Thursday, June 25, 2015

Closing Weekend

  The last weekend of the show had arrived. Othello was to close and his Iago would be put to bed. The Van Man had the early post-show blues. The month-long run of the show had thrust him into some respected actor spotlight. He felt good about himself. He finally felt proud. But it was to end in two days and Van Man would be thrown back to the taillight of some man in a van.
  Work had come and Van Man had earned some bread to keep him afloat. The work was much appreciated. The WeHo summer camp had started and he was happy to be back to teaching Lego skills to the little campers three times a week. The Sun sat close in the sky. And it set the city afire. Simply put: it was goddamn fucking hot.
  Heat in the city had a way of turning Angelinos crazy. Especially in traffic. Van Man idled in his van at a traffic light, Cahuenga and Melrose. It was green and he was behind two cars. More vehicles piled behind Van Man as they all waited for the oncoming traffic to end or for the light to turn red, whichever came first. Red. Only the first car turned. "What the fuck, one car?", yelled the man in the out-of-time Ford, behind Van Man. What the fuck, indeed.
  In the Valley, Van Man stopped at a diner for a bite. A long-haired, young man stopped him as he was exiting. "Hey, man, you got two bucks? I am going through some SHIT right now." The Long-hair pointed outside to a shopping cart full of bags and possessions. Van Man apologized as he said no and walked away. We're all going through some shit, man, thought Van Man.
  The Sun set and Van Man drove through the Valley. The show would soon be over and he would be alone again. And The Van Man would have to figure out a way to get to the next moment of his life.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Gimme Shelter

  The Van Man awoke with pain shooting throughout his back. It was Friday and he had a performance that night. Van Man had picked up a couple of things in his time: it was never good to be drunk or high on stage. Or in pain. The adrenaline from the audience would help.
  He saw the pain as a sign. Van Man had slept on the floor of his van for too long and it had taken its toll. He saw himself as a young man and back pain was for the old, out-of-shape crowd. He was thirty-four and tan.
  Van Man had a six-week gig on the horizon. He was to teach lego classes at a West Hollywood Summer camp. Good pay and little pressure. Van Man was determined to not flounder that pay away. He would use it to get himself into a place.
  June Gloom had been constant and he was grateful. The morning cool was a luxury he did not waste. He thought about money. The Van Man despised it, but always felt better when he had it. The back pain subsided and the ache in his mouth began again. Money would fix it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


  The aching in his mouth had started a year before. The Van Man did not have insurance, so he just dealt with the occasional pain. Little by little, what started as occasional gradually became often and, then, daily. Some tooth in the way back barked at him like a dog wanting to fuck. Or to be fed, depending on where a person grew up. Van Man could either do something about it or just go about his life. He thought of himself as one tough mother. And that thought faded as he tongued the swollen soreness around the tooth.
  Van living had a very unique way of prioritizing one's life. If someone could regularly find a place to shit, shower, piss and park, then that person was doing alright in the world. Aches and pains were the norm when one slept on the floor of a van. The tooth ache was different.
  Van Man sipped his coffee, which made him feel good. The fog of alcohol-induced depression had lifted. Although the LA sky was cloudy as hell, he was in good spirits. Van Man would not have to search for shade that day. His pockets were empty, yet his soul seemed full. Money would come. One day. For the first time in over a year, The Van Man gave serious thought to getting an apartment. It was, perhaps, time. Then the pain hit again. Or he could fix the tooth. Tooth ache or apartment. They both came at a cost. He sipped his coffee and thought about it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tour De Force

  The Van Man was surprised by the critics. They seemed to enjoy his portrayal. It had been a tough role and he was not sure if he could be as good as he wanted to be. But that did not seem to matter to the audience. Well, fine. Something to be proud of. But Van Man knew that was bullshit. He was still searching. The search, as it had always been, was for that true answer. He began to think it was impossible. How could he find what he needed when it was muddled and unclear? Van Man had a theory as to why his outlook seemed so opaque. He had been drinking again. The effects of alcohol on his brain were always severe, but the exuberance of youth carried him onward. Thirty-four was a different animal.
  Van Man laid in his van and the sweat rolled down his brow. It was June and there was little shade. The Van Man needed something more. But there was nothing that day except for heat and hunger. And a good review.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Broke On Monday

  The Van Man awoke with a two-day hangover. An opening night, tikki hut celebration in NoHo coerced him into too many pina coladas and some fanciful concoction dubbed The Scorpion Bowl. He was finally at ease with his performance. The audience did not hate his Iago. An Iago for the van people.
  The late-morning Sun burned off the June Gloom. Van Man checked his account. Near empty. The fruitless days had come. Again. No money, no job. Just the van. The headache came and went, but the lethargy stayed. That life on Easy Street, where he could always find an extra ten bucks for whatever called, was gone. It was time for Van Man to get on his knees and beg. He would beg to everyone. Everyone except Van Mother and The Hustler. I ain't gonna ask them for shit, thought Van Man as he cruised the Burbank streets and searched for a shaded spot to park in for the day. He found one.
  Van Man was grateful for all the opportunities. The ones he took and the ones he squandered. His stomach grumbled. The meat in the cooler was old, but he'd eat it. Gladly. The broke days had arrived and The Van Man was so grateful for the shade. There was nothing worse than a hot, LA day inside an unshaded van.