Sunday, December 27, 2015


Grandma buys me socks for Christmas.

Just a package of socks, nothing fancy. Not dress socks, not those rainbow toe socks I love so much. She gets me plain old white vanilla tube socks every year without fail.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


I can be anyone.

That’s right: I can be anyone at all. I can be a stranger. What’s stopping me? Why am I still being me?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Question of the Day

And now I have a question to ask you and I am hoping that you have an answer because it’s got me stumped.  

This question requires a little preliminary background. Just a little; please don’t run away! Please allow me to tell you a little about the place where I live…

In the place where I live, we have values. We are very committed to these values. They are what set this place apart from all of the other places. Our values are our pride and joy!

We value freedom. Freedom in our choice of religion. Freedom in what we can say. It’s probably not like that where you live and that’s okay. It’s only to be expected because no other place is a place like the place where I live.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Eat Your Heroes: The Ballad of Ray Hill 2

This is not the beginning. The beginning is here.

This is the middle.

Go. Begin at the beginning. That way, you’ll see the middle more clearly and anyway, the beginning’s the better bit.  

Here in the middle, we flash forward twenty years. Two decades since that dark parking lot with its red bricks and its singing nuns and by now there are two things I have learned.

First, Ray Hill made the world a better world. No question. The world is better for his having been here.

He’s a hero.

And second, you should never meet your heroes.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Meet Your Heroes: The Ballad of Ray Hill

This is a true story.

I haven’t always lived in Houston, you know. There was a time, many years ago, when I resided in a little Texas town known as Huntsville. Population 20,000, give or take.

This would have been back in about 1995. I was ten. Dad moved me and Antony up to this God-forsaken place so that he might attend Sam Houston State University, which didn’t work out as planned and then there we were. In Huntsville.

Now, Huntsville is exactly one hour due north of Houston and any way you slice it, it’s a town that is notable for one thing and only one thing: It is home to the world-famous Texas death chamber.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Crown Princess of Pareidolia

Alright, now think about this:

A triangle. A dating meme. It’s probably sexist; I don’t know. I can never keep up with that stuff.

And this triangle, at its corners, it says, “Smart,” “Sane,” “Good-looking.” At its center, it says, “You may pick two.”  The implication being, I suppose, that every woman is dumb, ugly, or insane.

Thus my warning about it probably being sexist.

But still, if we can accept, arguendo, our probably sexist triangle as holding some tiny grain of wisdom, a rule of thumb or kernel of truth, then I ask you: Where does that leave me?


It leaves me at a real disadvantage, that’s where.

It leaves me two corners shy of a full triangle.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Blog Seeds

I jot down ideas on little scraps of paper. On envelopes. Sales receipts. Business cards. The backs of checkbooks and in an endless trail of notebooks. Folders and coupons and wine bottle labels, covered! I fill flash drives and I email myself. Leave voicemails I never listen to.

The blog ideas pile up and up.

Out at Dana’s storage space, cleaning out my stuff, I see that most of what I own is my idea pads. There are stories and there are quotes and there are opening lines for things I never got around to writing.

Until now, I mean. Until this week. This is the week I’m finally going to get around to writing them.

It will go like this: For the next month, everything I post here will come from a single sheet of paper I covered in ideas back seven years ago.

I’ve got them all typed out below and I’ll change them into red after I use them. See?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Great Grim Reaper Challenge of 2015

I still remember the very moment when I became a Grim Reaper.

It was this past Thursday, November 5, at 8:45 PM, to be maybe more exact than is necessary. I had just run three miles and I was lying in my van in the Rice Stadium parking lot with my legs hanging out the back door, and I was listening to Jenny Hval’s Apocalypse, Girl, which was my favorite album in the whole world back in those days.

And all I wanted to do at that moment was to lie there and chill, listening to Jenny sing about Heaven and about wires and cunts, but my friend, Aesop, was in the front seat, smoking a joint and worrying about my dating life.

“I’m worried about your dating life,” he said.

“Don’t be,” I said. “I’m not.”

I wasn’t.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

West Gray Multi-Service Center Blues

This is not like the stories I usually tell. There are no monsters here, no ancient cults, no demons. There is a whole lot of city bureaucracy, however, and as some of us know, city bureaucracy can be nearly as horrifying as the worst baddies the imagination can conjure.  

