(With grave apologies to Charles Dickens.)
Lay was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that, unless one believed in liberal conspiracy theories. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner (pay no attention to the fact that his best friend did the autopsy and the cremation was carried out without even a viewing). Richard B. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Lay was as dead as a door-nail.
Lay was really dead? Just ask old Richard B., his partner in crimes across the energy industry, Ken Lay in electricity, Richard Scrooge in oil services. Richard was his sole friend and mourner but didn't seem terribly cut up by the rather sudden event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral (witness the California wildfires), and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.
Oh! But Richard B. was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone! When Katrina knocked out power up and down the Gulf Coast, old Scrooge demanded that power be diverted from the hospitals so the refineries could get back to work.
Once upon a time, long after Scrooge had left the White House, Richard B. Scrooge sat in his counting house counting his stock options that had split during the late war in Iraq that had just concluded. His counting house door is ajar and we can see the fire beside him is so very small but not as small as that of his clerk, "Scooter" Crachitt, who had only a much smaller fire to warm him.
Libby had had the temerity to ask for Christmas day off so he could go skiing with his lobbyist friends. "Bah humbug and go fuck yourself!", Scrooge was tempted to bellow at his sole clerk but realized he could use this opportunity get out of paying Crachitt a day and to make him come in all the earlier the day after the ridiculous holiday. The fool had already broken his leg just before the Plame trial. Let him break it again.
Presently, two cheerful men of middle age walked into Scrooge's counting house, loudly exclaiming, "Merry Christmas! This is Scrooge and Lay, I presume?"
"You presume correctly, sirs," Scrooge said. "And what can I do for you today?"
"Sir, we are making our yearly rounds soliciting for donations for the poor. How much can we put you down for?" The gentleman with the greater moustache put his pen to his pad, quivering with anticipation.
"N-nothing? But, sir, surely you realize Christmas is coming and there are a great many people in want, those without food or adequate shelter, affordable health care or heat for the encroaching winter."
"They can go fuck themselves," Richard B. thundered. "Are not the debtor's prisons and repo men still in business? Nor high finance rates for scofflaws?"
"Well, yes, sir, they are, but..."
"Then begone with you! Everyone who celebrates Christmas should be boiled in boiling oil, with their heart impaled with the shin bone of an Iraqi child. Begone and go fuck yourselves!"
"I said go fuck yourselves!"
Richard B. Scrooge looked at the clock and realized with regret the trading day was coming to an end. So he trudged home in the dark gloom and frigid weather, praying he wouldn't meet up with his lesbian wife with whom he'd managed to avoid sleeping since his little Vietnam deferment was conceived in the 60's. He was tired, so very tired! that the poor old chap fell atop his four poster bed and fell fast asleep.
Presently, there came a clanking in the hallway, like the sound of a hundred chains abusing the hardwood floor. Then Scrooge's chamber door opened with a loud creak. It was Lay.
"Kenny boy! How can this be? You are dead! I had you cremated myself immediately after your conviction!"
Lay's chains were laden with lock boxes and bundles of worthless shares of Enron stock and 401(k) plans. "Oooooh, Dick," he replied in a hoarse whisper, "you and I did fabulous business together in life but there is comeuppance in the afterlife. Clarence Darrow is God's Attorney General and I am condemned to roam the world and telling all who would listen about the error of my ways."
"Error? But Kenny boy, we made a mint fucking over the poor and powerless!"
"Oooooh, Dick, I am here to tell you that money isn't everything."
"Tonight, you will be visited by three special prosecutors..."
(Part Two will resume tomorrow.)