Vampires, Acid Reflux & Better Days Ahead

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 16]

Re: Further dialog with Alvin (2 emails)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 22, 2023 at 12:19 PM

> Wow. I think your concerns are legit.

The imminent threat is staring me right in the face with a bright, flashing neon sign: DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!

> Is Alvin financially secure, etc.? How old is he? Sounds like a classic setup.

He’s 82 years old and financially secure, recovering from recent surgery (I think on his heart)…thus in fragile health. All of which were mentioned in the dialogs I posted to you, though just in quick passing amidst the flurry of my warnings. The scenario is so classically contrived as to be absurd…thus I wonder if he’s making this all up just to get a rise outta me, make for an exciting subplot to add to my tales…which are nothing BUT a seemingly endless string of subplots!

Let’s see how things progress when his brother and two female allies show up (today or tomorrow, not sure which) at his home to meet this sketchy miscreant. If they have any sense they’ll drive the mofo outta there posthaste.

When I include this episode for Marshall to read two or three months from now I’ll call it “The Hopelessness of Hope.” As for story value it’s great, I just don’t relish anyone come to REAL harm simply for the sake of a good tale. So I like to think he’s cooked it all up for my delectation. Hardy har har…well done, Alvin, well done!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Further dialog with Alvin (2 emails)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 22, 2023 at 5:34 PM

> Let’s hope. Even though I find him tedious, I certainly don’t wish him any harm. 82, gay and frail makes him extremely vulnerable to some young heartless brute.

He’s off his rocker, possibly put himself, his cats, and his friends in danger. I’ve been dog sitting this afternoon, just got off duty a few minutes ago. I see Alvin has sent me another email, but I won’t open it till I get my late lunch prepared…which is a nutritionally pumped up banana smoothie. Deek update coming soon, possibly this evening. Hope your day went well.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Further dialog with Alvin (2 emails)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 22, 2023 at 6:19 PM

I just read Alvin’s latest post, and have concluded it’s bullshit, he’s just covering his ass…and portraying himself as some wise counsel to a naive, sweet young man on the wrong path. I now wash my hands of this, I’ve given him fair warning. Let his brother handle the affair. Wouldn’t be surprised if in a few weeks’ time Alvin’s demise will be on the front pages of the Calaveras Chronicle:

“Elderly Sonora Resident’s Home Burnt Down, Only Chars And Bones Remain, Suspect Unknown”

Maybe it’ll even reach the AVA. So here’s his email (and my curt response):


On 2023-03-22 12:30, Alvin Hope wrote:

> He has a full time job here, pays rent, has his own house and keeps the cats and kittens there. He is very thoughtful about them. I think he wants to change away from the Anne Rice routine. We’ve talked a lot about it. He is old school in the sense that he has thought that he has to be tough to get along. I am showing him that there is a higher way of kindness and love. He is available because he can see his patterns aren’t working for him to have a good life. I am not ready to throw out the baby with the bath water. There is a better way. If I am to show him it, I have to live it myself. As you say, he is a teacher not an adversary.

Hmm, intriguing reply. Good luck!


Re: Further dialog with Alvin (2 emails)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 23, 2023 at 1:53 PM

> Or he’ll be found in a freezer, under the peas and chicken pot pies.

Hardy har har!

> We shall see.

Or not, which I think is more likely because he’s just emoting bullshit.

> Where exactly does he live? Just curious…

I believe in the outskirts of the town of Sonora, so pretty rural. Anyway, I just posted him this:


On 2023-03-23 09:48, Alvin Hope wrote:

> Yesterday was lovely. My brother and my friend got on super well. The three of us moved my piano from the unheated dining room into the heated living room, where I can play it year round. After my brother left, the two of us enjoyed a loving slow immersive love making. We are growing closer and I am less concerned about losing him. Since I believe in eternity, my take on friendship is that we will know each other forever. To the extent that I can, I am building a tribe that will show up in the spirit world and manifest again and again in the physical realm as friends. That’s how I do my part to improve life.

Well okay then, glad to hear it, congrats. Though you COULD be making this all up, I just don’t know except your initial description of the fellow strikes me as far more alarming than reassuring. And, as I said, a classic hustler setup for taking advantage of an elderly gay man living in relative isolation…with money and a house, and valuable possessions. Then, outta the blue, you seem to have contrived a totally hunky-dory association, basically reversing overnight (literally) everything I was concerned about, down to your brother’s unqualified approval. Everything’s now perfect, even the love making…which, personally, I don’t find a mature way of discussing one’s relationship to anyone else. It’s a “TMI” kinda thing. Overall, I’d say it’s a mix of saving face and braggadocio.

