Lots & Lotsa Rain

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 4]

Subject: The Castro may soon be repopulated by the homeless…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2023 at 10:59 PM

…much to the outrage of local business owners, I surmise:

Federal Judge Temporarily Halts All SF Homeless Sweeps Amid Major Lawsuit Against City


Texting w/Wattson: 1/5/23


Re: Federal Judge Temporarily Halts All SF Homeless Sweeps Amid Major Lawsuit Against City
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: MCN discussion list
Date: January 7, 2023 at 12:12 AM

On Fri, 6 Jan 2023 07:09:10 +0000 Alvin Hope posted:

> Frankly, it only makes common sense that, if a city doesn’t have a place to put them inside safely in a building, it should not be allowed to destroy what little shelter homeless people are able to construct for themselves.

Barbaric sadism overrides common sense here in the land of the “free.” The day America cares for its poor, feeds the starving and houses the indigents is the day Cthulhu the Omipotent One returns to empower all LGBTs to lead the world to Oz. And I shall be the first president of Athenia, world’s first queer nation. And the moon will turn into tofu bacon so everyone can be fed. Only problem is bringing it home.

Wait a minute, no prob ’cause pigs will be able to fly by then.


Subject: Last night’s meetup: loverly! (part 1)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 7, 2023 at 10:14 PM

It was a pleasant night, mildly cool and dry, and when I came downstairs saw that Lucky & Flaco still had their sweaters on. Their master was already seated against the ATM plywood with the pups right beside. Before lugging the JBL speaker upstairs–or performing any other “Deek” chore–I of course crouched down to embrace the hounds in happy reunion. They clambered onto me in competition for my attention, but I made sure they both got an equal, and copious, share of my affection. No greater love than puppy love!

“Alright, alright!” Deek interrupted. “Do that later and bring my speaker upstairs!”

I ignored his typically thoughtless demand and continued to shower the hounds with ardor for another two minutes, so glad they fared through the storm unharmed. Honestly, though, I was surprised that Deek didn’t gripe further, but respected my precious, brief time with his charges.

The huge speaker was still seated in the cart, so I tried to find the handle in order to get a good grip on it before lifting it onto the ground. Which was difficult, thanks to the double layer of trash bags that concealed the handle and were slippery to boot. I finally found it and gave a lackluster attempt at raising it from the cart, before giving up.

“You do this, Deek,” I said. “You should’ve already set it down by the front gate so I could take it inside.”

But he refused to get up and chose instead to hurl crabby accusations at me. “C’mon it’s not that heavy!” he chided.

I finally managed to remove the speaker by wrapping both arms around it diagonally and carefully placing it down by my feet…then firmly grabbed the handle through the plastic wrapping.

“I’m really thirsty, bring me a soda,” he requested as I opened the front gate with some difficulty. “No, bring me a soda AND tea.”

So I ponderously lugged it up the stairs with assistance from my left thigh pushing the speaker forward as I mounted each step…as well as pausing every few paces to relieve my hand or switch them. Yes, you got it, Wattson: the fuckin’ elevator is STILL out of order…more than two years by now!

Once I plugged in the electronic beast (which took some frustrating moments because I had to tear open part of the plastic wrapping to get to the charging port), I poured a cup of ginger ale and brought it back down. Seeing as Flaco & Lucky were sitting on concrete, I extricated a couple of cardboard sheets from a nearby bin and laid them down by Deek. The pups instantly climbed aboard: a clear indication they prefer NOT to rest directly on the sidewalk, even when dry…except, I guess, during heat waves where a shady spot offers them relief. But they are SO patient and kind, they never complain even though their master often denies them that little comfort.

“Tea coming up!” I chirped, then rushed back upstairs. I’ll soon run out of his favorite tea BTW (cherry) and switch him to blueberry ’cause I have five unopened boxes of it I purchased over a year ago. All berry teas are equally yummy as cherry, but I won’t bother to tell him when I change over; he probably won’t even notice ’cause I think it’s the generous two tablespoons of raw honey that really whet his palate.

Upon delivering the tea I decided to sit down beside the brindlekin for a friendly tussle, because they love that so much. Deek didn’t seem to mind, which I did NOT expect, though appreciated sitting outside with him and the dogs for awhile: a sweet interlude so rare in my world, as he usually forbids that ever since the hounds have been banned from my tree house sanctuary. Better yet:

He actually engaged me in conversation instead of his usual demand I return hovel and be left alone, so his vagrant friends can visit minus my intrusion. Deek kicked off the topic:

“I don’t know where you get the notion that housing is a right by birth. Where I grew up if you don’t have a job and can’t pay rent you’re dumped on the streets! In fact, it’s like that everywhere else exCEPT this city…it’s like living in fairyland here!”

