The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 18)

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19r]

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Subject: Clean as a grubby whistle!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2022 at 2:22 PM

This morning upon returning hovel with my Rosenberg java, I observed that the ATM nook was strewn with garbage, along with a new chair that was large and plush enough for BOTH pups to share. So I decided to clean up the area after breaking fast. So an hour later I stepped out to do just that but, lo and behold, someone ELSE had already taken care of the dirty business! See first pic.

At first I thought maybe some ambitious vagrants came by to make their humble oasis presentable enough, that residents who live close by would not complain, with the city winding up having it caged off. I’ve seen Scampy doing cleanup of this or that homeless encampment more than once, and she’s done a spectacular job each and every time! Usually with the help of one or two other indigents. But maybe it was the Castro Cleanup Patrol that you see daily with their wheeled bins, brooms and cleaning rags.

Sure enough, when I looked around I saw one of them nearby, who probably took care of the ATM alcove while I was upstairs noshing on an English muffin and guzzling down a banana smoothie. See second pic.

Nice thing is: the plush chair is still in that corner, with the added bonus of two NEW plush pillows! At any rate, with or without anyone’s kind intervention, I myself will participate in cleaning up whatever debris the homeless may leave behind, without waiting for someone else to do it.

I actually did that for the first time yesterday, after Deek and friends departed. To my surprise, they left it spotless, so all *I* had to do was remove several cardboard sheets. That little area is right in front of the Super Duper fast food joint with outdoor seating, so I think it’s good policy to make sure no debris is left behind, to keep the goodwill flowing and not motivate them to push vagrants away.

Same thing goes for the ATM depot and the area behind the building…all long established hangouts for the homeless to gather now and then. Where would I watch the doggies if indigents were banned from around my building? I’d be too far removed from my hovel to tend to my own needs and be back within minutes, such as preparing a bite to eat and using the restroom…not to mention fixing the pups’ meal and bringing them water. My conclusion:

I should not worry so much, as some other equally good option always steps in to replace the old one.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Deek has not shown up yet today, to have me sit the pups. I appreciate the break, but I suspect he’ll arrive later, maybe by evening. At least because he’ll need his devices charged, if not the mutts watched. But at any rate, they now have a cushy easy chair to rest upon next time they visit!


Subject: Just got off my shift…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2022 at 10:34 PM

…dog watching, of course. From 3:30 to 9:45 PM. Such long hours, I should demand a raise! Pleasant day, Boulevard Joe showed up 20 minutes before Deek; excellent conversation. Deek was mellow, he’s out there now with two other visitors, one of ’em Scampy…and the doggies are comfortable in their plush easy chair. So:

Five pics of the dogs, and one of Matt who I’ve never met before. Asked if he could sit down, I said of course and handed him a square of cardboard for his posterior. We talked a little, then he lit up a bubble (after first inviting me to join, but I said no thanks, go ahead it doesn’t bother me). He soon went fast asleep. Nice fellow. So there’s a pic of him, too. Deonte was there as well, snoozing in the opposite corner all day long.

Oh, good news: I asked Joe if he’s seen Arwyn lately and he said yes, he’s working at Molly Stone’s these days! I’m so glad for him that he is. Not that I’m gonna surprise him by showing up (it’s a ritzy-titsy overpriced supermarket anyway), but he’s still in the neighborhood is what counts. In fact, he took a whack at the parking sign out my window just last night!

Even though others have taken to slamming that sign with their fist (especially the Hohokum jerks), I always check to see if it was Arwyn. This time around, it was! I watched him walk up Market Street towards the Bay until I could no longer see him. He did NOT look back to see if I was there at the window…why should he since I’m sure he knew I was. Fine with me, because I knew that he knew that I knew, just the same. It is HIS unique way of letting me know he’s around and watching over me in his own obfuscating style.

I can’t wait till he finally sees me sitting out there with the hounds! THAT should be an interesting encounter; he might even think I’m homeless now. What a hoot.

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Re: Just got off my shift..
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 12:44 AM

> That alcove is great!

It’s become an accidental shrine to the homeless. SO much nicer minus the machines, and the elitist rabble they attracted!

> And the dogs look very cozy, comfy and happy.

After a few hours of them sleeping there, I took the pups for a little poopy walk, up and down the block. Apparently, they only needed tp pee, because when I turned them around to proceed to the other end of the block, they tugged on their leashes when we got near the alcove…they were dying to climb back into their cozy nest, so I let them.

> Those other pics you sent, of the alcove with its posters, are especially compelling.

Yes, striking, bold, radiant! They have transformed the ATM nook into something far better because meaningful. Though Blvd. Joe made this excellent observation:

“But they’re not from here, looks like it could be Los Angeles…and they’re all Latinos. There should be pictures of the LOCAL homeless, of various ethnicities: black, white, Asian, Native American AND some Latinos.”

I told him i agree, but this is a good statement nonetheless…and that I’ll contact Frigga and suggest she make it her pet project: shoot pics of the local indigents and paste their photos on the ATM wall.

> It’s chilly and damp up here, can’t be too much different down there. Hope you are warm and dry.

The weather’s actually quite fair today, not at all chilly and damp. Been like that for several days, now. But tonight had a sad ending anyway:

Deek had moved his things and the mutts to the bus stop and sat there for fifteen minutes or so before leaving the neighborhood. But while they were still there, a skateboarder came careening by, the dogs leapt, barking and pulling on their leashes until Deek’s bicycle (laden with large bags tied to it) came crashing down. Fortunately, Flaco & Lucky were not injured, but I saw Deek examining Lucky’s snout to see if the skateboard had struck him there. The skateboarder had stopped and was most polite to Deek, and apologized.

So many times I’ve told him to NOT tether the pooches to his bike unless it’s laid down on the sidewalk first. He finally started to do that several months back, but recently he’s returned to his old habit of tying the leashes to the handlebars while the bike’s standing. And when I tell him that’s shameful and disgusting to do that, as if he WANTS the dogs to get hurt (and I will, just as I have before), he’ll scream at me and walk away. NOTHING gets resolved! Then he has the nerve to demand I give him money in advance.

I have never seen any of his friends press him on this, and I don’t know why. Maybe if I talk to Scampy, she’ll listen and get on his case. I’ll bring it up to Wes, too.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: He’s trying to terrorize me!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 12:51 PM

Before I get into it, I want to note that my “just got off my shift” previous missive was composed in large part beFORE the skateboard incident. But I had yet to send it off before it occurred. Thus, what I had planned to be a celebratory piece was poisoned at the last moment by another one of Deek’s fiendish machinations. But as it turned out, it didn’t stop there, for he called up to my window some hours later–2:50 AM to be precise–asking me to bring down his charged devices. Foolish me, I had assumed he’d return in the morning around 8:30 to retrieve them!

