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Caló: What an agüite

Órale, the word of the day is agüite. It comes from the Spanish word for watered down, aguado. In Caló, it describes a situation where you’re beaten down, demoralized, and depressed. When somebody’s in such a state, they’re said to be agüitado, their spirit diluted, weakened.

By Oscar "El Marfa" Rodriguez

Something weird was going on with Flaco. Boy told the pack of neighborhood friends that usually gathered with him to stay clear of his big brother, who was on the front porch all agüitado.

“Let’s go to the backyard and leave him alone,” Boy told the pack. 

They huddled in the backyard.

“So why is Flaco agüitado?” they asked. 

“I think it’s because of La Olga,” said Boy. 

“Jasso?” somebody asked.

“Nel, ese, that’s our cousin,” Boy protested. “Olga Sandate, from behind the laundry warehouse.”

“Órale,” somebody said.

“He’d been walking her home from school until yesterday, when she acted like she didn’t know him. She was in a car at the store parking lot with her cousin, and when Flaco went to say hello, she treated him like a stranger,” Boy explained.

“Which cousin?” someone asked.

“El Ralph,” answered Boy.

“That’s her cousin?” the same guy asked.

“Isn’t he?” Boy asked back.

“No that’s  your cousin?” Boy turned around and asked an older kid in the pack.

“Simón. So?” the kid responded.

“So is El Ralph your cousin?” Boy asked.

“Chale. I know who he is, but that’s it,” the kid said, seeking reassurance.

“Then he’s not La Olga’s cousin. That means it wasn’t that she ignored him. Flaco caught her with another  vato.”

Everybody looked at Boy to see what he was going to do. Boy stepped away and headed to the porch.

The pack followed, everybody curious how Flaco would take the news, but making sure to stay out of sight.

“Hey. They said El Ralph isn’t La Olga’s cousin,” Boy said to Flaco.

Flaco was deep in thought, muy agüitado. But he cut off his brother.

“So?” he groused.

“So it’s not that La Olga ignored you. You caught her with another vato,” said Boy.

“That was her  vato,” Flaco blurted out, then looked away.

“I’d been hoping…” he finally said, his voice quivering, unable to finish. 

After a long pause, he added, “I went to see if she would say something nice to me and thought he was her cousin, but no.”

“Que…agüite,” Flaco said sobbing.

Boy didn’t say anything and retreated. He didn’t tell the pack more about Flaco, and they didn’t push him on it. It was the first time they’d seen this and didn’t want to know more. 

“What an agüite,” somebody said somberly.