The Final Chapter (part 25)

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 17y]

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Re: Last night he picked up the pups… GREAT PICS INCLUDED!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 22, 2021 4:41 PM

> God, their little faces looking at you pleadingly…

It’s a real heartbreak. They’re so close to my sanctuary, but I am powerless to bring them inside. I couldn’t even get close enough to them in that alcove, for comforting pats and hugs…they were crowded in by so much STUFF! But that’s good because it gives them some protection, like a fortress, and keeps them from wandering about.

> Is the trunk something new for Deek?

No more than anything else he digs up. Nothing unique, just something he found. May be good to keep some items dry, but who knows WHAT he’s gonna do with it? No matter what, though, it’ll be gone in a day or two.

> The way he sleeps sitting up…so poignant.

Perhaps. That’s a pretty typical position for meth heads at rest.

They’re still out there, Deek sound asleep, Lucky too. But Flaco has just awoke, and is barking at people walking by. I hear it from my window, as do, of course, all tenants on that end of the building. However, Flaco’s barks are much less strident than Lucky’s, thus no real nuisance thank god. It’s at night when her barks come off as loud, due to the cold air acoustics and less daytime noises to muffle those barks. If only she’d want to rest inside a box, where she’d not see the foot traffic, she wouldn’t be barking at all. She couldn’t care less about the box this morning, though Lucky was happy to curl up in that humble cardboard shelter.

Well, she just stopped her canine alerts this moment. It is now 3:45 PM and the air is turning cold once more. She could use that jacket, but I’m not about to rummage through his shopping cart, to find it. It’s probably soaking wet from last night’s rain, anyway.

Oh, I forget to mention about Deek’s remark that Lucky is choking because I supposedly put their collars on too tight. I do NOT, they are just the right circumference. HE has started adjusting them way too LOOSE. But it makes me wonder: did he widen the collars beCAUSE he’s noticed one or both dogs choking or coughing a lot more? They don’t do that when they’re with me, except, sometimes, Flaco suddenly starts breathing heavy, like she can’t get air through her lungs…but it stops after a few seconds, nor does it occur but rarely. Frightening, though, like she’s trying to catch her breath! I just sit by her, speak gently, and caress her head and back, until the bout ends…which is in ten seconds or so.

I’m wondering if what choking Deek is referring to, is due to his OWN frequent yanking on their leashes…which I’ve warned him about, on and off for months! So now he’s blaming me?

Or perhaps breathing in so much traffic fumes which are thickest close to the ground. They are little doggies with little lungs! I think that’s more likely (or his yanking their leashes) because there’s no SIGN of them choking when they’re with me…with the exception of Flaco’s occasional breathing bouts. Maybe once a month at most. But who knows how often when she’s with Deek? When they’re with me, my sanctuary is well above ground level, thus fumes are less dense…and, of course, I NEVER tug on their leashes, except gently.

I really hope he takes them to that Mobile Pet Clinic, or Vet SOS (or whatever) that provide free dog checkups once or twice a month! He said he plans to take them for a health exam soon. But you have to make an appointment first, at the places I’VE looked up. I’ll gladly do that for him, but reminding him and actually getting him to GO there at the appointed time and date is a challenge. There MIGHT be a service out there that’s just walk-in, however. I hope so. Absurdly, most of the homeless outreach these days expect ALL people living on the streets to own a smartphone! And have it always charged up. And not lose it. Or have it stolen. Or break. Or get soaked by the rain. Jeez Louise.

– Zeke K-Holmes


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

Subject: 2 Closeups from This Morning
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 22, 2021 4:53 PM

One picture’s worth a thousand barks. Deek and pups finally departed from their spot right outside. I pray for their good fortune in this world, and always die a little inside, whenever they leave my humble sanctuary. Never knowing, each time, if I’ll ever see them again.

I die and am reborn each and every day, because of them. Wherever their little paws have touched the earth (whether sidewalk, asphalt or soil) is sacred ground to me.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: 2 Closeups from This Morning
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 22, 2021 10:00 PM

> Lovely. Beautiful shiny coats, noble little souls.

They are the light of my life. Here’s a 2-second video I took along with the pics, that I didn’t plan to keep, because Flaco wasn’t facing me. That is why the video is so short. But at the last moment I decided NOT to trash it, because of Lucky’s yawn.


Subject: The Rabbit’s Message
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 23, 2021 10:22 PM

Deek dropped by twice today, first time to collect his Sunday allowance a day early. I was prepared for that, in fact I expected it. But I gave him a bit of a hard time, first:

“One more day, you can’t just wait one more day, huh?” I admonished with feigned disbelief. Though I think he saw right through that.

“Well, some things I need to do with the money, that I can’t get done on Sunday, because a lot of shops close…” he began to explain. And went on how he does his best to wait until the actual pay day (which now are TWO days of the week: Sunday and Thursday, one for $60, the other, $40). He really didn’t need to justify the expenses, but I let him go on a bit, before interrupting.

“Sure, no problem. Even with a hefty boost in your income, it’s STILL difficult, I get it,” was my comforting reply before I rushed upstairs to snatch up da moolah and hand it over.

Upon my return, I took some quality minutes to crouch down on one knee and lavish both pups with some loving attention. Once fulfilled, I stood up and remarked:

“Between you and me, they’re the most loved doggies on the planet!”

Deek then went on about reincarnation, that he believes the souls of some friends are in their canine bodies. I told him I don’t think reincarnation works like that, though their spirit of love came to him through these two, incredible pups. To this I added:

“And that is why, for all the joy and kindness they bring you, they deserve infinite respect and love back. They are the heart of your life…and mine, too! They are GOODNESS above all else.”

