When Fruitful Willis, after years of scraping out a meager living as a bum, discovers that he has been granted a more dignified status as a member of the ‘homeless,’ he stakes a claim on the sidewalk in front of Murray Plotkin’s delicatessen. Murray’s heavy-handed attempts to remove the newly-appointed Willis result in Fruitful engaging the services of an activist lawyer, Herbert Whiffet, to protect his rights.
At roughly the same time, Lawanda de Bourbon, the stunning 18-year-old consort of a ruthless gang leader (and everyone else), is gunned down during a drug sweep wearing only a flimsy negligee. James Rodriguez, the rookie patrolman responsible for the shooting, claims she had a gun in her hand, however no gun was found at the scene. The very same Herbert Whiffet is then hired by the de Bourbon family to assure that Lawanda’s rights are protected, albeit post-mortem.
Whiffet seizes upon each of these cases as a vehicle to further the cause, to say nothing of the enhancement of his own status as a champion of his people. Caught in the resulting whirlwind are Cornelia Pembroke, the beautiful star reporter for a local television station, Renee Lieberman-Smith, a crusading assistant district attorney, the Reverend Leotis Chestnut, a veteran of the civil rights movement, and, most importantly, Clarissa Taylor, a single working mother of three who discovers it is her rights and those of her children which are most desperately in need of protection.
Rights is a scathing, hilarious send-up of big-city politics and current social mores which casts an equally unsparing eye on black activists, white liberals, media sensationalists, political opportunists, and various others responsible for creating a society where the wrong people inevitably become the victims.