If You Save the Life of Even Just 1 Dog…

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 5: Chapter 15]

Subject: Deek’s Delivery Service?
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 1, 2022 at 10:20 PM

He dropped by with the pups this morning around 8:30 (after picking them up yesterday afternoon), asked me to take them off his hands so he can do a delivery of groceries. His bike was burdened with several bags loaded with produce, dried goods and a case of soda. He seemed really proud of this chore, so I told him “Excellent!” as I snatched up the leashes and brought the doggies inside.

So I’m wondering if he’s gotten a hook into becoming a delivery person for various people, at a lower rate than they’d normally pay. I DO hope I’m correct about this, as it’s right up Deek’s alley, considering he’s always lugging around weighty burdens and riding a bicycle. Great exercise, too! Sweats out all that toxic meth.

The hounds are back again, so very soon. Their master showed up again later in the day, to pick up his electronics but not Lucky & Flaco. Another blissful doggy night awaits me!

I reduced the stash of dog food I give him to three cans and one large Ziploc bag, told him I can’t afford so much of it wasted, and besides him losing it now and then, when he DOES return what’s left, there’s so much remaining, often the FULL AMOUNT I gave him. He gave me no argument, and accepted the lesser quantity.

“Are you feeding someone else’s dog?” I asked him yesterday. He just lowered his head and said no. “So you space out and forget it, now and then?” He didn’t bother to answer, but this morning explained that his girlfriend Scampy steals it, and other stuff from his cart when he’s asleep.

He mentioned this before, though not regarding the “lost” dog food, but yes, it’s quite believable she does that. I’ve seen her freely rummage through his possessions a few times, when Deek was elsewhere, such as going to the Chevron gas station to purchase snacks and drinks. Or Walgreens. I just never connected her with the disappearing dog food till he finally brought it up. She just steals for the sake of stealing, there’s nothing in his cart she wants. She’ll grab whatever and dump it later on, and he has no idea where to find it. That includes his electronics.

But he DOES feed the pups other food than what I provide, as he also explained. Glad to hear it, and glad to know I can reduce what I give him, without remorse. Less waste, less expense. I think he held off telling me about Scampy’s theft of the doggy vittles, as he’s protective and kind to her. Which is admirable, considering what a lost soul she is.

He profusely thanked me TWICE over caring for his dogs and helping him in other ways: two days ago and this morning right before he zipped off to deliver those groceries. There were also a couple MORE tantrums (one three days ago, the other yesterday)…both of which were brief.

Admiration of my brindlekin has been copious these past few weeks, by passersby. It just keeps getting better! Can I hear a “Woof!” for victory, Wattson?

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Deek’s Delivery Service?
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 2, 2022 at 3:13 PM

> WOOF!!!!!

There we go…THANK YOU! If you save the life of even just one dog, you save the world. I’ve saved two.

Subject: “Don’t yell at him!”…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 5, 2022 at 10:03 PM

…said a young homeless fellow to Deek when he erupted in tantrum and insulted me. He immediately ceased, but I was especially pleased that, finally, one of his amigos (other than Filipino Kai) defended me. This occurred two nights ago.

“He always does that!” I addressed the fellow, a strapping, handsome lad in punk garb and haircut. Then I turned to Deek to collect his electronics. It was after 1 AM, to my annoyance, because I thought his only reason for waking me up was to recharge his devices.

But then he said, “Here, take the dogs.” My choler immediately dissolved, for I had told him the ONLY time he could drop by after midnight was to bring the pups over. I didn’t think it was in the cards that night, so curtly addressed him once I stepped out: “Gee, it’s well after midnight, thanks for nothing, Deek!”

“Oh, I didn’t realize how late it was,” he replied.

“There’s a clock right over there,” I countered, pointing at the bus stop’s LED screen barely twenty feet away. But I figured he just said that as a lame excuse, as he has before…knowing full well there are MANY transit stops that tell the time if you bother to look up.

“You certainly came to the window quick,” he retorted.

“Oh, I’ll keep that in mind,” I snapped back, “and be sure to take a LOT longer getting out of bed when you call up to me!”

That is when he raised his voice, and his companion admonished him.

But it was another chill night, and he did the right thing by returning the pooches. My impression is that he’s taken my suggestion to heart: that he spend each day with the hounds, and have them sleep nights with me…until the wee hour temps warm up a bit. He’s been fitting this pattern for two weeks now, skipping a night here and there.

