Prison Cell or Sanctuary?

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 6: Chapter 22]

Subject: Another kick in the gut…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 8, 2022 at 12:27 AM

…and it’s always gonna be that way for the foreseeable future, whenever I see the brindlekin. And I did, earlier this evening, for I heard them bark right outside. Not that I was sure it was them until I peered out the window to see that yes indeed, there they were, while their master rummaged through the trash bin. He was dressed in a floppy, dark gray hat and a rainbow splashed jacket. He didn’t look up, and I backed away immediately, not wanting to make eye contact, or even let him know I’m home.

My heart tugged to rush downstairs and sweep the darling hounds into my arms. But Deek’s a monster and I harbor fury against him for his abusive, neglectful treatment of Flaco and Lucky. How could anyone ever get tired of these two angels, and regard them as an obstacle to a happier life?

So I remained upstairs and pretended to watch another video to stay my hand from running outside and slamming him to the ground. They were gone a few minutes later.

This morning, as I sat on a doorstep sipping coffee, Scampy strolled by and said “Hi, Zeke,” in passing. She rarely stops but continues to scurry along, so I hardly had a moment to realize who it was by the time she was about to turn up Noe Street and disappear. But just before she did, I snapped out of my own thoughts, looked up at her diminishing figure and called out: “Hey, good morning!”

Her sudden appearance caused me to speculate on how my relationship with other vagrants who know and hang out with Deek, will change. Will they get sucked into his hateful gossip and start to attack me, or will they know he’s fucked up and I did all I could to help with the doggies? Will they urge Deek to take better care of his charges, maybe help out with blankets and dog sitting? I’m counting on Blvd. Joe to bring that about, though I’m afraid he may do nothing at all, not even urge him to stop feeding them chicken bones.

But I DO know that siccing the cops on Deek put the fear of god in him (so to speak), and thus COULD coerce him to treat the pooches kindly at all times, so they won’t be taken away. Perhaps they SHOULD be picked up by Animal Control, as that would get them off the streets and probably into a loving home. One thing IS clear to me:

He MUST do this on his own! My allowance did NOTHING to improve the doggies’ lot; he spent it all foolishly on expensive speakers, shoes and other items (can you say drugs?)…all of which would be gone several days later. Were they stolen as he always claims? Or did he sell or trade them, as I suspect? Never mind, it’s irrelevant anyway, and it looks to me like he does very well for himself without my financial boost. He told me more than once he can get all the dog food he needs from SPCA donations. So what he NEEDS to do is focus on the pups, be loving to them, stop the mistreatment and neglect! Provide them with blankets, sweaters, food and many hugs and kind words. But will he? I can only pray and hope, for it’s completely outta my hands at this point.

[Jeez, someone just hollered “Yo!” outside. Though it wasn’t Deek, I jump outta my skin whenever I hear that call, which everyone and his uncle uses for a catchall greeting on the streets. I have come to despise that word more than any other. He is the product of a cruel upbringing that followed him into adulthood and to the West Coast.]

The curtain fell swiftly on that last act, eh, Wattson…the one entitled: “Playing Homeless with the Pups.” For it lasted briefly, about two months before the SFPD swooped down on me and demanded I remove the tent. Along with Deek’s growing verbal abuse and threats that forced my hand to thrust him away. It was all shockingly abrupt, as if the entire Castro suddenly ganged up on me! And it was only five months prior to that when the building manager drove the dogs back onto the streets 24/7. And now the weather’s cold and damp, being November, and I fear Deek lets them shiver nights on the rude sidewalk with little solace or warmth!

Strange to admit it’s a great relief to no longer have him around to wrack my nerves, while at the same time a sorrow to lose the pups and with that, their sanctuary of warmth, safety and joy. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t. The agony and the ecstasy. Whether they’re with me in my cozy room, or out there on the harsh streets, it’s always both curse and blessing. Though since it must be that way no matter what, I’d immensely prefer they still have safe harbor here, than remain outdoors…though I’d have to put up with more of their master’s vile behavior.

Though new sneakers have finally arrived, I cannot bring myself to toss out the old, ragged pair because they got that way from Lucky’s playful chomping down on the heels whenever we went for a walk. Nor can I bring myself to cover up my splintery floor with fresh newspaper and throw rugs to make my room more cozy and neat…not without the doggies around! For a chunk of my heart was torn away when the pups were, too. And knowing they’re out there in the cold without respite, I cannot possibly seek more than limited comfort just for myself.

So here I sit, safe and secure in my humble little cave, with a tiny heater to keep me warm and toasty while My Beloved Brindlekin suffer the bone-chilling dampness outside…and their master’s sporadic tantrums. My room is now more prison cell than monk’s retreat.

