The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 23)

November 27, 2022

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19w]

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Subject: Medi-Cal notice sent out to ACP
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 17, 2022 at 11:43 AM

Pic 1 shows the official notice from Medi-Cal. Pic 2 shows that I’ve been recertified. Though I am confused about the “expiration date” of Nov. 17th, which is today! Does that mean I’ve fulfilled the renewal requirement, so no need to use that page anymore? I can’t phone in for my status, as ACP requires the last four digits of my security number, along WITH my ACP 10-digit ID. They didn’t ask for those four digits when I signed up, and for some reason I can’t update my account to include that now.

I am also confused about this recertification, because it only took a few minutes to show my ACP has been renewed, from the moment I uploaded the Medi-Cal certificate. (I logged out, then back in.) How could it have been approved so fast, since they require a real human to check it out? Perhaps they have some AI bot that recognizes official Medicaid notices? I find that hard to believe.

At the Medi-Cal office I told the woman who handled my dilemma: “I’m surprised you haven’t had a flood of clients to get their ACP renewed, it’s like I’m the only person on the planet who has to deal with it this way, since they don’t accept the Medi-Cal card as proof like they did the first time around.”

She just shrugged her shoulders, explaining that Medi-Cal renewal is automatic this year, due to pandemic rules. I told her yes, I’m aware of that, but the ACP apparently is not, and why I’m here. They have a disconnect in processing recertification, as a result. But Medi-Cal SHOULD be aware of that in order to provide an expedient way through this maze. Such as sending us a renewal notice anyway, instead of requiring each client to request one.

Again, she shrugged. That’s right, keep me in the dark, nothing to see here, move along now! So I am STILL not sure my recertification is a slam dunk, and that’s why I took a screenshot of my ACP statement, in case I have to fight further.

Deek hasn’t dropped by last night OR this morning…which is good because I didn’t want to have to deal with BOTH nuisances at the same time. While out on my Medi-Cal errand, I imagined him hanging around my building, hollering up “I know you’re up there!” and other, more choice lines, disturbing the residents in the process.

– Zeke K-Holmes


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Subject: Deek and 2 others below my window right now.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 17, 2022 at 8:56 PM

He showed up about an hour ago and gave me five devices to charge. Then I prepared the pups’ meal, got them water and Deek a cup of blueberry tea per his request. He laid down a couple of old jackets for the dogs to rest on. In the pic, they are in the lower right corner, though hard to make out in the darkness. Not a peep out of him over money, not even one iota of drama about anything. He thanked me when I brought down the food, and thanked me again when I later delivered a new pair of doggy sweaters. He said “Here, I’ll put them on,” He usually asks me to do that, but I said okay and returned hovel.

When I stepped out to refill the water bowl some minutes later I saw one sweater flung over his leg, and a black felt pen in his hand. He was writing “Lucky” on it in large, chunky letters, like a rap star. I presume he’ll do the same for Flaco. As these sweaters are solid maroon instead of camouflage, I guess he figured lettering them would stand out nicely. And it does, from what I saw.

Well, let’s see how the rest of his visit goes, as the next time he mentions greenbacks, I will make it very clear that his threat to commit violence on me has cost him an entire month’s salary. And if he does it again, he’ll forfeit another month. And if he screams at me or the dogs, I’ll skip his next allowance. If he puts up a stink, I’ll tell him:

“It’s either that or put a restraining order on you and you’ll be banned from the Castro. So don’t try me.”

But I think he intuits all that, and is not about to rattle my cage for some time to come.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: He just left…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 17, 2022 at 9:22 PM

…only a few minutes after I posted you my last missive. He told me to bring everything down, plus a C cord. Soon as I opened the gate he was there to collect his devices, then thanked me and wished me a good night. God bless, I answered back and returned hovel. I looked out the window to see the pups ready to move on in their little sweaters, as their master got things sorted in his cart. Then I realized Flaco was looking straight up at me, even though I made no sound that would summon her attention. I threw her some kisses as she continued to gaze upward. Then it was time to depart; they trotted behind Deek and his cart, leashes dragging behind them untethered. I hope for many MORE peaceful meetups from hereon in.

And tomorrow night Marshall reads another Brindlekin Tale over the airwaves!

– Zeke K-Holmes


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Subject: 3 more tents behind my building!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 18, 2022 at 1:47 PM

Been there the past two days. Amusing that the large green one looks just like mine, may even be the exact same model.

Boy did I sleep well last night…even after waking up around 4 AM with a bout of nonstop hacking from acid reflux. It didn’t last long, maybe five minutes. (I’ve been popping one omeprazole pill each day, and it’s working.) Then I lied down again, resumed listening to horror tales on my backup smartphone, then zonked out and didn’t wake up until 11:20 AM! Though through it all I felt very much at peace, thanks to a friendly meetup with Deek yesterday evening. He didn’t even keep me up late, but left well before 10 PM. His behavior was superb all the way around, so I guess he wanted to show me he’s capable of acting like a decent human being.

Which suggests my suspicion is correct: he’s a bodhisattva guardian (or “shaman”) putting me through my paces. And the solution was to forfeit his allowance as leverage, rather than cave into fear. I think it’s safe, then, to resume his usual stipend of $100/week, split in two portions. But NO retroactive payment, it’s gone for good thanks to his threat of violence. I’ll make sure he knows this, and that I will not hesitate to charge him $50 every time he threatens me, and $20 every time he screams at me or the pups…or lashes them to a standing bike, or lets them shiver or rest directly on the filthy, cold sidewalk. I’m sure he’ll comply, and why shouldn’t he; his life will be so much better as a result. As will the dogs’, and mine as well.

I was feeling crappy yesterday before our favorable meetup; perhaps the covid/flu shots played a part, though worry over Deek’s shitty behavior and what I’m gonna do about it didn’t help. Not to mention the very reason I was visiting Medi-Cal in the first place: anxiety over losing my Internet service. It was a dreary gray morning stroll on my way to the Medi-Cal office on Harrison Street…a tight crisscross of busy roads all the way, and o’erlong, tiresome blocks to traverse. With the persistent rush of traffic and clusters of homeless tents here and there, some so thick I had to veer around by either crossing the street or walking off-curb.

Oddly enough, the Medi-Cal building is in the same locale as the gay bars South of Market, including Hole in the Wall Saloon where I first met Arwyn and My Great Odyssey began. The walk back was equally glum, though with a spark of hope that the letter from Medi-Cal would resolve my ACP quagmire. I felt like a PTSD-riddled Knight of the Round Table who finally discovered the Holy Grail in the form of a letter now secured in my backpack, yet with a NEW fear: I might be mugged, and the grail stolen before I arrived safely hovel.

Needless to say, I rushed swiftly homeward, rode the underground Metro most of the way, and wasn’t in a calm state of mind until I whipped out the letter and took a snapshot of it, then copied it to my laptop whence I uploaded it to my ACP account. Imagine if, just before I got a chance to take a pic of that paper worth its weight in souls, a sudden breeze blew through my window and swept it outside! So of course I was careful to prevent such a sad outcome by first shutting the window.

And THAT, dear Wattson, is my latest Brindlekin Tale! Though far from the last.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: OH THANK GLOB!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 18, 2022 at 4:08 PM

This just came in the mail:


Re: Deek and 2 others below my window right now.
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 18, 2022 at 6:53 PM

> That’s quite a pic. Great photography.

Aw, shucks. That’s Destiny’s hand, not mine.


Re: OH THANK GLOB!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 18, 2022 at 8:50 PM

> Glob is good!

The first time I heard the use of “Glob” instead of “God” was from that amazing children’s deep-future cartoon series, “Adventure Time.” I think they originated it. And that term stuck with me ever since…because, well, that’s what globs do.

ADDENDUM:

It’s 8.5 minutes, so when you have the time. Your world will change for the watching of it:


Subject: Deek’s Allowance Resumed
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 19, 2022 at 11:55 AM

[Two pics attached: one shows Sean visiting with Deek, and the hounds at rest in their maroon sweaters. The second pic is just a closeup of my brindlekin.]

Click here for a larger view.
Click here for a larger view.

I handed Deek the usual Chase envelope containing two 20’s and a 10…and told him:

“Why should I give money to someone who’s threatened me with violence? So you lost $250 dollars for doing that, and if you threaten me again, it’ll cost you fifty each time, and if you scream at me or the dogs, it’ll cost you twenty. New rules. Got it?”

He said “Yeah, yeah,” with his head lowered and face turned away from me. Then he piped up with the claim he’s never threatened me, I’m just imagining things.

“No I’m not,” I replied. “You threatened to have your buddies beat me up in front of a witness, and screaming at me.”

“I did? When was that?” queried the smart-ass.

“Oh, three, four weeks back,” I clarified. “And you know you did, so drop it, please or you’ll lose MORE money.”

He turned away from me again with lowered noggin and muttered something about my taking him too seriously, he doesn’t mean it. I just remained silent, and he offered no more opposition, but asked me to watch the pups for ten minutes so he can purchase a snack and a drink at the Chevron station nearby. I said of course, so off he went, and I sat down upon the sidewalk to embrace the little angels and cherish their company. Noticing that he did NOT draw Flaco’s sweater with her name. Maybe the ink ran out, because he filled in the fat letters on Lucky’s sweater, instead of just drawing outlines. I certainly HOPE it doesn’t mean he loves her less!

Except for that confrontation, the entire meetup was amicable. He only had a “new” phone for me to charge and upload music because all his previous devices were stolen. I suspect, however, he sold or traded them, but no point arguing. Because what’s really important is seeing to Lucky & Flaco’s health and happiness, so that’s my focus.

Upon his departure I told him that, in spite of my criticisms I hold against him, he’s actually doing spectacularly. I then crouched down to pet and kiss the pups one more time, then turned away to walk back hovel…and Deek’s parting words were “Thank you.” I can imagine my “tough love” strategy struck him right in the heart, and he got a good taste how his world would be without me in it. Though Boudicca forbid he admit it and apologize! Now, onto last night’s Memo of the Weird presentation:

I listened from right when it started, 9 PM, until 1 AM, during which time he didn’t read my tale, and I was too tired to enjoy it any further, and crashed out…resigned to having to wait until the next evening when the podcast is up. But I awakened with another bout of acid-reflux hacking at precisely 2:13 AM, and a little birdie told me to play the show again, ’cause who knows, he might be in the middle of narrating my tale. At first I thought, “Nah, what are the odds!” and lay back down to resume listening to my horror stories on the Blu smartphone. But after another minute I decided to switch back to Memo of the Weird, and wouldn’t you know it, Wattson:

I caught him reading my latest tale almost from the beginning, say, two or three paragraphs in! He even paused to admire a hilarious passage from it, which I will splice out and send to you, as I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of it. It’s only around ten seconds, but you’ll have to wait until this evening, when I can get my hands on the podcast. In conclusion:

I am quite pleased and at peace now, after winning my simultaneous battles (with the ACP debacle, and Deek’s foul behavior). Because both turned out victorious, thanks to my persistent uphill struggles, and the calm bravado in which I dealt with each. Per the wise instructions of my Bodhisattva Premise. Kudos to the SFPD as well, for moving me in that direction.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: OH THANK GLOB!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 19, 2022 at 8:52 PM

> I’m not the same person I was before I watched this!

No one is. Simple quantum theory. The purple, floating blob thing who speaks like a valley girl is called “Lumpy Space Princess.”


Subject: Marshall’s Amused Comment
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 19, 2022 at 10:11 PM

I know you’ll get a kick out of it, from his narration of my latest tale. 50 seconds:

Transcription (with Marshall’s interjections in brackets; imagine him stifling guffaws throughout):

“A short while later some screeching crackhead made his presence known all along this block of Market Street preaching hellfire, brimstone, the sins of faggotry and flying saucers…

“[Oh, that is a delightful string of words, I’ll have to use that for the title of a show one time. Hellfire, brimstone, the sins of faggotry and flying saucers…huh…he continues:]

“that we may all heed his dire warnings and not boink him in the ass without first being anointed by The Sacred Hooby-Heeby.

“[This is inspired! I like this better then the other ones! He goes on:]

“The bane of insomnia has not…

“[THE SACRED HOOBY-HEEBY!]”


Re: OH THANK GLOB!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 20, 2022 at 11:48 PM

> But I thought _I_ was the lumpy space princess!!

You’re due vast, lumpy residuals then.


Re: Marshall’s Amused Comment
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 20, 2022 at 11:56 PM

> Wonderful!!

Oh he reads my stories with gusto…no greater compliment than that.


Subject: Deek’s Rotten Behavior Continues
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 21, 2022 at 11:06 PM

Even though I resumed his allowance by giving him $50 on Saturday, for Sunday’s payment, when he dropped by last night he said:

“Can I get last Sunday’s payment now?”

“Last Sunday?” I replied, “I already gave it to you on Saturday. Your next payday is Thursday, as usual.”

“Oh, you said it was for LAST Thursday,” he replied, then went off on a rant how he knows I have the money to make up for SOME of the allowance I denied him…that the $50 I charged him for threatening me means I still owe him “a hunner fitty.”

“No, Deek,” I corrected him. “I was gonna penalize you an entire MONTH, but decided to resume payments starting Sunday, and I said your NEXT payment is Thursday. So you lost $150, you’ll never see it again. But from hereon in I’m gonna charge you $50 each time you threaten me, and $20 each time you scream at me or the dogs. And that’s that.”

What he doesn’t know is he actually lost $250, but that’s for him to figure out, if he does at all. But I give him credit for NOT screeching his rant, but speaking in a reasonable volume. And he finally backed off, said, “Okay, okay.”

