Walter Paisley, a dim waiter at a beatnik coffee bar, longs to be as cultured as the pompous poets, singers and artists who gather there. He gets his chance when, after trying his hand at sculpting, he accidentally kills the landlady's cat in a fit of pique. Covering the animal in clay to hide his crime, he is astonished when the pretentious beatnik crowd welcomes him as a fellow artist. Hailed as an over night success, Walter has no choice but to produce more work. When he is busted by an undercover cop for unwittingly accepting drugs from a customer, Walter kills him, covers the body in clay and unveils his next masterpiece: murdered man.