How do I unravel all that, Wattson? Well, somehow I managed, and, miracle of miracles, he listened! Told him that Jesus says to feed the hungry, love your neighbor and yes, house the homeless. But phony Christianity has taken over this country, with the aid of corrupt billionaires and powerful corporations, to do exactly the opposite. So while OTHER democracies like ours are fulfilling the prophet’s words to some extent, this nation is sliding backwards…as these rich punks in power are running around like clones of Michael Savage (King of Hate Talk Radio), spewing his hateful rhetoric across the airwaves.

And believe it or not, Deek did NOT blurt out in opposition towards my mockery of Mr. Savage, but remained silent with open ears! Makes me wonder if I’ve suddenly been transported through Alice’s looking glass…heavens to Mergatroyd.

I also brought up FDR, a president so popular he was returned to the Oval Office three times…he bailed America out of the Great Depression, gave us Social Security, the Workers Progress Administration and so many other good things for the common man. And he even struggled as best he could to pass the Second Bill of Rights which included an adequate income for food, shelter, and recreation. But that these other idiots in power obstructed its passage, while our companion democracies strove forward to achieve at least SOME of those goals they now have.

Several times during my explications, Deek interrupted with the same old argument:

“I never saw THAT in Louisiana. No job, no rent, and you’re on the streets or in jail!”

After he iterated that a third or fourth time I objected:

“You keep saying the same thing, Deek, stop occupying your mind with such a limited outlook, you’re dwelling on unhappy thoughts. The world is changing very fast, and most of what you think is going on, including much of what you see happening around you, is an illusion, it’s fake. Look deeper, give yourself time to think things through with your OWN mind, not the mind of anyone else, like Michael Savage’s words that have poisoned millions of souls across the world.”

I went on to describe how life is a kind of game…one with traps set here and there, and you need to figure out how not to get stuck in them. Traps of fear, anger, sadness, despair and other negative mindsets. But anything you can’t figure out, just use the following shortcut, which is: don’t let anyone or anything ruin your day. You don’t NEED to understand a horrible situation before you can step out of it. And the BEST thing to do when you’re REALLY knocked down is to go out of your way and put a smile on someone else’s face withOUT telling them your OWN troubles. No matter HOW bad you, yourself, may feel. That is a necessary first step to climb out of whatever sad rut you’re in!

Everything that happens to you that you DON’T like is just part of the game. It is a clue that you may be going in the wrong direction, or that you need to do something else first, or even that the stress of an obstruction or setback may be exactly what the doctor ordered to help you ACHIEVE your goal, though it seems contradictory. Therefore, harboring hateful resentment is pointless and even self destructive, for you don’t REALLY know why this unpleasant thing has popped up like a ghoul in a haunted house ride. Much better to trust it’s for your own benefit in the long run, and move on from there, instead of simmering in your own angry juices.

This includes, for example, his own setbacks in finding a roof over his head despite how long he’s been trying and going through the proper channels. Things WILL pan out in his favor, just hang in there, take a deep breath and count what blessings you DO have.

“Consider yourself damned lucky to be here in San Francisco,” I exclaimed. “instead of back in Louisiana or anywhere else. As crappy as some things are here, you’re still in a much better location for a homeless person. Besides which, your life is MUCH better than you realize, you are doing SO well, and I’ve never met anyone like you who not just survives on the streets, but THRIVES! So I’m not worried about you, just about these dogs.”

I then pet them both, and continued: “For they are a tremendous responsibility you’ve added to your burdens. They are a GREAT blessing in your life, and just appreciating and loving them more than you already do will work wonders you can’t even imagine right now! They are never a burden, they never WILL be a burden, yet sometimes you treat them that way. It is YOU who needs to snap out of that attitude, and always regard them as the best thing that’s ever happened to you, ’cause it’s flat-out true. They give you SO much love and kindness, and burst with pride 24/7 to be your very best friends forever…heck, they’d DIE for you in the blink of an eye, if that was necessary.”

Now, please keep in mind I didn’t speak in the organized, run-on fashion like above, but made my points in chunks between his thoughtful interjections…and in less fancy words so he could better comprehend. Though I suspect MOST of what I told him went over his head, but at least he actually gave me the space and time to speak at length, on important matters that would benefit him. For most of our conversation I also pet and held the doggies, scritched their bellies, and tucked them into the sleeping bag.

Deek also brought up the difficulties of trying to get a roof over his head, while other vagrants didn’t have it so hard. He said that homeless outreach asked him questions like is he a drug addict, or has he ever had to resort to prostitution while living on the streets, for food, a place to crash or whatever.

“Why should I lie to be eligible for housing?” he queried. “If I can’t be honest I’d rather stay on the streets.”

I explained to him that sometimes you have to lie, whether it’s to get off the streets, or even find employment…it’s part of the game. For an example, I told him when I was being reevaluated for SSI I had to take an ink blot test. But I already knew what things to claim to see in the blots that would qualify me to keep receiving my stipend.