With that, Deek said some of the nicest things to me, and how great I’ve been for the dogs, and as a friend overall. Ending with: “I couldn’t do any of this without you.”

That REALLY made my day, if not my entire life.

Deek thought of giving me the pooches at that moment, but I suggested maybe he keep them for awhile longer, as it’s perfect doggy weather, and the rains are not due till tonight. He agreed, so I said see you again soon, pet the dogs one more time, then returned hovel.

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

Deek came back several hours later, and showed me that cute sweater he just bought for the doggies, the one I featured in two pics I sent you via smartphone. I was MOST pleased and impressed, that he spent some of his moolah on the brindlekin. I didn’t ask him where he got it, and how much it cost…though I will, next time around. For in our first meetup today, he mentioned a thrift shop in the Mission, which is where I suspected he purchased it. If so, getting doggy sweaters and jackets there could save me a bundle. So I told him:

“Look, Deek, I could shop at thrift stores too, and get doggy jackets or children’s sweaters to convert, on the cheap. It’s just that I prefer to stay near home base, so you won’t panic if you drop by, and I don’t return very soon. I could be gone one, two, three hours!”

“Nah,” he replied, “Don’t worry about that, I’ll just find something else to do, and come back.” Then remarked in an off-the-cuff manner:

“I only need you to charge my electronics, or watch the dogs for awhile, not a life and death thing.”

THAT’S certainly not true, I thought to myself. He’d go into paroxysms if I were gone more than ten or fifteen minutes. Deek just doesn’t wanna admit how much he appreciates my friendship, and is so glad I’m here for him.

“Well, how about this,” I suggested, “I’ll wait until AFTER you pick up Flaco & Lucky…then I’ll tell you if I’m gonna go thrift shopping that day or tomorrow, so you’ll know not to show up til later that evening, or the next.”

He also returned with three AC chargers that matched the voltage of the speaker he dropped off two days back. Said they cost him just $2 each, and maybe at least ONE of them will work with that boombox. Back hovel I tried each one out, was really careful they were plugged in right, and so on…but no luck, even though the plug on each was a perfect fit. I expected Deek to be at least a LITTLE miffed about the bad news, and give me grief…but when I returned with the chargers, he remained calm in spite of the outcome.

“Did you buy that speaker at a thrift store?” I queried.

He didn’t answer, just mumbled something about maybe Boulevard Joe could figure out what’s wrong.

“Yes,” I said, “He’s very good with electronics.”

I’m guessing he DID purchase the speaker at a thrift store, without testing it first. And those cheap chargers, as well. I’ll talk to him about it, next time. I HATE to see him waste what little money he has. At any rate, he took the speaker back, in hopes he could figure out a solution, perhaps with Joe’s help. Before departing, I asked if he could give me that doggy jacket he found last week. Because then I’d have one for each dog. But his shopping cart was so stuffed and intertwined like a nest of snakes, he gave up after a few minutes of rummaging through. I told him okay, not to worry. But it’s ridiculous how I’m STILL stuck with a single jacket, though I have two dogs!

In his cart exploration, while he couldn’t locate the doggy jacket, he pulled out this magnificent Halloween mask of an evil rabbit. It was a dark rubbery gray, with a pair of very long ears that would wobble about on their own, with the slightest movement or breeze…they weren’t floppy at all. It was the kind of mask you pull over your entire head, not just something to slap on your face. Deek also extracted a wooden rod three feet long from his cart: with a handle at one end that you clench and unclench to close and open the elongated tongs at the other. He somehow managed to slide the gripping end into the rabbit’s ears, one tong in each.

Then he pulled out a puffy, silver-gray jacket from the cart and slipped it on. With that, he guided the rod down his back and beneath the jacket, so that he appeared to have TWO heads…one being that of the evil rabbit, of course. And with his left hand hidden beneath the jacket, he made the ears twitch and bend in a most alarming manner! Hilarious because bizarre, the perfect Samhain spoof!

–sidebar:

Now get this, Wattson: he pulled this antic while I was STILL waiting for him to dig up that other doggy jacket, but siderailed me with this rabbit mask stunt. And the dogs were SO patient sitting calmly through it all, though absolutely DYING to get indoors. As was I. But I now wonder if Deek, as my bodhisattva guardian, was also evoking a message to me, via some kind of rabbit symbolism. So I’ve just started looking up references to the rabbit as a spiritual force. Which is how I’ll be spending the rest of this evening. For starters, here’s a quote from Native American lore, about the rabbit totem:

“People who have Rabbit working with them must stop talking about the horrible things happening. They must let it go so that more bad things do not happen. They must remove the ‘what if’ in their vocabulary and look at the ‘what is’ in their lives. The positive medicine is to turn your fearful attitude into one of courage. Do not let yourself become paralyzed over the things that are beyond your control. If you allow it, you will become your fears.”

So in this context, the rabbit is about living in fear. And the challenge is to learn some way to SHED this fear. Which truly addresses my sporadic fear of the pups’ well-being when they’re on the streets with Deek…especially now that the rainy, cold season has set in. And, as I’ve discussed many times before, I must better learn how to QUELL these fears. Interesting that, right at the beginning of my Brindlekin Tales, right there in Chapter 1 of Book 1, Flaco in her own little doggy way, told me to have no worry, that she and Lucky will ALWAYS be here for me, and NO harm shall ever come to them.

Deek is a shaman, a trickster, who earlier today performed a clever skit as Rabbit…to make me pause and meditate upon what message may be coming through his leporidic ploy! I have long surmised that at least SOME folks who live on the streets are actually shamans who CHOOSE to be there, for purposes unknown to the average Joe, but nonetheless a key weft in the human tapestry.

