THE VERB ‘TO CLAUDE’
Claude has always felt that the name Claude was the most pompous and useless name ever. His mother chose it because she loved France, or, as she would say, she adored it, though she’d never been there and neither had he. His mother had used the French pronunciation, somewhere between “cloud” and “clod”. His father thought that was ridiculous. To his father, he was always “clod”.
When Claude was in high school, one of his friends teased him that Claude was actually a verb and to Claude meant to leave unexpectedly. Claude had a tendency to wander out of parties without telling anyone. More than a tendency. More like a rule. Only twice had Claude left and never returned. Two disappearances. Perhaps these were rehearsals for what would come next: his final and permanent disappearance.
The first disappearance was when he was sixteen and exited his family, who sighed audibly with relief. The second disappearance, from small city in the Midwest of the United States had occurred just a few months previous.
As you might expect, Claude is one about whom the neighbors will say, he kept to himself. Even by the standards of the very ordinary he ranked as uncommonly lusterless. Then again, nowadays the neighbors are so busy examining their devices that it might well be possible to exit, from a fourth storey window, on a metallic colored winged horse, without anyone noticing. Unless of course they happened to record it accidentally on their camera phone, out the window in the background of a dinner party, in which case someone might notice it later, after the video has been uploaded to Facebook.