[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 5: Chapter 2]
Subject: The dragon has arrived!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2021 11:51 PM
[Note: while I express dismay over Deek’s request at the start of this missive, you’ll learn later how pleased I am with him overall, thanks to last night’s extraordinary outcome.]
Well, good physician, to my delight the dragon pendant appeared in my mailbox yesterday afternoon. Nothing fancy, no little gift box, or ribbon tied around. Just a 3.5 by 5 inch padded mailer with the trinket and company card enclosed within, sheathed and sealed in a narrow, zip-lock pouch. Cast from pewter and hand polished to a silver sheen, the wee Welsh wyvern had a nice heft to it, and cast a friendly light. I decided to present it to him exactly as it arrived in the post. Except now the packet was neatly slit open along the top edge.
Deek returned that evening to collect his gizmos, and more dog food. The weather’s been fair and warm since the last rain, even the nights are balmy-cool…so no sense of urgency to shelter the pups again, so soon. I was disappointed, though, that he requested his full Sunday allowance TWO days in advance, rather then his usual ONE. I gave him a hard time about it, reminding him that I recently increased his weekly allowance by $40 (paid Thursdays) just so he WOULDN’T ask for advances any more.
“But I REALLY need it,” he begged while seated on the sidewalk beside the bus stop, a shopping cart and, of course, the two brindlekin. “And I know you can afford it.”
“That’s just not true, Deek,” I countered, “I can NOT afford to cough up an extra forty to a hundred dollars each month, and that is what you keep setting me up for, by pushing up your payment dates to squeeze an extra week outta me.”
“NO, I don’t do that,” he objected (though in a soft tone),”I only ask you for payments twice a week, and no more.”
“That’s a lie, Deek,” I exclaimed. “You sometimes wind up asking me THREE times a week, and you started doing that a few months back. You’re SCAMMING me, a friend who’s already helping you with tons of money and in many other ways. I doubt you’re gonna wait all the way to Wednesday, for your next payment.”
“Oh yes I will, I promise,” was his anticipated defense, as it’s rote by now.
“That’s what you ALWAYS say,” I rebutted, “but you never do! It’ll be Tuesday or even Monday, and you’ll ask earlier and earlier until the well is dry seven to ten days before the next month begins. By which time you’ll expect me to give you even MORE money, in advance of the NEXT month. WHICH I DON’T HAVE AND YOU WON’T GET!”
The point here, Wattson, is he keeps forcing me into a struggle to stretch his allowance over the entire month, so that he doesn’t wind up living through end-of-the-month misery, so common among the poor. I suspect these advance-payment requests are one of many little scams he’s learned while serving jail time, or from ex-cons on the streets. You mix up the payment dates by someone who’s already being generous, in hopes of causing confusion so that, towards the end of each month, they wind up giving you EXTRA moolah. Especially if the benefactor is elderly, like myself.
ANOTHER scam he pulls on me now and then, is to deny he ever said something, accusing me of making it up (that I’M the liar), and why bring it up after so long (even if “so long” means just a day or two…god forbid I should dredge up something he CLEARLY stated months ago…”I’ve moved on, why can’t you”). I predict he’ll use that when he asks for his next payment too early, claiming he never said he’ll wait till Wednesday (or Saturday, depending on his timing).
He was doing well withOUT the additional $40 per week, and now he does THIS? Is that cheeky or what? At any rate, I eventually said okay, and brought him the $60…stuffed in the same packet with the pewter token of our friendship. (I should mention that, throughout this entire meetup, the pups were of course all over me, showering me with their usual, boundless affection…so I was crouched down for most of our conversation, with Deek seated just a few feet away.)
“Here’s the dog food AND your money, Deek,” I plunked the weighty bag down beside the cart, and handed him the yellow padded envelope. “It’s in there, plus a little gift.”
The medallion dangled from a tough, black cord of good thickness, which I suggested may not be the right length for his taste, but he can do what he wants with it, maybe put it on Lucky. I also pointed out that’s the same dragon depicted on the Welsh flag, which I showed him a few days back on my smartphone.
“Though that one was red, and this one is silver,” I added.
“I don’t even know what a welsh is,” he deliberated while swinging the lavaliere from its cord, like a hypnotist his disk.
