It’s an Honor to Clean Up Their Poop

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 4: Chapter 24]

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Subject: Deek returned for the pups last night.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2021 10:15 AM

The attached pic shows him camped by the bus stop, his shopping cart and the two pups sitting on some cardboard sheets I brought them. You can’t see it, but behind that cart are ornamental vases, lamps, and large plates (both ceramic and metal) that he’s set up by the curb, for sale. All quality items; I was impressed. Everything was neatly arranged, an inviting ambience that is a new thing with him, and which I hope he keeps up. I have NO idea where he found the items, but I imagine they were set along the curb of someoene’s home, to be picked up by a junk removal service.

When I brought the doggies downstairs, I told him how Flaco has pretty much recovered, though not with a full appetite yet. I also explained (again) that he needs to lay down cardboard for them to sit and rest on, because the sidewalk is always filthy, even when you can’t tell. All sorts of nasty stuff can get on their fur, which they’ll lick and get in their system. So it’s not just gum ya gotta watch out for, which is always dangerous for them to swallow, as it can cause obstruction in their intestines and require surgery to remove.

He mumbled in response, “I know how to raise dogs.”

“Well, you certainly don’t act like it sometimes,” I replied, “Because if you really love them, you’d already be doing what I’ve been suggesting for months. In fact, I’m shocked I even have to bring these things up!”

“Well, I don’t have any cardboard right now,” was his only excuse. Which is good, because that’s not a rejection, but an admission, of my pitch. A little while later I ran back hovel to bring down a couple of sheets of corrugated cardboard I tore off the box in my room. The pups immediately sat on it the moment I set it down.

“See, Deek?” I pointed out. “They’re very clean, and WANT to stay clean. So they’ll hop onto a piece of cardboard or sheet of newspaper the moment they get the chance!” It was then I made another point, regarding the dogs’ well-being:

“I hope you spend some of the money you get from sales or from my allowance, on jackets for them, now that the weather’s turning cold!”

He then rattled on how he never puts jackets on them, which is absurd, and I said so. I said he used to get them jackets, but hasn’t for over a year now.

“Well buy some, Zeke.” he countered.

“I can’t afford to do that anymore, now that I’m giving you an extra forty dollars a week. So YOU need to do that,” I replied, then paused and added: “Or I can subtract forty dollars from your allowance one time, and purchase them.”

Then I brought up how we could MAKE the jackets with old sweatshirts.

“Or children’s clothing,” Deek embellished.

“Yes, that’s good, too. I can take the clothing, sweatshirts or whatever upstairs, and adjust them to fit.”

This is all good news, as he’s basically complying with my suggestions, rather than putting on a show of adamant resistance. Better yet, he said how he’s gonna take the pooches to the pop-up monthly clinic for homeless dogs…get them checked out, booster shots, etc. I think Flaco’s recent tummy upset put a bit of a shock into him. And I could tell he was serious, not just saying that to assuage my concerns.

In the middle of this all, I took the time to grab an empty box from the basement, and bring it to him, as I knew Flaco & Lucky would love it. And that’s exactly what they did, made it their instant tiny-home sanctuary! Once inside, they never stepped back out.

“Look, Deek! They love their box, and it gives them warmth. And they’ll bark less, ’cause they won’t see other dogs and crazy people walking by. It’s free shelter for them, you can set it up in a pinch. Toss an old coat or blanket over it, and they have extra protection from the cold.”

After bringing them the box, I stepped outside a couple more times to check in on Deek and pups. Lucky was curled up in the back (it’s a deep box) while Flaco stuck her little head out to greet me and receive more petting. What a gracious host! She was THANKING me for the box! Deek saw all that, and appeared pleased (as opposed to petulantly hostile, which has been the norm until recently).

He remained on that spot for about two hours before moving on. At one point, I heard him hollering at the top of his lungs: “Zeke! Zeke! Zeke! Zeke!” I was walking down the stairs with that box, when this happened. So I had to admonish him NOT to do that, my neighbor will complain about the noise, plus calling my name (instead of just “Yo!”) puts the spotlight directly on ME, and I really don’t want everyone and their uncle to know our business.

“So PLEASE stop that, I am not your little slave running in and out of the building at your every command. You’re just gonna have to stand up and go below my window, and call up to me with a “Yo!” one or two times…as you usually do. And you DON’T need to be noisy about it.”

Can you believe this BS, Wattson? I keep having to remind him to not holler out my name, or start yelling from a distance because he’s too lazy to get up. I think he has a sadistic streak in him, where he gets his jollies by disrupting my world in a way that causes enmity from others living here. What a piece of shit! Doesn’t he realize this could also damage HIS benefits of my friendship and, by sad extension, my providing the dogs with sanctuary?

I also think he enjoys showing off to his street allies that he’s got someone running errands for him, who is housed. And that all he has to do is snap his fingers, and I’ll show up. Like the genie from Aladdin’s lamp. He needs to stop that, as all kinds of trouble could well up from such white-trash antics. At any rate, my quasi-fascist neighbor no longer can reach me via email with his latest gripe, since I never gave him my new addie once I switched providers. Same goes for my updated phone number. I live just two doors down the hall from him, anyway, fer cripe’s sake!

Nonetheless it was, overall, an excellent meetup last night. Other then his screeching my name, he was quiet throughout his latest visit. When I poked my head out the window some hours after he showed up, I saw he had already departed, and, best of all, had left the area spotless…you’d’ve never known he was there in the first place.

He even took the box!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Deek returned for the pups last night.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2021 1:24 PM

> The box idea, and covering it sometimes, is a great idea.

Soon as you set down the box, they scramble right into it…they love boxes! Their delight is incredible, lots of woofs and tail action. And you can pretty much throw anything made of cloth over the opening, for a more secure shelter. Even a large, plastic garbage bag would work.

> Yelling your name in the night is a terrible idea. Hope he gets that under control toot-sweet!

Right. Not only will it annoy the building manager and a neighbor or two, I could wind up with some vagrant (who heard Deek holler and saw me poke my head out the window), screaming “Zeke! Zeke!” out front at all times of the night. Once I resolve one issue with Deek, he pulls something ELSE disturbing from his bag of tricks, to cause yet MORE stress in my world. His arsenal seems bottomless. But he often lacks originality, thus repeats a previous offense some months down the line, as if I never confronted him about it in the first place.

