Down to the Home Stretch

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 1: Chapter 13]

[Note: all images herein (except the very last one because for some reason WordPress won’t let me include an embedded URL, unlike all 12 of the other pics…maybe it doesn’t like the number 13) has a link to a fun or informative web page or video. Just hover your mouse cursor over each one, and you’re good.]

Looks like I’m down to the home stretch, in light of these sudden and NEW disruptions that the Moirai (Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos) have now tossed into the ring…what I call “My Last Big Challenge,” or “My Final Test.” Based on my profound conjecture a la my mini-opus, “Neopositivity: A Gay Religion,” these Celestial Boot Camp Sergeants are assigned to SEVERELY oppose us at what-is-for-them, every opportune moment. And, in so doing, provide further obstacles to overcome, which they fling at us like pop-up zombies in a Halloween haunted house. May I also point out that SOME of these egregiously unwelcome bogeymen-of-a-problem will seem diabolically impossible to resolve. But that’s where faith serves you well: do NOT (I repeat, do NOT) allow even seemingly astronomical odds stacked against you, to discourage or deter you from your most noble of goals. Just roll up your sleeves and REALIZE that, somehow and some way, you WILL get through this, and do so with flying colors…though at the moment you have absolutely NO idea how.

Thus, in speculating over the extraordinary events currently unfolding in my abruptly-shifted reality (that only began just two short months ago; on Samhain Eve of all days), it sure looks to me like the Parables of Tribulation are about to close their chapter on The Book of Ezekiel, forever.

I am guessing–no, not guessing, but decreeing (through a greater force than I)–that these Frankensteins who now impose their ugly countenance before me (on Exmass day of all days!), will be the very last ones to curse my world. For I know full well that Frankenstein the monster is not the true villain, but just another victim in an unhappy scenario we call “life.” Just as in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, where it says (and I paraphrase):

As you pass through each circle of reality in your ascension to godhead, there will be some realms where evil demons will approach, to threaten you with swords, flaming arrows, iron-spiked clubs and vipers…or whatever implements of torture most frighten you. Should you cave in to your fears as a result, you will remain stuck on that level for at least one incarnation, but probably more. But if you hold steady, and not permit those fears to bring you down, nor take up arms against them, but instead just stand calm as best you can…they will drop their masks of horror to reveal their true selves: loving, all-wise bodhisattvas. And in such a lucky case, they will joyfully escort your transcendence into the next highest kingdom.

A little birdie just told me right after I finished composing the emboldened paragraph above: “Enough lecturing, Zeke! I’m sure your readers just want to get on with the show!

Just read the following email exchanges of the past twenty-four hours that I’ve cobbled together. (Yeah, things are moving REALLY fast!) They explain themselves superbly well, as the manifestation of hideous impossibilities hatch their black, rotten eggs of ruinous despair. Enjoy the ride! You won’t regret it.



Subject: Here’s how I may get the building manager on my side:
From: Zeke Krahlin
To Tara Roosevelt
Date: December 25 2020, 8:02 PM

The building manager, whom I now call “Kevin,” is pretty good friends with my sometimes-fascist neighbor down the hallway, whom I shall call “Moe.” Who, as you know, emailed me in June of this year, a complaint about Deek’s being a nuisance. But he’s done some nice things for me, too, once in a blue moon. One of which is dog-related, interestingly enough. And that is what this forwarded letter below is all about.

I’m hoping the result will impress my neighbor, as well as warm his cockles. Which may then impact the manager in a positive way, and to my advantage. Please check out the WordPress link I’ve included in the forwarded email, and read the blurb…it’s just two short paragraphs. You’ll learn that it’s about his little papillon that he shared with me for a time, until its sad passing. FYI:

Moe and I do NOT send greetings to each other, holiday or otherwise…except once about seventeen years ago he delivered to my door, a gift of Godiva-chocolate-dipped biscuits (delicious!) around Exmasstime. So I sent him back a lovely, expensive holiday card. But that’s it. For the most part he keeps his distance and regards me as a negative element in this building…that I’m partly responsible for this neighborhood “going to the dogs” so to speak. Now I realize he’s been right about that all along. :D

Come to think of it, I would NOT be surprised if he complained to Kevin about the cute padding of my brindlekin’s paws on the hallway carpet, several times a day, as I let them run free. Even though it’s not loud at all and they never bark unless someone suddenly appears climbing up or down the stairs, or exiting or entering their apartment (all of which are infrequent). Besides, the doggies impart a joyful spirit to our otherwise drab and lifeless residence. Furthermore, each “runway” incident lasts but a brief few minutes, and does not occur too late at night. Here ya go:

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Skellington III: now on wordpress and youtube
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Moe Fleisher
Date: December 25 2020, 6:14 PM

Moe:

I just spent a heartwarming three hours setting this up on both Youtube and WordPress. I didn’t plan this; it was just the strike of sudden inspiration’s lightning. I’m not one to celebrate Exmass, but some wonderful things have been happening to me these past few weeks, which timing with the holiday season is unexpectedly synchronistic…though certainly unplanned. But if I were the type to celebrate Exmass, I can’t think of a better way to spend two or three hours on that day, doing something like this.