Plus I’ve been suffering a bout of acid reflux these past several days, which makes me cough uncontrollably for an hour or so when I lay down at night. Since whenever I’m horizontal, the acid creeps up my throat and burns and tickles the esophagus. Feels like bronchitis, though it isn’t. My condition IS improving, though, as I’ve started to sup earlier instead of around 10 or 11 PM. But I’m sure the reflux is also psychosomatic, due to stress caused by the meanness of certain people over many months, and loss of the dogs’ sweet company.

Tomorrow I get my Covid/Omicron booster and flu shots, thank god. And it was only this afternoon I realized it’s also the day of our midterm elections. So here it is again: the agony and the ecstasy. Damned if I vote and damned if I don’t.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Got my shots!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 8, 2022 at 5:20 PM

Safeway pharmacy was a most pleasant visit, got my shots at 2 PM and returned hovel. As for my free Internet debacle, I called the local Medi-Cal office November 1st and explained that ACP (Affordable Connectivity Program) told me over the phone that the issue date of both my EBT and Medi-Cal cards are not recent enough to be approved! I never imagined they’d say that, because I figured they have some communication with the gov’t to verify my eligibility, based on either card’s identification number. It’s not like they issue you a new card every year.

So my case worker (a Chinese woman with a soft voice that’s hard to discern) said she will snail mail me a letter of verification to satisfy ACP’s request. But it won’t be sent out promptly due to a delay in the USPS pickup, so it will arrive in four or five days. Well, today I received a letter from Medi-Cal, assuming it’s what she sent me. But upon opening it, the notice stated they have yet to receive my annual renewal application. Of course they didn’t, since I only mailed it on November 2nd!

Seeing as my deadline for ACP renewal is November 26th, and Medi-Cal’s approval takes weeks before it shows up in the mailbox or via email, I figured I should call them again to see if I can get this ironed out in time. This time a younger woman, African-American, picked up the phone. I explained my situation, to which she replied:

“I have just looked over your files, and we sent out that verification on November 1st, so keep checking the mail, it should arrive tomorrow or the next day.”

But I was confused how they could send me verification of renewal, when they haven’t even processed my form yet.

“We’re not doing renewals this year due to the pandemic guidelines, so your approval letter will suffice for ACP.”

Rather than ask why, then, I even received a renewal application at all (and a few weeks later, a notice they have yet to receive it), I just said thank you and wished her an excellent rest of the day. Before calling her, I actually logged into where I can fill out a form to continue my Medi-Cal services…but there was no renewal option, just one for applying. Maybe that’s because they’re not doing renewals this year, as the lady said. But there was no announcement of that sort on their site!

I just don’t know, Wattson, I’m more confused than ever at this point. Why didn’t Medi-Cal just send their clients a notice they’re not doing reevaluations this time around, instead of a renewal form?

I’m not gonna stick my hand in THAT tar baby, I’ll just trust the letter of verification will soon arrive so I can send a snapshot of it to my online ACP account. But as far as THIS Befuddled Acolyte is concerned, my free Internet debacle is NOT resolved until I receive that letter! If I ever do. Otherwise I’ll go ahead and start paying Xfinity my monthly fee until I DO get this straightened out. Which is only $10/month unless they declare that since I’m no longer eligible for ACP, I couldn’t possibly be eligible for THEIR low-income plan anymore, and will have to subscribe at $19.99 a month for their lowest tier! Which also means I’ll have to pay for any maintenance service that might accrue. So let’s keep our fingers crossed…

for that, as well as hopefully I won’t erupt in a carpet of shingles blisters again like I did with my previous Moderna booster. I should know in three days.

Cold and rainy last night, as it was this morning. I hope Deek showed the pups the love and care they need, and kept them warm and dry throughout. Rain has stopped a few hours ago, but the air is still cold, and will be even worse tonight…with more rain to come.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Another kick in the gut…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 8, 2022 at 10:55 PM

> So, so sad.


> That stupid fucking asshole.


Re: Got my shots!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 8, 2022 at 11:07 PM

> Feeling okay after the shots?

So far, just like all the other times. But I can still erupt with shingles blisters like I did with the previous shot. As I said, I’ll know in three days. But I can deal with it just fine. Severe itchiness for two nights in a row, but no real pain was what I went through.

> Gawd, the lethal bureaucratic tangle. Don’t tell me they don’t purposely make it impossible and infinitely discouraging.

And you’re supposed to trust the disembodied voice of a perfect stranger over the phone…with no proof you ever had a conversation with a Medi-Cal rep. It’s not like they send you a receipt with a transcript or digital copy of the conversation. Which they SHOULD provide. ‘Cause what if I don’t get that letter for ACP, how do I rectify that? I can’t just show them a receipt of our conversation, can I?

> Made an especially snug nest of old quilts and blankets for Surely and Pluto. They’re all curled up after a nice big dinner.


