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Órale, the feature for this episode is rajar. In Spanish it means to break or splinter. In Caló it means to cower, give up, or quit the fight. It also means to break a promise. People who commit to something and then don’t follow through are rajones. People who keep their word once they give it even at great cost to themselves, are people who no se rajan. There’s an old saying in this regard that invokes the image of someone who is down to his last breath yet still no se raja: ‘scupo sangre, no rajo.

On top of being a dainty dandy, the pichirilo was also a heartbreaker. It always seemed to break down when the vato was headed to a critical date. It worked fine on the first couple of dates, but it seemed to sense when the relationship was getting hot and simply stopped running when the vato was on his way. And if that didn’t work, it shut down soon after he picked up the girlfriend. No way was it going to make it to wherever it was they were going.

The vato once outsmarted El Pichirilo by picking up his girlfriend on the opposite side of town. The ramfla didn’t complain until the morra got into the front seat. Then there was hell to pay. It sputtered, jerked and belched smoke as if it was burning a head gasket. The vato quickly drove into the nearest parking lot and cut off the motor. They had to walk the rest of the way.

The vato left it there a few days. When he finally came back for it, the ramfla started right up without any problem.

Normally a ramfla like this soon gets traded or scraped. But not El pichirilo because it knew when not to act up and how to make points with its owner.

One time the vato was driving home late after a dance in Comanche and fell asleep at the wheel. The next day, the vato woke up parked in front of his chante. Somehow, he didn’t know how, he’d gotten home and spent the night in the front seat.

“Eee, Pichirilo. You saved me, ese,” he told his ramfla.

Another time he was speeding to get to a dance in OJ. Then as he got to the big curve ten miles out of town where oncoming traffic is out of the line of sight until it’s upon you, El Pichirilo shut down suddenly.

“Pinche rajón, you’re going to keep me from the dance again,” the vato yelled at his ramfla.

The vato just sat in the driver’s seat and stewed, as it was no use opening the hood. Then a few minutes later, a convoy of ambulances and sheriff cars sped by. An hour later, the vato turned the key in the ignition and the pichirilo started up. A couple of miles down the road, he saw a terrible pile up of cars. The vato immediately saw that, but for the pichirilo, he too would crashed into that pile.

“Eee! Pichirilo, I thought you were just rajando again. But no, ese, seems you saved my life again,” he told his ramfla.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.