The Final Chapter (part 23)

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 17w]

Subject: Disappointing, But Okay
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 10, 2021 11:56 AM

Purchased coffee, then strolled up Noe Street where the artists were setting up their wares. Only several early birds were present, including Miriam. I sat on the narrow concrete ledge by the community garden, while she and two others chatted about this and that, from fifteen feet away. Lovely morning and all that, but I felt disconnected because they barely said hello, as if I were intruding. Not that they ignored me totally, they did afford me a bit of conversation…but it was clear they preferred to enjoy their usual get together, of which I’m not a part.

But I don’t blame them, that’s alright by me, as they have their own long-term associates who enjoy shooting the bull upon arriving…sipping coffee and noshing on fast-food snacks. A party crasher I am not, so just enjoyed sitting quietly nearby, watching and listening, but not really eavesdropping, just enjoying the ambience.

After ten minutes or so, I got up and walked further down Noe Street, sat on a concrete stump across Morey’s shop for awhile, which wouldn’t open for another hour. Then returned to the street artist scene, which had grown by two or three more sellers in that short time. Walked by Miriam and her two friends, wished them good sales, said I’ll be back later, and proceeded on hovel.

Now, just a moment after typing the previous paragraph, Deek dropped by to collect his allowance, along with a sandwich bag that he requested. The pups were with him, but not his shopping cart which, I figured, was somewhere nearby…up the block, across the street, or wherever. I handed him three Jacksons, one of which he observed was slightly torn on one edge, maybe a quarter of an inch. It was a clean tear that I had not noticed. I offered to run back upstairs and repair it with tape. He said never mind, that’s okay. Then off they went, towards Castro Street. I decided to just stand there near the corner, until they were far enough from the front gate in the other direction, so the pups would not be disappointed. IOW, I didn’t want to reenter my building while they were still close by.

Now I’ve broken my fast with a banana smoothie, and am ready to step out again, to check out all the artwork along Noe Street, and see if anything else ensues. Oh, one more thing:

Miriam had exclaimed how filthy and trashed out Castro Street was, on her way to pick up a few items at Walgreens…human feces and garbage everywhere. I said I rarely visit that street any more, it’s been years. But I’ll check it out tomorrow morning, with my camera. She said they clean everything up pretty early, before most people step out for the day. I’m guessing she means before eight AM. I’ll find out tomorrow.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: My 2nd Rendezvous w/Artists Today: Much Better
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson <>Add contact
Date: October 10, 2021 1:11 PM

Took a bunch of shots, talked with some of the creators…lovely day, and their work is impressive. So much so, they’ve turned that block of Noe Street into a sacred ground for the day. I’ll step out one more time today, and hand out my Brindlekin cards…of which I have but 16 remaining! Meanwhile, I have to prepare all these photos for my next blog entry. Attached is one, with artists sketching a live model. The woman with her back turned to the camera, in an orange T-shirt, is Miriam.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: As I returned hovel after taking those pics of the Noe Street artists and their works, I came upon Samuel and his chihuahuas, who had just stepped outside. So I approached him, thanked him profusely for his patience with my dogs, asked if his own pups were okay with the impromptu meeting. He said it’s just fine, they weren’t upset in the least…and it was a good idea of mine to have treats at the ready. The day’s off to a great start, good physician! So here’s my page with 25 scenes from today’s art fair.

Subject: Well, I’m disappointed!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 10, 2021 4:55 PM

Miriam just brushed me off, several times as I walked by and said hello, and admired some of her paintings. Even when she was not particularly busy. She struck me as the gregarious type who’d introduce me to others…but no, she did not, even though she did the first time around (last week). I wasn’t intrusive in any way, but picked off-moments when she wasn’t preoccupied with potential buyers. Oh, well. I’m now wondering if Arwyn saw her later on, after he passed by and they greeted each other, and spoke badly of me.

Anyway, I had some friendly talks with other artists, so it was, overall, a good day. But this “Noe Art Mart” only started earlier this year, and will end on the last Sunday of this month, which is Halloween. Or maybe their last day will be next week, to avoid the holiday mischief. This weekly event was founded during the pandemic, and hosts LGBT artists. According to one vendor, Michael, the City seems to like the way it went first time around, thus is likely to continue the program. I sure hope so!

I also had a nice conversation with Jesse, whose table displayed original tarot cards, and sparkling, small paintings of a metaphysical nature. I brought up Carl Jung’s teachings, and those of his disciple, Joseph Campbell. She really liked that, for it turned out she is also an avid admirer of those two great thinkers. I gave my Brindlekin card to her, as I did two other artists.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Well, I’m disappointed!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 10, 2021 6:40 PM

> Well, to hell with Miriam. WTF is wrong with people?? Quite possible Arwyn did some Iago-type whispering in her ear. Too bad she’s susceptible.

