Fed Up with FedEx

July 30, 2017

Created at:Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 5:45 AM (Delivered after 0 seconds)
From: US Micro Corp – Amazon Marketplace
To: Zeke Krahlin
Subject:
RE: Order delivery inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)

————- Customer message:

FedEx is giving me a hard time.

On Friday, they attempted their second delivery. I was home to receive the item, but they did not buzz my apartment number. I went downstairs to get some air, to discover they left a receipt! So I contacted FedEx’s customer service, asking them to send it instead to a local FedEx office. They said the only way they could do this, is if the seller indicated the changed address. I don’t get it, as I have proof that I am the intended recipient. I don’t know how you arrange change of shipment address, I’ve never been a seller.

————- Reply message:

We would be happy to assist you with this. Please call us for further assistance as that is the quickest way to address any issues with an order/item. Our customer support team would be happy to help you when you call. We can be reached at 855-876-4276 Monday – Friday 8A-4P EST. Please call us during these hours and we would be happy to assist you. We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you,
US Micro Corp


Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:18:16
Subject:
Re: Fwd: Order delivery inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 12:32 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

{{ Jesus. You’d think the FedEx delivery person could PHONE you and say, “Come on down.” I mean, they always ask for your phone number. Why not use it?? }}

The dirty little secret about these major delivery services, is they
really don’t want to bother with residential customers…their profits
are mostly from businesses that always have someone there, to receive the package. This happened to me once before, three years ago. The item’s value was $59. The delivery person never bothered to buzz me, after the first attempt. I wasted two whole days staying in my little SRO!

It got shipped back, so the seller reimbursed me…but I never got my money refunded. Because they go through Amazon…which sent me an email about a week later, saying that I have received my refund in full. Yet /no/ deposit showed up in my bank account records. And there is no link, no forum, no recourse whatsoever, to inform Amazon that they did /not/ reimburse my loss.

So they talk a big talk over how well they protect the customer, but
when push comes to shove, they do /not/.

I went to a FedEx office downtown, and told them I’m afraid I won’t get my package, so I’d like to have them leave it at a local branch, for me to pick up. They guy was nice enough, told me to call their 1-800 number, and they’ll arrange it. So I thanked him and stepped out…four blocks distant, it hit me:

“Why didn’t he just offer to set things up for me, right there…it
/is/ a FedEx outlet after all!”

I called customer service when I got home, but it was all automated voice recognition, which options did not apply to my dilemma…and I could not come up with any combination of words to reach an authentic, non-replicant human being. Yet somehow, some way, just before I was about to hang up, a real live agent spoke (or at least I think so, you never know these days):

“Hello, this is Enrico, how may I help you?”

He explained that to make this change of address, I’d need to get the seller’s signed permission first. What? They don’t just keep the package at a local station for a few days or so, that the customer may get it there? That’s what the USPS does. (Besides, this is /not/ really a COA request.) So here’s how it’s probably gonna go down:

I’ll call the seller, and they’ll offer to reimburse me. But I’ll say:
“Then I may as well kiss my $188 goodbye!” And explain to them that
this happened to me once before, and the refund never arrived, in
spite of Amazon’s claim that it did. And I had no recourse to register
my complaint.

I doubt they’ll offer to reship via USPS, even though I’m willing
to pay the fee. Because it all goes through Amazon, and they have
things semi-automated re. which delivery service they use. They can’t
step outside of the Amazon circle, to accommodate any customer.

And I’ll also be out of another $35 for the extra battery I ordered,
and the keyboard skin.

Well, online purchasing is a rich person’s game, and these services
never expect to deal with low income people. I shoulda learned my
lesson the first time around, and stopped buying through the Internet
when Amazon stole my $59. But I have gotten excellent deals on
computers and accessories online, that I can’t possibly find here in
SF. And not having a car, I can’t drive out to stores like Fry’s in
the East Bay, and other hi-tech outlets that offer excellent bargains.
Taking public transit is out of the question…I tried it once, and I
have to transfer twice, then walk almost a mile. Takes all friggin’
day, and carrying a package that announces “laptop” all over it, makes
me vulnerable to getting mugged. Standing around in unfamiliar
territory, waiting for a bus that may or may not come, does not suit
me.

I also found great gifts to get Larkin and my other friends, online.
This really sucks!


Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:27:35
Subject:
Re: Fwd: Order delivery inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Furthermore:

They were supposed to make a third (and final) delivery attempt on Saturday. But since I didn’t wanna hang out god-knows-how-long in my room, not knowing if they’ll buzz me or not, I ignored it and went to my usual coffeehouses to get online. Once I got home, there was no receipt showing delivery attempt in the lobby, nor was there any message on my answering machine! (AT&T will have to pry that land line out of my cold, dead fingers, FYI.)

Oh, and their receipt doesn’t provide a space to check off to just leave
it in the lobby. I went to their web site and registered, in hopes I can do something there. Well, you can’t change the delivery address unless you’re the seller! There is /nothing/ provided to clear up the situation they put me in…and I’m sure I’m not the first person this has happened to. Now they have my debit card number. What BS. I’m gonna unsubscribe now.

As for ordering online elsewhere: fuggedaboudit. I’d have to see
whether or not they use FedEx, blah blah blah. I’m pissed.


Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:31:03
Subject:
Re: Fwd: Order delivery inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 1:26 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

{{ They’re also getting famous for just leaving packages on doorsteps, etc. They can get away with that up here, but in the city, POOF! It’s ripped off. }}

Our building manager told me they sometimes /do/ leave packages
sitting right outside the front gate. Can you believe that…smack dab in the middle of a highly trafficked artery! But I don’t think any of these
major delivery outfits are any good. I’ve had headaches with USPS and
UPS, too.

Amazon is run by right-wingers and libertarians, so it’s just as well.
Good riddance to ’em all!


Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:35:49
Subject:
A happy ending!
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Listen with your own ears: click here.

(Answering machine message from FedEx headquarters in San Mateo basically says they have my package, and offered to ship it to a local branch for pick-up.)


Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 22:06:27
Subject:
Unbelievable! They forgot to include the power supply.
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Love my new refurbished system, but…

Now I gotta deal with FedEx delivery BS all over again. So it’ll be at
least a week (prolly 10 days) before I can even use the Lenovo x230.
This is torture, I should report the incident to Homoland Security.


Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 22:49:54
Subject:
Re: Unbelievable! They forgot to include the power supply.
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 10:09 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

{{ Oh, fer chrissake. }}

Checking out that FedEx station near my SRO residency, while browsing the web, I was glad to learn they’re open until 11 PM. (Hurrah! I would not have to wait until tomorrow morning!) So I waited until 8:30, to avoid a long line. Wondering along the way if it will actually be there, or if I’ll have to go through more bullshit…maybe they shipped it back to the seller instead.

“Dammit,” I grumbled through the opposing flow of pedestrians, “That’s supposed to be the laptop I’ll be using when I skyrocket to fame!”

Once I stepped inside 1967 Market, I was pleased to see only one other customer, already closing his transaction with the Gyro-Gearloose-looking cashier. But then he started asking generalized information about their other services, after the employee handed him back his ID card, with the receipt. This went on for several minutes, during which time I grew impatient, and a little voice in my head echoed:

“You should start pounding your chest and screaming your lungs raw, for god’s sake!”

But I sensibly thought better of it, now that I was so close to (possibly? probably?) receiving My Elusive Holy Grail X230. The inconsiderate customer (whom I was glaring at like a gypsy’s evil eye) finally picked up his items and waddled into the gray twilight. My own transaction went smooth as a greased baby’s bum on a downsloping monorail track.

I was tickled pink to receive the carton, and opened it to insert the
notebook in my backpack, then departed with the box. As I marched
back hovel, it struck me square in the balls:

“Hey wait a minute, I didn’t see the AC adapter!”

Then I started to chuckle:

“C’mon, Zeke, you’re just suffering residual anxiety from this FedEx fiasco. It’s most likely somewhere in this box, taped to a cardboard flap or something. You’ll find it when you get home, no point in stopping now to check it out.”

I figured that’s indeed the case, thinking how absurd it would be to throw such a monkey wrench into the works at this point. Tossing the now-lightweight carton onto my bed, I removed my jacket and hat, peed down the hallway, then returned to reopen the package. I was in disbelief to discover the adapter was nowhere to be found. I felt like a sucker.

