Gage Wallace's life falls apart when, after breaking up with his girlfriend and having a heart-to-heart with his television set, he finds himself framed for blowing up his apartment building — the latest in a string of deadly bombings in this doomed suburb. Neighboring Fat City fell into the river during an earthquake eight years ago, and ever since, these hapless ex-urbanites have been waiting for their own town to sink. But now their hopes are renewed by a talking rat, whose drunken ramblings are taken as prophecy of a better time ahead. Gage finds himself pursued by well-intentioned friends, bored kids who see Gage's plight as an extension of their video-game fantasies, and the bloodthirsty Bald Suzie, a local firearms enthusiast whose brother was killed in a recent explosion. Meanwhile, Gage's girlfriend uncovers the secret that plunged the once-idealistic teen into his apathetic twenties, involving an anarchist cable-access show and its mutant host — the hero and mentor that Gage betrayed and left to die at the hands of an angry mob.