[Something from back in November that I almost forgot to post to my WordPress blog. Note: the person I called “Tara Roosevelt” for several months, is the same person I now call “My Dear Wattson.” Who IS this woman? That may not be revealed until Brindlekin Tales becomes the all-time bestseller in the whole of anthropoid history, and brings the world to its knees! Which I predict will occur some time later this year.]
Subject: You need a Zeke-Response Bot, Tara! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: November 7, 2021 11:13 AM
I’m serious about this (or not)…as the type of AI I’m talking about is a rather low-IQ version, so to speak. IOW, it’s a very basic form of artificial intelligence (thus, much smarter than Donald Trump; goes without saying). And its sole purpose would be to respond to each and every one of my plethora of emails that I’m streaming to you these days, like a gushing fire hose out of control…which you really have NO time to read, except one here and there. All this Zeke-Response Bot needs is a small database of stock replies. Which one of those replies it chooses will be based on key words and phrases in my latest missive. Determined by a simple algorithm that already has access to a collection of my key words and phrases harvested from all my blog entries containing either the word “[your real first name],” “[your most common real nickname],” “[your real surname]” or “Tara Roosevelt.” Examples of stock replies would be:
“You’re on a roll!”
“Ha! Good one.”
“I hope he comes around.”
“I hope he comes around for your sake.”
“I hope he comes around for the doggies’ sake.”
“I hope he comes around for your sake AND the doggies’.”
“I hope he comes around for his own sake, as well as yours and the doggies’.”
“I’m sorry you’re going through that.”
“Wise decision, though heartbreaking.”
“I trust you know what you’re doing.”
“No, I don’t mind if you use my real name.”
“No, I’d rather you use a pseudonym.”
“Anyone who harms a dog should be executed.”
“Anyone who harms a dog should be drawn and quartered.”
“Anyone who harms a dog should have their skin flayed and fed to that same dog.”
“Anyone who harms a dog should be pierced with sewing needles from head to foot, then locked in a cage and fed to army ants live on Zoom.”
“I admire Eleanor Roosevelt.”
“I worship the cat.”
“Surely is the best little doggy he could possibly be.”
“I’m swamped in work right now, but I’ll get around to it.”
“I’m really busy these days, but I moved your latest post into my ‘don’t forget to read this’ folder.
“I don’t have time to read it now.”
“I don’t have time to read it now, but will when I have a moment.”
“I don’t have time to read it now, but will when I have a moment or three.”
“What a ditz! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“What a ditz! She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
“What a bunch of ditzes! They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
“I’m immersed in writing my next book.”
“I’m immersed in writing my next book, which is a mystery novel.”
“I’m immersed in writing my next book, which is a mystery novel that is quite scary.”
“I’m immersed in writing my next book, which is a mystery novel that is quite scary, and based on historical events.”
“I’m immersed in writing my next book, which is a mystery novel that is quite scary, and based on historical events around Ed Gein.”
“I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”
“I consider myself agnostic.”
“We are all prisoners to the cold laws of physics.”
“We are all prisoners to the cold, impersonal and ruthless laws of physics.”
“We are all prisoners to the cold, impersonal and ruthless laws of physics, and time engulfs us all into eternity’s mindless abyss.”
“I have to drive him there myself.”
“I hope they publish it.”
“I hope they publish it, you’re an excellent author.”
“I hope they publish it, you’re an excellent author who deserves much recognition.”
“I hope they publish it, you’re an excellent author who deserves much recognition and worldwide kudos.”
“I never get on airplanes or jets; I dread the very idea of it.”
“Don’t worry, that maniac serial killer is way over in another part of our huge county.”
“Keep up the good work.”
“Keep up the good work. He’ll come around eventually.”
“Keep up the good work. They’ll come around eventually.”
“Keep up the good work. I believe in you.”
“Keep up the good work. I believe in you, even if no one else does.”
“He’s my hero.”
“She’s my hero.”
“You’re my hero.”
“I hardly ever see Anthony any more.”
“I hardly ever see Anthony any more, but last time I did, he looked awful.”
“That’s very sad.”
“I couldn’t be happier for you.”
“I can send you some money.”
And so on. The idea is that you would be freed up from any sense of obligation to respond to me in a timely manner. Yet having your kind attention in support of my writing–and you yourself already quite an accomplished author–inspires me to compose my incredible tales, essays and (sometimes) poetry…by first sending a draft to you. And all it takes on YOUR part, is no more than the briefest of nods, and I’m off to the races! Thus an AI could handle such replies posthaste and, BEST OF ALL, I wouldn’t know the difference.
Hmm, wait-a-minute…maybe you’ve BEEN using such a bot all along, at least soon after I began my flurry of urgent missives in early November! Which explains the sharp increase of terse comebacks from your end of the line. Ha-ha, very good, ya got me there. In sum:
Never mind. :)
Re: You need a Zeke-Response Bot, Tara! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: November 7, 2021 1:03 PM
I’m doing the best I can. The truth is that I’m under huge pressure on several different fronts. My survival is at stake, and that’s not an exaggeration. I’m no Lady of Leisure up here, serene, cloistered and financially secure. The details are unimportant. You just gotta take my word for it. When you get a short answer from me, you can be assured that I’ve actually read the message…
Oh, I was just playing with ya, Tara…didn’t at all expect a serious reply back. I was hoping for some kind of hilarious retort. SO sorry to hear about your present, and horrid, crisis! Obviously, I cannot provide you with a monetary boost, though I wish I could. Unless some financial kickback soon arrives by some unexpected miracle, such as a publishing company crawling all over me, to make a lucrative contract for my Brindlekin Tales. Then again, maybe cash is not what is needed for your present demise. No details asked, just my prayers of a benevolent outcome in your direction. ASAP
I’m actually having a serious emergency myself, right now…and will post it to you within a minutes. The heading will include “URGENT” in all caps.
Re: You need a Zeke-Response Bot, Tara! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: November 8, 2021 10:41 AM
Money is a component, but not the sole one. My only way out of this situation is through hard, inspired work. No hope of that unless I get plenty of good sleep. Sort of a Catch-22.
Hard, inspired work is right up your alley, Tara…so that’s not the real problem, I’m guessing. Which leaves us with the sleep issue. Which I find unusual, as you seem to be fine with listening to those “Sleep With Me” videos, and then you’re off to dreamland. Something else is disrupting your sleep, which I hope you can discover and resolve…or if you already know its source, that you can resolve ASAP. I don’t think there’s anything I can do for you, except stop posting for awhile, so you may focus on your writing. But if there IS something that you think I can do, just say the word!
Re: You need a Zeke-Response Bot, Tara! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: November 8, 2021 10:49 AM
No need to stop posting. My sleep has improved hugely, thanks to SWM; I’d have been a jibbering basket case without him. But it’s still a struggle. If I’m even slightly sleep-deprived–and I need a solid nine hours at the very least–then I’m defeated, weary, ill, disgusted and useless.
I don’t envy such a level of sensitivity to one’s sleep needs! That truly sucks. I have no idea who SWM is, except “single white male.” :D
Oh, wait, you mean the “Sleep with Me” podcasts…great stuff! Great fluffy stuff, that is!
Re: You need a Zeke-Response Bot, Tara! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: November 8, 2021 12:16 PM
Yes, it’s a curse. I know people who can roll out of bed after six hours and be all chipper and bushy-tailed. Not me, alas. So sleep is, for me, the foundation of anything and everything I hope to be or accomplish. Only oxygen is more important.
I’ve suffered decades of harsh insomnia, but it wasn’t anywhere as near as much of a problem for someone who needed to work for a living. Having these doggies around has made my mornings chipper; I have no choice but to hop out of bed by 7:30 AM so they can go poop! And they are always such joyful little angels to wake up to. However, I do not have the usual comfort of sleeping in my cot which, though wider than standard (for cots), it’s narrower than even a twin-size bed…plus I gotta share it now with two pups! Surprisingly, I’m adapting well, despite having only a slice of the cot for myself.
I’m sure you’ve tried everything under the sun, including Sominex, so I won’t bother to try to play the helping angel. May this bizarre power that has only recently come to me, grant you a most excellent sleep each and every day, from now on!
Re: You need a Zeke-Response Bot, Tara! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: November 8, 2021 12:51 PM
My goal has been to sleep drug-free, which I’ve accomplished (about 98% of the time), thanks to the podcast and CBD. So sometimes I wind up underslept because I don’t want to take a pill. But your powers may already be coming through on my behalf: Slept a solid nine-plus hours last night. Raveled sleeve of care knit up, etc.
Many good folks have informed me that they just love curling up in bed with my novel, “Free Me From This Bond,” because it puts them to sleep in the shake of a lamb’s tail! Have you tried that yet? I’m here for you, no matter what! No doubt as I rise to fame, my archrivals shall erect large billboards, and purchase whole newspaper and magazine pages, radio and TV blurbs, and computer virus versions of Internet pop-ups and memes that declare:
EZEKIEL J. KRAHLIN’S TALES (ANY ONE OF THEM, TAKE YOUR PICK): EVERYMAN’S CURE FOR INSOMNIA!
Re: You need a Zeke-Response Bot, Tara! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: November 8, 2021 3:35 PM
Your writing is the opposite of sleep-inducing! It’s verbal No-Doz!
Aha, so I have something in common with one of my favorite comic book characters:
Well, you’ll be excited to know that my next chapter (21) of Brindlekin Tales will be about where I live, and called “This is My Room, God Help Me.” I’ve already uploaded a brief video tour, which you can watch here:
Be sure to read the accompanying blurb below it.
The chapter itself will include 15 pics, along with the video, with lengthy descriptions of select items shown in each photo, and the history behind some of them. I will structure my SRO tale such that it will be perfectly readable withOUT having to actually view the pictures or the video. (Keeping Marshall in mind, here.) Barring any unforeseen drama (a.k.a. “Deek”) I should complete this chapter later in the day, or perhaps tomorrow. I think it will be a valuable aspect of my history as a struggling author and philosopher…that admirers may see my humble living/workspace before I conquer the planet, along with the solar system and our galaxy plus 18 neighboring ones, as well as a plethora of yet undiscovered, wandering, vagrant black holes.
The following email exchange is the result of my posting to various local media outlets and organizations, about my Brindlekin Tales, like so:
I invite the good folks of San Francisco to enjoy my free to read, and growing work-in-progress true stories I call “Brindlekin Tales.” They are all about my amazing adventures with my homeless friend of over nine years, and his two adopted doggies. And it all happens here, right in the Castro. There will be at least one new tale per week. I have just completed chapter 10. Here is the abbreviated link:
Sincerely, Ezekiel J. Krahlin, LGBT Activist & Resident of SF since 1983]
The next day, this letter shows up in my mailbox, and some confusion on my part ensues because I have no idea who this person is. Nor does the email address itself, or heading within the message, give a clue! I could have spared myself all this trouble had I only scrolled below the post, which then reveals its true source. But I did not. I assumed (wrongly, as you shall see) that it arrived from a subscriber to the Mendocino Community Network’s announcement mailing list, in which I participate. And from which I occasionally receive an unexpected email from some lady or another whom I don’t even know…and her presentation comes off a bit dingbatty. My other conjecture was that it came from a business person trying to drum up more clients, which types also populate that list.
Re: New Form Entry: Contact Form From: Zeke Krahlin To: Kayla Sussington Date: December 29 2020 3:34 PM
Thank you Ezekiel. Really appreciate you reaching out and definitely enjoyed reading a few of the chapters. How would you like us to share the word? Are you looking to post on social media or some other platform?
Of course. I’m doing that already. I don’t need any offers of help to set up social media accounts, especially if expecting remuneration in return…if that’s your intent; and I think it is. I only accept gratis assistance because it comes from their heart, not their bank account. This is a tremendous labor of love. All will get full credit and recognition for participating in such a compassionate mission.
Re: New Form Entry: Contact Form From: Zeke Krahlin To: Kayla Sussington Date: December 29 2020 4:33 PM
I was only suggesting putting on social media to help get the word out. Truthfully, the only social media I do is facebook and I don’t even do that very well, but I thought I could post there for you. I’m sure other neighbors would enjoy reading your adventures in the ‘hood. I’m just a volunteer with a local neighborhood association so anything I do is out of love for my neighborhood and community.