I then took his smartphone and a cheap speaker upstairs to charge, and brought water back down for the pups. He was starting to nod out, leaving the pups no cushioning but his own body…which was not enough room for even ONE dog to comfortably lay down on; just sit up and lose sleep. Infuriating! Besides which, Flaco was not wearing her sweater, though Lucky was. I asked him where it is, and he answered:

“She removed it herself, it’s somewhere in my cart.” Which cart, of course, was piled high with lumpy debris and impossible to rummage through to find the sweater.

“I don’t believe you, Deek,” I snapped back. “She’s NEVER tried to take off her sweater, so please dig it out and put it back on. What the hell’s wrong with you?”

At that moment another vagrant strolled by and greeted Deek from the corner. “That’s the person who witnessed you threatening me,” I said in a hushed tone.

“He doesn’t know squat,” Deek replied, “he’s in his own world.”

I left it at that and returned upstairs while the other vagrant settled down beside a lamppost ten feet away, and began schmoozing with Deek.

Some time passed, maybe a half hour, and I decided to bring the doggies their meal even though Deek said they’re not hungry. Their master was totally zonked out by then and, sure enough, the pups scarfed up every last bit, so I fed them a second meal which they halfway finished. I also pulled a couple of worn jackets from the cart and set it down for Flaco and Lucky, who immediately flopped themselves onto the plush garb.

“If Deek yells at me for that,” I thought, “so be it, but I’ll tell him that’ll cost him $20 ’cause he forced them to rest on the dirty concrete.”

Back hovel I thought about the money I withheld for threatening me, and figured $250 IS rather harsh, and he’s been excoriated enough. So I’ll probably drop the penalty down to $100 and make up the difference over the next two weeks. I started by handing him $30 later that day when he woke up. “I’ll get it all sorted out,” I said, “and you’ll still get a full $50 on Thursday.” He replied by thanking me. He also didn’t say a word about my laying down some cloth for the mutts…very good!

He lingered a few more hours and moved behind the building when several other houseless folks showed up, including Scampy who lied down on the sidewalk with Flaco close by. Some time just after dusk, he moved cart and doggies out front, below my window, and called me downstairs:

“Look, I gotta go somewhere for an hour, can you watch them for me?”

“Forget it Deek, not gonna happen,” I replied and began to open the front gate to return home, but held it ajar as he rattled on about my not caring about him OR the dogs. So I caved in a bit:

“Seriously? Promise you’ll return in an hour?”

“Uh, no I can’t promise, maybe longer,” he replied with a shrug. “I don’t know.”

“FORGET IT, DEEK!” I called back, but let the gate slam shut as I approached him once more:

“The police are staying on top of the homeless sweep, I can’t risk it. If they show up and tell me to move on, where can I go? I’m not homeless myself, so they could fine me for being a public nuisance.”

He then flung a litany of guilt-trips in my face, none of which I bothered to defend, but did say: “I’m listening, Deek, but it’s all BS reaching my ears!”

BS like how other homeless are camping out nearby again (and chased away promptly, he neglected to mention), that I fucked up dog-sitting indoors, that I don’t even allow him to visit anymore (right, as if he wouldn’t WRECK my living situation if I did), that I threatened to call Animal Control if he tied up the pups to his cart and left for parts unknown (leaving me with not just the hounds, but his piled-high cart that would surely attract the police), that I’m a liar ’cause I don’t REALLY love the dogs, etc. etc. (But I suspect, Wattson, all he really planned to do was ride his bike around the city for two hours or longer.)

“You have other friends who can watch your dogs,” I admonished, “so stop the drama, please!”

Upon saying that, a delivery truck rolled up to the curb with its engine rumbling such a cacophony I became deaf to his rants. And it didn’t look like the noise was gonna stop anytime soon…so I guess it saved the day for THIS embattled pilgrim, as it offered me the perfect excuse to depart:

“I CAN’T HEAR YOU, I’M GOING INSIDE NOW!”

And so I did, hoping this argument was over and I’d know some peace this evening. The truck rumbled on for ten minutes more and believe me, it was no less noisy from where I sat in my room! Relieved that it finally stopped, I hoped he wouldn’t call back up to my window and try to coerce me to watch the dogs. But a few minutes later I heard his summon:

“Yo! Yo! Yo! Hello-oh!”

I braced myself for another confrontation as I walked back down the stairs and stepped outside, upon which he declared:

“Okay, I’m not going anywhere, not gonna tie the dogs up and leave ’em stranded…but I don’t understand why you’re acting this way, if you love them and say it’s always an honor to watch over them. You could even put your tent back up, they’d love that!”

“No, you understand the situation perfectly,” I replied. “You know neighbors will complain, the cops will show up again and I could get in trouble this time around. Did you just bring me back outside to gripe some more?”

“No I didn’t, I just wanna understand where you’re coming from!” he replied like some innocent lamb being sheared for the first time.

“Oh put a sock in it, I’m going back inside,” I retorted, and did exactly that.

To my surprise, he did not start screeching as I departed, and all was peaceful once again. I also want to point out here, good physician, that at no point in our argument did he raise his voice…so THAT’S an improvement! About twenty minutes later he called up to me again:

“I’m leaving the dogs here, but I’m just going around the corner, okay?”

“Sure,” I called back, to see the pups leashed to his cart and settled on a comfy nest of rumpled sweaters and jackets. Then a few minutes later I peered out the hallway window to be sure that’s where he went. And there he was, My Cajun Trickster, talking and laughing with another indigent. Whew!

I stepped back out for a minute to pet the doggies and arrange a bulky jacket so it would cover them better, as the evening air is damp and chill. Upon seeing them rest in perfect contentment, I returned hovel to fix my supper.

Some while later, Deek returned below my window and was soon chatting away with two others. Grubby in appearance (unlike Deek who was neatly dressed in a heavy khaki jacket, white cap, jeans and like-new sneakers), they shared an impressively large bubble pipe. Almost a hookah though you could still pass it from hand to hand. I wanna call it a “globe pipe;” it was the size of a tennis ball with thick, white wisps of smoke swirling within. Mesmerizing on the eyes, but that’s as far as I’D ever go! Here’s a pic of the houseless trio:

Click here for a larger view.

Deek is seated on the bottom left, with Flaco hunkered down upon his lap and thighs. She is always happiest to be close to him, as his faithful guardian from all bad spirits. She’s that way with me, too, and it touches my heart. Lucky is curled up in the blue lump beside the street lamp. And that colorful pile beside the open trash bin is Deek’s shopping cart stuffed beyond the brim with items of questionable worth and utility. I was hoping to include in my shot that stunning “globe” pipe being passed around, but they stashed it before I got the chance.

Almost another hour passed before Deek called me back down to return his devices, now recharged: a smartphone with a crack across one corner of the screen, and a cheap, black speaker in the shape of an owl (of all things) with one of its large, flat googly eyes missing. It was lightweight for its size (ten inches tall, six inches wide and five deep), and that is how I knew it was cheap. You’d be lucky to get an hour of sound at full–or even half–blast. Maybe it’s a street score, though there’s still a tag on it dangling from a gold elastic cord from its left wing.

After watching almost ten minutes of a video from my favorite Youtuber, Cyberdemon513, I was curious to see if Deek had finally moved on. Nope, he was still out there, but all packed up and ready to leave…with the pups atop the cart covered by a large, thick blanket for their comfort. VERY pleased to witness that, I returned to my work station, but the moment I sat down noticed the owl’s single googly eye staring up at me from my bed! I picked it up and felt the adhesive backing on my index finger. “No wonder it fell off,” I thought, “the stickiness is almost zilch!”

At first I figured to toss it away, but then decided to run back downstairs and bring it to Deek. When I stepped out he was at the corner speaking with someone, so when I approached and he looked back at me, I held out the eye and said:

“Here, I think this is yours!”

“Oh, thanks,” he replied, then stuck it back on the blind owl’s right eye socket, that it may see again, and I swiftly departed after first giving the pups a few more hugs and kisses.

Some moments after I returned hovel, a thought sprung in my mind that gave me a chuckle:

“The Goddess of Wisdom is keeping an eye on me!”

– Zeke K-Holmes


Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Thanksgiving with Deek (pretty good, overall)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 25, 2022 at 3:14 PM

Though three afternoons before, he regurgitated his hateful rant about my refusing to sit the dogs AND his shopping cart. He brought up friendship again, so I queried:

“How can I consider someone a friend who insults and threatens me over and over for many months?”

He paused for a moment, but then made excuses for his foul behavior, claiming I do so many horrible things, it’s all my fault. At any rate I ignored the absurd offenses against me, collected his gizmos and returned upstairs, and he soon departed. When he returned that evening he apologized for what he said earlier. I told him “No problem, it’s okay.” He didn’t show up again till yesterday, so he skipped two whole days and nights…during which time I felt rather poor in spirit due to his exhausting challenges. But nonetheless worried about him and the dogs. As if that isn’t ALWAYS the case.

Attached is a pic of him and pups outside, last night. Bad enough he creates a mess half the time when he stops by. But to leave the dogs without any protection from the dirty sidewalk is disgusting! You can see them in the center, where I lay down two sheets of white cardboard, since Deek didn’t care to give them even the scantest comfort. He did later on, but it’s a shame those sweet doggies are forced to lie in the middle of what most would call “garbage.”

Some of his houseless friends showed up, including Scampy. It was a quiet gathering of several hours, and not once did Deek throw a hissy fit. He was actually friendly throughout this latest meetup. Maybe my handing him a hundred dollars earlier had something to do with it. Though that is only my making up for not giving him any allowance for the first half of the month. $130 more dollars to go, and he’s all caught up…minus the fifty dollars I’ve deducted for his threatening rant late October.

New doggy sweaters arrived yesterday, and since the pups were not wearing the ones I already gave him last week, I told him I have a fresh pair to put on. To my pleasure, he said wait-a-minute, extracted two sweaters from his cart and handed them to me.

“Oh you held onto them, thanks!” I replied. “I’ll wash them tonight and bring down the new ones.”

That was when I brought them cardboard as well, so the hounds could know SOME comfort. I like the maroon sweaters better than the camouflage ones since they’re REAL sweaters because fuzzy and thick (and warmer), whereas the cammies are thin like polyester.

I’m glad to see that Deek had friendly company most of Thanksgiving night, and that he wasn’t an asshole. Though I DON’T care for their meth smoking (sharing the pipe again in a circle), but what can I do? Come 11:30 or so, he and mutts departed with their new sweaters and a fresh supply of vittles and a 2-liter plastic bottle of water that once held diet ginger ale. Plus a hundred dollars minus what he spent at the Chevron station while I watched Flaco & Lucky for ten minutes. He may be back later today, I don’t know…we’ll just have to wait and see how things go in our next meetup.

I’ve certainly set the bar pretty low this Thanksgiving, to be grateful for Deek not deboning my spirit on Turkey Day. Meanwhile:

Today My Food Stamp Card Got Blocked!

I attempted to change my password for my online EBT account to one that was more secure. The site accepted the new password, but when I tried to log back in, it said “wrong password or user name.” So I tried my old password, but again that error came up. Tried the new password again, then a page came up asking for my birth month and year, my EBT card number, and my EBT personal ID number. So I typed them all in CORRECTLY, but when I pressed “login” a new error popped up that said “Your card is locked!” So now I can’t use my food stamps till I get things straightened out.

But when I called the local food stamp office, a recording said “We are closed right now. Our days and hours are Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.” But it was just twenty minutes ago that I called: 1:10 PM! And it’s Friday, so I’ll have to wait a whole three fukkin days. Jeez Louise. Guess their office was closed because of Thanksgiving weekend. I also ordered two new collars for the hounds, which package arrived today…but it only included ONE collar! Hopefully, the complaint I filed with Amazon will straighten that out.

Why do I keep getting into these Kafkaesque messes? Dealing with Deek is bad enough; he’s a gremlin!

Well, at least I got the doggies’ sweaters washed, and Marshall will be narrating another Brindlekin Tale tonight…and I can now wear my new sneakers delivered three weeks ago, since my stubbed toe no longer aches (even under the slightest pressure, like from a sock). I had to wear only open-toed sandals to avoid any pain, and they’re new, too! Until they arrived I was stuck with donning a pair of rubber bath slippers, even outdoors, from mid-October until those sandals showed up. During that time I wanted to wear a sign that read: “I’m not homeless, really!”

And what’s going on with my lawsuit? Haven’t heard from my attorney since early September, not a peep! Guess I’ll wait till late next month and email her a holiday greeting, see how she responds. How Ablahblah Realty can manage to drag things out so long is beyond THIS befuddled pilgrim’s ken!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Thanksgiving with Deek (pretty good, overall)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 25, 2022 at 6:12 PM

> Well, that’s awfully generous of you to catch him up on the allowance. I don’t think he deserves it, but I know you do it for the doggies!

Penalizing him $50 is MORE than enough to put the Cajun imp into a state of shock.

> We hunkered down and did nothing for TG, except to cook an acorn squash (baked for an hour with butter and honey), followed by pumpkin pie with whiskey-flavored whipped cream for dessert!

Why did you even do THAT much…did you have guests? Acorn squash…pumpkin pie…whiskey: BLECCH! Chinese food to go would’ve been MUCH more fun and tasty.

> Covid still stalks the landscape–

That’s what Cyberdemon531 pointed out in a recent video entitled “USA Flight Tracker Proves That Americans Value Bad Holidays Over Pandemic Safety And Lives.” Biden telling everyone the pandemic is over, is heinous. The only GOOD thing about this, is far more Trumpturds will die from it, than anyone else. But I feel SO sorry for those with immune compromised systems who do their best to protect themselves.

> a good friend of mine, with an IQ of perhaps 160, teetering on the brink of homelessness, caught it and is riding it out in a motel room. So I ain’t getting complacent or going maskless or sitting in a movie theatre anytime soon!

