© 2024 Marfa Public Radio
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Lobby Hours: Monday - Friday 10 AM to Noon & 1 PM to 4 PM
For general inquiries: (432) 729-4578
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Birria not pisto


Órale, the Caló word of the week is birria. It means beer. Although likely from the English, it’s lingua franca (common tongue), not Spanglish because the English word and, for that matter, the Italian word for the same, birra, both come from the Germanic word, beir. The Spanish word for birria is cerveza, a very different sounding word and root. And if you’re offered birria in Mexico, what’s meant is barbecue, not beer. So watchale. Don’t order birria in Spanglish if what you want is beer.

New Year’s Eve hadn’t turned out at all like the vato had hoped. It was morning now. The night had gone fast de amadres, so fast that he couldn’t remember what had happened. Now everybody was going home from the bule before the cruda set in, and the ruca he had come to the party with was nowhere in sight. He felt sura.

The vato kept asking himself, “que onda?”

It had been going so well. New Year’s Eve was going to be the clincher date.

There was dancing and pisto, but he had only been drinking beer, which the ruca had been sharing with him.

“Pos then what?” he asked himself.

When he got home he noticed the front door was wide open

“Aguas, I’m here!” he shouted as he stepped through the threshold.

Much to his surprise, the ruca was inside, still bundled up in her winter coat, as if she’d been waiting for him a long time.

“Quehubole” he said.

“What a mamón. You left me,” she said.

“Chale. I looked all over for you,” he said.

“Pos didn’t seem like it. You painted me a deer at midnight when everybody started dancing together” she said.

“What? All I remember is the sun coming out and everybody struggling to get out. Then when I was out, you were gone,” he said.

All I remember is that you went out with the bola (mob). Next thing, I was outside. So le puse to your chante cuz it was close,” she said.

“Were we dinking pisto?”

“Nel, esa. Just birria. I made sure,” he said.

“Pos?” she asked.

“Pos nada, esa,” he said exasperatedly.

“Then the diablo must have come in,” she said.

“That’s all I can think of. And I do remember somebody saying something about it,” he said.

She stayed silent a long time, a big frow on her forehead. Then she untensed.

“Just birria?” she asked

“Simón. Just birria, no pisto at all.

“Then…órale,” she said.

“Órale,” he responded, his frown turning into a big smile.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.