That Bluetooth speaker is HEAVY, around 35 pounds, so being rudely awakened at such a wee hour, then lugging it downstairs on its tiny wheels–thunk, step, thunk, step, etc.–was NOT appreciated, to say the least. His other devices (smartphone and two battery backups) I could easily pocket, so no problem there…except that HE WOKE ME UP from a deep sleep to get them! Soon as I reached the front gate, but before opening it, he groused: “C’mon, hurry up!” Once he took the small items and grasped the speaker handles the bullshit hit my ears:

“You shorted me twenny, you still owe me fitty dollah for Sunday, I know you have it, so bring it!” (Meaning the Sunday that is tomorrow, just so you won’t get confused by Deek’s intentional obliqueness.)

“Nope, I don’t,” I replied in a stoic fashion, as I knew his game was to try to make me erupt in anger. “I already GAVE you $50 for Sunday in advance, which was on Wednesday. Next payday is Thursday, and you’ll just have to wait. No more advance anything, you’re out of control. And no, I didn’t short you.”

I then took the opportunity to tell him I saw the skateboard mishap, and the bike crashing down:

“You could’ve injured those sweet little dogs, because you lashed them to the bike when it was standing! You KNOW skateboarders come by there a lot!”

In the middle of my admonishment he walked away towards the bus top, where bike and pups were parked, and called back to me:

“I’m tempted to tie ’em up to this pole and leave ’em there for YOU to worry about! Or just leave ’em there anyway, even if you don’t!”

I coolly responded with a shrug of my shoulders: “In that case I’ll have NO choice but to call the SPCA, tell them two dogs were left abandoned by my building, and to please pick them up. And have you arrested for animal cruelty. DON’T push it, Deek!”

In the midst of this argument (no screaming, though, he kept an even keel, voice-wise) he also blurted:

“You even said I could GET a good pair of shoes for eighty dollah, I didn’t need a hunner!”

As if my saying that (after the fact, mind you) were some sort of “proof” I didn’t give him the full hundred. Dummy. Well, not so much dummy as conniver, as he knows exactly what he’s doing. For no matter how flimsy his argument (and he KNOWS it is), he’ll fling it to the wall and hope it sticks. He’ll try to trip you up with a barrage of accusations so fast you can’t possibly debunk more than one or two before he resumes his bratty blather. So my tactic is just to stand there and listen, then when he’s done I simply say, “What a load of crap,” or something similar. I just don’t deal with it, as tar babies are best left untouched.

I stood at the gate the whole time, leaving it ajar until I decided conversation closed, fuck you and I need my sleep. Just when I turned and the gate clacked shut behind me, guess who I saw crossing the street towards the further end of my building:

Scooter.

While Deek was settled in the bus stop stall, smoking a cig, and the hounds were lying down on a large shag-carpet remnant on the sidewalk right behind him. (I wonder where he got that, it’s actually nice. And he had another just like it, same beige color, about two weeks ago!) Again, the pups were tethered to a standing bicycle, though tilted this time in such a way as to be secured from crashing down.

“Jebus fukkin christ, what next…the two are gonna team up against me?” I thought as I climbed back up the stairs. One blood stain, by the way, could not be entirely removed, and is still visible there on the left wall close to the first landing. Still quite distinct; the wall’s rough surface in that spot obviously stymied any attempt by our maintenance fellow, Victor, to completely scrub it out. “Out damned spot! Out I say!” Here’s a pic I just took a minute ago:

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Soon as I got back hovel, I peered out the window to see Scooter walking back and forth below Karlsen’s window, whistling up and calling to him every two minutes or so. But in a little while, he moseyed on down towards Deek, and the dogs started to bark. He walked around to the other side to distance himself from them, and asked Deek for a smoke. Whereupon Scooter, now with a lit Marlboro between his fingers, returned to the far end of the building to resume his meth-and-vodka mating call.

This went on for about ten more minutes, towards the end of which time Deek turned on his speaker and blasted rap music you could probably hear a block away. So you can imagine how loud it was for me (and all the other residents on this side facing Market Street)! Scooter finally departed to catch a late-night bus (thank god) and I wondered how I’m gonna get Deek to quiet down.

“He’s trying to roust me outta my bed, get me to step outside and beg him to turn it off,” I thought. “And then another argument would ensue. So that’s not gonna happen.”

Meanwhile, some tweeking fool meandered by, which set the mutts up for another barking spree.

“Shut up, Flaco,” Deek yelled several times, his voice louder than her barks. “Shut up!”

Now I ask you, Wattson, is he being kind to these angels? Certainly not, because all he had to do was bring the poochies to sit BY him, atop a comfy nest he can easily arrange. They’d quiet down in a jiff. Those poor darlings, my heart goes out to them, and it looks like their master is conjuring up an even WORSE scenario to thwart my friendship with them, than he’s ever done before!

I finally broke down and dialed the SFPD non-emergency number, to report a noise disturbance. They answered the phone promptly this time, and said they’ll send someone out soon as they can, short of other emergencies that might intrude. I thanked them and she told me if anything changes, please call them back. Well it did, only several minutes later while I lay back down and focused on some scary tale playing from my smartphone set beside the pillow. I don’t really have a pillow, by the way, thanks to this ongoing bedbug fiasco…instead, I use an old winter jacket, rolled up. Quite comfortable, actually, better than a conventional pillow. Go tell THAT to the “MyPillow Man!”

To my relief, the rap fest suddenly ceased a scant four minutes later. So I got up again to look outside, and saw Deek and mutts ambling down the sidewalk towards Castro Street. So I redialed non-emergency which did NOT immediately pick up this time around, but I didn’t have to wait long nonetheless. Told them to cancel my complaint, as the offender just took off, and all was pacific once again.

It was close to 4 AM by now, and soon as I laid my weary old body back down in a blissful state of mind (anticipating the undisturbed repose I surely deserve), a Recology garbage truck came rumbling up to the bus stop, and spent ungodly minutes emptying the trash bins out there. Think CLUNK! CRASH! THUNK! RATTLE RATTLE! about a hundred times in a row, right in your ear.

It was nothing short of a dopamine high when I heard the truck finally thunder down the street and the night fell silent once again. But that only lasted a measly ten minutes or so before a humongous delivery truck parked right beneath my windows and kept the engine running at a roaring decibel while the driver moved palettes of goods from his vehicle, and wheeled them into Super Duper Burgers. Seven slow, excruciating trips in all before he slammed the back door down into its locking groove, like a garage door on rollers, and took off.

Approaching 4:30 AM, I rolled over and focused on the horror podcast still whispering from my phone (though I had missed the first six parts) as I drifted off to sleep, at last. But a short while later some screeching crack head made his presence known all along this block of Market Street, preaching hellfire, brimstone, the sins of faggotry and flying saucers, that we may all heed his dire warnings and not boink him in the ass without first being anointed by The Sacred Hooby-Heeby.

The bane of insomnia has not been my lot for the past several years, thank Cthulhu, with rare exception. But damned if I could get any sleep for the remaining hours till daylight! So I arose from my cot an hour earlier than usual, 7:30 AM instead of 8:30, performed my morning ablutions, then strolled on over to Rosenberg’s for that bracing, golden brown elixir. With a cholesterol clogging shot of Half ‘N’ Half and two packets of Sweet ‘N’ Low. Ah, Avalon! Belenus is in the clouds and all’s right with The Isles!