Just my opinion, though, really none of my business but since you DID instigate this discussion, I feel no qualms over sharing my own observations.

Have a most pleasant day, Alvin.

– Zeke


Subject: The Omeprazole Blues
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 23, 2023 at 7:07 PM

Last Tuesday:

It was another dark and stormy morning, suiting up in my rain gear just to walk around the corner to purchase my morning java at Rosenberg’s…what a hassle! I’m usually not negatively impacted by such weather, like so many others, but this past week I’ve been feeling the burden of the-damp-drearieness-of-it-all washing down on me. Or maybe it’s from watching so many Paul Beckwith climate-doom videos, or those addressing Trumpism’s christo-fascist rape of women’s, LGBTs’, blacks’, immigrants’ and children’s civil rights. Or the ongoing inflation of food costs combined with losing my $200-per-month CalFresh boost, or Deek’s continued edginess (though greatly diminished of late) and my missing the pups’ lovely pajama parties watching a scary movie or two before we zonk out.

Or the Palestinian corner shop’s lack of all but ONE package of Orowheat whole grain muffins, which takes WEEKS to be replenished upon which there are usually THREE packages to snatch up before another customer purchases them…so maybe someone got there ahead of me this time around, and the sad thing is I ate the last one that morning and Glob only knows when they’ll be on the shelves again. Or the squalor of my rent-controlled living space. Several nights back I lay in my cot sound asleep, when suddenly I awoke and looked around my room in Araphel’s shadowy realm and got whammied with an existential epiphany:

What am I doing here in this slummy abode, barely scraping by with an eviction notice haunting my every waking hour and a Cajun vagrant sucking on my wallet? An old man in a dilapidated SRO with nothing to show for a lifetime of struggle, of zilch value in most everyone’s eyes, and rotten teeth to boot. Who am I anyway? What the fuck is this all about? No good end in store for THIS dismayed pilgrim!

I then reminded myself such attacks happen to EVERY thinking person now and then, including those financially well off and blessed with other assets lacking in my world. Thus having squelched with impressive immediacy, these self-destructive thoughts (and hence an anxiety attack that would’ve erupted to destroy my respite), I rolled over beneath my comforter and returned to Idyllic Dreamville once again, with my sweet, happy comrades, Lucky & Flaco, nuzzling up to me in spirit.

Upon arising I thought about last night’s brief episode of despair. “Yes, that’s wrong thinking,” I mused, “as the Buddha calls it. EVERYone’s life has ultimate value, no matter their station. It was just another challenge to fine tune my perspective.”

But I had been feeling depressed and sluggish over the past week, in a slump if you will. Could it be something OTHER than the above noted issues? “Oh, of course,” I exclaimed to myself, “It’s that damned omeprazole!”

For one of its possible side effects is sluggishness. Another is loose bowels, which I sadly learned firsthand when I unexpectedly sharted in my boxer briefs on the way to the restroom the previous day. I had been taking the OTC medication for almost three months, forgetting about side effects because the last time I used it (early in 2021) I never suffered any unpleasant consequences except for a mild blurriness in one’s vision which I easily accommodated by enlarging the font on my LCD monitor.

So, for a day or two I worried about possibly my old age progressing into incurable intestinal squirts that would now be my lot in life till the day I perish. And I should duckduckgo the phrase “how to make your own adult diapers” since a store-bought, disposable remedy is beyond my meager budget…though maybe Medi-Cal covers that, I just haven’t looked into it. (Egads, why should I?)

But fear not, good physician, for it turned out that all these side effects vanished within one day after ceasing my omeprazole intake! And my mood is now chipper once again, my eyes no longer blurred. Though having access to cheap pills to subdue acid reflux posthaste is a Globsend, I figured after having sharted it’s time to stop taking them, to find out if THAT were indeed the cause, rather than a consequence of advancing decrepitude.

I find that, if pain or depression should intrude upon my listening to the news–no matter how bad the news already is–it comes off as even MORE horrendous. “Oh, woe is me, woe is this world!” (gnashing of teeth, rending of hair). Thus, my gloom-induced, omeprazole-inspired existential attack Tuesday night.

