Fenno

BY

Three days ago, its bucket had been more or less kicked, but – buckling under Fenno’s deft and determined grip – the tube of toothpaste reluctantly gave up a final pea-sized dollop of paste. It was enough minty freshness to get Fenno to the drugstore without having to skillfully avoid a run-in with somebody she knew, though she would do so anyway. A swig of mouthwash before leaving her apartment knocked out any lingering germs (and halitosic anxiety).As one who looked forward to the weekend like a fasting Jew looks forward to sundown, Fenno couldn’t be happier that it was Friday. Already the decision to skip her lone scheduled class – Fluff and the Law of Non-Substance – had been made. She’d just get the notes from Mariko Miki.Swinging by Pound Hall to retrieve another packet that would invariably end up unread on her floor, strewn about like so much academic confetti, Fenno noticed Professor Stuntz barreling down the sidewalk like a madman. “You gotta help me! Please, tell them I went that way,” he said, motioning towards Porter Square. “Who? Who’s them?” Fenno asked, just as her eyes caught glimpse of an angry mob charging her way.”3Ls! They all want me to be their paper advisor. They’re out for blood. I get calls and e-mails at all hours of the night. Some have threatened to swap my painkillers with rat poison unless I sign off on their topic. Shhh, they’re coming,” whispered Stuntz as he darted behind a bush.”Where is that motherfucker? Tell us,” huffed an irate Seth Caffrey, flaming torch in hand.”I…I think I saw him heading up towards Starbucks. He has a cane and blazer, right?””Yeah, that’s him alright. Gentlemen,” called Seth to the seething rabble behind him. “Our target has been spotted heading north. We must show no mercy in apprehending him. Do not break your pace to avoid speeding cars. Do not alter your course to avoid trampling babies and pets. Operation Enduring Neuroses shall not fail!” Minutes after the last straggler was long gone, Stuntz emerged from his ersatz foxhole to thank Fenno before scurrying off into the distance.Shaken, Fenno proceeded down to the Distribution Center, which was predictably empty.”Hellooooo? Is there anybody here? I need a packet.” Exactly twenty minutes later, an employee finally showed up, excusing his temporary absence.”Sorry, I was on lunch break.” The time was 4:40.”Can you just get me second supplement for Legal Seafood,” barked a frustrated Fenno. “Who’s teaching that?””Professor Zagat,” she said.Fenno stuffed the packet into her backpack and, remembering she had a doctor’s appointment, made her way to the nearby health services. After another interminable wait, the doctor was finally ready to see her.”Well, your hand looks much better. I think you’re healed,” he said.”Healed? What’s the story with all this goddamn hair on my palm?””Oh, that? Well, er… that’s a completely normal side effect. What matters most is that your hand works.””Look, you promised me a ‘perfect’ hand. You said it would be 100% good as new. Somehow, I don’t think this gorilla paw you gave me qualifies as ‘perfect.'””Come on, when people say ‘perfect,’ nobody really means ‘perfect’ as in ‘perfect perfect.’ That’s just doctor speak.””Well,” stammered an increasingly vexed Fenno, “what about these red splotches I’ve had on my neck for three weeks. Did you get the test results back?””Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about those too much. Take some Sudafed and buy a humidifier, you’ll be fine.””If you don’t mind my asking, where the hell did you get your medical degree?””Bob Jones Med,” replied the doctor. “We studied some anatomy, I guess, but mostly I learned that human diseases are God’s way of punishing people for their sins. You’re not a homosexual, are you?””What?! This is ridiculous! I’m leaving.” Reaching the waiting room, Fenno added, “And for the record, I am gay, you homophobic quack!””A lesbian Fenno?,” remarked Albert von Bigglesby, class of 1872. “My dear my, I never thought I would see the day. When I was a student, all the Fennos were white, property-owning males. Oh, how refreshing this is. You know, HLS in the 19th century was so dreadfully heteronormative. It simply-“”Yeah, I’m in a rush. Thanks, though,” said Fenno as she raced out.In the hallway, Fenno ran into Jamie Bartholomew, casts on all of her limbs but one. “Hey, Jamie. What brings you here?””I think I have it. That deadly flu. I mean, I drink at least two bottles of Evian a day. My chances are so high.””What are you talking about?””The Evian flu! I have it, I just know it. I tried switching to Poland Spring as soon as I heard about it on the news, but I’m afraid it’s too late.””Ummm, Jamie… never mind, good luck with that.”Fenno emerged from the tunnels and felt weak. She no longer cared about the toothpaste or any other of the errands. All she wanted to do was crawl up in a ball under her covers and weep for all of humanity. It was in this abject state that she saw the one thing that had the power to completely rejuvenate her body and soul: Michele Murphy’s midriff. To Fenno, it was perfect (as in ‘perfect perfect’): tender but not flabby, toned but not overly muscular, tan but not burned. And at its center, a tiny, indented “inny,” radiating sunshine, like the all-seeing eye on the back of a one dollar bill. The levees of Fenno’s loins had officially burst, letting forth a juicy flow of love nectar.Quivering, Fenno turned to Michele as she passed and managed to utter, “Thank you, you have saved me. You… you made my day. I don’t quite know how to express my gratitude.””No,” said Michele. “You have done enough. My prayers have been answered. Now all will read about me and my hot-ass stomach!””Huh?” Fenno tried to make sense of Michele’s words, but to no avail. “What are you talking about?””Out West, Fenno,” replied Michele, “the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them.” With that, she departed.The entire day had been more surreal than a Max Ernst painting, and Fenno had had enough. She let out a cathartic wail that could be heard all the way up by Porter. Maybe people were growing delirious because of the inclement weather. Or maybe it was just pre-flyout week fever. Whatever the reason, Fenno resolved not to care. Collecting herself, she drew a long breath, let it out, and took her first step towards CVS to purchase a brand new tube of toothpaste.

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