The Soggy Spirit of Exmass

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 7: Chapter 2]

Subject: The morning went well, but then Deek Monster showed up.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 27, 2022 at 12:12 AM

Quiet, peaceful morning ’cause Exmass weekend. Got up 7:30, and a half hour later stepped out for my morning coffee. Once back hovel I checked my Moto E 2020 to discover a text message waiting for my attention.

“Must be from Wattson,” I conjectured because I rarely receive a text from anyone else. But to my surprise it was a notice from Tracfone that I may be eligible for free cell service through the Affordable Connectivity Program:

Perhaps the ACP via Tracfone only recently kicked in, thanks to merging with Verizon. I’m not sure, though, but glad to partake in it. Applying was easy, via Tracfone’s site, and since I was already a customer with an active phone. And since I’m already registered with the Lifeline National Verifier which allowed Tracfone to approve my eligibility instantly! I presume then, starting mid-January my cell service will be free…unlimited calls and text, plus 2 GB data each month. Nice.

As you know, I’ve checked out all other gov’t sponsored, free cell services and they’re absolute crap. And that’s why I opted for Tracfone because inexpensive and has been working very well for me. Hopefully, it will stay that way under the ACP arrangement. Anyway, the morning went great but the afternoon was a hearse of a different body:

Shortly after noontime, Deek hollered up to my window. I waved at him to let him know I’ll be right out. I soon exited the building, wished him a good morning and crouched down to greet the wee hounds. He asked me to bring them a meal and water, then pick up the large speaker to charge it…the one he purchased two days ago with my $100 final allowance for the month. So when I returned downstairs and set down the doggies’ bowls, their master told me the speaker connection’s already a bit wobbly, so be real careful when I plug it in, or:

“IT’LL BE YOUR FAULT IF IT DOESN’T WORK ‘CAUSE IT WAS WORKIN’ FINE BEFORE I GAVE IT TO YOU!”

He spoke those words in harsh staccato, and literally was foaming at the mouth…a side effect of smoking crystal when you don’t stay hydrated. Uh-oh! (I thought.) The port’s already broken and he’s trying to set me up! Only one way to deal with it:

“In that case, Deek, I’d rather YOU plug it in, so let me bring a USB cord right down,” I replied.

And with that, Wattson, he exploded in a fury, screaming at the top of his lungs. So yeah, now he’s back to screaming:

“JUST TAKE IT INSIDE AND PLUG IT IN. CAREFULLY!”

“Nope, I’m gettin’ the cord,” I repeated and rushed upstairs against his demand. Now, there was a flurry of words between us for several minutes before I said that and turned back towards the gate: him hollering and myself, replying sotto voce with immense patience. A few people walked by, a bit cautiously until they saw I was in control.

In the midst of this one-way squabble, I noticed Lucky wasn’t wearing his sweater (though Flaco had hers) and asked if he still has it ’cause it’s cold outside.

“I DON’T WANNA HEAR YOUR FAKE SHIT!” he screeched. “YOU DON’T LOVE THESE DOGS, YOU’RE A PHONY!”

“Whatever, Deek,” I answered back. “I washed their jackets, they’re dry and clean now, so I can put one on Lucky.”

Well he’d have none of it and demanded once more I bring the speaker upstairs, picked it up and shoved it in my direction, but I stepped back. Said he doesn’t NEED to plug it in ’cause the cord needs to be plugged into the outlet first, so what’s the point. He knew very well what the point is, but I went ahead anyway and told him that’s not true. Then, seeing the pups had finished their meal, I picked up the empty bowls, said “I’ll be right back,” and returned hovel to retrieve a USB cord…with Deek screaming bloody murder because I didn’t take the speaker with me.

When I returned and held the cord up, telling him to please plug it in himself, he went ballistic again. At that point I handed his smartphone back that he just gave me, and made it clear to him there’s no way I’ll do him any favors when he acts cuckoo (with a twirl of my index finger around my ear, for emphasis).

So just when I made a move to step back inside, he marched off in a rabid huff. I stood there and watched them diminish up the block and called out: “Don’t come back till you calm down, please! You’re foamin’ at the mouth!”

I think he screamed back; “SHUT UP, SHUT THE FUCK UP!” But I’m not sure, though whatever he said had to be nasty one way or another…because that’s the mood he was in.

Foolish me, once I returned to the comfort of my dump and the Internet, I thought I was gonna have a peaceful afternoon. But nope, Deek returned barely ten minutes later…this time with a large drink in his hand and no more spittle drenched lips thank Glob. They were situated this time at the corner by the bus stop.

Soon as I stepped out and presented the cord to him and said, “Just plug it in, please, then I’ll take it upstairs,” he once more started wailing like a banshee with bronchitis. Two fellows were standing about fifteen feet away, in front of the Super Duper burger joint, laughing it up among themselves…though they did take a couple of glances at us, due to Deek’s boisterous harangues.

“See?” Deek blasted. “You made me act like an idiot in front of them!”

“Nope,” I replied, “You’re doing that all by yourself. Act like an idiot and you’ll be called an idiot. It’s just common sense, a quality you seem to have in short supply. Now, PLEASE, plug in the cord for me.”

