He’s Still Alive! (for now)

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 10]

Subject: 5:30 AM!!!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 3, 2023 at 3:58 PM

That’s the time Deek woke me up to collect his electronics yesterday morning (Thursday). For once again he wound up sleeping outside my building with his doggies…and it was an awfully chill night. Fortunately they all slept wrapped in a sleeping bag I provided. Nor do I mind much being awakened at such an early hour for it shows me he really IS sheltered at that tiny cabin village…’cause he wants to return for breakfast and/or meet the 48-hour limit of being away in order to stay there. IOW: stirring me out of a deep slumber from time to time is a small price for me to pay in exchange. Furthermore:

I imagine it’s difficult to adapt to an indoor sanctuary under semi-strict house rules after living on the street for at LEAST a decade and a half. And thus, sleeping outside now and then–especially right on my block–makes this big change in his world more palatable. For hanging out near my residence is the closest thing he’s had to a real home for many years. And something terribly nice happened during this last meetup, late in the evening which was Wednesday night.

Deek crashed out around 8:30 PM, beside the pups resting on a sleeping bag and covered by my Sherpa jacket with the broken zipper. After leaving me with them for almost three hours even though he said he’d return in a few minutes! Along with that granny cart which, I surmise, is a better option than a shopping cart, since he can then hop on the transit to get around faster. And it may possibly be acceptable to keep at the shelter, whereas a shoppping cart is verboten. Anyway:

When I stepped out a bit later to check on the doggies (that they’re still covered and warm) a sixty-ish lesbian woman with white hair and glasses seated at an outdoor Super Duper table addressed me when I finished administering to the brindlekin:

“Do they have any water?”

I told them yes they do, then walked back to their spot and lifted the bowl so she could see for herself.

“Oh I’m sorry,” she remarked. “I didn’t see it there.”

“No problem,” I replied, “your concern is appreciated.”

I then told her a bit about my relationship with Deek, that we’ve been friends for fifteen years and, since he’s adopted the pooches around three years ago I help care for them, including food and blankets.

“He DOES have a place to stay now, in that tiny home village four blocks from here, on Gough Street,” I assured her. “But it’s barely been two weeks, and it’s a shock to live indoors after being on the streets so long…so he still sleeps outside two or three days a week. Though I wish he wouldn’t, for the sake of the little hounds. But he CAN be stubborn, so it’s best to show patience as he adapts to his new digs.”

“Oh I see,” she replied. “Nice of you to be there for him and to watch over his dogs.”

“Of course!” I concurred. “Those mutts are my best friends, I wouldn’t have it any other way! And thanks for asking.”

I then returned hovel and to my online activities where I was busy downloading Youtube horror tales for my nighttime slumber. About twenty minutes later I heard Flaco barking, and realized a gaggle of noisy skateboarders were rattling by. So I peered out the window to see that lady I just spoke to, standing in the middle of the sidewalk to guide the skaters around where the pups and Deek were parked.

I quickly donned my jacket, shoes and cap and rushed downstairs to calm Flaco down and get her back into the sleeping bag.

“Thanks!” I addressed the gray-haired woman. “I couldn’t get out here fast enough.”

After tucking Flaco back in I turned to speak with her again, seeing as she was amenable to further conversation. At this time she was now in the company of a younger lady, her daughter perhaps, around forty-two. I told them about my Brindlekin Tales, where to find it on the web, and a bit about my lawsuit, including the death of my two main protagonists, which of course includes the building manager.

“Ha, that’s funny!” said the younger one, then took it back. “Well, not really, I guess.”

“No it’s funny alright,” I told her. “I feel like since my homeless friend and I reunited over his adopting these doggies, that I was suddenly plunked into the middle of a fairy tale…with all the monsters I have to fight off that entails, as well as the many benevolent characters, including one outstanding attorney.”

