Kathleen Morales and the Bandit Carolinas


Oasis in the Libyan part of the Sahara – Credit to Sfivat and licensed under Public Domain.

The open sky stretched from sand to horizon and the riders advanced on the oasis. Kathleen Morales led her band of rebel outlaws, two dozen strong, toward the wide, limpid pool surrounded by long grass waving in the torrid breeze under the shade of the broad palm branches. But when they finally arrived at this rare shelter amid a vast wasteland of the east, they discovered they weren’t alone.

The desert bandit swung a leg over her saddle and dismounted, heavy boots making their mark on the damp soil. Her hair, a tangle of magenta, azure, and her natural brown, flew up as she landed, and the gold and silver of her nose and ear piercings sparkled in the filtered sunlight. She marched up to the tiny collection of refugees and declared, “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my oasis?”

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Let it Bleed: The Diversity Wedding

Berkeley, CA

Downtown Berkeley. The Oakland – San Francisco Bay Bridge and the San Francisco downtown can be seen in the background – Found at Wikipedia

She sat there drinking her tenth cup of coffee while watching the sunrise’s sickly yellow light piercing her kitchen window.

“Why did this have to happen to me?”

Rosie stood up leaving the remains of her breakfast on the table and walked down the hall to use the bathroom for what seemed to be the thousandth time. She normally limited herself to two cups of Sumatra in the morning plus a cup of Pike Place Roast from the Starbucks drive-thru on her way to work, so the bottom of her stomach felt like it had been drowned in battery acid.

Last night she couldn’t sleep. Her gray thoughts anticipating the next day refused to allow her mind to rest. She must have dozed here and there, but now sitting on the toilet, she felt like 120 pounds of steel wool and boiled inner tube. Maybe a shower would help. She had to be at the church before noon and her parents would be pissed if she showed up looking like a drugged out refugee from an all-night rave.

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Collage 38

Collage 38

“Use what talents you possess…The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sung best.” Henry Van Dyke

A misfit among misfits, that’s what they said she’d be.

Dyson never fit in anywhere in any way. In a world of singers, she was tone deaf. In a world of dancers, she had two left feet. In a world of gardeners, her green thumb was brown.

She didn’t believe in the right God, the right politics, or the right social causes. Her fashion sense was beyond appalling, and what she called music sounded like crashing cymbals and sour trumpet notes to everyone else.

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Shadows in the Cellar


Photo credit: mariyaolshevska

Mom decided last September that eleven-year-old Bethany was old enough to stay home alone after school until she got off work, but sometimes Mom didn’t get home until six or later. That wasn’t so much of a problem last fall when it stayed light longer in the evenings, but now the sun went down just after five. That meant the McPherson School sixth-grader was alone more than two hours after dark.

Bethany made herself a snack when she got home, surfed the web, watched videos, got around to doing her homework, and nuked frozen burritos or made fried won tons on the stove for dinner.

She actually wouldn’t have been so bothered about being alone except for the shadows in the cellar.

It wasn’t the shadows that Bethany first noticed, though. It was the noises.

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Illustration by: C R Sasikumar – found at the Indian Express

“George Phillip Meadows, you have been found guilty of Betrayal of Trust, Neglect, and Excessive Absenteeism. Your sentence is set at ninety days of exclusion. Do you have anything to say before sentence is carried out?”

“No, Your Honor. I accept the sentence.”

Without another word, George picked up his suitcase and walked out the front door. The taxi was waiting for him and the driver put his luggage in the trunk.

“Geary Apartment Building,” George told his driver after he got into the back seat.

“Yes sir. I know the place.”

For the next three months, George would have to live in a one room apartment in the Richmond District, apart from everyone he loved. His wife Stacie had been his judge and his three kids, Mark, Peter, and Amanda had been the jury.

He’d been found guilty of staying too late at the office, not attending Mark’s soccer games, missing Mandy’s music recital, and bringing work home over the weekends. He’d been found guilty of neglecting his family and the sentence was not having a family for three months.

He’d excluded them from his life, and now they were excluding him. George missed them already.

Written in response to the Wednesday Writing Challenge at Angie Trafford’s blog. The one-word prompt is “Exclusion”.