One of the most imaginative stories I have ever read is entitled Traps – A Still Possible Story by Friedrich Dürenmatt. The car of a travelling salesman breaks down, and he ends up having to spend the night in a small rural town, where all hotels are booked because of an agricultural fair. Someone directs him to the house of a retired judge, who sometimes, if he likes them, lets strangers sleep at his house. The pensioner takes a look at the salesman and invites him to stay at his house, on condition that he remain for dinner and that he take part in a role-playing game.
That night, a mock trial takes place over a cordon bleu dinner. The salesman is tricked into revealing an episode in his past, in which he did not behave ethically, and which may have contributed to the death of his employer. The prosecution, a retired lawyer, colleague of the host, seizes on this and pins the crime on the salesman, who becomes the unwitting defendant of a hypothetical murder charge. But the evening takes an ominous turn and what was supposed to be just a game becomes a tragedy.
Dürrenmatt’s skill lies in telling a tale, where, although we are seduced by the logic of the prosecution and the elegance of their case, ultimately, we empathise with the defendant. We realize he's a victim of his own superficiality. His only ‘crime’ is to have sought pleasure without thinking about the consequences. But at this dinner he is made to stand trial for it. And this throws an entirely different perspective on the whole affair, blowing it up out of all proportions, forcing him to reevaluate his entire life and its worth. And this will prove deadly.