ST. PETERSBURG — The man in aviator spectacles, black basketball shorts and a Chick-fil-A T-shirt reclined in his fold-out chair and flipped lightly, leisurely through a spy novel.
Four hours had passed since Richard Coley, 62, arrived outside Krispy Kreme's newest store at 9100 Fourth St. N on Wednesday.
He was relaxed, ignoring his digital watch. Enjoying the unusually cool breeze on this late September evening, the clean smell that comes after days of rain.
He planned to be the first customer in line when doors opened Thursday at 6 a.m., the sole winner of 624 free donuts. (That's a dozen a week for a year.)
"They are absolutely the best when that light comes on," he said, "when they're fresh out of the fryer and they've just been dipped."
By 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, three people were in line behind him.
Coley, who was born and raised in St. Petersburg, didn't bring any food. He was saving room for the morning's first batch of original glazed. He brought nothing besides his chair and book.
He needed no stimulation beyond the Washington, D.C. secret agent chasing a killer through the pages of Act of Treason.
He planned to stretch when his legs grow stiff, nap when his eyes feel heavy.
It's part of a seven-year routine. Around the time he got cancer, around the time he lost his job as a computer technician, Coley vowed to set a fast food world record.
"Unofficial," he said.
He traveled the country in his old Geo Metro, determined to attend more Chik-Fil-A grand openings than any other American.
He has made it to 109 in 26 states. He was one of the first hundred people in line in Twin Falls, Idaho and Flagstaff, Ariz., where he won free meals for a year.
He wears a white Chik-fil-A band on each wrist.
"I'm very religious," he said, "and I love the chicken."
Coley saw an article about the Krispy Kreme opening in the Tampa Bay Times. He had just fixed his 86-year-old mother lunch when he learned about the prize, another victory for his journal of fast food adventures.
"Then I knew I had plans for today," he said. "I'm doing what I'd normally do — read, sleep. But now I'm getting paid in doughnuts."