The Final Chapter (part 20)

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 17t]

Texting with Wattson – 8/20/21 to 8/21/21

Pic: flaco sleeping

Pic: lucky sleeping

Pic: chicken-salmon entree


Subject: The shroud of dachshund actually DID come to me unbidden!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 22, 2021 1:45 PM

I was neither searching for some image to use, nor even participating in a forum that had anything to DO with dogs, shrouds, or anything else in a vein related TO this pic. It just popped up five days ago, in the midst of a thread discussing the pandemic. Unfortunately, I can’t track down that particular Reddit sub, much to my frustration, because I now realize the value of documenting how I stumbled upon it.

At any rate, someone uploaded the image without indicating why it was even relevant to the topic at hand. Then someone else wise-cracked, “Isn’t that the Shroud of Turin?” As if to make SURE I didn’t miss it…as if I had a bodhisattva guide IN that discussion, to present me with the perfect visage that I HAD been wishing to find, though kept it in the back of my mind for a future search. (Recall that I originally came up with the concept of a wiener cerement in February…and figured I’d get around to it some months later, to include in my upcoming Sherlockian spoof, “The Hounds of Basketville.”)

It could EASILY have been any other breed, but no, it’s definitely a dachshund, and a LONG-HAIRED one at that. It never even occurred to me, in trying to locate a suitable shroud-like image depicting a dachshund (if such a peculiar find is even out there), that a long-haired version would make the perfect doggy Jebus! But there it suddenly was, staring right back at me in the most surprising moment!

A classic example of what Carl Jung calls “synchronicity,” or actual, supermundane communiqué? I hesitate to conclude the former, as it strikes me as just way TOO synchronistic for its own good. FYI, initial reverse image searches coughed up ZILCH to help me discover its source, or any reference TO it. Curses! However, today I tried such searches outside of Google and Tineye, and came up with curiously inexplicable and vague results, mostly to do with one Eduardo Nieves from Mexico, who uses the image for an avatar. Also, references to “Eduardo Cachorro Meme” show up, such as this video with spooky background music:

“Cachorro” means “puppy” in Spanish. “Eduardo” seems to be a popular meme in Mexico, but I can’t learn anything more about it. Makes me wonder if I’m barking up the wrong tree [badda-bing badda-boom].

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: And, guess what…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 22, 2021 7:35 PM

…doggies are back again! Deek mumbled something about how sometimes Flaco gets annoyed with Lucky one moment, then the next, she’s all happy with him…then about how he’d like to go bike riding, maybe into the night. So perhaps he’ll ask me to sit them till sunrise. I believe he will, but I’ll know for sure later this eve, when he picks up his resurrected devices.

I suspect those were just excuses for a further act of kindness, that I spend even more time with the pups. Seeing as Flaco and Lucky are typical brother and sister, getting on each others’ nerves now and then…but otherwise a very loving relationship. May also be the nonstop chaos of the streets–especially since Deek is in the middle of it all, by necessity and preference–which could make the pups irritable at times. And are they getting enough sleep out there? I doubt it.

At any rate, they certainly earned their keep yesterday! There’s this filthy, angry vagrant been hanging out in front of my building for the last few days…often sitting down RIGHT BESIDE THE FRONT GATE! Screeching obscenities at the top of his lungs for HOURS, whether seated or marching up and down the street. Epithets like “f*ggots” and “n*ggers,” threatening to injure people if they don’t give him food money, and so on. Imagine having to put up with this, right below my window…and having to STEP OUT with the pups when he’s there! Well, for the most part when I emerge with them, he’s not right beside the gate, but further down the block. Until yesterday afternoon, that is.

As I approached the entryway, I saw his back was pushed up against the stationary half of the gate. And he was howling his usual threats to anyone strolling by, as well as to customers already seated outdoors. So I shortened my grip on their leashes to keep the pups close by my side, knowing of course they’re gonna go full-throttle manic on him. Sure enough, soon as I pushed my way out, they got right in his face with the most insane snarls, baring of teeth and feral barks you can imagine! Everything short of actually biting him…they put on a really spectacular show of raw ferocity!

The crazy dude freaked out immediately, snarled at me and the brindlekin (for which I scowled right back) while snatching up his meager possessions…then ran off to parts unknown, shrieking like the Furies themselves were about to rip him a new one! Within seconds, the sidewalk outside was pacific once more, while grateful customers applauded the doggies as we commenced our afternoon stroll.

Now contrast THAT with another vagrant I met one day prior: fifty-four or so, a bit portly, of jovial spirit and neatly clothed, including tightly lashed bedroll and knapsack without a stain or speck of dirt to show. He saw me with the pups, and greeted them kindly:

“Hey, little doggies, how-ya doin’ today?”

Of course they barked up a minor squall until he held out his hand, whence they grew quiet and sniffed away. Well THAT lasted but a moment or two, before they backed off and resumed their strident barks. Which is their usual wont with ANY stranger no matter HOW gentle, or even with someone they know, but don’t often see. I suspect their behavior in such scenarios would be uneventful, were just ONE of the mutts in my company. For I surmise their protective instinct towards each other (as brother and sister) kicks in, when together. At any rate, he got a good laugh out of it.

