A few years back I had a gig in a 5-star resort in Pattaya, Thailand and we had a customer there, an American expat, who used to close down the all-you-can eat buffet. While so doing he routinely abused the staff, harassed the waitresses, made endless spurious complaints, left gigantic messes, came in reeling drunk and once even screamed at a small child for some reason. He was also obscenely obese – as in, his sandal straps disappeared into his foot fat. On the day he was kicked out of the resort and asked to never return, I heard one of the waiters mutter under his breath, “Go die.”
And Vacuum Man was born.
None of the foregoing details made it into the story. “Vacuum Man” is told from the perspective of a couple petty street punks. But I did think a lot about Vacuum Man, how he got that sorry place, what inner core of sadness could wreck a person so irretrievably. I don’t really know, of course. I never saw Vacuum Man after he got the boot from the resort. I hope the real Vacuum Man ended up better off, though I’m not sure the staff that actually had to put up with him would agree.
“Vacuum Man” is up at A Twist of Noir. Many thanks to Christopher Grant for taking this one onboard.
Vacuum Man, by the way, was rejected nearly 20 times before finding a home.