The Most Beautiful Woman in Town & Other Stories Characters

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The Most Beautiful Woman in Town & Other Stories Summary & Study Guide Description

The Most Beautiful Woman in Town & Other Stories Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Most Beautiful Woman in Town & Other Stories by Charles Bukowski.

Henry Charles Bukowski, Jr.appears in most of the stories

Author Henry (Hank) Bukowski features himself in most of the stories by name and in most of the remaining ones he veils himself only lightly. In the ones describing the most loathsome behavior—pedophilia, necrophilia, and homophobic first-degree murder—he increases the distance between himself and the offending characters. When including himself in the stories, Bukowski is not personally fond of male-on-male sex but is tolerant of others and once accepts it when he cannot easily prevent it. He relishes in describing many male/female sexual positions in a variety of venues.

As a general rule, Bukowski lives with one or more women, variously named, generally in shabby high rises in or on the border of skid row in Los Angeles. He avoids regular employment and takes short-term, odious jobs (meat packing, vegetable picking, newspaper delivering) only when forced economically. When he does have a regular job (stock boy, shipping clerk, dishwasher), it is light and menial His women drink as heavily as he and enjoy sex. When he has a few dollars, Bukowski loves to go to the track and bet on the horses; he believes he has a system that allows him to win. In one story, however, he paints himself as a novice to show what the racing scene looks like from the non-jaded side.

In several stories, Bukowski portrays his life as an author. Sometimes he prides himself as no less than California's greatest living writer, and at other times despairs of having any talent. He writes a column, "Notes of a Dirty Old Man," for Open Pussy, an underground newspaper that closes its doors when it is fined for obscenity. At the time, Bukowski's "day job" is in the Post Office. In another story, he is destitute trying to sell stories and laments ever having quit working for the government. This is autobiographical.

Bukowski involves himself with writes twice when he ventures to Texas (where he boards in a whorehouse to save money) and New Orleans, LA (where he lives with an obese lady whom he comes to love and, therefore for her sake, leaves), and once finds himself Hemingway-like somewhere overseas, thousands of miles from the U.S., working in a war zone with other ex patriots, picking fruit and working the mines.

In several stories, Bukowski lands in the charity ward of hospitals with gastric bleeding caused by excessive, chronic drinking. Most of the stories demonstrate how he achieves that. In one story, his father and ex-wife visit the ward. In many stories he claims to have been married and divorced several times. In one he admits to having a daughter in San Francisco. He knows that he is better off without a woman to badger him. In several stories, the sex is mixed with poignancy and tragedy, notably the lead story, "The Most Beautiful Woman in Town," and "A Lovely Love Affair."

Cassappears in The Most Beautiful Woman in Town

The youngest and most beautiful of five sisters, Cass is also the most beautiful girl in town (presumably Los Angeles). She is half-Indian, supple, snake-like, spirited, excitable—and some say that she is crazy. Cass dances, flirts, and slips away from men. She paints, dances, sings, sculpts, and grieves for those she saddens. Her sisters are jealous.

Orphaned and deserted, they grow up in a convent, which ill-suits Cass. She bears scars from many fights gotten before reaching legal age and obtaining freedom. She is a heavy drinker, although probably underage. She prefers ugly men to conceited handsome ones, and for this reason alone sidles up to Charles Bukowski in the West End Bar.

Her early questions to Bukowski indicate that Cass is both vain and self-conscious of her beauty. She shocks Charles by thrusting a hat-pin through her nose and later, knowing such mutilations bother him, gets other piercings. Charles goes away for six months and returns to find that Cass is hustling actively and has slit her throat non-fatally; she laughingly shows customers the scar only after being paid, and many times they flee, sparing her having to perform.

Cass enjoys a normal life with Charles but refuses to live with him. While he is working a temporary job and is unavailable, she slits her throat and her sisters bury her before Charles hears the horrible news. He blames himself for not taking better care of Cass.

Joe and Cherry Hyansappears in The Birth, Life and Death of an Underground Newspaper

Despite their dislike of his behavior while drunk, Joe and Cherry Hyans hire narrator Henry Bukowski, portraying himself, to write a column for their new underground newspaper, Open Pussy. The operation begins in the first floor of their rented house before moving to a vacant building on Melrose Ave., where Joe pirates utilities. There, Cherry is always too busy to talk and Joe is always running about getting copy ready or on some always-important errand, so Bukowski prefers to drop off his column and leave.

