[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18a]
Subject: Boulevard Joe’s feedback, disappointing but no surprise!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 3, 2021 6:02 PM
Regarding Jeddi, Freddy-Tom and Joy.
I came across him during yesterday’s afternoon stroll, right by the Harvey Milk Library. Again, he was all spiffed out, and you wouldn’t even THINK the dude’s living rough. As a matter of fact he ALWAYS appears clean and sober these days; it’s been a steady run over the past several months…MOST impressive.
He spotted me first: how ya doin’ Zeke? I told him oh, really well, and yourself? Pretty good, thanks, he replied. Then I asked him about the three new acquaintances in my life listed above. He said Jeddi’s trouble, you really don’t want anything to do with him. He’s a smooth talker and will impress you, but better to keep your distance. He owes someone a butt load of cash that he’s never paid back, and the guy’s lookin’ to beat him up right now.
Freddy-Tom got Boulevard Joe’s thumbs up (no details though), and Joy is “very needy.” Nice lady, just keeps hitting up everyone she knows for one thing after another; the list never ends.
I didn’t get a chance to ask him about Luba…she’s someone I haven’t mentioned to you before (except ambiguously a couple of times, back in November last year I think). But she knows Deek, actually lives indoors in what I think is Section 8 housing less than two blocks away, and is often seen strolling around with her two little chihuahuas in a double-deck baby stroller. I’ve spoken with her twice in the past week, as part of my continued outreach for the sake of the doggies.
She’s quite the booze hound, but a good woman nonetheless. She knows the local homeless crowd, some of them personally (including Deek)…and you can tell Luba’s been around the block more than once. She’s 74 years old, 5-foot-2, of Mexican heritage (though speaks perfect English, as well as Spanish, Portugese, Italian), sharp as a tack and just as funny…definitely the gregarious sort, a local character. She has a pretty face with a pointy little nose, though caved in a bit here and there, due to the ravages of age…embellished with that typically Latina custom of lining one’s eyes and eyebrows with thick layers of black pencil and mascara. She was dressed in a thick, black coat, fluffy white blouse, dark slacks, and a pair of old, green sneakers that have seen better days.
She went on about how she spent over $900 last month on food, because her pooches won’t eat that canned or kibbled stuff. (“It’s not real food!”) As a result, she is wildly popular with the merchants at a produce and butcher shop in the Mission District called “La Tierra” (which means in that context “the soil”), because she always orders “el pollo grandote” (the largest chicken). Upon hearing that, I immediately thanked Boudica that Flaco & Lucky aren’t such gourmet fussbudgets. Though I feel bad that I can’t afford to feed them a better quality of vittles, due to their occasional tummy issues.
She brought up Deek who, I know, visits her from time to time, and quickly mentioned under her breath that they sometimes smoke together, “but I DON’T let him get into my stash.” Nice to know she’s in control, I guess…as I can’t imagine just what havoc would be wreaked the other way around! Especially if she was talking about METH and not ganja! (Doesn’t the word “stash” imply just marijuana, or can it mean hard drugs, as well?)
“I tried to take one of his dogs away from him,” she admitted. “But not really.”
I remember Deek talking about that early last year; and of course I raked him over the coals for the very IDEA of giving up either one! He was considering letting Flaco go, since Lucky has been with him longer, “through thick and thin, all my ups and downs” as he phrased it. Right, he’s only had Lucky five months before adopting his sister. So please, stop this sentimental BS…BOTH pups are remarkable, and should NEVER be separated at this point! I almost had a heart attack. Why not just pass her on to me? Or both, for that matter! Why look elsewhere if he really wants to give them away?
“This little chi is preparing to go to heaven soon,” she said, indicating the one still in the carriage, not the other who was standing beside me on the sidewalk, plying for hugs and strokes from her newest amigo, which I gladly gave. You could tell the resting pup was quite old, all gnarly faced and dim eyed…ready to kick the proverbial bucket, if only it were thimble sized. Though still a sweet, cute princess all the same.
“We thought she was gonna pass on two years ago, me and the vet, and I wanted to replace her. But look…she’s still here!”
Luba asked about me, so I told her I’m an author, and a gay and homeless activist, and I’m presently writing true tales inspired by Deek and his pups. She took out a small, spiral bound notebook and a pen, and asked me to write down the URL. “I’m always prepared,” she proudly declared upon handing them over. As I began scrawling out my name and web page, the ink stopped flowing, because it ran into a nearly invisible spot of grease that stained the page. “Sure, you’re prepared,” I thought to myself, “but you still can’t plan for disruptions like these!” I flipped through the pages (there weren’t many) only to discover that the oily substance ran through the entire book! (What did she do, drop it in the pot with the pollo grandote?) At any rate, I managed to force the writing instrument to stubbornly spell everything out, with considerable pressure and repetition of the ball point over the same characters, two or three times, that they finally be visible to the naked eye. If only I had a brindlekin prayer card on me!
“Oh, you’re left-handed, do you know what that means?” she exclaimed.
I told her I think so, but it may just be superstition. That lefties are spiritually and creatively gifted, psychic abilities and all that rot. “I’ve met plenty of right-handed artists in my life, so there ya have it.” (Actually that isn’t true, only because I’ve never paid attention to such DEXTEROUS details. I think somehow, it’s a bit SINISTER to judge people that way, like many also do, based on astrological claptrap.)