My only concern then, after stopping the omeprazole, was if my heartburn would kick back in. But it did not. In fact, I can even continue to eat a late supper and enjoy a chocolate snack while in bed and watching a movie…and STILL roll over onto my stomach without the least bit upset to my gastrointestinal plumbing! The secret (at least for yours truly) is to take it longer than two, four or even six weeks, say about three months or a bit longer, in order for a complete healing to take place. (Those amounts over time are based on a two-week supply in each bottle, with three bottles the usual purchase deal. So figure on SIX bottles total, maybe seven.) Now, about my choice of the word “Araphel” nine paragraphs above:

I wanted to choose a more colorful word than “nighttime,” and thought to look up “greek god of night.” Then I declined, “Nah, maybe some other culture’s deity this time around, something more exotic.” So I shortened my search to “god of night,” to discover a page about Canaanite gods, including “Eloh Araphel, god of darkness and evil, the eldest son of Mot god of death.” I thought how nice, but not quite. So I scanned further down that search results page to come up with another site where Araphel is a HEBREW deity…adopted from the land of Canaan, no doubt. But it’s the description that knocked my socks off:


Araphel, more than just darkness

In the 16 times Araphel appeared in the Bible, it is always joined with the Presence of God. Such as in Exodus 20:21, “And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” Or in Psalm 72:1-2, “The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice, let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about Him; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.” And in 2 Chronicles 6:1, “Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.”

Araphel, therefore, is God’s darkness. It is a different type of darkness. It is a deep gloom, thick darkness, and heavy cloud. We often associate darkness with evil and light with good. But, interestingly, Araphel reconciles this idea. It is a darkness that is good since God, who is good, dwells in it.


I like that description very much because, even in my own dark angst that night, the Great Spirit’s love washed over me. And quickly nipped my fears in the bud via one known to the world as Siddhartha.

More missives coming up, of recent musings. Stay tuned, Wattson!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Friday Night Meetup: Loverly!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 24, 2023 at 10:07 PM

Friday night, good visit, though he tried to wheedle another hundred dollars outta me way ahead of his next payday. I did not oblige him.

Seeing as Deek said he was stopping by for just a few minutes and it wasn’t that cold outside, I offered to bring down a sheet of cardboard and nothing else. So I did that and called Lucky over, who was curled up on his master’s lumpy backpack (his sister was already comfy on Deek’s lap). He got up, walked over to me, sniffed about the cardboard as if something were missing, then returned to the backpack.

“Aw, Lucky wants a blanket or no deal!” I chuckled, then proceeded to go back upstairs and fetch the sleeping bag I keep handy just for the pups’ visits.

But right there in the lobby was that middle-aged couple who moved in on the third floor about a year ago and are notorious dipsomaniacs. Some days they barely make it up or down the stairs, like they’re moving about on a ship as the waves roll, and cuss each other out as they gingerly maneuver the wobbly staircase (though I’ve never seen them get physical):

“Get offa me you fuckin’ piece-a shit,” she’d blurt.

“Ergh, you’re a stupid old bitch,” he’d retort.

Struggling to keep their balance, one would hold onto the other, who’d lean against the wall or clutch onto the round, wooden railing to keep from collapsing under their partner’s weight. But this night took the cake:

The old fellow was sprawled upon the lobby floor, eyeglasses aslant and his lady crouched over him. He mumbled while looking up at the high ceiling:

“I don’t deserve this…I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! When are they gonna fix the fukkin elevator?”

I was just standing there because his legs blocked my way to the stairs, feet skewed upon the first step and poking up like short black pylons.

The woman then looked up at me and queried: “Can you help us?”

“No I can’t,” I replied matter-of-factly, then proceeded to cautiously step over his lanky form and onto the stairs, one step above his own protruding feet.

It was a tight squeeze to keep from stomping on his ankle and possibly falling down myself, but I did not, and made haste to disappear from their world and enter my hovel. I did NOT want to encounter the two sots again so soon, so waited several minutes inside until I heard them stumble their way onto my level and up the next flight of stairs.

Soon as I laid the comforter down Lucky rose from the backpack and began to rearrange and fluff up the sleeping bag to his satisfaction, using his sharp little teeth and chunky paws accompanied by muted growls of defiance against the lifeless bedding. He always makes quite a show of it and takes his sweet time to get it all just so, moving around in circles before plunking himself down at last.