Somewhere in hell, a devil is laughing.


Created at: Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 7:18 AM (Delivered after 1 seconds)
From: US Micro Corp – Amazon Marketplace
To: Zeke Krahlin
Subject:
RE: Inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)

————- Customer message:

NO POWER SUPPLY! Finally, after much wrangling with FedEx (who claimed to have made 3 delivery attempts, but never bothered to buzz my apartment whenever they showed up), I got the item today, July 27. Very very nice, but sadly, you neglected to include the power supply!

————- Reply message:

Good Morning. We apologize for any inconvenience. We can either create an order to have one shipped to you or refund you $20.00 and you can purchase one from a local computer supply store. Please let us know how you wish to proceed.
Thank you,
US Micro Corp


Created at: Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 12:54 PM (Delivered after 0 seconds)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: US Micro Corp – Amazon Marketplace
Subject:
Re: Inquiry from Amazon customer Ezekiel Krahlin (Order: 113-9357168-9361006)

Oh, just ship it please. It isn’t the end of the world…you sent me a
superb refurbished notebook, and I’ll just worship it on a makeshift
altar with flowers and candles, until the adapter finally arrives.


Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 23:06:52
Subject:
Rubbing it in my face
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Got this printout in the USPS mail today, from FedEx. See attachment.

Dear Ezekiel Krahlin:

Thank you for registering for FedEx Delivery Manager. Customized delivery options are now in your hands.

With FedEx Delivery Manager, you get packages your way. You can:

– Manage when, where and how your packages are delivered.
– Get notifications through the delivery process.
– View all your incoming and outgoing packages in calendar or list formats.
– Request changes to delivery instructions while your package is in transit.

And, that’s just the beginning. Check out these features and many more at fedex.com/delivery.


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Rays of Emerald

July 7, 2017

Since Larkin’s incredible scenario of June 11th (the last time our auras clashed) I’ve been carrying around a folded printout of my email to Twin Peaks Tavern, asking them to welcome him back. (See my blog entry previous to this, called “Hug of the Century,” linked above…the email is at the very end.) It’s a great letter, and optimizes the odds in Larkin’s favor. Though since I am convinced this is a joke being played upon me by many members of the Castro scene, Twin Peaks will soon have him back, anywayz…with “moi,” The Most Welcome Guest Of All. I do suspect they’ve already made copies of my email, and are passing it around the bar, having a good guffaw, as they no doubt did with my postcard flurry two years back. And I’m sure Larkin is there, too, tickled pink (or whatever color a Reptilian Starship Commander’s scales turn to, when he’s highly amused).

{{ By now you’ve concluded that I’m pissing-in-my-pants eager to get that copy of the email to Larkin ASAP, even though I haven’t spoken such in this report you’re now reading. Until this, my eighth sentence. Yes, My Excrescent Reader, I’m securing the letter to my person or backpack (or, occasionally, a tote bag) every time I step out, awaiting the moment My Perplexing Plesiosaur appears before me once again, like a vision from Triassic Eden. And that moment just occurred short minutes ago: 9:05 PM, as precisely as I can guess. After running upstairs then bumping into my neighbor Michael and chatting him up about Larkin for a spell, and finally entering my room and looking at the Sony clock radio’s digital display: 9:14. }}

It has been almost three weeks since I emailed that request, just four or five days longer than the time I’ve been carrying that printout! But this evening, This Frabjous Evening, no sooner had I exited through the front gate, than here he comes barreling down the sidewalk. Hunched up and all slinky like and kinda shabbily clothed, tonight…I guess he was in one of those “incognito” (or “shadow chameleon”) moods. Especially as regards yours truly, for whom he desires not to notice his presence, quite often. Yet, frankly: deep within that widdle heart, I’m sure he craves the opposite. I’ve never seen him with a ruddy face before…though I’ve certainly seem him hostile more than just this one time! It honestly isn’t part of the look I’ve come to adore in all his varied expressions. Don’t know why, but it jars me.

So there he was, looming large in my reality, then passing by as swiftly as possible…though the partying throngs scattered about as they lingered between bars and clubs, made for a slow passage. I was momentarily stunned by his ghostly tentacles (like some deceased cephalopod come to haunt me), but I was by now immune to his venomous discharge. Thus I speedily recovered with more than enough split seconds to call loudly from behind:

“That was quite a spectacular roasting you gave me the other night!” Sucking in my breath to exhale the second part like a demon exorcised, I embellished: “You deserve an Oscar!”

Larkin had barely progressed more than twenty feet beyond where I first sighted him, the clots of revelers were that thick. Yet (with hindsight) I can’t help but believe he intentionally slowed down to grant me just enough time to blurt out my prepared bon mot, before drifting beyond my orbit.

I still had yet to hand him the copy of My Papal Dispensation, and he was about to cross 16th Street!

I managed to encroach amid the dense throng another few steps, then bellow these words towards Larkin who now stood balancing his feet on the curb, eager to distance himself as soon as the light changed. Or perhaps waiting patiently for me to speak my last three lines:

“Hey, I got a gift for you! It’s a printout of the email I sent to…”

It was a brief scene he had scripted this time around, and my dialogue a mere five sentences. In fact, I was the only character with any spoken words at all, if you don’t count the outdoor revelers whose voices were blurred background ambience, anyway. I knelt down halfway to retrieve the baggie-sealed envelope from my tote, while I arched my neck upwards to project my voice over and beyond the fluctuating wall of flesh:

“…I sent to Twin Peaks Tavern…”

I stopped, realizing that the light had just turned green, and the crowd was now surging forward, along with Larkin. So I quickly stood erect once more, this time with The Exculpatory Missive in hand, waving it at a receding Larkin who refused to glance back. I boomed forcefully above the din of traffic and laughter:

“…asking them to welcome you back!”

By now Larkin was more than halfway across to Noe Street, and I had barely progressed another yard. But my lungs are strong, my words carry far, and surely he heard:

“I hope it works!”

I stood watching as he reached the corner where Noe, 16th and Market intersect on the northwest point, expecting him to vanish in another moment. Suddenly he paused, turned around to look directly back to where I was standing by the bus shelter, still waving. I smiled with unbridled joy while he stared back, either poker faced or peeved…it was too far to tell. Though his button eyes ran a straight target to my own. Just as suddenly, after maybe three seconds of unabashed glaring, he turned away and took several steps before (guess what?)…

He did an about face and ogled me again! (Is “ogle” the right word here? I sure hope so!) Though he still was not too distant to hear me speak if I belted out my words like a platoon sergeant, I simply waved once more, and smiled. Finally, he turned away and disappered around the corner, and I rushed home to write it all down. That’s when I bumped into my neighbor Michael, on the carpeted stairway.

{{ FYI, My Drupaceous Reader, I write down every encounter with Larkin, as a matter of record. For his spirit is momentous, as is our association…at least in my universe. Everything’s an adventure of the highest order with My Brassy Brachiosaurus, and I just can’t keep my quill resting in the well, thanks to his inspiration. Imagine having someone in your life who always makes you feel like the luckiest sentient being in all possible universes. I rest my case. }}

“Michael! Michael! I just saw Larkin!”

Standing midstairs, Michael turned back towards me and grinned, waiting for me to share new information that he could take to Starship Central next time they beam him up (which is in a day or two, so, really really really soon). So I emit data…that is: I blabber on.

“Larkin did this and I did that, then I did this and Larkin didn’t do that, then he did both this and that simultaneously, so I was stuck holding the Old Maid card as usual, because I, in non-response, did neither this nor that…I did other! What choice did I have?”

Though I took all of several minutes just to tell Michael what it took me only those two sentences above to write down, and he had to go to work. Even though I had him in stitches. Well, at least I kick-started his night with a burst of sunshine and positivity…in my own, weird, gay-gothic cyberpunk sci-fi way.

I finally ascended hovel (that’s what I lovingly call my SRO, the SRO I’ve been living in since January first, 1983: “hovel” instead of “home”), and the first thing I do is check the time. Nine fourteen. I then seat myself before my Lenovo 100-S notebook, which found a new home barely two months back, perched upon my octagonal cabinet. Which is maybe 25, 26, 27 inches high, with just enough room atop to include a mouse and a dinner plate or bowl. As I began to type out a report of the preceding ten minutes (that is: “my latest Larkin encounter”), the visage of Larkin’s two rosy cheeks floated into my thoughts.

