There was mustard, and ketchup, and wilted onion squares too small to pick out; he had forgotten, again, to ask for a plain burger. He squeezed it gently between his fingers, watched a bloat of yellow mustard swell like a gum-bubble, and wondered if he would be able to eat it without throwing up. A ridiculous question, he knew, since it was all he had to eat for now. He had spent all the money he had on the airplane ticket in his pocket. He reached down to feel it, touched a sharp cardboard corner, and sighed in anticipation.
This time tomorrow he might be sitting in an identical McDonald's on the opposite side of the country - the idea excited him. Just thinking about being somewhere else excited him, with a sick pitching intensity, the feeling of shoplifting or walking in a dark alley at night. He would visit the Haight-Ashbury hotel when he got there, stand in the lobby where his heroes had stood and chatted and kissed each other and tripped on acid; he would walk down the streets, familiar from his constant fantasies of them, and feel the vibes of beauty and peace that must surely drift up from the warm California sidewalks; he even planned to sleep, if he could, in Golden Gate Park, and imagine that he could hear the voices and see the ghostly outlines of the participants in the Human Be-In. San Francisco was where he belonged.
He had prepared for this flight. He was never coming back. Everything that he loved and wanted was in the duffel bag at his feet; his other possessions were in the pawn shop downtown. He had an extra set of clothes, a few books, a Walkman cassette player, Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead tapes, and a toothbrush. He had everything he wanted in the world. Kevin Shapiro, Boy Orphan, swallowed the last bite of his disgusting hamburger and headed out the door of the McDonald's and in the direction of his future.