The FINAL Final Chapter (part 7)

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18g]

Texting with Wattson: 12/31/21 – 1/1/22

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Subject: Best New Year’s Eve Ever!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 12:27 PM

“Yo! Yo! Yo! Yo! Yo!” Deek’s call up my window awakened me from a cozy sleep: 5:30 AM. He wants the pups to stay with me over New Year’s Eve, because fireworks scare them. Filipino Jay was there, too; he greeted me with a broad, jocular smile as I opened the front gate to grab onto the leashes and bring the dogs inside. They wished me a happy new year, as I did in return…then rushed back upstairs with Flaco & Lucky racing ahead up the steps and into my hovel. Flaco ran right into the new box I procured off Noe Street last night, and began scratching away like mad before settling down inside it. The carton is larger than any previous one, like a little dacha all their own (see pic). Lucky, however, ran back out of the room to await my arrival a few seconds later.

I’m glad to see F. Jay hanging out with Deek these days, after disappearing from the Castro for almost a year. He’s an excellent ally on my behalf, who really tore into Deek last week, for talking smartass to yours truly in front of him…gave him QUITE a scare! Which he WELL deserved, and I thanked Jay for that a few minutes later (around the corner away from Deek’s ear.) He had given me a sly wink as he raked Deek over the coals, that I much appreciated.

The brindlekin were warm to my touch, and showed no sign at all of overexposure to the cold…indicating that Deek, one way or another, took good care of them. I was SO happy to have them in my arms last night, Wattson! And they seemed EQUALLY glad to be here, as they wagged their tails with delight and showered me with kisses. They then burrowed under the blankets and went right off to doggy dreamland…and I soon followed.

It is now 11:40 AM next day, they’ve already been fed (their appetite is superb) and I enjoyed my Rosenberg java, as usual. During which time I pondered over the events of the last few days, and concluded:

What an amazing script Arwyn has composed (again)! Filipino Jay arriving on the scene once more, only this time to play a VITAL role in this present act, rather than a minor character in a previous one. And leave it to my quasi-fascist neighbor to insert himself amid the drama for that cheesy soap opera embellishment: coughing a death rattle right there in the lobby, slumped against the mailboxes for support as I quickly scampered by to bring a hot cup of blueberry tea for Deek, huddled outside by the ATMS while the mutts hunkered down in the folds of the sleeping bag I gave them moments ago. And on top of all this: dealing with bedbug prep along with cold, nasty rain pouring down for that extra sting of melodrama. Through all of Exmass and beyond!

I told you the holiday season is ALWAYS my worst time of the year, good physician! And so it proves to be, once again.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: I think your mother would’ve loved this article:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 2:37 PM

> I do own the rights. But that doesn’t stop anyone from selling individual books. What they can’t do, but which I could, is get the books reissued or made into movies, etc.

I hope that happens…somehow, some way. I had my first dream ever with you in it, last night. You were accompanied by a female companion, though I don’t knew who she was, because kind of hazy, though warm and amiable as you were too. As I now dwell upon it fully awake, I like to think that was your mother.

I was introducing you to my literally “underground” community, that occupied a spacious, basement level of a towering highrise. Composed of many large rooms filled with artwork, books and all kinds of things you’d expect to find in a shared residence of talented, free-thinking people. In the first room I brought you to, there were around fifteen folks busy with their projects, or amicably chatting away about this or that fascinating topic. They turned their heads to greet me, and eagerly shook your hand, and that of your colleague.

There were at least several doorways in this secret complex, through which one could enter or exit unbeknownst to the “normals,” a.k.a. “outsiders”…including those who either work or live in the above-ground levels, or were passing through for whatever purpose (including tourists for the magnificent view from the topmost height). Some exits allow you to enter the ground level of this building, without anyone suspecting you arose from the subterranean realm.

You could then take a special elevator directly to the 40th floor, and enjoy the view outside all the way up, because it was made of glass, as were the walls of each floor. It was quite a thrilling uplift thanks to impressive speed and non-stop lift from bottom to top, and back again. Of course, there were OTHER elevators that stopped at each level, but they were not for the thrill-seekers among us. There were also restaurants, coffeehouses and shops contained in this astounding edifice, that we hypogean denizens were free to visit, in the guise of normals.

Nothing else happened in this dream, as I woke up feeling most pleased to recall it, and noticed the time was 1:42 AM. I soon returned to slumberland, hoping this particular dream would continue, but it did not. Maybe tonight, or another night soon.

What intrigues me about this sleeping fantasy, is that I’ve dreamt of this skyscraper a few times before, some years back. I was not part of some underground collaboration, though…I’d just go there by myself and ride the elevator a bunch of times, as well as explore hidden areas via the always-empty emergency corridors and stairways. I’d never see anything interesting, or meet anyone…it was just exploring vacant spaces. Well, one enormous room contained a myriad of pipes, blinking lights, humming engines and machinery which, I presume, were the organs and brains of this behemoth of concrete, steel, wires and glass. This dream that occurred about three times across a year or two, always gave me a privileged sense of freedom that I alone was privy to. Those around me in the elevator or anywhere else (such as the grand lobby on the second floor) seemed to not be aware of my presence. Which didn’t bother me in the least. Maybe I was a ghost.

In the midst of writing this missive, Deek showed up to collect a small speaker and smartphone. I couldn’t find a way to charge the speaker, since the only slot I found did not match either the standard USB plug, or the C. Turned out there was a little rubber flap that I missed WITH a C port, and that other slot was for something else. Deek of course got rather upset, but I reminded him I was half asleep when he brought it to me (along with the pups) and I’m an old man, so give me a break.

