‘Why don’t you ask me what I know if that’s that important?’ He dared her. ‘Go on, ask me.’

‘Maybe I will.’

‘Why not now?’

‘Because…’ She grinned in defeat. ‘Because I don’t want to know.’ Her hand went to her lap. Black Pat made his ear tall in protest.

Esther had a question. ‘So wait, if neither of us finds it funny, why do you make jokes?’

His eyebrow buds hitched, the connoisseur. ‘Because we need the laughs.’

[Rebecca Hunt Mr Chartwell]