Fenno

BY

The HLS academic calendar had finally reached the point where Fenno’s mind went in to hyperdrive. Once again it was Spring Break, and Fenno prepared to unleash the power that had been cultivated in his mind over the last seven months on unwitting vacationers. To the mind Harvard Law School was the Red Planet, and every time he departed Fenno became superman.

Fenno looked out of the window of the plane and marveled at the beauty of the Philippines. As he gazed, he contemplated the narrow minds of those HLS students who would ‘visit’ such locales as Negril and Cancun. They would quickly be whisked away from the airport by taxis that would take them to gated Spring Break communities where they would be assured minimal exposure to the native culture they were investigating. But not Fenno. He had planned for a vacation that would take him in into the very aorta of Filipino culture.

As Fenno stepped off of the plane he was greeted by the man from globaladrenaline.com that HLCentral had connected him with. Fenno approached and extended his hand.

“Mr. Fenno, I presume …” said the man sporting the globaladrenaline T-shirt and cap. Fenno nodded yes.

“As I’m sure you understand, Mr. Fenno, this trip is outside of even our scope of normal vacations. It is listed in our black book with our only classification beyond ‘challenging,’ which is of course ‘suicidal.'” Fenno nodded again. He had reviewed Global Adrenaline’s list of whitewater trips in Africa and hiking in Antarctica and found it all too tame. So he had emailed them to ask if there were something “stronger” they might prescribe for the extremely bored. Fenno explained that he had been sitting through a semester of Shavell’s “Even More Economics and the Law Seminar.” The people at Global Adrenaline had quickly understood and had guaranteed him the adventure of a lifetime. Fenno figured that you couldn’t sit on summer associate earnings and absurd tax returns forever.

His host gestured towards a helicopter on the other side of the runway and began jogging toward it. Fenno followed him and moments later found himself gazing at the beauty of Cebu and Davao beneath him. But something was strange. Fenno had gone over the flight path dozens of times in anticipation of this moment, but this looked different. He checked his compass. They were definitely heading northwest, but at this point they should have been headed to the south. Fenno reached to tap the pilot of the helicopter on the shoulder; his hand was slapped by the copilot. As he struggled to understand the strange dynamics unfolding in the chopper he noticed that both men in front of him were donning strange looking backpacks. Odd, Fenno thought, and then he saw the ripcords. Moments later the windows on either side of the pilots popped open and Fenno saw each man dive out of the side of the helicopter. He was alone, and his knowledge of the Bell Jet Ranger 2 helicopter was woefully inadequate.

Fenno had to think quickly as the helicopter sped, unpiloted, towards an uncertain fate. He searched the cabin for another chute, and strangely enough there was one with a huge red X painted across it. He had no time to contemplate the meaning of this symbol, so he strapped on the chute and dove out of the chopper. As Fenno felt the rush of free-fall he tried to remember how many seconds Roger Moore typically had waited before pulling the string to release the chute. He yanked it, and found himself floating slowly towards the rainforest. It was starting to get dark, and Fenno needed to find cover. He pulled his compass out of his pocket and headed north. If he kept straight, he figured, he would have to come out of the rainforest at some point.

The rainforest was getting thicker as darkness settled on Fenno. Up ahead he heard a drumbeat, and reasoned that he must have found his way back to civilization. The assholes at Global Adrenaline were in for the lawsuit of a lifetime when he caught up to them. Fenno saw light as he approached the sound of the drums and soon he was at the edge of a clearing. The scene in front of him was something the likes of which Fenno hadn’t seen since “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Men dressed in stereotypically tribal clothing were chanting and beating on drums while a small child sat on an alter waving his arms. It seemed strange to Fenno that the men’s clothing didn’t appear to be appropriate for any culture in the Eastern Hemisphere, but he couldn’t focus on that.

This scene was disturbing. Behind the small child, several crosses were burning and two men stood in the traditional garb of the Ku Klux Klan. Fenno didn’t remember ever hearing about the Klan being in this part of the Philippines … but the look was unmistakable. Just as Fenno reasoned that the setting was sufficiently unattractive so as to warrant evacuation, he felt a prick in his neck. Fenno reached at what he thought must be a mosquito bite and found a blowdart. Before he could look around to find the shooter, he felt himself losing consciousness.

When he awakened he had been placed on one of the crosses that had been extinguished as the others burned nearby. Fenno looked down from his crucifix and saw the child who had been waving his arms brandishing a knife. The other men were still chanting and beating on drums. The child was putting on a Ku Klux Klan hood.

“What are you doing?” yelled Fenno.

“We are preparing to kill you for your impurity, nigger!” yelled the child.

“But, I’m Irish!” yelled Fenno. “Can’t you see the characteristic sunburn on this white skin, you fool! Besides which, you’re Filipino! What kind of Filipinos have a Klan rally?!” yelled Fenno. The drum beating stopped, and the child pulled his hood off.

“Look, you don’t have to get all offended and stuff. I mean, its just a word we use. I mean, I wasn’t trying to offend you or anything. I mean, obviously you’re white, but it’s just a word, you know?” said the child. He was looking at the knife pensively. Fenno wondered if the kid even understood how sharp it was.

For some reason the kid looked confused and hurt. It was insane. Fenno was afraid of what might happen next. He had to appeal to the adults who were present.

“You men! Cut me down! This child is mad!” said Fenno. One of the men approached Fenno’s cross.

“The child has scored in the 99th percentile on several standardized tests,” said the man in the strange tribal clothing. He pulled out something that looked like a college board readout.

“But that’s just a test! That doesn’t mean he’s equipped to lead a group of lunatics to murder! What group of adults believe that a kid is capable of handling complex adult responsibilities like leading a Jim Jones-style cult just because he scored high on a test!” said Fenno.

The men were shrugging and pointing fingers at one another. One of them approached Fenno’s cross and started to cut him down. He was mumbling under his breath.

“Well, I guess for at least the Klan part I’m a little responsible,” said the man cutting him down. He looked strangely familiar to Fenno.

“I mean, I just don’t think that just because they’re Filipino, the culture of Southern American hate-mongers should be off-limits to them, and I told the kid that!”

It hit Fenno that it was Randall Kennedy that was cutting him down. So he was behind this! But, how had Kennedy gotten all the way to this island? There were so many questions, but he realized that he was still with a group of madmen, and at any moment they might turn on him. Fenno started to run for the woods and just as he reached the darkness he felt himself stepping off a ledge. He was falling again, and this time he had no chute. Fenno contemplated his death as he tumbled over what had to be a hidden cliff in the rainforest, and then he felt the impact. But strangely, there was no pain. Lights came on and Fenno saw that he was sitting on an aircushion. He was surrounded by all of his colleagues and professors at HLS, and the man from Global Adrenaline. David Rosenberg was lifting a glass of champagne in toast.

“Even though, Fenno, the commies, the bitches and the blacks have contributed nothing to life on this planet, here’s to Fenno,” said Rosenberg. Everyone was applauding and smiling. The man from Global Adrenaline was approaching the still-dazed Fenno.

“It was just a game Fenno,” he said. “Just a game.”

Fenno shook his head, unsure what to make of a game that no one won.

Comments