When Joe suggests that Bukowski gather the best writers and poets to produce a literary supplement, the results are an "obscenity" raid, which leads to a trial and the levying of a $1,000 fine, which is sufficient to bring down the paper. Bukowski makes an exception, when begged, and attends one staff meeting. At it, Joe treats the young volunteers brutally, and Bukowski curses him as a Simon Legree and Hitler. Knowing Bukowski's personality, Joe lets it slide.

Joe's father in Cleveland is high-placed in the Plain Dealer and quite wealthy. When "Pops" visits, he offers to hire thugs to bust up the Free Press' sales operation (the Open Pussy's chief rival), but Joe is adamantly against violence. Oddly, Joe buys a gun to kill the man he learns is seducing Cherry—although Joe has a lover who lives nearby. Joe and Cherry split up and Joe decides to fight his opponent by standard boxing rules. They get back together and split up many times. Eventually the paper folds, heavily in debt, and Bukowski hears that Joe has tried to commit suicide, but when the gun jams, he sells it rather than making a second try. He also makes off with everything in the office, including the IBM machine that he does not own. He declares that the paper has "fulfilled its artistic purpose" and as an artist he must move on. As the story closes, Joe and Chery are back together and planning to move to San Francisco.

Thurman, Charlie, and Georgeappears in Kid Stardust on the Porterhouse

Workers in the meat packing plant to which Henry Bukowski applies for work, Thurman is the foreman, Charlie supervises Bukowski, and George is the immensely strong man who demonstrates how to "dance" huge pieces of meat onto dull hooks. Bukowski describes the whole crew as Black Muslims and feels intimidated by their size and ability. They achieve their goal of getting him to quit in less than a day.

Gloria Westhavenappears in Life in a Texas Whorehouse

Westhaven is a "healthy Texas redhead" whom Henry Bukowski meets casually on a bus from Los Angeles to New Orleans. When she gets off in Texas, she has tears in her eyes. Bukowski continues to his destination, but because no woman has ever cried over him, returns to Texas and looks for her in her mother's photography studio. The woman working there first claims to be Gloria, but when Bukowski makes clear that he knows the truth, promises to talk to the editor of the local newspaper into running a story that may draw Gloria out. Gloria reads it, phones the paper, and Bukowski visits her home. She asks about his work, his military record, and declares that she is engaged to a naval officer who would thrash him for his vile remarks. She reveals that she had wept over how ugly Bukowski's face is. He walks away.

Brunoappears in Life in a Texas Whorehouse

The pimp in the Texas whorehouse in which Henry Bukowski lodges to save money, Bruno punches the prostitute who fails to seduce Bukowski. This shows that he has a large stable, because otherwise he would not want to puff up her face.

Henry Markson Jones II and Sarah Jonesappears in Six Inches

Henry Bukowski names himself Henry Markson Jones, II, in this story and places himself working as a shipping clerk in an auto warehouse. He meets Sarah, a company secretary, at a Christmas party and marries her, against dire warnings that she is a witch: two other employees who have fallen for her have disappeared slowly—vanished. Sarah proves sexually insatiable but opposed to population growth. By diet Sarah shrinks her husband down until he is six inches tall, making him a perfect dildo with which to pleasure herself. Disgusted and desperate, Jones stabs Sarah to death with a hat pin, runs away and lives secretly in a small market, where he feeds himself properly and regains the size of a dwarf. Robbing the safe of $23,000, Jones heads off towards the Hollywood Hills and a new life.

Dr. Von Brashlitz and Tanyaappears in The Fuck Machine

A German scientist captured by the U.S. Army after World War II, during the scientific talent competition with the Soviets, Von Brashlitz has been pensioned off at $500 a month and drifts from town to town in the U.S., lugging a red trunk containing his "FUCK MACHINE." Brashlitz charges patrons $20 a piece to enjoy it. His is a "horny-looking freak," with old-time glasses.

