The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 16)

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19p]

Re: Speaking of Native American, Calvin…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: Calvin Hope
Date: October 6, 2022 at 3:55 PM

On 2022-10-06 14:39, Calvin Hope wrote:

> Hi Zeke, yes, thank you.

> I tend to go with the “fictional” to keep the imagination alive and healthy. My dreamworld is reality safe space. This part is just weird. However, you have a better relationship with it, producing your tales. Right now, have become a total dropout. The surgery left me without stamina. Have to rest all the time. Sinking into forest reality. Hoping for recovery but uncertain. Lost Boots about 2 weeks ago after 18 years. Can’t imagine life without him, think I’m in denial. It’s working. Keep thinking he’ll show up any moment. Ready to go on into the spirit world. Not good at figuring out compromises, think I tend to become destructive but maybe that’s not true either. IAS sounds like my kind of place.

> Warmest Greetings, Calvin Hope

So sorry to learn about Boots’ passing, but you gave that lovely little creature a great life. Though I know exactly how you feel, because when my two sweet brindlekin go, I go too. Unconditional love has powerful attachments, and that’s why so many are fearful of love, and often conceal it with hatred, neuroses, keeping super busy on the job or with trivial matters, substance abuse or whatever. Some folks think such intense love towards a non-human is absurd; they just don’t understand. Warmest regards, likewise.

– Zeke


Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Just found this beside my door, see pic.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 6, 2022 at 5:46 PM

It’s a white powder called diatomaceous earth, which some fools believe really works to keep bedbugs out of your dwelling. It does NOT, though it works for many other insects. But the way they applied it is useless, anyway, ’cause you’re supposed to use only a very LIGHT dusting…and THIS is overkill to the max! Maybe they think I’m bringing ’em in since now they’ve seen me lounging outside with the doggies, and you know all the vermin and diseases they think the homeless spread! Besides which, inhaling that dust is DANGEROUS for pets, because it’s like super tiny glass shards! If you DO use it, the instructions state to only put it in places that your dog, cat or whatever won’t sniff around or disturb it. Couple across the hallway have been laying DE at the bottom of his door for MONTHS, and very thickly as well…THEY HAVE A CHIHUAHUA who walks over that stuff two or three times a day! At any rate:

Deek’s new dog sitting arrangement is changing my entire world because I just don’t have time to carry out my usual routine of Internet activities throughout the day, and my writing. So this is a BIG CHANGE for me, that is difficult to adapt to, especially in light of fixing meals, figuring out what prepared foods I can get to make things easier. I don’t even wanna run down the street to pick up groceries a block away, because the pups would be left alone! If only I had a backup person to watch ’em for me now and then, that would make all the diff. Part of the problem is Deek doesn’t have a set schedule, so I never know when he’ll show up and I’ll have to drop everything pronto.

The best answer is to take it all in stride, and have faith things will balance out. So SICK of one new urgency popping up after another, I barely have a moment’s pause! Well, that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. How’s today going with your new familiar, Pluto? I’d love a pic or two!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Just found this beside my door, see pic.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 7, 2022 at 12:39 AM

> When you start using the tent, maybe you can take the laptop with you for work??

The tent is not doable, under the new restriction Deek has declared, that is: no more camping out behind the building because he claims there’s too much dirt and bugs. I suspect he saw how much I was enjoying myself back there with the pups, so decided to fuck me over. No way could I ever pitch a tent anywhere in front of my building. And I can’t really concentrate with a laptop, without SOME shelter to muffle the distraction of pedestrians and traffic. The only advantage sitting the pups by the bus stop, is it’s a good spot to meet new and friendly people. Otherwise, the whole day is wasted when it comes to my Internet activities and writing. I’d also be wide open to theft of my Chromebook, like a sitting duck. The only other spot I can sit with the doggies is the ATM nook, which is notorious for attracting the crazier vagrants. Though yesterday evening it was peaceful, no one else was there. Furthermore:

I can’t just lie down and rest in front of the building, like I could behind it. So in essence, Deek’s pretty much ruined a workable situation for my outdoor pooch sitting, and turned it into something far more uncomfortable and stress inducing. But something good came out of this:

The doggy vomit Deek pointed out to me that may or may not have contained Lucky’s blood, made me aware that forcing the mutts to eat off the sidewalk is especially bad because of potential ingestion of teensy glass (or plastic or metal) shards. So I HAD to make him aware of that; and I did, yesterday, though not without some difficulty to get him to listen.

> I know how new urgencies pop up one after the other; yet I still labor under the delusion that I’ll actually solve them all and be delivered onto calm waters. Ha!

Well, it’s more like a wave of cycles, some more intense, others less. After all, the nasty gossip I’ve suffered for years from my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hallway DID finally resolve itself in the most definitive way possible!

> Pluto’s doing really well. Is learning not to leap all over us, actually “sits” when I tell him to. Most of the time, anyway. He has, of course, the cutest, sleekest, sweetest little puppy head, eyes full of love and velvety ears. I have a couple of pics, but want to get better ones. He’s actually sort of hard to photograph because he’s mostly black! He chased Butterball a little bit, but she stood her ground.