We spoke several minutes more, my gladly answering their questions about my activism as a homeless advocate, as well as about Deek and canines. But before they took off I emphasized to them how my assisting a homeless friend to find shelter and caring for the pooches is one of the greatest, most fulfilling acts I’ve ever done.

But last night wasn’t ALL peaches and cream, as Deek tossed yet another challenge at my feet. Shortly before he settled in for the night, he hollered for me to come down. So I did, only to see my Sherpa jacket tossed a few feet away, with the hounds now uncovered.

“It has bugs!” he exclaimed.

I picked it up to examine the lining, which was fluffy and white and did not find a one.

“They were in the sleeves, three of them!” he declared. “Hopping around! I don’t want any bugs in my place, so don’t EVER bring anything like that for the dogs again!”

I didn’t argue the point, but just shrugged my shoulders and carried the jacket back upstairs. I thought he was also gonna remove the sleeping bag, but thank Glob he didn’t, as the dogs would otherwise shiver all night long with only a sheet of cardboard to lie down upon, and their master to cuddle up to. To my surprise Deek did NOT rant on about it as I departed with jacket in hand; just dropped the matter as quickly as he brought it up.

Though I suspect he made that up, seeing as bedbugs do NOT hop…nor did he make a fuss about the sleeping bag. But since he now lives indoors (for the most part) bedbugs ARE a concern, so I will be sure any further doggy bedding I provide has been heat treated and sealed in a trash bag while stashed in my room. And I’ll ONLY open the bag once I’m outside…then re-bag the items before entering my building.

I only hope Deek will respect that new arrangement and NOT refuse to let me bring the pups ANYthing that keeps them warm! Next time I give him sweaters they’ll be sealed in their original packaging. And I can even hand him a new sleeping bag (also sealed) that he can keep in his cabin and bring with him when he plans to stay outdoors for the night. Unless whenever he’d like me to launder it, in which case after running it through the dryer on high for an hour, I’ll immediately seal it in a bag before leaving the laundromat. As for doggy sweaters: they’re easy to hand wash so he can take care of that himself.

But I’m sure that tiny cabin village will get hit with bedbugs now and then, considering you can pick ’em up most anywhere, especially by riding public transit or grabbing clothes one finds on the street, or even at a thrift store. But I’m also sure if/when that happens, he’ll blame ME for the bugs, even if they started in someone else’s shelter. If they start in HIS cabin it will be even worse.

So a new worry, one that depressed me for awhile when considering the possible negative repercussions from Deek’s immature mindset. But I’m over it, and will cross that bridge when I come to it, should the bedbug issue arise again.

So, let’s fast forward now to when I returned hovel after Deek woke me up at 5:30 AM. I first used the restroom to relieve myself, so I wouldn’t have to do that an hour or so later…that I might resume a deep sleep undisturbed. Didn’t take long to return to Dreamville, and boy did I have a whopper of a dream. And upon awakening (around 9:30 AM) I rolled over and said to myself:

“Oh I’m SO glad it was only a dream!”

It was actually an AMAZING dream, though I’m glad one aspect of it was only part of that dream, and not reality. But I’ll stop here for the nonce, and describe my dream in my next missive, Wattson. Which will arrive in your emailbox later today, I promise!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: I dreamt of Wit!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 3, 2023 at 7:37 PM

Before I get to the dream I want to make two more points about bedbugs that I neglected to include in my previous missive:

1) I’m worried that Drama King Deek may decide to not even let me HUG the pups because of bugs in my building. In which case I’ll remind him that he’s NEVER seen one on either dog; short-hairs don’t carry them. Fluffy or woolly dogs, OTOH, can. As that is when I became aware we got bedbugs, thanks to finding one crawling on my semi-fascist-neighbor-down-the-hallway’s dog, Skelly, a papillon. This was a few weeks after he returned from vacationing in Turkey, in whatever hotel he stayed from which a bug or two hitched a ride back to San Francisco. Which was YEARS ago, over a decade. Besides which, the fool is now deceased.