When the unnamed first-person narrator and Indian Mike go upstairs for a try, Von Brashlitz introduces his beautiful daughter Tanya and, while drinking schnapps non-stop, lubricates an ugly looking metallic machine that makes his customers demand a refund. Finally Von Brashlitz laughs and reveals that Tanya herself is a machine, assembled from more organ transplants than modern science considers possible.

The narrator goes first and the sex is so wonderful that Tanya falls in love and refuses Indian Mike. Von Brashlitz is livid at this betrayal. When well-endowed Indian Mike strips to take his turn, Tanya tears off his penis and testicles and he swiftly bleeds to death. Von Brashlitz tears off one of her arms to show police that she is a machine. They gang rape her and rend her to pieces. A jury acquits Von Brashlitz and he moves to Massachusetts to set up a mail order sex toy business. The narrator buys and tries one of his dummies but shreds it because it is not as good as Tanya.

Tony, Indian Mike, and Petey the Owlappears in The Fuck Machine

Tony is the proprietor of a bar named after himself. Indian Mike, like the unnamed first-person narrator, is a hard-drinking customer. Petey the Owl hangs out in the men's room, offering oral sex for $1. Tony gets 50% of Dr. Von Brashlitz's profit when sending customers upstairs to enjoy his "FUCK MACHINE." The narrator and Indian Mike go upstairs to enjoy themselves on the perfectly lifelike machine, named Tanya. The narrator goes first, Tanya falls in love, and, when Mike strips to take his turn, tears off his penis and testicles, leaving him swiftly to bleed to death. The narrator feels sorry for someone with a 20 inch penis not getting his money's worth.

Danforth and Bagley (Bag)appears in The Gut-Wringing Machine

Business partners for 25 years, Bagley handles the phones while Danforth runs prospective workers through the wringers in the Satisfactory Help Agency. Before sending them out, they ask questions to determine that the workers have no gripes against the American capitalist system. Barney Anderson is so completely wrung out that even Danforth is nauseated. When Danforth suggests giving Bagley a quarter turn through the wringer as a sort of "tonic," Bagley is anxious that it be only a quarter turn, but Danforth lets it run for a good long time, until Bagley's anger at the idea of Danforth having sex with his wife, Minnie, turns to an enthusiastic desire to watch them. Closing up shop for the day, Danford drives and flirts with Minnie by phone while Bagley performs oral sex on him. Danford considers how business and life are good.

Herman Telleman and Barney Andersonappears in The Gut-Wringing Machine

Telleman is one of the prospective workers hung on a clothesline at the Satisfactory Help Agency. He still resents the idea of working to death as his father had. Talking like a 1950s beatnik, Telleman wants just to "laze around." After a second run through the wringer with the screws tightened, he feels nothing, likes policemen, and believes in God, Family, State, Country, and honest labor. He wants to work two jobs seven days a week if possible to gain money for all of the consumer goods he desires. In this condition, he is sent out as a cost accountant.

Barney Anderson is selected as the right type for a hazardous deep-sea diving assignment: fat around the belly, balding, stooped, bad eyesight, possible early throat cancer. After four trips through the wringer, Barney is still mouthing off, naming tough guys and rebels—losers all—as his heroes. After three more trips screaming through the wringer, Barney loves only heroes and the whole American way of life.

Linda, Jeanie, and Eveappears in 3 Women

Henry Bukowski lives with Linda in a sixth-floor apartment opposite McArthur Park in Los Angeles. They drink wine, have sex, and watch the ducks in the lake, and work as little as possible. Jeanie and Eve are Linda's friends. Jeanie has begun receiving unemployment checks and Eve is "on the dole." One night they drink themselves unconscious, and Bukowski has sex with all three. Jeanie is a large woman who worries about Linda catching them. They move "ever so slowly" and quietly, and Bukowski is convinced that "Man has been fucking improperly for centuries" (that is: going fast). Eve is fat and wrinkled but as obscenely sexy lips. She lets him enter and it is over in no time. Finally, when Bukowski is exhausted, Linda declares that she is hot; when he cannot perform, she gives him fabulous oral sex.

