Mr Sloane is a young man looking for a place to board, who happens by the home of Kath, a middle-aged landlady whose home is on the outskirts of a rubbish dump. Kath is eager to have Mr Sloane as a tenant at her home, which she shares with her nearly blind father, Kemp. In getting to know Mr Sloane, Kath is open with Mr Sloane about a previous relationship she had, which led to her bearing a child, whom her brother insisted on her giving up for adoption as it was conceived out of wedlock. Mr Sloane reveals he is himself an orphan, though vague about his parents' death, except that they“passed away together”. Kath's father has an immediate distrust of Mr Sloane, believing he is the same man who killed his employer some years earlier. After an altercation between Kemp and Sloane, resulting in Sloane being stabbed in the leg, Kath begins to make somewhat subtle advances toward the young man. When Mr Sloane attempts to reciprocate, Kath warns him facetiously not to betray his trust. Kathy's brother Ed arrives soon after to find the visitor staying with his sister, much to his dismay. Kemp has an estranged relationship with his son as he found him to be "committing some kindof felony in the bedroom" as a teenager. Despite Ed's initial opposition to Mr Sloane staying with his sister, after speaking with Sloane, Ed eventually relents and even goes so far as to offer him a job as his chauffeur. As Sloane recovers from his injury earlier in the evening, Kath returns wearing a transparent negligee and seemingly seduces Mr Sloane as the lights go down and Act One ends.
The action resumes 'some months later’ and begins with Mr Sloane recounting an evening in which a young woman gave him her telephone number. Kath ambiguously hints at her jealousy, before ultimately revealing she is pregnant and concerned that her brother will strongly disapprove. Ed arrives soon after and discovers that Mr Sloane had taken his car out joyriding the night before with his friends. Upon finding out that they also had a woman with them, Ed divulges that he feels women are crude, and misleading. Ed advises Sloane to pack his things as he will be on call as his assistant at all hours. When Sloane leaves the room topack, Kemp mildly attempts to reconcile with his son, and conveys that Kath and Sloane have been sleeping together and believes Kath is now pregnant. When confronted, Sloane confirms he has been sleeping with Kath, but claims she "threw herself" at him. A short time later, Ed departs to buy cigarettes, and Kemp returns to confront Sloane as his employer's murderer. Sloane eventually attacks Kemp, resulting in his death.
Upon finding his dead father, Ed is initially insistent that justice be served and Sloane be turned over to the police. However, Sloane persuades Ed to fabricate a story to make the death appear an accident, in exchange for his servitude. When Kath discovers the dead body, she is apprehensive to stray from the truth especially given Sloane's intention to go and live with her brother. Sloane finds himself in a predicament: if he stays with Kath, Ed will report the murder to the authorities, and vice versa if he chooses to leave with Ed. Ultimately, a compromise is reached that will result in the pair‘sharing’ Mr. Sloane a few months at a time.