Fenno grinned. It was finally time. At long, long last, after three years of seeing it and wanting it and having to restrain himself, he could do it. Under the watchful eye of one of the fungible proctors, Fenno fulfilled his fantasy and checked The Box.
The Box held so much promise. It said, hey, professor, I may not have been to class in three months, but you’re not allowed to fail me. It said, I only showed up for this exam to check The Box, and that’s pretty cool. It said, I probably should have studied, at least a little, just on principle, but everybody knows I didn’t, and I’ll still get that diploma.
Fenno smiled at the proctor as he handed her his exam.
“Are you sure you want to turn this in, Mr. Fenno?” asked the proctor. “You realize we open up again at 3:30, you could have another six hours to take the exam.”
“No, that’s ok, thanks. I really should get to sleep,” replied Fenno.
He reflected on his exam answer: “Federal courts is an interesting and many-faceted topic. Courts are big buildings. Judges live in them. Some courts are federal courts and some courts are state courts. I was stranded in Greenland for the semester after trying to single-handedly break up a white slavery ring while donating my kidney to a nun, and therefore could not attend class. Jurisdiction is confusing. Please note that I checked The Box.”
Despite the high probability of a less-than-stellar grade in Fed Courts, Fenno still felt like an over-achiever. He had turned in his third-year paper by the second deadline- never mind that he had done so to avoid the effort of getting a second extension form signed. Fenno thought smugly of [roommate who might get in serious academic trouble for doing what Fenno is about to disclose and thus will remain anonymous], who had taken the winter writing option and was still not finished with her paper. He decided that this sardonic sense of superiority must be what the Law Review crew felt all the time. No wonder they were such pricks.
Moving his thoughts away from HLS, Fenno reflected on things to come. He looked forward to the summer. For the first time in three years he would not be surrounded by lawyers or proto-lawyers. Instead, his life would involve interesting people, people with personalities. The bar exam could not be that hard, and Fenno figured a couple hours with the BAR/BRI outline would get him through that just fine. Which meant three whole months of tanning, swimming, drinking, gambling, maybe a little sailing. And to top it all off, Fenno already had a spot for his Xbox picked out right near the air conditioner, ensuring it would stay cool enough to play for hours on end.
But a hint of bittersweet anxiety laced Fenno’s anticipation. He would miss Jason Mayberry begging to appear in Fenno (again). He would miss Professor Stuntz’s undying loyalty to the Sox. He would miss the Kong. He would miss Adam White’s frustration with Fenno’s inability to meet deadlines. Most of all, he would miss not having to hold down a job or work more than 5 hours a month.
And of course, Fenno feared graduation. Not for any of the “Oh my God what am I going to do with my life?” reasons, but because he would have to introduce Ma and Pa Fenno to his friends. Fenno had met some of his friend’s parents and they were cool-Ask Amanda’s dad, for example, proved to be a lot of fun. But Fenno’s parents, while wonderful people, knew exactly what to do around Fenno’s friends to make him feel awkward. Fenno also knew they were going to give him hell for not having his picture in the yearbook. Fenno had settled on a plan to get through it all: he hoped that by drinking a bucket of grain alcohol before venturing out on Graduation Day, he could avoid embarrassment.
If that didn’t work, he’d have a great excuse to hide in the Forest Café bathroom. He’d done it before, and now that they’d had a few months to clean it after Fenno’s last visit, he felt comfortable returning.
Graduation Day also brought the promise of booing Kofi Annan and writing something clever (or, since this was Fenno, stupid) on his mortarboard. Fenno just hoped ol’ Kofi would not turn into a giant snake and necessitate blowing up a chunk of the school. Barring that, graduation promised to be a good couple of days, a last chance to hang out, a last chance to be a student, a last chance to see some decent people that Fenno would never see again.
“Hey Fenno,” said Fred Pollock, walking up and interrupting Fenno’s self-indulgent musing. “Shouldn’t this thing have some dialogue? And isn’t it supposed to be funny?”
“Who do you think I am, Jeremy Blachman?” Fenno asked defensively.
“Hell no, he’s funny,” interjected Mark DeLaquil, who had joined Fenno and Fred outside Pound Hall, where Fenno had wandered after handing in his exam. “You heading home to take the exam?”
“No, I just dropped it off,” Fenno responded. Mark stared at him for a moment, then shook his head.
“Anyway,” Fenno said, “I’m young, but not getting any younger. I’m off to squander what’s left of my youth at Forest. Tequila, anybody?”
“No thanks, I can’t afford new shoes,” said Fred, thinking back to Fenno’s birthday. “By the way, shouldn’t you end with a joke?”
Fenno thought for a moment, and then uttered, with great finality, “Legal scholarship.”