It is Friday evening before Labor Day weekend. Americans are hitting the highways in droves; the radio crackles with warnings of traffic jams and crashed cars. Steve Hogan and his wife, Nancy, have a long drive ahead--from New York City to Maine, where their children are in camp. But Steve wants a drink before they go, and on the road he wants another. Soon, exploding with suppressed fury, he is heading into that dark place in himself he calls "the tunnel." When Steve stops for yet another drink, Nancy has had enough. She leaves the car.
On a bender now, Steve makes a friend: Sid Halligan, an escapee from Sing Sing. Steve tells Sid all about Nancy. Most men are scared, Steve thinks, but not Sid.
The next day, Steve wakes up on the side of the road. His car has a flat, his money is gone, and there's one more thing still left for him to learn about Nancy, Sid Halligan, and himself.