–end of sidebar

Then he handed me the doggies’ leashes, we wished each other a good night, and off we went our own ways. Of course the pups were ECSTATIC to be indoors with yours truly once more, and raced up the stairs like they were chasing pigeons. Once I caught up, they clambered all over me in boundless affection and joy for several minutes before settling down. They fell fast asleep atop the four children’s sleeping bags that serve as comforters. Lucky had already burrowed his way beneath one, while Flaco was sprawled out close by, her front legs draped over the lump on the cot that was her brother.

An hour or so later, I prepared their dinner and, to my happiness, they both enjoyed a full meal. Their appetites are back in force! Now, they’re snoozing away in doggy dreamland, as I type this missive to you. Warm, cozy and happy, all three or us…while outside it’s rainy, chill and bleak.

The first anniversary of Brindlekin Tales is coming up…October 30th! And “The Final Chapter” is up to Part 24, based on the letters of the alphabet, as in “17a, 17b, 17c” and so on. I am presently starting on Part 25 (“17y”), So just two  parts to go. What’ll I do after “17z?” I don’t know, but I want to make the curious observation that the last part of “The Final Chapter” is likely to bump heads with Anniversary Day! I certainly didn’t mastermind this fortuitous conjunction (at least not consciously), thus I am INTRIGUED.

Will my Brindlekin Tales REALLY come to an end soon? If so, that can mean only one thing: a GOBSMACKINGLY GLORIOUS CONCLUSION. But if not…oh, well, I shall soldier on with the NEXT chapter that will probably be called “The Absolutely Final Chapter,” and start with “Chapter 18a (Part 1) and see how far into the alphabet it goes. Which makes me wonder:

How far into the alphabet do ANY of us go, before we stumble upon our own Holy Grail? But one thing I DO know, is that this thorny, bumpy road we call our lives is considerably eased by the company of a sweet doggy companion or two. Or some OTHER darling creature such as a cat…or something a little on the exotic side, such as a ferret, a fox, a raccoon, or even a bearded dragon.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: The Rabbit’s Message ADDENDUM
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 23, 2021 10:27 PM

This is not the exact same mask that Deek wore, but I found one on a web search that comes very close. For it also covers the head in full, and is equally repulsive, rubbery, and with those long, twitchy ears.


Re: The Rabbit’s Message
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 24, 2021 12:46 PM

Another site regarding the spiritual meaning of the rabbit, says this:

–quote:

The bringer of good luck – rabbits bring good luck, fortune and abundance. Therefore, their appearance in your life might be a sign that good luck and fortune are coming your way. It is the messenger of future blessing and surprises….

A rabbit often symbolizes esoteric knowledge. So, if you are interested in esoteric wisdom, then the rabbit is a sign that you are on the right path.

–end

There are OTHER meanings of the rabbit totem listed on that page, but the two above seem to be the most relevant in my present circumstances.

Here is another page describing the rabbit as shown on a Tarot card:

–quote:

It is a popular European superstition that rabbits are good luck (especially their feet). Rabbits are especially associated with financial windfalls. In some ways, the Queen of Pentacles is very fortunate and lives a rather privileged life, so no wonder there is a rabbit drawn on her card.

–end

I’ve recently been experiencing financial windfalls of a minor sort, via Comcast’s free Internet service, the $995 food stamp boon, and the upcoming hefty increase in Social Security. Maybe this is just the beginning of further, and greater, such windfalls!

Though the rabbit did not appear to me in a dream or vision, or on a card. It came to me via a street shaman, who knew I’d realize his goofy skit was a message for me to ponder upon. Or perhaps his way of celebrating my friendship, and calling as a type of shaman, myself. A “brother of the clan,” so to speak. Or all of the above?

One more rabbit-spirit site says the following:

–quote:

Most of the basic books about totem will tell you that rabbit is related to fear. There are numerous ways to interpret fear, every one of us experiences being frightened. But the rabbit ends victorious and lives with it. It only means that the rabbit has the heart of a champion.

–end

Well, besides purchasing two, waterproof jackets ($39 total) for the dogs, yesterday I ordered two raincoats, which set me back another $33. Jackets will arrive Tuesday, and the raincoats on Friday. Can’t wait, Wattson!

I’m also waiting on Friesen Press to deduct my annual renewal fee to keep my book on the cyber shelves, which fee is $69. Even with all that, plus two more payments to Deek totaling $100, I still have $128 remaining for yours truly, until my next Social Security deposit on Nov. 3rd!

This, after purchasing tons more dog food this month, too. Don’t know how I do it, but things are working out extremely well, financially! The food stamps have certainly been a blessing! Good to see I CAN afford to pay Deek that extra $40 per week with NO hardship. And even purchase two jackets and two raincoats each month, without deducting from his allowance. Hopefully, though, I can get even better prices on doggy-wear via thrift shops. Or better yet: Deek might find them on his nightly rummage walks, thus costing us NOTHING!

My plan is to have at least FOUR doggy jackets or sweaters, so I’ll always have an extra pair on hand, for when the other pair gets lost or frazzled beyond mending.

Even withOUT the food stamps I can STILL afford his Thursday payments and save at least $50/month (minus any dog clothing purchases via Amazon). As it now stands, looks like I can save $150 each month. Or maybe even as much as $200.

