Merrill Lynch POV
The night felt like any other. It was at that almost-cold-but-not-quite temperature that was common of Houston in the wintertime, even in the dead of December. I hadn’t heard much about Enron’s recent struggles, only that some higher-level executives had been charged with fraud, and me and his relations had become public knowledge. I had covered his ass a couple times in the past, and could you blame me? It was a cute little ass to cover. Besides, he kept getting me money in his stock adventures, so being with him was practically a no-brainer.
I passed through the skywalk from the new building to the old. He had just built it last year. It was just like him to do that. Even though he told me he’d been struggling at the time, he was still dead set on making the next innovation, the newest
big project, the next Wall Street conversation topic. And the last thing he ever wanted anyone to see him like was weak. Even my business wasn’t allowed to know when he was in a bad place, so long as the SEC didn’t find out, the only people that got to see his moments of weakness were me, as a person.
I had made it to the top of the building, where he usually was, but his usually neat office was disheveled and empty. I thought I heard something from the roof of the building. Using a janitor’s staircase, I went to investigate. Almost immediately, I could tell something was off. His platinum-blonde hair was messier than usual, his skin looking sickly and pale. He was holding on to what looked like a fancy bottle of champagne. I cleared my throat.
“Roederer Cristal. It’s a cuvée that was commissioned by the tsar of Russia in 1876. This was left over from when the execs and I broke out a couple bottles of this stuff after Skilling got mark-to-market approved for us by the SEC. We were all so happy that day. That was the last time I felt truly confident about the direction we were taking.”
“Enron, what do you mean? I- I know you’ve been struggling lately, but you’ll figure it out, you always do. And I can help you”
He turned around, tears threatening to fall from his eyes. “I’m sorry, Merrill. It’s too late. Everything- everything you see here is all a lie. They’re finding out. The SEC is finding out, Wall Street is finding out, hell, even the public is gonna know. It’s too late. I love you, but…”
“But what?!? Whatever it is, it’ll work out, I swear! Why are you talking like this?You’ve survived things like this before…”
He let out a bitter laugh. “Survived?” He took a swig, tears starting to fall. “I’ve been dead for years.” Before I could say anything, he turned back towards the edge, and bottle in hand, he… he fell. I think I yelled something but honestly, I don’t remember much from what happened afterwards. All I remember was the feeling of horror and shock that overwhelmed me.
After a long time of just standing there, I walked down the building. I started to notice things I hadn’t before. It was cold and empty throughout the halls. No lights, no sound. Everything was a mess, as if the entire building had been a abandoned in a rush. The only sound I could hear was papers blowing through the halls, but the air felt dead and stale.
All that was left in my mind was one question, the very one he’d always talk about. Part of me didn’t want the answer, part of me already knew. And I knew one way or another, the answer would come whether I wanted it to or not. It was a simple question, but it was all my thoughts could muster.