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Ronnie Malenfant was a brash, troubled ‘hot-shot’ and popular student in the University of Maine. He is a frenemy to Peter Riley and a Vietnam war veteran in later life. He is the cause of the hearts epidemic in his college when he introduced the card game to the student populace.

He debuts as the main antagonist in the King novella ‘Hearts in Atlantis’ published in his sixth collection and 42nd book of the same name, ‘Hearts in Atlantis.’ He caused the gambling epidemic that spread throughout the entire university, causing many students to flunk out and be forced to enter the draft to fight in the Vietnam War. He gets the protagonist, Peter Riley and his friends addicted to the game, causing their grades to all drop significantly. He becomes annoyed when he loses and considered Peter Riley his best opponent.

At the climax of the novella, he reluctantly helps the others rescue Stoke from nearly drowning himself but does join in when everyone was defending Stoke against Dearborn and the police. At the end, he flunked out of university after the Christmas term and was forced to draft into the Vietnam war.

He doesn’t appear but he is mentioned in King’s short story ‘Blind Willie’ published in his sixth collection and 42nd book ‘Hearts in Atlantis.’ In the story, he is thought about by Willie Shearman as he is reminiscing about Vietnam as he was constantly playing Hearts during the war and not taking the situation seriously. Willie isn’t sure what happened to him afterwards but he knows he survived the war.

He returns as the main antagonist in King’s short story ‘Why We’re in Vietnam’ published in his sixth collection and 42nd book ‘Hearts in Atlantis.’ In the story, he doesn’t appear physically but Sullivan reminiscences over how, during the war, he nearly caused another My Lai Massacre when he brutally murdered a Vietnamese woman with a bayonet. He was stopped by his lieutenant, Dieffenbaker who ordered one of their team to murder Clemens, one of his friends. His actions haunts Sullivan as the ghost of the woman visits him recurrently through hallucinations and eventually results in his death. At the end, it is revealed he has forged a new path for himself by Dieffenbaker to Sullivan that he is still alive and, after the war he seeks to live his life to the fullest.

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