This is a story about the West Gray Multi-Service Center. The Center looks like this:
Or, well, it used to look like that, anyway.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Free Bee Stings! (A Prospectus)

“Careening. Yes, that’s it. I like the word ‘careening’ for this. I am a twin and my twin’s name is Antony and the two of us forever risk careening off into literary cliché.

“I assume you know what I mean here. Abel and Cain? The good son and the bad seed? Darkness and light? Yin and yang? Cage and Travolta swapping mugs in that old action flick?

“It’s a really well-worn trope.

“I’ve never liked cliché and I never wished to go careening off into it. I never wanted it because it is bad: Bad to be only half a person. Lousy to possess half a soul. To bomb science class while the other one excels in it. To be the slightly-too-boyish sister of a slightly-too-girly brother.

“I said ‘No thank you’ to that. Never out loud, of course – that would be crazy – but in my life, my actions, my thinking? I said ‘No thank you’ to that from the start…

“…and wound up constantly careening into bad twin clichés.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Heroine, Victorious

I voted today.

The sun came up this morning and it was the first morning for early voting in Houston. And so from my office on Brazos and Dallas, I walked the blocks all the way down to 1001 Preston and voted. Then I walked back.

It felt like some kind of victory.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sleep Tight

Last week, the kids got sick. Then they gave it to me and I got sick, too.

Now, this really never happens. I never get sick. I am immune to everything! But this thing the kids found and dragged home last week, it even took me down. Our fevers climbed so high that music turned architectural and our iphones looked like blurs.

What else could I do? I tucked the kids into bed and I pulled up a chair and told them stories.

I told them stories I’d written (and some that I’d stolen) and I described worlds I’d made (and some I’d visited), and I gave them the sorts of warnings that good parents give their children at one time or another growing up.

One of the things was a story and a world and a warning all in one.

This is how it went:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I Believe in Everything; Nothing is Sacred

Strangers send me messages. It happens all the time.

Every morning, I wake. I stretch. Then I just lie there in the dark to see how long I can lie there. In the dark. Lie there NOT checking my messages.

It’s all about discipline.

Sometimes I go a whole minute. Sometimes two. I hold out for as long as I can and when I finally give in, there they are. Sometime in the night, strangers have sent me messages. Again.

The people I know hardly ever bother with me, but these strangers? They really seem to care.

Some are sending me grammar corrections for the blog. Some just want to share the music they’re listening to. Recipes. Rumors. Photographs to turn me straight. I get damned to hell at least one time every week.

There’s an Elvis impersonator in Ohio who links me to clips of all his shows and a girl in Tallahassee needs help coming out to her mom. This one guy sends me pages and pages of angry emails. Every day. Without fail. He calls me a slut and tells me I am going to pay for what I’ve done.

Keep in mind these are strangers. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams

Even though I know I shouldn’t, I’ve started to worry about what my next girlfriend is going to like about me.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Waiting for Alex Trebek

My great grandfather – my father’s mother’s dad, who we call “Papa” – turns ninety-three this week.

I visit Papa a lot, every week in fact, which is a lot to visit a ninety-three year old great grandfather who never speaks and rarely moves and only lives to watch a tv game show called “Jeopardy.”

He lies in a hospital bed in his bedroom with three pillows under his head and the rose-print bedspread pulled all the way up around his neck. And his body is so withered and so thin that the bedspread covering him looks perfectly flat. He doesn’t even make a ripple. So every week, when I walk in to visit him, he looks like just a head sitting there on a pillow, all by itself, smiling.

You can go ahead and laugh but it is an unsettling sight to see.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Oh, Huma

I leave my cell phone lying around a lot. I am told I ought not to leave my cell phone lying around a lot but still I persist, which means I keep on doing it.

I leave it right out in the open where everybody can see it. I leave it right out in the open so everybody can see it. Face up on conference tables during meetings. Next to the sink, at work, at lunch hour. Or out on the coffee table when I have friends over. Or up on the hood of the van while I am attempting to walk in a straight line for a police officer late at night.

And so forth. And so on. Et cetera.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Emergent Phenomena Exhibiting Novel Regularities

This is not a good place to be creeped out in.

Many people have been creeped out here before me, sure. It’s a cliché. But that does not help when it happens. And it’s happened. Now. To me.

I am all creeped out in New Orleans.

This hotel room is creepy and the lobby is creepy, and I can’t find the man I came looking for. But I can’t get drunk in my room, either. For me that is not an option. For standing with one’s back to the wall – my back – and scanning for something to be creeped out by is no way to get drunk. Not even in New Orleans.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How to Disappear Completely

You know, a couple times a year, I am asked to speak before groups of homeless youth. Whole rooms full of homeless youth, even.