He griped about how my electricity was “slow,” and it’ll take HOURS to charge…and that now his day was RUINED. I told him that’s not true at all (re. the charge time AND his day), that’s it’s all in his mind, and he could flip that around in an instant, instead of acting like a brat.

He finally calmed down and asked me to bring the pups to him for the day…he’ll return with them towards evening, to keep them sheltered while New Year fireworks go off around the bay. I did just that, after first plugging in the speaker to see its little red light glow. I also charged a pair of bluetooth earbuds that I don’t use anymore, and thought it would be a nice gesture to make up for my faux pas.

With the doggies, I brought him a cup of blueberry tea and two cigarettes. He was by then very much calmed down, camped out by the lamppost on the corner. He opened a suitcase into which he placed each pup to curl up in.

“It’s a small speaker, Deek,” I told him, “so two hours’ charge should be more than enough. And I’m also gonna give you some Bluetooth earbuds that I forgot all about, but found just last night. I’m charging them right now, too…so they can be a backup once your speaker runs down.”

Having arrived at this amicable result, I then told him how WELL he handled this rainy, cold Exmass and my need to prep my room and keep the dogs away in spite of this despicable weather:

“I’m VERY impressed, Deek. Most street people are in a bad mood during the holidays, especially when the weather sucks…and I don’t blame them one bit.”

He smiled then, shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Well, I self medicate. That helps a bit.”

“Whatever it takes,” I chuckled at his quip. “I usually prefer to keep to myself during Christmas time, but I don’t anymore, for the sake of you AND the dogs.”

So now I’m back hovel and completing this, my latest missive. I just peered outside to see that Flaco is now in the shade, while Lucky remains resting in the sunlight. Why doesn’t he just slide the suitcase over a few inches? I think it would be better to have kept them here, to continue their sorely needed rest in warmth and comfort. He hasn’t even thrown some cover on them, to reduce the impact of the outdoor chill. Deek is a constant challenge.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Best New Year’s Eve Ever!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 3:02 PM

> That’s great!! You have them for the next 24 hours or so!! And you can protect them from noise, commotion, drunken revelers and the like.

Well, he has them back outside again, there by the bus stop. I just sent you an email about it. I will add this, though:

When he got PO’d that I neglected to charge the speaker, he demanded the dogs back. Had the speaker been properly juiced, this wouldn’t have happened. Just a moment ago, he collected the finally-charged speaker, the earbuds, along with a disposable razor and a large garbage bag. I was hoping he’d return the pooches, but no.

I’m pretty sure he’ll bring them back this evening. However, he indicated he may have another place to take them, where they’ll be inside and warm. Okay by me, I just hope he’s not making this up.

> That pic of the little paws happily ensconced in the box warms my heart.

Yes, it is a charming little pic. Something about those paws…

> I hate the “holidays,” too. Wistful memories, reminder of losses and all of that rubbish, plus everyone acting like morons.

That’s because they ARE morons…this Exmass hypocrisy just makes their idiocy stand out in sharper contrast. If only we really DID have that subterranean collective of my dreams to slink off to! Deek and pups would have to join us, as well.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Best New Year’s Eve Ever!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 5:20 PM

> Superb dream!

Thank you…dreaming is my greatest asset, whether by day or by night. That was my fourth skyscraper dream, and my very first dream with YOU in it. Let’s get Jungian all over it:

The subterranean region is, of course, the hidden part of the mind: the subconscious. And the skyscraper represents the ever increasing levels of consciousness all the way to the absolute top. I can freely transport myself from its very depths to its ultimate height…in complete safety and pleasure.

You are my most powerful ally, so it makes sense that I welcome you into my amazing universe, at last. And I presume your mother is YOUR most powerful ally, so of course she’d be there with you. These different levels of awareness are also akin to Buddhist theology. I have no enemies on ANY level, other than those who play such a role for the sake of adventure, and nothing more. This all suggests an achieved mind, where every compartment is “enlightened,” or at least, free of dark influences of any kind.

> I have a similar one from time to time, where I discover a wing of vast rooms attached to my house that I just never realized were there. The rooms are packed with arcane, beautiful treasures, which I wander among and examine in minute detail…the feeling is always: Damn! This was here the whole time, and I’m only now discovering it!!

Again, the Jungian spin: your house is your mind, as the skyscraper is in MY dream. So of COURSE it would include other rooms, other dimensions beyond these immediate walls. According to Jung, everything and everyone in your dreams is an aspect of your own mind. SYMBOLS of various aspects of your thoughts and makeup. Though sometimes someone or someTHING can stand outside of that, and actually be a psychic projection, connection or message. If an item or person or scenario stands out within a dream, you should meditate upon that, ask what it means to you, as a symbol can be entirely PERSONAL, as well as culturally, or even universally, shared.

That’s just a summary description, though I am now reminded of Timothy Dipalma’s curious telling of many years back when he still lived here in SF, that there is a teleportation tunnel leading from somewhere in my building, to somewhere in Mendocino, and vice versa. Perhaps there is just such a door to that tunnel in my skyscraper, and in your ethereal house. Or IOW:

“It’s all in the mind!’ – John Lennon

or

“Thinking is the best way to travel.” – The Moody Blues

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Aaaaaand…he just showed up a few moments ago…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 8:19 PM

…not just with the pups to bring hovel, but with a BUTT LOAD of groceries from some free pantry. “I had to wait in line a long while to get you this,” he bragged. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I don’t care for their crappy produce donations, including that quart of Mazola oil and large bag of white rice! Instead, I thanked him profusely, that I’ll be doing a lot of cooking tomorrow, to make veggie stew and freeze most of it for later consumption. How could I tell him otherwise, it was such a thoughtful deed!

