Sunday, December 23, 2012

Flophouse #7 (Mauve)

It begins simply enough.

An old flophouse, too impossibly ancient to exist within the city of Houston. Three to a room and there are many rooms. How many is anyone’s guess. Every Monday you nail rent, $50 cash, to the front door. Someone comes and takes the money away but no one ever sees who.

The tenants get by however they can, food scrounged from dumpsters behind some of the city’s finest eateries, petty theft, day work competing with Mexicans down on Washington, but mostly it’s just death in slow motion.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Katy’s Haus of Corrective & Reparative Therapies

Right this way! Watch your head, sir… Right this way!

I am standing here now, with all of you fine, fine folks around me, and I must admit I’m feeling overwhelmed. I am humbled by this honor. Of all the people in the world they could have chosen, they chose me. Me!

And so today, I will be the one giving you the grand tour of Katy’s Haus of Corrective & Reparative Therapies. I pray that I am up to the task.

So come along. Right this way!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Forgetting to Forget

My employer boasts there ain’t a soul alive who can remember the details of one of her parties. She promises a 4-day hangover minimum, guaranteed!

You see, Adri’s parties are by invitation only, and the invitations will read, “No cars. No cameras. No phones.”

To get in, you will have to sign a gag order and a waiver of liability beforehand, and the waiver is three fingers thick and requires that you be represented by counsel at the time of signing. It includes a provision in which you state you will not hold Adri personally liable should you be arrested for treason as a result of the event. You must attest to your food allergies under oath and promise that any severed limbs automatically become property of Adri’s law firm.

The mandatory pre-party physical is surprisingly thorough.

And you don’t know when the party is going to happen, exactly – you’re just given a range of possible dates – so when they come for you in the dead of night in a limousine or a taxi or in an unmarked van, it’s a bit of a surprise. And the men in the black shades and long trench coats, well, they will pull a sack over your head before you get into the vehicle, and they will play low tones of white noise to you with the bass turned way up so you cannot recreate the path you’re taking later on.

They will carve strange and archaic symbols on your body before the party begins. “For your own protection,” they will say.

The party is at a bar that Adri has rented out for the occasion, and it looks sort of  like a bar you have been in before, but not exactly like a bar you have been in before, so you really will know where the hell you are. And either she’s paid off the local authorities to look the other way or else there are no local authorities because maybe you’re in an international zone and that van ride turned into a plane trip somewhere along the way.

You are almost sure you felt some turbulence!

And I work for Adri now, so I get yanked off to this year’s party the other night, but the thing is that I am not exactly a party person. I am sitting alone, at a table in a dark corner of the bar, drinking a glass of water and writing this blog post longhand when the strippers arrive. The strippers come in four flavors: Female, male, gender-fucked, and pint-sized. There is also an animal of some kind involved, but I am unable to make out the details.

An old man who looks like Elvis taps me on the shoulder, asks me where they’re storing the defibrillators this year but I do not know, and I tell him this.

It is at about this time that Adri spots me in the corner, and she makes a beeline straight for me. She is all long red hair and tall black heels and ever-present skinny cigar, but she, too, is stone cold sober tonight because she is a recovering addict of… everything.

“You look like a gal who could use a drink and a stripper!” she says as she slides into a chair beside me. Then she whistles loudly, waving over a dark-nippled dancer to our table.

“No! No, I’m good, really,” I insist, but by then the stripper has entered our general vicinity and it is too late. A loud clanging and a braying erupt from a large cage somewhere across the room. I can just make out a pair of pants, several arms, and a wing inside.

Peering around the stripper in front of me, I say, “What kind of animal is in that cage with those people?”  but the stripper does not know and Adri’s guess is “a gryphon.”

Near the bar, a group of people are playing hangman with an actual gallows pole and noose. I can tell from over here that the word in question is “Burroughsian,”  but none of the players are anywhere close to guessing right.

