Charles Longley takes his wife to a Lamaze class one evening when a high-speed chase nearby between the police and a drug dealer ends in a car crash that results in the death of his wife and baby. This tragedy haunts Charlie daily. Hourly.
Set in the early 80ís when the telephone company was still a monopoly, Charlie - a technician at one of the Long Island telephone offices - had promised his wife that he would stop using the telephone circuits for his extra-curricular amusement. He and his computer-whiz friend and co-worker, Jimmy, were pranksters and they never meant to harm anyone. Charlie and Jimmy worked for the largest telephone company in the world at the time. They were like two puppeteers, the directors of unsuspecting people and institutions who made the mistake of using the communication lines during the evening hours of their work tour. They played harmless jokes on the public like breaking into conversations as FBI agents or, like the time when a woman confessed her deepest sexual thoughts on a call to her friend in Chicago, they faked a telephone line malfunction and mysteriously appeared in their conversation. Charlesí wife found out about their shenanigans when she got pregnant and made Charles promise to stop for fear he might get caught and lose his job.
But Charlieís wife is dead now, and the drug addict who smashed into his car and killed her got off on a technicality. In an effort to find out more about this man, he goes into the motor vehicle private line circuit and other data banks using the telephone companyís communication lines and equipment. His effort in seeking justice unwittingly leads him into a world of espionage and intrigue. The question is not so much if Charlie will revenge his wifeís death - for he certainly does that - but rather to what lengths he will go once he finds out that the man who killed his wife is linked to international power brokers who have influence beyond his imagination.
As time goes by, his wound heals and Charlie soon befriends Lynn, the niece of a U. S. Senator who is the subject of a news investigation. It seems the Senator is laundering money through Lynn and like self-ordained gods Charlie and Jimmy scour the data lines for anything that might show the Senator as a conspirator, or his niece as a victim. Charlie solicits Jimmyís help and taps phones, deciphers IRS encryption codes, breaks into banking databases, and much more. He uncovers the Senatorís scheme to promote the interests of an international organization that has secret plans to control world politics and economies.
Inspired by a new love interest, Charlie joins forces with a private investigator who seeks to get out from under the Senatorís influence. Together, they win the day. The end portrays a happy hero, resigned once again never to intrude on the publicís privacy at the telephone office. But Jimmy, the enduring clown, the compulsive prankster whose carefree eavesdropping on the public never ends, suggests that there may be another tale to tell, for he adds an additional meaning to, Allís well that endís well.