The Hopelessness of Hope

March 22, 2023

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 15]

Subject: 6 doggy sweaters instead of 4! (part 2 of 2)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 11, 2023 at 7:50 PM

“Are you busy?” he said.

“Yes I am,” I replied.

“Oh c’mon, really?” he exclaimed with annoyance.

I saw no way to just make him vanish, so consigned myself to stepping outside and have a talk, which started with:

“Yes Vince, I’m busy trying to fix supper and go to bed, I’ve been up since 5 AM after a VERY exhausting day. Then YOU show up. Don’t EVER holler up to my window again, that’s the LAST thing I need, you have no idea what I’ve been going through these past months!” (Please note my exaggerated explication in order to discourage his dropping by.)

“But this is the first time I’ve ever done that,” he replied with a hint of belligerence.

“Right,” I rebutted with greater belligerence, “and this is the first time I’ve ever told you NOT to do that!”

As you can imagine, Wattson, I was really pissed for this intrusion and his snotty, meth inspired behavior (with assistance from a pint of cheap vodka swinging from his hand). I had to make it absolutely CLEAR to him (as I have in the past) that NO, he’s not coming upstairs to visit, I don’t HAVE anyone visit me anymore, not for at least the past three years, nothing personal, that goes for everyone, including Deek (who he knows, albeit casually).

“Oh, Deek,” he scowled, “I saw him the other night, arguing with that whore who clings onto him like a tick. I was gonna say hi, but didn’t wanna get into THAT! I don’t see why you bother with the dude.”

Of course Vince spoke about him that way ’cause jealous I spend so much time with My Cajun Baggage, and not him. But I made sure to correct his rude remark about Scampy, that she’s not a whore, but troubled and in great need of shelter and kindness. And Deek is one of the few folks on the streets who IS kind to her. He apologized, said he didn’t mean it that way, and I replied I understand, he’s just expressing frustration.

Some time during this unpleasant conversation he blurted out: “Well, I’m gonna find SOME way to get into your building!”

I nearly exploded: “NO you’re not, unless you wanna go to jail. That’s breaking and entering, and this is a private residence. So no, no, NO!”

I reminded him he entered this building alREADY without my permission last year, bumped into the manager who asked where he’s going.

“And you said you’re here to visit ME,” I further admonished, “even though I told you twice before I’m NOT having visitors anymore. So when I heard the commotion I opened my door to see you and the manager in the hallway…he asked if you’re here to see me and I said no, he’s not welcome, and he knows it. So he drove you back outside, with you giving him backtalk all the way down the stairs.”

I then paused, took a deep breath and continued: “The REASON I don’t have visitors, and I’ve alREADY explained this to you in the past, is thanks to the ongoing bedbug infestation, the coronavirus and some other issues. “

“Other issues?” he interrupted with a scornful mask.

“Yes!” I replied. “In YOUR case it was the last time you visited, which was when…over four years ago? When it was time for you to leave, instead of going straight downstairs to the lobby you skipped to the back porch and stole an LCD monitor someone had tossed away, and THEN left. I wouldn’t even have KNOWN you did that except a few weeks later you came up to me and BRAGGED about it. Now, how do you think doing shit like that affects me, as a paying resident? There are CAMERAS on the porches.”

“Oh, er…” he mumbled.

“YOU’RE A NUT JOB, VINCE,” I exclaimed, “and I already have one in my life, that’s Deek, so I’m not gonna put up with TWO meth freaks in my life. One is bad enough. So if you step into this building again I won’t hesitate to sic the cops on you! Just who the FUCK do you think you are, Vince, to talk like that? You’re outta control!”

Now, I must note at this point, good physician, he’s absolutely NO danger, he’s a scrawny little thing (about 5-foot-4), and his belligerence was of the mild sort. His main gripe was that he doesn’t get to see me anymore, upon which I reminded him we exchanged emails and phone numbers in the past, but it’s HE who didn’t contact me back, and there’s no way I can afford surprise visits by anyone, including yelling up at my window. I’m just too BUSY for any of that nonsense. So he requested my email and number again, but I said nope, not gonna happen, I learned my lesson last time around.

“You dropped by once, when I was camped outside with the pups,” I reminded the fool. “That was fine, but since the homeless sweep I can’t do that anymore. You’re welcome to hang with me whenever you see me outside with the dogs, which I still do from time to time, though without a tent.”

“Homeless sweep?” he queried.

Oh Glob, I thought, doesn’t the idiot know ANYthing about what’s going on around him? He’s in his own world of crystal palaces and booze-gushing fountains. And all THIS exhausted pilgrim wanted was to return hovel, enjoy my dinner in peace, and crash out…jeez Louise! Nonetheless, in spite of my growling tummy, I took the time to fill him in on the sweep. But just before I did that, who should walk by with a nod of the head, then enter the building? SCOOTER! At least he had the good sense to not intrude. Yet aNOTHER wackadoodle dopehead! So now I got THREE of ’em imposing their unsavory selves in my world! Though I make exception for just ONE, thanks to the wee hounds.

Somehow, some way, I finally extricated myself from Vince’s tentacles a few minutes later, wishing him well as he did same, and got down to supper and bed. Now, for a final thought re. Scooter…grab those smelling salts!

Could Karlsen actually be dead, chopped up there in his own bathtub, and Scooter is just covering his butt by talking with me to fabricate an alibi? And who is this strapping, blonde dude of careworn animal magnetism, smokey bedroom eyes, solid jawline and impressive biceps, pectorals and solid rump who accompanied him into the building and, I guess, Karlsen’s apartment? Are they busy decomposing the body parts with lime and some other substance to conceal the foul stink of decay? They certainly have the advantage of an absent building manager to get away with Glob only knows. Maybe I should ask Victor, our maintenance man, to take a look-see in that unit after telling him my concern. That would be a hoot! Meanwhile, I think I’ll jack off tonight in some hot Criminal Minds fantasy with blondie…boinking him up his tight sphincter while he’s bent over the bathtub bubbling with dissolving flesh and muscle, one eyeball still floating about.

P.S.: Barely an hour after I composed the paragraph above I stepped out to empty my wastebasket, when who should I see exiting Karlsen’s pad? Scooter and blondie! I feigned a friendly hello and slipped through the back porch door to empty the basket. They were already gone when I stepped back out seconds later and returned to my humble refuge.

P.P.S.: The next day, Thursday eve, who should come lumbering up the stairs, gasping for breath, but Karlsen! Shortly followed by Scooter. Though neither spotted me, as I hid around the corner of the side hall while they drifted along towards their abode across from where Adisa and mom once lived, and vanished like the eerie spooks they are. So much for my coldblooded senicide speculation. *sigh*

P.P.P.S.: Yesterday afternoon my missing four slices of Swiss cheese magically showed up again in my fridge, right where I left them before they disappeared…and in perfectly edible condition. Will wonders never cease? My poltergeist theory must have holes in it.

Re: We SHOULD Fight against local trolls Koclownski, Titslaffer and Filcher.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: MCN announce, MCN discussion
Date: March 12, 2023 at 12:51 PM

On Fri, 10 Mar 2023 14:14:30 -0800 spike NAZI FOOL kozlowski squoinked:

> Says he who has lived off a mental disability check his ENTIRE useless, meaningless, unproductive life.

You, Mr. Koclownski, are most likely the LEAST qualified of any other person on this planet to pass judgment on ANYone, let alone one who is disabled and whose life has been saved by what thread of kindness remains in our disastrously hobbled government services…thanks to vulgar morons like yourself. Who think it “manly” to poke a stick through a fence at some innocent dog born to love any human who gives it even half a chance.

The ONLY true reason for human existence is for each person to find some noble cause to grab onto and strive forward with torch lit. Regardless of their social or financial status in life, no matter how low or how high. YOU, dear Nazi reprobate, have so far FAILED to find a noble purpose. In fact you seem to have been fighting with every fiber in your body AGAINST achieving just that, for your entire life thus far. Piece of advice:

Better get cracking posthaste, for your time is limited considering your advanced age, and the many years you have already wasted. For whom does the bell toll? For each of us, in our own time. Amirite, Ms. 2-Biased? *crickets* Woo-hoo!

– Zeke

Subject: A movie that will touch your heart like no other:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 12, 2023 at 1:03 PM

Living,” a simple title for a deceptively simple tale that is quintessentially British all the way through, and reflects the very best of what The Isles have to offer to all humanity. And is why I am such a Celtophile. I watched it last night, mesmerized from beginning to end.

Audience reviews: Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon.

Re: 6 doggy sweaters instead of 4! (part 2 of 2)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 12, 2023 at 6:24 PM

> These two letters are some FINE storytelling.

Thanks, so glad you enjoyed them. I had a helluva time composing part 2, as I got stuck on just HOW I can unravel Vince’s meth-crazed litany of bullshit. So I just let go of it for a day and a half, trusting my inner demons to bring things to the prefontal-lobe fore. And they finally did. Sometimes an author needs to mull a scene over for a considerable time before putting it to pen. This is NOT writer’s block (which I never suffer anymore), but the creative process doing its thing. The real writer’s block is ANGST, and I’ve gotten very good at dissipating it promptly, thanks to dealing with Deek’s frequent hissy fits over many years.

> I’m seriously impressed by how you stood up to Vince. And you hit some great licks: “He’s in his own world of ice palaces and booze-gushing fountains…”

Thanks! I changed “ice” to “crystal” ’cause it rolls better and I think fewer readers will get the meth reference with “ice” than they would with “crystal.”

> And when Karlsen comes huffing and puffing up the stairs, right after your fantasy about chunks of his corpse dissolving in the bathtub…

You just can’t make this stuff up! It happened exactly that way, in exactly that time frame. Just another hint they’re all having fun at my expense, as My Bodhisattva Premise suggests. And I had so much FUN composing that torrid sex-crime scene, with your alter-ego Morticia in mind. Imagine when my tales are reproduced in vibrant animation via Indymedia!

Marshall did a GREAT job narrating my latest tale last Friday. More on that later. Along with a couple MORE updates. Hard to keep up whenever I go through an intense cycle of flapdoodle. I make sure, though, to draft a quick outline each day so I won’t lose any scenes to the dusty void of forgotten props in a defunct theater from yesteryear, its roof about to collapse. All the world’s a stage, but most of the shows are cancelled, or never make it to the boards in the first place!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Catching up with Deek updates and other reports.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 16, 2023 at 12:32 AM

Starting with Thursday morning, six days ago:


Stepping out of Rosenberg’s with java in hand, who should I see down the block a bit but someone in a plush hooded jacket smiling at me. Took me a few moments to realize who it was: Hjelmar, Deek’s Viking friend who sold him a fabulous Bluetooth speaker at a ridiculously low price back in January! So glad to see him again, I invited him to sit with me around the corner, by the steps of “Max Muscle,” that nutritional sports outlet. Though he remained standing for the entire visit–which lasted for almost a half hour–it was a superb get-together.

He was nicely dressed as usual, this time in a nylon-shell jacket of a tawny shade, black Levi jeans and a pair of dark blue Adidas sneakers with three yellow stripes on each side, that looked spanking new (like everything else he wears). I never see him without a Bluetooth speaker of his own (usually hanging from a strap slung diagonally over his chest and one shoulder) and that morning was no exception. This one was a JBL Xtreme 2: barrel shaped and resting just above his waist. Definitely a music lover, though with a much wider range of genres than Deek’s…thank the Elder God Orryx for that. And also (unlike Deek at times) it was turned off, so our confabulation was an undisturbed pleasure.

What did we talk about? (You may be asking at this point, Wattson.) It was mostly about the different people we meet on the streets, and how we deal with conflicts from the nasty, dysfunctional types. His approach is much like mine: always be calm, patient and forgiving no matter how onerous the other’s behavior. At worst, just walk away and never be vengeful or harbor resentment.

But I already knew that about him, so well illustrated by his witnessing my chastising Deek in front of him, that night Hjelmar agreed to a $200 dollar transaction for a $500 speaker. I’ll spare you the details of this argument, as I’ve already spelled them out in a previous missive. My point being that Hjelmar remained peaceable and friendly during my little clash with the Cajun dufus…and did not at all express dismay later on, at Deek’s reckless treatment of that fine speaker leading to its demise only a few weeks later. The ONLY complaint Hjelmar has about him is when he’s around him Deek never shuts up but chatters on aimlessly. He loves the pups though, and agrees with me that Deek is basically a decent human being, and is a great help to others surviving on the streets.

He also brought up his living situation, though in such a way that I’m not clear about whether or not he has a roof over his head NOW. He said he comes from money, but enjoys many aspects of the street life…and has a studio apartment ready for him in the near future, thanks to a social worker. I’m under the impression he has SOME safe place to return to at night, considering how well attired and impeccably neat his appearance every time I see him. Not to mention the TWO expensive smartphones he always carries around, along with a high-priced speaker that changes brand or model with surprising frequency.

His affirmation of My Bodhisattva Premise, as conveyed by how he deals with conflict, was most uplifting. Especially since it was just the night before when pesky Vince showed up with his disturbing antics that put me in a slump, worrying if he’s gonna be more of a pest these days, and how I’m gonna deal with that. It’s not like I discussed My Premise with Hjelmar, seeking approval from someone (anyone), it’s more like he appeared outta the sky as one of my guardians to give me the perfect boost at just the right time.

While we were chatting, that friendly black dude in a yellow jacket strolled by again, waved at us with a hearty “Good morning!” We greeted him back in the same amicable manner, then Hjelmar turned to me and declared:

“They’re not always so friendly, some are downright ugly.”

“What do you mean?” I queried, a bit puzzled at his use of “they.”

He pointed at the yellow jacket which had the words “Castro Ambassador” displayed on the back, in white. I never noticed that before. I think he was talking about some of them being prejudiced against the homeless, as they’re a black eye for tourism in our neighborhood. And, being unhoused himself (or coming off that way to some), Hjelmer gets a taste of that rudeness. Though with his always-neat appearance and pleasant demeanor, I don’t see why ANYone would jump to the conclusion he’s living on the streets. Just because he carries around a cart sometimes, and blasts a speaker on his walks?

Though I’m not sure that’s what he meant, as he speaks in such a way that is difficult to understand without focusing directly on his face. His words often blur together as if he were partly deaf, or has some other hearing disorder. One is therefore tempted to say “What?” after almost every sentence…but I temper that by pretending I understand, based on the words and phrases that came before which I COULD comprehend. In sum:

Thanks to our upbeat conversation, I felt invigorated and still do. For just under my thin veneer of angst I discovered renewed energy, a positive rush of affirmation that I’m still basking in as I compose this email.


The next night (Friday) Deek showed up, though it was already 10 PM and I was settling into my nighttime routine of a late dinner and relaxing with a movie or some Youtube videos. He asked if I could watch the pups while he rode about on his bike for fifteen minutes or so. I said sure, and he was gone maybe for a half hour at most. So I laid down cardboard and a blanket for the doggies’ comfort, and we had another lovely visit there on the sidewalk below my window.

The brindlekin sensed his return from across the street; their ears perked up at a rap song blaring from his speaker. When he finally crossed the street and approached, the dogs looked up at him with waggy-tail joy and I exclaimed:

“They know your music, they recognized it from a block away!”

As he prepared to leave I saw him adjusting his Bluetooth speaker in a small baby buggy he had joined somehow to the bike’s rear axle. So I asked if he could use another bungee cord to better secure the hefty device. He wound up taking more than half what I had, from a $12 supply I ordered only three days prior! See pic. And here I assumed those many cords would last for two or three months to suit his needs.

He also had a cage connected to the bike, behind the buggy, and used the extra bungee cords to secure it. But as I watched him place the dogs in the cage it tilted the bike back and made a soft landing on the sidewalk. Both mutts remained in the cage, even though it was open, because they preferred to remain in cozy rest upon the sleeping bag also stashed therein. (I was watching all this from my window, BTW.)

He wound up extricating the pups from that cage and walking them, along with his bike, towards wherever he was destined next. I guess he didn’t call up to me to return the sleeping bag (which I suggested he use to cushion the cage), because he was planning to remain outdoors for the night, anyway.


Looks like he now has “friends” visiting and staying over in Karlsen’s tiny studio apartment. (Well, not even a studio as it has no kitchen, just a single unit with bathroom attached.) I first realized this upon exiting the front gate last Saturday afternoon when I stepped out to see Deek and brindlekin. Scooter was holding the gate open and chatting with another vagrant who appeared reasonably neat, thank Blavigus (that’s a deity I just made up; I haven’t put any thought into his purpose except that he’s male and probably of Grecian, Macedonian, or even Cretan origin).

He was blocking the exit so I said excuse me please, and he graciously stepped aside so I could squeeze my way through.

“Uh-oh,” Deek exclaimed with a chuckle. “He has the key, now everyone can get into your building!”

“Hush,” I bent over his right ear and whispered. “He says he’s paying Karlsen half the rent to stay there, and we have no manager anymore, so there’s really nothing I can do about it, except be cool.”

[Sidebar: Yeah, Wattson, I forgot to tell you about that, when Scooter and I had our first conversation outside while I was watching the pooches. I also forgot to tell you he said if anyone bothers me, let him know and he’ll take care of it. Boy do I feel safe now! My response of course was: “Thanks, much appreciated!” For I thought it wise not to play the “you’re-a-big-fat-tweeking-phony-scamming-his-way-into-the-building-since-you-know-the-manager-is-in-the-hospital-on-his-death-bed” card. I guess that’s one of the cards in a pile of cards on my imaginary “Battle of the Bodhisattvas” gameboard. I hope they’re not ALL that wordy, but only time will tell.]

So this explains why I’ve heard people calling up to Karlsen’s window for the past week…though not hollering for either him or Scooter, but someone ELSE! (For some reason I still can’t discern WHAT that name is, though definitely one syllable.) It hasn’t been frequent, or late at night…just once or twice a day between three different people as far as I know. Goodness gracious, I can’t ALWAYS be standing by my window playing Neighborhood Watch!

But that morning I heard someone hollering up at my building, “Oscar!” Loudly, but just once. I have no idea who Oscar is. He stood around awhile, halfway between my window and Karlsen’s, then departed. Didn’t get a good look at him ’cause I didn’t want him to spot THIS wary pilgrim.

Then towards evening a raggedy fellow (maybe blondie, but not sure…he was wearing a hoodie) was hollering up at Karlsen’s window, some name I couldn’t make out, but definitely not “Karlsen” or “Scooter.” Didn’t sound like “Oscar” either. He kept it up for ten minutes or so, then took off.

Then, late that night from around 2 to 3:30 AM someone kept pounding on the front gate, repetitiously, nonstop. He just would not give up, though at no time did he holler out ANYthing, just kept smashing a fist (or maybe both) on the metal gate. I tried to see who it was, but all I could make out from my window was a chunky pair of legs and butt in blue jeans, thanks to the overhang blocking my view. Small gaggles of revelers passed by during those wee hours, every few minutes or so, but not a single one stopped to challenge the gate smasher. Now get this, good doctor:

It has occurred to me that pounding on the gate for so long COULD break the lock, which has happened before. And may explain why NO yelling was involved.

Then, later Sunday morning around 9:30 I heard another person call up to the building some indecipherable name, but again, clearly NOT “Karlsen” or “Scooter.” Though I did peek out a minute later to see a bulging black duffle bag out front, but no one near it. Seconds later this scraggly old fellow and an equally scraggly (though colorfully attired) lady with a little doggie in her arms appeared, upon which he picked up the duffle bag and they entered through the front gate. Apparently, someone let them in.

So far all’s quiet with them, no real noise disturbances to speak of coming from that apartment. And I haven’t had the displeasure of crossing any of these crashers’ paths inside my building…nor do they seem to be using the shared bathroom. Maybe Scooter had the good sense to purchase a plunger from a dollar store to keep Karlsen’s OWN toilet working. I certainly hope they continue to lay low. And the lock in the front gate remains secure for the nonce. Oh so many things to be grateful for in my world!


Last Sunday evening Deek came by, asked for the rest of next Thursday’s allowance in advance ($60)…started to say something about needing to pay someone back but I cut him off:

“I don’t wanna hear your stories! I’ll just give you the money, but at this rate you’re gonna run out long before the month ends.”

In fact, he now only has $150 left, seeing as he’s already received $300 within the first two weeks! Later he asked to go inside “just for a minute,” and I told him he has a lot of NERVE asking me to do something I don’t wanna do anymore…and haven’t for at least four years at this point.

“I JUST gave you the rest of your hundred DAYS in advance, I’m being so kind to you and the dogs, you should be ASHAMED of yourself!” I exclaimed.

And believe it or not, this time (and for the first time) he actually showed a touch of remorse and didn’t push the matter! I then fed the pups, and he lingered about an hour out front. Scampy showed up, once more neatly dressed…she’s been in an amicable mood a lot since she “escaped” her shared hotel room! I see and hear her almost every day now, always cheerful. Up the block, across the street, on the corner, sometimes right below my window…she’s around here so much these days!

I remained outside while the hounds were noshing, and Scampy was crouched down along the curb beside Deek, muttering awful things to him. I suspect she has a mental debility akin to Tourette Syndrome. Anyway, she said things like “You’re a fuckin’ loser and you know it,” “A piece of shit like you shouldn’t even exist” and “I wouldn’t care if you died tomorrow.” I’m guessing she’s simply echoing the words of a dysfunctional family she fled from, and became homeless as a result. But what amazed me was how Deek handled it:

He just sat there and listened with kind patience, obviously not the least bit angered by her horrid declarations. They shared the bubble pipe and, rather than hand him back the lighter, she kept diddling with it.

“Please don’t break my lighter,” Deek softly begged. “Please don’t break it.”

According to Deek, she sometimes goes through the things in his cart and either steals or breaks them. Yet rather than show animosity, he endures her tantrums and expletives with startling grace. Never holds a grudge against her and remains a steadfast friend. So maybe THIS is why he used to explode at me so often: all that resentment bottled up!

So before returning hovel for the night I handed Deek another lighter, seeing as she still held onto the one he loaned her.

Before hitting the sack I looked out the window once more and was pleased to see Hjlemar visiting with Deek for awhile, too, before he finally departed with pups and cart about twenty minutes later.

Now, last night a rude incident occurred out front while Deek was sitting outside with the doggies bundled up in a sleeping bag. A young black dude dressed to the nines in a bulky sweater of colorful squares walked by, upon which Flaco & Lucky started to bark like wild. Deek held onto their collars, said sorry. But instead of moving on, the dude turned around and began barking back at the dogs, as if that were a funny thing to do. Causing the canines to react in a greater frenzy, of course.