Adri watches me watching the stripper. “With this party, I always kind of aim for a cross between a Hieronymus Bosch painting and the bar scene from the original ‘Star Wars’,”  she says.

Mission accomplished.

Some time goes by. The stripper is losing interest in me losing interest in her.

“So how about a drink, Katy?”  Adri offers again, more emphatically this time.

“I’m not really a social drinker,”  I say.

Adri pulls out a bag of pills. “How about a drug? Anything at all!”  she says.

“I am not really a social drugger,”  I say.

“How about a different stripper?”  she says, sending the one with the dark nipples away at last. “Want to go crazy and try a male dwarf?”

“I am not really a social experimenter,”  I say.

And then Adri, she throws up her well-manicured hands. She starts to sweat and look around nervously. She is done for: I am going to ruin her perfect party record!

“Katy, are you alright?”  she asks, and I almost believe her concern. “Are things getting better at home?”

At home? The words rattle around my brain a few moments. I cannot make hide nor hair of them.

At home?

Then, as the trapdoor drops out of the gallows scaffolding and the caged trio starts to moan and Elvis gets his heart shocked back to life, the room takes to spinning and it is only then that I remember. I remember that I have been forgetting to forget Dana. All evening. I have not been trying not to think about her or sort of forgetting her but with a cloud constantly present at the back of my mind.

I have really and actually and honestly forgotten about her… and for several hours, to boot.

This is momentous. I have forgotten to forget!

But the thing is, by this point, I am going into shock, and as I descend into darkness it bothers me a little to know that Adri has won again. I will wake up tomorrow, back in my own bed and with no memory of tonight, and I know I should be grateful to Adri for her amnesia-inducing party, but why couldn’t I beat her just this once?

Unless, of course, Adri’s goons fail to find the paper with this hand-written blog post I have tucked away in my pocket. And if that happens, well… If that happens, then everybody wins. 

**All illustrations by Alfred Kubin

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Top Ten Albums of 2012

I remember it finally happened one Saturday back in February.

It happened with no prior notice that it was going to happen.

It was February and it was a Saturday and I had just finished watching “30 Century Man,”  which is a documentary about Scott Walker. I mean Scott Walker the musician, of course. Not Scott Walker the Wisconsin governor.

I remember I finished watching “30 Century Man,”  and then I sat there, thinking, “I should really go and buy a CD by this Scott Walker guy!”  I could not fathom how I had missed him all of these years. The thing is, when I got into my van to go to Cactus Records and/or Sound Exchange and/or Sound Waves and/or Vinal Edge, I could not bring myself to turn the key. Cactus Records was not going to have a Scott Walker album, or at least not a Scott Walker album I wanted. Neither was Sound Exchange. The thing is, I knew I was about to spend the better part of my day driving around Houston for an album I would end up ordering off of Amazon.

I wanted the album now. Well, not now now. I mean right there and then now, when this happened, which was one Saturday back in February.

In the end, I wound up downloading Scott Walker's The Drift off of iTunes, which is the whole reason I am telling you this story. I promised myself this was a one-time thing. I promised myself I would not make a habit of it. I promised I would not tell anyone what I had done. I was too good for mp3 music downloads. But for just this one time, I would make an exception.

Of course, thats not what ended up happening. At all. Of my Top Ten favorite albums of 2012, I only possess three on CD. Three of them were never even released in CD format! (For those of you living in the twenty-first century, “CD”  stands for “compact disc,”  which was a sort of optical disk that your grandparents used to store digital data like music.)

So here they are. The bestest CDs, LPs, and digital downloads I got in 2012.

10. Swans – The Seer
The Seer is a rock album that can bend sound into impossible shapes while hovering in midair. The Seer is a rock album that can freeze time. And of course, with three songs that crash on beyond the 20-minute mark, The Seer had sure better be able to freeze time.

9. Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass
Standing in line to get into the Aesop Rock concert this past summer, I got a little nervous at the number of white suburban kids in Wu Tang shirts I was seeing around me. Uh oh! Not to worry, though: Aesop is a hell of an entertainer. The guy transcends genre, and he sure deserves a wider audience.

8. Scott Walker – Scott 3
This one is from 1968, and Scott’s playing the part of a spaced-out crooner. There are a couple psychedelic ambient tracks, a couple Jacques Brel covers, and even a patriotic ditty (complete with fireworks!). I don’t know exactly what this is, and that’s okay, too. I listen to a lot of damn music, so if it should so happen that I am unable to categorize an album, it’s gotta be a strange beast indeed.

7. Joseph Arthur – Redemption City
Finally, a decade and a half into his recording career, Joseph Arthur tries his hand at some loftier themes. Somehow, it works. Twenty-four tracks of this guy rapping about drugs and Christianity and Wassily Kadinsky, and it works! “Touched”  might just be the best thing he has ever done.

6. Mount Eerie – Clear Moon
“If I look / Or if I don’t look / Clouds are always / Passing over.”  I want to live inside of a Mount Eerie album.  I think this one would be as good a home as any for me. It’s a moody mental trip from the city to the sea, and the analog synths even add a little light to the landscape.

5. Robin Williamson – Skirting the River Road
With Skirting the River Road, Robin Williamson - formerly of the Incredible String Band - enters a VERY exclusive club indeed. He is one of only six artists to have gotten TEN separate albums into my Top Ten of the Year list over the years. I even made him an award in commemoration of this, but he has yet to come pick it up. Dirty hippie bastard...

4. Mount Eerie – Ocean Roar
For quite a while now, Mount Eerie’s music has mostly sounded like a little boy humming quietly to himself as a thunderstorm overhead threatens to crush him like a bug. But Mount Eerie mastermind Phil Elverum has really perfected that sound this time out. I just can’t be objective when it comes to Phil Elverum. The guy can do no wrong in my book.

3. Xasthur – Subliminal Genocide
This is one spooky black metal album. It sounds like the sound of some ghosts left out in the rain overnight who have woken up crying about it, just over the edge of the horizon. Yeah... Yes, that is precisely what this album sounds like.

2. Scott Walker – The Drift
In any other year, this one would have ended up at number one. It’s smart, it’s challenging, and it does not really sound like anything else you have ever heard. The thing is, it is also a miserable listening experience: sort of the sonic equivalent of having all your skin chewed off slowly. Which – don’t get me wrong! – is a remarkable accomplishment for an artist. I mean, you try doing that. But in the year 2012, I did not need this much help at feeling bad.

1. Aesop Rock – Skelethon
This is a hip hop album about cats, death, and eating your vegetables. It’s dark: Kimya Dawson does a nursery rhyme calling her dead best friend “meat inside a box” (“Crows 1”) and Aesop Rock raps about mummifying a pet cat (“How to Make a Homemade Mummy”). It’s goofy: “Racing Stripes” and “Grace” would be embarrassing if they were not surrounded by such brilliance. Aesop Rock raps about “autophagy,” about “a misanthrope vying for affection,” and about “bootlegs of Hawkwind.”  I’d call it a masterpiece, but that would probably scare you away.

Now it is your turn. Tell me: What did you put in your ears this year?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Our Lucy

Lucy was a time bomb. She was always ready to blow.

She knew it. We knew it. She knew that we knew it. We knew that she knew we knew, etc.

Her mother was a go-go dancer and her father was a Saudi prince with his own private jet plane and a shade of desert sand named after him. Or maybe he was just an oil baron… I forget the details exactly, but either way, Daddy was somebody with enough money on hand to buy a go-go dancer for the night.

And on the day Luce was born, her mother stamped an expiration date on her and she whispered in her ear, “Tag, you’re it.”  So Lucy was a time bomb from day one. She was always ready to blow.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Continuing Adventures of Hall and Oates

They pass by my window, just outside, every evening right before midnight. Hall and Oates do, I mean.