“If you see monsters, aliens or creepy insects,” I explained “instead of houses, butterflies and other nice things they’ll label you mentally disturbed. So that’s all I told them I saw in each ink blot: something horrific or icky.”

“So it would be best,” I continued “if you told them, yes, you have had sex against your wishes, for food, drugs, etc. None of their business you never did that, and it will put you higher up on their list. Look, Deek, sometimes you even have to lie to get the job you want.”

He shrugged his shoulders: “Nah, I don’t wanna lie.”

“So does that mean you told them you smoke meth?” I asked, “because that’s the truth and it would also make you more eligible.”

“Uh, no I didn’t,” he replied.

“Right, ’cause it’s none of their business,” I retorted with a chuckle.

The incredible aspect of my philosophy is that this ALSO makes the person I’m currently explaining this to, one of my opposing forces…for Deek is certainly THAT, if nothing else. So I’d better practice what I preach since I just told HIM to not get caught up in anger or any other sour emotion, whenever things don’t go his way. For his frequent defiance challenges me to find a path towards a winning outcome for all parties involved, and that includes the pups.

Though as I’ve conjectured before: if he is indeed a bodhisattva guardian, then ALL the challenges he presents are precisely planned, timed and calculated. From losing the money I might’ve just given him, to his absurd hissy fits and fabrications, and all the way up to his less-than-full loving care of the brindlekin. IOW it’s all an act, carefully scripted to put me through my paces…for MY benefit (not his), and to make me into a hero.

(Part 2 of last night’s meetup continued tomorrow; I need my rest.)

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Last night’s meetup: loverly! (part 2)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 8, 2023 at 6:13 PM

Our conversation wasn’t just about housing rights, as Deek grumped about all the “lazy” Arabs and Mexicans here. For example:

“I see Mexicans standing around their homes laughing and guzzling beer,” he remarked. “They don’t work but they still get a place to live!”

“That’s not true, Deek,” I replied. “So what’s wrong with them kicking back now and then after spending all day as restaurant cooks, crop pickers, maintenance men and house cleaners? They work very hard, and live in crowded conditions because rent is astronomically high. So you see them hangin’ out after work, no big deal. Did it ever occur to you they put food on America’s table, because THEY’RE the ones who work on the farms to gather our crops, and cut and package all our meat? That’s backbreaking labor most Americans refuse to do!”

Around that time this young fellow came along and offered us some food in a white cardboard container…turned out to be two large slices of cheese pizza with anchovies! Deek offered me a slice but I said no thanks, not hungry.

A short time later Deek told me to bring him another sleeping bag.

“What happened to the one I gave you yesterday?” I asked.

“I left it in my tent!” he replied.

Well that’s good to know, Wattson…if true: that he may have actually gotten my popup tent properly set up. Maybe he’s camping with other vagrants and one of ’em is familiar with the Teton brand, and helped. Nonetheless, I told him I can’t be giving him a sleeping bag every time I turn around:

“I get a good deal on them, $20 a pop,” I remarked. “But still, it adds up.”

“Never mind then,” he scowled. “Forget I even mentioned it. Sorry I asked!”

“No, that’s okay, I’ll bring another one down,” I replied. “Just bring back the one you already have, don’t dump it when it gets soggy.”

“But I already do that!” he whined.

“For the most part, yes,” I agreed. “But you didn’t bother to return the one I gave you several days back. But I gave you a new one anyway.”

So I trudged on upstairs once more, brought down yet another sleeping bag still tightly rolled in its packaging, and tossed it into the cart. But since he didn’t suggest I let the pooches lie down on it, I did it myself: took the bag from the cart and walked over to him, on the opposite side where the dogs sat. As I crouched down and began to open the package, Flaco clambered over his legs, and began sniffing at the bag, eager to enjoy the comfort she knew was coming her way. So as not to disturb her master, I moved to the other side where the cardboard was already set down, and finished unrolling the sleeping bag.

Tricky to accomplish that, as both doggies were already attempting to plunk themselves on it. So I placed it down still unzipped, and Flaco immediately flopped on her back and began to madly writhe all over it, sliding the bag off the cardboard with her and towards the curb, flipping her head back and forth with tongue hangin’ out and forelegs waving in the air.

“Whoa, girl!” I exclaimed, and pulled the bag back into place upon the cardboard sheet while Flaco continued to wiggle in doggy bliss like there’s no tomorrow.

“She didn’t used to do that,” I said to Deek while scritching her belly. “That was always Lucky’s schtick. She only started squirming on her back several months ago, after realizing how much attention Lucky gets for doing that, so she decided she wants some of that action too! Now she doesn’t even wait for Lucky to do it first, she just dives right in.”

