Thursday, March 19, 2015

Morning Dirt

  The long-haired junkie motioned to have the window rolled down. He grinded what was left of his teeth and his beady eyes shifted all over the van. It was eight in the morning and The Van Man had been there since the night before. His van had malfunctioned and Van Man needed a specific part to fix it, so he waited for his friend to give him a ride to the auto parts store. The Junkie smirked and stared at him. Van Man had not even had his coffee yet. So fuck the guy. The Junkie had zero tact and stepped closer to the window. He motioned for the window to be rolled down again. Van Man lowered the passenger window two inches.
"You used ta stay around the corner?", asked The Junkie.
"Huh?", replied Van Man.
"I think I used ta see you on Whitnail."
"Nah, not me."
"You holdin'?"
"No.", Van Man said sternly.
"Just waitin' here?", The Junkie asked. Van Man stared at the twenty-something Junkie and realized that his rude nature was exactly why he was the addict creature he was.
"Yeah.", replied Van Man.
"For who?"
"A friend."
"Waitin' for someone at The Bullet?", The Junkie asked and Van Man looked across the street at the gay bar.
"No.", said Van Man.
"You holdin'? Got some heroin--trade ya."
"No, man."
"Cool. You just waitin'?"
"Yeah, man."
"Why ya' waitin'?", The Junkie asked. Van Man was in awe of The Junkie's insanity.
"Someone's coming to help me out. My car."
"Oh, oh, cool.", said The Junkie as he backed into the middle of the sidewalk. "What year is this?", he asked.
"Seventy-nine."
"Cool. This is perfect, man. Not too old lookin', but not too new. And it's big in the back. You could live in it."
The Van Man stared at The Junkie. "Yeah, man."
  The Junkie flashed some type of hand sign and continued down the sidewalk, on his search for someone to trade with. Van Man chalked it up to the nature of The Valley on a Wednesday morning. As he waited for his friend, The Van Man thought about the Seven-Eleven down the street and their coffee.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

And Then They Were Gone

  The park was his solace. A place to retreat to at the end of the long day. A place where The Van Man did not worry about being hassled. It was a place to feel good while The Sun was out and he could exercise in peace. And it was a place where he did not feel alone. The Red Truck Couple had been there with him since the beginning. Parked in their familiar place. Night after night, morning after morning. The young lovers with hope and not much else. Well, they had each other and that was enough. And then they were gone.
  The Red Truck Couple had been his constant for seven months. And then they were not. There had been a kinship between them and Van Man. A wave and a smile exchanged whenever their paths crossed. In the lunacy of chasing one's dream, kinship was difficult to come by. Van Man knew this all too well. Most people did not understand what sacrifice for success meant. A subscription to Netflix, but no cable was sacrifice enough for many. To give up almost everything he had in order to pursue his dream was deemed insanity by some that Van Man knew. But it was not seen as insane by The Red Truck Couple. It was the only way to live a life. Sacrifice. And then they were gone.
  Van Man was happy for them. He knew they had continued on their path. Just like he. He wished them success in their lives together. They're young as shit, but they'll make it, he thought. The Van Man could only smile. When he began his journey, he never thought that he would form a bond with others. It was supposed to be a lonely path that he was on. He felt grateful as he stood in the park and stared down at the weird religious message carved deeply into the dirt. The Van Man remembered when The Red Truck Couple dug the message in the middle of the night. Pure lunacy. Just like him. And then it sunk in. They were gone.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Framed

  Sickness had set in. The Van Man was ill by his own will. He had stressed himself into a sinus infection. And it was grisly. He had spent so much time rehearsing and memorizing and filming in the recent days that he had brought himself to the brink of ailment. All that was needed was a tiny push. And he got it from an officer of the law.
  Van Man sat in his van and devoured his lunch. He began running lines to himself. The Valley was hot on this March day, so he stripped off his shirt to stay cool. Somewhere nearby, a man screamed in a rage at someone. "I'm tired of this shit! Pay me my money, bitch! Pay me my money! Pay me my money! Pay me my money!" Van Man decided against a look outside to see who was screaming. He had learned in his time as The Van Man that whatever happened outside of the van was never any good and certainly none of his business. "Nah! Nah! You're a bitch, Simone! They don't care--your family don't care what happens to you!" Van Man peeked out the window. Directly across the street from him was the origin of the loud screams. A white-bearded, black man sat in his car and continued to scream into his cell phone. "A tramp! That's all you are, just a tramp bitch! This is the last time! Now, I want the money in my account tomorrow!" Another day in the Valley, thought Van Man while he sat back down in the van floor and continued his private rehearsal.
  After several minutes passed, he caught something in the corner of his eye and looked to the rear windows. The Police Officer stared right at him and pointed. He gestured for Van Man to come to him. Surprised, Van Man gestured back, "Who? Me?" The Policeman was not amused and was not patient. They never were. Van Man grabbed a shirt and stepped out of the van.
"Hey, there", said The Officer. "What are you doing?"
"Uh, just rehearsing lines.", replied The Van Man.
"Just rehearsing lines, huh? We received a call that a shirtless man was hanging out the window of a van, yelling at girls walking by." Oh, fuck, thought Van Man.
"No, sir. I didn't yell at anybody.", said Van Man as he slipped on his shirt. "I didn't have a shirt on and I've been in my van, but I promise you I didn't yell at one person. I just ate some lunch."
"You living in your car?"
"No, sir."
"You're not living in there? Because it really looks like you're living in there.", said The Policeman as he eyeballed the pillows, blankets and dresser full of clothes in the back of the van.
"No. I have all of my stuff here--well, most of it. I've been living with friends and I don't have any room to keep it."
"Ah. I see. Can I see your identification?"
Van Man obliged and handed over the card to The Officer.
"That's not identification. I said let me see your identification."
Van Man quickly pulled back the debit card and found his license. The Officer took it.
"Look, I'm not going to give you a ticket for talking to some girls, but you have to understand how it looks: a shirtless guy in a van, hitting on girls walking by.", said The Policeman.
"I promise you, I didn't scream or anything at anybody. That's just not me. I took my shirt off because it's hot, you know...", replied Van Man.
"Yeah, it's hot today."
"You know what? Listen, I know this sounds crazy, but about fifteen minutes ago--maybe a little longer--there was this guy sitting right over there--", Van Man said as he looked over to the empty street. The Loud Dude was gone.
"He was sitting in his car, screaming at someone on his cell. It was an argument, I think. That must've been what people heard. I promise you I wasn't screaming, sir."
  The Policeman explained to Van Man that he was going to run his license to make sure there were no outstanding warrants for arrest and if it all checked out, Van Man could go. After the check, Van Man climbed into the van and drove off. He thought about the Loud Dude and the lesson he learned. If someone screams, get the hell away as fast as you can. He drove on to his audition as the sinuses began to fail him. He sneezed and wiped his nose and tried to run the lines that he had rehearsed in the van. The Sun beat down and the nose ran. He had crossed the edge. At least he didn't look for my pot, The Van Man thought and concluded that he would need to get rid of the marijuana. The police harassment would continue, Spring had arrived.