> Hope it’s the same for your little darlings…

I hope so, too, but I have my doubts. Deek often lets them shiver through the night. The dogs’ll die soon enough, thanks to that monster.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Mythic Quest lifted my spirit!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2022 at 10:55 PM

As one who regards grief and other negative emotions as illusions that need to be overcome ASAP whenever they strike, I consider this latest crisis as yet another challenge, albeit it one of the most horrific in my life. The upcoming midterms did not help any, considering the gloom of barbarism and violence they cast upon our world. Fortunately, they turned out better than expected, so that’s a burden lifted.

The past few days have been a psychic bombardment of worst case scenarios about the dogs’ tragic demise from hypothermia, or choking to death from chicken bones…Deek turning violent and attempting to get me evicted, forcing me to have him arrested and the pups taken away by Animal Control. But all the while I kept reminding myself to stop this vicious cycle of worry, find ways to relax, things to enjoy. For if my Bodhisattva Premise is correct, this is just another challenge to find a way to crawl out of this deep, dark pit. For as the Buddha says:

“Heaven and hell are a state of mind.”

So I began to gradually stabilize, though with lingering sadness. And it wasn’t until I discovered the TV series, “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet,” that a renewed spark of joy began to lighten my heart. It’s another show starring geeks, just like “Silicon Valley,” and every bit as delightful. Only this show focuses on gamers, though with the same goofiness and unbridled hilarity. Though mostly comedy, two of the episodes so far have been beautifully sentimental; they really twang the heartstrings.

So I binge watched season 1 yesterday and today, and will enjoy the first several episodes of season 2 tonight. The show premiered in 2020, and the first two episodes of season 3 have recently aired. I couldn’t be happier than if they had resumed new Silicon Valley mischief, though I kinda like the characters here better.

There is also another series I discovered that brings me pleasure: an animated spoof of Star Trek called “Lower Decks.” Silly and well done, too, but I’ve only watched the first two episodes because Mythic Quest has me captivated. Also premiered in 2020, and into its fourth season now. I have all aired episodes downloaded, so I’ll get around to them soon enough.

Marshall’s narration of my latest piece was another winner, and I got to hear THAT one live, too…shortly after midnight. A couple of distractions took him away from the reading, but it was easy enough to splice them out to where the narration was seamless. Usually, I prefer to keep his side comments intact, for its value of added flavor, like a drizzle of icing on the cupcake. But this time around the disruptions did nothing to enhance the telling, so they were banished from my kingdom.

I prefer to believe that Flaco & Lucky are doing fine, that Deek is growing up fast now that I no longer “enable” him, and that he’s treating the pups better. And that somehow, some way, my Brindlekin Odyssey will culminate in a happy outcome, though I can’t imagine how that could possibly occur. For the way of the bodhisattva is convoluted and often horrific, but always with joyful results in the long run. And it is a fool indeed who harbors dark fantasies just because he cannot see the future.

But for the nonce I cannot possibly see him, as it would only serve to create further enmity on his part, and negatively impact the hounds. I’d only be able to hug and pet them for a short time, then he’d yank them away once he realizes no more money forthcoming. I don’t even think I could bring myself to answer at the window should he call up. I’d most likely curl into a fetal ball and pray he go away. As much as I yearn to shower the pups with love again, his jealousy of our friendship could rain additional anger upon my furry darlings.

Deek needed the fear of god to strike his heart, in order to make the necessary changes. Having the cops come down on him TWICE seemed to do the trick…I sincerely hope. And it will keep him away from me until that process unfolds and has done its proper work.

It is said that a bodhisattva is one whose nature is to reject heaven, though he’s earned it, for the sake of liberating another soul not yet there. So he descends back down to hell in order to achieve just that. But once he sees he’s done all he can (and further acts of compassion would only backfire and spread misery), he knows it’s time to depart and return to Nirvana for a well-earned rest…then perhaps bring succor to a different soul and go through it all again.

Indeed, heaven and hell truly ARE a state of mind.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Just posted this message to Reddit’s Xfinity sub:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2022 at 3:33 PM

Just posted this message to Reddit’s Xfinity sub entitled: “I’m afraid I may lose my ACP subsidy.

Hopefully, I’ll get a helpful answer!

Re: Mythic Quest lifted my spirit!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2022 at 4:42 PM

> Didn’t see this until today; yesterday was cascading chaos.

Sorry to hear that; hope today is less stressful.

> It’s astounding the way a show can reach right in and bring relief, isn’t it? I love the vast wonderland of TV and movies, and am contemptuous of people who say, with such blind self-righteousness, that they don’t watch TV or movies. Lots of those types up here. the phrase they use is: “I don’t have television,” as if that elevates them up onto some superior plane of taste and morality. Damn fools don’t know what they’re missing. They judge all of TV and movies by the worst examples. It would be as if I read a Harlequin Romance, and then declared that books are no good, and I’ll never read another.

