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At a fairground in rural Northern Ireland, Provisional IRA volunteer Fergus and a unit of other IRA members, led by Maguire, kidnap Jody, a black British soldier.The kidnapping is accomplished after IRA member Jude lures Jody to a secluded area with the promise of sex.The original draft had the character of Dil as a woman, but Jordan had the idea to make the character a transvestite while premiering his film The Miracle at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival in 1991.Potential investors were discouraged by his recent string of box office flops and by the script's controversial themes.Jody persuades Fergus to promise to seek out his significant other, Dil, in London should Jody be killed. When Fergus takes Jody into the woods to kill him, Jody runs away.Fergus cannot bring himself to shoot the fleeing Jody in the back, but Jody is accidentally run over and killed by a British armoured personnel carrier as it moves in to assault the IRA safe-house.
Fergus guards Jody and develops a bond with him, much to the chagrin of the other IRA men; Jody tells Fergus the story of the Scorpion and the Frog.
Fergus complies, then admits he had an indirect hand in Jody's death.
Dil, drunk, appears not to understand; however, in the morning, before Fergus wakes up, Dil restraints him by tying him to the bed by his limbs with black stockings.
Fergus later develops an unexpected romantic relationship with Jody's love interest, Dil (Jaye Davidson), whom Fergus promised Jody he would protect.
However, unexpected events force Fergus to decide what he wants for the future and what his nature dictates he must do.