So that’s that, Wattson: a pleasantly uneventful meetup other than my encounter with those two foolish, drunk residents. Deek only hanged out about a half hour before departing. He was surprisingly mellow. Though maybe I shouldn’t use the word “surprising” any more, as such friendly visits are becoming more the norm than the exception these days. Thank Glob for that tiny cabin village and the kind people who manage it! I’m sure it ain’t always easy.

Oh, I just realized that Memo of the Weird came on the air 45 minutes ago, so I gotta end this missive now, and complete the remainder of my Deek updates tomorrow, which cover last Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. I always intend to start listening to Marshall’s show right from the start, but sometimes I’m absorbed with something else and forget…like composing another tale for your delectation.

Attached is a pic of Deek and mutts outside on a partly-sunny warmish afternoon, that I shot a few days back. Look how NEAT everything is!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Tonight’s passage for Marshall to narrate I have entitled “Janky Weed & White Trash BS.” I hope he enjoys it.

Re: Friday Night Meetup: Loverly!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 25, 2023 at 5:38 PM

> Ha. I love the cameo appearance of your glamorous Scott and Zelda neighbors!

Such episodes in my life make me wonder if I’m a character in someone else’s story. The entire scene was perfectly scripted, and I only had one line to speak as did each of the other two. I had to look up your reference in a “scott and zelda” search to learn of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s rocky marriage with his wife which ended in alcoholism, mental illness, and untimely death. In Hotel California North there are no beautiful, just the damned. I am definitely living on the wrong side of paradise…our nights are not so tender here!

> Indeed, that pic of the pups and Deek is a good one.

One picture is worth 999 words! The little scene out there imparts a peaceful aura. The hounds are such troopers, they never complain! Oh, about Lucky’s paws: a few days ago when he was holding the little fellow in his arms I said how much I love his chunky paws he replied “Those are Basset hound paws.” Upon which I immediately realized: “Of course, why didn’t I see that all along?” Just how mixed IS their lineage? And why didn’t Deek ever mention that before…did maybe someone tell HIM recently?

Flaco doesn’t have those kinda paws, yet they’re clearly brother and sister. There’s some OTHER breed in that mix, besides dachshund and Basset. Well whaddya know, I just searched for “small pitbull” and found one that looks VERY MUCH like Lucky minus the dachshund traits:

A little more searching and I learned they’re just called “brindle pitbulls,” not a different breed but a variety therein.

> I’m gonna need more of those sweaters; they do wear out pretty quickly, thanks to Pluto’s propensity to pull and chew. He often yanks Surely’s sweater right off him, then goes to work on it with his teeth.

That must be a sight to see…what a rascal!

> Tossed one out this morning because it was all shredded and stretched out. But you can’t beat the price!

Unfortunately, the price has gone up to $12.99 each. But I found this for $6.99.

Only one left, though. But here are more in the $6-9 range, however not sure if all of the ones listed have the right size, or are just for really tiny pups. Though I did search for “medium dog sweaters.”

This one looks promising. Price goes up though, as the size increases…all the way to $10.99.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Saturday’s Report
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 25, 2023 at 11:39 PM

Saturday afternoon Deek dropped by just to visit and have me put different music on his chip. I brought some cardboard and a blanket down for the dogs and capered with them upon the plush folds. I like that their master is showing more affection towards both, and has been hugging them in his arms frequently. I’ve never seen him do that till recent weeks. Though when Lucky was sitting on his lap and I was rubbing Flaco’s belly, he said something which repulsed me and ran a shiver up and down my spine. But just before he did, he frowned and waved a dismissive hand in Flaco’s direction as she laid there on her back gazing up at me with fondness:

“Stop doing that!” he commanded, meaning my scritching her little tummy. He spoke those words in a tone of disgust, as if my loving actions were somehow perverted. He used to do that a lot: try to make me feel ashamed for hugging, scritching or petting the hounds…a power trip on his part, as well as a flush of jealousy over how much those mutts love me. But since he dropped that nasty game months ago I was dismayed he played that card on me again after all that time.

“Aw, but Flaco LOVES her belly rubs,” I replied while continuing to scritch her soft little underside. No way was I gonna give him ANY satisfaction for such a vulgar implication. He did not press the issue, but less than a minute later pointed at Flaco and declared:

“One day there’s gonna be a little pup sucking on each of those nipples!”