Deek did not scream back at him, but calmly held the pooches in his arms until the idiot finally took off. However, he returned a minute later from the Hohokum smoke shop and handed Deek a fiver. I guess in apology, but why then did he proceed to yell at the dogs once more, before leaving for good? Be that as it may:

Just sharing with you certain incidents that show Deek’s mature handling of aggravating situations that certainly impress the heck out of yours truly. Now finally, this afternoon:

Deek showed up around 1 PM, and the first thing he said was: “What a nice day, huh?”

I agreed: after that string of gray, rainy days it sure was keen to have a sunny, warmish day at last. Again, he displayed a more sweet disposition that he hasn’t shown for years, except these past weeks since he acquired that tiny cabin.

He requested two rap artists to add to his growing collection: “Teejay3k” and “Ricky B.” Thought I’d have it all set up in just a short while…so I explained to him that’s a two or three hour project. I’d have to download each video from Youtube, then convert them all from mp4 to mp3.

“And when you’re talkin’ around a hundred songs, that takes time,” I added. “But let me see what I can find first, then I’ll let you know what to expect.”

Let me explain what’s going on, Wattson: he’s sticking to his speaker instead of a smartphone these days. In which case he only wants a small number of songs, relative to what he stores on his phone…small number being around a hundred, in contrast to thousands. Seeing as with a speaker you don’t have an LCD screen with a menu by which you can scroll to whatever song or album you want in a pinch. Instead you are relegated to the speaker playing one song after another, in alphabetical order, and you can only go blindly forward or backward one by one, by pressing a button. And having TOO many songs makes it a headache and a half if you want to switch to another rap artist. So, once or twice a week, he asks me to replace his present collection with a new one. He doesn’t ask for any particular artist (for the most part), just wants something different. After all, his library of 5,000-plus songs (and still growing) are all ones he’s personally chosen, so no matter which songs I put on the chip, he’s gonna like ’em.

When I returned to tell him I found both items he requested, he said take your time, maybe put some “Too Short” albums on his chip after deleting what’s already on it, and he’ll come back later. Now, the old Deek would never say that, or be so placid about it. He would’ve exploded in a fury, demanding he get those songs NOW. Instead, he suggested I put some different songs onto the chip that he already has in his collection, and I could do my downloading and converting at my leisure.

I said sure, that’ll work, then just as I was about to enter my building he called to me: “Um, also get me the rapper Dog Hustler and an album called “Bay Area Rap Instrumentals.”

I said okay, but that will add another hour or two for this project. He said fine, so I rushed back upstairs to delete his chip and transfer a bunch of Too Short albums onto it, which only took a few minutes. When I returned outside I handed it to him and said: “Eleven albums by Too Short, that should keep you busy and outta my hair!”

He smiled, said thanks and sat outside for another ten minutes or so before departing.

He returned just before twilight (much later than I expected), and I was glad to tell him I found ALL the songs he wanted, already downloaded to a new chip and numbered a total of 133. So we exchanged chips and he popped the new one in. It looked like he was planning to hang out front for awhile, since he just purchased a beverage and a cigar from the smoke shop and sat down beside the hounds. Since they were sitting on concrete I suggested I bring down some cardboard and a sleeping bag for the pups. Instead of griping in opposition (as was his wont until recent vintage) he simply said: “Good idea, thanks.” He also did not object when I put a new pair of sweaters on them.

Before returning hovel I pet the pups now snug in their nest and told Deek if he wants to take the sleeping bag with him, that’s fine…otherwise call up to my window when he’s about to leave so I can stash it away for another time.

About a half hour later he hollered up, told me he’s leaving now. So I went downstairs to collect the comforter and wish them all godspeed and happy trails. I watched them wander off into the distance as they crossed Noe Street, pleased as punch for yet aNOTHER peaceful meetup in this growing string of consecutive meetups. Of course, both Lucky & Flaco looked back at me a few times in kind regret.


“Corn” is the name these crashers are calling up to Karlsen’s window, I just discovered right when I was composing the third paragraph above. For once more some houseless fellow stood outside and hollered up, and this time I clearly heard him say “Corn!” several times over. What a shitty nickname to have.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Alvin’s put himself into a bad situation, it seems
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 21, 2023 at 10:47 PM

> So who is the beautiful man/boy??  What’s the rest of the story? My lip is zipped, of course.

There are three emails I sent him, previous to the one forwarded to you. It took me almost an hour to put them all together in chronological order because some were already in the trash folder, some in the sent folder, and a few in my Alvin folder. They’re all short, but I’m including them so you’ll get a good idea of how our conversation evolved. I marked the email I sent (after those three), followed by the remainder of our exchanges so far, the last one being a shocker, which may piss him off royally.

On 2023-03-21 14:34, Alvin Hope wrote:

> It’s raining cats and dogs and spiders and werewolves, so it’s a busy day in the barnyard. Lots of excitement as spring vigorously goes back to winter. What ho and high ho. Yesterday was lovely, one day of warm sunshine to keep us hoping for spring. Meanwhile, the sky has opened and you know what that means! What ho and high ho. Humpty Dumpty is back on his wall, geting ready for another plunge. Aslan is about to trap the White Witch and undo all her ice palace spells.

Send me one of those them-thar werewolves, I could use the company! Just tell him he needs to bring his own toothbrush.

On 2023-03-21 15:24, Alvin Hope wrote:

> I may be dating one right now. His obsession with Anne Rice is revelatory as are his unusual and hot facial decorations. I don’t know yet how serious he is about this but have resisted the kiss on the neck while going for all manner of other excitements.

You’ll know by the next full moon.

On 2023-03-21 15:35, Alvin Hope wrote:

> I realize I am conflating werewolves with vampires. Sorry, very sloppy on my part.

Yes, I was wondering about that. I’m not the least bit attracted to vampires, but werewolves make me howl. Explains my undying devotion to Canis familiaris.

> My friend would be appalled if he is a vampire being called a werewolf.

He’d probably accuse you of pulling the wool over his eyes.

> Anyway, he’s very beautiful and I am falling in love, not what one prudently does with either vampires or werewolves. I have always admired prudence, something I may be entirely lacking.

Prudence the vampire may enjoy hearing you say that to her face.

—–  (Here’s the email I sent you:)

On 2023-03-21 16:09, Alvin Hope wrote:

> Interesting thought. It’s coming up. I will definitely plan an evening with him during that time.

I was just joking.

> It’s an extremely complex relationship so far.

What relationship isn’t?

> Opposites attract? I am surprised how strong my feelings are for this person whom I hardly know but already want to move in with. My best friend, a woman, has us on her radar, so i feel relatively safe. Plus, he’s really a nice person underneath all the same social missteps that I have. I think we both screw up a lot. All rational signals say no but I am not rational when it comes to love, lust and sex. Just go for it. Writing about him makes me think about him and I want him here right now! My hot beautiful man/boy whom I love.

I would be cautious. I’m somewhat younger than you (72) and I would not allow anyone to get so intimate with me at this advanced age. Not that anyone’s interested, mind you…thus someone who shows interest is most likely faking it. Old queers are prey for young scoundrels, and some of them can put on a really convincing act. If he’s a homeless drifter, be extra cautious. Main point of concern: you hardly know him.

Also: you have a home, money, possessions, and your health is fragile at the moment.

– Zeke

On 2023-03-21 20:29, Alvin Hope wrote:

> Totally, thank you. I will keep your words in my heart. They provide balance. I have only shared this with my two women friends and one I can tell is in my ballpark totally and the other is vague. I am much closer to women in my life than to men right now. Where I live there is almost no gay presence. When I first met him, I told him I was gay because I wanted to end it if it weren’t possible for him. He said nothing. The second time we met, he came to my house and said he had had gay experiences, too, which opened the door. Mostly, he’s one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I’ve ever met. I love sitting with him and talking. Also, he has 7 cats. Yeah. That caught my attention right there. Warmest Greetings,

7 cats? That’s a good sign, I’d say. Personally, if I met a youngish fellow whose company I’d really enjoy, I’d shoot for a warm, platonic friendship. Sex is so messy and often wrecks the relationship. He seems nervous about the gay part anyway, so putting that kind of pressure on him might drive him away. He may be considering sex only because he needs a friend, but isn’t truly into it.

On 2023-03-21 20:07, Alvin Hope wrote:

> “He’d probably accuse you of pulling the wool over his eyes.” I sense that has a deeper meaning but I can’t figure it out.

I meant it only as a pun, considering the furriness of a werewolf.

> My Dad was a master at social, loved it, and I got to watch and learn. So, tomorrow should be a lot of fun. I’m actually not too nervous. If he wears eye makeup, warrior face makeup and spikes his hair with gel, which he likes to do, it could get very interesting. I like it a lot. My woman friend is very brave with questions and my brother is a total sweetheart, so it will go well.

Good to know, have an excellent time, all of you. Let me know how it goes, please.


On 2023-03-21 20:34, Alvin Hope wrote:

> Thank you. I will. This really helps me keep it excellent.

I hope so, and wish you the best.

> I have to give a report to someone I respect.

Well, do that first, then get back to me. :D



On 2023-03-21 20:57, Alvin Hope wrote:

> Very true and very wise words. He initiated sex with us by saying, out of the blue, one evening here, “So, do you want to fool around?” I had already told him I can’t get hard and don’t come, so there was no surprise when that all proved to be true. We have been together three times now and it’s still a mystery but not a bad one. I sense that he likes me and doesn’t know how to say it, and that this is mostly new territory for him. I am very attracted to him and have told him, so I can just relax and take it easy. I know he could leave Sonora and my life and that is a possibility I don’t like at all, so we’re still in the process of making an initial real blending if it’s going to be. Yeah, the age difference is such that I would be his grandfather, not even his father, so that’s strange for us both I suspect. He is 34 and I am 82. I think we like each other but how deeply loyalty runs remains to be seen. I initially walked up to him and said hello because a very powerful voice in my head told me to do that. So strong.

Okay. Have you met his cats?

On 2023-03-21 21:11, Alvin Hope wrote:

> Yes

Where…in his van down by the river?

YOU’RE IN DANGER, Alvin, and you shouldn’t have ever invited him to your home. HE INITIATED SEX WITH YOU…that’s to win you over. I’m guessing now my joke about him pulling the wool over your eyes was a subconscious warning bubbling up before I even knew it. But a couple of emails later it suddenly clicked in:

Psychopaths are often stunningly good looking and know how to USE those looks to their advantage. They play the scintillatingly charming fellow to perfection, they are masters at it. Depending on how deep his psychopathy goes, he’ll do anything from rob you while you’re asleep (including your wallet and laptop) to refusing to leave and force you under his will, to being violent against you and your cats, to murder.

His playing modest is an ACT, like he’s almost a virgin when it comes to gay trysts, which makes him seem tastier to his prey. His “shyness” about meeting your friends is feigned: he wants to avoid meeting anyone else at your home, at all costs…or anyone else who even KNOWS you. Hopefully, then, he WON’T show up at the arranged get-together. Though he MIGHT drop over later, or another day whenever he knows the coast is clear, sex you up a few more times before he starts to go berserk on you.

This is an absurdly CLASSIC textbook setup of a young, handsome hustler hitting up an old, gay man who lives by himself in a rural town infested with right-wing troglodytes. In fact it’s so “textbook” it’s fukkin CORNY, and I’d like to think you’re just pulling my leg. UNBELIEVABLE you could ever fall for such an obvious dupe. YOU’RE 80 FUKKIN YEARS OLD! Are you perhaps on some soothing meds for your recent surgery, that turn you all lovey-dovey like MDMA? And thus in a state of poor judgment?

WAKE UP, MR. HOPE, YOU’RE IN DANGER! And I don’t know how you’re gonna drive him away peacefully, should he persist in visiting or stalking you. It is therefore my UTMOST hope the very idea your friends are gonna show up to meet him scared him away FOR GOOD.

–end (so far)

Subject: I just sent Alvin THIS addendum:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 21, 2023 at 11:45 PM

He hasn’t replied to my previous message yet, but then I remembered his email where he said the dude is into Anne Rice’s vampire novels. So I posted the following:


Subject: And he’s into VAMPIRES!

For most, vampire tales are simply entertaining chills. Though SOME do take them very seriously…and, in light of what you’ve told me about this fellow, I’m guessing he takes vampirism as a solemn belief. So I decided this would be an excellent question to ask ChatGPT:

“How gruesome are Anne Rice’s vampires?”

And here’s the reply:

Anne Rice’s vampires are known for being very dark and gruesome. In her novels, Rice portrays vampires as tortured and tragic figures who are cursed to live forever as predators who must feed on human blood to survive.

Rice’s vampires are often depicted as having a fierce hunger for blood, which they satisfy by brutally attacking and feeding on their victims. The process of feeding is described in graphic detail, with Rice emphasizing the violence and horror of the act.

Additionally, Rice’s vampires are also known for their physical transformations, which can be very gruesome. For example, in her novel “Interview with the Vampire,” the protagonist Louis is described as undergoing a painful transformation as his body is transformed into a vampire. This process is depicted as both physically and emotionally traumatic.

Overall, Rice’s portrayal of vampires is known for being very dark and gruesome, emphasizing the horror and tragedy of the vampire condition.

He IS a vampire, Alvin, but I mean that metaphorically. In that such types mesmerize their prey, then suck the life force outta them.

– Zeke


Subject: Further dialog with Alvin (2 emails)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 22, 2023 at 10:34 AM

On 2023-03-22 00:48, Alvin Hope wrote:

> Thanks, I’ve not thought of this but it doesn’t quite fit. Still, thank you for caring and alerting me. You have made me more accurate. I feel I’ll know more after tomorrow. Your email is like ice water. Am I woken up or frozen?

I’m not there, I haven’t met the person, and the situation is a classic setup, based on what you have reported. It fits in like a jigsaw puzzle that even a child could put together in five minutes. Of course I hope I’m wrong. Proceed with great caution. I wouldn’t even allow myself any sort of physical intimacy at my age…I’d go for a platonic friendship at best, and not reveal where I live for quite some time.

Now I’m wondering if he has so many cats because he sacrifices them?


On 2023-03-22 01:29, Alvin Hope wrote:

> This all could be true. I’ve got to be careful.

You’re already in it pretty deep.

> I’m glad my brother is coming up. He’s very low key and sweet but misses nothing. (We both are damaged in the same way by our mother who took our self-confidence away.)

Hopefully he’ll be packing heat when he arrives.

> It’s hard living up here in such loneliness. I have met two guys after I got out of the hospital, neither really able to lovingly reciprocate.

Even nice people keep their distance because you never know with strangers until it’s too late. Our society has fragmented…no more casual hangouts or hobby groups to congregate and get to know people. Except churches, gun clubs and Trump rallies: all right-wing venues. Otherwise it’s all been relegated to cyberspace, a weak alternative. The public commons has been destroyed.

> Haven’t had this problem before

Most gay people have; you’re an exception. Though I think you should’ve been aware of this dark side all along, considering all the bashing, terrorism and killing going on against LGBTs. And how most churches preach hatred against them. Been going on for centuries, some eras more violent than others, like an up and down wave on a statistical chart.

> and wonder if it’s some late life lesson I have to learn.

I doubt it. Other than an opportunity to stand up against evil…assuming my conjecture about him is correct.

> Never felt lonely and needy but do now. Wonder if it’s because I lived with so many people coming in and out of my room in hospitals for so long that I got used to it. Not sure, just different now.

Feeling lonely and needy is a state of mind, like any other emotion. I got over it some years back. Whenever such feelings well up I nip ’em in the bud, reminding myself that’s an immature reaction and I know better.

> Don’t have male friends here and miss the masculine vibe a lot. All my friends are loving sweet caring women.

I’d give my eye teeth to have a good friend in my world, male or female or anywhere in between, who I can meet up with on a frequent basis. Count your blessings, Alvin. I DO have an excellent friend, and have for years…though it’s via the Internet only, a wonderful woman. So my best friends I get to actually SEE are of a different species, and their names are Flaco & Lucky. Their owner, however, leaves much to be desired in the way of friendship.

> I may have retarded development and am going backward.

I don’t think so, it’s just that your situation with “vampire boy” is both strange and alarming. You are acting like you’re under the influence of a powerful, tranquilizing drug (with consequent poor judgment)…and I’m guessing that’s from the medication you take to heal from surgery.

> My Mom wanted to destroy me and I feel like she may be finally succeeding. Maybe that is what is going to happen. There are haters in my family so I know all about that. It’s not me and it’s not lasting. Love is lasting I know.

Time to love thyself above and beyond anyone else…this is an emergency!

> Tomorrow is a new day and will be better. I hope it warms up. I want to wake up smiling.

One can CHOOSE to wake up smiling, regardless of the weather. And regardless of anything else for that matter, in spite of one’s difficulties. Trust the Great Spirit that all crises resolve themselves peaceably, no matter how scary the situation appears. Psalm 23:4:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

BTW: what ARE this fellow’s “unusual and hot facial decorations,” as you say. What kind of symbols or designs in particular? Do they show the clean lines and solid colors of a professional tattoo artist, or do they appear more “homemade?” The latter would suggest gang member affiliation or time in prison. Though some are just into primitive self decoration without any dark background. Nonetheless, unsettling. I am sure your brother will be seriously putt off by that alone.

Does he ever speak of Buddhist, Native American or other illuminating influences? How well educated is he? I am assuming he’s homeless, maybe lives out of a vehicle, travels around…seeing as you have not divulged his living situation yet. Nothing wrong with that per se, but other things you’ve told me about him sound the alarm in my brain.

–end (for now)

Not So Bad After All

March 11, 2023

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 14]

O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)

Subject: Re: Another Amazing Meetup
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 27, 2023 at 8:32 PM

> Boy, he sure has you runnin’ up and down those stairs!

The exercise is good for me, but more importantly: small sacrifice to pay for the pups’ happiness.

> It’s good to imagine him sleeping on a bed under a roof, doggies alongside.

It certainly is, and I also gave him a new sleeping bag so the doggies can have super fluffy comfort in their new digs.

> You can take full credit for it. None of it would have happened without your unwavering patience, courage, forbearance, gumption, stick-to-it-iveness and Bo-dee-sat-va premise!!!

Thank you. And it looks like Deek knows that, too…considering his vastly improved behavior since he’s moved into a tiny cabin village. The many challenges he’s hurled at me have only served to make me a better person, thanks to applying My Premise. And it’s the boundless love of Flaco & Lucky that made this fairy tale come true. An incredible story that would make O. Henry proud.

Tomorrow’s another stupid bed bug treatment day, so I’ll be outside in the cold, damp weather for five hours or so. But knowing how well things are turning out for Deek and brindlekin warms my heart so much, even THAT won’t dampen my spirit.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Rain, Bedbugs and Scooter
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 27, 2023 at 10:36 PM

Attached is a screenshot of today’s text message to Paolo, the exterminator.

Since the building manager is “in absentia” I must be there to unlock my door, then remain until Paolo departs, to lock it. That’s about a twenty minute wait while I loiter in the hallway, but a gross inconvenience for me, and invasion of my privacy. The LAST thing I wanted regarding pest treatment was to be around when the exterminator arrives, but look what’s happened Wattson: I have no choice. Kevin’s evil shadow stretches o’erlong. The shabby condition of my room is a humiliation for me to bear when it comes to unwelcome visitors:

“Here’s where I live: step right on in, don’t be alarmed.”

There is also the matter of dealing with someone not-so-bright, face to face. The kind of people I do my best to avoid, but there ya go: they’re FORCED upon me on a FREQUENT basis. This includes, of course, Kevin himself and the maintenance fellow, as well as Paolo.

Bad enough to have to conceal my low income status without having people financially better off enter my room. Not to mention this lawsuit which ALSO demands I expose my poverty to an audience in order to win my case and have the hounds return. An audience that perhaps is of the conservative (even Republican) ilk who scorn and abuse the disadvantaged every chance they get…including the judge who will most likely be pro-landlord. Then there’s Scooter:

He’s back to whistling and hollering up at Karlsen’s window these past few days. Today he’s come by the building at least five times, disturbing the peace. And forcing me to step away from my window ’cause I don’t need the prick to stare up at me. Feels like I’m being stalked and, in a way, I am. Two nights ago as I stepped inside after tending to Deek and pups, Scooter came down the stairs right when I entered the gate. So I was coerced into the unpleasant situation of holding the gate open as he exited. He was just too close for me to let the gate close; I’d’ve had to force it shut with my hand. Which COULD trigger hostility directed at yours truly anyway, so again I had no choice. Here’s a sound byte of his whistling and calling up to Karlsen:

Now, imagine him doing that repeatedly three or four times, five or six bouts a day, sometimes late at night! He has the entry code so why doesn’t he just come inside and knock on the skanky, faux Bohemian’s door? It would spare us all his piercing whistles and boisterous hoots. I suspect Kevin’s poor decision to rent to Karlsen was inspired by his senility.

It’s been very cold and rainy all day, with the occasional break. Some thunder now and then, not much. I imagine tomorrow will be the same, and I’ll have to be outside to suffer it. Hope I don’t get struck by lightning…that was a whopper two nights ago, so close to my window! Again, no choice, FORCED on me. But at least I don’t have to worry about the hounds. And now we have no hot water, which started a week ago. At first the water was cold in the morning but later in the day it was hot. Gradually we’d get less hot water each day, until today it’s been nothing BUT cold! So I probably won’t even be able to take a hot shower before I leave my room to the exterminator.

Marshall’s reading of my latest tale was superb as usual, so I’m glad for that. And this just happened (another reason I don’t care to wander the streets anymore, besides the cold rain):

Heavy gunfire in broad daylight reported in SF’s SoMa

But I guess to make up for such bad news there is a link at the bottom about radiant heaters (speaking of Darly, which we weren’t). It includes a list of recommended ones to buy, down to $50. I like the Pelonis brand for $80 ’cause it has three heat settings: 1500, 900 and 600 watts. The lower the wattage, the lower the electricity bill. All the others seem to be 1500 watts only.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Add to my miseries the leaking radiator valve, which I had resolved some months back by replacing the smaller plastic tub with a larger one. So I’d no longer have to get up at a wee hour to empty it, to prevent possible overflow. But this was before the Great Deluge starting in late December and ending by mid-January. Because ever since, the radiator’s been active 24/7 due to the manager being on his death bed, so he can’t turn the radiator OFF during the daytime.

The large tub was great because I need not worry about it filling up every few hours…it would take a whole six hours or nothing at all if the weather wasn’t cold enough to activate the radiator. But now that it’s constantly on I have to empty that bin several times a day, and twice at night! So instead of making my life a bit easier by using a larger tub, I’m having to empty it much more often than I did with the smaller one.