After bringing the pups inside (and boy were they happy to do so), I realized he still has the dog food I gave him this morning! At least, I hoped he did, so I rushed back downstairs where the two were softly chatting and smoking meth from a shared pipe.

“Do you have the dog food?” I queried.

“Yes, it’s in there somewhere,” he replied with a finger pointing to his cart. So I had to rummage through a modest pile of crap to get to it. Seeing that the sack contained the full amount I gave him earlier (three cans and one Ziploc) I asked if he fed them anything today.

“Yes, just not what you provided,” he explained. Meaning he had other food donated, perhaps some KFC chicken or other yummy snack that a kind person bought him.

“Okay then, I’ll feed them in the morning, thanks,” I replied, then noticed another portion of kibble, about two pounds, in a separate plastic bag. “Oh, extra dog food!”

“Yeah, when I visited the old man today,” he replied (more on the old man shortly).

I then wished them a good night and returned hovel, gripping the loops of the weighty sack as I climbed upstairs, eager to enjoy the sweet company of my furry angels once more.

He picked up the hounds and his gizmos the following morning, freeing me up to tidy my hovel, take a nap, get on the ‘net and so on. To my delight, he returned around 11:30 PM to take the pups back in. Glad to note he made sure to arrive before midnight. That was last night. It’s now the next day, 5 PM, and he took his furry charges back for the day, several hours ago. Let’s see if he returns back again, tonight.

He made not a single squawk when I handed him a fresh supply of doggy vittles with THREE cans instead of five, and ONE Ziploc gallon bag instead of two. Had he done so I would have refused, anyway, and tell him too much food gets wasted.

But he DID create another mini-drama when he dropped by: “Hurry, someone’s out to beat me up, I can’t stay here.”

“No I’m NOT gonna hurry up, Deek,” I indignantly shot back. “I don’t work like that. Besides, I’m already prompt with your requests, so just calm down.”

“What? You don’t think I’m telling the truth, even though I’ve been battered?” he griped. “You have no idea what it’s like out here!”

Someone who was at an ATM several feet away glanced at us with a touch of alarm, so I realized I’d better not reprimand him at that moment. Instead, I just poo-pooed him with a wave of my hand as I opened the gate. His heckling followed me halfway up the stairs, though I paid no attention to it. Had no third party been present, I would’ve told him he looks perfectly fine, and perhaps he’s just jonesing his ass off…and besides, if he were REALLY threatened, he wouldn’t put the dogs in harm’s way by having them with him. Or I’d just say, “Well, then, you’d better let ME keep the dogs until the problem blows over.”

Once I delivered everything to him in three trips up and down the stairs, I wished him a lovely day, and that no one beats him up. I looked out my window a few minutes later, assuming he was still there…in which case I’d come back downstairs and tell him I guess I didn’t need to rush after all. But when I looked below I saw that he and canines had already departed. Now about this “old man:”

That’s what Deek calls the guy who runs a puppy mill that gave birth to Flaco & Lucky. He’s never told me his name or where he actually resides. But two mornings ago he said he’s gonna pay him a visit, because he says the old man worries about the dogs, if he doesn’t see them every few months.

“I’m sure he’ll be pleased to know you got them their booster shots,” I remarked. Deek said he already told him, just the day before, and he WAS happy to hear it. I didn’t bother to ask him if the old man realizes Flaco can’t even get basic vet care, unless she’s been spayed. Nor did I ask if he’s even mentioned me, and how much I help with the dogs’ well-being. Heck, Wattson, I’m not even sure how much of what he said about the old man is true! Does he even exist? That part I think is true.

“He’s getting a larger van to raise the puppies,” Deek added, “and he said I could help him with it, I’ll get paid.”

That threw me for a loop: “What he’s doing is against the law, Deek. He could go to prison for running a puppy mill, and so could you. Be careful. He may have the know-how to get away with it, but you don’t. Nor do I. Even so, he STILL could wind up behind bars. PLEASE take care. I don’t wanna lose you OR the doggies.”

He didn’t react in rage, but remained silent after that, packed up his things, lashed the dogs to a cart, wished me a good day and departed.