Last night he also handed me a flip phone, that he just purchased, asking me to put music on it. I told him flip phones don’t work that way, you can’t transfer files via the charge cord…which only charges the phone, and nothing else. And there’s very little extra storage space on flip phones, and to get music on it, you need to first upload your files on the ‘net, then use an FTP client to download them. In short, those types of phone are used mainly by folks who just want to make phone calls or text messages. They have really tiny screens, and Internet use is limited. He didn’t understand most of what I said.

And I just reminded him less than a week ago, he could purchase such items from Boulevard Joe on the cheap: USB cords, SD cards and even smartphones. I GOT a smartphone from him several years ago, for just twenty dollars! But what does Deek go and do instead? Wastes a chunk of my money on a phone he’ll hardly use. He even went back to Walgreens to purchase a headset, so he could at least listen to radio stations via that flip phone. So there went MOST of the forty dollars I gave him just two days before, that he could’ve spent on two nice doggy jackets!

> And making doggie jackets out of children’s clothing is also an excellent idea. Inexpensive thrift-store items, which, if they get lost, are easy to replace.

Thrift stores are still an expense. I was thinking only about Deek’s rummaging for the stuff, and children’s clothes are discarded aplenty…including clean ones. I’m coming up with new ways to trim back on my spending, and have been surprised at what I’ve come up with. For one, I no longer purchase new coffee cups from Amazon, to serve him his tea or soda. I just reuse the ones I get every morning from Rosenberg’s. Lid and all. I pour the java into a mug, then rinse out the paper cup and lid, and quickly dry them off with tissue paper. Another example:

I never PURCHASE pandemic masks, I just pick up some of the many ones left stranded on sidewalks. Once home, I sterilize and wash them thoroughly, then hang till dry.

I also don’t buy AAA or AA (or any other disposable) batteries any more, that Deek can get some whenever he wants. I ONLY keep a small supply of AAs for my Bluetooth keyboard. All those little extra things I’ve been providing Deek are no more. Besides batteries there were black markers, disposable razors, USB cords and micro-SD cards. He can get all that himself now, considering my generous raise in his allowance. One more thing to report about last night’s meetup:

HE BROUGHT ME A GIFT! A brand new, white T-shirt with a rainbow-embellished image of a dragon! He knows that dragons are an important aspect of my personal mythos, so it was an especially thoughtful gift.

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> It’s flabbergasting what people throw away. My refrigerator, which I’ve had for twenty years, was about to be thrown out by its rich owners because it didn’t keep their ice cream quite hard enough. A friend of mine who was doing some work for them alerted me, we went and got it free for nothing, virtually brand new. It’s been humming away ever since.

Ha! I acquired my present fridge in a similar fashion. Someone discarded it on the back porch. So I carefully wobbled it down the hallway to my hovel…placing two cardboard sheets (one after another) to make it a rather easy transport, as well as not damage the carpet. Then plugged it in to see if it works…it did! Kept it turned on and empty for almost two days, to be sure.

I’ve had that fridge for over twelve years so far! Freezer works great, though I don’t even use it to make ice cubes, as that seems to build up frost more quickly. I just use it to freeze ripe bananas for my smoothies. So I can buy a large hand of them, and not worry that some will become overripe before I can eat them. I just peel those bananas, seal ’em all in a large Ziploc, then pop them into the freezer.

You’ll never read THIS kind of stuff in “Hints from Heloise!”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: A good meetup last night, until the final part.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 16, 2021 11:28 AM

Deek dropped by yesterday evening, so I could charge a new Bluetooth speaker (and his flip phone and battery backup). He camped out behind my building, with the pups sleeping on some comfy old jackets. It was a pleasant visit overall, with my bringing back a sack of pastries that I found on my nighttime stroll. I spent some time with the doggies out there, which was very nice. So sweet, seeing them both snoozing away, with Lucky’s head plunked upon Flaco’s cute little butt. She was so happy to have me sit beside her and caressing neck and back.

I made a point of wearing the dragon shirt, and how much I like it, because it’s a lovely, artful design. He replied that he knows how important dragons are to me, so figured I’d appreciate it.

Once it struck midnight, I returned his devices, wished them all a great night, and returned hovel. But a few minutes later, he was suddenly SCREAMING “Zeke! Zeke! Zeke!” at the top of his lungs. So I ran back out and gave him what for, he said stop it, he has PTSD. I told him I don’t give a fuck about that, he needs to STOP hollering my name, it’s gonna get me in trouble, and can screw up my living situation here. Which would mean I couldn’t have the pooches over any more, so that would screw HIM over, as well.

He walked away from me, back to his spot where the dogs were resting…but I followed him and continued to admonish him harshly. He finally said he gets it, he’ll stop. But before that, he also made some stupid remarks, as if he did nothing wrong. I told him he needs to STOP being a little shit, he’s screaming at my window two nights in a row, now.

Anyway, I hope my scouring him so thoroughly will knock some sense into him. He packed everything up and walked away with his bike (no cart this time), bags and pups, shortly after the argument. (Though it DID end with my taking a deep breath and saying God bless you all. That’s important.) Now, just this morning about an hour ago, I was crossing the street with a fresh cup of java in hand, when I spotted him coming my way from the other direction. So I stood on the corner by my building, waiting for them to approach.

With a respectful demeanor, he said I could have the dogs over, if it’s okay by me. I said sure, it’s always okay, and did you have a good night. He replied he did, but no details. He also gave me the speaker to recharge for a few hours. I brought that upstairs first (as my hands were full with coffee in one and speaker in the other), then came back down to collect the doggies, who of course were jubilant to return to their sanctuary so soon. They crashed out like nobody’s business, after a couple of minutes of happy greets with hugs and belly rubs. Both dogs are in good spirits, glad to see Flaco has recovered in full. But I think that tummy incident put a good scare in Deek, to treat them more responsibly, including taking them to a vet for checkups and booster shots.

Got ’em a new box from the basement, so they can enjoy that when they will. There are large boxes there, stacked up by the smoke shop, which shares our basement…so a few days ago I though “how convenient,” as intact boxes are not always easy to track down on the streets. But I don’t think it’s gonna work out, because they are all stuffed with thin, bubble-wrap packing that took up FOUR 30-gallon garbage bags. Which, if I toss them into the building’s trash bin, will hog up more than half it’s content! So, dammit, no more boxes from downstairs after this, as I’m sure I’ll get a complaint from the manager if I keep it up. There’s even a spy cam down there, so he’ll know who’s been taking the boxes.

Guess I’ll have to step out with the bloated-but-featherweight garbage bags, two at a time, and deposit them a block or so away, by someone else’s residence. I feel like a deadbeat miscreant, a moocher or parasite. Or a cheapskate Santa Claus who abhors children.

