It's 1982. Rodney Pepper, a socially inept college drop-out, is thoroughly dissatisfied that his knowledge of life has been derived from television and misinterpretations of 20th century literature. Fixated on the belief that suffering will lead to Wisdom, he decides that New Orleans is the perfect destination to immerse himself in despair and abject misery. Barely off the bus, Rodney is accosted by a man claiming to be his long lost Uncle who thrusts upon him an unexpected and unwelcome pirate legacy. As he looks for work and moves between dilapidated downtown rooming houses, he is preyed upon by underworld agents and bears witness to archaic tortures. Mayhem and skullduggery, both imagined and real, follow him at every turn. Can he decipher a dead man's code and locate what lies hidden before he himself is buried?