Something else he brought up during that visit…something which he brings up now and then, ever since I addressed him about getting Flaco pregnant, over a year ago. It was about what I said, if Flaco gives birth in my room:

“I’ll just flush the pups down the toilet.”

He reacted in disgust, accused me of not being a real dog lover. “Sometimes doing that is the kindest thing to do, Deek.” I simply replied. Ever since that initial conversation, he brings up drowning the dogs issue now and then. This time around, he said:

“I asked a whole bunch of people if that goes on, and they said no, nobody does that! You’re just making that up.”

“No I’m not Deek,” I replied. “Poor folks in the country who can’t pay a vet to spay them drown the pups because they can’t afford to feed and care for more dogs.”

“Oh? What country is that?” he asked.

“I mean the countryside, small towns and rural areas where a lot of the poor live,” I further explained. “But it happens in cities, too. It goes on EVERYwhere, it’s a sad fact of life, but drowning pups is the kindest thing they can do, given the circumstances.” I took a breath and ended with:

“These people who told you no one kills puppies are ignorant.” Of course, I knew he just made that up, he didn’t ask ANYone about it…but I figured no point in calling him a liar.

Well, that’s it for my latest Deek update. Overall, vast improvement re. Deek, though rough edges still exist. As to be expected.

Enjoy these two videos:

The view from my hovel these days. Four shops in a row shut down. Weaver’s Coffee Shop has been closed for a long time now, maybe two years. It’s on the corner, but you can’t see it thanks to the tree leaves. Below the “Fitness SF” sign was a juice and snack bar, now covered over by white shades…they shut down about a year ago. But the next two shops to the right shut down quite recently. Not sure exactly when, but I believe less than two weeks ago. I only noticed their disappearance last Sunday. Skip one shop over further right and you’ll see a colorful, abstract mural boarding up another establishment that went defunct early on in the pandemic. What a dreary view from my window! But at least I can look up and see the sky; sometimes with a spectacular sunrise. This video was taken on a gray evening around 7:30 PM, yesterday.
Flaco loves to sit up in my chair and enjoy a good belly rub.

Re: “Don’t yell at him!”…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 6, 2022 at 3:15 PM

> Oh, God, a puppy mill in a van. Cruelty on wheels. And Deek being “paid” to be a part of it. Tragic all around.

He’s a walking bag of horrific declarations. No sooner do I get ONE problem resolved, than he conjures up two more. It’s exhausting…like playing Whac-A-Mole with the Sword of Damocles over one’s head.

> Great that the other fellow stood up for you!

A small victory in my favor.

> And I’m so glad that you’re getting more and more time with the pups.

It’s wonderful! He didn’t bring the pups back last night, though I’m not so concerned these days, due to the slightly warmer temps. But he did show up just a few moments ago. Again, he told me to hurry, he’s in a rush, acting bitchy, then ran off after handing me a few gizmos to charge and, of course, the hounds. They’re now happily snoozing on the cot, after Flaco first scratched around in the box with great verve.

> More tantrums and insults for you to put up with, but such a worthy cause–the lives of these little beauties.

Actually NOT more, but less. And his outbursts are quite brief anymore.

> I love the video of you stroking Flaco. I can feel the sleekness of her coat, and the total love in her eyes is overwhelming.

She is SUCH a darling. They both are, and I’m a lucky fellow to have the sweetest two pups on the planet for my best friends. It’s all working out so unexpectedly well!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Deek picked up the pups Sunday around 7 PM…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 10, 2022 at 2:14 PM

…and expressed a sincere gratitude for my friendship, on behalf of himself and the dogs. He even apologized for his scary outbursts, explaining he deals with some very difficult people.

“I can imagine you do,” I told him. “People who are homeless or poor are burdened with many crosses most can’t deal with, and take it out on others, especially friends.”

He still had the doggy sweaters, which suprised me ’cause I gave them to him almost two weeks ago. I pointed out that Flaco is already shivering, sitting there so patiently.

“You can put their sweaters on,” he replied. “They’ll be moving around soon, so they’ll warm up.” Though I would’ve MUCH preferred to bring them back inside, I bit my tongue and gently clothed them.

He appeared nicely dressed and together (in the mental sense), so that’s a good thing. He gave me a sincere hug (VERY unexpected), with a few tears mixed in. We spoke awhile longer, me mostly giving him a pep talk…reminding him that trusting me with the dogs is an AMAZING thing to do. He clearly appreciated that, and we departed on a peaceful note.