So, Deek just showed up again, to collect his speaker. When I handed it to him through the open gate, I told him the pups are totally zonked out right now, so I’m not even thinking about feeding them for another hour, as I’d rather they get some rest first. He said sounds good, with a grateful smile on that bedraggled mug of his. There was love in that.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: This is a 22-second clip of Deek from across Market Street, pushing a burdened bicycle with doggies in tow. I was alerted to his possible presence, by the rap music playing from his speaker…though I must note it was NOT loud at all, just barely audible from this distance. You can’t even hear it on the video. He was chewing the fat with a friendly black dude for a few minutes, then moved on. I grabbed my smartphone to capture the scene. This occurred just moments after I awoke, well before I even stepped out for coffee. He didn’t look up at my window as he passed, nor did I call out.

Subject: More box action!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 16, 2021 1:05 PM

I could kick myself, because right after I stopped recording, Flaco came prancing out of the box and looked up at me with a sparkly joy.

Re: More box action!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 16, 2021 10:19 PM

> Never fails when I’m videoing kitty action. The instant I stop, they do something extraordinary.

Ha ha, the little stinkers!

> But this one of Flaco is HIGHLY adorable as it is!

Those little haunches splayed out across the floor, curly tail tucked in as she scratches away with a frenzied vigor…then abruptly stops to sit down and show a flash of her pink tongue flicked at the edge of the overhanging cardboard flap: too adorable for words. I just wanna hug her all the time.

So, they both ate but half their breakfast, jumping off the cot to take a few nibbles, hopping back onto the cot…repeating that a few more times over two hours. Gives the Slow Food Movement a new spin: it now includes dogs in the mix! Come dinner time, Lucky ate with gusto, but Flaco didn’t even touch her dish, and still hasn’t. I don’t think she’s gonna bother with it at all, before I toss it out.

However, she’s in great spirits, as is Lucky. Very content to be here and just relax in comfort and safety, cooled by the wafts of my fan on high, and surrounded by my love. Guess they’re staying overnight again, as it’s now almost 10 PM and no Deek. Sleeping with angels again!

Tomorrow is another Sunday, and you know what that means, Wattson: the Noe Street artists will be back again. Hopefully, I’ll still have the pups with me, so I can show them off and charm the pants off a lot of friendly folks. I’ll bring snacks for them to share with Flaco & Lucky.

Oops, just now Flaco jumped off the cot and began eating! Took maybe five nibbles, then returned to her cozy spot and burrowed beneath the blankets. She was watching Lucky with a hawk’s eye as he stood beside her dish. He didn’t touch the food, but looked up at her until she got aggravated enough to claim the vittles her own. Mission accomplished, Lucky settled down on a throw rug and watched her nosh. What a sweet brother he is!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Their Handiwork, Thus Far
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 17, 2021 10:04 AM

Referring to the enclosed photo. Lucky ALSO enters the box and scratches it up, though most of the flaky results are Flaco’s. Artemis only knows why they do this, though I figure it satisfies their Dachshund urge to dig away. Fine with me, easy to clean up. Good news:

Their appetites are in full swing…both pups ate a hearty breakfast just a half hour ago. And their solid, brown poops earlier this morning are just frosting on the cake. Stepping out now, to visit the Noe Art Mart while the pups rest indoors. I expect Deek to show up very soon; after all, it’s an allowance day.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Deek & Pups at the ATM Alcove (4 lovely pics)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 17, 2021 12:20 PM

Deek collected his furry charges around ten this morning, awaiting their delivery in the ATM alcove right below my window. After escorting them downstairs, along with a fresh reserve of dog food, I took my morning stroll. Oh, I should point out that just before I departed, Samuel had stepped out with his two chihuahuas, and they walked slowly by, within feet. Yet neither Flaco nor Lucky made so much as a single bark or even a woof, as they watched the mini-pooches pass by. One of the chihuahuas even paused to take a pee right in front of us! I was very proud of my brindlekins’ calm demeanor, and that Samuel witnessed it.

Noe Street artists were busy setting up their tables and displays. Miriam utterly ignored me as she arranged her table, paintings and such, gabbing away with associates…it was a boring pass-through. Which I find typical of ANY street event. I always feel like a ghost roaming among the living, at such gatherings.

So I continued my stroll to other parts Castro, and didn’t return hovel for another forty minutes. At which time I saw that Deek & doggies were still there, all snoozing away, temporarily unbound from the world’s worries and demands. Of course, the pups sensed my presence once I neared the front gate, but I gestured for them to stay put. They understood, and I was able to pet them while snuggled up with their master, without stirring him awake. It was at that moment I realized what an excellent opportunity to capture this on film. So I rushed upstairs, grabbed my smartphone, returned outside and shot away.

The photos are too large to attach via my poor man’s email service, so here are the links. I think you’ll be impressed, good doctor:

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Re: Deek & Pups at the ATM Alcove (4 lovely pics)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 17, 2021 1:57 PM

> Such smart dogs, understanding that they should stay quiet, looking you right in the eye, telling you: “We understand!”

IMPRESSIVELY smart! Just a moment ago I heard Flaco’s barks, so poked my head out the window, looked down where she was standing, and made a few “click” sounds with my tongue. She looked left and right, then up, and knew that was me smiling down at her, and waving a hand. She gazed up at me, wagging her tail for ten seconds or so (not a single bark out of her) before returning to ground-level attention. She wasn’t barking vociferously, BTW, just letting folks know (as they passed by) she is watching over her master. They were rather gentle barks.

I made a few more clicks two minutes later, and this time she immediately gazed straight up at me, instead of elsewhere. And not the least bit distraught that I was way up here, and not there with her. And again, she emanated love at me for a few moments WITHOUT A SINGLE BARK, YELP OR WHINE, before resuming her eye-level focus.

Another sign of their intelligence, is when I take just one pup out for a walk, and leave the other in my room. Maybe the one to be left hovel will attempt to slip through the door, but soon as I say, “No, you stay!” either pup will immediately understand, and promptly sit on the floor, or hop onto the cot, ready to relax some more, knowing I’ll be back soon enough. Neither makes any noise, or shows dismay at having to stay inside…no howling, no yips, nada. Upon my return, the pup is delighted to see me again, and ready to step out, while the other is quite happy to remain home.

And how Lucky pulls his little trick to motivate Flaco to eat, is awesome…he stands by her bowl with lowered head (as if he were about to nosh, but really doesn’t) until she is aggravated enough to step down and take command of her own dish. Lucky then steps away, happy to see her eating again, even if just a few bites.

