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Todo Cuete


Órale, the Caló word for this week is cuete. It means rocket in Spanish, as in take a rocket to the moon. In Caló, it means handgun or drunken. Of course, both nuances can all be used in a single sentence, as in they were all cuetes on New Year’s Eve cueteando the stars until the jura came over to check out qué fregados was happening.

The onda gacha with the vato and Quique tirando ojos at each other went on for years. At first, people used to get excited and expected something to happen, but after a while the borlo just got old de amadres.

The vato and Quique knew it too. They toned it down a little by avoiding each other. It worked but there were many close calls.

“I’m gonna get you, ese,” Quique would say out loud so everybody he wasn’t gonna let the vato get away with the filerazo.

The vato always maintained his quiet, guarded stance.

But it was a matter of time before someday—eventually—what was going to happen would happened.

That time came at a wedding, of course.

With the bride and groom bringing together two huge families, it was inevitable that the onda between the vato and Quique would finally come to a head at their wedding. Everybody knew it becasue fish will swim to where there’s water.

The vato arrived early and picked out a table against the wall just outside the Montoyas crowd, who always took over one of the corners in the dance hall. As usual, the younger Montoya men sat in the outer ring of their crowd, primed to challenge anybody who should think they could cause problems or, worse, ask one of the Montoya girls out to dance. The vato strategically picked a spot near the entrance to this den of lions. He wasn’t a Montoya, but he was in as safe a spot as could be.

Expecting the vato to be there, Quique came late and cuete and went straight to the bar. He looked around until he found the vato and, as usual, threw his eyes at him.

The Montoyas sensed the tension.

By the end of his second birria, Quique started walking toward the vato.

They say he wanted to be stopped. That he was so sick of the onda with the vato that he just wanted to end it. As he approached the vato, he pulled out his cuete, a chrome 25 caliber and held it up high. Everybody saw it and got out of the way, but before he could aim it, a young Montoya reached over and snatched the cueta out of his hand. Security quickly moved in and took Quique into custody. The vato never left his seat.

It was a felony to bring a gun into a place that sold alcohol. Ten years in the pinta cuz he’d already been torcido over another borlo months earlier.

The vato figured the fight was over, but he wasn’t at peace. The thorn at his side had left a lumpy, itchy callus.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.