Scene 1: The Earthquake Hits
Sloman (to us) There's a strange thing goes on inside a bubble. It's hard to describe. People who are in it can't see outside of it, don't believe there is an outside. You get glazed over. I believed in Enron. Everybody did. I told people again and again to keep buying that stock and I kept rating it and supporting it and championing it like it was my own child. And people say, how could you? If you didn't understand how it worked. Well. You get on a plane, you don't understand exactly how it works, but you believe it'll fly. You know – and everyone else boarding that plane knows – it'll fly up into the air and take you to your destination, crazy as that may seem. And if you got out your seat, said 'I'm not flying, I don't know how it works,' you'd look crazy. Well, it's like that. Except. Imagine if the belief that the plane could fly was all that was keeping it in the air. It'd be fine. If everybody believed. If nobody got scared. As long as people didn't ask stupid questions. About what it is keeps planes in the air.
September 11th 2001.
They improvise their responses.
Ken Lay comes out to give a speech.
As the speech goes on, Lay becomes surrounded by tiny pieces of shredded paper being blown all over him, all over the stage. He keeps trying to carry on regardless. The shredding represents the huge destruction of documents going on at Enron and Arthur Andersen.
Lay Well, I'm delighted to be back in charge. In more normal circumstances, I'd have a few words to say about September the 11th. Just like America's under attack by terrorism, I think we're under attack, at Enron.
News Report (With the world's markets still reeling from the recent tragic events, a formal investigation has been opened into energy trading giant Enron, deepening its share price crisis. The company has lost 60 per cent of its value since …)
Lay I'm sorry Jeff did resign. Despite the rumours, the company is doing well both financially and operationally. When our very way of life is being threatened, we remain proud of who we are and what we do. This is not the time for doubt, not the time for our confidence to be shaken –
News Report The terror attacks on New York and Washington have seen stock exchanges all over the world evacuated and all trading has ceased. Market confidence has dissolved today as Tokyo, London and then New York fell to record lows –
Lay Truth is the great rock. Whether it will continue to be submerged by a wave – a wave of terror by those attacking us – will be determined by Enron employees. We will testify to the truth. We will let the light shine in. We won't let this cloud of lies cover all our good works and deeds.
News Report Today saw the largest corporate bankruptcy in the history of the world as energy giant Enron fell. Over twenty thousand people are thought to have lost their jobs, health insurance and retirement plans. The company has collapsed after it was found to have disguised billions of dollars of debt, leading an outraged Senate to call for an immediate investigation.
Scene 2: Circle Of Blame
Detritus litters the stage. Order must be restored. Trials / hearings.
Senator These hearings are an attempt to investigate America's largest corporate bankruptcy. What happened, why did it happen and who is responsible for it happening?
Those responsible are present around the outskirts of the stage, maybe some sort of a circle: Lay, Fastow, Ramsay and Hewitt, Arthur Andersen, the Board. But not Skilling.
A light moves from player to player as they speak.
Member of the Board (as a statement) The Board is shocked and dismayed by events. We are not lawyers and had no idea Mr. Fastow was doing anything illegal.
Ramsay As a law firm, we had a responsibility to the law
Hewitt If illegal practises went on –
Ramsay After we signed off on LJM –
Hewitt That's entirely another matter –
Ramsay Another matter entirely.
Hewitt We explicitly –
Ramsay / Hewitt – avoided the illegal. We are not accountants.
Arthur Andersen I am an accountant. For my sins (!) These procedures were unusual.
Little Arthur They were not illegal.
Arthur Andersen Arthur Andersen are happy to provide all Enron-related documents.
Little Arthur Except for all the ones we shredded.
Arthur Andersen wrestles his dummy into acquiescence.
Fastow Mr Chairman, on the advice of my counsel, I respectfully decline to answer the questions put to me based on the protection afforded me under the United States
Lay I have been instructed by my counsel not to testify based on my fifth-amendment constitutional rights.
Skilling enters the hearing.
Skilling I will testify. I'll answer any question you got. I'll take a lie detector test right here, right now. This whole situations's been terrible for a lot of people, and I'm here to explain what happened. And how I can help.