Then there’s Long Covid to worry about…sad that happened to a close friend. I hope they’re at least updated with all the vaccinations, including the latest “covalent” shot. That would spare him or her from the worst of the virus and give a faster recovery. Why the motel room, though, does he or she share with others?

I’m not taking chances either, though Deek HASN’T gotten any shots except the first one, he doesn’t believe in it, caught up in the anti-vax conspiracy, doesn’t give a flying fuck about my OWN health as an elder. But the saving grace for him is he lives outdoors…however, he shares his pipe with plenty of other unvaccinated houseless and does NOT socially distance himself one iota.

Good news: I just used my EBT card to make a couple of grocery purchases, and it worked! So it’s just my online account that’s locked. Don’t need it anyway, as the purchase receipt shows how much I have left.

Anyway, Deek showed up an hour ago, otherwise this missive would’ve already been sent. He’s out there now, chewing the fat with a few others. Dogs still have their sweaters on thank Glob. Well, gotta go now and work on the two new smartphones he brought…and download music by two more rap artists he requested. Hope you have a lovely night, Wattson.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Thanksgiving with Deek (pretty good, overall)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 25, 2022 at 9:10 PM

> Oh, fuck, no, no guests! We watched a horror movie and chowed down. It was delish! I’m going to go scarf down another hunk o’ pumpkin pie right now!

If it were blueberry pie with a crumbly top I’d be all over it. In MY world, there’s nothing worse than pumpkin pie except rhubarb. So, what was the horror flick? I’m finding these scary podcasts and narrations much more frightening than most movies, and great as a sleep aid. I like not relying on the visual facet, and let my ears take over. One of the best podcast shows is “Let’s Not Meet.” But there are many others, well, not podcasts so much as YT channels…they’re fantastic! Curious Raven is one of my favorites of course, as are Mortis Media, Dr. No Sleep, Killer Orange Cat, Let’s Read!, Darkness Prevails and a slew of others.

> He was booted out of his extremely unstable living situation, was able to raise enough $$ to put get a new room somewhere, then came down with covid, and must isolate. Thus the motel room. He’s extremely bright and knows more about vaccines and viruses and the human body than most doctors, so he’s taking excellent care of himself. And was, of course, fully vaxxed and boosted, so his covid is relatively “light.” But he sounds raspy and stuffy, also has a heart condition, and is paying close attention to his lungs, in case pneumonia creeps in.

Jeez, so sorry to hear about his predicament, both health-wise and money-wise!

> Idiot.

Yes he is, more than he realizes. Extremely difficult to deal with such a type…nor would I bother except for Lucky & Flaco. It’s a very sad arrangement, but I can’t dwell on that aspect or I’d go crazy. Deek doesn’t invite me to sit with the pups while he’s outside…prefers to schmooze with his street friends, and I understand that. However, I’m sitting upstairs for hours while the doggies are down there. So I never have more than a few minutes with ’em on any given day. They sometimes look at me with hope whenever they see me open the gate to enter…especially Flaco with her skewed, floppy ears, tilted head and bright, joyful eyes. They don’t tug on their leashes, bark, or in any other way attempt to join me inside…they accept their situation with incredible grace, and sit right there and watch me with devotion until I disappear!

Deek got a really nice Bluetooth speaker this time around, said he paid $259 for it, and I believe it. The size of a breadbox, with a hefty weight indicating an expensive lithium battery. It’s a sleek, brushed black mostly metal, with white and green blinking lights in the front. He wheeled and dealed in order to afford to spend that much money so foolishly. He’ll cough up a huge chunk of moolah for an electronic gadget he’ll loose or trade away several days later, but never spend so much as a dime on the sweetest little hounds in the universe.

> Yay!

I know, right? I hate the idea of having to slog on over to the Medi-Cal office again, so soon. That would be ridiculous, but I don’t have to so, I’m good. How easy a person can fall through the cracks these days and wind up on the streets…it’s a living nightmare that Dickens would recognize. This nation’s fast become the very shit hole that Trump called some other countries.

Low income people are now being denied life-saving meds! Not to mention stripping away a woman’s rights and declaring violence and death on LGBTs. The list goes on and on, like an IBM scroll of who shall be carted off to concentration camps.

> It’s been excellent so far.

Glad to hear it. I guess my night’s going well, too, since Deek’s been pretty mellow for a change, and he’s soon to depart with his gizmos. It’s very QUIET outside, too, as it has been yesterday. Only good thing about holidays IMO.

Well, I just stepped out for a few minutes to give goodbye hugs and kisses to the pups. Deek said thank you and wished me a good night. He’ll be out there a little while longer before the trio finally disappears up Market Street into the cold, dark nowhere.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Thanksgiving with Deek (pretty good, overall)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 26, 2022 at 12:43 AM

> Blueberry pie with a crumbly top also sounds divine! Maybe with some heavy cream poured over it!

That would work. One of my favorite treats is blueberry crumble pie with a scoop of real vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee. Blueberries are my favorite food, when they’re large, plump and sweet. An old woman that my mother used to visit and take me along, would always serve me up a bowl of such blueberries and pour cream over it. I love blueberry anything: cobbler, scone, turnover, muffin, waffle, you name it. I love berries in general. We used to have a large, wooded area across the street from my childhood home, acres and acres and acres. Blackberry brambles were everywhere, and throughout the summer I loved picking them and coming home with a bucketful. But I also love berries of all kinds, though blueberries are at the top of my list.

One of the summers I went for a two-week campout with my boyscout troop, I discovered a huge patch of blueberry bushes, so I’d get up super early to pick a gallon of ’em, so every morning we’d have blueberry pancakes smothered in more blueberries. And when I lived in Santa Cruz from ’80 to ’83, I found huckleberries growing all along the side of some train tracks, during one of my bicycle journeys. Huge, succulent huckleberries! So that spot became my twice-weekly berry pickin’ getaway!

> The flick we saw was “Ringu,” a seriously terrifying Japanese horror flick.

Okay, I watched it many years ago, but found it not in the least bit scary, let alone compelling. Maybe my mind was wandering elsewhere, though, so I’ll take a second gander. There’s also Ringu 2 and Ringu 0. Downloading them all right now. I’ll let you know what I think after a second watching.

I’m listening to Memo of the Weird right now, and Marshall just said he’ll read my latest tale after the next two songs, of my being manipulated by a drug addict while taking care of two homeless dogs…or something like that, Which is quite true. I’ll have to get his exact words tomorrow evening when the podcast is up. He read my tale shortly after midnight, then I got back to this missive after the paragraph above. Now, it’s time for me to turn off KNYO and watch some scary videos I downloaded from Youtube…then crash out. my usual late-night routine.

– Zeke K-Holmes at your service


The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 22)

November 16, 2022

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19v]

Subject: Another kick in the gut…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 8, 2022 at 12:27 AM

…and it’s always gonna be that way for the foreseeable future, whenever I see the brindlekin. And I did, earlier this evening, for I heard them bark right outside. Not that I was sure it was them until I peered out the window to see that yes indeed, there they were, while their master rummaged through the trash bin. He was dressed in a floppy, dark gray hat and a rainbow splashed jacket. He didn’t look up, and I backed away immediately, not wanting to make eye contact, or even let him know I’m home.

My heart tugged to rush downstairs and sweep the darling hounds into my arms. But Deek’s a monster and I harbor fury against him for his abusive, neglectful treatment of Flaco and Lucky. How could anyone ever get tired of these two angels, and regard them as an obstacle to a happier life?

So I remained upstairs and pretended to watch another video to stay my hand from running outside and slamming him to the ground. They were gone a few minutes later.

This morning, as I sat on a doorstep sipping coffee, Scampy strolled by and said “Hi, Zeke,” in passing. She rarely stops but continues to scurry along, so I hardly had a moment to realize who it was by the time she was about to turn up Noe Street and disappear. But just before she did, I snapped out of my own thoughts, looked up at her diminishing figure and called out: “Hey, good morning!”

Her sudden appearance caused me to speculate on how my relationship with other vagrants who know and hang out with Deek, will change. Will they get sucked into his hateful gossip and start to attack me, or will they know he’s fucked up and I did all I could to help with the doggies? Will they urge Deek to take better care of his charges, maybe help out with blankets and dog sitting? I’m counting on Blvd. Joe to bring that about, though I’m afraid he may do nothing at all, not even urge him to stop feeding them chicken bones.

But I DO know that siccing the cops on Deek put the fear of god in him (so to speak), and thus COULD coerce him to treat the pooches kindly at all times, so they won’t be taken away. Perhaps they SHOULD be picked up by Animal Control, as that would get them off the streets and probably into a loving home. One thing IS clear to me:

He MUST do this on his own! My allowance did NOTHING to improve the doggies’ lot; he spent it all foolishly on expensive speakers, shoes and other items (can you say drugs?)…all of which would be gone several days later. Were they stolen as he always claims? Or did he sell or trade them, as I suspect? Never mind, it’s irrelevant anyway, and it looks to me like he does very well for himself without my financial boost. He told me more than once he can get all the dog food he needs from SPCA donations. So what he NEEDS to do is focus on the pups, be loving to them, stop the mistreatment and neglect! Provide them with blankets, sweaters, food and many hugs and kind words. But will he? I can only pray and hope, for it’s completely outta my hands at this point.

[Jeez, someone just hollered “Yo!” outside. Though it wasn’t Deek, I jump outta my skin whenever I hear that call, which everyone and his uncle uses for a catchall greeting on the streets. I have come to despise that word more than any other. He is the product of a cruel upbringing that followed him into adulthood and to the West Coast.]

The curtain fell swiftly on that last act, eh, Wattson…the one entitled: “Playing Homeless with the Pups.” For it lasted briefly, about two months before the SFPD swooped down on me and demanded I remove the tent. Along with Deek’s growing verbal abuse and threats that forced my hand to thrust him away. It was all shockingly abrupt, as if the entire Castro suddenly ganged up on me! And it was only five months prior to that when the building manager drove the dogs back onto the streets 24/7. And now the weather’s cold and damp, being November, and I fear Deek lets them shiver nights on the rude sidewalk with little solace or warmth!

Strange to admit it’s a great relief to no longer have him around to wrack my nerves, while at the same time a sorrow to lose the pups and with that, their sanctuary of warmth, safety and joy. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t. The agony and the ecstasy. Whether they’re with me in my cozy room, or out there on the harsh streets, it’s always both curse and blessing. Though since it must be that way no matter what, I’d immensely prefer they still have safe harbor here, than remain outdoors…though I’d have to put up with more of their master’s vile behavior.

Though new sneakers have finally arrived, I cannot bring myself to toss out the old, ragged pair because they got that way from Lucky’s playful chomping down on the heels whenever we went for a walk. Nor can I bring myself to cover up my splintery floor with fresh newspaper and throw rugs to make my room more cozy and neat…not without the doggies around! For a chunk of my heart was torn away when the pups were, too. And knowing they’re out there in the cold without respite, I cannot possibly seek more than limited comfort just for myself.

So here I sit, safe and secure in my humble little cave, with a tiny heater to keep me warm and toasty while My Beloved Brindlekin suffer the bone-chilling dampness outside…and their master’s sporadic tantrums. My room is now more prison cell than monk’s retreat.

Plus I’ve been suffering a bout of acid reflux these past several days, which makes me cough uncontrollably for an hour or so when I lay down at night. Since whenever I’m horizontal, the acid creeps up my throat and burns and tickles the esophagus. Feels like bronchitis, though it isn’t. My condition IS improving, though, as I’ve started to sup earlier instead of around 10 or 11 PM. But I’m sure the reflux is also psychosomatic, due to stress caused by the meanness of certain people over many months, and loss of the dogs’ sweet company.

Tomorrow I get my Covid/Omicron booster and flu shots, thank god. And it was only this afternoon I realized it’s also the day of our midterm elections. So here it is again: the agony and the ecstasy. Damned if I vote and damned if I don’t.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Got my shots!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 8, 2022 at 5:20 PM

Safeway pharmacy was a most pleasant visit, got my shots at 2 PM and returned hovel. As for my free Internet debacle, I called the local Medi-Cal office November 1st and explained that ACP (Affordable Connectivity Program) told me over the phone that the issue date of both my EBT and Medi-Cal cards are not recent enough to be approved! I never imagined they’d say that, because I figured they have some communication with the gov’t to verify my eligibility, based on either card’s identification number. It’s not like they issue you a new card every year.

So my case worker (a Chinese woman with a soft voice that’s hard to discern) said she will snail mail me a letter of verification to satisfy ACP’s request. But it won’t be sent out promptly due to a delay in the USPS pickup, so it will arrive in four or five days. Well, today I received a letter from Medi-Cal, assuming it’s what she sent me. But upon opening it, the notice stated they have yet to receive my annual renewal application. Of course they didn’t, since I only mailed it on November 2nd!

Seeing as my deadline for ACP renewal is November 26th, and Medi-Cal’s approval takes weeks before it shows up in the mailbox or via email, I figured I should call them again to see if I can get this ironed out in time. This time a younger woman, African-American, picked up the phone. I explained my situation, to which she replied:

“I have just looked over your files, and we sent out that verification on November 1st, so keep checking the mail, it should arrive tomorrow or the next day.”

But I was confused how they could send me verification of renewal, when they haven’t even processed my form yet.

“We’re not doing renewals this year due to the pandemic guidelines, so your approval letter will suffice for ACP.”

Rather than ask why, then, I even received a renewal application at all (and a few weeks later, a notice they have yet to receive it), I just said thank you and wished her an excellent rest of the day. Before calling her, I actually logged into mybenefitscalwin.org where I can fill out a form to continue my Medi-Cal services…but there was no renewal option, just one for applying. Maybe that’s because they’re not doing renewals this year, as the lady said. But there was no announcement of that sort on their site!