And usually, I’ll do it.

I am asked to speak before rooms full of homeless youth because I am seen, in some quarters, as a formerly homeless youth success story.

Yeah, I know. Me. A success!

I am seen in these quarters as a formerly homeless youth success story because I used to be homeless. From the age of twelve all the way to age eighteen, I was. But I am not homeless anymore. Now I’m just formerly homeless. Now I’ve got somewhere to live and two jobs and three academic degrees and a busload of kids and a blog that gets dozens of page views a month.

A success. So today’s homeless youth obviously need to hear all about me.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Will Make a Cool Gif of My Head

“Reality is a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.” – Lily Tomlin


I cannot write today.

I cannot write today and I will not write tomorrow and then I’m going out of town on Thursday, so things are going to be pretty dead around here for as far as I can see.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

6 Things You Didn't Know About Vaginas

The corners of the rooms were in all the right places.

It was perfect, and perfect in more than just a sort of feng shui kind of way. It was home from the very first moment we laid eyes on it, which just so happens to have been ten years ago this very day.

Home. Like the place came with our memories already inside it. A familiar scent we’d never smelled before.

The perfect number of rooms. The correct amount of closet space. Close proximity to all the right schools. The proper distance from Dana’s work. And with newly installed energy-efficient appliances, to boot.

There was only one problem.

The price.

It was too low.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Slippery Slope People

And a voice said, “I know you don’t approve, but you’re going to need to just buck up.”

I blinked and I peered out around my monitor, trying to see who or what was speaking. Had I imagined the voice? What I finally said was, “Approve of what?” but what I was thinking was, “How long have I been sitting here? In this office? Looking at this porn? Have I always been here?”

And the voice said, “Darnell and Damien and me,” and it was my boss, Adri, who was saying it. Right there. Tapping the heel of her shoe on the floor in that annoying way she always did. That annoying way she always does.

What I said was, “Duh... Dar… Darnell?” but what I was thinking was, “Could I really have been looking at porn for five whole hours?”

I was thinking, “Is that even possible?”

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Castle Katy and the Flying Buttresses

Better and better, then worse and worse. That is the way that it went. Maybe the way it always goes, I don’t know.

But still, everything, better and better, for years. I built the spiral staircase – finished it! –  I spun it right up through where my childhood bedroom had been. It blossomed up onto a landing above the old living room. I put a garden in up there. A trellis with trumpet vines. A telescope so I could look out across the harbor. Across the sky.

And of course by that time, the entire west end of the house was different. New and improved. Expanded. Remodeled. Remade in accordance with my dreams.

It was my life’s work, this house.

I mean, flying buttresses. I was going to have flying-fucking-buttresses! They were on back order, but I was going to have them. Soon. Flying buttresses and an indoor swimming pool. And a bowling alley. And a watch tower. And a mill tower. And a private theater for movies and something called an “upper bailey,” though I did not have a clue what an upper bailey even was.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ellen the Blue-Eyed Cowgirl Knew She Was Gay

So how this whole shit started was that Martha from my office decided I needed to go out for the Fourth of July, that my drinking alcohol all alone had become a problem and that the solution to this problem was drinking alcohol around other people.

This seemed counter-intuitive to me as, in my experience, drinking alcohol all alone was the solution to my problems and not a problem in and of itself. But Martha from my office was very insistent so right away, I suspected she had ulterior motives.

The bar on the northwest side of town was built to look like some kind of a big boat and the band played Jimmy Buffett cover songs.


I suppose there may be no other way of playing them.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I, Rodham

A guest column by former Secretary of State, First Lady, and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton.

My name is Hillary Clinton, and I have seen the way you look at me.

I have watched you watching me. I have gauged your body language and I have seen the way you glance around at the others in the room.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

How to Build a Horse

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. You might have even noticed this.

There are a lot of reasons behind it, but the main reason is that I am rushing to wrap up my doctoral dissertation in synthetic zoe-hippology. Its full title is “How to Build a Horse: Using Found Materials to Create Artificial Equine Life.”

I have cut and pasted a random chapter from my dissertation below. I hope you find it as exciting and cutting edge as I do! 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I Am Stranded in the Future


“Te. Mi. Xoch.”


