A scant two months away from marriage to Karen Hawley, with an M.A. and an assistantship at Columbia to follow, Neal Carey's roused from his Nevada nirvana by another phone call from Joe Graham, his p.i. mentor at Friends of the Family (A Long Walk Up the Water Slide, 1994, etc.). It's a little errand, says Joe: Just pick up addled Nathan Silverstein in Vegas and squire him back home to Palm Springs. But Graham doesn't tell Neal that Silverstein is really aging vaudevillian Natty Silver, whose nonstop patter will drive Neal crazy, and he doesn't tell him that Natty hotfooted it out of Palm Springs after witnessing an arson fire whose perps are now hot on his trail. Neal grabs Natty but loses him; the perps catch up with Neal and Natty; Karen and Natty's own ladyfriend get into the act; so do the Friends. Finis. A pleasantly overextended borscht belt two-liner.