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Popeye, who is himself impotent, brings Red into Temple's life as a surrogate sexual partner for her - turning Reba's "respectable" brothel, as she indignantly puts it in Sanctuary, "into a peep-show" (255). Red "looked like a college boy" (235), but is part of the Memphis underworld. When Temple tries to run away with Red, however, Popeye kills him. His death is not narrated, but at the raucous funeral service that is held for him in the same speakeasy where he and Temple danced we see the hole Popeye's bullet made in "the center of his forehead" (249). In Requiem for a Nun Temple calls him "Alabama Red" and says he worked as "a houseman - the bouncer - at the nightclub" that Popeye owns (114). According to Temple in this novel, Red is "not a criminal," "just a thug" (114), but during their unconventional sexual encounters she "falls in love" with him (113), and writes him the letters that in the hands of his younger brother, Pete, create the occasion for the crime that Nancy commits eight years later.

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