He knocked it from my hand right then, so I picked it up and said, “Well then, I’m going back inside withOUT your speaker.” I pet the dogs first before departing, while Deek continued to fume a smokestack of vitriol while turning his cart in the direction of Noe Street, ready to take off.

Once upstairs again, I figured NOW I’ll have a peaceful afternoon. But no, once more Deek returned barely ten minutes later. So I came back downstairs with cord in hand, and as I approached within several feet of him, he began screaming again and tossed the now-empty soda cup at my torso with a light “Whack!” Flaco shivered in fear while Lucky just stood watching us a tad cautiously.

“Aw, you’re hurting the dogs, Deek!” I said and crouched down to reassure them with kind caresses.

But he persisted furiously with a barrage of absurd insults and horrible accusations, which I ignored and continued to comfort Lucky & Flaco.

“I’m NOT gonna take your speaker upstairs without first testing the port,” I told him. “So if YOU’RE not gonna do it, I will right now.”

The plug fit fine, but then Deek went hysterical, demanded I remove the cord before picking up the speaker. I refused and told him that’s nonsense, but when I started to lift it, he removed the cord and handed it to me. I noticed then he had set the missing sweater down on the sleeping bag before I stepped out, along with the one Flaco was wearing.

“Oh, okay,” I said and picked up the elfin garments. “I’ll bring down the clean jackets in a minute.”

Of course, part of his rants included how he loves the dogs but he can’t go to any parties with them, or get anything else done on his rounds, blah blah blah…he’s ready to get rid of them. Then he ragged on about how I fucked up dog-sitting in my hovel, that I’m shit for not caring for them outdoors for most of the day, maybe even overnight. I simply replied:

“Looks to me like they’re keeping you outta trouble. And as I’ve said the before, more than once, now I’ll say it again: love these dogs with all your heart and your world will get better day by day.”

That didn’t go over well, needless to say. At any rate, things calmed down and he camped out by the bus stop into the late evening. Even though he said he’s about to leave, once I took the speaker into my hands, he soon crashed out beneath the sleeping bag with the hounds tucked away inside, as this snapshot shows:

Click here for a larger view.

You can see his hand sticking out by the water bowl, and his Santa’s elf cap atop the shopping cart. Of course you can’t see the poochies without x-ray vision, but they’re there snoozing away in doggy dreamland. I gave that pic a title: “Post Xmas Exhaustion.” Now, here’s a shot of that controversial Bluetooth speaker he wasted my money on:

Click here for a larger view.

It looks heavier than it is, only around twelve pounds. Hefty enough though to indicate a decent sized lithium battery that should give him at least four hours of play at medium volume, which is STILL loud.

Some time after nightfall Sean appeared by Deek and pups…he’s that large, friendly black dude I’ve mentioned several times before. I said hi to him when I stepped out to return a fully charged speaker and smartphone. It had just started to rain a light drizzle, so I had placed the speaker in a large trash bag, and handed Deek four more bags to protect the contents of his cart, himself and the dogs. But he had already set up an overhead waterproof tarp of generous size, draped over the cart on one side, and a large umbrella on the other. Surprisingly spacious, and Flaco & Lucky were secure and dry within.

I also handed him a second sleeping bag, seeing as his cart no longer contained a mountain of clothing like it did two days ago. Another hour or so had passed before he called up to me again:

“Zeke, can you gimme that tent now?”

I looked down at him, frowned and shook my head side to side and said “No, of course not!”

He didn’t give me grief over that, but just returned to the corner where he was camped. We had this discussion earlier when he mentioned my popup Teton I used for awhile to sit the dogs behind my building:

“You said you’d give me that tent, could I have it now?”

“No, I never said that, Deek,” I replied. “It’s tricky to set up anyway, I’d have to show you step by step, otherwise you wouldn’t know what to do, probably break one of the rods and dump it on the streets in a day or two.”

Besides which, Wattson, every time he’s had a tent that he COULD set up, he dumped it somewhere on the streets after just one or two nights. So giving him my tent is the same as throwing it in the trash. Besides which no one in the Castro wants to ever SEE a tent again, especially a big one like mine! Neighbors would complain to the SFPD and they’d tell him to knock it down and move on. About three months ago Deek told me he had a nice tent, but a cop showed up, told him it’s too big, he’s gotta get rid of it, take it somewhere else. He can easily construct a makeshift tent from materials he picks up, or purchases on the cheap from that Goodwill bargain bin garage. Like he did this evening.

After an hour playing his speaker he decided to hand it back to me till he’s ready to leave. He was waiting at the front gate and once I arrived, instructed me to charge it a little more and when he wants it back, double bag and tie it up. The doggies were right there beside him, close to the gate, just dying with joyful expectation to step inside. Sad that their master would tease them like that…though I guess he thinks he’s teasing me. They weren’t on their leashes, so when Deek walked towards the bus stop, Flaco followed but her brother stubbornly stood by the gate, then sat down beside Scampy who, surprisingly, was sitting right next to the gate, having a smoke. I didn’t see her there until I heard her crackly voice:

“Hello, Lucky!” she said and began to pet him.

