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Michelle needs a break. A computer programmer who's fed up by what she sees as the greed and idiocy of the World Wide Web (she calls it "the new colonialism" and the "World Wide Dread"), Michelle requests and is granted a month-long sabbatical from her job. Still recovering from a break-up with her ex-girlfriend which happened after the girlfriend, Sophia, cheated on Michelle, Michelle uses her month off to "come up with a new idea," something she feels is groundbreaking and of actual benefit to more than one person. Having lost a fair amount of faith in the power of the mind and the strength of the heart, both her hatred of technology and her cynicism are called into question when she meets someone online and eventually falls in love again.

Enter Rocky. Rocky met Michelle a couple of years back while Rocky panhandled the sidewalks of San Francisco. Rocky decides that, after living with her sister in Portland and enduring the confines of a nightly curfew, it's time to return to SF, particularly to live with Michelle. Rocky's witticisms, one-liners, and idiosyncrasies (such as her belief in the inherent fascism of crossword puzzles, her observation that there's "nothing like a good delousing," and her practice of wearing headphones with no music so that people won't approach her), mask a deeper fear of intimacy.

Enter yet another character, April, Michelle's roommate (technically; she essentially lives with her girlfriend, Patty). A third-grade teacher by day and black-clad dyke by afternoon, April's dismay of being gay and coming out lead to a double life, made more chaotic by the cheerful advances of Trudy, her fellow teacher. Along with various strange obsessions, as well as a penchant for drinking and bodily display, April's station as a "victim of gayness" is mostly self-inflicted: the only person in her life who thinks it's weird that April is gay is April.

After Rocky comes to stay with Michelle and April breaks up with her girlfriend, the three women end up living together in a hodge-podge of motherliness, angst, and bad personal hygiene. After an unexpected letter, they must each decide whether or not they'd "rather be...gone."