And to make matters worse, when I’m away for five hours due to bedbug treatment, the tub COULD overflow if I don’t remember to empty it just before stepping out. But even if I do, there is STILL some risk it will fill up sooner than that, and spill over. As I said once before, and I’ll say it again:

“Kevin’s evil shadow stretches o’erlong.”

Subject: Besides the heavy gun fire incident South of Market…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 28, 2023 at 10:45 AM

…this, MUCH closer to home (on the other side of Duboce Park):

Armed Robbers Stormed His Packed San Francisco Coffee Shop. Now He Wants Action.

So much for my days hanging out in cafes, along with exploring the various neighborhoods when the street scene was my social life for decades (along with coffeehouses). The pandemic put a big kibosh on the cafes, and this increased violence on the streets has put the final nail in the coffin.

Another bedbug treatment day where I’m pushed outside into the cold and rainy elements. There is only a Starbucks to hang out in the Inner Sunset, now that Tart to Tart is shut down. Maybe I’ll just be a ghost wandering around the Castro for five hours…and spend some time in the Harvey Milquetoast Library where I’ll have to guard my Chromebook with my life, what with scary vagrants occupying the space. Stinky, too. Fights break out there sometimes. Then around the corner on Market Street is Peet’s Coffee, which will probably be too crowded to find a seat. And possibly an armed robbery or two for the price of a hot cocoa.

At least I’ll stay warm and dry thanks to my galoshes, rain pants and that lovely raincoat Deek #2 gave me some weeks back.

Time for me to rent a spiffy studio apartment in virtual reality in a nice, virtual district with nothing but friendly virtual residents, over half of which will be AI generated and have nothing but stupid things to say, like so many REAL humans. It’s enough to turn a person with any brains and heart into a virtual serial killer, stalking the GUI chat rooms for their next victim. Among Us!

Don’t even know if Paolo (the exterminator) will show up at all, it’s just on our maintenance man Victor’s word…who did NOT knock on my door yesterday. Instead I had to track him down and ask if he set things up with Paolo. He said he did, for 2 PM the next day. But what if Victor shows up much later than planned, or doesn’t show up at all? At any rate I will no longer heat treat most of my bedding and clothes ahead of time, but just bag ’em for later, AFTER my room has been fumigated and sprayed. That way, any time Paolo doesn’t show up I won’t have to spend more money and time heat treating everything all over again. I’ll just unbag half the stuff and schedule another appointment. This way I’ll only have to heat treat (again) what I’m going to wear for the next one, two or three days until I get around to treating all bagged items. Jeez Louise!

I offered to give Paolo my phone number since Victor never touches bases with me like he used to (until the building manager accused me of going over his head). But he turned it down, saying he has WAY too many contacts on his smartphone as it is! So if Victor calls him to say he has to postpone Zeke’s treatment due to an extenuating circumstance, Victor may not be around to knock on my door…and he won’t be able to call or text me about it. So I’ll be sitting in my dank hovel with everything bagged and stashed on my loft, like I’m preparing to move out…until, I guess, 5 or 6 PM when I can reasonably assume the exterminator’s not gonna show up. In such a case I WILL text him about it, just to put it on record. For it may come in handy for strengthening my possible lawsuit against Ablahblah Realty. In sum:

Too many stupid people run this world, from the top on down…and being forced to deal with those kind so often is a royal pain in the keister.

But the pups are sheltered and cozy, and that’s all that counts in my world.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Besides the heavy gun fire incident South of Market…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 28, 2023 at 1:34 PM

> One of the worst aspects of poverty is the way it wastes a person’s time. That’s my experience, anyway.

You’re kept busy by bullshit. People think I live a life of leisure because I receive a gov’t stipend instead of having to work. When the truth is: were it not for the fluke of occupying an inexpensive single room when rent control hit I’d’ve been tossed onto the streets long ago, and probably died shortly thereafter…possibly at the hand of homophobes. And of course prejudices against the poor are egregious, including within the queer community. Thus, my present debacle triggered by the idiot building manager. Senile or not, his animosity towards me as a long term, low income renter has been simmering for years…along with that from certain obnoxious residents.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Welp, gotta get ready to depart soon…back this evening.

Subject: Not so bad after all…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 28, 2023 at 3:27 PM

…in fact, Paolo was most amicable and only took 15 minutes to treat my room while I sat in the side hallway reading an ebook on my backup smartphone. I will be able to return hovel by 7 PM. I actually like this arrangement better, as neither of us has to deal with a demented middleman. Now I’m at boring Peet’s coffeehouse on my fabulous Chromebook and enjoying a cuppa English breakfast tea and a scone with lemon icing: $6.59, I almost had a <3 attack. I’m close to the front door, so if there’s an armed robbery I might be able to slip out. What an adventure! Slash ess.

– Zeke K-Holmes, most boring detective in this quadrant of hyperspace

Subject: The Mystery of Two Curious Incidents Regarding Yesterday’s Extermination
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 1, 2023 at 10:53 AM

While I waited in the side hall for Paolo to do his thing spraying my hovel I heard the fukkin smoke alarm go off! Just a series of three beeps, then a 20 second pause…repeated three times. Then went through that cycle once more about 10 minutes later. When the job was done and he stepped out the alarm went off yet again, so I asked him:

“Is that gonna go on all day?”

“No, just for a little while longer,” he replied.

“Well I hope Victor doesn’t hear that and rush in to see what’s up!” I exclaimed.

“No worries,” he replied. “Everyone’s smoke alarm goes off when I treat their units. He knows about it.”

But get this, Wattson: THE SMOKE ALARM’S BEEN OUT OF COMMISSION FOR MONTHS NOW, ever since I switched it off! As you remember. And you can’t just switch it back on, you have to replace it, which I did not. Of course I never informed him of that “alarming” fact, since it certainly worked in my favor. No more Paolo reporting to the building manager that I need a replacement, thus averting a nightmare cycle of one new, useless smoke alarm after another, waking me up late at night with its pointless shrieking. So:


Upon returning hovel the smoke alarm was silent, and has remained so thus far. Now, regarding the second curious incident:

First thing I did when I stepped inside was to open the windows. Second thing was to check the tub that catches water from the radiator leak. IT WAS EMPTY, DRY AS A BONE. THE RADIATOR WAS TURNED OFF! Please note that I already have it turned off locally (and have since time immemorial), but heat still emanates and the valve still leaks, regardless. Therefore, Paolo had nothing to do with it (and why would he), hence I must conclude that the water source for ALL radiators in the building has been turned off by the main valve somewhere in the catacomb depths…either by mishap or intentionally.

Perhaps this has something to do with the hot water heater, and is now undergoing maintenance. Do they use a separate heater for the radiators? I have no idea, as I’ve never had the grand opportunity to explore the bowels of Hotel California North. (Probably just as well, as I’ve heard that those who do, rarely return. BTW I now have steady hot water again for my sink, as of last night…though this could change at any moment, so don’t be complacent).

Normally–were Kevin not “in absentia”–he’d’ve tacked a notice to that effect in the lobby, as well as in the hallway on each floor, right by the stairs. But these are not normal times, and all residents remain in the dark (and the cold, I might add)…though probably greatly relieved over his imminent demise, nonetheless. I was fine with just a T-shirt and a thin sweater when I went to bed atop two folded sleeping bags and one for cover: warm but not toasty (exactly how I like it). But towards 3 AM the cold woke me up. A problem easily solved, though, by donning a thick coat, shutting BOTH windows (instead of just one) and turning on my space heater after moving it closer to my catafalque of a cot.

I’d MUCH rather put up with this icy cold than have an active radiator you can never turn off, even when the weather’s already over-warm. My room’s like a sauna then (my windows face the sun all day), and every building manager that’s run this place has never seen fit to do anything about it, in spite of my numerous pleas. I even sometimes BEG to have my radiator removed, since my little space heater is sufficient…but even though some have said “okay” they’ve never gotten around to it. (FYI: single room occupants don’t pay utilities, so an electric bill is not a concern, other than for the multimillionaire property owner of course.)

I presume this unit-heating imbalance is because single rooms (and there are three on each floor) heat up readily, while the larger units (a.k.a. “real apartments”) require more warmth to stave off the cold, especially on windy nights. And when it comes to radiators it’s a communal situation wherein all units are treated the same…at the cost of misery for residents like me! The worst period is when the weather transitions into springtime, for reasons I’m sure you can figure out yourself, good physician. After that, as summer nears, the radiators ARE actually turned off. Until late fall when, once again, misery is my lot for at least several weeks until the damp, cold ocean air truly kicks in. Be that as it may:

The unanticipated beeping of the smoke alarm and my radiator turning off copacetically saved the day! Is this possibly yet aNOTHER bodhisattva clue they’re toying with me…with the maintenance man and the exterminator playing their own little roles? Hilarious. And most hopeful to boot. About an hour after returning hovel I texted Paolo this animated gif, for the sake of goodwill:

Re: The Mystery of Two Curious Incidents Regarding Yesterday’s Extermination
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 1, 2023 at 10:14 PM

> Smoke alarms, radiators…the “inanimate” objects show that they’re anything but!!

Possible poltergeist activity dedicated to my success. Or some other paranormal phenomenon directed towards that end. Deek dropped by this evening: another favorable meetup. Will tell more tomorrow. Have an excellent night, pleasant dreams…this will send you off to Slumberland quite well:

P.S.: Radiator’s back on BTW.

Subject: I paid the poltergeist in cheese…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 4, 2023 at 10:40 PM

…four slices of Swiss cheese, to be precise. According to some folklore, whenever an imp does you a favor–even when unbidden and just because it LIKES you–there’s still a price to pay, albeit small (nothing even CLOSE to selling your soul, not even a drop of your blood). In this case it appears to have been cheese, as the day after bedbug treatment I began to prepare dinner, and took from my fridge that packet of Swiss cheese. Then I reached for my whole wheat pita bread, a jar of pitted kalamata olives and another jar of roasted red bell pepper strips. Upon bringing them to my prep table, the cheese had disappeared! I looked everywhere for it, including the fridge, my work station, the spice shelves, the pantry, the sink, my cot, on the floor, and even outside my door…I couldn’t find it anywhere! Three days later, the cheese is STILL missing. Needless to say I bought another packet, glad to pay such a paltry fee for a job well done (re. the smoke alarm and the radiator). Now, onto the Deek saga:


He showed up Wednesday evening for a couple of hours, and was in the company of another vagrant, Leonard, for part of that time. Who was friendly enough and remarked how the dogs get along so well with each other, and how they appreciated my laying down cardboard and a sleeping bag, then putting on their sweaters, to keep them warm on another chilly night.

Deek made a grumpy remark under his breath about how they hate the sweaters and are always pulling them off. Which annoyed me no end, as it’s NOT true, so I retorted:

“They LOVE their sweaters, Deek, stop making shit up. The only time the sweaters slip down on them is after they’re lying around for awhile, and shifting positions. You’re just too lazy to bother adjusting them, but it’s SO important to keep them from being exposed to so much cold weather, they’re your best friends, they love you, so you should be kinder to them in return.”

That was the only rude remark he made to me that night; the rest of his visit went very well. I later reminded him to bring back all the sweaters I had given him the last two weeks, which I hoped he had stashed in his tiny cabin. Three pairs in all.

“It will save me from buying more sweaters every time I turn around, and I’ll wash them and hold onto them for you,” I concluded.

When the time came for him to leave and I helped him clean up, he remarked: “It’s always neat when two players meet.”

That was a nice thing to say, I thought, though tempted to point out I’d be much happier if he took better care of the pups instead of opposing me so often. But I bit my tongue on that.

Then, when I picked up the sleeping bag to take back upstairs, he said “Here, I’ll need the blanket tonight,” and lifted it from my arms.

I assumed that meant he’s not returning to his shelter till tomorrow morning…I didn’t object, though was a bit annoyed. I knew I’d never see that sleeping bag again, either, but that was less grating to me than the poochies staying out all night in this chill weather.

When doggies and master finally departed I called to him, as a reminder: “Don’t forget to bring me those sweaters!”

I didn’t expect Deek to show up the next day, but he did and, to my surprise, WITH A BAG OF SIX DOGGY SWEATERS AND A JACKET! (I forgot about the jacket.) And here I expected to be disappointed by him only returning one or two sweaters, or none at all. So I gave him a hearty thanks for doing so, then pulled two sweaters outta the bag and slipped them onto the mutts ’cause it was twilight and getting cold once more.

I then took the remaining canine apparel upstairs and brought down cardboard and a sleeping bag. Though Deek said I shouldn’t bother, he’s only stopping by for a few minutes, I knew better. Sure enough, he hanged out front for almost two hours…fine with me so long as the pups were comfy and warm. He knew his next payment was soon due, so chirped up:

“You’re gonna gimme a hunner dollah tomorrow? I could use the full amount.”

“No, Deek, eighty,” I replied. “I miscalculated how much you overran your allowance when I gave you $200 last month for that speaker…it’s not fifty, it’s just twenty. So it’s eighty and not a penny more. Remember, I was planning to give you just FIFTY until I realized my error.”

To my astonishment, he didn’t object. Then I told him I have to lower his weekly allowance from a hundred to eighty, starting in April, because my pandemic food stamp boost of $200 is coming to an end. Again, he didn’t put up a fuss, just said okay. This is impressive, Wattson!

Oh, I almost forgot: he also requested another supply of doggy vittles. “But I gave you eight cans and two bags of kibble just two days ago!” I exclaimed.

He apologized, claiming he didn’t check how much he had left before he departed from home base that morning. So, as a compromise, I brought him THREE cans of doggy stew and ONE bag of kibble. Which he accepted without so much as a whimper.

So yesterday when he arrived to pick up his stipend he asked me to watch the pups for a half hour or so: “Feed ’em, take ’em for a walk, have fun! I need to look someone up.”

Though he had a small cart with him he didn’t burden me with it (of course not, it contained his monster speaker), so I was free to focus all my attention on the hounds. And so I did…we had a lovely time together, as usual, and of course I fed them some jerky treats when we stopped to rest by Morey’s corner shop. It was a warm day, and the brindlekin enjoyed lolling in the sunlight in front of my building for the last ten minutes of our visit, before their master returned in just under an hour.

Deek was in a cheerful mood upon his return, thanked me and wished me a nice rest of the day, as I did him. This is good…I was MOST pleased overall, with our recent meetups three days in a row. And one more thing (it’s about the sweaters):

I noticed that the sweaters DID slip down, twice, after the dogs had been resting during their visit. And realized what the problem was:

He wasn’t connecting their collars to the leashes THROUGH the tiny neck-slit in the sweaters! Some months back Deek stopped doing that, and I didn’t think about it, so whenever I put their sweaters on neglected to do so myself. IOW his habit became mine, unconsciously. So I corrected that and pointed it out to him: that the metal ring on their collars needs to first be pulled through the slit before reattaching the leashes. No wonder they kept slipping! He just gave me an unappreciative grunt in return, and that was that.


– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Marshall’s narration of my latest tale was disturbingly rude. I’ll get to that in my next missive.


Two quick observations:


On Thursday night when I was sitting by the pups with their master on the opposite side of the comforter, he suddenly warned: “Skateboard coming!” and grabbed onto Lucky’s collar. His sister, however, was a sleeping lump beneath the blanket and, just as I reached inside for her leash, she slipped out and chased the skateboarder down the block, barking up a tempest. The skateboarder stopped, so she did too, and looked up at him while he looked down at her, smiling.

“Flaco, get back here!” hollered Deek.

She didn’t move until I stood up to call her over, and she immediately complied.

The skateboarder responded to Deek’s excoriation: “Nah, it’s okay, dude. Cute doggies ya got there!” Then scooted off towards Castro Street.

Deek then turned to me: “WHAT THE FUCK’S WRONG WITH YOU?” he screeched. “I TOLD YOU A SKATEBOARD WAS COMING!”

“Well I tried to grab her leash but she was too fast,” I replied with Flaco now happily curled in my lap, eyes closed.

Instead of yelling at me further he quickly calmed down, changed the conversation and thanked me for being so good to the dogs. IOW: he appears to be getting a handle on his short temper and angry outbursts…I am both impressed and elated.


And yesterday, just before My Vagabond Trio took off, I told Deek to wait a minute and stuck a hand deep inside my backpack to withdraw two new collars I had purchased a few months back. They’re a lovely, burnished shade of brown, and made of thick, durable leather. I had already offered these collars to him weeks ago, but he turned them down without even asking to see them first. As if he resented the very idea in spite of the filthy condition of the dogs’ present collars worn for almost a year now, ready to fall apart.

But this time around (and much to my gratification) he took one look at them and said “Wow, they’re really nice, give ’em here!”

So I handed them off to him, pet the quadrupeds goodbye-for-now and returned hovel, leaving their master to fuss with the collars before they took off for parts unknown. I like to think he still has that new sleeping bag I gave him two weeks ago for the brindlekin’s comfort back at home base. Odds are he does, going by his newfound good manners.

Subject: Strange narration this time around…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 5, 2023 at 2:41 PM

…albeit excellent nonetheless. But I AM concerned he might decide to no longer read my tales. The following three audio clips from last Friday’s show explain my concern. If you haven’t the time today to go through this missive, no problem, I understand how busy you are with your own obligations.

After reading the first several sentences of my tale he stopped abruptly to say the following (24 seconds).

But once he resumed the narration he preceded with THIS kinda-rude comment (30 seconds).

Finally, after finishing the narration he added this closing comment (27 seconds).

I am neither angry nor upset…just concerned about him possibly ending my tales over the airwaves. Though he DID say, in that last audio clip, that “it must be me,” so there ya go: an admission he might be in the wrong about the repetitiveness of my recent tales.

In fact, I’ve decided to keep all his side comments in my upload, along with his mother’s call-in that split my story in two (see below). Because it adds new CHARACTER to my story that is unique to local radio…and Marshall is only human. He seemed to be in a testy mood early on, as he griped about someone who interrupted his reading of a different author. Though it turned out to be a woman he invited to call in around a certain time, but she did so a bit later. Here’s the clip (1 minute).

So, what think you, Wattson…should I write it off to a moody session, or shake things up a bit, such as sending him earlier pieces, say, from Book 1, such as “Julia Vinograd in a Dream,” “Reflections on a Black Puddle” and my letters to the landlord (parts 1, 2 and 3)?

Though this would thwart my tales of recent progress with Deek, leading up to the miracle of his acquiring a tiny cabin. Which breakthrough I am SO eager to convey, but at this pace Marshall won’t arrive at those passages for two or three months from now. Not to mention my working up to the biblical rains which occur before that “miracle,” or the Exmass visit outside my window by a colorful, elegant shaman seated upon a shimmering carpet.

MY take on the matter of Marshall finding my latest tales to be “the same story over and over” is this:

My progress with Deek is a dragged out, painful one and I’m trying to convey the same angst to my readers. Though in such a way as to record my ongoing rapport with the pups in every latest chapter–along with Deek’s frequent nastiness–in a well-writ fashion, threaded with other events, introspections, flights of fancy and, of course, our email exchanges.

Marshall has hinted previously to his growing tired of my long-term focus on my struggles to salvage Deek and the hounds, as in THIS statement in my piece “Where Have All the Vagrants Gone” dated January 20th (13 seconds).

And in “Deek’s Return” dated February 10th (15 seconds).

(FYI he was wrong when he presumed that tale was NOT about the dogs ’cause he soon found out it was!)

He has also expressed confusion at least TWICE in my narrated tales, over why I even bother with Deek’s temper tantrums and meth addiction in the first place. Such as when introducing my latest piece, “The Eye of Athena” (24 seconds).

And from this one entitled “Just Work With Me Here,” dated November 11th (30 seconds).

Yet it seems to me very CLEAR why I bother with Deek over the long haul, as I’ve shown in so many of the tales he’s already narrated: that I’m doing it solely for the DOGS. And the only way to accomplish that is through HIM…and real progress IS being made! It’s just an agonizingly slow and heartbreaking grind. But that very ENDURANCE OF SPIRIT is what helps make My Brindlekin Tales so SPLENDIFEROUS. Are not these parables part of a great literary tradition of heroic sagas where long-suffering is key to victory?

Regarding his 93-year-old mother’s delightful phone call:

Around four minutes into the tale it was interrupted by her surprise call, which I thought was quite sweet, so decided NOT to splice it out. Only 83 seconds anyway, thought you might enjoy.

So I’m in a quandary how to meet this challenge Marshall has just tossed at my feet. Perhaps I should skip bigger chunks of time, speed things up and get to the torrential holiday season and Deek’s tiny-cabin miracle much sooner. And maybe even intersperse them with earlier tales. It would certainly make for a fascinating weave if I play my “cards” right, as in:

In sum: the Three Fates look upon me kindly in their spinning my life’s journey, and love to include some startling twists in the weft.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: 6 doggy sweaters instead of 4! (part 1 of 2)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: March 9, 2023 at 11:02 PM

Amazon accidentally sent me TWO extra sweaters, when I ordered only four…nice! But it’s actually five because one of the sweaters is too large, so I placed it on the back porch shelf for someone else’s pup. I’m also pondering the purchase of a cushioned swivel chair, as long as it’s under a hundred dollars with free shipping, and easy to assemble. Meanwhile, I cushion my metal chair with a kid’s sleeping bag and secure it with a bungee cord so it won’t slip off. Comfy enough, see pic. Besides which, I’d hate to NOT have a cushy chair for the pups to enjoy once they’re allowed to return. Now, for my latest Deek update:

SUPERB! He dropped by Tuesday morning just after 8 AM, about ten minutes after THIS dreary old pilgrim arose from the dead to start a new day. At least I had a chance to clear my bladder and bowels before he called up to my window, oh merciful fate. Gave him $100 two days early…as it’s gonna rain heavy starting Thursday, and I don’t want him to drop by and get the pups soaking wet just to pick up his allowance.

Scampy was also present, and she looks pretty good these days, dressed neatly (and warm). She watched over the pups while he skipped off to Chevron for snacks. Normally Deek asks ME to guard the mutts, but since Scampy was around and he wanted me to replace the songs on his chip with a different selection while he was gone, he decided to kill two birds with one stone. While I was back upstairs I checked on her dog-sitting twice and saw her patiently crouched down beside the angels who (I should note) sat facing the front gate, apparently hoping I’d step back out shortly.

I would’ve preferred to watch over them myself (and THEN deal with his music, which only took a few minutes anyway), but I knew this little responsibility was a good thing for Scampy, and Deek was back in less than ten minutes. I’ve noticed an improvement in her appearance and behavior since she was housed, albeit briefly (two days and nights I think). Hopefully, she’ll be less anxious next time she’s offered shelter, and will stay longer. Having her OWN space instead of sharing with another may be the winning ticket. And I’m VERY pleased to report that Deek was once more in good humor, so not even a jot of bitchiness for me to deal with. In fact:

Even through all these rainy, cold days not ONCE has he ever shown dismay or frustration because of the inclement weather. Not even during those horrific deluges back in December and January!

