Scene 9: The Asshole
Skilling climbs stairs like a man on his way to the gallows, unkempt and addled.
He eyes the stock price.
As he goes up, he notices his presence pushing the stock price up a very little bit.
This spurs Skilling on.
As they go up, Enron Analysts and Journalists emerge from everywhere to listen to the conference call.
Silence. Skilling exhales.
Analyst Hi. Richard Grubman here, hello.
Analyst (slightly haughty) Hello. I don't really care about the earnings at this point. What I want to see is a balance sheet.
Analyst I am trying to understand why that would be an unreasonable request.
Analyst You're the only financial institution that cannot produce a balance sheet or a cashflow statement with their earnings.
Analyst Appreciate it?
There is utter silence as everyone realises what he just said to an important stock analyst.
Then suddenly there is frenetic activity.
The Analysts all get on their phones and BlackBerries to their banks and brokerage firms
J. P. Morgan Analyst (together, overlapping, merging into one) You're never gonna guess what the fuck just happened – I think the big JS is losing it here – You got shareprice on Enron? – Something's going on down there – Called a Wall Street analyst an 'a-hole' during a conference call – CEO's gone sorta postal – I'm gonna recommend we hold – I don't know for now – I'm hearin' stuff here I don't like – Enron, the energy company – We gotta ask for the books – They're a black box – I wanna sell – Are people selling? – Enron – OK, we're outta there – Hold on Enron – Sell – Hold – Sell – Somebody selling – Enron – Sell – Hold – OK – Selling – What's the market doing? – Hold – Selling – Enron – Sell – Sell – Selling Enron, Enron – 'Asshole, asshole, asshole.'
The Analysts have taken themselves off, hurrying back to their marketplace hubs, a sea change in the offing.
But their effects are already painfully clear on the stock price, which is free-falling.
A spotlight on Skilling alone, unsupported. Just him and his representation of his self-worth, the stock price.
Skilling approaches it desperately, trying to regain former glories.
He ends, his arms outstretched, crucifying himself before the market.
The blocks beneath where Skilling was standing are removed by Analysts and Brokers as shares continue to be sold and the company weakens.
A sour, tuneless version of the 'Enron' barbershop quartet from earlier plays.