2) Though the good thing is: Deek is beginning to become aware of my own stress dealing with bedbugs, and why I started to NOT have anyone visit me, anymore. So he may ALSO soon come to live with these pests intimately, and learn how to make peace with them. As MOST San Franshitscans have. I’m guessing the shelter manager lectures ALL new residents about bedbugs, and is ONE good reason they forbid bringing anything off the streets inside. But I’m sure if I give Deek doggy sweaters and sleeping bags still sealed in their original plastic wrap he will be allowed to keep them.

[Pause: Deek just dropped by to collect his allowance. I guess he waited till the rain stopped…out of regard for the pups, I presume. Because he USUALLY shows up bright and early, rain or shine (dogs sopping wet or dry) instead of late afternoon. But that was before he had a roof over his noggin. He was waiting by the gate with his granny cart a few feet away and the hounds tethered to it, jumping in delight to greet me.

I handed him the Chase envelope: “This is a hundred dollars!”

“Uh-huh, exactly what I wanted,” he replied with a grin, because he expected HALF that amount (and to his credit, never asked me for more than that any time during his long, drawn-out wait for next payday). He then pointed to a lumpy, small plastic bag I held in my left hand and queried: “What’s that?”

“Those are two more doggy sweaters, they arrived this morning,” I explained. “They’re sealed in their original packets so you don’t have to worry about bugs.”

He made no comment about the bug issue, but happily accepted them, and said: “I need to go now, I just came by for the money.”

“Okay,” I said. “God bless you and your little family.” Then I added as he walked away:

“I’m very impressed with how you’re doing these days…it takes a lot of courage to do what you’re doing, for both yourself and the dogs!” (Always good to reinforce whenever he does the right thing, and I know it touched his heart.)

He then abruptly turned around and approached me with cart and pups: “Here, you can pet the dogs while I’m in the smoke shop.”

So I did, sat down right there on the concrete and swept them both up into my arms. Whereby Lucky began play-biting my sleeve with loving growls and his sister stood with front paws on my shoulder to lick my face. I pet and scritched them all over with great vigor, which they love like nobody’s business. Always such joyful meetups when it comes to the poochies!

Deek returned in two minutes, thanked me and took off. I called to him: “Put those new sweaters on, they fit snugly, won’t slip off!”

Those are the gray and black plaid sweaters I’ve bought for them three times before, so he already knows that…but since they were still sitting unopen in the cart I thought to remind him. Then I added while he was still within earshot:

“So your next payday is Thursday, six days from now!”

Just before I stuck the key into the gate, who should come up to Deek on his bike but Deek #2! So I ran up to him and said:

“Thanks for the raincoat, it’s a nice one!”

“Raincoat?” queried Deek while waiting for the light to change.

“Well I gave you the only one I had,” I replied. “So I appreciate the one he gave me!”

So now I’m back hovel to proceed with my dream:]

It was about Clarence Dewitt, a homeless friend from the ’80s who I haven’t seen since 1989. His friends call him “Wit” or “The Wit,” as “Clarence” is too wimpy a name for his roguish type. All I have to remember him by is this sketch he drew for me, and some years later got a scanner and saved the image to my computer. See pic. I’ve NEVER dreamt of him before, BTW. But before I REALLY get into the dream, some backstory:

He lived in a box on wheels: a bread or UPS truck painted over in a rich, dark shade of blue…no passenger seat, just a plastic bucket to sit on. And a white and brown shaggy dog named Wiley for his companion, same size as my brinkdlekin…though if you shave off the fur I imagine half their size. A very NICE dog, always a pleasure to have him visit. As was his master.

Who, BTW, liked to tell me he’s a Khazak, from the warrior clan. He is MOST handsome, a sexy fusion of Western European and Asian Steppes, with clearly epicanthic eyelids…and hazel eyes more green than brown. Of short stature like me, but always insisted he’s much taller in spite of the obvious. I didn’t care: I’m the one who got to sleep with him every night he visited!