Not wise to jump to conclusions, though. It is also possible she actually READ “Free Me From This Bond” (or parts therein) and was offended over my portrayal of him. Or maybe she has a bee in her bonnet that has nothing to do with Arwyn, such as my living on disability all these years, or some other unconventional aspect of yours truly, which ARE brought up in many of my tales, not just FMFTB. Though I DO suspect it’s probably his backstabbing me. That seems more likely than any other conjecture. A final thought:

Taking the bodhisattva spin, she’s just giving me a bit of a hard time. Or maybe Arwyn is doing it THROUGH her. I’ll just let it slide, like water off a duck’s back. Only one or two more times to go, anyway, before the Art Mart project ends.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Terror at the Front Gate!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 10, 2021 12:05 AM

Maybe “terror’s” an exaggeration, perhaps call it “disruption.” At any rate, Deek showed up around 10 PM, to leave the pups with me. As I exited the building and came up to him he said, “You just let everyone in the city inside,” and pointed beyond me. Turned out this tall, muscular black homeless dude had blocked the gate from closing by plunking a huge speaker (3 feet high and two feed wide) that kept it wide open. He was garbed in a long, brown coat, and blocked the entryway while boogying up a storm. Another vagrant was also there beside him, though standing still.

I don’t know where they came from, as no one was around when I stepped out, then suddenly there they were. Deek told me to bring his stash of dog food back upstairs. It was heavy, and the gate was still obstructed, so I told him I’ll take the food first, hold onto the pups for a minute. I knew I had to deal with the assholes, and I didn’t want the pooches with me. Glad to see his friend had departed, I came up to him and grabbed onto the edge of the open gate, whereby he stepped away. He didn’t remove the speaker, so I just stood there and, glaring directly at the goof, said:

“This gate needs to be closed, so please move your boombox.”

To my surprise, he gave me no grief, and followed through. So I deposited the three bags of dog food in my hovel, and returned outside to get the dogs. The transient was still close to the gate and dancing like mad, while Flaco & Lucky barked up a storm. Suddenly, the dude hollered, “the revolution is coming!” as he kicked the shit out of the gate. For some reason, our gate is often kicked by vagrants. I guess because it’s made of a tough metal grill that invites such actions by wandering idiots.

Instead of moving back, he remained in that spot and antagonized the pups with wild gestures and screeching sounds. But once I brought them closer to the gate (and him) he backed off…because you just never know, the pups are fearless and put up a good show, and they just might take a few chunks out of his calves. Or leap up and tear into his throat. I opened the gate, and they immediately grew quiet upon entry. During this annoying encounter, Deek was hollering at the dogs from twenty feet away, ordering them to quiet down. Which didn’t help matters much, as it made my calming them down that more difficult.

After settling them in, I was curious what kind of dog food he gave me, in those three plastic grocery bags. It was the food I gave him: 12 cans and three gallon-size Ziploc bags stuffed with kibble! So this means when I asked him yesterday if he needs more dog food and he said yes, he really didn’t. So I’ll only return five cans and two bags of kibble. One of the packages of kibble was wide open, instead of resealed to keep it fresh. This really ticks me off because I’ve told him numerous times, to keep the kibble sealed in their bags, as you don’t want the food to spoil. So for now on I’m gonna check his cart for dog food, to see if he really DOES need a fresh supply, and make sure that bag is sealed.

Stupid drama! But at least the brindlekin are safe with me for the night. Maybe longer.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Terror at the Front Gate!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 11, 2021 2:13 PM

> I happen to know that dachshunds are extremely pound-for-pound ferocious when they need to be! I knew a guy here who had four of them, and some of his friends were scared to visit because the doxies would “pack up” and get VERY protective!

Ha ha, I’d loved to see that up close! They are fearless. For example: Dachshund fends off bear to protect owner and her son.

Flaco & Lucky put on an awesome show of ferocity, when they feel the need to do just that. They bark like rabid wolverines (and Lucky’s bark is of a dog 20 pounds heavier: deep and LOUD, it would scare any intruder away), snarl and snap at each other at whiplash speed to demonstrate their viciousness, as a warning to others: “do you really want US two demons to rip you a new ass?” I’d love to get it on video, but one can’t just whip out his smartphone, set it to video, then start shooting, in the middle of a potential fracas.

I imagine they’ve developed this strategy of putting on a vicious front, due to living on the streets and encountering so many fuck-ups each and every day. Most people crack up when they see this, for it really is quite funny, and they really wouldn’t harm a flea. Lucky can, however, place such a firm grip with those little jaws on your shoe or pant cuff, you’d fall flat on your face were you already in motion, or not be able to take another step. It’s like dragging a 25-pound weight on your foot. I know, because he does it all the time when I take him for a walk, usually on our way back when he gets really playful. I don’t discourage him, I just play along:

“Oh ya got me now, tough guy!”

And I’ll slowly drag the trapped foot forward with much force, one exhausting step after another, until we finally get across the street, or half a block or so further. He’ll stop after awhile, to then play-attack Flaco. They get themselves wound up in their leashes really fast, doing that…so I have to unravel them quickly, if I ever expect to get back hovel in a reasonable amount of time.

> I love the image of the big strapping crazy vagrant backing off while heroic little Flaco and Lucky give him what-for!