So I’m sitting pretty…even without having to rub on a rabbit’s foot! No one need maim a gentle creature for MY sake.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Lesson learned…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 25, 2021 2:22 PM

…to lay down double-sheet newspaper across the entire floor, whenever it’s raining and the doggies are here. They REFUSED to step out for their walks yesterday, because of the copious showers. But, after five hours of staying indoors, I nudged them through the gate, even though they’d be soaking wet within ten minutes (it was a lull from the heaviest of downpours, but still a soppy affair). NEITHER BOTHERED TO POOP OR EVEN PEE for the twenty or so minutes we were out there…they were THAT distraught from the downpour! So back hovel we went, whence I gave them a good drying off, and supper. I figured they’d indicate when they REALLY need to do their business.

Sure enough, Flaco was the first. She leapt off the cot and walked about the room, sometimes just standing there and looking at me. Which she NEVER does at any other time…same goes for Lucky. But to make it ABSOLUTELY clear she needed to relieve her bowels, she approached the window, stood on her hind legs and looked out for several seconds. On that signal, I speedily escorted her outside. My fear in such a situation, is this intestinal urgency may result in them dumping in the hallway or on the stairs, or in the lobby, before we get through the front gate. Diarrhea would be the worst case scenario.

Once outside, she led me quickly around the building and onto 16th Street, staying close to the front and back walls in order to avert the worst of the drenching. Interesting, since our habit is NOT to go up 16th, but to cross that street and stroll up Noe…which, as it turns out, would NOT provide any cover from the deluge, as keeping close by my building does.

After barely two minutes since we stepped out, and halfway up the hill near some trash bins and two trees, she pooped and peed to her satisfaction…then led me swiftly back to the front gate. She would’ve scampered all the way, had I not held her back with the leash.

About twenty minutes after our return, Lucky began pacing the floor and gazing up at me. I knew what THAT meant, so quickly donned boots and poncho once more, and stuffed a roll of poopy bags in my pocket. But Lucky had the runs, so the bags were of no use. The best I could do was cover it up with leaves…of which there were plenty, considering the season.

Both brindlekin had by now, released an impressive load, and urinated copiously, so I foolishly assumed the crisis was over. Yet barely a half hour after I had returned hovel with Lucky, his sister started pacing the floor once again. So I left my meal half eaten, and rushed her back outside. This time she had the trots, so I lingered outside with her, longer than usual, to be sure of a complete evacuation. It was also barely a drizzle outside by then, around 11:30 PM.

I was finally able to finish my humble repast, as the pups dreamt their little doggy adventures beside THIS solitary pilgrim seated at his star ship console of the imagination. After watching the second half of a thriller that I had begun the previous night, I joined the mutts in slumber. Yet barely an hour later, I heard Lucky pacing the floor…though being half asleep, I thought it was his usual switch to the box, or the spare comforter I keep on my floor. No sooner had that thought entered my mind, than I suddenly heard a strange sound I’ve never heard before in my room, or anywhere else.

It was a strident “ploof-blaaht” in the curt span of less than half a second. Like when some unsuspecting dupe sits on a whoopee cushion at the same moment a goat bleats. It was then I optimistically concluded that Lucky had just settled into the box, but then I noticed him circling the room in a bit of a frenzy, with little grunts of dismay. An inner voice then raised the alert:

“Okay, Lucky just pooped on the floor. Get up!”

I walked the pups separately this morning, since the prolonged rainfall knocked their synchronous poop routine out of whack. Flaco went first, because she made it OBVIOUS she had to go, while Lucky blithely remained languishing upon the comforters, not the least bit curious to explore the great outdoors. The expression on his face said it all: “I’M not going anywhere, so put the leash down!” He may as well have been a maharajah, and I his loyal lackey, feeding him grapes and figs, and pouring wine over his feet before licking them, while obsequiously declaring his majesty’s awesome benevolence, wisdom and good looks.

When all was said and done and I tucked myself and the pups back into bed (the room still dark though it was daybreak by then) with Flaco curled up in my arms and her brother at my feet…within a few moments, Lucky decided he wanted to be in my arms, too, so crawled on over to the opposite side from his sister, and plunked his head on my shoulder. By then, I lay on my back in a blissful state of rest, with a sweet little pooch asleep in each arm.

I guess both cuddling up to me, rather than their usual arrangement of their dozing by my feet, or one or the other reclining in the box, or on a floor-tossed comforter…was their way of saying: “Thanks for your kind patience tonight. We love you. Arf arf!” Actually, I didn’t mind their late night disruptions, as it was quite pleasant stepping outside so late (and so early), once the rain ceased: refreshingly cool and peaceful.

Then, when I stepped out with Lucky awhile later, just before 7 AM (once he made it clear it was now HIS turn), there was Deek right at the corner, as if suddenly materialized out of thin air…surrounded by six enormous, 30-gallon garbage bags bulging with god only knows what. (I’m guessing one or two contained recyclable cans and bottles, and the rest were stuffed with clothing, blankets etc. to keep dry from last night’s monsoon.) The bags looked like six black boulders obstructing the pedestrian thoroughfare…or at least, a straight passage towards the other side. IOW:

It was a godawful, shocking travesty of a MESS that made Schulz’s Pigpen look saintly. He apologized for the disarray, and assured me that he’ll have all this sorted out before departing. I told him I’m not worried, since he’s been cleaning up after himself with impressive results for many months now.  He then asked for a razor and a cup of soda, so I returned hovel to fulfill his request. Upon stepping outside a bare three minutes later, I saw all those “boulders” balanced atop his shopping cart, or tied to it on the sides. Neat as a pin. “Boy THAT was fast!” I remarked.

Click here for a larger view.

The jackets arrived today, good doctor (see pic)! Looks like they’ll be a splendid fit on both dogs. I like how this model grips with Velcro…no zipper, no snaps, no buttons. It also looks and feels very well made, warm and durable. Bonus feature: it’s waterproof. Never mind that, though, since Deek will most likely lose them in the shuffle of his shopping cart tango, in less than a week. That’s why I need to start going to thrift stores.