“Aha! So you DO know!” she emoted. I simply shrugged my shoulders, so the conversation could quickly move to another topic less riddled with woo. Hard enough hiding all my paranormal powers under a basket, when it’s made of clear lucite these days! She’ll learn soon enough, if she ever gets around to reading my tales. My point being: one must be respectful of such gifts and not let them go to your head (or that thing dangling between one’s thighs). Humility IS key to such abilities, which can frighten the shit out of you if you’re not careful. Or sometimes, even if you are! Why, I once almost destroyed the MOON by meditating upon my navel o’erlong, Wattson!
Other things she talked about was she’s gonna be in the news soon…not sure about what, but maybe has to do with a pit bull that bit her in that same apartment building she resides in, or other difficulties at present. Sure sounds like a Section 8 fiasco to me! A little alarm then went off in my cranium, to never accept an invitation to visit.
“Oh I get into trouble all the time,” she remarked, “sticking my nose into other people’s business when they say I shouldn’t. But that’s only because they’re making trouble for everyone else. Someone’s gotta speak out!”
“Ha, I can relate, Luba!” I coughed in empathy. “I’m the same way!”
I mentioned Boulevard Joe, but she didn’t seem to have a good opinion of the man: “He gets into all kinds of nasty stuff.” Whatever that means; maybe it’s a compliment from her pespective. Like some folks say “bad” or “sick” to mean “really really cool.” But at least now you see why I’m interested in his take on that lady.
At any rate, one of Joe’s “minions” interrupted our conversation barely moments after it began. Which abruptly cut off the flow of information I was soaking up like a dry Maxi Pad, and thus could not acquire any insight he may have on Luba. He was a comely fellow with a noble forehead and exquisitely arched eyebrows (which for some reason aroused my base chakra into full and sudden attention in spite of my age), kissed above by locks of chestnut hair that glinted amber in the sunlight. Eyes like mercury peered through his otherwise scarf-wrapped visage topped by a 5-dollar Walgreens watch cap, as he bowed his head before Mr. Boulevard, hands raised in prayerful respect like a Buddhist monk. More humorous than sincere, I take it. While I couldn’t see the grin beneath that scarf, I saw the sparkle in his eye.
Two other minions quickly followed (one a female, the other in a rusty wheelchair), and thus I was surrounded and silenced, at which time Joe excused himself, so I stepped aside (they had crowded that close around me) and bid him an excellent day as they all wandered off to God only knows where, and for what reason. I felt snubbed, excluded from a big secret, not invited to the party. Story of my life.
I don’t know, Wattson, but I think they’re all bodhisattvas, having fun at my expense. I suspect that Boulevard Joe’s description of those three is not necessarily correct…in that he may have intentionally lied about Jeddi (and perhaps Joy), to see how I handle it. Which he’ll learn once his scouts report back to him, after speaking with me once or twice. But I’m onto them, so I’ll keep my whistle clean (so to speak)…as if that hasn’t been my style all along!
I stepped outside again for another short stroll, to deliberate upon what I shall further report to you in this, my latest missive (or should I say “missal”). Before exiting, I glanced out my window to see that by now the dreary, overcast sky had dissolved into a sun drenched, Rembrandt masterpiece. The day was warming up; vapor rose from the asphalt like phantoms from last night’s debaucheries (whatever they were, I am not privy to such knowledge, nor care to know).
I had to squeeze my way between a very tall ladder and the front gate, as two workers kept busy repairing or replacing that electric sign for the Hohokum smoke shop…which now featured a variety of embarrassing dildos in the left-side display window, as of three months ago. Much to my disgust. They were absurdly bloated, ginormous and utterly immodest. Straight shopkeepers really have twisted ideas of what actually flies off the shelves in the Castro! We’re all just tacky queens, godless perverts, dontcha know!
As I passed the Mediterranean restaurant (where Dieter often appears, except for the last week or so, as he’s bedridden with sciatica right now), I heard a favorite Beatles tune waft from its doorway: “All You Need is Love.” So I decided to pause nearby, to enjoy those lyrics before proceeding up Noe street any further. As I stood there in quiet reverie, a skinny, homeless dude with a shaggy mop of hair and decked out in Salvation Army duds came up to me and asked if I had a light. I did, so handed him my Bic.
“Best do it yourself, I’m not good at lighting up for other people.” I noticed as he attempted to ignite the snipe (street slang for a discarded butt found on the sidewalk), his loosely acrylic-gloved hand was too close to the flame. “Careful, don’t burn yourself!”
He then handed back the lighter after achieving his goal, thanked me and moved on. And I did as well, since the song had just ended.
An elderly fellow approached and passed by from the other direction, with a charming little, wiry, gray-haired and bearded dachshund in tow. All joy and curiosity at the end of a leash! I notice little doggies a lot these days, now that I have two of my own to watch over. As I approached Morey’s corner shop, I saw that no one who works there had stepped outside for me to greet, so decided to cross over and walk down the other side of Noe Street on my return hovel. As I did, a dark green Mazda SUV waited for me to pass.