Shorty after his return they departed, and I went to Rosenberg’s for my morning java, then sat on the steps of a corner store facing Market Street. Called “Max Muscle” of all things, a sports nutrition outlet; couldn’t be more irrelevant in my worldview. My usual habit these days: to stop there for a few minutes while sipping on the steamy brew before returning hovel. Not the best ambiance for MY taste, traffic zipping by in an urban jungle, no lush greenery to soothe my nerves…but that’s all I have. Though something NICE happened, just the same:

A black fellow in a yellow nylon jacket walked by, then paused to address me with a broad smile and a hearty “Good morning!” I grinned back and replied, “And a good morning to you, too…I’m just starting my day.”

“Oh, well, you have a nice one then!” he called back, then proceeded to cross Noe Street.

Well THAT lifted my spirit, Wattson, as it’s SO rare anymore for someone passing by to take the time to spread a bit of good cheer.

Deek dropped by again later that day, around 4:30 PM, asked me to watch the pups, maybe feed ’em first. I didn’t bother to ask how long he’ll be gone (a half hour? an hour? two?), nor did he volunteer to tell me.

“So I’ll take them for a walk, too, okay?” I queried.

He dismissively shrugged his shoulders and walked off wheeling a bike on one side and his granny cart containing that 40-pound speaker on the other. I crouched down to pet the hounds while they faithfully watched him fade away into the distance. They knew the routine by now, so calmly waited tethered to a sign post for me to return with their meal and a fresh bowl of water. I stood there while they ate, my feet pressed against their bowls so they wouldn’t wind up pushing them beyond reach. Though Lucky would just clamp down on the edge of his bowl with his teeth, lift it and set it down closer, I’m not so sure his sister would do the same.

I spent around forty minutes strolling them about, feeding them treats and encouraging them to run up and down the sidewalk of a hilly side street. I say “encourage” because they weren’t much into sport that day, and were satisfied just to be in my company, sniffing here and there and sitting down with me on someone’s wooden doorsteps.

Funny how Lucky loves to play rough and tumble with me–tugging on my pants cuff as I try to walk, and standing up with his paws on my legs to grip my jacket with fierce little growls–while his sister isn’t the least bit interested, as if to say “You guys are too silly for me.” She’s just that much of a lady! Instead, she prefers to look straight ahead, ears pinned back in serious intent to watch for whatever comes down the pike as she plods forward…sometimes pausing to look back at us with studied resolve. Sincerest little doggy in the multiverse!

Figuring their master could return at any moment at this 40-minute point (or was already waiting out front) me and the brindlekin returned to our spot by the parking meter across from the old ATM depot. He was NOT there, so I tied them to the pole and ran upstairs to bring down (in two trips) a sheet of cardboard, a large box that I found on the back porch a few days ago just for this purpose, and a sleeping bag.

As expected, they eagerly dove into the box the moment I set it down…scratching up the bottom and sides in delighted fury, but finally settled down several minutes later. After all the air had grown chillier by then, so Lucky chose the box to curl up in, and Flaco the comforter right beside me, where she laid her dainty noggin on my thigh. Almost an hour had passed before the sky grew dark and I, restless…and thought: “Where the fuck is Deek, did he fall asleep somewhere?” Honestly, good physician, his demeanor before taking off was such as to suggest he’ll be back within the hour, even though he didn’t put it into words; so I WAS concerned.

I managed to distract myself with my spare smartphone and Bluetooth earbuds by listening to some of Hellfreezer’s true workplace tales I snatched from Youtube some days back. He’s a treat and a half! Of course I took frequent breaks to shower the pooches with affectionate pats and scritches. Another hour had passed by which time my stomach began to growl and I felt too chill, though promptly resolved that by rushing hovel to procure a thicker jacket. While back upstairs I also grabbed another handful of doggy morsels, and of course they loved the tasty surprise upon my return. Then it occurred to me as the pups settled back down once they realized snack time was over:

“Now that no more indigents crash out on the sidewalks of the Castro anymore (for the most part), I must stick out like a sore thumb these days, more than ever! So I’m that crazy old geezer who sits out front of my building with two little dogs now and then, who OBVIOUSLY isn’t homeless, so people may wonder: what’s up with that? At least the cops don’t bother me (knock on concrete).”

I thought about whipping up a quick dinner for myself, but decided against it as I’d be in my room for at least fifteen minutes, and that wouldn’t be fair to the hounds. Though they’d probably sleep right through it, ya never know when a sudden disturbance might occur to disrupt their peace, and I may not be able to rush back out fast enough to protect them from any possible harm. So I reminded myself this is a small price to pay for their well-being, I love their company, and Deek is doing great these days by keeping his tiny cabin.

He FINALLY returned shortly before 9 PM. Told me he fell asleep and just woke up a few moments ago and rushed right back. Rather than show any anger I played it cool:

“That’s okay, we’re fine,” I told him. “I’m just a little hungry but I can take care of that right now.”

He grinned in response and queried: “Well, did some nice lady stop by and give you ten or twenny dollah for the dogs?”

“Nope,” I retorted. “Wish they did!”

“Oh, I see,” he replied. “Well then, did some friendly street bum keep you company for awhile?”

“Nope, not that either,” I replied. “Just me and the dogs the whole time.”

“So you had a nice time anyway ’cause you love them with all your heart, right?”

I had just stood up and brushed some debris from my pants when he said that. “You got it, Deek…I ALWAYS enjoy their company no matter what!”

“No matter what your HIGHNESS, you mean!” he quipped. Telling me to call him “boss” or “your highness” is a new game he plays with me; it started just a few days ago.

“Right, your highness I mean,” I joked back, then offered to feed the mutts another meal before he departs.

“Sure, why not,” he agreed, and off I scooted back hovel, relieved he had finally shown up, and proud to have fulfilled my dog-sitting responsibility so well, especially for not giving him grief for returning much later than expected.

The quadrupeds were not that hungry, only ate half their servings before returning to their nests while Deek was in the Hohokum smoke shop to purchase whatever. Once he stepped back out I untethered their leashes and proceeded to gingerly remove the sleeping bag from beneath Flaco, and tilt the box so her brother would step out. Of course they weren’t too pleased, but were compliant just the same, being the good little canines they are.

Though apparently I didn’t place the box far enough away since, the moment I dropped the blanket into it, Flaco ran up to it and leapt right in!

“Aw, look at that, Deek,” I gushed. “She’s back in the sleeping bag!”

“Stop that, Flaco,” Deek hollered, “Come here!” And with that he picked up her leash and yanked on it.

“No, YOU stop it, Deek,” I snapped, “Just pick her up!” And so I did, scooped her up in my arms, said I’m sorry but it’s time to go now, and placed her gently down upon the sidewalk.

There wasn’t anything to clean up after their departure, just the sheet of cardboard and a bowl of water I had laid down earlier. However, some other vagrant had dropped a couple of notebooks, a few empty cans, two pens and about twenty cigarette butts close by, so I decided to grab a broom and dust pan from upstairs and sweep THAT up, too. After all, the Hohokum workers step outside a lot (to chew the camel fat and smoke), and they see everything I do…so I figured this would be a gesture of good will on my part.

But no sooner had I taken broom to concrete than Scooter showed up outta the blue, accompanied by another fellow who was quite handsome in a haggardly sorta way: 5-foot-11 with straight, dirty blond hair down to his shoulders and a well-built, strong body. And addressed me:

“Can we talk?”

“Sure,” I said while picking up the notebooks and pens.

He then apologized profusely for his behavior in the past and hoped I can forgive him for that. “I’m not really like that, I just have my moments and I promise it will never happen again!”

“Well,” I stood up and replied, with a wry grin: “You certainly gave the WORST first impression anyone’s EVER given me in my entire life…but, yeah, I forgive you.”

He then went on to further apologize for his stupid behavior while his companion stood nearby with a friendly demeanor. But I cut him off, reassured him it’s okay, no need to keep apologizing:

“We’re good. I’m a smart fellow and saw this, uh, reconciliation, weeks ahead. I just didn’t want to be premature about it, seeing as I’m focused on protecting Deek’s dogs, and this building. So now you understand MY behavior towards you in the past, okay?”

Scooter said yes he does, then asked me about his Bohemian sugar daddy, as he hasn’t seen him in days and is very worried about him. Explained how he loves the dude with all his heart, and how they’ve been “together” for eleven months now.

Right, Wattson, that’s when I first saw them together, eleven months ago…but I question their relationship as he could be making this all up for his own, meth induced motives. As far as I know, Kelsen could be friggin’ too SCARED of the fellow to chase him away for good, which may be further damaging his already frail health. Of course I kept this dark conjecture all to myself and suggested I step inside and knock on his door, see if he’s home. Though I already knew Scooter can do that himself, but chose to feign otherwise.

“Oh, no, you don’t need to do that,” he replied. “I have the key to his place. I’m just wondering if you know what’s going on with him, if he’s alright.”

“I guess you guys don’t have cell phones to keep in touch, eh?” I queried.

“No we don’t,” he answered. Which I already knew, but thought it wise to not lay all my cards on the table, including THAT one.

“Well, I’m guessing he’s been rushed off to E.R. again,” I surmised aloud, “as that seems to happen quite often with him.”

“Really, you think that’s it?” he asked with some frustration.

“Well, it’s been that way ever since he moved in almost three years ago,” I replied with a shrug. He then declared:

“I was thinkin’ maybe he’s made friends with someone else in the building and may be hangin’ out there sometimes.”

“Um, that’s probably not the case,” I said with an index finger pressed upon my chin in contemplation. “Though I COULD be wrong, but my impression is he hasn’t made ANY friends in this building. No one’s fault though, people tend to keep to themselves these days.” Then added, just for flair:

“‘Rona virus and other bad news, you know.”

So I assured him I’ll keep an eye out for Karlsen and let him know if I see him…but since he has access to his apartment, I’m sure that won’t really be necessary. Though I DO suspect he’s back in the hospital, and he must’ve been escorted away in an ambulance late at night while I was sleeping, or when I was away from the building to shop for groceries, run some errand, show up at an appointment or:

“visit my attorney, stuff like that.”

“You have an attorney? For what?” he queried with more than a passing curiosity.

So I then gave him a brief outline of my lawsuit with Ablahblah Realty, how the building manager’s growing senility created this debacle in the first place and now he’s on his death bed, how a neighbor down the hallway who gossiped against me (and was good friends with the manager) kicked the bucket several months ago, etc. I also told him my situation with Deek and his pups, how he now has a tiny cabin as of a month ago, and that I’ve been:

“an advocate, an activist for the LGBT homeless for decades, and this is just my latest calling.”

Scooter’s mind was blown (or at least, that’s how he played his next card): “I had no idea! That’s impressive, to say the least.”

He then looked at his “associate” and said they need to go now, and thanked me again for accepting his apology with such good grace. I said no problem, and off they went somewhere up Market Street, away from the Castro. Now get this, good doctor:

I STILL hadn’t had dinner and was STARVING at this point, so I quickly swept up the remaining debris, deposited it in the trash bin and rushed upstairs to finally get down to preparing my humble feast of pita bread stuffed with Swiss cheese, roasted pepper strips and sliced kalamata olives…topped with a few splashes of Crystal hot sauce. Add to that a small, shallow bowl of frozen peas heated to perfection in a microwave oven and a mug of diet ginger ale, and you have a feast fit for a pauper!

After chopping up the olives and pepper strips and slicing the pita bread into two even halves I suddenly heard someone boom up to my window, “ZEKE!” It was definitely NOT Deek’s voice, and I thought “Now what? Better not be Scooter.” Upon peering out my window, to my disgust I laid eyes upon pesky Vince. Who I always hope never to see again, but keeps popping up like a jumping spider from your shoe when you least expect it.

“Are you busy?” he said.

[Part 2, coming up tomorrow…if I’m still alive for the telling!]

– Zeke K-Holmes

How Much Longer is This…Jesus!

February 24, 2023

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 13]

Click here for a larger view.

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

> I did mean three. Or two.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Insert attached pic here.]

Are homeless people shamans
or not? You decide:

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

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

with this:

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

> Yes! Much enhanced!

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

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

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

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

Texting w/Wattson: 2/20/23

“Eat your peas” video.

“Ducklings chasing cat” video.

“Armed chickens” video 1.

“Armed chickens” video 2.

“Zeke’s Misfortune Cookies” blog entry.

“Definitely video editing” video.

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

> God damn: Pechkeks Misfortune Cookies.

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

> But ours would be better.

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

> Sounds like heaven.

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

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

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

> Both dogs slept by the wood stove last night.

Perfect for a holiday card scene I bet.

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

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Denti-Cal issues
Date: 2023-02-22 18:48
From: James Iverson-Cabrillo (SF Peninsula Lawyers Group
To: Zeke Krahlin


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


James Iverson-Cabrillo
Staff Attorney, Economic Justice
SF Peninsula Lawyers Group

==== So here’s my reply:

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

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

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

===== So I replied:

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

Thanks again, James

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

I’m sure they died laughing.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

Final communique with James Iverson-Cabrillo of SF Peninsula Lawyers Group:

He posted this morning:

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

And I replied:

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

I’m impressed:

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

Click here for a larger view.

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

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

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

“Is Paolo our exterminator okay?” I queried.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

> Like “Where’s the beef?”

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

Texting w/Wattson: 2/25/23

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

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

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

> That’s a riot!

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

Life is a Sack o’ Shoes

February 18, 2023

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 12]

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Subject: Coincidentally I, too, had a water problem…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 11, 2023 at 4:59 PM

…around the same time as yours, though much less difficult to resolve. In fact, I just came up with a solution that took but a few minutes to accomplish.


My radiator valve has been leaking for almost two years now, and I successfully resolved it by tilting the valve downward and placing a plastic tub beneath it. I only needed to empty the tub every morning during cold snaps. But since the deluge during the holiday season the radiator’s been active nonstop, all day and all night. And for some reason I began finding a small-but-growing pool of water beneath the tub, that is: on the floor itself. Which, if not resolved, could result in water dripping through to the lobby entry below.

I couldn’t figure out why all of a sudden, some of the leakage was outside the tub, since the valve was aimed directly at it. So for the past few months I’ve been laying down a full edition of the Bay Area Reporter twice each day to absorb the spillage. Though still perplexed why this was happening when for many months prior, the floor always remained dry. But this morning I finally caught on by taking some time to observe the valve, to see that it was spitting out droplets in a wider range than previously…thus spraying at some points beyond the tub’s perimeter.

Once I understood, I figured I need to attach some kind of tube that would confine the spray to a narrow range. First I imagined creating a cylinder made of flexible, thin plastic joined at both long edges, hung with a cord of some sort with one end tied to the valve, and the other end directed at the tub. So I wondered what material I had at hand that would suffice.


“Eureka!” I thought. “A plastic half-gallon milk jug!”

So I rushed out to the green trash bin on the back porch to retrieve such a jug I had discarded last night. I used a strong pair of clippers purchased from Walgreens almost ten years ago, designed precisely for cutting through tough plastic, like the bubble wrap containing small items that you see hanging on hooks above or beside the shelves. See pic 1.

I then cut through a corner of the jug’s bottom to create a flap that, since the plastic snaps firmly back into place, I only had to slide the open part over the valve. No muss, no fuss, no need to use cord, rubber bands or whatever to hold it there.

Pic 2 shows the radiator valve before the adjustment, and pic 3 shows it after. Better still: whenever I need to empty the tub I no longer have to place a smaller receptacle beneath the valve to keep the floor dry. For all I need do now is screw the milk jug’s cap back on until I return with the tub a few moments later. If it were legally permissible to climb up to the roof (which it hasn’t been for twelve years now, since Ablahblah Realty installed a cell tower up there), I’d do just that and bellow to all the Castro:


– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Coincidentally I, too, had a water problem…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 11, 2023 at 9:48 PM

> It’s fun to rig crude but effective fixes like that!

Third world ingenuity when you’re at the bottom of the capitalist heap, one step above homelessness. I miss those frozen cherries…plucked at the peak of ripeness, dark dark red, plump and sweet, better than anything fresh! Same for those blueberries. I was waiting eagerly to place the first chunk of frozen mango on my tongue (also just $3.99 a pound!) but alas they never arrived.

> I double-dog-dare you to do it!

I misspoke, they’re not wifi antennas, they’re cell phone towers. I’d fry if i stepped onto that roof…and trip an alarm in the process. Karlsen’s keeping the EMTs busy enough as it is. Listening to Memo of the Weird’s latest podcast right now, while enjoying Zeke’s homemade veggie stew loaded with peas and topped with two handfuls of shredded mozzarella, a few splashes of Crystal hot sauce and garlic powder to bring all the flavor out.

I think I’m insane, Wattson. Have a lovely night, sweet dreams and all that rot.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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Subject: Morning Stopover (Yesterday)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 13, 2023 at 12:17 PM

Got me outta bed around 7:15 AM. Not complaining ’cause I serve the doggies first, and showing irritation is childish in contrast to what living on the streets entails. But he fell sound asleep shortly after he arrived, and remained there for three hours or thereabout. Pic 1 was shot around 7:30, pic 2 an hour later. But he DID ask for “a few dollah,” so I gave him a Jackson which he immediately pocketed. So for his upcoming payday he’ll receive eighty instead of the full one hundred.

BTW after he settled into his tiny cabin I decided to give him a hundred every Thursday, instead of splitting it into two parts. This is based on his claim he’s living “at the other end of the city,” and of course I wouldn’t want him to trudge here TWICE each week just to collect da moolah. IOW I am not about to insist he’s staying a mere four blocks away ’cause a reliable source told me so.

Deek just wanted a new chip with his music on it, but since he dozed off with one of his two speakers playing I took the second one upstairs for a recharge. After all, it was just sitting on the sidewalk close to him, and anyone walking by could easily take off with it.

I also brought down a bowl of water and a large sheet of cardboard for the pups, and later fed them. Towards the end of his visit I returned the second speaker, then back hovel I went. I didn’t see when they departed, but peered out the window around 11 AM and they were gone…including cardboard, water and food bowls.

He left his space spotless, though not difficult to achieve since his only baggage was a stuffed backpack attached to a small dolly. He did not return later that day or night, but around 4 AM this morning I was awakened by the hound’s barking about a block distant, perhaps somewhere along Noe Street. I got up to peer outside my window, but couldn’t see them anywhere, then checked the hallway window facing 16th Street, but they weren’t there either.

I wondered if he planned to camp out nearby, then call up to my window after sunrise. But that did not happen, even though the mutts barked once again about ten minutes after I first heard them, with their master hollering: “LUCKY, STOP IT! LUCKY!” The rest of the night remained quiet.

So it looks like the pooches were outside for TWO chilly nights in a row! But I can’t be sure about that since I don’t know what kind of arrangement the shelter allows. Maybe he was there half the night, but this is only conjecture.

I stepped out a few times while they were resting below my window. The dogs did not have their sweaters on, but since they had spilled out of the backpack I placed the garments over their furry forms…though it wasn’t long before they flung the woolly raiment off to enjoy the sunlight. Each time I exited the gate, as well as returned, I spent a minute petting Flaco who always rose her head when she sensed me nearby, her eyes half open in drowsiness while she glowed with joy at my presence.

As I scritched her chin, neck and behind the ears, she raised her head in loving welcome, then lowered it soon as I stood up and departed. Her brother, OTOH, remained tightly curled up, so I let him be. When I fed them some time later I took that opportunity to scritch his belly and give him sweet hugs while Deek remained obliviously soporific.

So: another friendly meetup, glad to say. I like Deek better when he’s sleeping.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Morning Stopover (Yesterday)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 14, 2023 at 8:32 AM

> He has shelter, but he’s sleeping outside??? God DANG, he’s a stubborn cuss.

The shelter is new and unfamiliar, plus it’s not like he has the cabin all to himself, there are other cabins there…everyone’s under watch and must abide by certain rules. I’m certain that is a challenge for him. Besides, there is the familiarity of camping out by my building where he gets to see me. So he continues to sleep outside, though not as often.

> I can feel the warmth and weight of those angels just looking at the pic.

Little darlin’s! I’m sure they’d prefer to be inside on a cozy bed, but they are incredibly loyal and never complain.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Five AI generated dachshund themed images.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 14, 2023 at 3:29 PM

Using Craiyon’s “DALL-E mini” engine, which works on text based instructions. It’s free to use. Each filename echos the text instruction. It generates nine images per round, which takes just one minute each; click on an image for a larger version. All results you create can be easily downloaded, and you have full permission to use them without any legal stipulations. Some results are quite weird…others, astonishing.






Re: Five AI generated dachshund themed images.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 14, 2023 at 9:28 PM

> We’re teetering on the brink of the Brave New World!

See pic.

Click here for a larger view.

Texting w/Wattson: 2/15/22

Subject: A Most Wonderful Valentine’s Day Meetup (Tuesday)!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 16, 2023 at 3:25 PM

I was worried about the dogs in this cold snap, supposed to go down to near freezing the next two or three nights. Thus so very pleased to see the pooches had their sweaters on when Deek showed up. He requested the $80 now, instead of two days later, his next payday. I told him okay, so long as he can handle waiting a full nine days for his next allotment.

“My mother died on Valentine’s Day,” he pointed out, as if he needed to say that at all to persuade me. Whether true or not only the Hounds of Tindalos know.

Asked me to watch the pups “for a half hour or so.” I said okay, knowing he could be gone much longer. Once he departed I tethered the pups to his granny cart, then rushed inside to procure two large sheets of cardboard and a couple of heat treated sleeping bags that I keep sealed upstairs in a 39-gallon trash bag. The doggies quietly sat there, awaiting my return two minutes later.

Flaco immediately plopped down on her back and wiggled with delight upon the fluffy substance. Her brother did not, but politely allowed his sister her fun. Or maybe he didn’t think he had enough room to join in. It used to be the reverse, that is: Lucky would be the one to plop down and squirm while Flaco just sat there. But what I find interesting about her newish behavior, is it seems to have come out of competing for my attention by mimicking her sibling. Thus I wonder if her playful joy arises more from gaining my attention than for the sheer rapture of it all. Either way, both pups are happy for the comfort, and once I threw down the second sleeping bag Lucky got into it just like Flaco.

An elderly gentleman ambling by stopped me at the front gate on my way back hovel to prepare their meal:

“Are those your dogs?” he queried.

“No, I’m watching them for a homeless friend,” I replied.

