"A what?" all four of them asked in unison.
Even Hogan had to reread the message on the paper that Kinch had written down. While his eyes scanned the paper, his mind was trying to decide if that was all there was to it, or if there was a secret message hidden somewhere inside it. Wouldn't be the first time he thought to himself. "Are you sure you wrote down the right message? It seems odd that London would be asking us to hold a poetry contest, instead of blowing up the nearest bridge or supply depot."
"Well, London did tell us that the author, Marie1964, did write it during a moment of boredom in her college Health class one day. Though, to be honest—"
"She should be paying attention, and not thinking up poetry?" Hogan asked, his arms crossed in front of his chest.
"But school can be so ruddy boring sometimes! Besides, it would be a nice change for 'er," Newkirk replied in a counter argument.
"Oui, especially after what she and her friend did to you in her story 'Layers of Reality.' It's a wonder mon Colonel hasn't taken her to FanFic Court after you were brainwashed!" LeBeau exclaimed, placing his arm around his friend.
"Louis, do me a favor—don't remind me. That was two whole months ago, and I'm feeling fine now."
Suddenly, all four men looked over at the one member of the team who hadn't said anything, which could only mean the world had stopped spinning. "Yes?" he asked innocently.
"Carter, you 'aven't spoken a word since Kinch got that message. Is everything all right?" Newkirk asked, trying his best to hide the worry in his voice. A silent Carter was hardly ever the sign of a healthy Carter.
"Well, I was just thinking about what else she's done to us. Boy, can you believe she turned us into—"
However, Carter was quickly made quiet by Newkirk clamping his hand over his friend's mouth. "Ssh! You know that everybody isn't into the supernatural. We don't want to scare the readers away before they've even seen the poem."
"Newkirk's right, you know," Hogan said in agreement. So with that, and after Newkirk removed his hand from his friend's mouth, they read on…
"It's A Disease"
Expert Pickpocket and Safecracker
First One to Question Plans
Magician and Circus Performer
"Lack of Practice"
"Hey, it's about you!" Carter said happily. "See, I told you that even though she likes beating you up sometimes, that you're her favorite character."
"Favorite? She couldn't 'ave thought of a two word phrase other than 'Criminal Activities?'"
"Maybe she isn't referring to your past, mon ami. After all, your talents are très useful. Look—she wrote down 'Expert Pickpocket and Safecracker.'"
"Yeah, but she also wrote down me saying 'It's A Disease' from that 'Nights in Shining Armor' episode," Newkirk replied in a semi-pout.
"Well, you did say it. And you were cheating that time," Hogan flatly pointed out.
"I suppose I was," he replied somewhat sheepishly. "But still—why did she 'ave to bring up that Gretel incident? It's like she thinks I 'aven't learned me lesson about not bringing strange birds into the tunnels."
"But that was a very memorable episode, for all of us. Besides, if anything it should remind you not to bring strange girls into the tunnels," Hogan replied, staring at Newkirk with a slightly stern expression registering on his face.
"But boy, I don't understand this poem. It doesn't look like any that London has ever sent to us," Carter spoke up, studying the poem in a quizzical manner.
"That's because it's a diamond poem. The rules are that the first line is supposed to be one word, and that each line has one additional word until the poet reaches the fourth line. Then, the poem gets shorter. Lines #1 and #7 are supposed to be a noun. Lines #2 and #6 are supposed to be two adjectives, Lines #3 and #5 are supposed to be three '-ing' words, and finally Line #4 is supposed to be four words about the subject," Kinch said, breaking down the small poem.
"But this poem isn't like that at all! It 'as nine lines, and none of the rules were followed. Blimey, you'd think that if she's going to write about me, she would at least get the rules right."
"London did say she was in class at the time, so maybe she temporarily forgot the rules," Hogan commented.
"I think it's a very good poem, Pierre. All it needs is some music, and it would make a wonderful song."
"I agree with LeBeau," both sergeants said in unison.
"Well, she did write about me first," Newkirk proudly triumphed. "And she did talk about an 'appier part of me past. I wonder what else she's come up with?"
"I have to admit that I'm wondering the same thing. But for now, you better keep your poem where the Krauts can't see it. We don't need Klink or Schultz reading that line about us making plans, or your talents being used."
With that, Newkirk folded his small treasure into his RAF jacket, while the rest of the men could only wonder what would come through the radio next.