Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pure Hollywood

  Last week of November and that morning was cold as hell. Too damn early for waking up, but The Van Man opened his eyes anyway. Steamy breath puffed from his mouth. He arose from the hard floor of the van, shivering and rolling up his bed. Van Man was in a slight rush that morning because he had an appointment to see an ill friend. A pal of ten years, someone he met when first landing in LA. Van Man slipped on the ice cold jeans over his naked lower extremities. His dick and balls retreated from the chill.
  With two comrades, Big Jim and a serious Bengals fan, the three amigos made the journey to Port Hueneme. Their friend was a legend among Van Man's close circle. The son of a sixties variety show host and nephew to a long-ago teen heartthrob, the pal was pure Hollywood. He would regale Van Man with his stories of touring the country as a male dancer and the unhinged women who lusted for him. The very definition of life-affirming, Hollywood was beloved by many and rightfully so. But now he was terminally sick. What a cruel world.
  A few years had passed since most of the close circle had seen Hollywood, or each other for that matter. That is what happens in life, after all. One's own existence takes on an importance much bigger than friends or family. The individual is the star of their personal film. And there is no Avengers budget to expand the story.
  At nine, the three amigos rolled up to Hollywood's condominium. An apprehensive knock on the door was followed by a brief silence.
"Guys, I'll be right down", said a strained voice from above. Van Man looked up. There was a dark, screened window on the second floor. The voice was Hollywood's, but it was not. It had the same cadence, the same spark. Yet, it sounded choked and flat. The door opened.
  In his prime, Hollywood was big and strapping. Sun-kissed and chiseled with a head full of great hair. Always the most positive outlook in the room with an equally dynamic outlook on life. Now, as Van Man sat in a recliner, he watched his ill friend speak with that same energy and attitude, but the words came from a body that was hard to recognize. Thin as a rail, some sixty pounds lighter. Hollywood wore a scarf to cover protruding tumors. This man was staring death in the face. But he was not afraid. In fact, Hollywood was the beacon of positive vibes that he had always been. Van Man was not witnessing some cliche, some sick person wasting away in their own depression. No, Van Man was viewing the absolute definition of courage and strength. The true meaning of mind over matter. Hollywood spoke of his illness with an open precision. Nothing was going to take this man out. Not now. Not ever. A gigantic, hairy cat climbed onto the coffee table and approached Van Man, ignoring everyone else.
"They always come to me", joked the allergic Van Man.
"Pussy magnet", retorted Hollywood, in his wonderfully wry way. Yeah, pure Hollywood.
  A windy day at the nearby beach found the group filming and photographing the beauties of the earth. A way to celebrate their friendship. A way to capture fleeting moments. Back at Hollywood's abode, the pals drank hot tea and reminisced. Then it was time to bid farewell.

"Alright, bring it in, brother", said Van Man, as he embraced Hollywood. These were hugging men and this was, most definitely, a hugging time.
"Man, you coming up here means so much to my heart and soul", uttered Hollywood to Van Man. And Van Man fought back the tears. Those droplets were not needed, a smile was. He grinned and gave Hollywood another hug.
"I'll see you soon, brother", said Van Man. He meant it. He gave one more hug for the road and rode away.
  Life was just too short, too precious. Hollywood was too damn good of a human to leave the party early. He still had much to do. The Van Man was certain they would meet again. After all, Los Angeles was The City of Angels. There was no fucking way it was going to be without its finest.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Blame It On the Rain

  "I'm tired of this fuckin' shit! I'M TIRED OF THIS FUCKIN' SHIT!!" The Van Man pressed his ear against the wall. He was at the apartment of his friend, The Ax Man, an old chum from his college days. The days when the beer kegs flowed like wine and that college ass was mighty, mighty fine. Ax Man sat on his couch, quiet and invested in a television program. Van Man nursed a cold one and listened to the wall, intently.
  "Shut ya fuckin' mouth and get the fuck outta my house!" A older man raged in the neighboring unit. By the thick accent, Van Man knew this was a New Yorker. Quiet. Van Man listened, waiting for more rage. A young boy, around thirteen, spoke lightly. The voice was inaudible.
  "I called and called and called, you don't answer your phone!", raged the Rager. The Boy responded, but was too quiet to be heard through the wall.
"Where was this concert?!", screamed the Rager.
"LA", replied the Boy.
"Where?!"
"Downtown."
"In the STREET?!", raged the Rager. The Boy answered quietly and the Rager exploded in terrifying anger. Van Man backed away from the wall. The screaming was too close, too intense, too full of hate and Van Man could not understand a lick of it. He looked over to Ax. Ax stared at the television program.
"We're done! We're done!", screamed the Rager. And all was quiet. The raging was over. Van Man sipped his cold one and studied the wall. Nothing.
"Does that happen a lot?", asked Van Man.
"Oh, just about every day. That boy is terrible. I don't know how his parents haven't put him out of his misery yet", said Ax Man.
  The two comrades stepped out into the evening. Ax Man lit up one of his trusty coffin nails and Van Man departed in the van. It was cold. Rain was coming. He knew he would need to bundle up extra tight for the drizzly November night. The Van Man drove on the park, all too aware of one thing: neighbors that do not fuck, suck.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election Day

