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What’s all the huato about?

Órale, the featured word in this episode of Caló is huato. It means commotion caused by the borlo. You see, the borlote can go on for a long time. It peaks and ebbs. The peak is the huato, when everybody’s excited about it in anticipation of a climax, which isn’t always a good end. Why were you late? I was at the huato, where a ruca who was fighting for a vato took off with the other ruca she was fighting, and her vato went home all agütado.

Mano Prieta Ramírez came into town on his alazán (arabian), and everybody stopped what they were doing to see his entrance. It was always a big show.

The horse’s reins were wrapped around the pummel of its saddle. And Mano Prieta, dressed in black, kept his hands on his hips. He seemed to control his mount solely with his mind. At the general store, the young people hanging out outside stood up and took notice, and the horse on its own began to walk sideways. Further down the street, a young girl pointed to the horse, and it straightened up, skipped slightly and approached her.

“Your mom inside?” Mano Prieta asked her.

The young girl didn’t know what to say, just looked up at him in amazement.

“Say hello to her for me,” Mano Prieta said.

The stallion sensed it was time to bolt and jumped forward, its chrome horseshoes glistening in the sun.

“Oh, I sure would like a cold one,” Mano Prieta said to his steed loud enough that everybody could hear.

With that, the horse pranced down the block, stopped at the cantina, reared up slightly, and bent forward to allow its rider to dismount.

Mano Prieta got off, not even thinking he needed to tie down his mount. The horse made its way on its own to the tying post. The other horses that were already there moved aside.

Mano Prieta walked into the cantina and dispersed the crowd that had been standing by the entryway to see the spectacle.

“What’s the huato about?” a tall corpulent patron asked loudly, annoyed at the disturbance.

“Mano Prieta,” several men answered.

“And what? He’s a magician o qué?” the patron asked.

“No magician. A diablo,” said Mano Prieta.

“Come closer and I’ll teach you how to talk to horses.”

“I don’t know horse, only Spanish and English,” the riled patron responded.

“But you know huato, no?” Mano Prieta said, walking up to him.

His counterpart, although much more massive than Mano Prieta, grew silent.

“Huato’s what you go through to reach the gates of hell. Wanna come in?”

“I don’t believe in hell,” the big patron said.

“Simón. It’s not a place. It’s when you turn into an alazán, and I ride you into town. And everybody thinks you’re a pretty horse,” Mano Prieta said, nodding.

With that, the patron walked out of the cantina thoroughly intimidated.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.