Carl the Speedy Eskimo
by Kate LaDew
Carl the Speedy Eskimo
Ellinger worked at a newspaper. He was currently sitting at his desk in the corner of the office writing a poem. He sometimes did. â€œWhat rhymes with minute?â€ he asked Jeff.
Jeff thought. â€œIn it. Spin it. Shin—Shin it.â€
â€œInuit. Inuit,â€ Jeff said it again. â€œInuit.â€
â€œNot really, though.â€
â€œClose enough.â€ Jeff looked at him. â€œYou could write about Inuits. Fast, I suppose. If you need to use minute. Fast Inuits. One.â€
â€œOne fast Inuit. You could write about one fast Inuit. Named Carl.â€
â€œWhy is his name Carl?â€
â€œWhy not? There must be someone named Carl.â€
â€œHm,â€ Ellinger said, looking down at his poem.
â€œCarl the speedy Eskimo.â€
â€œCall it Carl the speedy Eskimo.â€
â€œFor my poem?â€
â€œPoem? I thought it was for the paper.â€
â€œWhy would I need to rhyme for the paper?â€
Jeff shrugged. â€œIt did seem curious.â€
â€œHm,â€ Ellinger said but decided to abandon his poem. It was making him tired.
They sat in silence for a few moments. â€œI wonder if there really is a Carl the Speedy Eskimo,â€ Jeff wondered a little dreamily.
â€œI could ask,â€ Ellinger said. So he told the paper he was writing a very important story and went to Alaska because heâ€™d never heard about Eskimos living anywhere else.
â€œWhere are they?â€ Ellinger asked a man standing around.
â€œAll over,â€ he answered, kicking a cloud of snow with his foot as emphasis.
â€œSure,â€ Ellinger said. It was probably true. He decided the best way to find who he was looking for was to yell out the name Carl and see if anybody answered. No one did for awhile.
â€œWhy are you yelling?â€ Someone asked. It might have been an Eskimo.
â€œAre you an Eskimo?â€
â€œYeah.â€ It was.
â€œAre you named Carl?â€
This was making him tired. Ellinger thought about abandoning the whole idea but he was already in Alaska and didnâ€™t have anything better to do. â€œWell, do you know anyone named Carl?â€
â€œTake me to him.â€
The Eskimo did. He pointed at a man and said, â€œThere he is.â€
â€œAre you Carl?â€
â€œYes,â€ Carl said.
â€œAnd youâ€™re an Eskimo.â€
â€œYouâ€™re not an Eskimo?â€ Carl shook his head and Ellinger looked at the only Eskimo in the room. â€œHeâ€™s not an Eskimo,â€ Ellinger said.
â€œYou didnâ€™t say he had to be.â€
Ellinger supposed he hadnâ€™t and left. He came back a minute later. â€œDo you know any Eskimos named Carl?â€ He asked the Eskimo and Carl.
â€œNo,â€ Carl said.
â€œYes,â€ the Eskimo said.
Ellinger stopped the Eskimo before they rang the supposedly Eskimo Carlâ€™s door. â€œIs he really an Eskimo?â€
â€œOkay,â€ Ellinger said.
A man opened the door. The Eskimo pointed at him. â€œThere he is.â€ He turned around and began walking away.
â€œWhere are you going?â€ Ellinger said.
â€œI canâ€™t just point at people all day,â€ the Eskimo said and was gone.
Ellinger looked at the man. The man invited him in and they sat across from each other in what might have been moose covered armchairs. Ellinger didnâ€™t ask. He did ask, â€œWhatâ€™s your name?â€
â€œDoes anyone call you Carl?â€
â€œNot if they want me to answer.â€
â€œI see,â€ Ellinger looked down.
â€œYou seem tired.â€
â€œI am. More Eskimos have let me down today than ever before.â€
â€œI prefer Inuit.â€
â€œSo you are an Eskimo?â€
â€œAnd are you fast?â€
â€œCompared to what?â€
â€œHas anyone ever called you â€˜Carl the speedy Eskimo?â€™ â€
Ellinger thought a moment. â€œHave they ever called you â€˜Carlton the fast Inuit?â€™ â€
Ellinger was at a loss and tried to think of something to say. â€œYou sure do have a lot of clothes on,â€ Ellinger said.
â€œWell, itâ€™s cold.â€
â€œSure,â€ Ellinger agreed. It was true. He decided to be honest. â€œI was just trying to write a poem when all this happened.â€
â€œYou know, Iâ€™m naked under all these clothes,â€ Carlton said with a wink.
Ellinger supposed that was true. â€œBut I donâ€™t want to write a poem about it.â€
â€œNobody ever does,â€ Carlton said. He sighed.
Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art.