He’s gonna turn out to be a marvelous doggy, and a good companion for Surely (for sure, ha-ha). Pluto is your love shadow!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Texting w/Wattson, 10/06/22-10/07/22


Subject: Pallas and a 2-Jacket Day
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 8, 2022 at 1:08 AM

When I told you in a text earlier today that I have a true tale “that’ll blow your mind, get ready for my next email,” I never imagined it would encompass the rest of the day’s adventures beyond what I first intended to share. Which was my conversation with the new employee at Rosenberg’s. For Deek and mutts had shown up right when I sat down to type it all out, thus I knew I’d be detained from sending you my missive by three or four (or maybe even five) hours. Little did I dream, however, that further adventures would ensue during today’s dog-sitting spell. I’m sure, good physician, you’ll find the delay well worth the wait…in fact, it’s a literary pearl of great price, if I say so myself. Many smiles are in store as you sit down and begin to scan your eyes across the screen and scroll ever further down until the breathless end. Needless to say, I DO hope Marshall McGee reads this piece on his next airing of “Memo of the Weird.” Here goes:

PALLAS AND A 2-JACKET DAY

Another incredible day dog-sitting outside for Deek…though it was off to a good start well before he delivered the beloved hounds unto my care. It has to do with my first REAL conversation with the new clerk at Rosenberg’s, which is just around the corner, and where I have been faithfully purchasing my morning java each and every day since the pandemic took off. Seeing as coffeehouses had all become places to shun, for fear of the Grim Reaper’s breath wafting your way in a closed environment.

He’s been there less than three weeks, and several days back I learned he’s from Punjab. He certainly LOOKS Indian, what with that swarthy, copper tinted complexion and slick, jet black hair. A somewhat handsome fellow around five-foot-ten with a lithe-but-solid build. But from India?

That surprised me, as I thought the shop was run by an Arab family, or at least by Arabs only. Maybe the owner hires from a pool of immigrants beyond the realm of the Middle East…just a guess, I really have no idea. Though the first time we met, I recognized his Indian accent right off the bat. Who wouldn’t? It’s the Kwik-E-Mart owner’s signature voice so broadly popularized by his frequent appearance on The Simpsons. For you trivia fans: that character’s name is Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Don’t ask me to pronounce the surname, please! Try THIS link instead:

The owner, Felix, hails from Palestine though he recently went on vacation to Syria (of all places…I duckduckgo’d it on the web and it seems that tourism is flourishing there once more, egads). And a very nice lady, Sa’daa, who always wore lovely handcrafted scarves and worked there for almost four months but has since departed, claimed her home land to be Egypt. At any rate, most of the employees who work (or have worked) there, whether for a short time or long, are (or were) quite friendly…with the rare exception of two who were only there briefly. Possibly fired or shunted to some other position where they don’t have to deal with customers.

Like in a back room somewhere, producing fake passports and ID or running Russian military rifles from Moscow’s failed war with Afghanistan. Ha-ha, just kidding, I’m a jackass American with a touch of Islamophobia who nonetheless voted for Barack HUSSEIN Obama not once, but twice. Conservapedia has some nasty things to say about him, but what do you expect from a snake-in-the-grass, right-wing, anti-American, traitorous Trump-turd propaganda mill? Anyway, back to the new cashier from India:

He greeted me with his usual “Good morning, how are you today?” as I slipped my five-dollar Goodwill-purchased mirror shades onto my two-dollar Goodwill-purchased black baseball cap over the word “Syracuse” in thick, embossed orange letters and stepped inside.

“Oh, pretty good,” I said with a smile, “and how’s Punjab doing these days?”

“Punjab? What do you mean?” he queried with a contorted brow. “My family?”

“Well, anything, actually,” I replied: “Family, friends, recent events, the weather. I thought maybe you keep some sort of connection with your home base, even if it’s just the Internet. Facebook perhaps.”

He scoffed at that with a wave of the hand, “Oh, no, that’s not home base for me anymore. I have little interest in that place since I left it. I don’t read the Punjab Times, if that’s what you mean!”

“Aha, I know exactly how you feel,” I commiserated. “I left my family years ago for California and never looked back. There are so many other concerns and interests to take up our new life, why bother with the past, eh?”

So anyway, the conversation turned to Hinduism per my direction, as I informed him that that religion has had a major, and benevolent, impact on my perception of the world.

“Buddhism, too,” I added. “But we don’t really NEED Buddhism, as everything’s already there in Vedic scripture! Buddhism strikes me as an intellectual distillation of Hindu wisdom when it comes to how best to live our lives. That is, before other of his worshipers got their hands on his original ideas and grandly embellished upon them, long after he passed away under that bodhi tree. Though of course, like Jesus, he probably never existed, but that’s neither here nor there.”

Well, that got him goin’ like a race horse outta the gate, Wattson! He began telling me some of the tales and characters, gods/goddesses out of the Mahabharata, and the wisdom flowing from those tales! I listened with a raptured ear, delighted to have found a kindred spirit.

“I have a book you should read,” he exclaimed some minutes later after completing his impressive iteration of the Veda’s greatest hits in record time.

I asked him what the title is, and it was something like “Finding One’s Soul,” though I’m sure it wasn’t quite that, though definitely was three words with “soul” at the end. Maybe “Discovering” or “Realizing” One’s, or “Your,” Soul. Whatever.

“So who’s the author?” I queried.

He then stated a quintessentially Hindu name, meaning one that is excruciatingly difficult to pronounce and thus impossible to remember for western plebes like THIS grossly ill-informed pilgrim.

“Oh! That name sounds familiar,” I replied with glee. “I think I’ve read it. Tell ya what, let me give you my email and you can send me a list of books and references you’d recommend, and I will gladly check them all out.”

