Michael Doyle was at ease with the world, modestly proud of the success of his plans A, B and C. If only he could tell his dad. The old man would be proud of him. He sat in the dining-hall lingering over his rice pudding. His sidekicks had left already. He stayed on to think about his next move. Just how to close the trap he had placed around Jenkins. The thought gave him great pleasure.
Suddenly he realized he was not alone. Seated in a row across the table were the strangest assortment of people - Penny Lewis, Trisha Yates, Cathy Hargreaves - what next? - Tucker Jenkins, Benny Green, Alan Humphries. They watched him carefully as he raised his spoon.
'Enjoying your pudding, Michael?' asked Trisha.
He stared at her.
'Is it sweet enough?'
'Yes, thank you.'
'Are you sure?' She reached over to the table behind her and suddenly put a big bowl in front of him. Taking a spoon she quickly spread two big spoonfuls of brown crystals over his pudding.
'Hey, get off!' said Doyle.
'Eat it up, Michael. It's only brown sugar. I thought you had a sweet tooth.'
'How do I know it's brown sugar?'
'What else could it be?' asked Penny. 'Laxative powder mixed with brown sugar, perhaps?'
'No,' said Tucker. Couldn't be. I mean, who'd play a rotten trick like that?'
'That's right, Michael, dear,' said Trisha. 'Eat up your pud like a good little boy.'
'Tell you what,' said Cathy. 'Let's fetch Matron. She may be worried. This sudden loss of appetite.'
Doyle stood up, but Tucker leaned over and pushed him down.