The crucifix tattoo on his hand had the appearance of something given to him in prison. A symbol of gang affiliation. But what was The Van Man going to say? It was a gig and he needed the money.
The shoot was for a charity organization located in South Central LA. The cast and crew were instructed to refrain from wearing any red or blue. Gang territory. Night shoot. Rain machine. What could go wrong?
The moon was big and bright in the dark distance. Hundreds of gallons of fake rain drizzled down. The drenched Van Man looked down at the fake tattoo on his right hand and thought it humorous. A smile crept up. A sinful Van Man was portraying a soulful protagonist who discovered the power of faith from a simple act of kindness. Van Man was not kind. At least, he thought he was not kind. And the water rained upon him and his fake tattoo. The damned thing did not wash away.
Midnight, one o'clock, two. The hours melted into one long span of time. Van Man tired. His thoughts were soaked by the onslaught. He was reminded of his days as a young fuck, being caught in a downpour. There was a comfort in those times. When he was a Van Boy, he would hide in the bushes as storms surged. The leaves and shrubbery would block out most of the rain. And he could stay fairly dry. He loved the sound of water droplets as they hit the bush. He was alone. No one could find him. He felt a strong sense of power in that.
A memory surfaced of Van Man at nineteen, caught in a storm with some old flame after a concert. They ran through the rain, laughing, and reached the car. The drenched lovers stripped to their underwear, still laughing, and drove away. They were sure that moment had only happened to them.
In the back of the van, there were glorious moments of security and isolation. When pellets of rain water dinged on the roof and no one in Los Angeles was around. They were all inside and he knew no one could find him. And Van Man could just think.
Five o'clock and the gig ended. The van motored north into downtown and on to the Valley. He was exhausted and confused. Not sure of much and soaked to the bone. A deep sadness resonated somewhere. The Van Man glanced at the tattoo. It was still there, bold and black. No fade. How the hell am I gonna get that fuckin' thing off?, he thought and drove on.