A fast-paced, grimly atmospheric urban story, in which the public inhumanity that fifteen-year-old Billy encounters on moving to New York is firmly entwined with the moral horrors he finds within himself. Billy's only friend in New York is tough, possessive, fired-up Milo--who one night at the park whips out two spray cans of paint, sprays a sleeping bum with one of them, and urges Billy to join him. Billy does, with momentary pleasure--but is at once seized with remorse and revulsion that have him literally running from the truth, frantically avoiding Milo, and refraining from talking for days in an effort to emulate the Indian in. . . Cuckoo Nest. A few days after the spraying Billy learns by accident that the bum died that night; and when Milo, a serious high school art student, does a prize-winning super-realist painting of Billy spraying the tramp, he fears trouble from the police as well as his parents and his own conscience. There are more dramatic scenes, a reluctant talk with the pastor who helps Billy face up, and numerous small encounters and inner struggles that add dimension. A different sort of chase story--at once high-pitched, undemanding, and dead serious.