Less and less drama, more and more kindness seems to be the new trajectory in our meetups. It’s been two nights in a row the brindlekin have been outdoors; hopefully he’ll bring them back today, before dark.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Deek picked up the pups Sunday around 7 PM…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 10, 2022 at 8:38 PM

> My fear is that he’ll disappear when the pups are in his possession.

Mine too. When I saw him last time, a shudder ran down my spine that he’s splitting for other parts. Would explain his hug and tears, like he’s saying goodbye between the lines. But I’ve been through this before. And he’s still around. However, I choose to not obsess over ANY tragic scenario…just take a deep breath and trust the Moirai.

> It was COLD here last night, probably no warmer down there!!

Yes, and the days are on the chilly side, too. 8:30 PM now, no sign of ’em. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. EVERY time he departs with the dogs is a cross on my shoulders.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: No sooner did I post my last missive, than…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 10, 2022 at 10:10 PM

…he showed up with the pups! But he went off the rails and made a big scene screaming right in front of the gate when a resident stepped out. Here’s what went down:

He was parked about 20 feet from the front gate, which is good. Gave me three gizmos to charge, but let Flaco run loose, so she stood by the gate, and Lucky started barking at her, because he was still tethered. Deek was fussing with the knot he tied the leashes together around the cart’s handlebar. Got frustrated and started cussing, told me to step back when all I was doing was petting Lucky so he wouldn’t bark.

Then when he got the leashes apart, instead of handing them to me, he let Lucky run free right when a skateboarder whizzed by. So Lucky ran up to him, barking and nipping at his sneakers, which, thank god, amusing the skateboarder rather than angered him.

Meanwhile, Flaco was still patiently waiting by the gate when a tenant was about to step out, by which time Deek handed me Lucky’s leash, and the one Flaco had escaped. They were both barking at the resident, so I had to guide them around him and rush them up the stairs. He didn’t seem pleased, judging by the scowl on his mug.

But during that moment, Deek was screaming his lungs out at the pooches, “Shut up! Shut up!” even when I was halfway up the stairs. So he was also yelling in that occupant’s face as he exited!

Flaco had escaped her collar once more, but she ran right to my room…so I released Lucky, who did likewise. They gleefully ran up and down the hallway a couple of times before they finally dashed into my room, where Flaco smashed into the box and began to scratch like mad, and Lucky just hopped onto the bedding.

After a few minutes of hugs and licks and puppy joy, I decided to go back downstairs and ask Deek if he had any dog food left, and the other sweater (because Flaco wasn’t wearing one, while her brother was). Soon as I stepped out the gate, this large, friendly and homeless black dude whom I’ve seen numerous times, and who always greets me kindly, was talking to Deek:

“Why were you yelling?”

Deek tore into me immediately: “Why were they barking so much, why do you keep fucking up my training them? They NEVER act like that when they’re with me, except after they visit you!”

I told him that’s not true, and he interfered with me getting the dogs inside, making things pointlessly difficult and angering a tenant.

“I apologized to him,” he said, then added: “He told me I’d better get a handle on them.”

I also told him they behave differently on the streets, dealing with all the tweaked out, crazy people roaming around. But when they’re with me, they’re much calmer, because they’re away from all that. Besides which I would’ve had everything under control but for his drama queen explosion right at the gate.

Then he squawked about how I could wind up homeless and the dogs won’t have a place to go to, and a bunch of other shit.

“Oh, you think that’s funny, my becoming homeless?” I retorted.

Meanwhile, the black homeless dude just stood there, observing it all. I APPRECIATE that he was there to witness Deek’s childish behavior, as he just MIGHT give him what-for after I return hovel.

He’ll be back later tonight, to pick up his electronics. During which time I’ll insist he be prepared before dropping by and bringing the dogs inside. And NOT to let them run free while he’s still fussing with rummaging for the devices to be charged, the remaining dog food, etc….while I’m standing there between him and the pups unleashed. He’s BEEN pretty good about it until the last two weeks. I’d bring the devices upstairs, then return for the dogs. Now, he’s gotten sloppy and making things difficult; he wants me to do it all at once, my arms full while the brindlekin pull on their leashes, eager to step inside.

