"Hey, where are you going?" The guy was in his early twenties and seemed drunk, high, or possibly both. His words came out slowly and he appeared slightly wondrous at everything around him.
"North," I answered. "Everywhere." We had just left Schooner Wharf after dinner with Sam and Danielle and were organizing ourselves to return to the Everglades. "Where are you going?"
"With you," he answered, like it should have been obvious.
I laughed and gave him my standard answer to people who ask if they can come along. "If you can fit yourself on that bike, you're welcome."
At that, he threw a leg over Bee and sat in my seat. I was too surprised to ward him off, so I let him sit there while I zipped the liner into my jacket. He blathered about some weird family story that had just occurred in his life and how now that that business was finished, he was free to move on to his next adventure, which was accompanying me to wherever I was going. Then he picked up my phone from its holder and dropped it, reached to pick it up, and tilted Bee into a position that made me nervous. Clearly it was time to leave.
"I gotta go," I said, jerking my thumb toward the street to indicate where he should go next. "You're in my seat."
He seemed genuinely surprised, and I had to explain that my comment about fitting on the bike had been a joke.
"Come on," he said. "We'll both fit."
"No, we won't," I said.
"You don't even want to try?" he asked, looking disappointed.
"It won't work," I said. "My luggage and a passenger together are too heavy."
He reluctantly removed himself from Bee and wandered away. I wasn't actually ready to ride, but I was beyond ready to leave, so I drove two miles to a gas station and finished the rearrangement of my gear there. I can't even say he called my bluff, because he was definitely in MY seat, but I don't think I'll be making that joke again anytime soon.