“He’s never had rag-doll cheeks before,” I mused. “It is so not Larkin!”

An icy shudder gripped my spine, then ran up and down in sickening waves, as realization struck me like a horse!

“That may not have been Larkin!”

What with being stoned out of my cranium on some quality strain I just purchased from mask-vendor Billy two mornings ago, and how this encounter was more like a blur, it went so fast. Did I really mistake another dude of the same, general morphology and facial cues, for Larkin? Was it actually wishful thinking so potent, I stepped into a parallel world of my own making, for a scant 48 seconds?

And if it wasn’t him, what the fuk was he thinking, glaring back at me–not once, but twice–glaring back at me from across a pedestrian-packed crosswalk?

Those damned apple cheeks! I get it: he’s throwing me off the track by putting some makeup on his face, like a drag queen. Rouge! Setting me up to begin doubting that was him, as memory of the episode sinks deeper into my twin hemispheres. After further pondering, I began to feel relieved as I reminded myself that Larkin glancing back at me–not once, but twice mind you–was his signal to reassure me that, yes, this is, indeed, My Larkin. For he has done this before, in previous adventures. He wouldn’t have stopped and gazed back at me two times (the second, to drive the message home), unless he already surmised that doubts would come to surface.

My relief was, alas, short lived. For a new doubt arose in my psyche, in the image of an irate stranger looking back at me, wondering if he should return to smack me around. An angel must’ve been watching over me (if my conjecture that he’s not Larkin, is true), for he thought strongly of assaulting me, twice, before something turned him away.

Or perhaps it’s all Larkin, for his shamanic sorcery is stupendously powerful, and infinitely clever. Surely more than up to the challenge of shifting his appearance in subtle ways, and controlling his behavior in a certain manner, as to make me think of the “stranger” theory in the first place! I’d know his voice anywhere, which makes it crystal clear as to why he didn’t utter so much as a syllable. Yet a stranger probably would…so this is a second clue that this rogue is, indeed, Mr. Kelsey. Then again, on the other hand…?

Thus, I’m stuck in some sort of temporal purgatory, still wondering if that really was He Who Lights My Path With Rays of Emerald, or not.


ADDENDUM

Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2017 00:16:47
Subject:
A Peek Preview: RAYS OF EMERALD!
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

I started to type an email to you, but then decided to make it into a
story first. So, know this is to you, though it’s already a completed
tale. So you get to read it first! (It’s brief, just 3-1/3
pages…but I’m so PROUD of it, you’ll see why.) It’s in a temporary
folder for now. I still need to find some cute images for it, before
uploading it to my blog account.

http://gay-bible.org/temp/RAYS-OF-EMERALD.htm

Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2017 22:47:01
Subject:
Re: A Peek Preview: RAYS OF EMERALD!
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 10:12 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

{{ Quite a story! }}

Thank you…lotsa fun comin’ up with unique metaphors. A bit of Lewis Carrol in there, and Lovecraft, and Jurassic Park: I’m sure you got ’em all. I had planned to lay out the whole dialogue I had with Michael while on the stairs: many interesting ideas were expressed. But the story came together without that, I knew it was perfect at a certain point…and I just had to let go.

{{ So, in retrospect, what do you think? Was it Larkin, or a doppelganger? Or both? }}

Oh, I’m sure it was Larkin. Just like him to suddenly appear so I could tell him about that email, if I couldn’t actually hand him the printout. He had kept me waiting o’erlong (almost two weeks). But when he really busts his gonads to evoke an extra-extra-special encounter, he then allows more than the usual time to pass, before we meet once more. That is so I can spend sufficient days to savor the delicious scenario, like sampling a fine chocolate truffle that you swirl about on your tongue in such a way as to delay its mournful dissolution.

And so like him to put that mysterious twist into the encounter, making me seriously ponder if it was someone else…whom I weirded out as a consequence. And that is why he did not speak…his voice would’ve blown his cover right off the lid. I’m wondering if some, or much, of the crowd that night were hired actors who followed Larkin’s script to create this latest mini-adventure. I suspect so, seeing as there’s way too much synchronicity /not/ to be contrived by human intent. Ergo I also wonder about all our previous magical encounters…were there actors helping shape the scenario?

Larkin /playing/ his doppelganger. Clever.

Speaking of the idea that Larkin may work with actors to create some of these adventures:

Back in the days of the ol’ Hole in the Wall Saloon, Larkin had his own following, “groupies.” They’d either show up with him leading the pack, or show up on their own and wait for him to make his appearance a short while later. Well, one afternoon I experienced a multi-doppelganger right out of one of the most popular episodes in that old sitcom, “Cheers.”

This is the one where the episode opens with lookalikes of all the regular actors…who looked kinda like them, but you could tell they were fakes. Norm was replaced by another, as were all the main stars. It was very funny. Instead of “Hi, Norm” when his doppelganger stepped in, they said, “Hi, Fred” (or whatever name they used; I forgot).

Well the same thing happened to me at The Hole! In steps this tall, handsome lanky dude the same height as Larkin, and looking like his brother! All the groupies were also doppelgangers of Larkin’s own followers. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Even the bartender, Gary, was replaced by a replica.

This lasted about 45 minutes, then they all swarmed on outta there. I had no one to share this bizarre event with, to ask about. Nor did anyone approach me that same day or any day after, to reveal the hilarious scheme.

Now, Eleanor, how could something like that just happen outta the blue? Of course it didn’t, it was scripted and rehearsed by those hired to perform. Which also suggests that the LGBT community (or a significant portion thereof) regards me highly…or they wouldn’t go through such an amazing dupe.

– Zeke


Hug of the Century

June 14, 2017

[ Exculpatory Reader: finally, Larkin asked me for a hug…the first time he’s ever done that, actually! Previously, he’d just come up and hug me, or say, “gimme a hug, Zeke!” or I would ask him. But as you know, the hugs became rare, once he resurfaced in the Castro…and I always had to ask…sometimes beg him, even. The last time we hugged was more than two years ago. Until late last night. ]

The point is this: he never asked before. It was an extraordinary encounter, around 1:15am. But let me describe the events earlier that evening (Sunday, June 11th), which led up to it.

Really hurting to see him again, even a glimpse, these past few days. In fact, I was speaking to him in my mind, with words like: “Listen buddy, I’m begging you…so much time has passed and I still reach out to you. My life ain’t so great, and my soul is utterly crushed at this point. Can’t you please, please, please, stop this game and start being the awesome friend I know you truly are?”

I think that a lot of my grief comes not from this Trump era, my bad teeth, or any other trial…that it actually is the lovesickness I’ve carried in my heart for him these many, many years. So I heard My Wily Wyvern’s booming voice from across the street, around 9:30pm…looked out the window, and saw his huge, incredible self joking around with some ladies on their way to whatever Castro venue. He showed off by a powerful karate kick on the traffic sign opposite the one by my edifice.

I thought to holler out, “I heard that, Larkin!” or something, but decided to keep quiet and just watch. He did some funny dance, twirled around, and the girls guffawed. Then he waved them goodbye and continued towards Castro Street, his lanky arms waving in the air as he marched on into the stygian veil. I then looked at my unprepared meal, and decided to eat later on. For I was itching to glimpse him once more.

I put my sneakers on, a warm jacket, and a black knitted cap with a ring of large snowflakes atop (which I found left behind on a Metro seat three weeks back…old Chinese ladies seem to love these hats), and meandered down Market to Castro, then left on 18th. He suddenly popped out of The Mix, same direction as yours truly…who was now barely 20 feet behind his strapping presence. I don’t think he saw me; I almost called out but chose to remain incognito…as I watched him cut diagonally across 18th Street and onwards to Moby Dick, which is almost catty-corner from the Mix.

Some folks seemed to be arguing further down the sidewalk on my side of 18th, and Larkin heard them. So he paused before entering the other bar, and hollered to them:

“Don’t be mad, be glad!”

“Humph,” I thought, “what a hypocrite.” So I then bolted my voice in his direction:

“You should follow your own advice!” He seemed to not hear (though I’m sure he did), so I repeated my declaration before he disappeared through the doorway.

I walked by Moby Dick several times, but his back was facing the street, so I don’t really know if he saw me. Though I suspect he did; I finally returned hovel.