I just don’t know, Wattson, I’m more confused than ever at this point. Why didn’t Medi-Cal just send their clients a notice they’re not doing reevaluations this time around, instead of a renewal form?

I’m not gonna stick my hand in THAT tar baby, I’ll just trust the letter of verification will soon arrive so I can send a snapshot of it to my online ACP account. But as far as THIS Befuddled Acolyte is concerned, my free Internet debacle is NOT resolved until I receive that letter! If I ever do. Otherwise I’ll go ahead and start paying Xfinity my monthly fee until I DO get this straightened out. Which is only $10/month unless they declare that since I’m no longer eligible for ACP, I couldn’t possibly be eligible for THEIR low-income plan anymore, and will have to subscribe at $19.99 a month for their lowest tier! Which also means I’ll have to pay for any maintenance service that might accrue. So let’s keep our fingers crossed…

for that, as well as hopefully I won’t erupt in a carpet of shingles blisters again like I did with my previous Moderna booster. I should know in three days.

Cold and rainy last night, as it was this morning. I hope Deek showed the pups the love and care they need, and kept them warm and dry throughout. Rain has stopped a few hours ago, but the air is still cold, and will be even worse tonight…with more rain to come.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Another kick in the gut…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 8, 2022 at 10:55 PM

> So, so sad.

Yep.

> That stupid fucking asshole.

Yep.


Re: Got my shots!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 8, 2022 at 11:07 PM

> Feeling okay after the shots?

So far, just like all the other times. But I can still erupt with shingles blisters like I did with the previous shot. As I said, I’ll know in three days. But I can deal with it just fine. Severe itchiness for two nights in a row, but no real pain was what I went through.

> Gawd, the lethal bureaucratic tangle. Don’t tell me they don’t purposely make it impossible and infinitely discouraging.

And you’re supposed to trust the disembodied voice of a perfect stranger over the phone…with no proof you ever had a conversation with a Medi-Cal rep. It’s not like they send you a receipt with a transcript or digital copy of the conversation. Which they SHOULD provide. ‘Cause what if I don’t get that letter for ACP, how do I rectify that? I can’t just show them a receipt of our conversation, can I?

> Made an especially snug nest of old quilts and blankets for Surely and Pluto. They’re all curled up after a nice big dinner.

Lovely.

> Hope it’s the same for your little darlings…

I hope so, too, but I have my doubts. Deek often lets them shiver through the night. The dogs’ll die soon enough, thanks to that monster.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Mythic Quest lifted my spirit!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2022 at 10:55 PM

As one who regards grief and other negative emotions as illusions that need to be overcome ASAP whenever they strike, I consider this latest crisis as yet another challenge, albeit it one of the most horrific in my life. The upcoming midterms did not help any, considering the gloom of barbarism and violence they cast upon our world. Fortunately, they turned out better than expected, so that’s a burden lifted.

The past few days have been a psychic bombardment of worst case scenarios about the dogs’ tragic demise from hypothermia, or choking to death from chicken bones…Deek turning violent and attempting to get me evicted, forcing me to have him arrested and the pups taken away by Animal Control. But all the while I kept reminding myself to stop this vicious cycle of worry, find ways to relax, things to enjoy. For if my Bodhisattva Premise is correct, this is just another challenge to find a way to crawl out of this deep, dark pit. For as the Buddha says:

“Heaven and hell are a state of mind.”

So I began to gradually stabilize, though with lingering sadness. And it wasn’t until I discovered the TV series, “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet,” that a renewed spark of joy began to lighten my heart. It’s another show starring geeks, just like “Silicon Valley,” and every bit as delightful. Only this show focuses on gamers, though with the same goofiness and unbridled hilarity. Though mostly comedy, two of the episodes so far have been beautifully sentimental; they really twang the heartstrings.

So I binge watched season 1 yesterday and today, and will enjoy the first several episodes of season 2 tonight. The show premiered in 2020, and the first two episodes of season 3 have recently aired. I couldn’t be happier than if they had resumed new Silicon Valley mischief, though I kinda like the characters here better.

There is also another series I discovered that brings me pleasure: an animated spoof of Star Trek called “Lower Decks.” Silly and well done, too, but I’ve only watched the first two episodes because Mythic Quest has me captivated. Also premiered in 2020, and into its fourth season now. I have all aired episodes downloaded, so I’ll get around to them soon enough.

Marshall’s narration of my latest piece was another winner, and I got to hear THAT one live, too…shortly after midnight. A couple of distractions took him away from the reading, but it was easy enough to splice them out to where the narration was seamless. Usually, I prefer to keep his side comments intact, for its value of added flavor, like a drizzle of icing on the cupcake. But this time around the disruptions did nothing to enhance the telling, so they were banished from my kingdom.

I prefer to believe that Flaco & Lucky are doing fine, that Deek is growing up fast now that I no longer “enable” him, and that he’s treating the pups better. And that somehow, some way, my Brindlekin Odyssey will culminate in a happy outcome, though I can’t imagine how that could possibly occur. For the way of the bodhisattva is convoluted and often horrific, but always with joyful results in the long run. And it is a fool indeed who harbors dark fantasies just because he cannot see the future.

But for the nonce I cannot possibly see him, as it would only serve to create further enmity on his part, and negatively impact the hounds. I’d only be able to hug and pet them for a short time, then he’d yank them away once he realizes no more money forthcoming. I don’t even think I could bring myself to answer at the window should he call up. I’d most likely curl into a fetal ball and pray he go away. As much as I yearn to shower the pups with love again, his jealousy of our friendship could rain additional anger upon my furry darlings.

Deek needed the fear of god to strike his heart, in order to make the necessary changes. Having the cops come down on him TWICE seemed to do the trick…I sincerely hope. And it will keep him away from me until that process unfolds and has done its proper work.

It is said that a bodhisattva is one whose nature is to reject heaven, though he’s earned it, for the sake of liberating another soul not yet there. So he descends back down to hell in order to achieve just that. But once he sees he’s done all he can (and further acts of compassion would only backfire and spread misery), he knows it’s time to depart and return to Nirvana for a well-earned rest…then perhaps bring succor to a different soul and go through it all again.

Indeed, heaven and hell truly ARE a state of mind.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Just posted this message to Reddit’s Xfinity sub:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2022 at 3:33 PM

Just posted this message to Reddit’s Xfinity sub entitled: “I’m afraid I may lose my ACP subsidy.

Hopefully, I’ll get a helpful answer!


Re: Mythic Quest lifted my spirit!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2022 at 4:42 PM

> Didn’t see this until today; yesterday was cascading chaos.

Sorry to hear that; hope today is less stressful.

> It’s astounding the way a show can reach right in and bring relief, isn’t it? I love the vast wonderland of TV and movies, and am contemptuous of people who say, with such blind self-righteousness, that they don’t watch TV or movies. Lots of those types up here. the phrase they use is: “I don’t have television,” as if that elevates them up onto some superior plane of taste and morality. Damn fools don’t know what they’re missing. They judge all of TV and movies by the worst examples. It would be as if I read a Harlequin Romance, and then declared that books are no good, and I’ll never read another.

It’s a status, elitist thing to say you don’t have a TV. Which is ridiculous, because if they have the Internet, they have television. I don’t have a TV set myself, it’s redundant at this point in technology…well, has been for at least a decade by now. As someone who is a hermit by fate, not choice, many excellent TV shows have lifted my spirit, and contributed in other ways to my betterment.

> And again, such courage and fortitude you’re showing re: Deek and the dogs. I know how it hurts, and I am in awe of your resolve…

Thank you for those kind words, Wattson. Yes, it’s crushing, but I’m just riding it out because I see it for the illusion it is, as I know I will come out of this at the other end much better off. As will Deek and the pups. The occasional welling up of fears I manage to dissipate quickly, knowing that DEEK PUT ME THROUGH THIS INTENTIONALLY, playing the role of a jerkwad for my own improvement. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have so calmly accepted my blowing him away. Instead, he would’ve continued to be a pest and a harassment…none of which is going on. I haven’t heard their doggy barks, or seen Deek from my window, for the past three days. All is quiet on the Western Front, and that’s a good thing for awhile.

This is all scripted. Even the SFPD played their role in swiftly removing Deek and pups from my world, for the next act in this play to begin. Through it all I’m sleeping very well nights, got my acid reflux under control, and what anxiety attacks I have are mild and brief. If I step back and look at the big picture objectively, like it’s someone else’s odyssey, someone else’s traumas, I see what a great opus it is. And I see how the pattern unfolds, patterns within patterns, and how the tapestry is being woven into a joyful result. The Hero’s Journey, my very own “Mythic Quest!”

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Just posted this message to Reddit’s Xfinity sub:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2022 at 4:46 PM

> Gawd!

No replies yet, except from an autobot:

“As a reminder, posts with Discussion flair are intended for community conversation (such as ‘which modem should I buy?’, etc), and will NOT receive an official reply. If you intended to post in our community to receive support from a Community Specialist, please update your post flair to either New Post – Billing or New Post – Tech Support as appropriate.”

I really don’t see how changing the flair from “discussion” to either of the other two would be appropriate, as a gov’t subsidy doesn’t fit the “billing” or “tech support” category. So I’m keeping it as is, and glad they didn’t delete my post over this.


Subject: Reddit Xfinity sub LOCKED my post!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 14, 2022 at 10:05 AM

Only two replies before my post was locked:

1. “If you still have the eligibility letter from ebt or medical that will do it. Also if you just need to recertify try to call acp support center and will be easier. (877-384-2575 and choose 1-1-3-0 to reach an agent that will help with that renewal)”

2. “Comcast can’t help with this. It’s a gov’t office issue.”

Here’s what the locked page looks like.

Regarding reply #1: the original eligibility letter is now too old to be acceptable for renewal, just like the EBT and Medi-Cal cards, and I already said in my post that I contacted ACP. No eligibility letters have been sent out this year, since these gov’t subsidies are skipping reevaluation in 2022 per pandemic rules.

As for reply #2: As if I didn’t know that Comcast the company can’t help, I was trying to see if other customers had the same problem and what to do about it, but now my topic is locked out. And there is no sub for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Yet when I search Reddit for that gov’t program, there are MANY questions and problems with it posted to that same sub (r/Comcast_Xfinity), that have not been locked out. Unfortunately, none of the ACP issues listed relate to my own situation. See for yourself.

Fukkin Idiots!

Again, I am made to feel like I am totally alone in this gov’t glitch, just as I was over Medi-Cal’s share of cost debacle! Even though I’m sure thousands (maybe millions) of others are dealing with the same snafu.

I COULD base my ACP eligibility on my income, instead, for they DO have that option. However, to process that via their renewal form, you have to check off a box that says something like “I do not receive EBT or Medicaid, but my low income qualifies.” IOW I’d have to LIE to use the income option, because I DO receive those subsidies.

What next? Contact Tom Karinshak (Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer) like I did to get my delayed installation resolved? I got immediate results by doing that, as I’m sure you recall.

The OTHER option is to contact the FCC muckymucks, who run the Affordable Connectivity Program. Or maybe Mr. Karinshak will do that for me, due to his immense clout.

So it looks like I gotta get crackin’ and compose my complaint to Mr. Karinshak so I can post it to him tomorrow. I’ll also look more closely at the ACP problems others have posted to Reddit’s Xfinity sub, and maybe insert MY debacle somewhere in one of those threads, and see what results may crop up.

I could also call Xfinity support and ask what happens if my ACP eligibility does not get renewed: will my Internet fee jump back to paying $10/month, or will they consider me ineligible for their low-income deal and back-charge me for installation and other fees, as well as $19.99/month?

So I may have to cancel my account if my efforts are in vain…and just use the wifi comin’ out of Super Duper.

Jeez Louise!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Deek’s Return
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 15, 2022 at 12:39 AM

Around 9:30 PM tonight he called up to my window, quite softly but distinct. I froze up and didn’t answer, making sure to keep away from the window. He called a few more times, then silence once more. A few more minutes went by before I poked my head out to see him sitting right below, with the pups. I decided to sneak out the back and walk around the building so when I approached him it looked like I was out for a stroll up Noe Street.

Someone else had joined him by then, as you can see by the snapshot. Deek is seated on the right with his legs stuck out, and the pups are there too, but covered by an old jacket I placed on them. Of course they were both delighted to see me again, and Flaco even stood up on her master’s lap and leaned back against his chest, so I could rub her belly. Which she loves while adoring my face with those sparkly brown eyes.

“Can you help me?” he queried.

I assumed he meant money, so I replied: “No, my budget’s shot this month, Xfinity took $310 from my bank when their Internet is supposed to be free. So I gotta clear this up, and it could take weeks. I’ll probably dump their service and just use Super Duper’s wi-fi.”

“I wasn’t asking for money,” he said in a calm voice. “I’d just like you to charge this tablet and put music on it.”

I also told him I’m not gonna resume his allowance until he takes better care of the pups…no more chicken bones, no more lashing them to a standing bike, no more letting them shiver at night. He said okay and added:

“I gotta start acting better.”

“No kidding, Deek,” I retorted. “Screaming at me, threatening to beat me up, starting arguments in front of others to make me look bad. Stop it, I almost put a restraining order on you.”

He’s down there now, waiting for his tablet to finish charging. It’s already after midnight (my usual cutoff time) but I told him since the tablet was on slow charge for forty minutes while copying a ton of rap songs, I’ll be glad to let it charge until one, so he can leave with a greater percentage. as it’s only at twenty-seven right now.