Nonetheless, I’d choose to celebrate this time of year in a non-Christian or non-commercial manner…preferring to call it “Winter Crossover” or “Exmass” (both of which terms I’ve invented just yesterday).

I have recently created a spanking new Youtube channel I call “Brindlekin Tales,” and it is dedicated to the love of Canis familiaris:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3GdMkXtj2Usugp4r7XHo7w

The Skellington Videos are mixed in with other doggy videos on my channel (in my “action videos” playlist). But you can view just the Skelli ones via my WordPress blog:

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/25/skellington-iii/

Though you can’t appreciate the cute title I’ve created for each video, as the WordPress-embedded videos conceal the last part.

Brindlekin Tales will also become my next novel, as I compose one blog after another, around this doggy theme. FYI, “brindlekin” is also a word of my creation.

I guess this is my (unforeseen) Winter Crossover greeting to you, that arose spontaneously in my latest, and most profound, creative cycle. BTW, I’m not sure of the year Skelli passed on, so I stated 2012 in my videos, and in that blog entry. Feel free to correct me on this, and I will make the change promptly.

Your sometimes-but-rarely-annoying neighbor of many years,

Ezekiel J. Krahlin

PS: How about replacing Christmas with a NEW holiday, to celebrate the sweet, healing nature of little doggies? And call it “Brindlekin Fest,” or “Brindlefest” for short? I think it’s a great idea whose time has come!


My Amazon Doggy Wish List & GoFundMe Project
https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/16/doggy-wish-list/

Brindlekin Tales on WordPress (written)
https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/

Brindlekin Tales on Youtube (narrated)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3GdMkXtj2Usugp4r7XHo7w


Subject: He got another dog!
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Tara Roosevelt
Date: December 25, 9:07 PM

Most disturbing. Wiley and Taco are still with me, ’cause it’s raining…and Deek just showed up for a few minutes to show me his newest dog: a blue pit bull. Very, very gentle and sweet, but large. Deek was talking about breeding him with Wiley, and I strongly advised against it. He said that this dog is more loving than Taco! I told him that’s nonsense, Taco is a very loving dog, as is Wiley. He agreed, but Jesus, whenever things go smoothly with us for a day or two, he throws another monkey wrench into the works. And this one’s really BAD. The dog’s not even neutered! I’m afraid someone will report him with all these dogs, and the brindlekin will be taken away with the pit bull. He just poo-pooed me, saying there are other homeless out there with four, five, six, seven dogs.

And Deek got a bit upset that I even questioned another adoption. (“You’re just like everyone else who doesn’t support me!” he whined. Well in this case, I sure hope so!) But I gave in and wished him a Merry Christmas again. After telling him I can only have Taco and Wiley over, and cannot afford to give him any more money or dog food than I already am. He said he didn’t expect me to do that, anyway, he’s got work (whatever the heck that means). But just to hear him even suggest that the two brindlekin are not as loving, and that he may get Wiley pregnant (and with a large dog!) makes me wanna not even give them back to him.

He plans to drop by tomorrow morning, if it isn’t raining too hard, and all three dogs meet. I’m sure they’ll all get along, but that’s not the problem…which is POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC.

I was having a lovely, peaceful Exmass, and now this. I told him that “Blue” could get aggressive and uncontrollable on the streets because he’s not fixed. He wanted another dog like the one he gave up, called Gator…who also was not neutered, and became uncontrollable. But I fear for the little doggies again, especially Wiley. I told him the dog’s too big for her, she could die from large puppies in her womb. “Oh, I can take care of that, just do a caesarian!” He said the SPCA will take care of that. Yeah, they’ll take care of that alright…take the dog away from him. I don’t want to lose Wiley…ever!