Of course, there are many MORE examples I can give of their intelligence, but I’ll stop for now.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Sleepy Lucky
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 17 2021 3:41 PM

This is a blowup from the alcove-2 pic. His drowsy expression is not that evident unless enlarged. I love it! Meanwhile, a horrid incident just occurred out front…no one harmed, just some real nastiness.

Deek and pups were still out front around 3:15 PM, sound asleep, when I suddenly heard someone scream bloody murder right below my window. Poked my head out to see him pointing at Deek, hollering: “Those dogs attacked my dog TWICE!” He was a raving lunatic, and continued screeching as the marched on down the sidewalk. A lovely dog was with him, on a leash, maybe a cocker spaniel.

Now, I didn’t hear Deek’s pups bark at all, both before the incident, during the incident, and after. So I went downstairs to see if Deek and dogs were alright. But they were no longer at the ATM alcove; I looked about to find them now by the bus stop. After speaking with him, it turns out the guy IS nuts, and has done this once before, a couple of months back. Deek says he lives just up Market Street, my block. Isn’t that grand…that’s just what I need: more idiotic drama.

During our conversation, Deek turned on me, said Flaco probably attacked his dog on MY watch! I told him no way, the pups are always manageable, they never attack anyone. There are just mean people in this world, who go out of their way to fuck with whoever they can…and picking on the homeless is popular with these types, because they’re so vulnerable.

During this meetup, a fire truck drove by with siren blaring away…so I got down on one knee to press my hands over Flaco’s ears. Deek snarled, “What are you doing?”

“The sirens hurt her ears,” I replied, “so covering them sometimes helps, and she won’t start howling.”

“Cut it out,” Deek retorted and shoved my hands away, leaving Flaco to suffer the cacophany.

Interesting that the pooches were totally cool and collected all through the screaming incident, and when I was conversing with their master who, unlike them, was NOT. I’m sure his nasty reaction towards me is simple jealousy of the mutts’ fondness towards me. At any rate, before returning hovel I asked if he’d like some tea. He said sure, so I brewed some up, with a generous two dollops of raw honey, then brought it to him and wished them all many blessings. He at least said thank-you to THAT.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Sleepy Lucky
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 17, 2021 5:21 PM

> So the guy who accused the pups of attacking his cocker spaniel was not a homeless guy? But a “housed” person just making trouble?

Exactly. Probably on meth. Sad to say, his type is common among the wealthy gays who’ve settled down in the Castro. Spoiled, bratty and mean as fuck. One stood in front of my gate two nights ago, blocking my entry. I said “Excuse me please” while holding out my key. He ignored me, but continued gazing down at his smartphone, diddling away on the screen, maybe texting, maybe busting bricks or bubbles. So I figured two can play this game, and got up REAL close, our faces barely three inches apart…and said not another word, just stood there. I’d be staring right into his eyes, had he raised his head. Only THEN did he grow nervous, and slip away into the dark.

> How obnoxious. And how obnoxious of Deek to then accuse you, when he knows this guy is a nut.

Well, he was just harassed by a screeching idiot, THREATENING THOSE SWEET DOGGIES, so he was still stressed from the encounter. I was a convenient target of his anxiety.

> So exhausting for you!

No kidding. He also threw THIS in: “You didn’t give me my allowance yet!”

“Yes I did, Deek,” I replied. “This morning…four 5 dollar bills and a 20.”

He then reached into his right-side pocket, and, whaddya know, there it was. But he could’ve lost it, it’s happened before (though I suspect it may have been a scam on his part…but if so, it didn’t work). Then I’d be in a stupid situation where he accuses me of lying and I, of course, refuse to cough up even MORE bills. But on a good note:

Passersby witnessed the screeching lunatic, and saw that neither Deek nor his pups were causing anyone ANY grief. IOW: it was OBVIOUS to anyone around, that the idiot was harassing Deek. In fact, a kind young man approached Deek some minutes later, to hand him a few items he left behind: one a baseball cap, the other items I have no idea, I wasn’t paying close attention ’cause focused on scritching the dogs’ bellies.

> Lovely pic of Lucky and his beautiful glossy coat. The sly “wink” is endearing!!!

He rocks my world; it’s an honor to clean up his poop!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Aaaaand…they’re back!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 17, 2021 10:30 PM

Deek showed up around 9:30 PM, said he’d rather have the doggies stay with me, than out in the rain. So I dried them off pronto, then fed them supper…which they ingested with gusto! Now, I gotta find a good horror movie for the three of us to hunker down in the comforters, and watch. They usually go right to sleep, barely three minutes into the show…any show, doesn’t matter. They’re the LEAST fussy dogs I’ve ever met. For them, it’s all about love and friendship and nothing else.

Pleasant dreams, Wattson!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Aaaaand…they’re back!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 18, 2021 12:12 PM

> Just found this today. Hope the pajama party was divine.

Yes, their joyful company is nonpareil. The pups are still here, already walked and fed. However, though Lucky ate his entire breakfast, Flaco refused to take even one nibble. *sigh* Her dish shall remain on the floor for another hour before I toss it out. She seems perfectly fine, regardless…and she DID eat a full dinner last night.

I’ve been deliberating these past few days, on the nuisance and additional stress caused by Deek’s hanging around my building more frequently than ever. But is he really much of a nuisance, now that he’s quiet and very neat most of the time? And is this “additional” stress coming more from my own pointless fears, than from anything real? One problem I’ve conjured up, is residents here have become familiar with the pups…yet, now that Deek is more visible to them, they will also see those same dogs with HIM! They could be upset that I’m housing a couple of  “vagrant” mutts on a regular basis. But I have also thought:

Residents will become more acquainted with Deek and his brindlekin, and may become more amicable and helpful towards him, for the sake of these beautiful and charming pups. Seeing the dogs more often will show others just what wonderful creatures they are. After all, passersby witnessed that crazy man’s hateful screaming at Deek…and one of them was kind enough to return to him a few items he left behind by the ATMs. The doggies were quiet and well-mannered all along, even when being hollered at…they just sat there, nonplussed.

I should also mention that some of the folks who stepped up to actually USE the ATMs, remarked at how lovely and sweet are Flaco & brother.

-Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Re: You may have seen this before…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 18, 2021 12:57 PM

> We were talking the other day about taking pics of critters, and how they wait until you point the camera when they’re in a perfect pose, then move. This was an exception; she actually held the pose, waited while I rushed for the camera (this was before I had a camera phone) and this was the result (Grey, my beloved angel-fluff, May 2005-Nov. 2019).

