Detective Palumbo had just ordered a drink at the bar in the Tahoe motel when a young man with sun-bleached golden hair and tanned cheeks sat on the stool beside him.
After ordering a scotch and water, the sunburned man nodded toward the gaming tables. “My name is John Patmos,” he said genially. “It’s great to be back in civilization and hear people and money talking out loud.”
Palumbo introduced himself. “I guess you’ve been out in the desert?”
“Yeah, I got back yesterday,” said Patmos. “Washed the dust out of my ears, had a barber shave off my seven months of whiskers and trim my hair. Then I bought a whole wardrobe on credit. All I had to do was show my assay report. Boy am I going to celebrate.”
“You found gold?,” inquired Palumbo.
“Yes sir. Hit the big load.” Patmos stroked his bronzed chin thoughtfully; then in a low voice he said, “if I can find a backer, I’ll take enough out of those hills to buy ten pleasure palaces like this one. Of course, I’m not trying to interest you. But, if you know someone who’d like to get in on a sure thing, let me know. I’m staying in room 510. Can’t give out the details here, you understand.”
“I understand,” said Palumbo, “that you’d better improve your story if you want to sucker someone into a deal that’s worthless.” How did Palumbo know the story was fictitious?