Can you believe that? I reminded him he can’t afford a veterinarian. But this is the insane part of our conversation…and he often does it: twist it about to where I’m actually defending a bad decision, in order to oppose another “what if” one. In this case, I think it’s a mistake to adopt another dog, but then he has me arguing about not letting a large dog impregnate her…so in essence I’m advising him to adobt a third, but smaller, dog. How he convolutes everything, and does it so fast, and won’t let me get a word in edgewise, then starts accusing me of not supporting his goals.

May God protect Wiley, because I can’t.


Subject: Re: Here’s how I may get the building manager on my side:
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Tara Roosevelt
Date: December 26, 12:43 PM

I like your winning-hearts-and-minds plan. MOST civilized, old chap!

Yeah but now Deek put a big old fat monkey wrench into the works…as I just reported in my email I sent you a moment before I read THIS reply. Deek’s adoption of a third pup will most likely cause him to lean on me more to sit the brindlekin. This moves over into having the dogs live with me, instead of just caring for them during a cold snap or a rainy spell. They will also see him with yet a third dog, and that will no doubt reflect badly on me, in their eyes. There goes my nice Christmas; thanks for nothing, Deek. And it’s not for my sake I’m angry, it’s for Wiley and Taco’s sake. I just can’t keep up with all this crap he dumps!

  • Zeke

Subject: He got another dog!
From: Zeke Krahlin
To Tara Roosevelt
Date: December 26 2020, 2:12 PM

Oh, this is a fucking disaster. Stupid, stupid macho asshole, wanting to “breed” poor Wiley. He has NO business having an un-neutered male pit bull. And he can “take care” of a caesarean?? Christ, this is awful. Wish there was some way (only wishing, I know it’s not possible) for you to keep the doxies…

Oh I’ll keep the doxies one way or another, should that gracious opportunity fall into my hands. As I previously indicated, there have been other SRO residents harboring a doggy, with no opposition from either manager or property owner…in spite of the renter’s contract of stating otherwise. I have a witness in my friend, Chuck from Philly, because he knows of at least TWO single-residence-occupancy tenants who’ve had pets while he was living here. He can vouch via an email to me, that I’d keep as evidence.

And, since they are NO trouble at all, so peaceful, smart, loving and obedient…there will be no complaints! If it came to a court challenge, I would win, hands down. But no such conflict will ensue, nor will Deek get Wiley pregnant, or give the brindlekin away. After the initial shock, I thought it through and, in short:

I’M NOT WORRIED AT ALL.

And I’ll tell you why AFTER I describe my wonderful sleepover with the doggies, and this morning’s rendezvous with Deek. I don’t care to write about this stuff (the horrendous parts, I mean), but in facing it head-on I come up with incredibly promising insight. Here we go:

Last night was a revelation of pooch-powered divine intervention. Upon returning hovel from meeting Deek’s pit bull, Wiley crawled on her belly across the bedding and in my direction, wagging her corkscrew tail with glee. This is how she ALWAYS greets me, even if I’m gone for just a minute or two. She reached the edge of the cot, and stamped her dainty paws in a repeated demand for more hugs, kisses and belly rubs. Of course I got down on my knees and gave her the sweetest long embrace as she playfully squirmed between my arms and drenched my face with slobbery licks.

Taco soon joined the love fest, after watching us with what seemed to be a brotherly appreciation for how kind I am to his little sister. Though as I clutched them both, the thought that their innocent lives of good cheer may soon come tumbling down, and they would never be the same, happy little doggies again. So I gave them both, especially endearing hugs throughout the evening and into the dawn of a new day…and they returned their gratitude in kind. As if they understood my deep concern for their probable, horrid fate…comprehending my dilemma (that I could do nothing about it). And still they anointed me with unconditional affection, because they are brave and selfless to the very end. Such is the profoundly angelic nature of Canis familiaris!

During one of their playful scuffles (which are amazing, as they now love to burrow beneath a blanket, evading each other’s toothy grips, with pounces aplenty between the two, and their wiggly butts protruding) they suddenly crossed the line and got vicious. Nothing physical or injurious, mind you…just nasty, sharp yaps and truly angry expressions. Something which Deek pointed out, and blamed me for causing this behavior by being overly kind and undoing all his hard work training them. Which is, of course, BS.

“Now, now, be nice to each other!” I commanded in a strong but patient timbre. They ceased immediately in a flurry of apologetic gestures to each other: attacking the sneaker instead, or a part of the blanket where neither was hidden, frolicking together in gentle fashion once more. They understood! I concluded that outdoors, all the distracting cacophony obstructed from their ears, Deek’s order to stop it. Here in my hovel there is little noise, and only MY voice…and presence.

