Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Newman Smile

  Father's Day and The Van Man looked for inspiration. He rummaged through the van, searching for old photographs of his father, The Hustler. Perhaps, there was a picture of the old man in some intriguing moment of self-reflection, innocently caught at a birthday party. A tiny window into the psyche of a man needing to be anywhere but there. An image captured for all-time, in which Van Man could finally see that his Father was just like him at one point. Full of hopes and dreams. A man with a full life to experience and no time for the trivial shit. Those photographs did not exist.
  What Van Man found could not help him solve the enigma of his Father. The pictures were of a smiling, raven-haired scoundrel. A cad who seemed to have a joke and a laugh ready to burst forth. A rogue with a Paul Newman smile. The Old Man appeared to enjoy his place in life.
  Van Man wondered what The Hustler desired in those bygone times? Could it have been anything more than getting women pregnant and hustling pool? Maybe he had made the idea far more interesting than the reality. It was easier to accept his Father just wanting some good times and pussy. The American Dream. But were there not bigger and better dreams? Actually making something of one's life? Making a mark on the world?
  Van Man stared into the photograph. The Old Man stared back. I got everything I need, boy. I don't want nothin' else, son.
  The temperature raised to one-hundred degrees and the van became too hot to self-analyze in. He put the paper images away for another day. He would never understand what made The Hustler tick. But those pictures showed a man who seemed to have it all figured out, the world on a string. And that drove The Van Man crazy.