I DON’T know the fellow’s name, but I imagine he’s seen Deek with the dogs more than once, and enjoys their company now and then. It’s really NICE to meet a homeless person who is NOT scary, crazy or filthy, and whose company I could actually APPRECIATE. So if I see him again, I will make a point of asking his name, and engaging him in conversation.

Chihuahua man’s name is Samuel, BTW.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Disappointed…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 22, 2021 9:38 PM

…that Deek wanted the pups back, instead of letting them stay overnight. He also said he needs a fresh supply of dog food, even though I already gave him that just two days ago. This is the THIRD time in a month he said it was stolen! I told him he’s been asking for more dog food TWICE as often than ever before, and I can’t afford to keep this up. Until recently, I’ve been allotting him 5 cans of wet food, and two gallon-sized bags of kibble, once a week. But he’s DOUBLED that, over the past five weeks! The idea here is that I SUPPLEMENT his dog food expenses, not cover them totally! Very frustrating.

Regardless, he was mellow through it all, apologized and promised to not lean on me so much for the puppy vittles. I’m still PO’d at him for yelling at Flaco yesterday, and yanking on her leash. This was in response to her pulling forcefully in the other direction, towards my home…rather than go back outside with him. He was ANGRY at her for that! Unbelievable!

I told him in no soft terms: “DON’T yell at her, it’s not necessary. And NEVER yank on their leashes!” He immediately said, “Okay.” No resistance to my reprimand, but still: WHY do I have to keep chastising him for abusing those sweet little pups? What the FUCK is wrong with him? I HATE the idea that I’m gonna have to get harsh with him again, but his THICK skull is hurting Flaco & Lucky! I refuse to believe he’s that stupid. Doesn’t he realize that repeated yanking on their necks could cause serious damage?

I’m STUCK in a situation where everything between us is a public spectacle, where I can’t just lash out at him for his abuse, THOUGH IT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE NEEDS AT THIS POINT. But I can’t catch him alone, especially when he always seems to be in a rush to go elsewhere, whenever he stops by.

I’m at wit’s end.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: And, guess what…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 22, 2021 11:02 PM

> Yay to the pups for chasing off the obnoxious lunatic!

Indeed. They took care of the problem with impressive expedience.

> Dachshunds are fierce little things when they need to be!

And I got to see it firsthand. Inches from his face, sharp little razor teeth exposed and ready to shred up that snarling, spittle-spewing mug. Grrrrr!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Disappointed…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 23, 2021 12:02 AM

> I suspect he was jealous when Flaco spontaneously demonstrated that she’d rather be with you. People who live on the street often have a fragile sense of worth, and lording it over their animals, whom they see as lower on the totem pole than themselves, gives them a temporary ego-boost.

I understand, but he should know better…and not just for the doggies’ sake, but for his own conscience in the long run. Should he lose them by his own hand of ignorance, he’ll burn to death in his own, personal hell. And I WON’T be there to assuage his guilt; the friendship would be OVER. For at that point, if I remained by his side, he’d eventually adopt aNOTHER dog or two, and put me through the same, horrid, slow disaster.

So he HAS to know better. I just can’t do this on my own; OTHER people need to join in and call him to the carpet. Not a single one of his homeless friends seems to be any help in this matter. I was hoping that Boulevard Joe would listen to me, and see to it that Deek take better care of his pooches, but he’s kinda fizzled out on me over the last two years, to become an acquaintance from the past, rather than a regular friend in the present. Yet I’m perturbed that he hasn’t bothered to take it upon his OWN shoulders, of his own accord! HE should know better, as well.

> And it’s unconscionable that he should ever use you as any sort of figurative punching-bag. No good deed, etc….

He knows I like tea, and gave me a box of loose black tea he found tonight, still sealed in the pouch. Nice of him to think of me, but honestly I’d MUCH rather do without ANY thoughtful gifts from him, in exchange for treating the pups with love and patience ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the time.

Lucky & Flaco are the most emotionally stable, kind dogs I’ve ever met…they are SO EASY to care for, not the least bit neurotic, moody or short tempered. It was VERY SAD to see Flaco look back at me with longing, after Deek’s burst of anger and pulling her forcefully onward. No wonder she’d prefer to stay with me!

As Deek prepared to leave, instead of returning hovel promptly, I held the dogs’ leashes until he was ready to go. This way, Flaco wouldn’t start tugging on her leash to return to me (because I was still with her). And, once he was ready, both dogs happily pranced alongside, and Flaco didn’t even look back once.

THEY parted ways before I did: a happy solution. So I showed Deek a loving strategy, using kindness in contrast to his short-tempered burst. Previously, he was always in such a rush to leave, he didn’t give me time to assist their departure, but preferred I return home promptly. Thus my abrupt breakaway from Flaco caused her some dismay.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Disappointed…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 23, 2021 1:12 PM

> Oh, I’m not excusing him. Just an observation. I see it all the time with homeless people here.