11:50, on the nose, they scurry through the bushes, right to left. Then, ten minutes later – at the very stroke of the very witching hour! – they’re back again, left to right this time, and then gone for another twenty-four hours.

They will be back. You could set your watch by Hall and Oates’ schedule.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Soap Opera

“There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns; things we do not know we don’t know.”
                                                                          – former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld

I read these words of Donald Rumsfeld, and the words make me wonder: Why’d you leave out the unknown knowns, Don? The things that we do not know that we know?

That’s what this blog post is all about. Unknown knowns.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ode to Tube Socks

You’ve got to get yourself a good pair of tube socks. White cotton, wide stripes, six pairs to a package. Girls can’t resist a girl wearing tube socks. The longer the better. Pull them up past your knees.

Pull ‘em up, pull ‘em up!

Pull them up just as high as they’ll go…

I remember back in junior high, out by the soccer fields. Watching girls run by had me feeling confused. Confused and mesmerized, froze in place like a statue. Could I be a sports fan if I don’t know the rules? I can’t be a sports fan: I don’t care who fuckin’ wins this. Just standing here and watching feels like I’m the one who scored.

I did not understand it then. I sort of understand it now. It’s all about the tube socks, so pull them up and go!

Pull ‘em up, pull ‘em up!

Pull them up just as high as they’ll go…

Okay, a few years later now, I’ve given up those soccer girls. ‘Cause soccer girls are scary; they can crush you in those thighs. But it wasn’t about the soccer girls and it wasn’t about the muscle thighs and it wasn’t about the-
      … um…
         about the…
                it wasn’t…

Hold on... Mental image… Give me a second here… I’ll be just fine…


Alright. Alright, I think I’m ready now…

Tube sock icon,
Heather Graham,
in "Boogie Nights"
It wasn’t about the soccer girls and it wasn’t about the muscle thighs. It wasn’t about the jerseys and it wasn’t about the score.

You see that lipstick cannot fix a pig and horses don’t need lingerie, but a plain Jane wears some tube socks and there’s a good chance that she’ll glow.

So pull ‘em up, pull ‘em up!

Pull them up just as high as they’ll go…

They’ll turn the girl next door into a force of nature. 

They’re hotter than high heels and cheaper than a boob job. A good pair of tube socks’ll cure whatever ails. A couple little ragged holes, they ain’t going to hurt you. You can wear them with your shorts on like your grandpa used to do.

A woman’s just a woman but a hot chick’s wearing tube socks. They’re bound to get you laid if they’re cotton, white, with stripes. I’m not one to give fashion tips but I recommend some tube socks. They’re never out of style and they make the girlies drool.

Pull ‘em up, pull ‘em up!

Pull them up just as high as they’ll go…

[WARNING!: This rule only applies to girls. Guys in tube socks? Meh...]

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Armchair Physics

The scientific community was slow in embracing Katy’s Couch Theory.

To tell you the God’s honest truth, the theory did make much of an impact until around the middle of the twenty-first century. Scientists – even scientists who are physicists like the ones we were dealing with – have always been a notoriously stuffy crowd. They’re stuck in their ruts. They’re impervious to the smallest of changes. Real revolutions in thought are often beyond the capacity of their eggtastic noggins.

This holds true even when the theorizer in question is a scientist of some renown, armed with charts and graphs and laboratory results, with studies and journal articles, protractors and an army of vacantly nodding interns. But if the theorizer should happen to be a semi-literate, intermittently homeless ragamuffin without one iota of scientific training to her name, then, well…

Suffice it to say that the scientific community was slow in embracing Katy’s Couch Theory.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

James Bond Gave You Herpes

This is the second entry in my blog series, “The Weird Girl’s Guide to (Not) Having Sex.”

