This article lists the various minor fictional characters who appear in the novel version Joe Steele. These characters play at best a peripheral role in the novel. Most were simply mentioned or had a very brief, unimportant speaking role that impacted the plot minimally, if at all, and never appeared again. Some were not even given a name. The only named fictional character appearing in the short story is Otto Spitzer.
- 1 Albany Fire Department Clerk
- 2 Calvin Armstrong
- 3 Bernadette
- 4 Captain Blair
- 5 Adam Bolger
- 6 Morris Cantor
- 7 Gary Cunningham
- 8 Major Dragunov
- 9 Eddie
- 10 Emma
- 11 Thelma Feldman
- 12 Morris Frumkin
- 13 Nacho Gomez
- 14 Grover
- 15 Hank
- 16 Ms. Hannegan
- 17 Japanese Farmer
- 18 Jonesy
- 19 Jules
- 20 Julius
- 21 Ken
- 22 Jeremiah V. Kincaid
- 23 Millie Lefebvre
- 24 Mr. Lefebvre
- 25 Levine
- 26 Lawrence Livermore
- 27 Aloysius Lopatynski
- 28 Cousin Lou
- 29 Lucy
- 30 Mary Ignatia
- 31 Minister of Huey Long's Funeral
- 32 Louie Pappas
- 33 Sgt. Pappas
- 34 Hiram "Jugs" Perkins
- 35 Phil
- 36 Tadeusz Pietruszka
- 37 Ralph
- 38 Roy (Bartender)
- 39 Roy (Reporter)
- 40 Sgt. Sanders
- 41 Dick Shirakawa
- 42 Spider
- 43 Susanna
- 44 Ms. Tarleton
- 45 Irene Triandos
- 46 Unnamed Japanese Brigadier
- 47 Melvin Vangilder
- 48 Virgil
- 49 Dr. Weinbaum
- 50 Kermit Witherspoon
- 51 References
Albany Fire Department Clerk
New York Times reporter Mike Sullivan bribed a clerk with the Albany Fire Department for afterhours access to the Department's file on the fire at the Executive Mansion that killed Governor Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt in July 1932. The clerk repeated multiple times that allowing Sullivan access could very well cost the clerk his job. When Sullivan noticed that there was no arson report in the file, the clerk confirmed that a report existed, and pointed Sullivan towards investigator Jeremiah V. Kincaid.
Lt. Calvin Armstrong (b. c. 1923) commanded a U.S. Army company stationed south of the demilitarized zone between North Japan and South Japan in the period between the end of World War II and the Japanese War. In 1947, he learned from his Soviet counterpart, Major Dragunov, that the Russians were raising an army in North Japan. After the meeting, Armstrong heeded the advice of Sgt. Mike Sullivan, and notified the Army brass about the developments.
In 1948, after the U.S. Army created the Constitutional Guard in South Japan, Sullivan approached Armstrong about concerns that the Americans were too "soft" on their Japanese charges; many veterans of the Japanese Army were used to much harsher discipline. While Armstrong was sympathetic, he reminded Sullivan that such treatment was against U.S. policy. Idly, he wished GBI agents could be assigned to Army units, much as the Soviets used the NKVD as political officers to mind the Red Army. Sullivan did not show disagreement.
In the meantime, Armstrong continued to send worried reports about North Japanese activity. He did so right up until North Japan crossed the DMZ into South Japan in June, 1948. The attack was a complete surprise to the U.S. and South Japan, anyway.
Captain Blair was an administrator at a prison camp outside Livingston, Montana. In the summer of 1942, he reviewed prisoner Mike Sullivan's request to enlist in the Army. Blair noticed certain coding in Sullivan's file that required Sullivan to do his full ten-year sentence, but offered Sullivan the chance to serve in a punishment brigade, explaining that he would be enlisted immediately, that he would remain in the brigade for the duration of the war, and that if he survived, he would have his good name back. Sullivan agreed.
Adam Bolger was an accountant who was convicted of wrecking in 1937. He was assigned to the same camp as Mike Sullivan. Unlike the vast majority of prisoners, Bolger still loved President Joe Steele, and insisted that he had to be a wrecker because he couldn't do the work his firm had assigned him. He further insisted that everyone was essentially a wrecker because no person could work as well as he could all the time. His fellow prisoners were unsympathetic to Bolger's opinions.