Some with roofs over their heads aren’t any better, as you well know, good doctor. They want a vulnerable, innocent creature to kick around. It’s sick as fuck. I will find a way to drive home to Deek, how massively ugly it is to express anger at the pups for ANY reason, and to yank on their leashes is even MORE deplorable. I just DON’T understand why this remains a problem, since he’s pretty much improved in all other ways.

> And I agree–if anything happens to them under his watch, cut him loose forever.

I would not tolerate his presence anywhere near me, I’d drive him out of the Castro. But I pray it will never come to that.

> Sweet, sweet little doggy angels…

I consider their care a sacred calling. If God is love, then dogs have it in spades. As for Samuel a.k.a. “chihuahua man,” I learned his name just last night when I stepped out for some air. I saw him returning with his own barkies; he smiled and I addressed him:

“So you know my name, what’s yours?”

“Samuel,” he answered while kneeling down to scoop a dollop of chihuahua plop off the sidewalk.

“Oh, well that’s a good name” I replied, for lack of something better to say.

I then wished him a good evening and went on my way. So that was a nice exchange, if somewhat brief. I was careful not to impose upon him…and I guess he’s ashamed for his screechy behavior previously, so I’m also cautious not to hold that over his head. Or even mention it.

Now, Flaco still tends to pick up food off the ground, while Lucky seems to have gotten over it. Three incidents in the past week:

I caught her with a flat, dried out wedge of luncheon meat between her jaws…about the size of two credit cards, though triangular and twice as thick. She resisted as I held firmly onto her prize, but waving a ducky treat over her nose quickly resolved the matter. Couple days later, I suddenly found her with a large hunk of baguette in her mouth. She was looking up at me, as if awaiting my approval, that is: she did not gobble it right down. The moment I grabbed onto the bread, she let go…no doggy snack required. That was a nice surprise!

Then just yesterday she proudly wielded a drumstick that appeared out of nowhere, but again gazed up at me for a yea or nay. Of course it was “nay,” though for a moment I considered letting her enjoy the roasted flesh, as it was all in one, intact piece. The moment I grabbed it between forefinger and thumb, she let go. I tossed it into a nearby bin, so other dogs may not be tempted.

All these times I’ve had to remove found morsels from her mouth, Lucky paid no mind. As if he knows not to interfere, that I always act on what’s best for them. They BOTH know I’ve got their back, as I know they have mine.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Deek dropped by with the pups for several minutes, then…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 27, 2021 12:20 AM

…they all left. After he collected his $60 weekly allowance, of course. And after the doggies smothered me with their boundless affection…Lucky nipping away at my jacket’s right sleeve, up and down and up and down, like a barber’s electric razor, his little white teeth creating a temporary pleat in the process. I’ve never seen a dog do that before; he’s so silly! And all this time I cradled Flaco in the crook of my left arm, with my face pressed against hers. She radiated happiness to be with me again!

“Oh, I can’t have the dogs over tonight?” I coyly begged. He said maybe tomorrow, he’s got to get going, some business to tend to. (I can’t imagine what kind of mission that would be, if the pooches need to be with him. He’s just making it up…asserting his “ownership” over them.)

He said the doggies are okay, and they now have a little tent. All this is fine, and he was polite, mellow, clean appearance. It’s a delicate, cool night anyway, perfect doggy weather…and Flaco & Lucky appeared to be in great health and spirits, as usual. I did remind him that the dogs LOVE to visit, and I love having them, and they deserve their little breaks from the street.

But he didn’t cave in, and I didn’t care to force the issue, as he nonetheless came off serene and collected. And I’m sure Flaco & Lucky adore their new tent!

He also asked me to break a twenty, which was a nuisance because I don’t have the bills for that upstairs…so marched on over to Rosenberg’s, whence the clerk gave me two fivers twice. I hate putting shopkeepers out like this, it’s just not my style. It may be Deek’s, but it’s not mine. Just as it’s not my habit to hold conversations out my window, where every Tom, Dick, Jane and Harry knows my business. Deek sometimes starts talking to me at length while I’m at the window to signal that I’m home…which annoys me no end. So I have to gesture “hold on, I’ll be right down,” then when I step out I remind him NOT to start a dialog while I’m still upstairs.

No one looks out their window any more, so sometimes passersby glare up at me, like it’s the weirdest thing they’ve ever seen. And to this day I wonder WHY looking out one’s window no longer seems to be the proper thing to do, unless you’re some crippled, aging shut-in staring out a grimy porthole. Whatever happened to the public commons?

Once I handed the bills over, he and dogs and shopping cart rambled back up Market Street, towards downtown. Though their final destination may only be a couple of overlong blocks further up, where many homeless gather at night on that corner. Seated, slumped, camped out,  twitching, snoozing, unconscious or OD’d atop the tiered, concrete steps that open to a tundra-scale parking lot scattered with Safeway shopping carts and the vehicles of revenent patrons. Or perhaps Deek was traversing a few blocks further bay-wards, by the Civic Center, another late-night hot spot for the ungrateful undead.