Me, too…it puts the fear of the dachshund in them. But don’t forget: they’re also part terrier, which breed also makes s great guard dog. Pretty much a perfect mix in their case!

> So sorry you have to endure such crap.

It’s really shitty, because it happens so often. There are more than a few street bums who like to fuck with people’s little doggies. Remember that skateboarding fool in blackface who harassed my pups? Disgusting. These are sick people. You know they’d NEVER consider taunting a German shepherd, Pitbull or Rottweiler! I hate bullies, they’re the bane of existence. Testosterone meat heads. Meanwhile:

Flaco was not the least big hungry this morning, turns out she had stomach issues. She puked a few times today, nothing serious, she didn’t seem at all out of sorts, emotionally. But she wouldn’t even touch her treats! I had laid out triple-sheets of newspaper all over the floor, to make cleanup easy. I think it’s almost all over, as she’s stepped out of the box a few times to sit where she could regurgitate cleanly…but nothing happened each time, and she just returned to the box. When sitting there, she’ll look up at me to let me know she might puke…and I crouch down to her level, pet her generously and say what a good doggy she is.

Earlier, she’d relax on the bed, then jump down when it was time to vomit again…but she finally decided to remain on the floor, by resting in the box. She also knows now to seek out newspaper whenever she feels the gastric urge. I don’t even need to be home, and my floor would still be untouched. But why would I ever dream of leaving her alone through this little ordeal, or any other? These pooches are impressively fastidious! Even if there’s just a single sheet of newspaper nearby, they’ll immediately go for that, rather than sit directly on the sidewalk, if Deek allows them. But he often doesn’t notice, and their leashes aren’t long enough to reach the paper on their own. They don’t even bark or grow restless or mess with anything when I leave them alone in my room! They remain totally calm, and delighted to see me upon my return!

So two hours ago, Flaco suddenly started pacing the floor, then sat down and looked up at me. Her signal that she had to go poop. Which caught me off guard, because I only took them for their last walk less than an hour before. But she’s been puking, so obviously her constitution is out of sorts today. So I hurriedly got them outside, but as we rushed down the stairs, she puked a bit on a step. Not much, was mostly water, and not stinky in the least. But I couldn’t just bring them back hovel to clean it up right away, so continued on outside, where both did their thing in less than ten minutes. Upon returning, I observed that the discharge was barely visible. I returned to that step with some damp paper towels and cleaned it all up in a jiff. No muss, no fuss, no stain…whew! The last thing I need is to see the building manager standing on the stairs, pointing at the mess and saying with a frown, “Did one of your dogs do this?” Then my having to explain I couldn’t clean it up immediately, because Flaco needed to poop really bad, so I just had to put that on hold until my return. What choice did I have?

So here she is right now, still not hungry, just patiently waiting to recover from a sour stomach. I hope this will all be over by this evening, so she can enjoy her dinner.

Click here for a larger view.

Lucky’s fine, no stomach issues today, and seems rather blasé about his sister’s irregularity.

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Flaco Still Not Eating
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 11, 2021 8:18 PM

Though she appears and behaves otherwise fine and in good spirits…she certainly LOOKS healthy. She’s stopped vomiting, and had a touch of diarrhea on our afternoon walk. So I think whatever’s been upsetting her stomach has been fully purged. She simply chooses to take it easy, just resting on my cozy, buried beneath the comforters. I prepared them dinner a short while ago…she ate nothing, and Lucky only finished half. I hate to tell Deek this, nor do I think it will do any good anyway, but:

The stress on these little doggies of living on the streets can easily cause digestive issues. Not getting regular sleep hours, confronting crazy vagrants so often, the cold night, and so on. They are still with me, so perhaps Deek won’t show up until tomorrow. I hope so, because I really don’t want Flaco back out there until she regains her appetite.

Jeez, can you believe this shit? Just when I completed the paragraph above, Deek dropped by to pick up the pups. But I stepped out by myself, leaving them upstairs, and suggested I keep Flaco overnight. I explained to her about her upset stomach, that she’s over it, but still not hungry. Anyway, he went off on an ugly rant about how the pesticides are poisoning them, and neither dog has had stomach issues with him. I told him that’s not true, he’s told me TWICE they have. Then he said he hopes I’m not doing anything weird with them, as Flaco’s nipples were swollen when he brought them over, but now they’ve shrunk. I told him that’s false pregnancy, she’s had it before some months back. He said other shitty things to me, so I finally told him to get out of my face, your behavior is disgusting, after all the good things I do for him and the pups.

“Well, that’s the only thing I could think of,” he retorted (referring to the pesticides).

I told him no, that’s NOT the only thing he can think of, that’s just what the devil put in your head. Dogs often have stomach issues, especially the little ones, for all kinds of reasons.

Then I told him someone’s gonna smack him to the ground, he has it coming, so you’d better stop fuckin’ with me, Deek.

