The Auditor
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I

The wind was a torrent of darkness in every gusty tree And the moon-faced pundits babbled, on Bloomberg and CNBC. The carpet rolled, soft and plush, over the hardwood floor, And the auditor came striding-- Striding--striding-- The auditor came striding, up to the boardroom door.


He had a toupee on his forehead, a fat brown tie at his throat, Tan slacks of polyester, set off by a blue sport coat; A StarTAC in a holster, a BlackBerry on his thigh, As he strode you could hear him beeping-- Beeping--beeping-- With every pocket beeping, and a twinkle in his eye.


To the sideboard then he sidled, and had some fruit and cheese, And he waited for several minutes, thinking about his fees; Then he turned from the plate-glass window, and who should be waiting there But the Enron senior officer, Ken, the senior officer, Weaving some bogus partnerships into his sparse brown hair.


"Farewell!" said the bold accountant. "For soon I may be dead, I'm off to the Houston office, your records for to shred; Yet if they press me sharply, or subject me to scrutiny Then look for me by moonlight, I'll come to you by moonlight, I'll meet you at Morton's by moonlight, and we'll have a drink or three."


He gathered his books and his papers and to the door did creep, And a look suffused his features that would have made you weep. Then they shook hands in the lobby, two grim and pasty men. And he climbed into his Town Car --His bright and shining Town Car!-- How long would he rate a Town Car?--and returned to Andersen.


He did not come in the morning, that brave and pudgy guy, He did not come at noontime, while the stock was trading high, But as shadows formed on the carpet, rolling over the dark wood floor The pinstriped troops came marching-- Marching--marching-- The scary feds came marching up to the well-oiled door.


Five hundred corporations are honored here within; They fight for every dollar! Do what they must to win! From value-driven Wal-Mart to Devon Energy Each of them would rather-- They'd really, really rather-- Be stabbed in the head by moonlight, than deal with the SEC.


They did not turn or falter, the men in the cheap blue suits. They took one long perusal, then ordered more recruits. They looked for documentation, and therein found they none So the regulators wanted-- They truly, truly wanted-- Oh, boy, how they really wanted ... the auditor's head on a bun.


Bam! came the explosion! Its noise boomed up to heaven! The sound of a corporation declaring Chapter 11; And somewhere out in the deepest deep, in the murky ethical waters The auditor is spinning, And still you can hear him spinning-- Just listen to him spinning-- "Hey! I was only following orders!"


Oh, somewhere the sun is shining, somewhere the stars are bright; Somewhere there are investors who sleep like logs at night; Consider these 500--how they grow! They burn! They strive! And could someone please explain here-- Exercise your brain here! Can someone please explain here--Why is Enron still No. 5?

By day, Stanley Bing is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He can be reached at