Another fuzzy, diminutive canine watched me from the passenger side with keen interest. The driver was a 40-something woman who smiled and waved at me. I returned the gesture and added, “Hey, little doggy!” He didn’t bark, didn’t jump about, but remained still and continued to stare at me from his erect posture with paws on the open window’s ledge. So close, I could’ve extended an arm and touched him as I crossed that corner. Maybe he was just a very realistic stuffed toy, but I thought better about finding out. Even his eyes didn’t move.
In the middle of my return walk I espied from a distance, a gray-bearded, scraggly old dude in a long purple trench coat saluting a thumbs up and a hello to those walking by in his direction. No one bothered to respond, but moved along as if he were invisible and unheard. Until it was MY turn:
“Yo! Good morning!” he declared with an extended arm and a thumb pointed upward.
“And a good morning to you,” I smiled in kind, with my own thumb erect to the sky. “Thank you!”
I did not, however, pause in amicable badinage, nor did he seem to care about that, anyway. Just wanted to spread a little good cheer. Fine with me, ’cause I certainly have MORE than my share of actual bums in my life, these days. Even the Castro’s own underground, Patron Saint of the LGBTQIA+ Homeless has his limits!
After my short morning stroll, I purchased my usual cup of Rosenberg coffee, then sat just around the corner on a low ledge sheltered from last night’s inconsequential rainfall. Here’s a pic of my view from that spot:
I would’ve preferred to linger on the other round of the corner, by the two adjacent parklets, but some street dude had made a big mess, setting up a passel of rain drenched clothing for sale, right there on the asphalt beside the curb. I didn’t want his crazy disturbance within view or earshot, as it would ruin my morning pause. Here’s a pic of the unwelcome hawker, setting up what little protection an umbrella could provide. At least it’s a pretty shade of blue, unlike the slushy gray troposphere cowering over the East Bay:
Finally, here are two shots of the signage workers right below my window, plus a quick video to show you how noisy they were, for such an otherwise peaceful day’s start:
Once again, good physician, I paused from completing this email, to take another quick stroll…this time to Morey’s shop for a box of large trash bags (though really just an excuse to drop by and say hello, for I already have plenty of these bags at home). On the way there, I came across this booklet someone left out for free on their doorstep, which I find MOST appropriate for my own, doggy rescue mission:
Introduction (first paragraph):
Upon entering Morey’s shop there was some music playing from their ceiling speakers, most unusual because they NEVER do that! Instead, they often have a TV turned on to the news, or some tacky cop or crime drama. Guess what the song was, as it reached my ears upon stepping inside?
“Almost Paradise.” That figures. My bodhisattva guardians are no longer dropping little HINTS here and there, like rose petals or bread crumbs. First, this morning there was “All You Need is Love,” now later today, this. Yeah, I get it, “we’re knocking on heaven’s door” (as it says in the lyrics). THEY’RE ALMOST LITERALLY HITTING ME OVER THE HEAD AT THIS POINT! So now what…MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT wherever I go, for now on? Angels surrounding me with their golden voices? Like in my essay “The Birth of the Final Testament” so lovingly illustrated years ago by a perfectly gay stranger?
Subject: Joe Boulevard’s feedback, disappointing but no surprise! (cont’d)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 3, 2021 10:59 PM
Deek & doggies dropped by…no sleepover or visit for the mutts, he just wanted me to charge his latest Bluetooth speaker. It’s got built-in wheels and a telescope handle, but is reasonably light-weight this time around. VERY easy to carry up and down the stairs. Maybe twelve pounds? I think it’s lithium powered, so the battery won’t last as long as those cumbersome lead-acid ones. Maybe three or four hours at high volume, instead of six or more.
He said he purchased it NEW for $125, and I believe him because it LOOKS spanking new, though no price tag (he probably removed it, or it was on the box). Looks like he’s changed his stopover habits to camping out right at the bus stop for around two hours while waiting for his devices to be juiced up at least halfway. He used to park himself further up the block, or on an adjacent block across the street. I find it infuriating that the pups are right outside, barely yards away…yet forced to remain outdoors where they’ll bark more and sleep less. ALSO infuriating how he wastes his money, when he LOSES his current speaker in less than a week, and could spend far LESS for something STILL of good quality…thus have more money for other stuff, such as JACKETS for the dogs.
Giving them a box to curl up in usually quiets them down…Lucky especially, but Flaco prefers to be on the alert regardless, as Deek’s guardian. Ready to jump out and bark aggressively at this or that person walking by. Usually, that’s someone who’s edgy (such as a tweeker or rowdy clubber), or if they’re accompanied by a dog of their own. Lucky, however, couldn’t be bothered, preferring instead to slumber on. These stopovers start around 9:30 PM and last until just before, or right at, midnight.
He first showed up by his lone self last night, and asked for his Thursday allowance of $40. “No, it’s too soon, Deek, wait till Thursday.” Though Wednesday is fine, too, if it comes to that. “But it’s already Wednesday,” he replied. “Really?” I answered, a tad confused. Well, Wattson, turns out I thought it was still Monday, and when I realized my error, I had less than fifteen minutes to rush down to my bank before they lock up ATM access, which is 10 PM. So I apologized, rushed upstairs for my wallet, then boogied on down to the local Chase branch, and withdrew $60 (one Jackson for myself).
