Hello everyone and welcome to my first story on this site. Before I go on, I suppose I'll give a bit of background about myself and this story. Until recently, I exclusively wrote for the fanfiction half of this site, mainly writing about the cartoon series Ed, Edd'n Eddy. However, things never went as according to plan and I usually ended up taking down the story (usually because I wasn't satisfied). There's one story I still need to throw back up, but lately I've been debating whether I even want to.

The thing about fanfiction is that when you write long enough, it comes to a point where you start to think of the work you're writing about as your own and start doing things with it that you probably weren't meant to. Don't get me wrong, I don't have fanfiction, but I think people should also try working their own original stuff too, otherwise they end up trapping themselves.

Now, on to the story itself. The main premise of Los Banditos is to have a group of kids running around getting into crazy adventures that would be otherwise impossible. A good deal of inspiration for this came from games like Bully and shows like Hey Arnold, South Park, Recess, Kids Next Door and more.

I hope you guys enjoy.

"It's beautiful..." Said Sukhman Chaudhary, in a soft and enraptured tone. Sukhman was a nine-year old Sikh boy of average height and a husky frame that his father blamed on genetics. His caramel skin was of even tone and his long black hair was properly groomed then bound under a dark blue patka turban, as per Sikh traditions. However, he dressed much in the way of every other kid from Hillside, Queens, wearing a denim jean jacket, an orange t-shirt sporting Mark Ecko's graffiti art, matching jeans and white running shoes.

His company, Jaden Burke said nothing, simply nodding his agreement. Jaden had been born into a typical black family, but he never looked or carried himself like most ten-year old boys. He was slightly taller than most ten-going-on-eleven year olds and was thin and athletic in frame. His black hair had been close cut on the sides and the rest had been twisted into cornrolls while his eyes hid behind a pair of dark shades, even in the waning sunlight.

Unlike any black youths growing up in Jamaica, Queens, Jaden preferred a more industrial and goth-inspired dress code; a black blazer fastened by buckles and bearing many studs that circled the biceps and ran along the back, a white button-up shirt worn untucked, black jeans bearing Victorian era symbols and studs around the thighs and ankles, dark grey slip-on sneakers and black fingerless gloves baring alchemist circles and bracelets.

The Burke family had found some reprive from unpacking, thus Jaden's mother brought him over to the Chaudharies' home for a suprise visit. The boys spent their time that cool early March evening laying on the backyard lawn starring up at the wanning afternoon sky where the stars gradually dissolved into view. It was the first time Sukhman had ever gotten to see such stars and looking elsewhere proved difficult.

Jaden on the other merely starred past the shifting sky and into nothing in particular. Sukhman knew Jaden all his life as a boy very in control of himself and his emotions-seeing him like this wasn't natural. However, the young Sikh decided against addressing it until he could feel his friend out better. By now he'd seen as much as he needed.

"Do you regret moving here?" Sukhman asked suddenly.

Jaden choked, having been caught off guard, another uncharacteristic move. When Jaden's eyes focused and shifted to Sukhman's he hesitated a moment before answering, "Hey, coming here was our parents' idea, not ours."

Sukhman nodded, "Did you get a chance to talk to Jerome before you left? I couldn't see him before father and I left, but when I called him once we got here, I couldn't get to him."

"He doesn't wanna talk to us, Sukh." Jaden sighed, defeated.

Sukhman nodded again. Their friend, Jerome White was one of the only kids they could call their friend back in the busy and violent streets of South Queens. But the boy had abandoned by so many loved ones one way or another; it was difficult for him to say goodbye to anyone with some semblance of bitterness. He already had a good idea how his last moments with Jaden went.

"I mean, it's like all he could hear me say was 'We're ditchin' you, we're ditchin' you!' I tried to cheer'em up, tell'em we were gonna call and probably find some way to visit him some time, and he didn't wanna hear all that." Jaden was holding back, but his voice was thick with frustration. "I tried to tell'em I was sorry, and you know what he said?"

"What?" Sukhman already had an idea.

"He just said 'To hell wit' you'n Sukh, ya'll just like everybody else!' then he slammed the door in my face." Jaden explained.