Flaco looked back a couple of times while I stood there and watched them vanish into the sultry-cool night.

I expelled a sigh of disappointment (though not so much, because my three angels are doing VERY well), then returned hovel. Wouldn’t you know it, Wattson, but guess who was back at the front gate, sitting right beside it? That disgusting, stinky cussing vagrant! It’s like he just popped out of nowhere; he wasn’t there when I stepped out! At least he was sitting quietly for the nonce, but he always asks me–and anyone else who enters and exits–for spare change. He’s barely two feet away, and I can only turn that key so fast in my haste to distance myself. I always ignore him totally, but ready to spritz him with capsaicin, should he try something.

The REAL problem, is that at least TWO residents of this building actually hand him a blanket and some cash now and then, while he’s slouched right by the gate! Don’t they give a flying fuck about how that will just EMBED him there? Doesn’t his screaming anti-gay and racist slurs bother them at all? Well, I know at least ONE of them lives at the back of the edifice, facing 16th Street, so isn’t subjected to the idiot’s foul screeching. But I am, as are many others!

I KNOW the building manager would not appreciate any residents coddling these fuck-ups right outside the front gate. They COULD be violent, or cause other havoc in the vicinity, not to mention all those bigoted expletives!

[pause]

Well, sixteen minutes or so have passed since I completed that previous paragraph. (Note I said “sixteen,” rather than “fifteen” or some other number divisible by five or ten, as is customary in literature…so I just decided to break with that convention for one solitary moment.) I took a short break to stroll a few blocks up and down Noe Street, and meditate upon my latest meetup with Deek. Oh, and that putrescent derelict was no longer by the gate, or anywhere else nearby…thank the enslaved Shoggoths who rose up against their cruel masters, the Elder Things.

I am so pleased with Deek’s newfound good manners and spirit these days, that my letdown at not having the pups visit tonight is a mere blip on my astral radar. For in my overwhelming efforts of many months, to protect the doggies as best I can, I have also achieved a remarkable transformation in Deek’s behavior and attitude! For which I am ALSO transformed…and it’s all been through my devoted efforts to move this situation towards a benevolent outcome!

All credit DOES go, however, not to yours truly, but to Lucky & Flaco: two astoundingly sweet-natured, kind and joyful little darlings who’ve ignited the spark of love in my heart like a blazing lanthorn! I look forward to the next time the mutts camp out with me; I’m sure it will be soon, perhaps tomorrow. However, I am just as jubilant over Deek’s progress, so much so that I know I can trust him implicitly with the mutts…that I need never worry about their happiness and well-being, ever again.

This has been the GREATEST lesson in my entire life, and my hope that sharing these Brindlekin Tales with the world will also put that same spark in my readers’ hearts, that the bowwows have in mine.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: They’re back! <3 <3 <3
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 27, 2021 12:01 PM

9:30 AM Deek showed up with the pups, he said they’ve been up all night, so will probably crash out right away. He gave me three items to recharge…will pick them up in a couple of hours, but the dogs can stay. He looked great, smiling and effervescent. So this affirms my last post, where I concluded he’s finally on an even keel, no choppy waters, and sailing in a positive direction. I thanked him profusely, and off he went on his bike.

Click here for a larger view.

As you can see, Lucky & Flaco are resting like a boss, after having enjoyed a full meal and lots of belly rubs, neck scritches and group hugs. Couldn’t have a better morning, with my brindlekin for company (knowing Deek is glowing with confidence), and a refreshing mug o’ java from Rosenberg’s…and listening to Randi Rhodes’ latest podcast. That gal rocks! If you haven’t heard of her before, I highly recommend you check her out.

I discovered her back in the early two thousands on the now-defunct Air America progressive radio network. I keep myself in the best company, every day…among whom YOU stand out like the north star!

Flaco has a small splotch of gum stuck to her side, which I will carefully remove in a short time from now. My little angels!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: They’re back! <3 <3 <3
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 27, 2021 1:58 PM

> Oh, yeah! Randi rocks, for sure!!!

Air America Radio Network also featured Rachel Maddow, Thom Hartmann, Mike Malloy, Al Franken, Nicole Sandler and Ron Reagan. I loved that show, and was SO sad when it ended…it aired on “Green 960,” just a short dial turn up from KGO’s 810 AM. Especially since they were a perfect replacement for the old, local KGO channel whose fantastic hosts got peremptorily kicked off once Cumulus took over. That was back in 2011. I’d fall asleep listening to Ray Taliaferro and his callers, some of whom became celebrities in their own right. Here’s an article about that tragic event, with interesting reader comments.

Well, now I’m confused because Wikipedia says the original KGO died in 2011, and Air America went off the air in 2010! I distinctly remember discovering Randi Rhodes et al, some months after Ray Taliaferro et al were wiped out! Maybe they were all reruns, and I didn’t know it? Hmm, I’ve gotta look into this some more.

I just finished removing the gum from Flaco’s golden coat…rubbed in a dot of margarine, let it sit for several minutes, then picked it all out with my fingernails. Here she is now, lookin’ pretty for the camera.