[Aside: this is ridiculous! A jackhammer is right now pounding outside, just across the street…and has been going on for at least the last ten minutes, as I compose this letter. So much for a peaceful day-after-Exmass. And now I REALLY have to take a dump, because when I tried some twenty minutes ago, a contracted cleaner was scouring down the restroom…as he does every Saturday. Jeez! Bear with me a few minutes; I’ll be back shortly to resume this letter. Maybe fix yourself a drink in the meantime.]

Okay, I’m back! Jackhammer still clanking away, fuck it. Now, something ELSE just occurred out my window. I heard someone hollering expletives like “Fuck you bitch” and other nasty stuff I can’t bother to write down…you get the gist. So I peer out the window, and guess who it is: Deek. There he was from across the street, hollering like any of the most offensive vagrants around here (though totally unlike his usual, ornery self; it was much worse). Pushing his weighted cart around, with the two, sweet doggies merrily hopping beside, without a problem in the world…but with the addition of that calm and gentle pit bull pup loping along. As I keep saying:

I CAN’T KEEP UP WITH THIS CRAP! The moment I start writing down ONE incident, another one crops up. Well, at least the jackhammer stopped. You need to know what happened this morning, so I will get to that shortly. Meanwhile, back to the brindlekin:

Their usual sleepover habit is for Taco to snooze at my feet, and for Wiley to crash near my head, above it, or snuggled against my chest. Several nights back, it was the reverse for a little while. I was about to hit the sack myself and, to my surprise, Taco was sleeping on my pillow, while Wiley lay at the other end. “Okay,” I thought, “This will be nice for a change; I don’t give him enough cuddles at night.” So I cautiously slipped under the comforter, careful not to let my legs disrupt Wiley. I then grabbed Taco in a kind embrace, and scratched his belly; his back was to me. He turned his head to give me a single thank-you lick. Well, after around a half hour or so of this arrangement, Taco suddenly sits up to look around, as if confused as to why he’s sleeping up HERE instead of over THERE. Flaco seems to be cognizant of her brother’s confusion. So with that, she stands up on all paws and walks toward him, while Taco proceeds past HER, to plunk himself down by my feet. Flaco was now cozily in my arms. I found that whole little doggie skit dearly funny. But last night was even sweeter:

This time, BOTH were zonked out at the far end, by my work station. But the moment I tucked myself in, they simultaneously arose and scampered over to me, burrowed beneath the top blanket and just lay there, gazing into my face with a bright-eyed love (the flickering candles of Exmass unbound)! I embraced them both. All three heads touched and lingered awhile, both pups making little growling sounds of affection. They seemed to SENSE my concern about their near future, a possibly imminent tragedy…and sought to console me. Which they did, mightily. Telling me it’s gonna be alright, which it most certainly will be. Read on, and you will learn why I say that.

Deek called to me from his corner, around 11:30 AM. Wiley & Taco had just finished a hearty breakfast. So I put on their jackets and mine, and headed out. There was the pit bull, of very gentle temperament. To my relief, I saw that all three dogs were gonna get along just fine. Right off the bat, he said the dogs look different; that they always do after spending a night or two in my hovel. Implying that I don’t care for them properly.

“Taco looks skinnier, see?” He rested his palms across the sides of the little mutt’s chest, as if to emphasize.

“I don’t see it Deek,” I calmly replied. “You’re lying, you like to lie.”

“I never lie! What are you talking about?”

“Oh you lie every single friggin day,” I retorted. “BIG lies sometimes, too!”

“Oh, like what?”

“Like when you claimed to have a broken leg. That’s just ONE of many examples, Deekster.”

He didn’t deny, but went right on ranting:

“This is too much, I’m gonna give up Taco & Wiley. I’m too stressed out, I”m tired of living like a bum, always begging for money, for help, for one thing after another,” he pouted. “And I’m starving half to death all the time!”

It was then I noticed how well he was dressed today, and his hair so clean, falling in honey-brown wavelets that barely touched his shoulders. He had on a longish twill jacket in colorful, thick stripes, muted plaid shirt, fresh pair of Levi’s (the tag was still on) and some new Nikes.

“Cut it out, Deek,” I admonished,”You look great today, nice clothes and all cleaned up. ‘Oh poor me, my life is so miserable. What’s the point in living any more?’ Boo-hoo, boo-hoo. You survive amazingly well on the streets and always have enough food and other stuff well beyond what it takes to survive. You have SO much going for you, but especially your dogs. I think they’re the best thing to ever happen to you!”

