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A4 The Kyla by Bruce Meyer "What are we doing tonight?" Joram asked lounging in an old amorphous bean-filled chair in their dorm room while staring at a ceiling made of porous concrete.
"Math," Nick grumbled. "That's what I'm doing." He was sitting at his desk with his back to Joram, his omni portal laid flat with multiple layers of colored numbers and figures dancing across the opaque screen. But it was consistently flashing red, which meant he was consistently getting the wrong answer, and consistently throwing up his hands in frustration.
"Come on, give it up! It's Friday afternoon. Let's go do something."
Nick turned around with a scowl spread across his broad face, "You could help me out instead of just sitting there."
"Not on Friday afternoon, I can't."
"So what? I haven't heard of anything going on." Nick said.
"There's always something going on at the Kyla."
"Who's going to be there?"
"I don't know, let's just go. We can have some energy drinks, meet some people and stuff."
Nick turned abruptly around and got to work again. "Just let me finish another problem."
Nick looked out of place sitting at a desk. Joram thought he belonged rather in some kind of athletic event, pounding away at an opponent instead of numbers and figures.
"I give up." Nick slammed his hand on the screen a little too hard. "I can't get it tonight."
"I've been waiting for you to say that. I finished mine hours ago."
"But you're a supercharged spinning neutrino with a brain."
"Yeah, but you have all the friends."
Joram and Nick grabbed the elevator down to the ground floor, walked across the lounge area and out the doors of the North Dorm Tower, heading south for the antique twentieth century coffee house called the Kyla.
"You have so many friends; everybody likes you.
"What are you talking about?"
"Back up in Antigo, in school, you had so many friends, and everywhere we went everybody knew you."
"Oh that. That's just because of sports. I was the only one crazy enough to be in football, wrestling, track, and both baseball and tennis at the same time. You get to know a lot of people when you do that."
Joram walked along in silence, looking down. Yes, Nick did a lot of sports, and he supposed that did make a difference, but there was something about Nick, his easy-going manner, and just his bigness. Everybody liked somebody big and tall. It made impressions, commanded respect, gained admiration. That was what Joram didn't have; what he would never have.
"What about you with being tops in the class? Everybody wanted to know you when we got here, the Pravus people and everybody-."
They had just entered a pair of heavy, rustically wooden doors underneath large, deep brown letters that spelled, "The Kyla." A blast of noise from the music and the crowd combined hit them from the packed shop. From the ceiling hung generations of energy drinks, from coffee mugs to taurine drinks to ones packed with all varieties of stimulants.