By the time I returned, another vagrant had joined him outside: an older dude with long, gray hair and trim mustache about six-foot-one, and stretched on his side upon the sidewalk. He seems to be a somewhat new acquaintance, as I’ve never seen him before with Deek, except for a few times in the past couple of weeks, out there on the corner. He appears to be a very healthy, trim 48 years old…good looking, too, in a narrow-face, Appalachian kind of way. NOT gregarious in the least, never says hi to me, keeps to himself but at least is pretty damn quiet, even speaks softly. I AM a bit wary of him, but we’ll see.
Around a half hour after I returned with the moolah and headed back upstairs, I heard Flaco barking. Time to bring down the box! Lucky scooted right inside and curled up, but Flaco preferred to sit on the edge and look out. So I added a sheet of cardboard I procured from beside the trash bin, right outside the box…that she also have a clean spot to rest upon. (Dammit, why doesn’t Deek take care of these things himself?)
Just before I was about to return hovel, who shows up out of the blue, but Filipino Jay! Don’t know if you remember him from my December tales, but that was the last month I saw him until last night. He’s ALWAYS been immensely supportive of my befriending Deek and his charges, but very alarmed at his frequently shitty treatment towards me. “You need to respect that man,” he’s told Deek more than once. “You need to keep a good person like that in your life!” Not that he’s spoken these words in my presence, but informed me of such. And I believe him.
We gave each other fist bumps and side hugs, glad to see each other again. We talked awhile about this and that, as Deek pulled out a glass pipe to smoke some meth. As he held a lighter below it to heat the contents, Flaco broke out into demonstrative barks aimed directly AT him.
“See that, Deek?” I called out in jest, “She don’t want you smokin’ that crap no more!”
I then seated myself beside Flaco to quiet her down. She immediately climbed onto my lap with her customary sweetness and joy to be close to me again, and ceased her barks. We were right beside the box, so I reached in to give Lucky some petting as well. I explained to Deek that he needs to keep them quiet when hanging out here, or my neighbors will complain. And that’s easy enough to do, either with a box for them to hide in, or let Flaco sit right beside him. ‘Cause that’s all she wants is your attention now and then, and that’s why she was barking.
He ignored me, so I gently placed Flaco down and grabbed another sheet of cardboard and placed it beside Deek, so she could rest alongside her master. With that, he exploded in anger:
“Get outta my face, don’t tell me what to do with the dogs, leave me alone!”
“But Deek,” I spoke calmly from barely two feet away, while caressing Flaco who stood by my feet. “She loves you, and only wants to rest beside you. Why so mean?”
“YOU do that, then, I’m busy here!” he spit back.
“But I gotta go upstairs and finish my dinner,” I replied. “Here, Flaco, come sit by your master.”
I pointed at the cardboard I had just set down, and beckoned her over. Just as she was about to curl up there, Deek hollered again:
“Get outta my face, I’m claustrophobic, gimme some space, your dick is right in my face!” which scared Flaco, so she slipped into the box to sit by her sibling.
“Well I’m on the short side, so what do you expect,” I quipped. (Not really, but I wish I had. Another good line would’ve been: “These are workout pants, Deek, they don’t even HAVE a fly.”) What I REALLY said was:
“Look, you’ve upset Flaco, you need to calm down.”
“I SAID, get outta my face!” he repeated.
“No way Jose,” I taunted back. “You need to chill out first, and THEN I’ll step back.”
With that, he leapt up and moved to the other end of the bus shelter to finish smoking his pipe. “You wanna see me scream and upset your neighbors? Better get outta my face then, or I will!”
“No I won’t, and no YOU won’t,” I gently answered. “Come back here, sit down and let Flaco lie beside you, Deek. THEN I’ll leave.”
The older fellow who was still reclined upon the sidewalk said not a word, and seemed nonplussed. Jay looked up at me from where he crouched and softly said with a grin: “So that’s your relationship, eh?”
I shrugged my shoulders and replied: “I’m not gonna take this crap. I hate drama queens, and I hate it when Deek acts like one.”
Deek finally returned to his spot where he called Flaco over. She immediately curled her little brave body upon his crossed legs with happy wags, soon closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. Before departing, I proposed he keep the dogs with me while camped out here…or at least Flaco, as she’s the one who keeps barking. Upstairs she’ll get some needed rest, instead of feeling like she has to be on constant sentry on high alert. He said no, they’re fine, so I let it slide…seeing as this is his usual pattern before abiding by my latest suggestion. If it comes down to it, I’ll sit out there with Flaco until it’s time for Deek to move on, so she’ll get the affection she craves and so WELL deserves, and thus enjoy a good two hours of rest. Though I suspect this will crimp his style when it comes to jawing with his street pals in my presence. Which may prove effective in that he’ll tell me to take the dog upstairs. Or he’ll move to another spot, away from my building. I’d prefer the first outcome, for the sake of Flaco’s well-being.
Now that Deek had finally mellowed out, with Flaco secure in his care, I returned hovel to finish my dinner and watch some videos. Flaco barked on and off a couple more times, but not so loud or long as to be a nuisance. Another homeless person had shown up with his German Shepherd…a very friendly and calm dog, not a single bark, yelp or whimper out of her. But in spite of that, Flaco wouldn’t cease her cacophony until they departed around the corner, on 16th Street. By 11:45 PM Deek was packing up and ready to depart. I came back downstairs to wish him a good night.
