Nick Youngblood just moved to Moccasin County two years ago. He works as a sportswriter at the local newspaper, even though he doesn’t know anything about sports. He stretches out his articles by using lots of adjectives. Since Nick is relatively new to the small community, he doesn’t know many of the locals yet. One morning, as he drives to work, a wild-eyed stranger crashes into the back of his car. The man identifies himself as Angus Rayburn. After hurling insults at Angus Rayburn in the middle of the highway, Nick learns that Angus is a notorious murderer who only served a brief stint in prison. Nick’s heart is filled with terror when he realizes he’s insulted a very dangerous man. As Nick struggles to cope with the situation, he throws up on a cheerleader at a football game and loses his job with the newspaper. Next, he finds a job at a textile mill, the same place where Angus works. On his first day, Nick encounters Angus in the men’s room. The demented ex-convict pins Nick against the wall and promises to gouge out his eyes if he ever sees him outside the mill. While Nick lives in a constant state of panic, worrying about Angus Rayburn, other fears and frustrations also plague him. He spends countless hours thinking of Ashleigh, a girl who sat in front of him in his high school algebra class. Nick desperately wants to find her and marry her. But, most of all, he wants to flee Moccasin County and move back home before Angus cuts out his eyeballs.