Scene 2: The Purge
Roe (to us) Something is happening to business. At the beginning of this century. Things have started to get divorced from the underlying realities. The best metaphor is this. Say we hold a competition here to determine who is the most beautiful woman in this room. Everyone gets a vote, the woman would bethe one with the most votes and you'd win if you bet on her. Now the smart player wouldn't look at all the women and choose the one he finds most beautiful. No, the smart player would try and imagine what average opinion would state is the most beautiful woman, and vote for her. And there's a level above that, where the really smart person would assume that most other people are doing the same thing and so they would try and choose the woman that most other people would think was most other people's idea of the most beautiful woman. And there's even a level above that, and above that. And those are the values that determine prices, commodities and everybody's future. And who actually is the most beautiful woman in the room … is irrelevant.
One of the Raptors runs towards Roe and chases her out of the building.
After a moment, Lay enters Skilling's office, looking pained.
Skilling Did you do it?
Lay Still feel raw about that.
Skilling I felt she had to hear it from you.
Lay Can't recall what our thinking was there now.
Skilling She wouldn't have taken it seriously from me.
Lay I never did like letting people go.You want to have a cigar?
Skilling I'm good, thanks.
Lay gives him one anyway.
Lay I was very disappointed in the things Claudia said in there. Didn't show a lot of class.
Skilling Regarding what?
Lay I don't believe she had to go so far in trying to save her own skin.
Skilling I didn't want to have to bring those figures to your attention. I know they didn't look like much –
Lay Any deceit is deceit. If something's brought before me I have to act on it. Doesn't have to be brought to me, of course.
Lay Now you made that decision and you brought it before me and a chain of events were put in place. Difficult to break that chain. You wanna pray with me, Jeffrey?
Lay bows his head in prayer, his hands together. He closes his eyes. Skilling copies him.
After a few moments, Lay has not spoken. Skilling opens his eyes. He watches Lay, not sure what to do.
He watches Lay, fascinated.
After a little while, Lay stops his silent prayers and raises his head. Skilling immediately tries to bow his to make it look like he hadn't stopped.
Skilling It's a privilege.
Lay Don't you worry, son.You know how you tell the scout on a pioneer wagon?
Lay He's the one with all the arrows sticking out of him.
Beat. Lay touches Skilling on the shoulder. It's a paternal, almost saintly action, but takes Skilling by surprise.
Lay Listen, I know it's not been easy, having an old man on your back. You want to ride out, get the bit in your teeth and I'm all for that. I'm gonna take a step back. Place you can use me is on the board, on the Washington golf courses, charityluncheons. That's what I'm good at. You just carry on making us millions.
Skilling We really gotta get deregulation moving –
Lay I'm gonna have more talk with Junior. I got hope for him yet.
Skilling But that's how we're gonna make our money. If he doesn't come through –
Lay These things take time.Beat.Can't even smoke these indoors any more.
Skilling You can do what you want, Ken.
Lay Uh-uh. Can't even smoke indoors.
He drifts off. Pause. Skilling picks up the cigar left him.