It’s a status, elitist thing to say you don’t have a TV. Which is ridiculous, because if they have the Internet, they have television. I don’t have a TV set myself, it’s redundant at this point in technology…well, has been for at least a decade by now. As someone who is a hermit by fate, not choice, many excellent TV shows have lifted my spirit, and contributed in other ways to my betterment.

> And again, such courage and fortitude you’re showing re: Deek and the dogs. I know how it hurts, and I am in awe of your resolve…

Thank you for those kind words, Wattson. Yes, it’s crushing, but I’m just riding it out because I see it for the illusion it is, as I know I will come out of this at the other end much better off. As will Deek and the pups. The occasional welling up of fears I manage to dissipate quickly, knowing that DEEK PUT ME THROUGH THIS INTENTIONALLY, playing the role of a jerkwad for my own improvement. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have so calmly accepted my blowing him away. Instead, he would’ve continued to be a pest and a harassment…none of which is going on. I haven’t heard their doggy barks, or seen Deek from my window, for the past three days. All is quiet on the Western Front, and that’s a good thing for awhile.

This is all scripted. Even the SFPD played their role in swiftly removing Deek and pups from my world, for the next act in this play to begin. Through it all I’m sleeping very well nights, got my acid reflux under control, and what anxiety attacks I have are mild and brief. If I step back and look at the big picture objectively, like it’s someone else’s odyssey, someone else’s traumas, I see what a great opus it is. And I see how the pattern unfolds, patterns within patterns, and how the tapestry is being woven into a joyful result. The Hero’s Journey, my very own “Mythic Quest!”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Just posted this message to Reddit’s Xfinity sub:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2022 at 4:46 PM

> Gawd!

No replies yet, except from an autobot:

“As a reminder, posts with Discussion flair are intended for community conversation (such as ‘which modem should I buy?’, etc), and will NOT receive an official reply. If you intended to post in our community to receive support from a Community Specialist, please update your post flair to either New Post – Billing or New Post – Tech Support as appropriate.”

I really don’t see how changing the flair from “discussion” to either of the other two would be appropriate, as a gov’t subsidy doesn’t fit the “billing” or “tech support” category. So I’m keeping it as is, and glad they didn’t delete my post over this.

Subject: Reddit Xfinity sub LOCKED my post!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 14, 2022 at 10:05 AM

Only two replies before my post was locked:

1. “If you still have the eligibility letter from ebt or medical that will do it. Also if you just need to recertify try to call acp support center and will be easier. (877-384-2575 and choose 1-1-3-0 to reach an agent that will help with that renewal)”

2. “Comcast can’t help with this. It’s a gov’t office issue.”

Here’s what the locked page looks like.

Regarding reply #1: the original eligibility letter is now too old to be acceptable for renewal, just like the EBT and Medi-Cal cards, and I already said in my post that I contacted ACP. No eligibility letters have been sent out this year, since these gov’t subsidies are skipping reevaluation in 2022 per pandemic rules.

As for reply #2: As if I didn’t know that Comcast the company can’t help, I was trying to see if other customers had the same problem and what to do about it, but now my topic is locked out. And there is no sub for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Yet when I search Reddit for that gov’t program, there are MANY questions and problems with it posted to that same sub (r/Comcast_Xfinity), that have not been locked out. Unfortunately, none of the ACP issues listed relate to my own situation. See for yourself.

Fukkin Idiots!

Again, I am made to feel like I am totally alone in this gov’t glitch, just as I was over Medi-Cal’s share of cost debacle! Even though I’m sure thousands (maybe millions) of others are dealing with the same snafu.

I COULD base my ACP eligibility on my income, instead, for they DO have that option. However, to process that via their renewal form, you have to check off a box that says something like “I do not receive EBT or Medicaid, but my low income qualifies.” IOW I’d have to LIE to use the income option, because I DO receive those subsidies.

What next? Contact Tom Karinshak (Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer) like I did to get my delayed installation resolved? I got immediate results by doing that, as I’m sure you recall.

The OTHER option is to contact the FCC muckymucks, who run the Affordable Connectivity Program. Or maybe Mr. Karinshak will do that for me, due to his immense clout.

So it looks like I gotta get crackin’ and compose my complaint to Mr. Karinshak so I can post it to him tomorrow. I’ll also look more closely at the ACP problems others have posted to Reddit’s Xfinity sub, and maybe insert MY debacle somewhere in one of those threads, and see what results may crop up.

I could also call Xfinity support and ask what happens if my ACP eligibility does not get renewed: will my Internet fee jump back to paying $10/month, or will they consider me ineligible for their low-income deal and back-charge me for installation and other fees, as well as $19.99/month?

So I may have to cancel my account if my efforts are in vain…and just use the wifi comin’ out of Super Duper.