Around eight months back when he was talking about making Flaco pregnant I said, well if she pops ’em out in my place, I’ll just flush ’em down the toilet. He thought that was horrible, I’m not a dog lover, blah blah blah. Well, he brought it up again tonight, so I tried to tell him poor people do that all the time. But I had to fight him down to shut up and hear me out. So I explain poor people can’t afford to fix their dog, so if they have puppies, they just drown ’em, because they can’t afford THEM either.

“No! Not here in America, no one does that!” he exclaimed.

“Oh yes they do, it happens all the time, Deek,” I countered. “Especially where you come from, the Deep South.”

He backed off then, I took a deep breath and said, “Okay, I’ll bring the dogs down. And wish you all a lovely night, and may god grant you many blessings.”

Now, he’s sitting out front almost below my window, quietly, thank god…hugging and kissing the pooches. I just wish he would camp out elsewhere. What a fuckin’ pain in the ass.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Flaco Still Not Eating
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 12, 2021 8:56 PM

> Ugh. Awful. If it’s as cold and windy there as it is here, that’s not good.

No, tonight is mildly cool, no blustery winds. But the winter and rains are coming up, and I’m afraid the pups won’t survive beyond January, thanks to Deek’s ignorance. He hardly ever gives me a chance to hold any conversation with him. He always has some excuse to rush off, after he delivers or retrieves the dogs. Thus it takes months, if not years sometimes, to get a point across…snatching a bit of time here and there over that span, before my message is complete. Unbelievably frustrating, especially on top of OTHER difficult trials that press on me. Even when he IS camped somewhere in my vicinity, serious conversation is impossible due to others congregating with him and shooting the bull.

> Poor little girl. if she could have stayed with you, she would have completely recovered by tomorrow.

Well, he’s jealous of how fond she is of me. The guy’s a fuckin’ idiot…seeing as the kindest regard possible is BEST for these pups. They, and he, have a great ally in me.

> But I’m glad you were candid with him.

Little good that will do.

[So, I stopped writing this missive after the line above, and have only resumed this morning. A little reflection and hindsight is a good thing. Allow me to elaborate, good doctor:]

Some time after dealing with Deek’s stupidity, I stepped out for a walk. He and the dogs were right outside, parked by the lamppost, with possessions scattered all about in a semi-organized mess. The dogs were comfortably settled on some plush, fluffy jackets. Lucky looked up the moment he heard the gate shut…no way, then, was I going to ignore him. I gave both doggies some assuring pats and light scritches as I told Deek:

“I’m gonna take a walk now, to burn off the anger I’ve built up, after all the nasty things you’ve said to me. Have a lovely night, all of you.”

He was very calm, just nodded his head while fussing about with some unknown, small items in his lap. Upon returning a short while later, I approached again and asked him:

“Do you remember last week you were out here, with a few others hanging around?”

He shrugged his shoulders, “Not really.” I guess he thought I was about to admonish him further. But that was not my intent. I continued:

“Well, I was impressed. No one was loud, and it looked to me like quite a friendly gathering. I had NO problem with that, in fact I enjoyed seeing that right outside my window. And I’m glad to see you DO know some good people.”

He didn’t reply to that, but remained silent. I think my confronting his BS earlier that evening put him in a more humble space. Though my bodhisattva premise gives a totally DIFFERENT spin, which I will bring up at the end of this message. I do want to point out how all our arguing was low key, no yelling or even raised voices…mostly for the sake of the pooches, though also to avoid complaints from my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hallway, who seems to have his ears aimed at the street-facing window 24/7. Guess he can’t afford Netflix.

Apparently, Deek intended to park out front for the entire three hours his electronics were charging upstairs. When I returned with the gadgets, he had shifted his spot to the ATM alcove. Three other houseless dudes were hanging by the front gate, so close I had to squeeze by and make sure no one would slip inside, or keep the gate open like last time. They were really no problem, just sketchy…not like the polite group from last week.

I softly spoke with Deek not to do this again, don’t call me downstairs when vagrants are gathered around the gate; just wait till they disperse. For NUMEROUS reasons, not the least of which is my own safety. But also his: they may turn on him out of jealousy, seeing they have a housed friend stepping in and out the building, running errands for him…and giving him MONEY. They should NOT know our business, including where I live. IOW: stop broadcasting to every stranger on the street, my relationship with him. He said okay, but I doubt he’ll bother to make the change…he’ll just keep exposing me to potential harm. Not caring to realize it could impact him as well, along with the pups, in a bad way.

The brindlekin were curled up in a corner of the alcove, comfortably reposed upon those warm coats. Flaco got up and approached me for some hugs and kisses, then returned to her sleepy spot beside Lucky, after a few loving moments. It’s like she knows what I’m going through for their sake, and wanted to reassure me that everything will be fine. What a thoughtful doggy! Doesn’t Deek realize yet, what REMARKABLE canines these are?

He checked out his two battery packs and asked if I would mind charging them for another hour. It was only 10 PM, so I said fine, and returned back hovel to plug them in again. Upon my return shortly after 11, Deek was packing up, and the doggies ran up to me in their usual, joyful greets. I knelt on one knee to give Flaco hugs and smooches as she stood on hind legs, gazing sweetly into my eyes. At the same time, Lucky flopped himself on his back, right beside my feet, playfully squirming about while I rubbed his belly.