“Lucky’s a good brother,” I continued. “He taught her how to play-fight, too. At first she was offended whenever he grabbed her tail and pulled on it, but after some months she began to do the same to him. Nowadays, she’s just as likely to start a tussle as her brother! And do you notice when she pushes him aside to hog up all the hugs, Lucky starts massaging her shoulders with his teeth, which makes her stand still in pleasure so I can then hug and pet them both? And how he’ll step aside if she goes for his own food bowl, rather than put up a fight?”

Instead of Deek’s usual cutting me off and making snarky remarks to my praise of the pups, he spoke not a word. Before returning hovel I managed to fully unzip the sleeping bag with the mutts atop, after which I was able to toss a generous part of it over them to keep them snug and warm.

I later observed that another vagrant had joined Deek and sat a few feet from him, and they began to engage in whatever badinage suits their kind. He was clothed in a black knit watch cap, a double layer of sweatshirts, baggy old jeans, frayed sneakers and a heavy jacket sporting the image of a football helmet and the logo “SF 49ERs” in its trademark colors of red, black and ruddy gold. I’ve always found those ubiquitous Bay Area jackets gaudy and cheap looking. Well, football is a stupid sport, anyway.

At another point when I poked my head out the window, Flaco looked right up at me. She sat immediately below, beside her master. I didn’t even make a sound, so how did she know: doggy telepathy? We certainly have a connection! Funny thing is that Deek also noticed her looking straight up, stuck in that position: an unusual pose for most dogs…so he did the same (as in “WTF?”) to see me smiling down. He waved me away with an annoyed look, but I ignored him and continued to gaze down at Flaco until she finally looked away, around a half minute later.

Some time after that another homeless dude showed up: tall, lanky, dishwater blond and carrying a Japanese folding bed in a black cover. He set the JFB, still folded, against the lamppost to make a comfy back rest, then gathered up two sheets of cardboard from the bin nearby, and sat down. He seemed the friendly type, but Deek didn’t engage him in small talk.

Scampy also showed up, as well as Hjelmar with his own latest speaker. It was his jazz music floating up to my window that caught my curiosity, wondering if it was him. I thought to come downstairs to greet the indigent Viking, but decided to remain inside and enjoy the fact that Deek had company through most of his visit.

Shortly before returning Deek’s smartphone and speaker I found a large, folding shopping cart, extra wide, on the back porch. “Perfect for the JBL Partybox 300!” I thought. A nice fit with room to spare, and much easier to port down the stairs (I later learned, ’cause I brought it down to him separately, this first time). Just when I was figuring out how to secure the speaker to the small aluminum dolly stored on my loft, here comes the perfect carrier to save the day!

He was very pleased with the folding cart…a rare moment when he didn’t invent another reason to complain. But he nonetheless told me to just set the speaker on the sidewalk instead of placing it in that cart. I wished him and hounds a good night but at the last moment, Deek asked if I could fix a meal for the dogs.

“Why didn’t you ask me earlier?” I queried, for I was growing tired and eager to hit the sack, since it was approaching midnight.

“It didn’t occur to me,” he said. “It’s okay, don’t bother.”

“No, no,” I replied. “Glad to feed ’em, just gimme a minute.”

After bringing the dogs their late meal, Deek suddenly griped about a hairline crack in his smartphone: “It wasn’t there before I handed it to you!”

I approached him then, bent over his shoulder where he sat, squinted a few seconds and said: “I don’t see any crack.”

“You’re old, your sight’s bad, that’s why,” he snarked.

By then, Flaco & Lucky had finished eating, so I pick up the empty bowls and, before stepping inside, took a closer look at his smartphone:

“Oh, I see it now,” I exclaimed. “I assure you I didn’t drop it, bang it or do anything but be real gentle with your phone, Zach. Besides, you love to come up with one excuse after another to guilt-trip me. You just can’t allow me a friendly visit from start to end…there’s always SOMEthing to complain about, eh?”

I stood back up then, walked toward the gate, then paused, turned towards him and added: “Those phones are delicate when it comes to the screen, hairline cracks just happen after awhile, not much you can do about it. Otherwise it’s in great condition thanks to the case you bought for it, and the screen protector I provided. You’ve probably dropped it a whole buncha times over the weeks, and without that case and protector it’d be an absolute wreck by now, full of cracks. Yet here you gripe about ONE hairline fracture!”

He didn’t argue back, but stood up, went to his cart and pulled out an empty, half-gallon jug of Arizona Tea:

“Could you fill this with water for me?”

“Sure,” I replied, took it and returned upstairs. When I brought it down a minute later and handed it to him, he said:

“I love you and thanks for everything you do!”

“You scare me when you talk like that,” I japed, then fondly pet the brindlekin for the last time that night, and returned hovel.

I figured when he prepared to leave, he’d place the speaker in that granny cart I found, which had wheels of course, and could be pulled alongside. Then he could place the sleeping bag inside the shopping cart, with the doggies atop. Nope. As I watched him depart from my window, the JBL Partybox 300 was once more stashed aslope within the cart, with the smaller cart folded up and stuck between that and a pile of indecipherable junk. So the canines had to walk beside their master, as always. But it was a nice evening without a drop of rain for the nonce, so I wasn’t TOO perturbed.

