07 July 2006

Got you, Pluto, loud and clear...

Convicted swindler Ken Lay dies at age 64 while vacationing in Aspen, Co., awaiting sentencing in October.

The Mesa County Coroner quickly releases information (I mean, within hours of the initial report of Lay’s death) regarding the manner in which he’d died. It was a massive heart attack, brought on by heart disease. The coroner even said, helpfully, that Mr. Lay had suffered a previous heart attack, though he didn’t speculate on when that might have been.

Not since Enron went belly up, certainly. In fact, Mr. Lay appeared quite hale and hearty during his trial in May, even rather arrogant and belligerent with the prosecution. And a man with Lay’s wherewithal surely had the best cardiologists money can buy, even if his lawyers let him down.

I know this puts me into the company of those rather intense souls who pick up alien broadcasts from Pluto on their fillings (along with Fox News Radio and Bill O’Reilly), but ... puh-leeze. Is it not within the realm of rationality to speculate that Lay might have been offed?

I mean, could his sudden death have been any more convenient for Darth Cheney and Codpiece the Orc King?

Not that I’m sorry Lay’s gone. It was too damned easy for him, though. I’d much have preferred seeing him in an orange jumpsuit, behind bars for a very, very long time.

And I know, I know. The man is dead. Don’t dance a jig on his grave. “There but for the grace of God go I,” and all that. And I’m sure there were people who loved Ken Lay – his wife (recipient of a $200,000 yacht for her birthday in 2001), his children, his grandchildren and the Bush family. And I’m sorry for them, because they had little to do with his black, amoral heart, and I know they’re grieving him now, even if he was a viper.

Maybe I’ve spent too much time over the years reading espionage and political thrillers (and trying to write them, too, more’s the pity), but when someone as potentially explosive and damaging to a corrupt government as Ken Lay was dies all of a sudden, it piques my curiosity. In fact, when I heard on the radio going to work the other morning that he’d died, the very first thing I thought was, “they snuffed him.” Honestly. All it would take would be a sneaky little injection of potassium chloride, which interferes with nerve signals and stops the muscles from working, causing a heart attack. Can take just seconds, depending on the strength of the dose. It’s an easy poison for the coroner to miss, too, particularly with men in suits breathing down his neck and whispering about last year’s tax return.

Really, I’m sure these days there are many wonderful drugs that would accomplish the same thing even better. Perhaps as something easily slipped into an iced tea, tasteless and made to work in a time-release manner.

I usually keep my tin foil hat packed away, I really do.

Still, I expect now we’ll probably never learn what Mr. Lay knew about the Cheney Energy Task Force. I’m guessing it was a lot. And had he decided to get back at Codpiece, who went from calling him “Kenny Boy” to “Who?” in the blink of an eye, there’d have been hell to pay.

I suppose Lay’s death could have been perfectly innocent and natural. Lots of people succumb to heart disease all the time, regardless of their financial and social standing in the world. But Ken Lay? Now? In a couple of months, he was going to be sentenced for fraud and conspiracy. And perhaps the idea of spending many, many years – perhaps even the rest of his life – in prison was just too stressful for a man who told the jury, regarding his personal spending habits, that it was “difficult to turn off that lifestyle like a spigot.” The very idea just ... gave him a heart attack.

I don’t really believe that, though. Do you?

1 comment:

Kevin Wolf said...

I'm just inherently skeptical of any conspiracy theory. They usually seem to big to go uncovered.

This case is plausible, though I don't think we'll ever know for sure.