Vicki and Margyappears in 3 Chickens

Henry Bukowski is living with ornery Vicki in a violent relationship, during which he breaks her arm by closing her in the wall on the folding bed. He also punches her off a barstool for flirting with men. Vicki constantly abuses Bukowski verbally and is obsessed with catching him masturbating. Fed up, Bukowski goes to Vicki's favorite bar and, to antagonize her, picks up Margy using the alias "Thomas Nightengale, shoesalesman." On the way to the apartment, they purchase a large quantity of alcohol and three chicken, which Bukowski intends to bake using Vicki's recipe. Instead, Bukowski and Vicki fall to having sex, only to be interrupted by Vicki. A savage verbal battle between the women brings the police, who arrest Margy and threaten to haul off Bukowski, but Vicki intercedes. The officers say that she will have to increase her monthly protection payments, given the frequency with which she needs it.

Sanchez and Kaakaaappears in Ten Jack-offs

Sanchez is a genius who builds a two-story shack, installs plumbing, and taps electrical and telephone wires. He talks little, paints, writes concisely with no care for fame, occasionally reads poetry at some university, and makes love with sexy, beautiful Kaakaa (derived from Kafka), a painter. They take Henry Bukowski in when he feels like, after eleven years on the job, he is cracking. Sanchez shows him a close-up photograph of his penis at the moment of ejaculation and brags about it taking ten sessions to capture it perfectly. After sleeping in their bed that night, Bukowski finds Sanchez and Kaakaa asleep in each other's arms on a narrow sofa and leaves feeling depressed at his own life.

Crazy Jack and Jerry Borstappears in Twelve Flying Monkeys Who Won't Copulate Properly

Crazy Jack pretends to be a painter and lives with his mother. He appears at Henry Bukowski's door with two friends, asking if Bukowski has seen a mutual friend, Borst. Jack tells of being at Venice Beach with a woman and holding 100 "rainbows" (LSD), when thinks he sees police. They flee to Borst's place and hide in the bathroom having sex, while Borst gives some man oral sex. It turns out to be a false alarm. Borst is also supported by his mother and has not written a decent poem since 1955. After Jack and his odd friends leave, Borst phones, asking to borrow money so he can go to New York City. He has lost his sponsors but wants to get down to serious writing again. After New York he will visit Switzerland and Greece.

Kathyappears in 25 Bums in Rags

Kathy is Henry Bukowski's lover, whom he claims to have "dug out of a gin mill" on Alvarado St. and kept "in furs and hundred proof" ever since. She happily fetches him alcohol and cigars on demand. When Bukowski suggests that she will bed the slobbering "old guy next door" as soon as he leaves for the track, Kathy throws a book at his head, drawing blood. She consoles him when he loses $500 and is forced to take a humiliating job delivering newspapers in their neighborhood, Kathy helps him to get it done before neighbors wake up and see. When he discovers he gets just $1 an hour for an arbitrary three hours, he goes berserk, but Kathy helps him have some laughs. When he wins $140, she makes meatloaf and fetches him his whiskey, beer, and cigars.

Andre (Frenchy)appears in The Day We Talked About James Thurber

Down on his luck selling his work, Henry Bukowski is forced to room with Andre, an "immortal," fastidious, and bisexual French poet in Venice, CA. Andre speaks seven languages and has likable ways, is humorous and brilliant, wears a wig that always slips, and takes good care of Bukowski. He has known all of the great literary figures of the mid-20th century and likes to drop names. Like many writers—including Bukowski—Andre has been cheated on movie contracts. Bukowski vomits at the sight of Andre's enormous penis, which he often displays, even when doing yoga. Bukowski prefers to walk on the beach whenever visitors (usually male) come to satisfy Andre. Andre gets an offer to read poetry somewhere and leaves Bukowski alone to write. Admirers of the French genius arrive, however, and assume he is Andre. The unnamed male begins immediately to give Bukowski oral sex while he talks about Ezra Pound with Wendy. Later, Bukowski has wild sex standing up with Wendy and sends them on their way.

Henry Masonappears in All The Great Writers

A testy book publisher, Mason interviews two would-be authors who drop into his office demanding to talk. One has had his manuscript rejected and the other wants an advance on a story idea. Mason considers such writers worse than salesmen, but when his receptionist, Francine, is unable to get rid of them, allows them to come in.