The people walking by me, they do not make eye contact. I am repeating this one word, and repeating it pretty loudly now, too – over and over and over – but these people are pros. They know the rules for downtown Houston. When someone is out on the street and they are shouting nonsense, you pretend you don’t notice.

That’s the rule.

I’m being dismissed as a crazy homeless person.

This is not a new experience for me.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Girl in Apartment 5

There’s a girl who lives next door and she does not know that I am in love with her.

To be honest, she does not know that I exist at all. I mean, I imagine that in theory, she has a tacit awareness that a person or persons occupy the townhouse next door to her, and everyone on the block has heard me trying to start my van in the mornings.

There’s a chance she has even seen me when I go out to check the mail or when I take a walk with the kids in the evenings. Yeah, maybe… Maybe she has seen me!

But she does not know me. If I ran into her at Kroger, for example, I would see no flash of recognition in her eyes.

So the girl who lives next door has absolutely no reason to suspect that I am in love with her.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Good Morning, Ms. Adri

From: Katy Anders []
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 7:19 AM
To: Adri Anna Oopsy
Subject: RE: Quarterly Reports

Good morning, Ms. Adri! I am writing to tell you that I am not coming in today.

So: I am not coming in today.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Idiot's Guide to Fascist Dyke Motors

For more than four years, I have been telling you a story. It’s been a story about four people.

Very soon now, this story will be coming to an end. 

As we come into the home stretch, I thought it might be a good idea to review what has happened so far. You know, in case you have not been paying attention, or maybe you arrived late, or you have one of those degenerative brain diseases I keep hearing so much about.

So here we go! 


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Some Fine Legacy

I know I can be cynical and I can be negative, but the truth is, I love this city. I love Houston and I loved the last version of it, too. I even loved the version that we had before that.

You see, every few years here in Houston, we rip down the whole town. In its place, we build a new town entirely from scratch. Nothing remains except the potholes. What stood before is gone. Forgotten.

For us, this is an exciting process. It keeps us all on our toes.

Around here, a restaurant will boast “SERVING HOUSTON SINCE 2011!!!” on its marquee in bold letters with three exclamation points. An historical preservation district will consist of two old houses up on blocks in the middle of a sea of new construction townhomes.

Why, even as I write these words, right at this very moment, Houston is engaged in what might be our most ambitious project yet: We’re bulldozing everything within fifteen miles of downtown and replacing it with $1 million, three-and-a-half story townhomes and something called “luxury apartments.”

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Kim's Watermelon Gun

I am on the light rail. I am traveling to my downtown office from the Medical Center.

The trip will take eighteen minutes.

The rail cars are grey and sad and although they are not yet old, they look old. A long, dull seat runs along each side of the train, so that when there are other riders on board (which is rarely), I am able to stare at the person across from me with impunity. In my head, I write a story about each person I see.

Most of the stories involve what the person sitting across from me will do when the train crashes.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


For the first twenty-nine years of my life outside the womb, the dark scared me.

It horrified me, actually. The dark was a physical terror inside my chest. A constrictive, panicked silent scream. The dark was a predator I struggled to escape from at any cost.

I slept with the lights on. With the television blaring. Sitting up with my back to the wall. Even then, I had to knock myself out with Benadryl and with wine to get any sleep.

Every night. For twenty-nine years.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Oil is a Stranger

This past Saturday, I sat down to write a story to post on my blog.  But my story was a failure. It went nowhere. I got bored. I aborted it.


Then today – on a whim, I guess – I ran the introduction to my aborted story through Google’s Translate function. First I translated it from English into Japanese. Then I translated it from Japanese into Latin, from Latin into Bulgarian, from Bulgarian into French, and finally from French back into English again.

Now the story tickles my brain. Now the story contains secret messages. My story is much improved!

I might start doing all of my writing this way.

So I present for your consideration, “Oil is a Stranger” by Katy Anders and Google Translate…

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Charles Bronson


It sounded as though a person was saying or an old hinge was squeaking, “Ananders.”  But when I looked out across the snow and around the back yard, I could not see a person or a hinge or anything at all that might have been making such a sound. Just snow.

I went back to committing my felony.


I set down the rusty green toolbox. “Okay, Harry,” I said. “Am I hearing things? I keep hearing like a voice from somewhere, or…”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Other Other Other Cheek

There are some bad people in the world, that is for sure. Rotten cheneyficent bastards like Shu Zheng, like Nathalie Paravicini and like Rae Moses.

