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It’s not true, just güirigüiri!


 Órale, this episode is about the word güirigüiri. It means gossip, the act of spreading it, and the mob or network behind it — as in people engaging in guiriguiri to spread guiriguiri.

El Low Rider was headed back into solitary confinement. This time because some inmates had been spreading the rumor that one of his childhood enemies was in the same pinta as him. Of course, El Low Rider had heard it, too. And the vato they were talking about was indeed somebody he so hoped would land there. But it wasn’t true. The güirigüiri was just a gang onda, where one side was concerned that he would join a rival gang and tip the scale on the tenuous detente that existed in the joint.

El Low Rider didn’t believe it would come to this when he first started hearing the rumor months earlier. He did at first believe it was true, but he soon realized how implausible it was and why it was happening.

It all started when somebody from El Chuco had tried to recruit El Low Rider to the gang from there. El Low Rider turned down the invitation, and the vato tried to assault El Low Rider by hitting over the head with a mop handle. The handle snapped in two, and the attacker jumped on El Low Rider, thinking he had been softened up. But no. El Low Rider quickly recovered and took down his attacker.

From then on, the pintos from El Chuco were wary of El Low Rider, certain he was going to join a rival gang and avenge the attack.

But El Low Rider was a loner, partly by nature but also because there were no kin or other vatos from the Southside in his block.

“I used to have a clica, but they only brought me problems,” El Low Rider told his cellie during GED class.

“Nel, I’m not gonna join any gang. I’m clecha enough to make it on my own in here.”

“But if you do, they can help you turn the güirigüiri the other way,” his cellie, a ruquillo from Lubica said.

“None of it’s true! That vato they said had dropped in here isn’t even torcido anywhere. Just güirigüiri, ese. And güirigüiri’s not real. Just vatos putting down labia. I’m not escamado about it.”

At the end of the class, they lined up to go back to their block. But just before they set off, a small squad of guards approached them.

“Low Rider, come with us,” one of them commanded.

El Low Rider dropped and shook his head and smiled broadly in disbelief.

“Sura. No even these vatos are in the güirigüiri?” El Low Rider said to nobody in particular.

“Simón, ese, el güirigüiri is real de amadres, ese,” said his cellie.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.