He agreed, and so I printed my email address with the pen and scrap of paper he lent me. But our conversation didn’t end there, as I gave him a rough outline of my history as an LGBT activist, particularly for the homeless in our community, my present lawsuit that puts me in a position to speak OUT for the homeless, and my volume of works still in progress called “Brindlekin Tales.” And how it all ties in with my following the precepts of Hindu wisdom, along with that of Buddhism, Native American lore, Jewish Kabalism, early Christianity, Celtic fairy tales, and several other cultures’ worldviews.

I also informed him of my enthusiasm for Carl Jung’s teachings, especially about archetypes and how understanding them gave me the key to rising above my borderline schizophrenia and turning it into a creative force…what he called “The Heroic Journey.” And how Jung also studied Hinduism because it’s so rich in archetypes: its myriad deities, demigods, and countless other fascinating denizens of their imponderable spiritual dimension.

I wanted so badly to also tell him of my adoration for Ganesha the elephant god a.k.a. “Mover of All Obstacles,” but alas time is money and another customer had stepped inside. But before departing, I asked:

“What is your name, by the way?”

He called back from further down the counter where he was puttering with something.

“Palace?” I asked to be sure I got it right. “Did you say Palace?”

“Yes, Pallas, like the Titan!” he replied, then spelled it out: “P A L L A S.”

“You’re kidding…Pallas?” I exclaimed in astonishment. “Now THAT’S a great archetype right there!”

I did not explain further, for he knew exactly which archetype I meant: Pallas of Greek mythology, the Titan god of warfare who was accidentally killed by the goddess Athena in a mock battle. A romantic-warrior archetype!

I DID drop by again a few minutes later with my business card I call my “Brindlekin Prayer Card,” which includes the fun blurb “True stories from the Castro; eat your heart out, Armistead,” and the link TO these tales, along with a black and white illustration of a puppy that resembles the brother-sister homeless dog duo I help watch over, and who have inspired well over a hundred chapters so far, since my love for them took off on the evening of October 30th, 2020, the eve of Halloween. And the beginning of “My Very Own Journal of the Plague Year” that it unexpectedly morphed into, as an alternative title.

He kindly accepted my card after I explained a bit how it encompasses Vedic and other wisdom we just discussed, via the inspiration of two, sweet little hounds. “And there’s the Bhakti yoga I told you about!” I said upon exiting Rosenberg’s for the second time that morning. For those who don’t know what that is, here’s Wikipedia’s definition:

“Bhakti yoga is a spiritual path or spiritual practice within Hinduism focused on loving devotion towards any personal deity.”

Though from what I have learned by reading about it many years ago, this devotion can also be directed towards another person, another living creature, or even something inanimate. Depends on just what your object of worship means to you and no one else, how it strikes your heart. In other words, your “personal” deity. And in my case, it’s two doggies. Both half dachshund, half terrier, and one hundred ten percent pure love.

So there I was, back hovel and sipping on Rosenberg’s amber elixir, kicking back in front of my X230/Chromebook work station, joyfully pondering over my excellent rapport with Pallas, when who should come hollering at my window, but Deek. I hadn’t even begun to break fast with my usual toasted Orowheat whole wheat English muffin slathered with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! No rest for the wicked, even less for the good. Or as Marshall likes to say on his show whenever someone calls in: “What fresh hell is this?”

I stood up and walked over to the window and peered out, whereupon Deek gestured for me to come down with a tilt of the head. As I slipped on my polyurethane slide sandals, thin polyester aquamarine hoodie and black Syracuse cap, it occurred to me:

“Oh fuck he wants me to watch the pups again, after sticking them with me for almost six hours yesterday! Well, chin up, I love those mongrels, but can’t he give me a break now and then?”

The hounds were ecstatic to see me, as always, pressing against my legs for their Uncle’s attention as I crouched down to caress their brindle coats while their master pawed through his shopping cart to collect several devices he wanted me to charge. Along with a Bluetooth speaker even larger and heftier than the one he carried these past several days. At least it had wheels.

“Oh, a new speaker already?” I queried.

“I traded it for the other one,” he replied.

It looked much better built, and its impressive heft indicated a more powerful battery that would give him seven to ten hours of high volume play, instead of just two or three. Of course, a serious speaker like this would need to be charged seven hours or longer, if you start from zero percent! Be that as it may, I admitted to myself he got a really good deal for once. These small time, black market skunks outta the Mission or stationed at the U.N. Plaza frequently rip him off! Well, they’re almost always stolen goods, and the customer is never right, so what’s a girl to do?

I lugged it upstairs along with two smartphones (one battered and with a few cracks on the screen, the other fairly new) and two small battery packs (one sherbet orange, the other mossy green). Smartphones in one pocket, batteries in the other…made me appear as if I had unusual fat deposits on the front of my hips.

Upon returning with a wobbly, water-filled disposable plastic bowl (purchased through Amazon, fifty thirty-two-ounce bowls for twenty-four dollars and ninety-nine cents) for the canines, Deek swung a leg over his bike and said he won’t be gone too long. Which is what he’s told me all three previous times I’ve sat the dogs, so it really means nothing. (What is “too long” anyway…a Chinese actor’s name in a Shanghai porn flick?) I figured I’d be stuck out here for an ungodly number of hours again…but that’s okay, my doggy devotion is boundless, and it’s another loverly day here in Bag Daddy by the Bay. So I didn’t argue with him, accepting my fate for the Bhakti yoga it is, told him the dogs will be fine and wished him happy trails.