A few minutes later I stepped out to clean up whatever mess remained: not much at all, just two sheets of cardboard and an empty flat box that held the pizza. The lanky blond was still around, but in the process of moving on, too. I saw him pushing around his own cardboard sheets till they reached the curb, upon which he picked up his JFB and walked over towards the trash bin.

I decided to pick up his cardboard, too, and deposit it by that same bin. He noticed and said, “Oh, thanks!” And I replied:

“No problem, glad to help. BTW, is that your jacket?” I then pointed to the base of the lamppost, where lay a crumpled, large fleece jacket in a snazzy shade of blue. And impeccably clean!

“No,” he replied, “You can have it!”

“Well, I had my friend’s dogs in mind,” I explained. “Anything to keep them warm through the cold nights, and that jacket will help.”

But I really like that jacket, good physician, so decided to keep it for myself. One pocket has a large hole in it, but since it has a zipper I’ll just keep it closed. Here’s a pic:

Overall, Deek was highly amicable compared to previous meetups, and what gripes he had were minimal. Therefore, on a scale from 1 to 10 (with “1” being the worst ever), I’d rate this visit a 9. Well, maybe an 8 as we need some wiggle room to allow for improvement. But in light of these horrid storms and having to care for the pups through the deluge (with more on the way), his behavior was IMPECCABLE…so I’ll raise him all the way up to 10.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Today I got to walk the pups again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 8, 2023 at 10:45 PM

And it was VERY nice, as I brought treats with me and shared them with the hounds while I sat on a concrete stump by Morey’s shop. I love to watch them chew and see their eyes a-sparkle with delightful expectation for the next nummy. No wonder some people overfeed their pets!

Flaco didn’t forget her snack spots, as she hopped on each one along the way. And as usual, she watched her brother closely, in hopes she can snatch a treat that he might drop from his jaws. But he’s too smart for that now, as he no longer takes a snack then places it on the ground to sniff in savory anticipation, before ingesting it. Nor do I allow Flaco to get that close to him anyway, when I’m delivering the goodies.

I feed them at the same moment, keeping them on either side of me, so Flaco won’t be able to pull her stunt because I can quickly block her. What she does, once she’s gobbled her share, is look over at Lucky to see if he dropped his. And, were I not around to thwart her theft, she’d’ve scarfed up her brother’s treat in no time. But that’s only because he’s kind to her, so allows his sister to get away with it. But as I said, he no longer places his tidbit on the ground, but keeps it in his mouth from start to finish.

On our return hovel, Flaco once more leapt onto her treat spots, upon which each time–instead of feeding her more nummies–I bent down to give her hugs and kisses and tell her how much I love her. But in so doing I did not deny Lucky my affections, as I made sure he got oodles of hugs and scritches, too, along the way.

But there erupted a bit of a Deek tempest before this divine interlude with my beloved brindlekin. Not too bad, though, and I believe it was all an act for my benefit, anyway. Here’s what went down:

When he showed up around 10:30 AM, WITHOUT HIS SHOPPING CART, his JBL Partybox was resting in that granny cart I gave him yesterday. He pointed out two large cracks on the top because he dropped it last night. Did we not see that coming, Wattson? So when I lugged it upstairs I placed two wide layers of clear shipping tape over the cracks to protect them from any rain that might splash onto the speaker.

How much do ya wanna bet he won’t be able to hold onto it by his birthday, the 22nd, even though it was a gift to himself, in advance? Or if he still has it, it might be dead in the water by then, literally. The good thing about this, is I won’t much longer be burdened with lugging such a cumbersome device up and down the stairs. And I will NEVER let him do that to me again!

[Sidebar: he certainly burns through speakers like he’s in the middle of a war zone. Come to think of it, he is, when you consider the very REAL social war against the unhoused!]

After plugging in his speaker and smartphone, I returned outside with a bowl of water for the dogs.

“I didn’t ask you to do that!” he griped.

“Well, you never know when they need to drink,” I replied, then set the bowl down, whereupon his furry charges eagerly lapped it up.

He then said he’s starving and asked if I can give him the remaining $25 for this Thursday’s allowance, still days away. I said sure, but I might have to go to the bank to withdraw that amount, ’cause I’m not sure if I have that much upstairs. Turns out I did and, after handing it to him, he went off on a rant about why I refuse to sit his dogs anymore, now and then.

“Not even for two hours?” he said. “It’s a lovely day and you can take them to the park.”

I told him no, I don’t trust him to NOT disappear for the rest of the day. He then brought up that I used to pitch a tent and watch them for half a day or longer…and now I no longer do that. Besides the obvious fact I no longer HAVE a tent, I reminded him that the neighbors would complain, and the police would order me to take it down.