Honestly, Wattson, I just dumped all the “fresh” produce into the compost bin downstairs, along with the rice. Broccoli, carrots, tiny apples, two hard-as-a-rock pears, and a large head of white cabbage…all of which have seen better days. The ONLY thing I kept is a 2-pound bag of “Pappy’s Pantry” lentils…though I’ll probably discard them as well. He also had a whole, plucked chicken to offer me, but I definitely turned that down…he knows I don’t eat any meat.

“Guess I’ll just leave it here,” he said, and deposited the raw carcass in its plastic bag right there by the curb, and took off. It’s now oozing all over the sidewalk, so I’ll go downstairs in a minute to dump it into the trashcan out front. And wash my hands THOROUGHLY once upstairs again.

I hope, Wattson, my faux-grateful acceptance of these items doesn’t start a trend! That would be un petit cauchemar! Can you imagine my dumping loads of inferior produce into the basement bin, filling up half its capacity each month? I’ll have to find SOME kindhearted way to discourage him from ever doing that again! The bag was a hefty 20+ pounds, which he lugged all the way from somewhere in the Mission, to my home. It was a WONDERFUL gesture, nonetheless. So if you have any ideas on how to politely put the kibosh on this, I’m all ears! He also offered me two tins of tuna fish, which I likewise turned down ’cause, you know, I’m a vegetarian.

The point here is: I HAVE FOOD STAMPS. So my stomachic needs are already well satiated. WithOUT having to resort to shoddy, tough produce and crappy stuff in bottles, bags or cans that I wouldn’t feed to a hyena!

What a remarkable New Years’ Eve this has turned out to be, what with the doggies back hovel, and Deek’s outstanding gift of food that he went WAY out of his way to bring me! Goes without saying, but:

He also returned the small speaker, the smartphone and the earbuds for me to charge, until later tonight when he returns to collect them. Meanwhile, time to step out and dispose of that dead chicken…give it a proper burial, so to speak. Then, time to feed the brindlekin, already zonked out on the bedding!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Aaaaaand…he just showed up a few moments ago…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 1, 2022 12:02 AM

> Great, great story.

Yes indeed! It’s a rather MEATY tale, albeit a tad FISHY.

> Will he be leaving the pups all night?

Yes! He even put a camouflage T-shirt on Lucky, said that Flaco had one, too, but she kept yanking it off. As if such a thin fabric suffices in this deathly chill weather! Flaco never had a problem wearing a REAL jacket or sweater, nor did Lucky. I don’t get it, but I just bit my lip instead of saying they need jackets, not T-shirts.

> You did the right thing, accepting the “food” graciously. If he does it again, just tell him you don’t have a proper refrigerator and that you can’t have that much food around all at once, because it’ll spoil and go to waste.

I already took care of it with kindly finesse, when he returned for his gizmos:

“That was a VERY nice thing you did for me, Deek…lugging such a heavy load of produce so far, for my sake. But I have food stamps, so hunger is not an issue in my world. And I hate to see you go through all that trouble for something I don’t really need. But it’s the thought that counts, and God smiles upon you for this one!”

That was it; he departed on his bike, and I returned hovel, glad he didn’t ask the obvious question:

“Where did that chicken go?”

Had he done so, I would’ve spouted the obvious bon mot:

“It crossed the road to get to the other side.”

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Horrific!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 1, 2022 8:19 PM

Deek collected the canines three hours ago, then just returned to pick up the recharged devices. Before proceeding downstairs I left the door ajar, assuming he’s come to his senses, and wants me to shelter the dogs over this deadly cold night. But no, he just wanted his gizmos, then took off.

But before he did that, he pulled yet another mind fuck. Flaco had slipped out of her collar in her eagerness to get to the front gate, from where we stood ten yards away. So I called to her with collar in hand, “Come here, La Flaca!”

I call her that in Deek’s presence these days, because he blew up in my face several months back: “Her name’s LA FLACA, not Flaco!” Even though he’s been calling her Flaco for almost a year since adopting her. But when he told me her name stands for “skinny girl,” I explained the correct term in Spanish is “la flaca” for a female, and “el flaco” for a male. Then, some weeks later he demanded I call her La Flaca…though he still called her Flaco most of the time (and still does). And that he got the “la flaca” idea from me in the first place!

So tonight, after calling to the sweetie, he snarled at me: “Her name’s La Flaca, not Flaco!”

I told him I DID call her that, even though HE still calls her Flaco most of the time…and HAS called her that from day one until the recent past.

“Never mind,” he said, then took off with the pups towards Noe Street.

Now you watch, good physician, he’s still gonna call her Flaco in front of me. And if I remind him it’s “La Flaca” he’ll come up with some other bullshit.

Anyway, I hope he keeps the pups warm through the night, though I have my misgivings. For damned good reason. I already told him this afternoon that the temperature’s gonna plummet to 38 degrees later tonight! But I think his frustration over my keeping the dogs for a solid week recently, has caused his juvenile mind to upwell with resentment. I’m just trying to protect the pups during this prolonged, horrific cold snap!

