He's tried in earnest to clean himself up, but for Bubbles, drug-free living has always been problematic. Living in vacant houses and abandoned garages, selling second-hand items out of a shopping cart, Bubbles scratches and claws his way through West Baltimore, trying for a little dignity in a life that offers little of the sort. A longtime informant for Kima Greggs, Bubbles volunteers his services when his friend and running buddy, Johnny, is nearly beaten to death over a few dollars. He proves an effective and loyal source of information on the street level, and at one point, falling under the sway of a recovered addict named Walon, he sets out to get clean. But the plan falls through when Greggs is wounded.
Having lost Johnny to the addict's paradise that was Colvin's sanctioned drug zone, Bubbles trudges on through the diaspora of addiction. He takes another addict, Sherrod, under his wing. When a plan to seek vengeance on a bully who's been beating on Bubbles backfires and his charge ends up dead, Bubbles confesses his "crime" to the Homicide squad and tries to take his own life. After cleaning up in a psychiatric hospital, Bubbles tries to make a go of a clean life once again.