Scene 5: Trimming The Fat
The sound of motorbikes revving, screeching brakes, the hum of manly pursuits.
Below: Enron gym. Skilling is on a running machine, in sports clothes. He's pushing himself and relishing the physical challenge.
Above: Ken Lay's office. Lay and Roe are meeting.
Below: Fastow enters the gym with trepidation in a suit.
Skilling Andy Fastow.
Fastow You want me to go wait somewhere?
Skilling This is the meeting. Get on.
He gestures to the running machine beside him. Fastow, nervous, takes off his shoes and jacket and gets on the machine.
Skilling immediately ups it to a run for Fastow.
Fastow I'm sorry I screwed up Electricity.
Skilling Yeah, you have. You know I was supposed to announce it on the tour today?
Fastow Yeah. I tried, I really –
Skilling I heard you got aggravated on some trader?
Fastow I –
Skilling They'll do that to ya.
Fastow I won't be mocked.
Skilling Is that right?
He can't help smiling a little. He ups Fastow's speed. Fastow tries to keep up.
Skilling You ever read those business books, How to Win Friends and… The Seven Secrets of Highly Effective People and shit like that –
Fastow Yeah, I –
Skilling Don't. It's bullshit. Read Dawkins, The Selfish Gene?
Fastow I don't know it –
Skilling Read Darwin.
Fastow Am I getting fired, Jeff?
Skilling By rights you should be out. I got this company running on Darwinian principles.
He ups Fastow's speed again.
Fastow redoubles his efforts.
Fastow Please don't fire me!
Skilling Charles Darwin showed how an idea can change the world. A single beautiful idea changed the way we look at everything.
Fastow That we're just animals?
Skilling No. We're more. Because now we understand our own nature. And we can use that.
Fastow Use it for what?
Skilling For business. Business is nature.
Fastow Like self-interest and competition?
Skilling Exactly. Money and sex motivate people, Andy. And money is the one that gets their hand off their dick and into work.
Roe I don't know if I can work under this regime, Ken.
Lay Come on now, Claudia.
Roe I mean it.
Lay I don't like this fighting. This is a family!
Roe Well, families fight! And Jeff doesn't listen to anyone.
Lay He could learn something from you in charm, I'll give you that.
Roe How am I supposed to head a division where ten per cent of my people are cut every time we have an evaluation?!
Lay It's the bottom ten per cent.
Roe Who don't get replaced! Or get replaced with really smart twenty-year-olds with no idea what's going on!
Lay It's a strategy! Gimme a break, Claudia, you gotta be nice to me today. It's my birthday.
Roe It is? Well, happy birthday, Ken.
Lay Fact I got a card from an old friend's son.
He passes it to Roe.
Roe 'Happy birthday, Kenny Boy! Now you're really old! Call me sometime. From W.'
Lay He ain't got the manners of his daddy. But I think we got a shot at the White House with him. Stick around, it's gonna get interesting.
Fastow I'm gonna have a heart attack.
Skilling That's cos you're weak.
Fastow I'm sorry I fucked up electricity!
Skilling What did you say?
Fastow I'm sorry I fucked up electricity!
Skilling I can't hear you!
Fastow I'm sorry!
Skilling presses the stop button on Fastow's running machine, hurling the younger man from his treadmill.
Fastow regains his balance and composure as Skilling calmly slows his own speed.
Skilling Never apologise, Andy.
He gets off his machine.Fact is, it's not all your fault.
An exhausted Fastow agrees physically while he pants.
Skilling Electricity's an industry with no competition, no natural selection. We're never gonna make real money till it gets deregulated.
Fastow Yes! Deregulate electricity and that market's ours.
Skilling That's what I'm looking for. It's a political decision though. Ken's dealing with it.
Fastow That's great. So I can keep my job?
Skilling Are you smart, Andy?
Fastow Yeah, I am.
Skilling I'm fucking smart. And I like guys with spikes. Ididn't know you had any till I heard about you taking on a pack of traders. Now that takes a special kind of stupid. But also balls. You started in finance?
