Broken and neglected, living in a house given over to addiction and alcoholism, Dukie has nothing. Anything he brings home is devoured and exploited by the same people who are supposed to caring for him. Intelligent and open to new experiences, he nonetheless clings to the remnants of a childhood through his friends on the street, on whom he often lies for loyalty, support and a few dollars here and there. Even so, Dukie's soiled appearance and withdrawn demeanor attracts both ridicule and scorn, until Mr. "Prez" comes along as his eighth grade math teacher and takes Dukie under his wing. Offering clothes, the occasional lunch and a classroom computer, Prez helps Dukie build confidence which gets him promoted to ninth grade (more to juke stats than because he's ready). Meanwhile, when his family is evicted, Michael invites Dukie to come live with him and Bug in their new home (funded by Michael's promotion to Bodie's old corner).