I then played with the doggies for a few minutes and, before I knew it, Deek had removed the original cord and attempted to pass a flashy, thin chain through the pendant’s loop. Alas, it was not quite slim enough, so he plunked the elegant gewgaw back into its mailer, pocketed THAT, and arose from his cross-legged position to gather everything up, in a rush to move along and convert his newfound cash into product. Thus I bid a loving adieu to the pups before returning hovel.
Upon ruminating over our latest meetup from the comfort of my SRO, and his premature request for moolah, I realized I’m not too bothered over this, seeing as Deek is doing SO much better anymore, and the brindlekin are SUCH a glorious blessing in my life, that it all really comes down to Alfred E. Neuman’s sage words: “What, Me Worry?”
Hardly two hours later he returned, bearing a bundle of spanking new Air Jordan sneakers and shoes, eight pair in all! I was already outside, returning home and just turned the corner when we intersected, with Deek pushing his cart onto the sidewalk by the bus stop, Flaco & Lucky untethered but close to heel, and so happy to see me again! He quickly laid out his wares on a clean, blue blanket, then threw down four, large plush jackets that served as comforters for the pooches, which they immediately clambered onto and curled themselves up for a cozy interlude. Lucky promptly entered snoozeville, while Flaco very much enjoyed my company, and wanted me to stay beside her, to receive my gentle words, hugs, pats and scritches…even though she could barely keep her eyelids open.
It was a most impressive display of items for sale, fenced off on one side between curb and bus shelter by a shopping cart neatly stuffed with contents unknown, but possibly additional goods for purchase. Deek had created a warm, inviting spot in no time flat! And the dogs were already sound asleep: not a peep, woof or bark out of them! He also had some sweet style rap music playing, but the volume so low even my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hallway couldn’t complain. Nor the building manager who lived right above him.
Now, good doctor, know that I did NOT ask Deek ANY questions as to where he acquired these pricey sundries, for surely my $60 allotment could not possibly have pulled that off! As you, as EVERYONE, knows, shoplifting is off the chart these days in Baghdad by the Bay. So I surmise maybe THAT is the source of Deek’s vendibles, probably not that he, himself, lifted them from the shelves, but acquired them on the cheap through third party “distributors.”
Though some days back when he handed me a new micro SD card that I presume he purchased from Walgreens out of the $40 I just gave him earlier, I looked it over and told him he shouldn’t waste his money, as the card is 64 gigabytes, more than twice the storage he needs to copy over his ENTIRE music collection.
“You could’ve spent less for a 32 gig chip,” I told him.
“Doesn’t matter,” he replied, “I just tore if off the hook and walked out with it.”
How far some of the street people are going, to obtain goods for free…I have no idea. Guess I need to ask Boulevard Joe about this interesting development, as I’m sure he has his finger in THAT pie, too!
I do not know how well Deek’s Black Friday hawking went, as I remained hovel most of the night, and didn’t give that aspect any attention. Every time I peered out the window, there’d be a gaggle of strollers crowding that corner, looking over the sneakers, shoes and whatever else he may have placed out there for a price.
They were quiet, too…the doggies slept the whole time, and Deek kept the music way down. He also had friends come and go, peaceably seated around him and the pups, speaking low and lighting up their glass pipes: bright orange embers that bobbed in the dark, like Chinese paper lanterns from afar. Around 3 AM I woke up (as I did throughout the night, thanks to old-man-itchy-skin syndrome, which happens sometimes). So I decided to poke my head outside one more time, to see if Deek and mutts were still there. Nope, vanished! Best of all, the place he occupied for several hours was IMMACULATE! You’d never guess anyone had even camped out there.
I’m sure my quasi-fascist neighbor (Moe) and the building manager (Kevin) were impressed by that, though Glaucus forbid they’d ever admit it! I’m sure, however, they ARE bothered by small groups stopping there right below their windows, igniting meth pipes and lingering for a considerable while! Tough noogies, the city decided to leave the addicts alone, as bolstered by the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014.
Moe and Kevin are living in the past, they need to catch up with the times! Their little spot in the Castro is no island unto itself, and MUST share in the city’s overall, newly established policies. They’ll probably blame ME, though, for bringing them here because I’m Deek’s friend. Though once they realize how quiet they remain, and how much SAFER they’ll make the area around our building, they’ll sing a different, and happier, tune. For Deek and friends are a better crowd than those truly crazy, disturbing types that strew garbage everywhere and terrorize our fair burg.