It’s like he loves to come up with new shit to fuck me over, and blame it all on me. And finding a NEW excuse to scream in front of the building. He had quite a load of junk in his cart, and either had no more dog food or couldn’t find it…and the sweater, if not stolen, is probably buried deep in that rubbish. So I told him forget it…just be prepared for now on. But the good thing is:




– Zeke K-Holmes

Gentleman Jack

Deek just came by to pick up his gizmos…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 11, 2022 at 12:06 AM

…and was very polite. As he took the devices from my hand he said: “Thank you, Zeke. And have a bless-ed night.”

“Thanks, you too, Deek,” I replied. Then, as I closed the gate he asked if he could have a soda:

“I’m really thirsty.”

So I went back upstairs, poured some ginger ale into a cup, and brought it back down. It was all I could do to keep from splashing that soda in his face, but I remained stoic.

He seemed bedraggled, as if someone had just given him a scathing lecture. Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I suspect that large, friendly black vagrant had a few choice words to give him…along with, perhaps, some impressive body language that made him look pale as a ghost as he stood by my gate to collect his electronics and a cold beverage.

BTW, have you watched episode 3 yet, of Gentleman Jack? I won’t spoil it for you, Wattson, but would like to get your reaction over the unexpected turn of events in Miss Lister’s romantic life.

Subject: No, the dogs did not bite him.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: Kevin Bond, bldg. mgr.
Date: May 12, 2022 at 9:10 PM

I left my door too wide ajar when putting on my jacket, and the dogs ran downstairs...they've never done that before, with the door partly open. They barked around the resident, but did NOT bite him. I've seen their behavior many times on the streets, and they just stand around and bark until you pull them away. You've witnessed that yourself, more than once. The resident was needlessly hysterical. Anyone can see they are completely harmless. I will for now on, keep the door fully closed before I'm ready to take them out.

Enclosed are the records of their vaccine booster shots. They also wear their blue rabies tags on their collars.

They sometimes make a lot of noise going down the stairs, because excited to go out. That lasts, at the most, 10 seconds. Otherwise, they're amazingly quiet. Most people find their rowdy antics hilarious, and do not go off into a fit of hysteria.

Once again: they did NOT bite the fellow. Some people are just drama queens. Barely a week ago when I entered the building, Flaco slipped out of her leash and ran up to you, barking, on the first landing. When I called her back down, instead she ran to the next floor, stopped barking, and waited for me to show up. She did NOT bite you. And when you greeted them in the lobby some months back, they started barking at you from a foot away, but NEITHER attempted to bite you. They are NOT biters, never have been, never will.

They are delightful company, if you ever took the time to get to know them.

- Zeke


Re: No, the dogs did not bite him.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: Kevin Bond, bldg. mgr.
Date: May 12, 2022 at 10:25 PM

On 2022-05-12 21:16, Kevin Bond wrote:

> They are vicious animals Zeke you just are blind to that fact. The tenant says he was bitten. You were not present for a bit when they ran downstairs off leash. And out of control.  I will take it that you’re refusing to remove the dogs from the building and I’ll contact the buildings lawyer.

Wrong. The resident was in shorts, his legs were bare; there was NO sign of any bite. He would've said so right there that they bit him. I told him "Sorry, they slipped out my door, they don't bite," and took them promptly outside. The dogs were nipping at his shoes from about a foot away, and nothing more.

Some weeks back, I had to squeeze between you and Moe Fleisher, with the dogs. They barked a little, but neither attempted to bite. Cedric in 210 and the resident in 207, two or three times in the past four months came up or down the stairs as I passed by them with the dogs. VERY close proximity, and they only barked, no bites at all. Neither was upset in the least, as they saw how harmless the doggies are, and they give Cedric a chuckle whenever he sees them.

And a couple months back, an elderly straight couple were coming up the stairs, rather soused out of their minds, when I stepped out with the dogs. I told them they don't bite, just bark. They tried to pet them, but they backed off, and then we departed for Duboce Park. But they DID have a good laugh.

I reiterate: they are NOT "vicious" in the least. I think your hostility and false accusations go back to the "Adisa and mother" fiasco, where I was being harassed by her son and friends, and you did nothing about it, just let the harassment continue on and off for months, causing me MUCH stress and anxiety, as they hanged out in front of my door many evenings. Then suddenly, one day they left. (I'm guessing their shocking behavior had to do with hard drugs, dealing or otherwise.)

