Someone just asked me to name my favorite character in Seeking the Center. This is tough. I love all my characters. But, while I reserve the right to change my mind without notice, at this moment I'd have to say that Claude (a.k.a Deuce) is my favorite. Why? Well, what's not to like?

As Achille says, "he's big, he's strong, he's--". And then the poor guy starts coughing and can't finish his sentence. But you can fill in the blank.

As Agnes notes, "Wow."

And as far as Owen is concerned, "even though he liked old Deuce, and respected him, it pained him to remember the Wolves' dressing room, and being up close and personal with the big guy and his goddamn perfect muscles and his huge, fighter's hands and his golden skin and all the rest of it."

But, beyond the admirable physical specimen that he is, what I love most about Claude is his courageous, straight-ahead nature. He doesn't let concerns about consequences stop him from doing what he needs to do. He's not afraid to drop the gloves, but he doesn't hesitate to offer his hand to a person in need, either. He's not too good to yank your chain when the occasion calls for it, but he's not above laughing at himself, either.

Above all, he doesn't blame other people for his problems. And while he's a player in what he thinks of as "this white man's game," he is his own person. In his own quiet but deliberate way, he makes things happen. (Except on the one occasion when he needs a little push. But you'll have to read about that for yourself.)

And that's why I love Claude.