claudia, writing

“Mom. What do you think is a better name — Nicholas or Nico?”

“I dunno, am I naming a person or a cat?”

Claudia gestures grandly at her manuscript — which is now twenty-seven pages of longhand that no one is allowed to see, but which she reads out loud to Béla at night. “Right. Cats. It’s about cats. I’m writing a book about cats. All the names are for cats.”

“Well, it could be, I don’t know.”

“It’s not a name for a cat. It’s for a succubus.”

“Oh. Well, then. Nico.”

“Good. ‘Cause I’ve already got ‘Nico’ written all throughout this thing. And a succubus is –”

“I know what a succubus is.”

“You do?”

YES. And I know what an incubus is.”

YOU DO? HOW?”

“By being… smart. And… well-read. And –”

“What’s a better name? Ven, or Venstrom?”

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