Sorry if I misinterpreted you. You are certainly welcome to post any of my writings or sites to your FB wall. No one ever need ask my permission…everything I write and put out there is public domain. I don’t believe in holding back on important messages or ways to heal people and make their lives so much better, for the sake of profit. I leave all money matters to my angels…who take very good care of me. Anyone is also welcome to share my creations via email.
Merry Winter Crossing, Kayla! And a Happy Nude Ear!
Re: New Form Entry: Contact Form From: Zeke Krahlin To: Kayla Sussington Date: December 29 2020 5:18 PM
I was only suggesting putting on social media to help get the word out.
FYI my signature below that’s in every post already shows I’m on social media outlets (Youtube and Worpress for starters, but also Reddit). In fact, I’ve been a very active citizen of cyberspace since 1985, and have also founded a white-hat hacker’s group in Berkeley, in 2000. So no need to make that suggestion in the first place. I have just begun to set up my Brindlekin FB page and Twitter accounts.
I’ve been writing stories and books on my website and WordPress blog for years. This Brindlekin Tales project is just the latest. I think the best thing you can do to spread the word is to read a tale of mine now and then, and see if any of them inspires you to tell others. You can subscribe to my WordPress blog if you like, or my FB account.
Re: New Form Entry: Contact Form From: Zeke Krahlin To: Kayla Sussington Date: December 29 2020 7:18 PM
Thank you Ezekiel. Really appreciate you reaching out and definitely enjoyed reading a few of the chapters. How would you like us to share the word? Are you looking to post on social media or some other platform?
Aha, I just realized your email is via the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association. I shoulda scrolled down below your reply, to see that’s so. As I said in my previous email, just read and enjoy. Maybe post a small announcement in your next newsletter. I am, BTW, a resident of this area since 1983, and I live right on the edge of the two neighborhoods: Duboce Triangle and the Castro. Besides reaching out to social media, which is rather impersonal and nebulous, I think it may even be MORE productive to reach out to the folks around me. After all, “community” IS the original social media! And I also think it would be much more fun to make a local splash first, then watch things expand like a bud into gradual blossom…don’t you?
I have also announced my tales to local newspapers, radio and television, including LGBT media. That was all on one single day, yesterday. So any kickback will probably come rolling in a little later down the line. Seeing as my tales are inspired by those around me, and my history here in the Castro and SF is extensive (though not part of the usual cliques), I can’t think of a more relevant way to share my stories back to the same community that has nurtured in me, the inspiration to come up with such extraordinary writings, if I say so myself.
Otherwise, just continue reading if you like. Or not. If my tales don’t inspire you to share with other community members, then I have failed in my mission this time around, and will try harder. Nonetheless, you said you enjoyed what you’ve read, and I consider that an achievement in and of itself, and suffices my goal. Thank you SO much for reading some of these tales…can’t tell you how much I appreciate that! More on the way…much more!
PS: “Sussington” is a cool surname. It hints of British intrigue of the WWI type, a romance perhaps between a shellshocked soldier who returns to Liverpool with a missing leg, to find his one true love he’s been writing to every day while on the front, has married another while he was gone. But she gradually comes to realize her mistake, and finds a way to dump her betrothed, by starting to act goofy and mad as a hatter until he storms out on her one day, declaring he should’ve never married such a silly crumpet, and the divorce papers will be in the mail tomorrow. And once the papers are signed and finalized, she elopes with her soulmate and they live happily ever after as Mr. & Mrs. Sussington. (You should also know that her former spouse and she become the best of friends, once he realizes how much she loves another…to the point where he gets in on the plot with others in her circle, to assist with bringing her and the soldier she truly loves, back together again. What a jolly old romp, eh, Watson?) Of course, one could readily turn the tale into one between two gay lovers, or lesbian, or transgender, or asexual, or aromantic or pansexual…or god only knows how many other possible variations on the relationship there could be. All I know is: whomever composes the script should have a large bottle of aspirin at hand, for the headaches that are bound to ensue for quite a bloody while. Cheers, mate!
Re: New Form Entry: Contact Form From: Zeke Krahlin To: Kayla Sussington Date: December 30 2020 11:18 AM
Hello again, Ms. Sussington!
With some reflection on our conversation yesterday, I must apologize, because I didn’t know where your email was coming from, at first, because neither your address nor text body indicated the source from whence it arose. As well as my failure to scroll below your message, to discover it for myself. At first, I thought it came from an individual from a mailing list up in the Mendocino hinterlands, to which I am subscribed because I have friends there. But this list is unmoderated, as well as free for anyone to join…hence liable to opportunists of all sorts, from anywhere on the planet! So I sometimes get offers to buy stuff, or pay for services that I neither need, nor am the least bit interested in, nor care to become a victim of hacking exploits, including identity theft.
So for a short while I suspected this was one such post, Either that, or just another ditzy person giving me advice on things Internet…in such a way as to indicate a lack of knowledge on that person’s behalf, while I, myself, am expert in that medium. You know: the kind of generally irritating advice that some couch potatoes love to give to another who happens to be an expert in the particular field said potato is addressing, while said potato him or herself is not.
I hardly know anyone on that mailing list and, as a result, I regularly receive a lame comment or suggestion by private missive. By someone whose name I usually do not recognize, and often by a person who has never even commented to the list, ever! And I really don’t know what the bejesus-flying-hell-bat to do with it, as it is often exasperatingly impossible to answer back with any semblance of sanity!
Thus, my initial impression of your unexpected arrival to my mailbox, was of one or the other: an opportunist or a ditz! This, then, explains my first, second and third replies to you. By the second reply, it seemed to me your were NOT someone trying to snag another client for her business as a social media consultant. Instead, I concluded at that point, you were just a member of the list who thought she was giving me good advice, albeit useless and naive. But I was also frustrated, and started to compose a somewhat rude response…one much worse than the one I sent, bragging about my cyber-expertise. But a little birdie intercepted my ear and chirped:
“Hold on there! Before you send that horrid message out, do another check as to the reason you received her email in the first place!”
And that is when I finally scrolled down beneath your post, to discover it came from the DTNA! So I promptly cancelled that reply, and composed the last one you received, before the letter I am now writing, and which I will deliver a few moments from now. Thank god for that little birdie, eh? I hope you enjoyed my fanciful escapade into British WWI romantic comedy! Which is my way of apologizing, but also arises from a profound sense of responsibility to spread compassion and humor as best I can, in a time when the expression of a good heart is so sorely needed in these tragic times!
In my project to promote my tales on the local level, I looked up what was out there for San Francisco, and the Bay Area at large. During this perusal, an image of the DTNA newsletter popped into mind. Which usually includes a feature article about this or that community member, who contributes something of value to the neighborhood. So of course I figured: “That’s a good option!” in light of the fact my Brindlekin Tales are uniquely Castro oriented, as well as a fine example of charitable contribution close to home. It is not my fault that I am so unknown, seeing as I have already contributed much to the betterment of the LGBT community, and to San Francisco at large. Which evidence can easily be discovered by slogging through that section of my Gay Bible website called “True Tales from the Castro (Eat your heart out, Armistead!) at:
As well as documentation of my incredible support for a gay activist and Vietnam veteran, Randolph Louis Taylor…who lived in the Castro at the time he fasted forty days on behalf of Nam vets, that they have representation at the 1984 National Democratic convention. Who wound up attempting to commit suicide at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. in 1985, but failed, and lived on until 1992. After he shot himself, and I learned about it in the news, I arranged to fly out to D.C. and stand by his side for a time (turned out to be three agonizing but astoundingly inspiring three weeks). See:
Furthermore, I self-published a book dedicated to his memory (as well as to another hero of mine who is quite alive), called “Free Me From This Bond.” Published in November of 2013, with less than ten purchases to date. Oh, well, I’m hoping it will eventually take off, as an increasing number of readers become captivated by my second book, “Brindlekin Tales.”
Nonetheless, I realize my particular avocation and lack of conventional integration with the community may be a valid reason for not featuring me in your newsletter, in spite of the timely import of my current project. After all, who wants to read about an old queer living in a crumbling single room and on Social Security disability for decades, composing one failed story after another, daydreaming at the senile age of seventy that he’s still “gonna make it after all” (to quote from the Mary Tyler Moore Show’s theme song)…and his vagrant friend’s two silly dogs?
You should know that this is no disappointment to me, as I am fully cognizant of my upcoming success, no matter HOW it takes off. And I just want to thank you for handling my request so professionally and with kindness. For in a way, I put you on the spot, which was NOT my intent. So in closing, I present to you a little Yuletide gift in the form of you being the FIRST to read a truly hilarious short kinda-sci-fi tale that I just wrote this morning, called “2021 is going to be a FANTASTIC year!”
Most sincerely (and a delight meeting you, albeit just online),
Ezekiel Joseph Krahlin
Re: My apologies for putting you on the spot! Date: 2021-01-05 04:13 From: Zeke Krahlin To:Kayla Sussington
I apologize that I am only able to message you back now. Thank you for the clarification but it wasn’t necessary. I understood that there was a misunderstanding after our exchange and didn’t think twice about it. I started the following draft in response but didn’t get a chance to finish the email as things have been crazy in my house for the last couple of weeks.
No problem but I AM glad you finally got back to me. I really didn’t expect things to go any further, so this is a rather delightful and welcome surpries.
Yes, my last name is fun. My sister’s name is Roxanne Sussington and we’ve always thought that with that name she should be writing romance novels. But no one has ever created a story for the name yet, that I know of. There are a few towns and a rose variety named Sussington.
Excellent. It’s never too late for a Sussington author of bawdy romantic novels that will rip the bodice off the bosom of literary pretense! If not this generation, then the next…keep a stiff upper lift and all that rot! (Ha-ha, I really meant to type “lip” instead of “lift,” but I like the result better.)
Would you be interested in submitting one of your stories for our newsletter? The newsletter is an all volunteer operation and goes out to 3000+ homes and businesses in the triangle. Many other neighborhoods have transitioned to online newsletters but we’re still sticking with the old fashioned paper kind and find that many people in the neighborhood tell us how much they appreciate reading it. It’s the best at social media that DTNA is doing right now.
OH MY GOD, YES! How about my rather short but hilarious New Year’s piece:
There’s a nifty image at the bottom, which you are free to include or not. The story carries its own weight just the same. You might introduce me like so:
Ezekiel Krahlin is a veteran LGBT activist and author living in Eureka Valley since 1983. His “Gay Bible” (or “Final Testament”) website has been up since 1997, and covers an extraordinarily diverse number of issues around sexual minorities:
It’s a bit dated, but still chock full of inspiring works that are timeless. Mr. Krahlin is presently embroiled in a work in progress, about his homeless friend and his two doggies right here in the Castro, which you may read for free online at:
But for this issue, he is delighted to share an outrageous tale that is his unique and exuberant way of welcoming in the New Year. And wants to thank the community at large for so much inspiration and kindness for more than thirty years, while residing mostly along the border of the Castro and the Duboce Triangle neighborhood.
Just an idea as this is a labor of love for you.
And that’s as far as I got.
I’m glad we both thought of you contributing something to the newsletter. The deadline for articles is this Friday so please let me know if you’d be interested.
I feel the love, I’m awash in it! Thank you SO much, Kayla. That’s quite a unique name, BTW…lovely, too. Is it Celtic?
Anyway, I can easily convert the whole piece into text and send it off to you, if you’d like. I prefer to capitalize words for emphasis, instead of use italics…and I’d like them published just that way. Actually, I already have the text link for that story, because it’s going to be narrated soon on a radio station up in Mendocino County. So I prepare each tale by converting it to text, and providing a link to it, for the radio host. So here it is now, for you, too:
Indeed. 2021 is going to be a FANTASTIC Year! <3 <3 <3
Re: Fwd: Re: My apologies for putting you on the spot! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: January 5, 2021 5:55 PM
We’re off to the races, Tara! My fame is gonna start locally, then spiral outward like a blossoming flower. Exactly the way I imagined it. In TWO spots, though: down here in SF, and up there in Mendoland, thanks to the most excellent Marshall McGee! And Deek will soon become VERY well known and loved, too. Hopefully. At least, there will be many people soon, watching over the two brindlekin, should he decide to hold onto them for awhile longer. This is how I’ll gather protective forces around myself and the doggies! Wowee is right! I am become a living example of the miraculous.
