Poster Boy Presents...November Man

There are men of summer, men of winter, men of spring, and then there is another kind of man. A man who isn't afraid to point his gun down and to the left. A man who isn't afraid to fraternize with sexy foreign ladies. A man who is never out of the game…or should I say a "spy" who is never out of the game. I'm talking of course about a November Man. 

    While I don't HATE the other months of the year, November has a certain je ne sais quoi that the other months don't. It's cooler than August. Cool enough to wear a long sleeved buttonup shirt with the sleeves rolled up over a t-shirt and not sweat your espionage-loving ass off. Pardon my French. Oh, wait. That's just because I'm in Paris. Ooops. I guess I revealed my location. Now I'll have to kill you. If you will only lay down and to your right. No, YOUR right. My left. There we go. Bang Bang. Just kidding. What? You didn't think a November Man could make a joke? Goes to show how much you know about men of November.

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times - a spy is never out of the game. Wait, did I say I was a spy? Ooops. Now, I blew my cover. Like the woman who blew me under the covers last night. You may recognize her. She frequently wears "statement" necklaces and flashy black mini-skirts. I still don't know her name, but I know she struts with confidence. The type of confidence that only a November Man could appreciate.

    If there's one thing that defines a November Man, it's knowing when to stand tall, gun raised, with a stern face, and when to run with your gun at your side. That's something my YOUNG PARTNER doesn't seem to realize. Sure, he's got guts, looks, and wears a long-sleeved shirt over a t-shirt, but he DOESN'T HAVE THE SLEEVES ROLLED. Rookie mistake. Clearly, he's not a November Man. Not yet. But maybe once we find out where he's running to, we might just change our minds. I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. You'll have to wait until NEXT November to see how much of a N-Man he is. 

    You know what the funniest thing is about being a November Man? Hahahahah. Ha. Ha. HAHAHAHAHA. Oh, I'm sorry. I was laughing before I even told you. You see, the biggest secret of a November Man is…we're in theaters starting in AUGUST. I guess spies like us can never be TOO predictable. Did I say spies? Oops. Plural. I guess Rookie finally made the grade. Not an A, B, C, or D. Not even an A+. This class is strictly pass/fail, and his semester ends…in November.

 

DRUG TEST (Short Story)

Part 1 of “Ricky Ryan: Suburban Burnout”

Ricky sits in the driver seat of a forklift, staring at his digital watch. It’s ten AM and he’s high again. Sometimes, these silent, frozen moments can go on for ten or fifteen minutes. This one doesn’t because Carl, the shipping manager, can see that he’s not working.

“Ricky, get movin’! The next load’s comin’ in in twenty.” - Carl

Ricky is startled away from his daydream and turns the forklift on. He spins the lift around, makes a few adjustments, and accidentally drives the fork straight through a wooden crate. 

“Shiiiiiit.” – Ricky

Ricky’s moment of fear is followed by the realization that “do not operate heavy machinery” definitely applies to weed and so he smiles. He laughs a little to himself before looking around to see if anybody noticed. No one did. He can clean this one up.

Later at lunch he tears open a bag of Cooler Ranch Doritos and stares at last night’s “Daily Show” on the tiny kitchen TV. Ricky thought that Jon Stewart was funny as shit and mad smart. A couple of the other guys, Todd and Matt, come in with a bag of Taco Bell. 

“What the fuck maaan? Why didn’t you tell me about the T-bell run?” – Ricky

“Fuck. I forgot. Here, have some cinnamon twists. I hate that shit anyways.” – Todd

“Yeah, Rick. Have some of them.” – Matt

“Naw. I’m just sayin’ that I’m just sayin’. Next time, homie” – Ricky

Carl pops his head into the kitchen. 

“Guys, company-wide piss test happenin’ today at three. Come up to the sales floor and drink a bunch before you get there. I don’t need any stage fright. Okay?” – Carl

“Yeah. Got it.” – Matt

Carl looks to Ricky.