“No, I can’t live this way any more, my heart is broken.”

“EVERYone’s heart is broken, Deek. That’s just life!” I exclaimed.

“Yeah, and I shared my dogs with you, and now I’m taking them away. That’s life too, accept it!” he smugly retorted.

“Oh is that, right, Deek. And if I beat the shit out of you for giving the dogs up, that’s life too. Accept it!”

“I told you many times I’ll be handing them over to my girlfriend soon. She’s been in jail four years, and now she’s gettin’ out.”

Yes he did tell me, but I neglected to remind him then and there, that since he’s said that (last time being over a month ago), he’s remarked several times he’s never gonna give them up, he loves them too much, he’d DIE if he ever lost them. I certainly failed big-time in THAT round of the debate! But partially recouped that loss by rebutting:

“How well do you really know her? Will she treat the dogs kindly? What if she doesn’t like them? Will she be living in a meth house?” I counted off. But he simply shrugged his shoulders. I resumed:

“I don’t know her, or her family you said she’ll be staying with. As far as I know, you’re making this up. God knows WHERE you’ll dump the dogs or WHO they’ll be with!”

“Maybe I’ll sell ’em, I need the money.”

“Are you kidding me, Deek? These are the sweetest, most wonderful dogs I’ve ever met, and you would betray them? Give ’em to me, then…I’ll figure something out.”

“I’ll NEVER give ’em to you, Zeke. I don’t know WHAT you do with them when they’re in your room.” (Here we go again.)

“I’m just very KIND to them, Deek.” Then I finally addressed something he said last night, that greatly concerns me: “PLEASE don’t get Wiley pregnant, that would be an awful thing to put her through.”

“I do as I want. Besides, whatever someone tells me to do, I do the opposite.”

“That’s CHILDish, Deek,” I admonished. Again, I lost another round…’cause I should’ve snarked back with: “If that’s the case, then let me say this: ‘Please give the doggies away to anyone but me!’

But then, once more, I recouped the loss (and then some, this time around): “If you get Wiley impregnated, I’ll report you to the SPCA and they’ll take her and ALL your dogs away!”

“No, they wouldn’t do that,” he waved away my threat like an annoying mosquito. “They’d help birth the pups.”

“Wrong, Deek. They’d take them away and charge you with animal abuse, and you’d go to jail. It’s a federal offense! They’re not gonna let you get away with running a puppy mill on the streets!”

“You’d rat on me? Then you’re NOT a real friend at all!”

“You BET I’d rat on you…that’s a terrible SIN you’re proposing. And a REAL friend will ALWAYS confront you if he sees you headed in a bad direction…even if it costs him that friendship in so doing, because his friend doesn’t wanna hear it!”

“Well that does it Zeke, you’ll never see me or the dogs again!” And he firmly crossed his arms on his chest accompanied by a beastly scowl. (Yet even that does not detract one whit from his sublime and sculpted good looks.) “Get away from me, go aWAY!”

“I will NOT go away until I’ve had my say. You NEVER listen, it’s all about you and no one else, your spiteful stubbornness will come to no good end.”

“Go away, leave me alone, you’re giving me a headache!” he squealed unconvincingly.

“You DESERVE a headache! I’m your FRIEND, Deek, I’m trying to steer you away from going down a really bad road!”

“You don’t care about me, you just care about the dogs.”

“Not true at all, Deek. I care about BOTH you and the dogs. I’m concerned about your SOUL, and what God will do if you give up the dogs to a bad home! He’ll strike you down!”

“Go aWAY Zeke, this is my last warning!”

I noticed that all through this heated exchange, the doggos were as calm as could be, cool as a cucumber, sweet as a bing cherry, patient as a saint. “Doesn’t he realize how LUCKY he is to have such faithful companions?” I thought.

“Okay, Deek, I really want to leave on a positive note. So I give you my blessings, regardless.”

“Oh thank you so much, mother.”

“No, I mean it. You do so many wonderful things, but sometimes you do something horrible, VERY horrible. So it makes it DIFFICULT to commend you, when you also have such a cruel streak. But you know what else, Deek?”

“I’m all ears, mother.”

“God told me not to worry, the dogs will be fine, they won’t be taken away from me. In fact, if he has to, God will simply transport them back to my home, no matter where they are. Neither you nor anyone else on this planet will be able to take them from my world…or let them come to harm.” I paused, though still had more to say. Deek was staring up at the clouds with a pleading eye.

