Enron by Lucy Prebble

Scene 3: Ken Lay's Office, 1996

In another office, Ken Lay sits with Roe and Skilling sitting before him.
Skilling Sure, that would be –
Skilling Yes.
Skilling 'Macho'. That's subtle.
Pause. Lay leans back.
The competitors look at each other.
Beat.
Skilling I want to build a trading floor –
Skilling / A different sort of company. Hire the best graduates, if they're not top two per cent we don't want 'em. Make Wall Street look like Sesame Street.
Skilling What client?
Skilling I have no idea who that is.
Roe makes a 'see?' gesture
Skilling You're a politician, Claud. I've never claimed to be.
Skilling Yes sir.
Skilling Ask me what I want to trade.
Skilling (spits it) That's a parochial vision.
Skilling Fuck you.Beat.Ask me. What. I would trade.
Skilling Energy.
Skilling Sure, we make it. We transport it. We sell it. Why don't we trade it? You gotta pull back and look at this thing from above. Why do we even have to deliver the gas at all?
Skilling If we got a customer wants a steady supply of natural gas and we don't have a pipeline near them, what do we do?
Skilling So let's always do that. Buy from someone, sell it on. In. Out. Without ever having to deliver the gas or maintain the pipeline. We're just dealing in the numbers.
Skilling God, if you could hear yourself. 'Build more fucking powerplants.' No imagination, go crazy – What about wind farms or hydro …?!
Skilling We don't need the hard stuff.
Skilling That will take years! You really want to pay for people to go build pipelines along disputed borders, tribes with AK47s? You want that fucking mess – ?
Skilling Scratching around in the dirt. I'm not talking about pushing on an industry already in place. I'm trying to tell you … Ken, you've seen some changes in business since you started.
Skilling Well, it's time to evolve again. We have to. America doesn't have the natural resources any more. Not really. And that's good, that's fine. We have intellectual capital, and the best of it in the world. Look at the societies that do have the raw materials, how modern do they feel, really? Then take a landlocked, barren country like Switzerland. What do they do? They invent banking.We should be coming up with new ideas. About everything. Employ the smartest people we can find. And have 'em free to look at whatever they want, free from the old assumptions about what this company is.
Skilling I'm not gonna patronise you by pretending you believe what you just said.
Skilling I got plenty of ideas. Mark-to-market, energy trading, that's just the beginning.
Skilling Countries are meaningless.It's all going to be virtual. Oil and land run out.
Skilling There is a whole, glistening, clean industry above what you're talking about that no one's even thought of yet.
Silence.
Skilling My father was a valve salesman. I didn't want to grow up to sell valves. Tiny pieces of something bigger he never saw. There is a dignity to holding something, Ken. Butyour daddy was a baptist preacher. There's a dignity to giving people something they can't touch.
Skilling I don't want to work for you. I feel I gotta say if Claudia takes this job I won't be staying.
Lay considers the younger man and his presumption.
Skilling tries to maintain his dignity and leaves. Lay takes Roe's hand.
As Roe's dreams are shattered, Skilling's dreams are made real.
The transformation of Enron. From discreet, regular offices, Skilling and Lay oversee it becoming an open-plan, free, shiny expanse.
It should feel like a physical liberation; a clearing of clutter.
Skilling and Lay shake hands.
Skilling looks down at the Enron he envisioned beneath him: glass, reflective surfaces, futuristic design, open spaces, a huge trading floor.
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