How Much Longer is This…Jesus!

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 13]

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Re: Yesterday I gave him “two hunner dollah!”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 18, 2023 at 2:49 PM

> I did mean three. Or two.

That’s what I thought. Deek’s witty rant shows me he’s very HAPPY with his tiny-cabin sanctuary. And his list of mental disorders (far more than the two I mentioned…it was hilarious, and I SHOULD include them all in that piece, which I’ll get around to shortly) reveals his intelligence to be greater than he’s been letting on. Because I’ve NEVER discussed this aspect with him, except mentioning (many moons ago) he’s probably bipolar. So where did he come up with this litany of psychiatric disorder terms? Something else he brought up several days back, worth mentioning:

Has to do with my briefly telling him one week prior how we are THAT close to full-tilt war with Russia, and maybe China as well. Knowing he NEVER listens to the news I pointed out that very scary things are going on in the world these days, simply to put into perspective his OWN life which is so much better than he conveys. And he should count his blessings instead of constantly bubbling over with angst.

So I gave him a quick rundown of the war in Ukraine, how it’s actually a proxy war between Russia and the western world, especially the United States. And how China is also stirring the pot…but our own government is likewise culpable for creating such ugly scenarios thanks to rampant corruption over the decades. Including hate talk radio with Michael Savage being one of the worst, along with Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and others…and TV evangelists of course, the fascist branch of Christianity.

Well, Wattson, you can imagine what images my nutshell news report implanted in his cranium in light of his limited view on reality! Considering he has ZERO backstory on anything I brought up, he probably didn’t grasp ANYthing I said, except a word or phrase here and there. He didn’t even know a nation named Ukraine existed, so I described it as “a big country in Europe.” (But does he even know what I mean by “Europe?” I wonder.)

Once I was done with my ridiculously brief news digest (barely two minutes), he queried:

“Why didn’t you tell me about this before?”

[Sidebar: Dumb thing to ask in my opinion since he’s NEVER shown any interest in the news, let alone politics, social issues, technology, science and so on. Should I tell him about Israel and Palestine? Heck, should I even tell him about EAST Palestine, Ohio? What good would that do when he has absolutely no informed background on ANY of those subjects? Of course there might be a TV on the premises of his tiny-home village where they watch the news. But if so, I certainly hope it’s not Fox!]

“Because it’ll just cause you worry and slow down the incredible progress you’re making in your OWN life,” I explained. “It’s all bull crap anyway, we’re not gonna explode into another world war, but it IS gonna force humanity’s hand to get its shit together. Great things are gonna come out of it. And you’re ahead of the curve, believe it or not.”

So that was that, he departed with pups and cart, and I returned hovel to do my Internet thing and fix dinner. But I now regret my bringing up Ukraine etc. because when he showed up two days later he went off on a rant:

“I told my people we’re going to war with Russia and China and we’re all gonna get conscripted…they’ll give us a uniform and a duffel bag and march us off to the battlefield! World War Three is here!”

“What? You told them THAT?” I exclaimed. “You’re just gonna cause them a load of pointless anguish and grief! No there’s NOT gonna be another world war, no one has anything to worry about, I just wanted you to appreciate your life more. Jeez Louise!”

Worst of all: he was grinning about it! Honestly, good physician, I think Deek was just having fun at my expense once again, the scurrilous knave. And I also conclude he’s just playing dumb to make me THINK he’s ill informed when it comes to the world at large, including present issues around Russia, China, etc. Which fits right in like a jigsaw piece when you consider my shaman theory:

HE’S A TRICKSTER…among other qualities such as great knowledge, wisdom and the ability to thrive under ANY circumstance! I can easily grok why someone of that nature would choose to play the dummy in the presence of a lowly pilgrim such as yours truly. ‘Cause it’s a frolic of immense hilarity. And that he HAS come into my world years ago to watch over me in his own convoluted, mischievous, silly way.

And I doubt he’s the ONLY shaman out there disguised as a humble vagrant (as I often conjecture, which you know so well). Thus, this second poll:

[Insert attached pic here.]