“You got that, Ricky? And don’t make me come down and find you.” – Carl

Ricky’s face is white. He’s sober now.

“Uhh. Yeah, dude. I gotz it.” – Ricky

In the five months that Ricky worked at Woodman Foundry and Electric, they had never had an impromptu drug test. He always knew about every one and planned accordingly with the appropriate clean urine supplies. He felt totally fucked.

“Hey, uhh, Matt. You smoke today, man?” – Ricky

“Ricky, come on. No, but…no. I’m not giving you any piss.” – Matt

Ricky turns to Todd, raising his eyebrows.

“You know I’ll hit you up for it, man. What do you want, like forty bucks?” – Ricky

“I can’t chance it. Carl’s already up my ass for taking an extra vacation day. My girl will flip if I can’t go to Toronto with her. Her mom’s sick and shit.” – Todd

“Aww. Man. For all the stuff I do for you.” – Ricky

“Ha! Dude, you are completely nuts. You’ve sold me weed once, and it was all stems. I don’t owe you anything.” – Todd

Todd snatches away his cinnamon twists.

“And gimme these back. I forgot about that shit weed until now.” – Todd

Todd and Matt get up and walk out with their Taco Bell. Ricky slumps and weighs his options.  It’s two o’clock.

Ricky runs over to the lockers because he thinks he hears Jeff there.  He doesn’t see anybody, so he starts to walk out and runs into Jeff walking out the door.

“You already off, man? Nice nice nice.” – Ricky

“Yeah. Been here since six. I’m getting sick of the early shift.” – Jeff

“I read you. I read you. Hey, so you do that piss test already?” – Ricky

“Yeah. Had me do it right when I came in. I’ve never seen them do that before.” – Jeff

“Right? They killin’ me here, man. So, I was wonderin’ if I might be able to give you like forty and you can give me some clean pee.” – Ricky

“Haha. Ricky, are you just high all the time? Ridiculous.” – Jeff

“Naw naw, man. I need it. It helps me get through this boring shit.” – Ricky

“I get it. Well, the thing is, I dunnoif you can even pull that off. They tap you down before you go in the stall and listen to make sure you’re not screwing around on them.” – Jeff

Ricky checks his watch. It’s already two thirty.

“Wow. Serious shit goin’ down. Whatever, though, I’ll take the chance. So, you good?” – Ricky

“Sure. I’ll take forty for the piss. I can go now too. Give me the bottle.” – Jeff

“The bottle?” – Ricky

Ricky thinks hard. What the fuck….ohhh.

“Ohhh, shit. I think there’s a Gatorade bottle in the kitchen.” – Ricky

Jeff laughs.

“That’s gonna be too big. They’ll see it through your pants. You gotta get something smaller.”  - Jeff

Ricky thinks hard again. This kind of scheme doesn’t come easy to him. He’s moving on pure instinct.

“Jeffy. Can you wait like one second, man? I gotta go to my car real quick.” – Ricky

Ricky runs, clomping down the hallway. His pants are too baggy to really run full-out, and his work boots echo really loudly. He’s not an athlete – looking more like an awkward kid who’s still growing into his body.

He runs past Carl who pushes a cart full of empty cups and a couple small machines. Carl glares at him, clearly skeptical.

“Where you going, Ricky? Skipping out?” – Carl

“C’mon, Carl. I’m hungry as shit and forgot my lunch in my car.” – Ricky

“I just saw you eating lunch” – Carl

“Yeah. I’m still hungry. You know.” – Ricky

Ricky doesn’t wait to hear Carl’s response and keeps running. It’s two levels in the garage up to his Camaro. He checks his watch. It’s two forty-three.

He opens the trunk and dives in, tossing out all the empty bottles of booze onto the ground, but carefully pushing the intricate glass pipes aside. He knows it’s in there from when he went to Target last week Monday.

Ricky finds the Target bag, pulling out a small bottle of contact lens solution and duct tape. He smiles and thinks about how smart he is. Slick as shit.