Though we always slept with our clothes on as sex was not what he sought. Wonderful company nonetheless, and we dozed barely one foot apart, with Wiley snuggled in between. He took me on adventures out of the city: the Berkeley shoreline, Oakland all over, and even one time as far south as Boulder Creek in Santa Cruz County. In exchange I paid for our meals, usually at a Burger King but sometimes at a small, independent hash house like we did in BC. Those were the days, eh, Wattson? Cheap dining, cheap rent and cheap gas!

Though on many visits he remained in the city to hook up mainly with yours truly, as well as hang out at a donut shop on Castro and 18th which is now long gone. He’d usually park his vehicle some blocks away on a side street halfway up a tree-lined hill. But as time drifted into the ’90s hostility increased against the mobile lifestyle, so these traveling vagrants were pushed out of the city, for the most part. What we have now is different…the homeless living in vehicles are trying to survive as best they can; they are not adventurers like Wit (and other young drifters I knew).

But he did have a dark side, much like Deek’s, though unlike him we shared many good times together, and great conversation. So we KNEW each other like Deek and I have never known. But the last time I saw him was a day we spent in Berkeley, by the wharf…and later that evening drove me back home and left the city. But I was really pissed at him for some things he did, though not worth describing now. At any rate, a few days later he gave me a call and I lashed into him:

“How DARE you (blah blah blah), I could NEVER (blah blah blah)…” and so on. Rather than listen and apologize he hung up.

And he never called me back. About three years later this person who knows both of us said he saw Wit a few weeks ago, who asked if I’m still living at Hotel California North. He told him he doesn’t think so, that I moved on.

“Why did you say that?” I asked with some anger.

“I really DID think you moved, I haven’t seen you in over two years!” he explained. “Besides, Wit is a vulgar person, you have no idea, he kept some things from you.”

“Okay,” I replied. “Maybe it’s for the best, thanks for telling me.”

“If I see him again I promise to tell him you still live there.”

This mutual “friend” BTW was a real bump on a log, blew into SF in the mid-eighties from Utah. A dreary, vanilla type who I wished would move back to his home state. I got to know him a bit because he hanged out at the same coffee shop I used to frequent. He landed some kind of gov’t job as an office flunky, and remained in the city until he kicked the bucket a few years back. I don’t even remember his name, and I don’t care to.

So all these years have rolled by without ever hearing from my Khazak comrade again. Maybe it IS just as well, I don’t know. Sometimes when he’d return to visit me he’d park his truck across the street late at night and yell through an electric bullhorn he installed:

“CATALANO, ARE YOU AWAKE? I’M BACK!” (This was years before I changed my surname to Krahlin.)

Which abrupt blast of noise not only made ME hit the ceiling in sudden arousal, but everyone ELSE on both sides of the street! I should also mention here that the one and only time I got on a motorcycle was with HIM…without helmets, on a frigid night along highway one with Wiley standing up on Wit’s lap, paws on the handlebars; the doggy couldn’t get enough of it! It was the ONLY time I got to hold him firmly in my arms and feel his solid butt cheeks press deep into my crotch…FOR MORE THAN TWENTY MINUTES!

I did NOT get a hard-on BTW, due to the icy chill of the damp, ocean air in mid-January and PURE, UNRELENTING FEAR!

You know I often muse over how some folks living on the streets may be shamans, but I’ll tell you this, good doctor: If ANY homeless person’s a shaman, Wit surely is. Okay, I’m done with the backstory, now onto the dream for reals, I kid you not (though I HAVE relished teasing you with anticipation by so much DELAY before getting there…so bite me):

He was already in my room when the dream started…and THE BRINDLEKIN WERE HIS! Not that he stole them from Deek or anything else nefarious, they just were his and I gave no thought about it. The ambiance was one of peace and joy, for he had finally returned to my world after so MANY years. And I guess we had already been hangin’ with each other for a few hours before entering my building.

