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Long-listed for the 2011 ReLit Awards

Jim Myers is a painfully shy kid living in Toronto’s west end Bloorcourt Village. Rarely is he able to muster enough courage to say anything beyond "ya" or "dunno." After school he hangs around with his neighbour and only friend, Oleg Khernofsky, playing basketball against a NO PARKING sign in a laneway. In the evenings, he haunts Nicky’s Diner, a restaurant owned by Oleg’s uncle.

On the first day of junior high, Jim crosses paths with Charlie Crouse, a brash, mouthy kid full of wild stories about his past. Charlie takes Jim under his wing and introduces him to the electronic strip poker machine at the Fun Village Arcade in Koreatown, a Queen Street hooker who calls herself Steffi Graf, and the diverse sounds and utterances of his landlord’s three lovers. As Jim and Charlie’s friendship grows, however, the realities of looming adulthood seep into their lives with surprising consequences.

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