Mason tells the angry James Burkett that he runs a business, whose profits depend on accepting only books that will sell. Artists are "intolerably dull" and short-sighted, believing they are great no matter how bad they are. They cite Van Gogh and Mozart as unrecognized geniuses, but Mason could cite 50,000 intolerable idiots trying to get published. Mason admits that his client, Bukowski has slipped, but the shit that he writes sells. He tells Burkett to try another publishing house.

Hard on Burkett's heels comes Ainsworth Hockley, one of Mason's already-published authors, obsessed with oral sex, and seeking an advance on a sexual story set in outer space. Mason gives him a check for $75. Mason then takes sexy Francine to an early lunch, kissing and groping her on the way. He smokes a manly cigar at the restaurant.

James Burkettappears in All The Great Writers

A temperamental, narcissistic, chain-smoking writer, Burkett insists on meeting publisher Henry Mason face-to-face about a rejected manuscript. Ordering Mason not to call him Jimmy—that is reserved for his friends—Burkett claims that if he were black or homosexual the manuscript would have been accepted. Mason rejects the claim that to get published one must "suck dick." He says he runs a business, whose profits depend on accepting only books that will sell. Burkett's needle is stuck in 1955. When Burkett cites Bukowski as a Mason client who has "slipped" and "writes SHIT," Mason tells him that there are other publishing houses. Burkett stalks out and slams the door.

Ainsworth Hockleyappears in All The Great Writers

The author of Lusts and Busts on the Campus, Hockley is unsure about his sexual orientation, but smokes cigars to look manly and dynamic to others. He is obsessed with oversized male genitalia, claims to have just sucked a 36-inch penis, and offers to suck published Henry Mason and/or let him suck his. Mason declines and asks what their business is. Hockley has an idea for a story set in space with two men, four women, and a computer. There are many possible outcomes. He needs an advance and receives $75.

Francineappears in All The Great Writers

Publisher Henry Mason's receptionist, Francine has beautiful long legs and her skirts keep getting shorter, in line with fashion. After seeing two frustrating drop-in clients, Mason invites her to an early lunch, admitting she gives him "rocks." He kisses and paws her in the elevator; she tastes like "raspberry with a slight hint of halitosis." At the restaurant, Francine intuits that Mason wants to have sex and is agreeable.

Tony and Billappears in The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, California

After watching the operation as hearses pick up newly-deceased patients at the "Stomach Hospital," Tony and Bill screw up their courage and steal one, hauling it across the street to their boarding house and upstairs to Tony's room. Bill is frightened. Drinking muscatel, they talk about rigor mortis and stench, and the possibility of jail. Finally pulling back the sheet, they are amazed to find a beautiful, shapely blond woman. Tony gets excited and has sex with the corpse; he is so enthusiastic that reluctant Bill takes a turn and agrees that she is the best fuck ever. Tony declares that he is in love. Nevertheless, they must dispose of the body, so they drive it to Venice Beach just before dawn. She is stiffening as they kiss her tenderly goodbye, and Bill swims her out beyond the surf to become "shark meat." Tony cries on the drive home.

Adolph Hitler / Mr. Tilsonappears in Swastika

The unnamed President of the United States is driven from the White House not to the airport to begin his scheduled vacation at his private home, but for several hours to a wooded area. He ends up at a boarding house at 2435 Shoreham Dr., where surgeons exchange his brain and larynx for that of Adolph Hitler. Der Führer admits to having ordered the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy in order to have an easier role to step into. It is a triumph of "History and Science." Hitler is then driven on to the vacation home and eventually to the White House, back to world power, and wondering how the First Lady will enjoy his sexual prowess in a young body. He forbids the use of German to his aides.

The dethroned President insists on his old identity, but is laughingly dismissed and gradually ages to Hitler's true age. The landlady, who has known Hitler as Tilson, reminds the President that he owes back rent. Claiming to be the President gets him locked up in an insane asylum, where patients notice a resemblance to the dictator. They believe that politics,which he obviously knows much about, has driven him mad.

