Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Paying For It

  Van Man awoke in a deep chill. It was early and the December nights of Los Angeles had taken hold. The days were still capable if being Hades hot, but the nights had brought a lonely coldness. Alone in the desert night. Broke and cold was a hell of a feeling. He found it surreal, almost poetic to touch that level of the human condition. The True American Middle Class. Able to dream about the endless possibilities and no way of funding that pursuit. But work had arrived. 
  It was a construction gig. Three weeks had passed since his last money-making venture and funds were low. He had a couple of goals for the next year and a goal is nothing without the greenbacks. Van Man found it a comfort that he was playing a character on stage that spoke of the very same thing. "You do not get anything in this life without paying for it", he recited to himself. Doctor Rank was ahead of his time.
  The Lady needed a wheelchair ramp built. Van Man noticed she was not in a wheelchair. Must be for family or some shit, he thought. Van Man spent the next two days building the ramp. The Sun was happy and kept him warm. They were friends for the moment. The Lady had a request to have the ramp carpeted. More of a demand, but Van Man obliged. At the end of the first day, The Lady took a look at the half-finished ramp and proclaimed, "They're gonna love this!" Must be for her kids, damn sad, he thought to himself. At the end of the second day, he found out who it was for as The Lady released her dogs onto the ramp. The dogs were old and had trouble walking up and down stairs. The Lady was hanging on.
  Van Man collected his pay and headed out of Hollywood towards the Valley. He caught a glimpse of himself from years before. His younger self marveled at the sights of the boulevards and streets and the buzz of the crowds and traffic. There was an energy and he wanted to immerse himself in it. It made him feel somehow more alive. The Van Man he had become wanted to distance himself from it. Had he grown cold to the buzz?
  The evening arrived and Van Man washed clothes at the Laundr-O-Mat. It was a well-heated joint in Burbank and it kept the chill off. As he arrived at the park, he passed the Red Truck. They're still making it, he thought. The sight of the truck had always comforted him. It meant that it was still safe to sleep there for the night. But Van Man realized the other reason it comforted him. The Young Couple that inhabited the truck were fearless. They were capable of anything. They were part of that energy. And that meant he had that fearlessness, too. That power of youth.
  The Van Man relaxed for the night in earmuffs and blankets. He contemplated the future as the young man he was. On an adventure and everything was possible.

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