The Van Man awoke, drenched in sunshine. It was a while since he had noticed that early morning innocence. He coughed up a lung and figured it was going to be a good day. The downtown show was to close that night. Van Man was supposed to get paid and the green backs could not have come at a better time. The parking tickets had piled up and the van's registration was due. Van Man was disgusted with existing off of dollar peanut butter and fifty-nine cent fast-food trash. He was broke as a joke with nothing to poke.
Thanksgiving neared and some Angelinos had begun their vacations early. Downtown traffic was not the usual horror and Van Man arrived early. Inside, his fellow artists stretched and vocalized. Excitement buzzed, anticipation for the final performance. Van Man checked around the warehouse for any cards addressed to cast members. Nothing. Were they waiting until after the show to hand out stipends? Surely. Soon, Van Man noticed a destitute man inside, politely asking about the garbage. Some of The Artists informed The Garbage Man that he could help himself to all of the trash. Van Man was an hour away from pretending to be various characters with various problems while a grown man of the unforgiving, LA streets gratefully accepted artsy waste with a wide grin. The Garbage Man was a real person with real problems. Van Man watched The Garbage Man give a toothy smile, thanking The Artists as he left. The cast continued their warm-ups. The Garbage Man carried his trash in the cold. Maybe on to the next building. Or perhaps, to a tent where he could see what treasures he had collected. There was something unjust and broken in the world. But The Van Man was not going to fix it. His job was to pretend. And the stipend did not seem so important anymore.