I prepared my simple supper of packaged brown and red rice w/herbs and veggies that only takes 90 seconds in the microwave. After my first few bites, I started itching once more to get out there, and see if maybe I could get another glimpse of my inamorato (as Marco so aptly calls him). To my disappointment, he was no longer hanging at Moby Dick…nor the Mix, nor Beaux. So I stepped back inside for some minutes, but grew restless again, and decided to have a smoke or two from my small collection of today’s snipes…outside, by the bus shelter.

“Is that Larkin?” I thought, reacting to a boisterous holler further down the street, probably outside Beaux. I squinted to see if I could find his silhouette among the crowd of shadows gathered there, out front. After a minute or so, I made him out, and saw his form begin to saunter in my direction.

He didn’t spot me, as I made sure to hide behind the inner wall of the shelter. Once he kicked the signpost, I called out my usual “I heard that!”

He paused then, and peered up at my window, which now has that lovely, scent diffusing lamp placed on the ledge and glowing its spectrum of juicy colors, slowly and one by one. At the moment, it shone a radiant lavender. He tilted his head, waiting for me to poke my face out the window, I guess, then said:

“Where are you?”

“Ha!” I chuckled to myself, “He thinks I’m upstairs.”

So I called to him once more: “I’m right here, Larkin!”

Yet he still gazed up, thinking my voice came from above. So I clarified to his booze addled sensibilities:

“I’m right here, dawg, by the bus stop!”

He looked his beautiful self upon approaching; I noticed some thin streaks of silver in those thick, close-cut waves of dark auburn. He came up really close, his face barely three inches from mine, and declared:

“You need to get out of my life!”

I just looked into those glorious, aureate eyes and that Blarney-kissed mug which never fails to astound me. Then he spit a big wad of saliva, right on my left cheek and nose. I stood my ground in utter calm and remarked:

“Good to see you again, Larkin.”

“Aargh!” he raised his arms in exasperation and moved a few feet away from me. I cannot really capture in words, the brilliant scenario he obviously prepared in advance, he is such an excellent trickster! So I’ll just attempt to list his various antics, which took up a generous 15 or 20 minutes in total…the longest time we’ve spent together in almost three, difficult years!

Fidgeting with his cell phone as he leaned against the bus shelter, he cursed and confided that he’s a mess, and needs help. I watched as he kept pressing different parts of the cell phone’s screen, which displayed a handsome, naked blonde fellow in the background. He seemed to have trouble finding a number or app, as he kept tapping away in frustration.

“I hate cell phones,” I interjected.

Then he muttered how he hates computers, and something about failing a computer test. Seeing as I’m a PC hobbyist, well versed in this field of technology, I offered to help him, at no cost.

“Fuck that,” he spoke with scorn, “I don’t want your help.” He grumbled further: “Life sucks and then you die.”

“But I’m here for you, Larkin, you don’t need to feel so bad.”

Then he started ranting once more how I need to extricate myself from his world, put his face quite close to mine (again) and spat on me (again). I was not phased in the least, as I know his mischief, and had no reason to respond with anger. In fact, I greatly appreciated this scripted scenario of an outrageously handsome, superbly talented dude so cray-cray in love with me, he’s stupefied. Very cute.

He raised his arms to the sky, then turned away and began to walk off, as I stood there in silence, allowing the saliva to drip down my cheek, some of which touched my lips. It was a gorgeous night, BTW, cool ocean breezes kissed the balmy air, and the bold, gibbous moon a wan yellow. I decided to praise him:

“You’re a good man, Larkin.”

Upon those words, he looked down at his feet and muttered: “Oh I know I’m a good man, it’s you I wonder about.”

(“Jeez, he’s really rubbing the shit in my face tonight,” I mused with a repressed chuckle.)

“In fact,” he looked directly into my eyes from 10 feet away, “you’re a royal fuck up. A big, fat, royal son of a bitch fuck up.”

I said nothing, because I knew this is a game and I love him very much…so just enjoy the ride. He then stepped up and double-finger tapped me firmly on the chest:

“Oh, you are such a fuck up, I’m sorry you’ve ever been in my life, even for a minute!”

“So he wants to play angry daddy to my bad boy,” I thought. “Okay, I’ll go along with it, it’s kinda fun.”

“You know, Zeke,” he confided, bent down with our noses almost touching, his ember-smoky eyes zoomed into mine, “I really thought you were the one for me. Really! For quite a while, I truly believed you were my Mr. Right, my best buddy of all time…my SOULMATE!”

He suddenly withdrew, stood erect with that crestfallen visage looming down on me like a thundercloud:

“But you had to go and fuck everything up. Didn’t you.”

“Oh, right,” I mused, “I’m a baaaad boy, it’s all my fault, and nothing will ever make up for that. I was soooo close to having him, now I must roast in Gehenna for the rest of my sorry life. Ha-ha.” But I was touched by him even admitting he felt that way for me. I relished the heck out of his sweet, silly reprimands that were his unique way of professing great admiration towards this trembling Pilgrim Of Love’s Long Journey.

Larkin twisted his lips in scorn: “You ruined my life!” He spoke those accusatory words with arms extended and hands cupped like a medieval mendicant. His forehead squiggled like a whimpering Shar-Pei.

“No I didn’t,” I replied matter-of-factly.

“Yes you did!”

Then came a pregnant pause, as if he were expecting yours truly to pick up the next line in a script. I felt like I was playing into some kind of riddle, like a knock-knock joke. So I exhaled, then spoke the following words, right on cue:

“Okay, I’ll bite: how did I ruin your life, Larkin?”

His reply was prompt…no doubt because he wrote the damned script in the first place!

“You got me kicked out of Twin Peaks!”

I pondered a few moments as he stood there, frozen in that tableau of utter destitution. Then I shrugged my shoulders and held out my hands in equal hopelessness, to echo:

“I’m…sorry?”

He then vigorously waved his Samsung in my direction:

“DON’T say you’re sorry!”

[ I guess the point there was (Concupiscent Reader): had I not stood up to him (and defended myself with pepper spray, to stop his shoving me), he would not respect me. I believe he intended me to do just that, by setting up the scenario in the first place…waiting to see how much pushing me around it would take, before I got fed up. Just two, FYI. ]

Larkin stepped up his whining over all the friends he made there, and what a POS I am. While I just stood there, lips sealed, picturing his cornucopia of new-found “friends” (mostly elderly, some ready to topple over with their final breath…there’s a reason locals call that place “the glass coffin”). Whose fat wallets inspired him to cozy up and charm them to pieces with all his witty tales and words of affection. Accompanied, of course, with equally affectionate touches. They’d gratefully return his ministrations by showering him with free drinks, 10 and 20 spots, and god only knows whatever additional services he offered, such as escort, companion, errand boy, housekeeper and so forth.

[ I doubt, however, he provided any sexual favors. But so handsome and talented a hustler he is! I do not begrudge one smidgeon, his adept ability to thrive, financially, in this difficult world. I only am laughing at his keen wit and robust presentation through whatever challenges that would make most independent rogues eventually wither away in despair, by the time they hit middle age. And Larkin is now 54! So please, Embryonic Reader, be clear about one thing, at the very least: my laughter is born of joyful admiration. ]

He finally paused to relieve his lungs, thus providing me with the rare opportunity to interject a retort in my defense:

“Well, you ruined my life, too!”

Then he came up close once more, with a lowered head and a hand upon my shoulder:

“Look, Zeke, you can spit on me as much as you want, I don’t care. Go ahead, hock a loogie on me!”

“He’s my lovebird, though, so why would I spit back?” I thought…and I know he heard, even though I kept my mouth shut.

As he pulled away, he emphasized once more:

“But you really need to get out of my life!”

I then released these words bottled up inside my yearning corazón:

“Some years back, you said the nicest thing to me, nicer than anyone else has ever said, or ever will!”

Of course, I meant that day back in May of 2014, when he lowered his frame, placed his hands on both my shoulders, looked right into my eyes and confided:

“Our friendship, our being brought together, is an incredible godsend!”

I wanted to further state that I’m answering to that, and have been, ever since he made such a divine revelation…but of course he interrupted with pomp and circumcision, drowning any further words of mine in the process. But I refused to get frustrated at this, as I realize he’s been testing me, so to speak, testing my fidelity and will…over a span of ten-plus years! Maybe not a test so much as a kind of shamanic initiation.

He then came up to me again, glaring down at my black ski cap encircled with a halo of large, white snowflakes :

“Are you stupid?”