Senator With due respect, Mr Skilling, I'm not going to ask you to help. Let me put something to you: is it a matter of coincidence that a few months after you left Enron the company collapsed?
Skilling When I left Enron corporation, on August 14th of the year 2001, I believed that the company was in – was in great shape.
Senator Do you have personal worth of more than a hundred million dollars?
Skilling I don't have the records with me.
Senator Would that be surprising to you to learn that you had that?
Skilling No that would – that would not be a surprise.
Senator And how do you feel about the employees whose families have lost their life savings?
Skilling Well, I guess –
Senator You donated any of that money to employees?
Skilling At this point … I have thirty-six separate lawsuits against me. It is my expectation that I will spend the next five to ten years of my life battling those lawsuits.
Senator And you don't believe you've done anything wrong?
Skilling The markets were … destroyed after September 11th. There were allegations of accounting problems, of accounting irregularities. In business terms, that's tantamount to yelling fire in a crowded theatre. It becomes a run on the bank.
Senator, Judge (to us) Thank you, Mr Skilling.A few bad apples have shamed American corporate culture here. But today is our day.… Day for the US Senate, the courts. And the people. And we will see that those millionaires with their private jets and luxury lifestyles are forced to explain to those of us with normal lives on the ground what misdeeds have been done. The American Government will not stand for corporate crime on this scale. I mean, on any scale.
Gavel bang three times.
Scene 3: Trial
Lawyer Mr Fastow, you've spent a great deal of time today describing your actions as 'a hero of Enron'. Do you really view your behaviour as heroic?
Fastow I think I said I was a hero and I believed I was a hero in the context of Enron's culture.
Lawyer Were you a hero when you stole from Enron – yes or no?
Fastow No, I was not.
Lawyer You must be consumed by an insatiable greed. Is that fair to say?
Fastow I believe I was extremely greedy and that I lost my moral compass. I've done terrible things that I very much regret.
Lawyer That sounded awfully rehearsed, Mr Fastow.
Fastow With respect, your questions sound pretty rehearsed too.
Lawyer Are you smart, Mr Skilling?
Lawyer 2 Sure you are. So you knew and understood what Mr Fastow was doing at your company?
Fastow We knew and understood that it was wrong.
Skilling I knew and understood that it was legal.
Lawyer Did you steal?
Fastow We stole. We all benefited financially.
Skilling I would never steal from Enron.
Lawyer Did you profit personally, illegally from LJM?
Fastow I did.
Skilling I did not know that.
Lawyer 2 You did not want to know.
Lawyer How much?
Fastow It's difficult to say.
Fastow Around forty five million dollars –
Lawyer Forty five million (!)And how much did Mr Skilling profit personally?
Fastow None. Directly.
Lawyer None! So doesn't it make sense that you'd protect yourself today? Say anything to get your boss convicted, maybe make arrangements with the federal government!
Lawyer 2 Objection!
Lawyer He promoted you, supported you and trusted you, did not profit at all, yet was betrayed by you!
Lawyer 2 Mr Skilling, During the period of February '99 through June 2001, did you convert your stock worth sixty-six million dollars?
Skilling That sounds –
Lawyer 2 All the time telling employees to invest?
Fastow When you misrepresent the nature of your company –
Skilling I believed in Enron.
Fastow Then cash in your stock options, that is stealing –
Lawyer We all know you know 'bout stealing' Mr Fastow –
Fastow We committed crimes at Enron.
Lawyer No, you committed crimes at Enron!
Lawyer 2 You thought the company was fine, everything was fine, with things in such great shape, why did you resign?
Skilling I resigned because the market demanded it.
Lawyer 2 You left a sinking ship! Women and children first, right after Jeff!
Skilling The company was worth what it was worth because of me.
Lawyer 2 Does that include the nothing it's worth now?
Lawyer 2 Remind me, Mr Skilling, who hired Andy Fastow?
Skilling I did.
Lawyer But LJM was your idea?
Fastow I was asked to look for loopholes.