I hope that you like it!

On the television, sex is shorthand for emotional connection.

Five, ten minutes into an episode, boy meets girl. Now, there is no time for these two crazy kids to get to know one another. No, no. There’s much to do and only about forty-two minutes in which to do it!

So before we are even sure why, really, the boy and the girl are off and running. They are running away from the designated bad guy or they are running towards the designated bad guy. Or, if the writer of this television program is unusually clever, they are kind of alternating back and forth, first running from and then running towards the bad guy. Sometimes, maybe the boy or the girl – who, you will remember, have only just now met one another – even begin to wonder whether the person they are running with is in league with the person they are running from.

Suspense! Do not touch that dial.

But at some point – and I am estimating it will be roughly thirty minutes in – the thrill of the chase will overwhelm this boy and overwhelm this girl and practically force the two of them into each other’s arms. Passionately. This can only take one form: They will have to have sex.

This sex will occur on a queen-sized bed with white sheets. Maybe inside of a hotel room. A lamp atop a nightstand on the far side of the bed will be left on, so that you and I, from where we are sitting, well, we will see this boy and this girl in silhouette. And the boy will be on top of the girl and the bed sheet will be covering him all of the way up to the middle of his back.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Weird Girl’s Guide to (Not) Having Sex, Part 1

This is the first in a planned series of blog posts I’m doing. More specifically, it is the first in a planned series of blog posts I’m doing about sex, or, rather, about no-sex.

This planned series of blog posts was inspired by a conversation at the Wisdom Exchange a few days back. The Wisdom Exchange is what we call our conversations over lunch at the place where I work. The conversation was about sex but this planned series of blog posts is about no-sex, even though the blog posts were inspired by the conversation.

I promise: This will get a whole lot simpler as we go along. On top of that, it will eventually involve dolphin rape.

Okay. At the Wisdom Exchange at work, we talk about all sorts of things, a full spectrum of peculiar topics, but the topic that nobody has been talking about – the topic that has been consciously and somewhat awkwardly avoided over all these weeks – is me and my recent breakup. I mean my recent breakup with Dana, Dana being the woman who is still legally my wife in at least a handful of American jurisdictions.

You have to understand: The Knowledge Exchange is fueled by knowledge in the same way that mosquitoes are fueled by blood. Everybody knows that if there’s a warm body just lying around near a swarm of live mosquitoes, sooner or later that body is going to get pricked. It’s just too tempting, and everything needs fuel. I’m not defending it; I’m just telling it like it is.

And so it was just the other day that somebody at the Wisdom Exchange finally tapped the untapped body of knowledge that, for a long month and a half, everyone had been pretending not to notice just lying there.

Oh, the knowledge, it was flying all around the table – helter skelter, hither and yon, twixt and tween the exchangers – when suddenly, up from out of the din, a lone voice sliced right through: “How ya holding up, Katy?”

Things got really quiet really fast. I noticed the silence but I pretended I did not. I said, “Better than expected.”

I paused, I thought some more, and I added, “The nights can be a little rough, but in general… Yeah, better than expected.”

This was the truth. At that moment, I could not think of a better answer, let alone a lie, let alone a reason to lie. So I went with the truth, even though I work at a law office.

“I can’t even imagine!  said one of the exchangers. She was not the brave soul who had broached the topic a moment before. She was a septuagenarian and she spoke up and she sounded like she honestly could not imagine.

She said, “To have someone for sex, four or five times a week for all those years, and then suddenly, nothing? My God!”

A couple of exchangers nodded. Several others made sounds indicating agreement.

I thought, Four or five times a week?!  but I did not say it out loud. At least, I do not think I said it out loud.

The next exchanger to speak was our firm’s CPA, and this was her contribution to the discussion: “If I don’t get sex at least every three days, I cease to be able to add even simple numbers. My hands start shaking and my brain shuts down and I can’t do the math!”