He agreed to wait. It’s been a peaceful visit, and he had the dogs resting on a large, plush cushion. But it was cold outside and I told him he needs to cover them up, and pointed at his cart laden with old clothing. He frowned and said, “Nah, they’re cool.”

“Yes, TOO cool, and you need to keep them warm,” I replied. He didn’t say okay, take something from the cart, so I marched back upstairs and brought an old jacket back down and flung it over the pups. Which they greatly appreciated.

“These dogs never complain, Deek,” I pointed out. “They’re not gonna let you know when they’re cold. Don’t wait till they’re actually shivering.”

He didn’t reply to that, but also did not oppose me and kept the jacket over their little bodies. I then went back hovel to prepare them a meal, and with that, water and a stash of dog food he can take with him.

It looks like Deek is now comfortable having the mutts with him 24/7, knowing I can no longer dog sit, thanks to the homeless sweep in the Castro. I think he only got dramatic about it to coerce me into watching them, so he could be “freed” for part of the day. Or just being dramatic for the power trip. I would never considered myself “free” without those darling quadrupeds’ gracious company! What an ingrate.

Well, another half hour before I return the tablet, give Flaco & Lucky a few more hugs, pats and kisses, then hit the sack. I shall sleep VERY well, for having the doggies back in my life, along with (hopefully) a calmer, friendlier Deek. I’m sure I put him through a bit of a shock, driving him away like that; it may have been the best thing to do at this point.

He gets no more allowance till next month at the earliest, and it will be fifty a week instead of a hundred. I’ll just tell him my college debt caught up with me, and I have to start paying back at two hundred fifty a month. Or some other excuse.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Deek’s Return
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 15, 2022 at 2:21 PM

> That’s a HUGE relief!!!!

You can say that again, good physician.

> So glad to hear that the pups are in good shape. Though I think they deserve to be totally pampered…

Of course they do, they have nothing but love and joy in their hearts. Anything less than complete respect, appreciation and kindness in return is an abomination.

> smart of you to lower his allowance

He gets NOTHING the rest of this month, and he hasn’t rebelled hearing that, just listened without comment. As if that’s what he was aiming for all along, to see if I had the ovaries to stand up to him. As if it were a test, scripted. As if he were my chief bodhisattva guardian putting me through my paces. He seems to SENSE when to stay away, and when I’m ready to resume our meetups. And when to not ask for money, in light of his recent offenses that I’ve made crystal clear to him last night, that he not wheedle his way out of it.

> and really admirable the way you did the “tough love” thing and stuck to your guns!!!!!

It is the ONLY way through this mess as far as I can tell. Flaco’s collar has finally fallen apart, so I gave him a spare that isn’t as durable as the one she was wearing…because it’s nylon instead of leather. But it’ll do until the new collars I ordered show up several days from now. I say “collars” (plural) because he decided I also replace Lucky’s, even though it was still intact. He promptly attached the rabies tags to the nylon collars. I washed clean the old collar, and it’s now stashed away with several others (plus two harnesses), for backup. I prefer these particular leather collars because they’re very strong and attractive, and only cost $4.66 each. They’re the buckle kind that is more secure than the adjustable nylon ones, which tend to loosen after a few days. Here’s the link. That’s yellow and blue, but I decided to switch colors this time around, to orange and brown.

I also ordered another pair of leashes, and this is the brand I’ve been sticking with, because they’re also durable and inexpensive. One caveat though: the rubber shield over the handle and at the other end by the latch should be removed with a scissors, because chewing on those parts may be toxic or at least turn their bowels black…I guess because of the dye. The leashes remain just as sturdy without them. And finally, I ordered another pair of sweaters, though they’re out of camouflage for their size, so got dark brown instead, which looks maroon in the photo.

Deek dropped by this morning so I could recharge his tablet and Bluetooth speaker. He returned three hours later to pick them up, but only allowed me a minute to shower kindness on the doggies. Don’t know whether that’s due to childish resentment, or a desire to flee the Castro before any cops arrive. He thanked me and moved on while I just stood there and watched them leave. Flaco glanced back at me THRICE before crossing the street! But the cart’s propulsion forced her to turn back quickly each time and prance onward. Deek always finds one way or another to instill ongoing, needless heartbreak when it comes to these lovely angels. Like, he couldn’t just hang at the corner for a few minutes before departing, allowing us to talk, and me to give the pups a bigger dose of affection.

With my every breath I pray he makes those changes for the better, for both his own sake as well as for those sweet little hounds! He’s missing out on so much goodness in his life, thanks to petty notions that have NO grounding in reality. It’s not like he doesn’t thrive very well on the streets already, which is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself. But this maltreatment of Lucky & Flaco has gotta go, or he’ll lose them…and with that, his heart. It would be a lifelong travail of misery if he does.

It’s possible he’ll return this evening, so let’s see what happens next, whether tonight or another day. I will stay on top of things regarding his direction. Which just might piss him off, but that’s HIS problem, not mine. My responsibility towards the dogs’ well-being stands mountains above anything else, including any further insults and threats he might throw in my face.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Getting some support by an Xfinity employee on Reddit chat!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 15, 2022 at 2:54 PM

I decided to respond in private to one of the two people who replied to me in my blocked ACP post to Reddit’s Comcast_Xfinity sub. Turns out they work in Xfinity’s ACP department.

–begin:

i-luv-ducks:

My thread has been locked, but still visible at this link. So in reply to your comment: I already said in my OP that I contacted ACP and what they told me. And I also said I'm waiting on a letter from Medi-Cal, but it's been two weeks and I'm still waiting! Since both Medi-Cal and EBT are skipping the renewal requirement this year, there is no updated renewal to send to ACP.  In short: I've already done what you've suggested, as clearly stated in my OP. Other ACP problems posted to the Comcast_Xfinity sub have NOT been blocked, just mine. How frustrating!

NoSympathy3199:

So it’s good you have 60 days to recertify. Even tho they will de enroll you you can just call Xfinity back and ask them to redo the process for you with the new app. No worries. What I will also do is to call them to have someone told you this over the phone, and possibly to have them put this info in the notes. In case you re missing a credit by chance, they will be able to credit it back. There is still time no rush ! I know it s painful to work with this acp but at least they know that too and they are giving you so much time.

i-luv-ducks:

You have more confidence in the system than I do, but thanks. If my Medi-Cal letter doesn't arrive by Thursday I'll get cracking on what you suggested. I will also contact Tom Karinshak (Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer) here:  https://support.xfinity.com/svp-contact-form. He has been most helpful in clearing up Xfinity's delay with setting up my connection, last year. I may also contact the FCC about this disconnect between Xfinity and ACP. I don't have 60 days anymore, I only have 11.

NoSympathy3199:

I work with Xfinity for their acp dept that's why I was trying to help. Finger crossed they will mail you everything you need asap and everything will be resolved without any more problems.

i-luv-ducks:

I would think that MANY ACP recipients are going through the same thing...surely I'm not the only person going through this. That's why I'm upset the moderator blocked my post...I was hoping others who've gone through this might be some assistance. Thanks again for your helpful replies.

i-luv-ducks:

Okay, so what happens if my ACP lapses...will Xfinity drop me back to my $10/mo. reduced fee, or would the ACP lapse cause them to regard me as no longer eligible and start charging me the $19.99 monthly fee, and perhaps other expenses, such as retroactive installation fee? Thanks!

–end

Also, Wattson, I keep forgetting to tell you that the last time I emailed my latest tale to Marshall, he acknowledged by replying: “Got it. Okay. Thanks.” So I suspect he’ll do so for now on. The next passage I’ll send him is entitled: “He’s Trying to Terrorize Me!” I’m sure his ears will perk up when he sees that!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: I called my Medi-Cal worker this morning, and here’s what she said:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 16, 2022 at 10:45 AM

She is not responsible if the postal service failed to deliver the letter, but I am welcome to walk in and pick it up, seeing as the ACP deadline is imminent…just bring my Medi-Cal card and state ID. So I’ll do just that tomorrow morning, as she said afternoons are quite crowded.

Meanwhile, I’m busy composing my latest update on Deek and pups, which you’ll receive later today. NOT a good report, sorry to say.


Subject: He’s back to screaming again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 16, 2022 at 3:21 PM

Last night was a good meetup, but this morning was an Equus of a different hue. First, he screamed about a beat-up smartphone he gave me to charge overnight (along with a tablet and two small speakers). He told me to just charge the phone, it already has music on it. But I decided to check it out soon as I got up, because it still needed some settings changed, such as turning off location and disabling or removing apps he never uses, in order to preserve battery life and keep him outta trouble.

But upon starting up, it required the correct PIN code so I thought that’s that…it’s fully charged, but I can’t go further. However, I decided to type in “1234” on a lark and, to my surprise, it worked! I didn’t find ANY music on the chip, anywhere, so after seeing the phone has 12 GB of free space, I uploaded a butt load of his own mp3’s.

He showed up early, around 7:30 AM, and when I came downstairs to bring him the devices (except that phone ’cause it still needed a bit more tweaking), I told him the situation.

“What?” he hollered as I pet the doggies. “I told you not to touch it, just recharge it. The person I got it from said it already has loads of music installed, you probably erased it all!”

“Well, he was wrong,” I replied, “there was NO music on the phone. So I did you a big favor and put YOUR music on it, yet here you go again, screeching like an idiot.”

“How did you know the code?” he addressed me with a perplexed frown.

“I just guessed.” I explained with a shrug. “The first number I tried was 1 2 3 4, and it unlocked.”

“Yeah, that’s the right number,” he noted with a startled look. That’s when I realized he doesn’t understand “1 2 3 4” is one of THE most common passwords lazy smartphone owners use.

“So where’s the phone,” he queried after looking in the 1-gallon Ziploc bag I handed him, containing just three devices.

“Upstairs,” I replied. “Music was still being copied to it when you called up to me, and I need to set up a few more things. It’s almost ready.” Then I added:

“Okay, give me a minute to delete all the music I uploaded, since you’re so upset I did that.”

“No, no, leave it!” he hollered (along with other words not so nice) as I approached the front gate with a dismissive wave of my hands several times before entering. I heard him continue to scream as I entered my room and unplugged the device. All the while thinking:

“If I just charged the phone and gave it back to him, he’d find no music on it and have a hissy fit, anyway. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”

Well, Wattson, upon delivering the phone and telling him I did NOT remove his songs, he thanked me profusely, so things calmed down and I was able to enjoy the pups’ company awhile longer. But that lasted only a few minutes before he asked me the predictable question:

“Can I have a few dollah?”

At first I said no, but then changed my mind: “Well, okay, three dollars it is, I’ll be right back.”

As I turned away towards my building he started to scream again: “That’s not what I meant. What about my allowance? You give me four hunner every month, and now I can’t even get twenny or forty?”

Needless to say, at this ridiculous point I decided to ignore him, returned hovel to collect two GW’s and four quarters, then stepped back out and handed it to him. It was then he went off on a rant about how he’s gonna have to commit crimes and send the dogs to the pound, without my financial assistance.

“Bullshit,” I retorted. “You’re just guilt tripping me. You thrive better on the streets than anyone else I’ve ever met.”

“I’m gonna get more than two millon dollah soon anyway!” he blurted. “I WON my broken leg lawsuit, just waiting on my attorney to wrap it up! So what money you give me now, I’ll pay back even BIGGER.”

Of course that lawsuit is just another absurd fabrication he’s cooked up. And as for the broken leg:

Deek was referring to a scam he set up three years ago, sleeping in front of my building, legs sticking beyond the curb and into the street…just three feet behind a parked vehicle. So that, once the driver pulls out, he’ll start screaming in agony that the car backed up and ran over his foot. Not that he told me his plan, but it became clear to me with a little hindsight. I had even stepped outside twice to persuade him to pull his legs back so he wouldn’t get hurt, but he refused to budge; in fact he pretended to be sound asleep, oblivious to my appeal, not a grunt out of him. Even two cops walking by woke him up, that he get out of harm’s way. Of course, being the police, he obliged them, said thank you…but barely a minute after they departed, he placed his legs back over the curb.

Sure enough, some twenty minutes later all hell broke loose. I arose from my cot to look out the window and see Deek screaming bloody murder, squirming in fake pain on the sidewalk: “You broke my foot! You ran over my foot!”

The driver had already stepped out, gazed down at Deek to see no harm done, his car did NOT back up and crush his foot, or even touch him in any way. Satisfied to see that the vagrant was okay, the driver shrugged his shoulders, got back into his car and drove off. Long story short, since I already wrote about this incident in a previous blog entry, and which I’m sure you remember:

Though I saw no injury, not even so much as a drop of blood when I stepped out to look him over as he continued to crawl and scream in fake torment, I called 911 and they quickly arrived and carted him off against his will. (When I finally put two-and-two together a few days later, I realized he tried to scam someone, hoping he’d be handed a wad of moolah…so calling 911 was the LAST thing he wanted. Too fuckin’ bad, I’m not playing his game.)

Ever since, he brings it up now and then, claiming his leg really DID get broken, the bone was stickin’ out and he was in a cast for months…and I’m a liar for claiming otherwise. In fact, he wore a removable cast the clinic gave him (for lack of anything else to do, because no injury, not even a scrape) for less than a week, which he didn’t put on until he got near my building to keep up the pretense. Now, back to this morning’s meetup:

“You don’t believe me!” he squawked. “I can show you the papers, or you can do it yourself, just go to SF General and ask for my records.”

“No, Deek,” I replied, calling his bluff. “I have to prove I’m closely related to you to do that. Just get a copy of the papers yourself and I’ll look ’em over.”

