Their preferred habitat has been well established by experts. Harlequins show a predilection for seedy hotels with Turkish toilets on the stairs. They have a reputation, however, for being fastidiously clean.
Everything upsets them, but they never complain. Remember? They are mute.
For scientists they make a baffling case. Notoriously high-strung, it is generally held that they never go to sleep. The exact nature of their diet is not clear, but that they have lightning metabolisms cannot be doubted. Their sex lives, too, are shrouded in mystery. Harlequins are diffident lovers and little is known of their habits.
They cannot bear hot weather, and during the summer months they shed their chequered skins. They do not feel the cold. They appear on wet days when the sun comes out. Like rainbows. They are heartbroken and gay.
In their white clay masks their teeth are yellow. They look unwell. The corners of their eyes are red like strawberry pips. Older harlequins have hairy earholes, often dusted with make up. But all of them, old and young alike, are notably slender, with flawless shoulders and thighs. They have beautiful feet.
Their agility is a marvel to behold, but do not take them for street artists! They are not after money and won't perform tricks. Cartwheels, handstands and the like are just their way of working off steam, and some might juggle for something to do. It is best not to applaud them. Applause disturbs their concentration and makes them self-conscious.
Mostly they stand apart, in small groups, looking out.