“Well, don’t let anyone steal them!” he warned me as he leaned on a walking stick with a slight wobble.

“Don’t worry, I won’t,” I explained. “I’ll be right back outside with their dinner, but thanks for your concern.”

Shortly after they ate I ran back hovel to fetch them some jerky treats. Which they enjoyed immensely of course, and once all was gobbled up Flaco sniffed about, hoping to find more, even if just crumbs. Shoving her schnoz into a fold of the blanket, then my flannel shirt and finally, my lap. Having discovered zilch, she looked up at me in hopeful appeal.

“Sorry, Flaco, all out!” I told her while caressing her ears and pulling a corner of the sleeping bag over her…upon which she settled down into an unidentifiable lump right beside her brother already concealed.

That large, friendly black dude, Sean, appeared some twenty minutes after the dogs had settled in.

“Hello, Sean,” I said as he towered over me like an Easter Island totem, his body odor wafting into my nostrils, unwelcome but not TOO offensively pungent.

“Where’s Deek?” he queried.

“Oh he took off to run some errands,” I explained. “So I’m watching the dogs, but he should be back in a half hour or so.”

Instead of departing immediately after hearing that, he lingered some moments, during which time my nose paid the price for his proximity. But he took off shortly, after which I breathed a sigh of relief to enjoy the clean, chill air once again.

To my gratification Deek returned after forty minutes…and made absolutely NO fuss over the sleeping bags. Since I had already removed their emptied bowls to wash and reuse for another time I told him they ate well, so he wouldn’t think I forgot to feed them. I also told him I have a new sleeping bag upstairs straight from the factory and still sealed in a thick plastic wrap:

“So the dogs will have something fluffy to enjoy where you’re sheltered.”

“No thanks, I don’t need it,” he flicked away my offer like you would a mosquito.

“Well, it’ll be here if you ever change your mind,” I assured him without so much as a single inflection of disappointment (which I sorely felt, Wattson, though figured it wise to keep that to myself).

Sean soon returned and joined him for the evening, chatting about whatever while Deek spent a few minutes filling a small baggie with his usually janky shake from a brown paper sack. Though perhaps it was the quality bud he purchases from time to time…I was just too far to see the exact contents from my window. About an hour later Deek called me down to watch the doggies again for “just five minutes, we’re going to Safeway.” Well, I obliged him even though it takes at LEAST ten minutes just to walk there one way. So it was around forty-five minutes later when they returned, and that was fine with me. But soon as they showed up, Sean looked down at yours truly seated with the mutts, frowned and declared:

“Where’s my bagga weed?”

That’s ALL I need, I thought, another pointless clash disrupting a peaceful scenario in which I was doing Deek a favor. I didn’t even KNOW there was some ganja lying around, else I’d’ve made sure to keep it hidden. Fortunately, Deek promptly nipped Sean’s disruption in the bud (pun intended):

“No, it’s right here, Sean,” he said and pointed at the granny cart.

Since the issue was resolved in a nanosecond I saw no point in saying something like “Why didn’t you tell me, Deek, I would’ve made sure no one would steal it!” Instead, I just stood up and returned hovel, leaving them to further enjoy each other’s company. Though I DID register a new cogitation regarding Sean:

“He may be friendly for the most part, but be on your guard…he has his moments.”

Now, allow me to rewind back to those forty-five minutes they were off on their Safeway jaunt, to describe the happenings around me during that window of time:

While seated alongside the curb (back propped against the chunky obelisk of a parking meter) and tending the pooches, cars came and went to park several minutes or so in the spot right beside me, to pick up comestibles from Super Duper or the taqueria a few doors down…or perhaps to purchase paraphernalia, tobacco or something ELSE from the Hohokum smoke shop and gift emporium. (Deek told me they keep an illegal supply of pot stashed somewhere in their attic, reserved for special customers. Illegal because they don’t have a license for that. There may be other drugs involved, as well.)

This frequent parking alongside my campout means headlamps glaring upon yours truly many times an hour, like a spotlight announcing “Here I am!” to everyone passing by…over and over and over again. Terribly annoying, and I lowered my head each time, to keep the searing brightness off my face.

There was also a blue trash bin close by, such that the pups and myself were situated between bin and parking meter with a five-foot clearance. Now, with the granny cart placed alongside the meter it made for a somewhat protective, unobtrusive little area to set down the cardboard and sleeping bags. In other words I didn’t feel QUITE so out-in-the-open, even though I was.

During this time some silly drama played out right in front of the gate, where pooches and myself were parked a mere twelve feet away. Started with a cop at the gate who was trying to enter by pressing some code on the intercom, but to no avail. So I stood up, approached him and said:

“I live there, I can let you in.”

With that, he thanked me as I turned the key whereby he entered, but remained at the gate to keep it ajar until another officer arrived and Karlsen finally emerged. “Oh, so it’s all about Karlsen again,” I thought while seated once more by the snoozing quadrupeds. “THAT figures.”

I couldn’t hear much of what the cops said to Karlsen, or his replies, but I did hear one peace keeper ask:

“Do you have any other sharp objects on you I should know about before I check your pockets?”

I think Karlsen said “No, just this one,” which turned out to be a folding four-incher. Don’t know WHY the SFPD showed up unless Karlsen called about another medical emergency, although no vehicle marked 911 showed up this time around. I also heard one cop asking if he’s suicidal, if he needs to talk with a counselor, then stated:

“Well, here’s what we can do for you right now,” then ticked off a list of options, none of which reached THIS piqued pilgrim’s piously perked ears.

This went on for almost the entire time Deek and Sean were away, much to my chagrin, including fear of a copper asking why I’m sitting there and suggesting I move on. But they didn’t, thank Glob…however, Karlsen’s standing right before the gate all this time instead of moving a few feet away WAS yet another example of just what a crude dumbfuk he is! At least his oily comrade Scooter wasn’t around to poison the mix further. Eventually, the fuzz asked him:

“Would you like us to drive you to the hospital, or have us call an ambulance?”

Karlsen said they could drive him there, okay by him.

“Unfortunately,” said one of the badges, “I’ll have to handcuff you while you’re in the patrol car. Can you handle that?”

Karlsen said he could, so they bound his wrists in shiny steel bracelets that reflected the storefront lights in a flash across my eyes, escorted him into the back seat (separated from the driver by a Plexiglas shield, mind you), and off they went to their pseudo-arrestee’s home away from home…and dare I say, good doctor: much to my undying relief! For some OTHER shit was going on around me during this front-gate folly.

Some middle-aged, lanky queer fellow had locked his bike to the curved rack right in front of me…don’t know why he didn’t opt instead for the second rack several feet further up. For he was RIGHT IN MY FACE, and also blocked the spot Deek had set down a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola along with a large cup still half filled with ice and beverage.

When he stepped back out of Super Duper with a steaming bag of goodies, he unlocked his bike while griping about the broken glass and other debris alongside the curb. He scornfully addressed me, asking why is all that crap here? At first I felt prompted to tell him it’s not mine, I’m not homeless but watching over a houseless friend’s dogs. Instead I answered:

“Why are you talking to me about this…are you angry at me, do you think I did that?”

“Uh, no,” he replied, “but you ARE here.”

Then I realized this is NOT a homeless issue, but has more to do with with the spoiled housed, so I explained to him:

“It’s all the drunk bar hoppers and clubbers who hang out along this block. They start fights sometimes and piss alongside the parked cars, too.”

“But it’s Tuesday night, not the weekend,” he noted, then added with a hand scratch of his gray-stubbled chin: “Oh, right, it’s Valentine’s Day. Everyone’s celebrating.”

He then swung a leg over his bicycle and departed with this final shot: “It’s just NOT acceptable.”

“Oh, I agree one hundred percent, but it’s been going on for years,” I replied as he took off into the frigid dark void where he belongs.

Several minutes later a vagrant suddenly appeared at the blue trash bin right in front of me, gave me a friendly hello, then began to rummage through it. He was young, tall and handsome, so he wasn’t a bother at all (as would be some ragtag stinky counterpart), though I’d’ve preferred to be left in peace with the canines nonetheless. However, he began to tilt the bin towards him in order to reach deeper, which threatened to knock over that 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola and the large cup, both of which were pressed against the bin.

“Whoa!” I cautioned the fellow while pointing at the endangered items. “Don’t knock ’em over!”

He looked at me, didn’t grok what I was talking about and said “Huh?” while the bin remained tilted and the soda still at risk.

At the very moment I bent forward, about to procure the bottle and cup for their safety, Deek and Sean reappeared. Deek saw exactly what was going on, so placed a hand on the scavenger and said: “See the soda down there? You almost knocked it over!”

“Oh, I see…sorry!” he replied with a smile of apology as he arighted the trash bin with no harm done, then took off to seek other bins for treasure.

Just when things were beginning to get chaotic around me–seeing as Karlsen and cops remained nearby until halfway through the trash-bin diver incident–I was MOST relieved that Deek had returned in time to vanquish this strange spell of ongoing disruption when all I wanted was some friendly alone-time with the brindlekin. (Through it all, the pooches remained in cozy slumber between the comforters, glad to report.)

“I’ll be leaving in a few minutes,” Deek stated, “so you can bring down the speaker and smartphone.”

Upon returning with the electronics he declared: “Where’s the sleeping bag?”

“Oh, thought you said you didn’t want it,” I replied, though happy to hear that request. “I’ll get it right now.”

And so I did, tossed it into his cart and said: “This is for the doggies’ comfort when you’re back at home base.”

He said thank you, not realizing I’ve been rattling around in my head for days, just the right phrase to use for his shelter that would warm his heart instead of striking a cynical chord. Terms like “back home,” “back at the shelter” or even “back at your room” or “back at your cabin” doesn’t cut the mustard in my estimation. The first two phrases strike me as sterile, while the last two declare an assumption that he either now lives in a room or a tiny house…which he refuses to reveal to me, thus I don’t want to come off like I know better. And “back at your homestead” strikes me as a tad too bubbly, and he’ll see right through it.

Knowing how important one’s words are when persuading a long-term transient to partake of housing by a social service–WHO IS ALSO BIPOLAR–I had to come up with just the right phrase for his new digs. (Although “new digs” I find acceptable as well, just not the perfect pitch for what I intended.) So I finally came up with “home base.” And it seemed to strike the right chord indeed, as he grinned when I said that, and replied “Thank you.”

I then wished him a good night and returned hovel. Yet he did NOT leave shortly thereafter, but remained parked in his spot for another good hour and a half. Which I found annoying but did NOT obsess over it, since it’s been a SPLENDIFOROUS meetup thus far, and the hounds were well sheltered. Turned out two more vagrants joined him during this time, for which Deek lingered on to enjoy the company. Besides which they remained quiet, and Deek’s music was barely audible from my windows. Before I returned upstairs he offered to hand back the sleeping bags I laid down for Lucky & Flaco.

“No, so long as you’re still here I don’t want to leave them without comfort,” I replied. “Just let me know when you’re REALLY about to leave, and I’ll take care of it.”

And I’m glad he agreed to that, seeing as he remained outside for some time longer, and the dogs continued to rest in fluffy warmth. When the moment finally came for me to collect the sleeping bags, I stepped outside again to stuff them back into a trash bag while Deek started packing up.

“Here, can you take this, too?” he asked, pointing at a large, black bag stuffed with lumpy items of some sort. “They’re shoes and sneakers I collected, and the shelter won’t let me bring ’em inside. I’ll have to do it pair by pair.”

I said sure, and lugged them back hovel. Here’s a pic of the sack, now stashed in my cooking corner:

Click here for a larger view.

I don’t THINK he plans to store a pile of footwear in his tiny cabin, but will spiff up two or three pairs at a time for resale. And maybe keep some for himself. But the good thing that came out of this is clear evidence he IS maintaining his situation at the shelter…for which reason I will GLADLY store a large bag of old shoes in my room as long as he’d like.

They must be doing SOMEthing right, there at 33 Gough Street, to keep one such difficult street dawg indoors by his own volition!

So I saw them off around 11:30 PM and once they got moving I discarded the cardboard sheets and cleaned up the scant debris left behind. Then returned to my humble but cozy room to rest in a job well done (on BOTH our parts) and fell swiftly a-slumber in the middle of watching episode 2 of “The Last of Us.”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Yesterday I gave him “two hunner dollah!”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 17, 2023 at 8:50 PM

Before I get to that, Wattson, allow me to point out that My Cajun Prankster showed up barely one minute AFTER I finally completed my previous missive: another labor of love which, as you know, is what good writing is all about. I finally got down to penning it yesterday morning and didn’t finish until around 3:30 PM. So his arrival shortly thereafter gives yet aNOTHER clue as to his bodhisattva nature…in that he sensed I preferred NOT to be bothered until I gave birth to my latest offspring. And, towards the end of this email, I will reveal an ADDITIONAL clue as to his nature that sprung from yesterday’s meetup…this time in spades, like a sudden bolt of lightning overloading my circuits. So you’re in for a treat. Just bear with me, your patience SHALL be rewarded!

Soon as I stepped out he immediately began his appeal while I crouched down to adore my furry angels:

“I’m asking you for a REALLY big favor this time,” he declared, no doubt knowing I knew it was yet another request for a lump sum. So I just let him rattle on as I continued showering the pups with affection.

“There’s a Bluetooth speaker I’d like to buy today,” he continued, “because the offer only stands for another hour and a half. I need two hunner dollah and I promise not to ask you for any more money for the rest of the month.”

I then stood up and said “Okay, but I’m worried about you suffering over lack of money for so many days.”

“No, I’m fine with that,” he assured me with a wave of his hand. “I have new arrangements to see me through.”

I figured he meant what the shelter provides, such as free meals…and the lower expenses that come from no longer losing and breaking his electronics so often, now that he can keep them safely stored from bad weather, breakage and theft. And perhaps he has other “arrangements” in his scope, such as reselling those shoes I have stashed for him, and new customers for his pot sales.

I told him wait a moment while I go back upstairs for my wallet.

“Let me walk to the bank with you,” he replied. “Then I’ll go right from there to purchase it.” Besides the hounds he had a bicycle with him, so that made sense to me.

When I rushed back upstairs I took a moment to peruse his payment status for this month, then hurried back outside with wallet in hand and explained he has only one-fifty left for the month, so this is gonna dip into his March allowance by fifty dollars.

“So no asking me for five bucks here, twenty bucks there, before next month arrives,” I warned.

“Fine,” he replied, then quickly grabbed his present speaker from a bag hanging from the bike’s handlebars, along with two smartphones stashed in a pocket:

“Oh, take these upstairs, don’t bother to plug ’em in, just hurry up!”

“Now why didn’t you do that a moment ago, when I went back upstairs for my wallet?” I griped, then reopened the gate, returned hovel to dump them on my cot, and stepped back outside. Upon which he resumed our conversation, assuring me he wouldn’t try to wheedle me out of extra cash, that he now has a place to protect the $200 speaker, so it’s a good investment…he might not need another for quite some time.

“Yes I know, congratulations,” I replied as we began our stroll to the Chase branch just two blocks distant, pooches happily prancing along ’cause thrilled for the company of their Uncle Zeke.

When we crossed Noe, Lucky suddenly got underfoot upon which Deek yanked the leash aside and yelled: “STOP THAT, LUCKY!”

“DON’T yell at him, Deek!” I snapped. “He’s just trying to keep up and follow your lead, he can’t help how the leash swings. Just be kind, pet him and say something like hold on there little fellow, let me fix the leash.”

He mumbled I don’t know what as we plodded on. Once we neared our destination, Deek paused to say:

“You can watch the dogs while I go off to make my purchase. I’ll be back in a half hour, take ’em to the park, let ’em run around!”

“Dammit!” I replied. “Just wish you told me before we left, these collars are too easy for them to slip out of and I have a pair of special ones back home to prevent that. So I’ll just walk ’em around instead of going to the park. We’ll be fine.”

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t think about that,” he said while mounting his bike in preparation to depart, as I entered the small lobby to withdraw eight Jacksons.

A minute later I stepped back out and handed him a Chase envelope containing the precious smackeroonies.

“Count ’em out, please,” I declared.

“No that’s alright I trust you,” he replied, eager to take off and collect his prize.

“It’s not a question of trust, Deek,” I explained. “It’s a sign of respect between friends whenever money is exchanged, to assure no mischief is intended, or a mistake made. But never mind, you go now and I’ll watch the pups.”

And so he did, but looked back just before turning a corner to see I was already playing with the hounds who leapt upon the low, brick divider, Flaco to raise her fore-paws upon my torso and give kisses, her brother to mimic savagely chewing on my coat like the little conqueror he is. Their master smiled from a distance, said “Have fun!” and disappeared.

I then guided my brindlekin back towards my building, seeing as I had no poop bags, treats, or those Martingale collars to make for a more pleasant walk. Along the way I procured two small paper bags from a resident’s trash bin in case either dog had to dump a “gift” before I returned hovel. As it turned out Lucky took a hearty poop just seconds later. As we continued our stroll hovel-ward, to my delight he began attacking my heels, gnawing on them and sometimes grabbing my pant cuff with his sharp-toothed tiny jaws, thus sabotaging my ability to place one foot ahead of the other with ease.

“Oh he’s got me, he’s eatin’ me up!” I’d exclaim with each laborious attempt to drag the targeted foot forward, one slow step after another, accompanied by sweet little doggy grunts of victory. Flaco would have none of it, but kept pressing forward with ears pinned back in serious intent to sniff at any olfactory signal along the way. Until, that is, her brother surrendered my beleaguered foot and began to play-attack his sister, as if to say:

“So you think you’ve escaped my mischief? Think again!”

I hurried them back to Hotel California North as best I could, hoping to avoid any distraction that would make them bark and escape their collars. Though I did NOT deny them their pleasure in pausing frequently to sniff about and pee, along with Lucky ecstatically scratching his side back and forth against the rough surface of a brick wall, and Flaco jumping upon one concrete stump after another along Noe Street, her way of asking for a treat. Of course I wouldn’t HAVE any nummy to offer until AFTER I returned hovel, so each time she hopped onto a stump I just pet her kindly and said, “I’m sorry Flaco, be patient!”

Relieved to finally arrive at my building without mishap, I tethered the quadrupeds to a sign post, told them I’ll be back in a minute then rushed upstairs to procure my small backpack which already contained the Martingale collars, poop bags and jerky treats. So kind and patient they awaited my return; I was immensely happy to finally commence some beautiful alone time with my furry elves! Instead of taking them to a park I let them run about on hilly Beaver Street that intersected Noe one block up, and was almost always vacant of pedestrians for its entire length. And should someone appear–like stepping out of a car or a garage or front door–it’s easy to catch up to the pups and grasp their leashes before any chaos might occur. Which chaos (I might add) is always provoked by a high strung biped lookin’ fer trouble anyway, or perhaps, a neurotic canine made that way by an abusive owner.

They loved chasing each other, sniffing about and sometimes pausing beside me and looking up as if to say “Can we haz a treat now?” I’d tell them no, not now, but in a few minutes. By the way I never have to worry about them running off the curb and onto the asphalt …nonetheless I keep my eye on them at all times. And why shouldn’t I anyway, they’re always a delight to gaze upon!

After that we strolled up Noe Street, first to visit Anastasia, that friendly greeter at the pot dispensary. (With whom I’ve shared a bit of my eviction fiasco over helping a homeless friend’s dogos, if I didn’t already tell you.) She loves the mutts and was SO glad to finally see them again. Both pooches stood up to rest their fore-paws upon her legs and accept her loving caresses.

“Oh I’m happy to see you, too!” she declared while leaning towards them from her chair, scritching and petting them as brother and sister gazed back at her in warm adoration.

“They never forget a kindness done to them,” I remarked as I held the leashes slack. Before departing, I also told her:

“Getting my friend and the pups housed is a great success story, Now I have to work on the troubles in my building. Considering the massive antagonism by the manager and a couple other residents, most people in my situation would be fuming mad. But I always seek a win/win outcome when conflict arises and, in light of the negative energy directed my way for many months, turning it around into something positive should culminate in a stupendous victory with happy faces all around!” Then I added with a touch of humor:

“Except for the ones who die, of course.”

She cracked up over THAT bon mot and wished me a lovely evening. So off we went further up Noe Street to park ourselves in front of Morey’s corner shop. He never stepped out–which would’ve been nice but c’est la vie–I still had a lovely time seated on a concrete stump and feeding them those treats they craved the moment I stepped back out of my building. For their noses sensed they were in the backpack. You really can’t hide ANYthing from a dog, good physician, thanks to their olfactory prowess!

If any human being had such a prodigious schnozzola they’d be a superhero of some sort. Imagine what you could DO with it! (No, please help me here ’cause I can’t really come up with anything myself, other than being the world’s most outstanding detective, but I’m sure it would be earthshaking. Certainly something to woof home about.)

So we three enjoyed each other’s company as you can easily envision, but around forty minutes after Deek rode off to wherever, I figured it’s best to return to my building, else he might be standing around, worrying why I’m not there yet. But you guessed it, Wattson: he wasn’t there! By then it was twilight and the street lamps were shining bright, and I wondered what to do next…I certainly couldn’t wander off far in any direction, as their master might show up at any moment! Or not…and THAT was the crux of the problem.

What choice did I have but hang with the pups nearby, across either Noe or Market Street where I could sit on some steps or a garden ledge from where I could spot his approach. So every ten minutes or so we moved from one corner or the other. The pups were most obliging because, well, that’s the way they ALWAYS are. The evening was quickly turning dark and cold and, by the time an hour and a half had passed, I decided to place some cardboard and a sleeping bag out front like I’ve done so many times before, then feed them.

Once again I tethered the pups to a sign post, told them I’ll be right back and brought down those items. No sooner had I done that than Deek showed up, at last! He had his new speaker with him: tall and fat like the one he got from his homeless Viking friend, Hjelmar, in early January. And which he carelessly destroyed within two weeks, from outdoor exposure through the deluge and his own recklessness banging it around and even DROPPING it from his cart and onto the sidewalk.

Of course the speaker was booming fairly loud  and I had to holler: “I just set up the dogs’ blankets a minute ago!”

He was smiling at his Brobdingnagian device as he dialed it down to a low volume and asked: “Are my speaker and phones charged up yet?”

“Uh, no,” I replied. “You told me not to plug ’em in, just take care of the doggies. After you were gone for so long I only decided just moments ago to park them here. I can go upstairs now and take care of that. Would you like me to feed the dogs now, too?”

“You coulda done that earlier,” he foolishly remarked.

“But you said you’d be back in a half hour, so that doesn’t make sense!” I retorted. “I was out here with the dogs all this time until a minute ago. I’m not a mind reader.”

