Miss Annie died a couple years ago. Her husband went soon after, they were the cutest couple. Arthur would lend them nature DVDs and we’d exchange sweets for Christmas. Their kids sold the house ’cause take the money and run. The flippers painted it black.

The brick trim is white so it seems half-n-half but lawd lookit from the back.

Someone with some sense tore out the deck before they sold it, replaced it with a natural wood that wasn’t rot through, offsetting all that awful, and yeah okay maybe it looks kinda cool, but it’s Texas. What’s wrong with you.

A year ago, eight in the morning, I banged on Mr. Frankie’s door. Took him several minutes to get there. Water was pouring out from under his stoop, down his driveway to the gutter, where I’d seen it flow past our house next door. I averted my gaze not to shame him in his saggy drawers but I still caught his eyes blown big as eggs when I pointed out the lake in his yard.

“Oh! Oh! Oh! I’ll take care of it! Thank you!” He hobbled off for his landline.

His house was on the market for months, but now the generator hums, the hammers fly, men promise cash to use our hose to make cement and Tejano music plays into the night.

The flippers flipped the color scheme, black on white.

I want to have no choice but to paint our house a gradient, white to black, or stepped like a paint chip, a razzle dazzle warship, but we only rent. We’ll never own a house in Austin. That hot mess above will go for three hundred eighty thousand.

It doesn’t sting. That’s someone else’s dream. This town hasn’t got a clue.

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