One of Moe’s concerns is that such gatherings will invite further break-ins and nuisance to our residence. But I think quite the OPPOSITE will occur. For one, Deek and company know all about me, and are much more interested in watching over yours truly, that harm will not come my way. And since I LIVE in the same building Moe does, he will benefit from their protection as well. They will be like free security guards on this end of the block. Their very presence will discourage the dangerously unstable vagrants from disturbing the peace, or worse.
Deek et al have a VESTED INTEREST in maintaining their spot right outside as their OWN safe space. In exchange, they provide us with protection, and a peaceful ambience. Win/win all the way around! Boulevard Joe’s own little community enjoys hanging out and sleeping overnight behind my building, sometimes. They are ALSO quiet and pick up after themselves. So we could wind up having WRAPAROUND security, between these two groups! Do you think I’m being too optimistic or unrealistic on this matter, Wattson?
Before leaving Deek to his latest entreprenuerial venture I DID spend twenty minutes or so with him, outdoors. Mostly for the sake of Flaco’s wish for my comforting touch, but also because someone I like very much, but whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time, showed up! That would be Jared, who’s always been excellent company the rare times we’ve gotten together. He’s been busy straightening out his life, including finally getting a roof over his head. He now resides at the Civic Center Hotel, just six blocks down Market Street from my own building. It’s been overhauled to accommodate the homeless, and I hear it’s very well maintained. It’s now part of the Navigation Center, a service specifically for the homeless. Here’s the hotel’s web site.
They allow pets, too, I just found out. Now THAT looks like the right place for Deek! It’s not in EITHER sketchy neighborhood: the Tenderloin OR the Inner Mission. I’ll bring it up next time he drops by, and suggest he visit Jared there, to check it out. Though there may be prerequisite conditions before one can get into the hotel, such as residing for at least several months in one of their warehouse arrangements. And THAT is something Deek refuses to do. They might also require him to go through a drug rehab program or partake in some kind or social or vocational training. Who knows? Deek will turn 43 come January 22nd, BTW.
Jared told me a few years back, he wants to be a trucker. I didn’t know if he really planned to pursue it, so was surprised to hear he’s going to trucking school in Arizona very soon.
“Really?” I replied. “That’s great. For how long?”
“Three weeks,” he answered.
“Oh, is that all?” I exclaimed. “So you’ll be coming right back to SF?”
“Yes, I will,” he answered. “I thought about moving to some trailer park in Arizona, but I’d be bored outta my skull!”
“You made the right decision, Jared,” I commended him with a pat on his back. “Stay here for now, this city’s gonna be poppin’ soon, starting some time next year.”
He asked what I meant by that, so I went into how this city, and the state at large, is soon gonna be way ahead of all the other states, as new increased funding and innovation kick in. And that–even though this city treats its homeless like shit–it’s even worse everywhere else…but things will quickly improve for those living on the streets of Saint Francis.
“It was really great to see you again,” I said to Jared before we departed. We gave each other a warm, long hug…the third one that night. Unlike Deek, he’s not the least bit reserved about showing his affection. And he’s VERY pleasing on the eyes, to boot! Skinny and nicely put together, he’s 5-foot-10 with thick shocks of dark-gold hair cut short, and quite a handsome mug which I’d rather not describe in any detail, because I’m tired right now and need to crash out.
He gave me three cell numbers: “None of them are active yet, but one of them, my Obama phone, should be in a few days from now. The first number I gave you, well, I can activate soon as I get home tonight. The second number, I’m not sure HOW soon it will be working, maybe in two or three weeks.”
So far, NONE of the phone numbers function, but I’ll keep on trying, once every day. I have this fantasy that, once I become a global celebrity I’ll hire a handsome chauffeur to drive me around. That could be Jared! We’d have oodles of fun exploring the small towns and backwoods along the coast, and inland! Deek and the pups would join us, too.
And then, once the civil war breaks out and LGBTs flee in droves to Athenia as refugees from other states and nations, me and my buds are gonna rock this world…we’ll go underground as guerilla warriors and shag the daylights out of each other, in between slaughtering homophobes. We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them in their homes, we shall fight them in their churches, and at Trump rallies, Nazi marches and wherever else these vermin roam.