Click here for a larger view.
Click here for a larger view.

Re: Another article on lack of dental care in this country!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 29, 2021 1:57 PM

> Great quote from the article:
>
> “We say in America there is no such thing as class; when mouths open it will dispose of that myth. Full human dignity includes dental care.”

Yes, excellent wording. Though it’s devastating that we remain in the grip of medieval, Catholic notions of poverty and wealth. The idea that God frowns on the poor and exalts the wealthy, and other BS like that. We still use the words “landlord” and “tenant” for cripes sake! My prediction: the bogeyman of communism will turn out to be Santa Claus in our time.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: I just gave Deek the remainder of his allowance…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 31, 2021 9:35 AM

…instead of withholding. He asked for a $20 advance three days ago. When I handed him the rest this morning, I told him I’m out of dog food. He said people are always offering him dog food, but it’s not the same brand I use, and they wind up pooping all over the place. He didn’t give me a chance to suggest he give me back $20 so I can buy more cans of canine vittles…he just said thanks and zipped off on his bike, leaving the pups with me again.

He did ask if having them stay with me so often were okay, no problems with other residents. I told him no, it’s fine, they love the doggies. Which is quite true. Then he rattled on about how he’s looking for housing, food stamps, whatever he is eligible for, but remarked how they keep turning him down because he’s not a total derelict, alcoholic, crippled and in a wheelchair, over 60 years old, etc., etc. That sounds about right to me! But he’s persistent, and that’s what really counts. I gave him such a positive boost by expressing what a remarkable act of kindness his sharing the pups with me is…and reinforcing that point now and then!

So I’m not gonna get him wrapped up in my budget woes, or get upset that he didn’t allow me to use part of his allowance to purchase more doggy chow. He’s actually doing fantastic, and I DO have four cans of food left, plus $43 in my bank account. So, just four days of marginal misery, and I’ll come out at the other end all shiny and new! I’m gonna hate shoving a twenty into the laundromat’s change machine, but I at LEAST gotta run the two large sleeping bags through the drier, so the pups will have SOME comfort before I can afford to do the rest of my laundry. Which will be on the third, when my next Social Security payment arrives.

It’ll cost me less than three dollars to process those sleeping bags…the rest of the change ($16) will go to more dog food. Wait a minute, I’m not thinking: I may as well purchase the dog chow first, and use a smaller bill to get my laundry quarters. I’ll still have $20 to “play” with…either for food for yours truly, or more food for the pups. The cans are $1.79 each (plus tax) whereas via Amazon, they’re less than $1 each, when purchased in lots of 10. So Amazon screwed me over twice this month…first by package theft, then by an unexpectedly SLOW delivery of canned dog food.

I almost canceled that order, but then remembered a few other times, when the estimated arrival seemed excessively distant…but the items wound up at my address in just three or four days, anyway. I hate the stress of this budget bullshit, and the utter stupidity of how society puts low income people into such pointless, often horrific, scenarios. We’re just a joke to the powers that be!

Oh, yeah, and the OTHER problem is, though Morey’s has the same brand of canned dog food, most of the cans are the mushy meat, instead of chunky…they may not even have any of the latter remaining, after my 3-can purchase yesterday. Infuriating!

I’m sure I could run up credit at that shop, but I refuse to go that direction, if only because I went out on a limb recently in order to squelch potential violence at their shop. So I don’t want to make them feel put out in any way, by asking that favor. That would create an awkward association well into the future.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Just how TRUE Deek’s story is, about him going hither and yon to procure whatever assistance he can, is another kit and caboodle. He may be up to something else. However, his excellent attitude these days, mostly neat appearance, and taking such good care of the doggies (obviously) is quite impressive, nonetheless. IOW:

What, me worry?


Subject: Every time I turn my head around…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: August 31, 2021 8:32 PM

…the pups are back again! Deek dropped them off about three hours ago. He was with this little guy yapping away in a friendly manner about SOMEthing, I don’t know what. Deek had his mini-bike with him, so I guess he wanted to scoot around awhile, ride with the wind and all that.

A couple weeks back, when I was sound asleep with Flaco & Lucky curled up beside me, Deek’s “Yo!” repeated several times woke me up. (But not the dogs, they were in deep snooze mode.) It was half-past five!

But I was not so bothered, considering all the good energy between us these days. Upon opening the front gate he said, “I’ll try not to make a habit of this.” I just laughed, glad that we now have this amicable relationship established for once and for all (no backsliding any more). Don’t remember what he needed at that time, did not want the dogs back.

Didn’t want any of his charged devices back, or money. Maybe he gave me another device to recharge; but still, that wouldn’t motivate him to disturb my sleep. I just can’t remember. Whatever it was, it must’ve been important to him…and I was back in dreamland a minute later.

Perhaps I dreamt it?

-Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: UPDATE: Elevator – Dennis – Building Mgr.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: September 1, 2021 8:32 PM

Elevator is ready to go, just waiting on PG&E to hook it all up. However, they won’t budge from moving their appointment any earlier than some day in October. Jeez!

