Alright, I've decided I'm gonna go ahead and run a character, too. Meet Mal.
Name: Malcolm Wade
Orientation: Hetero, mildly bi-curious
Appearance: 5'11", 185lbs. Straight, dark brown hair kept shaggy and parted to the left. A head slightly too large for his body, and ears slightly too large for his head. 'Sharp' is the word that comes to mind when talking about Malcolm's facial features; when he was a teenager, his old man used to joke that if an eagle ever fucked a razor blade, the hatchling would have Malcolm's face. Hazel-brown eyes watch the worlds from gaunt, sunken sockets over thick, pronounced cheekbones, and slightly yellowed, crookedly spaced teeth hide behind a friendly but guarded smile. Malcolm is a little too meaty to be called lanky, and too thin to be called solid; even his clothes usually don't know how to settle on him properly, often either hanging from or clincing to his frame, and always in the wrong places.
Still, even with all that going against him, Malcolm's not unattracti-...well, he's got sort of a...he has his own...alright, so most days he's not much to look at. He cleans up nice though, and as his ex-wife could attest, there's something supremely sexy about him when he gets a certain 'never-say-die' look in his eye.
Personality: It is, in Malcolm's view, a plain and simple fact of the universe that if something can possibly go wrong, it will almost certainly go wrong. If he himself is involved, the universe will actually break its own rules to ensure that it will go wrong. In light of this, Malcolm is one of the most calm, resigned people you will ever meet. As he puts it, there's something inherently serene about knowing that no matter what happens, it'll get worse in a minute. Of course, it's a pretty depressing serenity, but sometimes you just take what you can get. He tends to comfort himself with the thought that as long as he's the one getting hammered, maybe the innocent people around him aren't.
Bio: Eh, not much to tell, really. Born poor in Baton Rouge, LA, grew up the same way, parents were both alcoholic assholes when they noticed they even had a kid. School was sort of a get-away from a rotten home life, and through both grade- and high school his friends were usually the only things standing between him and a final check-out. After high school, though, he and his friends went their separate ways: they to college, he to...whatever. He spent the early part of his twenties working on river barges. Nine months away from home at a stretch, but the pay was good.
When he was 24, he met and married one of the local no-good girls, Marie LaSalle. The marriage lasted less than a year, but it was just long enough to produce Malcolm's first genuine reason to live: Coraline LaSalle-Wade, his one and only daughter. The couple divorced not long after Cora was born, but Malcolm has made it a point to keep in touch as his little angel's grown up. He's on better than average terms with Marie -- well, considering they're divorced, anyway -- but everytime he considers rekindling that old spark, he remembers what broke them up in the first place: namely, that she's crazier than a gator in snakeskin boots.
Malcolm didn't actually develop his powers until shortly after his 26th birthday, but when they came, they were a real doozy. He was driving home from a bar late one night and stopped at an off-road gas station to fill up. Having had a couple too many before closing time, Mal didn't really consider the wisdom of putting out his cigarette before unscrewing the gas cap and inserting the nozzle. After that, everything went black; he woke up in the hospital two days later with Marie standing over him.
Apparently, a cinder from his cigarette caught a fume from the gas nozzle and in a fluke accident, the whole station exploded around him. His car was completely gutted, charred inside and out. The station attendant was fortunately in the rest room out behind the station when the underground fuel tanks exploded; when the emergency responders questioned him afterward, he said he came out and saw Wade just standing like a statue in the center of a raging inferno, like he didn't have a care in the world. Everyone who heard the story, from the firemen and EMTs who arrived on the scene to the doctors and nurses in the hospital to Marie and her nosy, bible-thumping mother agreed: Malcolm Wade was protected by a miracle that night.
Malcolm whole-heartedly disagreed, and if any of them could have seen what he saw when he woke up, they would have, too. Marie wasn't the only woman standing over his bedside. On the opposite side of the bed from her, Mal saw the first of many disturbing things. A woman, strangely alluring, long blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes, with a huge, gaping hole where her chest should have been, stood smiling down at him eagerly. From the moment he opened his eyes, she started talking. And she has literally not shut up since. To this day Malcolm has no idea who -- or what -- she is, or where she came from, or why she's hanging around him. She's never given him a name (at least, he's never caught in amidst her usual chatter), so he just calls her Cathy. She's friendly, at least, and doesn't seem to wish him harm.
After his 'psychic awakening,' as he calls it, Mal gave up working the rivers and went into business as a private investigator, naturally specializing in cases with unusually high levels of weird shit. The pay's not as good as his old job, but it just feels right to try using his gifts to help those who fall through the cracks in the system. Cathy's far from the best assistant a man could ask for, but the two of them have closed some pretty heavy cases together. He supposes it could be worse. Which means that, eventually, it probably will be.
Minor Ability: Automatic sketching
Despite being born with two left thumbs and never being able to draw anything more artistic than a stick figure, when Mal focuses on a person or object he can sketch a small picture of someone, something, or somewhere important relative to his target.
Moderate Ability: Chatty Cathy
You'd think it would get annoying, being talked to constantly, day in, day out, for years. And you'd be exactly right. But Cathy, Malcolm's spirit (guide? companion?), never shuts up. Ever. Fortunately, Mal can put her to use by sending her to investigate places or objects while he's otherwise indisposed. Malcolm can't actually see other ghosts himself, but Cathy acts as his go-between. This may explain why most ghosts really don't like communicating with him.
Moderate Ability: Devil's Luck
In Malcolm's opinion, it's only fair that the horrendous luck that follows him like a rabid cat should occasionally work to his advantage. It's the only reason he can think of to explain why he's survived as long as he has, especially with some of the cases he's taken and scrapes he's been in. The first attack of any opponent is rendered null, and is often somehow reflected back at the attacker. Not that Mal ever quite makes out unscathed...
-Deck of Cursed Tarot Cards
-A Small Stack of Sealed and Unsealed Envelopes Covered with Arcane Symbols
Malcolm tries, he really does, to look for rational explanations behind...well, everything. But more often than not, they slip through his fingers like a greased up salamander. So, he's willing to settle. He doesn't put much stock in religion, but sometimes the priests really do get it right. Especially where exorcisms are concerned. He's learned a lot of interesting stuff in the three years he's been doing this, but the occult-types usually just have too many rules for him to bother with.
Likes: Good jazz or blues, good bourbon, Cathy, a nice steak sandwich, the occasional 'extra-grateful' client, and visiting his daughter
Dislikes: Vengeful poltergeists, Cathy, assholes with an entitlement complex, Cathy, and seeing innocent people get caught up in his bad luck
Limits: Scat, torture, or being eaten / otherwise horribly murdered (Come on, Mal can't get killed. Didn't you read? He's got a little girl to take care of!)