Does not my Bodhisattva Premise teach me never to get caught up in any negative emotions or fantasies? And in this case the Demon of Worry threatens to rend my spirit asunder. Dwelling on worst case scenarios such as Scooter hooking up with Deek, or my Cajun trickster trying to intimidate me or cause me to react in anger, or his dumping those furry angels for good, are poisonous concoctions that one should never quaff. For instead of quenching one’s thirst it will quench soul sucking vampires that will surround and suffocate me if I give in to delusional nightmares. So:

‘Tis another loverly day in Paradise, count your blessings, Zeke, and trust that your confounding amigo shall come to his senses (at least in part) and show you a modicum of respect.

I presume Marshall McGee of “Memo of the Weird” read my Pallas piece last night, and eagerly anticipate hearing it once I download the podcast this evening. Though, since I have no idea WHEN he read that tale in his six-plus hour show, it may be a day or two or three by the time I reach that passage of prosaic epiphany. I can’t imagine what his side comments/wisecracks will be, or his concluding words…but I’m sure they’ll be a delight to my ears and to my heart. He’s a superb narrator if nothing else!

By the way, I got an even BETTER chair than the previous two. This one’s made entirely of brushed aluminum, like the ones Super Duper uses for outdoor seating. Though before anyone accuses me of theft, let it be known I came across it in the ATM alcove two doors down, where apparently some indigent picked one up and transported it there. A happy though unintended boon for yours truly, or perhaps one of my bodhisattva guardians’ wish to please me?

I vote the latter! Maybe this was the chair that Frigga sat upon!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Chair #2 has been returned to the spot I found it: again, the ATM nook. Just like chair #1. It’s a small world after all!


Subject: 3 Doggy Videos from Yesterday
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 2:00 PM

All 20 seconds or less:

This is Flaco attempting to fluff up a discarded easy chair someone put there.
Flaco loves boxes…she’ll dive into any she comes across in a flash. You can’t stop her!
Lucky is such a sweet boi…look at that noble, darling face in repose!

Re: He’s trying to terrorize me!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 2:37 PM

> He’s bullying you horribly. Waking you up at almost 3 AM, making a racket, making demands, extorting money out of you, holding the dogs hostage…really heinous.

He thinks he’s kewl, playing gangsta. But it’s gonna backfire on him horribly, unless he shapes up fast. I’ve already warned him more than once, he’s going in a bad direction. He’s got a hook into a “perfect excuse” to harangue me constantly, the so-called “Twenny Dollah Gyp.” But if it weren’t that, he’d find something else; he’s constantly scheming up new ways to malign me. Boy do I need a spy cam now, to record all this. But alas, I can’t afford one, and besides, they’re cheaply made and will fail on you within a month or two. I can’t just hold a camera up to him, smartphone or otherwise. Thus, my best option is simply to not worry and trust the Fates. They have never failed me.

He has tried to set me up many times before, but since I held my ground calmly (and not in anger) he’s backed off each time. I’m being tested once more, per my Bodhisattva Premise. I can see Arwyn getting involved with me again, thanks to the doggies…he’ll fall in love with them in an instant. And once he witnesses some of Deek’s malicious pranks, Arwyn’s certainly the one who can set him straight.

Deek hasn’t shown up yet today, I thought he would. Maybe later, though I think he could be staying away until his next pay day approaches.

– Zeke K-Holmes


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Subject: Scrumptious Repast
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 4:52 PM

Someone left this tasty meal atop the newspaper stand on the corner of Noe & 16th. I opened the cardboard container, delighted to discover the fragrant contents within! It’s now back hovel, warmed over and ready for me to dig in, after first removing the food from the container, dumping it into a dish, and taking this snapshot. The pie slices on top are actually some kind of egg dish (fritata?), and there’s roasted potato wedges, bell pepper strips and onion. All kicked up a notch with spices and herbs. I’m enjoying it right now: flavorful and healthy! What a nice way to warm up a foggy, chill afternoon. I splashed a little balsamic vinegar over it: taste bud ecstasy!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Scrumptious Repast
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 5:55 PM

> Damn, that makes me hungry!!!!!

They know how to cook, whoever they are…I have no idea which eatery it came from. Perhaps the Mediterranean Cafe almost right across the newsstand. Though it could be from any number of other spots within a short walking distance. I like to think it was a gift from my guardians to give me a little boost of good cheer after last night’s ordeal. Not just food for the body, but for the soul as well. True comfort!

– Zeke K-Holmes


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Subject: Doggies love their tent!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 16, 2022 at 1:04 PM

I asked Deek if it’s okay to camp behind the building again, since the sidewalk there has recently been washed down and scrubbed. He said okay…and I guess he agreed in part because two houseless dudes at the ATM depot were kinda sketch and the dogs would bark too much and not get their needed rest. After moving the mutts, his cart and cumbersome two-seat bicycle around the corner, I realized now is a good time to try out the tent. Very pleased with the results!

First pic is the general scene.

Second pic shows the tent with the screen zipped up. Since the pooches’ leashes are not tied to anything, this is a perfect solution for whenever I have to return hovel for a few minutes.

Third pic is a closeup of Flaco & Lucky, in dreamy bliss in their new lodgings.

Excellent news to report about Deek, but details must wait until this evening, when Deek has collected the canines and I’m back indoors. Just thought I’d tell you now, so you wouldn’t worry after the ugly scenario I described in a recent missive. It’s all kewl now.

Well, gotta get back to the pups! I just reached the part in Marshall’s latest podcast where he begins reading my Pallas tale…just after hour 3. So I’m gonna lie down in the tent with my feet stickin’ out and the pups by my side, and enjoy the narration.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Sitting in my tent right now, typing on my Chromebook…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 16, 2022 at 8:53 PM

…and I even have Internet! Someone who lives in the back of this building also uses Xfinity, so I piggybacked on it. This is a nice feature they provide: any Xfinity customer can use another customer’s wifi, and it’s very secure, you can’t access another person’s activity, nor can they yours. This feature can be turned off, but most keep it on…it’s an opt-out feature. The connection is not great, but quite doable.

Deek returned an hour ago, delighted to see my “pup” tent…and has not even suggested he sneak inside it with me. Right now I’m sitting in the tent with my legs sticking out and the mutts curled up beside me. Deek and a friend he said he’s known for 10 years, “Old Joe,” are sitting a few feet away, smokin’, drinkin’ Arizona tea, noshing and chewing the fat. It was nice to see none of his comrades added alcohol to the mix. Deek himself is an unrepentant teetotaller. He told me Old Joe is part of his street rapping group:

“He has a great singing voice that imitates the sound of an old radio. He used to join in on choruses while in prison, and add his vocal talent as background harmony.”

Boulevard Joe visited awhile, too, for around a half hour. I don’t know what they talked about, as I was listening to more of Marshall’s podcast with earbuds. Deek said I could go back indoors if I’d like, he’ll just be hangin’ here for a bit. Offered to help me knock down the tent, but I said not necessary, I can do it easily myself, and I’d like the doggies to have their tent while he’s still here.

