Much to his surprise, Harry Mickey Shorts gets a call from Mel, his ex-brother-in-law, who needs his help. It is a rare occasion when Mel asks Harry for anything at all never mind his help. When it does happen Harry takes notice and drops what he is doing to see what it is that troubles "Big Mel."
Over a few cool ones Mel tells Harry a long-winded tale from his past involving a kid he had coached. Little Billy Burns had walked out of the gym before the end of a basketball game and soon vanished all together. Mel's belief that he had somehow failed Billy has lingered and he now sees an opportunity to rectify that wrong.
With the help of his friend, Tom, Harry's investigation takes him back to Central Pennsylvania to meet with Billy who currently resides in the Cumberland County jail. Their journey begins with an introduction to Billy's extended con-artist family and ultimately to some Las Vegas hustlers who are looking to continue their venture into golf course swindles. And at long last is Mel's reunion with Billy. At the same time Harry's part-time interest in his ex-wife, his love for his children and his continued attempt to become an integral part of their lives, continues to complicate his own life.