Another Day in Hell

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 5: Chapter 8]

Re: Best New Year’s Eve Ever!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 7, 2022 10:06 PM

> Oh, man, I so hope things quiet down for you. That’s another bummer aspect of being poor–privacy always threatened.

It’s like living in an anthill. Thank Merlin I don’t celebrate Exmass, ’cause it would’ve been a disaster.

> Dogs and cats can pretty much throw up at will. They don’t even have to be sick; they just want to rearrange things.

Easy to clean up, and he’s obviously not sick or suffering. I give him hugs whenever he goes through this…WHILE it’s happening.

> I do love the image of you and the doggies sleeping in a peaceful heap. Safe and warm for the nonce.

They’re my best friends; they are so happy to be here! I call our nights together My Doggy Pajama Party. Before hitting the sack, I usually watch a spooky film while sipping on some hot cocoa, with the pups snuggled up beside me, or at my feet. Or maybe one’s hiding in the box while the other’s on my lap. Or maybe they’re BOTH on the floor, because I also have a comforter piled there. Just nice to have ’em around.

Coupla nights ago Lucky slept stretched along my partly bent legs, with little space between myself and the wall…snuggled right up and tight, head pressed against my butt! He’s never done that before, as he prefers roomier accommodations where he can stretch out in all directions. Needless to say, I hated to get out of bed that morning, and break the spell.

> I have a problem I’m going to have to solve before I can sleep: Ernie (male cat, ferocious hunter) brought in a live critter, either a mouse or a chipmunk, took it into my room and it got away. It’s now hiding somewhere in the vast pile of books. Gotta catch it and set it free. This won’t be the first time I’ve done this; I once set up a ramp leading from the bed to an open window to help a poor little terrified chipmunk escape. It did, though it took hours.

Can’t wait to read all about it in the AVA: “Celebrated Cat Woman Last Seen Chasing a Chipmunk in the Chilly Mendo Fog.” And I thought MY holiday season was rough! Why do I have an image of a chipmunk in reading glasses poring over “The Court of the Lion” pop up in my mind right now? This is getting treacly, Wattson, so I’ll stop.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: New Smoke Alarm, Then Deek
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 8, 2022 1:34 PM

> Three out of four chipmunks say about COURT OF THE LION: “Couldn’t lift it up!”

Very funny. I’m not even gonna TRY to top that, except to say “That’s acorny as heck!”

Re: Chipmunk update
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 8, 2022 7:46 PM

> Confirmed sighting, proof of life: Hear a rustling; hold very still, see a chipmunk venturing across the floor. “Where the hell am I? Chipmunk purgatory? Valhalla?” I reach for the big heavy glass bowl I brought in for exactly this, try and almost succeed in capturing it under the bowl, but Alvin gets away. I could see, though, that he’s very much alive and uninjured. But he (or she) has gotta be hungry. He/she disappears. I go and arrange a little chipmunk smorgasbord on a plate: oats, pecan chunks, grains of rice, peanut butter, plus a little dish of water, place it strategically. I go away for a couple of hours (careful to keep the door shut so Ernie the Serial Killer does not come in and finish the job). Return later, am thrilled to see Alvin sitting next to the dish of food, chomping away. I had a chipmunk in my room for several days a few years ago, handled it just like this. It gradually relaxed, got used to me, and I was able to trap it and escort it out to the woods.

Glad to hear of such a happy outcome!

> Will keep you posted.

Please. Alvin might decide he’s found a sweet bounty there, and return.

BTW Deek showed up this afternoon to pick up the pups, now that these miserable rains are over for awhile. Said he’ll return later for his electronics I’m charging…one of ’em a somewhat bulky Bluetooth speaker that appears to be ready to fall apart. In short: no drama. Speaking of Alvins:

I’m concerned about Alvin Hock, as he’s disappeared from both lists for at least two weeks now. He’s 80 with certain medical conditions, though didn’t tell me what they were. Being anti-vax, he may be in the hospital now, or dead.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Chipmunk Chronicles!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 9, 2022 10:14 AM

> Went to plump up my pillows pre-bedtime, was startled to find Alvin snoozing between them, blinking and sleepy.

OMG, that’s cute. Shame you didn’t take a pic, but you had to move fast.

> Hastened to cover him with the glass bowl, slid a piece of cardboard under him (had to tuck his little tail in and take care not to hurt his tiny paws), carried him right past Ernie the Killer, out the door and through the wet grass to the dark woods, set him free. He couldn’t quite believe it. Whew!!!

All’s well that ends well. I would’ve been tempted to sleep with him, and even adopt him. He took so quickly to trusting you! I bet he’ll be back.

Subject: Life in Hell
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 11, 2022 8:56 AM

The new smoke alarm just went off, for no good reason: 7:30 AM, woke me out of my restful sleep. So I had to pull out the ladder squeezed between fridge and wall, climb up, and press the “off” button on the accursed device. Which then made me realize:

It could go off again and again and again at any time, including when the pups are here, and/or when I’m not in my hovel. This won’t do, yet I have a snoopy exterminator to deal with, who’ll report it not working or missing should I remove it and stash it elsewhere. Which I’m gonna have to do.

I also don’t need the manager or maintenance man stepping into my room should they hear the alarm and I’m not there. For one, there goes my no-shoes policy, and for anther, the pups might be inside! The solution?

Remove the smoke alarm (the front, working part detaches easily) and hide it under my sink…remembering to put it back just before the exterminator arrives. Though it COULD screech again when I cannot reenter my room while the fog treatment is doing its thing!

It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the new alarm has been installed. Well, I’ll leave it up for now and see how it goes. But I’ll DEFINITELY disable it whenever Flaco & Lucky visit.

I don’t HAVE nightmares, I wake up to them!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Life in Hell
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 11, 2022 10:38 AM

> Oh, crap. I don’t respond well at all when my precious sleep is interrupted. If it had been me, that cursed thing would have been ripped from the wall and hurled out the window.

That’s kinda what I did with the previous alarm. After it went off with no provocation several times within a month, I detached it from the plate and disabled it, permanently it seems. Because you need to pull down a tiny lever in the back, which label warns you that the alarm cannot be restored once you do that. This was maybe three years ago. During which time the exterminator NEVER brought up its “failure” to go off.

If I bring this up to the building manager, he’ll have to take my word for it, and do what…replace it once more with yet aNOTHER faulty device? And what happens next, should the alarm NOT go off next time my hovel is treated, and the exterminator reports this? It might be perfectly fine, and not beeping when he fogs the unit in not necessarily PROOF of failure. I think the reason he never brought this up before (in the 10-plus years he’s been coming here) is because the smoke alarms rarely went off during treatment, until recently…possibly because with newer tenants come smoke alarm replacements.