Frosting on the cake: before I returned upstairs and to bed, I spotted Samuel (“chihuahua man”) step out with his pooches. I quickly greeted him with a smile as he held the gate open. Instead of stepping completely inside, I held the gate ajar to watch him pass by Deek’s open-air department store. I was very pleased to see the brindlekin (who were NOT asleep at that moment) didn’t bark at all, even though they kept a keen eye on everyone who strolled nearby.
– Zeke K-Holmes
P.S.: I have no idea what he did with that dragon medallion, as he was neither wearing it about his neck, nor anywhere else on his person (or on Lucky) when he returned to set up his Friday night corner boutique. But I certainly hope his pop-up venue did stupendously well. I doubt he’ll bother to tell me if it did, as I’m sure he doesn’t want me to know he made a killing, as that could impact how much allowance I give him every week…like, zilch. But I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough, through the homeless grapevine…which IS comprised of just one solitary fellow, who is of course Boulevard Joe.
Re: The dragon has arrived!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 14, 2021 5:56 PM
> I don’t like the way he wheedles extra $$ out of you
It’s called “pressing my buttons”…I’m not SUPPOSED to like it. Deek playing the bodhisattva role as antagonist, in order that any remaining negativety gets flushed from my psyche. But I handled it well, did not withhold my dragonly gift as a result, and quickly recovered from any angst that came of pressing that particular button. The “Advance Payment” button. I gotta relegate it to the trash bin; it shouldn’t even be connected to my circuitry anymore, hardwired or soft.
> but I like your attitude toward it.
Too much is at stake to behave otherwise…the doggies’ lives are in the balance.
> He’s taking advantage of your generous nature
Or just APPEARING to take advantage, in order to provide me the opportunity to find a non-angst-evoking reaction.
> but NOT because you’re a doddering, confused old man
Well yes, that’s part of it, ageism and all that rot. To project that prejudice in my direction, that I find a way to deflect ALL of it, rather than allow even a single DROP of negativity to slip into my brain pan. It did, but not for long. Next time around, even THAT little bit will not get through…if there IS a next time, since I seem to have completed that particular mental Kung-Fu exercise, after many impromptu sessions…including hours spent in detention for poor performance.
> and you rightly see it as building a nest of safety around the doggies. And you are firm with him when he pushes you to the limit.
With the goal to learn how to be TOTALLY RELAXED AND JOYFUL in repulsing whatever wrong-thinking comes my way. Deek KNEW he’d press my button by requesting another advance payment, this time for the FULL AMOUNT. He did the right thing, and I quickly overcame the Demon Of Resentment, who extinguished his flaming sword the moment I released the ego egg sac of anger that began to stir in my bosom like a voracious clot of parasitic worms threatening to devour my liver and demolish the remainder of whatever happiness the day still held for yours truly. (Ha-ha, that last sentence was a joy to compose…shades of Bulwer Lytton!)
Support from homeless allies seems to be coming at me from every direction these past several weeks, as I’ve already documented in my most recent tales. And just this morning I came across Filipino Kai again, this time resting in the alcove of a shuttered grocery store on Church Street. I greeted him with a great heart, thanked him profusely for all his incredible support when I was going through crises with Deek…which lifted my spirit and gave me the strength to forge ahead. Until by now, Deek is growing in leaps and bounds, his life coming together in amazing ways.
He said he’s glad to have helped, and feel free to talk to him anytime I need. After a few minutes of chewing the fat, joking about Deek selling shoplifted goods and such, he excused himself (“I have a meeting to get to”) and took off on his pilfered, battery-stripped bicycle courtesy of Ford’s GoBikes.
> His open-air “market” is intriguing! He must have shoplifted those shoes. Where else would he get them? Such an entrepreneur!
Assuming he was ACTIVELY involved, instead of purchasing the items off the streets for cheap, and reselling them: I’d love to see the business establishment’s camera footage…PRICELESS! He did seem a tad nervous about me sitting down beside his wares for awhile, so I could be close to the pups.
“Okay, be cool!” he stated with a touch of alarm.
“Deek, I’m ALWAYS cool,” I retorted. “Cooler than YOU could ever be.”
“Okay, okay,” he dismissed my words with a wave of the hand, but I persisted:
“In fact, I may very well be the coolest person on the planet! Aren’t you aware of that yet?”