I said nothing.

“Are you stupid?”

I still kept mum.

“ARE you stupid?”

“No,” I finally ejaculated.

Then he demanded I lean against the shelter’s back wall, beside him where he resumed tapping at the cell phone. So I did. He insisted I place my back against that wall, and put my hands in my pockets, as he moved to lean against the plate glass window of the Super Duper hot dog bistro, and light a cigarette. He fumbled in his pockets, but could not find them.

“Fuck, where’s my cancer? I can’t find my cancer, now!”

With that, he came forward and started to punch my chest with his fist. Not too hard, mind you. But I flinched each time, a natural reflex.

“C’mon, you can take it!” He tried to shame me. “Nah, run back to your little cave now, like a pussy!”

I ignored him by staying put, whereby he delivered a few more, semi-tough punches, and reiterated that I’m free to run back into the building like a wuss. I did no such thing, of course…I was drooling over all this attention! Throughout these little dramas, folks walked by, pausing a bit to discern whether or not they should intervene on my behalf. Including a Mexican worker who was toting a wheely garbage bin to the curb. But they moved on, seeing this was more play than danger.

Larkin then ordered me to stay put for five minutes against the shelter’s wall, and not speak a word.

“Can you do that? Can you just shut up for five minutes? I bet you can’t!”

Keeping my lips sealed, I nodded.

“Really, can you do that? Just keep quiet for five fuckin’ minutes?”

I knew he was trying to get me to speak, but I remained steadfast and silent. He then discovered his cigarette pack, of which two tobacco sticks remained…but he had trouble getting one lit. I held out my own lighter, but he rejected the offer. Several minutes passed, with my standing in one spot, and him mumbling all sorts of silly things, trying to look as outraged as a firehose drenched cat.

[ Before he lit the “cancer,” he came right up to me with the cigarette dangling from those yummy lips. Then, with his mug real close to mine, he started “gurning” them, which displaced the ciggie, moving it around at ridiculous angles and positions, sometimes even between the nose and upper lip. The cigarette appeared to move about with a life of its own, sometimes twirling in one direction, then the next! Crossing his eyes and rolling them awkwardly only served to enhance the absurd spectacle. I swear, Avuncular Reader, I do not see how he did that, without assistance from at least a finger or two! (The ciggie I mean, not the eyes…hardy har har.) Truly hilarious…it was all I could do to keep from busting out in guffaws and collapsing, helpless, onto the concrete. But I somehow managed to keep a poker face through it all. ]

Once he discarded the smoldering butt, he came up and grabbed my coat to pull me forward. He semi dragged me from the shelter, to the front gate of 2306…I resisted only slightly. All the while saying things like:

“I am not your savior any more, Zeke, hear me? I am not your savior!”

Once we got to the gate, he tried to make me promise I’d stay out of his life, for once and for all. My reply?

“But Larkin, I already am out of your life, and have been for at least two years. It’s only when our paths cross that I say hi and speak kind words to you!”

Of course, it’s always been him showing up in my life, often by whacking with a powerful karate kick, the street sign below my window, to alert me. Though of course he feigns otherwise, as if that were the only metallic signpost in the city. Nonetheless, I always poke my noggin out the window and holler: “I heard that!” To which he usually never reacts (except for this latest episode when he halted to look up at my room and speak to me). Though once in a while he flips me the bird without looking back, and I bellow this or that nonsense, something playful such as “Is that a cock in your pocket or are you gonna shoot me?” or “Help me Larkin, I’m made of mostly water!” or “I lost my mojo, sweetheart, have you seen it anywhere?” Silly stuff like that.

But I’ve already reported all those events of our encounters in previous posts, that apparently he planned all by his lone some, while pawning it all off on me…being the brilliant jokester that he is.

Then he held up a fist so I could bump it…as some sort of agreement that I’d do just that: remove myself from his world, for good. But I don’t do fist bumps…certainly not with one I love so much! For they strike me as an insult, ’cause we should be hugging each other, instead. I refuse to be demoted to just a trivial acquaintance! So I ignored the extended fist, and remarked:

“We live in the same neighborhood, Larkin. Our paths will keep crossing!”

He then lowered his fist, dropped his arms to his sides, stood up tall as he could (and at 6-foot-4, that’s quite a length) and sighed:

“Hug me, please?”

I looked up at that glorious Celtic mug and said: “Yes, I’d love to hug you, Larkin.”

But he didn’t put his arms out to encircle me, so I knew it would be a one-way hug. Fine with me; I raised myself up, wrapped my arms about those noble shoulders, and laid my head upon his chest for about half a minute. I was in Umpteenth Heaven!

My hug ended way too soon, but I respect him too much to force him to linger in my arms…a subtle way, I guess, to display my sincerest affections. So as soon as I regretfully withdrew, he resumed his rants about how screwed up I am, and I absolutely must banish my pathetic self from his kingdom. Meanwhile I’m standing patiently by the front gate, Larkin obstructing my ability to step inside. So I interjected while he kept babbling away:

“If you move aside a skosh so I can insert this key into the lock, that would be awesome.”

But he ignored me and rattled on while I happily remained in sweet proximity, wishing this to endure till the bovines return.


[ Before I forget, Zooflagellate Reader: I left out some parts that I will now include, then complete the tale:

While stating how miserable his life is, I told him mine is pretty bad, too. Then he mumbled something about leaving San Francisco, the people are so mean.

“They’re mean to me, too, Larkin,” I agreed. “It’s a cruel city.” Then I added: “If you move, Larkin, I will miss you so much!”

Which was an understatement…I’d probably fall flat on my face and die in a few months, or sooner, after his departure. Until that fatal moment, I’ll probably be looking for him everywhere I go, poking my head out the window several times each day, in hopes of seeing him come striding down Market Street. Keeping my ears alert for his boisterous hollers through the chill night air: a glorious timbre like cathedral bells to my eardrums.

I’d refuse to believe he’s really gone, that he’s just testing my mettle…which scenario I’ve already written down in my tale, “But It Won’t Make Me Happy.” Upon which you, Eleanor, remarked:

“Inspired! It’s as if you’re channeling a parallel dream-world, which is striving to become the real world! The more detailed your vision, the more you create a portal for that dream world to find its way into this world and become as real as the rocks and trees!”

Marco McClean read that piece, BTW, on April 18th, though he excluded the addendum, and thus, your comment therein.

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/but-it-wont-make-me-happy/

Now, during Larkin’s chest punching antics, he suddenly slammed the bus shelter’s thermoplastic wall right beside my head. Gave me a start, but again that was a normal reflex, had nothing to do with fear. In fact, I was totally at peace–overjoyed, even–at the mischievous attentions he bestowed upon me last night. He knows I carry pepper spray (all too well, as I actually sprayed him once, that night I got him 86’d from Twin Peaks Tavern two Christmas Eves ago), even though he insisted I place my hands in my pockets. I could’ve whipped it out to defend myself from his blows, or grabbing onto my jacket and pulling me to the front gate. But this was an act of trust on both our parts, and, quite probably, a test on my emotional status: to see whether or not I allowed any fear or hatred to seep into my psyche during these little challenges. He did look deep into my eyes several times, I guess to discern any negative content.

During one of his rants against me, he strode back and forth along the length of the shelter, waving his arms and cussing me out with some of the most colorful language I’ve ever heard…like that foul mouthed cockatoo on Youtube!

I interrupted him at this point, in a steady though bemused tone of voice:

“You really want me out of your life…then why are you still here, why didn’t you just dismiss me and keep on truckin’?” I swept my hands, palms up, towards Noe Street, as if to nudge him on his way, express delivery. Larkin scowled: I swear I could see fumes wafting from those darling Irish ears.

At least four times, he must’ve repeated that I should not intrude myself into his life any more. And upon the second or third time, I spoke the following observation:

“How can I promise not to do something that I’ve never done in the first place?”

He almost blew up at that, playing the enraged daddy to his disobedient brat of a son, to a T.

I had come up with a new pet title for him, “Captain Galaxy,” and I finally had the chance to use it last night. In one of those moments he turned to head for parts unknown, I called out:

“Captain Galaxy!”

