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You’ve been cateado by the candies


The backyard quinceañera party was crowded.

The young men stood at the entrances, with all the other generations and genders mixing in the middle. The youngest guests hung close to a piñata of a cartoon superhero that had been set up for them. The quinceañera herself sat at a picnic table where wrapped gifts had been piled.

The calm mood was interrupted a little by Tita’s entrance in the company of a tall blonde man, who appeared to be her date.

“He’s not a gabacho, he’s just güero,” Tita told several greeters.

“Show’em you speak Spanish, ese,” she prompted her date.

By then the attention at the party had turned to the piñata and the pre-teens’ excitement over having their turn at swinging a short bat at it.

“Never mind, let’s go over there,” Tita instructed her güero.

The kids lined up on their own, youngest ones first. Cuito, who wasn’t a cousin but lived across the street, was running the piñata, although there didn’t seem to be much cord for it to dance or evade the batters.

“So smallest ones go first. The tallest ones at the end. Just let me get set,” Cuito announced.

“Hey, ese, there ain’t much rope on that thing. You sure you know what you’re doing?” Tita asked Cuito.

“Simón, esa. They elected me to be the piñata maestro,” Cuito responded.

“Looks too close, but órale,” Tita said turning and raising her eyebrows to her date.

The little kids took their turns without doing much damage to the piñata. Cuito was struggling making the superhero dance. No problem with the little kids, but a different story with the upcoming bigger batters.

“Wait," he told the kids. "Let me get behind and dance it.”

“OK, cáteala!” he yelled.

The next kid in line, a pre-teen girl, took the bat and walked up to the piñata before she could be blindfolded.

“Hey, wait!” Cuito screamed.

But it was too late. The girl hit the piñata solidly and sent the candies it contained shooting toward Cuito, who was on his back before he knew what happened. The kids rushed in for the candy. The adults howled in laughter.

Cuito was slow to get up, his pressed kakis and white shirt full of dirt as if he had been sliding into second base.

“Eeee, te catearon los candies,” said Tita.

“Where’d my hat go?” Cuito asked.

“Over there being cateado by the kids,” said Tita.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.