Which I’ve already explained to him quite clearly, TWICE. Those poor, darling doggies!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Horrific!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 2, 2022 12:16 PM

> As my mother would have said: Isn’t that the limit…
>
> Surly jerk.

And he STILL hasn’t returned…38 degrees outside at 8 AM! He’ll probably wait until tomorrow morning, because he knows that’s when he’ll get his next payment. I’m thinking he’ll only bring them over when it rains, and not take into consideration the dangerously cold temps. Idiot. They are BOTH emergency conditions.

I now have two spare sleeping bags, still sealed in their factory wrapping. Which makes me wonder: when I give him one in such pristine condition, will he sell it instead of keeping the pups warm each night?

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Horrific!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 2, 2022 1:59 PM

> Probably.

The two kids’ sleeping bags he kept, but they were soaking wet two days later, then gone. The adult sleeping bag he did use to keep himself and the pups warm overnight…I know because he slept by the ATMs below me. Did he sell that rainbow comforter, claiming he got rid of it because it was bug infested (which it was not)? Maybe Filipino Jay knows what’s really going on…he’s been hangin’ out with Deek quite often these past weeks, and declared some days ago he’ll remain an ally with me, even if he falls out with Deek. AND he doesn’t touch meth or other hard drugs, just tobacco and pot.

At any rate, I checked out a website re. dogs and chilly weather…and this cold snap is borderline safe for pups of Flaco & Lucky’s type. THAT was good to hear.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Doggies Arrived Post-Midnight!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 2, 2022 10:35 AM

I was nodding off beneath my comforters around 12:20 AM, in the middle of a flick called “Red Rocket,” when I heard Deek softly call “Yo!” up to my window, several times. So I got up, donned the slippers he bought me for Exmass, and rushed on down…leaving my door ajar for the pups.

He was nicely dressed in warm clothes, including a jacket and watch cap…and the pooches stood on their hind legs and barked away at me with joyful spirits, the moment they saw me. Deek was accompanied by two others; they were in a jovial mood. Soon as he dropped the leashes to the ground and I opened the gate, the mutts crashed into the heavy doors that blocked their further entrance, desperately trying to force their way through, but to no avail.

Upon swinging the doors open, another resident needed in, so I flung the gate behind me while the brindlekin dashed upstairs without a moment’s pause…because Flaco had pulled herself free of the collar and, since she did that, I released her brother. Normally, I*d hold onto their leashes until arriving halfway up the first level of stairs, out of sight of the lobby camera. But things were happening so fast, and I didn’t want them to confront the other person entering with their excited barks.

But the dogs were surprisingly quiet as they rushed inside; they paid no attention to anyone or anything, in their zeal to enter their little sanctuary. And the resident stepping in behind me is a good guy anyway, who loves the pups and is amused when they bark at him. He’s a large black dude around 35, a bouncer at the gay bar up the block. His good manners and sweet disposition seem at odds with his present occupation.

The dogs were NOT shivering, and they were warm to the touch, so it looks like Deek took good care of them. We three had a lovely time in slumberland, and they ate a hearty breakfast just an hour ago.

NOW GET THIS, WATTSON:

I JUST received a voicemail from Kevin, that my neighbor reported bedbugs in his apartment…so he’d like to treat my room this Wednesday! I left HIM a voicemail to remind him my room was treated only five days ago, so isn’t that premature, or redundant? Some of the bugs probably scattered to THEIR unit as a result of treating my room. So isn’t it more sensible to just treat THEIR place? Perhaps he should talk to the exterminator about this.

I finished by telling him I assume he wants to go through with it, so I’m prepared to heat treat all my stuff again, tomorrow, and I’ll be ready by 2 PM Wednesday. Now, I’m waiting for his response. Jeez! And we’re gonna have MORE rain today and tomorrow.

So now I have to bag and seal all my throw rugs once more, along with the comforters. I won’t heat treat EVERYTHING tomorrow, but keep the excess items bagged until I treat them some day AFTER this next (pointless) extermination. Good thing I have those two EXTRA sleeping bags to ease the labor.

I’M NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE A NEAT, COZY ROOM IF MY LIFE DEPENDED ON IT!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Doggies Arrived Post-Midnight!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 2, 2022 2:02 PM

> That’s a BIG relief!

Indeed. Especially to see he kept the pups warm and dry. I will make SURE to commend him.

> Oh, man, that’s outrageous!!

I can handle it, and the nearest laundromat now stays open until 7 PM, as of New Years’ Day. Instead of 3 PM due to pandemic crisis. And Kevin was VERY apologetic about putting me through this again, so soon. He called back, said this was the exterminator’s call, not his. Not one whit of griping came from my end, I just said,”Well then, my room will be ready by 2 PM Wednesday.”

But I’m worried if this will make Deek go over the deep end, and be afraid to have the pups stay with me any more. He might think I’m making this up, just to fuck with him, for all the difficulties he’s tossed my way. He doesn’t understand, or appreciate, the hardships I go through in this building, which have been MORE extreme because of the doggies…innocent as they are.

I HATE putting Deek through this a second time, just seven days later. He’s been a champ through the miserable ordeal over the holiday season. Though I’m surprised he hasn’t shown up yet, as he knows $60 is waiting for him as of today!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: I repeat: Exmass time has ALWAYS been the most miserable time of year for THIS bedraggled pilgrim!


