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Hay la llevo?


Órale, the feature of this episode of Caló is the expression, hay la llevas. In Spanish, it means there you have it. It’s a curse. There’s a classic Greek mythological tragedy behind the curse of hay la llevas, known in many languages as a Sisyphean feat. As the tragedy goes, a deviant king violated the sacred tradition of showing hospitality to visitors and was condemned by the gods to forever roll a rock up a hill, only to have it slip his grip at the precipice and roll back down. The saying is not a curse you cast on anybody, as it’s something that the cursed is already experiencing. And you can’t relieve them of it. You can only acknowledge it, perhaps wish them the best existence they can possibly have under the circumstances. You say hay la llevas to somebody whom you see trapped in such a curse, where all you are doing is acknowledge their fate. Sometimes the cursed acknowledge it themselves. How are you doing, carnal? Pos hay la llevo, ese.

The vato got off his ramfla to buy some beer at the Git-it-n-go y was shocked to see his old nemesis hanging around the ATM machine.

“Quehubole, vato,” he said.

“Órale, vato. No I know you?” the vato who used to be the town bully, now looking like a ruquito, responded.

“Simón, ese. We went to school together. You were a year older. We boxed at the Boys Club. I was one of the vatitos you picked as your stable of punching bags,” the vato said.

“Pos I don’t remember. Were you a good fighter?” the ruquito-looking vato asked.

“I thought I was good, but you were faster and had a lot more practice cuz you’re jefito was also a boxer,” said the vato.

“Pos there were a lot of vatitos like you. I tried to be friendly, but everybody wanted to be my friend at that time. Wait. Were you that vato at the burger joint with that ruca everybody liked that night after the dance one summer?” the ruco resonded.

“Simón, ese. You were there with some tirilongo who caught mid-air the match book you zipped at us,” the vato said, recalling a tense moment when he feared he was going to get into a fight with an elite boxer in front of his date.

The very thought of that memory made him shudder.

“I don’t remember that,” the ruco said.

“No you then became the champ?” the vato asked.

“Siról. Champ de amadres. Con nice ramflas and rucas. Todo,” said the ruco.

“Y then,” the vato asked.

“Pos, then I decided to come back to the Southside. Watchas?” the ruco said.

A long silence ensued.

“Y what do you do now?” the vato asked.

“Hay la llevo. Hanging around seeing if somebody will alivianarme with ten to buy a six,” the ruco said coyly.

“Órale, I’ll alivianar you,” the vato said and handed him a $10 bill.

“A toda madre, ese. Hay te watcho,” the ruco said.

“Cool. Hay la llevas,” the vato said.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.