My new alarm is the exact same model as the old one: a cheap, $8 device that is totally unreliable. Reading the 1-star reviews includes many for whom the test button indicates everything’s fine, no problem. But it DOESN’T go off when customers try it with real smoke, such as a lit cigarette. Others complain that it alerts when just boiling water, which was MY situation: steaming veggies would sometimes make it beep, even though my hot plate is at the opposite end of the room, right by the open window! (It’s a magnetic induction plate, so VERY safe.)

Other customer gripes include the “turn off” button won’t work during a false alarm unless they permanently disable it…or the “10 year” sealed-in battery only lasts four years, two years, 10 months or just several weeks. We’re talking the popular “First Alert” brand, which used to be highly reliable. But it looks like ALL the better brands have deteriorated in quality over recent years.

So now I’m stuck in this little “smoke alarm hell,” a new addition to my retinue of stress factors.

> Your restraint is admirable!

Well, breaking it and tossing it out was not an option, as I’d have to ask the manger for another alarm…and the insanity would continue.

> And your plan is a good one!

Unless the alarm continues to beep false alerts too frequently. Or if it fails to beep when the exterminator treats my room again. The only reason he informed me in the first place, was because I was still home when he showed up. I usually step out a half hour before he arrives, but this last time around I did not. Avoiding him in person seems to be a priority at this point…though sometimes we cross paths in the building, when he’s there to work on other units. Well, at least he no longer responds to any of my calls or texts, so hopefully he won’t decide to contact me one of THOSE ways to tell me the smoke alarm didn’t go off. Or will he just take it directly to the manager?

Can you imagine hundreds, maybe thousands, of other units in large apartment buildings with faulty smoke alarms? That seems quite likely. Landlords are legally required to install smoke alarms, but their reliability is dubious…so they turn their heads the other way, rather than do the right thing. Here’s California’s smoke detector law, FWIW.

Subject: Smoke alarm went off again…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 11, 2022 11:55 PM

…just 20 minutes ago. So I broke out the ladder once more, climbed it and pressed the “off” button. Three minutes later, went back on again. So I once more pressed “off,” but this time removed it from the plate and set it on my side table. But it went back on again. NOTHING I could do to turn it off, even though it’s SUPPOSED to stop after you press “off.” So guess what, Wattson:

I pulled that tiny lever down in the back, which disables it permanently. I HAD NO CHOICE! So now I gotta shell out $30 to get one that MIGHT work right. Fuckin’ busybody exterminator. Costing me money and stress. And the bedbugs are back again, crawling on me and the cot. ALREADY!

Will the manager even believe me if I tell him the alarm kept going off? If he does, he’ll give me another one (SAME BRAND), and I’ll have to go through all that bullshit again. I’m FORCED to purchase a better one myself…it’s $27 plus tax, matches the California code, and more customers are pleased with it.

But now I have to worry about whether or not it goes off each time the exterminator treats my room…which has become MORE FREQUENT THAN EVER. No wonder some people just give up and go homeless. Paolo needs to get his nose outta my ass crack. I didn’t even WANT the pups over when the maintenance man dropped by to install the fuckin’ alarm…but I was stuck.

Dogs should be back tomorrow, as they’ve been gone four nights in a row, including tonight. And Deek’s next payment is due. It was SO sad when he showed up with the pups last Friday night, as it was COLD, and they weren’t staying over, and Flaco’s sweet, inquisitive expression broke my heart (again) as I waved at her before shutting the gate and returning upstairs. She was shivering.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Smoke alarm went off again…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 12, 2022 2:52 PM

> Oh, Jesus, true hell–shrieking smoke alarm and crawling bedbugs!

On top of the recent stress of a miserable holiday season…it was the last straw! After each treatment the bugs come out of the woodwork, and may continue for as long as two weeks. I’ve only found two today, as opposed to a dozen or more up till yesterday evening. I pick them off the wall with duct tape wrapped sticky side out, around the end of an old broomstick. Stay classy!

> Does the new smoke alarm run on batteries, or house current? I know there are both kinds, plus combos.

Like the previous one, it runs solely on an internal lithium battery that can’t be replaced, though it supposedly lasts for 10 years. Which is a lie. I just ordered a (hopefully) better alarm, which I will keep unopened until needed, that is: should the time come to deflect the exterminator’s unwelcome prying. The building’s own alarms are hardwired w/backup battery, along the hallways, the basement and the lobby.

> Hope the doggies are getting some sun today. It’s warm and sweet here…

I hope so, too…I’m sure they are. I’ve pretty much recovered from last night’s sudden eruption of the alarm fiasco…will find a way through this latest crap while further cultivating a compassionate mien. My brother’s birthday was two days ago, but fuck him…I don’t even know if he’s still alive. I could care less.

Deek’s birthday is coming up: January 22nd. I’ll give him another $20, plus another Welsh dragon medallion, since he lost the first one. It had a cheap clasp that was impossible to join…I’ll replace the necklace with strong, waxed cord before I present it to him. With a secure knot in the back, and long enough so he only has to drop it over his head.

In spite of how crummy Yuletide was for me, there were indeed bright spots: I had the pups over many times, and Deek gave me three, lovely gifts. So, count my blessings! I tend to forget that, whenever a shaman gifts you, get ready for the nasty backlash comin’ out of the ether! Which is actually being honored through the back door.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Dogs are back, all’s right with the world!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 13, 2022 10:10 AM

Deek FINALLY showed up, after five long days and nights. They’re in good health and spirits, as usual…now zonked out on the cot, while their master is likewise, outside and by the ATMs with a flatbed cart piled with “stuff” and parked curbside. Closer examination reveals bedding in the debris (or what can be USED for bedding), dry and more than enough to keep both him AND the pups warm at night. See pic.

Deek was friendly, not the least bit crabby…and this was the first time he waited until his actual pay day to collect his allowance. Soon as I handed him the moolah, he scooted off to the Chevron station to purchase breakfast. Though our meetup was brief, it was drama free.

Nice to have the little darlin’s back, they are so joyful and kind. And supremely huggable! NOW my new year begins.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Dogs are back, all’s right with the world!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 13, 2022 7:40 PM

> Excellent!

He gave me EIGHT devices to charge, this time around! Two battery packs, two smartphones, an Android tablet (very nice, by Alcatel) and three portable speakers. He returned for them two hours ago, said he’ll be back for the pups, not indicating whether that means later on tonight, tomorrow or whenever. How he usually plays it. Still, NO DRAMA. Except for a brief and pointless outburst not worth my time to write down.

> I like the long shadows in the pic.

