There was silence for a few moments; the magistrate indicated a box of cigarettes on his desk.
"Cigarette, Superintendent? Sergeant?"
"No thank you, sir," said Carlton, "don't touch them now."
"Nor me, thank you sir," added the sergeant. The magistrate smiled.
"I don't either", he admitted, "but I'm so old-fashioned I keep them there as a social ritual. Hardly anyone touches them these days. It's one of the courtesies I suppose, which becomes ingrained and takes a bit of getting rid of. Matter of fact, I keep these as substitutes." He handed round a tin of cream toffee.
"Don't mind if I do sir," said the Superintendent, "thank you."
He unwrapped the sweet carefully and dropped the paper adroitly into the magistrate's wastepaper basket.
"Yes, I will to sir, thank you," said Frank Baker. He flicked the toffee paper at the basket and missed.
"I see you'll have to have a course of shooting lessons at the gun club," commented Carlton.
"Hmm, looks as if I need 'em, " agreed the sergeant ruefully, as he crossed the room to retrieve the errant paper.
Zero Minus X
Writing as Karl Zeigfried