Then he wants to hop somewhere else for about an hour, if I don’t mind being outside longer. I said no, that’s fine. I can go upstairs right now and kick back if I want, and Deek knows not to allow anyone inside the tent, it’s just for the dogs. He’s mellow tonight, said he took some shrooms today. Wish he’d take them more often. Regarding our meetup this morning:

He backed off of his false accusations and crazy talk, apologized…said he was on some “crazy shit” last night. I advised him to stop talking to other people about our money arrangement, especially when he tells them I ripped him off. It could cause trouble for me (and him), and it’s really no one’s business.

“Apology accepted,” I said. “But you could do a lot of damage in my life by flying into a rage and badmouthing me, before you come to your senses and apologize. I trust this shitty kinda behavior will be a thing of the past at this point.”

At any rate, I had a lovely, peaceful day, and got to hear Marshall read my Pallas tale. Unfortunately, he skipped two whole pages of it, because for some reason the text was missing! He prints everything out he intends to read, and I think what happened was those two pages slipped out of his folder. Nonetheless, I thanked him in an email for another superb narration, after showing him those two missing pages in the pdf link he used to print out my tale.

He’ll probably narrate it all over again, just for me, so I can upload it to my blog…like he did for my “Zeke’s Last Supper” parody, where he mistook the word “lilies” for “dildos.” Remember that? But if he doesn’t follow through, I can always read those two pages myself to an audio file, and insert them into his narration. Just for plot continuity, if nothing else.

I feel like a new world is unfolding. And I’m not even on shrooms!

– Zeke K-Holmes


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Subject: Deek took forever to return…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 18, 2022 at 11:03 AM

…but it was a lovely night anyway. After commiserating with various street amigos, he finally went for a ride on his bike. Said he’d be back within an hour, but it turned out to be THREE! That is: I was out there in my tent until 12:30 AM. Longest pup-sitting ever: almost twelve hours, because it began around 1:30 PM! By the time the clock struck 11, I decided to purchase a bag of popcorn in lieu of the supper I missed. I hurried upstairs to slice up some sharp cheddar cheese and pour soda into a cup…then enjoyed the snack outside, happy that the doggies slept in comfort and warmth. And that Marshall has resumed narrating my unique, true stories.

Pic 1 shows the nighttime view from inside my tent.

Pic 2 shows the spot where I had camped out, after I departed…what a contrast, talk about the neighborhood going to the dogs (so to speak, because its shabby appearance is due to LACK of dogs). I don’t know WHO’S in that blue tent, but I did see Deek setting it up…apparently for someone else because I saw him this morning crashed out front. Maybe his “ex,” Scampy, is in there. I saw a foot sticking out, but it could be any old waif.

Pic 3 shows Deek and his furry charges this morning when I stepped out to Rosenberg’s.

Pic 4 is the same scene from a different angle.

Upon returning from Rosenberg’s, from across 16th Street I saw a Super Duper employee waking Deek up ’cause it’s time to go. By the time I reached his spot, he was sitting up in a dreary stupor, not aware I was standing close by until I addressed him:

“Good morning! I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, so you’ll need to free me up then; I’ll be back by 1 PM.”

This was NOT true, Wattson, but I didn’t care to be teased about getting my next covid booster shot at Safeway. Not only would he scoff, but possibly impose dog sitting on me just the same, claiming covid is a government lie, I don’t need to get that shot, it’ll probably kill me. Calling this a “doctor’s appointment” is something he’d more likely respect.

He looked up at me, still in a pleasant mood from the shrooms…but about eight 1-dollar bills lay strewn on the sidewalk, to his left. I pointed at the GWs and said:

“Pick up that money, you don’t want anyone stealing it!”

He turned to look, exclaimed “oh jeez” and stuffed them in a pocket as I said “Well then, I’m going now, I hope your day goes well,” and gave the pups a few pats before returning hovel. It’s now almost 10 AM and he’s still out there. I’m sure they’ll roust him again soon, this time with some urgency.

Last night when Deek and his little gathering sat by my tent, sharing the bubble pipe and chatting away, at one moment he turned to me and apologized:

“I usually keep this stuff away from you, sorry!”

“No, that’s fine,” I replied, “so long as my tent remains drug-free.”

Something funny he said to me about Old Joe who is an elderly African-American, heavyset and fat-faced with jowls and impressive bags under his eyes:

“He’s not as scary as he looks.”

There was obviously a warm exchange between the two, aided along by mutually fond memories of New Orleans, the Ninth Ward in particular. But this is all pre-Katrina, mind you. Though I mostly kept to myself, partly hidden by the tent flap while tapping away on my Chromebook. Deek kindly included me in his humble conclave now and then, by asking or showing me something, or offering me a snack or a drink. I guess I should consider it a great compliment finally to be included in the inner sanctum of a group of meth addicted street folks as “one of us.” Some of whom are no doubt bodhisattva guardians feigning that role.

In fact, Boulevard Joe appears to have even greater respect for me, now that I’m hangin’ on the streets for the doggies’ sake. Perceived as a result by the “normals” as a houseless person myself, and all the crap that goes with it. I told him how the other day our token Castro tour guide and her gaggle came upon me and the pups occupying the ATM nook for the afternoon.

“She hates the homeless,” he interjected. “She thinks it ruins her presentation, and cuts into potential profit off her gay history walk.”

“I know, and I felt it drilling into me,” I affirmed. “Gave me a scowl before resuming her lecture, like I’m just another useless piece of trash disgracing the heart of Gay Mecca!”

We had a good laugh at that, then discussed other matters relevant to the homeless cause. Never before has Joe spent this much time speaking with me. I seem to have impressed him that much by my latest outreach project, dog-sitting for a vagabond.

By the way, Blvd. Joe said homeless is a biased word, because we have a home, San Francisco, not just not a house.

“Oh I agree,” I replied. “I knew the person who first coined the word ‘houseless.’ It was Timmy back in the nineties. Then the new word took off from there. Sadly, he came down with AIDS and had to return to his fundamentalist family in Alabama. I also told him:

“I use other terms, too, such as ‘vagrant,’ ‘indigent,’ ‘waif,’ ‘hobo’ and so on, in my tales. But with the intent of elevating them, to hopefully expunge their seedy aspect still attached to such words.

Cyrus also showed up last night, for just a moment. “Where’s Boulevard Joe, I’m lookin’ for him!”

Deek said he’s probably up 16th Street a few blocks, but maybe at the club. I have no idea what he means by “the club,” but there ya go. I poked my head through the tent’s flap and called to him: “Hey, Cyrus!” But he kinda brushed me off with a lackluster “Hi, Zeke,” and no smile…he really seemed eager to track down Joe!

Soon as Cyrus took off, Deek turned to me and explained: “Boulevard Joe’s the big man on the block these days, so everyone’s looking for him!” Meaning of course that he’s wheelin’ and dealin’ tons of meth and other mind-altering products of perhaps a less injurious nature. I suppose he’s been building up to that for years. Just goes to show: fairy tales CAN come true, they can happen to you!