Jeez Louise!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Deek’s Return
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 15, 2022 at 12:39 AM

Around 9:30 PM tonight he called up to my window, quite softly but distinct. I froze up and didn’t answer, making sure to keep away from the window. He called a few more times, then silence once more. A few more minutes went by before I poked my head out to see him sitting right below, with the pups. I decided to sneak out the back and walk around the building so when I approached him it looked like I was out for a stroll up Noe Street.

Someone else had joined him by then, as you can see by the snapshot. Deek is seated on the right with his legs stuck out, and the pups are there too, but covered by an old jacket I placed on them. Of course they were both delighted to see me again, and Flaco even stood up on her master’s lap and leaned back against his chest, so I could rub her belly. Which she loves while adoring my face with those sparkly brown eyes.

“Can you help me?” he queried.

I assumed he meant money, so I replied: “No, my budget’s shot this month, Xfinity took $310 from my bank when their Internet is supposed to be free. So I gotta clear this up, and it could take weeks. I’ll probably dump their service and just use Super Duper’s wi-fi.”

“I wasn’t asking for money,” he said in a calm voice. “I’d just like you to charge this tablet and put music on it.”

I also told him I’m not gonna resume his allowance until he takes better care of the pups…no more chicken bones, no more lashing them to a standing bike, no more letting them shiver at night. He said okay and added:

“I gotta start acting better.”

“No kidding, Deek,” I retorted. “Screaming at me, threatening to beat me up, starting arguments in front of others to make me look bad. Stop it, I almost put a restraining order on you.”

He’s down there now, waiting for his tablet to finish charging. It’s already after midnight (my usual cutoff time) but I told him since the tablet was on slow charge for forty minutes while copying a ton of rap songs, I’ll be glad to let it charge until one, so he can leave with a greater percentage. as it’s only at twenty-seven right now.

He agreed to wait. It’s been a peaceful visit, and he had the dogs resting on a large, plush cushion. But it was cold outside and I told him he needs to cover them up, and pointed at his cart laden with old clothing. He frowned and said, “Nah, they’re cool.”

“Yes, TOO cool, and you need to keep them warm,” I replied. He didn’t say okay, take something from the cart, so I marched back upstairs and brought an old jacket back down and flung it over the pups. Which they greatly appreciated.

“These dogs never complain, Deek,” I pointed out. “They’re not gonna let you know when they’re cold. Don’t wait till they’re actually shivering.”

He didn’t reply to that, but also did not oppose me and kept the jacket over their little bodies. I then went back hovel to prepare them a meal, and with that, water and a stash of dog food he can take with him.

It looks like Deek is now comfortable having the mutts with him 24/7, knowing I can no longer dog sit, thanks to the homeless sweep in the Castro. I think he only got dramatic about it to coerce me into watching them, so he could be “freed” for part of the day. Or just being dramatic for the power trip. I would never considered myself “free” without those darling quadrupeds’ gracious company! What an ingrate.

Well, another half hour before I return the tablet, give Flaco & Lucky a few more hugs, pats and kisses, then hit the sack. I shall sleep VERY well, for having the doggies back in my life, along with (hopefully) a calmer, friendlier Deek. I’m sure I put him through a bit of a shock, driving him away like that; it may have been the best thing to do at this point.

He gets no more allowance till next month at the earliest, and it will be fifty a week instead of a hundred. I’ll just tell him my college debt caught up with me, and I have to start paying back at two hundred fifty a month. Or some other excuse.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Deek’s Return
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 15, 2022 at 2:21 PM

> That’s a HUGE relief!!!!

You can say that again, good physician.

> So glad to hear that the pups are in good shape. Though I think they deserve to be totally pampered…

Of course they do, they have nothing but love and joy in their hearts. Anything less than complete respect, appreciation and kindness in return is an abomination.

> smart of you to lower his allowance

He gets NOTHING the rest of this month, and he hasn’t rebelled hearing that, just listened without comment. As if that’s what he was aiming for all along, to see if I had the ovaries to stand up to him. As if it were a test, scripted. As if he were my chief bodhisattva guardian putting me through my paces. He seems to SENSE when to stay away, and when I’m ready to resume our meetups. And when to not ask for money, in light of his recent offenses that I’ve made crystal clear to him last night, that he not wheedle his way out of it.

> and really admirable the way you did the “tough love” thing and stuck to your guns!!!!!

It is the ONLY way through this mess as far as I can tell. Flaco’s collar has finally fallen apart, so I gave him a spare that isn’t as durable as the one she was wearing…because it’s nylon instead of leather. But it’ll do until the new collars I ordered show up several days from now. I say “collars” (plural) because he decided I also replace Lucky’s, even though it was still intact. He promptly attached the rabies tags to the nylon collars. I washed clean the old collar, and it’s now stashed away with several others (plus two harnesses), for backup. I prefer these particular leather collars because they’re very strong and attractive, and only cost $4.66 each. They’re the buckle kind that is more secure than the adjustable nylon ones, which tend to loosen after a few days. Here’s the link. That’s yellow and blue, but I decided to switch colors this time around, to orange and brown.