Re: My apologies for putting you on the spot! From: Kayla Sussington To: Zeke Krahlin Date: January 7, 2021 4:09 PM
I forwarded your message to Cheri and Carlton, our newsletter editors, and they will contact you directly about a submission for the newsletter. I will bow out of any further newsletter discussions because I almost never get my articles in on time and therefore leave all the newsletter work in their capable hands.
I look forward to reading a story of yours in the next edition!!
PS: I forgot to mention that normally when I respond to messages sent to DTNA via our website I include in my signature my full name and that I am the President of DTNA. For some reason, I totally forgot to do that with you thus leading to some confusion. Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that I added to the confusion albeit absentmindedly.
Re: My apologies for putting you on the spot! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Kayla Sussington Date: January 7, 2021 6:55 PM
I forwarded your message to Cheri and Carlton
How wonderful, thank you! I hope contacting me directly means via email because my DSL land line suddenly went dead yesterday. Also ironic, ’cause I had to run home to call 911 because some meth freak in the Castro had just assaulted someone, then started to attack me when I stepped in to stop it. So I had to resort to asking a neighbor to use his smartphone. The miscreant HAS been arrested, thank God. No one was seriously harmed, either…just a few bruises and scratches.
BTW, you are now the star of one of my Brindlekin chapters…and of course I changed your name to something else, as well as your sister’s:
I should tell you about the year I actually wore a wig that I bought from, and got shaped and cut by, a professional hairdresser, when I lived in Santa Cruz. I balded prematurely, and decided to do something about it at the advanced age of 32. (After all, the schizophrenic part of me that still thought I was Jesus Christ figured I’d be dead in another year…so I should do something special, right now.) I thought it looked really good on me, “tote” realistic, and such a nice shade of dark auburn. It was simple to put on every morning: just three bits of double-sided tape, and voila! I was good to go. There was hairspray, but I never needed it: the modacrylic fibers always stayed in place, even on the most blustery of days. It was a point of jealousy by certain old ladies I’d meet on the bus or at a cafe, along with motorcycle buffs who were keen observers of head gear.
I wore it everywhere: at bars, coffeehouses, on the bus to work or a pleasing journey through forest, farm and Pacific shoreline all the way up to Davenport (where I regularly stopped for lunch and coffee at a windswept, funky family bistro atop a cliff), jogging, picking elderberries beneath the San Lorenzo bridge, movie theaters, Sunday meetings at the LGBT Center (where everyone was less attractive or interesting than myself; and I’m not a particularly good-looking guy, though very interesting indeed), lounging in the lobby of The St. George Hotel (where I rented a room w/bath for a time, that overlooked Pacific Avenue, the city’s main strip; it perished in the Loma Prieta earthquake six years later…but I was long gone by then, having returned to SF in ’83…I had a handsome ex-con live with me the last two months, who was half Portugese, half Cherokee, and VERY pleasant on the eyes and between my legs, but turned out to be a disaster and I had to flee for my life, so someone invited me to live on his land in the mountains, about three miles east of Boulder Creek and off Deer Creek Road about a half mile in, which included a dizzying climb along a narrow, dirt path where one time at dusk an opposum was approaching from the other direction who blocked my way, so I had to scurry all the way back down to the road IN THE DARK with a snarling little devil almost at my heels), and dining at one of the many tasty little vegan restaurants that were so popular back then, and in that county). I was a good-looking cuss, as far as I was concerned, and wanted to show off my drop-dead gorgeous locks of bronze hair-of-the-gods in all places and times possible…even when going to the dentist. Though the drill slipped from her hand once, and she fled to another room for awhile, shrieking in wild laughter. I took no offense. “She should stop dipping into the laughing gas,” I thought.
I wore it everywhere, that is: except in bed. I rested my fake mane on a styrofoam head labelled “17” and placed it on the dresser, right beside the glowing dragon lamp I purchased along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk some months before. The hairdresser (who I found in the Yellow Pages under “Haircuts, Wigs, Toupees & Hairpieces”) was a middle-aged fop, the queeny type, who had me sit in one of the barber chairs while fussing and cooing over a variety of wigs he tried on me.
It was a spacious, narrow shop about fifty feet deep and twenty feet wide; with eight barber chairs, a grand mirror that stretched the entire length of the wall and framed in golden filigree; maroon and cream tiled linoleum floor with assorted scuff marks; picture window that looked out on an empty parking lot, bus stop and dense clump of oak woods across the road; rows of wooden shelves stacked to the ceiling with mostly wig covered styrofoam heads (several tilted on their sides, and a couple of naked ones tossed in for good measure, whose purpose I guess was to remind customers of their ugly, former selves); four ginormous electric fans spinning slowly from high above; a back door at the far end which room it concealed probably housed duplicate myriad wigs in large cardboard boxes (though it could contain god knows anything, certainly a bathroom at least); and a lifesize figure of a sad, lonely little poodle that sat eternally in a distant, dusty corner, and was either a cheap statue, or the preserved body of a real dog stuffed by someone with taxidermy skills (perhaps the hairdresser himself, who looked rather dusty and old as well).
I settled on styrofoam head #17 and, after clipping a bit here and there, primping and spraying and touching me everywhere above the shoulders, he finally asked:
“Well whaddya think, Mr. Catalano?” (Yes, I still presented myself with my birth name back then; it wouldn’t be for another thirteen years before I’d change it.)
I was stunned: didn’t realize how good looking I actually was with a full head of hair! Or I had forgotten, as in my blossoming adolescence I had many a dreamy jackoff watching my naked self in the mirror while standing on the edge of the bathtub, while my brother was at football practice, and my parents were playing cribbage in the basement den with Aunt Jean and Uncle Pat.
“Wow, I like it very much!” I cooed back. With that, he escorted me out the door by the elbow, handed me a patchouli scented business card that made me almost gag, and said:
“Now, come back every two weeks for a fresh-up; I’ll keep you happy!”
Not many people stared at me, or made fun of me, or tried to steal my wig. But it’s the few who did, that disturbed my reverie of self adulation, and ruined my day. When I first adopted my new coiffure, I lived in a single room in a rambling old three-story house with a porch, directly across the street from a popular and unique variety store/gas station called “Rotten Robbie.” I loved shopping there; it was colorful, copious, and had everything under the sun. Until one day I entered with the clink of a bell, and overheard a cashier mutter to her coworker:
“Uh-oh, here comes the hair!”
I immediatly turned about with the last bell clink they’d ever hear from me.
I lived on the topmost floor that accomodated two other occupants…UC students like everyone else there, except for yours truly. Not only did we share the bathroom, but I shared a heating vent with my neighbor, Filmore, a lanky, short black fellow who sported thick lenses and an impressive afro haircut. And thanks to this vent, you could hear a pin drop from either room. Filmore loved listening to the blues on his funky record player that I suspect was purchased at a garage sale. Every evening I’d call to him through the vent:
“Turn that music down, please!”
And he did…he was a nice person of good humor. Though when it came to my hirsute crown of glory, his good humor went way beyond the bounds of decency. He’d never prod me about it at home, but the various times our paths crossed in public (often at the main transit stop downtown), he’d let out a howl:
“You look ridiculous in that wig! Hey look everyone, check out that dude’s crazy hair!”
Most of the time I’d pretend I didn’t hear him, hoping that bystanders would think he’s pointing someone ELSE out. I’d walk further up the street and wait for the next bus. Except once, I did not. Instead, I boarded the same bus that Filmore was on, even though he was hooting at me from the window beside his seat. He stopped soon as I embarked, but kept snickering as I found my spot…the only one available was right in front of him. Ironic, and much to my chagrin.
My stop came before his. As I rose to exit the bus, I turned to him just before setting foot on the concrete island, and hollered: “You wanna talk about bad hair? That mosquito trap you think passes for an afro is a disgrace to your people!”
“My people?” he retorted from the open window, craning his neck in my direction as the bus began to roll away. “You mean doctors? I’m a third-year med school student, you chalk-faced cootie!”
That evening when I returned home after a pleasant day picking elderberries and visiting my friend Helen, I passed Filmore going down the stairs as I climbed up. He said his usual friendly “hello,” as I did likewise, before entering my aerie, returning the wig to its styrofoam perch, and crashing out on the bed.
When summer came to an end, I resumed my job as teaching assistant for the special education program at Aptos High School…an experimental project for mainstreaming mentally disabled youth, including those with Down’s Syndrome. This would be my second year in this position, and at the same location. But it would be the first year for my wig, and things did not go smoothly.
Shirley, petite and vivacious with a strawberry bob cut, was the teacher I worked under. She didn’t bat an eye on the first day of my return, or any day thereafter…behaving as if nothing was out of the ordinary. She was a dignified woman, overall, and sweetly vivacious. However, with one student, Dennis, it was a horse of a different color. He was freckle faced, gaunt and quite tall, with nostrils so wide and round, it felt like I’d be sucked into them whenever I looked up. All the students except for him said I looked different somehow, but couldn’t put a finger on it. Dennis, however, did…many times. Whenever I was within his reach, he’d extend a lanky arm and cup a broad hand over my pelt, attempting to slide it around. Fortunately, the hidden strips of tape wouldn’t allow my wig to be so insulted. What damage was done was but slight: easily rectified with a quick readjustment in the faculty washroom.
Speaking of faculty: we had our own staff lunchroom. One day early into the fall semester, I was sitting there all by myself for a few minutes before one of the employees joined me, and sat across the table. She was around 43, stocky with a crewcut, and always wore a plaid shirt and blue jeans. Definitely a lesbian, so probably a gym or shop teacher. I never really knew WHAT she did; maybe she was just the janitor. At any rate, she seemed to eat with some difficulty, consuming her sandwich and pie…guffawing as she did in occasional, short bursts as if she were struggling with all her might to contain herself.
“Are you alright?” I asked, “Can I get you some water?”
“Um-hmm, no, uh, I’m fine. Just an…umm…itchy throat from…umm…” she stopped in midsentence, seeming to be on the verge of choking on her chicken salad sandwich, but quickly recovered. “on second thought, sure, I’d…umm…appreciate that.”
So I went to the sink and returned with a glass of water from the tap. I can’t recall the things we talked about…but she seemed to be struck with hilarity, so I assumed she might have inhaled a few tokes of ganja behind the bleachers, before arriving here. She isn’t hiding it very well, I thought. But I’m not a snitch, so feigned not to notice. I think I asked how her day was going, and she answered with something like:
“Oh…uh..ha-ha…uh…pretty good…ha-ha, thanks! And…and…umm…yourself?” With that, she collapsed in laughter, dropped her head into her arms that were resting on the table, then, after a moment or two, quickly exited. I don’t remember ever seeing her again, and hoped she wasn’t fired.
Swimming was another challenge, that I didn’t know I could meet. To be honest, I hadn’t thought of this when I purchased the wig. Would the tape hold? Not very well, I soon learned. One of my requirements as a teaching assitant, was to get into the gym pool with my students, so I couldn’t worm my way out of this. Dog paddling with my head above water was fine…as were breast and butterfly strokes. I was a good swimmer of many years; just never did it with fake hair before.
My troubles began with the back stroke. After several laps, the middle tape separated itself from the nape of my neck. Pressing on it with my hand did not work. But nobody noticed, because the rest of the wig held firm, while the back part, bloated by the weight of absorbed water, fell firmly into place when I turned over onto my stomach, or exited the pool. But the worst was yet to come: I had to teach the kids to hold their breath underwater.
So I gathered my eight intellectually impaired students (three with Down’s) around me in a circle, by the low end of the pool. Then held my nose and plunged myself below the surface. With that, the lower half of my wig floated outward to surround my head like wings. I used my free hand to tamp it down, but it was a partial success. Once I emerged above the surface again, the wig fell properly into place, and I told the kids to try it now, themselves. So each held their nose and plunged, then placed their other hand on the left side of the head while coming back up, releasing their nose at the last moment.
Good enough, I thought, but did the teacher see that? No, she was chatting with two other instructors by the locker room entrance. So we did this several more times: dunking under the water just below the surface and holding our breath for ten or so seconds, then popping back up. Each time I did this, my wig’s adhesive tape began to loosen further, until by the fith dunk, it became completely unglued all around my cranium, except for a small patch that stubbornly stuck in place (thank god): barely an inch above my right temple. But even MORE worst was yet to come, as now it was time to get them to submerge a bit deeper, like a foot below the surface instead of a few inches.