I don’t know (or remember) WHAT we talked about, but in a few minutes he announced he was gonna step out for awhile, and I can walk the mutts. I said okay, then looked directly at him, where he stood in shocking radiance smiling at me. And clothed in thick-gauge, shiny black nylon slacks and jacket with white piping. He then turned and exited through the open door, upon which I called out to him:

“When should I expect you back?”

“I dunno,” he replied as he disappeared around the corner and down the stairs. “An hour or two I suppose. Maybe three.”

Next thing I know I’m walking the dogs through a lovely neighborhood similar to San Francisco’s Inner Sunset…though with even MORE leafy trees and flowers. One moment Flaco & Lucky were alongside me in their happy, sniffy way, the next moment they had disappeared to parts unknown! I was only mildly upset and spent barely one minute looking for them…then figured they’re already back in my room, so I hopped on a rail car to return home. Though while seated in the car my concern for the hounds grew and I was scared what Wit might say if the dogs weren’t there!

Right then I woke up, rolled over and thought: “Whew! So glad that was just a dream!” Only because of the dogs, not because Wit returned to me, which was wonderful. Did he perhaps pass away that night, and his spirit paid me a visit? Or is he truly a shaman with telepathic ability, letting me know we’ll see each other again, soon? Or maybe since both him AND Deek are shamans, they’re having some fun at my expense? I could go on conjecturing all SORTS of interpretations (including the dream means nothing, though I doubt it), but I DO wonder:

Why so much happiness in our reunion, only to have it marred by the vanishing canines? As I meditate upon this further perhaps I’ll come up with a clear answer. Anyway, have a glorious evening, Morticia! It was just SO sweet to see Wit again, even if just a dream.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: He’s Alive!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 4, 2023 at 9:05 AM

This morning I discovered the toilet’s clogged, so once again had to resort to a bag in a bucket. About an hour later I decided to call the building manager, assuming that either no one would answer, or perhaps our maintenance man, Victor, would. Well, when I dialed Kevin’s number, he answered after three rings! He sounded kinda sick, but said hello, so I told him our toilet’s clogged and he said:

“Okay I’ll call a plumber.”

I also told him the exterminator has scheduled bedbug treatment this Monday at 2 PM, who said he’ll make arrangements with Victor. He then said thank you, and we hung up.

I imagine Kevin is still in the hospital, or perhaps bedridden in his apartment and receiving care…or at a hospice or wherever. Needless to say, I’m disappointed he’s still around. But at least the toilet will soon be working again.

Cue appropriate video clip here.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting w/Wattson: 2/4/23

Subject: I heard their yelps and howls somewhere across the street…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 5, 2023 at 8:32 PM

…shortly after I returned hovel with my Rosenberg elixir, around 8:30 this morning. A fire engine had just careened down Market Street, and the pups were reacting to the siren. I’d know their voices anywhere, so I peered out my window but saw neither hide nor fur of ’em, including Deek. I decided to step outside and track them down, crossing the street in the middle ’cause they weren’t anywhere on my side of the block.

As I walked up Market Street approaching Castro I saw two umbrellas (one green, one brown) tilted against a storefront. They formed a makeshift roof from the rain that fell about a half hour ago, but only lasted ten minutes. I saw the vagrant seated therein was someone OTHER than Deek, and the pups NOT present, or the granny cart. But my binaural faculties told me that was EXACTLY where they were, when I heard their howls.

I didn’t bother to ask the gentleman if he saw a dude with two howling doggies drift by, but proceeded to the corner where Castro, Market and 17th Streets intersect. Though I peered carefully in all directions they were nowhere to be seen. So I turned around and strolled hovelward. What probably occurred, Wattson, was Deek was perambulating towards the Castro when I heard the pooches howl. He’s such a fast walker they were probably at LEAST three blocks away, down some side street by the time I reached the intersection.

Two hours later, though, he called up to my window and asked me to charge one of his two speakers for just a half hour.