Morris Cantor was Stella Sullivan's second husband. She worked for him as a secretary after she divorced Mike Sullivan in 1939. She and Cantor were first engaged in 1945. Mike's parents, Stella's former in-laws, disapproved of Stella's relationship with a "sheeny draft-dodger."
Gary Cunningham was a convicted wrecker from Arizona. He served his sentence out, was released in 1944, and immediately drafted into the U.S. Army. He'd contemplated volunteering sooner, but was informed he'd be assigned to a punishment brigade, so he served his sentence instead. After World War II, he opted to stay in the army, where he became a technical sergeant, and served during and after the Japanese War.
After the Japanese War, Cunningham was assigned to go to the demilitarized zone between North and South Japan and check radiation levels. He met Sgt. Mike Sullivan, another convicted wrecker. Cunningham was in awe of Sullivan, who had entered a punishment brigade, and had defied the odds by surviving to the end of the war. He even bought Sullivan a couple of rounds. He also assured Sullivan that, despite his proximity to Sendai, Sullivan was probably not affected by the radiation.
Major Dragunov was a Soviet Red Army officer stationed in North Japan along the demilitarized zone during period between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Japanese War. In 1947, during a monthly meeting with U.S. Army captain Calvin Armstrong, Dragunov admitted that the Soviets had created a North Japanese army, to Armstrong's horror. Dragunov was accompanied by an NKVD officer, and the major frequently consulted with him before answering Captain Armstrong's questions.
Eddie was a Chicago police officer assigned to provide security for the Democratic National Convention at Chicago Stadium in July, 1932. He demanded to see Charlie Sullivan's press-pass, even though he and Sullivan had had coffee and donuts together a few times when Sullivan wrote for a Chicago paper.
Emma was (allegedly) a Negro maid in the household of the family of Carter Glass. In 1933, after Senator Glass announced his opposition to President Joe Steele's plan to nationalize the country's banks, Bureau of Investigation chief J. Edgar Hoover found "evidence" that in his youth, Glass had fathered a child with Emma. When Steele confronted Glass with this evidence, Glass changed his position and supported the nationalization scheme.
Thelma Feldman was the wife of journalist Stan Feldman of the New York Post. In 1944, Stan was arrested by the GBI and sent to a camp. Desperate, Thelma turned to Charlie Sullivan, a former journalist and speechwriter for President Joe Steele, and begged him for help. Charlie, who'd been unable to help his own brother when he was sent to a camp, made no promises, but approached first Vince Scriabin and President Steele himself. Steele flatly refused, saying that Feldman had been a troublemaker for years, and that only a camp would straighten him out. Thelma wailed uncontrollably when Charlie called her to tell her the news.
Out of remorse, Charlie Sullivan anonymously sent Thelma $100.00.
Morris Frumkin was a federal administrative law judge in New York City. In 1937, he adjudicated journalist Mike Sullivan on charges of libel against the Steele Administration after Sullivan authored a piece likening President Joe Steele to Adolf Hitler and Leon Trotsky. Frumkin found Sullivan guilty in short order, and sentenced him to a labor camp in Montana for five to ten years.
Nacho Gomez was a young punishment brigade soldier in Mike Sullivan's company during Operation: Coronet. He hadn't been in an encampment long before volunteering for the punishment brigades and filled out the empty ranks for the invasion of Honshu. He was present when a flight of Hellcats swooped down on a group of Japanese tanks escorting a civilian automobile. Emperor Hirohito was inside the vehicle, and was killed. Gomez and Sullivan recognized the dead emperor and Sullivan sent Gomez back to inform their superiors and to bring back reinforcements to hold onto the body in case of Japanese counterattack.
Grover was a journalist who attended Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt's last press conference in July 1932. When Roosevelt said he wasn't worried about the number of votes the Democratic National Convention would go through before it finally decided on a candidate, Grover pointed out that Roosevelt's rival, Congressman Joe Steele, would have something to say on the matter. Roosevelt, with an edge in his voice, said that just because Steele said something didn't make it so.