"Yeah, it's just too bad I couldn't be there with you, man." Sukhman said. He and his single father, Amanedeep Chaudhary had left two days before the Burkes, while everyone else were attending school. "But, you gotta understand, Jerome's used to being left behind like this. He's grown to think people don't want to be around him."

"So, what should we do, should we call him?" Jaden asked.

Sukhman shook his head. "If he wanted to speak to us now, I would've been able to reach him when I called..." He sighed and stretched his arms. "Time is a powerful healing agent and right now that's what Jerome needs."

"Yeah." Jaden nodded, yet his mood didn't lift.

Sukhman decided to address that later, right now there were some other curiosities. "Can I ask you something?"


"If it were you choice whether to stay, would you?"

Jaden answered without hesitation. "Nah, that place's been dead for a long time. This is for the best."

"Ah." Now it all made sense. "So, you don't regret leaving, but how you left."

A sardonic smirk broke Jaden's stony expression. But, just as soon as the smirk appeared, it melted away as Jaden's uncertain returned.

"I mean, we left everything behind to be here, all our friends, all our ties, like my dojang." Jaden said. "I would've moved to Saint Albans or Cambria Heights if it were up to me, at least we'd still be close to everything."

While Jaden had been grim and uncertain, Sukhman could hardly suppress his awe and excitement. Their new home, a sleepy suburb called Little Clam was unlike anything he had ever seen in Queens, New York. A clean and friendly suburb where every house had a lush green lawn and white picket fence, clean streets and a myriad of little shops and family-owned resturants, and bits of forest and open grassland Sukhman never thought existed in urbanized New York City.

But, this here seemed to take the cake. Back in Hillside, ambiance counted as rushing traffic, young hoodlums running about shouting and carrying on, the occasional passing car blasting obnoxious gangster rap. Here, there was little more than the birds and the crickets and the gentle caress of the breeze. And the sky, now a dark blue shade was spotted with millions of tiny, sparkling specks and the full silver moon. Sukhman had only seen such things on countless cartoons and sitcoms.

"Well, I'm glad we came here." Sukhman said, smiling hopefully. "It's beautiful and I hear this town's really nice. I'm sure we're gonna meets lots of people and make a ton of new friends!"

Jaden, on the other hand, seemed unmoved. Instead, the uncertainty shifted to that familiar grim anticipation. It made Sukhman frown. "Do you have a bad feeling about this?"

"That's just it; I don't know what I feel." Jaden sighed. "I mean, I hear this town's nice'n all that, but we don't know anything about it. We don't know anyone and what my dad keeps ranting about, we might be the only black and Sikh kids here. There's just too much going on that I can't guess, man."

"But, you don't have to, Jaden." Sukhman calmly countered. "This place isn't like our former where we have to constantly watch our backs, run from people and fight others. This isn't a town drowning in violence, anger and negativity. This is a nice and peaceful town where everyone gets along and loves one another. We don't have to fight anymore, we can finally just enjoy being kids for once."

That innocent glint in Sukhman's eye made Jaden cock one of his. However, several years with an idealist like Sukhman made this sort of thing somewhat routine. Yet, Jaden still seemed tense, expecting and Sukhman picked right up on that immediately.

"Does it sound too good to be true, my friend?"

"It usually is." Jaden said.

"Hey." Sukhman said and reached for Jaden's shoulder. "No matter what happens, we still have our families and each other. I know your family doesn't believe in God, but he watches over all. Everything is going to be okay, for once. So, be at peace my friend."

"Jaden, c'mon!" Called, Jaden's mother from the backdoor of a large white house.

"Coming!" Jaden called back. He cast his gaze up to regard the starry sky for once. For the first time, a genuine smile crossed Jaden's features. "You're right about one thing, Sukh... It really is beautiful."

Sukhman giggled a bit. "You see, when you see the beauty in all things, especially the small ones, you will find the world isn't so scary and cruel."

"Yeah..." Jaden conceded then shook his friend's hand. "G'night, man."

"Good night." Sukhman returned. "See you tomorrow."

Jaden nodded then turned to find his mother. In some ways, Sukhman was right and it made him feel a bit better. The uncertainty of the future and the guilt of his departure would still cling to him, if for the next few days. However, Jaden had come to except one thing: For better or worse, Little Clam was his home now and he would just have to make the best of it.