Another Brick in the Wall

((JP Between Turk and Blitzen))

“Hey, how’s it going? Sucks about the team, sorry.” London semi-absently told one of the pitchers from the boys baseball team as she passed him in the hall. Recent cuts meant that there’d be no competitive team this year, they’d be relegated to a club. Some of the players took it in stride, others transferred or at least threatened to. She didn’t stop to have a lengthy conversation, mostly she wanted to pick up her card and get the rest of her shit from the car to give her temporary parking to someone else who needed it.

“Four-oh-five…” She read aloud. “Four-oh-seven…. Four-oh-nine. Dorm sweet dorm.” The door cracked open and a cold wind blew out that struck London like a truck. Inside the sound of fervent typing could barely be heard under the constant sound of the air conditioner. It might have been 80 degrees out, but in the dark room it might very well be hitting 40.

“Damn.” She said, wrapping her arms around the shoulders. “The Rink is warmer than this.” Blowing on one hand, she instinctively tried to turn on the light as she stepped into the well-chilled room.

A sharp monotone voice came from the room, “NO, no lights! Room rule #24: No lights during daylight hours! I am working. And close the door, room rule #35: don’t mess with the temperature.” The voice originated from a figure seated in front of a computer screen which seemed filled with science articles and papers.The girl only turned briefly and let her face illuminate a a scowled and bespeckled pale face.

“That’s-- a lot of rules.” London said with an uncomfortable chuckle, but none the less, she did close the door behind her and left the lights off. “I…. guess we’re roommates! I’m London.” She rocked on her heels, suddenly looking a little more forward to the apartment lottery of next year. Maybe there was a sorority to rush?

“Right introductions, Sirah, spelled with an I and not an A, endeavour to not make this mistake” Sirah then turned back to her computer screen and pulled her black hair into a tight ponytail.

“I will keep that in mind.” London replied, peering over to see what the girl was hard at work on. “And I’m from Michigan, so I’m probably pretty okay with the cold.” She suddenly wished she’d brought her good comforter from home, the one with the down feathers and flannel cover. She set her bag down on the bunk nearest the windows. “So-- you’re a-- science major?”

The girl scoffed without breaking her flow of typing, “For your information I am a Pre-Med and Computer Science major, from my research into you I can see that there may be some overlap between our courses of study, though I would hesitate to call us colleagues. My path is what many would call a bit more rigorous” She stopped typing and closed out of 5 tabs of papers. She got up and pulled a large textbook down from the shelf above her laptop, briefly looking at London, “Because of my greater workload I think it is obvious that I be able to dictate the room’s settings and rules as I will be spending far more time here than you.” She placed the textbook down beside her computer and opened a new document, feverishly typing in some kind of code, “You are free to begin unpacking, I have marked off your areas, room rule #2: do not cross these lines.”

“I’m in a lot of clubs.” London admitted, thankful that she’d have some place to go other than the room. “So I think you’re right about spending more time here than me. I have to grab the rest of my stuff.” Putting one hand on the doorknob, she hesitated for a minute. “Just so you know, my dad paid off the room and board for this semester already. If you had designs on this semester having a single room, I’m sorry, but it’s not going to happen.”

Sirah did not react to this at all, continuing to type rapidly and only stopping to reference the textbook occasionally. She responded briefly and monotonically, “Your response was to be expected and has been noted. Please know however that I would not bother forwarding you the room rules via your school email if I had any intentions of you not being in this room. I assure you I intend for both of our times here to be very productive and have merely taken steps to ensure this.” At this a small ping hit London’s phone as an email from Sirah titled ROOM RULES with a large text document attached to it came into her inbox.

“Oh.” London replied, the wind knocked from her sails. She’d thought Sirah had merely wanted to literally freeze her out as a roommate, but it now seemed that wasn’t the case. She wanted to be accomodating, but Sirah was sounding downright unreasonable. “I’ll just get my stuff then, for my designated area.” Maybe one of the pre-law kids could help her out with the ROOM RULES. “It’ll-- It’ll be a great year, Sirah.”

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