Fenno: There Is No Spoon


Fenno blinked. This T station was blindingly white, and strangely empty. Fenno had never been here before.

Fenno stood up and looked around. The station extended in either direction. Fenno walked toward one end of the station and saw Samir Joshi standing with a girl he didn’t recognize.

“Where am I? What are you doing here?” Fenno asked. He was confused and his head hurt.

“This place lies between two worlds,” replied Samir.

“What worlds? How did I get here?”

“This is the 3L year. It lies between law school and the real world. I don’t know how you got here. The only way through is on the train.”

“Who’s the girl?” inquired Fenno.

“Ummm . . . .” Samir shifted uneasily on his feet.

“Why is she here?”

The girl glared at Samir. He wrapped an arm around Fenno’s shoulder and guided him toward the other end of the train station.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell. Bros before hos, F,” Samir murmured. Fenno was about to ask another question when he heard the train coming. Samir continued, “Remember, you cannot get out of here without the driver, and he won’t take you unless she says you can go.”

When the train pulled up, Fenno saw that its only occupant was the weird bearded man driving.

“Hey Baby Dean,” said Fenno.

“You can only get on if she lets you on,” replied the Dean.

Fenno thought for a moment, then responded. “Oh, she said it’s cool.”

“Get on then.” Fenno climbed on the train and headed off into the unknown.

Shortly thereafter Fenno pressed the barrel of the gun into Pierre Arsenault’s forehead. The trip through the S&M club had been an adventure – shooting the bouncers, fighting those guys who ran along the ceiling, and, worst of all, catching a glimpse of Dan Weiner’s nipple rings.

Pierre sighed in melodramatic aggravation at the pistol in front of him. To his left, Lisa DiNoto winced as her various pieces of clothing strained to enhance her already impressive cleavage. The outfit creaked when she breathed and constantly quivered with tension. Pierre’s gang of thugs, a leather-clad assemblage of Law Review editors, Federalist Society members and angry Quebecois, stared daggers at Fenno.

“What do you want?” asked Pierre, clearly annoyed at having his party interrupted. Pierre spoke rapidly, his unmistakably Canadian accent punctuating his delivery like the chatter of a machine gun.

“Answers,” replied Fenno, sounding especially cool because the women at the sex party seemed pretty easy. His eyes flicked back and forth between Lisa’s bosom and Pierre’s face.

“What can I answer for you?” snarled Pierre.

“I want to know . . . I want to . . .” Fenno paused. He couldn’t remember why he was here. Damn it, this was no good. All that effort had to be for something.

“Are those real?” Fenno finally asked, flicking his head toward Lisa.

“I will tell you, but only if you bring me the eyes of the Oracle!” Pierre sneered.

“Do you mean Ask Amanda? Because I think she likes her eyes, and honestly, I’m a little bit scared of her,” replied Fenno.

“Then you must go through life never knowing!” cackled the saucy Pierre as he convulsed with laughter.

“Okay. I was just curious.” Fenno left the party, pissed off that he had forgotten why he went through all that effort and even more pissed off that he couldn’t manage to get laid at a sex party.

Fenno was not sure where the party had been, but he turned a corner and found himself in the tunnels beneath the Law School. After squeezing his way through a throng of tribal dancers (Fenno assumed they were a new affinity group), he arrived at a long table. Seated at the table were a number of people he recognized.

“Lawrence Lessig? Kathleen Sullivan? Cornel West? What are you all doing here?”

“We broke free from the world above, the Harvard world. Now we live down here. Except when we’re at Stanford,” said Lessig.

“Or Princeton,” chimed in West.

“That’s great, glad to hear that’s all working out for you,” said Fenno.

“Now you must go to into the Harvard world, into the heart of the Harvard . . .” began Lessig.

“I saw the movie, I get it. And hey, Mr. ‘Councilor West,’ I hear that your books heavily influenced the Wachowskis when they wrote the second and third Matrix movies. Good job there, superguy. Larry Summers is looking better every day that goes by.” Fenno nursed a grudge; $10 was $10, and the movie had really sucked. “By the way, did your students enjoy the time off while you shot the movie? Nice job fulfilling those professorial duties. Maybe it’s time for another rap album.”

Leaving the room (rather quickly) before West could reach him, Fenno walked until he was beneath Griswold. Time to meet his destiny.

Fenno charged up the stairs. He paused for a moment to enjoy his view of the Cambridge sky. Then Harvard policemen battered him with batons as he pushed forward. Fenno had to use his powers of journalistic anonymity to stop their rubber bullets before they could hit him.

Finally, he reached the Dean’s office. Panting and bruised, he slammed the door shut on the angry cops and assessed the situation.

A short woman looked up at him. Fenno was confused.

“Who are you?”

“I’m the Dean, Fenno.”

“You look . . . different.”

“President Summers came. He did things. I had to assume a new physical shell,” said the Dean.

“Whoa.” Fenno delivered the tagline perfectly, slack-jawed, vacant-eyed, his brain devoid of all thought. It would have been very Zen if his stupidity hadn’t been so sincere.

“I’ve been expecting you, Fenno,” said the Dean.

“Umm . . . then why did you have all your goons try to kill me?” replied Fenno. His nose started to bleed, and he hadn’t even picked it lately. That beating had hurt.

“Never mind that. Sometimes things don’t make sense so we can advance the plot. Do you want a cookie?” asked the Dean, holding out a tray.

“Aren’t I supposed to fight a big army of clones or something?” asked Fenno. He was getting a little confused here; the plot hadn’t made sense, but at least he knew where it was supposed to be going. This was new.

“Oh heavens no. This is Harvard Law School – churning out that big army of clones is what we do best,” replied the Dean, smiling sweetly.

“Okay. In that case, I’ll just be going now. It’s almost six o’clock and I’m starting to sober up.” Fenno mopped at the blood with his sleeve and wondered what the hell the point of all this was. The Dean gave Fenno a cookie and ushered him toward the door. As he was leaving, he saw President Summers stroll in.

“How long do you think this truce will last?” asked Summers.

“As long as it can,” replied the Dean. Fenno rubbed his temples and got the hell out.

Looking around to make sure he wasn’t seen, Fenno concentrated hard. The air around him rippled and he launched into the sky. On the flight home, Fenno reflected on his unusual experiences. A thought struck him – at least his day had paralleled The Matrix Revolutions and not Master & Commander. All those burly guys with not a woman in sight made Fenno a little nervous.

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