“And if it comes down to it and you DO make a move to get rid of them, God will stop you dead in your tracks and teach you a lesson you’ll NEVER forget. So I’m not worried at all, I do not allow anger to be the final outcome. You will see what I mean, if you are THAT foolish to try to sabotage my friendship with Taco and Wiley. All that God asks of me now is to not worry about a thing, or allow grief and anxiety to be my master.”

“Get the FUCK away from me, Zeke!”

“Fine. I’ve had my say.” I obliged, but first pet all three doggies with a kind hand before I departed.

Yet once I arrived hovel, I remembered that large can of dog food from Trader Joe’s that Deek had added to the bag of canine vittles (already stuffed with two large Ziplocs of kibble and five cans of gravy style dog food) I had given him four days ago. He asked me last night to take it back till morning, as he wanted to travel light for a few hours. I thought it would be fun to return so soon, just to irk him a bit more…so I donned my coat and acrylic watch cap once more, and stepped out. As I arrived at his corner, I saw a homeless woman who’s been here in the Castro for at least a decade: a bona fide Innuit from way, way up north! She’s actually pretty nice, but for some reason we never get around to talking, or even acknowledging each other. Be that as it may, I came up to Deek and the moment he saw me return, he started griping right in front of the Innuit at how thin Taco seems after staying with me. I just ignored all that, and said:

“One more thing: that Trader Joe’s dog food is the best canned dog food I’ve ever come across! They ate it up yesterday like there’s no tomorrow! The ingredients are all super healthy. I just wish I could order it online, but TJ’s is committed to brick and mortar.”

Then I spun around and marched back home, while plugging up my ears as he hollered from across half-a-street length:

“May as well stop buying stuff for the dogs, because they’re NEVER comin’ back, it’s all over! You’ll never lay eye on ’em again!”

Well, Tara, upon mulling over my frustrating conversification with Deek this morn, I feel ESPECIALLY glad I threatened him with reporting him to the SPCA, should he get Wiley impregnated. He KNOWS I mean it, and that will give him great pause. Though he said he does the opposite of what people tell him, I know it’s just to press my buttons. I don’t think he actually wants to test me on this.

When he introduced the pit bull to me last night, two witnesses showed up out of the blue, who stood quietly by. Homeless, of course. I didn’t even notice WHEN they showed up. But they DID hear my admonishments about making that sweet brindlekin pregnant (how it could kill her), that Lucky is no less loving than his new canine, and that adopting yet aNOTHER pooch is a bad idea. And four days ago I held a satirical and impromptu “sermon on the mount” speech amid a circle of street folks that included Deek.

In sum: Deek’s malicious attempts to pit his street buddies against me (often by inventing an argument right on the spot, when they’re present) have backfired. Just as he threatened me several months back, that he’d sic his new pal, Phillippino Jay, on me…that he’s already beaten up a few others to get them to stop stealing from his cart. But I knew better; Jay struck me as a good guy and, sure enough, one day he comes up to me and says: “Swamp Boy needs to respect you, you’re a good man.” (Swamp Boy BTW, is Deek’s nickname on the streets.) To my further annoyance, Deek has dragged an increasing number of vagrants to right outside my building, where he sometimes meets me after the Hohokum shop closes. Though now I realize they pretty much see through him, and consider me a nice fellow. And I TOLD him that, this morning, how his trying to play them against me has BACKFIRED. This is a hopeful sign, since they now know who to bring the doggies to, should something bad happen to him, such as being arrested, going to jail, or (god forbid) dying on the streets. They might also grab the dogs away from him and bring them to me, if he starts to be abusive. I will certainly put the word out, should the opportunity arise to speak with any of them, to bring the doggies to me in such a crisis.

So let’s wrap this up, and conclude with a brief discussion of my theory I dub “Neopositivity,” and how it seems to be clearly affirming my suspicions via these extraordinary episodes now transforming my life. The suspicions being that there IS a god (in the sense of Universal Mind), and we are all watched over by what many call guardian angels. Though I believe it is more likely to be a different kind of manifestation, albeit just as effective and loving. But it suffices to call them angels, for the sake of simplicity, rather than getting into complex, esoteric analysis. I’ve already extrapolated this theory in my previous chapter, so I’ll reiterate in a briefer way, and in different words:

These guardians often play the role of tough taskmasters, hence create difficult, and often frightening, scenarios…that we may be challenged. And in confronting whatever challenge comes up–and figuring out how to overcome it in the most compassionate way possible–we become a better person for the lesson. These ethereal mentors also possess a robust sense of humor. Conclusion:

Deek is one of my guardians, playing the role of a homeless person who is also a drug addict. He is neither. But by acting out this character, he provides me with the glorious opportunity to play the hero. For the homeless…to be their savior so to speak. For all guardian angels bust their ovaries in making our most benevolent dreams and hopes come true…though the road that takes us there is populated with monsters and tragic pitfalls. Which, if viewed another way, are nothing more than opportunities to improve ourselves! They are NOT curses, they are GIFTS! Of the most valuable and transcendent kind.

