Man in the Van

Imagine a tan, boxy shaped outdated 80’s styles van with dark molding and paneling down the side. This van is poorly maintained with scratches, dents and paint peeling away revealing rusted blemishes.  On top of the van giant antennas that look like they once belonged to a television from the 50’s are mounted.  It gives the van an alien feel in this day and age of technology.   The vans windows show glimpses of the inside through the peeling tinted paper layered on the inside.  Where some of the windows would reveal more light duct taped on cardboard box pieces and towels have been placed to allow for more privacy and refugee from the suns melting rays.

During the day the doors of the van are left open allowing a glimpse to the world inside.  There are open umbrellas lining the ceiling with their canopy tips sticking out of the closed windows.  Christmas lights run along the sides of the van and above the front and rear view mirrors.  You can see an old television wedged between the front and passenger seat, one that most likely matches the antenna place on top from the 50’s.  It is hard to determine what lays on the ground of the van, but my best guess is old, matted, brown, sheep lining that covers the hardware from where the back seats would have once been.  There are a cluster of papers, wrappers, trash that flood the front seats and boxes that are stacked in the back.  The trunk door is usually open with feet hanging out the end.

The man in the van appears to be as old as the belongings inside.  His body is weathered by hard years and his mind seems to be broken.  He mumbles often and is seen repeating actions that make no sense to me.  I once witnessed him hit a small piece of wood with a larger one for over an hour without gain or purpose.  He has 2 wooden doors, duct taped together, with a smaller square of wood duct taped on the top half that he leans against a wall.  He will stand in front of the doors and throw knives at it for hours.  Often when he is done he neglects to retrieve his knives and they will remain for days.  His body moves with pulses, twitches and fast jolts that only confirm a mind altered by the past, drugs, or hard life.

I witness this man daily because he has parked on my neighbors property, right on the property line that is outside my bedroom window and at night I can hear him tinkering.  He tinkers into the wee hours of the morning.  It is a bit uneasy to listen to.  You can hear his tormented mind. Listen as he rattles fences and tries to retrieve items from the neighbor’s garage and watch as he walks across the front lawns of the neighbors during nightly strolls over using the sidewalks. I am not afraid to say that at night I sleep a little lighter since he has began parking next to my bedroom.  I am unsure of his harmless level and this town has not shown me any reason to believe that the people who live in it are not a little bit darker, more confused and dangerous.

Abandoned Cars


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