BTW, I also enclosed a pic of a sales tag I found in the bag containing that doggy sweater he purchased a few days ago. $7.50 is an excellent deal. It’s from “Community Thrift” which has been around for years, and is a GREAT place to shop for used items. It’s a huge, warehouse type space. I used to go there all the time, back in the ’80s and ’90s. I’m surprised and delighted to see they’re still going strong. Their profits go to AIDS and other charity causes. Here’s their web site.

Click here for a larger view.

And finally, I thought to include another pic of Flaco sporting the sweater…which I was about to delete, when I realized that, even minus the hood pulled up (which kept slipping off, and Flaco got restless), she’s still darn cute!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Lesson learned…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 25, 2021 4:25 PM

> Whoa! What a saga!!

A soggy saga. But I didn’t realize I’d sent it out, because I just got home to finish composing it. I guess what happened is, right before I stepped out, I clicked on “send” instead of “save.” So I’ll deliver a second email with the same subject title, plus “CONTINUED” at the end of it.

> It absolutely POURED here, wind howling (which completely freaks out Ernie, the male cat, who goes and hides and can’t be found until it abates) but then quieted down abruptly, and this morning the sun was shining. Still is. Moisture rising, warm sun, swarms of happy bugs. You can hear the green grass growing.

Lovely day now here, too. Though I’m wondering if that’s really the grass growing you hear, or the snakes being driven inside. But if that’s the case, I’m sure Ernie and Calamity Jane will sort things out.

> I had a fun encounter with a fellow in the parking lot of the grocery store yesterday. He was at the back door of a fairly beat-up, ramshackle camper (I’m guessing it’s his home). I had taken my mask off, since I was outside, and we smiled at each other. He said: “Hi, Darlin’!” Some women might get huffy about being called “Darlin’,” but I liked it–his intent was entirely friendly, and that’s what counts. I said “Hi!” as if we were the oldest of friends.

> He opened the camper door, made some little whistling and clucking noises, and out popped two tiny dogs–one fluffy and white, the other smooth and black with a dachshund build. We commiserated for a few minutes about the wonder of dogs. I noted that the inside of the camper was jumbled and messy, confirming my impression that it’s his only home. I didn’t have my phone handy, or I would have asked if I could take a pic of the dogs, which I would have sent to you. He offered his hand to shake, which I did, and then he said “God bless you.” Crusty old atheist though I am, I smiled back and said “God bless you, too!” I mean, why not? A most satisfactory little moment. Though once I was in my car, I discreetly sanitized my hand…

What a wonderful encounter…inspiring! I DO hope you see him again, get to chat some more, and take photos.

IIRC, I thought you said you were agnostic. But that was in an email years and years ago, and perhaps I’m wrong. At any rate, “god bless you” is the ultimate well-wishing, assuming it comes from someone who is truly kind, and not a zealot. Otherwise, they use that expression to pressure you into abiding by their own belief, or worse: they use that phrase like a curse.

> Flaco’s a real sweater-girl, n’est-ce pas?

She’s a doll! So full of charm and sincere kindness.

Deek just dropped by, and a couple of other neat things have happened since I took a break from writing my last email. I will include them in my “continued” missive.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Lesson learned… CONTINUED
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 25, 2021 10:26 PM

I had not completed the telling of last night’s canine foibles before inadvertently dispatching that missive through the void of cyberspace and unto your lap(top), so here now is the REST of the story, continuing where I left off with:

“Okay, Lucky just pooped on the floor. Get up!”

That was shortly after 2 in the morning, when I arose, turned on the lamp, and saw a wide splotch of diarrhea deposited on one of my throw rugs near the window. I immediately wiped it up with a couple of industrial paper towels that I purchased from Amazon about a year ago, for just such doggy emergencies. Then grabbed a large Ziploc with my free hand, and sealed the defiled towels therein. Next, I took two more towels, moistened them under the faucet, and rubbed on the spot with vigor, until all the remaining gunk dissolved and disappeared. My final step was to squirt a generous amount of hand sanitizer onto yet another towel, and rub awhile longer. Nothing remained but a faint stain, and no stench at all.

From a couple of past incidents of a similar nature, I knew that Lucky would not TOLERATE the presence of anything foul in his nest, and kept pacing nervously until the job was done with impeccable finesse. I’m sure he felt totally distressed and humiliated, to realize the source of that putrescence erupted from his own bowels. As for yours truly, I remained patient and kind throughout this ordeal, petting, hugging and reassuring my lovely brindlekin that everything’s okay, and I got his back. As one who regards the spirit of Canis familiaris to be sacred, I consider it my DUTY to never express so much as even a tad of anger, frustration or any other negative emotion, towards this creature so dear. For the dog truly IS man’s best friend, and I believe it’s no coincidence that dog spelled backwards is god.

Funny thing, though, the poopy deposit didn’t have much of an odor, in the first place! Perhaps it was vomit, but the sound that woke me up struck me as far more sphincteral than stomachic. Be that as it may, I shoved the remaining used towels into that Ziploc, and rushed the dog down the stairs and outside ASAP. (Flaco was nonplussed, and happily remained indoors, supine on the plump comforter with forelegs raised, paws a-droop, and a subtle smile on her dachshund face that lay sidewise.) The rain by then had ceased, thank god, and I had a lovely, late-night stroll along Noe Street, while Lucky sniffed about until he found the perfect spot to memorialize with a copious wad of mustard hued diarrhea. It looked just like what he deposited on my floor, minutes earlier. Nor did I find much stink to it, either, when I crouched down to take a few good sniffs. Curiouser and curiouser!