I heard somebody mumble an incredulous “Really?”  to the CPA. It took me several moments to realize I had been the mumbler in question.  

“Oh, hell yes! I’d go cra-a-a-a-azy!” It was now the receptionist’s turn to pipe in. The receptionist, who had had her first child at the age of fifteen. Who had had her second child at the age of eighteen. Who, now at the ripe old age of twenty-three, had four kids and a brand-spanking new boyfriend waiting for her back at home.

The next person to speak up was IT Dude. Not just any IT dude, either, but THE IT dude. The three hundred pound, bald IT dude with the combination birthmark/mole/prickly rash thing taking up the entire left side of his face. The IT dude who is paying child support to – at last count – four different women, including a prostitute who he claims he didn’t realize was a prostitute at the time, despite having routinely paid her for sex.

“I-i-i-it… It’s j-j-j-j-j-just a biolo-lo-lo-logical fact!”  IT Dude declared. “B-b-biological fact! I-i-i-it’s exactly l-l-l-like b-b-breathing or eat-t-t-ting. Human b-be-be-bei-i… um, people require s-s-s-s-s-sex.”

Everybody else at the table looked positively riveted by the information IT Dude was exchanging.

Then it was Handsome Young Male Associate’s turn. “I was reading the other day about dolphins,”  he said, and he said it in that handsome-young-male-associate kind of way, where everybody believed him.

He said, “If young male dolphins don’t get sexed regularly, they snap. Just snap. They will rape anything around them: Other dolphins, human divers, turtles or rafts or whatever is convenient.”

He said, “If they continue not getting sexed, a bunch of male dolphins will form a gang and start murdering other animals for the hell of it, just to get out their aggression.”

More sounds of agreement from the Knowledge Exchange. “Been there!” somebody said. This appeared to be exactly the sort of useful knowledge that the Knowledge Exchange was craving.

Handsome Young Male Associate continued. “The life of a duck is completely sex-driven,” he said. “Ducks will even have sex with dead ducks, and rape is so common in the duck community that the females have evolved genitalia specifically designed to repel these frequent attacks.”

Then Handsome Young Male Associate sat back and victoriously tossed a grape into his mouth. “From the perspective of almost ANYWHERE in the animal kingdom, your current situation is unsustainable and potentially dangerous for you, Katy.”

I looked around the table, from face to face to face, from pockmarked visage to snot-covered mustache, and on every face, without exception, I could see sincere concern. The Knowledge Exchange was worried that this horrible no-sex of mine might kill me – or if not kill me, then it might lead to my killing them!

I said, “Are you heteros being for real here? Are you all fucking insane? Did I wander into an eighth grade boys’ locker room?”

At this outburst, everybody looked sad. They probably all assumed that the weight of no-sex was finally taking its toll.

I said, “It has not just been a month and a half since I’ve had sex. It has been ten months.”

There were audible gasps.

I held up my hand to them.

I said, “My hands aren’t shaking involuntarily.”

And I said, “I can still add numbers.”

And I said, “And I am most certainly not… raping… dolphins!”

I said to the Knowledge Exchange on that day, and I say to you now, that I am not a eunuch. I am not frigid. I am not a prude. I have no real moral objections to people having sex – even having sex for pleasure and fun and profit. Hell, I think I am called a “pervert”  or a “degenerate”  on an almost daily basis. 

But the conversation about sex that day at the Knowledge Exchange has inspired me to launch into this planned series of blog posts about no-sex because, well, because I did not understand then and I do not understand now the psychology behind that conversation. Because I need to think about it in some systematic fashion. Because these days, whenever I need to think about something, sooner or later that something is going to turn into a blog post… or two or three or maybe even four blog posts.

This is “The Weird Girl’s Guide to (Not) Having Sex,”  and things are just getting under way…

With any luck, this will get Not Safe for Work.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Katy Anders, Myth Buster

I found Tres Bocas today.