I have all this on record, including that video and your hostile letter. Adisa and his mom falsely accused that one of my dogs bit him...but this is NOT true, and a retaliation for my reporting his threatening behavior to the police the day before. His mother said she was there, and witnessed the dog bite herself...another lie. Because whenever the dogs were with me, I saw one or the other, but not both at the same time.

And I eventually filed a complaint against you, to Ablahblah Realty. So I think your false accusation that the dogs are vicious comes with unwarranted resentment on your part.

In that letter you taped to my door, not only did you call the dogs "vicious," but ranted on with horrible remarks about my homeless friend who owns them...reflecting a severe and unjustified prejudice against those without a roof over their heads. I dog sit for him, that he may go to his job...or when the weather is rainy or very cold.

Adisa had NO evidence of a bite, nor does the resident who made that claim today. Nipping at his shoes from a foot away does NOT equal a bite. The dogs wouldn't harm a fly.

You should know that other residents have grievances against you, as I discovered when a neighbor left a note on my door, as no doubt he did for other units. He wants to start a tenants union for this building, and invited occupants to join his private Facebook page. I don't do Facebook, but that's beside the point, as I follow the Buddhist practice of resolving issues with compassion, not anger. Just as I have with the Adisa/mother case, by remaining patient and noncombative.

But if pushed into a corner I WILL take whatever action necessary to protect myself from any further hostility on your part. Which I'd MUCH prefer not to do, as I understand the sometimes immense difficulties that come with running a large apartment building, and all the different (and sometimes difficult) characters who live there.

In sum: you are making a mountain out of a molehill. My watching over the dogs to give my friend a break is essentially a non-issue. Flaco and Lucky are good medicine for me, and for anyone else who takes the time to know them. I'm sure your lawyer will agree, should he or she ever have the opportunity to meet them. So please, have a good sleep and reconsider.


Ezekiel J. Krahlin

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Here is the letter building manager taped to my door today.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 11, 2022 at 10:34 PM

See attachment. I also mailed you copies of my two emails to the building manager. What have I gotten into? Well, remaining calm throughout the ordeal has always been a winning strategy in my life…so I remain calm. Your input would be GREATLY appreciated, Wattson.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: What does the lobby camera show?
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 13, 2022 at 2:21 AM

Most likely the pups dancing around the hysterical resident, and barking…and that’s it. I’m sure Kevin has already checked out the video, and saw they didn’t bite anyone. And THAT’S why he didn’t mention ANYthing about the recording. He’s calling my bluff. Though I have to say:

I really threw all my cards on the table, with those two emails to him! And isn’t it a good thing they got their shots? As I was able to IMMEDIATELY send him a copy of those certificates. Thank Artemis Deek did not reneg on going to the vet clinic two months ago!

So before all this came down, I took the dogs for a walk; it was around 9:40 PM. I saw the envelope taped to my door as I exited, and decided to read it upon my return…for I was pretty sure what it was all about: the run-in this morning between the frisky brindlekin and that nasty drama queen. A plump Chinese fellow around 30 years old with thick eyeglasses. Standing in a corner with one leg raised, shivering in fear. His feet were clad in zories, one of which lay two yards away from him. I guess he was afraid to retrieve it. I’m surprised Lucky didn’t snatch it up for his latest conquest, waving it proudly about between his sharp little teeth.

It was a pleasantly cool evening, and we walked a couple blocks up tree-lined, quiet Noe Street, when the hounds started to bark at someone on the other side, talking to herself and swinging her arms. It was Deek’s ex-girlfriend, Scampy! The dogs know her very well.

As I crossed the street to sit on the curved concrete benches, I called out to her:

“Scampy, come visit Flaco and Lucky, we’ll be right here for the next few minutes!”

She looked back from thirty or so feet through the nighttime dark and said, “Okay! Hi Flaco, Hi Lucky, I love you!” But continued walking towards the next corner, so I figured she had something urgent to tend to. However, she returned a couple minutes later, dragging a heavy carpet along the sidewalk, which she plunked down then crossed Noe to visit with the pooches.