Lawyer 2 And when you made him CFO, you knew the sort of man he was?
Skilling I didn't know him well.
Lawyer 2 He worshipped you, wanted to impress you –
Skilling I don't see how that's – (relevant) /
Lawyer 2 Andy Fastow came to you with LJM, with this insane idea, you knew that it was wrong, but you signed off!
Skilling We didn't do anything that every other company doesn't do! We did it more! We did it better! Show me one transaction the accountants and lawyers didn't sign off on!
Lawyer When the history books are written about what happened at Enron you know your name is going to be on that page. You want to make sure Mr Skilling's name is on that page also.
Fastow You know what I'd like written on that page? That I had the courage to admit I did something wrong.
Court Officer Andrew Fastow, you are found guilty on two counts of criminal conspiracy.
Court Officer Kenneth Lay you are found guilty on six counts of conspiracy and securities fraud.
Lay and Fastow are cuffed. Skilling is cuffed.
Court Officer Jeffrey Skilling you have been found guilty of nineteen separate counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and insider trading.
Scene 4: The Street
Skilling (I don't want to do it any more.)A man walks past him, completely ignores his intoxication and walks on by. (Mumbled.) I'm Jeff. Fuck off. Jeff. Where's it now and aren't talking to you when you're not even here …
Another man walks past him, Skilling almost walks into him. The man makes a sound of disgust and walks on.
Skilling walks by a Woman working as a prostitute.
Woman Hey, baby, do you need anything?
Woman I want to get to know you better.
Skilling Why, what do you want?
Woman I like you, do you want to go somewhere and talk about it?
Skilling They probably … I don't know if I should. I'm out on bail …
Woman Hey, aren't we all? You got a lotta money, honey?
Skilling Who are you?
Woman I'm your new best friend if you want me.
Skilling Are you with them?
Woman Wow. OK.
Skilling Are you talking through her now? No. You think I'm … You're with the FBI. Are you recording this?
Woman Screw this.
Skilling Stop recording! Who else?
Woman I'm not with the FBI, sweetheart.
Skilling Where's the fucking thing? Where's the wire –
Woman Fuck you.
Skilling Stop lying …
Skilling gropes at the Woman's chest, trying to expose the wire under her shirt. He tears at it. She screams.
Woman Asshole! I hope your dick falls off!
She storms off.
Skilling Don't you see! This is my life!
Scene 5: Skilling's House, October 2006
Daughter watches an Enron commercial on television with no sound. Eventually –
The Lawyer lets himself into Skilling's house.
Slowly, eerily, she rises to face him, stares at him.
She walks away from him, leaving the room.
Daughter (offstage) Daddy!
Eventually Skilling enters in his robe, drinking a Diet Coke and eating a Twinkie.
Lawyer You mind me having a key?
Skilling No.Thanks for coming to the house.
Lawyer Not a lot of choice.
Skilling Are we going to talk about the appeal?
Lawyer We can do that.I want to talk about the sentence.
Lawyer I can tell you the maximum, but that is the maximum.If they want to make an example of you –
Skilling Which they may do –
Lawyer They absolutely do.
Skilling Let's talk about the appeal.
Lawyer That's what you're instructing me to do?
Skilling You believe me, don't you?
Lawyer I'm gonna be straight with you, I think we should appeal, I think that's our option. But there is further evidence coming to light all the time of alleged wrongdoing at the company –
Skilling Not my wrongdoing.
Lawyer Not your wrongdoing.
Skilling Doing. Doyng. Wrongdoyng!
Lawyer Recordings and testimony from those involved, particularly traders –
Skilling Oh those fucking guys –
Lawyer Stating that they behaved in an amoral manner –
Lawyer An appeal would only shed further light on –
Skilling I told my daughter I was innocent. I believe I am innocent.
Lawyer Neither of those things make you innocent.
Skilling Being innocent makes me innocent though, right?
Lawyer Jeff, they're going to imply that the traders at your company caused huge blackouts in California for months, maybe years. That you gamed the state –
Skilling The state's regulations were a mess.
Lawyer And you took advantage of that?
