A few weeks ago Brooke took a couple pairs of shoes (that would be 4 shoes) to a shoe repair guy she found about 45 minutes from here. When we lived in Glens Falls, we had a shoe repair guy. We haven’t been able to find one since, so having a shoe repair guy, we thought, was going to be great.

Earlier this week, he called to say the shoes were ready. Brooke went. She came back with 3 shoes.

The guy at first had insisted that she’d only brought him 3 shoes. When she said she hadn’t, he then insisted that she had brought 4 shoes, but that one of them hadn’t needed repaired and she had taken it back home with her, leaving only 3 shoes there. When she said that, no, she had certainly left 4 shoes, he pretended to look for it a bit, and then told her to go back home and look for it, because it he didn’t have it.

So she came back with 3 shoes. Needless to say, she was outraged. Nobody takes shoes to be fixed any more unless they really love the shoes — which she did. Had he admitted to losing the shoe and offered to make it right, that would have been one thing. But for him to gas-light her with not one lie, but 2 different attempts was simply beyond the pale. And then he had the nerve to charge her for repairing 3 shoes. (I’d think 2 shoes would have been the least he could have done.)

So she left a 1-star review of his business on Google. It was the least she could do. We’re not going to bother going to court over a shoe. And gas-lighting.

That night, we got a message on the answering machine. He was calling to say that he had found the 4th shoe after all — and that she could have it back if she took the bad review off Google. So now we can add extortion to the list. Silas, who hadn’t been aware that anything had been going on with this, heard the message. “What an asshole,” he said.

The next day we both went back. He wasn’t there. His assistant was, and the assistant gave us the shoe. Apparently he hadn’t let the assistant know that the 4th shoe was being held as ransom. It had not been repaired, but at least we have it back. Brooke has found another shoe repair shop — in Ontario — not much farther away, but a little more time to get across the border. We are hopeful that the 4th shoe may yet be wearable, and are looking forward to our upcoming trip.