He comes back into the locker room, sweaty and breathing heavy, but focused. Jeff is still there, sitting, almost sleeping, on a bench.

“How about this?” – Ricky

Ricky hands him the bottle and forty bucks.

“Alright, man. I hope this works” – Jeff

They have to go to the half bathroom off of the front desk because he knows nobody will be in there except maybe Luis. He knocks on the door, nobody answers. Luis isn’t even at his post, but whatever.

Ricky tears off the plastic packaging, unscrews the bottle and pours out the saline in the sink. He hands it to Jeff.

“Alright. Go.” – Ricky

Jeff closes the stall door. Ricky can hear the pee filling up the bottle, and probably a little bit spilling over.

“Ah, fuck.” – Jeff

Ricky checks his watch. It’s already three-o-three.

Jeff walks out and hands the wet bottle to Ricky.

“Sorry. Missed a little.” – Jeff

Ricky shrugs, grabs the duct tape off the sink, and walks into the stall.

“Wait! You’re really gonna duct tape that thing to your balls?” – Jeff

Ricky nods with a smirk.

“You gotta do what you gotta do do, dude.” – Ricky

Ricky pulls his pants down and hears Jeff walk out of the bathroom. He takes a deep breath and pulls off some duct tape. It echoes loudly off the tile walls. He cringes as he places the bottle next to his dick shaft and wraps it up with the tape. He leaves just enough room for the tip of the bottle to stick out and quickly pulls up his pants.

Ricky’s dick had been through a lot in its twenty-two years, but there was nothing to compare to the swishing movement of a bottle of piss. He hears it a little as he walks through the lobby and onto the shipping floor. He had to move slowly if he wanted it quiet for when Carl saw him.

Ricky takes the freight elevator up to the sales floor so that he doesn’t run into anybody. He’s sweating like a whore in church. A big-pussied whore who used to be in the choir when she was a girl but now she’s meeting up with some John in a confessional. Ricky shook his head a little. His mind could make up some fucked up shit sometimes.

The elevator doors opened to reveal Carl and a few of the other higher-ups standing around wearing latex gloves far down the hall. Carl hears the doors open and turns. He sees Ricky and glares.

“Ricky. Where’ve you been? We are waiting on you.” – Carl

“Sorry, man. Big lunch.” – Ricky

Ricky starts walking down the hall, but is too fast and hears the swishing. He stops.

“The hell are you doing? Get over here.” – Carl

Ricky begins walking again, at about half the pace of before. He is also cushioning each step, so it looks like he’s almost doing a walking dance in slow motion.

Carl and the two higher-ups stare in disbelief.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, Ricky?” – Carl

“Just really have to pee. I think I drank too much.” – Ricky

Carl and the guys laughed at him. Carl was still weary of why Ricky was acting so odd.

Ricky still had about ten feet to go to get to them, and awkwardly marched forward the whole way. It felt like it took five minutes. It was probably more like one. Still, he looked insane.

“Okay. Here we go.” – Carl

Carl grabs Ricky’s shoulder and ushers him into the bathroom. The swishing sound starts. Carl stops a moment to listen. Ricky cringes. Carl holds. Listening. Then continues onward.

Ricky holds his crotch with his hand to try and silence the swishing. 

Carl pushes him into an empty stall and hands him a plastic cup.

“Okay. Piss into this. No fucking around.” – Carl

“Oh, I won’t. Gonna piss all over this thing.” – Ricky

“I’m surprised you’re so confident. We thought you’d be shitting your pants. We know about you, Ricky.” – Carl

Ricky frowned for a second up at him. Carl was an ugly, sweaty, bad-mustached fat fuck. He was tall though.

“Naw. Man, I’m coo.” – Ricky

Ricky went to close the stall door, but Carl put his arm out to stop him.

“This stays open. Like I said. No fucking around.” – Carl

Ricky nods at him and gulps. It was a real gulp. Not for show, or dramatic effect. He gulped out of stress and impending doom.

