At school Sly is bullied relentlessly for having a weird name and being bi-racial. One day after a particularly brutal thrashing, he wakes up inside a strange garage. As it turns out, Mitstuki, a local mechanic and shop owner takes pity on Sly, bringing him in from the freezing cold. Soon an unlikely friendship develops between the two. Sly becomes her protege and apprentice learning all there is to know about cars and motorcycles from her.
While Marco is distracted with his lady friends, Sly and Mitsuki spend their evenings and weekends building and racing bikes. When Mitsuki and Sly win a major motocross race, Marco sees their picture in a local paper and freaks out. He gives Sly the beating of his life and forbids his son to see Mitsuki again. But Marco can't control Sly, and before long he's back at the shop with Mitsuki tinkering.
Things get complicated when Sly hits adolescence and starts to develop feelings for Mitsuki. Sly tries to make a pass at Mitsuki but she shuts him down and promptly disowns him. Later that night Sly comes home to find his father rummaging through his room. He destroys everything related to Mitsuki's shop and completely wrecks his bike tossing it into the river.
Sly goes crying to Mitsuki and she reluctantly takes Sly back. Sly misinterprets Mitsuki's sympathy as a green light and takes advantage of her. Mitsuki, guilt ridden and confused, fails to stop him. But when Mitsuki starts to date a man her age, Sly gets jealous and begins spying on them. One night, Sly comes up with a plan to get rid of Mitsuki's suitor. He sabotages his bike, but the plan backfires when Mitsuki takes the bike instead. Mitsuki loses control of the bike and crashes, suffering a coma and massive brain damage.
After the accident, Sly spends months locked up in his room. Out of concern, Marco accompanies Sly to the hospital to see Mitsuki. When they get to the door of her room, Sly excuses himself to go to the bathroom. Inside the bathroom, Sly hears a train whistle. Unable to deal with his feelings, Sly slips out the window and climbs aboard a massive lumbering freight train. Sly wakes up in NYC several days later frightened and alone.
At the outset of our story, Sly is 36 and it has been 20 years since he has spoken to anyone in his family. A hollowed out shell of a human being, and slave to his many vices, Sly is just barely hanging on to his post as a smog check technician. Sly used to work for Santino's auto repair shop as a mechanic but lost his job when one of their customers suffered a serious accident as a result of Sly's negligence and drinking on the job. To finance his many habits, Sly goes around at night stealing cat converters off of trucks and selling them to local shops.