I dunno, old chap, but sometimes I feel like a cultural anthropologist out on the field, embedded within the tribe I’m researching…in my case, that tribe is composed of long-term houseless in the Castro who have built their own mini-society. And it seems to be well networked and efficient, with Deek, Blvd. Joe and several others the tribal chiefs! Though I suspect many other shamans abound that keep their mission well hidden for awhile longer before it blossoms across the city, and then the planet.

I just took a break after composing the paragraph above, to check up on Deek and canines…who have finally moved just around the corner, drinking in the sunshine. I stepped out with a fresh bowl of water and asked if they’d eaten yet. He just shrugged his shoulders as if to say “damned if I know.”

“C’mon, Deek,” I declared. “You’re the one with them now, but I’ll take that as a ‘no’ and fix them a meal, okay?”

He shrugged his shoulders again and ordered me to remove their sweaters, now that the day is warming up. Soon as I started to first do Flaco, her brother gleefully started to squirm on his back with tongue hanging out. One of his delightful ways in expressing joy for my friendship. Naturally, I scritched his belly and, the moment I did, Flaco started to squirm on her back, too! So I wound up scritching TWO bellies at the same time, then got around to taking their garments off. In the midst of which their master griped:

“C’mon, hurry up! I can’t talk bidness when you’re still here!” There was another fellow standing nearby, who showed up just moments ago.

“I can’t rush, Deek,” I responded with exasperation. “I’m being gentle to these little doggies, and I don’t think you’d have it any other way. Do you want me to stash them upstairs?”

“Yes, yes, c’mon get the fuck outta here!” he snapped.

I stood up then, both camouflage slipovers in hand and said, “You should take shrooms more often, it mellows you out. You’ll enjoy each day more, which would be nice to see.”

The other man chuckled at that, and I could see he approved of my retort rather than Deek’s rudeness.

I left Deek with these parting words: “Don’t be a jackass, it hurts your reputation as Prince of the Castro!”

When I returned with the doggy vittles (and two sheets of cardboard for the pups to rest upon), Deek showed me an over sized book about the fifties, flush with black and white photographs, that his present guest had just handed him.

“You remember the fifties, don’t you?” he queried.

“Uh, not really. I was born in 1950…I’m old but not THAT old. I was just a tot back then.”

He rifled through the dusty pages to show me a bunch more snapshots.

“It’s a classy book,” I noted. “Looks sales-worthy to me, if that’s your plan!”

I think he wanted to make up for his crude behavior by showing me this artifact from the mid-twentieth century. He certainly didn’t act eager to brush me off, this time around. Which I appreciated, but soon as I saw the hounds start to dine I told him to have a great day and returned to my humble monk’s cell upstairs…keeping my fingers crossed that he takes to heart my suggestion about eating more shrooms!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: By the way, I love how Marshall introduced my Pallas tale, quote:

“Ezekiel Krahlin has been writing a series about…dog sitting, mostly. And writing faster than I can read the pieces one week at a time; so I’m gonna read just one of them and let them pile up and tackle them as the time reveals itself to be available.”

During last night’s visit with Blvd. Joe (no one else was there, besides Deek and myself) I told them “Listen to this!” and played back that quote above on my Chromebook. Just to let Deek know I really DO have my stories narrated over the airwaves, I’m not just faking it like some big shot bag of wind. When he heard the “dog sitting” part, he cracked up immediately. But neither one asked me to play it further, nor was I about to force it on them.


Subject: Deek stuck me with the pups again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 18, 2022 at 6:54 PM

“Stuck” being a reverse euphemism for “blessed,” of course. How could I ever regard the darlin’s as anything less than a heavenly gift, no matter the inconvenience, discomfort or stress? He dropped over (from the corner by the bus stop out front where he slept) around 10:30 AM, telling me the cops are doing another sweep behind the building, so I should just watch ’em for awhile, he won’t be gone very long, he just has to get outta here till it blows over. And it’s now 8:10 PM as I type this missive from my tent! Will he return tonight? Will he EVER return? What will happen to Lucky & Flaco; I can’t adopt them myself.

“But what if they tell ME to move, too?” I replied. I knew he wasn’t lying about the cops, as I just saw one turn the corner, and all debris was removed when I checked behind the building an hour later, with not a single vagrant standing (or lying down, to put it aptly).

“DON’T STRESS ME OUT, I don’t wanna hear it,” he erupted while sorting through his new wagon that he said a nice lady just gave him. It’s made of thick, dense nylon fabric instead of wood or metal (or plastic I guess).

“Go wait for me over there!” he ordered, meaning the ATM alcove. But since he told me a few days ago to not hang the leashes on the lever-type door knob that opens to a room behind the ATM machines (if you have the key) I had nowhere to tie the leashes, where they could rest in the shade. I found that handle to be most convenient, yet Deek loves to make everything difficult when it comes to THIS imperturbable pilgrim!

He also had a shopping cart, which held some possessions he transferred into the wagon. Took his sweet time doing it, too, as I patiently waited with the equally patient brindlekin.

“What are you doing just standing around?” he grouched as he finally approached with the empty cart (if you don’t count the sparse number of goods still contained therein: all trash as far as I could tell).

“I was waiting for the cart, so I could tether the dogs,” was my “duh!” reply.

“You look like you’re ready to take off,” he exclaimed. He was right, but not in the rude way he meant it…I wanted to hurry back upstairs where two sliced up bananas were sitting in my blender, along with a scant tablespoon of flax seed meal, an equally scant tablespoon of cocoa powder, two packets of Sweet ‘N’ Low, and two heaping tablespoons of tahini, to have nonfat milk poured over them and get all whizzed up. I imagined the oxygen turning the bananas a puke-inducing brown as I lingered outside, accommodating Deek’s frantic drama.

He then grabbed a small chair that happened to be nearby and said: “Here, take a load off, enjoy the day while I figure something out. I’ll be back soon.”

So I tied the leashes to the cart, now wheeled into the alcove by Deek’s loving hands, and watched him depart towards Castro Street until he was from a distance where he wouldn’t see me scurry off to my hovel and press button number 5 on the osterizer. The bananas remained a clean shade of yellow, you’ll be pleased to know.

I sat with the hounds about a half hour (and scarfed down my entire smoothie) before three angry gentlemen showed up and demanded I leave this spot and take everything with me. They had to enter that door for whatever chores (one of them had a key), so I thought they just meant I should transport my butt several feet over, to the other end of the alcove.

“Okay, I’ll just move ’em over here now that it’s shady,” I calmly replied. “I’m just watching my friends’ pups for awhile. Sorry to be in your way.”

“NO! You gotta get outta here, the whole section!” ordered one fellow with a nasty scowl on his face and a Mexican accent. To my surprise (no, to my SHOCK) it was Victor, the building’s maintenance man! I thought we were on pretty good terms, but this opened my eyes, good physician. I imagine he’s caught up in the building manager’s gossip, along with various other residents. Besides which, it may be difficult for these pinheads to wrap their heads around my dog sitting for two homeless poochies…first, indoors for a year-and-a-half, then outside and around our building, sitting with the canines for hours, right under their noses. The nerve of me! Don’t I realize they pay good money from their parents’ (or Silicon Valley’s) largess to live in San Francisco, and they don’t need to see THAT where they live!