And THAT is what sent shivers running through my spine. You can imagine, Wattson, how badly I yearned to choke him to death with my bare hands upon hearing those unkind words. The only reason (and I mean the ONLY reason) he said that was to get my goat, so I wisely chose to ignore him and continue scritching Flaco’s sweet little tummy.

For there would only be his vitriolic opposition to anything I could say, such as “Flaco’s a darling little dog, why on earth would you ever want to put her life at risk for your own selfish schemes?” What a bitter scorpion sting that will pierce my heart forever in spite of an otherwise amicable visit! I now regret biting my tongue, and can only hope my silence was sufficient to convey the message:

“Over my dead body.”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Saturday’s Report
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 26, 2023 at 2:04 PM

> Oh, he’s just expressing his inner flaming asshole. Seriously, what a fucking jerk he can be when he’s inclined.

He’s very good at that, too…must’ve learned it at an early age, considering the high level of family and neighborhood dysfunction that composed his formative years, then forced onto the grimy streets of NOLA. He showed up this morning, will report on it later along with a few other meetups in the past several days. Far more good news than bad. I am overall delighted. GREAT reading of my latest tale by Marshall last Friday, as usual!

– Zeke K-Holmes

From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 26, 2023 at 5:54 PM

And it’s only 7 seconds long. You MUST read the description to enjoy the full impact. I was planning to save it for my missive about today’s meetup, but decided to share it with you NOW.

Sitting outside my building watching Deek’s pups, Lucky & Flaco, when who should come along but one of their look-alikes! I’ve seen that doggy several times before over the past two years, but never had a chance to take a snapshot or video. I don’t even know who the owner is, never talked to him at all. But on this lovely sunny day opportunity struck! When I saw them coming I fumbled in my backpack for my camera, desperate to capture the scene before they flew by. Thank god I even HAD my camera ’cause the only reason I brought it outside was to take a few shots of Deek’s dogs resting in a box. The man is walking two doggies, and the one I’m talking about is the second mutt as they pass by: not the black and white one, but the dark brindle sweetheart. Probably from the same parents, just a different litter. Supposedly bred by the same person who sold Deek these two delightful quadrupeds when they were puppies. Who is he? I have no idea ’cause Deek won’t tell, and I”m guessing the breeder is not licensed, thus keeps a low profile.

From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 26, 2023 at 8:23 PM

> Wow!!!! One of “their kind!!”

There is something “magical” about this lineage; people are always struck by their cuteness and charm, unlike any other. I suspect they are ambassadors from Sirius Star Cluster Sector 17…and quite possibly cosmic conquistadors. (It IS the dog star, after all.) They’ve certainly conquered MY heart, Wattson! They have the potential to make everyone on this planet ridiculously happy 24/7, and I’m glad to aid them in their noble mission. Here are three delightful doggy-in-a-box pics I took today…the sun’s rays were too hot for furry angels, so I brought one out to shade them:

Box Pic 1 (the box itself):

Click here for a larger view.

Box Pic 2 (Flaco enters first):

Click here for a larger view.

Box Pic 3 (Her brother follows):

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: March 19th update
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 27, 2023 at 12:14 AM

That was a Sunday. He was a bit of a pest. Started screaming right off the bat when I stepped out to say hi to the doggies and pet them.

“You’re in the way!” he hollered with a fury out of nowhere.

Told him no I’m not, “You need to calm down, walk aROUND my feet, you can do it, I believe in you.”


“Sorry, that’s just not gonna happen, I’m NOT gonna move ’cause I’m not IN your way,” I calmly replied while caressing the hounds.


“That’s not gonna happen either, Deek, stop acting so goofy, please,” was my tame reply to his stormy vociferation. “There is no reason for your anger.”

He then stepped away, stood by the bus stop for a few moments, then returned after exorcising his pointless angst into the dark ether.

He had a new smartphone for me to put music on, so I went upstairs to begin the process, which transfer would take forty minutes or so to fill the fifteen spare gigabytes on the main chip. A short while later I stepped outside again to feed the mutts and met one of Deek’s old friends. They used to hang out together on the streets years ago. At least, that’s what he told me after introducing himself as Jim.

“Seriously?” I said as we shook hands. “How could you ever put up with the monkey, he’s crazier than a mad hatter!”