Hank was a reporter at the New York Post. After Mike Sullivan found out that his story on the fire at the New York State Executive Mansion that killed Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt would not be published, he asked Hank for a "cure" for humanity. Hank quoted from Dorothy Parker's poem "Resumé": "Guns aren’t lawful/Nooses give/Gas smells awful/You might as well live."
Ms. Hannegan was the principal of the school Charlie Sullivan's attended. In the spring of 1948, Ms. Tarleton, the kindergarten teacher, took Patrick Sullivan to Ms. Hannegan's office after Patrick hit another kindergartner, Melvin Vangilder in the nose, causing him to bleed. Patrick was sent home early. However, Ms. Hannegan called Charlie later that afternoon to make sure that he wasn't angry at Ms. Tarleton. She also reminded Charlie that Melvin had no idea what Charlie did, or he would never had said it. Charlie admitted he wouldn't have thought of any of that if she hadn't called, and hung up.
During Operation: Olympic on Kyushu, Sgt. Mike Sullivan came across a new threat, Japanese civilians armed with black-powder muskets. As he left the beach and entered the jungle, a gray-haired man in farmer's clothes fired a rifle at him setting off a big cloud of white smoke. Sullivan fired back, killing him. He came up to his body and found the man also had a powder horn and percussion caps. The bullets were half-inch lengths cut from an iron bar and the musket barrel was ordinary pipe without rifling. It quickly became apparent that, in desperation, the Japanese government was issuing these crude, mass produced weapons to any civilian that wanted one.
Jonesy was a GBI guard at the prison camp in Montana where Mike Sullivan served his sentence. When Sullivan wanted to try to enlist in the U.S. Army in December 1941, Jonesy directed Sullivan to speak with Warrant Officer Aloysius Lopatynski.
Ken was a reporter with the New York Post. Over lunch with colleague Mike Sullivan, Ken downplayed President Joe Steele's handling of the Supreme Court Four and his decision to suspend habeas corpus, arguing that Steele was playing rough, but was not going to go full on into dictatorship. Sullivan was not convinced.
Jeremiah V. Kincaid
Lt. Jeremiah V. Kincaid was the arson investigator with the Albany Fire Department. He was responsible for investigating the fire at the New York State Executive Mansion that killed Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor in July, 1932. However, when New York Post reporter Mike Sullivan was able to sneak an unofficial look at the AFD's file, Kincaid's report wasn't there. Sullivan tried to speak to Kincaid, but Kincaid's secretary directed Sullivan to the AFD's public information officer, Kermit Witherspoon.
Millie Lefebvre gave birth to a child a few hours before Esther Sullivan gave birth to her son, Patrick Sullivan. Esther's husband, Charlie, watched Millie's husband pace in the waiting room until he secretly desired to trip Mr. Lefebvre.
Mr. Lefebvre became a father just a few hours before Charlie Sullivan's wife, Esther gave birth to their son, Patrick. Lefebvre paced the entire time; Charlie developed the desire to trip Lefebvre. When the the doctor informed Lefebvre that his wife had given birth, he called Lefebvre "Le-fever". Lefebvre responded with the correct pronunciation: "Le-fehv".
Levine was one of two attorneys from the ACLU who represented the Supreme Court Four at their military tribunal in September, 1934. Unlike his colleague, who dressed sharply, Levine wore a particularly loud checkered suit. He also did most of the talking on behalf of his clients. He first objected to James McReyonlds' confession on the grounds it was coerced. When the head of the tribunal, Captain Raymond A. Spruance, determined to his own satisfaction that McReynolds had not been coerced, he accepted McReynolds' plea. This pattern was repeated with the remaining judges. George Sutherland added that they weren't the only ones, and named Louisiana Senator Huey Long and radio personality and Steele critic, Father Coughlin. When Levine attempted to stop him, Sutherland waved him away, saying that it didn't matter any more.
After the Four were found guilty and sentenced to death, Levine and the ACLU appealed to the remaining Supreme Court and to President Joe Steele, and published letters in the newspapers. Ultimately, Steele denied their appeal, and the Four were executed at sunrise some weeks after their conviction. 