As I placed two cardboard sheets and a bowl of water into the cart and began to roll it outside the alcove, another fellow said “Take the chair, too!”

“Uh, no,” I replied, “that was already there.”

Then the third goofball, a gaunt, elderly man with whispers of gray hair floating around his cranium addressed me:

“I’m security around here!”

I was tempted to say “Well aren’t you special!” Instead I just continued moving forward and onto the sidewalk towards the bus stop where I hunkered down and laid out the cardboard and a small blanket for the hounds, hoping those creeps wouldn’t harass me here, as well. I kept looking back to see what they were up to and, nope, they didn’t bother me any more, didn’t even look in my direction. Granted, I was on the opposite side of the stall, and mostly invisible to them as a result…I made sure of that.

I just want to note that these three unwise men are your typical, childish, Brave-New-World Delta working stiffs, confronting me in anger rather than a friendly request that I go elsewhere. Discrimination against the homeless much? He’s security around here, my ass. A bunch of brownshirts is what they are.

But it looks like the ATM depot is no longer a good place for the pups and myself anyway, due to a recent arrival of rather crude indigents taking over. They’ve made it their home, and are there almost 24/7, and it’s not that peaceful, especially after nightfall. And quite filthy and littered with their debris. One screams a lot and harasses pedestrians, and another speaks loud, foul, violent language in his dream state…no doubt meth induced. Plus it’s lit up all night long, which I find disruptive to a restful state.

Camping out by the bus stop yesterday was not at all serene this time around. The pups were constantly on the alert to protect their turf, barking at more than half the dogs that walked by with their owners. Then there were so many skateboarders you wouldn’t believe! There was a motorcycle parked four feet away from us when we arrived, and about two hours later the rider returned, decked out in biker apparel, including a helmet with a mirror visor, so I couldn’t see his face.

Instead of first pulling back to the corner, he revved up the engine with its raucous “Vroom-vrooming!” right in my face, which of course roused the hounds to full barking mode. I think the biker did that intentionally, because an easy excuse to harass the houseless.


It was nice that Wes showed up while we three we there. It was small talk, but friendly. He offered me eggs he got on the cheap, but I said no thanks, I don’t eat eggs usually. He asked me two more times, like he was pushing heroin, and seemed to be a bit angry about my turning down his kind offer. But he soon calmed down and talked about his private campsite “in the hills,” wherever that is, I didn’t bother to ask as that might come off as snoopy and possibly trigger paranoia. He said he comes down from the hills only to shop and sometimes chew the fat with other vagrants, including Deek whose strain of pot he prefers (which I suspect was grown around a rat infested, boarded up old warehouse that most everyone thinks was demolished ages ago and for some reason doesn’t see it still standing, as if invisible to “normals.”) It seems that cooking is his passion, and he looks forward to fixing himself a plump omelet this evening, with cheese and onion.

Cooking is my passion, too, though I do little of it anymore, due to the limited kitchen amenities of my humble abode. In fact, my room is so run down at this point its almost unlivable by any building code standards on the planet except in Outer Slobbovia, and in desperate need of an industrial overhaul. As a result of such a squalid condition I don’t feel inspired to whip up tasty fare, except those that are quick and simple to create. I’d prefer to order to-go meals to make my life easier, as there are many healthy options these days, but I just can’t afford it.

A tad later on, a nice lady who stops by often, said those dogs are wonderful, gave them each a treat, said kibble destroys a dog’s kidneys, use canned wet food only, she’s a retired veterinarian and knows these things. Great, that’s all I needed to hear: dog food prices keep going up, and now it will cost me even more to switch over to canned, exclusively! Though maybe she’s exaggerating, as I looked up kibble on the web, and if it has quality ingredients, it’s actually healthy for the canine constitution.

Another nice lady (who looks similar to that other nice lady, also Japanese and sporting a covid mask: strange coincidence) who also stops by often, told me for the second time to present a little treat to the pups to distract them from barking at bicycles or skateboards. I told her I tried that last time she suggested it, but it never works. They totally ignore the treat and their eyes remain riveted on their target. But what DOES work is gently closing my hand around their snout and saying: “No barking! No barking!” They now bark far less as a result…a little growl or a woof is all. But she didn’t believe me, insisted on the treat tactic, even though I already explained it doesn’t work. I nonetheless wished her a good day for caring about these dogs and stopping by to say hello. I can use all the emotional support I can get!

I managed to fix a lunch in record time, though it’s stressful because the dogs are outside without protection, and you never know what will happen. They started barking while I was indoors, slapping together a bite to eat, with a cup of Twining’s black currant flavored black tea. But I put a painless choke collar on the brindlekin, so no way can they escape their leashes. For they CAN slide out of their regular collars, even when properly adjusted, if they feel bold enough. Which they often do, when a skateboard or large dog comes near…or sometimes even a tiny pooch if it’s all gussied up like a cheap tart.

The bus stop is usually NOT such a disruptive location to sit the dogs, it’s often quite pleasant…but yesterday was NOT one of those days! So around 6 PM and Deek had yet to return, I decided to set up my tent for the first time, in back of the building. Even though the SFPD had driven a few homeless people away from that spot earlier today, and Deek might be enraged upon his return to see us there. But I figured since the ATM depot was already flush with vagrants once more, I’d be safer with a tent around the corner.

I actually prefer to sit the dogs away from all the foot traffic and disturbances typical of a busy street like Market. The doggies rest better, and I can work on my Chromebook. And I can also take them for their little poopy walks on that same block, or right across the street…where I can keep an eye on my tent and Deek’s shopping cart. The tent is a Teton 2-person pop-up, high quality and repels even heavy downpours…exactly what the doctor ordered as we enter the rainy season.

SOME crazy shit happened while camped out there, but it was otherwise a pleasant evening. Such as:

When I lie down with the canines I keep my shod feet poking through the tent’s flap. This may cause some people walking by to think I’m available for conversating. Like what happened a couple of hours into my dog sitting last night:

“Is anybody home?” someone called within a few feet from the tent. “Hey, anybody home?”

I sat up then and pulled open the fly, to see a semi-grubby fellow with a large shock of frizzy brown hair. I said:

“Yeah? What’s up?”

At which point Flaco & Lucky poked their noses out and began barking furiously as I held them back with one crooked arm. He replied:

“Do you have a pedal wrench for my bicycle I could borrow?”

“Jeez Louise,” I thought, “disrupting me and the hounds over THAT? Can’t he see the tent is closed and I shouldn’t be disturbed? I could’ve been asleep!”

Though I wasn’t, that’s no one’s business, but you can see, Wattson, how my sense of being truly hobo has kicked in! Some veritable stranger had trespassed on my transitory turf that was all mine tonight!

I sat up and stuck my head out, told him while struggling to restrain the hounds:

“No, no I don’t, sorry!”

“Oh, okay,” he replied while eyeing the furry quadrupeds. “Apologies for interrupting your peace.” Then off he went, back into the damp night like a specter drifting by in the fog.

