The red truck had been at the park for close to a month. The inhabitants were young and innocent. Gotta be early twenties, thought The Van Man. He had watched their comings and goings and was pleased to know they were auto-dwellers like himself. He wondered the who's and why's of their presence. So young and living in a red truck with their little foo-foo dog. It must get cramped in there, how do they fuck?, he thought.
Van Man watched The Young Guy leave and walk every morning to work at some pizza joint down the street. Each night he watched The Young Couple unpack their belongings from the back of the red truck and situate them in the front so they had room to sleep. They meant business and Van Man was proud of them. And he was not so lonely knowing they were there. The park had become a community and he was not sad that Mr. Bench had vanished into the lonely lost space of an unconcerned society.
The Heat wave had been in full swing and The Valley got the worse of it. Van Man found that sleeping in the nude was the only cure for the sweltering fever. In the deep middle of one hot night, The Van Man was awoken to the sound of a Young Woman arguing close by. He peeked out of his van's back windows and spied a car parked right behind him. The windshield was blocked out by a sun deflector and he could see that the other windows were covered too. The sweat dripped down Van Man's concerned face. It collected on his chin and dripped down his chest. Must be ninety degrees in here, the naked Van Man thought. He crouched in the back of his van and peeked out the windows. After a bit of time, the Woman's voice became muffled and he could not make out the conversation anymore. It was time to go back to sleep. After three days, Muffled Woman was nowhere to be seen. She had stopped coming to the park. She couldn't hack it, thought Van Man. He was right.
After the Muffled Woman stopped showing up, Van Man met The Young Couple from the red truck. They were under twenty-one and both had priors. But they were nice and sweet together. The Van Man was happy to know them. They were neighbors.
From then on, Van Man would wave to The Young Couple whenever he saw them. They would wave back and exchange smiles. The Van Man thought to himself that in a world where people starved and children shot each other up at school and beheadings took place, it was good to know that there was still civility left somewhere. Even in the most unlikely of places. And it did not matter if you had priors or not.