He continued to yammer on while I adored the pooches for another few minutes, then stood up and told him I’ve heard enough of his BS, I’m gonna go for coffee now. He quieted down then, and I wandered off to Rosenberg’s. After sitting down on a doorstep to enjoy my first sips of java, I got up and approached the corner of 16th & Noe, but hid behind some shrubbery to see if Deek were still there. He was, but now in the company of two visitors, obviously indigent like him, and on friendly terms. I’ve seen both of them before with Deek, more than once.

So with coffee in hand, I walked up to the trio and to their further side so I could pet the doggies once again before departing hovel. Deek was subdued and fussing with the smartphone, then showed me the screen to ask: “What’s this?”

“Oh, those are chat icons,” I replied. “I removed them from the home screen twice, but they kept popping up no matter what, and since you wanted the phone right away I didn’t have time to figure out what’s wrong and fix it.”

Then he swiped up to show me the app drawer and said, “Some apps are missing, what happened to them?”

He already knows I delete or disable whatever apps he never uses, some of which can cause trouble if he does load them, since they’re registered in another person’s name. But I wasn’t about to get sucked into a convoluted dialog simply because he can’t grok how smartphones work, including how to re-enable apps he’ll never use anyway.

So, knowing his penchant for inventing dumb excuses to malign me, I just shrugged my shoulders and said: “No, they’re all there. The phone’s glitchy is all.”

“Oh, okay,” was all he said in reply, and I pet the hounds some more. But he seemed restless for me to leave (as usual when in the company of another, with rare exception), thus he waved a dismissive hand for me to scat. I had no intention to linger anyway, it’s just that I never walk by the dogs without first showing them some love. And so I departed, leaving the trio to their own “private” badinage. I was wondering if Deek was gonna start hollering up to my window after his compadres left, but nope. I saw him talking with one remaining visitor while packing up his things, then both were gone minutes later.

I don’t think Deek cares to stir up arguments with me in the presence of his vagrant friends anymore, as he’s realized it only works against him. Because they’ve all seen my friendship with him many times, and how I help out with charging his devices, caring for the dogs and giving him an allowance. They’d be more likely to avoid him or even chastise his vile behavior, if Deek kept it up. And he’d lose customers for his “products” (pot and meth), as a result.

I also don’t think he cares to have me around when he’s hangin’ with others, as he wants me to know as little as possible about his world, beyond what WE share. For the more I know and talk to them, the less he can get away with his backstabbing antics towards yours truly. These people actually LIKE me, from what they’ve witnessed. Here’s one very recent example:

Last night when I brought down the doggies’ meals, a young woman in Deek’s company who saw me lay down a bowl of water and dog food remarked: “Ohh, how nice!”

“Thank you, kind of you to say so,” I replied and smiled at her, then pet the dogs and said: “Two sweetest little hounds on the planet!”

Deek remained silent, though I sense he begrudged the friendly exchange. I want to add here that this lady is also homeless, but always clean, nicely dressed and amicable. So much for Deek controlling his minions’ impression of me!

Now get this, Wattson: after completing this missive but before sending it out, I needed to relieve myself, only to discover this sign posted to the restroom door:

Click here for a larger view.

So I have two more hours to wait, but can I? There’s always the old drop-a-caca-into-the-bucket last resort. Lined with a small trash bag, of course. What a stupid world this is!

That’s it for now. Have a great rest-of-the-day, good doctor. I’ll try to, myself.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: He’s back to screaming again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 16, 2022 at 10:34 PM

> Well, it doesn’t sound too bad, compared to recent encounters.

Bad enough though. If it weren’t for the pups in the middle of all this, I’d’ve driven him away for good with a restraining order.

> He certainly has a lotta damn nerve, though!!

And he’s paying the price. Boo-hoo.


The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 21)

November 6, 2022

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19u]

Subject: Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 28, 2022 at 10:58 PM

That’s the name of a great martyr of the Sikh religion, I have just learned. So the first two lines of Pallas’s scribble compose one man’s name (and title, “Shaheed,” which can appear in front of his name as well as after). Shaheed means “martyr.” Here’s a link about the fellow’s life. Seems he’s famous for avenging a Sikh desecrated shrine, even after the enemy chopped off his head. He came out of retirement to do that!


Subject: Hari Singh Nalwa
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 29, 2022 at 11:05 AM

So a short while ago I stepped into Rosenberg’s to show Pallas an image of Baba Deep Singh Ji with his bloody head in his arms, that I had downloaded to my smartphone and turned into wallpaper. (Don’t worry, Flaco, your image will be back up later today.) Told him I read about his glorious Sikh history last night. And how since he declared to his people he was ready to be decapitated if need be, to preserve the Sikh way of life (“Give me liberty or give me death,” in other words), he was thus given the title “Shaheed” (martyr) while still alive. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy…he lost his head over it. That’s a bit too beyond the pale for THIS life affirming pilgrim.

Pallas was delighted I took the time to learn about this great martyr and devotee, so jotted down another name for me to learn about: Hari Singh Nalua. Enclosed pic is a portrait of the dude: most feared warrior among the Sikh, and I suppose, their Afghan enemies! Judging by his fierce demeanor, I strongly doubt his love making was anything to write home about. Imagine waking up to THAT every morning. More likely he was an incel (or perhaps a closet queer), which would explain his ferocious, vengeful take on life. Notice the phallic placement of the sword. But how else are great macho heroes made? Here’s a choice factoid about the unhinged dude:

“He was given the title of Nalwa which was attached to his name as he killed a tiger at a very young age. He was also called Bagh Maar for the very same reason.”

“Nalwa” means “tiger” and “bagh maar” means “tiger killer.” Certainly, the legend, albeit dubious, of slaughtering a tiger with one’s bare hands is the mark of a true hero in the male-supremacist, patriarchal tradition. The Labors of Hercules is a classic example of this, in the western world…and his first labor was to kill a lion. Though he slaughtered a number of mythological creatures and humans as well, including a passel of man-eating birds. Alfred Hitchcock must be rolling over in his grave right now.

So I wonder, Wattson: what happened to the public image of the Sikh as a peace-loving people, because Pallas is showing me a rather different spin! I’m assuming at this point he’s Sikh himself, which is no surprise seeing as Punjab is a region in India (and the world) with the highest population of Sikhs. They even wear a toy sword as a symbol for their religion, called a “khanda.” Considering the implication of bloodshed in such an icon I am reminded of the Orwellian phrase, “War is peace.”

Even Buddhism, arguably denoted as the most peaceful religion on earth, has its own brutal history of war and terrorism. Take, for example, today’s barbaric attacks by Buddhists upon the Islamic population of Myanmar. At best, one could claim that Buddhism is the LEAST violent of all religions, though violence there be. Others declare that religion is the source of most violence in the world, and in history. However, wars and strife seem no less frequent or severe due to OTHER, nonreligious ideologies that are more political or cultural in nature. I think the problem here is ideological fanaticism of ANY stripe. The fear of “different” playing a major role.

Homophobia is a perfect example of that, and explains why even atheists (approximately twenty percent of them) revile LGBTs. The founder and leader of American Atheists, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, was notoriously anti-queer because it’s “not natural.” Which has since been proven wrong by biologists, but there ya go. Her life came to a bad end, by the way, so there’s SOME satisfaction in that. She and her son and granddaughter were all kidnapped, killed and dismembered by David Roland Waters, a felon with a grisly past who had once been employed by American Atheists. Maybe he was gay, I dunno.

And on THAT cheerful note, I bid you adieu for the nonce, goodly physician!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Hari Singh Nalwa [INSERT]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 29, 2022 at 12:38 PM

Right after the sentence:

“More likely he was an incel (or perhaps a closet queer), which would explain his ferocious, vengeful take on life.”

Insert the following:

“Notice the phallic placement of the sword.”

HOW could I have missed that one, Wattson? I’m asleep at the wheel! I heard Marshall’s narration of my piece, “A Scammer & A Scooter” last night, by sheer luck. I decided to listen to some of his show live, so turned on KNYO around 11:30 PM. A half hour later, my tale began. No missing text this time, great reading as usual, loads of fun hearing it from another voice, especially one so superb as Mr. McGee’s. Knowing that someone up there in Mendoland may be up late with insomnia, listening with rapt attention and not believing their ears. George Dennis, perhaps? My favorite critic these days.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: They gotta be kidding!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 29, 2022 at 9:53 PM

> There’s a certain magic to cutting. I once had to cut 60,000 words from a 179,000-word manuscript at the insistence of an editor at a publishing house. I raged, howled, and protested, but then I did it, and the finished product was vastly better, without sacrificing art. In fact, the art was sharpened and enhanced.

My pieces are already tightly written, so for me it’s excluding potent scenes and insights, that others may remain. They play on each other, so leaving portions out weakens the overall impact, as there is little fat on that bone. But I’ll do my best. It must’ve been excruciating for you to pare dare that manuscript…glad it came out for the better.

> Brave, and the right thing to do.

Yes on both counts, thank you. He has yet to show up again, though I thought I heard the doggies bark a block up at Castro & Market an hour ago. Broke my heart. My stomach twists when I think of how he mistreats the dog…there’s a lot of justified anger there. I can NOT possibly hand him any more money as a result, nor do him other favors such as charge his electronics, bring him tea, a disposable razor and so on. I will, however, continue to give him dog food. But walking around with a shopping cart, or wagon or something of that kind has become verboten here in the Castro. People are sick of the homeless imposing their lives on everyone else, it’s gotten way out of hand. But this is what happens in a collapsing economy without any real safety net.

Though THEIR lifestyle is not something I want either: booze halls, shallow friendships, crass behavior, snobbery and backstabbing, childish mindsets, vapid goals, tacky music. Nobody gives a fuck about anyone else, it’s all about money.

I am on the Hero’s Journey, and a sense of utter gloom and failure is part of the cycle, part of the challenge as well. I saw it coming for a long time, as I’ve been through it many times before, as I’ve had many such journeys starting with Randolph Taylor. Don’t look forward to it, but just riding it through is the best way to cope. Putting Deek through such a demanding trial by ex-ing him outta my life when he is so mentally discombobulated seems cruel, but he forced my hand. He won’t ALLOW me to associate with him anymore, and thus I lose the dogs along with him.

It’s sink or swim time for the Cajun trickster. It’ll be alright in the long run, he’ll come through this a MUCH better person, and the dogs will thrive. Images of worst case scenarios threaten to tear me down, but I know they are illusions and not to pay them any mind.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Halloween Below My Window
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 1, 2022 at 4:49 PM

A grim scene. Deonte remains crashing out every night by the ATM spot. His sleeping bag is looking raggedy these days. And that chair, that damned chair…he still has it! The fukkin’ thing is taunting me, still in like-new condition! The fellow on the right is sitting on it.

I’ve seen other homeless people with it down the block, up the block, across the street. Maybe Deonte rents it out: a dollar an hour for a comfy sit. Considering the dearth of benches in the Castro because of anti-unhoused sentiment, that is credible. The wobbly wooden benches at the defunct Cafe Flore were the last to go.

Yesterday went very well, exterminator showed up shortly after 1 PM, just minutes after I stepped out…so I was able to return hovel by 5:15. In fact, I was outside barely a half hour, strolling about, when I decided to check for an Amazon delivery that was supposed to arrive today before 10 PM. Sure enough, the package with two sweatpants was dropped off in the lobby. I didn’t see any sign of Paolo, the pest man, so figured he had yet to arrive and I can just go upstairs to deposit the goods in my room. But to my (pleasant) surprise there was already a pesticide notice stuck above the doorknob, indicating how soon I can open the door. But I did, anyway, just for a flash to toss the package inside, then turned about and exited the building once more.

My stubbed toe is hardly an issue, but just enough to make for awkward perambulation, so I figured fuck it, I’ll just stay in the ‘hood and go to Peet’s Coffee a half block up. Boring atmosphere of privileged queers as usual, but I got some work done replying to comments on the MCN discussion list and listening to more of Marshall’s latest podcast through earbuds.

Two hours later I ambled up the street to Marcello’s Pizza on Castro & Market, to order a cheese slice plus a Diet Coke. But a few minutes before that, I paused near the Harvey Milquetoast Library, because I heard Flaco’s distinctive “Yip-woooo! Yip-wooo!” Her sweet doggy barks emanated from around the corner of a side street that skirted the library’s eastern half, while I stood on the west.

I wanted so badly to run up to the hounds and shower them with kindness, but I was afraid their master would react with hostile rants and expletives in front of other houseless folks gathered nearby. Or might even demand I watch them awhile as he takes off like greased lightning. So with my heart broken for the umpteenth time, I continued my stroll towards Marcello’s.

My triangular repast was not as tasty as last time, skimpy on the sauce, the slice small…their servings are inconsistent. One day you get a big, juicy slice, another not so big or juicy. Never mind, though, at least it filled my belly and I could check my phone.

Kevin had texted me: “Paolo showed up early, wants to treat your room in a few minutes. I hope this works for you, sorry for the sudden change.”

So I texted back: “Yes, that was fine. I left my room by 1pm, nice to be able to return by 5:30 instead of 7, 8 or 9. Thanks!”

The pesticide appointments no longer tell me around what time he’ll show up…they just say sometime in the afternoon of such-and-such a date. So I never know when I have to exit my abode anymore, which is just another pointless hassle. As a result, I always plan to be outta there by 1 PM. If Paolo shows up earlier, too bad. Kevin has banned him from communicating with me some months back…I have no idea why, so he never answers my texts, such as “Around what time will you be over?” and “When can I return to my room?”

Upon leaving Marcello’s I had only a half hour to go before I could return hovel. Who should I see coming my way but Boulevard Joe! Great timing, as I wanted to speak to him further about Deek.

