Scene 4: An Orgy Of Speculation
Skilling Let's trade.
Above us somewhere there is a twinkle of gold. And then another of silver somewhere else. And then more – commodities like stars in the sky.
The sound of singing, each their own different song. It builds to an atonal babble of commodity prices and bids. It's a musical cacophony of the trading floor. Over time, the voices all conjoin to meet in a pure, single note. It is beautiful.
Voices sungGold. Up twenty-five.
The gold glints somewhere in the auditorium.
The voices and notes become an atonal mess again. Eventually blending to everyone singing a single note and price.
Voices sungAluminum. Down one.
A shimmer from aluminum.
And again the clamour builds up before finding a commodity value in one distinct harmony.
Voices sungNatural gas. Up five seventy-one.
Voices sungOrange juice. Down fourteen.
They split again into babble.
Voices sungPork belly. Up seven twenty-four.
This empty, beautiful purity in Skilling's head is interrupted by the reality of the Traders' arrival.
The Traders flood the stage. The stock price rises.
The chaos, the physicality, the aggression and shouting of a trading floor. This simmers to doing deals, buzzing on phones and computers making money. Overlap is fine.
A melee of sound and trading and speculation into –
Trader 5 I'm waiting on a call from Louisiana. Are you in play?
Trader 3 Speculation confirmed.
Trader 6 Spread's widened.
Trader 3 Another bid. What's the market doing?
Trader 5 What's the market doing?
Trader 7 Crude is up.
Trader 5 Gimme price.
Trader 7 Twenty-three.
Trader 1 Yes!
Trader 4 If market closes below twenty-one, this guy's fucked.
Trader 1 I really am.
Trader 2 You're fucked.
Trader 1 I lose a million.
Trader 6 Hey, it's at twenty-three –
Trader 2 For now …
Trader 5 That's off the back of upgraded / carbon price forecasts.
Trader 1 / Carbon price forecasts. Jesus Christ.
Trader 7 Dropping!
Trader 1 Oh fuck. I'm gonna lose a million dollars. Fuck.
Trader 3 Hey, market's not closed yet.
Trader 5 There goes your bonus.
Trader 1 Bonus ain't shit. I just don't want Jeff Skilling up my ass.
Trader 6 Chill, dude. Skilling gets it. He's a fucking trader, man.
Trader 3 You've drunk the Kool-Aid.
Trader 5 Tell him about last week.
Trader 6 Oh yeah. You were in Dallas.
Trader 4 Is this the shit with me?
Trader 6 Look at this kid, twenty-six years old – hey, you tell it.
Trader 4 So I had a big loss.
Trader 1 How much?
Trader 6 Tell him.
Trader 4 I got down twenty million / dollars.
Trader 8 Twenty million.
Trader 4 In one day.
Trader 5 whistles the loss.
Trader 4 It's not a good day.
Trader 5 And it's the day Jeff's coming down to visit the floor.
Trader 4 And I'm the skunk at the lawn party.
Trader 2 He's pacing and crying around the place.
Trader 4 It was twenty million dollars!'
Trader 6 'It was twenty million dollars!'
Trader 5 Any Wall Street bank'd push him off the roof then check his teeth for gold.
Trader 2 We thought it was hilarious.
Trader 4 You did. I remember that.
Trader 5 And Skilling's heard about the loss.
Trader 2 Sure he has.
Trader 4 There's nothing Skilling don't know. And he comes in, he makes a bee-line for my desk and everybody watches.
Trader 2 He goes over and he puts his arm round this fuck, in front of everybody and he says, what does he say?
Trader 4 He says, 'Only people prepared to lose are ever gonna win.' And he slaps me on the back and he leaves.
Trader 5 Slaps him on the back.
Trader 4 And he leaves!
Trader 2 True story.
Trader 4 And that's Jeffrey fucking Skilling.
Trader 2 Hey, anyone invited to Mexico here?
Trader 5 For what?
