Power and Greed
The novel opens in the midst of a world where Sarah Palin has become president during a time of financial ruin for the United States. It is a world for only the extremely rich and extremely poor.
All public supports have been taken away, including Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment. Unions have been outlawed. The streets are ruled by bands of thugs known as The Young Zealots and Sarah’s Soldiers.
Chauncey Gibbons and Billy Wild, the one a successful, but ruthless, businessman, the other destitute, homeless and mentally ill, wander through the novel, unaware of each other, slowly working their way toward each other, through a series of unpredictable circumstances, until Billy Wild kidnaps Chauncey and drags him back to an underground hovel he’s dug at an abandoned construction site.
The thread linking their destinies is the fact that Billy Wild was once a respectable accountant at Eagles Fly, a private investment company, owned by Chauncey Gibbons. One Christmas Eve, he receives a nasty pink slip from Chauncey Gibbons and his whole world begins to collapse. Soon, the bank seizes his house, all reserves run out, and Billy’s wife leaves him with the kids, only to commit suicide.
The timeframe of the novel begins on Christmas Eve and ends on New Year’s Eve, adding a dark sardonic air to the narrative’s atmosphere. In the course of that time, Chauncey and Billy’s lives completely reverse themselves, as if the two men have exchanged roles.
In the course of the kidnap phase, Chauncey is starved and driven mad until he offers up the codes to his offshore accounts, and Billy transfers all of his wealth to organizations helping the poor. Billy himself is left with a million in cash that he found in Chauncey’s car. At the end of the novel, we see Billy heading to a South American beach resort, while Chauncey is left to walk the streets in a diaper, a hair shirt, and a ghetto gold chain with a cross on it, proclaiming he’s the Messiah.