The young man's drink shot out of his mouth, dirtying the bus' floor and a seat opposite.
"There's something wrong with this drink!"
The others looked at him weirdly for a moment before bursting into laughter.
"Wrong with the drink? You've been drink it for five minutes, but now there's something wrong with it?"
"Did you drink too much in one go and burn your tongue?"
"Aw," mocked one friend in a babying voice, "did little Terry burn his tongue?"
"No, there really is…" Terry went to defend himself, but he knew it would be futile. His friend's had begun joking, and even if he did reason with them, it would not end the mocking.
'But what happened to my drink? It was fine just a moment ago…'
As revenge for the young man's rude comment, Jade had pulled a petty prank on him.
When she went into the kitchen she had placed a small pouch of salt at the bottom of his cup. The pouch was made of an edible, soluble film. Normally, it was used when goods were being delivered, but they had kept a few. Maybe it was in preparation of such an occasion, maybe it was just coincidence.
The pouch did not break or dissolve for around five minutes, so when the young man took a sip of his drink, everything had been fine. It was only later that he noticed.
Jade had taken a gamble, hoping that the young man would be gone within those five minutes. Fortunately, the gamble paid off.
'He he he, serves him right!' Jade thought to herself. 'Well, in fairness, I did not charge them for that drink. Still slightly immoral, I know, but I'm allowed a little pettiness occasionally, right?
'Besides, they didn't even point out that I charged them one drink less, so they were also in the wrong… in a way.
'Hmm… maybe they won't know it was me. He could have put salt in his coffee instead of sugar…'
As jade tried to convince herself that what she had done was not a complete breach of trust and potentially turning away future customers, Bernie sheepishly stuck his head out of the kitchen.
"Um… Jade? I think I found why the books weren't right… at least part of the reason."
"Oh?" Jade followed Bernie into the kitchen, and what he showed her made her speechless.
"I… You… Why would…" In the end, she could only laugh at the situation, to which Bernie could to even respond—he was simply too embarrassed!
On the receipt skewer in the kitchen, where completed order receipts would be placed, under a small wad of receipts was a stack of notes and till receipts.
"I… I must have mistaken them when I was helping Harriet out the other day… This should account for most of the difference."
After recovering from her laughter, Jade counted the notes up. "Hmm… this accounts for much of the difference, but there's still some missing. Thanks Bern, I'll keep looking for the rest. I probably put it somewhere 'safe' and forgot all about it!"