Stop me if you've heard this one before.

An employee of one of the most powerful and influential tech giants in the world walks into a bar. The employee presumably begins to partake in adult refreshments and happens to be carrying an unreleased prototype of a highly anticipated handset that hopes to tip the competitive scales in the smartphone market. Said employee forgets said prototype at said bar, and said tech giant scrambles to recover its prototype, lest it fall into the wrong hands. Pandemonium ensues.

If you thought I was referring to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and its infamous iPhone 4 prototype that was lost in a Redwood City, Calif., bar and subsequently found its way into the hands of Gizmodo, in arguably the highest-profile tech scoop of 2010 -- then you'd be sorely mistaken. Apple even reportedly lost another one the following year, but again, we're not talking about the Mac maker. In fact, I'm referring to none other than Apple's mobile archenemy, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

Wired tells the story of how a bartender at a San Francisco watering hole stumbled upon a relatively nondescript black smartphone with both Google and LG logos on its back. Interestingly, no one returned the next day to claim the device, but a regular who follows these things was able to deduce that it was none other than the rumored Nexus 4 that we've been hearing about -- the same one that the search giant is expected to unveil at its Android event on Monday along with a Nexus 10 tablet.

The Nexus 4 is allegedly modeled after LG's own Optimus G, carrying a Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) quad-core Snapdragon and 4.7-inch display. Earlier in the year, Qualcomm was so excited about its quad-core chip that it jumped the gun, saying the processor would power LG's then-unannounced device.

Google's episode supposedly resulted in somebody's employment termination, and the Big G police came knocking to track down the lost device. It essentially confirms that investors will see a new Nexus flagship smartphone on Monday -- about time, since the last one (the Galaxy Nexus) was released last December.

Apple's not the only one that can misplace prototypes.