Tito and Babyappears in My Big-Assed Mother

Two "good girls" who are close to 40 but look 60, thanks to worry and wine, Tito and Baby live in Henry Bukowski's apartment when he is 29 but looks 50. The apartment house manager calls the police over any noise. Bukowski is trying to pleasure them both when the "big fist of the law" arrives. The women huddle in the corner while Bukowski deals with it, claiming to have a lawyer and knowing his rights. He says that he is just playing chess with his mother and sister. When the police leave, Tito performs oral sex on Bukowski while he reads the racing form. Eventually she bats the paper away so he can concentrate. Baby puts her tongue down his throat to help the cause. Afterward, they smoke together. Bukowski loses track of them but appreciates the memories.

Marie Glavianoappears in A Lovely Love Affair

The owner of a small café, Marie takes in Henry Bukowski's alter ego, Charley Serkin, when Joe Blanchard, editor of the underground newspaper Overthrow introduces them. Marie lives upstairs in a long, narrow apartment. She weighs 250-300 pounds, and says that Charlie reminds her of someone named Marty—beat-up like a fighter. She warns him that she is a good girl, brought up right.

Next morning, Marie cooks breakfast before going to work. She leaves her purse with a $10 bill in it, probably as a test. Charlie takes it to buy beer and puts the change back. Marie also makes straw hats to sell to tourists. Watching her intricate work and chatting with her gets him excited. He climbs into her bed and waits for her. She protests, crying, but then gives in and they have great sex—some of the best of Charlie's life. Next morning, when Marie goes to work, Charlie decides that she is too good for him, writes a note, and walks out of the French Quarter. He knows it is a crazy thing for a poor man to do.

Harry, Duke, and Ginnyappears in All The Pussy We Want

Harry has a stupid round face with eyes that make one hate him. Duke is younger and more attentive. Harry is unemployed and Duke is a janitor. Both are ex- and future-convicts. They sit drinking in a cheap hotel room about Harry's plan to recover gold thrown up by the impact of artillery shells at an army site nearby. It is risky by day but lucrative. They will work at night. The work takes two because there are rattlesnakes that must be fended off. All that gold means unlimited sex—even with Beverly Hills whores. They will be gentlemen. Having described the plan, Harry worries that Duke might shoot him to get it all, but Duke assures him that they are friends.

On the way to the liquor store, they meet a well-built woman, Ginny, who has just escaped from the closet where some guy has kept her locked naked for a week. They take her home. Ginny does not like the looks of Harry and wants to have sex with Duke first. Duke wants to make her part of the gold-finding team. Ginny claims to have "the tightest pussy in the state of California," but Duke's experience proves otherwise. Watching the couple move, Harry considers that they might team up to kill him and figures he might have to kill them first.

Madgeappears in The Beginner

Henry Bukowski's partner when he checks out of the Charity Ward, Madge suggests that they go to the Hollywood Park race track. Bukowski, a novice, is amazed by everything he sees. Madge explains the Racing Form to him, but says that she just bets on horses' names that she likes. He badgers her constantly about pulling down her skirt and up her stockings so that she does not look badly. They grow discouraged after many loses, until their luck changes, and they finish with two big pay-offs. Madge is crazy, jumping and hugging Bukowski. As they are leaving the track, Bukowski coldly considers that he can now afford something better than Madge.

Martin Blanchardappears in The Fiend

Married and divorced twice and having shacked up many times, Blanchard at age 45 lives alone on the fourth floor of an apartment house. For the 27th time, he is unemployed, drinking as much as possible and sleeping late. He is happy to be apart from the human race and does not feel lonely. A high school drop-out, he enjoys listening to Mahler.

One summer morning, he watches children playing on the large green lawn below and is attracted to a saucy little girl in a short red skirt that shows ruffled panties. The ruffles obsess him. He masturbates, but this does not set him free. He decides he needs a good 2-for-27¢ cigar and more wine, dresses, and heads out, but notices that the girl and two boys have entered the garage.

Blanchard goes in and locks the door. He threatens them if they make noise. The boys watch in wonder as Blanchard kisses and rapes the little girl. She passes out before it is over. From upstairs, he watches an angry mob form and an ambulance and police arrive. Shortly two large officers are at his door, beating him, handcuffing him, and shoving him into the squad car, where the beatings resume. One has a five-year-old daughter. When Blanchard claims that he could not help it, he loses his teeth and vomits blood. He then arrives at the station.