I also ordered another pair of leashes, and this is the brand I’ve been sticking with, because they’re also durable and inexpensive. One caveat though: the rubber shield over the handle and at the other end by the latch should be removed with a scissors, because chewing on those parts may be toxic or at least turn their bowels black…I guess because of the dye. The leashes remain just as sturdy without them. And finally, I ordered another pair of sweaters, though they’re out of camouflage for their size, so got dark brown instead, which looks maroon in the photo.

Deek dropped by this morning so I could recharge his tablet and Bluetooth speaker. He returned three hours later to pick them up, but only allowed me a minute to shower kindness on the doggies. Don’t know whether that’s due to childish resentment, or a desire to flee the Castro before any cops arrive. He thanked me and moved on while I just stood there and watched them leave. Flaco glanced back at me THRICE before crossing the street! But the cart’s propulsion forced her to turn back quickly each time and prance onward. Deek always finds one way or another to instill ongoing, needless heartbreak when it comes to these lovely angels. Like, he couldn’t just hang at the corner for a few minutes before departing, allowing us to talk, and me to give the pups a bigger dose of affection.

With my every breath I pray he makes those changes for the better, for both his own sake as well as for those sweet little hounds! He’s missing out on so much goodness in his life, thanks to petty notions that have NO grounding in reality. It’s not like he doesn’t thrive very well on the streets already, which is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself. But this maltreatment of Lucky & Flaco has gotta go, or he’ll lose them…and with that, his heart. It would be a lifelong travail of misery if he does.

It’s possible he’ll return this evening, so let’s see what happens next, whether tonight or another day. I will stay on top of things regarding his direction. Which just might piss him off, but that’s HIS problem, not mine. My responsibility towards the dogs’ well-being stands mountains above anything else, including any further insults and threats he might throw in my face.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Getting some support by an Xfinity employee on Reddit chat!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 15, 2022 at 2:54 PM

I decided to respond in private to one of the two people who replied to me in my blocked ACP post to Reddit’s Comcast_Xfinity sub. Turns out they work in Xfinity’s ACP department.



My thread has been locked, but still visible at this link. So in reply to your comment: I already said in my OP that I contacted ACP and what they told me. And I also said I'm waiting on a letter from Medi-Cal, but it's been two weeks and I'm still waiting! Since both Medi-Cal and EBT are skipping the renewal requirement this year, there is no updated renewal to send to ACP.  In short: I've already done what you've suggested, as clearly stated in my OP. Other ACP problems posted to the Comcast_Xfinity sub have NOT been blocked, just mine. How frustrating!


So it’s good you have 60 days to recertify. Even tho they will de enroll you you can just call Xfinity back and ask them to redo the process for you with the new app. No worries. What I will also do is to call them to have someone told you this over the phone, and possibly to have them put this info in the notes. In case you re missing a credit by chance, they will be able to credit it back. There is still time no rush ! I know it s painful to work with this acp but at least they know that too and they are giving you so much time.


You have more confidence in the system than I do, but thanks. If my Medi-Cal letter doesn't arrive by Thursday I'll get cracking on what you suggested. I will also contact Tom Karinshak (Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer) here: He has been most helpful in clearing up Xfinity's delay with setting up my connection, last year. I may also contact the FCC about this disconnect between Xfinity and ACP. I don't have 60 days anymore, I only have 11.


I work with Xfinity for their acp dept that's why I was trying to help. Finger crossed they will mail you everything you need asap and everything will be resolved without any more problems.


I would think that MANY ACP recipients are going through the same thing...surely I'm not the only person going through this. That's why I'm upset the moderator blocked my post...I was hoping others who've gone through this might be some assistance. Thanks again for your helpful replies.


Okay, so what happens if my ACP lapses...will Xfinity drop me back to my $10/mo. reduced fee, or would the ACP lapse cause them to regard me as no longer eligible and start charging me the $19.99 monthly fee, and perhaps other expenses, such as retroactive installation fee? Thanks!


Also, Wattson, I keep forgetting to tell you that the last time I emailed my latest tale to Marshall, he acknowledged by replying: “Got it. Okay. Thanks.” So I suspect he’ll do so for now on. The next passage I’ll send him is entitled: “He’s Trying to Terrorize Me!” I’m sure his ears will perk up when he sees that!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: I called my Medi-Cal worker this morning, and here’s what she said:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 16, 2022 at 10:45 AM

She is not responsible if the postal service failed to deliver the letter, but I am welcome to walk in and pick it up, seeing as the ACP deadline is imminent…just bring my Medi-Cal card and state ID. So I’ll do just that tomorrow morning, as she said afternoons are quite crowded.