Upon hearing that, Deek’s shoulders shook in slight paroxysms as he sat by the pups, “nigga-rigging” (as he calls it) a pair of sneakers with some toothpaste, a black marker and a small, clean rag, all of which I gave him earlier.

Jim has a tall frame a tad on the burly side, and appears to be Deek’s age (43). A handsome fucker with close-cropped auburn hair and silver-gray eyes. OMG were I twenty years younger I’d be in his pants and down his throat before you could finish saying “Hasenpfeffer!” Heck, were I just TEN years younger…but I digress.

Neatly dressed in a white shirt, dark brown slacks and polished shoes, I’d say he has a roof over his head these days, maybe has for years. Blessed with the kind of magnetic allure that makes you yearn to be held in those strong, loving arms…but I digress.

He seems to be a pleasant chap, going by his soothing voice and calm demeanor. We had a friendly conversation about homeless rights and how he and other residents of an SRO hotel successfully sued the landlord. “But that was way back in two thousand and three,” he added. For a few seconds I fantasized about us sharing the same room, fighting the good fight by day against property owners and rolling the good roll in the hay by night. No doubt he’s a consummate lover, bawdy and affectionate, I thought…but I digress.

“Fantastic!” I replied, followed by a regretful sigh so subtle that Deek didn’t notice. “Well it was very nice meeting you Jim, but I gotta get back upstairs, I’m in the middle of a story. But I hope to see you again soon and keep up the good work flushing out crooked landlords.”

“Oh, you’re a writer?” he queried with a grin that could launch a thousand cocks. And I’m sure it already has, over the span of his life thus far. But I digress.

“Oh yeah,” I replied…then, for amusement’s sake I told him: “Just ask Deek!” before turning around and disappearing through the front gate.

Twenty minutes later I stepped back outside to collect the dog food bowls now empty, and play with the pooches. Jim was gone by then. I was on my knees upon the comforter, focusing all my attention on Flaco & Lucky when a lanky black fellow came rolling up on a bicycle to greet My Cajun Demimondaine. But when he did, the front wheel happened to run gently aground of my foot, so I shifted it an inch without paying any mind.

“Oh, excuse me!” he apologized.

I was so engrossed adoring the doggies I didn’t respond. He then engaged with Deek regarding a weed transaction, that is, he asked to purchase a baggie. After the exchange was made, they parleyed a few minutes more before the fellow wished him a good night and scooted down the sidewalk towards Noe Street.

It was then Deek hollered at me again. This time it was my blocking the sidewalk instead of him, presumably because my feet were sticking out a skosh, and that’s why the bicyclist’s wheel tapped my sneaker. Any excuse to fuck with me!

“No I’m not, stop acting like a bitch,” I retorted.

“You just called me a bitch,” he snapped back. “Now you’re cussing me out!”

“No I didn’t call you a bitch,” I replied. “I said you’re ACTing like a bitch. Big diff there, brainiac.”

Well, good physician, he continued to rant on for a bit, obviously attempting to cover up his bad behavior and pin it on yours truly. Exasperated, I finally stood up and declared:

“Okay, that does it, I’m bringing your phone down now for behaving like a punk. It won’t be fully charged.”

Meanwhile, two other vagrants were sitting by the ATM plywood, mind you, who parked their asses there some ten minutes earlier. From barely ten feet away they heard everything but didn’t say a word. Maybe they felt uncomfortable, but I’m sure glad neither was a friend to Deek, who otherwise might have stood up to defend him at my expense. Life with the homeless gets complicated, especially when they’re flying high on “no doze!”

Deek offered no backtalk when I handed him the phone. In fact, he had simmered down nicely and thanked me for all I do for him and the mutts. By now there were THREE indigents by the ATM plywood, the newcomer a black trans (I think) who called to me while I was speaking with Deek:

“‘Scuse Me, ‘scuse me! Can I use your phone?”

I did not respond until I completed my sentence with Deek, then turned to him and said, “It’s not my phone.”

“What’s going on?” Deek queried ’cause he didn’t hear my brief exchange with the gentle vagabond.

“He wants to use your phone,” I said, then skipped back hovel knowing full well it had no cell service.

– Zeke K-Holmes


While I was feeding the mutts (and before I got to talk with Jim) I heard a bit of their conversation. My back was turned to them since I was crouched down and making sure the dog food bowls didn’t slide around or tip over.

“So, you still living on the streets?” asked Jim.

