Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

  Los Angeles needed the rain. And She got it in abundance. Three days straight and no Sun. The Van Man was caught up in it. He had his van and it would keep him dry. Then the leak began. Van Man did not fret or worry. He kept his composure and bought duct tape. Mankind's best friend. Van Man plugged the hole with an old sock and slapped half a roll of the tape onto it. The house was dry.
  Tuesday came and Van Man had an appointment with a focus group. He needed some extra dough and getting paid to be a test subject for a new drug seemed like a good idea. There's worse ways to make a dollar, thought Van Man. He was right.
  It rained with a vengeance . The heavenly showers had flooded the Valley roads. All the garbage-stuffed drains kept the water on the streets. Van Man had arrived at the destination that morning with luck on his side. He found a parking spot right out front. He was extra hungry that morning because the group administrators had instructed him not to eat ten hours before the appointment. He found that odd. What was the plan for Van Man?
  Van Man waited in the waiting room. He filled out paperwork. Then he filled out more paperwork. Questions that he did not have the answers for filled the pages. He did what a Van Man should. He lied. Van Man's name was called. The doctor would see him. But it was not a doctor. It was not even a nurse. The young man in scrubs seemed like a student. A very young student. Van Man followed Scrubs Boy into the room and listened to him explain how the study worked. There was a lot of bullshit that Van Man would have to do. Daily entries and drug use and messing around with some type of breathing device. The drug he had to ingest might not even be real. A possible placebo. Van Man hoped it was a placebo. Scrubs Boy informed Van Man that he would need to spend New Year's Day at the facility for twelve hours as they run tests on him. Happy fucking New Year's.
  Van Man agreed. The Scrubs Boy was happy. And the real surprise was layed on The Van Man. The medical staff needed to run tests on him right then. He needed to be screened for the group study. Van Man spent the next two hours breathing in tubes and being touched all over by "nurses". They made him raise his shirt. They made him drop his pants. They put electrodes on Van Man's torso. They told him there would be no electric sensations. Van Man thought there were a couple because his penis stiffened up. No sensations indeed. A female "nurse" needed to check his nuts. Van Man had a semi, but obliged. After the physical, They wanted his blood. Van Man was not too fond of needles. That was why he knew his dead body would never be found in the back of his van with a needle sticking out of his arm. The "nurse" inserted the needle and withdrew his blood. Van Man became dizzy and realized it was one o'clock. He had not eaten in over fifteen hours. One last obstacle remained. A urine sample. That was no problem for The Van Man. He was a world class pisser. As he stood in the bathroom, he heard voices outside the door. "Hope he doesn't need any toilet paper", said a man. "Let's hope not", replied a chuckling woman. Van Man finished urinating and looked over to the empty spindle. They were not lying. No toilet paper. Lucky for him.
  Van Man walked down the hallway with piss in hand. He dropped off the sample and was instructed to the waiting room. There was more paperwork to be filled out. Scrubs Boy entered and handed Van Man a crisp and clean fifty dollar bill. The first payment of the study. Van Man left and was happy. He marveled at the near-perfection of the cash money. It had been worth it.
  The rain continued. Van Man drove to the park to wait out some of the wetness and to recuperate from the testing. He had rehearsal that night. And fifty dollars. Life was damn good. After a nap, Van Man was refreshed and ready for rehearsal. He started up the van and began the trip to Van Nuys. He drove half a mile and it was evident that something was wrong. The van was dying. It was barely moving and the power was gone. Van Man pulled into the nearest lot. He shut the van off and ran to the front of the vehicle. There was fluid everywhere. He opened the hood and steam billowed out. Transmission fluid had been sprayed over the entire engine. Bad news, man, thought Van Man. The rain poured down. Van Man kept his cool. He grabbed a flashlight and searched for the malfunction. Nothing under the hood. If Van Man was going to survive the night, he had to get filthy. And that's just how he liked it. But first he would take off his scarf. He was a dirty man, but he was no animal. He crawled under the van. He waded through the rain water and greasy muck. Fluids dripped on his face as he looked for the problem. Nothing. He had to get creative.
  The nearest store was a mile away and he needed transmission fluid. Van Man locked up the van and placed a sign in the window: "Van broken. Will be right back." He started the journey. It was a long trek. Wet and cold. Van Man walked fast. He was not going to make rehearsal. But he would persevere. He reached his first destination. Von's grocery offered four quarts of generic transmission fluid. He bought them up at five dollars a piece. He needed more and continued on in the rain. The Seven-Eleven had four more at six dollars each. He bought them and headed back out into the dark wetness. He marched on to the van. 
  Van Man arrived at his van an hour and a half after he left it. He filled the empty transmission with the fluid and started the engine. A spewing sound emanated from underneath. Van Man surveyed under the engine with the flashlight. He found the leak. He shut off the van and went to work. Thirty minutes passed and Van Man had the leak fixed and transmission filled. The van was back in business and business was good. 
  It was late and the rain did not relent. The Van Man was filthy and wet as he drove to the park. He dripped and needed sleep. The crisp fifty dollar bill had been spent. But the van ran, man. The van ran.

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