Fenno

BY

Fenno said, “Try fellatio.”

Karen Pike glared at him. “Her password is not ‘fellatio.'”

“Try it, just once” urged Fenno. Rob Steenblik snickered. Karen reluctantly typed the word, hit enter, and grimaced when once again their efforts left them unsatisfied.

“This blows,” said Fenno. “How are we supposed to exact a terrible vengeance if we can’t find out who they are?”

“We need to find out soon, Snyder has the pitchforks and torches all ready to go,” replied Rob.

Fenno’s heart still burned incandescent with rage toward the spineless weasels who had snatched from him the most precious gift a professor could give: a floating exam. Professor Warren had caved to a handful of anonymous punks. Fenno wanted to engage in some serious tyranny of the majority-with extreme prejudice.

“There are three of them?” asked Karen.

“Yeah. And if an angry mob could track down Matthias Scholl, surely we ought to be able to nail these jerks who did something ten times as bad,” replied Fenno.

“Umm … I don’t think this is really ten times that bad. It’s not like these e-mails threatened Warren or overflowed with racist vitriol,” Rob countered.

“Have you read the e-mails? How do you know they don’t? Maybe the HLS Nazi Party is behind it. For all you know, these people are Klansmen. Or even worse, Episcopalians.

A young Hawaiian man, momentarily stirred by the excitement, went back to updating his web site, pleased as punch that two-thirds of the student body knew him better for his new e-casebook than for his previous literary exploits.

“This is pointless. Warren’s password could be anything. We may as well start studying,” Karen frustratedly exclaimed. Rob sighed.

“We’ll find those bastards,” said Fenno, “But first I’m getting a haircut.”

Fenno left the Lehmann Lounge and headed toward the Hark. Cliques of shifty-eyed students, huddled together and speaking in hushes tones, stared at Fenno as he walked toward the Hark. The vibe was definitely a bring-down these days.

The one bright spot was Jason Mayberry, who made Fenno’s day. Mayberry walked up to the edge of the plaza, looked around incredulously, and asked, “What the hell are all these chairs and tables doing here?”

In the Hark, huddles of 1Ls convulsed in terror while telling each other they weren’t really thinking about exams. A few pored over Jeremy Blachman’s haikus hoping to extract some nuggets of wisdom. One mentioned his good prospects for a Supreme Court clerkship. Fenno could not wait for February; for 1Ls with broken dreams and barren futures it was the cruelest month, but for cynical 3Ls it was great entertainment.

Matt Cooper, who had lived long enough to divorce his sense of identity from his transcript, sat downstairs with a beer and a wide-open grin as he took in the scene. He saw Fenno and waved. Suddenly struck by the unfairness of Coop’s beer possession and his own lack thereof, Fenno gave the old man the finger and headed toward the doors.

Fenno did not look forward to leaving the Hark. Dean Kagan could dump on it all she wanted-and to be fair the place really was awful, but next to the Grope who’d notice?-but in December the Hark was a step up from exposure to the elements. Between the snow and the gender-neutralizing cold, the outdoors lacked its early autumn appeal. He steeled himself and went through the doors, spitefully pushing the red button to share his misery.

“Man, it’s like Rura Penthe out there,” shivered Matt Heinz as he passed Fenno on his way into the Hark.

Fenno couldn’t agree more. As he passed the Grope, he felt a jiggling in his inner coat pocket and remember that fifth of Cuervo left over from Halloween; pretty soon there was an empty bottle on the side of Everett Street and a much happier Fenno walking up Mass Ave.

“Okay, I have to do this right,” Fenno said to himself. He walked past the barber shop, glancing in the window, and continued past the Aces, then stopped. “Six people,” he said, concentrating through the warm drunken haze.

Fenno walked back past the barber shop, looking in again and confirming the queue. He leaned against the dry cleaner’s window and waited. A minute later, Fenno saw what looked like a walking dead man stumbling up the street, arms wrapped around a disorganized stack of papers.

“Skrmetti? What the hell happened to you?” Fenno asked.

“Jourrrrrnaaaaal,” drooled the zombie, with less enthusiasm than a busload of nine-year-olds leaving Michael Jackson’s latest slumber party. He lurched past Fenno and into Three Aces.

“You should be playing Xbox!” Fenno shouted after him. At that moment, a satisfied and happy customer left the barber shop. Fenno jogged into the place and took a seat. He re-counted the customers smugly and looked forward to a quality haircut and a good chat about the Patriots.

Then, to Fenno’s annoyance, a phone rang. One of the men waiting for the barber answered it, blanched, and shouted “Oh my God, I’ll be right there!” as he ran out the door.

“Son of a bitch!” cursed Fenno. The order was off; now he was in line for the new young guy rather than the old Scalia lookalike. Unable to think of a graceful way to leave, Fenno shouted “Oh my God, I’ll be right there!” and ran out of the shop.

Back on Mass Ave., Fenno thought back to the Warren exam. What twisted jerk would screw over hundreds of people just to try to eke out a better grade, especially in a class full of 3Ls who by all rights should not give half a damn anymore? The answer, obviously, was a Harvard Law student. A drunk and angry Fenno pondered the competitiveness of 3Ls. If competitive 1Ls were silly, competitive 3Ls were just evil. Howard Dean evil.

“Don’t you people know you’re supposed to stop caring!” shouted Fenno. Passers-by crossed the street and left him alone on the sidewalk.

“It’s not like grades matter anymore,” Fenno mumbled, then paused. If grades didn’t matter, why was he so upset? The general jackassery of the hidden minority in Warren’s class was morally unbearable, true, but their misdeeds had little to do with Fenno. It wasn’t like he planned to study anyway. Fenno’s apathy heartened him, and his mood turned a boozy 180

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