The gray-haired “Appalachian” excused himself and disappeared to parts east, while Jay remained awhile longer. He kindly remarked about what an excellent arrangement Deek has with me, and how I work so hard to watch over them. I said thank you, then somehow the conversation came around to my age.
“Do you wanna guess how old I am?”
Jay hesitated to supply an answer to this awkward question, as is the polite thing to do. Then I told him:
“Seventy-one, can you believe it?”
He remarked how much younger and healthy I look. “You’re always full of energy!”
“Yes I am. And that’s because Deek and his doggies keep me on my toes,” I proudly confessed, which admission I knew would warm Deek’s heart.
We watched him quietly leave with pups, cart and bicycle down Market Street and towards Castro. At that point, I picked up the box to return upstairs with it. Just then, “chihuahua man” showed up with his two little angels, while I suddenly made myself busy cleaning up the debris that remained from Deek’s visit. I was really sort of avoiding him, but he came right up to me and said:
“Well THAT get together didn’t last very long!”
I almost cracked up, and replied while fussing with some discarded cans and paper wraps, rather than look up at him:
“Yep, that’s just how I want it.”
He gave a quick snort of hilarity, before he and pooches returned inside. I figure he stepped out just ten or so minutes ago, saw the small congregation of three street folks, and the two brindlekin…then upon returning from his walk, saw them pack things up and leave. Not realizing they were actually camped out there for almost two hours! I gather his apartment faces 16th Street, rather than Market.
Once Deek was far enough down the street, I took a few more minutes to speak with Jay.
“You know, I’ve recently established a network of street people to make sure he takes good care of those doggies,” I explained. “It’s taken me OVER A YEAR to get this going!” To my surprise, he then said something amazing:
“Oh, we all know about you, Zeke, how kind you are and do whatever you can for the homeless!” To which I interjected:
“Some have even come up to me just a couple days ago, to reassure me they watch over Deek and the pups, and appreciate my efforts and concern!”
“You bet,” he continued. “You are well known for your good works. And Deek truly respects you, though he doesn’t show it around you. Some dudes are just like that, but I assure you he has nothing but admiration for what a good friend you are.”
I was SO glad to hear that, coming out of the blue from a person I trust, thanks to his consistent praise of my outreach. Before departing, I thanked him once more and said:
“We met again at a VERY opportune moment!”
He agreed with a smile, then departed and I returned to my humble sanctuary, pleased as punch. Now, for a bit more Bodhisattva Premise conjecturing:
Remember when Deek wore my Buddha necklace with great pride? That was back in April. It seems to me that someone so Christian influenced (as he clearly was, growing up in the deep south), would NOT readily jump into Buddhism, as Deek has done. He even REQUESTED I return the medallion so HE could wear it. And that was barely two weeks after gifting me with it! It’s a great video BTW, so here it is again in case you’d like to view it once more (or maybe for the first time…or not at all, as I know you are quite busy tending to your own life challenges):
This, I believe, is but one of MANY clues of a bodhisattva presence…through Deek and numerous others living on the streets. And that they already KNOW my destiny, my role IN it, and their devotion and support in getting me there. I DID NOT ACCOMPLISH ALL THIS ON MY OWN; I HAVE MANY ALLIES. All of whom are as much a hero as I am, if not more so.
Well, good doctor, it looks like my Brindlekin Trilogy is not yet done. Actually, it’s a quaternity at this point, and soon to morph into a QUINternity! Though I’ll leave it to my literary admirers to sort out the breakdown of Book 3 into one or two more books. It would just be TOO exhausting for me to do that myself, what with all my ongoing busy-ness composing further tales, tending to the dogs and Deek, and so on.
I have run through all twenty-six letters of the alphabet for chapter 17 (or “The Final Chapter (parts 1-26)”. So now I’ve established the first episode of chapter 18, entitled “The FINAL Final Chapter (part 1)” or “Chapter 18a.” Though I’m sure that, even once I complete this series, which I believe will encompass five books in all:
I’ll be writing about Deek & pups for many years to come…for as long as I live, in fact. And THAT may be an eternity, seeing as the Grim Reaper herself couldn’t snatch me away.
So whaddya think of Hell Freezer (assuming you’ve gotten around to hearing one of his brilliant narrations of human idiocy). I really CAN’T imagine you going other than ape-shit over his videos.
And I am so delighted to stumble upon yet a THIRD season of “What We Do in the Shadows”…that superb modern-vampire parody. I binge watched all ten episodes over the last few days, and was FAR from disappointed. OUTSTANDING comedy, still fresh and original as the first two seasons! I DO hope you find some way to watch all three seasons yourself. They are officially on Hulu. Plenty of great excerpts from that show on Youtube, to give you a taste of what a fantastic series it is.
That’s it for now, thank Bridget! I spent the ENTIRE day composing this 2-part missive. And ignored all my usual daily amusements and online activities. NOTHING else is as important as my tales, not even close.
– Zeke K-Holmes
Subject: “Take the dogs, I gotta get to work!”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 4, 2021 11:27 AM
About as domestic a scene as you can expect, in a homeless world. The man of the house, the lord and master, king of the castle, he who brings home the bacon, MUST be off to work and he can’t bring the mutts along. So it is MY duty as stay-at-home doggy dad, to bring the pups inside and tend to their simple needs. 8:16 AM, his string of “yo’s” got me out of bed. Not that they actually woke me up, as I drank my second coffee far too late in the evening, and I could NOT fall asleep.