Yes, a nice touch, and I didn’t think about that when I shot it. Something poignant always comes through these Brindlekin pics, no matter how plain or drab they first appear. I got the mojo!

Just took the pups for a walk, fed them dinner, and now they’re snuggled together on the cot, like the sweet angels they are. They had a good romp and tussle on the cot with me in the middle of it all, before they decided to settle down. They fill my humble sanctuary with grace and joy!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: He blew it right outta the water!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 14, 2022 2:50 PM

His finally keeping his payment days according to the schedule I established some months back, that is. THAT DIDN’T LAST LONG, like just ONCE. Deek showed up this morning blabbing about doing me a BIG favor, what with his birthday coming up, and a fantastic sale on a Bluetooth speaker: $100 marked down from I-have-no-idea, and he won’t ever ask me again.

“So that would be my allowance for this coming Sunday, and Thursday,” he said. “I won’t expect another payment until next Sunday.”

I told him that’s a foolish investment, as he always loses anything he buys within a short time, even just a couple of days later…that he could get an excellent speaker for under fifty dollars…that I’m giving him an extra forty dollars a week so he could spend some of it on the dogs, like jackets now and then, but he hasn’t done anything like that at all. He politely heard me out, but didn’t budge at all, so I caved in:

“Okay, I have to go to my bank first,” I told him. “I won’t lecture you further on this, you’re actually doing great, it’s just that sometimes you still make poor decisions…at least that’s how I see it.”

Once I returned and handed him the cash, he said thanks, “I’ll be gone in a few minutes,” as he gathered up his things to leave. “The restaurant here doesn’t want me hangin’ out front.”

“Seriously?” I remarked. “Sorry to hear that…they actually don’t have any right to tell you where you should and shouldn’t be.” But this explains why he’s been camping out by the ATM alcove lately, as it’s squeezed between two establishments that don’t want him out front: Super Duper Burgers and the Hohokum Smoke Shop.

He then took off and I returned upstairs to tend to the dogs and my online activities. It was then it hit me:

What about sales tax?

Though by now, some two hours later, he’s probably already run into that wall. Well, Wattson, let’s see what went down once Deek returns later to pick up his recharged doohickeys. And let’s see if he really DOES follow through and holds off asking for any MORE money before that fateful Sunday arrives.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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Subject: Doggies Stay Another Night!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 14, 2022 8:53 PM

Attached pic shows the Bluetooth speaker he just wasted a hundred dollars on, MY hundred dollars. He used his upcoming birthday, Jan. 22nd, to justify the expense…but I bet he’ll lose it before then. He showed up again a couple hours ago, so I could charge it for him, along with two smartphones. It weighs around 22 pounds, a hefty load indicating a powerful battery, lithium I presume. Can’t find anything about that brand, EM3, and he neglected to save the user manual for me to pore over. That figures.

The dogs are still with me, he didn’t ask for them yet, and I hope they can stay another night. While Flaco’s in heat, it’s easier to manage the pups when they’re indoors, and I’m guessing Deek knows that. Here’s that video I attempted to send via phone, but came out poorly:

As you can see, they’re a lot more feisty when the female’s going through estrus.

Deek was with a young vagrant by the bus stop out front, who owns a lovely German shepherd. He said hello, and I replied in kind, then picked up the new speaker and lugged it upstairs. “Glad to see someone friendly hanging out with him,” I thought. I was about to take the pooches for a walk when Deek showed up, as it was 6 o’clock, their usual time for an evening poop. Their leashes were already on, but they had to wait a few minutes longer, till I returned and plugged in the speaker and two phones. Just as I summoned the dogs off my cot, a ruckus broke out below, with many loud barks. I peered out the window to see that itinerant’s dog “attack” Deek, who kept hollering, “He bit me, get him off!”

The canine was actually muzzled, and I didn’t see how it was being particularly mean to the point where Deek couldn’t have just hugged it in his arms till it calmed down. The young vagrant was screaming something at Deek that I couldn’t make out. Twice he pulled his dog away by the collar (the leash was not attached, though at hand), and twice the dog broke free and “attacked” Deek. Then a worker from Super Duper stepped out, waved her hands, ordered them to vamoose, as customers were dining outside, trying to enjoy their grub. Deek promptly grabbed his shopping cart and proceeded up the sidewalk towards Castro Street.

So I was stuck inside, waiting for the shepherd’s owner to pick up his bike that had fallen to the ground during the brouhaha, and move along as well. Flaco & Lucky were very patient, and surprisingly quiet: she jumped back on the bed to lie down, while he sat calmly on a throw rug. Finally, the young drifter and dog had departed (in the same direction as Deek!), and things were calm once again, or as calm as one could expect for such a busy street teeming with dysfunctional types, including the housed…and I could take the mutts for a walk.

I had to put down this missive for about a half hour, as Deek came by once more, to pick up all his electronics, including the new speaker. Not ONCE did he mention the pups…as if he forgot all about them! Well, Wattson, don’t count on THIS reluctant pilgrim to bring them up, not even a whisper! So long as they’re with me through another cold night, I’m glad to zip these lips.

So now he’s wandered off to god only knows where, and the brindlekin are safe with me for another splendid night. I hate street drama…living smack dab in the middle of it doesn’t help much.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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Subject: Another day in hell…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 15, 2022 9:57 AM

…more for him than for me. Moaning, groaning, rocking and rolling on and off throughout the night. I hardly heard him, so my sleep was not disturbed, though I’d think my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hallway was, seeing as the troubled vagrant is directly below his bedroom window.

The homeless are a constant reminder of our country’s brutality. People should be alarmed, but way too many are not. Deek is high functioning, thank Glaucus…he’ll pull through somehow, some way. I just wish he had the good sense to get a booster shot, but he won’t budge. And the good sense to take the pups to a pop-up vet clinic at LEAST once a year. He keeps putting it off, I believe because he fears getting plugged into the system, and being tracked down by his home state’s legal tentacles.

Meanwhile, the doggies had their morning stroll, and are now curled up in fluffy comfort. Time for their breakfast in a few minutes. They both slept cuddled up against me and each other, for a part of the night. They’ve never done that before, but it was lovely hearing their little sighs and grumbles so close to my ear, and their occasional somnolent twitches chasing pigeons, other dogs or whatever in their dreamscape.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Another day in hell…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 15, 2022 6:40 PM

> Oh, jeeziz. That’s Deek lying there on the cold concrete??

No, it’s some black dude in very bad shape who, through my good fortune, chose to park his ass right outside my building and act out the drama. Deek is not the type to moan and groan or rock around through the night.

