In Hollywood during the 1950's, screenwriter Asa Kaufman reflects on his Communist associations and knows that he will soon be forced to testify before committees investigating "Un-American" activities. He can no longer find employment in Hollywood anyway, so decides to flee to England and get work there writing children's TV. Soon after arriving, he hears that his best friend since childhood, actor Clifford Byrne, has committed suicide. Asa is sure that this is related to the witch-hunts, and has to find out exactly what the relation is.
McIlvanney's reworking of his short story, from "Walking Wounded" (Hodder and Stoughton, 1989). Sammy Nelson envisions 'alternatives' to the realities of his day, as he moves from home to Job Centre to home again.