Lon Chaney Rodriguez is a typical thirteen-year-old boy. He loves horror movies. His bedroom is a mess. He doesn’t like to read boring books. And he likes to skip church to hang out at Catfish Creek during services.
But his life changes completely when his mother is shot and killed at the apartment complex where she worked as a security guard. Life without her is unimaginable, and Lon is haunted by the feeling that he let his mom down. He didn’t prioritize his schoolwork, so he’s on the brink of failing. And worse, he lied to her. Why didn’t he tell the truth? Why didn’t he make better grades and help more?
Lonnie’s life is turned upside down, both at school and home. The school counselor is determined to get him to talk about his mom, and the preacher’s daughter is insistent that he read scriptures to bring himself comfort. His unemployed father turns to drinking excessively and struggles to pay the bills. It doesn’t seem possible, but … will they really end up on the street like the homeless guy that panhandles at the freeway underpass?