Ricky unzips his pants and peeks over his shoulder. Carl is there, standing only three feet behind him. He turns back and squeezes the bottle and his dick at the same time to create a steady stream. It’s a really narrow stream. You can always tell how big a stream a guy’s got, and usually you can judge his dick size by it.

Carl furrows his brow. Ricky cannot remember being more scared in his recent history. He thinks quickly and starts making groaning noises.

“Awww. Uhhh. Finally. That’s it.” – Ricky

“Alright. Enough with the theatrics. Just fill the damn cup.” – Carl

Ricky’s dick hurt a lot. The tape was ripping and rubbing his skin while he squeezed it. He tried to hide the pain in his body language.

Finally, he empties the bottle. The cup was full. He did it. He zips up, turns around, and hands over the cup, almost triumphantly.

Carl scowls. He holds the cup up to the light and inspects it.

“Now, this isn’t somebody else’s pee is it?” – Carl

Ricky freezes and glances over at the other two guys. They were staring at him coldly.

“No way, man. That’s all my Diet Pepsi.” – Ricky

Carl shakes his head. Ricky almost starts to freak out, but holds it in.

“I’m just shittin’ with ya. But we better not find anything in this, or you’re out of here pronto.” – Carl

Ricky shrugs.

“Whatever, man. I gotta get back to work.” – Ricky

Ricky walks briskly back to the freight elevator. He feels like throwing up. Maybe its nerves, or maybe all the running from before.

Ricky is sober now. He puts a tarp over the crate that he fucked up before. He’ll take care of it tomorrow. Ricky goes out to his car, opens the door, and just sits in the driver seat for a little bit. Fucking nuts, man. Jeff is a good dude.

Ricky pulls out a little cigarette-looking pipe out of glove compartment. It’s still got a little left in it. He hits it. He hits it again. He’s gonna be okay. Fuck that fucking asshole Carl.

THE GIRL (Short Story)

Part 2 of “Ricky Ryan: Suburban Burnout”

Ricky blinks really hard. Why is his mom in his room? Clearly, he did something dumb last night, but he couldn’t remember a fucking thing. Something about shouting at some Mexicans and getting KFC drive-thru.

            “What up, Mom?” – Ricky

            Ricky’s mom is just staring. Ricky is sprawled out on top of the comforter on his bed, jacket still on and pants around his ankles.

            “This isn’t what we agreed on, Ricky!” – Mom

            Mom awkwardly slams her open hand against the top of Ricky’s dresser to emphasize her point. A couple disposable lighters fall off the top.

            “You said you were gonna lay low for a month or two and not get into any trouble until you reapply for school.” – Mom

            “Did I get into trouble?” – Ricky

            Mom stares, trying to figure out the most potent response.

            “You got in trouble with me…your car is parked out in the middle of the yard…and there was a naked GIRL asleep on the couch in the living room.” – Mom

            Ricky now remembers vaguely that he might have fucked that chick from the party. She was with the Mexicans.

            “Sorry.” – Ricky

            “She’s just a girl. Really. Seventeen years old. She woke up confused. We’re taking her home now.” – Mom

            “Okay. Thanks.” – Ricky

            “We’re not protecting you if this thing escalates, Ricky. If her family presses charges…you’re on your own.” – Mom

            Fuck. 

            Fuck. Really? C’mon.

            “Uhhh…why?” – Ricky

            Mom shakes her head and walks out of the room.

            “I can’t get into this right now. I told her we were leaving in a couple minutes.” – Mom

            Ricky sobers up. He is on probation and statutory is the last thing he needs. Plus, he might actually have to go to jail more than the one night he did for his DUI.

            He jumps out of bed, trips over the jeans around his ankles and slams his head into the wall. Fucking idiot.