Just two nights ago when again the pups were off leash, and Deek was camped out by the lamppost close by, the pups followed me to the front gate. I had to gently block them from entering before Deek called to them. Upon closing the gate and reaching the stairs I looked back and saw them both standing there, peering into the lobby through the bottom of the glass pane (like little elves) and gazing at me with those sparkly eyes and high hopes filled with joy and amity. I wanted so badly right then and there to run back, sweep them in my arms and bring them home.

But I couldn’t. Fuck the holidays. Deek does a great job of ruining them…as do certain people who occupy Hotel California North, not the least of whom is the doddering old building manager. Well, at least I no longer have to contend with my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hallway, and THAT’S a blessing! Or that nasty old gossipy coot who died a year and a half earlier, with whom I had to share the restroom for seven grievous years, and lay eyes on his sour face almost every day. *shudder*

– Zeke K-Holmes


Click here for a larger view.

Subject: The Soggy Spirit of Exmass
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 27, 2022 at 11:49 AM

After Deek and pups had departed last night, about an hour later I stepped out to purchase two packets of chocolate M&Ms at Rosenberg’s. On my way back I noticed a sopping wet item draped over the back of the bus stop seats. At first I thought it was one of those puffy large jackets, but once I got closer, realized it was the sleeping bag I gave Deek last week! See pic.

I got pissed over that, because I just gave him a second sleeping bag for good measure…not so he could throw the other one away. So I picked it up and brought it home to hang dry, after first laying down two trash bags on the floor, with a thick cover of newspapers over that. Good ol’ Bay Area Reporter (the most widely circulated LGBT paper on the planet) saved the day once again!

But it’s now morning, the sleeping bag is almost completely dry (and CLEAN, since the rain gave it a thorough wash), and I thought about why he discarded it:

His canopy, though waterproof, wasn’t enough to keep the water from running beneath the sleeping bag he set down on the sidewalk. Had he placed a couple of trash bags beneath it (which I gave him), that might not have occurred, though maybe the circumference of the canopy was not sufficiently broad to keep the rain from invading his humble shelter. So the bag got wet, the dogs couldn’t remain there, and Deek stepped out to ask for that tent.

Not that I’m saying the tent would’ve helped one iota, due to the obstacles I previously stated, although I understand perfectly why he made that request. But of course should he bring it up and berate me for not providing him with a tent, he’d oppose my rationale for lack of comprehension and/or simply to guilt-trip me. A two-for-one bonus!

Not a ray of sunshine all day yesterday, and it looks to be more of the same today. I actually love this kind of weather, though my concern for the beloved hounds puts a “damper” on that (pun intended). Two days ago their master conjured up another ridiculous excuse NOT to accept any offer for a roof over his head, that a homeless service could provide…and it’s a doozy:

“They’ll probably give me a room where someone just died; I’d be sleeping in that same bed!”

I told him that’s ridiculous, it’s against the law, and anyway over half the housing in this country was built by people long dead. Furthermore, someone could’ve died in MY room before I rented it! And what about hotel/motel rooms that tourists stay in…people die in those places, too…that’s just life! Piece of advice, Wattson:

Never befriend a houseless person during the holiday season. Or if you already have such a friend, make arrangements to avoid them during Yuletide, if at all possible.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Ghosts of Exmass Past, Fleeing the Castro.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 27, 2022 at 12:29 PM

Pretty slick, eh?

Subject: A Busy Night [13 sec. video]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 28, 2022 at 12:01 PM

This was last night. Shows Scampy cleaning off a large, plastic tarp which I think she is offering to Deek and doggies as a rain shelter. About five minutes later she was done, and neatly folded it up as this pic shows:

Click here for a larger view.

It’s quite dark right below my window, so you can’t really make out Deek and visitor (whoever that was), and the pups snuggled up beneath a comforter. I was glad to see they’re still in their jackets, though a bit damp earlier. Keeping them on anyway still preserves warmth, so their master did the right thing. They weren’t shivering in the least, and in good spirits to boot. I was ALSO pleased that Deek had set down a large sheet of cardboard, so the pups wouldn’t have to sit directly on the concrete. THAT’S a first, Wattson; he did it without any intervention on my part!

The second sleeping bag was on the damp side, so I lifted it from the cart and took it upstairs to dry out. Then I brought down the first one, now completely dry after hanging it from my clothesline overnight. Soon as I tossed it down, Flaco leapt onto it, began pushing it around and fluffing it up, then flipped over on her back to start squirming in unbridled glee. This caused her and the sleeping bag to start sliding off the cardboard towards the curb, so I gingerly slid her back towards the wall and moved the bowl of water to the left (because she almost knocked it over in her enthusiasm, which would’ve soaked the newly dried comforter).

Looks like she’s mastered the art of happy squirming, and now gives Lucky a run for the money, as she no longer waits for her brother to kick off the wiggle fest.

Deek wasn’t any problem in our latest meetup. In fact, while Flaco was curled up in her master’s lap for almost two hours, he constantly stroked her ears, neck and back, and patted her little rump…with Lucky curled up nearby in cushy comfort.

Cyrus showed up, the brawny fellow from Michigan who I met years ago, and is now back in town. We had a nice talk, though nothing worth reporting. A couple of other vagrants stopped by to hang with Deek for a cordial, nighttime soiree. Then there’s THIS person who appeared out of nowhere, who I don’t even think knew Deek or anyone else attending. He just sat by himself along the curb in silent reverie, amid a glorious little setup of his own creation.