INCREDIBLE, EVERYTHING ABOUT IT! The halo of light about her, the balance and color composition, the frosted windows behind…and that 3-headed dragon in the foreground, as if she were their queen: her pointy ears, and august visage aimed directly at the lens. It tells a story. She’s seated at the gate of her enchanted realm, her dragon guarding the entrance bordered by a pillar of flowers on each side.

And no, I haven’t seen this pic before…a handsome tableau that inspires meditation. What a memory to cherish.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: More Good News
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 18, 2021 7:15 PM

I stepped into the corner shop on 17th & Noe a short while ago, wearing my “Free Palestine” mask, and grabbed a package of frozen vegan pizza snacks (trusting it will not be TOO disappointing on the taste buds). The young man who complimented that mask was NOT present, nor was he two days ago when I also showed up wearing it. However, this evening I hit the jackpot!

The man behind the counter is around fifty years old, of sturdy build, a thick head of straight, silver-gray hair, around six feet tall, and with a gregarious nature. An older fellow was leaning against the shelves towards my right…I’m guessing he’s the father or grandfather in the family, but maybe he’s an uncle, older brother or whatever. As I approached the counter with my item, and the clerk took my EBT card, the older man addressed me:

“I like your mask!”

So I told them my true story about the mask, that happened right here in their store less than a week ago! “I thought he might have told you about it,” I remarked once I told the story. “Interesting how a charming little tale can suddenly come out of nowhere, to brighten your life!”

They immensely enjoyed my telling, and thanked me with broad smiles. I then mentioned it’s now on my blog.

“Oh, you have a blog?” the clerk remarked, and whipped out a pen and square of paper, to write down the URL. But I stopped him.

“Wait,” I declared, “just take this!” I eagerly extracted a dog-eared Brindlekin card from my wallet, and handed it over. Then added:

“That story is part of my latest chapter. Just search ‘Palestine’ and you’ll go right to it.”

I couldn’t wait to return hovel and share this with you, good physician. Well, the pups are still here, so now I’m gonna fix ’em din-din.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: A Little Morning Bodhisattva Magic!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2021 12:24 PM

Lovely pajama party last night; the pups huddled up close, Flaco with her head in the crook of my arm, while Lucky fondly plunked his own head upon my knee. Flaco’s little breaths–interrupted now and then with sighs of bliss–lulled me to sleep in the middle of a scary movie, “Halloween Kills.” (I already had the volume turned low for that…I just love Jamie Lee Curtis no matter how tacky the plot.) Later in the still dark, Lucky jumped off the cot to lap up some water from a bowl I had set by the door, then returned to my side…this time sprawled comfortably across my hips and snuggled up against his sister’s rump.

In the morning we took our usual stroll up and down Noe Street. Healthy poops were had by all. Then I deposited the brindlekin in my cozy hovel and dashed back out to get my early-bird cup of steaming hot java. I planned to feed them in about an hour, but before that time arrived, Deek called up to my window.

“Bring down the dogs and some more dog food,” he bid with a smile. He looked good.

Upon delivering the doggies to him, he couldn’t let things be without SOME sort of complaint:

“I don’t see why you take their collars off,” he griped.

“Because when they’re indoors, I want to them to be as comfortable as possible, Deek,” I explained the obvious. (FYI I put the collars back ON them before exiting…Deek was just coming up with something ELSE to whine about.)

Then he pointedly adjusted Lucky’s collar to be two more notches wide, and admonished: “You keep his collar too tight, that’s why he chokes.”

I saw no point in arguing with him, but assuaged his ego by examining the new placement of the buckle on Lucky’s collar, and just gave a whispered “okay.” For me, this means I’ll have to switch notches on Lucky’s collar just before returning him to Deek. I already do something similar with Flaco, as he now uses a pink collar on her, which is quite loose, even at the tightest notch: she easily slips out with the slightest tug. So, whenever I take her for a walk, I use the spare collar which is more secure. Then, right before Deek picks up the dogs, I put her pink collar back on…so he’s never the wiser.

When encountering another resident as I take the pups up or down the stairs, the looser notch makes our passage difficult, as one or both will slip from their collar and bark up a storm and block their way…so I have to quickly crouch down and pull them back with both hands, demand they quiet down at the same time fussing with their collars. Most folks are not bothered by this (in fact, they laugh), as the dogs don’t bite, just stand there and bark…but there’s always gonna be some drama queen now and then, who’ll go screeching off to the manager in alarm. Using these LOOSER notches will guarantee this will occur EVERY time someone else appears on the stairs or in the hallway, rather than once in awhile.

As for the choking issue: never happens on my watch. The collars on BOTH mutts are secured by the two-finger rule…just snug enough not to slip off at the slightest twitch of the leash or turn of the head. Nor do I EVER tug on their leashes with more than a helpful nudge.

I had an annoying encounter with a resident just last night, because he had forgotten his keys and was standing right out front when I stepped into the lobby with the pups. Of course, they immediately started barking at him from the other side of the gate, and he did not have the good sense to step back ten feet, so I could bring them outside and he could just jump forward to catch the gate before it closed. Nor could I suggest he do that, as the dog’s barks were way too loud for any conversation.

He was actually a friendly fellow, Chinese I think…who knows the dogs are harmless; he’s encountered them several times before. I just wish he didn’t insist on squeezing himself through the gate before it was wide open, and before Lucky & Flaco had fully exited. For they kept nipping at his heels until the gate finally shut of its own accord. Jeez, what a needless hassle! Now, back to Deek and why I call what I’m about to describe as a bit of “bodhisattva magic:”

After depositing the pups with him, I ran back upstairs to pack a fresh supply of dog food…which takes all of several minutes. (I never burden myself by carrying stuff when I’m also handling the doggies, whether stepping inside or out; and that is why I didn’t lug the dog food along with the pooches. I do the same thing with collecting or returning Deek’s gadgets; those speakers sometimes are quite hefty, up to 20 pounds.) Dog food prep:

First I open the large bag of kibble that I ordered from Amazon (which I additionally seal in a 30-gallon garbage bag to ensure freshness, using a horizontal double knot that is easy to undo) then scoop out seven cups each, into two 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bags. Next, I take out five cans of wet dog food from a supply of cartons I store in the closet. All items are then placed in one of those tough, “reusable” plastic grocery bags, and brought downstairs to Deek. I keep a generous stash of those bags handy, as they are easy to collect off the streets, or sticking out of trash bins, still empty and clean. Doesn’t cost me a cent, and barely some elbow grease. Now, getting to the “magic” part; thanks for your patience, Wattson:

Having delivered both dogs and their food, I wished them all an excellent day, with God’s blessing, and returned hovel to enjoy the rest of my coffee and kick back and read some news articles off the ‘net. Around fifteen minutes later, I poked my head out the window to see if Deek and charges were still there, by the bus stop. Yes they were! I was VERY pleased to see the dogs resting upon a clean and folded comforter, while Deek sat with his back towards me, maybe fiddling with a gadget, or just meditating. Whatever he WAS doing (or not doing), it was a quiet, peaceful scene. But I wanted to step out for my morning stroll without disturbing the pups, who were BOUND to see me walk by, no matter how silent my passage. I did NOT want to get their hopes up about visiting me again so soon, thus my appearance and sudden walking away would disappoint them. So I thought this through:

I could either exit via the back door, thus elude them altogether…or maybe just leave through the front gate and turn RIGHT towards Castro Street, rather than in their direction. But those brindlekin are sharp, and could spot me from that not-so-far distance anyway, especially when the gate closes with a loud “CLICK” and alerts them, should they not already be gazing down the block in my direction. No more than a minute passed before I decided to depart via the front gate. So in a jiff I donned my shoes, coat and hat and stepped out onto Market Street, and looked to my left to see if Flaco & Lucky had spotted me. But get this, Wattson:

THEY WEREN’T THERE! I looked further up and down and across Market Street, to see if I could spot them moving along, or parked elsewhere. Nope, no sign of them anywhere. I even came right up to where they were just seated: not a shred, not a scrap of evidence to indicate they were even there in the first place! MOST unusual because–even though Deek is very neat these days, cleaning up after himself and all–there is always SOMEthing he leaves behind. A crushed soda can, a torn, stained box or bag of some snack he just got from the Chevron gas station a block away (or Walgreens further down), some item or trinket made of cloth or plastic or metal (like a dirty rag he used to polish his shoes, bent Marvel figurine or a tarnished, broken belt buckle)…ANYthing you can imagine an industrious vagrant might leave behind from where he lingered awhile. But NOTHING.

How could this be? How could they have managed to disappear altogether in less then three minutes from the moment I saw them seated in comfort a few scant yards from the front gate? Perhaps they had simply scooted around the corner, and are now camped out behind my building? Yes, that must be it (I thought). But I decided not to approach the immediate corner and look back up 16th Street, as the pups would surely spot me in a pinch ’cause I’d be that close. So I decided to first cross Market Street, then walk east across Noe and to the other corner…where I could then view from a good distance, the sidewalk behind 9666 Market Street, and see the trio’s new location. But to my amazement:

THEY WEREN’T THERE, EITHER! Did I hallucinate? Had they already departed long before I peered out my window? Were these ghosts I saw? A hologram of some mysterious wizard’s contrivance? Is Deek that wizard? I’ve exhausted my repertoire of conjecture at this point, so choose to write it off as a sweet, morning kiss of bodhisattva magic, brought to you by the loving spirit of two doggies and their master.

Subject: Storms are on the way…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2021 7:51 PM

…and more worries, because I don’t want the pups to suffer all the rain and cold that come with October’s ascension and into the winter months. Will Deek man up and be the truly DECENT doggy dad, as they so well deserve? Or will he keep them away more often than not, in spite of frequent downpours and the chill, ocean-misted nights, because the Demon of Jealousy still has him in its grip? There’s only so much I can do, without causing him to rebel, and the darling brindlekin in the middle of this…their sweet, trusting lives in his unsteady, bipolar hands.

I only realized yesterday that my Brindlekin Tales are also my Pandemic Memoirs (or fables)…or, as you have suggested some months back: I could write my very own version of Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of the Plague Year.” I started to document my true tales of Flaco & Lucky on October 30th last year, several months before pandemic panic swept across the globe and, of course, this nation.

Our building manager is doddering more noticeably these days, his back bent forward as he slowly ambles along the sidewalk to whatever destination. So I’m thinking he’ll be out of commission soon, probably some time this year. A new manager is in the cards, and I’m worried how that will impact me, and everyone else who lives here. Guess we’ll know soon enough! Onto my budget:

Last week, after calculating in Deek’s weekly increase of $40, it turns out I have a meager $370 for the rest of the month…AFTER paying my rent and phone bill, and a major dog food purchase of a large bag of kibble, and three cases of canned meals (12 per case). Sounds scary, but all MY food expenses are now covered by EBT. Plus, I didn’t spend a dime of that $370 until yesterday, when I realized we’ll need a couple more cases of canned dog food in another week or so. Or not, because Deek’s request for more doggy vittles varies from week to week, and thus hard to predict the cost each month. Anyway, that was a $67 investment (for 3 cases of wet, and 33 pounds of dry), and I think that’ll be enough kibble to last me well into November.

Seeing as I’m a man of few material needs, it looks like I may even be able to save $50-100 each month. Even better is a hefty increase in Social Security payments that will start come January. Needless to say, Deek doesn’t need to know about THAT. As I MAY need to hide away some extra moolah to keep the pups jacketed, should Deek fail to do so himself.

Well, a blustery, light rain has begun to fall a short while ago. I hope Deek is keeping the doggies safe and warm, or will bring them back here very soon.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Storms are on the way… ERRATA
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2021 8:14 PM

I beg your forgiveness, oh Osmium Empress of a thousand galaxies and eighty-two black holes, 26 quasars and 11 red dwarf stars…for I have made the literary mortal sin of typing “elude” instead of the proper word, “allude,” in my sentence from my previous email:

“I only realized yesterday that my Brindlekin Tales are also my Pandemic Memoirs (or fables)…or, as you have eluded to some months back: I could write my very own version of Daniel Defoe’s ‘Journal of the Plague Year.'”

Even worse: you didn’t actually “allude” to it, you flat out “suggested” it…so THAT is the correct word I should have used in the first place! DO forgive me, if you can find it in your multiverse-chambered heart to do just that.

Otherwise, just toss me into the all-consuming flames of the Eternal Moleculizer that knows from whence all atoms come, and to where they go in their newly arranged manifestation.

Your most humble servant,

Ezekiel Joseph Krahlin-Holmes

Subject: New Resident, “Andy”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 20, 2021 2:22 PM

So this morning around 8:30 I stepped outside to get my usual coffee at Rosenberg’s. Nothing strange about that, good doctor…but when I looked back from the corner where I stood waiting for the light to turn green, I saw an Amazon Prime truck parked in front of my building, and its driver with two packages (one large, one small) standing by the gate, trying to figure out how to get in.