Subject: Deek finally showed up around 4 PM…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 4, 2022 10:44 PM

…but didn’t pick up the pups. It’s now after 10, so I presume they’ll be staying the entire night. I gave him his $60 Sunday allowance, which was delayed because it fell on the 2nd this month, and my Social Security deposit doesn’t happen until the 3rd. When I handed him the moolah, I told him I’m surprised he didn’t show up yesterday (Monday), because he knew there was cash waiting for him. He had the nerve to respond:

“I was hoping for Thursday’s payment, too, since I usually ask for it on Wednesday, and that’s tomorrow.”

“No, you’re not getting a hundred dollars,” I replied, “I don’t work that way. You can pick up your $40 on Thursday, it’s only two days from now…you don’t need any advance payment by tomorrow.”

I’m trying to get him back into the Sunday-Thursday pattern, to keep him from trying to squeeze extra money from me towards the end of the month. But I’m sure THAT won’t last for more than another week…he’ll be back asking for his Sunday payment on Saturday, and his Thursday sum on Wednesday or earlier. Then, as the end of the month draws near, he’ll have to wait an entire week for his next payday, because I refuse to cross over any advance payment into the next month.

I told him to show up tomorrow by 11 AM, so I can finish prepping my room. Again, I go through the stress of worrying the asshole may NOT follow through. Once the cold weather ceases, he’d better not make that a habit, as it’s best to not have the doggies with me the day before treatment occurs, so I can get everything prepped without needless pressure. But he doesn’t give a flying fuck about how traumatic bedbug prep is for me, he thinks because I remain calm about it, that it’s really no big deal.

He showed up again, three hours later to pick up his gizmos. Some crazy dude was seated on the curb across from the ATM nook, where Deek was hanging out. I hate when he camps around my building, because he keeps hollering up to me for this and that, and I have to go up and down the stairs for his trivial needs several times or more before it finally hits midnight. And he does this in front of other street people, who see him call up to me, and my peeking out the window to find out what he wants next.

So I told Deek tonight to stop doing that when others are around. I don’t need some nut job parroting him, and calling up my window as well. Deek said okay, but the reality is, he’s been doing this more frequently the past few months, though I’ve told him repeatedly to cease. So I know it’s just gonna go on, and get worse, as he doesn’t listen, or respect my own limits. I think he has a sadistic streak, which doesn’t help.

He needed a USB cord to connect his smart phone to a battery pack. But he hollered up to me a minute after I brought it down, claiming it doesn’t work. Sure enough it didn’t, so I ran back upstairs to get a different one…which didn’t work, either. Again, I ran upstairs with the entire package of spare cord I’ve stored, and we tried four more. Nothing.

“You broke it!” he accused.

I told him no, those cords are perfectly good, and the smartphone charged perfectly fine at my place. He then demanded maybe a longer cord will work (the ones he tried were two to six inches in length). I told him that’s ridiculous, then he told me to bring down the cord I used to charge his smartphone, which happened to be two feet in length. Again, I ran upstairs to retrieve it. Soon as I handed it to him, he exclaimed:

“Aha! This is a long cord, it’ll work now,” he prematurely concluded.

I told him I doubt it and, sure enough, I was correct. And that I have no idea what the problem is, but he needs to stop blaming me whenever things don’t go his way. I did NOT break it.

“Boy, I’d be in a mental institution if I blew my cork every time shit happened to me!” I elaborated. “I get dealt tons of crap each month, but you never see ME exploding like a time bomb whenever things turn sour.”

He calmed down after that, and decided to take off, not telling me whether or not he’ll be back for the dogs later tonight.

I saw Filipino Jay again, last night, and discussed with him how Deek is a very DIFFICULT friend to have. He said he’ll have a talk with him, about things like putting tags on the pups with my phone number, and ceasing his temper tantrums in public, as they could easily bring harm to his dogs, if he fucks with the wrong person.

That’s it for now, Wattson…time to hit the hay. Tomorrow, once more I will be cast onto the streets for half the day. But this time around I’ll have money to eat out, and not be stuck outside in the cold rain.

– Zeke K-Holmes


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Subject: This is Disappointing!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 10:57 AM

I’m glad Deek showed up early, around 10 AM, to pick up the doggies, so I can proceed with prepping my room for the exterminator. But here he is with them now: nothing to rest on except the concrete surface (see the enclosed pics). There is also this 6-second video:

He has NO cart, just his bicycle and a large bag containing whatever. I was about to feed them when he arrived, and he didn’t want to wait the five minutes or so for me to do that upstairs. So instead I brought the food outside in two, disposable plastic bowls…plus water. I didn’t want them to go hungry, because even though I brought him a supply of dog vittles, his nodding off like this may mean HOURS before they get to eat anything.

Of course, Deek also asked for his Thursday allowance, so I had to march on down to the bank to get THAT, as well. I’d rather not argue with him to wait one more day; he can be a real pest, as you know. And he DID show up, not just on time, but well before that…so kudos!

I just heard someone talking outside, so peeked out my window to see Filipino Jay with his own bike and baggage, talking with him. He was holding one of the lids I used to seal the plastic bowl containing water. Atop it was obviously some bud…meaning he just bought some pot from Deek (or traded). Jay then disappeared into the alcove, so I’ll leave well enough alone, though I HAD thought to bring down another sleeping bag. I’m just glad Jay is with them for now.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: This is Disappointing:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 12:56 PM

> I can see a jacket on one of the pups, can’t see if the other is also wearing one.

That’s not a jacket, it’s a thin, baby T-shirt. He hasn’t bothered to buy (or get) a jacket for the pups for almost a year, now. He even denies he’s ever done that, I’m just fucking with him.