He wore a Santa cap and sat cross-legged with head bowed, upon a fine square of fabric that glinted a splendor of aureate sparks. A white blanket scattered with red and green stars was wrapped over his shoulders and around his upper arms and torso. And a pair of loose, baggy pants dyed in a medley of bold blocks of color, mostly dark green and red, graced his lower half. You can tell by the hands curled above his lap he’s most likely African-American. Be that as it may, no matter the skin color, it was like a scene from The Nativity, where one Wise Man among three thought honoring two darling little quasi-dachshunds far more worthy of his devotion. A sage decision indeed!

Click here for a larger view.

Re: California should not get in the way of fascist Dewar troll’s psychobabble.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: MCN discussion
Date: December 28, 2022 at 1:44 PM

On Mon, 26 Dec 2022 17:40:37 -0800 spike NAZI SCREWBALL kozlowski squoinked:

> I’ll bet his next mental disability check he is wrong. Let him put what little money he has where his MOUTH is.

Fuck nuclear energy, this planet can run all its power needs solely from the rabid anger you spew 24/7, Mr. Devolved! Animosity does no one any good, especially the one projecting it, no matter how justified he feels. What does one gain from it but ill health (including strokes, embolisms, ulcers, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, insomnia and so on)…not to mention an unhappy existence, a living hell? Not to mention, also, potential retaliation by law enforcement, should your temper go ballistic. News flash, Spike-Head: persisting in your caustic demeanor only serves to dig yourself deeper into that hellhole…and no one can stop you but yourself.

“Heaven and hell are a state of mind.” – Siddhartha Gautama

Words to the wise, though in your case I may as well be talking to a wall. Amirite, Ms. 2-Biased? Woo-hoo!


Re: Republicans Proposed 300+ Anti-Trans Bills in Two Years, Mostly Attacking Trans Youth
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: MCN discussion
Date: December 28, 2022 at 2:03 PM

On Tue, 27 Dec 2022 04:03:11 +0000 Alvin Hope posted:

> Like cows, people’s herd mentality is threatened by deviation from the norm.

I can vouch for that from personal experience over many years!

> Herd animals require conformity–being the same as everyone else.

And as this christianized, corporatized conformity grows ever more narrow and excludes more and more “different” people from this demonic status quo, it eventually explodes into another holocaust. Unless enough concerned citizens rise up, fight back and blow it outta the water…and very soon.

> It’s not Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery but it’s in that ballpark. Americans are very much herd animals, as we learned in the sixties.

Yep, the Free Speech Movement taught me well. It was sad to see so many who joined the counterculture eventually drop back in to become white-collar fascists themselves! Every time /I/ tried to get back into the work force I wound up suffering nervous breakdowns, severe depression and horrific insomnia…to the point where I had to reapply for disability. Until I respected these crises as the Great Spirit directing me to a different path where I could fulfill my destiny. Of course, expressing such a conclusion easily got me labeled “insane” and thus eligible for gov’t funding. Win/win all the way around! But also:

Why should I serve the Moloch of capitalism when that system itself terrorizes, bashes and kills LGBTs like me? Who can adequately perform one’s job assignment day in, day out, under such an oppressive condition? Heteros have it easy, by comparison. Especially white CHRISTO-FASCIST male breeders who are part of the lemming herd.


Subject: A Busy Night [13 sec. video] [EDIT]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 28, 2022 at 2:32 PM

It’s a special–albeit welcome–challenge, knowing that relying on a photo for my storytelling doesn’t translate to narrating over the air, thus I must always include an adequate description in lieu of any snapshot. Describing that Exmassy visitor to my satisfaction was quite a mental workout for me, but I believe I got it down right. Except for that line:

“He wore a Santa cap and sat cross-legged with head bowed, upon a fine cloth square that sparkled rays of gold.”

Which I have since edited to read:

“He wore a Santa cap and sat cross-legged with head bowed, upon a fine square of fabric that glinted a splendor of aureate sparks.”


Re: A Busy Night [13 sec. video] [EDIT]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 28, 2022 at 2:56 PM

> Noted!

As an author, it pays to be OCD oriented.


Re: A Busy Night [13 sec. video]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 29, 2022 at 12:26 AM

> Quite a pic! Amazing how he creates a little island of cheer in the dismal gloom…

He was very welcome, after so many dysfunctional lost souls wandering about the Castro. I regret now, not stepping out to have a friendly chat with him. No one spoke with him out there, not even Deek. He just sat by himself in semi-meditation, then disappeared. Don’t know how long he was out there, maybe two hours. I’ve met others like him, though few and far between…amazing human beings. Or, perhaps, bodhisattva guardians paying me a subtle visit. Be that as it may, he inspired me to write a new Exmass tale, which I will be working on for another day or two before I release this latest dove of inspiration. Maybe that’s why he showed up: to give me that story!

BTW those are the Ukranian colors he’s seated on, in a smaller circle of cloth atop the glittery spread.

> So glad Deek seems to be caring for the pups reasonably well. I think about them a lot, pure little souls out there in the rough world.