“Watch me closely,” I told my charges, as I pinched my nose and disappered beneath the surface with my left hand slapped firmly upon that side of my head, my fingers stretched to the top as far as they could go. Well, since this end of the pool was a shallow four feet, I had to crouch down pretty low. And as I did, my feet suddenly slipped, due to one of my student’s mischievous ideas to sabotage me from behind, like a ninja fish. He had slid a foot between my ankles, then yanked it away. And there went my wig, floating above me like a jellyfish for a brief but frightening moment before I yanked it back upon my pate in a jaunty angle that, upon my reemergence, made the kids burst out in great guffaws and snorts.
Shirley’s attention had then focused on my belly-laughing urchins and, with half a scowl and half a smile, she came up to the edge of the pool and asked, “Where’s the party?” By then I had roosted the wig back into its proper position, thinking that I had averted a disaster: that she almost realized it wasn’t a glorious mane of real hair on my head, after all, that it wasn’t the “excellent” haircut she said it was on my first day back for the semester. I gasped a sigh of relief and simply explained I had lost my footing, and everyone had a good laugh over that. But with years of hindsight now behind me, I figure she knew all along, but kept it to herself…unlike our students. Honestly, I don’t know how she kept a poker face for all those remaining months I worked there! The kids sure didn’t. But I’m not sure if they even THOUGHT I was wearing a postiche, but just figured something funny was going on around my cranial region, that made them laugh.
The wig even gave me the confidence to move from my SRO, to a one-bedroom cottage close to the boardwalk…where I faintly heard the surf crashing, seals barking, and people joyfully screaming on the roller coaster, the whirligig and the ferris wheel. I’d sometimes go there by my lone self, and watch others having the kind of fun that I scorned. But there I DID buy myself an ink-sprayed Jefferson Airplane dragon on a white T-shirt, created on the spot by a handsome surfer-dude artist with long blond hair down to his waist. He possessed a sparkling smile with one silver tooth, and a Celtic knot hammered in bronze, that dangled from a plain black cord about the neck. Whenever he adjusted himself over his work while seated on a stool, it sometimes nested in the sternum of a sculpted, smooth chest, barely concealed beneath a loose-fitting black-power tank top.
After all, I had to get myself SOMEthing special for my thirty-third birthday, the day I imagined I would die! Well, guess what: I didn’t, I’m still here at the ripe age of seventy. And proudly bald, though I always wear a hat when outside. I was still wearing “the wig” upon my permanent return to San Francisco in 1983, where my several closest friends couldn’t keep from cracking up in front of me, no matter how hard they tried not to. So I eventually disposed of the wig in a dumpster near the Stanyan Street Hotel where I lived thanks to the geneorosity of our welfare state, which has long since grown tired of helping folks down on their luck.
Another time, I’ll tell you about how I went for a job interview at a lawyer’s firm in North Beech, wearing a black velour dress jacket in a one-hundred-and-one degree heat wave. And, just like my Year of the Wig, it boosted my confidence, and I got the job.
Because you’re all gonna die hilariously and incurably HAPPY…almost all at once! That is: within a relatively short span of 24 hours, the time it takes this wobbly old orb to complete a single rotation on its axis! It will be the result of a fortuitous blending of certain greenhouse gases that scientists did NOT foresee because too busy fighting off angry hordes of bible thumpers breaking into their research labs. A particular blend of nitrogen and oxygen triggered by an experimental release of nanoparticles way up in the clouds and across most of the Arctic Circle–which formula the United States (in conjunction with Bayer/Monsanto and Dow/Dupont Chemicals) deemed top secret–had caused a sudden and impressive blanketing of all hemispheres (north, south, east and west) with nitrous oxide.
Needless to say, there was a MASSIVE migration at unprecedented speed to the Hawaiian archipelago, as that spot was the closest habitable land surface to the international dateline. Foolish humans, what do THEY know? For encroachment of this invisible and inescapable wall of laughing gas could not be bound to an arbitrarily determined longitudinal agreement as to when each day begins and ends! All THEY knew was that the final spot to be smothered would happen within 24 hours at the latest. But where that final spot would be, scientists were NOT able to determine, because there just won’t be enough time! Besides which, all their meteorological databases will have been sabotaged by Army of God, Promise Keepers and Westboro Baptist Church hackers before then! Who emphatically believe that the remaining oasis of all living creatures both great and small would be Jerusalem and its outlying environs…and that a platoon of angelic starships would be waiting to whisk them away to the promised land, somewhere around the vicinity of the dog star, Sirius. (Interesting side note: a biplane waving a banner from the rear with the words “God Hates Fags” was spotted for a brief moment by an Israeli tourist, who uploaded the video to Youtube, only moments before she perished in a cloud of laughter.) Meanwhile, back in Hawaii:
Being that the land area of the total surface of all islands in that archipelago is way too minuscule to accommodate the vast number of desperate-but-guffawing refugees mounting to upwards of half a billion, most were summarily pushed into the Pacific Ocean to drown, or shoved upwards along the steep slopes of all six active volcanoes in that region by vast, crushing herds of human cattle…and over the edge and into the fiery pits of bubbling magma, while laughing their asses off! Surely, the merciless goddesses Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai, Mauna Kea, Lo‘ihi and Haleakala, will enjoy the most stupendous feast of human sacrifice in the entire history of their inconceivably archaic lives.
Exactly WHO will have the last laugh is not yet known. Or perhaps such a factoid is verboten to your flabby, excrescent and ignorant species, by decree of the Great Old Ones (Chaugnar Faugn, Cthulhu, Zushakon, Sebek, Atlach-Nacha, Tsathoggua and a bunch of others whose names are unpronounceable by human tongue). Who are ruled by our eternal and profusely intolerable malodorous Outer Ones who exist out of time, before time, and all around time. NYARLATHOTEP BE PRAISED, ALL GLORY TO THE COSMIC HYPNOTOAD! But one thing is certain: he or she will go down in intergalactic history as earth’s final buffoon. Why intergalactic? Because history will no longer be a thing on planet earth.
In a nutshell: Homo sapiens ignoramus will all die of explosive mirth some time next year. And if you are laughing right now, be warned: the end times are imminent!
[Note: all images herein (except the very last one because for some reason WordPress won’t let me include an embedded URL, unlike all 12 of the other pics…maybe it doesn’t like the number 13) has a link to a fun or informative web page or video. Just hover your mouse cursor over each one, and you’re good.]
Looks like I’m down to the home stretch, in light of these sudden and NEW disruptions that the Moirai (Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos) have now tossed into the ring…what I call “My Last Big Challenge,” or “My Final Test.” Based on my profound conjecture a la my mini-opus, “Neopositivity: A Gay Religion,” these Celestial Boot Camp Sergeants are assigned to SEVERELY oppose us at what-is-for-them, every opportune moment. And, in so doing, provide further obstacles to overcome, which they fling at us like pop-up zombies in a Halloween haunted house. May I also point out that SOME of these egregiously unwelcome bogeymen-of-a-problem will seem diabolically impossible to resolve. But that’s where faith serves you well: do NOT (I repeat, do NOT) allow even seemingly astronomical odds stacked against you, to discourage or deter you from your most noble of goals. Just roll up your sleeves and REALIZE that, somehow and some way, you WILL get through this, and do so with flying colors…though at the moment you have absolutely NO idea how.
Thus, in speculating over the extraordinary events currently unfolding in my abruptly-shifted reality (that only began just two short months ago; on Samhain Eve of all days), it sure looks to me like the Parables of Tribulation are about to close their chapter on The Book of Ezekiel, forever.
I am guessing–no, not guessing, but decreeing (through a greater force than I)–that these Frankensteins who now impose their ugly countenance before me (on Exmass day of all days!), will be the very last ones to curse my world. For I know full well that Frankenstein the monster is not the true villain, but just another victim in an unhappy scenario we call “life.” Just as in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, where it says (and I paraphrase):
As you pass through each circle of reality in your ascension to godhead, there will be some realms where evil demons will approach, to threaten you with swords, flaming arrows, iron-spiked clubs and vipers…or whatever implements of torture most frighten you. Should you cave in to your fears as a result, you will remain stuck on that level for at least one incarnation, but probably more. But if you hold steady, and not permit those fears to bring you down, nor take up arms against them, but instead just stand calm as best you can…they will drop their masks of horror to reveal their true selves: loving, all-wise bodhisattvas. And in such a lucky case, they will joyfully escort your transcendence into the next highest kingdom.
A little birdie just told me right after I finished composing the emboldened paragraph above: “Enough lecturing, Zeke! I’m sure your readers just want to get on with the show!“
Just read the following email exchanges of the past twenty-four hours that I’ve cobbled together. (Yeah, things are moving REALLY fast!) They explain themselves superbly well, as the manifestation of hideous impossibilities hatch their black, rotten eggs of ruinous despair. Enjoy the ride! You won’t regret it.
Subject: Here’s how I may get the building manager on my side: From: Zeke Krahlin To Tara Roosevelt Date: December 25 2020, 8:02 PM
The building manager, whom I now call “Kevin,” is pretty good friends with my sometimes-fascist neighbor down the hallway, whom I shall call “Moe.” Who, as you know, emailed me in June of this year, a complaint about Deek’s being a nuisance. But he’s done some nice things for me, too, once in a blue moon. One of which is dog-related, interestingly enough. And that is what this forwarded letter below is all about.
I’m hoping the result will impress my neighbor, as well as warm his cockles. Which may then impact the manager in a positive way, and to my advantage. Please check out the WordPress link I’ve included in the forwarded email, and read the blurb…it’s just two short paragraphs. You’ll learn that it’s about his little papillon that he shared with me for a time, until its sad passing. FYI:
Moe and I do NOT send greetings to each other, holiday or otherwise…except once about seventeen years ago he delivered to my door, a gift of Godiva-chocolate-dipped biscuits (delicious!) around Exmasstime. So I sent him back a lovely, expensive holiday card. But that’s it. For the most part he keeps his distance and regards me as a negative element in this building…that I’m partly responsible for this neighborhood “going to the dogs” so to speak. Now I realize he’s been right about that all along. :D
Come to think of it, I would NOT be surprised if he complained to Kevin about the cute padding of my brindlekin’s paws on the hallway carpet, several times a day, as I let them run free. Even though it’s not loud at all and they never bark unless someone suddenly appears climbing up or down the stairs, or exiting or entering their apartment (all of which are infrequent). Besides, the doggies impart a joyful spirit to our otherwise drab and lifeless residence. Furthermore, each “runway” incident lasts but a brief few minutes, and does not occur too late at night. Here ya go:
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Skellington III: now on wordpress and youtube From: Zeke Krahlin To: Moe Fleisher Date: December 25 2020, 6:14 PM
I just spent a heartwarming three hours setting this up on both Youtube and WordPress. I didn’t plan this; it was just the strike of sudden inspiration’s lightning. I’m not one to celebrate Exmass, but some wonderful things have been happening to me these past few weeks, which timing with the holiday season is unexpectedly synchronistic…though certainly unplanned. But if I were the type to celebrate Exmass, I can’t think of a better way to spend two or three hours on that day, doing something like this.
Nonetheless, I’d choose to celebrate this time of year in a non-Christian or non-commercial manner…preferring to call it “Winter Crossover” or “Exmass” (both of which terms I’ve invented just yesterday).
I have recently created a spanking new Youtube channel I call “Brindlekin Tales,” and it is dedicated to the love of Canis familiaris:
Though you can’t appreciate the cute title I’ve created for each video, as the WordPress-embedded videos conceal the last part.
Brindlekin Tales will also become my next novel, as I compose one blog after another, around this doggy theme. FYI, “brindlekin” is also a word of my creation.
I guess this is my (unforeseen) Winter Crossover greeting to you, that arose spontaneously in my latest, and most profound, creative cycle. BTW, I’m not sure of the year Skelli passed on, so I stated 2012 in my videos, and in that blog entry. Feel free to correct me on this, and I will make the change promptly.
Your sometimes-but-rarely-annoying neighbor of many years,
Ezekiel J. Krahlin
PS: How about replacing Christmas with a NEW holiday, to celebrate the sweet, healing nature of little doggies? And call it “Brindlekin Fest,” or “Brindlefest” for short? I think it’s a great idea whose time has come!