Captain Lawrence Livermore (b. c. 1915) was a young officer in the US Army. In 1941, he was assigned the task of arresting General Douglas MacArthur on the latter's return from the Philippines. He had a platoon of soldiers armed with rifles accompany him to the closed off train platform that MacArthur's train came to. Livermore formally asked MacArthur to identify himself. When MacArthur refused and cussed him out, Captain Livermore remained calm and had his soldiers point their rifles at MacArthur. At first it looked like MacArthur would force them to shoot him, but he backed down and was taken into custody.
Aloysius Lopatynski was a warrant officer in the GBI. In December 1941, he was tasked with putting together a list of wreckers who might qualify for service during World War II. He met with Mike Sullivan, and suggested he wait until his sentence was up.
Cousin Lou was a mourner at the funeral for Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in July, 1932. He was a horsey-faced middle-aged man with a slight resemblance to Eleanor. When he learned that reporter Mike Sullivan, who was covering the funeral, had witnessed the fire at the New York State Executive Mansion that had killed Franklin and Eleanor, he shared his belief that Franklin's rival, Joe Steele, had murdered the Roosevelts. Sullivan reminded Cousin Lou that he was making a serious accusation with little evidence. After Cousin Lou wandered away, another mourner approached Sullivan and asked that he not write about Cousin Lou and what he'd said, as he was taking the matter very hard. Sullivan agreed.
It's possible that this person is an obscure historical figure.
Lucy (b. c. 1903) was a waitress at a diner in Casper, Wyoming. She was friends with John Dennison. On March 5, 1953, she served Dennison and Mike Sullivan with tears running down her eyes. When Dennison promised to kill whoever had done it, Lucy announced that she was crying because President Joe Steele was dead.
Sister Mary Ignatia was one of Mike and Charlie Sullivan's teachers during their school days. The brothers remembered her as very strict, and so old that Latin might have been her native language.
Minister of Huey Long's Funeral
The minister who preached the funeral oration at Senator Huey Long's funeral was a "fire-and-brimstone" sort who promised that God would smite those who assassinated Long, and singled out President Joe Steele as "the mustachioed serpent in the White House." This prompted the crowd to call for Steele's hanging.
Louie Pappas was a photographer with the AP. He was a stocky, bald man, who chewed on cigars without ever lighting them. In February, 1934, he went with Charlie Sullivan to the Supreme Court after Sullivan received an anonymous tip to be there. They were able to cover J. Edgar Hoover's public arrest of the four associate justices who came to be called the Supreme Court Four.
Pappas also helped Sullivan cover the military tribunal proceedings against the Supreme Court Four. He was astonished when the Four actually confessed.
Louie Pappas' brother had been a private first class in the Marines during the Great War. In 1934, he was a career Marine, now a gunnery sergeant. It was Sergeant Pappas' informed opinion that the facts in the case of Huey Long's murder showed that the sniper had had Marine training.
Hiram "Jugs" Perkins
Hiram "Jugs" Perkins (d. 1945) was a soldier in Mike Sullivan's section during Operation: Olympic, the invasion of the Japanese Home Island of Kyushu. Perkins got his nickname from the way his ears stuck out like the handles of a jug.
While on a troopship before the attack, Jugs asked Sullivan if what Tokyo Rose was saying was true. Sullivan said that if Tokyo Rose said it, then it must be untrue and then asked him what in particular he was wondering about. Jugs replied that he had heard her say that the Japanese would spear them if they didn't shoot them. Sullivan reassured Jugs that they could shoot any spear bearers before they could reach them and that if the Japanese were depending on spears then that it meant guns were in short supply. Jugs thought about it and agreed it would be to their advantage.
Later, on Honshū as part of Operation: Coronet, Sullivan's troops were attacked by schoolgirls armed with spears. Jugs would have laughed at that had he not been killed during the previous invasion by a machine gun round to the face outside Nagasaki.
Phil was an inmate at the same Montana labor camp Mike Sullivan was confined to beginning in mid-1937. Phil also doubled as a cook, and served Sullivan his first meal as an inmate. John Dennison, another inmate who was showing Sullivan the ropes, asked Phil to give Sullivan "something good". Phil sarcastically agreed, comparing his service to the Waldorf.
