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That’s how I’m gonna hacerla


Órale, the Caló word for this last episode of the story about a vato who learned to live with his archenemy is hacer. It’s Spanish for to do, as in to do something. In Caló, hacer is a contraction of hacerla, which adds to the generic action of doing the idea of a la or known end or destination. It implies a purposeful, focused, not generic, action aimed at attaining an end. It could be walking home, picking up a dagger to do the evil deed, or even meeting your death. You can’t hacerla if you’re not somehow heading somewhere in particular. Say, you’re tired or finished with what brought you here and now wanna go now? You tell everybody, la voy hacer, and they’ll understand you’re going home.

Quique’s departure to the pinta brought the vato peace and tranquility. No more watching his back all the time. No tirando ojo. Plus the ambient tension that been following him completely disappeared. This allowed him to woo a steady a girlfriend and turn toward his more natural bent: home decoration.

He put in a little waterfall and adjoining kwanza hut and tiki bar in his front yard. He built a long wooden covered deck in his side yard. Each of these projects took a year of work. When he was done with them, he turned his canijo energies to clearing the fortress of junk he he’d been building up in his backyard for years.

It was as if the freedom from worrying about Quique had changed his view of the world. What looked nice and righteous now was a clean back yard. This took several years of constant work, something only a canijo like him could do. When he was finally done with that, he turned his attention indoors.

First he remodeled his bedroom. Then he went to the living room, where he built a big niche for a big screen TV. He also scraped off the dark paint he had sprayed on the windows to keep people from peeping in. As soon as he was done, he went out and bought the TV.

Then Quique showed up. While he was torcido, his friends and kin had either moved or passed away. The only place left for him to land was at his grandmother’s, who happened to move a couple of doors down from the vato soon after Quique went to the pinta.

The vato spotted Quique one day taking out the trash. They made eye contact, but this time neither of them threw their eyes. The vato didn’t like the turn of events. He expected fregasos soon.

Days turned into weeks and months. But nothing happened.

Then one day when the vato was at work, his girlfriend called and said his front door was left wide open.

“Pos check inside to see if anything’s missing,” he asked her.

“One thing for sure that’s missing is your TV,” she said.

The vato was silent a long time.

“What’cha gonna do?” she asked.

“Pos I owed him one. Now he owes me one. We’re both old now. I’m gonna call it even. That’s how I’m going to hacerla,” the vato said.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.