It was by then almost 3 AM, when we all settled back down for what remained of the night. But I first covered the entire floor with double sheets of newspaper to protect the rugs, and make cleanup easier. After which I climbed back into bed, with the dogs already tucked in and happily a-slumber. I, too, looked forward to a good sleep but, alas, that was not in the cards. For an hour and a half later, I awoke to Lucky’s retching.

Most of his puke was on the newspaper by the sink, though Flaco alerted me to a single small spot on the rug adjacent, by sniffing at it. Needless to say, I quickly arose once more, and made a prompt and thorough elimination of the fallout, then proceeded to don coat and shoes. But before I could even grab the leash, Lucky had hurled again. Cleanup was swift and simple, thanks to the newspaper. Fearing yet a third expulsion, I scurried back outside with Lucky in tow, to allow him any further evacuation from either end, in a more welcoming milieu.

No more vomiting ensued, but he did take another dump…still runny, but of little measure. As we strolled up and down Noe Street, Lucky paused a few times to hunker down as if he had to poop again. But nothing came of it. I just wanted to make sure we’d not return hovel too soon, that the ordeal was finally over…thus we remained outdoors a good fifteen minutes more.

By the time we returned, it was close to 4 AM, and I looked forward to a deep, satisfying sleep as the pups cuddled up to either side of me, and I laid on my back with an arm around each, and promptly zoned out. But around 5:30 AM I awoke with a strong urge to pee. Lucky & Flaco remained in slumber as I got up and pissed in my bottle atop the sink’s ledge (as opposed to stumbling down the brightly lit hallway to the shared restroom, which luminescence is particularly aggravating so late at night).

No sooner had I turned about and faced the bed, than I saw Flaco standing beside me, wagging her tail and gazing up at my face. She needed to poop again! How could I say no to such a darling? By this time a sanitation truck was rumbling up and down Market Street, and a handful of early birds were either walking their own dogs, or marching off to work.

Within five minutes of hitting the pavement Flaco took a small dump (still runny), but we walked around for another ten minutes before heading on home, to what I now call “Doggy Sanctuary.” It was lovely crawling back into bed with them, but by 8:15 AM I was ready to start the day. I naively assumed the mutts would remain sound asleep for another hour or two, since they so thoroughly cleaned out their bowels last night. But Lucky hopped onto the floor, soon as I returned from the bathroom…eager to perform his next excretion. And that is when Deek appeared, the moment we stepped onto the damp sidewalk, awash in the subdued rays of a mellow sun.

I conjecture that the doggies refrained from defecating for hours, due to the rain’s intrusion. And, as a result, caused this bout of diarrhea and vomit. It made them sick for holding back so long! Hopefully, once the raincoats arrive to keep them dry, they’ll be less resistant to relieving themselves when they’re with me again, and the clouds convene to shed their watery blessings.

Deek returned with the pups in the mid-afternoon, to pick up his recharged devices. Waiting for me at the bus stop, and chewing the fat with two other friendly rogues…seeing as I was not home. I stepped up and greeted him.

“You didn’t tell me you wouldn’t be around,” he remarked.

“I was out shopping,” I explained, then added: “for groceries.” For he seemed to have concluded that my being away from home base longer than is customary, meant I had been exploring thrift stores for doggy jackets, without telling him beforehand like I promised. When actually, I had only gone to a health food store five blocks away, to pick up another loaf of raisin bread, a pound of brown rice, some fresh vegetables and a small block of extra sharp cheddar cheese. I imagine I had taken longer than usual, only because I dawdled here and there along the way and back again, because it was such a nice day, cleansed by last night’s downpour and followed by warmth and a golden light.

I was pleased to see him in the company of what appeared to be peaceful hobos, neatly clothed and engaged in friendly conversation. After saying hi to them and petting the dogs for a few moments, I returned hovel to bring down his gadgets. There were just two this time: a used smartphone and a cylindrical Bluetooth speaker. Before exiting with these items, I looked at the two doggy jackets tossed atop my bed, and debated to myself whether or not I should bring them as well, or keep them here awhile longer. But the day was already growing cold, and I realized that’s what the jackets are for!

Deek was most appreciative as it turned out, and he happily adorned Flaco in it first…seeing as her brother was curled up on a pillow, sleeping. I pointed out the snap-down pocket:

“See, it even has a pocket to keep whatever!” As if a dog would have any use for one. Ha ha. Maybe he could store some poopy bags in it. Or ducky treats…no, that would drive them nuts!

“Yeah, I can stash drugs in it,” he quipped. “And the dogs will be real mean so no one can even get close!”

“Ha, that’ll work!” I quipped right back.

His street companions chortled over my retort. Then I told Deek, “Do your best to hold onto them as long as possible, they’re twenty dollars each, and I can’t afford to keep replacing them.”

“No, I have every intention of keeping them till they wear out. Thanks!” he replied.

“Oh, and they’re waterproof!” I proudly pointed out, then thanked him for making me aware that I could purchase doggy jackets and sweaters on the cheap, at secondhand stores. “So we can always have a backup supply on hand.”

At some point in our conversation, he caressed Lucky laying there between us, and remarked:

“He seems kinda sad today.”

Before I could say anything, one of the amicable drifters said with a smile: “Oh, he just wants to rest up while the sun’s still warm.”

I said nothing, just left it at that because I’d rather NOT get into last night’s poop and puke adventure, noting that the deluge discouraged them from relieving themselves for hours. Causing Lucky to perhaps still feel out of sorts from retaining his bowels so long. It would take way too many words to correctly explain, in light of Deek’s short attention span. And he probably wouldn’t understand what I’m talking about, anyway, due to his limited grasp of most any issue in this world, let alone how the digestive system works.

