Amanda Polanski sat at the kitchen table of her newly purchased South Miami townhouse, coffee cup in hand, a look of deep concern weighing her furrowed brow. Her back to the kitchen door, a silent shadow crossed the living room, barely in her peripheral vision.
Amanda whipped around, eyes wide in fear, but the shadow was gone. She convinced herself it was a passing cloud and turned back to her coffee.
A newly arrived Michigan native, Amanda moved to Miami with her husband and 14-year-old daughter a year ago to further her fintech career. Of practical Swedish stock, she never cared much for the paranormal, but even she had to admit that things in her house were off.
It was a typically warm South Florida afternoon. Amanda considered turning on the AC, when a shiver—like an icy finger running along her spine—froze her to her seat. Goosebumps raced through her skin.
She felt a presence behind her but dared not turn around. A barely audible whisper breathed into her ear.
“No tomes ese aguafango,” it said.
“Is somebody there?” she enquired, hoping not to hear an answer.
“Dije que no tomes ese aguafango,” came the spectral reply.
“I’m sorry, what?” asked Amanda, not quite catching the response.
“El café americano es una mierda,” answered the voice, a bit more loudly.
“Wait, what? I don’t know what you’re saying.”
“Coño mujer ¿cuántas veces te lo tengo que repetir?” retorted her unseen companion, now quite peeved. “Vete a la cafetería en la esquina de la cuadra, cómprate un cortadio y basta de tomar ese café aguado.”
The coffee mug shattered.
Amanda cried in terror and the voice disappeared.
This kind of thing happened with alarming frequency to the Polanskis. Lysol floor cleaning solution was mysteriously replaced with Fabuloso. Flying chancletas would smack their daughter, Nelly, whenever she misbehaved. The radio randomly turned on and blasted Ritmo 95. Every single light in the house would turn off the second they left a room. Worse yet, they had no idea why it was happening.
The Polanskis tried a séance, but the ghost laughed the old white lady out of the house. An exorcism produced similar results. Finally, in desperation, they turned to Yannelys, their Cuban neighbor, for help.
After receiving a brief description of the Polanskis’ tribulations, Yannelys laughed uproariously.
“It’s just welcoming you to Miami!” she exclaimed. “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”
Yannelys gave the Polanskis a short to do list which, once completed, she assured them would solve their Cuban ghost problem.
Following the list to a T, the family all bought gold chains; replaced their Folgers with Café la Llave; stocked the pantry with pan de bono, pastelitos, and croquetas; stopped using their turn signal; only shopped at Presidente Supermarket; and, all in all, became fully engaged in Miami’s cultural milieu.
As for the Cuban ghost, it turned from a mischievous poltergeist into useful housemate. Provided with its preferred accoutrements, it happily mopped the floors and ensured the electricity bill didn’t get out of hand. Plus, as parents to a previously uncontrollable teenager, the Polanskis truly began to appreciate the flying chancletas.
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