As it turned out, I managed to fix my breakfast (and later, lunch) indoors, as well as use the restroom and grab some cardboard sheets from the basement in record time, so that I wouldn’t be away from the hounds more than three minutes each run. This outdoor dog sitting is a new obligation that Deek flung upon my shoulders barely two weeks ago, so I’m still learning how to adapt…one way being to switch to simple meals prepared ahead of time. Such as three days’ worth of veggie stew that only needs to be warmed up in a microwave and topped with grated cheddar cheese or slices of mozzarella. I use cardboard for clean spots for myself and the pups to rest upon, instead of a dirty sidewalk. It also provides them with a bit of cushion for those times their master is too inconsiderate to supply them with cushy blankets or old jackets, sweaters and such that he can easily snatch up on his daily rummaging through street discards, and carry in his cart. It is surprising how CLEAN such items remain, after residents toss them out. Some folks are so kind as to first wash, dry and fold them into “free boxes” that you find at doorsteps here and there throughout the city.

I don’t find it practical to sit outside along a busy street with my Chromebook to get some work done. For one, it’s too much of a distraction; for another I’m way vulnerable to theft. Not to mention that sunlight makes the screen difficult to view. To my surprise, though, my Xfinity service is robust enough that I can actually connect while camped out by the bus stop in front of my building…and it’s a reasonably strong signal to boot!

Of course I was hoping to see Frigga again, as I had such nice vibes with her two days ago: our first meetup ever. Alas, that did not occur. Regardless, I was surprised that I never wound up getting bored, just sitting there with the pooches, no Internet, nothing to read, no one to talk to. Just watching the world go by with two sweet quadrupeds by my side seemed to fill my cup just fine. But some charming moments DID ensue for all that. I guess I really needed these “doing nothing” breaks from so many trials and writing up a storm every day. So I now consider my dog sitting on the streets a form of meditation, and treat it accordingly. I’d assume the lotus pose if I could, but my legs tell me that’s not gonna happen.

First charming moment: an old fellow way up there in his eighties and sporting a walker paused to look upon me and the pups (with Lucky asleep and cradled in my arms, and Flaco curled up and pressed upon my thigh) to declare: “Dogs sure can be a comfort, can they not?”

“Yes sir, they sure are!” I kindly replied. “These are my two angels.”

His face then lit up with a smile, though he spoke not another word but pressed on forward.

Second charming moment: Some time later Deek’s ex, Scampy, passed by me after crossing Market Street. I waved at her and said hi, upon which she pointed behind me and said: “The water spilled!” and kept walking on towards Castro Street.

Sure enough, when I reached around I felt the bowl had tilted over, and water was pooling where I sat. Fortunately, most of it had slipped beneath the cardboard and thus only slightly dampened the butt side of my pants. Before Scampy got out of earshot, I called out, “Thanks!”

Scampy’s around forty-three years old and five-feet-two in height, and only has half her teeth left…all rotten. She’s a lady of few words except when screaming at her nightmares while half asleep. But sometimes what she says is really funny, though I can’t give you an example offhand. Maybe in some future tale.

Third charming moment: almost an hour and a half later, a young man who appeared to be all of nineteen and probably gay, suddenly appeared by my side with a puffy black nylon jacket dangling from one hand. “Here, would you like this coat,” he spoke in a falsetto voice almost operatic, “I really don’t want it.”

“Wow, sure, thank you!” I replied and accepted this presumably birthday-gifted garb into my own hand. Soon as he left, I tried it on: perfect fit, loose but comfy…and WARM!

Funny that, only in the past few days did I realize all my clothes have gotten quite worn out and I’ll soon need to replace my entire wardrobe, as meager as it is. And I really can’t afford to buy even the least expensive apparel on Amazon, thanks to so much of my income going to support Deek’s furry companions. Nor can I take the time to shop at thrift stores, because it’s so important I remain in and around my residence for his sake, twenty-four/seven. I never know WHEN he’ll show up next, and should I be gone too long he’ll panic. (I know, because it HAS happened, and more than once.)

Though he said he won’t, he’ll be fine, when I recently spoke to him about it. I don’t believe him, and he is never one to abide by a schedule in any way, shape or form. Say, for example, he brings the dogs over every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday for me to watch them for several hours. That will NEVER work with his kind of bipolar personality. ONE reason he’s homeless and unemployed: living by the clock is just too constraining and nerve-racking. Which I understand perfectly; we’re not ALL cut out of the same mold to be factory replicants. Same reason he can’t deal with finding a social worker, which is VITAL for getting a roof over his head and other basic services: he’ll suddenly have to live by a strict schedule, appointments up the wazoo, and essentially become a prisoner of other people’s demands who watch his every move and take notes. Anyway, back to the jacket:

Fourth (and final) charming moment: I’m thinking my need for fresh clothing has just begun to be answered by the Great Spirit, through whatever Bodhisattva guardians watch over me. And as if to affirm that, yet another jacket came to me through Deek’s hand, upon his return! He had tossed it upon the shopping cart while I went back hovel to retrieve his electronics, all now fully charged. By the way, it was only 3:30 PM when he came back, so no, he really wasn’t gone too long!

“Here, I’m giving you a holiday gift ahead of time,” he said with one hand resting upon the jacket which I had yet to recognize as such because it lay front down and looked like a small blanket…and since I’m never particularly curious about the contents of his cart, which are worthless most of the time. “So don’t expect anything from me for the next holiday coming up, whichever one that is!”

“Oh, that’s fine, Deek. I’m not into holidays myself, you know that,” I replied. He didn’t say anything more, thus I grew restless and egged him on: “So, what is it?

He then lifted off the cart what was obviously a military jacket of some sort: long in length, thin but surprisingly hefty, that is: quality cloth with a dense weave that could keep a Siberian guard toasty warm even on New Year’s Eve, out there on the windswept tundra where the wolves howl in hunger for the next Gulag prison breakout.