“And bring the dogs some water and a meal,” he added. I said sure, then pet and scritched the wee hounds before returning upstairs. Once I stepped back out and set the bowls down, Deek exclaimed:

“I know you said wait till Thursday, but I could sure use another hunner dollah right now!”

“Not gonna happen Deek, that’s ridiculous,” I replied. “I just gave you that much two days ago, so you’re gonna have to wait till Thursday, no two ways about it.”

To my surprise he didn’t put up a fuss, and I returned upstairs until he wanted the speaker back twenty minutes later. Though while futzing about in my room I figured an advance payment of $50 would be doable, should he ask (as I certainly was not about to OFFER it). So when I came downstairs with the speaker I lingered with the doggies long enough to see if he’d do just that. And yep, he finally did:

“Well, could you gimme a few dollah now…say, twenny?”

“Okay, I can do that,” I agreed (tickled pink that he requested far less than what I anticipated). “But let me see if I even HAVE that much upstairs.”

I didn’t…found only $14 in my wallet, so I added twenty-four quarters from my laundry funds stashed in a soft, 12-ounce plastic tub that once held Greek black olives so many years ago I lost count.

“That’s fine,” he said as I dropped the coins into his hand, atop the bills. “Twenny is twenny no matter how you break it down.”

Deek was a bit argumentative on a couple of minor issues, but he quickly simmered down. I guess he left the shelter early, say, right after breakfast and came to the Castro…which explains why I heard the pups outside. Some time during the Exmass/New Year’s string of apocalyptic storms, and my supplying him with sleeping bags, and taking the ones he brought back to dry out in my room, he left that bulky sleeping bag with me that he had procured on his own. Probably ’cause it was too burdensome to lug around. I think he’s even forgotten about it by now, which is to my advantage since it provides greater comfort as I no longer feel the prod of the steel frame joints like I used to, if I didn’t lie down just so.

Though less convenient to drag to the laundromat for heat treatment, I’ve decided to keep it anyway…it really is a comfort! I’ve already run it through the dryer for a good half hour on high, then sealed it in a large trash bag…even though I’d have to sleep one night the old, less comfy way. But then it hit me: CARDBOARD! So I extracted a large sheet from the basement and laid it across my cot then covered it back up with three, thinner (though still plush) bags…voila!

I have a second set of sleeping bags already heat treated and stashed away, so when I get up in the morning I secure the bags I was snoozing in last night, to be heat treated another day soon. And, once I can return to my room tomorrow evening I’ll open the second set and lay it out. Though this time with Deek’s heftier bag beneath ’em all. So I got something good in exchange for providing him a slew of lighter weight ones. And I will soon order yet another bag and gift it to Deek, so the pups can enjoy the extra fluff. Seeing as I don’t know if the bedding offered by the shelter is more than a thin blanket or two. And it will remain sealed in the original packaging, so he need not worry about bedbugs.

Deek actually looks much healthier since he’s acquired a roof over his head! And his temper tantrums have diminished in both frequency and clamor as well. Wouldn’t it be somethin’ if he winds up assisting other residents there on a volunteer basis…or even lands a paid position on the Homeless Outreach Team? After all, if one miracle already happened, why shouldn’t another? And another. And another, ad vitam aeternam.

BTW: another great reading of my latest tale by the inimitable Marshall McGee, last Friday! I sometimes create a theme title for my narrated pieces rather than pluck it from a subject title of one of the missives contained therein. This one I called “Crystalluria.” I like how he introduced the piece: “Crystalluria, whatever that means.” I’m surprised I came up with a word he didn’t know! It also implies he doesn’t read any of my stories prior to narrating them, which makes for the occasional, spontaneous side comment, thus sweetening the tale a bit more.

– Zeke K-Holmes

From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 6, 2023 at 8:19 PM

Paolo is the exterminator and Victor is the maintenance man. Self explanatory. This will also be sent to my attorney tomorrow.

