A mid-morning drop-in

The Ex-Executive Assistant, a story published on Tuesdays and Thursdays in a limited number of installments
"The Ex-Executive Assistant" is a comedic story about a young man who loses both his job and his girlfriend on the same day.

Recap: After losing his job and breaking up with his girlfriend, Lyle has moved in with his cousin, Shep Colane. 

Saturday morning, eleven-thirty. Lyle was in his room, reading, when Shep appeared in the doorway.

“Did I tell you Grandma and Grandpa are coming over?” Shep asked.

Lyle set down his book. “No. What time?”

“Around noon.”

“Around noon?” Lyle looked at his watch. “How come you’re just now telling me?”

“Because I just now found out. They called and asked if they could come.”

“And you said ‘yes’?”

“Not exactly.”

“Not exactly?”

“Well, I hemmed and hawed for a while. They interpreted it as ‘yes.’”

“Grandma and Grandpa live an hour out of town,” Lyle said. “When did they call you?”

“About fifteen minutes ago.”

“Fifteen minutes ago?”

“Yeah. They were already on their way, so there was no use saying ‘no.’ That’s why I hemmed and hawed.”

“You hawed because you’re a jackass,” Lyle said. “ And thanks for letting me know right away. Now I have to rush to get showered. It’s Saturday, and I was going to relax.”

“Every day is Saturday when you’re unemployed,” Shep said. “I don’t think you’ve showered before noon since the day you moved in.”

“What can I say? Showering and shaving lose their appeal when you have nothing to live for.”

“You better get moving,” Shep said. “And by the way, I’m going to Cassie’s.”

“Cassie’s?” Lyle frowned. “I thought you said Grandma and Grandpa were coming over?”

“I did. That’s why I’m going to Cassie’s.”

“Oh, c’mon,” Lyle said. “They’re your grandparents, too. Besides, it’s your apartment.”

“You’re the one they want to see,” Shep said. “They want to know how you’re doing.”

“Clearly, I’m not doing too well. I don’t even shower until noon.”

Shep pointed at his watch. “Clock’s ticking. Let me know how they’re doing, OK?”

“You could stay and ask them yourself.”

“Yeah, and you could get a job and move out.”

“Cut me a break –  it’s Saturday,” Lyle said. “Besides, I haven’t even had my shower yet.”


Lyle was combing his wet hair back when a knock came from the door.

“Lyle!” His grandparents both hugged him as Lyle let them inside.

“Did you just get out of the shower?” his grandma asked.

“Me? No. I’ve been up for hours,” Lyle lied.

“Your hair’s wet.”

“That’s hair gel, Grandma. It’s the latest style.”

“Since when do you care about the latest style?” Lyle’s grandpa asked. “You’re not a conformist. Why do you want to look like everyone else?”

“I don’t want to look like everyone else. I want to reinvent myself.”

Lyle’s grandpa wagged his finger at him. “That’s ridiculous talk, reinventing yourself. What’s wrong with you now? Why would you want to redo something that’s good enough?”

“But that’s just it,” Lyle said. “I don’t want to be good enough. I want to be exemplary.”

“So be exemplary without looking like everyone else. You don’t need that stuff in your hair. It looks like snot.”

“It doesn’t look like snot. It looks like water.” Lyle’s grandma reached out to touch him. “Is your hair wet, Lyle?”

“Hey!” Lyle jerked his head away. “It’s hair gel, Grandma. I told you that.”

She frowned. “That’s not hair gel. You just got out of the shower.”

“What?” Lyle’s grandpa glared. “You just got out of the shower?”

“Yes!” Lyle said. “Yes! I just got out of the shower! The jig is up! You got me!”

“It’s almost noon,” Lyle’s grandpa said.

“I know it’s almost noon. It doesn’t matter – it’s Saturday.”

“You don’t sleep this late every day, do you, Lyle?” his grandmother asked.

Lyle clicked his tongue. “Not every day.”

“You better not,” his grandpa said, wagging his finger at him. “The early bird gets the worm. Didn’t I always tell you that? You’ll never get a job if you sleep in every day.”

“I wouldn’t call it sleeping in, exactly,” Lyle said. “It’s more that I’m regaining my strength.”

Lyle’s grandpa frowned. “Regaining your strength?”

“That’s right. The stress in my life is wiping me out. I need to recuperate.”

“So you’ll recuperate when you get a job!” Lyle’s grandpa said.

“Hon.” Lyle’s grandma tugged on her husband’s sleeve. “Tell him about the job.”

“What job?” Lyle asked.

“I found a job for you.” Lyle’s grandpa reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper.

“Is that coffee I smell, Lyle?” Lyle’s grandma asked.

“Yes – I’m sorry. You guys want some coffee? We can sit in the living room.”

“Actually, I’d prefer some herbal tea, if you have any,” Lyle’s grandma said.

“What?” Lyle’s grandpa frowned. “What do you need herbal tea for? He said he made coffee.”

“You know coffee hurts my stomach.”

“So add creamer to it,” Lyle’s grandpa said. “You have creamer, right, Lyle?”

“Don’t worry about the tea,” Lyle said. “I can boil water.”

“See, he can boil water,” Lyle’s grandma said.

“Well, I don’t want any herbal tea,” Lyle’s grandpa said. “I’ll take a cup of that coffee.”

“Tea and coffee coming up,” Lyle said. “Have a seat in the living room while I put the water on.”

“I want creamer in my coffee,” Lyle’s grandpa said.

“I don’t think we have creamer, Grandpa.”

Lyle’s grandpa frowned. “No creamer? Who doesn’t have creamer?”

“Shep and I drink our coffee black. I guess he didn’t think to buy creamer.”

“Where is Shep, by the way?” Lyle’s grandma asked. “We just spoke to him on the phone.”

“I can’t drink coffee without the creamer,” Lyle’s grandpa said.

Lyle’s grandma frowned at her husband. “Why not? It won’t kill you to drink plain coffee.”

“You know plain coffee hurts my stomach.”

“So don’t drink the coffee,” Lyle said. “I’ll make you some tea.”

“You don’t want to waste all that coffee,” Lyle’s grandpa said.

“Forget the coffee. I didn’t even make it. Shep made it before he left.”

“Where is Shep, by the way?” Lyle’s grandma asked.

“Didn’t you already ask me that, Grandma?”

“I did ask you that. You didn’t answer.”

“Shep had to go. He had an appointment.”

Lyle’s grandpa frowned. “Who has an appointment on Saturday?”

“He just had somewhere he had to be,” Lyle said.

“Did he go to the doctor?” Lyle’s grandma asked. “There’s not something wrong with him, is there?”

“What’s wrong with Shep?” Lyle’s grandpa asked.

“Nothing’s wrong with Shep,” Lyle said. “He just stepped out for a moment, is all.”

“Is he coming back?” Lyle’s grandma asked. “We just spoke to him on the phone.”

“I’m sure he’s coming back. But it probably won’t be for another few hours.”

The front door opened and slammed. “I’m home,” Shep said.

Author: Allen

I’m a humorist and fiction writer, as well as the author of two books. One is a collection of humor, and one is a collection of short stories. Both books are available on Amazon. I always wanted to write a comic strip, but I can’t draw. Not even a stick-person. So that’s why “The Lawn-Cutting Crew” is a comic strip without drawings. I hope you enjoy!

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