“Wow, yes, I love it, thanks!” I exclaimed with an effusive glow.

Yet he still held onto it; he had something important to say first:

“I know you once had a good friend who was in the military. A Vietnam Veteran, correct?”

Dumbstruck to hear such thoughtful words rise from a mouth that only recently had insulted and demeaned me in so many horrid ways, I could do nothing more than nod my head in agreement. And look into those sparkling Cajun eyes, and smile.

“So I thought you might enjoy wearing this jacket, though I COULD just walk a few blocks over and sell it for at LEAST twenny dollah!” He grinned back at me in such a way that only true camaraderie could inspire.

With that, I raised up my arms and held out my hands to speak these words in return: “I’d rather you earn more money, than just give me something so valuable, Deek! It IS a great jacket and yes, I like it very much.”

“Here then, take it, it’s yours!” He draped it over my left arm and said, “It’s kinda narrow in the shoulders, so it might not fit.”

Upon those words I removed my bedraggled old hoodie and tried it on. Once my arms wiggled through the sleeves I pulled the top down to my shoulders and gave it a few shakes so the entire jacket would fall into place. The khaki wool garment fit like a glove…and a comfy glove it was!

Deek stood back to check me out. “It looks good on you, Zeke!” he observed with satisfaction.

I thanked him several times over before leaving Deek and mutts to their next adventure where (I noticed through my window upstairs) they remained at the bus stop awhile longer, Deek conversing with another vagrant who appeared shortly after I departed. They sat there on the cardboard I had laid down earlier, and faced each other in amiable badinage as the dogs reclined beside their master. I watched the shadow of a growing twilight cloak this little group like a soft blanket as the sunset bid its adieu to a glorious day well done.

And that’s today’s Brindlekin Tale, Wattson! In closing I want to note:

You really pinned the tail on the donkey when you told me in an earlier missive I will have great adventures once I start dog sitting on the streets!

Oh, but wait, there’s more: for what’s a homemade angel cake of a tale without the frosting? Which in this case are the pics that go with it:

Flaco and Lucky by the shopping cart:

Click here for a larger view.

Flaco, closeup:

Click here for a larger view.

Lucky, closeup:

Click here for a larger view.

My view from close to the ground:

Click here for a closer view.

The black puffy jacket:

Click here for a larger view.

The military jacket:

Click here for a larger view.

Re: Pallas and a 2-Jacket Day
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 9, 2022 at 2:47 PM

> Damn, that’s a fine piece of work!!!

Oh I’m so glad you finally got around to reading it…I KNEW you’d be gobsmacked! I had so much fun in the composing OF it. And its completion gave such an endorphin rush you wouldn’t believe! And it’s STILL pulsing through my veins! Meth could never be that good, not by a long shot. Marshall has already affirmed he’ll be reading it next Friday.

Another great piece coming up in a short while, around an hour or so from now. Unless Deek interrupts me for a time, which is perfectly okay. But no matter how you slice, dice or crush it: I NEED MY NEXT FIX, AND SOON! So stay tuned, comrade Morticia.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: A Scammer & A Scooter
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 9, 2022 at 5:34 PM

Two scenarios have cropped up since my “Pallas” piece…yesterday and this morning, to be specific. And they WERE a headache, though nothing I can’t handle, so no worries:

SCENARIO 1:

When Deek dropped off the hounds yesterday morning, he asked me for a “big favor” (his words). Well, you know what THAT means, Wattson.

“I can’t imagine what you mean by ‘big favor,’ Deek, unless it’s money,” I remarked before he presented his case. Because all the OTHER times he’s asked for a big favor, that’s what it’s always meant.

“My feet really hurt in these shoes,” he griped, “they don’t fit me right, and I saw a pair that I tried on, and they’re comfortable. They’re a hunner dollah with sales tax, and I won’t ask you again for a week.”

Since I give him an allowance of fifty dollars twice a week anyway (Sunday and Thursday), and his next payday was just one day hence, I had no problem with that. Especially since I already gave him a hundred LAST week for a Bluetooth speaker he wanted badly, and he DID wait an entire week short of one day, before this latest “big favor.”

However, I DID have a problem with him spending so much cash on footwear, seeing as he could easily acquire decent kicks via the black market for much cheaper in any number of ways, including the UN Plaza’s pirate bazaar of stolen goods sold by ex-cons to keep a motel roof over their heads (or pay for their next fix, or both), as well as from any old hawker along Mission Street. Nor did I believe that was his REAL plan for the money…more likely, his aching feet were a fabricated excuse to purchase something ELSE, if you get my drift. As probably was the speaker, seeing as he requested the hundred in all fives. Deek fancies himself a master of deception, but he’s actually quite the transparent trickster.

“Okay, I’ll give you the cash,” I replied, “but I don’t think you’re gonna purchase shoes. It’s none of my business anyway, what you spend it on, and you’re not asking for any more than I already give you each week. So long as you can handle waiting seven days before your next payment.”

So I marched back upstairs to see if I had that much moolah stashed away (I usually don’t) and, sure enough, I did, plus a tad more: four Jacksons, four Lincolns and three Washingtons. I carefully counted the larger bills twice, before inserting them into one of the Chase Bank envelopes I have lying around. I then returned back outside and handed it to him, whereby he glanced within to examine the contents, and was satisfied.

“I see where this is headed, Deek,” I spoke once he pocketed the envelope. “You’re gonna come up with a new excuse each week to ask for a hundred dollars, instead of accepting fifty twice a week.”

