The Convocation Perfume Oil
A small sign in the hotel lobby announced that the Washington Room was taken that night by a private function, although there was no information as to what kind of function this might be. Truthfully, if you were to look at the inhabitants of the Washington Room that night, you would have no clearer idea of what was happening, although a rapid glance would tell you that there were no women in there. They were all men, that much was clear, and they sat at round dinner tables, and they were finishing their dessert.
There were about a hundred of them, all in sober black suits, but the suits were all they had in common. They had white hair or dark hair or fair hair or red hair or no hair at all. They had friendly faces or unfriendly, helpful or sullen, open or secretive, brutish or sensitive. The majority of them were pink-skinned, but there were black-skinned men and brown-skinned. They were European, African, Indian, Chinese, South American, Filipino, American. They all spoke English when they talked to each other, or to the waiters, but the accents were as diverse as the gentlemen. They came from all across Europe and from all over the world.
A macabre mélange of swanky men’s colognes.