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The Poison Ivy League Part 41-One Last Harvard Tournament

May 3, 2011

By this time, Metella and Lucan were long broken up. The issue became the topic of intense gossip in the North and South alike, for rumor had it that Metella had timed some stage of her exit to coincide with a hospital stay by her former lover, and many people suggested that she was something of a Jezebel for doing so. To Kimel, however, she always seemed friendly and earnest enough. Lucan was the one who conveyed a cold character, for all of his talent. Ultimately, though, private faces may not resemble public masks. The historian’s curse is that truth is wasted upon flies on the wall. The new celebrity couple from the South was soon Crassus and Antonina.

Kimel couldn’t help but wonder what Sulla A thought of these developments, since Metella had left him for Lucan almost exactly one year before. If schadenfreude ever got the best of him, he never revealed a trace of ill will or petty triumph in public or private. Perhaps he had moved on; he was by then dating a new girl—Marcella from Boston University, a minor player on APDA but the very personification of sweetness. Kimel enjoyed running into her now and then in the beautiful two bedroom apartment he shared with Sulla, equipped, to Kimel’s great satisfaction after a deprivation of three years, with cable television. Apuleius had long since moved to South America in an effort to help the underprivileged, so the common room was delightfully rid of his presence.

The Harvard tournament was large but largely dull. Metella and Sappho made it to semi-finals as Swarthmore A, losing out on a ticket to finals by one vote; someone stupidly told Josephus that his was the deciding ballot, and the weight of his decision seemed, to Kimel, to unhinge his wits. He voted incorrectly to most astute observers in a round about whether graduate students should be allowed to unionize. Sappho could have benefited by being a more forceful speaker, though—for all of her brilliance, she was too gentle and even-tempered an orator to truly win over the hearts of audiences in outrounds, which are more easily swayed by cocky self-assurance than quiet dignity.

In the final round, Cato lost to a competent but boring team from the University of Chicago. It was headed by the great Brian Fletcher’s younger brother, Fletcher the Younger. He ran the case that there should be no constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms, which Kimel thought a somewhat hackneyed topic. The judges’ votes were largely swayed by their personal politics. At the end of the competition, the boys from Chicago were joined in triumph by Vespasian, the top speaker, to Jason’s great satisfaction. He hoped that the memory of this victory would be remembered at the MIT tournament, as did Kimel.

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