“No, no, I promise,” he objected, “this won’t happen again, I swear!”

“Of course it won’t, because I won’t let you,” I retorted. “Now go and run your errands and let me get the pups fed and settled in.”

I was pleased to see he had laid down a large, fluffy red sleeping bag, fully unzipped and spread out, for his furry charges. Though his shopping cart was stuffed haphazardly with useless junk as always…an embarrassment for yours truly, since people see me lounging beside it and assume it’s mine, and thus reflects upon my own character, placing me in a class of the less-desirous vagrants here in the Castro. But I assure you, good doctor, were it my own cart, it would be neat as a pin. A work of found “objet d’art” in fact, which stunning arrangement would both delight and impress anyone who laid eyes on it. Folks would wanna shoot selfies in front of that cart! But alas the cart is Deek’s, not mine, thus I am cursed with unwarranted reproach by those so privileged to have a roof over their heads…and, perhaps, their own washing machine, high-definition wall mounted smart TV, an Alexa bot, and personal masseuse.

Residents of my building who know I live there, too, walk speedily by in either direction, having no desire to pause for a chat and query why I’m out here, let alone even look at me to acknowledge my presence.

I’M A PARIAH, WATTSON! Well, I always have been one way or another, but this is a whole new paradigm.

Maybe, thanks to the building manager’s gossip (this past June and July) about evicting me, they think I AM now homeless…at least for a time, until they see me step in or out of the building, or dumping my garbage in the chute or trash bin on the back porch. They must sure be confused at this point, eh, Wattson? All they have to do is ask, and I’ll satisfy their every question…but no, that’s just too easy. Everything’s first gotta be diabolically convoluted, dragged across a bed of nails a dozen times over, and pureed into a madman’s smoothie, before it pleases their pinheaded, troglodyte egos as they slouch their way to Abaddon!

It was four more hours before Deek returned, during which time I immensely enjoyed the hounds’ company as always, gave them many hugs and belly/neck scritches, took them on a short poopy walk twice, and enjoyed a prepared lunch that only required a blast from the microwave and cheese grated on top. That would be a thick, veggie stew with brown rice and lentils, a three-day supply which I prepared two nights before. The day was otherwise uneventful if you exclude the rambling byways of my own mind. I met no one interesting, nor did anyone offer me food or something ELSE nice for either myself or the darling brindlekin.

“There was only eighty dollah in the envelope!” Deek exclaimed as he pulled up on his bicycle. “I couldn’t get those shoes, I had to buy a cheaper pair!”

“What are you talking about?” I shot back while seated there, my spine braced against the bus stop stall, Lucky draped across my lap and Flaco scrunched up beside me.

“You counted wrong!” he declared in frustration. “You gave me THREE twennies insteada four! Go back upstairs and bring me that other twenny, I’m sure you’ll find it!”

“Whoa, hold on there, Deek!” I exclaimed as I gingerly set Lucky aside and stood up, then raised a flat palm in his direction. “I do you a big favor, and this is how you treat me? I KNOW I gave you FOUR twenties because I counted them carefully TWICE, and then YOU checked them over soon as I handed you that envelope!”

“Well, go upstairs and see if you find that twenny, before you regret it!” he ordered.

“No, I don’t need to do that. I KNOW there are just three one-dollar bills left, and nothing more. But I’m going home now, anyway, to prepare the doggies’ dinner. See you in a few.”

He ranted on as I quickly escaped inside, not wanting to play ping-pong with his false accusation. He’s a speed freak, Wattson, and you know as well as myself, they always come up with tricky ways to squeeze more money out of you. But it never works on me, and Deek should know that by now. There was, of course, no twenty dollar bill, just those three Washingtons, when I returned hovel to prepare the mutts’ dinner. But something notably positive occurred during this conflict, which is:

He did NOT fly into a rage, but kept his tone of voice at a reasonable pitch throughout. I was impressed, for it looks like I clearly got through to him that screaming in front of the pooches does them harm (Flaco even shivers in fear and comes to me for succor), and is thus a wicked thing to do, considering what sweet, trusting angels they are. You have NO idea how badly I want to slam him to the ground for such crude behavior, Wattson! Animal abuse!

Upon returning outside with the pups’ meals, Deek resumed ragging on me, but this time in front of another vagrant who had shown up! They were both seated against the building’s front, while Lucky & Flaco remained tethered to the shopping cart twenty feet away, at the bus stop. Nice of him to start a money argument in front of another person, I thought, who COULD be violent. Way to go, you fuckin’ asshole! Fortunately, he was not; in fact he kept his clam shut for the entire clash, which lasted no more than two minutes, after which I went over to the mutts and sat down with them for a little while.

Then I was ready to return hovel, but first I moved the dogs over to their master, so they could rest beside him, instead of remaining alone while gazing at their owner with yearning, just across the sidewalk. Deek didn’t object, nor his sketchy companion (who looked like an old Ichabod), as I tossed the sleeping bag between them so the hounds could continue relaxing in comfort.

“Please excuse my intrusion,” I spoke softly as I arranged the bedding.

“No, that’s alright,” Ich replied, and began to pet the doggies.

I smiled upon witnessing that display of affection and remarked, “They’re such good company, I wish Deek would appreciate them better.”

I then fetched the shopping cart and moved it near the canines’ new spot, and tied the leashes back onto a lower rail. And finally, brought them their bowl of water and half-eaten meal.