Trader 2 One of Skilling's death weekends, man! Rolling jeeps and motorcycles and wotnot. Someone's gonna fuckin die /
Trader 5 That is the coolest thing.
Trader 4 Dan Rice was on fire and shit / the last time.
Trader 2 And Fastow gets to go. Lapdog motherfucker.
Trader 7 Going up!
Trader 4 You seen that double-breasted douchebag? Thinks he's Sinatra.
Trader 2 What the fuck Skilling see in the guy?
Trader 3 We're going into electricity, a whole new market and you get Fastow to run it, I mean, really, Fastow?.
Suddenly, Fastow enters, all smooth self-importance. All the Traders react mockingly.
Trader 5 Oh jeez, here it is.
Fastow Yeah, hi. You gotta help with some figures. The electricity retail market.
Trader 3 You're kidding right? We're closing deals here.
Fastow I'm here on behalf of Jeff Skilling.
One of the Traders makes a 'whoo' noise.
Trader 2 We don't have shit on your retail markets. We're traders.
Fastow Just get me whatever numbers you've got on electricity suppliers you trade with, that's your fucking job.
Trader 2 No, that's your fucking job and you're asking me to do it. Skilling gets that, right?
Fastow goes for Trader 2, physically. He gets right in his face, aggressively.
Trader 5 Crude down six.
Trader 1 Fuck, man!
Fastow I don't have time for you to be whoever the fuck you are!
Trader 3 We don't have other companies' figures lying around, Andy. You gotta call 'em up.
Fastow Don't tell me what I got to do.
Trader 2 Is this guy serious?
Fastow touches him.
Fastow I'm very serious.
Trader 3 Whoa whoa whoa.
Trader 2 Come on then, motherfucker, you wanna play with the big boys?
Trader 2 shoves Fastow, who squares right up to him, fearless.
Trader 3 Come on, Fastow, you'll get destroyed.
He moves in to break it up.
Fastow is pulled away.
Trader 1 Oh God, crude's falling.
Trader 5 You're gonna take it in the ass.
Fastow I want that recorded.
Trader 3 I gotta fine you for that.
Trader 2 Fuck, Clem.
Trader 3 That was physical on the floor.
Trader 2 But it's Fastow!
Trader 3 I gotta take two hundred.
Fastow watches, pleased. Trader 2 reaches into his pockets and doles out a whole heap of bills on the floor.
Trader 2 Take five hundred. Cos I'm gonna finish.
Trader 2 swings around and hits Fastow, who, not expecting this, scrambles out of the way into other Traders, who all take a pop at him. Other Traders mock and physically berate him. One shows him his penis.
Fastow (That's illegal.)
As Fastow beats a hasty retreat he tries to maintain some dignity.
Fastow I'll remember that when I'm CFO.
Trader 2 Did everybody see that?
Trader 4 Big hat, no cattle. Motherfucka.
Trader 3 (genuinely staggered) Is it me or did that guy just come in here and say, tell me how to sell electricity?
Trader 5 I think he did.
Trader 3 Unbelievable. Market closing!
The bell rings for end of trading.
Trader 1 This is it, this is it!
Trader 4 What's the price?
Trader 5 Someone call it!
Improvisation of trading at its highest pitch.
Trader 4 Boom!
Trader 1 COME ON!
Trader 1 is delighted, sweating, filled with testosterone and joy.
Trader 4 You're one lucky fucking cock-sucking cash-loving son of a bitch.
Trader 1 (to us) I wish you knew. You're right. You were right. It's there in a number right in front of you and no one can dispute it. There's just you and the guy on the other end, and who can move faster and who can move smarter. But it's not just up here, there's something … primal. You never felt more alive in your life. Can tell by the movement of a guy across the floor what way things are going. You hear everybodyand also you hear one voice. Closest thing there is to hunting. Closest thing there is to sex. For a man, that is.
Lights of commodity prices over the faces of all the Traders, a sea of figures.
Alan Greenspan (on screen) (Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values …) irrational exuberance … irrational exuberance …