Early last night I saw Dennis sitting on the stairway, just a few steps up from the lobby floor. Obviously, his fall was not serious enough to warrant overnight care…or maybe it did, but COVID patients got in the way! I said hello, don’t move I can get around you, have a lovely night. He had just finished speaking with someone on his smartphone, when I stepped in…guessing it’s his nurse’s aide. An hour later I stepped out to go to the back porch, and saw him now sitting on the stairs just off my floor. That means he moved barely 15 steps since I encountered him in the lobby!

Another resident came up the stairs, asked if he’s okay, if he needs any help. Dennis just said he’s alright, but thanks. I don’t know what happened since, though by this morning he wasn’t anywhere on the stairs, though one of his hospital shoes was lying there in the hallway.

I took the doggies out for their walk about an hour ago, and the building manager was stepping inside as I came down the stairs. The pups were hesitant in proceeding down each step…not because someone was in the lobby, but because they sometimes do that, in order to heel themselves. Which is a nuisance when they keep close while using the stairs; their polite manners sometimes don’t work as intended. They proceed a couple of steps, then pause until I “catch up” by squeezing my feet between them on the same step. They they repeat. I’d prefer they just go on ahead and remain several steps in advance of my own presence, which sometimes they do, especially when I say, “Mush! Mush!”

So I tapped each one on the butt: “C’mon, you can do this!” They didn’t bark once as we reached the lobby and walked right up to Kevin. They just stood around, patiently waiting for me to open the gate. We had a very nice talk, he informed me about the elevator’s readiness (which I shared with you above), and wished me and the mutts a pleasant stroll. But the most important aspect of this encounter was how QUIET the dogs were…and right in front of the manager, and in the lobby, a spot where they are most likely to bark up a storm.

They have also crossed paths TWICE in the past week, with residents and their dogs…and neither Flaco nor Lucky barked very much, or loudly. Closer to woofs than barks, and just a few seconds’ outburst. And all this without my having to distract them with a doggy treat, including today’s encounter with Kevin!

I also told him how well Deek is doing these days, growing in leaps and bounds. And that it looks like my getting the police involved was the necessary shock to make these changes for the better. I don’t think he cared for me to update him in this matter…though I DO think he’s impressed. But if not, so be it, for I am nonetheless:

In awe of myself, Wattson!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Deek came back for the dogs, perfect timing!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: September 2, 2021 10:51 AM

This gives me all day and tomorrow morning to strip down my room, and get most heat treatment done at the laundromat. He apologized for taking so long to return, I said that’s fine and I’m glad he had such a nice adventure. Which was crazy stuff about getting lost across the bridge, up there in Marin County, and a whole lotta BS about drug dealers, girlfriends and ex-cons from some secret gov’t prison, and other nonsense that I’ve already forgotten.

Otherwise, he appears to be perfectly stable and in great spirits. The pups were happy to be with him again, totally mellow about departing my sanctuary. He’ll be back later today, to pick up two gizmos that are now plugged in for the usual recharge.

Earlier, as I returned hovel from walking the pooches, there was Kevin standing outside as if waiting for someone to pick him up (maybe a cab). The dogs were perfectly quiet as we approached, I told them to say hello, and Lucky stood up on his hind legs, with upper paws pressing upon his knee. He smiled and pet them.

A good start to my day, and I have managed to enjoy my two cups of java daily, keep the doggies well fed, provide for my own victuals, get all my clothing and bedding heat treated…and STILL have seven dollars remaining! Gee, what will I spend it on, my cup already runneth over.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Deek came back for the dogs, perfect timing!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: September 2, 2021 1:29 PM

> All quiet on the western front!

With a friendly “quack” echoing across the pond.


Re: Deek came back for the dogs, perfect timing!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: September 2, 2021 2:06 PM

> What a thoughtful, intelligent-looking duck!

He stood right out of the flock (of images) when searching for “duck”…maybe duckduckgo.com had something to do with it. Then, when he suddenly spoke upon my first glimpse of his friendly face, “Say hi to Wattson for me!” I knew he was the right duck for the job.


Subject: Laundry’s done, but I’m ready to drop!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: September 2, 2021 5:40 PM

Back and forth, back and forth, four blocks each way, running one load after another on high heat for 40 minutes a pop. I usually stretch it out AFTER the bug treatment is done, as I don’t NEED so many fluffy blankets, and would rather NOT put that much stress on me. But I did it for the doggies’ sake…I want them to have as much cushy comfort as possible, and as soon as possible, once they return.

In order to accomplish this, I went without breakfast until after the laundromat closed, which was 3:30 PM. Just now I finished dining on two slices of Alvarado Street Sprouted Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread. Never tasted so good! And generously slathered with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, to boot! Plus, a piping hot cup of Barry’s Afternoon Irish Tea. That’s the tea Deek gave me several evenings back…and it’s quite delish! Speaking of Deek:

After handing me the devices to be recharged, he bandied about what time he’ll show up to get them. I told him if I don’t answer at the window, he can find me at the laundromat. But then I added: after three-thirty is great, ’cause I’ll definitely be done with the laundry by then, that’s when they close.