Tadeusz Pietruszka was President Joe Steele's personal physician. While he wasn't the most visible figure, as Steele's health was good for most of his 20-year presidency, Pietruszka treated Steele's first stroke in late 1950. When Steele had another stroke on March 5, 1953, Pietruszka confirmed that nothing could be done, and Steele died almost immediately after.
Ralph was a PFC in First Sgt. Mike Sullivan's company during the Japanese War. On August 6, 1949, he approached Sullivan to ask if they were going to attack, that night, the North Japanese concentrating in Sendai. Sullivan replied they had orders to sit tight in Yamashita so they were not. Ralph was dissatisfied, saying they should attack while the enemy was still off-balance. Sullivan agreed but reiterated orders were orders. However, that night a flight of B-29s dropped an atomic bomb on Sendai destroying it and the forces concentrating there.
Roy was a journalist who attended Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt's last press conference in July 1932. He asked Roosevelt how many ballots he thought there would be before the Democratic National Convention finally decided on a presidential nominee. Roosevelt said he wasn't worried about it.
Sgt. Sanders was Captain Blair's assistant. Sanders was the first to review Mike Sullivan's file in Summer 1942, when Sullivan sought to enlist. Sanders didn't see anything too bad in Sullivan's file, and referred him to Blair. Blair noticed that Sullivan should have served ten years, something that Sanders hadn't picked up on.
Corporal Dick Shirakawa was an American of Japanese descent. He lived in California until Japan attacked the U.S. in December 1941. Shirakawa was arrested like most other citizens of Japanese descent and placed in a labor camp. He volunteered to join the United States Army, was placed in a punishment brigade, and fought in Europe. After the war, he decided to stay in the Army. He was transferred out of the punishment brigade, and transferred to South Japan in the company under Captain Calvin Armstrong. He acted as an interpreter for Sgt. Mike Sullivan and helped train the Constitutional Guard. In spring of 1948, Shirakawa was able tell Sullivan why the recruits were less than satisfactory; while most of the recruits had actually served in the Imperial Japanese Army, they appeared to be going through the motions. In fact, the Japanese vets, used to their own non-coms treating them violently, assumed the considerably less violent Americans were themselves going through the motions.
Shirakawa and Sullivan were on leave when the North Japanese army invaded the south, triggering the Japanese War. After the two made their way to Tokyo for their assignments, Shirakawa was ordered to stay in Tokyo, lest he be mistaken for a North Japanese soldier and killed by his fellow Americans. After some initial protest, Skirakawa agreed.
Spider was a soldier in Mike Sullivan's section during Operation: Olympic, the invasion of the Japanese Home Island of Kyushu. He was generally known by his nickname which he got from a tattoo on his left forearm. Part of the Japanese defenses consisted of civilians armed with crude black-powder muskets. Spider was killed by a woman he had wounded after she had shot at him. He had approached her to see if he could treat her wounds and take her prisoner. She had allowed him to approach but killed them both with a grenade when he was within blast range.
Ms. Tarleton was Patrick Sullivan's kindergarten teacher. In the spring of 1948, Ms. Tarleton took Patrick to the principal's office after Patrick hit another kindergartner, Melvin Vangilder in the nose, causing him to bleed. Patrick was sent home early. However, Ms. Hannegan, the school principal, called Charlie later that afternoon to make sure that he wasn't angry at Ms. Tarleton. She also reminded Charlie that Melvin had no idea what Charlie did for a living, or he would never provoked Patrick into hitting him. Charlie admitted he wouldn't have thought of any of that if she hadn't called, and hung up.
Irene Triandos and her family lived across the hall from Charlie and Esther Sullivan. In April 1942, when Esther gave birth to their son, Patrick, Irene watched the Sullivans' daughter, Sarah. She was among the first people Charlie called after Patrick was born.
Unnamed Japanese Brigadier
A Japanese brigadier general was the senior officer available to sign a surrender treaty to the United States in 1946. The treaty was carried out after the Americans agreed to return the body of Emperor Hirohito, recently killed in action, for a formal funeral. Once the signing was completed, the brigadier ritually slit his belly to atone for the shame of surrendering.
