Lacey Casteel is a devil and a hero. He knows he is the one. He is hoping to be the other. Lacey is a bus driver in Oakland, California, who moonlights by handling the business of a prostitute or two in his off-hours. One night he finds a teenage boy battered and bleeding in a street and takes him home to help him. He tells the boy who is still alive and functioning that he can stay one night to rest but must leave in the morning. The teenager happens to be the protagonist of The Crazy Horse Electric Game, Willie. Willie works out a deal with Lacey that exchanges help with the housework for room and board (meals). Thus, Lacey gains a "white cripple boy" to take care of whom he enrolls in an alternative high school.
Lacey has devil's past. He drinks himself into violent passions and so brutalized his own son that the boy is permanently impaired. Lacey, despite his drinking and violence, has a conscience and religious convictions that lead him to acknowledge that he is headed to Hell for what he has done. He conceives the hope that helping Willie might help to make amends for the wrong he did to his own son and get him a little further away from the gates of Hell: "I get this idea to get me out of Hell. Raise me a white cripple kid." At Willie's high school graduation, Lacey is gratefully moved by the kind things Willie says about him in his speech.