"No," he said curtly.
She asked him another question.
She inquired a final time.
"Not at all."
"Why are you being so brusque," she challenged him indignantly.
"Not brusque at all. Succinct, perhaps even compendious, I like to say," he said in riposte.
"Do you find me officious," she asked pensively.
They had gone here many times before and he was utterly blasé about the whole line of questioning. He had become inured to this pablum and cynical attempts at empathy.
"No, I'm just a misanthrope unwilling to indulge your crotchets," he retorted sardonically.