They are truly angels…so blessed to have them in my world, but so grief stricken that they don’t have a kinder master, and I still can’t offer them shelter through the storms. The ecstasy and the agony.

> Mine are getting extra pampering, blankets and jackets. The cats have their own fine thick luxuriant fur coats, of course, and are always just right.

They must feel very loved. You keep them so happy.

> INSANE wind and rain the other night, HOWLING through the trees like a thousand banshees. The power went out around 11; I expected it to be out for days, as it’s done in the past, but it popped back on within an hour. Whew!

Glad you got your power back so soon. Nothing like that down here, the rains have so far been on the mild side. Well, Deek just left after dropping by for the evening. More about that later.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Deek’s $500 Speaker
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2022 at 12:15 PM

Thursday evening he asked if I can give him $150 on Tuesday, when my next payment comes in. I said okay because it’s payment for Sunday the 1st, Thursday two days later, and then the next Sunday…so it won’t be too long from then to resume his allowance on the 12th (ten days). But he neglected to tell me it was for a Bluetooth speaker he was gonna get later that day, in advance! Nor did he tell me he was gonna put me in the middle by bringing the seller to my building, and calling up to my window so I could lug the damned thing upstairs!

After I agreed to this, he muttered something about how he’ll tell the seller I handle his finances for him, so he won’t think this is coming out of my own wallet. Something which he said a couple weeks ago he’ll do for now on, to deflect any jealous repercussions from homeless strangers he brags to, against my wishes. In fact, I really don’t want him to do THAT, either…he should just shut up about it, but the fool never obliges.

So about two hours later he called me back downstairs, introduced me to the seller…whom I already know a bit, and is actually a nice guy. Don’t know his name yet, so let’s call him “Sedge” for now. Deek then blurted to him: “So you’ll get two hunner dollah on Tuesday.”

“Whoa, hold on!” I exclaimed in fury, “You said one fifty, no way can I give you any more…outta the question!”

He and Sedge mumbled a quick exchange of words, and $150 was fine. I then admonished Deek:

“This ain’t gonna happen again! No more second party deals, putting me in the middle. And trying to squeeze even MORE money outta me!”

“I DON’T WANNA HEAR THIS RIGHT NOW!” he yelled in my face, then moved ten feet away from me, with back turned. He also called me a bitch.

So I upbraided him further: “Stop acting like a child, and look at your dogs, they’re out here on a dirty blanket and need better care than you’re giving them. They’re MORE IMPORTANT than your electronics!”

It was raining lightly and the pups only had a thin plastic sheet to cover them that conveyed more chill than warmth, and the blanket was too small for both of them to lay down upon without exposure to the wet sidewalk. So they patiently sat upright in order to share the tiny island of warmth and dryness. At least they were NOT shivering.

Deek calmed down quickly, seeing as Sedge was witnessing all this, and he didn’t want to blow the deal. To his credit, Sedge remained calm throughout the clash, just like the doggies. He simply stood against the ATM plywood with the large speaker by his side, and a vertical old-lady shopping cart containing another speaker, protected from the rain with a clear, thick plastic cover zipped up. From that location, however, the rain didn’t intrude upon the exposed speaker that would soon be Deek’s.

I should note here that Sedge is always neat as a pin, and loves his music. He’s middle aged, of short stature, and wears a thick pair of eyeglasses. And is always in an amiable mood. Every time I see him he has a new speaker of high quality, sometimes very large, other times portable enough to carry from a handle. Don’t know how he manages to stay so neat, even in the rain, but he does and I’m impressed. Perhaps he has somewhere indoors to stay at nights, though I’ve seen/heard him strolling by as late as 4 AM. At any rate, the speaker he offered Deek is 2.7 feet tall and 1.3 feet wide and deep, and weighs a fuckin’ THIRTY-FIVE POUNDS!

Deek suggested he bring it upstairs himself since it’s so heavy: “I promise, I’ll just place it by your door and leave immediately!”

“No, that’s okay, I can handle it,” I replied, then took the monster by the handle and hauled it up the stairs, one hefty step after another. He said just charge it for a half hour or so, then bring it back down when he next calls.

At any rate they are BOTH to drop by on Tuesday around 5 PM, when I give Sedge his money. Per my instructions, as no way am I gonna hand Deek the bills to pay Sedge on his own…he could show up later and claim he was mugged, or lose it before he could make the transaction.

When I returned downstairs, Sedge was fussing with his own speaker and Deek said watch the dogs a few minutes, he’ll be back shortly. I said fine, and once he left (perhaps to take a dump somewhere private; he uses plastic bags for that), I turned to Sedge and apologized:

“Sorry about that, he acts like a little shit when he’s around me! So thanks for being so patient.”

He just smiled and shrugged his shoulders, then went back to fussing with his speaker’s dials and buttons. So I then approached Flaco & Lucky, pet them under the plastic sheet before making them a bit more comfortable there beside the curb and leashed to their master’s cart…glad to see they were reasonably dry and warm. Everything in his cart (and there wasn’t much that night) was sopping wet because he rarely bothers to protect its contents from the rain…and I have no idea why not, since I can always provide him with trash bags for cover, if nothing else. Though he is quite capable of finding his own material to do that, considering just how resourceful he can be.