The dogs then returned to the quilted mattress cover I found in a free box two weeks back, and use for their blanket, fluffing it up with great vigor as doggies do, and is so fun to watch, pulling and adjusting with tooth and paw and an occasional growl of “no-that’s-not-quite-it” frustration, before rearranging it to their satisfaction and plunking themselves down into their cozy nest. Lucky rested against the far side of the tent while Flaco nuzzled up beside me and licked my face and ears clean because that is what doggy love is all about. A cool, pleasant breeze wafted through the ventilated tent as I massaged her shoulders and stroked her floppy ears and neck. Then reached out to scritch Lucky’s little forehead and grasp one of his chunky forepaws in friendship.

About an hour later, some scrappy Chicano dude asked if I’d like to buy some [insert a list here of various illegal drugs]. I shook my head “Nah, but thanks” upon which the dogs burst from the tent, yanked the shopping cart I had thought was firmly stuck in place by a construction sign on a folding metal stand that I placed in front of of it, but the cart swayed to one side, causing it to push the sign away and start rolling down the hill and the dogs with it (because leashed to the bottom rail of the cart, near the back wheels), so I maniacally dashed through the tent flap, grabbed the cart and pulled it backwards to its original station.

There was also a tall blonde dude standing around who came outta nowhere (like everyone else I suppose), behind the tent and rattling on about the meaninglessness of life, how becoming homeless was the best thing that’s ever happened to him, since it finally put rea; purpose in his life which he never had before. He wore a lovely sweater depicting silver bolts of lightning on a loose knit of blue and purple.

Neither fellow helped me with the cart and sign, dammit…and I struggled to put everything back in place with the dogs still tethered and unharmed. Though the Chicano ran away once the dogs and cart started chasing him, the blonde fellow remained, and was glad to engage me in badinage.

For he did talk up a storm about this corrupt society so like Nazi Germany, and how the pursuit of happiness is a farce. But he’s happy and even proud in his outrage, always ready to rumble for any demonstration that fights for the people. I found his spirited philippic a delight, along with his comely appearance: handsome, frowning mug, thick golden mane of curly shocks and a well formed body like a vision of Helios! But a 72-year-old gay codger like myself must suppress the excessive drool gushing from his saliva glands back down the gullet, lest he be declared a dirty old man.

So no, don’t even entertain the notion that this vibrant scenario will lead to a passionate tryst in my tent as you scroll down the page, dear reader. Perish the thought! Jack off now, please, get it out of your system. I’d NEVER invite a stranger into my abode, whatever it be for the moment, when the brindlekin are under my keep, and present.

He amazed me with his social critique because it paralleled the very things I have issues with, and discuss now and then in my tales!

“You remind me of a character out of Allen Ginsberg’s poem, Howl!” I declared as he paused for breath. I was thinking here of the opening stanza that starts with:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.”

I figured he knew what verse I was referring to, so didn’t bother to explain, or quote anything from that seminal poem that rang in a New Age which is about to REALLY take off like gangbusters. The Event will be like a scimitar slicing through history, and change everything.

I also told him: “You clearly have all your ducks in a row, though I’m sure the average dufus believes otherwise, but that’s just the way it goes.”

“Aren’t you friends with that guy they call Po’ Boy?” he quizzed me.

“Yes, that’s his street moniker,” I explained. “But I know him by his birth name, Deek. I watch his dogs for him whenever he needs to run errands without them slowing him down, or just wants a break to ride his bike through the city.”

He thanked me for my talking with him, then apologized for the disruption of my dogs and the shopping cart, and not bothering to help me, he was just too caught up in his own reveries.

“No problem,” I assured him. “I really enjoyed the conversation, too. Is there a way I can say God bless you, if you prefer some other word than god?”

“Oh, well, god is perfectly fine with me,” he replied. “After all SOMEthing glues everything together in the universe.”

“I actually prefer the term Universal Mind or the Great Spirit.”

And upon that note the handsome trickster took off for parts elsewhere, saying he might drop by again tonight. He did not, but I have a feeling we’ll soon meet again, seeing as he’ll probably seek me out another evening where set up camp with the mongrels. My tent is easy to spot.

I then returned back inside the tent after such an explosive interruption; the dogs wagged their tails and I hugged and scritched their bellies both. So glad to have this little family of two sweet souls under my wing…or should I say my tent flap?

For another hour or so I sat up with the Chromebook in my lap, typing out the first part of this piece. I had no Internet last night, which got me to focus on my writing.

Deek finally showed up by 11:30 PM!

“Where’d you go, to the moon?” I asked him the moment I emerged from my pod.

He didn’t comment on that, but just plunked himself on a sheet of cardboard, pulled his socks down and started scratching his ankles like crazy. UnbeLIEVable crazy. I bet he picked up chiggers, fleas, lice or (god forbid) scabies on some clothing he found while rummaging the streets. Though that possibility was never discussed, I didn’t even comment on his itchy shanks…so just an observation and conjecture on my part.

He was in the company of a small, robust fellow named Joe. He extended a hand to me in greeting, which was nice, but he was too far gone on his meth spree for me to bother with him, because pesky (though harmless). I needed to focus on knocking down my tent ASAP as I was eager to call it a night and return hovel.

So I first cleared out my tent of the mattress cover, spare jacket, my backpack containing the Chromebook and two dogs, whose leashes I tethered to their master’s bike lying down by the curb…distant enough so they wouldn’t try to get back inside the tent during its disassembly.

Problem knocking down the tent…turned out to be a tiny latch you just press down on and voila! the whole tent collapses. But for a few moments there my heart sank at the thought of a broken frame which would make the tent unusable and I’d have to discard it…a waste of $125, and I can’t afford to replace it! I couldn’t possibly sit outdoors completely unprotected for so many hours, and not just because I’d have to forego using my Chromebook. My Teton 2-man pop-up has proven to be a godsend.

While Deek continued his frenzied scratching, he looked up at me and said: “You’re sure taking a long time to knock down a tent you said is easy to handle.”

“The top is stuck, like it’s fused on, it won’t budge!” I replied in an exasperated tone of voice, then sighed: “I’ll have to go upstairs and get on the web to find a video that shows me why I’m having this difficulty.”

So once back hovel I loaded a 4-minute video about this particular tent, and that is when I was reminded of a tiny latch, which I just forgot about after knocking it down the previous evening, with ease. You just give the latch a flick and it instantly collapses. All you have to do then is fold the fiberglass rods in on themselves and roll up the tent.

Deek asked me to take this bag with shoes in it, and store it upstairs for a day or two. It was then I noticed Flaco’s sweater was removed, but not Lucky’s.

“Why did you remove her sweater, Deek?” I queried.

“It’s not that cold out,” he answered.

“So why didn’t you also remove Lucky’s?” I was genuinely curious, wondering if he had a malicious streak about my relationship with Flaco, that he perceived I love her more than the brother (NOT true ’cause I love ’em both, infinitely), so he caused her to shiver at night while Lucky remained warm. I saw Flaco shirtless several times before on chilly nights, while Lucky remained wearing his. And THAT is how my suspicion was aroused.

“Well, let me take Lucky’s sweater upstairs, too!” I pointedly stated, to test his reaction.

