On a city's mean streets, the boys join gangs at 15. Frankie leads the Hornets: he's 18, seething, coiled. When a neighbor goes to the cops after seeing one of the Hornets with a zip gun, Frankie vows to kill the old guy, hatching a plan using Lou, who smiles and smokes, and "Baby," the 15-year-old son of an immigrant shopkeeper. Ben Wagner, the social worker at a neighborhood settlement house, gets wind of the plan and tries to break through to Frankie. Frankie's brother Richie, who's about 12, worships and fears Frankie; he also figures out what his brother is up to. Is Frankie doomed to crash and burn at 18? Written by
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[after he's slapped
Don't you ever touch me!
I'm your mother... MOTHER! God help me when I say it! The word feels dirty in my mouth! 'Don't touch me, mother?' Well, you listen to me! I touched you once! I gave birth to you. I touched you all over! You're part of my body, and every time I think of it, I wanna wash! You're garbage, Frankie Dane! I give you up! I give you up!