I also took his soaked sleeping bag upstairs to hang dry overnight, and brought down another one ready to go and sealed in a plastic wrap. Along with a fresh supply of dog food and a bowl of water. Deek returned less than ten minutes later, and moved cart and pups beneath the awning of Super Duper, now that it was closed. I found a large, folded box in the basement and brought it out for the pups, set it atop a trash bag to keep the cardboard bottom dry. Gave him a couple of clean rags to dry off the mutts, after which I tossed the new sleeping bag into the box. The wee hounds stepped inside immediately like a welcome Hobbit hole of comfort. They instantly snuggled together and drifted off into a contented slumber.

Sedge was still downstairs, his speaker blasting away some jazzy blues while I was back hovel, searching Amazon for “JBL 300,” to discover “the JBL Partybox 300” for a whopping $499.99!

I don’t know HOW Sedge could give anyone such a great deal, but I’m not gonna ask any questions. Nor do I think it’s a good idea to tell Deek its real value, though I WILL advise him to maintain a friendship with Sedge, seeing as he’s also an honest, stable person who would never rip him off. But I WILL suggest to Sedge, not to sell him anything so cumbersome again, and explain why. Or at least, not one without wheels (which THIS model lacks). Because then Deek has to load it into his cart and deny the pooches a cozy, warm spot with a waterproof cover during the stormy spells. For the idiot values his gadgets over the furry angels, forcing them to walk in the rain, unprotected, whenever a hefty speaker WITHOUT WHEELS is in his possession.

BTW: there are many variations of the JBL Partybox, some are rated highly waterproof, but unfortunately the 300 version is not. It IS splash proof, which is better than nothing. I have recently learned about the waterproof ratings, and IPX6 is best for rain protection. So I will inform Deek about this, so he can choose a new speaker more wisely.

Sedge finally moved on, about ten minutes after Deek returned and moved beneath the awning. I could hear the volume of his sonorous speaker diminish as he proceeded towards Noe Street and beyond. I always am alerted to his arrival on my block because he loves to blast his music, though he only lingers nearby a short while, such as at the bus stop or in front of the Hohokum smoke shop. And formerly, the ATM depot right below my window.

Forty minutes later Deek called up for his new speaker: “Double bag it, too!”

So I did just that, with two trash bags, then parked it in the alcove beside my room, locked the door and rushed back downstairs. Soon as Deek saw me approach without the speaker, he began to squawk about why I don’t have it. I opened the front gate and said okay, get it yourself, it’s by my door. As he stepped inside and was halfway up the first run of stairs, he paused in confusion, turned to me and muttered something about where he can find it.

“Don’t worry, it’s right beside my door where no one walking by can see it,” I assured.

He soon returned down the stairs, carrying the hefty beast in both arms and exclaimed, “This is my birthday gift!” His birthday’s January 22nd BTW, but I doubt he’ll be able to hold onto it that long…he might even “lose” it before payment is made! Rather than vocalize such a conclusion which would upset him, I simply shrugged my shoulders and said well then, happy birthday, as I held the gate open for him to depart.

This was two days ago. I still have to report on yesterday evening, which was so horrific I resorted to calling SFPD non-emergency once again. Coming up in a second missive later today.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: New Years Eve sucked as usual! When doesn’t it?
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 1, 2023 at 1:14 AM

Any day but the last day of the year, I guess!

Friday evening, yesterday: Deek showed up angry and screaming as he wheeled his cart up to my window. “ZEKE! GET DOWN HERE NOW, HURRY! ZEKE!” I peered out the window and he finally looked up, a streak of anger across his mug:

“C’MON, GET DOWN NOW!”

It had started raining hours earlier, and didn’t look like it was gonna quit anytime soon. He thunderously pounded on the front gate as I walked down the stairs, with another resident preceding me. She’s a young woman but a sorry lush, and when I called out “Hey stop that!” she turned to me. “No, sorry, not you, I was telling my friend out there to simmer down.”

“Oh,” was all she said, then tottered through the gate and I followed a few seconds later.

The pups were sopping wet, as were Deek and his shopping cart.

“THIS RAIN IS DRIVING ME NUTS, YA GOTTA TAKE THE DOGS OFF MY HANDS TILL TOMORROW! THEY’RE GONNA DIE OUT HERE!”

I told him, calmly: “No way, and ya gotta stop screaming or I’ll call the cops.” Well, Wattson, he continued bellowing, strutting around while the pups looked up at me with joyful eyes and sought my hugs which I promptly answered by crouching down on one knee on the wet cement. They felt warm enough, didn’t seem to be bothered by the rain too much…though of COURSE they’d love more than anything else right then and there, to find warm, dry shelter.

Deek persisted hollering like a crazed banshee, said since he last dropped over, he lost another friend to Fentanyl, someone pointed a gun at his head, and Flaco almost got hit by a car on their way here.

“Bullshit,” I snapped back, “None of that happened, you’re always making up crises to get your way. You’re a big, fat phony. Now, let me bring the dogs water and food.”

“NO, I’M NOT INTERESTED IN THAT! YOU NEED TO WATCH THE DOGS, I’M GOING!”

“If you leave them here against my wishes, that’s abandonment. I’ll call Animal Control and you’ll never see them again, ” I replied. “I’d be more than HAPPY to get them off the streets into a loving home. So DON’T test me, I mean it.”