Meanwhile, I’m busy composing my latest update on Deek and pups, which you’ll receive later today. NOT a good report, sorry to say.

Subject: He’s back to screaming again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 16, 2022 at 3:21 PM

Last night was a good meetup, but this morning was an Equus of a different hue. First, he screamed about a beat-up smartphone he gave me to charge overnight (along with a tablet and two small speakers). He told me to just charge the phone, it already has music on it. But I decided to check it out soon as I got up, because it still needed some settings changed, such as turning off location and disabling or removing apps he never uses, in order to preserve battery life and keep him outta trouble.

But upon starting up, it required the correct PIN code so I thought that’s that…it’s fully charged, but I can’t go further. However, I decided to type in “1234” on a lark and, to my surprise, it worked! I didn’t find ANY music on the chip, anywhere, so after seeing the phone has 12 GB of free space, I uploaded a butt load of his own mp3’s.

He showed up early, around 7:30 AM, and when I came downstairs to bring him the devices (except that phone ’cause it still needed a bit more tweaking), I told him the situation.

“What?” he hollered as I pet the doggies. “I told you not to touch it, just recharge it. The person I got it from said it already has loads of music installed, you probably erased it all!”

“Well, he was wrong,” I replied, “there was NO music on the phone. So I did you a big favor and put YOUR music on it, yet here you go again, screeching like an idiot.”

“How did you know the code?” he addressed me with a perplexed frown.

“I just guessed.” I explained with a shrug. “The first number I tried was 1 2 3 4, and it unlocked.”

“Yeah, that’s the right number,” he noted with a startled look. That’s when I realized he doesn’t understand “1 2 3 4” is one of THE most common passwords lazy smartphone owners use.

“So where’s the phone,” he queried after looking in the 1-gallon Ziploc bag I handed him, containing just three devices.

“Upstairs,” I replied. “Music was still being copied to it when you called up to me, and I need to set up a few more things. It’s almost ready.” Then I added:

“Okay, give me a minute to delete all the music I uploaded, since you’re so upset I did that.”

“No, no, leave it!” he hollered (along with other words not so nice) as I approached the front gate with a dismissive wave of my hands several times before entering. I heard him continue to scream as I entered my room and unplugged the device. All the while thinking:

“If I just charged the phone and gave it back to him, he’d find no music on it and have a hissy fit, anyway. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”

Well, Wattson, upon delivering the phone and telling him I did NOT remove his songs, he thanked me profusely, so things calmed down and I was able to enjoy the pups’ company awhile longer. But that lasted only a few minutes before he asked me the predictable question:

“Can I have a few dollah?”

At first I said no, but then changed my mind: “Well, okay, three dollars it is, I’ll be right back.”

As I turned away towards my building he started to gripe again: “That’s not what I meant. What about my allowance? You give me four hunner every month, and now I can’t even get twenny or forty?”

Needless to say, at this ridiculous point I decided to ignore him, returned hovel to collect two GW’s and four quarters, then stepped back out and handed it to him. It was then he went off on a rant about how he’s gonna have to commit crimes and send the dogs to the pound, without my financial assistance.

“Bullshit,” I retorted. “You’re just guilt tripping me. You thrive better on the streets than anyone else I’ve ever met.”

“I’m gonna get more than two millun dollah soon anyway!” he blurted. “I WON my broken leg lawsuit, just waiting on my attorney to wrap it up! So what money you give me now I’ll pay back even BIGGER.”

Of course that lawsuit is just another absurd fabrication he cooked up. And as for the broken leg:

Deek was referring to a scam he set up three years ago, sleeping in front of my building, legs sticking beyond the curb and into the street…just three feet behind a parked vehicle. So that, once the driver pulls out, he’ll start screaming in agony that the car backed up and ran over his legs. Not that he told me his plan, but it became clear to me with a little hindsight. I had even stepped outside twice to persuade him to pull his legs back so he wouldn’t get hurt, but he refused to budge; in fact he pretended to be sound asleep, oblivious to my appeal, not a grunt out of him. Even two cops walking by woke him up, that he get out of harm’s way. Of course, being the police, he obliged them, said thank you…but barely a minute after they departed, he placed his feet back over the curb.

Sure enough, some twenty minutes later all hell broke loose. I arose from my cot to look out the window and see Deek screaming bloody murder, squirming in fake pain on the sidewalk: “You broke my foot! You ran over my foot!”

The driver had already stepped out, gazed down at Deek to see no harm done, his car did NOT back up and crush his foot, or even touch him in any way. Satisfied to see that the vagrant was okay, the driver shrugged his shoulders, got back into his car and drove off. Long story short, since I already wrote about this incident in a previous blog entry, and which I’m sure you remember:

Though I saw no injury–not even so much as a drop of blood when I stepped out to look him over as he continued to crawl and scream in feigned torment–I called 911 and they quickly arrived to cart him off against his will. (When I finally put two-and-two together a few days later I realized he tried to scam someone, hoping he’d be handed a wad of moolah…so calling 911 was the LAST thing he wanted. Too fuckin’ bad, I’m not playing his game.)