He said he’s going that way (towards Castro Street, which was just a half block behind me), gestured for me to walk with him. So I told him how Deek’s own paranoia and macho facade have ruined my friendship with him:

“He keeps screaming at me for stupid reasons, threatens to get me beat up, tries to get others to gang up on me, and badmouths me to anyone who’ll listen. He’s abusing those dogs: feeding them chicken bones, tying them to a standing bike that can easily crash down on them, shoves them away with anger, forces them to shiver all night long, and yells at them. This behavior could get worse, and not just the police, but people walking by see that, and could wind up calling Animal Control.”

I took a deep breath as we moseyed along, and continued:

“But I have an idea that might be key towards resolving his self-destructive behavior. Here’s what I have in mind…”

Joe abruptly cut me off and scurried over to a small group of vagrants hangin’ out by the transit stop right across the street from Marcello’s, leaving me behind in the dust. It’s almost always like this, Wattson: whenever I have something important to say, Joe hardly has a moment to spare…thus I often have to wait until I see him again, which might be days or weeks later, or even months. INFURIATING!

But I waited patiently from fifteen feet away, hoping to complete my appeal and, within several minutes, he signaled me to resume our walk, which took us down Castro Street towards 18th.

“Just a few more words, Joe,” I resumed. “I’ve spoken to several of his friends about his mistreating the dogs, encouraging them to call him on it whenever they witness abuse…but I don’t think anyone’s followed through.” Needless to say this includes Blvd. Joe, though I left that part out. Then I finally came to the crux:

“The few times I’ve seen him on shrooms he’s been much more benign and cooperative. My idea is to encourage him to take shrooms more often, as it seems to be good medicine for him. Every time he takes it, his regard for the dogs is kind, and it facilitates friendly communication between us.”

To my surprise and disappointment, his response was less than hopeful:

“But then you’ll have to deal with other, bad effects of frequent shroom use!”

That aspect (if true) never occurred to me, good physician, but I thought perhaps he made that statement to discourage cutting into his meth peddling. (But couldn’t he also barter with shrooms? Though maybe not as expedient and profitable as crystal, because less demand? I just don’t know.) So I replied:

“Well, maybe encourage him to take shrooms a bit more often, instead of just once every three or four months. Perhaps like ONCE a month? THAT wouldn’t be overdoing it, right?”

He lit up, smiled and said, “Yeah, that could work!”

Upon those uplifting words (though maybe spoken just to dismiss me) I shook his hand, thanked him for listening, and finally returned to my monk’s cell at Hotel California North. Relieved to have communicated to one of Deek’s associates, a possibly lifesaving suggestion on behalf of both the doggies AND My Troublesome Trickster.

Once back hovel, I put everything back in its place, which took about an hour and a half, and got on the ‘Net for awhile. I also found a clear plastic case of mixed triple and double-A batteries sitting right there in the basement, atop a bucket for tossing out your old ones. The case was sealed, as were all the batteries within, though it appeared to have gathered dust over the months, or perhaps years.

They work fine though; I used two double-A’s to illuminate my electric candle which has been sitting there unused for almost a year. Because it drains the power within a week if used every night, and I can’t afford the expense. It flickers with a soft, orange light behind a black silhouette of bare tree branches.

I need to find an electric candle or lantern that recharges via USB cord, so I won’t waste any more batteries. My only other use for disposable batteries are my two Bluetooth keyboards, for which I’d purchase a packet of four double-A’s at Rosenberg’s whenever the need arose. Expensive way to go, but the keyboards take forever to drain: four or five months of constant daily use. They are identical models (Logitech K-400+) and use two batteries each. One is for my X230 Thinkpad, the other, my HP-14 Chromebook. Too much of a nuisance to share a single keyboard between the two, since they need a USB dongle, and I switch using one or the other dozens of times each day.

This morning on my way to Rosenberg’s I saw another tent being set up behind my building. Just one fellow with a mop of black, curly hair and a bicycle laden with whatever. He seemed of good cheer, singing to himself, though I didn’t bother to strike up a conversation, or even wave my hand. The sky was a morbid gray, and a light rain had just begun which grew heavier on my return, though not by much, you could still get by without an umbrella. I decided to take a snapshot of the now fully assembled tent, which I presume contained its owner and possessions:

Click here for a larger view.

Now here’s another right-below-my-window photograph, also shot this morning:

Click here for a larger view.

Deonte’s gone, of course, thanks to the rain…only soggy cardboard remains. You can see words scribed on that narrow sheet, though upside down and poorly discerned. So here’s a right-side-up enlargement:

Click here for a larger view.

Which says:

AMAZING PEOPLE
GIVES US A MATTER
I HAVE PAYPAL

There’s also a heart in the upper right corner, and a question mark below “PAYPAL.”

The rain ceased a few hours ago, but the air remains chill. And two little doggies are out there with a sad excuse of a master, and there’s nothing I can do about it other than make continued appeals to people on the streets. The pups’ll most likely get sick and die, and I’d have a Cajun maniac on my hands attempting to get me beat up and evicted unless I sic the cops on him. What a horrid way to end my Brindlekin Tales! May the Fates conjure up a miracle, and may I vanquish The Demons Of Worst Case Scenarios from haunting my thoughts. What, me worry? It’s just another day in paradise!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Someone left this sign behind:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 2, 2022 at 10:41 AM

Which says:

“$32 away from my goal, a hotel room.
TY for being kind. [peace symbol]”

It was left on the corner of my block this morning, leaning sideways against my building. I wonder what THAT person’s story is. I wonder what EVERYone’s story is, but that would take a quantum computer of unimaginable sophistication to mash it all together and come up with the greatest horror story ever told, mine included. Is Brindlekin Tales a horror story? It very much is, I’d say…at least in part.

Though that does not exclude a possible (albeit unlikely) happy resolution. Nor does it ignore the many brilliant, inspiring and hopeful mini-tales woven throughout. Life is a mixed bag, stick your hand in at your own risk. Or your head, if you be so foolish.

And consider yourself inordinately lucky if all you lose is a finger or two when you pull your hand out. Well, even if you lose an entire hand (or worse), maybe what you’ve accomplished that cost you such a loss is greater than the thumbs of all parts! Conclusion:

I’ll stick with the positive outlooks on sapient existence, thank you very much. Anne Frank leads the way. Even a gas chamber was no match for the flame of hope in her heart. That is stunning. People forget. The human race owes her big time.

I don’t even know if what I just wrote is maudlin or not. Guess it’s up to each of my readers to decide.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: I recently found an empty plastic container to replace my old piss jar, which has accumulated a thick layer of crystalluria over the years and stinks to high heaven whenever the lid is removed. So THAT’S something to celebrate. This new bottle is twice as high and wide, so it should last almost a week before I need to empty it. I HATE ambling down a brightly lit hallway in the “wee” hours (pun intended), simply because I have to urinate. Passing by all those doors in the dead of night, behind which are strangers. Always strangers. God bless the little doggies of this world, for they are NEVER that.

P.P.S.: Oh, and I just sent my latest tale to be read over the airwaves this Friday, to the magnanimous Marshall McGee! Kindness marches on.


Re: Someone left this sign behind:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 2, 2022 at 2:36 PM

> One thing humans are good for, when they do it right: pampering and protecting animals.

Oh, there are plenty of saving graces in the human struggle. But those who are kind to innocent creatures are at the top of my list. Look how Lucky & Flaco have transformed my world for the better! How could one NOT fall head over heels for those pups?

> It’s kind of your trademark–you flirt with the maudlin, but then administer a bracingly acerbic corrective, occasionally drawing blood…

Oof, can’t deny it, only pry it. Perhaps I should OFFICIALLY trademark it: no one can flirt with the maudlin except for yours truly, or if I give signed permission. I’d NEVER run out of material under such a brazen decree. Kinda like my tale, “The Future Belongs to ‘Moi’,” wherein I become a celebrated author (and sometimes painter), so financially powerful I actually ban any other artist from using a rainbow in their work! And imply that I even ordered a special chemical to be sprayed in the air (or injected into the water), that no one sees any REAL rainbow in the sky.

Amusing how, since I composed that tale, right-wingers have been banning the rainbow all over the place. Something which I never foresaw, but I guess intuited. Then there’s an essay I wrote preceding that flagitious parable by years, called “Down with the Rainbow Flag,” wherein I declare its unoriginality and lack of a true expression of our LGBT struggles for equality. So perhaps that essay was presaging my own LATER prophecy. Though now we’re dipping into the ocean of the unconscious to net some tasty fish regarding the source of visionary talent. Alas, the waters are too murky to dredge up any decisive conclusion of a Delphic nature. “Reply hazy, try again.” says the fortunetelling 8-ball! But I still wonder to this day:

Why isn’t THIS vicariously Apollonian pilgrim mentioned anywhere in the great works of Nostradamus? A Gordian Knot that may never be unraveled! For, unlike Alexander, I’d never DREAM of slicing it apart with a sword as a workable solution to my dilemma. As blunt and crude as a lobotomy!

At any rate, I’m fantasizing silly notions to shift my psyche away from dark thoughts. I just got my free Internet debacle resolved with a phone call, and finally filled out my Medi-Cal renewal form and mailed it off directly from the local post office. That’s a relief! Now I’m gonna fix me a banana smoothy and relax for an hour or so, watching a few episodes from season 4 of “Disenchantment,” Matt Groening’s latest animated series.

May your day be lovely, Wattson.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Young, homeless fellow, name of Deonte, recently showed up on my block, taking refuge in the ATM alcove below my window. However, the alcove has since been boarded up, so all the indigents can no longer meet up and hang out there. Yet Deonte lingers on. He found a cushioned, swivel office chair two weeks ago, and has since embellished it with comfy bedding. Here you see him settling in for the night.

Subject: Deonte’s Chair (7 second video]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 2, 2022 at 7:28 PM

I’ve also attached a pic to this missive, showing him all snug and cozy. Funny thing, though: when I opened the front gate to take this photo, there was Deek talking with him, then turned away and walked up Market Street towards the Castro. I don’t think he saw me, as I had only opened the gate a crack and peeked out to see if Deonte were still tucked in, because I didn’t want to upset him by seeing me with a camera. Or maybe Deek glimpsed me from the corner of his eye, so dashed away.

I returned upstairs for a few minutes before attempting another shot, which result you now have. I don’t want to mull over why Deek was there, or if he plans to call up to my window tonight or any time soon. He needs to stay away, and I think he knows it.

I did hear the pups bark a bit before returning downstairs, so looked out the window to see them situated quite a ways up the block. It was dark, so only saw silhouettes, though I certainly could spot one curly tail a-wagging! I don’t think they stayed there very long, maybe ten minutes. At any rate, I then stepped back outside to discover Deonte covered up once more. And no Deek nearby.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Deonte’s Chair (7 second video]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 2, 2022 at 10:45 PM

> That’s a powerful pic. Homeless man wrapped from head to toe, sleeping (I’m guessing) in chair on street.

I didn’t think it was that special a pic when I shot it. But now taking another gander, I’d say yes, it’s an appealing composition and balance with bright colors, shadows and texture that frame the cloaked subject. BTW:

I can tell you from personal experience: it’s a very nice chair to fall asleep in. *sigh*

> Glad to know pups are okay. Hope they stayed warm and dry during recent rain.

I hope so, too, but I have no idea. Knowing Deek, I imagine he let them shiver.

> I put two jackets on Surely, who is ten years old and doesn’t have much of a coat. He’s cozy and warm now. His appreciation when I put the jackets on him is desperately adorable.

He’s a darlin’, I know. He must look kinda plump with two jackets on! But what about Pluto, does he prefer sweaters, maybe turtleneck?

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Deonte’s Chair (7 second video]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 3, 2022 at 11:01 AM

> I tried putting a sweater on Pluto, but he had it off within minutes. He’s insanely “active.” Gonna have to find something snug and secure that even he can’t tear it off!

Some doggies are like that…you got your work cut out for you. He’ll either adapt in the long run, or maybe accept a blanket to curl under. Or park himself near a heater. The concern, of course, is you don’t want the darlin’ to shiver. I tried putting a plastic-y raincoat on the brindlekin, but they just sat there and refused to stand up and walk. You’ve never seen such sad faces on two pooches in little raincoats! I guess I could’ve gotten them to adapt, but it was simpler to just dry them off once back home. Weren’t enough rainy days to train them, anyway. Were the gear made of soft waterproof cloth, it probably wouldn’t have been a problem. But they’re gone now. I hate moving on without them.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Texting with Wattson: 11/4/22-11/5/22


Subject: Just woke up, looked out my window and…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 6, 2022 at 8:51 AM

…there was Deek pushing an overloaded shopping cart with the pups happily following behind. They look good, wish I could have taken a pic, but it happened too fast. I hear their little barks from afar now, somewhere on Castro Street. My heart is crushed; I soar on wings. It’s a lovely Sunday morning.

Then I sat back down by my work station to discover an email from Frances Leyland, about a message I posted yesterday to the announcement list, entitled: “WOW: Top Democrat wins over FOX NEWS audience and leaves hosts STUNNED.”

It was a simple “Thanks Zeke” like she emailed one time before regarding a similar, hopeful post of mine. So I responded with a single heart emoji, then watched a video waiting for me from last night that Youtube automatically loaded after I watched some other recording:

Animals Being FREED For The First Time!

That “other” recording BTW was actually Marco’s narration of my latest tale, which I had uploaded to my channel only moments earlier, then fell soundly asleep after playing it.

What an exquisite way to start the day…hounds and all! I kinda think maybe bodhisattva guardian Deek planned it that way, knew I’d be peering out the window at that very moment.

Now off to Rosenberg’s to purchase another draught of amber elixir in a small paper cup…in my new sandals and jet black denims.

Click here for a larger view.

Re: Just woke up, looked out my window and…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 6, 2022 at 8:50 PM

> I’m in awe of your calm and fortitude, and courage!