He acted quite annoyed, which caused him to turn heel and come back…but he bumped into a gaggle of bar goers while screaming expletives at me, the same time. He stopped abruptly, and gave them a profuse apology…they laughed, “oh it’s okay, you have a good night, sir.” While catching his breath, I took that moment to express the remainder of my rehearsed bon mot:

“Oh, Captain Galaxy, you have made my world so wonderful, I can’t thank you enough!”

Well, that really ticked him off, so he decided to linger and rage at me a while longer. Much to my delicious elation. ]


After our one-way hug I watched him depart while holding the gate half open. Almost at the corner, he turned and called to me:

“So we’re good now, you stay out of my life, promise?”

I spoke no word, just smiled at My Demented Diplodocus with immense gratitude, wondering if he’s gonna come back for one more drama-queen bout. But he did not, and, instead of shutting the gate and returning upstairs to my SRO, I decided to follow him from a safe distance, after he turned left up Noe Street, heading for Duboce Park. I heard his voice boom at someone from around the corner…or maybe he was just exclaiming his usual nonsense to the invisible spirits of the air. I waited until his sonorous echoes diminished a bit, before turning that corner and proceeding in such a way that the parked cars would hide my view from his eagle vision, should he turn to look back. Judging by his nonstop, public ranting (like some comical werewolf or rhinoceros in heat), he must’ve been almost two blocks ahead.

After traversing almost another block and a half, he suddenly ceased; and I trembled at the thought that he spotted me, or suspected my whereabouts, and was about to run back to give me a quasi-thrashing. But that did not occur, to my relief. Figuring he was still not so far gone, that he couldn’t hear me if I yelled, I decided to do just that. Though I hesitated:

“Now, what words can I say to be sure he’d know it was my voice calling out, and no one else’s?” I thought in desperation, fearing he may be too distant already. Then it hit me: “Use the Mr. Ed voice!”

[ Bituminous Reader: the Mr. Ed. voice, BTW, is something Larkin came up with back in 2007, as a subtle acknowledgement that he read a tale I delivered to him via the post. Which story, “The Exalted Land of Andor,” included a humorous reference to Mr. Ed. ]

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/the-exalted-land-of-andor/

So I neighed like an old horse, echoing dramatically through the crisp, night air, like hollering down a canyon, the famous moniker from that old sitcom:

“Wiiilbuu-ur!”

Did Larkin respond? Yes he did, and with not a hint or note of anger. Just pure exhilaration:

“Aaaarrrgh!”

Five seconds later, I did it again:

“Wiiilbuu-ur!”

And, once more, he responded:

“Aaaarrrgh!”

Elated that I found some way to cap our latest episode with a sterling finale, I turned about and marched home.

Some reflections on last night’s adventure:

After Larkin smashed the signpost and I called out, “I heard that,” he paused below my window to look up and call back. He’s never done that before; he’s always just walked on by without paying any attention.

I’m glad he looked up to my windows, to see the new curtains, and the elegant lamp now resting on the sill. For a couple years back he visited me in my abode, and remarked on the crummy condition of my habitat…out of concern for my health. I wanted him to see that I have finally begun overhauling the SRO, and that the lamp in the window symbolizes my burning ardor for He Who Is The Glorious Flame Of My Own Puzzled Life.

Assuming he’s telepathic, he knew I wanted badly to see him, even though I convinced myself to be satisfied with glimpsing him two times that night. But he wanted to surprise me by showing up in person and putting on an amazing, and hilarious, show! I suspect he planned this days in advance. It’s like he writes these scripts for me, then acts them out…and that has been true now, for more than 11 years and many, many adventures. I also suspect that he knew I was standing outside all along, and that his thinking I was stationed at the window was just part of the act.

His calling out to me with a friendly “aargh” in response to my “wilbur,” was his sweet way of assuring me that our friendship is solid, and his appreciation and love quite true. I swear on a stack of gay bibles, Ellie, if angels do exist, Larkin is the perfect vision of one! And how he creates these incredible scenarios, as if he prepared them all ahead of time, only grants validity to my heavenly conjecture. If nothing else, Larkin is closer to any angel I could ever imagine…which makes me an incredibly lucky fellow.

Interesting side note: on Friday night, just two days before our latest encounter, I was listening to Marco Angelo McClean’s radio show via KNYO’s streaming web page. (Fortunately, my wifi connection picked up again, after wimping out on me for almost three weeks.) Since he usually reads my tales later in the show, I tend to doze off and either miss my piece entirely, or suddenly wake up when he states my name. This time around, I had nodded off just before the reading, but heard my name. Still half asleep, I sensed someone else in the room, lying down on a cot: it was Larkin, enjoying my company and listening to Marco. FYI, there is no cot in my room: that was part of the dream (nor any Larkin of course, inflated or real.) So when I finally awoke in full a few moments later, I felt refreshed and comforted by the presence of Larkin’s ghost, and Marco’s intelligent voice coming through the speakers.

[ Vexatious Reader: other than correcting any typos, and possibly changing or rearranging a few words here and there, I’m not going to “improve” upon this story, to make it more “eloquent.” This, out of humility for the amazing spirit that is Larkin Kelsey, a most talented, beautiful, exuberant, witty, brave and rare specimen of a man! My own writings pale in comparison to the unbelievable adventures he concocts in real life 3-D. Considerable credit must go to Larkin, for such inspiration! Can’t wait to see how things ensue these next few days and weeks. His amazing antics of last night give every indication that he has many more tricks up his sleeve…of a rewarding nature, finally (as opposed to a decade of tribulations). I have every expectation they may start as soon as later today. I feel like a kid in a candy store…or perhaps more succulently: like a dragon in a monastery. ]


AFTERGLOW

I did nothing else on the Internet today, except to write down my
latest Larkin tale. Once completed, I packed things up and departed
from Uncle Benny’s Donuts & Bagels (located in SF’s second largest Chinese community) and decided, at first, to skip my usual stopover at a nearby Goodwill thrift store, on my way to the N Judah. But a little birdie told me:

“No, Zeke, you must go to Goodwill, there’s something very special
for you, to celebrate last night’s grace-filled encounter! You will
recognize the item that’s intended just for you…there’ll be no doubt, once you lay peepers on it!”

So off I sped to Goodwill three blocks west, as I’ve done each and every day so far, since I’ve made Uncle Benny’s my afternoon hangout. I strolled to the back of the store, in the far left corner, where all the electronic devices are, and other interesting geegaws. And there it was, shining like a beacon! See attached photo.

It’s a stained glass objet d’arte. Real glass and lead, in other words: not a plastic knockoff. Kinda big, too, diameter of, oh, fourteen inches or thereabout. And that it depicts the Hindu symbol for peace, “om shanti,” makes it very special, indeed.

Best of all, guess what it cost: just $2.99!

FYI: I believe that this little bird who told me to go to Goodwill this afternoon, was Larkin’s telepathy. As I believe it has been in other, previous and amazing episodes since we first met in 2006.



Deeper Down the Well

September 12, 2016

Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2016 17:39:39
Subject: Going Deeper Down the Well
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: My Serpentine Guardians

The Well is one of the remaining BBS’s around, that somehow still thrives in spite of the Internet. Located here in San Francisco, it has many interesting participants in the world of authors, artists and other intriguing characters. I decided to join them…costs a bit each month, but I figure it’s a good investment for promoting my own talents. Anywayz, after participating in several threads of varied topic, I decided to post my first promo in the “writers” conference. Now, I share with you:


writers 2374: Looking for open mic recommendations to read my tales in SF

#0 of 0: Zeke Krahlin (zeke1k) Sun 11 Sep 2016 (05:32 PM)

Hello, Wellbots! I am a gay activist and author, though not yet published in the celebrity sense…only self published one novel so far, which anyone can read for free online (minus the lovely illustrations), here:

I’ve written /many/ tales, essays, what have you, over the years, and continue to do so on my blog:

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com

I decided to start reading at open mic venues here in San Francisco and Berkeley. And am wondering if anyone here can recommend the best places to go. I do /not/ own a car (never have) and live on a low income (social insecurity), so that is why I don’t seek to read my stuff in the Greater Bay Area and beyond.

My works are almost exclusively LGBT themed, though with universal appeal that all but homophobes would enjoy. (Actually, my written and spoken words are ingeniously contrived by forked-tongue alchemy to make such types crumble into friable bits of clay that can then be recycled to our local organic farms; but let’s keep that secret between thou and myself…what happens on The Well stays on The Well, okay?)