Subject: Yesterday was great, until…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 7, 2023 at 11:42 AM

…he returned hours later, 3:45 AM, started screaming “FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, YOU HAVE MY WEED, DON’T YOU! FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!” up at my window. But first let’s rewind to earlier that evening:

He visited around two hours (from nine to eleven), by the curb and parking meter below my window. He did not resist my bringing down cardboard and two small sleeping bags for the pups. Which have been heat treated and sealed in a large trash bag…which he saw, since I brought them outside still stashed in the bag. After I fed the pups and brought them water, he asked me to watch them for a short while so he and a friend could go to Walgreens two blocks up Market.

“Sure, no problem,” I said, and they took off. Wasn’t quite a half hour when they returned, and I had my usual, delightful time alone with Flaco & Lucky. When he started packing up to leave I came back downstairs to collect the blankets and cardboard…and give the mutts a final round of hugs and kisses. Wishing them all god’s blessings and a lovely night before returning hovel.

He also gave me a Cuisinart mini food processor and, though I already have one just like it (only a bit larger), I said thanks, I can really use it. I opened the box later on, only to discover it was missing the spindle that turns the blades! Oh well, he doesn’t need to know that…it’s hard for him to gift me anything I can use, so it’s better to praise him regardless. At any rate:

I fell into a deep sleep less than ten minutes after turning on my smartphone and playing some horror tales…I was that pleased with this latest, peaceful meetup. However, unfortunately, he woke me up around 3:30 AM, screaming those words cited above. So I stepped outside, barely awake, and he hollered at me some more, things like:

– I must’ve gathered up his small bottle of weed in the sleeping bags. So I clambered back upstairs to check, and discovered nothing. “Nope, I didn’t,” I told him once back outside. “The dogs were resting on a large sheet of cardboard and nothing else, so that’s unlikely. You brought stuff outta the cart some time AFTER I put the sleeping bags down.”

– He walked all the way back from (supposedly) “the other end of town” to trace his steps, and he’s sure he left the weed right where he parked in front of my building. I reminded him when he took off, it was in the OTHER direction towards the Castro…and besides, he’s ALWAYS losing stuff, and someone coming along after him probably picked it up. Not that I believe he had some pot on him; he’s most likely guilt-tripping me again.

– He demanded I no longer bring blankets for the doggies ’cause of this “losing-his-weed” incident. Funny he didn’t bring up the bedbugs instead. But he’s got a problem on his hands if he thinks I’m gonna allow the pooches to rest on the cold concrete while they’re visiting. ESPECIALLY when the nights remain so chill (all HE provided was a flattened out trash bag)! But of course I wouldn’t allow it no matter what, even when the weather warms up. They deserve this simple comfort, it makes them so happy.

He had pulled everything out of the granny cart and spread them across the sidewalk in hopes of finding the “missing” grass, cussing like a madman. Which grass didn’t exist in the first place…or if it did, that’s certainly NO excuse to screech in front of my building and make false accusations. But get this, Wattson:

It wasn’t till he finally left (about ten minutes later, still screaming “FUCK! FUCK!”) that it dawned on me: THE DOGGIES WEREN’T WITH HIM! He’s not allowed to leave them alone at the shelter, so what REALLY went on? Did he tie them up to a post two or three blocks up…and, if so, did he have someone watch them? This is disturbing, Wattson, and I know asking him about it would be pointless.

I couldn’t return to slumberville for the rest of the night, but DID enjoy the scary narrations gratis Youtube. So now I have to deal with Deek’s latest bullshit while living out of a bag of heat-treated clothes for deity-only-knows HOW long, so I won’t be forced to have to reheat EVERYTHING. One shirt, one sweater, one pair of jeans, and a warm jacket. The rest stay sealed for as long as need be.

I’m wondering if the exterminator was in a car accident again, this one more serious…which explains why he didn’t text me back. Or perhaps he contacted the building manager who either failed to inform me, or intentionally kept me in the dark. Because I think Kevin forbade him to communicate with me directly ’cause it was going “over his head.” More like “over his senile head,” if you ask me!