Ramon Vasquezappears in The Murder of Ramon Vasquez

Vasquez, "The Great Lover" of the silent screen movies, now in his 60s, retains the looks that once make female fans swoon, but he is a homosexual. He lives in a nicely-appointed house in Hollywood. He opens his door to two brothers, Lincoln and Andrew, who claim to be interested in Hollywood idols. Vasquez invites them in and provides refreshment. He talks about stars he has and has not known and gripes about how the later ones make all the money. He has only enough to live on comfortably until his death. The boys, however, claim to know from the tabloids that he keeps $5,000 as a reserve and demand it. When he laughs at this, Lincoln grows violent. Reviling Vasquez as a homosexual, he forces him to fellate himself and his brother, and then takes him upstairs to beat him to a pulp. Vasquez prays to Mary Mother of God before drowning in his own blood.

Lincoln and Andrewappears in The Murder of Ramon Vasquez

Brothers, Lincoln (aged 23) and Andrew (17), appear at the door of the famous retired actor, Ramon Vasquez, claiming to have driven from Kansas and ask for a bit of food and drink. They ask about their prospects of getting into the movies with Vasquez's help. Andrew has a delicate, fascinating, brooding face, while Lincoln's is cruel. After Vasquez provides light refreshments and good wine, Lincoln claims that two magazine writers claim that he keeps a $5,000 stash at home and demands it.

When Vasquez denies Lincoln's violent homophobia erupts. Lincoln force him to perform oral sex on both of them and then drags him upstairs to his bedroom to torture until he provides the money. Andrew holds back, phoning his aspiring actress girlfriend in New York, while Lincoln brutally beats and kick Vasquez to a pulp until he drowns in his own blood. Lincoln leaves false graffiti clues for the police before they head for the beach with $23 and stolen wine. Along the way, they pick up a pretty hitchhiker, Clair Edwards and head for the beach.

Jeffappears in A Drinking Partner

A "younger model" of Henry Bukowski, Jeff works with him as a "flunky" in an auto parts warehouse. Both womanless, they eat little and drink heavily. Jeff introduces Bukowski to Gramercy Edwards, who butchers an annoying neighborhood bulldog that Jeff catches. This disgusts Bukowski and makes him care less for Jeff, but Jeff is a good drinking partner, so he stays with him. Jeff gets violent whenever he drinks, but does not fight with Bukowski. He is a good "duker" and the strongest man Bukowski ever meets.

One Saturday night, they get hungry and head to a Chinese restaurant. Jeff is already drunk and staggering. He makes lewd comments when a pregnant woman stares, and belittles her absent husband when she threatens to tell him. When she walks away, Jeff shoves her down a stairway. The husband attacks Jeff, but he breaks the stranglehold and hurls him down the stairs. A dozen Chinese staff members swarm Jeff and plead with Bukowski to help control him. Bukowski can only think to knock Jeff out, but cannot get a shot. Suddenly, Jeff lies still and mutters, "Mother!" He is taken away and never returns to work. Bukowski summarizes: Jeff is not a good human being, makes brutal mistakes, but is interesting and a fine drinking partner. He is probably dead by now.

Gramercy Edwards (Gram)appears in A Drinking Partner

A friend of Jeff's, Edwards has been in prison and psychiatric hospitals more often than he has been out. His eyes keep rolling back as though he is trying to see what has gone wrong in his brain. He dresses in rags and keeps a wine bottle handy. When a neighborhood bulldog annoys them, Jeff catches it and Edwards butchers it with his knife. Sickened by the story, Bukowski never sees Edwards again.

Herb and Talbotappears in The White Beard

Herb and Talbot are two of Henry Bukowski's fellow laborers, assigned to fruit picking near a disputed border in an unspecified foreign land. Life in the infirmary is even worse, so those who get sick get better fast. Herb amuses himself by drilling holes in watermelons, masturbating, and making Talbot eat the mixture. Talbot used to teach high school algebra in the U.S. Herb is large, with "steam-shovel hands" and a black beard. He carries a large hunting knife and farts constantly, loudly, and nauseatingly—enough to wake an Arab and make him burst into the street, screaming. Talbot resolves to some night kill Herb with his own knife. He never has liked watermelon.

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