The first of September had arrived and The Van Man had been back from the shoot for a couple of days. His legs ached from being chased by zombies and some skin was singed from car explosions, but he was together.
His emotions were another story.
Somewhere deep in his valley, Van Man was unbalanced. As he walked the mean streets of Burbank in search of a quick lunch, he felt weak and needy. Not a good combination when one lived in a van. He knew what it was, identified it instantly. It was that most potent of all actor feelings. The thing they all lived with everyday of their lives and he was no different. The feeling of not being loved enough.
All actors had a hole in their soul that would not--could not--ever be filled. As long as the sky was blue, the actor would not stop in his and her quest to fill the hole. The only way to combat the feeling was to be tough. After all, one had to be tough in the world, right? If one was too soft, the world would eat them up. Tough meant that Van Man would take as much love as he wanted without giving any up. Surely, the hole would fill up quick. He had learned that trick from his father, The Hustler. Van Man stood in line at the deli and thought about advice he, on occassion, received from The Hustler.
On sadness: "Are you crazy?"
On women: "Boy, I'd rather have a full house, aces high."
On love: "Are you crazy?"
Van Man understood the point that The Hustler tried to make. Be tough. Van Man made the decision in line that he would heed the advice. Even if it meant he had to embrace a little hate. It's the only way to make it, he thought to himself as he grabbed his potato balls.
Van Man left the deli and passed a Homeless Woman and her small Daughter. She held a sign which Van Man did not read. There were too many words on it. He knew the Mother and Daughter were rookies in the world of destitution. The pros kept it to a minimum. Too many words required someone to stand close for a bit and read. Regular people did not want to look at the homeless for too long. Who knows? They might be afraid of seeing something similar in themselves. Van Man gestured "no" to the Mother. The Daughter sat on the concrete sidewalk and played with a scruffy doll. See, yeah, I'm tough, thought Van Man. Gotta be tough in this world. He walked toward his van. Besides, I've given hundreds of dollars in the past. I give. I do it when I can. Van Man passed a row of flowers that he had photographed for a girl. He reached his van and grabbed some trash out of the back to throw away. Van Man walked back. As he reached the Mother and Daughter again, Van Man handed a dollar to them. He threw the trash away and walked back to the van. Sometimes tough was needed and sometimes is was not. He felt a tinge of warmth and continued on his day. The Van Man realized he did not do it so he would be loved by the Mother or even by the bystanders. He did it so he could feel something else besides tough.