Are homeless people shamans
or not? You decide:

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

(Pick a number on a scale of
1 to 10, with 1 being “they
ALL are” and 10 “no, not a
single one.”)

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Scampy’s out there right now, I hear her scratchy voice. She seems to be of good cheer these days, ever since she fled from a hotel room after being sheltered there with a supposed boyfriend for two or three days…and was a “missing person” for almost two weeks. Until she showed up once more in the Castro. She walked by Deek the other night while I was outside with him and the pooches. “Hey, Scampy, how ya doin’?” he called to her, but she totally ignored him and just moved on. I like his friendly demeanor towards her, as well as towards other indigents…he’s gonna make a fantastic homeless outreach ambassador some day soon. Come to think of it: he is already!

Subject: Compare this:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 18, 2023 at 4:53 PM

“I don’t mean anything when I turn nasty on you, Zeke! It’s just that I’m bipolar, schizophrenic, screwed up in a bunch of other ways and fighting the monsters inside me! So if I ever attack and try to choke you, please realize I don’t mean any of it!”

with this:

“I don’t mean anything when I turn nasty on you, Zeke! It’s just that I’m bipolar, schizophrenic and screwed up a bunch of other ways including PTSD, anxiety disorder, dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity…I’m fighting a whole SQUADRON of monsters inside me! So if I ever attack and try to choke you, please realize I don’t mean any of it!”

MUCH better, eh? And a MUCH more apt rendering for how he rattled off his mental issues with such dramatic flair! He’s not dumb at all, Wattson! Just loves playing it that way so he can surprise me with a brilliant outburst now and then. Until he drops the whole “dufus” facade entirely, which process I believe has begun. And will culminate in WHAT, exactly? That remains hidden from yours truly, but I’ve pondered over many possible outcomes, and they’re all scintillatingly upbeat.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Compare this:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 18, 2023 at 6:23 PM

> Yes! Much enhanced!

AND more true to his waggish style. Also, where he said “I told my friends we’re going to war with Russia and China,” I changed “friends” to “people,” ’cause that’s what he REALLY calls them, “my people.” He never uses the word “friend.”

> I’m rootin’ for ya. And him. But only because I’m rootin’ for you first and foremost.

Thanks, I know you are, you have been all along. Ultimate credit goes to the doggies, though…they made it all happen in the first place! Love guides my world, in the form of Canis familiaris.

> Five days’ silence from Darly (after I slipped her a candid, forthright letter) broken; she called me, not vice versa. More on that later…

Jeez, I can’t imagine what ensued! Okay, tell me about it when ya can!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Well THAT wasn’t very nice!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 18, 2023 at 10:54 PM

Listening to Marshall’s reading of my tale from yesterday’s show (which I call “The Omeprazole Helps”) when right around the 11 minute mark of the 14-3/4 minute reading he said this [listen to attached audio, just three seconds]:

[Transcript: “How much longer IS this…Jesus!”]

Humph! I didn’t appreciate that one iota! It’s not like I’m failing to keep the pieces I send him under 15 minutes per his request (for the most part…hard to calculate down to the last seconds when I don’t know if he’ll add a side comment, a pause or interruption, or slow down part of his reading which will expand my calculation a bit further. And before sending it off I run the completed result through the online “Read-O-Meter” that guesstimates how long the passage will take to read, but it’s pretty accurate for Marshall’s pace. So if it goes over 15 minutes I redact a bit more.). Now I ask you, Wattson:

How many other radio narrators do something like that, in the middle of a tale some author took sweat blood and tears to create? Anyway, I’m just being silly and decided to keep his remark in my Youtube upload ’cause it really IS funny…that groaning tone of exasperation in his voice! It was another GREAT reading, by the way.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Blue Coat Blue Tent Blues
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 19, 2023 at 9:51 AM

This tent has been the latest vagrant occupation behind my building, FOR TWELVE DAYS IN A ROW! When I peered out the hallway window whoever was there was still in the tent, so I couldn’t see who it was. He was loudly griping at someone also inside the tent…either that, or talking to himself. But then I heard Scampy’s voice, so I guess she slept with him overnight, and may have been doing so for days in a row. I wonder if that’s her “boyfriend” she stayed with in a hotel room, or another hookup. Whoever it is, I don’t like him. Here’s a 7-second video I took of a little action that occurred around their spot only minutes later:

A large blue dome tent has been parked behind my building for almost two weeks now. In light of the homeless sweep here in the Castro that began in mid-December I’m surprised it lasted more than a day or two! When I stepped out for my morning java I stopped at the corner to take a snapshot whereupon whoever was in that tent started screaming at me through, I guess, a slit in the tent I didn’t see. “Get outta here, go fuk yourself, why don’t you just come up and talk to me?” At first I didn’t realize he was addressing me ’cause he was screaming earlier before I stepped out. But when I did I pretended not to hear him and just walked on to the corner store to purchase my coffee. Upon returning I saw several cops gathered ’round the tent. Not wanting to draw attention to me, I waited ’till I got back home to take this video from a hallway window. Guess screaming your lungs out for no good reason doesn’t always pay off…neighbors complain. And not everyone is anti-homeless who takes pics of them, such as yours truly.

Texting w/Wattson: 2/20/23

“Eat your peas” video.

“Ducklings chasing cat” video.

“Armed chickens” video 1.

“Armed chickens” video 2.

“Zeke’s Misfortune Cookies” blog entry.

“Definitely video editing” video.

Re: Misfortune
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 20, 2023 at 3:39 PM

> God damn: Pechkeks Misfortune Cookies.

God damn is right…this is the devil’s work indeed! Made in Germany, eh? No surprise here as this isn’t the first time they’ve come up with a rather dark notion.

> But ours would be better.

I would definitely create one misfortune that says: “The creator of Pechkeks Misfortune Cookies and all parties associated with its production and distribution shall be mortally crushed by a shower of meteorites from the Oort Cloud.”

I’m actually surprised misfortune cookies were not a staple snack of the original Addams Family series…served on a small, medieval Wallachian nightstand that brings ’em to you! And once owned by Vlad the Impaler whose soul is trapped therein!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: They’re probably gonna get sued anyway by some superstitious old christo-fascist biddy somewhere in Kansas when she comes across one at an anti-drag queen rally.

Subject: “I don’t have sex for lunches.” (re: “The Last of Us”)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 20, 2023 at 5:47 PM

I sure would, what’s his problem…a little post-apocalyptic shyness?

Subject: Lovely visit with the pups two nights ago.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 22, 2023 at 11:29 AM

Monday night Deek dropped by around 9 PM to collect his bicycle and another supply of doggy food. Since he preferred to ride the bike back to his place (rather than walk it there) he asked me to watch the pups for a half hour or so. He was seated at the bus stop, accompanied by a handsome, redheaded fellow in a wheelchair who I know from around twelve years ago…and who I prefer to avoid ’cause he makes no sense and I can’t afford to have another meth freak in my life. Which was easy enough since I rarely see him in these parts and choose to just walk on by without acknowledging his existence, whenever I do. But in this instance I was a hapless prisoner to his presence.

[Sidebar: Word to the wise, Wattson: if you have more than one friend who smokes crystal you’ll NEVER get any sleep since as soon as one departs the other will show up shortly thereafter…and the cycle will go on without cease, both day and night.]

“How ya doin’ Zeke?” he said from that wheelchair he DOESN’T need, but at least it’s something to sit on.

I mumbled “okay” while picking up the leashes and fussing with the canines before Deek took off…and I did as well, just seconds later without paying the redhead any mind. I first tethered the poochies to a signpost right outside my building so I could run upstairs to procure my backpack and a bag of jerky treats therein. Shortly after I stepped back outside, this skinny little pesky fellow I haven’t seen for months suddenly appeared before me, said “Hey there, Zeke!”

And, just like the last several times I’ve bumped into him over the past two years I invented an excuse to brush him off:

“Sorry, I’m busy walking Po’ Boys’ dogs right now.” I then moved forward in the opposite direction I had intended, just to get away from him. And it worked; he was gone in a flash. Another meth addicted soul I prefer to keep at a distance. Jeez, what a fight it was just to have some alone time with My Beloved Brindlekin, that evening!

We walked around a bit, but spent most of our visit hangin’ out on the steps of a corner shop at 16th and Noe, already closed for the night. Where I fed them their treats, then–since I had no cardboard or blanket for them to rest upon–decided to lay down my coat on a step for one mutt, and have the other sit on my lap.

Close to a half hour had passed and I finally grew restless, so walked the pooches over to the bus stop in front of my building. I sat down on one of the floppy seats with Flaco beside me and upon my coat (part of which I draped over her) and her brother on my lap. Belly-up so I could scritch him on his chest while his paws dangled over my hand in sweet repose. Pure bliss! These dogs are always so kind and loving.

But no sooner had we settled there than guess who showed up in passing, evoked a friendly hello and the hounds leapt up (my coat now slipped to the ground), tugged on their leashes and started to bark like mad?

SCOOTER, DAMN IT! What can I say, good doctor, but that the Castro is the kind of place where one screwball or another will appear outta the blue to disrupt your peace…guaranteed. And that’s why it’s better to keep moving than sit down anywhere.

“Oh, sorry!” he responded with hands raised up palms forward, and backed away.

“No, it’s alright,” I replied (though it was NOT alright, and I resented his imposition as if everything were hunky-dory between us when I really want NOTHING to do with the scoundrel…but I had to keep the peace for the sake of Flaco & Lucky).

I then picked up my coat and settled the dogs back down, who stopped barking once Scooter moved further up the block towards the front gate. Whereby he turned his back on us and pressed some buttons on the intercom, opened the gate and disappeared inside.

Can you believe that? HE who doesn’t live there has the entry code while I do NOT, and still have to use the key! And if I accidentally lock myself out by leaving the key upstairs, I’m stuck outside until another tenant shows up. Which is why I now ALWAYS keep my keys on a cord secured to my belt at all times, even when sleeping. (I bed down in my clothes BTW, as I hate slipping into PJs, especially since I never know when Deek will call up to my window.)

I believe I told you before that the building manager reserves the entry code for select residents whom he favors over others, and I’m definitely not on that list. But how did Scooter get that code…from addled old Karlsen who brought him into our building in the first place? Or from standing right behind a worker entering the building, hired to do carpentry or other work (such as cleaning the shared restrooms)? Or a UPS, FedEx or Amazon delivery person? In short:

EVERYONE seems to know the code except for THIS shunned pariah! Be that as it may:

Deek showed up a few minutes later…I heard his approach catty-corner from me in the star-shaped intersection, pushing his granny cart with the colossal speaker lodged within and blasting Julio Foolio through the crisp night air. The dogs sensed him too, raised their heads in eager desire to run up to him. So once he arrived on my side of Market Street (and lowered the volume thank Glob) I released them to do just that. They faithfully followed their master as he proceeded beyond the bus stop and towards the Hohokum smoke shop, their leashes dragging behind. Some passerby walking in the opposite direction turned his head and smiled at the charming little scene while I put my coat back on and collected my backpack.

“I can put a fresh pair of sweaters on the dogs if you like,” I addressed Deek once he emerged from the smoke shop.

“Nah, that won’t be necessary,” he replied. True enough, as it was cold, but not a BITING cold, and the quasi-dachshunds would be fine without.

He than thanked me and off they skedaddled towards Castro Street and I, back hovel. Happy to see that Deek is maintaining his indoor digs, and happier still for his giving me time with the pups once more. Seeing as he didn’t REALLY need me to watch ’em; he could’ve taken them with him back home, bike and all. I know because he’s done that before, many times. And he DID return around forty minutes later.

Subject: Re: Lovely visit with the pups two nights ago.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 22, 2023 at 6:12 PM

> Sounds like heaven.

It was, in spite of the stupid disruptions which I nipped in the bud. NO one’s gonna get between me and my alone time with the brindlekin!

> And it’s so good to know that the pups are INSIDE on these raw, bitter nights. It’s FREEZING up here!

It’s pretty damned cold down here too, but not quite freezing. This morning it was 42 degrees but the wind chill factor brought it down to 35.

> Both dogs slept by the wood stove last night.

Perfect for a holiday card scene I bet.

> Surely had surgery on Wednesday for a weird growth on his belly. He’s doing really well,

So glad to hear that. Looks like that fallen tree limb turned out to be a blessing in disguise ’cause part of the insurance money covered the surgery. Funny how things can work out that way.

> but I have to keep Pluto away from him so he doesn’t damage the surgical wound with his sheer puppy exuberance. Had to leash him to a metal leg of the stove, but he was fine.

You have a happy home, no easy feat. Is Surely wearing one of those ginormous collars? If so, I’d love to see a pic of that so I can go “Awwwww!” As will my zillions of readers once my tales take off, whether soon, a decade later, or posthumously.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Well that was nice!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 22, 2022 at 7:17 PM

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Denti-Cal issues
Date: 2023-02-22 18:48
From: James Iverson-Cabrillo (Bay Area Legal Aid)
To: Zeke Krahlin


I’m an attorney in SF Peninsula’s San Francisco office. I heard from Magdalena that you were having some dental insurance issues, and were asking for some help with that. I think one specific issue was that Denti-Cal denied coverage for partial dentures? If you’re still seeking help with this, I’d be happy to discuss further. I do a lot of Medi-Cal cases, and have been focusing on dental coverage lately.


James Iverson-Cabrillo
Staff Attorney, Economic Justice
Bay Area Legal Aid

==== So here’s my reply:

Thank you for your concern. I see that partial dentures are now included for seniors, under the Healthy SF Plan, so I’m good. The OTHER problem is I live in San Francisco, and there are NO dentists who accept Medi-Cal anywhere in the city. I don’t have a car, or a friend who could drive me home from the East Bay (where there are some dental clinics that accept Medi-Cal). I would need extensive gum surgery, and no way would I take public transit to get home after the surgery.

===== And then he just got back to me, in minutes:

Thanks for the quick reply. Good to hear that you found a solution for partial dentures. For what it’s worth, Denti-Cal is also supposed to cover medically necessary partial dentures, though there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and it might take an appeal to actually enforce the law on that. More so than with most programs, the problem with Denti-Cal is that there’s a huge difference between what the law says and what the people reviewing coverage requests actually do. (That’s part of what we’re here for.)

===== So I replied:

That Find-A-Dentist list shows NO dental clinics except in the East Bay. As for general practitioners, several are listed in SF that are taking new patients. I’m not ready to move ahead on this right now, but I may be a few months down the line.

Thanks again, James

Re: Well that was nice!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 22, 2022 at 7:48 PM

> Damn! You’ll wind up with some pearly choppers yet!

That is far from the top of my list. Simply because I don’t care to play the stereotype of an old man dreaming of the day he’ll finally get his teeth. I’m through with dentists and doctors and, as you know, I’ve BEEN through with ’em for decades. Though I was upset the day I learned Medi-Cal has eliminated their dental services, I was also GREATLY RELIEVED to not have to see a dentist ever again. And I’m STILL relieved.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Well that was nice!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 22, 2022 at 8:51 PM

> Dentists have just about the highest rate of suicide of any profession. So there’s that!

I’m sure they died laughing.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Well that was nice!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 23, 2022 at 12:20 PM

Final communique with James Iverson-Cabrillo of Bay Area Legal Aid:

He posted this morning:

“No problem at all. Feel free to reach out anytime if you’d like to request some advice or assistance.”

And I replied:

“Thank you immensely. I will keep your email address in the event I should need your help. BALA is a great lifesaver for many, and I am honored to be a client.”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Brief video tour of tiny cabins at 33 Gough Street
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 23, 2022 at 7:26 PM

I’m impressed:

Plus: attached is a Google Earth overhead view of those tiny cabins. My way of checking out the location without doing so in person, which would upset Deek. And I certainly don’t want to risk that, for the sake of the doggies. I’m sure they love it there, go “Arf arf arf!” whenever they approach their new digs to return home for the night or whenever.

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Bedbug treatment rescheduled, thank Glob!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 24, 2022 at 2:14 PM

And glad to have this NEW stress factor lifted off my shoulders. Actually, Wattson, I was trusting this issue would resolve itself, and so it did. Just in time, too, because I’m in the middle of composing my next email to my attorney, which included the exterminator failing to show up…but now removed, relieved to say. Here’s what came down:

I heard someone vacuuming the hallway and figured it was our maintenance fellow, Victor. So I stepped out and sure enough it was! So I asked if I can talk to him, he said okay and turned off the vacuum.

“Is Paolo our exterminator okay?” I queried.

“Yes, he’s fine. Why do you ask?” he replied.

“Because he didn’t show up that day to treat my room. Said he’ll make the arrangement with you. Did he?”

“Ah, sí,” he affirmed. “I don’t have the key to open your door, so he couldn’t get inside.”

“Oh, I had no idea,” I replied. “I texted him later, asked why didn’t he show up, but he never got back to me. And I even texted him the day before he was supposed to arrive, told him I assume that Victor has the key, but he didn’t respond to that, either.”

“So you’d like to reschedule?” he offered.

“Yes, that would be great, but you’ll have to call him yourself since for some reason he doesn’t reply to my texts or phone calls.”

I was upbeat through our entire conversation, and even told him: “You sure have your work cut out for you these days!” Just so he’d know I have no animosity and realize Kevin’s illness (and probable demise) is a big strain on us all.

So he’s gonna call Paolo later today and set up another appoint- ment to treat my room. See attached copy of a text I just sent to Paolo.

Re: Well THAT wasn’t very nice!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 24, 2022 at 2:36 PM

> >  Ezekiel Krahlin wrote: “I would love for that audio clip to go viral!”

> Like “Where’s the beef?”

That was a standing joke in the gay bars, back in the day. I play that audio clip of Marshall one or two times a day, still…it makes me laugh.

Texting w/Wattson: 2/25/23

Subject: Raving Nazi Lunatic Slanders Me! (video narration)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To:MCN announce, MCN discussion
Date: February 25, 2022 at 7:42 PM

February 24, 2023: Marshall McGee, radio host of “Memo of the Weird Nighttime Radio” in Mendocino County, reads a message posted to the MCN announcement mailing list that is brimming with homophobic/racist bigotry. Enjoy! 3 minutes:

Re: Raving Nazi Lunatic Slanders Me! (video narration)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 24, 2022 at 8:06 PM

> That’s a riot!

And right in the first half hour of the show…I almost fell off my chair laughing.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Another Amazing Meetup
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 26, 2022 at 10:50 PM

Deek popped over unexpectedly last night around 10:30 PM (though I say “unexpectedly” with caution, as that is usually his modus operandi). Before I even exited my hovel I heard him start spitting and fuming over I know-not-what, but figured it has something to do with his smartphone or speaker, and that I was to blame. Soon as I stepped out the front gate I heard him vociferously whine:

“I’m ready to just drop ’em off here and be done with it, they’re driving me nuts!”

Of course I first thought he was on another tirade being fed up with those lovely pups who were standing about quite calm and happy to see me. So my stomach clenched, my heart broke once again as I crouched down to give ’em hugs and pats. But I kept mum while he blustered on…and to my relief soon discovered he was talking about a rusty piece of hardware he called “clippers.” They were poking out of a large plastic bin loaded with marginally useful debris except for a thick, folded blanket for the dogs’ comfort. These clippers, by the way, are what one would more accurately call a “36-inch bolt cutter.”

“Oh I’m sorry,” Deek calmed down then, and waved a dismissive hand. He explained he’s pissed right now ’cause someone asked him to hold on to these clippers, he’d be back in an hour to retrieve them. But it’s been more than TWO hours now and the dude hasn’t returned to their agreed-upon rendezvous, who might beat him up if the clippers are gone.

“I’m sick of walkin’ around with them,” he concluded.

SO relieved this had nothing to do with the dogs I chirped: “NO problem, Deek. The guy’s an asshole and put you in a difficult spot, I understand perfectly!”

Lemme tell you, Wattson: I can easily imagine how a bolt cutter would come in handy for someone who lives on the streets, in any number of ways…but so help me Glob if I can’t come up with even ONE that won’t land you in the clinker. He also had a tiny cart that was actually a toy car with a tall handle for a kid to push around. Some unidentifiable items were stashed within, though barely contained…on top of which lay his jumbo speaker set in such a precarious fashion it could slide off at any moment.

“How on earth does he lug that around without crashing it onto the concrete every few seconds?” I pondered. “And how does he manage to bring that heavy bin along, too…it doesn’t have wheels!” Be that as it may:

It was another chill, damp night and the dogs didn’t have their sweaters on, nor did I spot them in either bin or cart. So I told him I have another pair upstairs and would he mind if I brought them down for the mutts to wear. At first he opposed me, extended his arms in a theatrical sweep:

“Nah, it’s not cold out here, in fact I’m sweating!”

“Well you KNOW it’s the meth that warms you up,” I replied. “And besides, you’re wearing a sweater yourself, and a thick jacket over that!”

He then dropped his arms, smiled at me and said: “Sure, go ahead. We’ll be right here.”

Upon returning I found Flaco curled up in the bin atop the folded blanket while her brother stood patiently nearby. I could see he wished to join her for the comfort and warmth, as he kept poking his nose around the edge but saw there wasn’t enough room for the two. As I gently raised her upper half with one arm to slide the sweater on, Lucky set a chunky paw onto the bin, preparing to leap inside. But Flaco quickly extended her hind legs over the open spot, so her brother pulled back.

“Now now, Flaco,” I whispered in one of her floppy ears that caressed my lips like silk. “You know better, share with your brother.”

And with that I nudged her a few inches forward though she resisted with all her might (she’s stronger than you’d think, good doctor), and Lucky climbed in. It was indeed a close fit–they were scrunched together with not even a smidgen of space between–but they managed just fine and kept each other warm, with Lucky’s head plunked upon her shoulder. However, I discovered a biker’s helmet underneath one end of the blanket that pushed against Lucky’s rump. It wasn’t ideal but it would have to do for now. After all, it looked to me like their master was not gonna hang around more than a few minutes longer.

“Can you get on the Internet and price these for me?” Deek interrupted. Much to my annoyance for I had just sat down to enjoy the hounds’ company. I don’t get to see them very much, anymore!

“Okay,” I sighed and stood back up, whereupon he handed me an eyeglass case. I opened it to discover a pair of Prada aviator sunglasses in sparkling condition.

“They’re a hundred fifty-nine new,” I said upon returning, eager to join Flaco & Lucky again.

“Really?” he exclaimed. “You’d think at that price I could get fitty for them, but the best offer I got so far is just ten.”

“The richer the person the cheaper they are!” I replied with a nudge of my shoulders while caressing the sleeping quadrupeds.

He then went on a roll about his living situation, how he has an appointment to register for General Assistance and food stamps:

“But I’m only gonna get a hunner dollah outta that, the rest goes to the shelter. That’s okay so long as they don’t force me to work!”

“They’re not, Deek,” I explained. “It’s just a first step towards permanent housing which will then make you eligible for SSI which I think is six hundred dollars per month. How much they’ll take out for rent I’m not sure, but you’ll still get food stamps.”

“But you know how I HATE appointments, I don’t think I wanna go through fitty appointments every month. That’s what they have me down for!”

“Don’t be ridiculous, no they don’t,” I replied with a roll of my eyes. “Just two or three and that’s it. You’re doing fine, stop worrying fer cripes sake.”

“Right, they’re gonna stick me in a building filled with crack heads and junkies dropping like flies from fentanyl!” he suddenly burst out in a flurry of feigned desperation. “I’ll be alone stuck in a room with no one to talk to and nothing to do!”

“That’s NOT what’s gonna happen, Deek,” I replied with another roll of my eyes. “It’s not gonna be paradise but you’ll be a LOT better off, and happier for these new changes in your life. Your destiny is a good one and you have these wonderful dogs who love you with all their heart. STOP worrying, please!”

He then praised one woman who helps run the shelter, put his hands to his chest, one over the other, and said: “She told me she holds a place in her heart for me, she’s very proud of me!”

“I’m sure she is, God bless her soul,” I affirmed with joy. “I’m proud of you too. I’ve never seen you look healthier and younger since you’ve gotten a bit of shelter, Deek! Give those folks a hug for me when you return to home base.”

He really glowed when I spoke those words, and my heart glowed as well, seeing how he’s sticking with the program, and has his own little cabin to call home. At that moment another vagrant came by that Deek is friends with (“one of my people,” he’d say), so he left me with the dogs to hold their powwow by the bus stop, twenty feet away. By which time I realized he’s probably gonna linger around my building longer than I anticipated. Thus I decided to make the wee canines more comfy by bringing down two sheets of cardboard and a king-sized comforter I had stashed in my loft.

The dogs attentively watched as I laid down the cardboard, but didn’t see fit to leap from their bin until I removed the comforter from the knotted trash bag and laid it down, too. THEN, and only then, did they eagerly climb outta the bin and onto the bedding. Whereupon I folded the fluffy excess over their little bodies so they’d be bundled in warmth, with yours truly seated alongside.

Usually, whenever Deek drops by to hang out front, he prefers I stay inside while he visits with his amigos, but last night he seemed to enjoy my presence and didn’t make a single gesture that I return hovel. So I was out there with the pups a good hour and a half while he spent time with his “guests” a little further up the block. Though towards the later part of our meetup–when Deek was sitting near me and munching on a burrito some nice young lady offered me, and which I handed over to him–another houseless friend showed up and joined him in discussion. I decided then I should return hovel, out of respect for his privacy with another. So I pet the doggies goodbye, then stood up and told him:

“I’m going back inside now, Deek. Just let me know when you’re about to leave so I can pick up the blanket.”

He said okay, and upstairs I went. Around a half hour later he called me back down, requesting I bring him a black marker so he can “niggah rig” a pair of sneakers.

When I came back downstairs and handed him the marker he said it’s midnight so I may as well take the blanket now. I saw that his scant possessions were NOT yet bundled back up in bin and cart, so I told him “You’re not ready to leave for awhile yet, and I don’t want to deny the dogs their comfort.”

“But you go to bed at midnight, right?” he queried.

“Usually,” I agreed. “But that’s okay, I don’t mind. Just call up to me when you’re ready to go.”

He said okay and fifteen minutes later he did. Then asked if I can give him a couple of kerchiefs: “One camouflage, the other with swirly colors in it!”

“I don’t HAVE a kerchief with swirly colors, Deek,” I replied while turning towards the gate. “This ain’t the dollar store ya know.”

“I know it isn’t, it’s the Pick ‘N’ Pay store!” he quipped, and I guffawed as the gate closed behind me.

A minute later I returned with one cammie bandanna and another red on black paisley. Right when I was about to say goodnight he then asked if I have a bungee cord so he can strap the speaker onto the toy car’s handle.

“I dunno, Deek,” I replied. “Let me check.”

I rummaged a bit back hovel and, to my surprise I found TWO bungee cords lying around…one  three feet in length, the other,  five. He struggled with the speaker to pull the longer cord around then suddenly it snapped from his hand and the 40-pound monster landed on the concrete with a CRASH! and fell over.

“Fuck it!” was all he said and lifted the speaker to try again, this time with success. The speaker seemed no worse for the mishap, for when he turned it on it blasted gangsta rap loud and clear, rippling up and down the block like the slosh of a sudden tsunami. Eager for him to TRULY depart at this point, I crouched down to give the poochies a few more hugs and kisses before they vanished into the night and I collected the comforter. Pleased as punch that we had a perfect meetup and he showed MUCH appreciation for my friendship the entire time. He didn’t even try to press me for more money, or have me charge any devices. Who IS this new Deek?

– Zeke K-Holmes

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