“Nope, I got a tiny cabin two months ago,” Deek beamed with pride.

“Really?” Jim exclaimed. “Sweet! I have another friend who lives in one now. Those cabins are nice!”

“Yes they are,” replied Deek.

Then Jim asked which mini-village he was staying at.

“Just four blocks from here,” Deek answered. “The one at 33 Gough Street.”

So now we know, Wattson: my conjecture regarding his location was correct, we need wonder no longer. I am surprised, though, that Deek gave that information up, right in my presence…surely he knew I heard. But I feigned otherwise and will continue to do so. Just glad he is obviously elated over his newfound haven.

Image created by Craiyon AI Image Generator

Re: March 19th update [ADDENDUM]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 27, 2023 at 1:50 PM

> A breath of great news!

Worth every struggle to get to the top of that mountain…and the view is spectacular.

Subject: Wednesday’s meetup: superb!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 27, 2023 at 4:45 PM

Last Wednesday was another day to dog-sit. Which seems to be the usual situation whenever I cough up his allowance…asks me to watch the dogs, he’ll be back in a half hour or so. Meaning he’ll be gone for one, two, even THREE hours (with rare exception). Those buckazoids FLY from his hand the moment they land on it! So after he departed I tethered the pups to a pole, then rushed upstairs to prepare their meal and bring them water. They know the routine, they are SO patient! They never howl, attempt to escape their collars, or show anxiety in any other way…just sit there in contented trust I will return shortly. I’ve even gotten into the habit of poking my head out the window to tell them I’ll be back in a minute, and they look up at me with loving eyes and curiosity.

Of course we then went for a long walk up and down Noe and a couple of side streets so they could run about. By “long” I mean the time spent away from my building, seeing as the greater part of our stroll is to sit in a sunny spot by Morey’s shop alongside one of those concrete stools. And whichever stool we walk by (there are about twelve scattered along a three-block length, both sides) Flaco always leaps upon: her signal for treats. Whether or not she’s already had her fill in my estimation, in which case I bend down to give her hugs and say I’m sorry, she’s had enough. Flaco always accepts the no-more-nummies situation in good grace, and hops off with a light tug on the lead, to continue our perambulation towards the next stool, and repeats the routine. Doggy hope springs eternal!

After around forty minutes I decided we should return to my building, as I never know WHEN Deek will return, and he did say he’d be back in about a half hour. Which IS sometimes the case, maybe one time out of eight. So once more I tethered them to a pole out front and brought down cardboard, sleeping bag and a bowl of water. The poochies immediately lied down on the fluff with great contentment. The sun was just the right amount of warmth for the furry critters, because tempered by a light, cool breeze. I always know whenever it gets too warm for the dogs since Flaco starts to pant…but this was not one of those days.

All this outside dog-sitting over the months has shown me I don’t need any distraction to allay boredom, such as reading a book, listening to a podcast or diddling on my smartphone for any number of reasons. I could–and sometimes DO–engage in such activities, but not often. For it suffices to just sit there and contemplate the day, dwell on various thoughts, and overall enjoy the company of my canine comrades even though they mostly sleep. It’s just nice to have them by my side, and to know they love and trust me. And I want them to get a good rest, so their snoozing so much is what I prefer anyway, rather than insist they entertain THIS pooch-loving pilgrim.

Though I DO feel weird sitting out there on the sidewalk now that the Castro sweep is in full effect. But I don’t let it get to me; instead I ignore the lingering angst and relish my time with Flaco & Lucky as a bless-ed gift from the gods. Which ones are they? Well, sometimes the Judeo-Christian angels and saints, sometimes Native American, sometimes Hindu or Buddhist, sometimes Celtic (sometimes even Lovecraftian!) and so on. IOW they take shifts, so no particular group of ’em suffers burnout. I bet they have the more sensible, 32-hour work week up there in Nirvana, and have had it for quite some time now. Unions must run the place: it may even be a socialist paradise! But I’ll find out soon enough, no need to rush things before my time.

Amost two hours had passed before a shiny black 4-door sedan pulled up alongside, and out popped the driver who paused to smile at us: a 30-something black woman of great girth and rolls of adipose beneath a colorful outfit of turquoise and yellow squares. Beaded dreadlock extensions fell like a sparkling, dark waterfall around her cranium and onto her shoulders. She held a small beige purse in one hand which appeared extra diminutive in contrast to her sausage fingers.

