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“God dammit!” shouted Jeffrey Lisicki, owner of the Crimson Rose, Saint Augustine’s premier haunted bed and breakfast. “We lost another ghost!”

“That’s the third this month!” cried Sarah Lisicki, his business partner and wife. “Soon, there be any ghosts left in the state!”

Upon entering the colonial style, three-story hotel, visitors could once count on a warm welcome from the Lisickis, clean, comfortable suites, and occasional paranormal incidents.

“Things would move around,” said Mrs. Lisicki. “Glasses shattered with no explanation. Shadows moved across doorways or just out of focus in the mirror. Sometimes you’d feel a cold hand on your shoulder. It was a great attraction to more adventurous tourists. That is,” she narrowed her eyes. “Until the Cubans showed up.”

“The goddamn Cubans!” exclaimed Mr. Lisicki. “They’d take one look at their rooms, whip out some branches, puff on a cigar, mumble something in Spanish, and poof! All the ghosts were gone!”

The Crimson Rose is registered in several prestigious haunted hotel listings, drawing significant revenue from travelers seeking paranormal experiences.

“Being a ghost-free establishment simply isn’t an option for us,” explained Mrs. Lisicki. “We’d be out of business! So, we’ve had to take some,” she paused and pursed her lips. “More drastic measures.”

The Lisickis recently turned to grave robbing and stealing possessed artifacts to replace their ethereal inhabitants.

“We might head down to the Huguenot Cemetery and dig up a skull or grab a Spanish soldier’s musket from the History Museum.”

Mr. Lisicki turned somewhat apologetic when he noticed my horrified expression. “Look, I know it isn’t pretty, but it’s what we have to do to survive.”

Asked what long-term solutions they could implement to resolve their phantasmic problem, Mrs. Lisicki replied, “Well, we can’t ban the Cubans, because that would be illegal. But we think we can shoo them away by instituting a barefoot-only—I think they call it “pata sucia”—rule in the house.”

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Andrew OtazoAndrew Otazo

'Miami Creation Myth' author Andrew Otazo has advised officials on Cuba policy, worked for the Mexican president, fired a tank, and ran with 30lbs of trash.

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