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Caló: ¡Apañaron a Givvy!

Today's word of the day is Apañar. It comes from the old Castilian, meaning to cover or hold in your hand. It was brought to the borderlands by Spanish settlers centuries ago, and it survived along with many other archaic words in the isolated villages along the Rio Grande from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. In Caló today it means to grab, snatch, or fish something out. When you want to get something, apañalo.

By Oscar “El Marfa” Rodriguez

The siege of the chavalos in the barrio was now into the second Saturday. Everybody was tired of it, but nobody let down their guard. The chavalos skulked close to home, even after the jura stopped cruising the Southside. The garage extending from Boy’s house had become meeting central because it was accessible through the alley. 

Most of what happened there was sitting around in silence, waiting. Chabelita, one of the few chavalas that hung around with the neighborhood vatos, held court as usual but couldn’t change the mood.

“A la fregada, to hell with ya’ll. I’m gonna apañar a show in TV,” she said in exasperation and bolted out into the alley.

A couple of houses along the way, she heard someone whistle a message to her.

It was Estela, a chavala who lived at the end of the block. She walked toward Chabelita and waved. 

“They apañaron a Givvy!” she said excitedly.

“What? How do you know?” Chabelita asked. 

“I saw him walk out to the street. Then the jura followed him around the corner,” Estela said.

“Eeee! Then what?” asked Chabelita. 

“Then they went out of sight,” said Estela.

“And?” pressed Chabelita.

“That’s it. He never came back. So they must be questioning him,” said Estela.

“About what?” asked Chabelita.

“I don’t know. Probably about what he did,” said Estela.

“What’d you hear he did,” asked Chabelita.

“Uh, whatever it is the jura’s been looking for,” said Estela.

“Throwing rocks at the highway?” asked Chabelita.

“Is that what the trouble was?” asked Estela.

“That’s what they said. But nobody saw anybody throw rocks. The vatos were just making the truckers honk their horns, but then the jura came,” explained Chabelita.

Estela shrugged her shoulders. 

“Pos let’s go tell the vatos,” said Chabelita.

They walked back to Boy’s garage.

“She said they apañaron a Givvy,” announced Chabelita pointing at Estela.

“Eeee!” everybody said at the same time.

“How do you know?” asked Boy.

“Cuz they followed him,” said Estela.

“So?” said one of the oldest vatos.

“So he’s been gone and I live right across the street from him,” explained Estela.

The chavalo desisted. 

Immediately the mood grew more depressed.

Everybody hung around quietly a long time.

Then suddenly they were surprised by Givvy stepping into the garage.

“Eeee! We thought you had been apañado by the jura,” Chabelita said.

“Cuz they were following me?” asked Givvy.

“Sirol,” said Estela.

“Pos they did little bit. But I went into the alley and they went on. Besides, I wasn’t at the highway,” said Givvy.

Estela whistled.

“Let’s go,” she said looking as Chabelita.

“Yeah, let’s go. Puro nothing here,” said Chabelita.