Skilling Took advantage of that. Are you kidding me? Took advantage of …! That's what we do. In business, you buy something at one price, you sell it at a higher one and what's in between, that's your advantage. Which you take. That's how the world works. If you want an objective morality present in every contract, you're living in a dream. You know how difficult it is to get five people in a room to agree anything? The only way I can be sure I can trust a contract is cos every party's in it for themselves. So when you ask, 'Did we take advantage of that?' … you know what I hear? I hear, 'Do you make a living, do you breathe in and out, are you a man?' And I know that the only difference between me and the people judging me is they weren't smart enough to do what we did.
Lawyer A lot of people lost everything.
Skilling I get that! I've lost everything. This is my life! I'm a captain of fucking industry!
Lawyer Well you wanna put some pants on, captain?
Skilling None of them fit.
Lawyer There's another player in this still we should talk about. You were running that company but you reported to its chairman, Ken Lay. And he's gonna be getting the same advice Andy got –
Skilling Andy broke my goddamn heart. Ken'll never go that way.
Lawyer But you could.
Skilling What? Blame Ken?
Lawyer The man's sixty-four years old –
Skilling (snorts) You're going with that! You're going with the guy's closer to death …?
Lawyer They want a name. They want a face.
Skilling And then just go on like before …
Skilling's home phone begins to ring. He makes to answer the phone.
Lawyer I need you to stop answering the phone. Stop answering questions. Your name needs to be 'no comment' until I tell you.
The Lawyer answers the phone.
Lawyer Who is it?
Skilling But that makes us look guilty.
Lawyer I'm his lawyer.
The Lawyer listens.
Lawyer OK. OK.
Skilling You don't think that makes me look guilty?
Lawyer I will.
The Lawyer hangs up.
Lawyer Jeff. Jeff, Ken Lay died.
Skilling tries to process the news.
Lawyer They didn't say.
Lawyer I'm sorry. I gotta find out what this means.
Skilling I know what it means. It's just me.
Scene 6: The Funeral
We're outside. Before a funeral. It is sunny.
As Skilling dresses for a funeral, guests in mourning black gather. Claudia Roe enters in mourning black, an ostentatious hat obscuring her face. He sees her.
Skilling is flanked by a Police Officer in a suit and dark glasses. The Secret Service presence is noticeable.
Skilling Can you just give me a minute?
Police Officer We can stand over there.
Skilling Then could you do that, please?
Roe I didn't think they'd let you come.
Skilling Dispensation. For an hour.
Roe Only one officer with you?
Skilling What do you think I'm gonna do?
Roe You look awful.
Skilling You seen what they're saying about us? Democrats trying to win votes from poor people they've never met.
Roe Is it true, after it fell – the only part of the business with any worth at all was my division? The things you could hold?
Skilling You got out!
Roe Not by choice.
Skilling Well, aren't you gonna thank me!?
Irene Gant, a more mature woman, approaches Skilling.
Irene Gant Mr Skilling? My name's Irene Gant. And I worked for Enron for twenty-five years. I did everything you asked. I took all my savings and I invested them in the company I worked for. I've lost a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. I have no money to retire on. And I'm living at my sister's. I wanted you to know because I swore, if I ever saw you in person, well, I don't wanna say.
Skilling What do you expect me to say to that?
Irene Gant I want an answer from you –
Skilling I don't have answers.
Irene Gant I have lost everything!
Roe This is not the place –
Irene Gant Oh, am I embarrassing you?! I'm sorry. Am I embarrassing you?!
Security Officer from earlier scene approaches the hubbub.
Security Officer There trouble here?
The Security Officer glares at Skilling. Skilling recognises him.
Skilling I should go wait in the car.
Irene Gant Won't even apologise.
She spits at him and leaves.
The men look at each other. The Security Officer ushers Irene Gant back into the funeral throng.
Roe That guy's not here to stop you running. He's here to stop you getting hurt.
Skilling Can I walk in with you?
Roe I got to take care of myself here.
Baptist church bells. Roe leaves to enter the church alone.
Skilling is left alone watching the employees enter the church. He eventually turns to leave.