There's a man who has the face of my father working the taco cart down the street. I'm pretty sure the two have never met. When I walk by after school, he smiles and waves at me and tells me he will be home in time for dinner, just as soon as the rush ends. The cart is always crowded, all hours of the night and day. Sometimes I wonder what will happen if there ever stops being people there, and what will happen if my father and his double ever do meet, but for now I needn't worry: my father doesn't like tacos and the double is always too busy to come.
There's a fluffy black cat who sits on the stoop that had belonged to Mrs. Sandovan before her passing (God rest her soul) and now belongs to nobody but deigns to live with April. He's got a white spot on his head and fauceted jewel-looking eyes that flick green to red to purple. If you scratch him just right behind the ears, he'll start to purr and if he gets really happy, he's start to sing duets with himself, one voice a man's, one voice a woman's.
His owner, Tansy, is a lovely young woman with soft brown curls and wide amber eyes who sells flowers from baskets. She always wears a long blue dress to cover up the chicken claws she has instead of feet, but sometimes the wind blows and I see them anyways. She used to baby sit me when I was little.
There is a group of black-haired boys who play marbles on the street corner by Mrs. Morten's fruit stand. If you get too close, they all look up at the same time and you can see that their eyes are solid black. If they don't like you, they just look at you until you go away. If they like you, they'll all smile at the same time so you can see how their teeth are all sharp and triangle shaped like a shark's. They'll ask you to play.
I said no when it happened to me, but I knew a red headed boy from school who said yes. He didn't come back to class the next day. When I asked the black eyed boys if they knew where he'd gone, they said no, but I saw they were playing with a pretty red marble they didn't have before.
My name is Andrea Michanovich and I live down 3/4ths Market Street.
3/4th Market Street is all colors. The buildings are all tall and narrow and the way the street is set up means it feels almost like they're closing in, looming over so they can peek over your shoulder. They all have shops on the bottom and homes on the top and different architectural styles that would clash ugly with eachother on any other street, but here just added to the texture. Most of the paint on any given building is peeling, usually revealing even brighter colors underneath from back when people thought bright paint made places seem more cheery instead of gaudy. The place is full of little alleys that lead to gardens and little doors that lead to secret shops and little stairs that lead to nowheres and everywheres and anywheres between.
Mrs. Yannon lives upstairs above what used to be a shoe shop but is now where the teenagers go to smoke weed and snort pixie dust. She used to be really nice and make us all cookies when we were little, but now just sits in her rocker, staring out the window surrounded by her cats. She doesn't go out and find them, they come to her through the window. She doesn't feed them: they bring her food.
I sometimes go up there to check on her-ask her if she wants to leave or if she needs anything. All she ever asks me to do, though, is count the cats. there's always more every time I go. Last time was up to 52. When I told her, she cackled and said, 'Just forty-eight more and I'll be ready! Only forty-eight more!' And I noticed for the first time that her pupils were slitted and then, just for a second, she had the ghost of a cat superimposed over her face.
A family of spiders moved in to our attic. Mom wanted to get the exterminator, but when dad went up to check, they all had human faces and talked in Spanish. We had Mr. Morales translate for us and they said they were just going to stay here for the winter, if that was okay with us. So now we have fifty tiny tiny housemates.
I don't know why 3/4ths Market Street is called that. As far as I can tell, it's a regular old street (save for the people that live here) and it's the only street in the city that has a fraction in front of its name (I know, I checked). I asked my mother and she said maybe it was because the city officials made a typo when they were making the map. My father said maybe it's because they were going to make another street called 1/4th Market Street for a joke.
Mr and Mrs. Sherazi sell genies in glass bottles next to where Mrs. Kaur sells caged parrots that lay glass eggs. Mrs. Sherazi gave me a small genie bottle when I turned twelve and that's how I got my first bike. I was so happy I almost started to cry and when her baby girl Raghda was born a couple years later, I made sure that I got to be little Ray's guardian angel, for all that I'm only a ghost.
Every day, I go over to Mr. Jackson's house and wait around in his living room for him to come down the stairs. Then we usually have tea and I tell him about the people I see. It used to scare him at first because he thought I was haunting him- and I guess I sorta am, but not because I'm mad or anything, but because I know he's sort of a skittery person and is really shy around people, even though I know he wants to talk to them. I'm concerned, is all. He's always felt really bad about accidentally killing me with his car, but I told him he's not to worry about it. Now days we're pretty good friends for all that he's an old guy and I'll always be a kid and even my family has forgiven him and slowly but surely I'm starting to get him to come out of his shell. (Don't tell, but I'm secretly trying to get him and Tansy together because I think they'd be really cute.)
I died maybe five years ago but that hasn't stopped me from getting around. I'm not really wispy unless I want to be. Sometimes I go to school, but mostly I stay in 3/4ths Market Street because that's the place where everybody can see me and I'm still solid (when I want to be). Outside, only one or two people can at any time, and it gets old, being ignored.
My name is Andrea Michanovich and I haunt 3/4ths Market Street.