So this is why Deek often behaves so onerously: that I may take up the challenge and find the most compassionate way through it. But he also loves to press my buttons because humor. He relishes to witness me go into a panic over his latest scheme! But now that I have caught on, I do NOT panic any more. Therefore, this morning’s shocking rant of his was simply playing another move on the gameboard. He has NO intention on giving up the dogs, and EVERY intention of offering them up to me as a gift of devoted camaraderie. It’s kinda like a surprise party, where some of the secret planners start behaving rudely or evasive to the birthday boy or girl…just to make the surprise that much sweeter. I once thought about two weeks ago, that if Deek ever asks me what I’d like for Exmass, I’d tell him: “to spend Exmass Eve with Taco & Wiley.” I never told him that, but, lo and behold, there he was on Exmass Eve, after making me think he would not be back later that day. And asks if I could watch the brindlecurs that night! And so I did, and had a beautiful Eve and Exmass day, because of their charming company.

Deek has also been mocking me now and then, over my activism, calling me a phony, a hypocrite and a deceiver. But that is also a subtlely humorous accusation because, if he is indeed an angel, what does that imply about all of the OTHER houseless? So here I am, thinking my dedication to help them is the bee’s knees…while all along they live these secret, amazing lives as higher beings that pretend to be otherwise in the eyes of humanity. For the sake of guiding our rebirth into a better realm, like emerging from a cocoon…or the blossoming of a lotus.

Thanks to the amazing events now unfolding in my world, and at such a rapid pace, I am CONFIDENT I’m correct in my angelic assumption. Which confidence I’ve already conveyed to Deek this morning, in spite of his continuing to behave like an idiot…and a very SCARY idiot at that. But I’m not frightened any more, no, not in the least. In fact, I am most GRATEFUL for his incredible labor of love, that I may grow wings. His probable LAST challenge to me forevermore, was to scheme up something that might TRULY agrieve me: adopting yet another dog (and a pit bull at that) and telling me he’s gonna get Wiley pregnant. I don’t know where he got that third dog from, but it’s just another stage prop for the final act of the “Fuck with Zeke” off-off-off-broadway play.

Meher Baba was famous for that deceptively simple saying: “Don’t worry, be happy!” And ya know what, Tara? He was one hundred percent spot on. All the world’s a stage…in the most literal meaning of that word!

FINALLY! I’ve reached the end of this tale, and it is now 10:30 PM. I’ve been hacking away at my keyboard ALL DAY LONG.

I haven’t received a response from my neighbor down the hallway, yet, regarding those Skellington videos. But I think he’ll greatly appreciate them, for now he can be with his beloved papillon anywhere and at any time, through a smartphone. They look fantastic on that medium, BTW!

Also, I listened to Marshall’s show last night, remarkable as always. But by the time I reached the four-hour mark and I needed to hit the hay, I had yet to hear my tales. Hopefully, as I listen further this eve (after the podcast is made available), they’ll be there. But if not, no worries, I’ll take it in stride and vie for another chance to be on the airwaves in the kingdom of Ft. Bragg.

Isn’t it astounding that you’ve become a significant part of THIS novel, too? Besides which: you are every bit my muse, as are the brindlekin. And a most EXCELLENT sounding board and confidante for my authorial penchant.

Your crazy friend,

Zeke

PS: I just finished listening to Marshall’s latest podcast, and nowhere did he read or play any of my tales. I have a hunch he may be infuriated by my spiritual extrapolations in my latest tales…three of which I asked him to read in lieu of Skeptical Crow’s narration of my spooky two tales. I probably come off to a lot of people as maniacally gung-ho over angelic nonsense. But even if I’m completely off my nut, they sure do make for a fantastic ride for the readers lucky enough to stumble upon my prose (but not through it, I hope)! I guess Marshall thinks I’ve morphed into another Alvin Waak!


