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Characters / The Season to Be Wary

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WARNING: Since the stories rely heavily on twists and reveals, this page is a veritable minefield of spoilers. Be cautious.

     Characters in "The Escape Route": 

Gruppenfuehrer Joseph Strobe

  • The Alcoholic
  • Fat Bastard
  • In Vino Veritas: Unsurprisingly, he's a mean and surly drunk.
  • Sadist: At one point, when desperate for female companionship, he finds himself thinking about how he liked to physically abuse the women he spent time with. It's implied he may have been like this long before he had an excuse in the Nazi party.
  • The Unapologetic: though it starts to degenerate into Never My Fault as he gets more desperate.
  • Villainous Breakdown: For the length of the story.


Another Nazi fugitive, who runs a bar that Strobe frequents. Amazingly, he took one of his victims with him when he escaped Germany.
  • The Bartender
  • The Ditz: Strobe thinks so, anyway, and he certainly doesn't come off as the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  • It Gets Easier: A disturbing example. In his background story it's noted that he could barely keep from screaming when he saw his first concentration camp torture, but as he wanted to please his superiors and rise in the ranks he learned to put squeamishness aside.
  • No Name Given: Subverted, like Zamorski, when his death makes the news. His name is Karl.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser
  • Selective Obliviousness: He figures he can't be an important enough fugitive for the Mossad to come after. He also doesn't believe that Zamorski would be capable of killing him.
  • Slashed Throat
  • Stepford Smiler
  • Torture Technician: And Zamorski was his practice subject.


Lanser's torture victim, a man physically and seemingly mentally broken.


A third Nazi fugitive. Though he apparently didn't work in the camps as Strobe and Lanser did, he's no less culpable and he knows it.
  • The Atoner: Downplayed. He knows that in the end what he did was wrong, though he's not ready to hand himself over to the Israelis just yet. He also married a Jewish woman after the war, perhaps out of guilt— but the two did ultimately have a loving relationship.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Though he spoke of escape plans, he decides to hang himself rather than put off the inevitable capture, trial, and execution.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Though he's as much a wanted war criminal as Strobe, he is capable of some regret— and finds Strobe completely loathsome.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Played with. He was a patriotic German, and served, but became increasingly disgusted with the Nazi movement and disturbed by his part in it.
  • No Name Given
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    Gruber: ... if they take me, and if they string me up someplace in a hot Palestinian sun, I am sufficiently human to regret having my life end. But this difference between us, Herr Strobe... Herr Gruppenfuehrer. I will die knowing they are right and I have been wrong. Just that one single variation of view. That I can tell right from wrong. And how different that is from you, Herr Strobe, and your breed. Even now, even while you're being hunted down, you still do not know why. You do not perceive that you are wrong and they are right. And it is this kind of ignorance, Herr Strobe, that lost you the war. It is this kind of ignorance that will eventually take your life.

Frau Gruber

  • Flat Character: She's mostly there for The Reveal about Gruber and to give one of the The Reason You Suck Speeches.
  • Love Martyr: Well, what would you call a Jewish woman who fell in love with and married a fugitive ex-Nazi?
  • No Name Given
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Leveled at Strobe when he pleads for understanding and claims he is "not an animal":
    Frau Gruber: What you are, Herr Strobe, is quite another thing from an animal. You are a pervert. You are a butcher of six million people. But you are no human being, either. A human being could not fill so many graves and think of it as an offense that might be apologized for.

     Characters in "Color Scheme": 

King Connacher

  • Break the Haughty: And does he ever earn it.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: He drives a flashy Cadillac and wears a monogrammed Rolex.
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: He's not actually that fat nor that sweaty, but he does favor white seersucker suits and the biggest steaks he can afford.
  • Rabble Rouser: Mixed with The Barnum, as he makes good money giving his speeches.
  • The Sociopath: Oh Christ. The guy drives out to where the black minister's house was burned down, talks with the minister, and even after hearing that one of the minister's children was burned alive, tries to crack a joke to cheer the guy up— and is offended when he doesn't laugh!

