On the day his third wife leaves him and his literary agent arrives to pressure him to finish a novel seven years in the writing, Carnegie Mellon professor, Grady Tripp, also learns that his married mistress is pregnant. Seven years before, with his first novel, he was a wonder boy. So was his agent. Both now need something. Over the weekend, instead of making choices, he vacillates in a pot-induced haze. One of his students, James Leer, perhaps stirs paternal feelings in Grady and raises homo-erotic urges in the agent. Academic politics complicate things: Grady's mistress is the college chancellor, her husband chairs Grady's department, James has just shot the husband's dog. What to do?