• Mel was whooped as a kid; gangly and not able to defend himself too easily. His brother Harvey stood up for him, but Harvey couldn’t always be there. The times he wasn’t, Mel got his clock cleaned.
• Early on, Mel discovered something he was good at: music. All kinds, from hearing and remembering to reading and playing, musical expression just called out to him.
• Mel used his musical ability to “fight” back. He understood from a very young age about what true power was; a bully might be able to whoop his ass, but with his talent he could get girls, make adults take note of him, open doors that the bullies, even perhaps the athletes, would have closed. Music was a way not only to express, but to unlock potential.
• Different genres of music unlocked different areas of opportunity. It could make people cry, rage, or overflow with joy. The effect was powerful, and the idea of being able to control such a thing, work it as an artist, helped build Mel’s confidence.
• As he grew, his pendulum swung the other way. Instead of a nerdy kid always in need of defending and support by his brother, he was standing on his own two feet. Every now and then the two clashed as brothers might, but deep inside Mel never forgot the was Harvey had taken care of him.
• As he grew into an adult, his talent and path emphasized just as much bad as good in him. With confidence and social ease came arrogance and lechery. He could now get women easily, and hurt more than a few people making up for the earlier parts of his life, where he perceived himself as unattractive. This would unravel his life, as an adult. His outward appearance had hanged, he now wore stylish clothes, had good posture, and affected a refined, alluring image.
• He rode his talent far. Julliard, The Paris Conservatory. An appointment first to the Montreal Symphony and then to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he cut most ties with his past and lived the life of the artist-playboy, indulging as deeply as he could.
• He met and married a genuinely good woman, Antoinette Hulliard, also a first chair with the CSO and Quebecois who happened to follow Mel to Chicago. They were fellow hedonists, and had a daughter, though Nette settled down after having their daughter, Mel just got more wild. The marriage had always been playfully open and honest, but after the birth of his daughter he began taking more things in life for granted.
• He loved his daughter Faith dearly, as well as Nette, but his lust continued to get the better part of him, and he was seeing multiple women behind Nette’s back. He was seeing a new woman named Sasha, a dark, sensuous woman whom he knew probably hid something awful or malignant, but that drew him all the more. he knew very little about her, but he was soon enthralled, to the exclusion of his family responsibilities. Nette knew something was wrong, but hoped Mel would “come back” to her. They were strangers in the same household.
• One night after a masterful performance, he was supposed to be with Nette and Faith but was lured away by Sasha for an evening of debauchery. When he finally tore himself away, he returned to their opulent lakefront condo to find two men had broken in and killed his wife and child. Never having been violent or physically very capable, something snapped inside of Mel at the moment of discovery. He took an old relic sword he’d received as a gift from it’s place on the wall, and dispatched both men in a crescendo of blood and screams. He immediately fell catatonic.
• Neighbors heard the fracas, called 911, and were forever scarred by what they saw in the condo. So were a few of the cops.
• During a 3 week coma, Harvey came to visit as often as he could, not really having spoken to his brother for years, even though they’d both lived in Chicago for some time now.
• After awaking and spending 3 months in psychiatric care, Mel was released into a outpatient program. Charges had not been filed, either in the murder of his family ( the perpetrators were dead, no ID of the bodies of the attackers could be made ) or for his attack of them, reasoned by the DA to be the rage any father and husband would experience. Mel’s position with the CSO and the State’s Attorney having season tickets might have influenced this decision a bit. After 3 months, Mel was released into the care of his brother Harvey.
• The CSO chair was withdrawn, not because of the traumatic events or his stay in the psychiatric facility, but because of his behavior when he got back. Mel couldn’t seem to make sense of simple, real-world issues. He didn’t keep to a schedule, was confusingly rude or polite, and in truth was if not the cause then present during several very odd happenings. The CSO valued his talent and his past with them, but when Mel walked away, the organization did not follow, or reach out.
• Mel spent another 6 months effectively as a homeless man, playing street music and disappearing for days at a time. He’d wander back to his brother’s place now and then for meals or to sleep. He brought odd things back with him, though more than once also brought large sums of cash, bits of jewelry, or what not. Mel could not or would not explain where he got them, and seemed perpetually distracted.
• In time Mel came to know Father Colerelli, and became an occasional parishioner and occasional overnight gust in the basement of the church. One notable day had him sleeping til 2pm in ruffled, dirty clothes and then stepping in for an absent organist for an important wedding at the church. With no prep he delivered the most moving, emotionally powerful music many of the guests had ever heard, where many of the guests later recalled they’d never been so affected by music, or been to a more amazing wedding because of it.
• While his lusty side is not exactly under control, Mel is now much better at tempering his actions, and expresses charity whenever he can, from donating change to homeless, to playing for free at occasions where his music might be appreciated. He has parlayed this into meals, a place to stay, or more on many occasions.
• The patrons at Nevin’s Pub were attacked, while Mel and Harvey were there. A month later, Fr. Colerelli invited Mel to join a group of people meeting in the church’s basement.