“Alright, never mind, I’m too busy to argue,” he declared, before turning to a potential customer who just showed up, somewhat drunk but curious about a ruby-sparkle pair of hi-tops.
So I’m thinkin’ maybe this wasn’t Deek’s usual anxiety about being seen with me for more than brief moments, but his fear I might press him over how he acquired all that primo footwear. I’m sure those fluffy, large jackets he got for the dogs’ comfort are also part of the contraband. Along with the lush blanket he used to display his wares. Or maybe he didn’t want me to see all the lucre flow into his hands, that I might reduce (or even eliminate) his allowance. But what do I know; maybe all his stock was totally aboveboard, no shady acquisition involved. (Hmm, perhaps I WILL buy that bridge in Brooklyn some pock-faced vagrant with rotten teeth and halitosis that could kill a herd of bison from a hundred yards afar, offered to sell me this morning.) Be that as it may, I only languished outside for twenty minutes or so, showering all my attention on the pups, not paying Deek ANY mind whatsoever. IOW: I utterly ignored the hooman.
> Do I think you’re being overly optimistic about Deek & Co. “guarding” the building? Maybe a little, but your reasoning is sound. Savvy street people who are not insane have sharp survival skills, and a peaceful zone in front of your building works to their advantage and yours. And they know better than anybody who’s “crazy” and who’s not.
That IS the scenario I envision, so long as turf wars don’t erupt in the long run, as increasing numbers of citizens are evicted from their homes and brutally dumped onto the streets. Maybe we’ll need to build a moat, or a crenelated barrier, to ward off the barbarians. Or both. With a drawbridge. At that point, I guess I’ll become Lord of Mini-Fiefdom #4 in the Castro, and go to battle with the neighboring parcels until I eventually rule the entire valley of Eureka. Emperor Zeke, here we come!
> Checked out the Civic Center Hotel. Looks pretty darned good. And they allow pets?? Extraordinary! I hope they don’t impose the usual strictures, like you have to be drug-rehabbed and have a job before you can move in. Seems to me the better order of things would be to get people off the street, get some rest and a hot shower or two, relieved of the stress of living life in public 24 hours a day, THEN let them kick the meth or whatever dope they’re using, THEN get a job. The other way around seems impossible.
The new policy in San Francisco is to provide housing withOUT mandating rehab or employment first. I’m not so concerned about that, as I am about a probable very long waiting list, and possibly a preliminary requirement to reside in one of their warehouses for at least several months, before taking the step towards occupying your own room. That doesn’t work for Deek.
> And good for Jared! Truckers are in huge demand at the moment. Think he’ll do it???
Your guess is as good as mine, though he seems to be pretty damn stable these days, so I’m confident he’ll figure his way through all the bullshit, and land himself in a decent situation, whether or not trucks are involved. But it WOULD be nice to have a friend, finally, who is licensed to drive…and maybe even OWNS a car.
> And the vision of slaughtering homophobes at Trump rallies sounds like great fun. Hope you’ll let me join in!
Oh but you’re already there, good physician, as the Osmium Empress and My Most Trusted Military Advisor, which I spelled out in my revelatory tale, “Misfortune is a Cookie Named Zeke!” You will set up SCADS of fake Trump rallies, Nazi marches and Christian dating events in order to lure them in for the culling.
> I think we should capture a few and perform “experiments” on them.
Let them eat cake while we dust off the guillotines and iron maidens! Are mercury colonics a thing?
– Zeke K-Holmes
Subject: This is Roberto
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 14, 2021 7:46 PM
He’s a street artist (obviously) who showed up in front of my building just two evenings ago. Since ANOTHER artist also has been parking himself at this very same spot for more than three weeks now, I decided to start introducing myself, and take their pics, if they so wish. Just a short while ago, I came downstairs to compliment him on his excellent drawings, and asked:
“If I give you five dollars, can I take two or three pics of you?”
“Sure, go ahead!” he cheerfully replied. And here they are:
“You’ll be in my blog later tonight,” I explained. “Can I use your real name?”
He agreed to that, but was not interested in a video interview, even though I offered him another Lincoln.
“That’s fine,” I replied. “And since I teased you with a little more money, it’s only fair I give it to you anyway. But is there anything you’d like to tell me, to include with your photo, a story for example?”