Deek appeared to be drifting off into slumber, with drooping head and arms fallen slack upon his thighs. But he rustled his tired bones awake to hand me a white slip of paper:

“Hear, this is the receipt to prove I bought these shoes. You think all I do is spend your money on drugs, so for now on I’m bringing you receipts.”

I snatched it from his fingers, but could barely discern the tiny blue print because my reading glasses were upstairs. At any rate, I didn’t see the point, as he could’ve just picked it off the ground, selecting a receipt with a price that closely matched what he claimed to have spent. But I DID manage to make out the cost, there at the bottom:

“A hundred twenty dollars? I thought you said you spent only eighty!”

“Uh, no,” he kinda mumbled as if to deflect my challenge, and make up some believable story. “I DID wind up buying those hunner dollah shoes, but now I have to make up the difference.”

I handed him back the receipt and said: “You mean to tell me the store trusts you to bring what you still owe? And why does it say a hundred TWENTY instead of just a hundred?”

Deek paused a few moments, as if irritated by my pushing for an answer, as if he couldn’t be bothered, he needs his sleep…for he didn’t manage to look up at me through the entire dialog, but kept his head bowed almost to his lap: “That was the deal, he’s charging interest in exchange.”

Well, I knew he was talking BS like a Sunday preacher passing through a one-horse town in a rickety old cart, but since he remained soft spoken, I gave him kudos for that, and thus did NOT berate him. Instead, I offered the following solution:

“Just sell some product, and you’ll have paid the debt you owe in no time!”

To my surprise, he simply nodded his head in agreement instead of giving me grief, then dozed off with the mutts snuggled up against him, and the other vagrant already sound asleep. It wasn’t even sunset,  in fact it still had another hour to go! But who am I ponder the sleeping habits of crystal addicts who eke a meager living on the streets and from the good will of others, among whom I like to include yours truly. But get this, Wattson:

I swear I’ll eat my Syracuse baseball cap if the shoes he wears now aren’t the same ones he had on beFORE he supposedly bought new ones! I should’ve paid more attention. Oh he’s a weaselly character alright, my Cajun comrade and sack o’ worries. In summation:

I certainly understand why this is happening, why I am now insinuated into the homeless scene in full view of my residence and all those who occupy it. Kismet has so deemed they witness my dedication to the LGBT homeless, and that what further challenges they may hurl my way I shall overcome with panache and compassion TO those miscreants who choose to play my enemy. And in so doing, I will impress and inspire them, which result will be a newfound kindness on their part towards all those forced to live a rough life on the streets. Furthermore:

Deek’s gifting me with that military jacket the day before, and his kind words around it, still count for much. In spite of my cynical facet that tells me he was just [I Can’t Believe It’s Not] buttering me up for that hundred smackeroonies.

SCENARIO 2:

As you know through previous missives, Scooter may be trouble. I was glad he finally toned down his boisterous calls and shrill whistling up at Karlsen’s window at all hours of the day and night. MOST nerve-racking, to say the least. But Scooter is also a SCARY fellow, a meth demon with an explosive nature to go with it. Nothing’s been resolved regarding blood on the stairway walls, lobby and out front, since I first brought it up to you mid-September, with pictures. It has since been scrubbed away by our maintenance man: good boy! The SFPD never bothered to follow up on my call to non-emergency by dropping over to check out the evidence (because I had not actually witnessed a crime), but Scooter’s lurking about the premises makes him a suspect as far as I’m concerned, due to his volatility and substance abuse.

I spoke to a few people in this building about the blood smears and large droplets, but no one seems to care…least of all Kevin Bond the resident manager! Not that I actually spoke to him about this, considering I shouldn’t talk with the rat fink at all, about anything, per my attorney’s counsel.

It was obvious to anyone who paid attention, that Karlsen wanted nothing more to do with him, after making his acquaintance five weeks earlier. And when Scooter did not show up for a few days, I thought it was all over, much to my relief (and no doubt to others in this building, though no one seemed to talk about it, at least not in my presence). But remember, Wattson, his temporary disappearance occurred immediately AFTER that blood appeared. Yet a bit later on, there were the two foolish pricks chatting away outside like they were the best of pals! And I did not see anything like a bandage for a wound on Karlsen’s arm, or anywhere else. This makes his street companion less of a suspect, but not by much. There COULD be a wound somewhere on his torso, covered by a flat dressing beneath his shirt and coat.

So now Scooter’s back these days, calling up to Karlsen’s window…though not shrill and loud like at first, but nonetheless enough to disturb the peace if it were too late or early. Like this morning, when I heard him outside around 6:30 AM. Of course Karlsen did not answer, ’cause he most likely wanted to remain in bed! After all, he’s a raggedy old fellow, and looks it. His grotesquely bowed, skinny legs complete that picture!

Well, some time later I was ready to step out for my morning coffee, but when I peered out the window I saw Scooter right outside, standing very close to the front gate! It was by then around 8:30 AM. So I decided to sneak out through the back exit, but when I closed my door behind me, I heard some old geezer’s raspy voice ramble on in an angry tone somewhere to my left and down the hallway. Of course it was Karlsen, who I figured was standing outside by his door, preparing to meet Scooter downstairs. But I discerned some of his muttering, which conveyed a wish that “the muthuh fukker” (his words) would just leave him alone. Also, he grouched a couple of times, “Now where are my fuckin’ keys?”

I then backed away from the main hallway, and hid in the small alcove beside my door, assuming he was about to proceed towards the stairway and wobble on downstairs. But he did not, so after about twenty seconds more, I tiptoed back towards the hallway to listen to him further. But only for a very brief time, as I got a bit wary of being caught eavesdropping, so decided to sneak down the side hall and into the common restroom, in which I could hide for a spell behind a locked door.

