Friday, December 4, 2015

Ripped One

  A day after another mass shooting and The Van Man had his first Teamster paycheck. The murders had taken place in the forgettable town of San Bernardino. Fanaticism had made the town forgettable no more. And Christmas had come early for the media vampires. Los Angeles had front page news for the rest of the holidays. SEX SELLS. IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS. The signature catchphrases of the entertainment news. Well, LA was never short on sex, but it had been a good while since she had some big time bloodshed. It had also been a while since Van Man could afford a ten dollar meal and a haircut. And he was going to treat himself to both.
  The work day was over. Van Man drove himself to the gym for a shower. His tags were expired, so side streets would have to do. At the corner of Hartsook and Lankershim, the van idled at a stop sign. A weird son of a bitch awkwardly stepped out of his parked car and spilled a large container of French Fries on the street. "Damn", said The Son Of A Bitch. Van Man looked over at him, amused.
"Hey, man, you got change for a dollar?" The Son Of A Bitch needed change for the meter. Van Man stared at The Son Of A Bitch for a moment, then reached for four quarters on the dashboard. "Here, man", said Van Man as he extended his hand. The Son Of A Bitch was surprised and pulled out a dollar bill. He walked over to exchange with Van Man. The Son Of A Bitch was strange and insecure with his handling of the legal tender transaction. "Like a drug deal", said Van Man.
  The Son Of A Bitch stepped back and Van Man looked at the dollar bill. It was nearly ripped in half. Van Man gazed at The Son Of A Bitch with an open mouth. You fuckin' kidding me?, thought Van Man. The Son Of A Bitch reached into his pocket and handed Van Man another dollar bill. "For your troubles, man", said The Son Of A Bitch. Van Man took the bill, nodded and turned his attention to the main street. He was, after all, at a stop sign.
  Suddenly, The Son Of A Bitch dropped a book bag into the French Fries. "Shit, damn." Van Man looked at The Son Of A Bitch again. What the hell's wrong with this guy? The Son Of A Bitch walked back to the van. "Want some papers, man?", he asked as he handed rolling papers to Van Man. "Sure", replied Van Man. He grabbed the papers. "See ya, man", said Van Man as the van pulled away and turned south on Lankershim.
  The van cruised west on Camarillo. Van Man checked his rear view mirror and kept an eye out for police. There were many strange people in the world. Some spilled blood, some spilled fries. The Van man tossed the rolling papers out of the window. He was clean and did not want the temptation. Besides, he was going to have a nice shower. And he was a dollar richer. That was a good afternoon.

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