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¿Clavo con la jura?

Órale, today’s Caló word is jura, police. It comes from the Spanish word juramento, pledge or promise. Individuals sworn to uphold the law are jurados (sworn people). The institution they may work for is the jura, same as the universe of jurados.

By Oscar “El Marfa” Rodriguez

A police car cruised through the barrio slowly, causing the traffic around it to slow down.

“There they go,” said Boy’s jefito driving home from work in his one cab truck accompanied by two of his work companions.

The three men nodded silently, making sure to only glance at the passing cruiser.

“They’re after somebody. Been at it for days,” said the man riding in the middle.

“Also notice the chavalos aren’t moving about? They have something to do with it. The jura is looking for one of them,” said the rider by the window.

When he got home, Boy’s jefito noted the front and back yard were abandoned.

“What the devil?” he asked himself aloud.

He looked up and down the block. The only youth he could see was the neighbor’s kid, Chabelita.

“Quehubol, m'ija,” he called out.

“Hi,” Chabelita responded right away and waved.

At that moment, they both caught a glimpse of cruiser crossing an intersection in the next block.

After a long pause, they went on.

“What’s going on with the jura cruising the barrio and you chavalos not coming outside, Chabelita?” Boy’s jefito asked.

“They don’t know,” she responded.

“The jurados? Don’t know what?” he asked, now looking very worried.

“The jura doesn’t know who they’re looking for,” she explained.

“So they’re looking for somebody but just don’t know who?” he asked.

“Sí, cuz nothing really happened,” she answered.

“Do your jefitos know?” he asked.

“No. Not even the people who the police might be looking for know,” she said.

None of it made any sense to Boy’s jefito. He shook his head and walked into his home.

“What’s going on?” he asked his wife.

“I think some chavalo did something, and everybody’s covering for him,” she said.

Boy’s jefito thought this made more sense than what he had heard from Chabelita.

“And the jura?” he asked.

“The jura?” she asked completely off guard.

Her blank stare told him she didn’t know about the police cruising around.

“Boy!” he yelled.

Boy came in from the living room.

“Qué pasa?” he asked Boy sternly.

After a long pause, Boy responded, “nothing happened at all.”

“And the jura cruising the barrio?” his father asked.

“They’re looking for somebody they don’t know. So everybody’s hiding,” said Boy.

His father exhaled loudly.

“Why?” he asked.

“Cuz they weren’t throwing rocks or anything,” pleaded Boy.

His father stared at him a long while. 

“At where?” he asked.

“At nothing, just honking,” answered Boy.

“So why isn’t anybody going out?” asked his father.

“Cuz the jura,” Boy said.

“No, they don’t know who they’re looking for?” his father insisted.

“Nobody does,” said Boy.

“Ya, ya, ya. Outside. Everybody’s going in circles looking for nobody. So go do it outside,” his father ordered.