Subject: He got another dog! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: December 25, 9:07 PM
Most disturbing. Wiley and Taco are still with me, ’cause it’s raining…and Deek just showed up for a few minutes to show me his newest dog: a blue pit bull. Very, very gentle and sweet, but large. Deek was talking about breeding him with Wiley, and I strongly advised against it. He said that this dog is more loving than Taco! I told him that’s nonsense, Taco is a very loving dog, as is Wiley. He agreed, but Jesus, whenever things go smoothly with us for a day or two, he throws another monkey wrench into the works. And this one’s really BAD. The dog’s not even neutered! I’m afraid someone will report him with all these dogs, and the brindlekin will be taken away with the pit bull. He just poo-pooed me, saying there are other homeless out there with four, five, six, seven dogs.
And Deek got a bit upset that I even questioned another adoption. (“You’re just like everyone else who doesn’t support me!” he whined. Well in this case, I sure hope so!) But I gave in and wished him a Merry Christmas again. After telling him I can only have Taco and Wiley over, and cannot afford to give him any more money or dog food than I already am. He said he didn’t expect me to do that, anyway, he’s got work (whatever the heck that means). But just to hear him even suggest that the two brindlekin are not as loving, and that he may get Wiley pregnant (and with a large dog!) makes me wanna not even give them back to him.
He plans to drop by tomorrow morning, if it isn’t raining too hard, and all three dogs meet. I’m sure they’ll all get along, but that’s not the problem…which is POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC.
I was having a lovely, peaceful Exmass, and now this. I told him that “Blue” could get aggressive and uncontrollable on the streets because he’s not fixed. He wanted another dog like the one he gave up, called Gator…who also was not neutered, and became uncontrollable. But I fear for the little doggies again, especially Wiley. I told him the dog’s too big for her, she could die from large puppies in her womb. “Oh, I can take care of that, just do a caesarian!” He said the SPCA will take care of that. Yeah, they’ll take care of that alright…take the dog away from him. I don’t want to lose Wiley…ever!
Can you believe that? I reminded him he can’t afford a veterinarian. But this is the insane part of our conversation…and he often does it: twist it about to where I’m actually defending a bad decision, in order to oppose another “what if” one. In this case, I think it’s a mistake to adopt another dog, but then he has me arguing about not letting a large dog impregnate her…so in essence I’m advising him to adobt a third, but smaller, dog. How he convolutes everything, and does it so fast, and won’t let me get a word in edgewise, then starts accusing me of not supporting his goals.
May God protect Wiley, because I can’t.
Subject: Re: Here’s how I may get the building manager on my side: From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: December 26, 12:43 PM
I like your winning-hearts-and-minds plan. MOST civilized, old chap!
Yeah but now Deek put a big old fat monkey wrench into the works…as I just reported in my email I sent you a moment before I read THIS reply. Deek’s adoption of a third pup will most likely cause him to lean on me more to sit the brindlekin. This moves over into having the dogs live with me, instead of just caring for them during a cold snap or a rainy spell. They will also see him with yet a third dog, and that will no doubt reflect badly on me, in their eyes. There goes my nice Christmas; thanks for nothing, Deek. And it’s not for my sake I’m angry, it’s for Wiley and Taco’s sake. I just can’t keep up with all this crap he dumps!
Subject: He got another dog! From: Zeke Krahlin To Tara Roosevelt Date: December 26 2020, 2:12 PM
Oh, this is a fucking disaster. Stupid, stupid macho asshole, wanting to “breed” poor Wiley. He has NO business having an un-neutered male pit bull. And he can “take care” of a caesarean?? Christ, this is awful. Wish there was some way (only wishing, I know it’s not possible) for you to keep the doxies…
Oh I’ll keep the doxies one way or another, should that gracious opportunity fall into my hands. As I previously indicated, there have been other SRO residents harboring a doggy, with no opposition from either manager or property owner…in spite of the renter’s contract of stating otherwise. I have a witness in my friend, Chuck from Philly, because he knows of at least TWO single-residence-occupancy tenants who’ve had pets while he was living here. He can vouch via an email to me, that I’d keep as evidence.
And, since they are NO trouble at all, so peaceful, smart, loving and obedient…there will be no complaints! If it came to a court challenge, I would win, hands down. But no such conflict will ensue, nor will Deek get Wiley pregnant, or give the brindlekin away. After the initial shock, I thought it through and, in short:
I’M NOT WORRIED AT ALL.
And I’ll tell you why AFTER I describe my wonderful sleepover with the doggies, and this morning’s rendezvous with Deek. I don’t care to write about this stuff (the horrendous parts, I mean), but in facing it head-on I come up with incredibly promising insight. Here we go:
Last night was a revelation of pooch-powered divine intervention. Upon returning hovel from meeting Deek’s pit bull, Wiley crawled on her belly across the bedding and in my direction, wagging her corkscrew tail with glee. This is how she ALWAYS greets me, even if I’m gone for just a minute or two. She reached the edge of the cot, and stamped her dainty paws in a repeated demand for more hugs, kisses and belly rubs. Of course I got down on my knees and gave her the sweetest long embrace as she playfully squirmed between my arms and drenched my face with slobbery licks.
Taco soon joined the love fest, after watching us with what seemed to be a brotherly appreciation for how kind I am to his little sister. Though as I clutched them both, the thought that their innocent lives of good cheer may soon come tumbling down, and they would never be the same, happy little doggies again. So I gave them both, especially endearing hugs throughout the evening and into the dawn of a new day…and they returned their gratitude in kind. As if they understood my deep concern for their probable, horrid fate…comprehending my dilemma (that I could do nothing about it). And still they anointed me with unconditional affection, because they are brave and selfless to the very end. Such is the profoundly angelic nature of Canis familiaris!
During one of their playful scuffles (which are amazing, as they now love to burrow beneath a blanket, evading each other’s toothy grips, with pounces aplenty between the two, and their wiggly butts protruding) they suddenly crossed the line and got vicious. Nothing physical or injurious, mind you…just nasty, sharp yaps and truly angry expressions. Something which Deek pointed out, and blamed me for causing this behavior by being overly kind and undoing all his hard work training them. Which is, of course, BS.
“Now, now, be nice to each other!” I commanded in a strong but patient timbre. They ceased immediately in a flurry of apologetic gestures to each other: attacking the sneaker instead, or a part of the blanket where neither was hidden, frolicking together in gentle fashion once more. They understood! I concluded that outdoors, all the distracting cacophony obstructed from their ears, Deek’s order to stop it. Here in my hovel there is little noise, and only MY voice…and presence.
[Aside: this is ridiculous! A jackhammer is right now pounding outside, just across the street…and has been going on for at least the last ten minutes, as I compose this letter. So much for a peaceful day-after-Exmass. And now I REALLY have to take a dump, because when I tried some twenty minutes ago, a contracted cleaner was scouring down the restroom…as he does every Saturday. Jeez! Bear with me a few minutes; I’ll be back shortly to resume this letter. Maybe fix yourself a drink in the meantime.]
Okay, I’m back! Jackhammer still clanking away, fuck it. Now, something ELSE just occurred out my window. I heard someone hollering expletives like “Fuck you bitch” and other nasty stuff I can’t bother to write down…you get the gist. So I peer out the window, and guess who it is: Deek. There he was from across the street, hollering like any of the most offensive vagrants around here (though totally unlike his usual, ornery self; it was much worse). Pushing his weighted cart around, with the two, sweet doggies merrily hopping beside, without a problem in the world…but with the addition of that calm and gentle pit bull pup loping along. As I keep saying:
I CAN’T KEEP UP WITH THIS CRAP! The moment I start writing down ONE incident, another one crops up. Well, at least the jackhammer stopped. You need to know what happened this morning, so I will get to that shortly. Meanwhile, back to the brindlekin:
Their usual sleepover habit is for Taco to snooze at my feet, and for Wiley to crash near my head, above it, or snuggled against my chest. Several nights back, it was the reverse for a little while. I was about to hit the sack myself and, to my surprise, Taco was sleeping on my pillow, while Wiley lay at the other end. “Okay,” I thought, “This will be nice for a change; I don’t give him enough cuddles at night.” So I cautiously slipped under the comforter, careful not to let my legs disrupt Wiley. I then grabbed Taco in a kind embrace, and scratched his belly; his back was to me. He turned his head to give me a single thank-you lick. Well, after around a half hour or so of this arrangement, Taco suddenly sits up to look around, as if confused as to why he’s sleeping up HERE instead of over THERE. Flaco seems to be cognizant of her brother’s confusion. So with that, she stands up on all paws and walks toward him, while Taco proceeds past HER, to plunk himself down by my feet. Flaco was now cozily in my arms. I found that whole little doggie skit dearly funny. But last night was even sweeter:
This time, BOTH were zonked out at the far end, by my work station. But the moment I tucked myself in, they simultaneously arose and scampered over to me, burrowed beneath the top blanket and just lay there, gazing into my face with a bright-eyed love (the flickering candles of Exmass unbound)! I embraced them both. All three heads touched and lingered awhile, both pups making little growling sounds of affection. They seemed to SENSE my concern about their near future, a possibly imminent tragedy…and sought to console me. Which they did, mightily. Telling me it’s gonna be alright, which it most certainly will be. Read on, and you will learn why I say that.
Deek called to me from his corner, around 11:30 AM. Wiley & Taco had just finished a hearty breakfast. So I put on their jackets and mine, and headed out. There was the pit bull, of very gentle temperament. To my relief, I saw that all three dogs were gonna get along just fine. Right off the bat, he said the dogs look different; that they always do after spending a night or two in my hovel. Implying that I don’t care for them properly.
“Taco looks skinnier, see?” He rested his palms across the sides of the little mutt’s chest, as if to emphasize.
“I don’t see it Deek,” I calmly replied. “You’re lying, you like to lie.”
“I never lie! What are you talking about?”
“Oh you lie every single friggin day,” I retorted. “BIG lies sometimes, too!”
“Oh, like what?”
“Like when you claimed to have a broken leg. That’s just ONE of many examples, Deekster.”
He didn’t deny, but went right on ranting:
“This is too much, I’m gonna give up Taco & Wiley. I’m too stressed out, I”m tired of living like a bum, always begging for money, for help, for one thing after another,” he pouted. “And I’m starving half to death all the time!”
It was then I noticed how well he was dressed today, and his hair so clean, falling in honey-brown wavelets that barely touched his shoulders. He had on a longish twill jacket in colorful, thick stripes, muted plaid shirt, fresh pair of Levi’s (the tag was still on) and some new Nikes.
“Cut it out, Deek,” I admonished,”You look great today, nice clothes and all cleaned up. ‘Oh poor me, my life is so miserable. What’s the point in living any more?’ Boo-hoo, boo-hoo. You survive amazingly well on the streets and always have enough food and other stuff well beyond what it takes to survive. You have SO much going for you, but especially your dogs. I think they’re the best thing to ever happen to you!”
“No, I can’t live this way any more, my heart is broken.”
“EVERYone’s heart is broken, Deek. That’s just life!” I exclaimed.
“Yeah, and I shared my dogs with you, and now I’m taking them away. That’s life too, accept it!” he smugly retorted.
“Oh is that, right, Deek. And if I beat the shit out of you for giving the dogs up, that’s life too. Accept it!”
“I told you many times I’ll be handing them over to my girlfriend soon. She’s been in jail four years, and now she’s gettin’ out.”
Yes he did tell me, but I neglected to remind him then and there, that since he’s said that (last time being over a month ago), he’s remarked several times he’s never gonna give them up, he loves them too much, he’d DIE if he ever lost them. I certainly failed big-time in THAT round of the debate! But partially recouped that loss by rebutting:
“How well do you really know her? Will she treat the dogs kindly? What if she doesn’t like them? Will she be living in a meth house?” I counted off. But he simply shrugged his shoulders. I resumed:
“I don’t know her, or her family you said she’ll be staying with. As far as I know, you’re making this up. God knows WHERE you’ll dump the dogs or WHO they’ll be with!”
“Maybe I’ll sell ’em, I need the money.”
“Are you kidding me, Deek? These are the sweetest, most wonderful dogs I’ve ever met, and you would betray them? Give ’em to me, then…I’ll figure something out.”
“I’ll NEVER give ’em to you, Zeke. I don’t know WHAT you do with them when they’re in your room.” (Here we go again.)