I deliberated a moment while standing in the light rain under the gray sky, whether or not to return to the gate, and let him in. I chose the latter, so approached him with keys in hand and said: “I can let you in.”

“Oh thank you!” he gently replied. He was a neatly dressed, handsome young black fellow wearing one of those ubiquitous, black masks.

As I twisted the key in the lock, I remarked: “This is an old building that has problems keeping up with modern times.” Referring, in this case, to its outdated intercom system that is inconvenient to operate…causing some delivery folks to just give up and walk away with the packages.

He thanked me again, “much appreciated,” as he entered the lobby, and I wished him a superlative day before resuming my trivial pilgrimage to the Font of the Coffee Gods just around the corner.

“What a lovely morning,” I thought, as a delicate drizzle speckled my face, and the hypnotic buzz of traffic wheels whooshed by on the wet asphalt.

Felix was at the helm at Rosenberg’s, with his usual greeting: “Good morning, boss, how are you today?” And I gave my usual response, “Doing well, thanks, just waking up!” Before grabbing a pint of Half-&-Half from behind the refrigerator’s swinging glass door. The coffee there is always spectacular: Peet’s morning blend.

Upon returning hovel, another occupant with his bicycle had just opened the gate: the same person who forgot his key the other night, and I had to deal with the pups’ raucous antics as a result. I thanked him for holding the gate open, as he followed me inside, then proceeded up the stairs as I looked over the two boxes just delivered by Amazon. One of them was mine; it was large and heavy. Obviously (I thought) it’s that 33-pound bag of kibble I ordered just yesterday…wow, that was fast!

So I rushed up to my room, deposited the still-steaming cup of java on my sink’s ledge, then returned to the lobby to lug the bag of canine munchies back upstairs. The guy with the bike who just let me in, returned to the lobby as well, this time without his bicycle. I was fussing with the taped seams of the box, when he kindly spoke:

“Do you need help with that?” he said with a perceptible Chinese accent. He moved in here recently, I think maybe just a month or two ago. He’s of lanky build, on the tall side, with a friendly demeanor and obviously Chinese (possibly a recent immigrant from, perhaps, Hong Kong…though I’m guessing here).

“Oh, sure, thanks, I have a bad back, and that would be really nice of you,” I replied. “Just let me open it first, it’s a large bag of dog food that’s easier to carry without the box.”

I followed him back to my floor, with the empty box in my hand, that I would break down and discard later. He asked where he should put it, so I said in that little hallway right beside the elevator. Once he did that, he turned around and asked:

“Do you know when the elevator will be working?”

“Well, I spoke with the manager a few months ago,” I replied, with my mouth twisted up in dubious reflection. “And he said a certain date in October, which month is now, yet we’re still waiting. PG&E is scheduled to show up that day, though which day that is I forget. All the elevator needs at this point is to be hooked up to the power, so we’re waiting on them to come out and do just that. The manager couldn’t get them to arrange an earlier date.”

“Oh, I see,” he responded. “Thanks.”

“The problem I have is the new doors don’t have a window in them,” I added.

“Really? Should they?” he queried.

“I think they should,” I said with a shrug. “I’m a tad claustrophobic, and the old doors DID have windows. What if I get stuck, I can’t even look outside!”

I then asked his name, and told him mine. Andy also informed me he lives on the floor above, in 307.

“You encountered my dogs the other night,” I pointed out, to see if he was bothered by that puppy drama. “They’re sweet little pooches, they just make a big fuss when someone’s standing on the other side of the gate.”

“Oh no problem,” he chuckled, then cordially excused himself, as he was off to work.

“Well thank you again, Andy,” I concluded as he descended the stairs, “I hope you have a good day, now!”

Well that was a nice conversation, wasn’t it, Wattson? After which I returned to my SRO, elevated in spirit over such a friendly exchange with a new tenant, especially regarding my brindlekin.

Several minutes later, as I was sipping my coffee and watching some Youtube videos, Deek called up. To collect his $40 Thursday payment (even though it’s Wednesday; fine with me) and drop off the doggies. As I exited my hovel once more, I encountered four people standing around and chatting in the hallway. That was Kevin the building manager, another resident perhaps (an elderly gentleman whom I’ve never seen before) and (lo and behold) two PG&E workers, one with a clipboard in hand.

“Hallelujah,” I thought, “The elevator will soon be up and running!” Funny, though, that Andrew had JUST asked me about that, only moments ago.

Once outside, Deek immediately declared that the pups were cold and shivering all night long.

“Well THAT’S not good,” I replied, but decided it’s prudent at this moment to NOT lecture him.

“There are some people in the hallway right now,” I told him, “so it’s better to wait outside with the dogs a few more minutes until they’ve dispersed.”

So he kept the pooches while I marched back upstairs with his latest Bluetooth speaker (a cylindrical one this time, looked brand new, and about six pounds light thank god), and maneuvered my way through the small gaggle checking out the elevator. I took my time plugging it into the charger, and remained inside for another minute or so, by which time the manager et al departed elsewhere, leaving the stairs and hallway clear for the mutts’ arrival.

Before taking Flaco & Lucky inside, I reminded Deek to rummage the streets for childrens’ sweaters, sweatshirts and the like, so we can build up a supply of jackets for the dogs. He didn’t say okay, in fact he didn’t seem to be listening at all. Instead, he just looked at me and said he’ll be back in a short while, with a new chip to store his rap music on. Apparently, the speaker has a slot for that. And he was going to Walgreens two blocks away, to spend $18 on yet another 32 GB micro-SD card. The same amount he SHOULD spend on a second doggy jacket. I already have a very nice jacket he brought me several days ago. How he acquired it, I have no idea, not even sure if he paid for it, or just found it, or someone gifted him. But my point here, is:

We need TWO jackets or sweaters, not ONE, god dammit! And it’s CRUEL and HARMFUL to force the pups to be out there in the cold and rain without keeping them warm. Anyway, I fixed their breakfast but, sadly, Flaco wouldn’t touch her dish. Lucky, OTOH, feasted away. Neither seemed the least bit cold when he brought them to me: no sign of shivering at all.

Deek finally returned with the chip, then took off after saying he’ll return later. Don’t know if he meant later today, or what. But I DO hope when he shows up again, it will be with a second jacket, even if it’s just a kid’s sweater that I’ll have to jury-rig. (Though he COULD do that all himself, if he weren’t so thoughtless.) Otherwise, I’ll have to reiterate to him ONCE AGAIN, how the pup’s health and safety are more important than anything else in his world, including his rap music.

