The novel is narrated in the first person by the protagonist Archibald Johnson. Recently released from doing a five-year sentence in prison he falls into a sort of existential crisis, quit his job and then tried to commit suicide. His attempt at committing suicide, like his mother, was stopped by an epileptic seizure personified by The Guy. Archibald sitting across the street from a bank ponders about his life; jobless, haunted by the appearance of his dead mother with himself as a little boy, falling in love with a prostitute and barraged by the psychological rambling of the Clerk. He decides after watching an old man come out of the bank that he would rob it. Thus tossing him into a comical spree of heist and self-discovery.