“Ahh, no thanks!”
I then handed him the second bill and said: “I’ve been a gay activist and homeless advocate for decades now. I take pics and videos of scenes and people on the streets, and write true stories about them. Or sometimes fairytales.” He laughed when I told him the title of my series: “True Tales from the Castro: Eat Your Heart Out, Armistead.”
“My latest in this collection are my Brindlekin Tales,” I bragged, “and they’re all about my homeless friend of more than twelve years, and the two dogs he adopted almost 23 months back.”
As I handed him my card, three burly queers guffawing and punching each other like rowdy sailors, suddenly stopped right before us. One fell hard on the sidewalk. They were obviously soused, and roughhousing in good sport. Yet their wealthy queer privilege was evident in their so crudely disrupting my visit with Roberto, who quickly packed up his items to get away from them…and I did likewise by returning hovel poste-haste.
At any rate, Roberto appears to be most congenial, and I look forward to seeing him again, in the very near future. And I hope that OTHER artist shows up as well, some time soon, so I can also take his pic, and hold a likely enjoyable conversation.
Who knows, maybe this is a new trend, where LGBTQ artists start materializing below my window, day after day, week after week, until it turns into a full-blown outdoor exhibit!
– Zeke K-Holmes
Texting with Wattson – 11/14/21
Subject: O. Henry/Runyon Fairytales CAN Come True…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 16, 2021 8:50 PM
…they can happen to you, when you’re old and in the Castro where you’ve been a dedicated gay activist and homeless advocate for decades!
Just reflecting upon the extraordinary events now spicing up my world. My wish to portray the LGBT underbelly with both an O. Henry and Damon Runyon spin, appears to be manifesting in spades. The humble lives of the poor (with their own dreams and struggles) echo the former author, and the presence of kindhearted thieves and drug lords, the latter. I’m sure, however, that my sporadic glimpses of this homeless underworld–as fascinating and inspiring they may be–are but the tip of the nipple of the belly of this beast!
This coming together of sweet encounters, these new realizations of hope, friendship and puppy devotion have placed me solid in the center of Athena’s bold spirit (or Buddha’s benevolence, or Christ’s heart, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s savory sauce, whatever works for you). This morning when I stepped into Rosenberg’s for my usual cup o’ java, Felix gave me his usual greeting, “How are you today, boss?” I responded with one of my rote replies, “Oh, hangin’ in there, thanks.”
Then grabbed the small, open carton of Half-N-Half from the fridge, poured some into a paper cup I plucked from an upside-down stack that tilted precariously towards the coffee pot, added two packets of Sweet’N Low that I brought with me, and finally submerged it all in that steaming, golden brown elixir so many of us just can’t do without…almost all the way to the lip, but not quite. For I had to leave room for a half teaspoon of raw honey from my own pantry, once I returned hovel.
As I approached the counter to pay up, Felix asked me once again, that same question. With that, I broke out of my post-dawn haziness, looked directly into his dark-gray eyes and declared:
“Amazing! Things are going full blast INCREDIBLE for me anymore!” To which I appended this afterthought only seconds later before exiting into the foggy, chill morn:
“I don’t think I’ll ever have a bad day again!”
But now that I think about it with a touch of hindsight, I wonder if that was NOT the best thing to say, as maybe it came off as snarky, or sarcastic. After all, Wattson, who on earth would say such a thing, except perhaps a serial killer just before his next bloody rampage?
Be that as it may, the deed has been done, I can’t take it back. I hope Felix will forgive me, and allow me to continue patronizing what’s been my fine little shop around the corner since before the Stone Age.
I should note here that yesterday morning, I humorously replied to Felix’s usual greeting with something similar, though a tad toned down:
“Oh just great. Everything’s going my way!”
So maybe he got a kick out of that, and was nudging for another clever repartee. I doubt I disappointed him.
[Here I have paused my writing, to stroll about outside, it’s such a lovely and peaceful day. Will resume in a half hour.]
Okay, I’m back. A group from Boulevard Joe’s little community was enjoying the afternoon right behind my building. Here’s a pic:
The only person standing up is Roberto, the artist I met two nights ago. The woman in that pic, with the orange color along her shoulder, has been living on our streets for well over a decade. Don’t know her name (actually, I forgot) but I DO know she’s an authentic Inuit from Alaska. Her skin has that smoky-brown hue typical of her people.
