Philip Francis Parkman, Democrat Congressman from the 14th District of New Jersey, fortified by his unexpected victory at the polls and motivated by high ideals and good intentions, embraces his perceived role as not only spokesman for his constituency, but also as caretaker of the Constitution of the United States. However, intervening reality soon crushes his idealism and vanquishes his hope he can make a difference.
Thus begins his slide on the “greasy griddle” as he calls it. He turns to alcohol to alleviate his disappointment. On his way down, forty-eight-year-old Parkman falls under the spell of a precocious teenage seductress—Catherine Taylor Quinter, the beautiful eighteen-year-old daughter of his political mentor. Parkman is, at the same time, falsely charged with campaign fraud and faces disgrace before the Ethics Committee. His long-suffering wife, Elaine, embarking on her own personal journey to secure her identity while professionally experiencing success, finds she must choose to save her own life or her husband’s.
Parkman’s slide lands him in a mental institution, called “the Facility” by the inmates, where he meets the enigmatic Winslow whose wisdom provides him with a new vision on life.