“Hi, where’s Deek?” she queried. Obviously because she recognized the dogs and knows their owner. I assumed she’s a member of the Homeless Outreach Team, or helps run that tiny-cabin village, or something of that sort.

“Oh, he’s out running errands,” I smiled back and replied. “So I watch the pups for him now and then. He also does it ’cause I love their company so much.”

“Is he still living at that place?” she asked, meaning I suppose the cabin.

“Yes!” I replied while scritching Lucky along his spine. “Isn’t that great?”

“Well, tell him Tiana said hi!” she said before stepping away from her vehicle.

“I certainly will, Tiana, you have a lovely day now, thanks!” I enthusiastically obliged.

I made a point of making her name stick in my mind but, alas, nonetheless wound up forgetting it by the time Deek returned. So I’m calling her Tiana, for the purpose of this tale.

I decided then we had sat out front long enough (more than two fukkin hours!), so returned cardboard, blanket and bowl upstairs, then took the brindlekin for another stroll along Noe Street. Though this time for only twenty minutes or thereabouts. Upon returning, Deek STILL hadn’t shown up, so I thought wouldn’t it be nice to sit out front by Super Duper at one of their tables. I chose the only 4-person spot they had, located between their door and the wooden divider that separated my building’s front gate from their establishment. All the other tables were 2-person setups in a row of five along the other side of the glass door.

But they all have those cold, aluminum chairs to sit upon (just like the one I have upstairs, what a coincidence), including the table I selected. Which didn’t go well with Flaco whom I sat upon the chair next to mine, so she instantly scrambled onto the table ’cause made of wood. Her brother was already resting by my feet, upon the small backpack I laid down for him. I was planning to have Flaco sit on my lap, but she didn’t understand I had to first enter the restaurant to place my order. So I lifted her from the table and set her back down on the seat, but she kept trying to claw her way onto the table. She only stopped when I removed my hoodie and placed it on the chair for her to sit on.

I tied their leashes to the inner table leg before stepping inside, and was pleased to see them through the plate glass window, quietly biding their time as I examined the menu. Naturally, I had no intention of purchasing something to eat, due to my frugal nature, and had planned all along just to get a small coffee.

“We don’t sell coffee,” the young employee replied, then listed off all the drinks they DO have.

“Okay then, I’ll take iced tea, please,” I told him and with that, he rang me up for a whopping three dollars and ninety-five cents! I almost keeled over but managed to grab the edge of the counter to steady myself, whereupon I begrudgingly handed him a five-spot but pretended to be your typical yuppie who thinks nothing of expense.

“Thank you!” I said when he handed me the change, then added two packets of artificial sweetener, stirred it up and returned to my table outside.

It was very pleasant to sit with the pups, Lucky by my feet and Flaco on my lap. But I wondered how much longer Deek would take to show up. So I made a point of nursing my drink, which turned out to be unnecessary, as he returned shortly after I sat down.

“What are you doing sitting over THERE?” Deek came up to me and said in a confused tone of voice, as if it was the strangest thing in the world to do, rather than parking my ass on the sidewalk. (He’s been living on the streets way overlong…what say YOU, Wattson!)

“Well,” I replied with some annoyance ’cause a stupid question in the first place. “You were gone so long, so I thought this would be a nice change of pace.” Then I held up my wobbly plastic cup of tea and noted: “Though you could’ve saved me four dollars if you showed up just a few minutes earlier!”

He then apologized for being gone so many hours, as I crouched below the table to undo the mutts’ leashes. Whereupon they rushed up to their master to receive his hugs while standing up pressed against his legs, curly tails a-waggin’.

“Oh that’s alright,” I replied. “Hope you had a rewarding afternoon. I sure did!” He knew I meant that was my way of saying how much I always enjoy the dogs’ company, no matter how long or short the time spent.

We moved back to the spot by the parking meter and below my window, and I returned hovel to bring the dogs’ comforter, cardboard and a bowl of water back downstairs. He had a copious supply of fresh buds to sort out and place into baggies, which took him maybe an hour to complete while I returned upstairs to fix a late lunch. His sidewalk layout was once more almost neat as a pin, just like that pic I showed you three days ago, with the hounds sprawled out in doggy bliss upon the comforter. In short:

Another glorious meetup! Friday night’s report coming up soon, though not about Deek or the dogs at all.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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