Enron by Lucy Prebble

Scene 7: Skilling's Office

Skilling I hate those guys. I hate those legislators and politicians – not because they restrict business and fuck up the markets, even though they do and it does. I hate government because I know those guys. I went to school with them. And let me tell you, the weakest, most ignorant, most drunken fucking incompetents went to work for the US government. Because they weren't smart enough for the private sector. And that's the truth. I got head-hunted. And those bottom-of-the-fucking-barrel, frat-party know-nothing fucks who never got the call design the regulations for an energy market they know nothing about. It's my job to find ways round that. Why should we respect ineptitude? Why should we look at the lazy fucking regulations they've put in place by committee and go, 'Yeah, you suck at your jobs, fine, we'll ignore that and just suck at ours too.' Who do you think is gonna win in the end?! The greedy or the inept?! We're not perfect, but wait till you see the other guys.
Skilling is in a meeting with the Lawyer.
Lawyer Understood.
Skilling So why the fuck are people picketing my house?!
Lawyer There were deaths in California. If I'm gonna represent you I need to know your level of involvement.
Skilling I want you to represent me, not the company. I didn't kill anyone.
Lawyer There may be civil suits against you.
Skilling This is crazy.
Lawyer I can find other companies that were doing this over there. But you're getting the bad press cos your guys gave it a name.
Skilling What do you mean?
Lawyer (consults his papers) Ricochet. Fat Boy. Burn Out. Death Star. All on record as your traders' names for their strategies in California.
Skilling Death Star?!
Lawyer What I'm saying. 'Death Star' – makes it sound like kids on a video game.
Skilling That's a perception problem.
Lawyer Jeff, sending a state into chaos is, you know, that's not just a perception problem.
Skilling Will this affect the stock price?
Lawyer I'm a lawyer, not a stock analyst.
Skilling Cos that cannot happen.
Lawyer Maybe you should have thought of that before.
Skilling But we didn't do anything illegal in California.
Lawyer That's a matter of opinion.
Skilling I got a group of the smartest people in the world who can tell you why what they did was not illegal.
Lawyer If it wasn't illegal, it was stupid.
Skilling I don't think you understand how markets work.
Lawyer OK, well, let me put it to you this way, what do you think the chances are of other states deregulating after what happened in California?
Skilling You don't get to choose! You don't get to say, we like this much of free markets but not the whole thing. That's not free!
Lawyer I'm not interested in the economics.
Skilling So what are you interested in?
Lawyer Protecting you. There'll be a couple of guys in trading will take a fall, they'll get a little wire fraud –
Skilling Those guys deserve medals.
Lawyer There'll only be a bigger problem if there's anything else, any underlying …
The red box throbs from deep underneath.
Skilling Yeah. OK. But you can make this go away?
Lawyer I'm the best. You'd be paying for that. And that's why we'd win.
Skilling OK. OK.
A large Enron Security Officer appears in Skilling's doorway.
Skilling looks dishevelled and highly strung.
Security Officer You wanted me to take a look at something?
Skilling Yes, please. Yeah.
Lawyer I'll take care of it.
Skilling Thanks.
The Lawyer leaves.
Security Officer Sir.
Skilling Hey.Sorry, this is a little – can you, can you sweep this office for … equipment or recording …
Security Officer You think you're being bugged, sir?
Skilling Maybe, something –
Security Officer That might be a matter for the FBI –
Skilling No, no, just take a look –
Security Officer You think it's the government, sir?
Skilling No –
Security Officer A rival company – ?
Skilling I don't know. I just got a feeling.
The Security Officer checks around the office surfaces.
Skilling How's things in Maintenance?
Security Officer I'm in Security, sir.
Skilling Sure.
Security Officer It's good.
Skilling You all got your 401Ks? You're all OK?
Security Officer Absolutely, sir. I got a daughter and I'd like her to go to college, do something real … Well, things become a lot easier with the stock options you've given us, that becomes a possibility.
Skilling Yeah. Good.Listen, can you hear, like a hiss like, you can tell something's on …? Wait, maybe under …
He gets down on the floor. He eventually puts his ear near the floor.
Here.
The Security Officer gets down on the floor too. He copies Skilling who puts his ear to floor. They listen, lying on the floor together.
Skilling There's a sort of, ticking sound.
They listen.
Security Officer Might that be your watch, sir?
Skilling's head is leaning on his wrist with his watch on. He gets up, embarrassed.
Skilling It was earlier.
Security Officer Could be something just needs rewiring, sometimes a static charge / (can build up).
Skilling / Yeah.
Security Officer Well, you let me know if you hear anything.
Skilling Sure.It's hot out, don't you think?
Security Officer Real dry. The trees are bribing the dogs.
They laugh.
Skilling Hey. You'll be straight. I've been thinking about our next venture. I've been thinking about taking Enron into weather.
Security Officer Weather?
Skilling Yeah, for investors or companies whose worth can be damaged by bad weather. We could carve out a market in protecting against that. Have people buy up shares in weather.
Security Officer Like insurance?
Skilling Sort of, yeah. We break up the risk, sell it off in parts like credit derivatives.
Security Officer You're losing me, sir.
Skilling (keen, looking for paper and pen) Sit down. I can explain it to you in minutes.
Security Officer Sounds a little out of my –
Skilling It's not, it makes total sense.
Security Officer I just want to do my job.
Skilling You don't want to hear what's next for the company?
Security Officer You're telling me to –
Skilling Sit down! You want to be a doorman the rest of your life? Sit down and listen!
Beat.
Security Officer I'm a Security Officer, sir.
Skilling Sure, I know.
Security Officer I just got a shift I gotta do is all.
Skilling I just wanted you to understand …
Security Officer I'm fine. We trust you all up here, sir.
Skilling Didn't mean to be wasting your time.
Security Officer Nothing to it. I apologise.
Skilling Very Enron, though. Dealing in weather?
Security Officer Sure. It's your company, sir … You run it how you want it run.
Skilling nods.
Security Officer leaves.
Skilling's intercom beeps.
Skilling Yes?
Secretary (voice-over) Mr Skilling, there's a reporter on the line from Fortune magazine –
Skilling (down phone) Jeff Skilling.I can't answer those questions right now. I am not an accountant. Look, I don't think you understand the complexity of the way we operate here. If you print an article now without our side, I personally think that's unethical. Sure, I'll send someone out, at Enron's expense. He'll fly out and help you understand the questions you're asking.Goddamn.
Show table of contents