I haven’t seen our maintenance man these last few days, but I hope to soon so I can ask him if the exterminator set up my next treatment through him, which was yesterday but he never showed up. I’m even wondering if Victor will be cooperative or hostile towards me should I get the chance to speak with him.

Next time a Chinese balloon floats over our country I’m gonna lasso myself to it and hitch a ride outta this furshlugginer excuse of a nation! And take the doggies with me.

– Zeke K-Holmes

From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 7, 2023 at 2:19 PM

> Unacceptable! Rude! Incompetent! Shitty!

All of those and more. Well, things will settle and fall into place in my favor, eventually. And there really haven’t been any more bedbugs in my room since the last treatment…so far. Though I’m glad to go through any further, occasional treatment as a preventative measure. Maybe I shouldn’t have informed Kevin (when I called about the clogged toilet) that Paolo (pest exterminator) will set things up with Victor (maintenance man) for this Monday’s treatment. ‘Cause MAYBE, in his addled, deteriorating mind he then dialed Paolo and told him to cancel it, as it’s going over his head. And neither one informed me of the cancellation (or at least, postponement). Stupid people in power are the bane of this world, especially among the laboring masses.

After this domestic outrage–followed by one of Deek’s own–I’m rather exhausted and am now lying down for an hour or so, just to relax. Deek’s a spooky character, ya never know WHEN he’ll pop up, day or night, to fuck with your head. But my main concern is for the dogs, always.

Buy hey, I got a cracker jack attorney! And that counts for a lot. Time now to watch a good flick to chase away the goblins.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: My Attorney’s Reply re. Dental Services
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 7, 2023 at 7:10 PM

> The scenario you summon, long rides on public transit with tender, possibly bleeding mouth, jostling crowds and the germs they exude, and the possibility of sudden termination of treatment is not hypochondriacal at all. You are brave and stalwart, but I totally understand your reluctance. It’s all just more punishment for being poor.

That about sums it up! Back in ’75 I got three wisdom teeth pulled at a dental clinic somewhere in the Outer Richmond…had to take two buses to get there and back. After the nasty job was done they had me sit in the waiting room for around ten minutes…then peremptorily told me to leave, even though I was still quite groggy. I boarded a bus on Geary Street with my mouth packed with gauze, like a chipmunk. As the bus lurched onward I suddenly coughed and blood started to trickle down one corner of my mouth. Some riders looked at me with concern, and I couldn’t speak to tell them I’m alright, I just had oral surgery.

When I finally arrived hovel I went to Rosenberg’s to pick up a bag of ice to tend to the swelling. I can’t imagine going through something like that from much further away and having to take BART to get back across the Bay! But at least Medi-Cal covered the whole shebang, except transportation.

> I would wager, however, from what you’ve told me, that the work you need done is “medically necessary.”

Probably so.

> Darly’s teeth are in dreadful shape. Broken, abcessed. I see there is possible help for her, as close as Fort Bragg. But knowing her, she’ll conjure some reason why it’s impossible. Sigh…

Abcessed? That’s horrific, she needs treatment ASAP. I have NO abcess or other infection, nor any pain…my mouth is amazingly healthy through it all. Probably thanks in part to my vegetarian diet all my life since I left my family.

> I thank Glob every day for my own excellent teeth, inherited from my dear daddy…

Lucky you! I’ve had bad luck with my teeth ever since I was a child…inherited rough enamel genes that cavities just love. I needed braces but my parents couldn’t afford that, so they did what my stupid dentist suggested: pay me a quarter every time for pressing my thumbs for five minutes, upon my two, crooked front teeth. And do that several times a day. Unbelievable! I didn’t realize then that I needed braces, it was never discussed and I never thought about it until (get this) barely five years ago! “Oh, I shoulda seen an orthodontist, but my lower middle class status didn’t allow it!”

What a great way to end a missive, eh, Wattson? It least it was a topic one could sink their teeth into. (That was said tongue in cheek.)

– Zeke K-Holmes

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