Not the type of invite I would have conjured in my imagination, but it was an invite nonetheless. The promise was that there would be interesting people to meet.
While this promise tends to meet a raised eyebrow of suspicion, the good doctor extending the invite was a peculiar man himself. He probed with questions and comments that felt like smacks from a soft-faced hammer. Each one delivered with force, but tempered with a congeniality that obscured whether malice or a lack of social graces was behind the strike.
And there it was, both in the setup and the payoff in Neil Gaiman’s short story, “The Monarch of the Glen”.