They wouldn’t let her touch them, especially Lucky who kept a wary distance. They both barked a while more until I gave Scampy some treats to feed them. Only Flaco accepted them, as Lucky continued to keep away from her. Not that he tugged on the leash with any force, but stood just a few feet behind me, staring up at her with caution. I tried to move away to give Scampy a clear path to him, but he adjusted his position to remain concealed behind my legs.

“Sorry he’s acting like that, I know they’re you’re friends.”

“That’s alright,” she replied in her typically raspy voice. “I have days like that, too!”

So she kept her distance while proclaiming her love to them, then wandered off towards the dirty old carpet, heaved it partly over her head, and proceeded towards Market Street like an old hag from a fairy tale, mimicking a queen in her weighty, richly hued cape.

I thought it was a nice thing to do, making Scampy feel welcome and offering her the canines’ company for awhile. Sick and tired of roofed folks treating the homeless like plague-infested vermin. I refuse to play such a wicked game.

At any rate, as I crossed 16th Street to reach my block, here came Deek from the other direction. He was in a friendly mood:

“I’ll take the dogs off your hands now, it’s not cold tonight.”

I handed him the leashes, and we had a mellow conversation. In fact, the whole rest of the evening turned out mellow! For there was Filipino Kai standing by the ATMs as we four approached. He had a big grin on his face and gave me a warm hug in greeting. Another vagrant was crouched a few feet away, in the alcove…young, redheaded and clothed in a muted brown and white serape.

Once Deek and pups settled down nearby, he withdrew a smartphone from a pocket and asked me to charge it.

“Until you’re ready to get some shuteye,” he said. “I’ll be right here.”

“Well that’s about an hour and a half from now,” I replied. “Don’t bother yourself with checking the time by the bus stop, or calling up to me. I’ll know when it’s midnight, and bring it down to you then.”

I was a bit spaced out, deliberating whether or not to tell him about the manager’s letter, which I had yet to open. I decided not to.

“So this is my only mission tonight: charge this one gizmo?”

He said yeah, that’s all…and before I departed to my room in the clouds, I had a friendly chit-chat with Kai. He was pleased to see how superbly Deek and I are getting along these days. (“Took a long time to get there, didn’t it?” Kai proclaimed with a wink.) Deek was well within earshot, so I made sure he heard this:

“Well, he puts me through a lotta shit, but I’m a better man for it.” Kay nodded, whence I continued:

“But I know he’s a good man underneath it all. And who else has done for me the nicest thing anyone has done, by trusting me with his wonderful little doggies?”

“You really love the man,” Kai noted.

“Yes I do,” I agreed. “We have a great friendship going.”

Meanwhile, Deek was fussing with a metallic gold necklace the other vagrant had handed him, and attached some colorful glass bauble to it, the size of a robin’s egg, but round. I should’ve taken a closer look at at, for it glinted ruby and purple from the corner of my eye. But I was focused on Kai. Maybe I’ll get to check it out in a day or two. I then said to Kai in a low whisper:

“I’m going through some nasty shit in my building right now, but I don’t want to worry Deek, so he doesn’t know about it.”

“Right,” he replied, “he doesn’t need to, and you can deal with it yourself, right?”

“Yes, I’ll be fine,” I replied. “I’ve actually been through the same thing before, last year…and Deek doesn’t know the details about that, either.” I then concluded, before returning hovel:

“One thing I’ve learned about life, and it’s simple, but sometimes difficult to practice, is to remain calm no matter what.”

“Tell me about it, bro,” he exclaimed.

“Yeah, people will test you and try to make you go bonkers or in a rage,” I elaborated. “The best way to handle it is to remain at peace with yourself, take a deep breath, and even walk away if you have to.”

I know Deek heard those words, too. And that is why I spoke them: that he listen and take heed. I then told Kai it’s always good to see him, then bid them all adieu. I also gave Lucky & Flaco one last pet for the night, and said to the young transient seated near the dogs, who had just stroked them kindly:

“Aren’t they the sweetest little mutts you’ve ever met?”

When I got back upstairs, something stinky offended my nostrils: canine feces! I had forgotten to toss one bag of poop left over from our walk! It was still in my coat pocket. By the time I stepped back outside to throw it in the trash bin, Deek, dogs and company had already departed. But another homeless dude whom I’ve never seen before, greeted me.

