Enron by Lucy Prebble

Scene 8: An Unholy Partnership

Below, darkly, Fastow's lair: a dingy place at the bottom of Enron. Fastow flits happily between complex piles of paperwork, records and maybe screens.
He goes back to his calculations.
Skilling enters.
Skilling Andy. Andy, you had a baby.
Skilling Congratulations, fella. You got a picture?
Skilling OK.
Fastow starts looking for his wallet.
Skilling I don't (mind) –
Skilling Do it next time.
Beat.
Skilling Wow. Great name(!)
Beat.
Skilling You know what I was doing when my daughter was born?
Skilling I was on the phone from the hospital negotiating my deal. To come work here.
Pause.
Skilling makes a so-so gesture and sound.
Skilling I guess.
Beat.
Skilling These. What are these?
He is looking at papers covered in complex scrawlings. Maybe they're half-screwed up.
Skilling Raptors?
Skilling Are these hedges?
Skilling For fun?!
Skilling Raptors.
Skilling You're thirty-seven years old.
Skilling So these are protecting you against losses in investments?
Skilling I know about your planes and cars thing, Andy, I've heard you at parties –
Casually intrigued, Skilling looks through them all.
Skilling A little theoretical.
Skilling Well, sure, unless planes fall.
Skilling These are interesting.
Skilling I could do with more guys like you.
Fastow beams.
Skilling is having some pain.
Skilling These shoes … they're not broken in.
Skilling No, Andy, I don't want your shoes. Thanks.
Skilling Yeah I, jeez, I don't know. They're fucking shoes.
Pause.
Nothing.
Skilling You want to get a beer?
He opens up a tiny fridge that's been installed somewhere in his office/lair.
Skilling You got a refrigerator?
Skilling Who did?
Skilling Wow.
They open and drink two beers.
Skilling I got a problem, Andy. We got great stock price. We're declaring huge profits using mark-to-market. Correctly. But those actual profits aren't coming through yet. So.
Skilling That's right. We've got the best business plan, the highest share price, the smartest graduates. Trouble is. Right now. We're not making any money.
Long pause.
Skilling You with me?
Skilling I can't find. Any area. Right now. Except trading. And there, day to day, we may lose as much as we make.
Pause.
Skilling Yeah(!)
Skilling I am not kidding. I don't know what I'm gonna do. I don't mind taking losses. But I can't report taking losses right now. The gap between the perception and the reality is …
He has one hand up at neck level indicating the high perception and the other he puts lower to indicate the reality.
Skilling I don't know what I'm going to do.
His arms droop despondently. Fastow dives in to hold the perception hand up.
Fastow brings Skilling's lower hand up to meet his higher hand.
Beat.
Skilling shakes off the foolish physical intimacy.
Skilling If those Washington fucks would just deregulate electricity like Clinton promised, we'd have those profits!
Beat.
Skilling What you got?
Skilling I haven't found him yet.
Skilling Everybody with / experience of –
Skilling For CFO … ? One of the most powerful positions in / any corporation … ?
Skilling You're not a people person, Andy.
Beat.
Skilling Two guys in a room.
Skilling None of your fucking business.
Skilling Is this something you've heard?
Skilling Do I – ? I don't have time to take a shit
Skilling Find the point.
Skilling (beat) That's why I like you, Andy. You're fucking nuts.
Skilling Explain.
Skilling Example.
Skilling Then move it back. Why doesn't everyone do this?
Skilling Andy!
Skilling This isn't one of your theoretical models. A whole investment fund with money enough to buy bad assets off Enron? Who would do that? Who would invest?
Skilling We can't do business with ourselves –
Skilling Exactly.
Skilling Only three per cent?
Skilling So Enron can do business with a company that's ninety-seven per cent Enron?
Skilling Still gotta find that three per cent.
Fastow is excitedy scoping out the room they are standing in.
He walks around clearing the area to make the three per cent clear.
Skilling Except for three per cent.
He opens up the shoebox.
Skilling Made up of Enron stock …
Out of the shoebox he produces a matchbox.
Skilling On and on.
He opens the matchbox and takes out a tiny red, glowing box.
He holds it up. The men are bathed in it like some totem from an Indiana Jones film.
Skilling And how much is that?
Skilling If that's a few million … ?
Skilling It's made entirely of Enron stock …
Skilling But we can use it to support Enron stock, making sure it doesn't fall …
Skilling The same stock that it's made of … ?
Beat.
Skilling That's fucking brilliant.
Skilling So this shadow company, what did you call it?
Skilling This LJM can buy bad assets off Enron that are operating at a loss. And if anyone looks into it –
The tiny box glows red and throbs.
Skilling Andy, you fucker! This is a whole new thing!
Skilling No, I don't like that.
Skilling Doesn't that feel a bit cheap? A special purpose entity financed by the CFO?
Skilling Why not? Come on, we'll get banks to put that in – Wall Street money.
Skilling Sure.Hey! Get me Arthur Andersen!
Arthur Andersen appears to one side. He has a ventriloquist's dummy, Little Arthur.
A different voice from his mouth:
Beat.
Skilling
(to Arthur Andersen)
We could always take our business elsewhere.
Arthur Andersen's dummy's eyes flit wildly.
Skilling Yeah, that's exactly what we pay a million dollars a month for.I need the lawyers!
The law firm of Ramsay and Hewitt appears to their other side: one male, one female. They appear as 'Justice'; blindfolded, with sword and scales.
Skilling The accountants say it's a legal issue.
Skilling I need the board.
And then, revealed on the level above Skilling and Fastow, the Board appear. The Board is made up of shadowy, dark, imposing figures with the heads of mice, and, in the centre, Ken Lay.
Skilling The accountants and lawyers are OK with it if you're OK with it, Ken.
The Board briefly consult.
Skilling He's our new Chief Financial Officer.
Fastow is delighted at this.
Skilling OK?
He signs papers in front of him.
The Board, Arthur Andersen and Hewitt and Ramsay disappear. Fastow and Skilling hug in the centre of the circle.
Skilling You've saved my fucking life.
Skilling All I have to do is keep the stock price up.
Skilling Which makes Enron strong.
Skilling It's better than good. It's perfect.
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