November brought with it the cool weather. The Valley was having a Fall party and the only guests invited were a nice breeze and the low seventies. The Van Man could dig. However, the mornings were another story. His typical Fall day started in the fifties and with the brutal cough that choked him for fifteen minutes. It had evolved into an uncontrollable, nineteenth century hacking. Sometimes he would vomit. And sometimes not. His eyes watered, his skin paled and he shook from the intensity of the experience. Something was very wrong with Van Man. December was the earliest he could get an appointment with a doctor, so Van Man knew he still had a lengthy battle ahead.
It was Tuesday and he was broke. Van Man had a job interview and a rehearsal that day, both downtown. The gas tank was empty and food was scarce. With the few bucks he had, Van Man could get downtown. He would need to survive for a couple of weeks on a half-empty jar of peanut butter and several slices of moldy bread. If anyone could do it, Van Man could. But he had no money for coffee, his daily ritual. The coffee seemed to be the only thing that kept him going when the dark days were around. He decided to ask the nice baristas at the coffee shop if he could have a small cup of the black juice and pay them later. As he stood in line, Van Man decided against it. He was too prideful to be a beggar. The shame washed over him for just thinking it. He asked the barista for a cup of hot water, instead. Maybe just the heat of the water would make him feel good. The barista came back with a cup of delicious coffee and a smile that told Van Man he was not alone. He would be okay.
Van Man sat in the van, sipped his coffee and shaved his neck. He wanted to be presentable to the interviewer. Van Man thought about wearing underwear. He hated them and how they made him feel, but he wanted to be professional. He found his red, low-rise briefs and slipped them on. Van Man was presentable. He just needed to keep the cough at bay.
It was to be a good day, hired or not. The future was still out there and he was going to get his slice of it. All he needed was food, women and good reviews. The hot days were gone and The Van Man had a free coffee. And a smile warmer than the whole Summer. Whatever November had in store was welcomed.