“And you know that, Deek,” I exclaimed, “so stop playing dumb.”

But did he stop, Wattson? No, he did not, but rattled on with the usual nonsense, telling me I could take the dogs on the bus and go to that private library I used to visit almost every day.

“I no longer go there, Deek, now that I have my own Internet.” I explained with a huff of exasperation. “You have to be a paying member anyway which I no longer am, and besides, you can’t bring dogs with you.”

But he persisted with additional, and equally dumb, suggestions, even though I interrupted him TWICE to say: “Well, you got your money, so why are you standing around? Go get something to eat, I’ll watch the dogs.”

He babbled on a tad longer, much of which I ignored while showering attention on the hounds. But when he griped about the dogs sleeping on top of him all night (as if THAT were a burden!) I looked up at him and said:

“Oh, how sweet…you’re a lucky man, Deek!”

Naturally, he squawked in outrage at that, and blathered on further before getting up to leave. Once he departed I leashed them to a post and returned upstairs to fix them a meal. They were almost done when their master returned. I expected him to complain that he didn’t ask me to feed them, but he did not. So I said:

“Okay, you’re right, it IS a beautiful day. So if you really mean two hours and no longer, and you’re not sticking me with the shopping cart, I’ll be glad to spend that time with your dogs. But I won’t take them on the bus, I’ll just walk them around the neighborhood, bring them to a park where they can run around. It’s not gonna start raining again for hours.”

“No, I don’t need you to sit the dogs,” he replied. “Just take them for a ten minute walk.”

“Sure, I can do that, Deek. Let me go upstairs for a minute, and I’ll be ready.”

Once back hovel I shoved a small bag of doggy snacks in my backpack, along with two Martingale collars and a roll of poopy bags. Then came back downstairs wearing the pack, untied the leashes from the post, and proceeded to take the pups for a walk. Flaco, though, hesitated and kept pulling on her leash because she didn’t want to leave her master’s side. So he pet her with much affection and said:

“It’s okay, baby, I’ll be right here and you love Uncle Zeke, too, you’ll have a nice time, so go on now!”

She finally acceded to my gentle tugs on the leash and I told Deek “back in 15 minutes.” Once we turned the corner I put on their Martingale collars and our Deekless walk commenced for real.

The rest of his visit went fine, except for one additional outburst…which made absolutely NO sense whatsoever. About two hours after I walked the pooches, he asked me to bring down his devices, and so I did. Soon as I opened the gate he looked at the speaker and exclaimed in rage:

“I DIDN’T TELL YOU TO REMOVE MY TAPE AND REPLACE IT WITH YOURS!”

He then began to pull the cart away, but I firmly grasped the handle so he couldn’t.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? LET ME HAVE MY SPEAKER!”

“Because you’re acting like an asshole!” I replied, then released the handle.

As he moved the granny cart towards the lamppost where the pups were seated, I let the gate shut behind me and approached him (by this time another vagrant was in his company, but he remained mum):

“I did NOT remove your tape, I just put some more over those cracks! Stop accusing me of bullshit I never do!”

His own tape, BTW, were two short strips of electrical tape that did nothing to repair the damage. And here I foolishly thought he’d THANK me for the good deed. Well, I suspect it was just another silly drama, a trickster game to keep me on my toes. I was nonetheless greatly pleased to see how well he’s pulling through this stormy weather, especially as regards his care of the doggies. Thus, his little temper tantrums barely phased me.

“Okay, okay!” he calmed down immediately, thanked me again for all I do, and wished me a good day.

So it’s been raining for a few hours now, but I have little worry about the pups, and their master’s ability to keep them safe, warm and dry. So long as he keeps that up he can squawk and deride me all he wants.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: “I’ve never been that happy in my entire life!”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 9, 2023 at 10:35 AM

This is an addendum to my last missive, which I left out but shouldn’t have. It occurred when I was walking the pups. We had just turned the corner up Noe Street and, at the far end of the Mediterranean restaurant’s parklet, Lucky started rubbing his back and sides against a large, round concrete pot from which grew a small tree. First he circled in one direction, then the other, then back again and so on, pressing firmly against the rough surface in long, satisfying stretches with neck curved up in a joyful epiphany of pleasure. Add to that his little growls of contentment and the loose-fitting maroon sweater that dangled below his torso, and it’s the cutest thing you’ll ever see!

Suddenly, the female half of a straight couple dining close by (who had obviously been watching) exclaimed: “I’ve never been that happy in my entire life!”

“Yes,” I replied, “they are a joy!”

