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He wasn’t the lollipop


Órale, this is the last episode of the series focused on the Iberian Romaní Caló words that also circulate in Rio Grande Caló. And today we've got a surprise: lollipop. Candy on a stick. Everybody who knows Caló knows that’s what it means. But it originally comes from the Romaní specialty of candied apples, ayí poba. Of course, it’s a powerful image that allows for a wide spectrum of metaphors. In Rio Grande Caló it's used to reference everything from a hot love to a false promise—but not likely a candied or sugared apple on a stick.

It had been a strange day for Cuito. Long and full of pauses. It started at day-break with Javier Solís singing “Payaso” for hours. Then came the news that Tita’s güero boyfriend was gone and not coming back. Then tequila before breakfast on Tita’s back porch.

“No just one early morning serenade, and that’s it?” Cuito asked Tita.

“Look, vato, just cuz I had a couple of tequilas before lunch doesn’t mean I’m gonna start crying in my beer. Watchas?” Tita responded.

“Pinche soft hands thought he was a lollipop. He didn’t know that getting your hands scuffed and fingernails dirty is good for you. Sexy, too,” she added, her speech a little slurred.

“Y los pinche stray cats around here, too,” said Cuito, almost in the same wavelength.

“Chale, my cats don’t have anything to do with it, ese,” Tita said

“Órale. Just saying, like you, everything qué no vale madre around here,” said Cuito.

“What no vale madre around here is any vato talking bad about my cats,” said Tita, looking up for the first time that morning.

“You’re not a lollipop either if you’re going that way.”

“Pos I’m not trying to be a lollipop, just a vato who tells it like it is,” said Cuito, standing up to the challenge.

“Pos you’re neither one nor the other. Wait. Wait. I wonder if I should ask my 45 what she thinks,” said Tita.

“Hey, don’t get all sura about it. I’m just saying a vato who doesn’t appreciate beauty, no vale madres. Any more tequila?” said Cuito.

Tita didn’t answer, only sobbed silently.

Cuito wished he could sooth her, but he feared she might turn radical in her state. So he just stood silent and didn’t look up until she cleared the way.

After a long pause, Tita spoke up.

“He wasn’t a pinche lollipop. I was the lollipop for that ruquillo, and he thought I was chalada. To hell with him,” said Tita.

“Eeee! How could he have thought that?” said Cuito, obviously sarcastically.

Tita looked up and eyed him sternly.

“Sábes qué, the tequila’s done with you, and you’re not a lollipop either, ese. Escuentate or I’m calling Miss Smith and Wesson. Watchas?” Tita told him.

Cuito smiled, kicked back his head and walked back to his home next door.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.