“Take the dogs, I gotta get to work!” he called up to me the moment I appeared in the window.
So I slipped on my zories and rushed downstairs. As I emerged from the gate, the pups spotted me right off, from where they were still tied to the cart at the corner of 16th & Market. They happily summoned me with barks and dancing on their hind legs, tugging at their leashes with great joy. Deek untied the woofies and handed them over, whereupon they pulled me forward like wild horses till we reached the gate…pawing at it like there’s no tomorrow, barking and yapping with gleeful anticipation. I looked back at Deek to say thank you; he wished me a nice day, mounted his bike and off he went.
Soon as we reached the first few steps and were out of range of the lobby camera, I released the hounds who scurried with merry barks up to the second floor, and into my hovel. Which door I intentionally left ajar for their quick entry. I reached my floor ten seconds later, and Lucky popped back into the hallway to welcome me to their abode, playfully tugging at my pant cuffs as I staggered slowly onward. At that moment, Flaco suddenly scooted from my hovel as well, and dashed up and down the hallway a couple of times, with Lucky in chase, their ears pinned back in frenzied delight. Soon as I entered the room myself, they followed and hopped right onto the cot, cushioned by four layers of plush comforters.
I do want to point out that Deek never said before, that he’s off to work. But his saying just that this morning indicates a new stability in his life, a positive energy that’s gonna take him places as he builds on that foundation.
And what does “going to work” mean for him? Rummaging across the city for recyclable cans and bottles, of course. (And maybe “selling product” as I like to call it.) Reminds me of my father’s occupation, which was what we then called “garbage man.” Deek is VERY industrious…like a cyclone swooshing down streets and alleyways and sucking up any bottles and cans within miles in every direction. I’m sure he’s at his best when the pups aren’t around to distract him.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually landed a part-time job in some restaurant or other service outlet, under the counter. Seeing as employers are hungry for workers these days, and are willing to pay better wages (for the most part).
– Zeke K-Holmes
Texting with Wattson – 11/07/21
Subject: No Venus & Crescent Moon Tonight! :(
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 10, 2021 1:50 PM
[Please note I started this missive two days ago.]
Drat! I wanted to take a twilight shot…maybe tomorrow. It’s raining again now, not too bad but more than enough to get the pups soaking wet for hours. Deek dropped by earlier to pick up his large speaker, and a garbage bag to keep it dry. So he knew we were due for another nighttime shower. I guess he cares more about his electronics and rap music, than about his wee charges!
“What about the dogs?” I asked as he readied to leave. “Shouldn’t they shelter here tonight?”
“No, I gotta go somewhere!” he obliquely answered while giving the cart a shove.
“Does that mean you’re gonna keep them warm and dry?”
“Yes!” he said, denying me another moment to question him further as he crossed the street with the little angels in tow. They flashed a couple of forlorn glances back at my diminishing figure. I returned hovel with a sad heart, soon as they reached the opposite corner.
Earlier that day, I bumped into Boulevard Joe. He asked how I was and I broke into an imromptu speech, as if I were channeling a message from the deity:
“Halloween REALLY starts once they discard the costumes onto the streets…San Francisco better wake up, and acknowledge that the heart of this city IS the homeless. It used to include not just street people, but the low income as well: artists, writers, dancers, innovators…what some call the Bohemian lifestyle! What you said some years back is SO true: today’s middle class are tomorrow’s homeless! I have always suspected there are at least SOME shamans living on the streets, if not MANY, perhaps ALL of them. How could they NOT reach a higher state of consciousness with such tremendous burdens placed upon their shoulders, day in day out, year after year? INTOLERABLE! CRUEL! HEARTLESS! I’m teaching Deek about Celtic mythology, so I ordered a Welsh dragon medallion that should arrive in a week or so. But he’s also taught ME many things, not by lecture but by action, including pressing my buttons to the point of exhaustion, many times over. Sweet and sour, yin and yang, the teacher becomes the student, and vice versa.”
To all of which Joe nodded in hearty agreement, especially about the shamans. I suppose my loquacious outburst was also my stream-of-consciousness way of letting him know I’m there, I grok what’s REALLY going on. Later that day I realized my stalwart praise of the homeless will likely be broadcast among many other asphalt jungle denizens, through his voice.
And I finally had the chance to ask Joe what he thinks about Luba. He praised her to the heavens: “Oh, she loves me! I fixed her heater, her television, her door lock, all sorts of stuff. I’m her on-call handyman.”
“Cool,” I replied. “She drinks too much, but still, Luba strikes me as a good person, and quite the character.” Of course I bit my tongue over her not-so-kind opinion of HIM. These are shamans, they have peculiar ways about them…one of which is LYING about someone to test my reaction, and behavior down the timeline. If I repeat what gossip they project, it could foment further angst, and I will be judged poorly. But THAT shall never happen, as I obviously know better.
