If Pete had ever wanted to be a successful businessman, he probably would have used his full name: P. David Peterson. But he has never been a businessman, and he never uses his full name.
Throughout U-town, he is known simply as "Pete." Occasionally, to his familiars, he is "Petronius," perhaps out of a vague sense that there was a person of that name at some point in history, and that he (Petronius) was known as an arbiter.
Pete is often counted on to decide disputes of various sorts, chiefly (or entirely) on aesthetic issues, usually involving loud music and/or disreputable literature.
Pete's one definite skill is playing the bass guitar. He is a somewhat better bass player than he claims to be.
Pete's most noteworthy characteristic is taking notes and making lists. Contemplating writing an autobiography once, he started it as follows:
My name is P. David Peterson, but everybody calls me Pete. At the time of this story I was twenty-seven years old. I am on the small side (5'7", to be exact), and thin. Even the very timid have never found me physically imposing. I only mention this last fact here because there are very few timid people in this narrative.
My hair is brown, and at that time it was fairly long. I wear glasses. I originally needed them only for reading, but I started wearing them all the time in the vain hope that they would reduce the number of times I got beat up at school. That didn't work, and now I need them for almost everything.
I started out wanting to be a writer, but got sidetracked by rock music. I have always continued to claim I was a writer, though, as an excuse for the fact that I make notes and lists all the time. In reality, this note-taking and list-making is an obsession, and is satisfying in and of itself.
For example, one time when I was young I decided I had to make a Peterson Family Tree. I started this project on a huge piece of drawing paper, which I hung on my bedroom wall. I planned ahead so I thought it would all fit, but late in the project I found out about a group of cousins I hadn't known about. So, one side of the huge chart spilled over onto the wall itself. This part caused some parental comment, but in general they thought the project showed a very admirable interest in my blood relations.
Nuts. They were there, so I had to list them. That's the way I am.
Pete does not appear in A Sane Woman.
Pete's first appearance is in U-town, in the second chapter (A World So Alive). We see him in a familiar situation, in a decrepit rock and roll club, waiting for the time when his band Kingdom Come can take the stage and play.
In a later chapter, we will see him earlier that same week, dozing behind the counter of the coffee and tea store where he works, thinking about the upcoming gig, his calm abruptly interrupted when he realizes he is not alone in the store.