Monday, September 14, 2015

The Forgotten

  The Van Man was dog-tired. He had spent the previous week rehearsing and performing two different plays and his exhaust-filled lungs needed the rest. He caught a glimpse of his reflection and was reminded of his ridiculous appearance. One of the plays had required him to shave his beard. He was left with only a bushy mustache and a simple soul patch. Look like my fucking dad, Van Man thought as he entered a store that sold everything for under a buck. A police car cruised behind him minutes before and he thought it a good idea to get off the mean Burbank streets for a few. Besides, Van Man needed ice and he had been paid. A check from the San Jacinto gig had arrived. Food and a shower were in his future.
  He grabbed a roll of paper towels and an eighties tune played throughout the store. One of those that he had heard a million times before, but had never bothered to really listen to. A distant cousin of The Human League. A step-nephew of Tears for Fears. Van Man stepped in line, sandwiched between an old, ghostly-pale man and two, small Hispanic women. The line was long and slow. Normal for a sub-dollar store. This was where the forgotten shopped for their groceries and condoms, office supplies and Tupperware, Halloween costumes and pregnancy tests. And there was a lot of forgotten people in Los Angeles.
  Van Man studied the bald head of Ghost Man. It was a near perfect bald dome except for a few strands of scraggly hair mingled together in different spots. The Ghost Man appeared to be some sort of sick. Van Man thought chemo therapy might have played a part. The Cashier scanned the items. Ghost Man was taken slightly aback. He could not afford all three of the ninety-nine cent bowl-o-noodles. He told The Cashier to put one back and handed her three crumpled, one-dollar bills. Ghost Man took his change and left with his nutrition. Van Man was next.
  As he walked across the parking lot, Van Man realized he had forgotten the ice. But he was too tired and decided to return the next day. He had to pee and stepped into the van. Under the moonlight, cars passed by on the boulevard, the Forgotten made last runs to the store and The Van Man urinated into an empty water bottle. He truly had become an animal.

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