The Minister

A black minister who leads the protest march in Chaseville, and becomes the victim of Connacher's mob incitement.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When given the opportunity for a truly grim revenge by turning white when Connacher is turned black, and therefore having power over him, he takes it.
  • Everyone Calls Him Reverend: We only hear his first name (Josh) at the end of the story when his wife finds him after he's turned back from white to black.
  • Evil Stole My Faith: Combined with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech given by the minister to Connacher.
    The Minister: You killed a baby, and in a funny way... you killed God. All my life I've been preachin' about God. All my life. But tonight, Mr. Connacher, you burned down the temple. You kicked Moses off the mountain and Christ off the cross. You killed God. You burned Him up. You roasted Him to death. And you made me stop believin'. Don't it make sense, Mr. Connacher? If there was a God... if there was some Almighty Bein' lookin' down at us, do you s'pose He's allow an innocent li'l chile to die in the flames, screamin' like she had to do? You s'pose God would allow that? ... Or, Mr. Connacher, do you s'pose He'd let a man like you walk around the earth puttin' out your poison like a patent medicine. Why, God wouldn't permit anything like this. Not the God I been preachin' about. Not the God I believe in.

The Sheriff:

  • Everyone Has Standards: The town sheriff has no idea why the blacks are bothering to march or why they'd want to vote (wasn't it enough that they weren't slaves any more?)— but he's deeply repulsed by Connacher, if only because Connacher's reputation for inciting major violence precedes him. He resigns when the mayor invites Connacher to speak.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After seeing the death of the minister's daughter.
    Sheriff: I'm planning on getting so Goddamned all-fired drunk that I won't remember my own name— let alone what I just seen.
  • Know When to Fold Them: The sheriff lets the marchers through (to the rage of the hick mayor) because he realizes that shutting down a nonviolent protest hard would inevitably lead to violent protests:
    Sheriff: (to the mayor) Them niggers are gonna march right on through the summer, and it don't make no difference whether you mow 'em down with machine guns or give 'em free beer on the corner— they're gonna march. ... You can turn this town into a fuckin' battlefield and fill up the hospitals and then wake up one mornin' to find a thousand federal marshals sittin' here in your office, tellin' you how to run your railroad.
  • No Name Given: Though Blake calls him "Jim."


A local newspaper editor.
  • The Cassandra: Though even he wouldn't anticipate Connacher's fate.
    Blake: (to the sheriff): If you should see a Mr. Connacher in there, Jim— a Mr. King Connacher— you might give him the word [about the death of the minister's daughter]. And you might give mention to him that he's doomed now. He's got perdition written all over him. Every ounce of blood he's caused to spill... every fire he's lighted... every death he's been an accessory to— that's all being added up someplace. It's all being added up. And that list is getting to be quite a tab. He's running himself up one helluva bill.
  • Flat Character: Serves a similar purpose to Frau Gruber in "The Escape Route".
  • Southern Gentleman
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    Blake: I believe you're a dangerous, menacing man whose mission in life is to stir up trouble. Bad trouble, Mr. Connacher. Irreparable trouble. And I look for the day when your breed becomes extinct. I don't know what the social strata will look like. I don't know whether there'll be segregated schools or mixed swimming holes or black and white barbecues. But at least there'll be no more King Connachers. And that'll put us as close to millennium as we'll ever get.

     Characters in "Eyes": 

Miss Claudia Menlo

Indian Charlie Hatcher

A wreck of an ex-boxer off the reservation, with nothing to lose— but his eyes.


Indian Charlie's scuzzy manager. His outstanding debts are weighing heavily upon him, and there's something— or someone— he can sell.

Dr. Heatherton

Miss Menlo's personal physician.
  • Mr. Exposition: He's the one who sets up the premise of an eye transplant, including its short-lived nature (at most 12 hours of sight before rejection kicks in).
  • My Greatest Failure: Heatherton had a fling with a young woman who got pregnant— and, to avoid scandal, sent her to an illegal abortionist, who botched the surgery and killed her.
  • No Name Given

Frank Parker

Miss Menlo's lawyer.
  • Last-Name Basis
  • My Greatest Failure: Parker was involved in insider stock trading and would be disbarred at least if anyone found out.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: To himself:
    He wondered vaguely if they gave a course at a good private school in how human beings could cut out the hearts of other human beings and then bury their conscience on the eighteenth hole of a country club green or in the wake of an expensive yacht— or over the fantail of the Queen Elizabeth on a holiday trip to England... or in the deep dark dungeons of a man's soul where he administered the final rites to his conscience and lowered it down into the guilty ground and hoped and prayed there was no eternal hell where a man had to pay for this kind of funeral service.