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Cálo: Puro Cabúl

The Caló word today is cabulear. It’s a verb meaning to joke around or to be ironic or sarcastic. There’s nothing exactly comparable in Spanish, other than the term burla, which means to make fun of somebody. It’s likely a contraction of a several words or even a whole narrative about somebody being made a fool of. When you sense cabúl, there’s a joke going on and a victim is paying for it.

By Oscar "El Marfa" Rodriguez

Chabela did not like it one bit that her daughter, Chabelita, had stayed out late. She feared it was a gateway idea that could lead to bad things. She needed to nip it in the bud. 

Meanwhile, Chabelita didn’t want to let on that they had gone to the dance and that she had kissed a boy she didn’t know. Only her childhood friend and neighbor, Boy, knew. Her mom wouldn’t like it. Now she needed to survive breakfast without spilling any details and causing her mom to start investigating her. 

“Pos, what time did you come in?” Chabela asked, with the exact time when Chabelita walked through the front door seared in her mind, 11 o’clock.

“About midnight, cause I could hear the werewolves,” said Chabelita sarcastically.

“Oh, you gonna cabulear? Keep at it. See if you go out again,” said Chabela.

“Well, not too late. I got here earlier but stayed outside with Boy cause I could see the TV was on in your bedroom. I came in right after you turned it off,” said Chabelita.

“Nel, a long time passed after I turned it off,” said Chabela. 

“So you didn’t watch the novellas?” asked Chabelita.

“Ya, I watched them. That girl that came to the hacienda from the big city got in big trouble with her aunt and her husband, whom she had been leading on,” said Chabela.  

“What? Her aunt caught her?” asked Chabelita.

“Pos, almost. She noticed her husband keeped asking about her niece, and that other stuff,” said Chabela.

“Eeee! And what did the girl say?” asked Chabelita.

“Pos, puro cabúl. She kept changing the subject and tried to keep the conversation light. But she knew her aunt was on to her,” said Chabela.

“You know she’s going to handle the situation like she runs the hacienda, with an iron fist.”

“I wonder how she’s going to get out of it this time?” said Chabelita.

“Pos, I don’t think she’s going to make it. Her aunt is too sharp to be fooled,” said Chabela.

“So she tried to cabulear, but her aunt wouldn’t go for it?” said Chabelita.

“Not only that, the aunt started to cabulear herself. She started talking about werewolves on the hacienda, men or women who would follow her and be waiting for her when she came home and tear her flesh out,” said Chabela.

Chabelita didn’t say anything. 

“The novela turned to werewolves?” asked Chabelita.

“Si. The whole night did,” said Chabela.

“Nah, that’s puro cabúl,” said Chabelita. 

“Pos maybe on TV, but in real life. You better watch it with those werewolves cause they’re real. And they’ll get you,” said Chebela.

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