Our story so far: After leaving his rain-soaked shoes on the porch to dry, Frank Connell discovered they'd been stolen. Furious and shoeless, he bought a new pair with money he didn't have, triggering an overdraft charge. To catch up on earlier episodes, go to www.washingtonpost.com/adventures. If you think you'd be a good candidate for this series, e-mail us at email@example.com.
Mike Clements, Frank's cousin and business partner, is on the phone. "Hey, Mike," Frank says to him cheerfully. "How's everything at the Bean . . . Is the electricity still on?"
Not long ago, Frank told Mike that he no longer wanted a position of responsibility at the Red Bean, their Northwest Washington restaurant. "I'm just going to be the busboy," Frank declared. But now, as he talks to Mike, it's clear that Frank is still deeply involved in the foundering business.
"I started this restaurant. I can't just walk away," he explained later. "I can't just be irresponsible, though I want to be."
After the cousins chat for a few minutes, Frank tells Mike that he'll be at the restaurant shortly and hangs up. He steps into the sparsely furnished bedroom he's been renting to get ready. The Mount Pleasant apartment where he's living is nothing fancy. There are a few holes in the kitchen ceiling with insulation falling out. "We've got squirrels up there," Frank says. "They don't bother anybody."
In his bedroom, there's a futon left over from a previous renter, a filing cabinet, a guitar and a grocery bag of clothes. A tall glass candle with a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe burns near the window. "She brings me luck," Frank says.
That seems unlikely, however, since a few days ago Frank lost another shoe -- part of the pair he bought just a few weeks ago to replace the ones that had been stolen. He's looked all over the apartment but can't find the shoe anywhere.
With borrowed sandals on his feet, Frank holds up two $20 bills. "Basically, a lot of my friends feel sorry for me," he says, because he's making virtually no money from the Red Bean. The other night an old buddy handed him a hundred bucks. "It almost made me cry." Now, before heading to work, he's going to use what's left of that money to buy some new shoes.
At Payless shoe store, Frank quickly finds a pair of brown leather slip-ons. Size 12. $29.99. "Buy a second pair for half off," the salesman says to Frank.
"No, thanks," Frank says, taking his change.
On his way out the door he waves goodbye to the salesman and laughs. "See you next time I lose my shoes."
-- Tyler Currie