Skilling Let's get you back there. I know your background, you're an abstracts man. Securitisation, Risk assessment. I never met anyone less suited to retail in my life. Let's get you down in finance. Where you can keep away from people.
Fastow Thank you. Yeah. I won't let you down.
Roe I won't let you down.
Lay What is it you want?
Roe I want to build a power plant in India.
Lay India? Nobody's in India.
Roe You wanna be the first? Jeff won't go for it, he doesn't even think outside the States. One power plant.
Lay 'One power plant!'
Roe It's India, Ken. The size of it. Don't you want some skin in that game?
Lay Okay, let's get you your power plant.
Roe I knew I could come to you.
Lay I understand your concerns about Jeff. But look, we got the stock analysts coming in today to rate the company. Let's see what Jeff Skilling means for the share price.
As Lay says 'share price' the share price is revealed; a figurative representation of the company's worth, represented by light somewhere on stage.
An Analyst enters and speaks to us.
Analyst (to us) An analyst rates a company's stock to the outside world. We're go-betweens. The first port of call for someone looking to invest their money. Where's safe? Where's profitable? We'll rate a company at 'Buy', 'Sell' or 'Hold'. Why trust what we think? Well. We know the world, we're from the world. We're employed by the biggest investment banks and brokerage firms so we know how it works. You need access to hear the rumours, to get the skinny. It takes years to get access, to build up knowledge. A company needs customers and good press maybe, but if it really wants to thrive? It's us they need to impress.
The analysts are Sheryl Sloman of Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank. All follow Skilling, enraptured.
As he walks around the space, various Employees approach Skilling with contracts for him to approve and sign. He smoothly signs though barely looks at them, treating them like autographs.
Skilling Ladies and Gentlemen, Enron is a new kind of company. You want to see the next big thing? It's in the minds of one of these people. We're not just an energy company, we're a powerhouse for ideas. No other company lets people work as freely and creatively as we do. If you hire only the most brilliant people you can create new industries, new economies and reinvent the old ones. Electricity will be deregulated, it has to be, and when it is, Enron will be right there, expanding our vision. The league we're in? We're not the Houston Oilers, we're not even the Dallas Cowboys. We're the whole damn NFL.
The Analysts line up and face the audience.
Skilling Now, let's see Citigroup.
Citigroup Analyst, after a drum roll, reveals her verdict:
Citigroup Analyst Strong buy!
The stock goes up.
Skilling And J.P. Morgan.
J. P. Morgan Analyst Strong buy!
The stock goes up.
Skilling And finally … Deutsche Bank!
Deutsche Bank (in German) Strong buy!
The stock goes up.
It's reached half of its full height. Skilling looks genuinely touched by this.
The Analysts become a barbershop quartet and sing.
J. P. Morgan Analyst singing
E-N-R-O-N, E-N-R-O-N, E-N-R-O-N, E-N-R-O-N.
If your company bank accounts need filling
He's available, and willing
To see to it that you make a killing!
Skilling, Skilling, Skilling, Skilling, Skilling,
Be boo doo wop wop ba doo!
The Analysts parade off.
Skilling Thank you for recognising our work and I'm happy –
He notices the stock price rise.I'm so excited –
He sees it rise again.I'm a little sad?It drops very slightly.Ha! I'm Enron.
He's delighted by his power and effect. Grinning at the recognition and level of belief.
Lay comes down and approaches his protégé.
Lay I got something for you, golden boy.
He hands Skilling a fifty-dollar bill.
Skilling What, are you tipping me, Ken?
Lay I'm handing out fifty-dollar bills to every employee I see. My money. This is the first time we've hit a fifty-dollar share price.
Skilling Is it right you're using the jet later?
Lay Yeah. Going to visit the kids.
Skilling The company jet?
Lay Time with the family. That's important.
Skilling Just thought we were getting you out to Washington?
Lay I'm stopping off in Washington. Bill and I are playing a little golf. I'll pretend I don't see him switching the balls in the rough.
Skilling But deregulation's on that agenda?
Lay Relax, will ya? These things take time.
Skilling OK, well, enjoy your kids.