Jende drives Clark to a golf course in Westchester one afternoon. Clark has taken up his friend Phil’s invitation to play but regrets it, believing he could be in the office instead. Worse, he has a stiff neck. Halfway to the course, Clark’s mother calls, but he cuts their conversation short to take a call from his boss, the CEO, Tom. Jende notices how affable Tom’s voice sounds compared to Clark’s, but it soon rises when Tom talks to Clark about his wish to come clean and tell the world that Lehman Brothers is in trouble. Clark insists that they need to change their approach and that he disagreed with Tom’s refusal to accept an infusion of cash from the Chinese to help them get out of their mess. Tom interrupts Clark to tell him not to “circumvent” his authority again by talking to a board member.
Clark is overwhelmed by the pressures of his job and the stress is starting to show in his body, as indicated by his stiff neck. These physical signs of stress parallel with those that Jende will later experience when he, too, starts working too much toward no productive end. Clark, unlike Tom, seems to feel guilty about his role in Lehman Brothers’ impending doom. Tom’s refusal of money from the Chinese to save the company could be perceived as arrogance and unwillingness to accept help from foreigners, despite however jobs will be lost from the company’s collapse.
Clark reminds Tom that they may soon have to face Congress. Also, what’s the next generation of Wall Street employees going to think of them? Another phone rings where Tom is. He calls the person on the other end “honey” and says that “he would be there, no way in the world was he going to miss it.” He then returns to his call with Clark and offers him the possibility of resigning. Clark says that he’ll remain at the firm. Tom is pleased to hear this and says that, if someday he’s proven wrong, Clark “can look back at this moment and be damn proud of [himself].”
Unlike Clark, who cuts a conversation with his mother short to talk to Tom, Tom interrupts his conversation with Clark to talk to a loved one, suggesting that he’s more invested in his personal life than he is in whatever will happen at Lehman Brothers. Clark, ironically, demonstrates more fidelity and effort toward the firm than he does to his family, insisting on doing all that he can to set things right.