From the Stool, Lily wonders why the old grade-school-party division of boys and girls still happens at adult parties. She suspects that it must be part of our genetic code, buried deep in our brains "along with breathing air or walking on legs." I'm no anthropologist, but...bullshit. It's called social conditioning, Lily.
In the conference room, the model is sitting stark and alone in the middle of a huge table. No pressure or anything, but Miles wants to know if Rick's thought about how he's going to fill the space. "There's no need to be specific with these people as long as you sound specific," he advises Rick. Rick is a little surprised; he thought this was just a chance for the clients to meet him. Miles assures Rick it's a chance for them to get to know him, and for him to show them that he can understand and interpret what they want. "You make this sound like less than a done deal," Rick notes. "The more monumental the deal, the more fragile the negotiations," Miles says. Rick complains that this is sounding like a presentation, which he certainly isn't prepared for. Miles asks if he's apprehensive. "What's the thing just below apprehension?" Rick asks. "Lesser apprehension," Miles jokes. My computer almost crashed when I typed that, by the way. Miles says a little apprehension is good; it'll keep Rick sharp. Rick asks about the clients, and Miles explains for our benefit that they are a "three-headed beast." We get a shot of each of the three "heads" as he describes them in turn. Head #1 is a fiftyish man named Warren Wilder, who founded the company and managed to acquire others through a business plan "somewhere between manifest destiny and Mein Kampf." Head #2 is Todd Munro, "the man who's prepared Atlantor for the third millennium." Miles points out Todd Munro's date, a swimsuit model who posed nude for a baby shampoo commercial when she was five. It was done by Miles's company. "I'm sure it's significant," Miles says, his voice carrying surprisingly well from the center of the universe, "I just haven't figured out how." Finally, he points out Head #3, Cybil Testimonti, "a warm, maternal spirit who eats Harvard MBAs for breakfast." She's a short, fortyish, pregnant woman. Miles notes that it's her third child and, dropping his voice, adds, "And no one has seen her husband." Maybe she's like a praying mantis and eats her mates along with those MBAs. Sexist, much? Amazingly, Rick buys into the whole thing, gulping noticeably at Miles's little horror story. Miles notices that Rick is looking "a little clenched." In an odd attempt at reassurance, Miles points out that Rick isn't prepared for this -- it's "the deep end of the pool, deeper than [Rick] ever imagined." Rick says he can't tell if Miles is enjoying this. Miles asks Rick to clarify. "My discomfort," Rick says. "Not as such," Miles says, "but I do like the biochemical soup it produces." Because it's the perfect dissolving agent for those pesky international spies who are always trying to get their hands on his launch codes. Miles is kind enough to place the evening's success or failure squarely on Rick's shoulders before he walks away.