Gramp Maple, the owner of the Black Mesa Bar-B-Q in eastern Arizona, near the New Mexico border. He is a dinosaur of a man, a self-styled pioneer who has lived past the age of pioneers. Gramp runs the restaurant with the help of his son, his granddaughter, and Boze Hertzlinger, who works for him. Gramp relates to Duke Mantee, an escapee from prison who lands in the Black Mesa. He looks on Duke as the kind of pioneer he would like to be and probably, despite his boasts, has never been.
Jason Maple, Gramp’s son, an American Legionnaire who has spent his entire life in the desert, except for the time he served in the Army during World War I. He married a French woman, and they produced a child, Gabby. Jason’s wife moved to the desert with him but, unable to stand the isolation of eastern Arizona, returned quickly to France and remarried. She left their daughter with Jason, who has little sense of purpose in life. He reflects the stereotyped patriotic jingoism typically attributed to Legionnaires.
Gabrielle (Gabby) Maple
Gabrielle (Gabby) Maple, Jason’s daughter and Gramp’s granddaughter, roughly twenty years old. She works in the Black Mesa but spends her life dreaming about France, reading the works of François Villon, affecting the vocabulary of a stevedore, and wishing she were in Paris. Gabby has no real memory of her mother but keeps alive an illusion of what she must have been like.
Boze Hertzlinger, a teenage boy who works at the barbecue and has romantic inclinations toward Gabby, whose fondness for poetry he utterly fails to understand....
(The entire section is 698 words.)