1. Big Dummy
Dan Seward stood behind the display counter with tire leavers in both hands admiring the bent rims, broken spokes, and flat tires on the Specialized hard tail mountain bike he had up on his RockStand WorkStand. He yawned thinking that it was too early to be up. His customers wouldn't up for several hours yet, so why did he think that opening up by eight everyday was a good idea. He didn't know, but it felt right to be at work in the morning. His father and mother had always been out the door before six, which was something that Seward had always promised he never submit himself to for very long.
Slipping the tire leavers between the rim and the tire sidewalls, Seward slowly bent and twisted the tires off without pinching the inner tube. Even though he liked the simplicity of a hard tail, there were times and places for full or half suspension bikes. Looking at that abuse that this bike had taken, he was sure that the owner had bitten off more than the bike could chew.
Seward tried to imagine what the rider looked like. If the bike was any kind of tell, the rider was likely in bad shape. The work ticket on the bike didn't have any clues. It was just the usual: "Scrap if repair exceeds value." Most people didn't try Seward's Custom Cycle Repair & Junk Yard first. They'd try the high end places first like Erik's with clean well spaced and orderly displays, helpful sales people, and overnight service. Customers wouldn't find those things at Seward's.
At Seward's customers were encouraged to fix their own bikes. Seward had started Seward's Custom Cycle Repair & Junk Yard to fulfill his required community service hours, doing something that he felt gave back to the community and had some sustaining potential for the future. The shop was more like a garage that was sectioned off into several fully equipped workstations. Customers would rent a station by the hour and make use of any and all of Seward's tools. There were also buckets of parts that could be scavenged, nothing more than five or ten dollars, which he'd salvaged from bike just like the one he was working on now, when the owner decided that the cost of repair was just shy of something newer and shinier.
It was sad. Most people were only willing to shell out a couple hundred for a bike, which meant they were looking at cheep inferior parts; however, again, for most people those bikes were adequate. However, when someone took a two-hundred dollar Wal-Mart special, like this one, even though it was from a quality name brand like Specialized, it just wasn't build to rock-hop. Seward had tied to explain that to a few customers before giving up by asking if they'd feel safe taking a Yugo off-road.
After better inspecting the bike, Seward decided to call the customer and deliver the bad news: his labor to true the rims and straighten the front and rear dropouts would likely exceed the cost of bike. As he went to take the bike down off his WorkStand, the front door chimed. In rolled a Big Dummy: the very popular Surly model with an extend frame that allowed for a rider to haul a hell of a lot of stuff in two oversized panniers. Big Dummies were very popular with the outdoors types that liked to camp, eat granola, and smoke more than their fair share of weed.
Seward looked up from the bike to the owner pushing it in through the door. She was something out of a Bike Magazine fantasy: tall, fit, tan, raven black hair cut into a bob with blue poking out from underneath around the back of her neck. Her forearms were bare and covered in a chaotic rainbow of flower tattoos. Suddenly, Seward thought he had woken up in a Dick Tracy noir, and he found himself thinking that she was going to be nothing but trouble.