In a flash-forward, Mac gets out of a lake to retrieve his gun. He walks through the woods until he finds his mark and shoots him in the back. He pushes the body into the lake allowing it to drift.
In the present, Mac and his buddy Arthur are at the Memphis airport gift shop shopping for their wives. A strange guy tells them they can't go wrong with flowers which they both purchase. Arthur's wife greets them, but tells them to change out of their uniform because of the protesters outside. When they get outside, the protesters recognize them anyway and attack the two soldiers.
Mac is dropped off at home and surprises his wife, Joni by being home a day early. The fall into each other's arms, make love, then roll a joint. Outside, the guy from the airport is taking pictures and writing notes.
Mac gives Joni the gift he got her and she puts it in the kitchen window. He notices things have been moved around in the house and comments on it. He throws her into the pool, then jumps in himself. He has his first drowning hallucination. Later, as he's watching the Democratic National Convention, the phone rings but no one is on the other end.
Arthur is playing basketball with his son when his wife calls them in for breakfast. He doesn't stay long as he has an interview at a furniture factory. He's hoping to get a management position, but it's a no go. The only job available is on the assembly for which he starts being trained.
At a "welcome home" party later, Mac's dad tells him he doesn't have a job available because of the economy, and that he doesn't want him to visit because of the massacre incident. Mac is visibly upset and leaves with Joni.
At a motel, Buddy, the guy from the airport is singing along to a Harry Nilsson song in dramatic fashion. Two guys come to the door and he lets them in. He hands the Broker a file on Mac. The Broker says he'll handle Mac.
Mac is at his high school looking for a swim coach job, but he's told there is nothing available, not even a volunteer job. Back at home, he's worried but Joni tries to set his mind at ease. They're supposed to go to the show with friends, but he declines. She goes alone. Later, he's in the pool when The Broker shows up. He's offered a hitman job, but turns it down and kicks The Broker out.
Mac gets a job at an auto garage. Later, while having drinks with Arthur, he finds out Arthur quit his job and took The Broker's offer. Mac is not happy, but later he agrees to help Arthur with the job.
Mac is going to be the lookout while Arthur will pull the trigger. As Arthur enters the apartment to kill Suggs, another guy shows up and kills Arthur. Mac runs over there and starts shooting, but Suggs gets away. Mac kills the other guy though by stuffing a sock in his mouth and suffocating him.
At Art's funeral, Mac hallucinates that he's all alone in the church and leaves. Later, he gets a phone call from The Broker who wants to meet him at a quarry to discuss the thirty thousand dollars that is missing.
At the quarry, The Broker nicknames Mac the same after reading a newspaper account about the murder. He forces Mac to do another job to pay off the thirty grand.
Mac meets Buddy at the motel to get the file for the next hit. He follows Cliff who ends up going to Mac's house because he's having an affair with Joni. Mac watches them make love. Afterwards, when Cliff gets home he's working on his car, playing the record from Mac's collection that he had been looking for before. He lets Cliff know he's there and then kicks out the jack effectively crushing and ending Cliff's life.
He calls The Broker to let him know the job is done and to call him out for knowing about Cliff and not saying anything.
Back at home, Joni wakes to the Otis Redding album Mac brought back from Cliff's. She goes to the door to watch Mac swim. They stare at each other. It's obvious she knows he knows about Cliff.