This includes my growing collection called “True Tales from the Castro (eat your heart out, armistead)”:

http://www.gay-bible.org/truetales

I write tons of hilarious stuff, most of which can be read aloud in 5 to 7 minutes. Such as:

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/dont-mess-with-my-buddy/

I also offer my talents for private, individual and group readings on a sliding scale…especially appropriate due to my conspiracy theory of /gay/ reptilians that will soon descend in their lavender star ships and “straight”en everything out. And, well, you know, they’re covered in glittery, greenish-yellow SCALES that /do/ slide somewhat. (Not one of my better puns, hope it didn’t get under your skin. Come to think of it, it /is/ a poor grade of punning, so scratch it.) My most recent such tale can be viewed here, though I strongly recommend you toke up on some primo bud before diving in:

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/learning-to-love-lizards/

At the end you will be graced by the light of my visual blurb as candidate for world’s first gay president of the United States and global dictator, on the ethereal plane…in both the reptilian and hominid dimensions.

Thank you for your undivided pineal attention. Here is my business card:


Keep your fingers crossed, Chthonic Dreamweavers!

– Zeke


ADDENDUM

writers 2374: Looking for open mic recommendations to read my tales in SF

#10 of 14: Peter Borke (petebork) Mon 12 Sep 2016 (06:00 PM)

You’re on the right side of history, Zeke. (you may not always be right, but time is on your side)

writers 2374: Looking for open mic recommendations to read my tales in SF

#11 of 14: I went full diva on their ass. (paulette) Mon 12 Sep 2016 (07:22 PM)

Wait, really? Allen was as delightfully gay as a birthday table cloth. Why would anyone pretend otherwise? The only time I ever saw him in real danger was when he approached a New Yorker writer asking him to sign a petition on behalf of some good cause or another (I forget what).

That New Yorker writer had lost a kid to bad dope, and held Ginsburg and the Beats personally responsible for it. It got very close to being physical.

writers 2374: Looking for open mic recommendations to read my tales in SF

#12 of 14: Zeke Krahlin (zeke1k) Mon 12 Sep 2016 (10:16 PM)

{petebork}: Thank you for reminding me of my awesome destiny that shall make the world my oyster. No matter I’m allergic to them and they make me vomit.

{paulette}: I did submit my novel to City Lights in December of 2013, but they never got back to me; and it’s, well, over two years later. You may read about that lovely adventure, here, wherein I confessed among other things: “It is my dream to have my own novel featured on the same shelf as ‘Howl and Other Poems.'”

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/my-letter-to-city-lights/

P.S.: One thing’s for sure: there are no angel-headed hipsters in IT!

writers 2374: Looking for open mic recommendations to read my tales in SF

#13 of 14: Ezekiel Krahlin (zeke1k) Mon 12 Sep 2016 (10:18 PM)

Oops, three years later. Flime ties.

writers 2374: Looking for open mic recommendations to read my tales in SF

#14 of 14: Zeke Krahlin (zeke1k) Mon 12 Sep 2016 (10:30 PM)

{paulette}: Homophobia’s gotten a lot worse, not better, since Allen’s time. Mainstream (read “hetero”) news still doesn’t cover much of LGBT issues. Anti-gay violence has been on a sharp increase for over a decade, now. Islam isn’t helping any, either.

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/killing-gays-the-republican-agenda/

Plus, if you’re gay and low income, PrEP (the anti-HIV pill) is not accessible, even though the transit posters and other ads make the public think it is. Since Medi-Cal now charges an exorbitant monthly share of cost that only the wealthy can afford. Even in spite of Obamacare’s extended Medicaid.

https://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/no-prep-for-the-poor/


A Dream of Reconciliation (in 2 parts)

August 27, 2016

Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:21:29
Subject:
A Dream of Reconciliation (in 2 parts)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Part 1:

Nighttime, relaxing in the kitchen by myself. Or a back room like a study or old-fashioned screened porch (2nd or 3rd story). Don’t know if that’s where I live, or just a friend’s place…but I’m quite soothed as I sit there beside a cupboard or bookshelf.

Then from about 15 feet ahead I glimpse someone’s shadow, accompanied by the sound of a broom sweeping the floor. He vanishes as quickly as he appears, so I couldn’t figure out who that was. Though he seems of slight build and height, like myself. At least that’s what the silhouette suggested.

I move to a larger chair to recline, and look up to see wispy clouds drifting overhead, against an electric deep blue, moonless sky… obviously, there is no roof in that part of the flat. I feel refreshed, calm, happy. Moments later two or three people show up, discussing some matter or other around a plain, wooden table. What it is, I don’t know, nor am I curious. They all seem like old friends anyway, and perhaps this is /their/ home, in which I’m always welcome. They don’t pay me any mind, and I just stand up to stretch, and yawn.

Part 2:

Larkin got me on call for a voiceover audition in an upcoming animated film. We are sitting at some sort of freestanding bar or kitchen counter, as he tells me this. The overhead lighting is very subdued, and serene. Obviously, our friendship is renewed…and now he’s making up for the difficult challenges he gave me in the recent past. Using his connections here and there to open doors for me.

There are two other friends nearby, seated on stools and diagonally to my left. They are part of the conversation but, at the moment, only smile. I don’t know who they are in real life; their actual visages are muddy. But I sense they are good people: one man, one woman.

Then Zachary, Larkin’s real-life housemate, shows up in an unexpectedly well-disposed manner. Unexpected because, apart from this dream, the rare times our paths have crossed in the past year or so, he screamed at me like a harpy in passing. Apparently, he’s made his peace with me…or, more likely, his hostility was a dupe all along.

I introduce Zachary to these two other people, claiming that they and Larkin are my very best friends. Zachary smiles and shrugs, before turning away to get something from the fridge, or the closet, or whatever. As he does that, I deliberate on Zachary’s purpose in my world, and decide it’s the latter of the two possibilities I covered in the paragraph above. So as he returns to our company, I declare:

“You will be my fourth good friend, but not yet. Friendship takes time.”

Zachary gestures “okay” in gentle acknowledgment, then takes a swig from the unknown concoction swirling in a glaucous bottle stuck to his palm. Seeing as he displays not one iota of antagonism towards me, but just wanly grins, I decide to couch my statement differently:

“Okay, Zachary, I consider you my newest best friend right now, because of all the good things you’ve done for Larkin, including keeping a roof over his head.”

Then I wake up, and, feeling refreshed from that (rather simple) dream couplet, I perform my morning ablution, exit 2306 on my way to Muni Metro’s Castro Station and The Posh Bagel downtown. As I descend the Metro steps (Harvey Milk Plaza), I look up to see Larkin boarding the escalator right beside me. So close I could touch his hand gripping the back of that gliding black python. Appearing somewhat harried, like he was going to a job he didn’t like (or pretending my existence is Revulsion of the Highest Order).

I call to him in a singsongy fashion as our faces eclipse, then part:

“Larkin loves me!”

He does not react in any way, just keeps rising to the sidewalk like a floating vampire. So I summon once again, though with different words:

“Yes he does!”

Now I’m here, typing at the Posh Bagel, this report. Only realizing after my second sip of Riviera French java, the sweet synchronicity of our near collision this cool, foggy morn, with the dream I had only hours before.


ADDENDUM

Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:45:57
Subject:
Re: A Dream of Reconciliation (in 2 parts)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

On Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Eleanor Cooney wrote:

{{ Literary gold. }}

I’ll settle for platinum.

Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:28:03
Subject:
Re: A Dream of Reconciliation (in 2 parts)
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Eleanor Cooney

Another curious detail:

I have only seen Larkin two times since our scuffle last December; each time passing below my window. And in both instances, he made a point as he meandered down my side of the street, to bellow out whatever phrases or words occurred to him. Sometimes greeting others or just rattling to himself…but never calling up to me, or mentioning my name or any related subject.

He did this (being noisy instead of silent) I believe, to draw my attention so I’d poke my head out the window and cast some spicy retorts. But also to reassure me he’s still around, and cares about me, and doesn’t want me to continue living without his presence, even if I only glimpse him occasionally. Until this chapter closes and a new one begins, wherein we are no longer separated by Kismet’s Mandate.

Though the first time he passed beneath my room (about three weeks ago), I remained silent, observed him wander east towards (and beyond) Noe Street. The second time, however (one week later), I /did/ drown out his boisterous nonsense with the following insult:

“You’re walkin’ funny, Larkin…more hemorrhoid issues?”