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

Re: Another day in hell…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 15, 2022 8:27 PM

> I didn’t think so. But thought maybe he’d ingested something bad.

Yeah, like a Hostess Twinkie.

> Glad it’s not Deek, but sad for the poor man on the sidewalk…and sad for you who must witness it.

If not him, someone else. Walk one block in any direction and there’ll be another. Anyway, Deek showed up just moments ago, and is now parked below across from the ATMs (see pic). Needless to say, he gave me his new, bulky speaker along with several small devices, for the customary recharge. The speaker is now gloriously pimped out (see pic). I commended him on how artful it looks.

“That’s how I can prove it’s mine if someone steals it,” he replied.

I didn’t think of that, but it DOES make perfect sense. Life among the houseless!

He was in a pleasant mood, though ready to nod out, he could hardly keep his eyes open. My wayward bodhisattva also asked how the dogs are doing (finally). I told him fantastic…they just ate, played around a bit and are now crashed out.

“Jeez, you don’t have to write a book about it,” he replied in his customary snark.

So I quipped back: “Oh, is anything longer than four syllables a book to you?”

He didn’t say a word about bringing them down to him, nor did he indicate that the pups can stay with me for a third night in a row. So I’ll just have to play it by dog ear. (I don’t think he knows what syllables are BTW.)

I then offered to brew up some tea, which he accepted: “Give me a few minutes to plug everything in, and I’ll bring it down.” It’s always blueberry, and always sweetened with two tablespoons of raw honey. He loves it.

So I’m now returned hovel, digital electronics are juicing up, the doggies are wallowing in restful luxury, and I’m about to prepare my dinner. But first I took those two pics I’ve enclosed, and this video.

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Re: Another day in hell…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 16, 2022 12:25 AM

This photo was taken AFTER I gave back all his fully charged devices. I made sure to awaken him, that he knows his speaker has been returned…though I also offered to lug it back upstairs to keep it from being stolen, if he’s planning to just sleep awhile longer. He brushed me off with kind regard and, from his slumped position, leaned against the speaker with one arm wrapped around it, then fell promptly back into a poor man’s coma.

In this pic he is stretched out and sound asleep on the sidewalk, his head and left shoulder pressing against the speaker now turned on its side. In one hand is a white, plastic shopping bag containing two small USB battery packs, two smartphones and the Alcatel tablet. To his left is his latest bicycle. ANYONE CAN STEAL THIS STUFF, he sleeps like a log, nothing can startle him from hebetude!

There’s his shopping cart of course, by his feet. And by his head and to his right is a skinny homeless woman nicknamed “Scampy.” She’s around 41 years old, has barely any teeth remaining except several thin, crooked spikes, and sometimes screeches up and down the streets late at night. She and another, older, fellow were visiting with Deek for a couple of hours. They had just departed when I shot this image…and Scampy is seen returning to procure some unknown item I guess she left behind (maybe a can of soda or a juice box). Now get this, Wattson:

Deek told me some months back, that she used to be his girlfriend! And that she presently enjoys rummaging through his cart while he’s dead to the world, and taking whatever pleases her fancy. She sometimes returns the pilfered items if he tracks her down soon enough.

So my latest day in hell now comes to a predictable close, as Deek snoozes on below (god only knows if he’ll remain there all night, or move on before cock’s crow)…while I kick back with the slumbering pups to watch some spooky, animated videos downloaded from Youtube earlier this evening. Surely this is the life of Riley!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: “Calm and balanced”…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 17, 2022 10:20 AM

…is how I’d describe Deek’s behavior this morning when he arrived to retrieve the pups and have me charge the bulky speaker. He said he’s taking the dogs to the park, and will return an hour or so later to pick up the EM3. I’m delighted at this no-drama scenario, and I’m sure Lucky & Flaco will have a joyful and exhausting romp on the grassy knoll. My latest 3-dog night is over, but wonderful while it lasted. Very nice of him to give me that. His improved attitude has been a painfully slow drag over many months, but it’s definitely on an uphill trajectory.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Another day in hell…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 16, 2022 2:33 PM

> Jesus. That’s a hell of a photo.

Thanks, good physician! But remember: I’m just the recording secretary, as Deek and other homeless souls create these hellacious scenarios, not yours truly. A ton of GOOD is gonna come out of all this, and most of the credit should go to these street thespians for gifting me with such incredible pics and tales.

> I’m amazed someone hasn’t stolen the bicycle. Such an easy steal–hop on, ride away.

Oh it DOES happen with disappointing frequency. I am amazed at how Deek transcends these difficulties with incredible aplomb! With LITTLE anger and much patience and forgiveness. He stands heads above the vagrant crowd in many ways.

When he handed me his birthday speaker this morning, I asked if he has anything else for me to charge. He just said nope, that’s it. I suspect they’ve already been stolen (two smartphones, two battery packs and one Android tablet). He was also without that bicycle. Nonetheless, he was of good cheer.

He returned for his speaker (now fully charged) an hour ago. I pet and hugged the happy brindlekin and told him I’m sure they loved their park adventure. I also thanked him for letting them shelter with me three nights in a row, that their company is always a joy and a blessing, and they’re never any trouble at all.

“Yeah, yeah, thanks!” he replied between sips of Canada Dry Ginger Ale I served him from a recycled coffee cup. It was another brief meetup, albeit amicable. My three angels soon departed, as I returned hovel to my Internet intrigue while listening to Marshall’s latest “Memo of the Weird” podcast.

So later this afternoon I’ll shake out my nine throw rugs and replace the worn out newspaper sheets covering the floor with a fresh supply. Lucky has recently discovered the fun of gripping the edge of a rug with his sharp little teeth, and bunching it up into a nest, rather than simply going for the comforter I already have tossed down. Which, I should add, is much more ample and cushy than a tiny, thin rug! But that explains why he always winds up frustrated over just how skimpy it is…yet he sticks to it, and spends many silly minutes till it suits him just so. But that’s more due to surrendering in frustration, than a satisfying outcome…as noted by his disappointed sigh once he settles down. Previously, he’s always enjoyed fussing with the comforter, but for some reason now prefers a less-than-adequate rug. I keep nudging him back onto the sensible option, but my effort remains futile thus far.

So I’ll just have to live with a constant disturbance of my rugs now, as he also enjoys grabbing one now and then, messing with it like a rabbit caught. I’m wondering how soon it will be before Flaco joins in the melee. She, who has decided my only chair should be HER throne.

He’s also suddenly taken a liking to the slippers Deek gave me for Exmass. Two nights ago he poked his nose beneath my legs, grabbed the vacant left slipper and marched around with a hunter’s pride, holding it up in the air and waving it about like a flag before eventually hunkering down for a good gnaw. So much for keeping my feet warm!


– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: [MCN-Announce]- The Military & Police Are Full of Extremists, What’s Being Done?
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: MCN announce, Kind Warlock
Date: January 18, 2022 11:31 AM

On Mon, 17 Jan 2022 19:01:53 -0800 Kind Warlock posted:

> Ya have to admit folks, no one says it quite like Zeke. This is as it should be. Zeke is a unique tool. He is a servant on the path of “selfless service”. Personal gain and recognition are not motivating factors. Zeke serves a conditioned heart. Recognition and belief are as exclusive as logic and intuition. Zeke is to be recognized. Belief is the ultimate booby prize.

It’s always a tremendous honor whenever the rare recognition of my TRUE self is acknowledged, Mr. Warlock. It makes slogging uphill through the NEXT thousand lobs of hatred hurled at me much easier to deal with. Until the next surprise compliment comes along. I have said this before, but it seems appropriate to repeat it again, due to the nature of your post:

I take the Buddha’s statement to heart, that we have no enemies, only teachers. Meditate on that concept awhile, and you’ll come up with some rather astounding revelations. I therefore regard those who choose to play my enemy (including on the MCN lists) as simply tough taskmasters providing me with opportunities to stand up for goodness. Which stance makes it MUCH easier to not get caught up in the drama…and even have a little fun with it. Come to think of it, had we not enemies to deal with in our lives, our mettle would NEVER be tested, and thus spiritual growth would stagnate.

But beyond the personal, what does having no enemies only teachers, imply for humanity at large, and how does that revamp our perception of history? And what does it imply for our future, especially the near future when it comes to this pandemic, brutal conflicts, climate catastrophe, and so on? I DO have the answers, which I’ve discussed on and off throughout my Brindlekin Tales, and essays outside of that opus. I will not elaborate at this moment, but prefer you listers meditate on these questions to see what YOU come up with. Some of you, I presume, are already there. Just for fun, I will leave you with a clue: all the world’s a stage.

> The Sikh term for people like Zeke is Sewadar. I’m guilty of engaging in similar behavior. Sewa is very important in the Sikh faith and it means ‘*selfless service’ – work or service performed* without any thought of reward or personal benefit. In Punjabi, the person performing such service is called a Sewadar. … Pupils, parents and staff do sewa as often as they can.

Yes, I guess I am a “Sewadar,” however each religion has its own term for such people who devote themselves to a noble and loving cause. I see myself as practicing what the Hindus call “Bhakti Yoga,” which Wikipedia describes in this way:

“The tradition has ancient roots. Bhakti is mentioned in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad where it simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor. Bhakti yoga as one of three spiritual paths for salvation is discussed in depth by the Bhagavad Gita.”

My latest MAIN devotion is towards a homeless friend and his two lovely pups…but in general, and over the decades, my calling has been on behalf of the homeless LGBT family. Though I have reached out from time to time, towards other worthy causes. Great risks are occasionally demanded, with much anxiety and dark, horrific challenges that come WITH it. But accepting risk and challenge is what forges our souls to shape us into better people than we already are.

I am not stuck in one religious viewpoint, but encompass the best parts of them all. IOW I am not committed to the term “Bhakti Yoga,” thus “Sewadar” is just as appropriate. I’ll never forget the one time I talked with a Sikh in an impromptu crossing of paths during one of my strolls through San Francisco’s business district. She was a middle-aged woman of bright demeanor and vivacious spirit, who wore a necklace with a tiny, curved sword dangling from it. She explained it was the Sikh symbol of standing with God…and that it’s an ancient tradition of Sikhs to carry a sword with them at all times. As affirmed by the following site.

“The symbol or emblem of Sikhism is known as the Khanda. It is made up of: The Khanda – a double edged sword. This represents the belief in one God. The Chakkar, like the Kara it is a circle representing God without beginning or end and reminding Sikhs to remain within the rule of God.”

Here are some images of the khanda.

Overall, I incorporate in my psyche, the wisdom of Native Americans, Celts, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, shamans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and whatever else comes along that I find worth my attention. I was also an atheist for over a decade, and have gone deep into efilism for a couple of years. Such explorations have sometimes thrust me into some very dark realms which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. However, sampling such frightening perspectives as part of the human experience can finely season your spirit…so long as you find a way to rise above them. But you are much stronger in heart and will, once you come out the other end. Buddhism calls such explorers “bodhisattvas.”

> Who are Sewadars and what is sewa.

I think you meant to include a link, but inadvertently left it out. So here’s one.

Thank you immensely for blowing my cover as a surly old coot, Mr. Warlock! I did my best to play that role, but I knew that, eventually, someone would tear apart the veil. I certainly didn’t expect YOU to be that person, however that is only because I keep forgetting that most of the time when someone celebrates my TRUE nature, it comes from an outcast of one sort or another. Long live the eccentrics!

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Lucky got a jacket!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 19, 2022 7:14 PM

A coat, actually. With a hood. And a wide Velcro belt that wraps around a doggy’s lower torso. See pic. Deek showed up with his charges less than an hour ago. I commended him on how nice it looks on Lucky. He said Flaco had a jacket, too, but [mumble, mumble] somehow it disappeared, he wasn’t clear about it.

“That’s okay,” I replied, “I still have that nice Christmas sweater you gave me a few months ago. I’ll put it on Flaco.”

The dogs were elated to see me again, of course, and in her hurry to greet me, Flaco knocked over his bulky speaker he just placed by my feet to take upstairs for a recharge. The way he set it down, it was not stable, thus prone to fall over, even by a little doggie’s gentle bump.

I instantly set it aright, this time squarely upon the sidewalk instead of partly resting on a flattened soda can. But Deek got irate and yelled at the little darling, twice.

“Please don’t be angry at her,” I appealed to him, also twice. Obviously he was not in a great mood, but he promptly ceased as I stroked both pups with warm affection. The speaker DID land with an impressive “thump,” but it’s built sturdy, and no real harm was done.

I then stood up to hand him a 5-by-7 bubble envelope, open at the top. It contained a second Welsh dragon pendant (he lost the first some weeks back) and $40:

“It’s not your birthday yet for three more days, but I thought you’d like to get it right now!”

He took it from me, but didn’t say anything in response, or even look inside the parcel. I then rushed upstairs with the speaker and two smartphones, eager to get them out of the way and bring the pooches hovel.

Upon returning downstairs to the ATM nook where they were parked, he handed me the leashes. Since he didn’t even thank me for the gift, and by now he held the bills folded in one hand, I said:

“Don’t spend it all in one place!” then thanked him for surrendering the doggies to my charge once more, and disappeared through the front gate.