I also shot a quick, 2-part video of them, first from right below the hallway window, then outside where I stood on the corner. In the first segment you’ll see a medium-size dog that I suspect is Lucky & Flaco’s mother, based on her rich, brindle coat. She’s very sweet, but NOT pretty. It was mating her with a dachshund that made my brindlekin so superbly cute. Though Lucky’s butch physique, especially that generous rump, suggests a THIRD dog in the lineage…so maybe that mongrel out there is another offspring, rather than my brindlekin’s bearer. The music in the video comes off MUCH louder than it actually was in real life:
After shooting the pic and videos, I looped around a two-block portion of the Castro and, on my way to pick up a half-gallon of milk from 17th & Noe, I came across a box filled with junk, but with two items worth snatching up:
First, a box of Dutch chocolates. Don’t know if they’re REALLY from The Netherlands, but that is what the pictures on the wrappings suggest. They could be from Holland, New York for all I know.
The label on the back is too faded to reveal their source. All that I can make out are the last ten characters of the heading: “PEN & MOLENS.”
I am, right now, nibbling on a rectangle: tastes and looks fresh, even though it’s obviously not. A pleasant, twilight repast with a small glass of milk while composing this missive.
Second, amid the junk I also found a batch of about sixty plain, white card-size envelopes that I really don’t need, but thought they’d be nice to hold Deek’s biweekly allowance. Something to present him with, that’s a bit formal…like a REAL paycheck.
In retrospect, I think Jeddi’s promise to talk to Deek and get him straightened out regarding the pups, is too good to be true. Not that he wouldn’t follow up in one or two ways, but he was just too slick for credibility. Boulevard Joe warned me about his devious nature. However, how did he know to push all the right buttons, even though I’ve never met him before…well at least not CONVERSED before? A likely answer is that HE knew about ME in some depth, before this encounter. But how could THAT be? I conjecture further:
MANY among the homeless know myriad details about me, because they are SHAMANS for whom their duties include watching over yours truly. But part of the fun is not letting me in on the secret, rather, to let me discover this myself, a revelation of sorts. So it is not that Jeddi was trying to deceive me for selfish gain, but tossed me a CLUE as to his bodhisattva nature…knowing I’d figure that out a little further down the line. Boulevard Joe’s negative assessment could just as easily have been a ploy at my expense. For as I told you in a previous email, shamans have strange ways, and one of them is to lie about someone, as a way of testing my integrity, as well as my level of consciousness.
There is definitely more interaction between myself and the local street people, in these past weeks. And not because I’ve gone out of my way, but because increasing numbers of them have approached me, or shown up when Deek is visiting me, or begun to loiter below my window in greater numbers and more often. The pups have ALSO drawn them to me, in my poopy walks…but that is a recent thing, even though I’ve been strolling around the ‘hood with them for MONTHS now, a whole YEAR in fact. And now Jared, a homeless friend from the past, has also begun showing up in my world once more.
It is as if they are preparing for some remarkable event, of which I am the focus. A surprise party so to speak, though one with far more IMPORT and DESTINY than something so mundane as a birthday party. With the playwright of these scenarios still standing in the wings, but ALSO making brief appearances in my life with some frequency, after having vanished for months. Who, of course, is Arwyn.
No need for me to describe the particulars of this conjectured event, seeing as I’ve already DONE that so many times in my prophetic ponderings. At this point were I to do so, it would be like bludgeoning a defunct Equidae! And you KNOW how much I love animals to ever consider doing THAT.
The brindlekin’s popularity is also on the rise: yet another of my dreams, that they become the mascots of the Castro. The glorious result of which would be to form a wider circle of protection and care for them, that goes well beyond my quite limited reach.
Judging by the way things are coming together, I’d say this stupendous event is soon due to blossom. And the timing appears to be aimed at the upcoming Exmass season. Which, BTW, can still be a brindlekin holiday, in spite of Brindlefest now established a day before Halloween. We can call this OTHER doggy celebration BrindleMASS, and come up with distinctively different ways to honor Canis familiaris, than we would for Brindlefest. But I’ll leave the logistics up to my admirers, rather than exhaust myself musing over the technicalities.
