Los Pachucos Y Su Lenguaje

Los Pachucos y Su Lenguaje
by Richard J. Griego, April 2002
His name was Arturo, but he was known to his camaradas as Count Dracula, and he was my brother-in-law, at least for the short year that he and my sister were married. The unusual nickname was given to Arturo at age fifteen when he was working as an assistant in a funeral parlor.   One day the body of a young lady friend of his came in and Arturo picked her up and started waltzing around with her.   The shocked employees asked what he was doing.   Arturo said that he was giving his friend her last dance.   One of the guys said, “Man, you look just like Count Dracula.” and from that point on the saga of el Drácula began.

        My father disliked Arturo, saying he was a pachuco and a marihuano.   The year was 1948, I was only nine years old and I was warned to stay away from el Drácula, who himself was only sixteen.   But there was an alluring attraction to him: he had flashing hazel eyes, pale skin and sandy hair slick-backed into a ducktail, which was made darker with pomade.   Arturo was handsome, slender and tall; he had a sauntering walk - he would swing his arms slightly from side to side and sway his shoulders.   He wore long-sleeve lisas (shirts) buttoned all the way up to the neck, baggy pegged-pants (drapes with reet pleats) worn high on the waist and fitted tightly at the ankles, and highly shined calcos (shoes) with pointed toes.   Count loved the borlotes (dances) at the Old Town Society Hall (la Ruca) and the Armory in downtown Alburque.   When he danced, he moved his feet but slightly and gently rocked to the rhythm.   He made the woman come to him, while he just stood there and twirled her around. The girl did all the work; he was cool and aloof.   Count was a natural leader.   He seemed older than he actually was and although he was the youngest, he became the head of his clica in the Sawmill neighborhood of Alburquerque.   Count era un bato de aquellas y siempre andaba muy bien entacuchado....