After all of these years! It has been right under my pierced nostrils all along.

And just like I have always suspected – as I have somehow always really known in my heart of hearts – Tres Bocas? Total sham, baby. Take my advice and do not waste any of your precious time on this one.

It was this afternoon and the weather was cool and I was walking down Travis Street when I heard them. I heard Tres Bocas, I mean. (NOTE: For those Canadians among you, “tres bocas”  means “three mouths”.)

I heard them and I knew. Immediately, I knew. How did I know? It must have been the echo or else it might have been the tone or maybe it was some ephemeral quality for which English has not developed a suitable word at all.

These are the voices which many cultures have heard and for which every culture has turned to some other language or other tongue when the time for naming has come. Sounds like these can’t be known by any designation ordinary as your mother tongue! No, you’ve gotta look elsewhere, turn to something more exotic… even if your mother tongue is otherwise pretty darn exotic in and of itself.

Will you look at this? My story has already gotten derailed somehow. Here I am, having already wasted years trying to find Tres Bocas and now it’s turned out to be an utter sham and I am not even going to salvage a decent story from it as a consolation prize.

To hell with it. Let’s keep moving.

This afternoon, then. The voices were coming from inside of a parking garage. You know, that one under the Houston Club, over there on Rusk? I tracked the voices to there – no easy feat in and of itself! – and I walked into the garage and I heard what sounded like three Eastern European polyphonic choirs singing… in unison.

This is what they were singing:


Tres Bocas
(Artist's Rendering)
At that same moment, a valet danced down a ramp right near me. He was a valet and he was old, but he was happy and he was dancing and he was, you know, snapping his fingers and what have you. Happy valet sorts of things.

I ran up to him. The valet looked surprised. He did not say anything, but his name tag read: “ARTHUR S.”

I said, “Arthur S.! What did those voices say?”

Arthur S. said, “What voices?”

I said, “The ones just now. You know: Three Eastern European polyphonic choirs singing in unison? Sang ‘DANIELLE’?”

Arthur S. said, “Oh! Those voices? They said ‘DANIELLE’.”

The conversation was going nowhere. But I was not to be discouraged. After all, I was used to conversations that went nowhere. I once lived with an attorney for eight years. I said this: “And who is Danielle, Arthur S.?”

And Arthur S., why, he sort of stopped and he thought real deep-like for a moment or two. Then he smiled again. He said, “Only Danielle I ever known was my high school sweetheart, Danielle Nicole Trotter. Why, she-”…

I was already off and running. I grabbed another random passing valet. This one did not dance, but he wore a name tag that read, “LEON R.”

I pulled Leon R. to the ramp and shoved him up it. “Go on up the ramp, Leon!”  I said, “Go up the ramp and we’ll hear what the voices say!”

Now, you might think if a stranger ran up to you screaming about voices and told you to run up a car ramp that you might be hesitant to do it. You’d be wrong, though, because people tend to do what they are told to do, no matter how crazy the order might seem.

Hey, you! Yes, YOU. Keep reading!

Anyway, Leon R. ran to the top of the ramp, and he’d no sooner set foot at the top when what sounded like three Eastern European polyphonic choirs sang out in unison. They sang this:


At this, I screamed. The substance of what I screamed escapes me just now, but whatever it was was probably not very important anyway. What I do remember is that I screamed, I jumped around a lot, and I hooted and I hollered and at the very second Leon R. got back down the ramp, I said, “My turn!”  and I ran up and…


Well, maybe I do need to go back a little bit further, after all. I need to go back, on the off-chance that there are those among you who are not altogether familiar with the long and rich history of Tres Bocas. I assume it is possible that not everyone knows…

Beneficiary of a scam.
Of course, the first – and still the most celebrated – account of Tres Bocas in history comes to us from the historian Nicolaus of Damascus in approximately 42 B.C. Nicolaus writes of a strange trip embarked upon by then-Roman co-consul Mark Antony to Atlantis. Although some mainstream historians consider the story to be spurious, I believe that Mark Antony actually traveled to the Texas Gulf Coast, and here is why:

