The unemployment check had not arrived. Veteran's Day reeked hell on the postal service and The Van Man was left broke and hungry on a Friday. Something about being penniless on Friday made one's life gloomier than if it was Monday. Perhaps, one expected Mondays to let them down anyway. The dark, questioning thoughts wanted to creep in, but Van Man fought hard. He had the opening of a play that night and could not afford to let the other cast members down by bringing in extra baggage. It was his struggle and his alone. The cough was still nail-swallowing rough and the morning temperatures had dipped into the fifties. And Van Man was going to figure it out.
He had secured a job that started on Monday. Fifteen hours a week transporting cars around Los Angeles. Nine dollars an hour. Not much, but more than the eighty-eight bucks a week he got from the state. It was a new beginning. And this time he was not going to fuck it up. He had made plenty of bad decisions in his past. Some were obvious. Spending so many of his LA years drinking and partying had finally caught up with him. All of the time Van Man wasted, sharing bottles of booze with people that had their own demons, their own problems that definitely were not his. But things get absorbed. They were not to blame, though. He did it to himself. Now, Van Man would get himself clean. But he would have to work harder and sacrifice more than he ever imagined. He had no choice. He was an actor and nothing else.
Van Man entered the coffee shop and stood in line. He looked around at the many people who had it together. He thought about all of the work and sacrifice needed. It would need to start with coffee. He could not afford it anymore. Van Man thought about a future without the black juice. He looked at the smiling, laughing people drinking theirs. It was his turn to order and the barista smiled with a cup waiting for him. They knew him well. Shit, he thought.
The Van Man sat in his van and sipped the coffee. He cranked Steely Dan and stared into the sun. It was him and him alone that could fix his life, reverse the course. Major sacrifice was needed, but he could start on Saturday. After all, Fridays were tough without a cup of joe.