His name is Quest, I told him mine and we fist bumped. We had a delightful talk. He was dressed nicely in semi-ragged, dark, rumpled denim jacket and pants, with a wrap of cloth in a riot of colors around his skull. He even offered me one of two unopened cans of 7-Up he held in his hands. I said no thank you, I’m not thirsty, and asked him:

“Do you know a homeless dude with two little dogs named Zach?”

“Uh, no I don’t,” he replied.

“Well, he’s a good friend of mine, and I help him take care of the dogs. A lot of folks call him Po-Boy and he’s from New Orleans, but that’s a long time ago.”

“Oh, I’ll keep an eye out for him and say hello.”

“Just be aware he’s bipolar and can get in some bitchy moods, sometimes I wanna…”

“Strangle him?” he interjected.

“Yeah,” I chuckled. “But instead I figure out how to work with him and snap him out of it. Actually, his mood swings are a lot less extreme these days. In fact, he’s been growing in leaps and bounds, so perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered to bring that up. He’s a really nice guy overall, helps out a lot of other folks on the streets.”

I then told him I’m really sleepy and gotta go back inside.

“I’ll see you again soon, I hope,” I waved goodbye as I neared the gate. He smiled and said, “Kewl!”

I finally read the manager’s letter, and it’s exactly what I thought it would be. You now have a copy of it, to read yourself. I sighed and just reminded myself what I had told Kai barely twenty minutes previous: just remain calm.

And it looks like such a mellow evening otherwise, was an affirmation that everything will be just fine. I had fun composing my two emails to him, as well! What will tomorrow bring?

Maybe WWIII and Kevin will forget all about his foolish accusations towards yours truly! I’d consider THAT another bullet dodged.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Here is the letter building manager taped to my door today.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: May 13, 2022 at 1:33 PM

> I feel you. I was accused, yesterday, by poor Van’s crazy widow, in a phone call, of various heinous acts and betrayals. All I’ve done since Van’s death is strive to support her and keep a roof over her head. I make myself stay calm, reminding myself that it isn’t personal, she’s mentally ill. It’s the usual syndrome: No good deed goes unpunished. Details to follow, later today or tomorrow. The encounter left me feeling heartsick and hopeless.

OMG, so SORRY to hear that, good doctor. We are BOTH going through a nasty crisis…and it happened to each of us ON THE SAME DAY!

> The idiot who accused the dogs of biting him sounds like a screamy little dweeb. And your building manager is beyond reprehensible for playing the game.

So many drama queens here in the Castro, more than anyone can shake a stick at! Vicious homonculi!


Again I am being tested, or fine tuned, for remaining calm through it all. I have GREAT concern for how Deek would take this; he just might disappear for good, fearing that they’ll take away the pups. It would be cruel to put this burden of worry on him, so I will keep this to myself. I can easily imagine all sorts of worst-case scenarios, including being evicted, going to jail, etc. And the very IDEA of those lovely pooches being banned from ever visiting me again, is unfathomable heartbreak. They SO love spending time with me, and to take that away would be abominably sad. Conclusion:

I must brush away such self-destructive thoughts, and remain calm through this latest storm…trust the Fates that be. What is so intriguing about last night, was how sweet the evening was, with Deek and other homeless people. It felt as if the Great Spirit her/himself were embracing me with love, showing me I don’t have a thing to worry about. Deek was awfully nice to me, as was everyone else, as if:

Good angels rallied around me last night to console me, as if they knew EXACTLY what I was going through, including Deek himself. (Which actually weirded me out, but in a good way.) If such be true, then the building manager and complainant are also in on it. I will NOT fall for such a ruse, and wallow in despair for I conclude it is obviously necessary for my own spiritual growth: this latest challenge in my hero’s journey. They are ALL my bodhisattva guides. “We have no enemies, only teachers.” – the magnanimous Siddhartha

Not to be didactic or proselytizing, I firmly believe the fact that we BOTH fell into crisis mode on the very same day, suggests my approach regarding the dog-bite accusation may be the best one for your own, difficult scenario. But I’m sure you already know that, and are moving ahead in your uniquely gifted way. Hatred, anger, grief are all the wrong paths to take. Stiff upper lip and all that rot, don’t worry, be happy, and so on. Take JOY in your own kind nature…which has certainly be a great blessing in my own life.

But thank god I have some cretins on the MCN lists I can tear into…it sure is a great stress reliever! :D

– Zeke K-Holmes

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