“Yeah, yeah, good point,” he agreed. “Sure, plug in my electronics and put music on the second phone, then feed ’em. And here, bring this upstairs and charge it, too.”

Of course he meant the Bluetooth monster. At least this one had wheels and weighed about ten pounds less then Hjelmar’s speaker, but I had hoped I was OVER lugging cumbersome items up and down the stairs now that Deek HAS a place of his own, with an electrical outlet! Oh what a foolish pilgrim I am.

I checked out the new phone to see what adjustments to make for maximum security, then popped off the back and inserted a 32 gig chip with all his music already on it. Unfortunately, the device insisted on formatting it first before I could use it, so all those mp3’s had vanished! Seeing as he said he wanted everything back in an hour I had no time to copy all his rap songs over again, which would take around one hour and forty minutes. I only had time to copy a bit more than HALF his collection, so decided just to transfer directly onto the builtin storage, which had 10 gigs free. Which would give him well over 2,000 songs anyway, so he wouldn’t really notice the diff.

One strange thing I observed once I installed a music player app, was that it included the phone’s android sound files along with all his rap pieces. That never happened before, so I’m wondering if this particular brand of phones used mp3 files for its Android sounds, instead of some other format. I never thought of this before (that Android sounds usually are not mp3’s…I’ll have to look into it.)

“Never mind,” I thought, “He’ll just have to skip around them from the drop-down list, no biggie…I just don’t have time to make a correction. He’s not a baby, he can deal with it.” And since he picked by album or folder rather than singles, I didn’t really see a problem.

So, once I had set up that phone to copy those 2,000-plus songs, and made sure all other devices were charging, I logged into Youtube and listened to the PBS Newshour while scrolling through my subscription updates and downloading those scary videos I wanted to watch later…as well as marking shorter pieces (mostly news commentary clips) for the “watch later” list. And I realized it’s a good thing I decided to bed down the dogs outside just before he arrived. Seeing as he was gonna hang out there for awhile anyway, though I didn’t see that coming.

Sure enough, an hour later he called up to my window and told me to bring everything down. Which I did in two parts: first the two smartphones and smaller speaker, then the Bluetooth giant. When I handed him the former, he queried:

“Why didn’t you bring down the big speaker first?”

“What difference would that make?” I retorted, to which he replied with a simple shrug of the shoulders. He just likes to complain (I thought, then returned hovel to bring the monster downstairs, almost as much a pain in the keister as Hjelmar’s speaker.)

Soon as I opened the gate and wheeled the speaker to his spot, he started to gripe about “strange music” appearing in the music app.

“What do you mean by strange,” I replied.

“I pick one of ’em and it makes a short beep or whistle with an empty list of other choices,” he explained.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Deek,” I replied. “I tested the app, all your music is there and works just fine. Here, give me your phone and I’ll take a look.”

“No!” he squawked. “I’ve already turned it off!”

But I persisted: “Well, just turn it on again and let me check it out!”

“No, it’s too late for that,” he whined.

“Oh you’re being silly, Deek,” I retorted. “You just like to complain.” He didn’t say anything then, and it dawned on me what he’s talking about:

“I think those are the android sounds that came with the phone. And the music app sees them as just more songs because they must be in mp3 format.”

“Oh, so you knew what the problem was all along!” he quipped in resentment.

“No I’m just guessing,” I explained. “I saw them when I tested the app, but didn’t have time to fix it. Just fukkin skip them, there’s only a few, and you have thousands of songs you can play instead.” Again, he remained silent, so I embellished with a string of choice words:

“The only problem I see is you like to complain, you LOVE to be someone’s headache!”

I glimpsed a wry grin on his Cajun mug, but it quickly vanished. Seeing as he was about to depart, I began cleaning up after him (just a few discarded items), but he stopped me and said, pointing at the bicycle:

“Here, you’ll need to stash if for me. I can only bring one or the other to the shelter.” (Meaning either the jumbo speaker or the bike.)

“Really, are you serious?” It was my turn to squawk, I guess.

“Yes I am,” was his brief response.

“But I already have too much clutter of yours in my room!” I complained.

“Just my bag of shoes, right?” he replied.

“No, there’s also two speakers I’m still holding for you.”

“Really? Which ones?” he asked in genuine surprise. So I explained with some exasperation:

“About two months ago you gave me two speakers, one after another in a week’s time. Said something’s broken in each and could I store ’em until you get a friend who knows hoe to fix them.”

He didn’t answer back, and it struck me there’s no reason for anger, he’s doing a great job adapting to his tiny cabin and the rules they set down.

“Never mind,” I said. “It’s okay, I understand. I’ll bring it upstairs, no pressure, and you three troublemakers have an excellent night. God bless you all.”

With that he thanked me for everything I do and apologized for all the trouble he’s given me over the months and years. Then he said something else that astonished the bejesus outta me:

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

I chuckled at that and declared with no small confidence: “Won’t ever happen, Deek. I’m sure I can defend myself and you wouldn’t even get so far as to lay a finger on me. But hopefully you won’t have to learn the hard way.” Then I complimented him:

“As you conquer all your inner demons you’ll become a truly strong and righteous person in the process. What were once burdens you’ll have turned into blessings, and I’m proud to see how far you’ve come along! Your life will become something amazing.” His response, Wattson? This (hold onto your brown Coachman’s bowler hat):

“Well, I know one thing for sure about my inner demons. They told me I’m HERE in San Francisco to watch over you!”

“Ha,” I quipped. “Those aren’t demons, those are angels…though I’m sure one or two of ’em are mischievous enough to appear as demons now and then! And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if God sent you here to watch over me, though you certainly have a strange way of doing that. Nonetheless you’ve made me into a better man for all the difficult challenges you keep tossing my way! So yeah, I’m impressed.”

And with that, he wished me a lovely night and took off as I lumbered up the stairs with the bicycle, and set it tilted upright against the wall in my cooking corner beside the sack of shoes. Remember that tacky “Hot or Not?” site where people score each other based on looks? Welp, here’s a variation thereof I just conjured up:

[Insert attached pic here.]

Shaman or not? You decide:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

(Pick a number on a scale of
1 to 10, with 1 being “abso-
lutely yes” and 10 “of course
not, how absurd.”)

Re: Yesterday I gave him “two hunner dollah!”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 17, 2023 at 9:56 PM

> A wild ride!! That last pronouncement from him–that his inner demons told him he’s there to watch over you–was a doozy!!

He just affirmed to me, in his own deceptively brilliant way, that he’s a lot more intelligent than he lets on. And he knows I’ve suspected that for quite awhile. I think also he was hinting in a comical fashion that he’s preparing to make himself unquestionably eligible for SSI due to his passel of mental disabilities. Oh how I wish I had a new pair of spyglasses! But even if I could afford it (and they weren’t so cheaply made to break in a month), I know I wouldn’t get away with it this time around.

> Great portrait, too. He looks fairly shaman-esque there;

That’s why I picked it…plus the Buddha medallion he’s wearing. It’s a frame from my video, “Deek & the Buddha Necklace,” dated April 12, 2021. 4.5 minutes:

> on the basis of that pic, I’d give him an 8.

That’s just two slots away from 10, which is: “of course not, how absurd.” Are you sure you didn’t mean to pick a number from the opposite end, like a 3? ‘Cause in many scales like these, 10 usually means “absolutely yes.” But in this case I followed the “Hot or Not” scheme, which makes 1 the highest score and 10 the worst.

Yeah, I like that wry smile on his face, he appears really happy. Looks like he’s getting back there these days: a more joyful energy. Hope it’s not just the temporary endorphin rush of a new speaker.


– Zeke K-Holmes

Just Another Day in Paradise

February 11, 2023

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 11]

Subject: Response to my attorney re. dental care
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 7, 2023 at 8:52 PM


Well thanks much for looking into this, Ms. Elvensborn. I actually have the Medi-Cal handbook and finally checked out the denture part. Denti-Cal must’ve added that recently, glad to see that. The list of dentists for the SF Bay Area does not show anyone in the city, just Berkeley and Oakland and further out. That would be a problem since I don’t own a car, and after each surgery I wouldn’t want to take public transit, and can’t afford a taxi, and don’t have a friend with a car. Anyway, there is still my hesitation to go through with it, due to probably long term painful bouts before it’s all over. I was planning to look into it soon as certain new and difficult issues get resolved in my life, which I’ll post to you in a day or two, as they concern the building manager and may be important for you to know about. But until these two matters clear up, I can’t afford to put another challenge on my plate.

Thanks again.

– Ezekiel


Subject: Just another day in Paradise…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 8, 2023 at 12:34 PM

…as the following video showing a disturbed vagrant squirming in paroxysms on the sidewalk so perfectly illustrates:

Right below my window I often wake up to one lost soul or another. My annoyance, however, comes not from his disturbing presence and noise, but from our society’s failure to care for our less fortunate and troubled citizens. Leaving them to struggle on these mean streets with no real human contact of worth.

At any rate, my attorney responded this morning with a closing sentence on the topic of Denti-Cal services: “That makes sense! Take care.”

So, uh, I saw Victor, our maintenance man, twice…once yesterday lugging stuff through the building’s rear door, and once just a few minutes ago chatting with someone out front. Both times I thought to approach him to ask about Paolo’s failure to show up Monday, but both times I decided why bother. It’s not my duty to keep either one on their toes, so lack of pest treatment goes on record, assuming neither gets back to me anytime soon. I’m wondering if the gossipy building manager told them not to speak with me due to an ongoing lawsuit? Which is ridiculous ’cause that should NOT include the usual residential duties.

Updates on our building manager’s (most likely) deathbed demise, along with the bedbug issue, will be posted to my attorney later today. Plus, in a day or two I’ll finally get around to sending her my idea for a settlement in hopes of nipping this stupid scenario in the bud, so that it won’t drag on for another two-and-a-half years!

Deek has not yet returned since his late-night “missing pot” fiasco, but I expect he will, either later today or tomorrow, to collect that $80. No one unhoused camps out by the old ATM depot anymore, except Deek from time to time…which draws other vagrants to him like a magnet. So he now sticks out like a sore thumb when he does, as does yours truly when he steps away for awhile and leaves me with the pooches.

I imagine it’s difficult for him to wean off of his old pattern of visiting here, even sleeping overnight, but it will eventually come to an end. Especially if any cop comes by to tell him to leave. So now I wonder how we will keep in touch as the next chapter unfolds, for I would sorely miss seeing My Beloved Brindlekin!

Meanwhile, I just sent Marshall my latest tale for narration this Friday night. What a pleasure! Hope your day is going well, Wattson.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: I woke up around 3:30 AM…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 9, 2023 at 1:34 PM

…because I heard some (surprisingly mellow, definitely not gangsta) rap music outside, not too loud, but noisy enough to wake up THIS light-sleeper pilgrim. It may or may not have been Deek, as so many vagrants play the same kinda music. But I got up anyway to peek out the window and, sure enough, it was Deek with pups and granny cart…accompanied by another fellow with his own cart of a different type. They were coming from the direction of Castro Street and continued beyond my building, towards Noe Street where they then turned left.

“Hmm,” I thought, “is he gonna camp out behind my building and wait till sunrise to pick up his Thursday allowance?” (Which is today, so THAT’S impressive: he managed to hold off requesting any advance payment beyond the $20 I gave him on Sunday.)

So I went down the hallway towards my now-deceased quasi-fascist neighbor’s apartment and looked out the window adjacent to it. Yep, they were out there but across 16th street and milling about, as if figuring where to park for the night. The hallway’s ceiling lights were on of course, and Deek could easily spot me if I weren’t careful, since there is an unobstructed view between that window and where they stopped. But only a few minutes had passed before his companion departed up Market Street while Deek disappeared around the corner of Noe.

Having no more reason to hang in the hallway I relieved myself in the communal loo then returned to bed. And pondered:

“It would actually be nice if I could give him his money now, rather than his trudging back from wherever and summoning me from my slumber just when the sun comes up. Maybe I should rush outside right now and track him down.”

But common sense kicked in and I drifted back to Dreamburg while my backup smartphone whispered another freakish tale into my left ear. You guessed it, Wattson:

Less than ten minutes later I awoke to another round of (unexpectedly soothing) rap music floating through my open window. So once more I got up and peeked through a slit between curtain’s edge and the window frame to see Deek had parked his cart and mutts a few doors down while bent over rummaging through the blue trash bin. He suddenly straightened up and proceeded towards canines and cart, and I backed away from the window so he wouldn’t spot me. Assuming he had already started moving again towards Castro Street I took another peek. He was looking straight up at me! So I withdrew again, hoping it was a fluke and he only saw the window, and not me as well. But as luck would have it, he called up:

“I see you there! Can I pick up my allowance now?”

I sighed and drew back the curtain to poke my head out and nod “Okay!”

As I turned away to collect the buckazoids secured in a Chase envelope he called to me a second time:

“And more dog food, please!”

So I returned to the window to gesture with hands and head: “Yes, I can do that too, just give me a minute.”

He was waiting right at the gate when I came downstairs, weighty sack of doggy vittles in one hand, envelope in the other. Wee hounds and cart were further up the block, so no puppy greetings were in the cards at that time. He took the requested items, thanked me kindly and vanished into the night’s dark veil. I was actually relieved to give him that allowance: it was as if he sensed my desire to do so (in spite of the late hour) and made it happen. If this is yet another bodhisattva “clue,” here is my conjecture:

Deek knew I was going through a bout of angst due to the building manager’s drawn out demise, the failed bedbug treatment and the Amazon food stamp ripoff…as well as his OWN outrageous screeching over the “missing pot” nonsense two nights ago. Not that I ever mentioned these things to him, but that a spiritual guardian has access to one’s worries whenever necessary. His showing up in such a calm state of mind certainly did the trick towards soothing my OWN jangled nerves.

So THAT’S why he aroused me outta bed by passing beneath my window not once but twice, making sure to do so in a gentle manner both times, with a more placid genre of rap to stir me awake. And his calling up to my window was not so much a holler as a lower volume. Since the chill night air does a fine job of amplifying sounds anyway.

I had a good sleep otherwise, and did not get up until the ripe morning hour of 8:30 AM…and Deek did not have to return to my building just to pick up da moolah. Win/win for both of us. Just wish Flaco & Lucky had their sweaters on; what the fuck’s wrong with him? I think he does it just to annoy me…but that is SO wrong, because it’s at the expense of two, loving little quadrupeds. At least they weren’t shivering, far as I could see.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Just off the phone….
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 9, 2023 at 2:35 PM

> …with Darly. My hands twitch with the desire to throttle her.

I understand that desire quite well, though YOUR situation is far more nerve-racking than mine.

> She’d called yesterday asking for a ride into town. I hadn’t been able to respond to her call, because we were embroiled in the water pump crisis.

What did she need a ride into town for…get her hair done, or something else equally trivial?

> So I called her this morning to tell her why, and she launches into her insane paranoia, says she needs to get out of here (she’s penniless), I “made” her stay here after Van died, that I’m doing “nothing” about getting Van’s and my old work republished. All balderdash, of course.

The lady needs to freakin’ chill out, her behavior is abominable. And I’d tell her that myself. Maybe have a witness with me, like your psychiatrist friend. In fact, at this point you may need such an ally to witness her behavior for legal reasons, if nothing else. Maybe he can prescribe her some calming medication. I also advise you to record her conversations with you, from now on…or at least take notes. Erwyn or someone else can also be a witness. Does she have any friends besides you, who visit her? I’m guessing not.

> I tell her I can’t talk about this stuff now, that I need to concentrate on getting the water going again (and getting an estimate to get the fallen tree off the garage roof, and scraping up $$ for surgery for Surely to get a growth removed from his belly skin, though I don’t mention any of these).

Surely is more deserving of your care than SHE is, at this point. Just my opinion from a helpless distance.

> But she persists. I tell her I don’t want to argue; she says we’re not arguing; I say, very sharply: “You’re starting a complicated conversation when I’m under horrendous pressure with a household emergency.” She hangs up on me. I’m quivering with fury. I’ve literally kept her alive and kept a roof over her head (often using my own money) since Van died (and before that, too), and she lays this lunatic bullshit on me.

If at all possible, you need to make it VERY clear to her that SHE is the one being unreasonable, to say the least. Snap some sense into her. Explain to her the convoluted logistics of getting Van’s (and your) old work republished. If she doesn’t care to listen, but drowns you out, then you’ll need to take whatever actions are necessary to protect yourself, legally, financially and emotionally. No two ways about it.

> Like you, I’m a hostage.

Right. This is like the old saying “no good deed goes unpunished,” only on steroids.

> I can’t just walk away; the shack she lives in belongs to good friends of mine. I talked them into renting to Van and Darly, a couple of years before Van died, opened my fat yap and “guaranteed” the rent would be paid. Van had a job (though with spotty inadequate pay), none of us foresaw that he would die.

There’s gotta be SOME way through this, though it doesn’t seem like that right now.

> If she were to default on the rent, things would blow up in my face instantly.

So she’s paying SOME of the rent herself? At any rate, maybe you should consider visiting with some social service about the situation, and maybe they’ll assign her a guardian to check in on her every day. Sounds like she’s too unfit to care for herself and needs to be moved to a nursing home. I know you’d feel terrible taking such action, but I’d say that’s better than her winding up homeless. Or YOU becoming flat broke and ending up on the streets too…you have Erwyn and your furry companions that are worth light years more than saving Darly’s life at this point.

> Further, if she were to be kicked out, there is no one except me with the means to gather her and her stuff off the street (a few doors down from me). And then: where would I take her? There are no answers. What I would face if any of that were to happen would be MUCH worse than maintaining her where she is.

Frighteningly horrific! May the Fates show mercy, and VERY soon.

– Zeke

Re: Just off the phone….
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 9, 2023 at 7:47 PM

> She needed firewood, which she buys by the boutique bundle (I told you she’s mad), because she had a “bad experience” with some past large-volume wood delivery. The only heat she has is the wood stove, else an electric heater, which runs up the landlords’ (my friends’) electric bill.

Only one person, how small is the stove? Perhaps you could chop the wood yourself if you have enough felled branches on your land. What about the tree that’s fallen on your garage? Possible to pull it down yourself and chop it up? Bring her a week’s supply every seven days, charge her half what she pays for the boutique bundle. Here are some DIY videos on removing a fallen tree from a roof.

I’m guessing the above suggestion is not viable, so maybe you should post your need for chopped wood on the announcement list. But only if the cost is less than the boutique wood, and you could charge Darly the full amount.

Regarding the electric heater: is it energy efficient? You might replace it with one that is better. See this article.

I would go for the “Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater,” $142, VERY safe to use and is highly rated on Amazon, and by other reviewers across the web. Very quiet, on wheels, with the “eco” setting.

And what about purchasing a used or refurbished solar panel by someone living in your area? One that would be powerful enough to run a 1,500 watt heater? And a storage battery that would last all night (again, used or refurbished.)

These are just ideas off the top of my head…and they could all be dumb in the long run, I just don’t know.

> Erwyn loathes her. I have to keep them segregated. I do make “contemporaneous notes” when she goes off like that, plus I have a good memory for dialogue.

Audio or video recorded documentation, plus a witness or two are preferable when it comes to possible legal complications. Being insane (or hysterical), she is not beyond reporting false accusations about you to others, including the police. But you already have a solid witness in Erwyn, so that’s good. And, I presume, in the kind people who rented that shack to her.

> I badly want to write her a letter and leave it on her door, but my FUCKING printer has died. Inanimate objects conspiring.

You could put a copy of your letter on an SD card or flash drive and take it to a printout service. It would cost very little…maybe your local library can do it.

> On the other hand, she’s truly crazy, and I feel so fucking sorry for her, completely alone in the world. I’m scared of crazy people–not physically, but scared of the sheer power of their unreason. Shakes me badly.

It does me, too. However, since you are committed to preserving her life, it’s best to apply My Bodhisattva Premise. (Which is really not an original theory on my part, just a modern-day wording of what the Buddha and other wise people have taught):

– Remind yourself that fear should always be flushed out of your system ASAP. Fear is NEVER a healthy emotion to harbor, no matter the initial impact. Do not entertain thoughts of worst case scenarios…have a muffin, pet your familiars, read one of my saucy tales to Erwyn (ha ha, just kidding on THAT one).

– Accept this as a CHALLENGE to be a better person, figure out how to make this conflict a win/win solution. Have faith that a happy outcome shall emerge out of this, no matter how impossible that seems. Meditate a few minutes every day on simply spreading goodwill, imagine Darly smiling and at peace, thanks to your steady friendship (though not from the confines of a coffin, I hope). See this challenge as a strengthening of your mettle, an opportunity rather than a tragedy. Just as I do with crazy Deek…and it’s working rather well if I say so myself: three steps forward, one step backward.

– Sit down and have a calm, patient talk with her…regarding whatever unkind accusations she’s made about you. Maybe draw up a list so you won’t forget anything. Let her know you miss Van, too, but prolonged grief is self-destructive, and Van wouldn’t want that for her, he’d want her to forge on and have a good life. Build on the love he gave her. Bring her some flowers when you next visit.

– Maybe one of the more progressive religious groups in your area offers free wellness checks to the elderly, and companionship once or twice a week.

– Sometimes you HAVE no choice but to be abrupt and firm towards her. But first think through whether or not your fuel is anger or compassion. If it’s anger, don’t do it. Take a deep breath, have another muffin (but don’t get fat over this). And HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR through it all, no matter how crudely she treats you.

– I have a sneaking suspicion that you already KNOW (and will abide by) all of the above suggestions, and just wanted a shoulder to lean on, and to vent. For as you reminded me more than once, at times I was at wit’s end over Deek: he’s an abused soul and needs extra patience and kindness. Though it sure can be fuckin’ DIFFICULT to hang in there, eh, Wattson? And finally:


– Zeke K-Homes

Re: Just off the phone….
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 9, 2023 at 11:03 PM

> We got the branches off the tree ourselves, but the trunk fell at just such an angle (only damaging a corner of the building, not bad at all), and sticking up really high, that it’ll now take a pro with special equipment to get the rest of it down.


> Insurance will pay, but we were hoping to do it all ourselves and keep the moolah. There will be $$ left over anyway, which I’ll use to pay for Surely’s surgery.


> There will be lots of wood from the branches, a lot of which were dead and dry, and I plan to give a lot of it to Dana.

Well THAT’S a help.

> Unless she finds some reason to reject it…

‘Cause it’s not “boutique” enough, no doubt.

> These are good ideas. I’m gonna check out the heaters. My friends, her landlords, will probably be willing to spring for an energy-efficient heater rather than the dollar bill-burner she has now.