I can’t count the myriad times these lovely pups have lit up the lives of strangers, simply by their presence.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: 2 Quick Visits, Then Gone
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 9, 2023 at 11:20 PM

I started my day as always, by stepping out around 8:30 to purchase my morning coffee around the corner. The sky weighed down on the city with an ominous layer of dark, steely clouds, after hours of heavy rainfall last night. As I returned with java in hand, there was our building manager standing on the corner, waiting to cross the street…head tilted awkwardly to one side and drooping from a neck on a bent back like it was ready to drop to the ground. He’s a very old man these days…a likely falling-down-the-stairs candidate for the Grim Reaper, some time soon.

But I decided to impart a little good will to the fellow (no hard feelings about turning meth-enraged Adisa and mom against me, hating the pups and calling them “vicious and dangerous” in a signed letter, posting an eviction notice on my door and all that rot…water under the bridge as they say), so approached him and chirped: “Good morning, Kevin!”

He slowly turned his face up towards mine, and once he accomplished that feat, I continued: “Looks like all of January will be gloomy and wet!”

He grinned and replied: “Yep, not a spot of sunlight anywhere.”

“Sure looks that way,” I agreed with a sunny disposition. “Well, you keep warm and stay safe now!”

And as I took off I heard him reply: “You too, keep dry!”

So I had time to enjoy my Rosenberg elixir with a toasted English muffin (both halves), and check my email and the news and weather reports on my smartphone before Deek yelled up to my window around 10 AM:

“ZEKE! HURRY! I GOTTA GO, JUST TAKE THE SPEAKER, I DON’T NEED YOU TO BRING WATER DOWN FOR THE DOGS OR ANYTHING ELSE! HURRY UP!”

But I was relaxing on the cot, watching some spooky videos in drowsy repose (what ELSE does one do on a darkly gray day between biblical downpours?), so didn’t hear his exact words and thought he asked me to just bring down a bowl of water, and make it quick. So I got up, filled a bowl, popped a wobbly lid on it (always somewhat of a struggle before it snaps into place), put on my sneakers and jacket, and proceeded down the stairs.

He was standing right by the front gate with the JBL Partybox at his side (and in the granny cart), while the dogs and his shopping cart were over by the lamppost.

I opened the gate with bowl in hand to hear him exclaim as he stepped away and towards the pups: “I told you NOT to bring any water down!”

“Oh!” I replied, “I thought you said the opposite. Sorry.”

“There, take the speaker, I gotta rush off,” he called back while pushing the cart towards Castro Street. “My phone and battery charger are on top of it!”

He didn’t even spare me a moment to greet the pups; they were already halfway down the block as I opened the gate, set the bowl off to the side and jimmied the clumsy speaker into the lobby. Then spent a harrowing two minutes pulling on the granny cart’s handlebar one laborious step after another…like a serial killer with a club foot transporting the sawed off body parts of a morbidly obese dowager up the stairs and into the attic. Shades of Alfred Hitchcock!

The two trash bags I used to seal the speaker yesterday were already torn and frayed, partly exposing one of its sides to the diluvian elements. Deek is NOT a gentle man with his electronics! So before plugging it in I released the muddy bungee cord he must’ve found in the gutter, carefully raised it from the cart, set it down on the floor, replaced the trash bags with new ones, heaved it back into its cage on wheels and re-hooked the cord to the cart’s coat-hanger-like black wires. Whew! Then I remembered the bowl of water and went back downstairs to retrieve it.

It was otherwise a leisurely, no-drama day, some of which I spent excoriating that raving Nazi lunatic and his Asian female cohort on the MCN discussion list. I also reprimanded Alvin Hope once again for his latest anti-vax outburst that vilified poor old Anthony Fauci who’s done so much to save lives, including during the AIDS crisis…and this is the gratitude he gets? For good measure I also accused “Pickle Head” Willsen for being computer illiterate on the MCN announcement list, because he refuses to switch his email to text only so digest users like me can read them, but instead posted a message offering to create his own list for those who’d like to receive his posts directly from him, so they CAN read them! Azothoth on a cracker; what an idiot!

I decided to cc my reply to his personal email, which only resulted in a spam response, like so:

[TROLL ALERT PRO]

YOUR MESSAGE HAS BEEN FLAGGED AS ANONYMOUS TROLL SPAM

IT HAS BEEN QUARANTINED WITHOUT READING

KINDLY DELETE THIS ADDRESS FROM YOUR MAILING LIST

Humph, the nerve of him! So I decided to resend my message via another email address of mine which he DOESN’T have blocked, because it explains all about why text only is used in mailing lists, and all he need do is change one setting in his email app, and he’ll be good to go. I’m sure he’ll appreciate that, hardy har har.

Mr. Willsen is determined to write me off as some scurrilous spammer. He even vilified me extensively on KZYX back in March of 2021. Remember that? Hilarious! I guess I HAVE made quite an impact on the denizens of Mendoland, over the years.

Anyway: Deek didn’t return until 5 PM, and he told me he’s camping out with a group who watch his tent and stuff.

“They’re okay, but I can’t be gone TOO long, they’re always high on crap and they sometimes space out.”

