USDA - LUNCH
Eli watches Stacie make her creepy way through the restaurant, narrating her obvious actions as she stops at every table, giggling in that batshit Sedaris way, pretending not to see him until she gets there. Not the right mindset, but it leads to humor.
Stacie: "There you are! I was rushing over here, rehearsing my apology. Can I just say I am sooooo sorrrrrrry?"
Eli: Slides her an appetizer plate: Cheese and Fruit. Nice.
Stacie, impressed: "You are such a kick, Eli! Well, I hope this means you forgive me!"
Eli: "Honestly I blame myself for not seeing your treachery coming. We're all good."
Stacie: "I just got that Fruit job yesterday! I only lied a little bit. Smile, Eli, so I know you're okay!"
Eli: (Death's head rictus.)
Stacie: "I'm not gonna let you go! You're too cute to let go!"
Eli, knives out: "No, you're the cute one. Did anyone ever tell you, you have a prerecorded voice? One of those credit card voices that tells you your call will be answered in the order received?"
Stacie, invisibly stung: "Gotta borrow that one. So annnnnnyway, you said something about maybe working together?"
Eli: "Yes, like on this appetizer plate. The Dairy Guild and the Fruit Association are natural allies, with a mutual enemy."
Stacie, snarling: "Vegetables."
Eli: "You lost real estate. Vegetables gained real estate at your expense."
Stacie: "That's what I keep telling the fruit growers! What do you propose?"
She's down, which is a lie, but here's her trick: She tells him the fight against the Pyramid is played out and they need a new plan. She suggests creating a whole new diagram, highlighting Dairy and Fruit: Either this is to get him to do the work for them both and she's telling the truth, or it's just to give him busywork while she continues doing the evils behind his back. Guess which.
Eli, feet away: "Diane, she said yes, but she's lying. She's either talking to Vegetables or using us to leverage their interest."
Diane: "You got all that from her saying yes?"
Eli: "I am Eli Gold. What I really need to do is go to Bread behind her back."
Diane: "Eli, Cheese does not want us going to Bread yet. It's a power play."
Eli: "I have to. It's the only way to beat this lady."
Diane, verbatim: "We are not trying to 'beat this lady,' Eli; we're just trying to do well by our client..."
Eli: "No, I have the scent now and my thumb on the Berserker button. I'm Kalinda, she's the Blake. This ends with us sniffing each other's butts, a baseball bat, and one of us beaten bloody."