CROSSING THE CROSSOVER
In the context of Buddha’s declaration that heaven and hell are a state of mind, I believe I have recently crossed over, as good things keep happening to me anymore, including Deek’s more consistent cooperation and mild manners regarding ANY confrontation I present. His refusal to let the dogs stay with me tonight notwithstanding, because he did so peaceably…that is, without a smidgen of angst. Cultivating a worry-free perception of life (whether on a personal or a more general, species level) has certainly contributed to this auspicious transition.
For one, I am frequently complimented more often than ever, by passersby charmed by the doggies. Even when they’re barking for no apparent reason except to show off their pride in guarding THIS Moirai-kissed pilgrim, people still say things like:
“Oh, such cute little doggies!” or “I love those pups!” or “What gorgeous coats they have!” or “Look at those darling mutts!” and so on.
And, just three mornings ago, a sweet elderly woman working the register at the corner store on 17th & Noe said “I like your mask.” So I told her the tale of the young clerk at that same store, who first expressed admiration for my Palestinian face cover last month.
“That’s my grandson!” she lit up the moment I mentioned him.
Once I finished the delightful anecdote, she remarked: “God brought that to you!”
I nodded my head and replied: “It’ll be a sad day in my life when this mask gets too worn out to wear any more!”
‘Oh, no,” she declared with verve, “it will NEVER wear out!”
I neglected to tell her how I was drawn to their store only several days after acquiring the mask (without yet knowing its message, or that the shop is run by a Palestinian family)…which sort of clinches the “god” thing. Next time she’s present when I drop by, I’ll be sure to fill her in. At any rate, she spoke with pride about her Palestinian heritage, that her people are hard workers, enduring and inventive, through all their unbelievable struggles. Our conversation ended with the kind lady expressing her appreciation for this talk. And thus I departed, walking on a cloud. I’m sure I made her day, too.
Seeing as we’ve been discussing dragons again, I decided to purchase a Welsh dragon medallion for Deek:
Only $10, so when he inevitably loses it a short time later, no big deal…I’ll get him another one the following month. It’s due to arrive any day between the 12th and 18th. I’ll present it to him as a friendship gift, and welcome him into the Clan of Dragons:
“Because you have the strength, courage and street wisdom of a dragon, yourself!”
Good news! Shortly after the rain began to pour down last night, Deek showed up with the pups: “They told me they wanted to spend the night with Uncle Zeke.”
The pups were NOT shivering; in fact they appeared in good spirit despite their soppy condition. I pet them both, and felt their body warmth emanate through the fur. Once back hovel I dried them off immediately, then gave them treats. In no time flat they were sound asleep, burrowed beneath the blankets. I DID wake them up an hour later to feed them, and they dined with vigor.
He also handed me a “new” smartphone and, to my amazement, once I plugged it in and turned it on, discovered it had a dragon-themed background!
Well shucks, no Muslim light show tonight, either, thanks to an overcast sky. Guess it just wasn’t in the stars. Earlier today I spoke with Sami, one of Morey’s two coworkers. He’s around his mid-seventies, tall and lanky, looks Middle Eastern (perhaps Lebanon) and has a quick wit. Though it was MY turn to be clever this time around.
“Did you see that sky show the other night?” I asked with enthusiasm.
“Yes I did, it was beautiful,” he answered back.
“Venus was so dazzling, the crescent moon so sharp and brilliant,” I gushed, “and the alignment so perfect, I almost surrendered to Islam!”
Four nights ago, Lucky puked several times…caught me off guard, but I promptly cleaned up the various spots, dispersed among several throw rugs. No stink, no stain remained…though neither his nor Flaco’s vomit ever smells foul in the first place. I then covered the entire floor with double-layered sheets of the Bay Area Reporter, just to play it safe. But he was fine after that, and they both had good appetites.
Deek wore another creepy mask two days after Halloween. Also rubbery like the evil rabbit mask, but one that fits just the face, not the entire head. It made him look like a derelict 30-something high school dropout with a really bad case of cystic acne, the kind cruel kids would call “pizza face.” Splotches of fake blood and dirt completed the gruesome visage. I couldn’t Duckduckgo a mask that even comes CLOSE to what Deek wore, to show it to you. So you’ll have to trust me when I say it was frightfully realistic.
“Wow, you really look different, Deek,” I exclaimed, with one arm slightly raised across my face in revulsion. “I don’t even feel like talking to you, some scary stranger.”
“GRR-ROWR!” he replied in character.
“It reminds me of my first boyfriend,” I cracked.
“Your FIRST boyfriend?” he queried in a wobbly, eerie tone of voice…then raised his hands like claws about to tear my face apart: “Well I’M gonna be your LAST boyfriend!”
He then turned around to fuss with his bicycle, and I opined with a chuckle: “That was very funny, Deek!”
NOVEMBER 10 (today):
Well, yesterday evening the building manager came down the stairs as I stepped outside my hovel with the pups, who commenced barking. As I crouched down and told the pups to quiet down (though they didn’t), Kevin addressed me from the main hallway:
“You NEED to stop bringing those dogs into the building!”
I ignored him, though really had no choice in the matter, as attempting to holler over their barks would only excite them further and cause even MORE noise. I simply remained hunkered down, urging the doggies to chill out.
“Do you hear me?” Kevin demanded. But seeing that he was NOT gonna get ANY reply from yours truly, he finally doddered off to parts unknown.