> But their poor little butts and bellies must rest on the cold concrete.

Right. But on a good note, Deek left shortly after Filipino Jay showed up. So they were only sitting on concrete for ten minutes or so. I have pointed out to him now and then, that they shouldn’t be sitting directly on the sidewalk ’cause it’s dirty and cold, and it WILL give them arthritis in the long run. Not that he has any concept of arthritis and what causes it (or what “in the long run” implies, as he is not particularly forward-thinking). IOW he’s basically illiterate. So it really had no impact on him. He either starts screaming at me, or calmly replies like so:

“We’ll just be here a short while.”

As if it weren’t easy enough for him to dig up something comfy for them to rest on, even just a cardboard sheet…ANY time he parks himself and the dogs, no matter how short a time.

> He sure has you running up and down the stairs lately…

I think he likes to show off to his street buddies that he has some old man (an “uncle”) at his beck and call. Or even when they’re NOT around, as he likes to play “boss.” Like I’m his Stepin Fetchit. He knows he has me around his little finger because of the pooches.

I’ve told him numerous times to stop calling up to my window when any of his street buddies are around. He’s says okay each time, but then continues the same old habit, and more often. Which is tragic because he doesn’t realize what a negative impact his childish behavior may have on Flaco & Lucky. If some crazy vagrant starts mimicking Deek’s calls to my window, this will further stress me out, and perhaps create enmity by other residents. Then there are his notorious temper tantrums, which ALSO could put the dogs at risk.

> Just watched the video–I see no jacket on lap doggy.

No, why would you, as he’s stopped getting them jackets for quite awhile now. When I mention jackets these days in my emails, I’m talking about using the HUMAN ones for something cushy to sit on in lieu of a blanket or comforter. People discard old jackets all the time, and they’ll do in a pinch, especially for small doggies. They even work for humans: find a few jackets and ya got yer bedding!

As for last night’s fiasco over Deek’s claim that none of the USB cords will charge his smartphone:

It didn’t occur to me later that he doesn’t know HOW to identify whether the phone is being charged or not, as he doesn’t know how to load the settings and get into the “battery” page. I was standing just a couple of feet away from where he sat, and I saw the screen brighten the moment he plugged it in, so I said:

“Looks like it works to me; here, let ME take a look.” But he refused to hand it over. My conclusion:

The phone was charging fine with BOTH of his battery packs…he just made it up that the cords were not working, to have something to gripe about, and put me down. Sort of a power trip for small egos like his.

The stupidest thing about this surprise second bedbug treatment is: IT WON’T WORK, THE PROBLEM WILL REMAIN UNCHANGED, AS USUAL. It only serves to exhaust me, and utterly disrupt my world. As well as drain my wallet, between the frequent laundering and eating-out expenses.

Well, time for me to eat the rest of my breakfast, then strip down my room and disconnect all my electronic devices. Thanks to Deek’s early arrival, I was able to run two kids’ sleeping bags and my two backpacks through the dryer…but the rest I’ll have to take care of mañana. Talk to you later in the day, Wattson.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: What Paolo Said
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 4:51 PM

That’s the exterminator. He showed up shortly before 2:00 p.m., as I was wrapping up the room prep. I told him I was not informed of this second treatment until just 2 days ago, but if I did know about it I wouldn’t have unbagged more than half my heat treated clothing, throw rugs and bed stuff. So I’m pretty exhausted right now.

Turns out the manager knew of this second treatment that was to be scheduled a week or so later, but failed to inform me until almost the last minute. I did not bother to question Paolo as to why he no longer affirms the next treatment by sending me a text, or answers my occasional question. I have a hunch Kevin admonished him to NOT communicate with me anymore. After I informed Paolo that the manager and I are not on the best terms, he ended the conversation abruptly:

“Everything’s fine, no worries.”

I came THAT close to telling him about Adidas and his mom’s harassment, facilitated by Kevin himself. But I thought better of it, and held my tongue.

He did not volunteer to explain why he stopped responding to my texts, which only numbered three in the past month. It’s not like I’m being a nuisance, and it’s more reliable to affirm treatment dates with him, than wait for the manager to make arrangements, and then forget to inform me until rather late in the game. Now I’m thinking maybe it’s not forgetfulness, but intentional.

Once I completed my prep and stepped out to tell him the room’s ready, Paulo remarked: “I saw your dogs on Mission Street the other day, with someone else.”

Jeez, Wattson, why am I so frequently put in awkward situations? People tend to freak out when I tell them the pups aren’t really mine, but belong to a homeless person. And that’s precisely what I told Paolo today, who met Flaco and Lucky several weeks back; they charmed him, though he was in a full-face respirator which aroused much barking. At that time I told him a friend owns them, and I help him out with dog sitting. But now he knows better, and whether this works for or against me (in relationship to the manager) remains to be seen.

“They are a joy and a heartbreak,” I told him. “We’ve been friends for over 12 years, and when I discovered he adopted a dog, I almost had a heart attack. Then he goes ahead 5 months later and gets another dog. My friend has problems, he’s bipolar, so that makes things difficult and somewhat scary.”

Just before I proceeded down the stairs Paolo stopped me to point out that my smoke alarm doesn’t seem to be working.

I shrugged my shoulders in reply: “Maybe because there hasn’t been any smoke?”

“Well,” he answered, “my fogging gear tends to activate the alarm, except yours.”

I told him thanks, I’ll check it out when I return tonight. Jeez, what a nuisance.

