Isn’t that a strange question in the literal sense?

In the serio-comedy scene/drama from play act, ‘A Leave of Absence’, Mr. Putnam asks his employee Leslie if she’s been having a fine day.

Leslie doesn’t knock. She stands inside the doorframe. Mr. Putnam notices her and stares at her before–

MR. PUTNAM: …Oh yes, come in Leslie, come in, come in.

Leslie enters with hesitation.

Do sit down, please, right…

Awkward pause.

I’m somewhat relieved that you asked to see me. (Pause.) How are you doing today? Is today a fine day for you?

LESLIE: Today’s a fine day…not for me.

MR. PUTNAM: Pardon?

LESLIE: I believe it’s a fine day for all of us. But then again, what exactly makes a fine day? And does that fine day apply itself to animals? Do you think animals know the difference between a fine day and a not so fine day? What about us?


LESLIE: Humans…

MR. PUTNAM: Oh, humans?

LESLIE: Some of us aren’t tuned in enough to know the difference between a fine day or a lousy day. And sometimes there can be a very fine day, the finest day but it gets smashed to smithereens from some rule that accuses it of doing something minutely wrong. What’s the ratio on that?

MR. PUTNAM: Ratio?

LESLIE: Between a fine day and a lousy day.


LESLIE: Sixty-forty? Seventy-thirty? Eighty-twenty? You ask a difficult question, Mr. Putnam.

MR. PUTNAM: I see…well, I wasn’t trying…uh…well, how are you keeping Leslie? Are you doing okay?

LESLIE: (Laughs.) How does a person do okay? What a strange question. Isn’t that a strange question in the literal sense? For all our sophistication with language, we are still quite a ways off before we communicate the strength of our ideas..don’t you think? I’m fine. There’s that word again. Fine, fine, fine, all because I’m having a fine, fine, fine day…Mr. Putnam.



MR. PUTNAM: You said my name just then.

LESLIE: You weren’t really listening to me, were you Mr. Putnam?

MR. PUTNAM: No, I’m listening, I’m, I’m very carefully listening Leslie, but uh, I’m not entirely certain as to, ah, as to what, uh, I’m not really sure I follow you…completely.

LESLIE: Most people don’t. (Beat – she bursts out laughing.)

Mr. Putnam laughs uneasily at first but then joins in on the hysterics.

MR. PUTNAM: (Warmly.) It’s okay.


MR. PUTNAM: You’re okay.


MR. PUTNAM: Good, good…ah…Leslie.


MR. PUTNAM: What did you need to see me about?

LESLIE: (Beat.) I need time off.

MR. PUTNAM: …Oh, good! (Smiling brightly.) That’s good. That’s a good thing to do, Leslie.

LESLIE: It is?


To read the full one-act ePlay, find purchase link below:

A Leave of Absence by Joseph ArnoneIn the one-act eplay, “A Leave of Absence”, Leslie asks her boss Mr. Putnam for time off from work.  Although Mr. Putnam agrees to Leslie’s leave, there seems to be something undercurrent that he deeply desires to get off from his chest.  1 Woman, 1 Man.  Drama.

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Joseph Arnone