Brian, recently elected Secretary-General, walked down the corridors of the United Nations Secretariat Building, looking for his new office. Rounding an unfamiliar corner, he flagged down an intern.

"Pop quiz," he said hastily, and the intern stared at him. "Where's my office?" The intern still stared at him.

The absolute last place you want to look is the thirty-eighth floor, rang the voice of Oalprope, the representative of the Iahlaojin. Don't even waste your time going up there. You've got better chances finding your office at a gas station.

"Thanks," said Brian, and he rushed to the elevator. The intern was still staring at him.

As he waited for the elevator, the Secretary-General said to no one in particular, "You know, it's very disconcerting when disembodied voices insist on being sarcastic all the time." The elevator arrived, and Brian got in. "Particularly during deliberations. Can't you offer resolutions like it's not opposite day?"

Isn't it?

"No, it isn't, believe it or not," Brian said with a touch of longsuffering in his voice. The elevator reached the thirty-eighth floor, and it opened directly into the offices of the Secretary-General. "Ah, here we go," said Brian, stepping out of the elevator. "Thanks, Oalprope."

Good day, sir, said the Iahlaojin, and Brian sensed that he had left.

"Sir," said another intern, shuffling up to speak with Brian. "A report on Iahlaojin culture has just been filed."

"Thank you," Brian said cordially, taking the report. He turned to go.

"Oh, and, sir?" the intern called. "The mental institution called. A Fool's been asking for you again. Apparently the leprechauns don't like your policy on inter-universal cooperation."

Brian sighed. "Tell him that the centaurs disagree." He turned to leave once more, but suddenly he remembered that he was the Secretary-General. "Oh, and see what you can do to keep it out of the media that I was once affiliated with a delusional person, albeit a delusional person whose ideas of magic and pseudo-science happen to be very astute science, even if he doesn't realize it." The intern puzzled this out and nodded submissively. He made some really fascinating phone calls.

Brian entered his new office, examined the chair, sat down, spread the report on the table, and read it. Apparently, after first contact with the Iahlaojin, the novelty of sarcasm had taken a rather firm hold on their culture until it became the normal mode of communication.

Brian smacked himself. We've got to deal with a race of four-dimensional aliens who speak nothing but sarcasm, and it's all my fault!