Study Guide

Minor Characters in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

By Ben Fountain

Minor Characters

Pastor Rick

Pastor Rick is "the tanned, portly founder of one of the largest megachurches in America." He's the guy who did the invocation for Bravo's rally at the Anaheim Convention Center for the Victory Tour (Walk.6).

We'll be real: Pastor Rick is smarmy, he's slimy, and for some reason, he's the guy Billy confides in about Shroom's death. The confession is cathartic for Billy—for a while—but then the relentless Pastor Rick continues to pester him and "pray" for him via text message. Billy's pretty sure that Pastor Rick might have a sliver of good intentions, but he's probably keeping up the relationship mostly for the public kudos. Because public kudos means more moolah for Rick.

General Ruthven

General Ruthven is the guy Norm calls up, thinking the general will force the Bravos to take the crappy movie deal Norm has offered them. This is a low blow to the Bravos, to be sure, but it ends up backfiring in their favor:

"It's okay, Billy. It's cool."

"It is?" Dime nods.

"He said we didn't...?"

"Not in so many words." For several paces Dime is silent. "Billy, did you know General Ruthven is from Youngstown, Ohio?"

"Uh, no, actually."

"I didn't either, till just now." For a moment Dime seems lost in thought. "It's just over the state line from Pennsylvania." Billy begins to think maybe his sergeant has lost it. "Near Pittsburgh," Dime continues. "He's a big Steelers fan. The Steelers, Billy, yo? Which just by definition means he hates the Cowboys' guts."
(Money.235-242)

Yeah, don't mess with Bravo, Norm. These guys have their own rules.

Travis

Travis is the unlucky guy who drunkenly gives Bravo a tough time at the end of the game and ends up getting choked-out by Crack.

Danny Werbner

Danny isn't a character in our story so much as a guy Billy can't help thinking about when he wonders whether he's losing his mind:

[Billy] takes a long time washing his hands, watching himself in the mirror. Growing up in Stovall he knew a boy named Danny Werbner, the older brother of his friend Clay. Danny had a distant manner and rarely spoke, but he'd narrowly survived a car accident in which his two best friends died, and for this reason everybody just shrugged off the strange things Danny did. Such as, he'd strip naked in the room he and Clay shared and stare at himself in the mirror for long periods of time, not caring if the door was open or how cold it was or whether posses of younger boys were tromping through. This was just one of the weird things Danny Werbner did, disturbed behavior with its own inarguable logic, Danny staring in the mirror to make sure he was there. (Virtue.100)

Well, thanks for giving our hero something to think about, we guess, Danny.

Mr. Whaley

Mr. Whaley—a man so respected by the Lynns that we don't even learn his first name—is Denise's boss. Even though Mr. Whaley's big stuff in Stovall, Texas, Billy comes to realize that this guy he thought was a big fish is actually barely a minnow:

Balding, liver-spotted, about forty pounds overweight, with a wardrobe that ran to checked blazers and stay-pressed slacks, he was what passed for money in Stovall, the founder of the moderately prosperous oilfield-services company where Denise had worked as office manager for fifteen years. (Bully.82)

Billy's world has expanded quite a bit now that he's spent time in Iraq. His world is no longer limited to Stovall, Texas, and so he can no longer react to people like Mr. Whaley as he used to.

Mr. Whaley's not a bad dude. After all, he lines up a job for Billy for when Billy gets home from the war, should he want it. But his visit still puts quite the damper on the Lynn family reunion.

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