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.