Charlie is the owner of the local bar, and he is a good friend to Bryon and Mark. Bryon and Mark often make money by hustling pool in his bar, and at the beginning of the book, Charlie tries to help the boys by telling them to stop hustling. He warns Bryon, "You guys are going to get in real bad trouble one of these days." In Chapter 5, Mark and Bryon challenge some Texans to a pool game, and, after the boys win, the Texans wait for them in an alleyway and try to attack them. Charlie defends them with a gun and is shot and killed in the process.
In the aftermath of Charlie's death, Bryon feels incredibly guilty, while Mark seems unable to understand Bryon's emotions. To cope with Charlie's death, Bryon becomes more and more connected with his girlfriend, Cathy, who is intelligent and determined to make something of her life. Cathy understands the way Bryon feels, while Mark doesn't. As Bryon and Cathy spend more and more time together, Mark grows envious of them. Bryon becomes increasingly responsible after Charlie's death and gets a job at a supermarket, and he also deals with Charlie's death by going to the cemetery and thanking him for having saved his life.