Like English, Spanish has a knack for neologism. Ken Ellingwood’s article in the LA Times provides a glossary of new words and phrases related to Mexican drug violence.

My favorite is encajuelado:

Encajuelado: Based on the word for “trunk,” a body dumped in the trunk of a car. This is a common method for disposing of victims of a drug hit. Often, the bodies are bound and gagged with packing tape or are encobijados, wrapped in blankets.

When something is happening enough that they made a word for it, you know there’s a problem.

Ellingwood’s glossary explains that an encajuelado is sometimes accompanied by a handwritten narcomensaje, a scrawled drug message meant to threaten rival drug cartels or government security forces. Messages sometimes take the form of banners, known as narcomantas, and are hung from bridges or in other public places to demonstrate a gang’s audacity.

As a screenwriter, you have to be careful how much of this esoterica you try to use in your script. Particularly if characters are speaking English, trying to wedge a “narcomensaje” into dialogue is going to feel forced. Yet a reference to a character being encajuelado, once explained, is chilling.

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