  Tuesday morning was warm. A nice change from the bitter, cold ones that had recently made their way into the Valley. It was early as hell and The Van Man was awake, folding the bedding and slipping into work clothes. Election Day. Van Man thought he might try to cast a vote or two before work. But the lack of coffee made him rethink that idea.
  The van drove north on Hollywood Way. People were out to rock the vote. The van just rolled down the street.
  A quick stop in a corporate coffee den had Van Man waiting in line. He glanced around, looking for I VOTED stickers. None to be seen. The masses were not that different than him. They needed the tar-colored fix, too.
"Yeah, can I get a tall blonde?", requested Van Man. To him, the only way to order a cup.
"Sure", replied the busy barista. A man leaned over to him.
"You can order those here?", asked the man with an inquisitive gleam.
"That's why I come to Starbucks", said Van Man with a sly smirk. He grabbed the coffee and was off.
  The work day commenced. Van Man and his Teamsters walked the lot, preparing cars for the day's moves. Van Man conversed with a fellow Teamster, a black brother from another mother. Someone he considered a friend.
"Those props, man. I'm voting for legalizing pot and no condoms in porn!", exclaimed Van Man.
"Me 'n my brutha was talkin' 'bout that. How they supposed to creampie with condoms on?", retorted the Brother From Another Mother.
"Yeah, I know, that's why I want 'em outta there."
As the drivers dispersed, Van Man's shuttle pulled up to the gate. A white-haired gatekeeper with googly eyes and a lunatic smile greeted him.
"Let me see if I know what your name is", said the Gatekeeper in a fay, New York accent. "John? George? Richard? Lenny? How about Kevin? Wait, Ethel! It's Ethel."
"It starts with a V", grumbled Van Man.
"Victor!", yelped Gatekeeper, amused at his own antics. Van Man was not amused but gave his name.
"Oh! That's really good, I'll keep an eye out for you", warned Gatekeeper, throwing side shade at Van Man. He drove away. Election Day was real and brought out the weird in people.
  Hours later. Van Man stood in line, waiting for his turn to vote. The results were trickling in from the East Coast and gunmen were shooting up polling places. Then a face from his past emerged from the voting booths. His first landlord in LA, ten years prior when Van Man was more idealistic and less wrinkly. He stopped the Landlord and re-introduced himself. The recognition was quick.
"How are you, my friend?", asked the Landlord in broken English.
"Good man, how 'bout you?"
"I got married", Landlord replied as he held up his left hand, showing off his one-size-too-big wedding ring. "Three and half year", he said with a smile.
"Ah, man, that's great!"
"She died in July."
"Whaaaaaat? Noooo..." Van Man was shocked by his friend's tragedy. "Whaaaaaat? I am sooo sorry...who...who was she?"
"I met her in church", replied the Landlord. This time with a saddened demeanor.
"I can't believe that..."
Van Man, quite simply, did not have the words. He shook the Landlord's hand and wished him well, watching the nice man walk away. It was his turn to vote, but the reason to do it seemed to evaporate.
  In his van, under a streetlight, Van Man sat. Many had voted, many more had not. Where was the world headed? Would the country survive? Would Americans ever be happy again? He did not know. The Sun would rise the next day, a rich man would be President, marijuana would be legal and a widower would go to work. But The Van Man would be in the van, keeping an eye on the lonely and an open heart for the sad.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Black Magic