I’m guessing he got Lucky’s coat from the Community Thrift Store on Valencia Street. He must go there now and then to see if they have anything wearable for little dogs…though it’s rare, more hit or miss than anything reliable, as I well know after checking it out myself late last year. Which explains why he only had a T-shirt for Lucky last week (which was actually made for infants), and otherwise has them go without ANY warm clothing. His LOSING things so quickly after acquiring them, doesn’t help much either.

Once the mutts were settled in, I decided to make Deek a hot cup of blueberry tea, and bring it downstairs, along with a cigarette. He now had company, his former girlfriend, Scampy, and was in a more placable mood. He thanked me for the beverage and smoke, and I left them to their reveries.

He also brought me a hand powered Cuisinart food chopper (see pic)…god only knows why. Maybe he got it for cheap at the thrift store. Well, the thought counts and I’ll just have to stash away my OTHER chopper in the loft. I haven’t used it in years, but it’s not as good quality as this one. Probably won’t use it either, as I have an electric clone. Though I haven’t used THAT in years, as well!

“Here, I have something for you,” he said as he pulled that chopper from a bulging cloth sack. It was still sealed in its original box.

“A food chopper,” I exclaimed while turning it my hands. “Thanks, but I already have one.”

Well I blew THAT, Wattson, as it wasn’t the right thing to say. So I’ll tell him a bit later down the line, that it’s much better than the one I had, and I’m putting it to good use.

Receiving a gift is so much more awkward than giving one! Especially when the benefactor is dirt poor and living on the streets.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Lucky got a jacket!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 19, 2022 8:35 PM

> That’s a beautiful jacket! Looks really cozy, too!!

Lucky loves the fluffy! If he bought it at the thrift store, it cost $7.50.

> Seems as though Deek is giving you more and more time with the pups.

I think he’s more aware of how too much exposure to the cold weather is not good for them. Thanks to my nagging. I also noticed he still has that disposable plastic bowl that I gave him four days ago after filling with wet dog food and kibble. He probably held onto it to for convenience. But it is encrusted with older food, and that’s not good. So now I need to make him aware of potential food poisoning. Every time I turn around, he does something potentially harmful to the dogs, so I have no choice but to speak up, and then he gets angry and threatens to run off with the pups to another town. He makes EVERYTHING so needlessly difficult.

> And though his gifts aren’t practical, he’s at least trying to reciprocate, and that’s good!

Yes, true enough. His attitude and trust overall have greatly improved, compared to just a half year ago.

> His birthday, huh? Just out of curiosity, how old is he?

He turns 43 this Saturday.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: 4-Dog Night Breakthrough!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 24, 2022 7:40 PM

The pups and I enjoyed four straight days and nights together, this time around. Deek appeared like a genie popping out of nowhere, the moment I stepped out for their morning walk…crossing the street with a new bike, from which hung several bags partly stuffed with crushed cans and empty bottles.

“I heard them barking!” he called out.

That was because another resident with a dog had just stepped inside, and the brindlekin started to bark up a tempest halfway down the stairs, before I even knew anyone was in the lobby. It was my neighbor who resides between quasi-fascist Moe Fleisher and yours truly. (Is he even still alive, I wonder, after seeing him so exhausted and gasping for breath the last time I saw him, which was almost five weeks ago.) He was very kind, smiled at us as he hugged his wire-haired, medium sized terrier who remained placid, not a single bark, yelp or yip at all, while I maneuvered Lucky and Flaco alongside the further wall and out the gate. They put on such a show of menace and fury, as to be comical…wouldn’t hurt a flea when push comes to shove.

Just wish I still had a working pair of spyglasses to show you their macho side…it would crack you up! I’ve missed out on SO many incredible little scenes since those spectacles crapped out. Carrying a smartphone in one hand while holding two leashes in the other–just in case a priceless moment presents itself–is cumbersome. Turning on the screen, selecting the camera app, then choosing video or still: what a hassle! The event would’ve come and gone by then, and dropping the phone on the sidewalk as I fumbled to do all that with one hand, is just too likely.

At first I assumed Deek was about to squawk at me like he sometimes does (though less often these days), right off the bat…always looking for something to complain about, stir up the shit, create problems where there really aren’t any, etc. (“Why are they barking, what did you do to them?”) Instead he simply smiled: a cheerful spirit, thank Avalon. His comment about the mutts was simply a friendly greet.

He went on about what a lousy birthday he had, with his girlfriend and some others. I didn’t say a word, but just listened, pleased to see he was a bit jocular in reporting these unfortunate scenarios. As if he were showing me he’s taken to heart my advice to count his blessings when in the midst of a shit storm. And keep a sense of humor.

Deek gave me his hefty speaker and one smartphone to recharge. “I already lost my tablet,” he remarked. Which is a shame because it had more than ample storage to hold his ENTIRE collection of rap songs that now total a whopping 23 gigabytes (or 254 albums)! He also made a requested that I wasn’t pleased to hear, though not the least bit surprised:

“I was hoping to get my forty dollars today.”

“Uh, no, Deek,” I answered, “that’s WAY too soon.”

For it’s only Monday, and his next pay day is Thursday…so he’ll need to wait till Wednesday at the earliest. Besides which, yesterday was his most recent pay day, which he received SIX DAYS IN ADVANCE, because he wanted to purchased that $100 speaker for his birthday, and it was a very good deal, on sale for considerably less than usual.

Not to mention I ADDITIONALLY gave him an extra $40 for his upcoming birthday, last Wednesday! I was, however, impressed by his spontaneous acceptance of my rebuff, with a single word: “Okay.”

THAT, dear Wattson, is what I’d call a milestone!

I asked if he wanted the doggy jackets now, or maybe pick them up this evening. He wanted them immediately, even though the day is warming up. I only hope he can hold onto them for more than a few hours.

So it was a favorable meetup, I am overall very pleased with his progress. Unfortunately, he returned as Mr. Hyde a half hour later, with two additional smartphones to charge. Everything went fine, except he called up to my window five times within forty minutes, for trivial requests, including that I toss him two pennies so he could purchase some candy down the block, and he didn’t have quite enough change.

I told him to stop hollering up my window so much, I can’t concentrate on setting up his phones, he doesn’t realize what a pain in the ass the process can be when the gadgets he finds are often on their last legs and may not function properly, but he’ll blame me anyway if they don’t work right…and I have to focus. I also don’t need anyone to know my business, or have the neighbors complain about noise disturbance.

