The waiter went around the table, each couple paid their part of the bill as was customary in the country where they live. It had been a boisterous night, the conversations about who had what were blurred with alcohol-soaked jabs and jibes. The waiter went around adding up each person’s meals and drinks, Peter and Brenda were last; we just pay the remainder then, easy!

Alex and Jemima drove home even though Alex was well over the alcohol limit for driving. Alex started the conversation Did you see what Peter did with the bill? Jemima had no idea, Alex continued after everyone paid their part, including tips, Peter paid the rest, he used all our tips to cover their half of their bill. Jemima didn’t understand, they were last to pay, so they paid what was left. Alex repeated, but everyone else paid extra, what was left was less than what Peter and Brenda owed. Jemima said, but didn’t Peter give a tip too?

Alex tried put it another way. Our bill was 56 euros for both of us, we paid 60 with the tip, their bill was 16 euros and they paid 20. How can their bill be 16 euros for 2 people? Jemima wondered about what they had ordered, maybe Brenda had a salad? Alex said salads are marginally cheaper than steak in a restaurant, you can’t get two for 16 euros. Jemima said well maybe the waiter made a mistake, it doesn’t harm anyone. The main thing is that we paid our bill, and did you get the receipt? Alex had the receipt, he would submit it as a working dinner and have the entire amount refunded to him even though he only paid part of it.

Yes we paid our bill, and we made a contribution toward Peter and Brenda’s bill. Why can’t you see that Peter has deducted everyone’s tips from his bill, the waiter only got the 4 euro tip that Peter left. Jemima replied no, I’m sure that everyone gave a tip, it wasn’t just us. It was hopeless, Alex wondered if he was too drunk to explain this, maybe he was the one who got it wrong. Jemima asked him if he thought they should add Peter and Brenda to their summer barbecue list, they seem nice.

Alex parked the car in front of the house, yes why not invite them, why not eh? Fancy a nightcap?

They went inside.

04 August 2021