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Pinche stinking cheese


Órale, this episode’s feature is about a very notorious word in Caló, pinche. It’s very misused, to the point that many people think it’s a curse word, as it’s often used in concert with curse words. Pinche itself isn’t a curse word, however. In both Iberian Romani and Rio Grande Caló, it merely means notorious, well-known, undeniable. When it’s used in conjunction with a curse word, the purpose of pinche is to aggrandize the curse, as in that pinche one-eyed truck wouldn’t start or el pinche show-off is at it again.

It was now the second weekend in a row that Tita’s blonde boyfriend, Mr. Güero, had not come by.

Tita acknowledged the fact that Sunday morning. She’d been thinking about it for a long time in bed. It annoyed her that the thought of him had woken her several hours too early. She told herself she wouldn’t think more about anything and simply lingered in bed.

“Órale huevona," she eventually told herself. "Face the music."

She got up, put on her robe, went into the bathroom, and looked into the mirror above the sink.

“You look sura, esa. Don’t make excuses. Good thing you didn’t ask him for his phone number, if not…. Ah, shut up,” she told herself through the mirror.

After staring blankly at herself a long while, she went into the kitchen and grabbed the cheese she had set aside for the cats. Before stepping outside, she picked up an old cassette player she always carried with her outside. She then popped out the oldies-but-goodies ‘50s tape that usually lived there and replaced it with a dusty Javier Solís tape that lived in the flatware drawer.

“Sombras. No. Payaso. That’s it,” she muttered and punched the on button.

She turned the volume to max.

The stray cats that came around for her cheese were caught a little off guard, as she had come out earlier than normal and the music was slow and haunting, not cheerful and rhythmic as usual.

Tita walked around throwing small chunks of cheese throughout her yard. The cats went after the cheese but then paused and looked up at her. Tita noticed.

“Qué? No it’s stinking cheese just how you like it?” she said.

The cats looked at each other then at Tita.

“Oh, the music? Pos you better like Javier cuz no oldies today,” she said in a loud voice.

The cats looked at each other then at Tita again.

“Oh, you wanna know que pasó with Mr. Güero,” she said sarcastically.

The cats kept staring at her.

“Pinche smooth-talker’s gone,” she said.

“… pobre payaso,” Javier crooned then let out a long operatic laugh.

One cat in the crowd meowed. Tita looked at him, took a deep breath and thoughtlessly dropped a handful of cheese in her robe pocket.

“Get used to it, ese. That’s what I’m into right now,” she said.

The cats eventually turned to their cheese.

“Eeee! Pinche stinking cheese is now on me. Tsk. Órale. Time to get a new robe,” she said as she went back inside her house.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.