A few days ago, my flatmate Saffy came home in a state of grizzled distemper. Even her normally pneumatic bosom heaved with an erratic rhythm.
“Uh oh, what happened?” Amanda said as Saffy slammed the front door, kicked off her shoes and sat down heavily on the sofa, her face the very picture of discontent.
Turns out there’s a guy in Saffy’s office who has, in her words, “the worst case of body odour this side of a Geylang durian stall”.
“And I’m not talking metaphorically about a brothel, either,” she added somewhat unnecessarily.
“Really? I wouldn’t have guessed,” Amanda murmured, and earned herself a poisonous glare.
Saffy sniffed. “Four people came into my office to complain about it today. First, the vice-president popped by. Then this guy’s boss, followed by his secretary and then even Sharyn came! And that woman loves her durian, so that’s gotta tell you something!”
Each demanded that Saffy do something about it and she refused. “I don’t see why that’s my problem!” she told the vice president.
“Saffy,” Amanda said patiently, “it is your problem because you’re the human resources manager!”
Saffy stiffened. “Can you please,” she said icily, “for just one lousy second, stop being such a lawyer about everything? And anyway, you can’t fire someone just because he’s smelling a little ripe! There’s nothing in his contract about it and believe me, I looked.”
The next day, Sharyn stood in Saffy’s office and practically yelled. “Wah lau, eh! He very smelly, you know! Every time, hor, he walk pass, I die! And he sit next to me, some more! Do something, lah!”
“I’m very busy, Sharyn!” Saffy said even as, from behind her computer, she updated her Facebook status.
It says something about Saffy’s ability to stonewall so effectively that even the vice president’s threat of sacking her for not doing her job had little effect. “You don’t scare me,” she told him. “I’ve got dirt on you. And I have everything backed up so don’t even think about trying to rub me out! My lawyer Amanda will be onto you like a bad case of herpes!”
“Oh. My. God. Saffy!” Amanda yelled when Saffy told her what she’d said.
Finally, Saffy had heard so much about the employee with the deeply offensive body odour that she went looking for him. Or, as she put it, smelling for him. It didn’t take her long. The second she emerged from the lift on the fifteenth floor, she immediately detected something in the air.
“It was kind of like cat pee,” Saffy later said. “But it was like five cats had peed together and the puddle had been left to marinade for a few days. You almost felt as if you could clean the toilet with it! It was terrible!”
She wandered through the office, following the trail of the smell and when she finally located cubicle 15.25, she blinked and then did something unexpected.
“You asked him out on a date?” Amanda gasped.
“Don’t judge me! Or Bradley!” Saffy fluted.
“That’s his name?” Amanda sneered. “Bradley?”
“He is the father of my children!” Saffy sighed with pleasure.
“You were meant to fire him, not ask him out on a date!” Amanda cried, her eyes wide with horror.
“Oh, but he’s just so gorgeous! He let me touch his biceps in the photocopy room! Do you know how difficult it is to find someone in this town who’s gorgeous and single?”
“That’s no reason to ask him out on a date!” Amanda shouted. “And has it occurred to you that he’s single because no one wants to go near him?”
“Well, then it’s my lucky day then, isn’t it?” Saffy said cheerfully, her bosom heaving with its customary good humour. “Anyway, I’m sure it’s illegal to fire someone for having body odour!”
“Well, I hope you’re not thinking of inviting him back here!” Amanda said severely. “We’ve just had the sofa steam cleaned and I don’t want to smell of cat pee every time I sit here and watch TV!”
When she found out, Sharyn was so outraged that she sent Saffy an email saying, “I don’t want to friend you anymore!”
Saffy says she doesn’t care. For the first time in months, she actually has a date on a Friday night. She’s sending Bradley to her waxing salon to get his arm pit hair waxed off. “It’s where the BO is coming from,” she said with authority, though Amanda says that she doesn’t even want to think about how Saffy had managed to pin point the source of the smell with such accuracy.
I really need to find new flat-mates.