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I think a dog got one of my calcos?

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The headline of this episode is a well-known word: calcos. To be sure, along the Río Grande, calcos is a general term. Work shoes and dance shoes are considered calcos, but not boots or chanclas. Of course, when you dance in calcos you are actually chancleando, but that’s another episode.

Cuito had had enough. Javier Solís’ “Payaso” over and over again all morning.

“Qué pasó with that ruquilla? Died and left her thumb on repeat, o qué?” he thought.

“Better check it out.”

“Hey, Tita, qué onda with Javier?” he yelled over the fence.

Javier laughed operatically in “Payaso.”

After a long silence, Tita cackled in response.

“Eeee!” she said between deep breaths.

“Poor Javier. I never let him get to “Como dijo Cristo,” she said.

“What?” asked Cuito.

“Never mind, ese," Tita responded. "I was talking more to myself.”

Órale. It’s just that Javier wasn’t the cure for me this morning,” he said.

“Porqué? You sick, sad, or worse?” she asked.

“Chale. It’s just that after more than 40 times doing that laugh…gacho?” he said.

“Also that I lost one of my calcos. I think a dog ran off with one of them. I rubbed all the shine off, and left them on my front steps. Then I forgot them a few days, and now I can only find one.”

“The Stacy’s? Which one?” asked Tita.

“The left,” said Cuito.

“So there’s a perro out there missing no right,” she asked.

“Makes no difference. It means I ain’t got calcos to go to the dance,” he said.

“Pos, maybe it’s not a dog. Maybe it’s a vato who needs a right. You should put a sign that you’ll share,” she said bowed over in laughter.

“Maybe your güero boyfriend knows,” said Cuito.

“Nel, he don’t know anything about calcos, left or right, anywhere around here,” Tita answered.

“Sure?” he asked.

“Simón,” she said and went silent.

Cuito couldn’t see her through the wooden fence, but he could sense the moment was tender and let the silence last. He knew now how much she liked the guero, and he wasn’t coming back.

“Ah forget it. I don’t need those calcos anyway. The right always caused me blisters. Bonito but painful,” said Cuito.

“I’ll ask my cats to be on the lookout for a right calco. They may know where the dogs hid it,” she said.

“Órale. Tell ’em I’ll share if they find it,” he said.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.