When first met loafing in front of Malone's garage in Wilbur Flats, Dan Fogarty, twenty-three, college graduate and law school drop-out, is the ""town flop""--as he caustically informs a preacher who, like his old schoolteacher, the retired idlers and almost everyone, would have him be something. His chief hang-up (the subject of his interior dialogues with Old Gumshoe) is Holly, the girl who got away; his only interest fifteen-year-old Paul LaGoy, untaught because he's not been taught properly, who hero-worshipped Fog as a child and still needs a boost. And he's written a play--which a kooky college friend will put on Off-Off Broadway. The scenes in and around the garage smack of early Saroyan--the same people stopping by to get gas and bandy Big Ideas, Fog and the preacher peppering each other with Biblical quotations; then we're in the East Village, where Fog sleeps with a self-protective waif, senses the futile drift, sees his play flop. (Oddly, this man who chose to confound Wilbur Flats seems wholly a child in New York.) An impulse trip to Montauk Point clears his head--of Holly too--and he goes home again. . . to learn, incidentally, that his father also had ""a thing about points and tops,"" and to get a job--teaching second grade--that will let him try being somebody. There's a little obscenity, plus the bedding of Yetta, but this isn't a children's book anyhow, just an adult bind without adult dimension.