Fenno

BY

Fenno sat on the couch and flipped aimlessly through the channels, stopping on a new Arthur Miller special called “Taking Your Ball and Going Home: How to Get Your Way by Sulking.” Fenno marveled at Miller’s ability to look dignified while describing how he had gotten everything he had ever wanted at HLS simply by threatening to quit if his wishes were not granted.

“So then they told me I had to teach Civil Procedure in one semester, and I told them I was leaving,” Miller was saying, recounting his great victory over the administration back in the forties. He repeated this exact series of events about sixty times, which brought him up to the present.

“And now they’re after me again,” Miller said, “with this law colleges nonsense. Well, I won’t do it, so I’m going on sabbatical to NYU for a year. We’ll see how they like that!” At this point, Miller carefully removed his right hand from his pocket, stuck his thumb in his mouth and began sucking furiously.

Hmmm … no more Artie next year, Fenno thought. That should be nice. I just wish they had sent him to Columbia, not NYU. Fenno had noticed Columbia nipping at HLS’s heels in this year’s U.S. News rankings, only two points behind. He figured that the addition of a surly old prick with nothing interesting to say would push Columbia back down where they belonged but apparently that was to be NYU’s lot.

Relaxing with his six-pack of beer, Fenno would have been happy to sit in his room and watch Arthur drone on a while longer. Everyone else was outside enjoying the “beautiful weather.” When did fifty degrees and cloudy become beautiful? Fenno wondered. But Fenno would have to face the elements if he was to see the only interesting HLS graduate of the last three decades, Scott Turow.

Ames Courtroom was packed with budding law school authors, all hoping to suck up to Turow after the talk and find themselves miraculously rescued from the squalor of law firm life. One such charity case sat in front of Fenno. His name was LawReviewDork. “Hey man, what’s with the papyrus?” Fenno asked.

“You refer to my collection of reading material?” said LawReviewDork.

“Yeah. What gives? Those are all for Turow to sign?”

“Oh, quite the contrary, Fenno,” said LawReviewDork. He knows my name! Fenno thought. I have never felt so special in all my life! “Perhaps if you had perused my suggested reading list on Amazon, you would know that this encompasses the width and breadth of established knowledge in the field of jurisprudence. I brought it for Mr. Turow’s ennoblement, not for his inscription.”

Fenno raised an eyebrow. “So what you got in there? A little Presumed Innocent? Personal Injuries?”

LawReviewDork laughed. “Oh no, my good man. Those are purely pedestrian attempts at eliciting legal thrills. For a real page turner, try The Critical Legal Studies Movement by Roberto Mangabeira Unger. Or, there’s A Critique of Adjudication by Duncan Kennedy. Of course, if you’re looking for something more academic …”

A chorus of shhhhs silenced the dork. Turow was about to speak.

This was the moment Fenno had waited for, but he was sorely disappointed. There were no war stories, no tirades. Not even a lousy “HLS sucks!” chant from the crowd. Fed up with all the yammering about civil liberties, Fenno stood up and screamed, “Yo!” A thousand heads turned and looked. An old woman in front of Fenno clutched her purse closer and muttered the words “reefer madness.”

“Scooter… I can call you Scooter, right?” said Fenno to Turow.

A thousand heads swiveled and stared at Turow, who looked scared. “Um, well, yes.”

“Good.” To the crowd, Fenno said: “We both know each other, don’t we, Scooter? That’s right, we go way back. In 1978, young fresh-faced Scooter here paid me twenty bucks to finish up a term paper on legal education. I proceeded to crank out a novel-length compendium of vitriol directed at every corner of HLS, and it made you famous, didn’t it, Scooter? Oh yeah, you added a little bit of masochistic appreciation for this Hades on the Charles. And injecting your own neuroses on every page made that tripe your own personal ode to HLS. But we know it was mine all along …”

The crowd gasped, and Fenno leapt from the courtroom seats. Striding toward the podium, Fenno ranted like a madman. “That was my idea, man! I wanted to drop a literary bomb that would flatten this place forever, but like a cockroach, it came crawling out of the rubble. It survived!! Oh God, why did it survive!!”

As he rushed toward the speaker, Fenno was overwhelmed by a stampede of fellow audience members. By the time Fenno reached the stage, every last person in Ames Courtroom was waving a copy of 1L in front of Turow’s face. Fenno felt himself rudely elbowed aside from all directions. Over the din of people begging for autographs, he heard a high pitched whine. “Hello, Scott. I’m Arthur Miller of ABC News, the Harvard Law School and assorted on-line educational and entertainment ventures. Would you be so kind as to sign page 31 of 1L, where the character based on myself first appears. If you don’t, I’m quitting!”Fenno threw his hands up in disgust. “It survived,” he whispered.

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