And he always wants everything done FAST, that I drop whatever else I’m doing, like a hot potato…or he’ll gripe and whine until I cave in. Typical meth freak; everything has to be accomplished in a desperate flurry. Like a surprise hurricane just hit, and I am forced into a momentous struggle to keep my head above water. That is NOT the way I care to live, and is one important reason I dropped out of the workaday world. Yet here it comes anyway, in the form of one Deek, who imposes just such a nightmare onto my shoulders. Beyond that: shameful of him to act like a 10-year-old jackanapes, especially when he’s got two, sweet little doggies to watch over.


I also wanted to take a shower but couldn’t, because it’s down the hallway where I won’t hear him call up to me. Whenever he’s hanging around the building I never know when he’ll decide to summon me, so I’m a virtual prisoner in my hovel, until he departs. That’s ONE reason why I prefer he go elsewhere once he picks up the pups…so I can get things done that have nothing to do with serving his every little need, or calling me back outside so he can complain about something he just made up, but which has no ground in truth.

Further complicating his devilment is he doesn’t KNOW how to use a smartphone (except as an mp3 player), so relies on me to make the simplest adjustment, or blames ME when something stops working because he messed with the settings, which can sometimes be HELLACIOUS to figure out what be botched up. Deek doesn’t even know how to open the apps drawer, when he can’t find the music or volume booster because it’s no longer on the home screen where I put it before returning the phone to him. Obviously, he removed one or both of the only two apps he uses, from the screen with an accidental slip of the finger.

One time he fussed with the settings (for which copious choices he’s utterly clueless) and activated the talk app, which he couldn’t figure out to use, and didn’t know how to turn off. So he couldn’t play any music until he came back the next day and asked me to fix it. Took me a tedious half hour to figure out how to undo the mess-up, as I’ve never used the speak setup before.

It took him more than two years to finally understand the difference between wifi and cell service, even though I’ve done my best to explain both features, numerous times. One day it finally clicked in, but boy what a painful crawl getting him there! Until he understood, he frequently yelled at me because he couldn’t get on the Internet, even though everyone else with a smartphone can. When I described how he COULD connect via wifi, he rejected the very idea of staying in one place near a free wifi outlet, such as by a library or coffeehouse.

“Everyone else who connects is walking all over the place, so why can’t I do that, too?” he’d often remark.

“That’s different,” I’d always reply. “They’re using cell service, not wifi. And you have to pay through the nose for that.”

Anyway, he was impatient for the hefty speaker to fully charge, called up to me twice to ask if the light’s green yet. Both times I had to tell him no, it’s orange. Which means it’s on the way to a full charge; otherwise it would still be red. He finally had me bring it down, got tired of waiting. I also returned one of the smartphones, because it was fully charged. I also changed the music collection, as it only had 4GB storage, and I figured he’d like to hear a chunk of the other rap albums I’ve saved in my /Deek folder.

However, the music player wouldn’t load; instead, a window would pop up and insist I need to remove some files to allow more space, so the player would run. It worked fine when I checked it out before returning the phone, but just my rotten luck the problem appeared in Deek’s hand. So of course he exploded, kept tapping on the screen and said I must’ve broken it.

I told him to stop yelling, and just let me take a look. Well, he wanted to whine awhile longer, keeping me standing there by the bus stop, when I really wanted to return hovel. He finally handed it over whereby I stepped back inside but worked on it in the lobby, where the bright sunlight did not cast a blinding glare on the screen. I deleted two albums (out of 49), and sure enough the player was good to go. I figured it was a simple fix, and told him so once I gave the phone back.

“Yelling does no good for anyone, Deek,” I said, then added, “Are we okay now, can I go back inside, I have other stuff to work on.”

He said yeah, see ya later alligator, and thanked me. Though I DID linger a few minutes behind the gate, figuring he MIGHT call me back downstairs for some other reason…just to be a nuisance if nothing else. But he did not, though he’s done so before, more times that I care to recite. It is infuriating moments like these that I remind myself:


– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: The pups are back, so soon!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 25, 2022 11:45 AM

Wearing their jackets, much to my delight…but Deek said they were freezing last night, so I can take them inside to warm up. They didn’t seem the least bit cold, and were their usual, happy and healthy selves. Glad to have them return so soon, but his comment makes me wonder: if they were so chilled last night, then what about that horrid cold snap that went on for weeks, when he kept them outside so often, withOUT any warm clothing? I didn’t bother to voice my question, as at least he’s kept their jackets on. At any rate, he only had them for one night, before bringing them back hovel. Not his usual behavior, though I’d say an improvement.

And of course he asked for his $40 again, only one day after his first request when I told him no, it’s way too soon. I anticipated he’d do that, so I told him I need to rush off to the bank to make a withdrawal, I’ll be back in ten minutes. And so I did.

He was nonetheless in cheerful spirits, and that counts for a lot. The pups just ate their breakfast, licked their dishes clean…and are now blissfully crashed out on the cushy bedding. You can’t even tell Flaco is here, as she’s burrowed under a comforter. She enjoys the warmth and seclusion that provides, knowing she’s safe and loved in my humble room.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: 4-Dog Night Breakthrough!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 26, 2022 1:43 PM

> God, what an ordeal. I have a whole crowd of people whining for my time and attention, but all of them put together don’t equal one Deek!

Actually, it’s more ME griping from residual problems with Deek that have mostly vanished…wounds still healing and all that rot. Remember how bad things were this time LAST year, when I attempted to take ownership of the pups? For he HAS made impressive leaps and bounds re. his behavior. I’d rather him continue to be an occasional pest, than behave like he did a year and more ago. I should be celebrating, not remonstrating.

> But yes, it’s for the doggies, and SO worth it…

Indeed they are. We had a lovely sleepover, as usual. The doggies’ sighs of contentment on and off throughout the night, snuggling up close to me again after trying out the box or the chair for a time, this peaceful camaraderie, is the only heaven I want! And I got it. They are here with me right now, after Deek dropped them off yesterday morning. Meanwhile, a new development, which may or may not be a good thing, as only time will tell:

This letter was folded and taped to my door about an hour ago…discovered it when I stepped out to the bathroom. NOT from the manager. See enclosed pic.

Click here for a larger view.

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Elevator Notice…and THE MUTTS ARE BACK so soon!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 28, 2022 10:10 PM

See pic. The disruption and noise pollution in and around this building never ends! For several days now we’ve been suffering jackhammers right by the corner where Noe Street intersects, and starting today, RIGHT BELOW ME! But it only went on for half an hour, thank the gorgons. And now, yet MORE jackhammers soon due on the 16th Street side. And today I woke up to THIS just below my window:

When I woke up this morning, I peered out my window, and this is what I saw, just below. So many people discarded onto the streets, neglected and without any hope! This is a typical scenario I see almost every day outside my window. VERY sad that the richest nation in the world continues to allow ANYone to be homeless.

