Set in a small town in Illinois in 1968, the novella centers on the lives of a community of people whose lives intertwine on one fateful day in May of that year, including: Ray Jackson, isolated and strong in the face of losing his business and wife; Johnny Fitzpatrick, who has decided to run off to Canada to avoid the draft; Jimmy Smith, who overcomes psychical and mental limitations and willing to believe the best about people; Nancy Smith, who has devoted her life to raising her only child against great odds; and Earl Jansen, who carries the guilt of an accidental shooting two years earlier that forced him off the police force. These characters are linked together in conflict, and in articulate friendship and understanding. Their plight as human beings is one we all share.