  Just another Sunday. But the last one before a new regime would be decided on by the masses. To rule over the land with an iron fist. Like the old days. With Election Day around the corner and a cross-country trip on the horizon, The Van Man woke his ass up.
  He peeled himself off Mr. Funny's couch. The previous evening had seen the two old friends drinking booze and discussing whatever the hell drunk assholes discuss after their team wins. Fathers and dreams were always the topic. Van Man had one hell of a hard-on and crammed it deep into his jeans. He had a girl on his mind, but that was a story for another day. Mr. Funny was asleep in the other room and Van Man split. It was too early for consciousness, but he needed a coffee. Always the coffee.
  The Sunday crowd packed the quaint joint. Van Man stood in line, eyeing the menu board. There it was, his favorite. The darkest kiss of liquid, ebony sex. The legendary Black Magic. He was getting some, but first he would have to wait.
  As the line slowly progressed, a young lady stood in line behind him, talking on her phone. She covered the mouth speaker, muffling it.
"...he's a real person now...I said, he's a real person now...", spoke the Young Lady with a humoring demeanor.
"Well, okay, Grandma, I'm about to walk into church...I said, I'm about to walk into church...love you, too. Bye-bye."
The Young Lady hung up. Van Man ordered. She lied to her grandmother. Sure, it was Sunday, but she was not at any cathedral. He paid for his java and walked away.
  Had he ever lied to his grandmother? Hell yes. Too many times to count. And always for the same reason: to not disappoint her. How could she, a remnant of the old guard, ever understand him living in a van or dating a black girl or not being a man of religion? Perhaps, that was Young Lady's bag. Maybe, she was raised a good church-going lass, obedient and fearful. But now that she was in the City of Angels, she could shed that skin. Now, she could snort coke off trannies and shoot junk while dancing bottomless at the trendiest club. She had a life free from judgement by the ones she cared about. A simple lie could keep loved ones happy and at bay.
  Van Man hopped into his van and started up the growling engine. Was it more important to be open and honest about one's beliefs and truths, no matter if it hurt. Or was it better to hide a few things here and there, knowing that what they do not know will not harm them. Two days until it was time for the main event: to vote for a greedy, real estate fucker or a rode-hard, scary chick. Things could be worse. The Van Man took a sip of Black Magic and smiled.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Halloween Nasty

  Halloween on Monday seemed like a cruel joke played by some disembodied gamemaster in the heavens. For the children, it was a school night, the first one of the long week. Their delicious candies would not be fully consumed for days. For the adults, work awaited them on Tuesday, requiring the dishes to be done and early bed times. Their anticipated hangovers would be postponed until the weekend. As for The Van Man, well, he was stuck in limbo.
  Another restless night in the van had taken its toll. He was weary and cold, sighing and groaning as he rose off the van floor. Van Man's steamy breath wafted from his dry mouth and he knew by the foggy windows that Los Angeles had a cold winter coming. And then he spotted the parking ticket. He checked the time on his cell phone. Eight-seventeen. Damn, they got me, he thought. Van Man buttoned his jeans as he stepped out onto the street. The parking sign read: NO PARKING MONDAY 8AM - 10AM. No freebies in this world. Not even on Halloween.
  After a slight breakfast and a delectable coffee at a quaint spot in Toluca Lake, Van Man hit the library. He had auditions to submit for. Just my luck, he thought as he spied the open computer. It was next to an older man who, from behind, resembled old John Carpenter. Van Man's affinity for the horror director persuaded him to peer at whatever the Old John Carpenter was viewing on his screen...various images of vile grandmother filth. Van Man could only muster a double-take. Did he see what he thought he saw? Yes, elderly women spreading shotgun-blast vaginas and ancient hags squishing saggy, wrinkled tits filled the monitor. It was gross. It was crass. It was the most disgusting thing Van Man had ever seen and he had seen it all over the world. So Van Man took his seat next to the vile, piece of garbage.
  Van Man soon realized he needed a picture. Something for proof of that level of sleaze. After all, legitimate foulness like Old Carpenter's did not come along often. Van Man set the camera phone on and stood to make it seem as though he was off to the bathroom. A few steps back and snap...Van Man got his picture. A nosy gentleman eased by, staring at Van Man who held a camera phone aimed at an old man with repulsive, grandmother pornography on his computer. The Old Fuck did not budge and Van Man stared back at the Easy Gentleman. What?, thought Van Man.
  The van sat in the distance. Van Man approached with a satisfaction. Pure vulgarity existed in the world. He scanned over the digital photograph, proud and beaming. Random people were adorned in various costumes, walking here and there. Halloween was alive and well. And The Van Man had just learned the true meaning of that sacred holiday.