Ever since, he brings it up now and then, claiming his leg really DID get broken, the bone was stickin’ out and he was in a cast for months…and I’m a liar for claiming otherwise. In fact, he wore a removable cast the clinic gave him (for lack of anything else to do, ’cause no damage, not even a scrape) for less than a week, which he didn’t put on until he got near my building to keep up the pretense. Now, back to this morning’s meetup:

“You don’t believe me!” he squawked. “I can show you the papers, or you can do it yourself, just go to SF General and ask for my records.”

“No, Deek,” I replied, calling his bluff. “I have to prove I’m closely related to you to do that. Just get a copy of the papers yourself and I’ll look ’em over.” (Of course he didn’t HAVE any papers, but that’s beside the point.)

He continued to yammer on while I adored the pooches for another few minutes, then stood up and told him I’ve heard enough of his BS, I’m gonna go for coffee now. He quieted down then, and I wandered off to Rosenberg’s. After sitting down on a doorstep to enjoy my first sips of java, I got up and approached the corner of 16th & Noe, but hid behind some shrubbery to see if Deek were still there. He was, but now in the company of two visitors, obviously indigent like him, and on friendly terms. I’ve seen both of them before with Deek, more than once.

So with coffee in hand I walked up to the trio and to their further side so I could pet the doggies once again before departing hovel. Deek was subdued and fussing with the smartphone, then showed me the screen to ask: “What’s this?”

“Those are chat icons,” I replied. “I removed them from the home screen twice but they keep popping up no matter what, and since you wanted the phone right away I didn’t have time to figure out what’s wrong and fix it.”

Then he swiped up to show me the app drawer and said, “Some apps are missing, what happened to them?”

He already knows I delete or disable whatever apps he never uses, some of which can cause trouble if he does load them, since they’re registered in another person’s name. But I wasn’t about to get sucked into a convoluted dialog simply because he can’t grok how smartphones work, including how to re-enable apps he’ll never use anyway.

Knowing his penchant for inventing dumb excuses to malign me, I just shrugged my shoulders and said: “No, they’re all there. The phone’s glitchy is all.”

“Oh, okay,” was all he said in reply, and I pet the hounds some more. But he seemed restless for me to leave (as usual when in the company of another, with rare exception), thus he waved a dismissive hand for me to scat. I had no intention to linger anyway, it’s just that I never walk by the dogs without first showing them some love. And so I departed, leaving the trio to their own “private” badinage. I was wondering if Deek was gonna start hollering up to my window after his compadres left, but nope. I saw him talking with one remaining visitor while packing up his things, then both were gone minutes later.

I don’t think Deek cares to stir up arguments with me in the presence of his vagrant friends anymore, as he’s realized it only works against him. Because they’ve all seen my friendship with him many times, and how I help out with charging his devices, caring for the dogs and giving him an allowance. They’d be more likely to avoid him or even chastise his vile behavior, if Deek kept it up. And he’d lose customers for his “products” (pot and meth), as a result.

I also don’t think he cares to have me around when he’s hangin’ with others, as he wants me to know as little as possible about his world beyond what WE share. For the more I know and talk to them, the less he can get away with his backstabbing antics. These people actually LIKE me, from what they’ve witnessed. Here’s one very recent example:

Last night when I brought down the doggies’ meals, a young woman in Deek’s company who saw me lay down a bowl of water and dog food remarked: “Ohh, how nice!”

“Thank you, kind of you to say so,” I replied and smiled at her, then pet the dogs and said: “Two sweetest little hounds on the planet!”

Deek remained silent, though I sense he begrudged the friendly exchange. I want to add here that this lady is also homeless, but always clean, nicely dressed and amicable. So much for Deek controlling his minions’ impression of me!

Now get this, Wattson: after completing this missive but before sending it out, I needed to relieve myself, only to discover this sign posted to the restroom door:

Click here for a larger view.

So I have two more hours to wait, but can I? There’s always the old drop-a-caca-into-the-bucket last resort. Lined with a small trash bag with a sheet of the Bay Area Reporter (the most widely circulated LGBT newspaper on the planet), of course. What a stupid world this is!

That’s it for now. Have a great rest-of-the-day, good doctor. I’ll try to, myself.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: He’s back to screaming again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 16, 2022 at 10:34 PM

> Well, it doesn’t sound too bad, compared to recent encounters.

Bad enough though. If it weren’t for the pups in the middle of all this, I’d’ve driven him away for good with a restraining order.

> He certainly has a lotta damn nerve, though!!

And he’s paying the price. Boo-hoo.

Add to this story with your insightful comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: