listen.”—Papa Hayes
After Slog Row was destroyed, Papa and Mama Hayes went to stay at the farm that once belonged to an old war buddy. Although Papa’s friend Robert had since died, his widow, Jean, was more than happy to offer shelter the Hayeses. Jean disliked farming, and placing the Hayeses in charge of cultivating the property meant that the land would finally be put to use.
When the Dust appeared at the farm after several weeks in the woods, Papa and Mama Hayes offered to allow them to stay on the farm. The Hayeses feed the Dust in exchange for chores while Peck tries to find the missing Logan. After Logan arrives at the farm, Papa Hayes learns of his intentions to go to Beacon City and gives Logan and Peck an explanation of the Unmarked River. Not long afterward, however, DOME raids the farm. Finding Papa Hayes in the farmhouse, they shoot him and then attempt to follow the Dust. Because of Papa Hayes’ instruction, however, the Dust eludes DOME and makes it to Beacon City.
Papa Hayes was elderly by the time he appeared in Swipe.
Papa Hayes was both a firm and a kind man. His concern for the welfare of others is what makes him step forward to help lead Spokie’s Markless community.
Family and RelationshipsEdit
Papa and Mama Hayes had a very close relationship. They were partners as well as husband and wife, cooperating to improve life on Slog Row.
Papa Hayes was remarkably good at learning new things. He became a store manager, radio host, farmer, and community organizer, all without having done any of those things before the States War.