Fenno

BY

Fenno rolled around the ground trying to contain his laughter.

“How dare he openly confront our cowardly slanders? He has no sense of decency!” squealed a voice full of self-righteous indignation from the upper floor of Gannett House.

“It’s because he’s incapable of starting his own rumors. Oh sure, Aaron, he tries-like that one about you begging some Lesley chick to call you Professor Katz while she was ‘grading your curve’ – but it’s just pathetic.”

“Riiiiight … rumor … yeah … anyway, I think it’s appalling that he and the other little people bothered to confront us at all. It’s like David versus Goliath,” replied the first voice.

“Didn’t David win?”

“Whatever.”

A third voice broke in.

“Jesus, are you idiots still talking about this? You made us all look like arrogant pricks. Let it go before you further embarrass yourselves. Don’t make Giovinazzo pimp slap you again.”

Fenno finally let out a half-chocked guffaw. He wished they’d give Gio another reason to whip out his mighty pimp hand and deliver a second thumping.

With the arrival of the voice of maturity, the conversation in Gannett lost its hilarity, so Fenno moved on, climbing up the ladder out of Adam White’s Super-Secret, Super-Cool Satellite Spy Lair, its sensors constantly trained to the Law Review’s high-pitched frequency, and stalked north. His plan was to steal candy from the Bar-Bri table in the Hark. Lisa Keyfetz might try to stop him, but Fenno was a sly dog and he knew Voltaire would hook him up.

“Oh my God! Fenno! You have to help me out here!” A frantic Ellen Ginsberg ran up to Fenno.

“What’s up Ellen? Parody problems?”

“Yeah, the show starts soon and the poles are missing!”

“Missing Poles? I’d start asking the Germans some tough questions,” replied Fenno.

“No you idiot, poles for the dancing! We need them for tonight!”

“Pole dancing? You have pole dancing in the Parody? Hot damn!” Fenno reached into a pocket and pulled out a wad of money. After separating the singles out and sticking them back in his pocket, he thrust the remainder toward Ellen. “Can I get front row seats for every show?”

Ellen took the money without making any promises. Seeing that Fenno would be no help, she went looking for more competent help.

Fenno continued toward the Hark. He noticed Heather Gerken heading toward him from the other direction. As they passed each other, she cocked her arm back and punched him full on in the face.

“Owwww!” shouted Fenno, clutching at his nose as blood began to spurt. He spit some of the copper taste out of his mouth and reflected on the unlikelihood of the realization of his 1L crush on her.

“Listen, you son of a bitch, I read your response to the gender inequality survey and I just want to say you disgust me. People like you should be put down. You better hope to God I never see you in a crosswalk when I’m driving.” Gerken spat on Fenno and walked away.

Fenno wiped the spittle off and did his best to bleed on the ground and not his coat. “I guess I’m not as anonymous a writer as I thought,” he muttered ruefully. A cluster of LLM students pointed and laughed at him. Deciding that the coat was already boned, Fenno sopped up as much of the blood as he could with his sleeve and stumbled into Langdell to recover.

“Holy crap Fenno, you look like hell,” came a voice from above. Fenno looked up, then looked up some more, then continued looking up until he saw B.J. Trach gazing down at him with concern.

“Hey B.J. I just got ganked by Gerken.”

“Ouch. Here’s some tissue for that blood. I have to run, I have to get back to the Law Review and get some work done,” said B.J.

“Have fun,” Fenno said. He collapsed into a chair in the Lehman Lounge and spent a few minutes listening to self-involved blabber and trying to stop bleeding.

(At that moment, Adam White moved into his sub-Langdell outpost, playing back Gannett House surveillance tapes and trying to steal a 3L’s secret recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies. It was almost too damned easy.)

“Fenno stared at the portrait of the first class of women at HLS. They stared back, looking prim and earnest and steadfast. Fenno wondered how he would have reacted if he had been a student back then. Aside from hitting on them, how would he have treated them? In his groggy state, his mind began to construct a hazy vision of the past. Then, with a start, he felt a hand gently but firmly shaking his shoulder.

“Wake up, Fenno. Can you hear me? Are you okay? Wake up,” insisted a kindly voice

“Gosh Fenno, you look like hell,” said a raspy but not unkind voice.

“Professor Westfall? Professor Shapiro? I was just at the law school of the past, and you were there, and you were there, and . . .”

“Fenno, I think you’re hurt. We’d better get you to Student Health Services,” said Professor Westfall helping him up.

“Okay, but there’s something I have to do along the way,” said Fenno. The two veteran professors helped Fenno out the door and toward Pound.

“The Hark first, please-I really need to do this,” Fenno begged. The professors fretted but nevertheless acquiesced. They helped Fenno into the Hark, where he stole the Bar-Bri candy and caught hell from Lisa Keyfetz for bleeding all over the Bar-Bri table. Westfall and Shapiro half-carried Fenno to the end of the Hark, toward the old Record mailbox.

“Right here,” wheezed Fenno. Spots danced in front of his eyes and his breath came ragged; his nose was crusted with blood and his equilibrium was in a tizzy. Drawing on unknown reserves of strength, Fenno withdrew a piece of paper from his pocket and mailed in his column.

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