When Bicke begins working for a furniture company, his boss Jack Jones (Jack Thompson) encourages him to become a better salesman by reading books such as Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking, Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, and listening to motivational audio tapes. Jones also tells Bicke that he thinks Richard Nixon is the greatest salesman since he sold two election promises to the American people and reneged on them both yet remained in power. Bicke has a business idea to start a mobile tire store, operating from a bus, with his friend Bonny. During an interview for a small business loan, he begins to rant about how his brother's tire business was dishonest and how he couldn't tolerate that. His unhappiness at his job grows, especially as Jones believes only in employing married men and Bicke is unable to convince Marie, his estranged wife, to pretend to be together for a company husbands-wives dinner. Bicke knows that his time at this company is running out and is relying on the small business loan being approved. He is unable to speed the process up when he arranges a meeting with the loan manager. Watching the mailbox daily for a letter regarding the loan, he receives notification of the divorce from Marie and is upset that she didn't give them time to try to amend things. She has also moved in with another man. He receives a letter from the Small Business Administration (a United States government agency) notifying him that they have turned down his application. He believes this is because they are racist, knowing that Bonny would be a partner. Without the loan, he resorts to trying to deceive one of his brother's tire suppliers into giving him tires so he can start his business. It is unsuccessful and his brother (Michael Wincott) is waiting in Bicke's apartment to confront him and inform him that Bonny has been arrested for receiving stolen goods. He descends into depression and paranoia, blaming all his troubles on then-president Richard Nixon. Inspired by news reports of the February 17, 1974, actions of Robert K. Preston (who buzzed the White House with a stolen helicopter), Bicke plans to hijack an aircraft and to crash it into the White House. Stealing Bonny's pistol, he rushes upon an aircraft when he feels his plan to get past the metal detectors and security won't work. He shoots an airport security policeman and both of the pilots (one fatally) before demanding that a female passenger help fly the plane. After being shot by a police officer through the plane door window, Bicke decides to commit suicide. The story of the hijacking eventually reaches the news, and the broadcast is seen on the televisions situated in the work places of Bonny and Marie, however as they pass the television set, they go about their business despite the fact that Bicke's name is mentioned. The film ends with the image of Bicke wandering his apartment with a toy airplane.