Melancholia extremis

RANGE: Three a.m. Rainy Sundays. Strange, cheap hotels. Near-empty saloons. (If you find yourself sitting in the near-empty saloon of a cheap hotel at three a.m. on a rainy Sunday, he’s got you for certain.) The Leprachaunman’s correct mailing address is Bleak House, Lonely Street, Slough of Despond, Valley of Despair, Bluesville, State of Depression 00013.
HABITS: It is customary to attribute your typical Irish blatherskite’s “gift of gab” to his having kissed the Blarney Stone. Like others of his kith and kin, he is invisible to all but the particular mortal he has singled out for his attentions. He has a soothing, sympathetic way about him. Faith, but he feels nearly as sorry for yourself as you do! And isn’t it but he appreciates what a special class of individual you are: full of promise and potential, shamefully misunderstood, hard done by, but bearing up bravely. Here, have another of those. Make it a double. Sure, he’s just the company that misery loves! And what, you may well ask, does the Leprachaunman do with the dull, gray, soggy, tattered little souls he collects from his victims? Well, in the old days, he’d wad them together, into something that looked like a ball of used Kleenex, and sell them for screenplays or one act plays. Today he peddles them, one by one, as country and western hits.
HISTORY: There’s nary a need of a professional genealogist to tell us that he emerged, nodding thoughtfully and keening softly, from the soggy Celtic Twilight. He’s as Irish as treason and learned his soul-stealing craft in the land where many possess the power to transform both whiskey and beer into whine. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Eugene O’Neill are a pair of his notable victims, but there’s scarcely a Jesuit high school in the New World as hasn’t graduated a poet or two into his clutches.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: He can be found backstage at the closing night of any play, oozing out of an envelope in the wake of a rejection slip, standing a round in the gin mill nearest the unemployment insurance office, offering his smarmy, unctuous condolences: “I’m sorry for yer trouble. . . .”


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