He simply shrugged his shoulders, said okay, and so I did. Perhaps my suspicion was spot on, and Deek agreed with me to cover his sorry sadistic ass.

After stashing the tent and its contents back hovel, I returned downstairs to pick up his bulky speaker that he had asked me to charge tonight. It was then he complained:

“Stop putting so much cardboard down, it’s why neighbors complain and call the cops.”

I told him that’s not even the half of it, because there is often a ton of junk strewn about that is far worse than cardboard. And besides, I always remove the cardboard I lay down, unless other people show up and use it for their own comfort. In which case THEY are responsible, not me. I’m certainly not gonna wait till they leave hours later at 3, 4, 5 AM and pick up after them!

Having said that, I collected all the cardboard, six sheets in total, and proceeded to carry them around the corner to dump them off by the recycling bins. But some heavyset homeless fellow appeared outta the blue and said:

“Hey, do you need that cardboard anymore, can I have it?”

I turned to him and said, “Sure, I was just going to throw it away, here it’s yours for just a penny and a song.”

He then took a closer look and stepped back with palms out, and said: “Oh, that’s not the type I need, sorry!”

I had no idea what he meant, but Deek did, who addressed him: “Yeah, I figured it’s not what you want.”

I will make a point of asking Deek next time I see him, what all this “cardboard type” is about. I’m guessing it has to do with its different uses by the street people, though right now I can’t imagine what. Maybe they use glossy coated cardboard to snort powder?

Before we went our own ways, I told Deek when I delivered his charged speaker at the front gate, late last night:

“Know what I feel like these days, Deek?”

“Uh, no, what?”

“Like I have a regular job and I work 70 hours a week for NO PAY, the boss is a prick, though I love what I do.”

“Who’s the boss?”

“You!”

He chuckled, waved his hand and departed. I hope he got the hint, rather then obligating me to argue like Hades, for it would be a painful, dragged out upward crawl to the top of that hill. But I MUST get there, by hook or by crook or by ATM nook! ‘Cause one thing’s for sure:

It’s gotta change, this is way too much of a burden Deek’s dumped on me. I can handle such lengthy dog sitting every OTHER day, so I’m freed up on days in between to write my tales, prepare meals, shop for groceries and do other menial chores, take a shower, surf the Internet and post emails, and so on.

NOW FOR SOME QUICK NOTES BEFORE I END THIS WAY O’ERLONG DISPATCH

“14 megabits per second tonight on my Chromebook from my tent, I’m really sailin’ ,” I thought when I first set up camp. But a bit later I suddenly lost my connection and could NOT get online for the rest of the evening if your life depended on it…and it does. For reasons you need to figure out on your own.

Flaco has come up with a new trick: squirming on her back for belly rubs. Only Lucky has been doing this until recently…now they BOTH do! I presume this is his sister’s way of competing for my affection. Very cute; now I have to scritch TWO doggy tummies at the same time! Another sweet thing about the dogs is when I started setting up the tent for a second day in a row:

I tethered them to a pole about ten feet away, so I could raise it undisturbed by their frenzied desire to step inside. No way could I work around them if they were occupying the tent while still collapsed! As I was fussing with the flexible rods, the top cover and so on, they started in with happy “woofs,” their way of telling me to hurry up. It began within a couple of minutes struggling with positioning the shade/rain cover correctly. Suddenly, Flaco voiced an insistent, single bark. She had grown impatient. I looked over to her and said: “I’m working on it, almost ready!” Her joyful brown eyes sparkled back at me. Then Lucky joined in, and they wouldn’t let my ears rest until they could enter their nylon igloo, a home of their own.

My lovely black puffy jacket is missing! Though I’m sure I brought it back upstairs with my tent and other items, I can’t find it anywhere inside my room now! I was using it folded up, to cushion my left hip whenever I’d lie down beside the mutts. Not to mention as a fine comfort for those chilly days and nights. Where could it have gone? How could such a large, bulky item disappear in my diminutive hovel?

Scheduling my third booster shot at Safeway is like pulling teeth! I guess it’s the same everywhere, and here’s the problem:

When I called their pharmacy two days ago, they told me they’re all out right now, but a new shipment will arrive on Tuesday, and then Thursday. And no, no appointment is necessary, just walk on in. So I called back on Sunday to verify this, as I planned to get my covid and flu shots that Tuesday. But the person who picked up told me no, there is a backlog of customers waiting for their shots, and not enough vaccines will arrive this coming week…so I MUST make an appointment online. He apologized, as the logistics change every day, and what that other person told me was true at the moment, but now it’s not.

But when I loaded the application, at page three they asked the date of my most recent booster. That was my second booster, which I got by walking in, at Safeway. But I either forgot to jot down the date, or it got erased from my hard drive somehow. It’s not like they hand you a card as proof you’ve gotten your latest shot, which I wish they did. So I was stuck from proceeding towards completion of the form, no way around it, no option to say “I forgot.” I DO have the dates for my original jab, and the first two boosters, though I don’t know if giving them the date of the earlier shot will make me eligible for this omicron version.

It’s a shame you have no alternative to setting up an appointment online, such as a FUKKIN PHONE CALL.

So I called them back, but no one picked up, I had to leave my message on their voicemail:

“Hello, I forgot the date of my second booster shot, but I got it at your pharmacy. I can’t make an online appointment for the third shot, unless I know the date. So please call back, I’m in your database and can easily prove I’m who I say I am: Ezekiel Krahlin…and then you can tell me the correct date, so I can complete the form.”

That was yesterday afternoon, and they most likely won’t call back. So NOW what do I do? I can’t just try some other location, such as Walgreens, as they’ll STILL ask me for the date of my second booster!

Today Medi-Cal sent me their annual renewal form, and they’re gonna see a ton o’ moolah in my account because I haven’t been paying any rent since June! So I’ll have to explain those extra dollars are from a lawsuit, and that’s all my rent money piling up since June…which I’ll eventually have to pay back in the long run. They can verify this by contacting my attorney at this number. I HOPE this doesn’t get me in a pickle!

One good thing to report, though, in the gov’t subsidy department: my monthly $220 pandemic bonus food stamps were deposited again, yesterday. Don’t know how much longer this will continue, but when it stops I’ll be resuming a measly $19/month, and I’ll have to lower Deek’s allowance from $100/week to $80. But that’s not the good news part…he’ll probably scream bloody murder.

This morning around 8:30 I peered out my window to see Deek across Market Street with his bicycle and wagon hitched to it, doggies riding atop. Lucky gave a yawn of contentment, but I thought: “Oh god, please don’t drop by again right now, or today!” I watched as they reached the corner, alarmed he might turn left in my direction and cross the street. But they continued straight ahead and I breathed a sigh of relief. And so I stepped out for my morning java at Rosenberg’s to welcome a new day.

And I managed to complete this latest Brindlekin Tale, which took HOURS and could not be done if I had to sit the little angels. Or would be much more painstaking to achieve with my Chromebook while seated in my tent. Because I couldn’t even BEGIN to compose until sunset when the tent goes up. No way would I sit on the sidewalk totally vulnerable to theft…and almost asking for it!

– Zeke K-Holmes

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