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Baboso!

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Órale, this episode is about the word, baboso. It means a slob or, better yet, someone who walks around with their mouth open slobbering without knowing they’re doing it or, even worse, can’t see anything wrong with that. The moniker is earned from a stupid mistake or on account of a well-established pattern of stupidity.

Boy had finally made it to the dance despite a lot of trouble. A broken-down bus. A right foot cowboy boot left behind somewhere—maybe in the bus. OJ’s pinche long traffic line to cross the border on Friday evening. And a ride by a relative who all gatcho stopped by several cousins’ homes to show him off before leaving him at the dance hall.

All of this made him a little late. He arrived in the middle of the intermission between the 1st and 2nd tandas. He hadn’t had time to clean up, but he had prepared for this with a mini bottle of aftershave.

Now, where was the ruca that motivated him to come here in the first place? Was she with her parents, who in OJ would give him certain leeway to approach her, unlike the bolted door they would have shown him in the Southside? Or was she with girlfriends and cousins sitting away from parents and uncles? His next move, which had to be taken quickly, would depend on this.

Boy walked hurriedly around the dance hall trying to locate her. But time was running out. The intermission was ending. If he took longer to locate her, the band would start up and allow another vato to ask her to dance and the whole next tanda would be blown.

Wait a minute! He sighted some of her kin. Was she sitting with them? Simón! De aquellas! There she was sitting at a crowded table of mostly her female cousins. Maybe also an aunt or two.

What were the rules? Ask the elders’ permission to take her out? Or walk right up and invite her out.

As he was thinking, he caught her eye. And she smiled broadly at him.

“A toda madres!” thought Boy.

“I’m gonna ponerle straight to her.”

He walked through the crowd toward her. He was so excited to reach her after all that he had gone through that he didn’t see the girls sitting around her looking away conspicuously in the same direction.

“Wanna dance?” he asked her, his hand properly extended and palm up.

The girl did not get up. She turned her head in the same direction as the other girls around her.

Only then, did Boy get the message.

He first had to go to ask her parents, who were sitting at the next table.

Boy pulled back his hand and pivoted to walk to her parents’ table.

“May I take her out to dance?” he asked politely.

“You asking now, after you went straight to her without even looking our way,” her mother said gruffly.

“Sorry,” Boy said.

“Your mother should have taught you better,” her father said, shaking his head.

Boy dropped his head and walked away. Everybody saw what happened.

“Eeee, baboso,” Boy told himself.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.