That’s all for now, good doctor. I composed this missive from Tart to Tart coffeehouse, my favorite hangout in the Inner Sunset. Though the adjective “favorite” leaves much room for improvement, in light of my trying circumstances.

– Zeke K-Holmes

 

 


Subject: Back home, sitting in the side hallway…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 5:59 PM

…with just an hour to go this time. 7:00 p.m. is when I can slip back into my hermit cave. I must add that Deek was calm and pleasant this morning, and didn’t bother me with recharging any of his gizmos.

After he and pups departed from the ATM alcove, I decided to see if he left the dog food bowls behind, in which case I’d dispose of them properly. Neither was hungry when I left the food with them, so I wanted to find out whether they eventually ate, or not.

To my surprise, no bowls were there nor anything else of Deek’s. I checked the trash bin, too, but no sign of the bowls there, either! I concluded he took them with him, which is good…waste not, want not.

I now wish I had left the sealed bag of throw rugs in the side hall, that I could wash them while waiting to reenter my room…seeing as the laundromat is now open until 10:00 p.m. instead of just 3. Unlikely anyone would steal them, as they’d be hidden in that alcove right outside my room. But who would want that stuff anyway? When I packed them away this afternoon, I discovered dried doggy vomit on one of the rugs! How could I have missed that, unless Lucky (or his sister, though I presume Lucky, as she rarely upchucks) flipped a corner of the partly overlapping rug, puked his heart out, then flipped that second rug back upon the first? I sniffed the yellow-brown residue, to find absolutely no odor!

So how did YOUR day go, Wattson?

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Back home, sitting in the side hallway…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 10:15 PM

> My brother sent me a text today with a photo of a message written inside a New Year’s card he got in the mail, purportedly from our younger half-brother, the poor hapless semi-autistic PhD in organic chemistry who fell into the clutches of a bona fide madwoman, a ranting, paranoid, spittle-and-hate-spewing Q-Anon Trumpster “Christian.” I could see (and my bro agrees) that it’s not his handwriting, it’s hers–and the letter was all about the Trumpwoman’s adult daughter being kidnapped and possibly murdered, also about how they (Trumpwoman and half-bro) might have to leave the country because soon Biden will be throwing non-vaxed “Christians” into concentration camps, and on and on and on. Trulyexhausting madness.
>
> Other than that, not a bad day at all!!

Multiply that Trumpwoman by dozens of millions, and you have today’s Amerikkka. Your poor half-brother, he’s the one who needs to be kidnapped…to save him from being destroyed by that insane, Christo-Fascist harpy!

Glad you had a nice day, otherwise. 0_0


Re: Back home, sitting in the side hallway…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 6, 2022 2:44 PM

> He’s really hapless and helpless. My stepmother, his mother, was the classic “controller,” ruling my father’s life, and then her son’s, who was born when she and my father were 40. One of the reasons my mother divorced my father, she said, was because he wanted a woman to tell him what to do in every aspect of his life, and my mother didn’t want to be that woman. So they divorced, and my father found Charlotte, whom I renamed “Violet” in DEATH IN SLOW MOTION in the section where I describe the scandalous Peyton Place tangle of affairs and liaisons. Charlotte was a raving beauty, black hair and blue eyes, highly intelligent, and bossy as hell. My father fell for her. Michael (my half-bro) was born late in 1960. He was a little strange from the git-go–physically slow and awkward, but genius IQ, Asbergery but with a sharp sense of humor. PhD from Princeton and all that. My father died in 1996. Under his mother’s iron rule all his life, Michael capitulated when she demanded that he move into the NY apt. with her and take care of her until her death, which, she promised would happen in a few months. He obeyed, turned down a job at the Mayo Clinic in order to keep his promise. Well, it took her five years to die, in 2008 or so. In the meantime, he’d been out of the organic chemistry job market for too long, to the point that he was unemployable after his mother’s death, his PhD useless. He stayed in the NY apt. for a few years until he couldn’t afford it any more, drifted to New Jersey, and that’s where he met the Trumpette. She’s so much like my stepmother it’s eerie: utterly controlling, overbearing, vicious. And get this: her name is Violet, the pseudonym I’d bestowed on my stepmother in the book years and years before! Two major differences, though: my stepmother was a staunch liberal Democrat, and she had been a real beauty in her day. Violet is anything but a beauty, and is a hideous rightie Xtian fundie. He’s completely, totally in her thrall. There’s a really sad novel in there somewhere.

Well THAT’S a tragic story if I ever heard one…the Mayo Clinic part being the worst. Eerily ironic about the name “Violet!” Who writes this shit?


Subject: Dogs are back, Deek feels tired…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 6, 2022 2:51 PM

…and so it goes. He didn’t have anything for me to recharge. I asked how he is, and he just said “tired.” So I told him I’d be tired every DAY if I lived on the streets. He still has his bike, so I asked if he’s gonna ride it around, which he loves to do whenever the pups are with me. “Yeah, probably,” he replied.

The brindlekin are now enjoying the lush comfort and warmth of my sanctuary, and Deek is till resting downstairs by the ATMs. This is non-drama at its best!

So I ran into Boulevard Joe last night, on my way back from the laundromat. He greeted me in his usual, friendly manner, asked how I was, so I said fantastic, then told him the tale of Deek’s phony gripe about a supposedly non-functioning USB cord. I ended with: “He just makes stuff up to find something to complain about.”

Then I added how the Exmass holiday was always the worst time of year for me, including unexpected costs that empty my bank account. “It never fails, even though I keep to myself and do my best to ignore this time of year.”

