Friday, October 24, 2014

The Cough

  It perplexed The Van Man. It had invaded his life for a month. It would sneak up on him in the dead of night or It would disrupt his abilities while he worked the construction gig. He would swing an ax and hack up a lung. It was relentless and sporadic. A mystery. A hypocritical affliction. It came and went when It felt like a party. Van Man had traced the origin of the cough to an interlude with a friend over the course of three nights. The friend was Mr. Funny and he liked to smoke. Van Man would smoke with his friend. After all, his Mother taught him to always be polite. Each night was followed by hard labor which consisted of digging massive amounts of dry dirt. The dust clouds did not help contain The Cough.
  In truth, The Cough had been around for a bit longer than a month. Van Man seemed to remember a long, drawn-out fight with The Cough during his run as Aufidius. Six weeks of Shakespeare in a dank and dirty former punk bar downtown did not help subdue his affliction. That had been over two months prior.
  He had done the right things to end Its reign. Juice. Water. Over-the-counter. Under-the-counter. In-the-counter. Nothing squashed the gangrel. Maybe I'm dying, thought Van Man. He humored himself for a moment. He thought of many mourners at a service inside an incredible temple of worship. The scene possessed him. He thought of a Priest as he stood in front of the mass audience. The Priest spoke gentle words. A message of hope and forgiveness. Then the Priest became enraged and ripped off his shirt revealing a tattooed torso. He wagged his six-inch tongue at the crowd. AC/DC's "Gimme a Bullet" began blasting from behind the pulpit somewhere. A tribute band entered from the outer wings and played like they were performing at a dive bar on Bon Scott's birthday. Two ladies stood up from the crowd and took off their clothes. Naked, they rushed the altar and gyrated to the music. The shirtless Priest could not take it anymore and confronted the first row of mourners in an attempt to get people on their feet and to rock. He screamed into the microphone, "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!"
  The day-dream ended abruptly as The Van Man began to cough again. It was a burden. He was not scared of the lingering Cough. Just concerned. Concerned because LA had a way of getting cold in the winter. A certain type of cold in the winter nights that killed off the homeless. Their bodies became so accustomed to the warmth of Southern California that when the chill arrived it caused a brutal shock to the system. The strong survived. The weak perished. The Van Man would see which one he was. Just don't end up like Pollard in Scrooged, he thought. 

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