Losers with no discernible futures

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 is at a party being hosted by Tom and Irene, a married couple he’s known for years. Irene, who’s had more than one glass of wine, confesses to Lyle that she and Tom are in debt up to their eyeballs, and that their only hope for living is looking forward to Social Security. When Lyle asks what’ll happen if Social Security isn’t available when they’re older, Irene replies: “Then I guess we’ll stop living.” 

“Trust me,” Irene said, “you’ll like this. It’s good news and bad news, but the good news has two parts.”

“A 2:1 ratio. I like that math.”

“All right — first, the good news: Annabelle left, so you don’t have to worry about running into her.”

“That is good news. If I were to accidentally push her down the stairs, I wouldn’t want witnesses.”

“I told her you were here, and she thought it best to leave.”

“I tend to get that reaction from women.”

“But more good news: I found a woman for you. I really think you’ll like her. Her name’s Karen, and she’s a successful marketing specialist, just like you.”

“Actually, I’m an unemployed loser with a journalism degree, so we might have some differences to bridge.”

“I told her all about you, and she wants to meet you.”

“Really? I’m used to them losing all interest when they learn about me.”

“But this is where the bad news comes in,” Irene said. “I can’t introduce you to Karen because she left.”

“She left? You mean she already left the party?”

“Yep. She left with Annabelle.”

“What?” Lyle frowned. “She left with Annabelle? You mean Annabelle put a move on her?”

“No — Karen is Annabelle’s new roommate. She moved into Annabelle’s apartment last week.”

“You mean they’re already living together? How long have they been seeing each other?”

“She’s only a roommate, Lyle. Two women are allowed to live together without it being sexual.”

“That’s how it starts out. But when you’re living in close quarters like that, seeing each other in bras and underwear, it’s hard not to become attracted.”

Irene stared. “Is this reality you’re talking about, or is your mind stuck in some perverted fantasy?”

“The last one.”

“You and Shep live in close quarters. Are you becoming attracted to him?”

Lyle blinked. “Just destroyed my fantasy. Thank you.”

“So what do you think?” Irene asked. “Are you interested?”

“In Shep? Hell, no! Even if I did like guys, we’re cousins.”

“Not Shep! I’m talking about Karen. Are you interested in meeting her?”

“You said she’s interested in meeting me?”

“She said she’s very interested in meeting you.”

“Even though I’m a loser with no discernible future?”

“She loves losers with no discernible futures. She said that’s her type.”

“All right. But does Annabelle know? How’s she going to feel if I call her new roommate?”

“That’s the thing,” Irene said. “It wasn’t sure if you’d be comfortable with the situation.”

“I’d be fine with the situation. I have no qualms meeting single young women. I imagine it’s Annabelle who might have the problem.”

Irene nodded. “I’d imagine so, too.”

“So,” Lyle said, “I guess that settles that.”

“You’re not going to ask her out?”

“I’d love to ask her out. Annabelle cheated on me, and this would be a great way to get her back.”

Irene glared. “I want you to meet Karen so you can fall in love again — not so you can get revenge on Annabelle.”

“I didn’t mean ‘get her back’ in the revenge sense. I meant ‘get her back’ in the sense of, you know, getting her back.”

Irene’s eyes widened. “You mean you want Annabelle back?”

“Of course I want Annabelle back. I love her.”

“But she cheated on you, Lyle.”

“It was my fault. She said so herself.”

“Lyle, Karen is a really nice woman. You should try giving her a call. Seriously.”

“I intend to. And when we hook up, that’ll make Annabelle jealous. She’ll see me with Karen and remember what it was like when we started dating. If it works, she’ll beg me to come back.”

“Then what about Karen? Where would that leave her?”

“She’d be fine. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”

“That’s good advice, Lyle. You should use it for getting over Annabelle.”

“I can’t get over Annabelle.”

“You have to get over Annabelle — the same way you have to get over the fact that you’re no longer in newspapers. Things change, Lyle. Life goes on.”

“I know that life goes on, but it’s not supposed to get consistently worse. It’s not a sin to lament the past when your present and future suck.”

“Your future doesn’t have to suck. Maybe Karen will be the love of your life. You won’t know until you find out.”

“I thought being an assistant would be the next great leap in my career. Yet here I am.”

“That’s life. You have successes, and you have failures.”

“If it was a 2:1 ratio, I wouldn’t have a problem. But right now I’m 0 for 2, and the failures are winning.”

“I agree with Shep,” Irene said. “You have to let Annabelle go. You might have had something for a while, but it didn’t work out. It was a stepping stone in your life to bigger and better things.”

“I’ve never had stepping stones in my life. More like plateaus.”

“Please don’t call Karen if you’re just going to use her. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Guys call women all the time just to use them. It’s in our nature.”

“I always thought you were different from most other guys.”

“Nah. We have varying degrees of sensitivity, but in the end, we’re all simple-headed sex addicts.”

Irene held out her hand. She was holding a scrap of paper. “Well, here’s her number. I’m not sure I should give it to you, but I’ll trust you to do the right thing.”

“That’s OK,” Lyle said. “I already have her number.”

“This is her cell-phone number.”

“I’d rather call the apartment. That way, Annabelle might answer.”

Irene grabbed back the paper. “It took you all of two seconds to break my trust.”

Lyle pointed at himself. “Simple-headed sex addict. Remember?”

“Hey, Lyle,” Shep said, ambling toward them. “Let’s beat this place. This party sucks.”

“Um, hello?” Irene pointed at herself. “Your hostess is standing right here.”

“It’s not your fault, Irene. You’re doing a great job. I’ve just been striking out with every girl I’ve talked to.”

“Really?” Lyle said. “I already got a number.”

“You got a number? Whose number?”

“Annabelle’s number.”

“Annabelle’s number?” Shep frowned. “I don’t get it. Annabelle gave you her number?”

“No — I already had her number. But Irene said she’s got a new roommate who’s interested in me.”

“You’re going to date Annabelle’s roommate?”

“That’s the plan.”

“Won’t that be a little awkward for Annabelle?”

“That’s the plan. I want her to get jealous so she’ll come back to me.”

Shep looked at Irene. She shrugged.

“It makes sense to him,” she said. “And he’s the only one not drinking, so maybe he’s on to something.”

Shep looked at Lyle. “If you and Annabelle get back together, then can I have the roommate?”

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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