“Me, too,” he agreed. “But I’m about to recoup my money drain shortly.” Whatever he meant by that; I suspect something of a vendetta, which I chose not to question. Then he said “I have a gift for you!”

“Oh, no,” I exclaimed with a perplexed grin, then saw him pull some black object partly from a pocket, which I thought was some kind of computer device…it appeared to be round, though hard to tell in the dark. “Is it a gun?” I joked.

Sure enough it was, which I did NOT expect at all. A plastic BB gun. What is it with Joe and guns and knives? He’s only gonna screw himself over, Wattson…just like his previous weapon-wielding escapades. The latest example being almost two years ago when he was carrying an unsheathed sword and loudly declaring his right to bear arms, while walking along Market Street. Long story short:

He wound up with a wounded hand, thanks to a cop who shot it with a rubber bullet, thus forcing him to drop the sword. He was thusly rewarded with a free hotel room gratis The City, by virtue of the injury and being homeless.

I didn’t care to be seen standing around with someone wielding a gun, so I just babbled a bit of jocular small talk as my prelude to departure. Fortunately, a young woman who knows Joe stepped in at that moment, and began to chat him up. She was polite, said excuse me for barging in…I said that’s fine, I have to go anyway. Perfect! I excused myself and vanished posthaste.

I hate it when the holiday bullshit drags on into the new year, for a time…like the proverbial albatross. It always does. May Hephaestus strike Santa Claus dead with his mighty hammer the moment he pops up from his first chimney, next season!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: New Smoke Alarm, Then Deek
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 7, 2022 6:57 PM

I texted the building manager yesterday that the exterminator said my smoke alarm might not be working. I really had no choice, as Paolo would probably inform him anyway, and I wouldn’t look very good if I didn’t chirp up. So our maintenance fellow, Victor, dropped by to replace my alarm. Took only a few minutes, the dogs barked but calmed down shortly, as I sat with them on the cot. Flaco plunked herself on my lap to assure my protection against all harm, while Lucky was curled up beside me, though with his head raised in constant vigil of the intruder…and a few low growls for good measure.

“They have their eyes on you!” I proclaimed to Victor, who was on the ladder mounting the new alarm. THAT gave him a chuckle, Wattson. So glad things went smoothly, as I’m pretty exhausted from all I’ve been through over the holiday season. So much invasion of my privacy over a short span of time!

Then Deek showed up barely a minute after Victor departed. He said keep the dogs, but can he get his Sunday allowance today. I said fine, came downstairs and gave it to him in an envelope. He just had a bicycle laden down with three bags chock full of god only knows. I suggested if he’s carrying around the dog food, to let me store it upstairs, make his journey lighter. He was, so handed over that bag, which contained four cans of wet food, two 1-gallon Ziplocs of kibble (one unsealed with half its original contents) and those two plastic bowls of dog food I gave him yesterday, sitting there like dark brown glop because the pups hadn’t touched it!

Of course I threw away the bowls and their contents, and the open bag of kibble. I’ve told him several times before, to throw away any food they don’t eat, after three or four hours, to prevent food poisoning. Dammit, I’ll have to remind him again, and he’ll probably tell me to shut up, don’t tell him about raising dogs, he’s done it all his life…blah blah blah.

Though it’s possible he might follow through on my reminder next time around, as he was quite friendly and reasonable when he showed up today.

“I might pick up the dogs later, if I wind up staying in a friend’s hotel room tonight,” he said to me with an impressive level of respect.

“Fine with me,” I replied, “so long as they have shelter from the cold…even if it’s just a tent!”

He also mentioned the rain, how much longer is this gonna go on? I told him another two days, on-and-off light showers. He was amenable to my keeping them for the duration. What a trying holiday season this has been for us both…though he’s handled it much better than I expected.

He was impeccably dressed in a brightly patterned shirt and a clean pair of jeans. Not looking homeless at all! I DO hope he’s telling the truth about having occasional access to a roof over his head. That would be great if he did.

The pups had to go poop last night just before 3 AM! So off we went into the byways and side streets of this edge of the Castro! Then, shortly after our return, Lucky suddenly threw up his entire dinner right on my new sleeping bag…didn’t have time to jump down onto the floor first. I quickly lifted him off the bedding once he was done, so he wouldn’t start nudging the comforter around to hide his output.

No big deal, I wiped it all up in record time. And Lucky seems no worse for it…that’s just what some doggies do from time to time! When he returned to bed, he chose the other end. But later on he moved up to lie beside my face, because all evidence was so cleanly removed, even his nose wasn’t offended. I just wish I could afford a diverse choice of vittles for them, so they’d get a break now and then from the same old. I’d buy ’em roast chicken very week, for starters…they go nuts over that.

– Zeke K-Holmes

ADDENDUM

Deek volunteered to tell me how he is; I didn’t even need to ask. “Oh I’m doing alright,” he said.

“You’ve ALWAYS been doing alright, Deek,” I replied. “You just don’t realize it yet. God puts us ALL through a ton of crap, to shape us into being better than we are. Once someone realizes that, their worries and stress fly away. You’ll even stop smoking meth one day, without even a struggle…no withdrawal symptoms at all.”

He smiled at that, and remarked: “Yeah, like I gave up crack.”

That threw me for a loop, but I quickly recovered to finish with: “You’re a difficult friend to know, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, for you’ve taught me a lot in the process, and I’m a better man for that.”

He thanked me profusely, then took off on his bike like he had wings.


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