ADDENDUM

Subject: Wiley Peed on my Fascist Neighbor’s Door! (I’ll keep this short)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Tara Roosevelt
Date: December 27, 2020, 03:13 PM

Deek showed up this morning around 9:30 with the canine trio, this time parked right across the street and facing both my apartment building and the Hohokum smoke shop. The dogs’ three leashes were lashed together at the end…but they didn’t seem to mind. Instead, they played merrily together, feigning vicious attacks with harmless bites, pounces and arfs. But Deek exclaimed:

“Look how they’re fighting! They’re not getting along together, and you did that to them!”

I queried: “Did you just call me out here to complain, ’cause I got a ton of work to do.”

“Oh, you don’t do nothin’ but hang in your dumb room and watch TV all day,” he mocked.

I chose to ignore any and all of his insults and threats, which were beyond counting…realizing now that he is an angel testing my emotional level for stability. But I sure was bored, listening to his ridiculous, wicked accusations. This went on for almost twenty minutes before he asked me to take the two brindlekin home for awhile:

“I don’t know what to do. Wiley & Taco are not the dogs they used to be, since you got your hands on them! I’m gonna have to give one of ’em up, maybe Blue. The only reason I’m askin’ you is I have no other choice, and I need to get some things done.”

So I finally unglued myself and the two brindlepups from his tar-baby spell, and proceeded on hovel with Taco bearing down on my pants cuff with sharp little teeth and growls of conquest (making it difficult for me to perambulate properly across Market Street, but I managed like all good crips). Wiley lead the pack on stretched leash, eager to return once more to her little plot of heaven on earth.

In consideration of the manager’s recent Grinch-ian warning, I did not unlatch the pooches till we all arrived on the first landing. Then, as per their usual prelude to entering my monk’s cell of a room, they dashed like brindlebats from hell, up the remaining steps and through the trifurcated hallway on the second floor. I love the sound of their pudgy paws lightly pounding through the carpeted corridor: staccato drumbeats of joy!

Upon arriving last to my floor, I saw Taco come scampering out from the right-branching hallway that contains the shared restroom…but no Wiley!

“Uh-oh,” I thought, “Is she taking a poop there again?” She had done so once before, but it was an easy cleanup thanks to the dry, solid nature of her “gift.”

But I WAS worried, because loose stools are sometimes on their agenda. So I rushed off to find her at the end of that hallway and, yes, hunkered down in front of another resident’s doorway, taking a dump! She looked at me with hopeful eyes; I don’t know what for. But I was nonetheless pleased to discover the kind of firm, well-packed deposit that is easy to pick up and doesn’t leave a trace: every dog-owner’s dream come true!

“What a considerate little mutt!” I thought in endless gratitude.

As I crouched down with a poop bag and quickly eliminated the evidence, the doggies romped on down to the main hallway.

When I stepped around the corner, to my surprise, there was Wiley crouched down again, only this time to pee. By the time I ran up to her, she was done. But it was barely a tablespoon or two of urine, much to my relief. Right along Moe’s doorway, of all places! I quickly rushed to my room to get some paper towels…but in spite of a speedy return, it had already been absorbed into the carpet’s edge. Though since that section was already dusty and darkened by years of wear, you couldn’t see any sign of the crime. So, as the great Alfred E. Neuman always likes to say: “What, me worry?” Besides:

Moe has a little doggie of his own.


Subject: Asking of you a BIG favor, Chuck!
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Chuck Kapinski
Bcc: Tara Roosevelt
Date: December 27, 2020, 07:49 PM

In the event the building manager should tell me I can’t have the dogs over any more, I will remind him that other SRO inhabitants have adopted a doggie, with no conflict from the landlord, or any previous manager. In fact, one manager from back in the nineties, Arnold Wexler, allowed a young woman to keep THREE pit bulls in her single room, for a time! It’s really important to me, to help Deek out whenever he needs a break from the doggies or has to go somewhere where they’re not allowed…as well as to give them shelter on especially cold nights, or it’s raining. They are adorable little mutts, and are totally quiet when staying with me. Never any problem! So here’s what I’m asking:

Email me a statement that you lived there for such-and-such number of years, and know of at least two SRO occupants who owned little dogs in that building. If you know of any more, of course, please include them as well. (If you can only remember just one, that’s fine too.) Post the email to me, with the top line being:

“To Kevin Bond, present manager of 2306 Market Street, SF:”

Followed by the body of your text. I will save your post for any possible future need regarding these precious pups, and management. Thanks much, Chuck. If you don’t care to do this, that’s okay, too. To quote Einstein: “Vere dere’s a vill dere’s a vay. Arf arf!”

One Response to Down to the Home Stretch

  1. […] Chapter 12: Down to the Home Stretch […]

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