I expect Deek will show up tomorrow as it’s payday again. Hopefully, the pups will stay with me at least overnight.
– Zeke K-Holmes
Subject: This is Alex…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 17, 2021 12:47 AM
…the other street artist who started showing up below my window about two weeks ago. Here is a pic of him as viewed from two flights up:
And here he is at ground level:
I hardly got a chance to speak with him, due to sudden disruptions, just like with Roberto. What is it with these jerks who show up out of the blue and break up my conversation? This has been going on for decades, here in the Castro. It’s as if some nasty queens say, “Oh, there’s Zeke, let’s fuck with him.” Deek was in the mix this time, showing up just when I stepped downstairs to photograph Alex. So that cut everything even shorter.
At any rate, he’s another friendly guy, like Roberto, and is open to a video interview some time soon. All the art on display is his own. I think he’s on the streets because he lost his job seven months ago.
Good news: the pups are with me tonight. Deek collected his $40 Thursday stipend, so I hope this means he won’t show up again for two days….that he’ll go partying with the money and will zone out for awhile. I also asked him about the shoplifting scene:
“So, what are the homeless doing, now that shoplifting is all the rage, and no one gets arrested?”
He acted surprised: “What are you talking about?”
“What I mean is, do some of the street people swipe stuff off the shelves and resell them on the streets?”
“Uh, yeah, but it’s mostly tweekers and crack heads who do that,” he answered. Then queried: “Why are you asking me this?”
“Because Boulevard Joe is not here right now, and you are,” I retorted.
“Oh,” was his brief reply.
“Another question, Deek,” I prodded further: “Isn’t it also possible to buy the shoplifted goods for cheap from someone ELSE who stole them…then resell them on the streets? Not as profitable, but another person did all the grunt work for you.”
“Yeah, that’ll work, too,” he answered.
“Hmm, I guess I could do my OWN in-store looting if I want, right?” I mused aloud. “After all they’re not gonna stop me just because I’m NOT an addict.”
“I suppose you could,” he replied in a slightly perturbed fashion, as if wondering what I’m driving at.
“Well that’s quite interesting, Deek,” I acknowledged. “Thanks for filling me in.”
I then returned hovel with the doggies who were absolutely DEEEE-lighted to visit me once more. Deek, meanwhile, remained right outside for ten or so minutes more, sorting through his huge pile of recent possessions, figuring out how he should arrange it all to make everything FIT. He had MORE than enough to fill THREE carts. Some time during the sorting, he called up and asked for a large trash bag, which I summarily tossed out the window.
After I got the pups settled in, and they fell asleep in short order, I peered out the window one more time, to see if their master were still around. Nope, he had vanished to parts unknown by then. And here’s a pic I just took of my angels; Lucky had returned to bed just a second ago, after slurping from the water bowl:
– Zeke K-Holmes
P.S.: While I was still outside and petting the mutts, Deek mumbled on for a minute or two about how he knows how to raise dogs, he’s been doing that all his life, etc. I have no idea where THAT came from, so I just ignored him, not wanting to start an argument when I was THAT close to bringing the pooches inside. Though I would’ve LOVED to tell him that the very idea ALONE of planning to make Flaco pregnant while still on the streets blows away ANY claim he may have about properly caring for man’s best friend. I have a hunch that this mumbly outburst was due to a certain someone who may have confronted him recently about taking better care of the dogs. Jeddi, perhaps? No matter what, I sense we’re finally out of the danger zone when it comes to Flaco & Lucky’s safety.
Subject: Deek’s Temporary Storage Lot
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 17, 2021 10:34 AM
Apparently, Deek had accumulated so many NEW possessions last night, he left a third of it parked behind my building…a convenient holding zone until he returns to pick it up. I couldn’t help but notice them on my way to Rosenberg’s…who wouldn’t? Two pics…first one side, then the other:
Why so many blankets/bedcovers, jackets and other cloth items, Wattson? Perhaps he plans to hand them out to his street-wise compatriots? They certainly don’t look salable. This arrangement doesn’t always work, because if he shows up too late, it will all be vanquished by our efficient city scavengers, San Francisco Public Works, who are quite familiar with these mounds of clutter appearing out of the blue…dumped by both housed and unhoused alike. One can forgive the latter, but the former?
– Zeke K-Holmes