I was delighted to hear he’s got others to help him besides THIS burnt out pilgrim! He asked me to feed the pups, so I did, but also replaced their sweaters with new ones: beige and brown plaid knit garments which fit the pups in snug comfort, because stretchable. They fit Lucky & Flaco better than any other sweaters or jackets we’ve tried before, and their master was most pleased. Better yet: they only cost me $9 each.

Deek thanked me IMMENSELY, then took off for his new outdoor digs. He even said he doesn’t need another supply of dog food which I just offered, as another person recently gave him a huge bag of kibble. So I guess he really IS in a hurry these days, seeing as he needs to get back to base camp ASAP, to make sure all his junk is still there, waiting for him like a whore.

It’s turned out to be a pretty cold night, so I’m glad Deek has TWO sleeping bags instead of just one. And that, assuming his tent really IS set up, they should not wind up soggy as fuk like all the previous times. It is nice that he is less disruptive these days, and actually engaging me in REAL conversation for a change. Conclusion:

Sometimes calling the po-po on a homeless friend will set him in a better direction. And that’s why I called my last chapter “Thank You SFPD.” I hope some cops get to read it some day!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: “I’ve never been that happy in my entire life!”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 10, 2023 at 11:14 AM

> Great letters the last couple of days! Deek said “I love you?” I’m gabberflasted!!

He’s said that before, twice, in the past two years. Usually, after telling me he loves me I can expect a screaming fit next time he shows up. But I think this time will be different.

> The doggie reports are MOST encouraging. He really does seem to be doing an excellent job taking care of them, with your help, of course. And you straightening him out when he needs it.

Well, I was hoping so, but when I stepped out a half hour ago, here he comes walking in my direction, the doggies sweater-less and sopping wet. They were in good cheer anyway, and not shivering. He begged me for another allowance advance of a full $50: “I really need it.” I told him “No you don’t, but I’ll give it to you anyway, I gotta go to the bank first.”

This is what happens sometimes when I step out for coffee: I get punished for the sin of trying to have a calm morning. He gave me the JBL speaker and smartphone to recharge, of course. But this time there was an old pair of sneakers and one of the plaid doggy sweaters lodged inside the granny bin.

“Where’s the other sweater?” I asked.

“Back in my tent. The dogs didn’t like ’em and kept pulling them off,” he replied.

“No they didn’t,” I retorted. “They love their sweaters, and you should’ve kept them on because even when they’re wet, the sweaters will keep them warm. You need to stop lying, you took those sweaters off yourself.”

Anyway, I slogged off to the Chase branch, withdrew the money, then stopped by Rosenberg’s for my morning brew on the way back. He said he’ll return in a half hour, so I figured I have a little time to myself. But when I turned the corner to sit a few minutes on some sheltered steps, there he was at the bus stop in front of my building, waving and calling at me.

He got his money, thanked me, then they took off towards downtown. But all of a sudden he turned around in my direction, where I was about to open the gate and lug the electronic beast inside. So I just stood there as they approached, and the pups started barking with joy, hoping to come inside.

“I’m not gonna open the gate till you walk by,” I addressed him, “‘Cause I don’t wanna disappoint them by not taking them upstairs.”

He said okay and moved along, though stopped just fifteen feet away and lashed the mutts to a post, whereby he entered the Hohokum smoke shop. “Jeez,” I thought, “so he ‘really’ needs the money for what…a cigar?” Then I stepped inside, bracing the heavy wooden door against my shoulder as I wheeled the granny cart into the lobby.

And there was Kevin, sitting on the lowest step and diddling with his smartphone. So I had to wait for him to stand up and move aside, but he did that surprisingly fast in spite of his geriatric wobbliness. I thought he might scorn me for helping Deek store such a heavy item, but he spoke not a word. Well, he’s not all there anymore, Wattson, so perhaps he thought I was returning from the laundromat.

As I set the JBL near an outlet, I discovered something else lodged in the cart: a small propane canister. Oh brother!

So now I’m back inside, typing this missive. But I still need to tell you what happened shortly beFORE I stepped out and ran into Deek and the brindlekin:

I exited my hovel to use the restroom down the side hallway, when who should I almost bump into but Scooter! He was dressed in casual clothing and a pair of slippers, as if he lived here. I continued on to the restroom, and he walked straight ahead. So now what (I thought while seated on the throne), will he be waiting outside to use the toilet? And guess what:

He was right there, about five feet away when I exited and closed the door shut, which locks it as well. Scooter then politely spoke with hands flattened together in prayer:

“Please, please let me in there!”

I sighed and said, “Well okay,” and unlocked the door, then rushed back to my room.

At least it stopped raining for the moment, and the sun is actually shining through. Oops, I spoke too soon, the clouds just spread across the sky, like it’s gonna rain again, very soon. I think I’ll reheat the coffee which by now is room temp, and toast me an English muffin.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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