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Le jambó everything


Órale, this week we’re gonna talk about the word jambar. It means to steal. Unlike another words in Caló that speak to similar acts, trinquetear and remangar, to cheat or trick somebody out of something and to piler or cuff something, Jambar is straight ahead graceless, guileless theft. Jambones are sura. They take other people’s valuables. Don’t expect them to give anything back, only that they eventually get what they deserve.

The vato walked around in the cold morning all spantado, not knowing where he was going, where his ramfla was or even what he was going to do next. You could say he had lost his soul—that somebody had jambared it. It was like he had been struck down and was only now hearing the pajuelajo.

What did him in so gacho was that one moment he was all machín, and the next he was all desmadrado.

It happened at the bule one night. He walked in expecting all the rucas to come to him because he was so masote. Sure enough some did. But being the mento that he was, he went after the only ruca who wasn’t paying attention to him, a coyota who was dancing with everybody, vatos and rucas, but sitting alone when the band went on break. Sometimes vatos asked her out, and other times she asked them out, and she le ponía to all the rolas, country, oldies, polkas, you name it. It took the vato some time to get to her cuz he couldn’t dance de aquellas.

So after midnight when the band started playing slow songs, which announced their last tanda (set), he le puzo to her table. And she was waiting for him. She pulled him to the middle of the dance floor before he could sit down, and, eeee, he got bailado.

When the tanda ended and they announced last call, the vato ordered tequilas for them. She let him put the shots on the table, but she didn’t even look down at them. Instead, she stood up and took him by the hand.

“Let’s go to the house,” she told him as she dragged him out.

They say the vato left smiling from ear to ear.

When they got to where they were going, a big house in the nice part of town, she led the vato in and let him, on his own, get comfortable, take off his boots and shirt. Simón, hacina. Then all of a sudden she let out a big chiflido, and a big dog came out. Then she told the vato to get out right away. What else could he do? She wasn’t cabuleando. Didn’t even give him a chansa to put on his boots—or even complain. Gacho!

Pos as soon as the vato stepped out, she went out through a side door with a box of things, left the big dog inside, and got in her own pickup.

As she was peeling out of the driveway, le cantó, “hey mamón, it ain’t my house. Better get out of here fast or the jura will think you’re jambando!”

They say that in that box were the vato’s arranque, his pinche masote personality, everything— psst, the mentote himself. And nobody saw that ruca again. I think she was a diabla. Everybody now watches out for her when they go to the bule.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.