I had to walk by him, and by the jackhammering, to get my morning java…and to get back hovel of course. This is NO way to start the day, but there ya go, Wattson.

At least I finally got around to laying down fresh newspaper and shaking out the rugs this afternoon, in preparation for the doggies’ next visit…and I feel better for that. As I do Deek’s VERY thoughtful remarks yesterday, when he came to pick them up:

“Thank you for all your hard work and good things you do,” was but one of several compliments that TRULY made my day. He DID leave without their jackets, because I forgot to bring them downstairs along with the dog food. A few minutes after I returned hovel, I realized the jackets were still here, so snatched them up and ran back outside…but he was already gone! He usually kicks back by the ATMs for a half hour or longer, after we conclude our latest meetup…but not this time around.

I told him about not reusing the disposable, plastic bowls unless he cleans them thoroughly with hot water and soap, first. Or they could get food poisoning; so just toss them out after three hours, whether or not they’ve eaten their entire meal. He gave me no argument, just listened politely. Certainly a far cry from his previous reactions whenever I advised him about caring for the pups: “Don’t tell ME how to raise my dogs, I know all about raising dogs!”

Looks like his hundred dollar birthday speaker is gone, as he presented me with a new one to charge for a couple of hours. Much smaller, about the size of half a breadbox. Oh, well, at least he was able to hold onto it for his birthday, and a few days beyond!

Lucky threw up again, on his last night here. And again, it happened while I was sound asleep, and didn’t discover it till I arose. It was conveniently deposited right on some newspaper, an opening between two of my throw rugs about a foot apart. And located away from the bed, and the center of the room, making it unlikely I’d step on it by accident. So all I had to do was lift and fold up the double layered newspaper, then toss it out! No cleanup required.

Flaco had a touch of the runs on her last night over. Only two hours after I took them on their late-night stroll, she got off the cot and walked to the window, rose up to look out, then sat on the floor near me, wagging her tail and looking up at my face. I thought she just wanted attention, maybe take over the chair…so I stood up and patted the seat:

“Hop up, Flaco, it’s all yours!”

But she remained on her spot, still looking up at me as I sat back down on the chair and resumed my Internet activities. No more than a half minute passed before she cast an assertive little “Woof!” in my direction. Of course, I thought, she has diarrhea and needs to go again…why didn’t I realize that right on? It was just after midnight, and she did her business promptly, so we were only outside for no more than ten minutes.

We finally drifted off to sleep, one dog at my feet, another in my arms. But around 5:20 AM another sharp yelp woke me up, and there was Flaco standing about, waiting for me to don my coat and shoes once more, and take her outside. Fine with me, she’s a delight no matter what. Lucky hopped off the cot this time, too, anticipating a walk for him, as well. But it was more like a courtesy than an urge, ’cause when I told him “Stay!” he promptly leapt back onto the bedding and curled up once more. These are the two best mutts on the planet!

Well whaddya know, Deek just showed up (as I was in the middle of composing this email) to grant me another sleepover with the dogs tonight! No electronics to charge, no money requested…which is a GREAT sign, as it shows me he won’t keep them away simply because it’s not an allowance day. He had a bicycle with three huge garbage bags stuffed with recyclable bottles and cans. I guess he’s gotten even MORE diligent with his busy routine rummaging through trash bins, and finds it much speedier and more lucrative when he’s doing that on his own. And, what with the winter time, it’s better to have the doggies sheltered more often. They zonked out almost immediately, except for a brief aside to chow down.

They only ate half their grub, then went right back to the cot and crashed out. They are likely to crave the rest of their kibble an hour or two later; so their dishes remain on the floor. Though of course, Lucky may disapprove if he deems too much time has passed, and start nudging the dishes around, until I get the hint and remove them.

Deek was in an excellent mood, and appeared clean and nicely clothed. He politely thanked me for watching the brindlekin, and then took off. I think things have finally clicked in, that he really DOES have a good friend in me, and the dogs are much better off with frequent indoor sheltering.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: They’re back with Deek!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 29, 2022 4:23 PM

He picked the doggies up a few minutes ago. Jeddi was there, too (also houseless), and he loves Flaco & Lucky. If you recall, he’s the person I spoke with back in November, about Deek needing to take better care of the dogs…and he was most vociferous about having a heart-to-heart talk with him. So I take that as a good sign they’re on friendly terms. Not sure if he actually called Deek to the carpet, but I suspect he’s at LEAST nudging him in the right direction. He was all over the dogs with hugs and pats, the moment I brought them over.

Again, Deek had nothing for me to charge, and did NOT ask for any moolah…but simply said thank you, and asked how I’m doing. This is the second time he’s ever checked in about my well-being, and the first time was only a few days ago. Of course I told him I’m doing well (just as I did the last time) and added:

“The doggies’ company is always a happy time for me!”

It was a brief but friendly meetup, and I wished all four God’s blessings before returning hovel.

FYI several more regulars in the neighborhood know that the brindlekin are actually homeless…as I bring that up if I’ve spoken with someone numerous times before, as I can only maintain the charade for so long. Usually, I break it to them when they remark: “Hey, I saw your dogs with a homeless man the other day!”

Felix at Rosenberg’s now knows, as does one of the women who stands outside as a greeter for the new marijuana shop a block up…along with a young gay fellow who saw me walking the pups and asked if I adopted them from that homeless dude.

So, awareness of my situation with the dogs is finally fanning out! Hopefully, it will grow into a community outreach that will give the pups additional protection, and they become the unofficial, beloved mascots of the Castro.

Time for me to order a new batch of Brindlekin prayer cards, and start handing them out to those who admire the pooches! I ran out MONTHS ago.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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Subject: They’re back already!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 29, 2022 10:38 PM

Deek dropped by a half hour ago, said he’d like to ride his bike around tonight, and do I mind having the pups sleep over again? I said of course it’s okay, they’re always welcome here any time. Flaco was wearing the sweater, and Lucky the coat. See pic.

He also gave me a new smartphone to charge and put music on it. However, it was already factory reset, and it would not let me do anything without first typing in the gmail addie and password that was already used on this device. Of course, I couldn’t do that, thus the phone is NOT usable, and I had to go back downstairs to tell Deek it’s a no-go.

But what pleases me, is he didn’t put up a fuss. Whereas in the past, he’d go ballistic and accuse me of breaking it. I guess because he understands more about how these devices work…but it took almost THREE YEARS to get him there! Also pleased that he’s holding onto their jackets and putting them on by nightfall…and that the pooches are staying over much more often. And we’re in the middle of winter, so that’s very good.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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