While still screaming, he handed me the cumbersome JBL speaker, which I then lugged upstairs with his bellowing in my ears all the way hovel, and through my window when I stepped inside. He quieted down by the time I brought the food and water down the stairs, but revved up again the moment I set down the bowls, which the mutts gratefully accepted.

“NO, I DIDN’T ASK YOU TO FEED THEM! I’M GONNA KICK THEIR FOOT INTO THE STREET!” I watched as he swung a foot right at the bowls without really touching any of them. He then turned to me:

“I TOLD YOU TO BRING ‘EM A BOX, AND SOME TRASH BAGS TO MAKE A SHELTER FOR THEM! ARE YOU FUCKED IN THE HEAD OR SOMETHING?”

I raised my hands palm out and said, “Okay, okay, I’ll do that right now.”

I returned with a large, folded corrugated box and three large trash bags, and set them down against the ATM plywood:

“Here ya go, you can set it up.”

“NO, I CAN’T, YOU DO IT. I’M HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, MY HANDS ARE TOO JITTERY!”

“You’re fulla crap, Deek,” I retorted. “Big drama queen. No, you’re not having a nervous breakdown.”

But I went ahead anyway and opened the folded cardboard into a box, overlapped the flaps at one end, then set it down atop a trash bag I had laid down flat. I then took a dry sleeping bag I had also brought with me, placed it in the box and with that, the hounds rushed inside to get cozy. Finally, I arranged the two remaining bags over the box, to fully enclose it, including over the open end. And since it was a bit breezy, I placed one of Deek’s sodden sweaters on top, to keep the cover bags from blowing off.

Deek had sat down once I completed this urgent task, and hollered: “WHERE’S A TOWEL TO DRY THE DOGS OFF?”

“They’re drying off right now, Deek, in the box. But let me bring down some clean rags anyway.” And off I went, back inside and up the stairs to retrieve them.

“Here,” I said and handed him four face-cloth squares of microfiber that would do the trick in no time.

“THAT’S IT?” he bellowed. “THEY’RE TOO SMALL!”

“No they’re not, Deek,” I replied. “You only really need two. Now please, between your screams, dry them off.”

He then stuck one hand inside the box, and began rubbing down the pups with one of those rags. Yet continued to holler at the top of his lungs, all sorts of foul accusations, so I interjected:

“Okay, that’s it, I’m calling the cops.” And promptly returned hovel.

It took awhile for them to pick up the phone and, during those minutes Deek continued hollering up at my window: “ZEKE GET BACK DOWN HERE. I’M LEAVING NOW, ZEKE KRAHLIN! ZEEEE-EEK! ZEEEE-EEK!”

With smartphone in hand I looked outside to see him pacing the sidewalk while the canines remained huddled in their makeshift cave, warm and happy at this point while the rain continued to pour down. It was a moderate rain, though, not a gully washer thank Yog.

“Hello, SFPD, what is your issue?”

I then explained how my homeless friend is disturbing the peace with nonstop screams and pounding on the front gate. He refuses to leave, so I had to call the police. I don’t want to press charges, I just want him to go away until he calms down. I help him with his two little dogs, and he’s now demanding I take them off his hands overnight, which I can’t possibly do, as I’m not allowed to bring them inside. He’s a drama queen and is quite capable of taking care of the dogs themselves, but he sometimes goes into a bipolar snit, and this is one of these times. He also smokes meth.

“Is that him yelling in the background?”

“Yep, it sure is,” I replied.

She then asked me to describe his appearance, which I did. As well as my location.

“Okay, we’ll send a car out soon as we can, but it may take awhile.”

“I understand, this is low priority. Thank you,” I replied, then we disconnected.

Before stepping back out I pocketed my phone and brought two new sweaters with me, to replace the damp ones. He had calmed down by then, but still spewed hatred and accusations in a loud enough tone for passersby to notice:

“So, ya called the cops?”

“Of course,” I replied. “No way I’m gonna let someone scream at me around my building.”

“But I’m not screaming now,” he snarked.

“Well, you’re still here just the same,” I said. “You need to go, or the police department will force you to leave. Screaming like a lunatic and banging on the front gate just doesn’t work for me.”

“I did NOT bang on the gate!” the lying, Cajun devil objected in feigned outrage. “You think they’re gonna believe you just because you called first?”

“No, because they KNOW you and your childish antics,” I clarified by stating the obvious.

“Just go check the lobby camera, it won’t show me banging the gate,” he declared while pointing in the lobby’s direction.

“Oh yes it will Deek, stop playing the asshole, please.”

“If you’re not gonna watch the dogs, then bring the speaker back down and I’ll go,” he demanded with a scowl.

“No need,” I replied. “You can pick it up later, I just want you to leave right now, you’re being a freaky pest.”

I then walked over to the curb and peered up Market Street to see if I could spot a cop car coming in this direction. No luck, dammit.

“Oh you’re waiting for the po-po to show up,” Deek remarked.

“Yep, and the sooner the better,” I said, then peered up the street again before walking back towards Deek who by now was standing beside his cart.

“Tell ya what, Zeke,” he spewed. “Once you pay Sedge, I’m through with you. You won’t see me again after that.”

