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Le cantó por la brave


Órale, the feature of this episode is the term por la brava. In Spanish is means by way of the brave woman. In Caló, it means in offense or, translated to the modern vernacular, in your face. When you act against the law, contrary to everybody's warning, or in pursuit of a fight, you do it por la brava. It’s indeed an aggressive term that should not be said—or taken— lightly. Also expressed in Spanglish as, a la brave, the term announces willful defiance and acceptance of the consequences. Vatos who do something a la brave, don’t whine later that they didn’t mean it.

The vato was in New York City madereandose. He’d been flown in and put up in a nice hotel by the number one evening TV show where he was going to be interviewed by a ruquillo named Carson. The vato had no idea what he was going to be asked, only that it had to do with his two seconds of acting as part of a street crowd behind a romantic scene in a hit movie.

He didn’t care. The free trip and first-class treatment made him feel that, no matter the outcome, it was all worth it.

He showed up in the hotel lobby on time as instructed. Also as instructed, he spotted the chauffeur would take him to the TV station, a big bald guy in a black suit holding a small card with the vato’s name on it.

He didn’t have to wait much to go on camera once he got to the station. After a quick makeup and tips about looking at the camera, he was ushered into the studio. The host was waiting in the company of another gray-haired ruquillo sitting in one of the two chairs next to the host’s desk.

There were no pleasantries. The host went right at him a la brava.

“Dr. Leveanthroll here wrote a book about the place you come from and says your OJ persona is fake. That means everybody’s making more than they should of you. What do you say to that?” the ruquillo asked the vato.

Pos, the vato le cantó right back por la brava.

“Órale, just one book, o qué?” the vato asked.

“Just one about OJ, but backed by a lot of research,” the gray-haired guest said.

“Y you speak, read, and write Spanish?” the vato quickly asked him.

“Not perfectly, but lots has been translated,” the gray-hair said.

“Y Caló?” the vato asked.

“That’s just Spanglish, so the same,” said the gray-hair.

The vato nodded a long time in silence, so long that the host stepped in.

“You’re agreeing?” the ruquillo asked.

“Nel, ese. I’m just thinking the record on OJ is much bigger than what’s been translated into English, which means he wrote a book and is saying a lot about me based on a tiny piece of the record,” the vato said.

“And since he doesn’t speak Caló, which nobody translates in writing, that means he’s the fake,” the vato said.

The gray-hair flashed an expression of outrage.

“How dare you!” he said.

“Pos you’re the one who came at por la brave. Don’t whine about it now, ese,” the vato said.

“Let’s take a commercial break,” said the host.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.