The Shoe in the Kapu

Back in 1995, while I was trying to beat the hardest video game on the planet, aka, Sega’s Ecco the Dolphin, Nagymama walked right in front of the TV to get my attention.

“Hey, watch it!” I screamed, poking my head between her legs to try to avoid the giant squid monster shooting pointy things at me.

“Stephie, come outside, there’s a shoe in dah kapu*.” (*Hungarian for fence)


“Dah shoe…it’s in dah kapu.”

“And dah grandma…she’s in dah way. MOOOOOVE!” I protested in the most irritating teenage whine I could conjure.

“No, come outside now. Dere’s a MAN’S shoe in dah kapu.”

She finally forced me outside and pointed to the size 13 Timberland boot sticking out of the fence in the side yard. My mom was already outside inspecting the shoe and ranting about it on the cordless phone to my aunt. Although the scene was a little strange, I really didn’t give a crap because I just wanted to figure out how the heck to beat that stupid squid so I could see the game’s ending.

I eventually made it back inside, but just as I unpaused the game, my aunt busted through the door. Of course, she wanted me to pause the game so I could give her a hug and a kiss.

“So, tell me, vhat’s the new story about the shoe?”

After about ten minutes of unnecessary boot-related conversation, my mom called her into the kitchen in order to relive every captivating details of the shoe over warm orange juice. I finally picked up my controller off the floor. About thirty seconds later, there was a knock on the door. This caused even more mass hysteria, since my aunt had forgotten to lock the kapu behind her. My mother assumed that it was the angry one-shoed bandit here to kill us.

Turns out, it was the cops.

“Hello, ma’am, we are just letting anyone in the neighborhood know that a carjacker is on the loose and might have been on your property. Have you seen any suspicious light-skinned male, 6-feet tall, with a blue bomber jacket?”

“I tink ve haf his shoe,” my mother replied.

We started to walk the cops to the backyard but the shoe was gone. A few feet away, Nagymama was holding it under her arm like a prized jewel while tearing through piles of leaves and bushes with a rake.

“These cops are here for the shoe,” my aunt explained in Hungarian.

“Oh, no,” my Nagymama replied, “That’s my shoe. I’m looking for the other one so we can sell them. They’re real leather, you know!”

With a little coercion, Nagymama gave the evidence to the police, and later that day, they arrested the one-shoed bandit that ran through our back yard. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 2005 that I was actually able to finally beat Ecco the Dolphin…and there’s no “ending”. It just says, “Congratulations” and makes some stupid trumpet sound effect. It should probably say, “Congratulations, Stephie. It took you ten years to beat this ridiculous game and your grandma never even found that freakin’ shoe.”