The night sky cloaked over the sleeping Valley and The Van Man went to the 24-Hour Fitness located in the Sherman Oaks Galleria. It was late and he needed a shower. It was past one in the morning, which some friends had warned him was not a good time for locker rooms and gyms. It was the Witching Hour. Van Man strolled into the front lobby at about one-fifteen, checked in and headed to the locker room.
Van Man was alone except for a short, burly, twitchy guy. He was about The Van Man's age and seemed just as inexperienced with they gym lifestyle as Van Man, for he had only just started using the gym for its shower and mirror luxuries. A few minutes passed.
"Hey...you know if it's okay to wear shirts in the steam room?", asked Twitchy.
Van Man was confused by this line of questioning and replied with a hesitant mumble that sounded like "I'm not sure."
"I guess for guys it don't matter. I know girls have to, so I was just wonderin'", said Twitchy.
Then Van Man realized that the Twitchy Man was trying to ask if he had to wear a shirt in the steam room.
Van Man grabbed his towel, which was wrapped around a container of body wash and a plastic bottle filled with raw honey. He knew that displaying the raw honey and body wash was a sure-fire way to attract unwanted attention, so Van Man kept them concealed as much as possible. The shower stalls were all empty and he was able to select his favorite one. Van Man was glad. After a few minutes, he noticed that someone else had begun to shower in the stall across from his. He thought it must be the Twitchy Guy. As Van Man finished his shower, he opened his stall door and found himself looking at a naked, old butt. The Old Man that the butt was attached to hadn't closed his stall door which made Van Man very uncomfortable and he walked away very fast.
As The Van Man got dressed, he thought to himself that stuff probably happens a good bit because it was a gym. He walked over to the sinks and began to brush his teeth. Suddenly, the Old Man appeared beside him. And stared at him in the mirror.
"You have a beautiful face. Very handsome.", said The Old Man.
"Thank you.", replied Van Man with the toothbrush dragging across his teeth.
Van Man just stared at his teeth and hand and toothbrush in the mirror. The Old Man stared at Van Man. Then he was gone. The complexities of peripheral vision had left Van Man frightened. He hastily rinsed his mouth and grabbed his bag, exiting the locker room through the back hallway which he had never done before. Van Man didn't even know where it led. The Steam Room. He walked past the steam room doors and from behind one appeared Twitchy.
"Hey, man, you know how to turn on the room?" Van Man did not. And he was glad to see Twitchy.
As they stood at the doorway of one of the steam rooms confounded, Van Man noticed a sign on the door window which read: "STEAM ROOM CLOSED 1AM - 4AM FOR NIGHTLY CLEANING". Twitchy saw the sign, too.
"Well, guess I'm not steamin' tonight." Van Man agreed and walked away.
As he approached the front lobby, he noticed The Old Man talking with the Front Desk Dude. He was waiting. Van Man walked to the front door as Old Man held it open for him. They walked to the elevators. Van Man decided he had only one defense and that was to pretend he was on his cell phone texting. There was a disturbing silence filling the air as the two men waited for the elevator. It finally arrived and they both got on. Van Man did not have enough time to push the button of his floor because Old Man had already pushed it. They were going to the same place.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by what I said. I just like looking at you."
"It's cool.", Van Man replied. The Mother of Van Man had always taught her son to be polite.
The two men exited the elevator, into the parking garage and walked in the same direction through the rows and rows of empty parking spaces. Images of Disney's Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman popped into Van Man's mind.
"You're just very beautiful. Great face."
"Ah, thanks, man."
"I bet you get that a lot, don't you."
"Yep.", Van Man stated.
"I got that a lot, too, when I was your age. From women and from men."
Van Man could see his van only fifty yards away.
"It was the Sixties. Do you know about the Sixties?", asked The Old Man.
"Yeah, man. I've heard about the Sixties", replied Van Man.
Then there was a beep. A car alarm beep. The Old Man was at his car and Van Man was glad. The rest of what Old Man stated to him would forever be lost in the Sleepy Hollow of his mind, but Van Man finally got to his Van. And he had remained polite.