And absolutely, these are people we would all like to see set on fire. I am no different. Like in some kind of holy rite, we’d douse ‘em with gasoline, strike a match and dance naked around the flames celebrating the advent of the new golden age we’ve ushered in where the sky is always blue and these people are not under it.

But we cannot set them on fire, we are told, because setting people on fire is wrong and anyway, it violates fire ordinances in most major metropolitan areas. It would make us as bad as the people we’re speaking of (although, between you and me, it would result in a significant net gain for mankind).

So what do we do?

Karma’s unreliable, the judicial system’s a sham, and God’s too busy handing out leukemia to kids to even notice. Never forget: Stalin died in his sleep at age 75 in the comfort of his own bed.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Murder Mystery

It wasn’t until late Friday evening that we became aware of the outbreak, and by then it was too late. The window for containment – the containment of whatever it was that we were dealing with – was closed, but still we went through the motions of containing it.

Zero Zero was the first to go. He was a gorgeous arboreal avicularia versicolor we’d had for four years and oh, he was my pride and joy, so much so I’d had his name tattooed across my back.

We found him Friday just after the evening news, with his legs curled up beneath him and largely unresponsive, looking like the new Goliath looked when she’d arrived.

Madame Guillotine was next, and then Soma Bath, and then Astrid and Poppy Day. And Lucifer Landed, well, she was still twitching as I laid her out on copy paper to poke and to prod for mites or fleas – for anything that might explain what was killing all the spiders.

Friday, March 13, 2015

All Sizes Vaguely Disinterested

I was talking to my friend, the Jesuit, when he asked me, “What do you believe?”  Then he took back his flask and he took a long drink.

I said, “Father, some days I believe in nothing; some days I believe in everything.”

My friend, the Jesuit, said, “Me too.”

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Enemies List

Omaha. January. Under a gray gauze winter sky. Antony Anders steps out of a gas station near 42nd and Harrison.

He is wearing blue jeans, leather boots, a hooded sweat shirt much too thin for the weather, and a Catcher in the Rye winter hat – the kind with those ear flaps, you know? In his left hand is a 12-pack of Coors. In his right hand is a plastic grocery bag with some potato chips, a roll of paper towels, and a frozen burrito inside.

He walks through the slush of the parking lot. Unlocks the door of a black 1991 Ford Ranger. Tosses in the things he bought and then climbs in after them.

He gets the truck started on his fourth try.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

This Way to the Anders Museum!

Twenty years have passed since the glory days of the Anders Museum.

Back then, it was really a labor of love for the three of us: me, my brother, and some kid named Eric who lived down the street. Anders wasn’t actually Eric’s last name, but he’d given up his museum naming rights in exchange for the official title of “Lead Snake Wrangler,”  which was an irresistibly impressive title to a nine-year old.

And over the door of my parents’ garage, we put up a sign that read, “Museo de Anders,” which we thought was Latin but turned out to be Spanish. We charged the neighbors four bits to come inside.

Now, what that four bits bought you was a chance to have a peek at some of the coolest animals native to the Texas Gulf coast region.  We had snakes! We had toads! We had turtles of every kind: big red ear sliders and little red ear sliders, alligator snapping turtles, three-toed box turtles, and soft shells. You could also see a lizard, some garden spiders, Eric’s pet gerbil, and the bones of a cat we’d accidentally dug up in our back yard.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Phantom Fins of Pharmacology

What’s that? You say you’re scared? Of course you are scared.

We’re all scared. Every one of us is. Sure, we all sit around laughing but we’re terrified – trembling in our boots, really – and it all has to do with the fish.

And why wouldn’t we be scared of the fish?  I mean, just look at what we’ve been doing to them: Overfishing to the point of population depletion. Toxins in the waters. Dead oceanic zones. Dead delta zones. Generations of Bettas just flushed away by irresponsible first graders.

Try to imagine it!

Can you?


Well, it’s happening!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Brave Girl Who Asked for Help

Children need role models, I am told, and this is why I am always telling my own kids so many stories. All of the time, in fact. You know: Myths, fables, fairy tales, with characters that embody some personal characteristic I’d like my kids to see and to emulate, maybe.

So someday – not today, but someday! – I will tell them a story about my old friend, Michelle. I will tell them about a time when Michelle was very scared but also very brave and knew to go and to ask others for help.

I will tell my kids the Story of the Brave Girl Who Asked for Help.

Michelle was brave because she knocked on my door without calling ahead. She was brave because, when I answered the door, she just pushed her way on in.