Once upon a time, there was an office manager for a small architectural firm. His name was Wallace, and he also happened to be a stoat. Other than being furry and weasel-like, he was a perfectly ordinary office manager with a perfectly ordinary job in a perfectly ordinary office building.
Each day, he drove his car to work. His car was a perfectly ordinary sedan that also happened to be an alpaca named Lisa. Other than being a live animal and not a manufactured vehicle, Lisa was a perfectly ordinary car.
He worked with three architects. The senior architect, named Cathy, owned the firm. Cathy was a ferret. She was secretly in love with Wallace, but was seeing a psychotherapist about this unfortunate affliction, because interspecies love is pathological. So are animals working in an architectural firm, but no one in this story is worried about that.
The two junior architects, Eustace and Edmund, were a washing machine and a clothes dryer, respectively. They were also in love with each other, and were receiving therapy from a hot water heater and a dishwasher, respectively, because inter-appliance love is pathological. Two different machines designed with such different purposes could never be compatible.
Wallace shunned such abominations. He knew that a stoat such as himself could only be paired with another stoat. Unfortunately for Wallace, he was the only stoat in the universe. All the other people were different species of animals or appliances. Wallace was destined to be alone.
Fortunately, Wallace did not want to be married. He did not want to be an office manager either. He had greater aspirations. Wallace wanted to be a truck. He was learning how to be a truck through a correspondence course. Each night, he read his textbooks on truckery, truckology, and truckonomy; he listened to the taped lectures, recorded by the finest lecturers in truckdom; and he studied for the final truck certification exam, the one test he must pass to officially be a truck.
At last, Wallace was ready. The exam was ten pages long, consisting of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. An unprepared, unstudied pupil would have tried to answer these questions. But such a pupil would have failed to be a truck. Trucks don’t answer questions. Trucks truck.
So Wallace trucked his way through the exam. He started his engine. He shone his headlights on the pages. He drove over the pages with his massive tires. When he had finished, he considered mailing in the exam. But a real truck would never read the instructions or send something through the mail. So he simply put it in his glove box and awaited the results.
After 4 to 6 weeks, Wallace finally heard the results: He had passed the exam with flying colors! He received his official degree, which he posted on the wall, and a license plate, which he wore with pride.
He called Cathy to give her his two weeks notice. Cathy congratulated him on achieving his dream, but, secretly, she was devastated. A good office manager is hard to find. Furthermore, she remained infatuated with the stoat, no matter how wrong it was.
But Wallace had good news for Cathy, too. Although he would no longer be working for her as an office manager, his alpaca sedan, Lisa, had recently completed a correspondence course in being an office manager. And Cathy had always had a thing for alpacas.
Daniel Lowd likes dogs, unicycles, and researching artificial intelligence. By day, he is a computer science professor. By night, he is also a computer science professor, because he tends to work odd hours. At various other times (dusk? gloaming? teatime?) he writes a few words of fiction or the occasional song.