            “What was that??” – Dad yelling from downstairs

            “Nothing!” – Ricky

            Ricky pulls up his jeans, fixes his pair of Vans so they stay on his feet and reaches high into the closet. He pulls down an old Ghostbusters toy trap and opens it. Perfect hiding place from his nosy-ass parents. Plus, he fucking LOVES Ghostbusters.

            Ricky inspects the tiny bag of coke inside. Should be enough. He doesn’t remember if it was shitty stuff or not, but it doesn’t matter right now. The only thing he knew that kept chicks quiet was coke.

            He hears the garage door opening and looks out the window. Mom is pulling the car out. Ricky sprints out of his room and down the stairs. He hadn’t run this hard since high school gym class.

            Ricky’s mom is still rolling backward in the driveway as he opens the back car door. He catches a glimpse of the girl who looks at him, scared shitless.

            Mom slams on the brakes.

            “What the hell are you doing?” – Mom

            “I felt bad you had to drive her alone. Plus, I thought I should say bye or something.” – Ricky

            Mom glances at the girl to see if she looks okay with it. The girl is dressed cute in a short skirt, but clearly looks frazzled. Mom had never dealt with a lot of Mexicans before, so she thinks for a moment.

            “Sit in front, then, Ricky.” – Mom

            Ricky dejectedly closes the back door and climbs into the front. He needs a new plan.

            “Where do you live again, honey? Downtown?” – Mom to the girl

            The girl is silent, staring out the window.

            Mom whispers to Ricky – “Where was the party last night?”

            “Yeah. Downtown. All the fucking way by the lake.” – Ricky

            Mom glares at Ricky who also quickly stares out the window.

            “I live on 3rd right after the viaduct.” – The girl

            “Okay. Thank you. And you have my number on that piece of paper, right?” – Mom looking into the rearview mirror.

            The girl nods. Ricky’s stomach churns. What the fuck, dude?

            Most of the thirty-two minute car ride to the viaduct is quiet. Ricky’s mom puts on the oldies station after about ten minutes. Ricky hated that candy pop bullshit and would usually fuck around with the radio to find a rap station, but he didn’t want to move.

            “Right here.” – the girl

            Mom stops the car in front of a kind-of-shitty duplex. Ricky thinks it looks nicer than a lot he’d seen in the area.

            The girl gets out of the car. Ricky has five seconds before Mom pulls away. Gotta do it. He jumps out of the car.

            “Ricky!” – Mom out the window

            “I need to say bye.” – Ricky back to Mom

            The girl freezes on the sidewalk as Ricky approaches her. She is curious, though, still keeping eye contact. She isn’t scared.

            “Hey. Uhh…I’m Ricky.” – Ricky extends his hand

            “I know. We had sex.” – the girl, not extending hers

            “Yeah. I was bombed as hell. Sorry if you’re mad. I’m gonna give you some coke, though.” – Ricky

            Ricky hugs her awkwardly and drops the baggy down the back of her blouse. It is tucked in, so the bag doesn’t fall through. Ricky thinks he is a slick genius.

            Ricky stops hugging her. The girl doesn’t move.

            “What was your name again, girl?” – Ricky

            “I’m not gonna tell you my name. I hope I never see you again.” – the girl

            Ricky is surprised. He thought he was being nice.

            “Awwwright. I was bein’ nice. Bye bye chicken.” – Ricky

            Ricky walks back to the car feeling awkward and confused. Ricky and his mom drive away.

            The Girl watches the car disappear down the road and then untucks her blouse. With a stolid face, she grabs the baggy and chucks it into a storm drain.

            “What happened, Ricky? What happened to all the nice girls like in high school? You are not taking the car out for another month! It’s…it’s disrespectful and your father and I are not inclined to help you when you act like an idiot. We’re done.” –Mom

            Ricky is silent with his face turned toward the window. He acts like he is asleep for the rest of the ride home. Hungover as shit, he knew she would run out of shit to vent about soon. That Mexican girl was cute, and he thinks he’s definitely gonna ask around to see if she liked what he was dishing out last night. Last night could still be a win, kinda.