> I can email it to the print shop in Fort Bragg, whom I’ve used before in this situation. It’s just that if my printer were working, I’d have banged out a letter to her while the incident was still simmering in my brain, and would have “served” her with it today.


> Not possible, what with running around fixing the water pump. Which we did, by the way!!


> That’s exactly what I’ve been doing since poor Van died.

I figured so.

> Will keep it up resolutely.

You really have no other choice if you want to remain aligned with your conscience.

>> “(though not from the confines of a coffin, I hope).”
> Laughed out loud at that!!!

Le diable me l’a fait faire.

> Oh, man, how I wish I could get her interested in that. I did try–there’s a bunch of hippie lefty “Christians” in Albion who really, really try to be Christly and compassionate. They were bringing her fresh vegetables from their garden, and invited her to come to one of their “services.” These are not rightie fundy types, but really sweet good people. I told her they don’t require belief or conversion or baptism or any of that baloney, that she should accept their invitation just for the fellowship and human contact, but she said she thought they were too “cult-like.” An excuse to reject them, probably because I suggested them. Thats what she does: if I suggest something, she accuses me of trying to “make” her do something.

Well THAT’S disappointing. However, she might be right about “cult-like,” as somewhere along the line they’ll probably be pushing Jebus big time. Though maybe not. I could get along with those type very well. As for her accusation of you trying to “make” her do something…isn’t that exactly what a real friend does when someone they care about is seriously troubled? What’s wrong with that, you’re trying to get her motivated, a little prodding is called for.

I’m sure you’ve looked into the Senior Center events and stuff like that, and it didn’t go anywhere with her, either. What does she do to pass the time…read, watch TV, listen to music? How about the Internet? She could play bridge online with others…or whatever other games that people share, including on Zoom. Does she know about Marco’s radio show, she just might enjoy it especially if she’s an insomniac.

Maybe you could get her a sheep and a spinning wheel…that would keep her busy.

> Fershlugginer!


– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting w/Wattson: 2/9/22-2/10/22

Re: Just off the phone….
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 9, 2023 at 4:13 PM

> Add to her craziness the fact that she’s a total Luddite. Does not have a computer, do email, or go online. And she also doesn’t drive (though she once did). So her isolation is pretty complete. She does have TV (thanks to the landlord installing a satellite system), and she’s actually a good reader.

I was afraid of that, which lack of Internet savvy is a detriment towards her well-being for any number of reasons. As well as an increased burden on others in her life.

>> “Maybe you could get her a sheep and a spinning wheel…that would keep her busy.”
> Now you’re talkin’!

Ha ha. I said that precisely because I suspected she’s a Luddite. I’m sure she totally resists basic lessons on navigating the web; she doesn’t even have a smartphone, does she? It would be GREAT if somehow, some way, she took an introductory class about the Internet (with a Chromebook), offered for seniors by a church, school or some other community service. But I guess that’s not gonna happen. If she DID acquire a Chromebook she could visit online book lover sites and forums from the comfort of her home.

Maybe you could tempt her by showing her sites for bookworms, such as Goodreads…with forums where people share their interest in this or that novel, author, etc. There’s live chatting these days, too.

She could visit the Mendocino County Library online. Then there’s Amazon’s Kindle Book, which also lets you browse the web should Darly decide to share her reading interests with other members. Plenty of FREE books to enjoy, and tons of low-cost ones to suit anyone’s favorite genre.

There’s also Gutenberg Press and a slew of OTHER excellent sites for book lovers that would cost her NOTHING but her time and interest. Then there’s good ol’ Youtube with many narrated authors, not to mention Audiobooks. In sum:

That lady’s a tough nut to crack.

Well, now I’m off to purchase a loaf of Alvarado Street sprouted wheat raisin bread at Golden Produce on Church Street, since my Amazon Fresh EBT adventure came to a crashing halt. That’ll teach ME to stop acting all haughty and stuff like I WEREN’T a low income peon! $150 minimum grocery order just to avoid delivery fee, my ass!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: No raisin bread today, dammit!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 10, 2023 at 8:01 PM

That’s it, Cosmos, rub it in my face: shut down my low-price access to frozen cherries and berries via Amazon Fresh, along with multigrain muffins and raisin bread…then vanquish my only local source of whole grain raisin bread from the shelves! I get it, I’m just a lowly serf who got too big for his britches and needed to be bitch-slapped down a notch.

But at least I finally got reimbursed for my last grocery delivery (see pic). Though in a convoluted manner that is not right. When I first reported the problem I simply clicked on the unhappy face, which took me to a page of options from which I had to pick the one that suited my particular demise, which was: “Did not deliver.” But a week had passed without any response, so this early afternoon I logged into my Amazon account and selected “refund request,” whereby I had to click on every single friggin’ item in that ONE delivery, accompanied by a brief explanation for each one, which was the same:

“Failed to deliver this item, even though they said it was delivered. But I could not find the item at my door, anywhere else in the building, or right outside. I don’t think the delivery truck even arrived, as I was watching out my window.”

To my utter astonishment less than an hour later they approved of the refund. But in their email the reason they gave for the refund was: “Shipping address is undeliverable.” Well, Wattson, that certainly isn’t true, since my previous two orders were DROPPED OFF RIGHT BY MY DOOR, INSIDE THE FUKKIN BUILDING!

Regardless, my Amazon Fresh honeymoon is over since my EBT amount drops down to $23 per month starting in March. And since their delivery fee is soon to jump astronomically, I can’t even afford to purchase my favorite items using my Chase debit card. So it’s back to Trader Joe’s I go, though fortunately I don’t have to take two buses to get there since a new one opened up a few years ago right on Market & 4th.

Don’t know if they carry frozen cherries etc., and their website excludes many items they DO carry. For example I know they sell their own brand of multigrain raisin bread, but it’s not listed in their online store. So I’ll just have to check it out in person. Golden Produce on Church Street charges $8.79 for 10 ounces of frozen cherries or blueberries, whereas Amazon Fresh has ’em for just $3.99/lb.! Keeping my fingers crossed that Trader Joe’s sells them for under $5/lb.

No frozen fruit at the local corner stores, but the Palestinian one does sell two-pound bags of frozen peas for $6.99 each. I love frozen peas, they’re so tasty with plump gushy bites that pop in my mouth. Great addition to my veggie stew! I could even eat a large bowl of these peas with nothing more than shredded mozzarella or some other cheese mixed in…which I sometimes do. Add a splash or two of balsamic vinegar for a taste-bud kick.

Interesting I now have a lot of time freed up since Deek is sheltered, to shop for groceries the old school way…what with the TIMING of reduction in food stamps and Amazon Fresh’s new delivery fees.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Also interesting:

If not for the pups’ eviction from my building, closing off the ATM alcove, the Castro sweep of the homeless, and that horrid string of atmospheric rivers dumping tons of rain on the city…Deek may never have been motivated to seek real shelter.

Re: No raisin bread today, dammit!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 10, 2023 at 9:47 PM

> I’m pleasantly surprised that he hasn’t found some way to sabotage the new arrangement…

That’s why it took those four drastic changes, one piling atop another, to finally move his scrawny ass. I don’t think he’ll drop the shelter, as he has free electricity for his devices, a place to stay warm and dry on cold, rainy nights or days. Free food, too. Not to mention getting him on SSI and a longer term abode. There are other advantages, too, but in a nutshell:

The pluses outweigh the minuses. He’s getting old, I’m sure bad weather gets to him more these days, and he’s probably grateful for his tiny cabin…after feeling how fukkin NICE a dry warm shelter and a cozy bed can be! Though he’ll never admit it.

> Bummer about the food delivery. Still, you have MANY more options in the city than we do up here.

Right, many more options to catch covid or whatever other deadly virus comes down the pike (and they surely will), since getting to most of these stores involves riding crowded public transit. So that cuts out many options for me if I can’t get to them via light rail and no transfer nonsense. Especially since hardly anyone wears a mask anymore, and the MUNI sign on the front only says these days: “Masks advised.”

> It’s either the Safeway or the pricey little grocery store here in Mendocino. Safeway ain’t bad, but it’s swarming with covid…

As I’m sure does Trader Joe’s, for which reason I’ll shop during their least busy times. Amazon grocery delivery is the safest option, but they hate me ’cause I’m poor and want me to die. Fuck ’em. Next safest option are these corner ma-and-pa shops. LEAST safe are supermarkets including TJ’s. Maybe I’ll skip it. I’m really not ready to put my life in strangers’ hands. But if I live long enough I may have no choice in the matter. I don’t even wanna think about it. Shame on me for gambling away my IRA and chasing after hot little street urchins in Cancún last winter, by that big Catholic church with iguanas basking on the steps.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Deek dropped by for awhile last night…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 10, 2023 at 12:23 PM

…asked me to charge a speaker and bring the pups some food and water.

“Just a little food, they ate earlier,” he said.

The dogs were NOT wearing the sweaters I gave him last week, but another pair arrived yesterday and the nights are still cold, so I asked if he’d like me to put the new ones on. I expected him to turn down the offer with his usual mockery, but to my surprise he simply said “Sure.”

So after feeding them I brought down a large cardboard sheet for the pups to rest on, along with those sweaters. No objections from their master though I forewent breaking out a sleeping bag this time around. He wasn’t alone, but had the company of another indigent who’s been showing up with Deek in recent weeks, now and then. Nice fellow, well mannered and clean: tall, lanky, muddy blond hair and maybe in his mid-thirties. He was seated against the plywood in a gray sleeping bag waist high.

While I was pulling one sweater on Lucky and guiding his forelegs through the holes, his sister attempted to scramble upon Deek’s lap. But he gently pushed her away ’cause occupied lighting his meth pipe and sharing it with Jordy (not his real name). I set Lucky on my lap, then drew her to me with one arm. Soon as I put a sweater on her she turned towards Deek again and gave a few peremptory barks at him, as if to say:

“C’mon, put down that pipe, I wanna curl up on your lap NOW. Uncle Zeke is occupied!”

With that, her master smiled and let her climb aboard while he held the bubble inhaler in a raised position and away from her nostrils. I was impressed and pleased by his kind regard for Flaco, unlike previous times when he displayed a short temper and would shove her away and yell.

Around two-and-a-half hours later I returned downstairs with the speaker, told him it’s after midnight and I’m going to bed now. He said alright, and would I bring him two trash bags, three Ziploc sandwich baggies and a disposable razor. As I turned away to retrieve the items, Jordy piped up:

“Can ya bring me a trash bag, too?”

I briefly glanced at Deek with a slightly annoyed expression ’cause I’ve often told him not to request things in front of other homeless people. Since they’ll start perceiving me as a Santa Claus, and I just can’t afford to be supplying others like I do for him…whether bags, tea, razors and so on and, Glob forbid, money. But I said okay, I’ll be right back. When I returned outside I wanted to give the hounds one last petting. Lucky was curled up on his lap, but his sister was nowhere to be seen! I looked up and down the street, thinking maybe she stepped away to relieve herself, but nope, I did not spot her anywhere.

“Where’s Flaco?” I asked, and Deek looked about as well, confused for a moment, then pointed at Jordy:

“She’s right there!”

Turned out that the checkered gray sweater, in the dark of night, blends in perfectly with Jordy’s slate-hued sleeping bag. Flaco was sleeping contentedly upon his legs.

“Oh, nice!” I exclaimed. For I was pleased they both had a lap to rest upon, and that it seems Deek’s new companion is a benevolent asset for the dogs and their keeper.

So off I went back upstairs and laid down on my cot to watch some spooky videos and drift into slumber. But several minutes later Deek called up again: “Yo!”

With some chagrin I put my slide sandals back on and peered out the window: “What now?”

“Can ya bring me a black marker?” he replied. (He uses a marker to decorate his sneakers, a jacket, backpack, speaker, etc. Calls it “nigga rigging,” which I just hate.)

When I presented him with the requested item, he said: “I don’t need anything else, have a good night now.”

“I hope so, I need my sleep,” I retorted. “God bless and have a good night yourself.”

I think they remained seated along the ATM plywood for another half hour or so, but since he kept the speaker off I couldn’t tell exactly WHEN they left. But when the rumbling cacophony of a garbage truck woke me up around 4 AM I decided to look out the window. Deek and company were no longer camped below, nor anywhere else within sight. So I breathed a contented sigh and returned to the warm comfort of my cot, and Slumber Valley.

It was a very GOOD meetup, all in all, however he DID give me SOME grief at the beginning, mumbling about that “missing pot” and other nonsense as I sat beside the brindlekin to pet them and put their sweaters on. I simply ignored him as I knew he was just playing a game with me, trying to get my hackles up. A bit later, when I came back downstairs for one reason or another, he told me he can stay at the tiny cabin village for up to eighteen months! During which time they’ll help him get on SSI and find him a more permanent housing situation.

“Unbelievable,” he remarked. “No one in my family or anyone else I knew back in Loo-zee-anna ever accepted government handouts and just hanged around in their homes like bums! They worked, and worked hard, got married and raised children! I ALWAYS had a job back there.”

“No, YOU’RE unbelievable,” I replied (tempted to point out the horror of bringing a child into this world only to lead a life of suffering because born into poverty, but I sensibly abstained). “That’s NOT what’s going on, they are helping people get off the streets, give ’em a leg up, with ample time to de-stress and find their way in life. They’re doing it the right way, Deek. Count your blessings.”

Of course I realized he was just putting on another show for my benefit, trying once more to anger me. So I took it all in stride, glad that, nonetheless, he was continuing to keep a roof over his head and going through the process offered him, which is much more humane than cruel.

BTW I forgot to mention that when he gave me the mini food processor with a missing spindle last Tuesday, he also gifted me with something I truly appreciate: a Swiss Army knife. Pristine condition. See pic 1.

“Thanks!” I said as he dropped it into my palm. “I’ll keep it in my backpack.”

“You never know when you’ll need it,” he beamed with satisfaction.

End of my latest Deek report, but now THIS:

Click here for a larger view.

While composing this missive a fire truck pulled up to my building. What should I see outside but Karlsen being tended to by emergency response workers…again. See pic 2. But instead of cautiously escorting him from the building he was waiting outside with his butt resting against the circular bicycle rack. A few minutes after the medics checked him out an ambulance showed up to cart him away. Something similar happened just a few evenings ago, only it was the police standing around him, asking if he was alright while he was, once again, leaning upon that bicycle rack with a ghastly pale visage.

Don’t know if he went off to the hospital that time since I had better things to do and returned to my work station. But it looks like he’s sucking a lot of attention from our local emergency services, a habit that must have started long before he moved into the building several years back. One of these days he’s gonna overplay his hand and never return from the hospital. And I hope that’s very soon, since it will also mean an end to Scooter’s presence in Hotel California North. Who I believe now has a key to the front gate as well as Karlsen’s apartment.

Imagine that! Our building manager is nowhere around these days, probably on his death bed: the perfect opportunity for a vagrant to claim residency here without anyone the least bit suspect if he’s dressed decently and behaves himself. Except for yours truly of course…plus Victor, our maintenance fellow. I wonder what HE thinks about that! In conclusion:

You just can’t make this stuff up, Wattson!

– Zeke K-Holmes

He’s Still Alive! (for now)

February 7, 2023

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 10]

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

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

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

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

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

“Do they have any water?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It has bugs!” he exclaimed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh I’m SO glad it was only a dream!”

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“When should I expect you back?”

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

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

“Okay I’ll call a plumber.”

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

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

Cue appropriate video clip here.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting w/Wattson: 2/4/23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

> Unacceptable! Rude! Incompetent! Shitty!

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

Probably so.

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

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

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

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

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

– Zeke K-Holmes

A Perfect Meetup at Last!

February 3, 2023

[Brindlekin Tales – Book 7: Chapter 9]

Subject: I came THAT close to calling the cops again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 29, 2023 at 3:49 PM

Another morning that started out peacefully. I arose at 8:30 AM and resumed listening to Marshall’s latest podcast while straightening out the bedding, turning my Chromebook back on and checking my Moto E for the latest news. But that didn’t last too long at all before I heard Deek hollering up to my window:


Resigned to a miserable start of my day, I stepped outside where he was slumped against the ATM plywood and the dogs, leashed to the baby buggy, greeted me with their usual delight. Lucky flopped on his back and began writhing for belly scritches as I crouched down beside him, and his sister stood up with front paws on my thigh, to receive caresses. But their master would have none of that, for he was in a NASTY mood. (Or better said: another drama played out by my bodhisattva guardian, to strengthen my mettle.)

“I’m really sick, I mean it!” he grovelled there on the sidewalk like a leper in his death throes. “And Lucky’s been throwing up blood all night long! Flaco’s kinda sick, too…they need to see a vet!”

“The dogs look fine to me,” I said, “and so do you.” I crouched back down to pet and scritch them again; they were amazingly placid and glowed with health…wet, cold noses and all.

“You do know, don’t you,” I added, “you can take your dogs to the SPCA in an emergency, even if one of them isn’t spayed or registered. That’s where you should go because I’m not a vet, I’m not your superhero, my hands are tied.”

You can imagine, Wattson, he wasn’t pleased with my replies (to put it gently) and exploded in a tirade of vicious accusations…said he already tried the SPCA but they were closed (yeah, sure he did).

“He threw up bloody puke on my way here,” Deek exclaimed. “Just a few blocks away, let’s go there, see for yourself I’m not making this up!”

He made as if to stand, but I shook my head nope, not gonna do that. After all, Wattson, it could be ANY dog’s upchuck that he came across while plotting his latest drama on the way to my building.

At one point I interjected if he’s really sick they’ll take care of him at the shelter, but of course he said they won’t, they’ll just let him die…I need to escort him to S.F. General so I can watch the dogs outside.

“Not gonna happen, Deek, you’re NOT sick and the dogs are in good health,” I retorted. “This is just another one of your bullshit dramas. Besides, hospitals are overburdened, our health care is collapsing, they’ll probably keep you overnight and into the next day before they even get to you!” I then took a deep breath before asking: “Now, can I bring them some water?”

He said okay. “How about I fix ’em a meal, too, they might be hungry?” I suggested, but he turned that down.

When I returned with a bowl in my hands the dogs seemed eager to partake, but soon as I set it down and removed the lid they just sniffed at it and stepped back, looked up at me as if to say: “We were hoping for a bite to eat, Uncle Zeke!” But their master stood in the way of my nourishing them. I could only trust he’d feed them some time soon, once out of my view, seeing as I gave him two large Ziploc bags of kibble and eight cans of dog food Wednesday evening. Besides, he has places to go for free doggy vittles.

Deek continued to push for me to accompany him to the hospital, or at least watch the dogs while he goes there himself. He even gushed crocodile tears, proclaiming he’s really sick and has to see a doctor…but I remained firm while caressing my darling brindlekin. When he saw I wasn’t about to budge he stood up and declared he’s gonna leave the dogs here and go to the hospital. So I warned him:

“If you do that, Deek, I’ll have to call Animal Rescue, you give me no choice!”

“You do that and your name’ll be mud around here,” he retorted while fussing with the contents of the buggy. Then he turned away and started marching up Market Street towards Castro, while the pups calmly remained in their spot beside my feet. I observed him cross the intersection and disappear around the Chevron station, while seated with the pups who also watched their master from afar. They showed no urgency to catch up with him, but stayed by my side without showing any obvious concern. Guess they’re used to that and, since he always returns soon or hands them off to me for a time, they felt no reason to worry. What remarkable angels they are!

At this point I figured I should run upstairs and prepare them a meal, so I summoned them over to the buggy and tethered their leashes to the sign post right beside. “I’ll be back in two minutes,” I said, then returned hovel. While upstairs and about to open the bag of kibble I entertained the idea of sneaking them inside one by one…in my arms so they’d remain silent, with the second poochie tethered to a pole while I carry the first one upstairs. That is: if their master were serious about getting medical help and didn’t return within the hour.

I’d take Flaco first ’cause she’s more likely to bark in outrage for being left alone while watching her brother’s delivery unto my sanctuary. She’d probably yank herself free of her collar anyway and stand by the front gate, barking up a blizzard. But then I sighed and vanquished the notion, as I realized if I take them to my room just once, Deek would keep pushing that I do it again, and again, and again. One hissy fit after another: the perfect excuse to spew hatred at me every single time he drops by. Or, realizing now that I WOULD cave in and bring them indoors if he just walks away without the hounds, he’d make up FURTHER excuses to leave them with me. Excuses that I couldn’t refuse…most likely feigning he’s still sick and needs to go to a clinic again. And again. And again. And I’d wind up being evicted for REALS, shortly thereafter.

So I went ahead and opened the bag of kibble but paused to look out the window: there they were sitting as calm as could be, waiting in good faith their uncle’s or master’s return. I then turned away to procure two disposable bowls from my pantry and, soon as I deposited the first handful of kibble, I heard Deek grouching outside, saying “Damn it” and other expressions I did not bother to discern. He probably assumed I just left the canines tethered outside and abandoned them, because he seems to think the worst of me these days.

But he DOESN’T need to know I would NEVER call Animal Control no matter what…I’d find a way to care for them outside, by hook or by crook. And eventually find a loving home for them should their master disappear for good. Guess I’d have to sleep on the streets with the pups till that happens. And stay with them outdoors most of the time every day.

It’s not sunny now, as I write this…hasn’t been for almost an hour. But it WAS while Deek and dogs were here, including his return after his fake departure to S.F. General. So when I stepped back outside I suggested he just kick back with the dogs and enjoy the warm rays of the sun. And I can bring them a meal.

“No, don’t bring me anything, I’m gonna sit here all afternoon and play my music at full volume!” he replied while already seated against the plywood, with the dogs by his side. “It’s not against the law to blast music as loud as I want until ten PM!”

“Fine with me, Deek,” I answered, realizing that his present speaker was on the small side and wouldn’t be much of a nuisance at all. “But if you start screaming again I WILL call the police and have you move along.”

Not knowing what else to say, and with absolutely NO desire to fill my ears with any further vitriolic rants, I pet the dogs once more and returned hovel. But once upstairs I decided to provide the mutts with a sheet of cardboard and a sleeping bag to rest upon…though Deek would probably oppose me, I had to try. Soon as I opened the front gate and he saw me carrying those items under one arm he exclaimed:


“C’mon, Deek,” I appealed to his angelic side, “The dogs deserve some comfort, you’re gonna be here for awhile!”

Upon my attempt to lay down the cardboard, he kicked it away where it skid towards the curb. The doggies were eager for the bedding, but nonetheless remained patiently stoic towards their master’s outburst, and remained seated. I retrieved the large sheet of cardboard and tried setting it down again, upon which Deek swung a hand forward to block it, the same hand that gripped his smartphone. But upon that powerful gesture, it flew with a crash onto the concrete.

