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The King of Town: All right, gentlemen, this is how this is going to go down. I'm gonna write a number on this piece of paper.When negotiating Important Business, characters in television are too embarrassed to actually speak their offers. Instead they write their offer, usually a number and usually in US dollars, on a piece of paper, napkin, or similar and give it to the other party in a way such that the offer is concealed. An offer might be placed face down, folded in half, or placed in an envelope. A table to have the negotiation across is almost mandatory. Large tables are fine, in which case a minor functionary will have the duty of carrying the offer from one party to the other. This is always done very seriously, and everyone involved in silent as the offer trades hands. The recipient will usually discretely examine the offer as though afraid of spies. Sometimes the offer has been written down in advance, sometimes it is written on the spot. When written down on the spot, it's frequently accompanied by the Stock Phrase, "I'm going to write a number on this piece of paper." A key element is that the offer only contains a single number or more rarely an object, a person, or an action. No other context is included in the offer; notable what is expected in exchange is never included in the offer. Sometimes the value is in Undisclosed Funds, but frequently the actual number is shown to the audience. The characters will not mention the specific number in the scene but may nod or whistle as though impressed or make a comment like, "That's a lot of zeroes." Occasionally the offer is insulting, being zero or blank. When played for humor, the offer is frequently zero or nonsensical. Why do this? In world, a number on paper cannot be overheard with an audio bug, nor is a context-free number specifically incriminating if found by law enforcement. If the number is never revealed, like Undisclosed Funds, this can avoid numbers sounding silly after real-world inflation. A silent offer is also frequently used to add gravity to the situation, emphasizing how Very Important this moment is as silent characters exchange Meaningful Glances.
Strong Bad: Uh, King, you “wrote” a piece of lasagna on this piece of paper.
The King of Town: And I ain't budging!