So off he goes with the pooches, and off I go to bring my first load to the laundromat. No sooner had I gotten there and cashed in my five-spot for twenty quarters, than I heard a voice call out to me: “Zeke! What are you doing here?”

I turned around and saw Deek poking his head through the door. “I’m in a rush, don’t wanna wait any longer, I wanna get my stuff!”

I hollered back to just wait a minute, let me put my things in the dryer.

“C’mon, I gotta hurry. No one’s gonna steal your laundry!”

I then reminded him from across three rows of washing machines (no one else was there, thank Hera), that I’m not about to dance for him every time he snaps a finger. Having said that, I ignored the rest of his blabber and shoved eight, mismatched skinny throw rugs into the drier, along with the duffel bag used to carry them here. Which took all of twenty-two seconds. Jeez! I wasn’t about to do yet aNOTHER back-and-forth run just for one of his whims.

I bet he didn’t imagine I was gonna do more than that one load today…it’s all about his gangsta rap music. Nothing else matters.

He and the pups escorted me back hovel, whereby I ran upstairs to get the smartphone and Bluetooth speaker. Once more they departed, and I returned upstairs. Figures he’d pull that on me, knowing how busy I am today! I DID spot a mischievous gleam in his eye. Lucky playfully grabbed onto my pant cuff numerous times along the way, as Flaco and Deek happily tagged along.

Now, all that remains is getting rid of the tarps, and moving my workstation laptop, external monitor, two peripheral hard drives, a keyboard and a mouse to the closet area, so the exterminator has easy access to that section of the room. I can do all that tomorrow, with plenty of time to spare before he arrives, suited up like an astronaut.

BTW, Deek thanked me again, profusely, for all the good things I do, especially for helping with the pups. I told him their company is ALWAYS a blessing and an honor. He’s really happy as a clam these days! This is a wonderful outcome, n’est-ce pas? Maybe my trilogy should end here, or do you think, perhaps, I should wait until I’m crowned emperor of earth, which should take just a few more chapters, anyway.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Do you think this pepper is hot?
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: September 2, 2021 8:27 PM

Found it by the curb on Noe Street last night, while walking the pups. No doubt a stray, left behind by our weekly Castro Farmers Market. I haven’t cut it open yet, to sample a piece, but wondering if you are familiar with this particular variety. I’m thinking of dicing it up and tossing it into my lentil stew tonight. Since I’m out of moolah to buy veggies for this evening’s dish, which I’m about to prepare.

SAVING THE PLANET HAS ITS LIMITS

Those white, crumply-plastic grocery bags are just the right size and durability for packing the dog food I give to Deek once or twice a week: five cans of wet chow, and two 1-gallon Ziploc bags of kibble. But I never need to bag my groceries since I always carry a backpack for that. I used to NOT wear my pack on those times I need another bag for Deek’s dog vittles, as an excuse to get one. But recently it occurred to me to just pick a clean one off the sidewalk, as such a find is often at my toe-tips.

Yesterday afternoon while returning from Morey’s I found just such a bag, checked it for cleanliness, saw it was good to go, so folded and stuffed it into a pocket. Almost back home after crossing 16th Street, a kind fellow walking towards me called out:

“Your bag just flew out of your pocket!”

I turned to him and said, “Oh, thanks…uh, where did it go?”

He pointed to the intersection of Market, 16th & Noe, with traffic whooshing by. And yep, there it was, fluttering along the curb of the MUNI island, stationary for the moment. It was then I decided that risking my life for the sake of a lousy plastic bag that I can easily replace in a dragonfly’s heartbeat is not worth it.

So I turned back around towards my building, leaving the renegade sack to its own, likely sorry, fate.

MY CARD, SIR!

Two days ago as I stepped out with the pooches, I spotted Dieter seated alone at the outdoor dining parklet around the corner: a small restaurant that serves Mediterranean style food. I often see him there, almost every day it seems, sometimes alone, but usually with a friend or two (or three). This is a great spot for him, as it’s just around the corner, and his bad knees make it difficult to walk very far. For which reason he’s always seen outdoors with a portable, folding wheelchair that he uses more as a walker than a seat.

Whenever he’s by himself, and the dogs are with me, I bring them over so he can pet and admire them, which he greatly enjoys. After a solid ten minutes of badinage, I wished him a good meal, and began to depart. But I was halted by the obstruction of a handsome fellow holding a chihuahua in his arms, and a homeless person with a shopping cart right beside. Not that they knew each other, it’s just how the stars aligned at that moment. So I remained close to Dieter to assess the situation, and decided to wait until one or the other passed by, rather than squeezing myself and the pups between them. For surely they would bark at the rattling of the cart’s wheels, as they are wont to do, when accompanied by an obvious vagrant. That particular combination really gets the brindlekin all snarled up.

But they remained in that one spot, so I figured I could walk around them, on the right side, furthest from the street bum. Wouldn’t you know it, Wattson: the moment I proceeded forward, the vagrant became animated and started pushing the cart in our direction…and the mutts vocalized their wrath in HIS direction!