“I’m just very KIND to them, Deek.” Then I finally addressed something he said last night, that greatly concerns me: “PLEASE don’t get Wiley pregnant, that would be an awful thing to put her through.”
“I do as I want. Besides, whatever someone tells me to do, I do the opposite.”
“That’s CHILDish, Deek,” I admonished. Again, I lost another round…’cause I should’ve snarked back with: “If that’s the case, then let me say this: ‘Please give the doggies away to anyone but me!’“
But then, once more, I recouped the loss (and then some, this time around): “If you get Wiley impregnated, I’ll report you to the SPCA and they’ll take her and ALL your dogs away!”
“No, they wouldn’t do that,” he waved away my threat like an annoying mosquito. “They’d help birth the pups.”
“Wrong, Deek. They’d take them away and charge you with animal abuse, and you’d go to jail. It’s a federal offense! They’re not gonna let you get away with running a puppy mill on the streets!”
“You’d rat on me? Then you’re NOT a real friend at all!”
“You BET I’d rat on you…that’s a terrible SIN you’re proposing. And a REAL friend will ALWAYS confront you if he sees you headed in a bad direction…even if it costs him that friendship in so doing, because his friend doesn’t wanna hear it!”
“Well that does it Zeke, you’ll never see me or the dogs again!” And he firmly crossed his arms on his chest accompanied by a beastly scowl. (Yet even that does not detract one whit from his sublime and sculpted good looks.) “Get away from me, go aWAY!”
“I will NOT go away until I’ve had my say. You NEVER listen, it’s all about you and no one else, your spiteful stubbornness will come to no good end.”
“Go away, leave me alone, you’re giving me a headache!” he squealed unconvincingly.
“You DESERVE a headache! I’m your FRIEND, Deek, I’m trying to steer you away from going down a really bad road!”
“You don’t care about me, you just care about the dogs.”
“Not true at all, Deek. I care about BOTH you and the dogs. I’m concerned about your SOUL, and what God will do if you give up the dogs to a bad home! He’ll strike you down!”
“Go aWAY Zeke, this is my last warning!”
I noticed that all through this heated exchange, the doggos were as calm as could be, cool as a cucumber, sweet as a bing cherry, patient as a saint. “Doesn’t he realize how LUCKY he is to have such faithful companions?” I thought.
“Okay, Deek, I really want to leave on a positive note. So I give you my blessings, regardless.”
“Oh thank you so much, mother.”
“No, I mean it. You do so many wonderful things, but sometimes you do something horrible, VERY horrible. So it makes it DIFFICULT to commend you, when you also have such a cruel streak. But you know what else, Deek?”
“I’m all ears, mother.”
“God told me not to worry, the dogs will be fine, they won’t be taken away from me. In fact, if he has to, God will simply transport them back to my home, no matter where they are. Neither you nor anyone else on this planet will be able to take them from my world…or let them come to harm.” I paused, though still had more to say. Deek was staring up at the clouds with a pleading eye.
“And if it comes down to it and you DO make a move to get rid of them, God will stop you dead in your tracks and teach you a lesson you’ll NEVER forget. So I’m not worried at all, I do not allow anger to be the final outcome. You will see what I mean, if you are THAT foolish to try to sabotage my friendship with Taco and Wiley. All that God asks of me now is to not worry about a thing, or allow grief and anxiety to be my master.”
“Get the FUCK away from me, Zeke!”
“Fine. I’ve had my say.” I obliged, but first pet all three doggies with a kind hand before I departed.
Yet once I arrived hovel, I remembered that large can of dog food from Trader Joe’s that Deek had added to the bag of canine vittles (already stuffed with two large Ziplocs of kibble and five cans of gravy style dog food) I had given him four days ago. He asked me last night to take it back till morning, as he wanted to travel light for a few hours. I thought it would be fun to return so soon, just to irk him a bit more…so I donned my coat and acrylic watch cap once more, and stepped out. As I arrived at his corner, I saw a homeless woman who’s been here in the Castro for at least a decade: a bona fide Innuit from way, way up north! She’s actually pretty nice, but for some reason we never get around to talking, or even acknowledging each other. Be that as it may, I came up to Deek and the moment he saw me return, he started griping right in front of the Innuit at how thin Taco seems after staying with me. I just ignored all that, and said:
“One more thing: that Trader Joe’s dog food is the best canned dog food I’ve ever come across! They ate it up yesterday like there’s no tomorrow! The ingredients are all super healthy. I just wish I could order it online, but TJ’s is committed to brick and mortar.”
Then I spun around and marched back home, while plugging up my ears as he hollered from across half-a-street length:
“May as well stop buying stuff for the dogs, because they’re NEVER comin’ back, it’s all over! You’ll never lay eye on ’em again!”
Well, Tara, upon mulling over my frustrating conversification with Deek this morn, I feel ESPECIALLY glad I threatened him with reporting him to the SPCA, should he get Wiley impregnated. He KNOWS I mean it, and that will give him great pause. Though he said he does the opposite of what people tell him, I know it’s just to press my buttons. I don’t think he actually wants to test me on this.
When he introduced the pit bull to me last night, two witnesses showed up out of the blue, who stood quietly by. Homeless, of course. I didn’t even notice WHEN they showed up. But they DID hear my admonishments about making that sweet brindlekin pregnant (how it could kill her), that Lucky is no less loving than his new canine, and that adopting yet aNOTHER pooch is a bad idea. And four days ago I held a satirical and impromptu “sermon on the mount” speech amid a circle of street folks that included Deek.
In sum: Deek’s malicious attempts to pit his street buddies against me (often by inventing an argument right on the spot, when they’re present) have backfired. Just as he threatened me several months back, that he’d sic his new pal, Phillippino Jay, on me…that he’s already beaten up a few others to get them to stop stealing from his cart. But I knew better; Jay struck me as a good guy and, sure enough, one day he comes up to me and says: “Swamp Boy needs to respect you, you’re a good man.” (Swamp Boy BTW, is Deek’s nickname on the streets.) To my further annoyance, Deek has dragged an increasing number of vagrants to right outside my building, where he sometimes meets me after the Koheba shop closes. Though now I realize they pretty much see through him, and consider me a nice fellow. And I TOLD him that, this morning, how his trying to play them against me has BACKFIRED. This is a hopeful sign, since they now know who to bring the doggies to, should something bad happen to him, such as being arrested, going to jail, or (god forbid) dying on the streets. They might also grab the dogs away from him and bring them to me, if he starts to be abusive. I will certainly put the word out, should the opportunity arise to speak with any of them, to bring the doggies to me in such a crisis.
So let’s wrap this up, and conclude with a brief discussion of my theory I dub “Neopositivity,” and how it seems to be clearly affirming my suspicions via these extraordinary episodes now transforming my life. The suspicions being that there IS a god (in the sense of Universal Mind), and we are all watched over by what many call guardian angels. Though I believe it is more likely to be a different kind of manifestation, albeit just as effective and loving. But it suffices to call them angels, for the sake of simplicity, rather than getting into complex, esoteric analysis. I’ve already extrapolated this theory in my previous chapter, so I’ll reiterate in a briefer way, and in different words:
These guardians often play the role of tough taskmasters, hence create difficult, and often frightening, scenarios…that we may be challenged. And in confronting whatever challenge comes up–and figuring out how to overcome it in the most compassionate way possible–we become a better person for the lesson. These ethereal mentors also possess a robust sense of humor. Conclusion:
Deek is one of my guardians, playing the role of a homeless person who is also a drug addict. He is neither. But by acting out this character, he provides me with the glorious opportunity to play the hero. For the homeless…to be their savior so to speak. For all guardian angels bust their ovaries in making our most benevolent dreams and hopes come true…though the road that takes us there is populated with monsters and tragic pitfalls. Which, if viewed another way, are nothing more than opportunities to improve ourselves! They are NOT curses, they are GIFTS! Of the most valuable and transcendent kind.
So this is why Deek often behaves so onerously: that I may take up the challenge and find the most compassionate way through it. But he also loves to press my buttons because humor. He relishes to witness me go into a panic over his latest scheme! But now that I have caught on, I do NOT panic any more. Therefore, this morning’s shocking rant of his was simply playing another move on the gameboard. He has NO intention on giving up the dogs, and EVERY intention of offering them up to me as a gift of devoted camaraderie. It’s kinda like a surprise party, where some of the secret planners start behaving rudely or evasive to the birthday boy or girl…just to make the surprise that much sweeter. I once thought about two weeks ago, that if Deek ever asks me what I’d like for Exmass, I’d tell him: “to spend Exmass Eve with Taco & Wiley.” I never told him that, but, lo and behold, there he was on Exmass Eve, after making me think he would not be back later that day. And asks if I could watch the brindlecurs that night! And so I did, and had a beautiful Eve and Exmass day, because of their charming company.
Deek has also been mocking me now and then, over my activism, calling me a phony, a hypocrite and a deceiver. But that is also a subtlely humorous accusation because, if he is indeed an angel, what does that imply about all of the OTHER houseless? So here I am, thinking my dedication to help them is the bee’s knees…while all along they live these secret, amazing lives as higher beings that pretend to be otherwise in the eyes of humanity. For the sake of guiding our rebirth into a better realm, like emerging from a cocoon…or the blossoming of a lotus.
Thanks to the amazing events now unfolding in my world, and at such a rapid pace, I am CONFIDENT I’m correct in my angelic assumption. Which confidence I’ve already conveyed to Deek this morning, in spite of his continuing to behave like an idiot…and a very SCARY idiot at that. But I’m not frightened any more, no, not in the least. In fact, I am most GRATEFUL for his incredible labor of love, that I may grow wings. His probable LAST challenge to me forevermore, was to scheme up something that might TRULY agrieve me: adopting yet another dog (and a pit bull at that) and telling me he’s gonna get Wiley pregnant. I don’t know where he got that third dog from, but it’s just another stage prop for the final act of the “Fuck with Zeke” off-off-off-broadway play.
Meher Baba was famous for that deceptively simple saying: “Don’t worry, be happy!” And ya know what, Tara? He was one hundred percent spot on. All the world’s a stage…in the most literal meaning of that word!
FINALLY! I’ve reached the end of this tale, and it is now 10:30 PM. I’ve been hacking away at my keyboard ALL DAY LONG.
I haven’t received a response from my neighbor down the hallway, yet, regarding those Skellington videos. But I think he’ll greatly appreciate them, for now he can be with his beloved papillon anywhere and at any time, through a smartphone. They look fantastic on that medium, BTW!
Also, I listened to Marshall’s show last night, remarkable as always. But by the time I reached the four-hour mark and I needed to hit the hay, I had yet to hear my tales. Hopefully, as I listen further this eve (after the podcast is made available), they’ll be there. But if not, no worries, I’ll take it in stride and vie for another chance to be on the airwaves in the kingdom of Ft. Bragg.
Isn’t it astounding that you’ve become a significant part of THIS novel, too? Besides which: you are every bit my muse, as are the brindlekin. And a most EXCELLENT sounding board and confidante for my authorial penchant.
Your crazy friend,
PS: I just finished listening to Marshall’s latest podcast, and nowhere did he read or play any of my tales. I have a hunch he may be infuriated by my spiritual extrapolations in my latest tales…three of which I asked him to read in lieu of Skeptical Crow’s narration of my spooky two tales. I probably come off to a lot of people as maniacally gung-ho over angelic nonsense. But even if I’m completely off my nut, they sure do make for a fantastic ride for the readers lucky enough to stumble upon my prose (but not through it, I hope)! I guess Marshall thinks I’ve morphed into another Alvin Waak!
Subject: Wiley Peed on my Fascist Neighbor’s Door! (I’ll keep this short) From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: December 27, 2020, 03:13 PM
Deek showed up this morning around 9:30 with the canine trio, this time parked right across the street and facing both my apartment building and the Koheba smoke shop. The dogs’ three leashes were lashed together at the end…but they didn’t seem to mind. Instead, they played merrily together, feigning vicious attacks with harmless bites, pounces and arfs. But Deek exclaimed:
“Look how they’re fighting! They’re not getting along together, and you did that to them!”
I queried: “Did you just call me out here to complain, ’cause I got a ton of work to do.”
“Oh, you don’t do nothin’ but hang in your dumb room and watch TV all day,” he mocked.
I chose to ignore any and all of his insults and threats, which were beyond counting…realizing now that he is an angel testing my emotional level for stability. But I sure was bored, listening to his ridiculous, wicked accusations. This went on for almost twenty minutes before he asked me to take the two brindlekin home for awhile:
“I don’t know what to do. Wiley & Taco are not the dogs they used to be, since you got your hands on them! I’m gonna have to give one of ’em up, maybe Blue. The only reason I’m askin’ you is I have no other choice, and I need to get some things done.”
So I finally unglued myself and the two brindlepups from his tar-baby spell, and proceeded on hovel with Taco bearing down on my pants cuff with sharp little teeth and growls of conquest (making it difficult for me to perambulate properly across Market Street, but I managed like all good crips). Wiley lead the pack on stretched leash, eager to return once more to her little plot of heaven on earth.
In consideration of the manager’s recent Grinch-ian warning, I did not unlatch the pooches till we all arrived on the first landing. Then, as per their usual prelude to entering my monk’s cell of a room, they dashed like brindlebats from hell, up the remaining steps and through the trifurcated hallway on the second floor. I love the sound of their pudgy paws lightly pounding through the carpeted corridor: staccato drumbeats of joy!
Upon arriving last to my floor, I saw Taco come scampering out from the right-branching hallway that contains the shared restroom…but no Wiley!
“Uh-oh,” I thought, “Is she taking a poop there again?” She had done so once before, but it was an easy cleanup thanks to the dry, solid nature of her “gift.”
But I WAS worried, because loose stools are sometimes on their agenda. So I rushed off to find her at the end of that hallway and, yes, hunkered down in front of another resident’s doorway, taking a dump! She looked at me with hopeful eyes; I don’t know what for. But I was nonetheless pleased to discover the kind of firm, well-packed deposit that is easy to pick up and doesn’t leave a trace: every dog-owner’s dream come true!
“What a considerate little mutt!” I thought in endless gratitude.
As I crouched down with a poop bag and quickly eliminated the evidence, the doggies romped on down to the main hallway.
When I stepped around the corner, to my surprise, there was Wiley crouched down again, only this time to pee. By the time I ran up to her, she was done. But it was barely a tablespoon or two of urine, much to my relief. Right along Moe’s doorway, of all places! I quickly rushed to my room to get some paper towels…but in spite of a speedy return, it had already been absorbed into the carpet’s edge. Though since that section was already dusty and darkened by years of wear, you couldn’t see any sign of the crime. So, as the great Alfred E. Neuman always likes to say: “What, me worry?” Besides:
Moe has a little doggie of his own.
Subject: Asking of you a BIG favor, Chuck! From: Zeke Krahlin To: Chuck Kapinski Bcc: Tara Roosevelt Date: December 27, 2020, 07:49 PM
In the event the building manager should tell me I can’t have the dogs over any more, I will remind him that other SRO inhabitants have adopted a doggie, with no conflict from the landlord, or any previous manager. In fact, one manager from back in the nineties, Arnold Wexler, allowed a young woman to keep THREE pit bulls in her single room, for a time! It’s really important to me, to help Deek out whenever he needs a break from the doggies or has to go somewhere where they’re not allowed…as well as to give them shelter on especially cold nights, or it’s raining. They are adorable little mutts, and are totally quiet when staying with me. Never any problem! So here’s what I’m asking:
Email me a statement that you lived there for such-and-such number of years, and know of at least two SRO occupants who owned little dogs in that building. If you know of any more, of course, please include them as well. (If you can only remember just one, that’s fine too.) Post the email to me, with the top line being:
“To Kevin Bond, present manager of 2306 Market Street, SF:”
Followed by the body of your text. I will save your post for any possible future need regarding these precious pups, and management. Thanks much, Chuck. If you don’t care to do this, that’s okay, too. To quote Einstein: “Vere dere’s a vill dere’s a vay. Arf arf!”
[The original title was going to be: “What I Neglected to Mention, Now Revealed.” But something new has just entered the mix, so I changed it to the title you now see, and for darned good reason. Which reason will become apparent at the end of this tale. So bear with me; you will be greatly rewarded.]
WHAT I NEGLECTED TO MENTION, NOW REVEALED
In my desire to wrap up my previous tale, “I Should Kick Him in the Ass!” I left out some really important issues. Not that I did so intentionally, but they chose to conceal themselves in a rarely visited corner of my mind until some time later, when they kicked into action. They started gnawing at me the next day, which is today, Exmass Eve. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate, than revealing to you now, these additional revelations.
At first, he demanded the jackets be removed. But I reminded Deek that I EARN these donations…and that it’s friggin’ cold tonight. and he should care more about the pups’ well-being, than his own pride. Well, he mumbled something which I couldn’t translate, but he softened up in a few moments, without so much as a whimper. Thus, the jackets remained securely in place. Good thing, too, because it would’ve killed me to unbind them from my beloved four-legged brindlefriends, knowing how they’d suffer. I would’ve rebelled and started a revolution, before ever doing that…with Deek the first casualty.
SIDEBAR: The first jackets received were too small. My fault, because correctly measuring for a dog’s jacket is new to me…or perhaps the seller’s instructions were skewed. So I rectified that by making an exchange through another resident, whose dachshund slipped into them perfectly. So she purchased for me, on Amazon, the next largest size. They arrived three days later and suited Taco & Wiley to a T.
He griped about the dogs being sluggish after leaving my hovel: “They don’t play or run around for two or three days after visiting you! Not a frisky bone in their body! It’s like you wore them out, running them through the hallways like that!”
“Cut it out, Deek,” I rebounded. “All they mostly do is sleep in the lap of luxury when they’re with me. And they run through my hallway two or three times a day, for less than three minutes. Maybe it’s the shock of returning to the cold night air and having to lie down on concrete most of the time. We’ve been having an unusually long cold snap, in case you haven’t noticed. It’s forty-three fuckin’ degrees right now!”
Then he abruptly switched to yet another faux complaint: “Wiley seems fine, but Taco is definitely skinnier since I left him with you…his ribs are sticking out! He gets fat again in two or three days when he’s with me.”
“No he doesn’t; he looks perfectly fine all the time, whether he’s with you or with me. He doesn’t get fat OR skinny. You just love to argue. You make things up, you lie…just so you can press my buttons. It’s like sport for you, and I’m the punching bag!”
With furrowed brow, Deek gazed directly into my covid-19 bandanna (last night’s was camouflage, of which I have several variations, one heavier on the brown spectrum, one on the blue, and another on the red; plus a TON of the paisley theme in a multitude of colors: this pandemic has brought out the fashionable dandy in me): “Why would I lie? What REASON would I have?”
“Because you’re an asshole?” I thought, but did NOT vocalize.
Deek again brought up his long-running argument that in no way should I ever write about him and his dogs. He kept it up, so I declared I’m gonna put HUGE photos of him and the pups on billboards across the nation. And on flying banners just below the clouds, and through them. And read my Brindlekin Tales across the airwaves…especially on Fox News and all its myriad affiliates. And drop billions of leaflets from the skies across the planet, with his picture on them, his present location, and a different little “Taco & Wiley” blurb on each one…translated into all the many different tongues spoken here on earth. Maybe even Latin, for the classical brainiacs among us. He rather appreciated my embellished retort ’cause he could hardly keep from busting out in laughter. At least, it appeared that way to me…though it could have been an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, or a fragment of underdone potato. God only knows WHAT the dumpsters offer up to homeless people around the Jolly Season!
But he DID make this one, interesting (though more than reasonable) stipulation whereby he’d ACCEPT someone profiting from his life with the doggies:
“I wanna see the money!” he blurted out after my grandiose proposal. “And lots of it! Lots and lots of it!”
“No, I’m NOT writing about you or the dogs, Deek!” I reiterated for the umpteenth time. “But you’re going to benefit immensely, regardless. Because it is YOU who brought me these sweet angels, who in turn brought ME a blessed revelation thanks to their gentle, sweet spirit of pure love, joy, and understanding of how the simple kindness of a furry ball of pure goodness can work tremendous achievements on one’s soul…and destiny.”
I closed My Paean Of Praise thusly: “So stop imagining things that are never gonna happen, that cause you to make blatantly FALSE accusations!”
“Okay,” he said, and nothing more, as I ended our visit and departed back hovel, where my latest (and extraordinary) work-in-progress was calling to me like a lover from Mount Olympus stirring feverishly with lust for yours truly (and yours truly alone) right there on the fainting couch.
I suspect that Deek is actually one of my guardian angels, playing out his role to move me along in a proper fashion. Which in his case is to hurl at my feet one difficult challenge after another…that I become a better person by overcoming each one through compassionate means. But not without a sense of humor, either! For if I’m correct in this conjecture, he definitely knows I’m writing all about him and the pooches, in spite of my convincing reassurance that I am not. IOW: he’s having a lark of a time with me, putting me on the spot so often. But the really good thing about this is that Taco and Wiley are perfectly safe and warm through it all, being as they are, the charges of a loving entity called “Deek” on this earthly plane. And, as you can imagine, my anxieties over them have, for the most part, dissipated.
The greatest thing about this remarkable insight, is that Deek most likely is NOT an addict OR homeless…that it’s simply part of the guise, a character he’s playing, rather than his true self. What he does when he’s out of my range, I can’t imagine. Well, I can, but too many possibilities to waste my time over.
He also rambled on about hanging with “his people” for a few days, who live outside the city limits. Which gave me the impression he was on his way now, and only stopped by to pick up an advance on his allowance. But hours later he was still nearby, hunkering down here in the Castro, and just around the corner from me.
I came back a second time, within scant minutes of that hilarious rendezvous I just recounted, because the Angel of Inspiration goaded me. To tell him my upcoming success is not my doing, but that of God’s. And how many other people will likewise be elevated…as indeed some already are at this very moment, including my own fortunate self.
“I’m not crazy, Deek, this is really happening,” I concluded and prepared to depart once more. “You’ll know soon enough that what I say is true, because YOUR time is just around the corner.”
“See ya later, alligator!” Deek called to me as I crossed Market Street.
“In a while, crocodile.”
As I’m writing this piece now, Exmass Eve morning, it suddenly occurred to me to take a snapshot of where he and doggies camped out last night. It was only 9:15 AM, so surely they’d still be hunkered down beneath their makeshift shelter. But just in case they were up, or at least Deek was, I invented this excuse before exiting my building:
I’d conceal my smartphone and offer to buy him a large cup of coffee from Rosenberg’s. Apologizing for not bringing him his favorite hot beverage (blueberry tea), because I ran out of honey. True enough, because I really DID run out of honey two days ago, and forgot to buy more.
Well, turns out I needn’t have worried, because, yes indeed, their Exmass camp-out was still there, and all parties concerned were safely concealed and, hopefully, warm as toast or reasonably so. Seeing as BOTH brindlekin had their jackets, and a blanket to share. Here are two pics:
Almost two hours had passed before I stepped out to check up on My Trio again…this time to sincerely wish Deek a Merry Christmas, and offer to buy him coffee and a snack or two. But they weren’t around…the area where they had parked for the night was spotless, as if no one had ever camped there in the first place! “Hmm, they might be somewhere nearby, Zeke, don’t give up YET,” I thought, and decided to first head up Market to Castro. As I approached, I saw a small gathering of street people huddled together right outside of Subway and the Chevron gas station. Their small piles of possessions were cast along the curb, and lo and behold, rising above all was Deek’s shopping cart magic bag of goodies, and Wiley & Taco leashed to it, dancing on their hind feet in merry “woofs” at my arrival! I stooped down to receive their sweet attention, which I returned in kind.
At first I couldn’t spot Deek, but then saw him seated along the inner curb that defined a narrow garden separating gas station from sidewalk. He was surrounded by six others, all sharing burritos, subway sandwiches, coffee, soda, and many other snacks and goodies. As I rose, he spotted me:
“Hey, Zeke, whaddup?”
“Oh, I just dropped by to wish you Merry Christmas again,” I called from where I stood, by the cart. Then I stepped forward and right outside the circle of pilgrims.
“All people are assholes,” I declared.
I heard someone chuckle and say, “Boy ain’t THAT the truth!” Looking down towards where the voice arose, I saw a scraggly bearded fellow seated on the concrete near my feet. He had long, dirty-blond hair and wore loose garments cloaked in a striped serape. I grinned back as he noshed on a bulging, steaming hot half-slice of pita bread stuffed with savories.