Before he departed, I reminded him it was ME who cleared out the jackasses from the smoke shop next door, who were hostile towards him…it was ME who drove out some dangerous residents who threatened the dog’s safety…it was ME who got the building manager to back off from his needless animosity and abuse of power…and it was ME who suffered several threats upon me, all for the sake of caring for Flaco & Lucky.

“So give me some credit here, Deek, show me some respect, stop your shitty accusations against me,” I concluded, with a finally statement: “GROW UP! It’s EASY!”

He said not a word, but kept his head lowered, while an unlit cigarette dangled from his mouth.

“Do you have a cigarette?” I asked. (Yes, Wattson, I DO enjoy a smoke now and then, which Deek brings me sometimes: a cancer stick here, a cancer stick there.)

“Uh, no,” he softly answered.

“Really?” I exclaimed. “You’ve got one right between those lips!”

He sighed and then removed it, and began to quickly wave the flame of his lighter beneath the filter.

“What are you doing?” I demanded, but then realized he was sterilizing it.

Upon presenting me with the Marlboro 100, I lit it and took a few, satisfying puffs.

“C’mon, get me the chip!” he interrupted my nicotine bliss. I had forgotten to bring him back that 32 gigabyte micro card he just purchased at Walgreens, on which I had copied his entire collection of rap music.

“Nah, ya gotta wait, Deek, I wanna enjoy this smoke first.” I retorted. “Now I’m gonna get away from this riffraff crowded around me, and smoke in peace further down the block. THEN I’ll get you that chip. It won’t kill you to wait a few more minutes, asshole.”

I then strutted away into the dark, and did just that. When I returned with the chip, the dogs of course tugged on their leashes in the direction of the front gate. So I walked with Deek a short while, in order to ease their departure. I stopped after thirty feet, wished them well, and sadly watched them vanish into the void. But just before they did, Flaco gazed back at me with sweet regret.

[Hours have passed since I wrote the above paragraph. A flood of thoughts over last night’s meetup took me some time to sort through and compose. And I needed to just chillax, so spent the afternoon reclined on the fluffy bedding while some Youtube videos of the introspective, philosophical type played in the background. Then I went for a walk (it was lovely outside) purchased a small container of hummus, a bulb of garlic and an onion. They were out of bell peppers, so I’ll just have to cook my lentil-rice veggie stew without it. I checked out the avocados and they were all half rotten. Damn. After that delicious, perfectly ripe one I enjoyed a few evenings back, I foolishly thought I could come across a decent avocado at this or that local corner store. Silly me. I am now back hovel, to complete this rather lengthy missive:]

This morning on my stroll up Market Street towards Church, I ran into Boulevard Joe. A medium sized paper grocery sack hung from his fingers by those looped handles made of twine. It was smartly creased and appeared to hold a considerable weight. He said it contained breakfast for himself and two others. I was about to lean on him again, regarding Deek’s latest difficult behavior, but I thought better of it; this was not the time. Instead threw him a compliment on how great he looked the other day, when he was accompanying Deek and watching over the pups:

“You looked like a classy security guard for a celebrity. You were sparkling, I was impressed!”

He smiled and thanked me. “Oh that was the day I wore my blue shirt and red tie. Thanks.”

“Well, you were absolutely glowing,” I gushed. Which is true: I’ve never seen him look so good before.

He then excused himself, “I need to bring this food back while it’s still warm.”

I said sure, and we wished each other a good day. He had an air of confidence and joy that fit him well, like a new suit. Best of all: his sudden appearance and friendly demeanor had a calming effect on me, and my worries over Deek and the pups quickly dissipated.

So I think my harsh reprimands toward Deek gave him a taste of how awful his life would be without my friendship…or as I call it: “putting the fear of god in him.” For he was very polite to me, the rest of the night. In my disgust, I even attempted to return the devices, saying I’m not gonna charge them when he’s being so vulgar. I wound up taking them back, though…I just wanted to shock some sense into him.

But I’ve also noticed him being a lot more affectionate to the dogs, these past three weeks. As well as providing them with blankets, instead of forcing them to rest on concrete. So what the fuck is REALLY going on? Here comes the bodhisattva premise to explain it all:

They’re all actors, Wattson, making me into the hero of my world…as I’ve often said before. My surprise encounter with Boulevard Joe this morning served the purpose of soothing my soul, after the latest barrage of horror. And Deek’s disgusting accusations are nothing more than words from a script, to, again, provide additional opportunities for me to play the champion. But this act is all way too drawn out for me, I’m exhausted and wish it were over, curtain closed. But that’s how they play it, they know what they’re doing, and I must hang in there, for the Final Act will be superb.

And Arwyn, whom I believe is the author of this play, has begun showing up more frequently in my life…like an Alfred Hitchcock appearing for a brief moment in his films. Surprises lay ahead, let’s see how Miriam behaves this next Sunday.

