| My 7th annual April Fool's Day Van
Carl the Poet
Van Helsing crept down the steps to the lab. Carl usually came to him shortly after most were asleep, or he went to Carl. Tonight, tired from a recent mission, Van Helsing had dozed off and woke surprised that Carl was not there. He had to be down here, plotting some sort of explosion or chemical reaction. Or maybe something shiny and sharp--Van Helsing liked those the best.
Carl was where Van Helsing expected, at his table. But it seemed all his gadgetry was pushed to the side, and Carl sat, chewing on his tongue, scribbling furiously with his quill. Startling the friar now, while Van Helsing would enjoy it immensely, wouldn't be wise. He envisioned the pot of ink splattered over the table and possibly on both of them. And quills were pointy, and capable of sticking in a variety of places. He rubbed his arm where he'd ended up on the business end of a retractable silver stake when he'd startled Carl once before.
"What are you doing?" he said softly, from a safe distance.
Carl still flinched. "Hell!"
"You found it, or you're designing it?" Van Helsing approached slowly, because Carl seemed nervous and shuffled the papers in front of him a bit too enthusiastically.
"Hilarious, Van Helsing. Very clever."
"Writing in your diary again?"
"No. If you must know--"
"I would like to know, since whatever you're doing clearly kept you from coming to see me."
"Oh no, I was going to come to your room when I was finished, I was. I just got . . . distracted."
"I'm learning to write poetry. I find it fascinating. I'm not very good yet, but I hope to be one day."
"Poetry?" Van Helsing said, grinning. "You're sitting down here writing dirty limericks, aren't you?"
Carl slapped the hunter's chest. "You wish. Mostly haiku. It's a Japanese form, typically done in three lines, with 5 syllables in the first and third lines and 7 syllables in the second line. Though some have 3 . . . ."
Carl went on about haiku variants and similar forms like haibun for several minutes, all while Van Helsing was angling himself to get a look at Carl's papers.
"Van Helsing, you don't have to try to spy. I can read them to you if you'd like. There's not much point in writing poetry, after all, if no one else can appreciate it."
"You're scaring me. You wrote something down and you want to read it to me? Will you be angry if I laugh? I won't laugh on purpose, but it could happen."
Carl huffed. "I am a very creative person, Gabriel. Have you ever looked closely at your weaponry?"
"They're beautiful. I know you're creative." He held his hands up. "If you can forge words in the same way, I'm sure your poems are lovely. But I'm probably not the best judge."
"No, you're not. But as soon as I read these, I'm ready to go to bed." Carl batted his eyelashes.
Van Helsing plopped onto the nearest stool. "Please, Carl, read."
Carl cleared his throat, a little smile on his face. "Now remember, I am a beginner. This one is called Brother Caleb Doesn't Like Me. Ahem. He's about to sit. Should I shout, "Your stool is gone!" No, I don't think so."
Van Helsing smiled. "That has the right number of syllables."
"Yes, it does, doesn't it!"
"And it's . . . accurate." He chuckled a little, then tried to make his face stern.
Carl patted his shoulder. "It's all right, that one's kind of funny. All right, this one is called Don't Touch That Beaker. New monk doesn't know, my penchant for gunpowder, his eyebrows are gone." Carl chuckled a little. "I wasn't aware that I tend toward humor until reading these aloud. That's interesting."
Van Helsing laughed. "I think humor . . . and violence."
"You know, I think you're right. Here's one about you. Van Helsing Visits the Lab While I'm Mixing Glycerin. His hair is aflame, he flaps his arms so quickly, he almost takes flight."
Van Helsing said, "That one's non-fiction, technically."
"Yes. Here's one called Stubborn Hunter. He doesn't want to, help with my experiment . . . well that one's not quite finished." Carl shuffled papers. "Ready to go?"
Van Helsing snatched the paper from Carl's hand and read. "He doesn't want to, help with my experiment, he whines like a child. Carl--"
"Oh, it's just self-expression, Van Helsing, don't take it personally."
But Van Helsing read the next one. "Fighting the Brides. Van Helsing shoots them. It would have been over quick, if he aimed better. Carl!"
"It's only poetry! You know I think you're brilliant."
Van Helsing scowled and handed the papers back.
"It's just for fun! Look, I'll make up a nice one about you right now. Umm, Does He Feel the Same? Does Van Helsing know, how much I'd like to leave now, and go to his room?" Carl wiggled his eyebrows. "What We're Going to Do Now. He takes off his clothes. The size of it impresses." Carl struggled for a moment, then clapped his hands to his face and looked shocked, as if he'd just seen something amazing. "Oh, the hell be damned!"
Van Helsing laughed then and pulled Carl close. "I have a haiku for you now, Carl." He whispered in Carl's ear, Carl's eyes widening with each word, a smile growing. The last few words he said aloud, " . . . and I make him howl."
Carl, a wide grin on his face and a slight blush on his cheeks, said, "Your syllables were all wrong." He squeaked as his bottom was pinched. "But it was highly creative."
"It was a limerick." He pulled Carl by the arm and headed out of the lab, toward his sleeping room. "And it's about to become non-fiction."
Carl hurried behind him. "Carl is very pleased. But will he be able to, sit down tomorrow?"
Carl put his hands on his hips. "Oh, you're not even going to try?"
Van Helsing sighed as he opened his door and ushered Carl in, counting syllables with his fingers as he spoke. "Probably not, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. But he'll be smiling."
"Oh, I love poetry," Carl said, as the door was latched.