I turned to Dieter and said: “See that? This goes on all the time, some homeless person in a nasty mood SEES an opportunity to cause a ruckus and WAITS until everything falls into place, then does his thing.”

Dieter nodded in agreement and, just at that moment, the strapping young fellow with the chihuahua addresses me (we are now within several feet of each other):

“See? It’s okay for a dog to be a dog now and then!”

I saw then, he was accompanied by a young woman, also carrying a chihuahua in her arms. I smiled back and replied:

“Oh, I don’t think my dogs are barking at yours, it’s the shopping cart rattling by.”

“Yes, I think so! Your dogs are very cute, what are their names?”

I very much enjoyed his gregarious spirit, and we had a delightful conversation. Turns out his/their chihuahuas were rescued from a meth lab! I told him a bit of my own story about Lucky & Flaco (that a meth dealer still owns them but he’s a nice guy, blah blah blah). They both were amazed, and wished me a happy outcome in the long run.

Before they departed, I told them these pups are so inspiring, I’m writing about our adventures on my blog, they are always free to read, just google “brindlekin tales,” brindle and kin are one word.

“But watch out,” I warned, “it’s already turned into a trilogy!”

Then off they went, and I, likewise. A few seconds later I realized I had my wallet on me, and in it are several of my brindlekin cards. So I turned about, rushed up to them and said:

“Excuse me, I have something for you!”

I extracted my card and held it out to them. The moment they saw the image and title, they were charmed, and thanked me for the card.

Who knows where this could lead to? These doggies have given me SUCH incredible aspiration!


Re: Do you think this pepper is hot?
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: September 2, 2021 10:40 PM

> I’d be careful. The littler they are, the more lethally hot they tend to be!!

I just sampled it…not so much as a blush of heat. Though, immediately after thoroughly masticating a pinky-nail-sized piece and swallowing it, it occurred to me that it might be a fruit from an ornamental kind of pepper plant, containing some toxic substance that could put me in the box and six feet under. Upon that realization, my last thought, I keeled over and ordered one of my infinite doppelgangers to compose this missive, and all future ones. Hopefully, he learned his lesson by observing my sudden dismissal from this plane of existence, and tossed it away.

> A sensible decision, old chap. You can be sure the plastic bag would not risk its life for you!

I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath, Wattson!

> Serendippity-doo!!!!

Reminds me of the time, years and years ago, I came across an arrangement of doggy poo that was an exact replica of Stonehenge. I quickly ran home (just another SRO like this one) to obtain an old shoebox filled with assorted weird trinkets I absconded from the Archeology Department’s trash bin (including a collection of counterfeit scarabs and not-so-Native-American beadwork), emptied the contents onto my desk, then ran back to the miraculous discovery and gingerly slid it into the box. I had no idea how to preserve it, as it was rather moist and stunk to high heaven!

After considerable deliberation as it sat on my bed smelling up not just my own room, but the entire floor and the one above, I decided to dehydrate it in one of the ovens located in an area of the basement that served for a communal kitchen. So again, I carefully moved the extraordinary canine diorama, this time onto a cookie sheet…and inserted it into the gas oven set at approximately 165 degrees.

I kept close watch as the minutes passed into, well, more minutes…and it seemed to be drying out like you’d expect proper hound turds would. Then, after around 25 minutes, the house mom stepped in through the alleyway door that opened right into the basement, and its kitchen quarters. He was a burly, tall Swede…accent and all, and a handsome brute of a blond, who was the boyfriend of (and later impregnated) my college campus friend, Kate Krahling, whose name I adopted as my own, decades later…minus the G.

“Jesus Mary & Joseph, what is that STINK in here?”

I looked up at him from the large, communal table, like an uninvited guest to The Last Supper, whose sudden appearance caused everyone else to flee in great haste, including the guest of honor.

“Umm,” I drew out my reply in order to come up with some credible excuse. “It’s a science experiment?”

He glared at me: “Whatever you’re doing, STOP IT NOW, it’s stinking up the whole house! Take it to a lab, do your experiments there!”

And with that, he spun around and departed with a loud slam of the door. At that moment, my Stonehenge replica collapsed like a soufflé, and my heart was crushed. I never had a chance to photograph it before its unexpected fall from grace, so of course no one believed my story. As I’m sure you don’t either!


2 Responses to The Final Chapter (part 20)

  1. beth bosk says:

    Absolutely delightful segment . . . Think you should end the the Final chapters here and resume as book 2.

    • ZekeBlog says:

      Thank you, Beth, glad you enjoyed this chapter. As for ending this book: what you just read is chapter 36 of book 3! Though I call it “Ch. 17, part 20.” So I’m way over my head now, trying to keep this opus a trilogy…avoiding spilling over into book 4 (but I’m losing). The tales are gonna go on for god only knows. Guess I’ll leave it to my publisher (whoever that will be) to sort out the chapters into books. Too much work for one person! I’ve already converted all chapters so far into narrated versions (using a digital voice). That’s extra work for me! But it’s a labor of love, first and foremost.

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