“YOU MADE ME BREAK MY PHONE!” he hollered, then stood up, muttering atrocities at me as he began to push the buggy down the sidewalk, dogs in tow. One atrocity being: “YOU’RE GAY. ALL GAY PEOPLE ARE MENTALLY ILL FUCKUPS! YOU’RE SICK, STAY AWAY FROM ME!”

Rather than engage him with yet another pointless argument settled by professionals decades ago, I decided to watch them depart. Besides which, if I immediately picked up the cardboard and sleeping bag, it might cause him to return to the spot below my window. He stopped at the corner and plunked himself down, whereupon I took the items back upstairs. I first thought to follow him and attempt to set the bedding down by his new location–which may inspire him to move further up the street–but concluded that wasn’t the best tactic at this point in our latest skirmish.

Thanks to Deek’s early morning disruption, I had yet to brush my teeth and shave, so finally got around to it now that he’s moved to the corner and quieted down. Starting the day can sure be an uphill struggle when he’s around! But no sooner had I sat down and resumed listening to Marshall’s podcast, I heard Deek’s boisterous calls from down the block:


So I put on my sneakers, jacket and cap once again and stepped out to see him smashing his phone two or three times, upon the concrete. (Jeez, I thought, what fresh hell is this?)

“Do you have another music chip or a stick?” he requested in a frustrated tone.

By “stick” he meant a flash drive that his speaker could use…or maybe it had a slot for a micro SD card…or both. Seeing as, even though his smartphone uses a chip, it was unlikely it would function, ever again.

“Let me see,” I said while petting the pups. “I’ll be right back.”

I returned with both in less than two minutes, and handed them to him.

“I hope these work for you,” I said. “They both include your complete collection.”

I then quickly departed to return hovel, grateful he had calmed down so I could finally move on with my day, starting with a cup of Rosenberg’s java which I was planning to purchase over an hour before. But barely had a few minutes passed when I heard him yell “YO! YO! YO!” once again. So again I stepped out to see what’s wrong THIS time.

“Does this even have music on it, it won’t play?” he asked while holding the chip out to me.

I took it and said okay, I’ll check if it does, be back in a minute. Turns out it did, but I decided to bring him a different chip, after first inserting it into my laptop to be sure it contained all his songs. It did, so I brought it to him:

“The chip I gave you DOES have all your music on it, maybe your speaker for some reason didn’t recognize it. So here’s another chip to try. I hope it works, though I can’t promise since it’s the same brand.”

Before departing (which I attempted to do immediately) he declared: “IF I WERE STRAIGHT AND THESE DOGS WEREN’T WITH ME I’D BEAT YOU INTO THE GROUND!”

“Whatever,” I replied as I walked away while he spewed additional threats that I ignored, except with a few shrugs of my shoulders and outstretched arms in a “so be it” gesture, without turning to face him. Soon as I turned the key in the gate and entered, I no longer heard his voice, thank Glob. Though I did hear him call out one particularly hurtful accusation:


He really knows how to press my buttons, turn that knife in my back more than one full circle!

I resumed listening to the podcast for a few more minutes before deciding it’s finally time for my coffee…almost two hours later than usual!

“Great!” I thought. “He’s still out there and I’m gonna have to put up with his crap TWO more times…on my way to Rosenberg’s and back. Because there’s just no other route I can take to avoid him!”

But upon opening the gate and stepping out for the umpteenth time this morning, they had vanished. I looked up and down the street, across the street, and around the corner as I made my way towards Noe. Neither Deek nor the pups were anywhere to be seen, not even from a further distance in any direction!

And that is how my day started, Wattson, in misery and meanness. Though applying My Bodhisattva Premise, I allowed all such dark impressions Deek had cast into THIS star-crossed pilgrim’s world, to roll off my back like a happy little duck splashing in a pond. For I REFUSE to cave in to his horrid demands, or allow them to ruin my day…and continue to have FAITH in all things turning out spectacularly for My Cajun Monkey-On-My-Back and those exquisite hounds.

So I guess that was my latest challenge, now overcome. At which moment Deek saw fit to vanish, as his latest assignment was accomplished. Though I’m sure my guardians that be grant me the luxury of calling him a “stupid prick,” just to get this residual outrage off my chest.

I’m wondering if his egregious nature of late has anything to do with his possibly reducing his meth intake? Feeling super crappy is part of the early process. But I can only conjecture, I really have NO idea what’s going on with him since he’s landed that room or cabin. I DOUBT he’s faking THAT and returned to living on the streets, otherwise he’d have his shopping cart again, and not just some baby carriage…at least not for an extended period of time, which for him would be more than two days. AND he’d have acquired a much larger speaker by now, and other detritus. But the most OBVIOUS reason I believe he’s living indoors now is this:


And that one aspect alone may be THE major reason he’ll continue keeping a shelter and going through their program. Or at least, it’s certainly a big deal in his world. Though I’d like to think protecting his dogs counts for something, too. Unfortunate that he seems to value electronic crap over them.

As for “the shaman’s way,” it IS typical of them (at least in MOST variations of their practice) to harass, mock and scorn one who has achieved a phenomenally positive outcome after years of sacrifice and dedication. Instead of immediately patting the hero on the back and showering him (or her) with awards, gifts and gratitude. Which DOES come, eventually…but first the “initiation” of vile projections. How long this goes on I have no idea, though I’m sure the greater the accomplishment, the more lengthy and grueling the initiation. Conclusion:

This is what I conjecture is the cause of Deek’s increased antagonism since he acquired a roof over his head, and compassionate care. After my many years of reaching out to him, especially since he adopted the brindlekin.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: I came THAT close to calling the cops again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 29, 2023 at 5:18 PM

> Glob help us….

Mr. Drama Queen.

Subject: After midnight, he’s sleeping outside with the pups!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 31, 2023 at 12:44 AM

Deek dropped by around 9:30 PM, asked me to charge his speaker. (He later acquired a second one about an hour later, in a barter up the block.) Smartphone’s gone I guess. It was a peaceful meetup…hopefully it will stay that way till he departs, which will probably be around sunrise or a bit later. Though he MIGHT wake me up at a wee hour instead, to get his devices. You never know with him, he loves to keep me in suspense…another trickster move.

I brought a large sheet of cardboard down, and two child-size orange sleeping bags while he stepped away for a time. He wasn’t upset at all when he returned, about my providing them with a nest. He wasn’t even bothered by my feeding them some treats, which I had hoped to finish before he got back, but I didn’t.

He zonked out around 11:30 PM, but before that his friend also named Deek (so let’s call him “Deek #2”) showed up for an hour or so. I returned upstairs to give them their space, happy that the dogs were cozy and warm.

When midnight came I went back downstairs to see if Deek was ready for me to return his speakers, but he was out cold, slumped way bent over his crossed legs, head almost touching his feet (typical meth-head posture). I talked for a few minutes with Deek #2, asked how he’s doing…he said well. And I replied, “You certainly look healthy!” And he DOES, good doctor, much better than last year…not so scrawny and wan looking. He’s one handsome mofo BTW.

Then I said to him: “Deek claims he’s got a room now, but he refuses to tell me where it’s located.”

“Yes he does!” he quickly replied, his face lit up.

“Great!” I said. “Is it a room or a cabin?”

“It’s a cabin, but it’s small.”

“Yeah I know they are. So…” I popped the $64,000 question: “is he staying at the 33 Gough shelter?”

“Yeah, and I”m close by, about a half block up.”

“That’s fantastic, glad to hear it!” I exclaimed sotto voce so as not to wake Deek up. (As if that would; he could sleep through an alien invasion, but I don’t want him to accuse me of talking behind his back, or hear Deek #2 reveal to me his address.) I then queried:

“It’s nice they let you be away up to forty-eight hours. That’s kind of them, since it’s hard to trust any organization when you’ve lived on the streets so many years. Do they have a curfew, or can Deek return any time? ‘Cause he said to me earlier he doesn’t feel like going back there tonight.”

“No, he can return any time, day or night,” he replied. Then he rummaged through a large bag dangling from his bicycle’s handlebars and pulled out a long, hooded blue garment. “Here, can you use a raincoat?”

It was a quality brand (Hollister, made in California) and, since I gave Deek my $16 poncho a few weeks back and it was the only rain gear I had, I said: “I sure can, thanks!”

We talked a little more, then I told him a joke I heard on Marshall’s latest podcast about a talking dog, wished him goodnight and returned hovel after making sure the hounds were still tucked in and protected from the chill night air.

Well, I’m goin’ to bed soon myself, Wattson. I’m sure you’re already in Dreamland, see ya there shortly. Just thought you’d be delighted to know he DID get a cabin at 33 Gough! I sure am.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

P.S.: There they are (see pic). Before hitting the sack I checked outside my window to see if both dogs were still covered. Flaco wasn’t, as she had moved atop both blankets to be closer to her master. So I stepped back outside to cover her with an old blue jacket Deek left behind some weeks ago, which I held onto for just this purpose.

Subject: Perfect meetup from start to finish!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 31, 2023 at 11:03 AM

Deek called up to my window at 6:55 AM. I looked out to see him lying on his back with a blanket over him and two puppy lumps huddled beneath it. He saw me then (I found it funny, his gazing up at me from that supine position) and said: “Bring my stuff down, I gotta go!”

It was actually not a bad time to wake me, since the call of nature does anyway, every morning around 7:15, after which I lie down again for maybe another half hour. When I delivered his electronics he was already standing up. He shook himself and exclaimed: “Brrr, it’s fuckin’ cold out here!”

Which remark he’s never made before on OTHER cold nights, so it piqued my curiosity. Seeing as he’s told me in the past that smoking meth keeps him warm. Does this mean he’s smoking less? Come to think of it, Wattson, I don’t think he broke out his bubble pipe even once, last night!

Needless to say, the hounds were not eager to leave their fluffy nest and resisted their master’s command to get up and go, but only for a few seconds since they’re so attuned to him with loving hearts.

He no longer had that baby carriage, but an oversized granny cart just like the last one I now have stashed in my room, for when he’ll need it again. They took off barely two minutes after I stepped outside to gather up the sleeping bags, jacket and cardboard. As I approached the front gate I turned my head to see them crossing Market Street instead of Noe, which I found strange because the simplest way to walk to 33 Gough is to remain on THIS side of the street and proceed forward three blocks, then turn left.

Is he going to remain outside and just park elsewhere (I thought)? But no, he stopped at the transit island to wait for the next streetcar. Flaco and Lucky looked so cute, sitting there beside their master in the garments I dressed them with last night: she, a maroon sweater, and he, a blue jacket with Velcro straps. They seemed quite accustomed to riding the transit as neither grew restless, but waited patiently for the streetcar to arrive, then immediately stepped inside as the door folded open. They leapt onto the front side-seats as Deek followed with his cart. Not a single bark or yelp outta them.

Off they went, I guess for breakfast at the shelter, as well as a warm and cozy, secure oasis. I bet the dogs are SO happy with their tiny cabin, and they have that patio to run around and bask in the sunlight when it’s there, and spread cheer to other residents. So off I went, too, back upstairs to take a hearty dump and pee, then sleep awhile longer. I felt aglow with joy as I lay there in the cot, thinking to myself:

“Now THAT was one excellent meetup from beginning to end!”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

P.S.: Attached is a pic of that superb raincoat Deek #2 gave me last night, zippered pockets and all! BTW, slight correction in our dialog:

Deek #2: “Do you have a raincoat?”

Me (thinking he was asking for one): “Umm, no. Wait, yes, I have a few disposable ones upstairs, I can bring one down for…”

Deek #2: (pulling the rubberized garment from a bag): “Can you use this?”

Re: After midnight, he’s sleeping outside with the pups!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 31, 2023 at 1:15 PM

> That was some good fact-gathering! And discreet, too.

Well they don’t call me Zeke K-Holmes for nothing!

Deek #2 is the one who told me several years back that MY Deek asked him to kill someone for him. I believe he did, as #2 is NOT the compulsive liar like my trickster! Though I’d never share that juicy tidbit with him, just as I don’t OTHER unseemly things I know about him…even as vengeance against his maltreatment. Because such revelations would likely drive him away from me, as well as cause great damage towards his spiritual progress.

I don’t think Deek #2 (in all the seven-plus years I’ve known him) ever witnessed MY Deek’s rotten behavior towards me until eight days ago. That was “the dragon book incident,” which witnessing forced him to suppress an explosion of guffaws as he sat there quietly through it all. Not that I haven’t discussed with him a few times, Deek’s bipolar mood swings. And it was during one such talk he revealed Deek’s request that he blow someone away. Don’t know what upset Deek so much over this guy, though knowing his fickle moods so well, it could have been something as innocuous as telling him the weed or meth he sold him sucks.

I find it curious they both have the same name. Though applying My Bodhisattva Premise TO this question, I come up with:

“Deek #2 is his comrade in arms, though they keep this under wraps. In this way he serves as a witness to your many years of compassion towards Deek and the dogs. And explains why he’s shown up in your world again, in this latest cycle because it marks a major breakthrough, that is: finally getting a roof over his head. And all thanks to your own long suffering and patience over a great length of time, guiding him through his ordeals, beating back the demons who threaten to destroy him.”

Though I think THAT explanation is the lower level of TWO, the higher one being that Deek, as a bodhisattva angel himself, is merely PLAYING the role of one in great need of kindness and patience (he may not even be unhoused). And in so doing he shapes me into a HERO as I overcome one hurdle after another until I reach the finish line. Which explains his typically calm, amenable demeanor a day or two AFTER his latest (and most deplorable) hissy fit. For he did his job, accomplished what had to be done to get me through the latest step in my journey along life’s convoluted path.

Assuming I am correct (that Deek is a shaman, and there are other shamans living on the streets, or at least ACTing like they do), I must have gained quite an honorable reputation after so many decades of speaking out for the indigents of our queer community…and being of active SERVICE to them as well. This should eventually erupt into some kind of celebration, a transformation, a revolution if you will. I have a hunch it will be very soon at this point, since Deek is now housed and the pups are secured and joyful as a result. In other words:


What say YOU, good doctor? Hope you’re having another English muffin-y day. As for myself, they’ve run out, which is fine because I need to get around to start breaking fast with Ezekiel’s outstanding whole-grain-sprouted, flourless raisin bread. Which has been sitting in my freezer for more than two weeks now, until I took half a loaf out to thaw overnight, and enjoyed my first two slices this morning!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: After midnight, he’s sleeping outside with the pups!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 31, 2023 at 7:09 PM

It cost you blood, sweat, tears, bile and lymphatic fluid, but you did it!

Anything worth having is worth fighting for. So I fought, and you witnessed and cheered me along all the way from Day 1. Woo-hoo! I’m proud of us both.

> Alas, I eat my last Rudi’s tomorrow morning, and then must make do with Orowheat muffins for the nonce, which taste like sawdust by comparison, until I can get to the big city up the road for more Rudi’s.

Whatever happened to Amazon’s drone delivery? You folks up there need it NOW. Oh, they’re still working on it.

> How I wish somebody up here carried that raisin bread you insist on taunting me with…

Ezekiel Raisin Bread is BETTER than Alvarado Street’s, which is already stupendous…the raisins are plumper, the slices thicker and fluffier, the grains multiple and they’re SPROUTED…and it’s named after moi! Coincidence? I don’t think so…ancient alien theorists agree!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: My latest email from Carlyle
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 31, 2023 at 9:18 PM

Thought I’d share a short email from my friend out of Boston. Wait’ll you read the last paragraph!

From: Carlyle Lambourne
Date: On Tuesday, January 31st, 2023 at 3:17 PM
Subject: Re: Are Americans Psychopaths?
To: Ezekiel Krahlin

I think that Putin is probably doing more behind the scenes to undermine the United States and the West than hardly anyone realizes.

A lot of conservative cockroaches adore Putin in spite of his obvious murderous character, because 

1) he cozies up to Christians, like Trump, 
2) he is anti-gay, 
3) the American Right envies Russia as a "white" country, 
4) Putin helped Trump to power, 
5) the American Right wants a dictatorship like Putin's, not a democracy.

David Duke had an article entitled "Is Russia the key to White Survival?"

Putin needs to die. The Right that sucks up to him is fascist and treasonous.

Good luck with the lawsuit. Concerning the building manager, as Moms Mabley once said, "They say you shouldn't say nothin' about the dead unless it's good. He's dead. Good!"

Re: My latest email from Carlyle
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 1, 2023 at 8:23 AM

> Every word is perfect. Is this the same guy who was showing right wing tendencies a while back? Or am I thinking of someone else?

That’s someone else (Chuck of Philly). This is Carlyle Lambourne, my gay activist ally of many years, since 1997. I’ve shared with you before, now and then, a letter from him…but it’s been awhile since the last one.

> And is the building manager in fact dead?

There has been no notice posted anywhere in my building to that effect. It’s possible he’s still alive, but I haven’t seen hide or hair of him since that ambulance carted SOMEONE away, and I heard his voice answering medical questions from the floor above moments before that. IF he’s alive and returns, I can’t imagine him continuing as our manager, he was THAT deteriorated last bunch of times I saw him. Whether he’s dead or alive, we’re gonna get a new manager soon, in my estimate.

The suspense is killing me…like a slow motion grade-B horror flick while waiting for a pizza delivery.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Amazon groceries never arrived!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 1, 2023 at 10:52 AM

I checked outside my door, up and down the hallway, and downstairs in the lobby…plus right outside the building: ZILCH! So I reported that the groceries never arrived. I was even watching out for an Amazon van to park somewhere nearby; never saw one. So is my delivery sitting somewhere else, inside another building where the frozen goods are thawing out? Will I get reimbursed, or will they deliver a replacement? Amerika needs to know!

– Zeke K-Holmes


And when I stepped out to check the hallway, who should come trouncing up the stairs but the exterminator, wielding one of his trademark spray canisters! He asked if our maintenance man, Victor, spoke with me about another bedbug treatment. I said no he didn’t, so we agreed upon this Monday. I didn’t bother to ask him if the building manager is still in the hospital or has passed away ’cause I was NOT pleased to run into him (I never am). Victor has never before been responsible for dealing with pest issues BTW.

But here I was worried about my groceries, only to be stopped dead in my tracks for yet a SECOND misery. How’s THAT for a stupid start to my day?


Click here for a larger view.

Then, just a minute ago, Amazon slaps me in the face with a “promotional credit” for $2, which is USELESS to me since I am not subscribed to the services they list. Before I opened the email I assumed by the title it was a reimbursement for failed grocery delivery…boy am I the sucker! Well, they say bad luck comes in threes, so STOP IT ALREADY!

Re: Amazon groceries never arrived!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 1, 2023 at 1:01 PM

> Jeez. Brave New World.

Not without the soma! If they included that product on their virtual shelves they’d never hear another complaint from me…or anyone else. Amazon needs to get with the program and put that soma out there!

Subject: [MCN-Discussion]- GREAT news zeke !!
From: Spike Kozlowski
To: MCN discussion list
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2023 17:46:30 -0800

I was in a bar in North Beach yesterday and met this BIG black guy who used to be an oil driller in Texas. As I was a fracker in Pennsylvania, we talked about the oil biz. I told him of this homosexual I heard of who was deliberately spreading AIDS to young black men in retaliation for a black guy giving him AIDS. This seemed to make him VERY angry. I gave him your address, room number and telephone number you were kind
enough to give me.

He said he and a friend were going to pay you a visit and have a talk with you about this. I gave him the number to my burner cell phone and asked him to leave a message as to how his visit and talk with you went. Now, you can print this and take it to any law enforcement agency or DA you want and see what they do.


You’ll get as far with that as Gurney’s repeated attempts to get me arrested and fired. Goodbye zeke. Back to the spam folder with you. The only reason I unblocked you was for the misogynist disrespect you treated Tanya with.

This has nothing to do with you being gay. It has to do with the fact you’re such a despicable excuse for a human being, you take delight in others having cancer. Same way your fuck buddy alvin said about my murdered nephew.

This is simply disgust over you two mentally ill homosexuals taking delight in the misfortune of others, then go running off playing your homophobia victim card when anyone says anything about just what pathetic, despicable excuses for human beings the two of you are.

Re: GREAT news zeke !!
From: George Dennis
To: MCN discussion list
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2023 23:22:23 -0800

—>”This seemed to make him VERY angry.”

At first I thought the Black dude had become angry because some entitled Nazi skinhead had come up to him in a bar, and out of the blue “told him of this homosexual he’d heard of…” That would be enough to freak anybody out. But then to imagine Kuzlowski’s mark would be taken as stupid enough to buy into this felonious short-con – that would be enough to piss anyone off.

According to this dingbat story, it sounds like little spikey was lucky to get out of that bar alive, or at least without getting his dumb ass righteously kicked. To think the psychopath Spike Kuzlowski would think his cheap con/charade would be believable by anyone, much less acted upon, makes you truly question his sanity.

And to think Spikey’s fictitious felony would strike fear into his nemesis Zeke’s heart? A gay guy living on the edge in SF Land? What is the fixation? What twisted mind would create, much less publish, these openly threatening scenarios? Kind of makes you wonder what created a monster like the Mad Mr. Kuzlowski.

Subject: Just got this interesting email from my attorney…nothing to do with the lawsuit.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: February 2, 2023 at 8:11 PM

On Thu, Feb 2, 2023 at 3:28 PM Magdalena Elvensborn wrote:

> Good afternoon Mr. Krahlin, I hope you are doing well. If I remember correctly you told me once that you had issues with getting coverage for dental implants, is that right? What is your insurance again?

Hello, Ms. Elvensborn! I am doing quite well, thanks, hope you are too. Denti-Cal, part of the Medi-Cal program. I am now with the SF Health Care Plan. My concern is over the limitations on what kind of dental care I am eligible for. When I last looked (one year ago), Denti-Cal does not cover partial dentures, only full. So I would wind up having more teeth pulled, with even less in my mouth. Otherwise, so much oral surgery needs to be done at this point–thanks to the high share of cost that went on for over a decade and left me without any dental services–I don’t think I’d care for all the misery that would entail for many months, to restore my mouth.

But no, I’m not looking for dental implants, and I don’t think that’s covered anyway. I’d be more than happy with a decent set of choppers. However, it is policy under Denti-Cal to not pull any teeth that can be saved. I’d say I have maybe four teeth remaining that would qualify. But then I’d need partial dentures, which are not covered. I’d MUCH rather have all remaining teeth pulled and get full uppers and lowers. However, in light of all the surgery I’d also require, I’m not so sure I’d go through with it anyway, if I could get those teeth pulled and have full dentures.

So, it’s complicated to say the least. Thanks for your concern just the same.

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