Chapter 1 begins about 5 or 6 years ahead of when most of the book takes place. The reader is introduced to the main character, Rusty-James. Chapter 2 then flashes back to 6 years earlier. Rusty-James is a young teenager at this point and is hanging out in a local hangout named "Benny's." Midget enters the hangout and informs Rusty-James that Biff Wilcox wants to fight Rusty-James. Apparently Rusty-James said something to Biff's girlfriend that she or he found offensive. Now it's time to rumble (what is it with Hinton and rumbles?).
Before going to the fight location though, Rusty-James stops by to see Patty, his girlfriend. She's mad at Rusty-James, because she heard that he was out with some other ladies a few nights previous. After he assures her that nothing happened, they make out. The reader learns that Patty is a bit of the jealous type and aggressive as well, because she went after some girl with a broken bottle for flirting with Rusty-James. She's one tough bleached blond girl that's for sure.