“No human being is capable of giving the kind of love we all really need,” I continued, speaking over the suddenly attentive pack of vagrants. “Only the sweetness of a dog can do that. Humans are too complicated for such unconditional devotion. No matter how good you are, how long you’ve walked the path of truth in God’s love, you’ll fuck up EVERYthing in the long run.”
By now, Deek was beaming brightly, soaking up my words like the rays of the sun. I tilted my face towards him, and anointed his soul with these Exmassy words:
“So I thank you, Deek, from the bottom of my heart, for bringing Taco & Wiley into my life. They have changed EVERYthing for me…and definitely for the better! I have a ton of phone calls to make over the next two or three hours, about getting my stories out there; as well as some other important matters to discuss. It’s all good, and to my immense benefit, as well as yours. Now I wanna spend a few minutes with the pooches, to wish them a Merry Christmas, too.”
Deek seemed to take all this in stride, unlike his usual, ornery self he presents to me. “Sure, go ahead. They’re dying to see you.”
Wish I had my smartphone, then, to take some pics and a video or two. Because the soft-green nylon shell of the sleeping bag on which the dogs played, reflected pleasingly in the sunlight, mixed as it was with a low pile of jackets and sweaters in deep shades of blue, maroon and black. They climbed over each other repeatedly, vying to get closer in my arms than is physically possible. The tail wags, the growls of affection, love-bites between their little jaws, the rush to slobber all over my face: I was awash in God’s love, and overjoyed to see they still had jackets on. I touched their bodies to discover they were cozily warm, even their uncovered parts such as their floppy ears and chunky little legs. What a relief to know this!
I still had something else to say to Deek, so I stood up and looked at him, until he noticed. He waved me over, so I entered an opening in the circle, bent down halfway over him, and softly spoke these words:
“I want to tell you something, but I don’t want others to hear, as they might not understand. Nothing personal, though.” He nodded okay, so I continued:
“As I said last night, a lot of good things are gonna soon happen in this world, to all the good people in it…and of course, you’re part of it. One thing they told me…and I don’t mean I actually see or hear them, it’s just a strong “knowing” in my heart…is not to worry about Taco & Wiley. They will be perfectly fine forever, and always be with you. They will suffer no disease or other mishaps to destroy our bond with them. But in everything else, as well, we need not worry, ever again. Everything’s gonna work out fabulously for you, for me, and for millions of other people.”
I then paused, wondering if there’s something I forgot to divulge. No, there didn’t seem to be, so I concluded with:
“And that’s my Christmas gift to you…sharing this knowledge.”
He thanked me several times over as I stood and walked away, but not before giving the brindlekin a few more hugs and kisses.
Re: Run-in with the building manager…not very nice. From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: December 24, 4:39 PM
A “gay” dog jacket. Now I’ve heard everything.
He’s just pressing my buttons. That’s all he’s been doing all along. The rascal.
Shouldn’t take long for it to enter the language and become indispensable!!!
Your precognitive take on the matter is most appreciated. Happy Brindlekin Fest, by the way! It’s tomorrow; I just decided that, and so it is. They’ll probably shorten it to “Brindlefest.” I have no control over the Fates. DOWN WITH SHITMAS, UP WITH DOGGY WORSHIP!
PS: I just inserted the N in your “eter” typo. I feel so ashamed for you, Tara. What happened to my literary hero? She was here a moment ago!
Re: Run-in with the building manager…not very nice. From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: December 24, 5:27 PM
That was typed by my half-witted hunchbacked assistant, who shall now receive a sound beating for that egregiously execrable error!!!
I always wondered why you partnered with Erwin; now I know.
Subject: HOLD THE PRESSES if at all possible From: Zeke Krahlin To: Marshall McGee Date: December 24, 6:55 PM
I have an incredible, TRUE Exmass tale I’m in the middle of composing, and hope to complete within a few hours from now. It is actually the second part of a two-part piece…and the reading of it should take no more time than playing Curious Raven’s video. I will post to you the finished result ASAP, including the text version.
If you cannot, or do not want to, change your scripted plan, that’s perfectly fine with me. However, it IS Exmass Eve, and my piece is a PERFECT modern-day Exmass tale.
Re: One of the best paragraphs I’ve ever written From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date:December 24, 9:12 PM
Gotcher mojo workin’!
So much fun inserting that famous Dickens passage. The second time I’ve done so, as well! Can’t remember WHICH tale that was in, and it was a paraphrase, a modernization of that quote…and very vegan. Ah, found it by searching for “tomacco” (I knew it was part of the paraphrase) in my Gay Bible “/write” folder. I’m having a vision where I’m chewing the fat with Jehovah:
“I don’t even think YOU really exist. You could simply be a figment of my imagination, a manifestation of another dream vision…an undigested bit of tofu, a blot of Veganaise, a crumb of rice cake, a fragment of underdone tomacco.”
It’s an unfinished chapter in my unfinished novel, “Friendly Ghost Detective Agency.” I SHALL eventually complete it.
So another dream came true for me: that I would spend Exmass Eve with Deek’s little brindlemutts. Not that it was at the front of my mind, but something I thought a week or so ago: “If Deek ever asks me what I want for Exmass, I’d tell him ‘to spend Christmas Eve with the doggies.'” (He never did ask, so I never did tell.) Now, I didn’t think I’d see Deek and crew tonight, so it was really a nice surprise when he showed up again and asked if I’d like to have them over. Here’s what I think is going on, based on my self-made philosophy of “NeoPositivity:”
Deek is one of my guardian spirits, who plays somewhat of an antagonist’s role…often convoluting a simple situation into a complex disaster. This challenges me to figure out how to unravel the knot. So, as a clairaudient higher life form (maybe even from another planet; he sure acts like it), he also knows exactly what my wishes are. Thus, he offered up the doggies tonight, not on a mundane friendship level, but playing out a bit of a drama first…never (god forbid) saying how much he appreciates my devotion, and wants me to enjoy their company on this blessed night. Now having said this, I’ve just completed my latest tale…having stepped out at times to discover what I am to write down next. It’s about what happened last night and into the following day, ending with this missive. Here it is:
Subject: Did you hear Marshall McGee’s reading of my tale? From: Zeke Krahlin To: Tara Roosevelt Date: Today 19:06
It’s amazing! Subtle hilarious touches both before and after the narration, especially at the end, where he says he’ll play Curious Raven’s 20-minute reading of my horror stories, “Skin in the Box” and “The Screaming Machete,” on Xmas day. His final words being: “Perfect. For Christmas, I think.”
MY SCARY TALES ARE GONNA BE READ ON XMAS DAY! My anti-Xmas wishes are coming true! All hail Satan…or is it the hypnotoad I should thank?
Subject: Re: Did you hear Marshall McGee’s reading of my tale? From: Tara Roosevelt To: Zeke Krahlin Date: Today 22:00
Haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but I will!!!
It is not my intent to pressure you, or disrupt you from your own busy schedule, Tara. You are the excellent sister I have never had, so I am, of course, terribly eager to share with you, my present, amazing turn in life. So no problem if you don’t get around to anything I bring up…just save me to your Zeke folder, if you’re not already, for future perusal. But I also know how fascinating is my creative explosion, thus I would never DREAM of denying you the awesome privilege to likewise be gobsmacked. After all, it is YOU who have been my greatest champion through all these difficult years of mine. Fuck my brother, Vance!
In fact, it is your absolute right and PRIVILEGE to witness the success of your compassionate acts for my sake (including encouraging me to use your real name in my very first publication, “Free Me From This Bond“). I am, in no small sum, one of the awesome results of the fruits of YOUR labor. For in this world, no one makes it alone. As Hillary Clinton once said: “It takes a village.” Though I imagine the Vikings of yore would more likely declare: “It takes a pillage.”
At any rate, I truly cherish how our association is so much like the Platonic friendships between women and men, that were so greatly admired and advocated in the Victorian Era. And for that reason alone, I much appreciate the care you take to NOT expose your ankles while in my presence!
> MY SCARY TALES ARE GONNA BE READ ON XMAS DAY! My anti-Xmas wishes are coming true! All hail Satan…or is it the hypnotoad I should thank?
Yes, snortingly hilarious indeed. I conjecture at this point in my life, that there IS a god…in the sense of Universal Mind. I can no longer question that, due to the extraordinary level of synchronicity now so obviously readjusting every level of my life into a most incredible destiny. To the point where I could simply LAY BACK AND DO NOTHING, and it would all STILL fall into place with just as impressive an outcome. Though of course I won’t feel that way, once the experimental medications wear off, and I descend into a post-Algernon miasma. “Enjoy it while it lasts,” I always say! Hmm, that’s a lie, that’s not me at all, to make such a hackneyed remark. Most definitely, I am NOT a new-age clown! But the profound implications of what I am experiencing, lead me to conclude:
1) That my theory of an illusory world behind which an angelic force guides all of us is true. And, if so, all the worst things that have been recorded in our history, never really happened. Likewise for all the worst things NOW going on. I have discussed this previously, in various essays. One such piece is even featured as an embellished link on my Gay Bible’s home page, entitled: “Neopositivity: a Gay Religion (and Heart of the Final Testament):”
I wrote that way back in the year 2000! But there are other tales and essays in which I’ve explored this stunning (though some would say “arrogant”) concept, mostly in a humorous guise. Here are five such tales, and they ARE delightful, if I say so myself:
2) That many of my fantastic tales have a clear ring of truth to them, whether I intended so or not…some of which are bound by prescience to manifest in this world. Obviously, they’ve already begun.
3) That Taco, Wiley and Deek will be perfectly fine in the long run; I need not worry at all. Deek is simply playing a role as a most difficult friend, that I may grow further in spirit by accepting his challenges. “EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE JUST FINE, ZEKE! LIGHTEN UP!” screams a little birdie in my ear (perhaps it’s a vampire bat, or a real vampire, or a brain slug: I can’t be sure).
4) I am not the world’s savior by any means (no one is, individually)…but I DO number among the gifted people in our world, and in our history, who is destined to have a major impact on this planet, of the most beneficial sort.
4) That there are people guiding me towards a great future, most unbeknownst to me, and some known, such as your VERY gracious self! And they often convey some rather frightening perspectives on life…not to be wicked by any means, but that they are my mentors. (Quoting the Buddha: “We have no enemies, only teachers.”) And thus tell me whatever I need to hear, whether scary or glad, that will keep me on the right path, designed to set me hurtling into the brightness of a New Day, ASAP. But never TOO fast, that I don’t fully learn a particular lesson at any given time. Furthermore: they will never reveal this truth to me before my “awakening.” But once I reach that momentous apogee, all my suspicions about what I just typed above (especially #1), will be triumphantly affirmed. And, just like a surprise party that one should not know about, but always does…I will do my best to act surprised. Or not. In which case I’ll just say “Meh!” and demand a good cup of coffee and a decent home in which to enjoy that robust, roasted bean gusto, and have all my friends over…with Taco and Wiley the guests of honor. And I suppose, Deek as well. Just that, at this time he remains obnoxious, frightening and dope sick. Though I trust this side of him will dissipate in a short time from now.
5) That those so guiding me, who are my guardians, have taken down everything I’ve written, spoken, or even thought, throughout my entire life…and have been long prepared to publish the tomes thereof…without my so much as lifting a pinky.
Okay, end of reverie and back down to earth now:
I am looking into trademarking the word “Brindlekin,” and parking these sites: brindlekin.com, brindlekin.org and brindlekin.net. And possibly: brindlekin-tales.com, brindlekin-tales.org and brindlekin-tales.net. Not to mention all the variations of my name, which are: Ezekiel Joseph Krahlin, Ezekiel J. Krahlin, Ezekiel Krahlin, Zeke Krahlin, Eugene Frank Catalano, Eugene F. Catalano, Gene Catalano…and, most important of all: Jehovah’s Queer Witness.
Of course, these expenses are way beyond THIS humble pilgrim right now, and in the foreseeable future. As a consequence, I trust my guardians to preserve my trademark AND those domains for my sake; as I shall forge onward with my piddling income, in good faith that no one person or group of persons, nor any corporation, government, religious institution or any other powerful entity shall pull the rug from under my feet at any time, and for all eternity. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?
Hmm, this stinks of Mafia redolence. Must be the Catalano in me.