The Quality of My Work Life

In The Quality of My Work Life, Albert is forced to confront his boss about how his bad breath is affecting his work life happiness.

ALBERT:  Excuse me?  Hi Maxwell, hi, hi…umm…can I ask you a personal question?  (beat)  Okay, thanks, I do feel a bit awkward asking you this but I’m, I really, really need to know, so…okay…are you ill?  Ill as in, sickly?


No?  Okay, no digestive problems of any sort?  How’s your stool, is your stool a normal color after you go?  Hmm.  You eat healthy?  …I’m sorry, I know it’s a bit forward of me but I’m trying to make sense out of it.  It is the darndest thing, the darndest thing.

I’m trying to make some kind of sense as to why I am always feeling faint when you speak in my face…like, I’m just sitting down in my cubicle all by myself, working hard cause I’m diligent and there you are, standing over me like a breathing dragon…my face goes numb, my arm, I get dizzy and I sweat…a lot and it’s not cause I’m nervous…and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

It’s your breath.

Now that may come as a shock to you but I promise you that the quality of my work life has decreased by a margin of half.  That’s fifty-precent less joy in my spirit while I’m here.

Sometimes I scratch my cheek and sniff my finger and I can still smell you from your visit.  I have to shower as soon as I get home.  It’s wrong.  You are so wrong.

I spoke to Elaine cause one day she came into my cubicle just after you left and she asked me what that terrible odor was and I told her that you had come into my cubicle and spoke for a very long period of time and she just nodded and ran out…later that same day I asked her if she was okay and she did in fact hurl in the ladies room.  Mark broke out into a rash on his neck this one time and it wasn’t cause his tie was too tight and Sam, well, we all know Sam don’t work here no more and I very much liked Sam.

Please don’t talk.

Now I like working here, been here for fifteen precious years but you are hurting your tribe, Maxwell.  You need to figure out the issue and stay out of my cubicle until you do because I may go rogue up in here.

Don’t worry, I won’t.  I’m too much of a wimp to go rogue but I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t but you can and you should cause you must…figure out your problem.

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Joseph Arnone