With that, Flaco & Lucky’s barks diminished into thin air as I escorted them downstairs and outside. I really don’t see ANY point in talking to Kevin, as he’s making a mountain out of a molehill…everyone loves the pups, and they are absolutely NO problem at all. I am dogsitting for a friend in a PET-FRIENDLY building, they are not living with me, and that’s that. Instead of being antagonistic, he could EASILY approach the dogs in kindness, pet them and make them feel welcome (which he HAS done a few times in the past, FYI). His overly authoritarian behavior as building manager does NOT impress me in the least. Nor do his mood swings, which I suspect are early-onset-dementia inspired.
I DID expect to find another one of his spooky letters taped to my door in an envelope, upon returning hovel with the pooches, but nothing yet. Let’s see how this latest scenario plays out, Wattson (if it even does). All previous confrontations in This Beleaguered Mansion Of The Dysfunctional have shown me that standing my ground, while remaining calm and friendly through it all, is the winning ticket. I’ll simply take this as the latest challenge presented by one of my bodhisattva guardians, to disregard animosity flung in my direction, and maintain a joyful demeanor. And not obsess in my mind’s eye over worst case scenarios such as “I might wind up homeless because I refuse to deny the doggies shelter!” Besides: Kevin appears to be on his last legs, as I’ve mentioned before, and more than once.
Oh, I also passed by Moe Fleisher (my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hall) last night. I said hello as I descended the stairs while he ascended. And believe me, that was no easy task, as he’s morbidly obese, and the stairs are narrow! Had he slipped just then he would’ve crushed me like a sea elephant. Not so much as a hello back. The nerve! Well, he’s friends with Kevin, so I guess that has something to do with it. Along with Deek’s more frequent campouts by the bus stop. Though Deek and pups have been MOSTLY quiet all along, to a suprising degree. So I can only conclude he just resents them being there at all. Even though such peaceful gatherings BENEFIT the residents, as a kind of building security, and safe space right outside.
It seems that Deek has a couple of girlfriends, but that may simply be braggadocio. Last night he was talking about one of them, and how she loves the brindlekin…though sometimes cannot have them over, which is one reason he brings them to me. I have no idea if any of this is true, though he did put on a display of boinking her ghostly form by ramming his hips forward and back, while doing the same with fisted arms, in opposite motion:
“When I brings her da pups I gets me da fuks!”
He was supposedly setting off to see her last night, said he was in a hurry. But after I returned hovel, I saw him still out there ten minutes later. I decided then, to step back outside and show him the image of the Welsh flag with the red dragon on it, that I had downloaded to my phone. He’s never seen it before, and I thought he should, considering he’ll soon recieve a medallion of that same image. How much better he’ll appreciate it, as a result!
So I approached again, this time with my phone, and said: “I thought you were in a rush, but you’re still here! You asked me to hurry, bringing stuff down, but I really could’ve taken all my sweet time!”
“I’ll be leaving in a moment, sorry,” he thoughfully replied.
“Naw, that’s okay,” I said, then showed him the Welsh flag on my Moto screen. I explained how Wales is one of four nations that compose the British Isles, the other three are Ireland, England and Scotland. (I forgot about Northern Ireland, but that’s just as well for the nonce.) Unfortunately, he blathered over me (about god knows what; I sure don’t), so I repeated myself two more times while he chattered aimlessly, to be sure it all sank in.
He finally said it was time to go, and wished me a good night. I responded with: “You, too, Deek, have a great night. But before you leave, tell me: what are the four nations of the British Isles?”
He didn’t bother to answer, just wandered off towards Castro Street, as I stood there waving at the doggies whenever they looked back. Didn’t appear to ME like he was rushing off to meet this girlfriend…more like just another night with him and the mutts, rummaging for recyclables and perhaps stumbling upon some choice items that will serve as gifts or trade-worthy goods. Maybe he’ll show up next time with another outstanding Halloween mask!
So now it’s the next day, early afternoon, and I’m about to send you this email. Deek dropped by two hours ago to pick up the usual crap, plus $40. Though he did NOT request dog food this time around (to my surprise, as he didn’t last night). I took time out to give him my latest pep talk: “You’re doing stupendously well, Deek!”
“What do you mean?” he replied, lips in a twist while lashing down the speaker with a bungee cord, atop the shopping cart already porcine with a mound of newfound clutter.
“Just the way you handle your life these days, very impressive,” I explained. “And I don’t mean this as someone who thinks he’s holier-than-thou, for I have learned much from you, as well. You’ve made me a better person.”
He seemed quite pleased to hear that, but with a satirical, eye-rolling facade: “Thank you kindly, but I wouldn’t take things so far.”
Before returning hovel, I wished my three darling charges a lovely day, and to spend the money wisely. Well, Wattson, I certainly look forward to all our future encounters, as what’s been happening between us these past few months is a definite sea change. For the better. His behavior in general, and attitude towards me, has softened considerably, with a wry sense of humor that reflects just that. Why, only the day before he reassured me that he really IS looking for a place to live, but he’s not gonna accept a bug-and-rat-infested hotel room populated by crackheads and ex-cons in the Tenderloin, or stay for months on end in a large, crowded tent, quonset hut or warehouse by the bay, with all sorts of chaos and stupidity going on. For which declaration on his part, I can only conclude:
He’s got all his ducks in a row!