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Caló: Then dale shine

Órale, the expression 'dale shine'  is the feature for this episode of Caló. The literal translation is "make it shine or stand out." But what it means is, "step forward," "make your move," or "go ahead and say it or do it." While it can be used to draw a line in the sand, so to speak, it’s not necessarily a challenge, for it can also be used to tell someone in a nonjudgmental way, “Go ahead and do it if you’re so sure of yourself.”

By Oscar "El Marfa" Rodriguez

“Entonces dale,” Tavo said to his cousin, Vicki, as they coasted into the parking lot of El Drive-in, a popular weekend drive-in bar in OJ. Boy was in the back seat.

They’d been cruising all day trying to clear their minds of a heavy night of drinking. Tavo had been on a bender for days with Boy in tow. Vicki didn’t normally drink, but he had agreed to drive and inevitably fell victim to Tavo’s entreaties. Boy had driven his uncle from the Southside to OJ to keep him safe, but inevitably succumbed to the debauchery and handed the wheel Vicki when Tavo suggested they invite him. Now the devil had been loosed, and their famously erratic kin was their guide and protector.

El Drive-in was not normally a place they would have stopped at because it drew a young rock and roll crowd that clashed with Tavo’s Norteño sensibilities. But Vicki had spotted a pickup truck he had been looking for.

“That’s Chito’s truca. He’s been hiding from me for a long time,” said Vicki.

Boy looked over at the vehicle Vicki had pointed out and was surprised to see it had a municipal police emblem on it.

“You sure? It’s a police vehicle,” said Boy.

“Simón. The only one that says, Chief of Police,” said Vicki, his voice in a low, serious tone.

Boy looked at the truck again and saw JEFE DE POLICIA painted across the front hood. 

“What could he want with OJ’s police chief?” Boy wondered in silence.

Tavo seem aloof to the situation.

“Maybe Vicki just wants to say hello,” thought Boy.

“He alone?” asked Tavo.

“He’s never alone. A sergeant usually drives him. And there’s usually backup,” said Vicki.

“Pos they don’t seem to be here yet. Going in alone or need help?” said Tavo playfully.

“Solo. You stay and point the car toward the exit,” ordered Vicki.

Boy sobered up immediately.

“Entonces dale shine,” said Tavo. 

“You’ll see the shine I’m gonna give him,” said Vicki as he jumped out of the car even as it was still moving.

About the same time, another pickup full of uniformed policemen arrived. Seconds later, the bar emptied out, with patrons going in every direction. The policemen rushed in. Vicki rushed back to the car.

“Not there. I’ll give him a shine another day,” said Vicki.

“What a shine that bunch of cops would’ve put on us,” said Boy.

“Nel. They all know I’m his cousin,” said Vicki. 

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