“Look, you need to stop all this fake drama, it’s a crock of shit,” I warned him. “You are perfectly capable of taking better care of the dogs. I’ve seen many other homeless people with their pets who do, and they keep them dry and warm when it’s raining. So stop it, you don’t fool me for a moment. This is NOT the end of the world, it’s just some water falling from the sky.”

He then broke down in crocodile tears, exclaiming he never lied to me, he really lost a friend to Fentanyl, I’m breaking his heart by my coldness, blah blah.

“You’re a lousy actor, Deek,” I responded. “A pathetic drama queen. You have two lovely doggies to watch over, and you SHOULD be the happiest person on the planet for that reason alone! Your life is going MUCH better than you care to admit.”

Well, his belligerent rants continued, and some young gay fellow suddenly showed up and stopped near Deek’s shopping cart to assess the situation. Seeing that I was not arguing back, but offering good advice, he smiled. That’s when Deek noticed him and said:

“We’re okay.”

The momentary bystander then took off to parts east, and Deek resumed his absurd charges against me, saying how I’m supposed to be his best friend, but I’m not that at all, I’m PURE EVIL. But just seconds later that sweet, 40-something Japanese lady appeared…the one who shows up now and then to admire the brindlekin and speak kind words to their owner.

She was looking down at the box where the pups were resting, wondering if they’re okay.

“They’re warm and dry in there,” I assured her.

“Yes, they DO look comfortable,” she replied, then turned to address Deek while I returned upstairs to use the restroom. But before I shut the gate I heard her ask if she knitted a couple of sweaters for the dogs, would they wear them?

I don’t think she’d appreciate if Deek accepts them, and a few days later the sweaters are already gone…tossed onto a curb somewhere, as he often does with the ones I buy. But I certainly appreciated both the appearance of that fellow who paused by the cart for a few moments, and the Japanese woman who engaged Deek in kind communion. Like angels who suddenly manifested to bring a sense of peace to the scene. Better yet:

That fellow returned with a companion, and held out a beverage in a large plastic cup with a lid on: “Would you guys like some beer?”

At first I thought he said “root beer” and said my friend could go for that, but Deek turned him down. I looked at the cup a bit closer and realized it was brewski, so I told them:

“Oh, beer? Sorry, but both of us are teetotalers. Thank you for the kind offer, just the same!”

And off they went on their merry way with foaming booze to maybe share with someone else hangin’ on the streets.

About that time, Deek started to pack his things and summon the pooches from their box.

“Going so soon?” I queried. “Don’t you wanna meet some friendly guardians of the law?”

“No not really,” he replied. “I’ll come back around 7:30 to pick up the speaker.”

“Well then, see ya later alligator,” I chuckled, then gave the pups a few more hugs before returning hovel.

Once upstairs I called the SFPD to cancel my grievance. But I wish I hadn’t ’cause a half hour later when I stepped back outside to purchase milk and margarine, I saw Deek parked just six doors up.

Once Deek returned to retrieve the speaker, I first re-bagged the JBL Partybox 300 before lugging it down the stairs. When I reached the landing and turned the corner, he saw me through the gate and starting pounding on it again, though not so ferociously as earlier.

“You’re thumping it down the stairs,” he called. “That could damage it, let ME get it! You can’t do anything right!”

Another phony accusation hurled at me, good physician! I was lifting it up, carrying it two or three steps, then setting it down. Rinse and repeat. No thumps, bumps or grunts. But since Deek was so near, I left the speaker two steps below the landing and stepped into the lobby to let him enter and retrieve it himself.

“Oh, it’s not THAT heavy, Zeke,” he scorned. “You’re such a wuss.”

“Yes it is,” I replied, “especially since the double bag makes it difficult to grip the handle.” As I held the gate open and he passed, I added the following observation:

“You’re always making excuses to find fault with me, to hate me. I don’t really care, it’s tiresome, but you can say all the nasty things about me you want, so long as you stop screaming.”

He ignored that, and I stepped out with him, just to wish him and mutts a good night, once more. He thanked me for purchasing that speaker, and all the good things I do for him and the dogs. I said you’re welcome, glad to do it. But once he placed the speaker into his cart, he began his vitriolic rants again as he started pushing the shopping cart towards Noe Street:

“I’m gonna tell everyone I meet what an evil fuck you are. And you’re not gonna like it when they start throwing rocks in your window and screaming right outside.”

“You go right ahead, Deek,” I replied. “Your friends have already informed me you’re a thief and a liar, and they’re not gonna be your little Stepin Fetchits.”

I don’t think he has any idea who Stepin Fetchit is, but I think he got the gist of it.

Once upstairs again I listened to more of Marshall’s latest podcast until I heard him read my latest tale, upon which I spliced it out and uploaded it to my Youtube channel: delightful!

And that’s MY New Years Eve, Wattson. No wonder I stopped celebrating the holidays decades ago, they never work out for me like they do in the movies! Unless we’re talkin’ the horror versions thereof. At least seeing the doggies and hearing Marshall’s narration were truly BRIGHT spots amid this Stygian tomfoolery. Same goes for that amiable gay dude with beer, and the nice Japanese lady. I really can’t complain…that’s Deek’s department anyway.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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