Nicolaus writes that while in Atlantis, Mark Antony came to a great swamp where there were many flying bloodsuckers (Houston? Houston?), and while in the very midst of this humidity and muck, Antony heard demon voices. Furthermore, Nicolaus reports that the demon voices sang this:


Upon hearing the demons, Mark Antony immediately returned to Tarsus and summoned his future lover, Cleopatra. Something is also mentioned of the relationship ending somewhat badly later on down the line.

Now jump forward a few centuries. Now farther. Jump forward to the story of Chief White Oak’s so-called Singing Crows. Forward, to Ponce de Leon’s swamp angels (which reportedly sing out, “¡JUANA DE LOS APOSTOLES COVADONGA CONTRERAS!”

Forward, to 1968, when a very young and very drunk George Walker Bush lies semi-conscious in the streets of downtown Houston and hears God shouting the mysterious phrase, “CONDOLEEZZA!

According to the noted Bush biography, “I Really Tried Hard,” Bush at first believes the voice to be just another alcohol-induced hallucination. Only much later does he decide he’s misheard the voice. “I thought it said ‘Condoleezza’,”  Bush is reported as saying. “Only later on, I realized what it actually said was, ‘I want you to be President!’ Those two things sound a lot alike when you’re that drunk.”

Too late, Rosario Dawson discovers
her mistake.
Now jump forward again. Forward to 2009, when the National Enquirer reports that, on a short promotional trip to Houston, actress Rosario Dawson steps out of her car at an undisclosed Houston parking garage and hears voices singing, “KATY ANDERS!”

Tragically, Dawson dismisses the voices, making the awful, awful fate that befalls her in 2015 all the less surprising, frankly, in future retrospect…

These have been my leads. I have found historical account after historical account after historical account like this. Buckets of them. All of them virtually identical: Texas Gulf Coast. Tres Bocas. Singing out the name of your true love. Your inevitable soul mate. Light of your life.

I’ve just never known where to look. Where to listen.

But that all changed today.

It changed. First there were the voices, and then there was Arthur S., and then there was Leon R., and then I myself ran up that parking garage ramp to hear…

To hear…

“Dana,”  maybe?


How about “Bella”? There are tons of girls being named Bella these days, and that would give me a few years to grow up myself while my soul mate was somewhere out there, inching towards the age of consent.

“Beth Ann”?

“Regina Pastula de las Muertos y Cigarillos?”

But no. There was nothing.

Not a sound. I was in downtown Houston on a weekday and there was nothing to be heard but the notable LACK of any sound.

And the silence made me furious. The silence made me steam. I leapt up and down like Daffy Duck on steroids. I yelled things that I dare not repeat in mixed company. I showed the pavement both of my middle fingers while Arthur S. and Leon R., stared on, rather dumbfounded, I should think.

And it was only then that I heard it.

I heard laughter.

It started off a bit like Vincent Price at the end of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” if only Vincent Price had sounded more like three Eastern European polyphonic choirs singing in unison. But it kept building. 

Tres Bocas? They were laughing at me. At me!

So you see what I mean, right? Total sham, baby. Tell me: What kind of imbecile would I have to be to give any credence at all to the opinions of some random voices singing out of the ground in the middle of downtown Houston?

I tell you, Tres Bocas is a sham. A lie repeated once too often. This myth is busted. It’s like the Loch Ness Monster or Shangri-La or Ringo Starr or the G-spot. Just a child’s fairy tale.

Bastard Bocas…

Ask anybody out there. They’ll tell you the truth: Katy Anders is not going to die unloved and alone.

Hey... Are you sure you didn’t just hear somebody singing, “ROSARIO”? Really? Are you sure? Because I thought I did…