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2018 Dec 18

10 minutes: Cadre of padres

They came riding down the mountain, shouting and hollering. A cloud of dust announced their arrival half an hour before we could hear them.

They were taking back the town that day.

We came out of our buildings to watch them stampede through the streets. Their artificial dust storm soon engulfed the town. A few gunshots were fired into the air, but more out of excitement than anything else. No one was being directly threatened.

They were so numerous that they knew they couldn't be defeated. It was like a parade for the rest of us. Control of the town regularly changed hands every few weeks. We'd gotten used to it.

"You, get me a coffee," shouted one of them, gesturing his gun at me.

"Sure, but we can't afford to give it all away for free y'know," I shouted back.

The man shrugged and reached in his pocket for some loose change. "This okay?" he asked.

I had no idea how much it would cost the company. A styrofoam cup, some day-old coffee, probably not worth half of what he was offering. But hey, he was still taking time out of my day.

I went inside, past some of my coworkers who had gathered to watch the commotion. A few minutes later, I came out with the coffee and some packets of cream and sugar.

The man took my coffee but looked disgustedly at the powdery packets. "How weak do you think I am?" he laughed with mock annoyance.

"I'll take them," one of his comrades said.

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