I’m amazed at my own resiliency, that I could emerge from last night’s frightening visit with Deek, yet wind up feeling pretty damned good today, so soon after. It was Boulevard Joe who lifted my cross.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: It just got better!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 13, 2021 12:51 PM

Some time around 9:30 PM last night, I decided I should get that yummy looking tub of halvah (with pistachios) I saw earlier that day, on the snack shelf of the corner store that takes EBT. (I decided I can just remove the nut pieces, grind them up in my coffee mill, and mix them back in.) Which establishment is simply called “17th & Noe Market.” I wasn’t even sure they were open that late, but it’s only a one-block walk, the pups are sleeping, and it was a lovely night anyway. Before exiting, I donned the only colorful mask I have, one among many I found left discarded on the sidewalk. I’ve never looked closely at it, just liked the design in general.

The shop is run by an Arab family: very friendly, great sense of humor, and one of the clerks is an absolute doll! He looks to be all of seventeen, and is just as friendly and outgoing as the rest of ’em. I first met him a few days back, while looking for an item in the dairy section. He slipped right by me to stack and price some goods in a corner barely three feet distant. I couldn’t find what I wanted, so turned to him and asked:

“Do you sell any margarine in a tub?”

He paused and looked over the same shelves I was focused on, where they kept the milk, cream, butter, and the like…then grabbed a brand that I thought was soft butter, but wasn’t. It was “Country Crock” margarine. I said thank you, then asked:

“Could you please read the ingredients for me, I don’t have my glasses on.”

Without so much as a twinge of hesitation, the handsome boy grabbed the package and looked down at the label, to read aloud the following:

“Purified water, soybean oil, palm kernel and palm oil, salt, lecithin (soy), vinegar, natural flavors, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene…” he then paused to look up at me. “Oh, that’s just the color.”

“Yes, I know that,” I replied, “go on.”

He lowered his head again (while I imagined running my fingers through through those dense shocks of tousled, raven-black hair) to finish with: “…and vitamin D.”

As he politely handed back the container, I made another request: “Could you read that once more for me?”

Again, without batting an eye he was about to take it from my hand, when I drew back and said: “Just kidding! I only wanted to be sure it didn’t contain hydrogenated oil. Thanks very much for reading this; you’re too kind.”

“Glad I could help!” he replied, then returned to his work price-stamping cans and boxes.

So that’s the kind of relationship I have with them, gregarious and with a goodly dose of humor. More THEIR doing than mine, I want to point out. How fortuitous that my switching which corner store I shop at (foisted upon me by a food stamp windfall) turned out to be such a winning formula. Now, back to last night:

That jet-haloed seraphim was working the counter this time and, as I plunked the halvah down, I declared:

“I didn’t even know you were open this late, but the halvah called me back.”

“Yes, we’re open till 10 PM every day of the week including Saturday and Sunday,” he informed me. Then, after a quick perusal of my face, he added: “I like your mask!

“Really? Thanks.” I replied. “I just picked it off the ground, like I do all my masks…then disinfect them, rinse them out, then wash in hot, soapy water, rinse again, and hang to dry.”

“May as well,” he kindly agreed. “I like it because that’s where I’m from!”

Confused at exactly what he meant, I pointed to the halvah, because it’s a Middle Eastern treat, and the label says “Made in Syria.”

“Do you mean this?” I queried.

“No, your mask, it has the flag of Palestine on it!” he clarified.

“Incredible, I had no idea,” I replied. “I like the colors, but never looked it over up close.”

I then pulled the mask a few inches away from my face (it was attached by two elastic strings that encircled my neck), so I could take a glimpse. Sure enough, there were the green and red stripes behind a revolutionary Arab flashing the peace symbol. Even better: the words “Free Palestine” encircled the image.

“Well that’s amazing,” I exclaimed. “And I am DEFINITELY pro-Palestine.”

“I’m glad you are,” he said. I then wished him an excellent evening and stepped back out into the cool, calm night kissed with a light flurry of ocean breezes…this time almost walking on air thanks to such a friendly exchange with a sparkling gem of a closure.

Thus the day ended on a most magical note: at the last minute a glorious emerald placed in the center of the crown Boulevard Joe so graciously set upon my pate earlier that day.

Now, here are three pics of that bless-ed mask, including an image of the Dome of the Rock on the left-cheek side:

Click here for a larger view.

Needless to say, it’s now become my favorite pandemic mask, and it will be a sad day when it becomes too worn out to wear any longer. But I assure you, good doctor, if the strap should ever break, yet the mask is otherwise still good, I will promptly make that simple repair.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: It just got better!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 13, 2021 3:36 PM

> Oh, that mask is a beauty!! And so was your adventure!!

Without that particular mask (which I didn’t make any fuss over at all, nor even knew its message) there wouldn’t have been that particular adventure. What were the odds? I am amazed. And yes, it is truly a spectacular mask. It certainly brought me good fortune last night, in more ways than one!