I then wished them all an excellent rest of the day, and returned to my monk’s cell/doggy sanctuary…feeling really good, knowing that Flaco & Lucky would be wearing warm, quilted jackets tonight, to keep the chills at bay. They look stupendous on them, too…I’ll send you the pics soon as I can.

Where has the old, paranoid, nasty Deek gone? I don’t know, and I don’t care. A bit more about this morning’s meetup:

Upon seeing him, he remarked how rotten he feels: soaking wet and freezing. And he looked it, too. I just let it slide, because that is how he prefers to live on the streets…always moving about, never hunkering down in a tent, alcove or other shelter to sit and keep warm while waiting out the storm. He could at least get a free poncho at whatever homeless service, but he won’t even do that! He’s a courageous, tough-as-nails shaman…IOW he’s BRAGGING, not complaining!

Just don’t put those darling brindlekin through it, too, is my REAL concern.

Before I departed, he asked if I could loan him two dollars. I said okay, but I’ll deduct it from his upcoming allowance.

“Sure. Fine by me, Zeke.”

So he’s got a whopping $38 coming to him this Thursday. Unbelievable. Unless he requests an additional “loan” before then. This dude doesn’t know how to handle money. But he has street skills and knowledge and wisdom that puts the rest of us “housed” to shame.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: No GGS for me!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 25, 2021 12:58 PM

That stands for “golden state stimulus.” Here’s why I’m not eligible, and it stinks because barbaric:

–quote:

You may be wondering whether or not you qualify for GSS II if you receive Social Security income. Social Security income is not included in CA AGI [adjustible gross income]….If Social Security is your only form of income, you will not receive a payment.

–end


Re: No GGS for me!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 26, 2021 1:34 PM

> In other words, if you really, really need it, then go fuck yourself!

Of course!

> I doubt I’ll get one, either.

Adopt a child.


World’s very first Brindlefest greeting card!
Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Flaco & Lucky wish Ernie, Calamity Jane and Surely…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 26, 2021 3:09 PM

…a most lovely 1st anniversary of Brindlefest, this coming October 30th!

Yes, Wattson, I know that my original date for Brindlefest was December 30th (Randolph Taylor’s birthday), but it just occurred to me that, since Brindlekin Tales was born on the eve of Halloween, it makes more sense to establish October 30th as the official holiday. I’m thinking, rather than replacing Halloween, we could have TWO holidays back-to-back!


Subject: Deek brought me another superlative gift last night!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 27, 2021 2:11 PM

To my delight, he dropped off the pups again last night, ’cause he wanted to ride his bike around the city. (It’s now the next day, they’re still here, and they both enjoyed a hearty meal and some righteous poops on Noe Street, earlier today.)

It was just before 10 PM of a pleasantly cool and pacific eve. Took him awhile to undo the leashes from his cart, thanks to the convoluted knot by which he bound them together. (Don’t know why he makes so many chores in his life more difficult than need be, but that’s just his shamanic/bipolar way.) He cussed and fumed under his breath while the doggies were desperate to get indoors, sometimes tugging on their tethers. “Sit still, dammit!” he castigated them.

“DON’T yell at the dogs, Deek,” I castigated back, “You parked them right in front of the gate, so of course they’re dying to visit. Grow up, act like a man, take a deep breath and be patient!” (For some peculiar reason, knots seem to play an important role in our association. Maybe I’ll come to understand why, in a future epiphany.)

I held the pooches back in such a way that their yanking on the leash would not disrupt Deek’s unraveling. Flaco managed to escape her collar twice during this time, and stood right before the gate, wagging her curly tail with joyful anticipation. The first time she escaped, I called her to me and placed the collar back on. But the second time, Deek told me to just leave her be, “she’s not going anywhere.” True enough, but I don’t think he gave any consideration to my situation with other residents in the building, some with their own dogs. Both Flaco & Lucky would bark up a typhoon, and block their egress, if I allowed either one to linger at the gate unchaperoned.

Finally, after almost five exasperating minutes, Deek freed the leashes from the cart and the pups dashed gleefully up the stairs and right into my sanctuary, which door I had left ajar, just for them. They DID run up and down the hallway a couple of times in joyful abandon, though, before settling in. It was frabjous.

Deek remained nearby for some time, changing his outer garments under the street lamp, in preparation for his nightlong bicycle jaunt. Topping things off with a bulky hoodie of a camouflage design in one shade of muddy green, and two of gray. I have NO idea where he goes, his favorite routes and stop-off points, nor whom he visits (if anyone). But I’m GLAD I can give him a break from watching over the dogs, that he enjoy such adventures. Win/win arrangement for us both.

Ten minutes later I peered out the window again, to see he had gone. Yet twenty or so minutes later he returned, called up to my window:

“C’mon down, don’t bring anything with you!”

I thought perhaps he had a cigarette for me, which he did a few weeks back when he asked me to step out with nothing in hand, including the dogs. But that wasn’t the case, this time around. Instead he held out a smartphone battery pack four inches long and half-an-inch wide, square in circumference. There was another fellow standing nearby, not looking towards the gate, but nonchalantly loitering as if waiting for Deek to complete his delivery.

I saw it was thin enough to slip through the vertical, steel rods of the gate, so gestured to hand it to me, my fingers poking out and wiggling. “Nah, just open the gate,” he objected for whatever strange reason I could NOT figure. I did not fear that he and sidekick might attempt to bully their way inside; I just saw no point in opening the gate. “Oh c’mon, just hand it over,” I groused. And so he did, whence I scurried back to my monk’s cell and connected it to my USB charging hub.