About a minute had passed, during which time I heard footsteps and more talking…like maybe Karlsen HAD gone downstairs to let Scooter inside, and they were now at his door, about to enter. So I slowly opened the restroom door and stuck my head out to see what was going on. There is an enclosed back porch between the restroom hallway and Karlsen’s studio apartment at the west end of the main corridor. Through which you could see all the way to his door, thanks to a window on this side of the porch, and another on the door at the further end.

To my astonishment I spotted three cops standing by Karlsen’s door! I was about to slip back to my room without being noticed, when suddenly there was Scooter standing right before me, with the door still ajar and my hand on the knob!

“What are YOU doing here?” I addressed him with intentional chutzpah, that he sense no fear emanating from yours truly.

He looked at me with a poker face and said: “I need to use the bathroom.” (He didn’t even say “please” or flash a smile: no surprise with someone so bellicose.)

So I curtly and decisively replied: “No you can’t!” and shut the door behind me with a loud “Clack!” Upon which he turned one-eighty without speaking another word, and walked to where the cops were still at Karlsen’s door.

I think perhaps he stayed his belligerence because of the presence of SF’S finest. And thank Glob for that! I didn’t even have my pepper spray with me. Can you believe this, Wattson? I did my best to remain invisible, yet who should suddenly get in my face without warning? I can’t even keep a scumbag away sometimes, even in my own building…and it has NOTHING to do with me being lax with security! Scooter must have slipped through the front gate shortly after the police latched a pair of handcuffs to it, keeping it ajar. Talk about a SKUNK!

And since Karlsen seemed to be babbling incoherently at this point (I noticed as I quietly proceeded down the hallway and back to my hovel), Scooter played the cops like a fiddle, feigning what a close friend he is. Because Karlsen was incapable of uttering anything in his defense, such as:

“No, he’s not a friend, I don’t want him near me!”

Karlsen’s a major vodka lush himself, and probably smokes meth with his ghoulish companion. They deserve each other, and I have no concern for Karlsen’s safety, but I DO have considerable regard for my OWN safety, and thus, that of Hotel California North, wherein I’ve dwelt since January first, 1985! A rather nice and handsome fellow who lived here back in the early noughts, and enjoyed my company, once called this building “sketchy” in an email some months after he moved out. What a gentleman! And what a great lay! I miss you, Donald, hope your manscaping venture took off back there in Biloxi! Be that as it may:

I decided to finally step out to Rosenberg’s for my morning cup o’ Joe, and leave the SFPD and the two stooges to their own devices. Upon opening the gate I saw two cop cars and one ambulance parked out front. When I returned several minutes later, warm cuppa java in one hand, I saw from a quarter block distant, Karlsen being strapped to a gurney and lifted into the ambulance, with Scooter standing close by, and speaking with the public servants in blue.

Having no desire to get involved, I squirreled my way through the gate and hustled back upstairs…then took the following quick video of the scene outside, through my window:

Homeless fellow by name of Scooter stands at the back of the ambulance before my Bohemian neighbor down the hall, Karlsen, is driven to the UCSF medical center for god only knows WHAT kind of emergency! This isn’t the first time he’s called 911 ever since he moved in almost three years ago. In fact, it seems to occur every three months or so. Scooter is a meth head BTW, who explodes in anger now and then. He is not to be trusted, and I resent Karlsen bringing him here to our building, and to the neighborhood. Maybe he won’t return from the hospital this time around, and then problem solved.

And just for the heck of it, here’s a snapshot taken a couple weeks ago of Karlsen and Scooter out front, after their unholy reunion (Scooter is the one dressed in black):

Click here for a larger view.

Well, that’s it for the two scenarios, good physician. Hopefully, Deek will come to his senses and stop trying to scam me, and Karlsen’s last bed will be the one he’s now resting upon. In the hospital. Final rest stop: on a slab in the morgue. A few quick notes before I end this lengthy (though intriguing) missive:

Delighted to discover while listening to Marshall McGee’s latest podcast this morning, that he read my piece entitled “Amazing Day Again, Dog Sitting Outside!” Which is all about my meetng Frigga. The recording is six minutes, and here’s the link.

He also indicated he’ll most likely read one of my newer tales every week from now on (or possibly not so frequently, but regularly enough)…and, once KNYO’s phone problem is cleared up, he’ll invite me to resume calling in. AWESOME! Though I wonder how using my Moto phone will fare, as opposed to my former call-ins using a land line. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

Unfortunately, Frigga has yet to get in touch with me via the email I sent her three days ago. I would LOVE to connect with another homeless advocate as dedicated as myself, and who is NOT all wrapped up with the more conservative, LGBT elite leadership. So, keeping my fingers crossed on that, too, hoping she’ll eventually contact me one way or another, maybe show up again out front when I’m watching over the doggies.

Just yesterday I discussed a little with Morey at the corner shop two blocks up Noe Street, my latest adventures sitting the dogs outside. And all the interesting people I’ve met, who are giving me new stories to write. For more than two years, Morey has been a compassionate, stalwart supporter of my homeless outreach, especially when it comes to Deek’s pups. I was, however, disappointed at his reaction to my telling him that Frigga invited me to join her at some events in the Tenderloin, but I had to turn her down due to a major obligation to stay in or near my residence, for the sake of Deek and the doggies.

“Well, if you don’t mind being someone’s prisoner, I guess that’s okay!”

Jeez Louise.

– Zeke K-Holmes


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