> I have a mask that says Harvard Medical School on it. Haven’t worn it in public yet. Even though I am, of course, a doctor…

Hardy har har, Dr. Wattson! More good news BTW:

Deek returned with the pups early this morning, asking me for an “advance,” and to take the pups. Well, his $40 allotment is supposed to be on Thursday, but Wednesday is okay be me, so I gave him the full amount. Hopefully, he’ll wait till Sunday, which is his $60 payday, instead of begging me for yet another advance.

He said that Flaco still barely eats, and her diarrhea looked and smelled like the kind one of his dogs from years back had, when it came down with parvo. So I said, while holding onto the leashes as the doggies eagerly scratched on the doors through the partly opened gate, DYING to step in:

“Oh, don’t make me sad, Deek!”

“But she seems fine now, just needs to get her appetite back.”

“Okay, I’ll feed them in an hour, after they’ve gotten some rest,” I assured him.

“Thanks again, Zeke, you’re a godsend. I could never do this without you.” And off he went, and God only knows what he’ll spend that money on.

With that, I opened the doors and released the hounds. They happily dashed up the stairs and right into my room, passing by an elevator worker as if he were invisible. But Lucky stepped backed out and into the hallway, thoughtfully waiting for me to catch up…even though he COULD’ve just crashed onto the comfy bedding, like Flaco does. Incredible dogs!

So Flaco & Lucky are now blissfully snoozing away…neither with any desire to step out for a poop yet, though it’s been awhile since they ate. I fed than almost four hours ago. Lucky ate his entire meal, but Flaco only a third. At least she’s eatin’ again…and more than just one or two bites! The little angel seems otherwise in great health, glossy fur, sparkly brown eyes, cold wet nose and all.

I’ve started taking them out for SEPARATE walks, as they bark a lot less than when together. And it’s easier that way to quiet them down, when the other is not around to distract. That way, when I DO walk them as a team again, I think they’ll be a lot calmer than before, when having to pass through the narrow gauntlet of stairs and hallway. Neither has any problem being left alone in the hovel, when the other’s out with me. And I’m only gone for fifteen minutes at most, anyway.

Deek’s decent behavior this morning showed me he’s listened to everything I said in our previous meetup (rocky as that was), has thought it all through, and appreciates my firm stance over the important matter of caring for his dogs. On another note:

I’m concerned about Dieter, as I haven’t seen him for three days now…and I’m used to our crossing paths once or twice a day! Six days ago, I saw him at the Mediterranean restaurant around the corner, which he frequents almost daily, where he wines or dines alone till friends join him later on. He was in considerable pain, and didn’t step out at all the previous day because of that. So I sat and talked with him for just a bit, then wished him a speedy recovery before departing.

The next day I greeted him as he exited the building, and I entered with my usual morning java in hand. He was in better spirits, and I told him how glad I am to hear that. But I haven’t seen him since!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Damn, she puked again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 13, 2021 8:13 PM

This was just moments ago. I served them dinner around 6 PM…Lucky ate all of his meal, but Flaco wouldn’t even touch it. She DID eat a bit this morning, a third of her breakfast. At any rate, the vomit looks clean, that is, just light brown, the color of the canned food and kibble mixed together. She only vomited once, then returned to the cot and curled up. Flaco shows NO sign of discomfort, she is otherwise content. And earlier today when I took her for a walk, her poop was quite normal…not runny in the least, nor any weird color.

I need to impress upon Deek, the importance of having them sit or rest on a sheet of cardboard, rather than directly on the sidewalk. ‘Cause that’s how they can pick up gum or other sludgy waste, that they later attempt to lick off, which can be harmful to their health. So it’s not enough to just provide them with a cushy blanket to sleep on (or in, during cold nights), but to keep them from direct exposure to the concrete at any other time, as well. Cardboard is plentiful, and will do the trick just fine.

I’m also wondering if the sudden change to colder nights may have also disrupted her digestion. These are little doggies, fer crissake!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Damn, she puked again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 13, 2021 10:15 PM

> As long as she’s acting normal, not lethargic or anything, she’s likely okay.

This time around.

> Does Deek let them wear jackets in the winter?

No, he stopped providing jackets for them last winter, and has never gotten them jackets since. I think he’d rather blow the expense on meth. He doesn’t keep them dry and sheltered from the rain…just lets them get sopping wet like him. He’s on some stupid fantasy about doing it all on the streets, and the dogs gotta live like that too. We’re all tough guys, see?

When I bought doggy jackets he kept “losing” them in less than a week, so I can’t afford to do that any more. I’ve bought so many, and kind people have donated so many, but that’s all over with. This is why I’m trying so hard to turn them into mascots of the Castro…so that others will help care for them.

I suspect that Flaco is just sick and tired of living on the streets. They BOTH should be housed, this is too much. IT’S FUKKIN INSANE, AND I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF IT, WITH MY HANDS TIED! THIS IS MADNESS. Deek will probably get pissed at me when I bring up (again) the “forcing-them-to-rest-on-the-filthy-sidewalk” matter. He’ll make it IMPOSSIBLE for me to explain WHY he needs to use cardboard. EVERYthing is always a hundred times MORE dificult to do, if Zach has a finger in it. But these are two, sweet LIVES in the middle of it all, they’re not pieces of furniture.