I then prepared the doggies’ supper. Lucky licked his dish clean, but Flaco preferred to continue snoozing, and left her portion untouched. She did, however, watch with some dismay, her brother noshing on her share. I was hoping that would motivate her to jump off the cot and claim her vittles, but that did not occur; she didn’t even gently growl like she sometimes does, when he goes for her meal. I only allowed him five or so nibbles before removing Flaco’s dish, hoping sometime later she’ll grow hungry. But she never did, so I tossed it post-midnight.

To my surprise, Deek showed up again, some forty minutes later! And again, he told me to leave the dogs and just come down. He was alone this time, his bike tilted against a trash bin.

“I have something for you that I KNOW you’ll like!” he exclaimed with pride and a broad grin, one hand deep in the hoodie’s left pocket, that contained a bulging something or other I assumed was the gift in question.

I just stood there in mellow curiosity, not speaking a word…allowing him the freedom to elaborate if need be, before presenting me with whatever that treasure was. And he DID go on:

“The moment I saw it, I KNEW I gotta have it, ’cause it’s made to order, just for you!”

“Really?” I finally spoke, “Let’s see it already, Deek!”

He then extracted the mystery object from his pocket, and held it out before my startled eyes. It was the carving of a seated dragon, velvet black in tone (though hard as a rock), and hefty as a paperweight! ‘Cause that’s what it is, I observed.

Click here for a larger view.

“A dragon! I love it!” I declared while turning it over in my hand. There was a golden label on the bottom, so I squinted in an attempt to discern the words.

“Read it,” he demanded in no small enthusiasm. “It’s from Wales!”

“I can’t,” I replied. “It’s too dark out here, and I need my glasses anyway.”

So he grasped it from my hand, and read it himself:

“Hand made in Wales with real Welsh Go-la.”

“Go-la?” I queried.

“Yes, G-O-A-L, go-la. What is that?”

“I have no idea, Deek. It’s a Welsh word I suppose, I’ll look it up on the Internet and let you know.” (Though I wonder why he didn’t pronounce it “goal,” maybe he has dyslexia…which could be one contributing factor to his dropping out of school and winding up homeless. Or perhaps the word was “gaol,” a British spelling for “jail.” But THAT didn’t make sense either, in the label’s context.)

“Where is Wales,” he wanted to know.

“Right next to England,” I told him.

“Oh.” He replied, though I doubt he knows where England is, either. So I elaborated:

“Wales is part of the British Isles, that also includes England, Scotland and Ireland. I’m a big celtophile, myself.”

“You mean like pedophile?” he quipped.

“God, no, Deek, I retorted. “Phile is a part of many words, like audiophile and anglophile. Phile just means ‘love of,’ so audiophile means love of music, and Anglophile means love of England. Thus, pedophile means love of children.” I doubt he really understood any of this, even though I simplified the definitions for his sake. I continued:

“The ancient history of that region goes back to when a people called the Celts lived there, but they died off a long time ago. So a Celtophile is someone who loves the old history of the British Isles. They spoke a language called Gaelic, which is STILL spoken here and there, and even taught in some of their schools.” I doubt Deek grasped any of this, but at least I conveyed some new ideas to him, which is what REALLY matters…expanding the mind.

“You don’t know this, Deek,” I resumed, “but I wrote a story about a dragon in Wales many years ago, and it’s called The Elf of Gwynedd Cavern.”

His eyes lit up: “Seriously?”

“Yes,” I affirmed, “As a matter of fact Wales CONSIDERS itself the home of dragons. It’s even on their national flag.”

“But I thought there are dragons in China, too!”

“Yes, that’s true, Deek,” I acknowledged. “Dragons are popular characters of mankind’s storytelling in many parts of the world. But in the ancient days, countries too far apart didn’t know those other people existed. So each of them thought THEY were the only home of dragons…as Wales did. In general, though, dragons are a big deal all across the British Isles, and appear in MANY of their fairy tales and legends.”

“How did you come up with YOUR story about a dragon?” he interjected.

“In a vision,” I answered. “Some of my best tales come to me in a dream, a daydream or a vision.”

Deek was delightfully flummoxed upon hearing all these new concepts, and thanked me profusely as he mounted his bike, ready to sail off into the breezy, chill dark. But just before he disappeared, I thanked him again for this thoughtful gift:

“You know how important the dragon is in my world, but now you know more reasons why!”

He nodded amicably, but the moment he set foot on the pedal, I told him to stand down another minute, while I looked up the meaning of the Celtic word, “goal.” So I dashed upstairs and held the paperweight under a lamp. The word was NOT “goal,” but “coal!”

Click here for a larger view.

I hurried back downstairs to tell him how important coal mining was to the Welsh, with many tragic true stories around that.

“Coal was how they kept warm at night, because they didn’t have electricity back then. And cooked their meals in coal stoves. It also ran their steam locomotives, ships and factories! Wales was a HUGE coal distributor for the entire British Isles for more than a century.” I caught my breath, then continued:

“So it’s really significant this dragon figure comes from Wales, and is made of pure coal, right from one of their own mines! And dragons, as you know, breathe fire!”

Well, what a meetup that was last night, eh, Wattson? The dragon in my tale of Gwynedd Cavern came to me many years later, through Deek’s generous hand. As did a friendly hello from Arwyn, my sauropodian trickster and playwright. And to think this all goes back to 2005 at the Hole in The Wall Saloon where I first met him, along with the dragon motif hanging from the ceiling in artful wings of wire and light.

At least, that’s how I like to think of it. And so NEAR The Anniversary (just three days from now), I can barely keep from flying off my seat. Or dare I call it my dragon’s throne?

– Zeke K-Holmes

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