Melvin Vangilder (b. 1942) was a child in the same kindergarten class as Patrick Sullivan. One day in the spring of 1948, Patrick went to school in a red colored shirt. Melvin asked Patrick "Are you now or have you ever been a Red?" Since "Red" was a dirty name, Patrick hit Melvin in the nose hard enough to make him bleed. The teacher, Ms. Tarleton, took Patrick to the principal's office, and he was sent home for the day. However, Ms. Hannegan, the school principal, called Charlie Sullivan, Patrick's father, later that afternoon to make sure that he wasn't angry at Ms. Tarleton. She also reminded Charlie that Melvin Vangilder had no idea that Charlie worked for President Joe Steele, or he would never had said it. Charlie admitted he wouldn't have thought of any of that if she hadn't called, then hung up.
Virgil was a GBI guard at the Montana labor camp Mike Sullivan was sent to in June 1937. Very early in Sullivan's term, Virgil hassled Sullivan and fellow inmate John Dennison about finishing cutting up a tree trunk. Dennison calmly assured Virgil that they would. After Virgil had left, Sullivan admitted how impressed he was with Dennison's calm, and that his own first impulse was to give Virgil "the finger" and tell him to go fuck himself. Dennison reminded Sullivan he was still a "scalp", and that he needed to keep things like that inside.
Kermit Witherspoon was the public information officer with the Albany Fire Department. When Mike Sullivan investigated the fire at the New York State Executive Mansion that killed Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, he found that the arson report was not part of the final file. Sullivan initially approached arson investigator Jeremiah V. Kincaid, but was directed by Kincaid's secretary to Witherspoon. However, when Sullivan spoke to Witherspoon, Witherspoon proved uncooperative.
- Joe Steele, pgs. 56-58.
- Ibid., pgs. 337-339.
- Ibid., pg. 346-347.
- Ibid., pg. 352.
- Ibid., p. 120.
- Ibid., pgs. 264-265.
- Ibid., pg. 200.
- Ibid., pg. 397.
- Ibid., pg. 306.
- Ibid., pg. 380.
- Ibid., pgs. 379-381.
- Ibid., pg. 338-339.
- Ibid., pg. 6.
- Ibid., pgs. 55-59.
- Ibid., pgs. 49-51.
- Ibid., pgs. 287-290.
- Ibid., pg. 297.
- Ibid., pg. 168-169.
- Ibid., pgs. 320-323.
- Ibid., pg. 14.
- Ibid, pg 63.
- Ibid., pgs. 347-349.
- Ibid., pgs. 311-312.
- Ibid., pg. 253-254.
- Ibid., pg. 90.
- Ibid., pg. 141.
- Ibid., pg. 400.
- Ibid, pg. 89-91.
- Ibid. pgs. 59-59.
- Ibid., pg. 260.
- Ibid., pg. 260.
- Ibid. pg. 101.
- Ibid., pg. 111.
- Ibid., pgs. 117-118.
- Ibid., pgs. 258-259.
- Ibid., pg. 255.
- Ibid., pgs. 31-32.
- Ibid., pg. 411.
- Ibid., p. 120.
- Ibid., pgs. 114-116.
- Ibid, pgs. 81-84.
- Ibid., pgs. 106-107.
- Ibid., pgs. 113-114.
- Ibid. pg. 308.
- Ibid. pg. 320.
- Ibid., pg. 181.
- Ibid., pgs. 389-90.
- Ibid., pg. 403-406.
- Ibid, pgs. 366-369.
- Ibid. pg. 97.
- Ibid., pg. 14.
- Ibid., pg. 264.
- Ibid., pg. 345-346.
- Ibid., pgs. 349-353, HC.
- Ibid., pg. 312.
- Ibid., p. 120.
- Ibid., pgs. 347-349.
- Ibid., pgs. 261-263.
- Ibid., p. 325.
- Ibid., pgs. 347-349.
- Ibid., pg. 188.
- Ibid., pg. 421.
- Ibid., pgs. 58-59.
- Ibid., pg. 60.