‘The interconnectedness of the universe’

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: Lyle and Shep have arrived at Tom and Irene’s house for a Saturday-night party. Lyle is worried that his ex-girlfriend will be there, because he hasn’t spoken to her since the day they broke up. Meanwhile, Shep — who’s also coming off a breakup — is eager to hook up with someone — anyone — of the female persuasion. 

“I’m so sorry to hear about you and Annabelle,” Irene said. “When did this happen?”

“The same day he lost his job, if you can believe that,” Shep said.

“Oh my god! You lost your job, too? Lyle, what happened?”

Lyle glared. “I’ll let Shep tell the story, since he’s on a roll.”

“Actually, it’s much better when you tell it,” Shep said. “You give it such a self-pitying, melodramatic flair.”

“What’s wrong with self-pitying?” Lyle asked. “Someone should feel sorry for me. My life’s a shambles, and I’m down and out with a weeping heart.”

“It’s not your heart that’s weeping — it’s your audience,” Shep said. “Besides, I’m going to mingle. I want to see if I can meet someone.”

“Meet someone?” Irene frowned. “What about you and Cassie? Don’t tell me you guys broke up, too!”

“No, we haven’t broken up. I’m just giving her space.”

“Giving her space? By seeing other people?”

Shep shrugged. “It’s the best way I know to give her space. I’m not so clingy when I’m seeing other people.

“And speaking of clingy,” he continued, nodding toward Lyle, “keep an eye on this one, will you? I’m afraid if he sees Annabelle, he’ll be on his knees, weeping.”

Lyle shrugged. “No big deal. That’s pretty much where I spent our entire relationship.”

Shep laughed. “Don’t let him fool you, Irene. Annabelle’s all he talks about. She’s the crux of his self-pitying, melodramatic narrative.”

“Weren’t you going to mingle?” Lyle asked. “Because if this is what you call mingling, then you should broaden your scope.”

“And you should scope out some broads, because that’s what I’m going to do. In fact, I’ve already noticed a couple sneaking glimpses at me. We’ve been here for two minutes, and already they’re interested.”

“I’d wait till they get a good look before assuming they’re interested.”

“What is it with this guy?” Shep asked, looking at Irene. “I can’t deal with the passive-aggressive hostility anymore. Do you think you can get any joy into him?”

“Maybe,” Irene said, slipping her arm around Lyle. “I just need to get a couple of shots of Grey Goose into him, first. That always does the trick.”

“Nope.” Lyle shook his head. “I’m not drinking anymore. At least not till I get a job.”

Shep rolled his eyes. “And cue Act Two of the self-pitying, melodramatic saga. That’s my cue to exit.”

As Shep slipped into the crowd, Irene guided Lyle into the living room. “Is it true you’re not drinking, Lyle?”

“That’s right. I can’t touch a drop until I get a job. I need a strong motivation to keep up the search.”

“Isn’t a paycheck enough of a motivation? You know, so you can eat and survive?”

“These days, I need a strong motivation to eat and survive.”

“I know it has to be depressing, losing your job,” Irene said. “I know when Tom lost his job, he moped around the house for months. He even threatened to drop a toaster in the bathtub.”

Lyle’s eyes widened. “Did he ever try to do it?”

“What? No.” Irene gave a dismissive wave. “It was all bluster. Besides, Tom doesn’t like to eat in the bathroom.

“What I’m trying to say,” she continued, “is that I know what you’re going through. Men define themselves by what they do. You probably feel like your whole sense of self-worth has been stripped away.”

Lyle nodded. “Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty close.”

“You also probably feel like you have no future, like your whole life’s going to slip away before you have a chance to live it. Everyone around you seems to have a purpose, a mission, yet you’re adrift and aimless with nowhere to go.”

“Well.” Lyle frowned. “I never thought about it like that.”

“And then you’ll start worrying you’ll never find love, and with it the opportunity for children — for a family. And you’ll wonder if you’ll ever find the love of your life, your soulmate — that one person with whom you’re supposed to share the ups and downs of our roller-coaster existence. And you’ll think maybe you’ll die alone, in wretched poverty, with unfilled dreams and an entire lifetime of wasted potential.”

“Wow,” Lyle said. “Maybe I will take that drink, after all.”

“Tom finally got so depressed, he went to see a counselor,” Irene said. “He didn’t like to discuss his problems with me.”

“I can’t imagine why.”

Irene touched his arm. “You’ll be OK, Lyle. You have to trust that all this happened for the best. God has better plans for you.”

“If I’m made in God’s image, then I’m not sure He’s much of a planner, either.”

“Can I ask you a question, Lyle? Have you ever thought much about the interconnectedness of the universe?”

“Not lately. I’ve been so focused on finding a job and all.”

“Well, I believe that everything is one. You, me, the world — we’re all one. And I also believe that each of us is on a path, and if we ever stray from our path, the universe will reach out to set us straight. You follow what I’m saying?”

“You lost me somewhere around ‘interconnectedness.’ That logic’s a little too twisted for me.”

“Maybe that’s your problem,” Irene said. “You tend to think from A to Z when the real world is all about tangents. None of us is traveling on a single, linear path, Lyle. It’s all the twists and turns that make life interesting.”

“We just discussed my problem with twisted logic. Besides, what’s wrong with thinking from A to Z? That kind of mindset keeps you focused.”

“I guess it depends on what kind of life you want,” Irene said. “Do you know what kind you want?”

Lyle sighed. “At this point, any kind will suffice.”

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!

%d bloggers like this: