McDonald's in Fort Bragg, CA, early - about 6am. The employees bustle around behind the counter preparing for the day, but the restaurant is mostly empy. Our hero waits near the counter for his order, and a lone Old Man waits at a nearby table with a cup of coffee, staring out the window. He has thinning white hair, glassy eyes, and a dirty white mustache that hangs down his chin. The hairs just above his lip are stained yellow.
Old Man: (With a nod towards the parking lot) Is that your bike out there?
Eric: Yeah. (A confused look. Who else's would it be?)
Old Man: Where ya comin' from?
Eric: I camped just down the street a little way. It's a little too early for any serious riding, it's pretty chilly outside this morning.
Old Man: You ain't shittin'. I been thinkin' about gettin' myself a bike.
Eric: Yeah? What kind are you thinking about?
Old Man: I'd be gettin' one of them crotch rockets. I need me some power.
Eric: I wouldn't mind one, but you can't exactly take a trip around the country on one. At least not if you want to be able to stand up straight when you're done.
Old Man: You ain't shittin'. How big's your bike?
Eric: It's a midsize, 750cc. It's not huge, but it's enough for cruising.
Old Man: You ain't shittin'. Where you headin?
Eric: Well, I'm taking my motorcycle through all 48 lower states this summer, so right now I'm heading down the coast.
Old Man: Damn, you ain't shittin', that's a long ride.
Eric's food arrives. He grabs his tray, but as he's walking over to sit down, the man continues. Eric stands awkwardly with tray in hand.
Old Man: Is that all the stuff you got? (Gestures at backpack near Eric's table)
Eric: Yeah, I pack pretty light.
Old Man: You ain't shittin'. You got shit in those saddlebags too?
Eric: Just some food on one side, and rain gear in the other. It's hard to get anywhere if you can't ever ride in the rain.
Old Man: You ain't shittin'.
The conversation contiues similarly for a little longer. Eventually, the Old Man stares out the window and says no more, and Eric drifts slowly towards his table, sitting down and eating.
Parts 2 and 3 to come soon.