Cliff's Kansas brother, Don, was told by Phil, their Higginsville brother, about a motorcycle in these parts; a guy Phil went to church with was pretty desperate for money and needed to sell a Kawasaki 1200R ZRX. This all took place last winter.
The Kansas brother figured there was money to be made on the bike, so he had Cliff go look at it. Cliff knows nothing about Kawasakis, but he described it to him as best he could.
Kansas brother's wife holds the purse-strings in their house, so Don asked next-door sister for a loan; if the motorcycle sold, he told her, they'd split the profits.
The first man to look at it made the mistake of offering us less than the asking price; it hadn't even been on Craigslist for a full day, so it would have been ridiculous to lower the price that soon. In fact, we decided it was too cheap and raised the price.
Cliff's brother Don came visiting, and he and Cliff decided to see how the Kawasaki ran. They left with Don on the Kawasaki and Cliff on our Gold Wing. When they returned, they had switched bikes. Both of them were almost trembling with excitement, and I heard Cliff say something about going 110 miles per hour. Don mentioned 140 MPH, but who knows? He's always had a tendency toward exaggeration. Shortly after their wild ride, they realized the title was missing: Cliff had put it in the trunk of the bike so he'd know where it was; Don had done a wheelie, the trunk lid popped opened, and the title had flown out and away.
I removed the bike from Craigslist and Cliff put in for another title. Once we had that, we put the &%$#@*& motorcycle back on Craigslist.
Cliff got a call from a guy in New York. "The guy sounded like a scammer," he told me.
The fellow called again the next morning while we were on our walk. Cliff was having trouble hearing him and handed me his cell phone. The guy starts telling me he really wants this bike, but he'd like us to take it to a Kawasaki dealer and have them look it over.
Now come on; we have a life here, and how would we know the guy was going to buy it after we went to all that trouble? So I told him, "We think you sound like a scammer."
One of my many fatal flaws is that I don't play games or pussyfoot around about saying what I think. After all, Craigslist has a warning on the website saying not to deal with someone with the "inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consumating transaction."
When we got back to the house, the man had sent me emails with the location (on Google maps) and address of his house, along with his home phone number.
Then he called Cliff and said he was paying a man fifty miles from here to come and look the bike over; it was someone who took part in a message board dedicated to this particular bike, which, as it turns out, is fairly hard to find and has quite a following of folks who think it's one of the greatest motorcycles ever. Who knew?
Well, you can't beat that.
Then Mr. New York (who truly was a legitimate buyer and really did want the bike) checked on the title; because it was a replacement title and the miles were estimated, the state of New York wouldn't let him license it there. "Now who's a scammer?" he asked Cliff.
Insert a long sigh here. Touche.
Cliff said, "I'm gonna have to buy the damn thing myself and keep it around for Jim (our son) to ride when he visits."
And then we got a call from somebody else, someone local. He and his wife came and looked the bike over. He liked it.