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Nectar of the Gods on a Flying Saucer Almost every one of Erich Maria Remarque's novels is set in a bar or a cafe. The setting stays constant, the cast of characters feels a common purpose and the regulars ("lifers", in CyberX lingo) provide a Greek chorus. My story, for lack of more original ideas, is also set in a cafe.

Since I do not drink and lack knowledge of alcohol needed to make a bar setting convincing, make this place a coffee shop. A clean, java-flavored place on the corner of Lyndale Ave. and Lake St. in Minneapolis, called CyberX will do. Since they serve very good coffee, I will now have a cup and then continue writing.

Brian, owner of CyberX Meet the owner of CyberX, Brian. He's the original Man with Character. Not smiley or servile a la "Would you like fries with that, Sir?"...but dependable, constant and generally too busy to bother talking to mere people. He also makes awesome Albino Turtle Mochas.

Redhead Brian Shaved head
Brian's only departure from routine is the periodic changes in hair styles. Prophet-style bushy beard now, smooth shiny egghead then. With my lousy memory for faces, that certainly doesn't make life easier.

Muffin neon sign
CyberX has decent food (for the wussies who can't take their coffee straight, by the gallon.) However, the one true and heaven-approved jitter-producing munchie comes from a small vending machine: chocolate-covered coffee beans. For those who prefer caffeine in other forms, mate and colas are on hand.

Human Brain with Evil Thoughts Once the hungers of the body has been ameliorated, it is time to treat your mind. The wetware can be stimulated with a T1 line leading to several Windows 95 boxes with large monitors, ZIP drives, video cameras and flatbed scanners. Naturally, some cash would change hands for the computer time.
Punk waiter Looking away from the screen once in a while might be a good idea: interesting faces abound. Some of these people belong to the illustrious CyberX crew, including this guy doing a permanent hedgehog imitation. Below is Amanda, a true old-timer at both CyberX and Renaissance Festival.

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I do not guarantee that she will be wearing the same outfit, but the sense of humor and other becoming traits should be there.


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Majestic
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Almost-resident genius
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Not on staff but nearly always present is James Folmer, the almost-resident genius. When you chat with him, do not be surprised if half the conversation goes over your head. His thought process is erratic, his manner humane and the overall impression begs comparison with DaVinci. The major difference is that Leonardo sported a beard whereas James affects a more streamlined look.

tea cup
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coffee mug

Back to the subject of food...The quality of coffee puts other places in town to shame. Scotty's X-Blend, for example, packs enough caffeine to be lethal -- yet the addicts ignore the danger and slurp it up.

Empty
glass
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Most people come to socialize. Some come to think or to read. The cafe has quite a few books and magazines. A few deviants actually come for the atrocious music piped in through the loudspeakers. So many interesting faces have been sighted, that I got extension cords run into CyberX basement.
Blue and orange
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Chainmail headdress
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In addition to interesting people, this cafe is a showcase of local fashions. I do wonder if the chain mail outfit had devolved from real mail shirt or is on the way to becoming a viable inner city body armor...

Necktie and black bustier
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Dirty Old Man Patronage is very diverse. Teenage divas. Dirty old men. Businessmen. Photographers. Punks. Boys with vain hopes of picking up dates. Coffee lovers. Chess players.
Funny Boy
Menu A long-standing Urban Legend said that it is a good place for picking up chicks. Probably true, if you are Schwarznegger or Gere. Otherwise, even the Warrens in Heinlein's Moon is a Harsh Mistress were better for this than CyberX. In other words, stop bothering the lady!

So, the reports of widespread chewy ass have been exaggerated. Live with it. Now, if you would settle for a raspberry scone...

Couple Better yet, bring your own date. Works for this couple. Even works for me. creamer
CyberX is no longer: closed, defunct, dead! What a pity.
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