To my surprise, he didn’t ignore me, but turned about, glared up at me and decried:

“I haven’t seen you in…in…months! You’re supposed to keep it that way!”

To which I countered:

“Then just stay outta the Castro or at least shut the fuk up when you walk near my apartment building! Is that too much to ask?”

But before I even completed the first sentence he swung forward to resume his gait, and cross the intersection. Though I’m sure he heard everything; I was formidably vocal. Then I saw him pause on Noe before he even reached the opposite curb, to talk to someone he knew. So I hollered one more time, my fierce words bounding up Market Street, the rumble of traffic muted by comparison:

“Get outta the Castro, dipwad!”

From that distance, he was diminutive as a toy soldier. But he heard, looked up, pointed a gangly arm in my direction, and hollered back:

“I’m not talking to you!”

Well, since then I wondered what line I could throw at him next time His Eminent Poobah decides to “inadvertently” swagger along my side of the street with pomp and circumstance, that my ears be polluted once more. I finally settled on (get this):

“Larkin loves me!”

With his inimitable trickster cleverness, Larkin gifted me just that opportunity this morning, though neither where, nor when, I expected. AND I ALMOST BLEW IT (but did not).

– Zeke


Letter to my Brother, 8/15/16

August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016

Dear Vince (& Darcy),

First off, I want to thank you for the gift money. Now I can get a decent pair of sandals and still have lucre left over for something else nice…like a yummy veggie burger w/aioli sauce or a couple of argyle sweaters from a district locals call Junkietown West. Payless has good prices. I’ve had bad luck these past two years finding a decent pair of sandals from dead (or almost dead) hobos. Hard enough to get the right size, but too often either the odor prohibits me from boarding the bus or commiserating in an LGBTIFRC (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, furry, reptilian or curious) bar; or a strap breaks prematurely, due to the lifeless (or almost lifeless) vagrant’s gangrenous moisture soaked into the leather. Two-plus years being forced to wear Chinatown socks and free-box sneakers even in the warmest weather is more than this esoteric wanderer can handle!

Now that I’ve shocked you properly, please let me be clear: that was a joke.

Vince, after you left for Charleston and your first semester at The Citadel, I found a lovely book mom had packed away with your other stuff. A black and white cartoon collection called “Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley.” After a quick perusal, I had to have it, and so placed it in my room as one of my more cherished possessions. I never told you about that book; perhaps you don’t even remember owning it. The tales revolved around a little boy and his imaginary fairy godfather, Mr. O’Malley; and took place in a town somewhere in America during World War Two.

The stories are populated with various other delightful characters, both fictional and real, such as: Gus the Ghost, Launcelot McSnoyd the Invisible Leprechaun, Atlas the Mental Giant, his parents Mr. & Mrs. Baxter, Jane the girl who moved in down the block, and his faithful (talking) dog, Gorgon (and his father, Rover). As the years passed and I went off to college myself, that treasured novel escaped from my world somehow, and I rarely thought of it again. Till four years ago, when it suddenly popped out of my memory bank.

“Gee, I’d love to have that book again,” I thought, “maybe amazon dot com has it.”

Sure enough they did, but for a pretty penny due to its “collectible” status: $32.49. But I bought it, and once it arrived I reread every single ink-drawn page with immense pleasure. To this day I still have it, though currently packed away in one of my several storage boxes on the loft. It is almost time, though, to pore over it again with renewed delight. It certainly has staying power, and I’m glad you left it behind.

Since we first got in touch after many years–due to our parent’s departure and your role as executor of their will–I’ve thought now and then to tell you about this book. So here I am doing just that, in this letter. Enclosed are two separate printouts of illustrations from that sweet opus, that I got off the Internet…The Crockett Johnson Home Page. Enjoy! Maybe they will sweep you with childhood memories from the early years at 8 Shawnee Drive…or perhaps Monroe Street.

Love as always,

Eugene


[ Querulous Reader: click on either image below for a larger view. ]


[ On the back of the envelope, I taped this: ]


Learning to Love Lizards

August 6, 2016

Darshana posts on Facebook:

I am learning to love myself more and more everyday. I try to spend more time in nature to realize how much beauty, earth and life has to offer. I try to not wear much make up all the time, it helps seeing natural beauty we all have. The more you learn to love yourself the more you realize how much this life is so beautiful.
Think positive.
Believe positive.
Live positive.


Zeke responds:

Darshana: For you to reach out like this (to yourself and to others) is the mark of an enlightened soul. I have concluded that all these apparently “imminent” disasters and horror threats are orchestrated by higher forces. Some western belief systems call them “angels” or “fairies,” Buddhists call them “boddhisatvas,” and some UFO conspiracy theorists call them “reptilians” (as I do, though from a benevolent interpretation, as well as humorous). For if these beings are not humorous, then I don’t know what humor is.

Everything terrible is all gonna happen at once: global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, nuclear catastrophes, carbon dioxide and methane air, Islamic jihads, Christian domestic terrorism, poisoned municipal water, Zika virus, super bugs, anti-gay holocaust, mass shooting of blacks, unaffordable health care for all, burgeoning homelessness, collapse of western society, return of Planet X (also called “Wormwood,” “Nibiru,” etc.), zombie apocalypse, and last but not least: Donald Trump for President.

GIMME A BREAK ALREADY!

All these bogeymen rising to the surface from our collective fears actually serve a most compassionate cause: to shake us to our very marrow in order to release our deepest desire to be of good will and do whatever we can to reach out to our neighbors across the globe, with an abundance of joy and good humor.

Remember how a dad or mom would play with their little kid in a tent made of blankets? The parent would stand outside while the child remains securely hidden within, and tickle one side of the tent:

“Boo! The bogeyman’s gonna getcha! Boo!”

The kid would peep out and laugh in ecstatic thrill, then return to hide, this time on the other side of the tent. The parent would then go to /that/ side, to repeat the playful threat…thus the game would continue until one or the other finally gives up for whatever reason.

In the same manner do these reptilians play with us, though on a much grander scale (i.e. “global”). For we are as children to them. Though not in any sort of condescending way. We are their BELOVED children, about to be introduced to The Greater Realm of Reality that is intergalactic in scope, and bursting with countless civilizations, all of whom are benevolent to the max. (With all these incredible star ships and space colonies just oozing with flora and fauna like some ginormous version of The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, or The Original Garden of Eden…but with the most advanced, super quantum technology you can never imagine thrown into the mix.)

And it looks like all this political instability brouhaha is finally getting through to a rapidly increasing number of humans. Those of us who are the First Wave ride the crest like Maui surfers, and see the Great Illusion behind us from an ever increasing distance, while the Great Awakening looms before us on The Shimmering Shores of Metaphysical Utopia.

And in being so privileged with this newly found awareness, we can have TONS OF FUN playing mischief on all those fools yet to wake up. Some of us who now hold positions of power in politics, science, broadcast media, religion, and Goddess only knows what else.

THE POTENTIAL FOR INTERCONTINENTAL MISCHIEF BOGGLES THE MIND!

Let us not lose this brief window of opportunity to fuk with the heads of all those who’ve been fukking with ours for our entire, distraught ridden lives.

ONE GOOD JOKE DESERVES ANOTHER!

I will /not/ offer any suggestions as to exactly /what/ kind of mischief we should dump upon their sorry souls. For that is a big part of the fun about to commence: leaving it to each one of us to come up with our own bad-ass conjury. (For one of the Rules of This Birth-of-Consciousness Game is that we each get only /one/ plot to unravel upon the world stage.) Nonetheless, I’m sure each will be a hoot, a really, really /big/ hoot.

No one religion or belief system can claim to own this, for it is simply nature doing its thing in the right place, at the right time. THIS IS EVOLUTION of the most wonderful sort. Yes, it /is/ awesome, but also something the Angel of Destiny planned all along…thus quite normal in The Universal Scheme of Things.

I don’t think I can top what I’ve just declared in the preceding paragraphs, any time for the rest of this fine day. So I think that, perhaps, I ought to withhold further comments or uploads to Facebook or other social media, simply to honor the scintillating insanity of my words herein.

Sinqueerly yours,

Ezekiel J. Krahlin
Jehovah’s /very/ Queer Witness

P.S.: Don’t forget to write me in come November 8th.

Really! Click on the dragon head to cast your vote.


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