I tried bringing this up with Boulevard Joe, but he doesn’t really see anything wrong with forcing two little dogs to live on the streets. He’s great up to a point, but neither he nor anyone else on the streets who knows Deek, is gonna encourage him to treat the pups better. They think I’M the monster because Deek told everyone I tried to steal his dogs. THIS IS A FUKKIN NIGHTMARE.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Flaco has the blahs.

Subject: Pups still here, Flaco still not hungry…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2021 12:03 PM

…she even turns down her ducky treats! On our morning walk, you could tell she was a little sad, so I pet her a lot to reassure her that she’s loved. Her poop was normal, though scant…because she hasn’t eaten much for three days now.

Lucky ate his entire breakfast, but Flaco only took a few nibbles, then gave up and hopped back onto the cot.

She’s got the blahs, and I guess I would too, with an upset tummy. All she really wants to do is curl up and rest on the cot, though sometimes she’ll walk over to the box, and rest there awhile. She’s still affectionate and all that, wags her tail and kisses me, etc. So it doesn’t seem to be anything serious. Once Deek returns, I’ll try to convince him to let her continue staying with me, until her appetite comes back. Right now, she just needs a quiet, cozy sanctuary in which to recover. Lucky’s fine, though.

Last night, I planned to walk them separately, so first took Lucky outside for 20 minutes or so. But when I returned to leash up Flaco, she wouldn’t budge! I tugged lightly to see if she’d hopped down from the cot…but nope, she stubbornly refused. Obviously, she did NOT need to poop or pee, and preferred to continue chillaxing on the cozy comforters. Fine with me.

She slept close to me all night long, repositioning herself now and then in my arms…very sweet. Lucky even decided to join the huddle, and moved up close, plunking himself right up against Flaco. So I hugged them both for hours! Dearest little pooches in the galaxy!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Pups still here, Flaco still not hungry…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2021 1:59 PM

> Poor baby.

Good news now: her appetite’s kickin’ in! A short while ago, Lucky informed me in his own doggy way, that he needs to go poop again. I figured Flaco would prefer to remain hovel, but as it turned out she jumped off the cot and wagged her tail, eager to accompany us!

Further up Noe Street, after Lucky relieved himself and kicked up the imaginary dirt to cover it all, I decided to see if she’d like a treat, though didn’t have great expectations. But sure enough, she snatched it out of my hand, plus several more, hallelujah! She was also quite perky when we exited the gate, barking at passersby as if to announce her return from wherever she was in her mind: “I’m here again, I’ve come back to life, troublemakers beware!” They were happy barks, both hers and Lucky’s.

Once we got hovel, I offered both mutts some more treats, offering Flaco twice the amount in larger chunks. But they decided they didn’t want that flavor anymore. (I have two snacks for them: the duck breast jerky wedges, and the softer, chicken-applesauce disks.) Those were the chicken goodies they turned down (even though they just enjoyed them a moment ago, outside), so I switched to the ducky treats, and they gobbled them up. Flaco, of course, consumed the larger portion, per my intent.

Still, my little angel has barely touched her morning dish, except for a nibble here and and a nibble there. It’ll remain on the floor another hour, in hopes she’ll finally indulge. But if not, suppertime around 6 PM may turn the tide. I sure hope so! At least she’s started getting some real food in her belly again. Those treats are wholesome, packed with nutrients!

I have this vision that, once Arwyn returns to my world, he’ll learn of my situation with Deek and the dogs, and instill some real FEAR in him that’ll make him clean up his act PRONTO, and treat the pups in every kind and responsible way possible. Enough so that, rather than sweat beads over Arwyn’s possible rage in seeing he’s STILL not doing enough, Deek will decide to hand them over to me, for once and for all.

Wouldn’t that be fantastic, good physician!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Flaco’s Feeling Better
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2021 2:41 PM

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

Re: Flaco’s Feeling Better
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2021 4:41 PM

> Aw! Little sweetheart!

And her darling brother right beside.

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

Re: Flaco’s Feeling Better
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2021 5:51 PM

Now neither of them is touching their food. I just set out two bowls, and each has only taken a few nibbles out of it. Arrgh!

They’re both in good spirits and all that, but they just won’t eat tonight! Maybe they’ll decide to nosh some more a little later on; the bowls will be waiting. Right now, Flaco has burrowed under the comforters and is scratching away at the bottomost sleeping bag, while Lucky is licking away at the self-inflating nylon pouch I use for a pillow. It’s for camping out, but I prefer it over the plushy types. They love licking heavy gauge nylon, whether it’s part of a jacket, backpack, or whatever else have you.

This is a dog’s world…I can’t relate, only watch and enjoy. Deek’s not back yet. Woof, woof, woof!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Flaco’s Feeling Better
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2021 6:08 PM

Here she is, peeking through the blanket.

Click here for a larger view.

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