I went online to Amazon a little while ago, and ordered two waterproof, warm doggy jackets that set me back $37 total. But they won’t arrive till six days from now! I’ll probably tell Deek I’m gonna deduct his next Thursday’s allowance, to cover the expense. And to PLEASE not lose them, else I’ll have to purchase two more, and subtract from his allowance again. Hopefully, this will get him motivated to FIND child-sized sweaters in the free boxes, that will cost him NOTHING. Or anything ELSE that will work just as well.

I’m guessing he’ll whine and snarl and be an ass about it…and walk off with the pups, declaring they’re HIS dogs and he can do whatever he wants with them. Though I’m praying for a better outcome. He doesn’t realize yet, these sporadic rains will go on for a week, with Sunday and Monday predicted to be a two-day downpour.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Storms are on the way… ERRATA
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 20, 2021 11:26 PM

> I shall cancel the order for the sharpening of the special spike atop the temple gates. This time.

A million and one thanks, O Empress of All Time, Directions and Space. I hope I shall continue to elude your thinly veiled allusion for some time to come. For, like Scheherazade, I have infinite stories to tell…but should my life end, so shall the tales!

Re: New Resident, “Andy”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 20, 2021 11:53 PM

> Wonderful letter! Just able to read it now. Have been having “connection” problems on and off most of the day. More tomorrow!!!

Thanks! This chapter has really moved fast, it should be complete in a day or two. My latest missives have been revelatory, one great vignette after another. Can’t take credit for coming UP with these tales, as they are all coming TO me, in reality…thus I am merely the recording secretary. Though I’ve left out so many details in the telling, and though the telling pales in comparison to being there…they hold their own with compelling freshness and insight. Brindlekin Tales, my very own Journal of the Plague Year.

Deek has yet to return, after dropping the pups off yesterday, so…second night in a row sleepover! What sweet company they are.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Last night he picked up the pups… GREAT PICS INCLUDED!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 22, 2021 2:28 PM

…and I asked if he’d like me to put that one jacket we have, on Flaco.

“No, just bring it down,” was all he said. Though I reminded him how important it is to keep the doggies warm in the cold weather, and if they should start to shiver, and he doesn’t have any way to warm them up and keep them dry, just bring them back.

“Remember I said you can drop by in a real emergency, no matter how late it might be?” I explained. “Well, THAT I consider an emergency. I don’t want them to suffer or get sick from the cold, damp weather. So, if you should get caught in a downpour, and aren’t prepared to protect the dogs…I don’t care how late it is, two AM, three, four, whatever…just bring ’em over. And please, you rummage through people’s discards all the time, and we need TWO jackets, not one. Small sweaters, sweatshirts, whatever works, I can cut down the sleeves and make other adjustments.”

At any rate (good doctor), he hanged out by my building towards the corner, while waiting for his devices to charge. That was about a three hour passage, during which early part Flaco barked like wild at passersby, while Deek slept (sitting up but hunched over). Her leash was wound by the handle end around his wrist, so when she leapt she couldn’t go far. Though I wonder how well that works since her collar is so loose.

Meanwhile, not even one yelp out of Lucky, who preferred to curl up in the box I brought downstairs, hoping they’d BOTH use it that way, like last time. But no, Flaco was much more interested in announcing her guardianship over her master! She refused to enter the box, though certainly enough room for both. This worried me, as it would obviously disturb some folks in my building, two in particular: the manager and my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hall. And is why I BROUGHT a box to them in the first place. Fortunately, Flaco calmed down some minutes later…no more barking for the rest of the night. Which remainder I assumed he camped elsewhere. However:

Just this morning when I stepped out for my java, I saw a shopping cart with some “junk” stashed in it, parked at the corner end of my building, beside the recessed doorway to the burger joint, which almost always remains locked, as it’s not the main entrance.

“Surely this is someone else’s cart,” I thought for some stupid reason…forgetting that Deek WOULD most likely have remained there through the night, as it’s good shelter from the rain. And I believe it DID rain in the wee hours, albeit lightly. Here’s a pic of that cart, as I approached, and wondered whose it was:

Click here for a larger view.

Sure enough, there was Deek, covered by a thin, gray-white cover of some sort (a bedspread perhaps), and the two pups curled up in the back, Flaco closely nudged against Lucky (and partly on top), and Lucky snuggled up against their master. Though I was stealthy, the brindlekin were somehow alerted to my proximity, whereby Flaco sat up, shivering with a hopeful urge to be in my arms, and return to my sanctuary. Alas that recess was too cluttered for me to get any closer, without disturbing Deek from his slumber. Lucky remained huddled beneath Flaco, though DID have one eye open. Here’s the next pic (Flaco with her Yoda ears peering out from the recess):

Click here for a larger view.

Now, from another angle, you can barely make out Lucky’s darling visage in the center, peeking out at me from between travel trunk (god knows WHAT is in it, perhaps nothing) and shopping cart:

Click here for a larger view.

And here they are a short while later (shot from my window), now enjoying the sunlight:

Click here for a larger view.

A closeup from that same pic:

Click here for a larger view.

An hour or so later I took this shot from halfway across the street while standing on the divider separating the bidirectional traffic flow, and graced with palm trees (a great boon for the rat population, FYI):

Click here for a larger view.

I am glad to report that Lucky was resting on a large, old, gray throw pillow, while Flaco reclined on a thick, comfy jacket. Deek and I had the predictable conversation about the usual things that I’ve brought up before, some griping on his part, guilt-tripping me over a “new” speaker that doesn’t seem to work (“You broke it!”). I’ll spare you the details, as it would just be a rehash of the same old, same old. Overall, it was a good meetup.

I got to reiterate some important issues around the dogs, and remind him that he and Lucky and Flaco are ALWAYS in my prayers. And instead of being shitty to me so often, he ought to give me some credit for the MANY good things I do for him, AND the dogs. Well, this softened his harsh mood, and he mumbled something about the cops harassing him, and a couple of OTHER difficulties that come with living on the streets.

“Yes, I know, that DOES suck, and I understand.” I kindly replied.

Finally, the last pic for this set, which I took just a moment ago via the hallway window facing 16th Street. I had planned to end this missive with the paragraph above, but paused to look out my window to see if they were still there. Didn’t see them, so then checked the back of the building and, sure enough, there they were! You can see he’s moved partway around the corner, and now has another homeless person for company. Flaco is curled up on his lap, while Lucky is nestled upon a jacket (the pillow right beside; don’t know WHY he didn’t choose that more comfortable option). It’s a quiet tableau, no cacophony from either boombox or pups…a scenario that is far more common than not, with Deek these days.

Click here for a larger view.

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