The weekend was rough. Monday morning demanded much more than coffee, but The Van Man did not know what. He had spent the better part of Friday night and early Saturday morning vomiting a black bile, shaking from the chills of the cold and regurgitation. Food poisoning, courtesy of that store where everything was under a dollar. Van Man had broken his rule about the joint and consumed some of their edible products. And he paid the price. Sunday brought a run-through rehearsal of the show. The role was fairly demanding on its own, but in his condition, Van Man found it exhausting. Keeping the Cough under control was difficult enough and the performance took everything he had left in the tank. So, Monday morning arrived with the black juice of the gods staring at him, face to face. And the elixir held no magic for him, no recharge. That was a bad sign.
If the magic was gone, was there something deeper happening? If he could no longer find a glimmer of hope in that old cup of joe, was Van Man in trouble? His health had deteriorated to a significant degree, but he could still walk and talk. He was still able to perform, although not at one-hundred percent. If not physical, then it was mental. What goes on in the mind can often times be worse than a physical ailment. Van Man had confronted himself in recent weeks with the revelation that, perhaps, his situation had been predetermined. He laughed at that statement as he wrote it. Then he thought about his mother and father. Both had grown up in depressing conditions. Van Man's father, The Hustler, was raised in a small house with his cousins and grandparents, his own parents skipping out on him. The living arrangements were so tight that The Hustler had to share a bed with his own grandfather until he was eighteen. Van Man's mother grew up penniless and lived with her brother, mother and father in a one room unit of a housing project for the destitute. Her father had the demon, hit the bottle hard and beat the fucking shit out of them all on a regular basis. The Hustler refused to be a part of normal society. He gambled his life away and lived in motels. The Mother worked hard to raise Van Boy, but her own demons held her back from the better life. And now Van Man was faced with his question. Could he escape the demons that seemed to be passed down?
Whether the answer was yes or no, it did not matter. Van Man did not want to live under a bridge or in a sleeping bag on the sidewalk. It was a matter of survival to scrape and claw his way to a healthier existence. Anything after that was gravy. His parents had survived for a long time and if things were passed down, he had inherited that. The Van Man sipped the dull coffee and smiled. Maybe it was just a bad roast.