Thank you for those encouraging words, Wattson. I am fully aware of my stunning inner strength, and I awe myself as a result. I am called to a great mission, and I could never shrink from that, after two sweet little pups have given me so much love and joy. I OWE it to them NOT to wallow in grief, depression or fear…for if I ever have that golden chance to save their lives, I will need to be in tip-top condition, both physically and mentally, to get there.

I can’t afford to be a malnourished, jittery soldier on THIS strange battlefield! Steadfast faith is my aegis, and courage, joy and compassion my arsenal. The gods stand with me…all of them from every culture under Apollo’s radiance! I can see why Artemis preferred hounds for companions, rather than her own kind. As Apollo’s twin, she is the goddess of empowerment among other great gifts. I AM empowered! Twinges of fear still curse me now and then, but they are far less frequent and intense than ever before. And when some NEW fear knocks me down I get right back up in record time. I suspect that’s an Olympic sport in the ethereal realms!

> It’s raining and the wind howling like a mofo up here.

Been damp and cold here, too, but not so rainy OR windy. A lotta drizzle on and off today. You should see me listening to Marshall narrate my latest tale:

I pace the floor, hanging on to every word, inflection and tone of voice. Dissecting my own ideas and prose: did I say it right, did HE say it right, how will it strike the ear of my listeners? I am learning more about myself in so doing. I listen to each reading more than once…say, three or four rounds. One of which sessions I pretend I’m a stranger hearing a Zeke tale for the first time. What comes through is pretty intense and with a lot of heart…I make what at first glance seems too trivial to write about, into something shockingly profound. Makes a person stop and think!

Marshall seems to be enjoying the heck out of reading my stories. He’s become a partner to my adventures, as YOU have been for so very long, Morticia! I wonder who will become the THIRD person to hop on the Brindlekin Train? First class only! Choo-choo!

– Zeke K-Holmes



The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 20)

October 28, 2022

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19t]

Subject: Soooo stooooopid…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 21, 2022 at 5:45 PM

…my situation with the failing phone. I turned it off for awhile so it would charge faster, and at 34 percent I turned it on again, only to discover the cops had dropped by but I didn’t answer. So I called them back to apologize, explaining that my phone went on the fritz a few hours ago, the USB charging port is loose and the cord won’t stay in unless I’m really careful. They understood and said they’ll send someone out again, when they can. So I need to keep the phone on, keeping my fingers crossed it will charge some more, though right now it looks like it is not, and it’s down to 29 percent. Now get this, Wattson:

They elevated my situation to 911, and want me to use that number from now on. Well the woman who got my first call said to do that, so I dialed it to let them know my phone is wonky. Gee, should I have the police call up to my window, like a homeless visitor?

I remember when I called the fuzz on Deek 2.5 years ago, when I did NOT have a smartphone and asked Adisa (of all people) to use his. What a relief to finally have my own smartphone, eh? Trusty, reliable old smartphone. Joke of the century.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: That puffy black jacket…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 21, 2022 at 6:12 PM

…I got from a nice young fellow while sitting with the pups by the bus stop, and wound up in Deek’s shopping cart some days later because I dropped it on the ground without knowing, and he picked it up without telling:

He was wearing it today, but I didn’t pay it any attention until the 911 dog-loving lady asked me to identify Deek, so I said wait a minute he’s still outside, and peered out the window and the first words outta my mouth were: “A puffy black jacket!”

So one might say his theft just bit him in the arse, eh, Wattson?

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: And now this!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 21, 2022 at 6:56 PM

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Easier. Better.
Date: 2022-10-21 15:19
From: Marshall McGee
To: Ezekiel Krahlin

On 2022-10-21 14:07, Marshall McGee wrote:

> I’m at home working on tonight’s MOTW show. I got one of your PDFs. I grab the text, paste it into my show file and it’s scrambled. I paste it into a txt file and it needs half an hour of fiddling with to make it readable. I print the pdf directly and its hard to read, in a weird light fong, and 11 pages long. I stopped my printer from wasting paper and jammed a bit of paper in so now I have to fix my printer. It’s not your fault but I don’t have time for this now. Here’s what I want in future: an .rtf file or a .doc file or even a .txt file. Please.

Wow, sorry to hear that. I’ll do the .rtf format promptly, in fact here it is, “A Scammer & A Scooter,” it’s just 41.6 K.

– Zeke

ADDENDUM:

On 2022-10-21 14:26, Marshall McGee wrote:

> Or just in the body of a text-only email, with two hard returns between paragraphs. I fixed the printer. I knocked over the mason jar of tea in the microwave, but that’s okay, it’s an opportunity to clean the spaghetti sauce spatter out of there.


Subject: Well that was a relief…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 21, 2022 at 9:35 PM

…cops dropped by again, this time my phone was on and functioning. Told them the situation with Deek, that he threatened me with violence and dog abandonment, and so on. They said there’s not much they can do about it right now, but to call 911 should it be necessary in the future. They asked if there’s anything else they might do for me, so I said yes, can you possibly speak to him, as he might think twice about dropping by again, since he’ll know I’m serious about getting him arrested and charged with animal abuse. I made it clear that I’m mostly concerned about those dogs, they should be removed from his possession.

Now I can turn the damned phone off so it can charge overnight when I won’t be touching it. It’s tricky getting the plug to stay in, like if you drop a feather on it, it will fall out. What an utterly nerve-racking day this has been! Now if Deek comes by again I can just call 911, and the SFPD will be on top of it. THAT’S established, and I can’t thank the police force enough for their prompt handling. Very impressive.

So, Marshall’s informing me his printer can’t handle the pdf files for some reason was just another jangle on my nerves, but that’s been quickly resolved as he replied the rtf files come out great, thank you. I look forward to no longer dealing with such a tight budget thanks to Deek’s skulduggery. But I do NOT look forward to a world without those furry wee angels! I’d certainly blow a wad of moolah every MONTH for those two!

Has Brindlekin Tales come to a sad ending? I think not, as there may still be further twists and turns to right all wrongs…as my Boddhisattva Premise has shown me such good outcomes can and DO occur against even the most unlikely odds. The love I’ve received from those hounds has lifted my heart forever, with or without them, but the “with” is far more filled with grace than the “without,” wouldn’t you say, Wattson? God bless the little doggies of this world.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Lucky’s Adorable Face
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 22, 2022 at 11:27 AM

From what may be the last video I will ever take of the pups, this frame of Lucky’s face:

Click here for a larger view.

Re: Well that was a relief…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 22, 2022 at 6:19 PM

> The “with” has been a great blessing. But I can’t stand the idea of them just sort of vanishing into the system. makes me too sad.

Deek’s not getting rid of ’em, he was calling my bluff. He dropped by a half hour ago. When I came to the front gate he blurted out he’s not gonna dump the dogs, he never will. I did not respond to that, instead I stood behind the locked gate and said:

“You threatened me with violence!” and pointed a finger at him.

“But I need this smartphone charged, and my music put on it!” he exclaimed.

“Nope, not gonna happen, do it yourself,” I replied. “I’ll bring down the remaining chips that have your music on them, four or five I think.”

He also asked for some dog food and his bag of shoes I stashed for him only yesterday…and the scant amount of gewgaws I kept in a container on my “Deek” shelf…worthless, but I returned everything. Plus brought down a carton of wet dog food (12 cans) two, unopened 5-pound bags of kibble, two remaining camouflage sweaters, and two more leashes. He muttered something about how I didn’t have to call the cops on him, though in a friendly, amused tone. And that’s it for the conversation, except when I handed him the leashes I began to speak again but he cut me off:

“Let’s not talk.”

“No, this is important,” I replied. So he listened: “You need to cut off all the rubber parts because if the dogs chew on them, they’ll get sick. Something in the dye I guess, but that’s what I’ve always done.” I was referring here to the foamy black covering around the looped handle and down towards the snap hook.

He said okay, thanks, and I stepped back inside, not even bothering to greet Flaco & Lucky. Who weren’t particularly awaiting my hugs, as they were on the opposite side of the shopping cart a short distance away, and playing around.

He lingered for a few minutes on the corner, rearranging the contents of his cart, then moved along. I almost called the cops on him when I returned upstairs to collect his items, but my new phone was still in the middle of setup, and it wouldn’t allow me to switch to the phone app.

So we’ll just have to wait and see if he shows more kindness to his charges, and makes other vital changes to his attitude. Hopefully he will, now that I’ve given him the shock treatment.

> Idea: The dogs are mostly dachshund, right? A few years ago I had to find a home for a defunct friend’s pug. She was old, slobbery, her hind legs weren’t working too well, and she was getting to be incontinent. Hopeless, eh? Not at all. I discovered that for certain distinctive breeds, especially small dogs, there are often really enthusiastic advocacy groups. I found a Pug Society over in Lake County. Two sweet old ladies drove all the way over here in a van and took Darby off to a new home. They followed up with photos. She lived for another couple of years happy and pampered. Look around and see if you can find dachshund rescue groups.

Looks to me like the closest one is 100 miles north of Sacramento. But I see no reason why folks around here haven’t offered to adopt them, the hounds are so damned cute, gentle and kind. At any rate, once more my Bodhisattva Premise:

Again, this is all a game, a scripted play to test whether or not I had the guts to stand up to him, even if it could cost me no longer seeing the dogs, or risking their well-being by ceasing to help take care of them. Deek was most contrite and even AMUSED when he came by this morning. As if to say:

“You did well, Zeke, you stood up to me, I’m proud of you.”

Maybe the police are in on it, too. They certainly were surprisingly understanding and kind…like maybe they belong to a secret organization dedicated to yours truly: The Blue Rose Militia.

And if what I just conjectured is spot on, they are all having a good laugh at my expense, as well. I’d MUCH prefer it be that way, than anything more serious, Wattson. In other words:

They can make all the jokes they want about me, even mockery, insults and threats, so long as the mutts remain unscathed and happy. I’ll gladly pay that price if need be…and more. Though I think I already have.

Welp, my new phone arrived four hours ago, and transferring my phone number over was indeed seamless. The phone is prepaid, but I wondered if I’ll lose the prepayment since I already am paying monthly, and the phone was purchased via Amazon instead of directly from Tracfone…but no, they tacked on an extra month so my next payment will be December 12, instead of November. Now my lifeline to the SFPD is once more intact.

The threat of arresting Deek and charging him with animal abuse is the card I’ll wave in his face every time he starts to veer in the wrong direction. He needs to carve out his own way and love the doggies with all his heart at the same time…instead of leaning on me so much. There will be no more dog sitting for him, either. Unless a big change happens to foment a BETTER arrangement than the first time around. Deek’s gotta make more breakthroughs and I’ll be glad to lash that whip at him whenever called for.

I’m eagerly anticipating last night’s narration of my blood-on-the-wall tale, so can’t wait till Marshall’s podcast is up so I can dive right in! Oh, here ’tis now; time to end this missive and get crackin’!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Oh Fudge
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 22, 2022 at 7:09 PM

——– Original Message ——–

Re: Easier. Better.
Date: 2022-10-22 18:31
From: Marshall McGee
To: Ezekiel Krahlin

I was just overwhelmed with everything going wrong and couldn’t get it together about your story this time. No need to respond, except please send at least a story for next week. If you send more I’ll collect them and dole them out one by one. Thanks!


Subject: New Posters by the boarded up ATM nook
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 23, 2022 at 10:00 AM

They weren’t there yesterday, saw them on my return from Rosenberg’s this morning:

First pic shows all three, the rest of the images are closeups of each houseless person featured:

Click here for a larger view.

Poster 1 caption: “J.D. Unhoused since 1985. Collects cans to survive. Wished me blessings for a good life.”

Click here for a larger view.

Poster 2 caption: “He told me his name is Michael from the Sky.”

Click here for a larger view.

Poster 3 caption: “Penny. Unhoused. She wanted to be photgraphed dancing.”

Click here for a larger view.

Meanwhile, Deonte is still out there on the cushioned swivel chair, by the bus stop. All by his lone some. He was returning to his chair from behind the building when I stepped out, so I said good morning. I took this snapshot from my window:

Click here for a larger view.

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Deek is keeping his distance, I suppose…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 24, 2022 at 2:16 PM

…though it’s only Day 2 of his disappearance after siccing the cops on him who told him to take better care of the pups, or they’ll be taken away. When he showed up Saturday to collect his stuff I had been storing (which was very little), he was calm and respectful. He even seemed amused, which suggests once more he’s playing out a script a la my Bodhisattva Premise. I HAVE retained all his valuable paperwork, though, which I did NOT mention for fear he’d demand taking that as well…for he’d lose it all within a week, like most everything else.

Deonte is gone, including that like-new office chair which I wish he left behind, so I could claim it for my own comfort. The appearance of that chair when I most need one is like the devil’s taunt. Though I’d never dream of absconding with it when another so down and out has greater need for it. I suppose my bodhisattva guardians find this a knee-slapping twist in the plot, and I need to better appreciate the humor in my predicaments. Though the alarming circumstance for two sweet doggies under the charge of a sometimes-cruel master weighs heavy on my soul and darkens everything else I perceive.

Vagrants in the Castro are now scarcer than hen’s teeth, with Deonte the last straggler. Which leaves me open to being stigmatized as “enabler” of the homeless should I ever be seen giving Deek doggy food/leashes/sweaters, handing him money, or just speaking with him right outside my building. Perhaps another arrangement can be made, such as meeting up with him at the Castro’s perimeter: Dolores Park, the Lower Haight or Church & Market Streets, for examples. But he’s a tough one to hold down to any sort of schedule, that is: IMPOSSIBLE!

I imagine any reasonably well dressed, stink-free indigent minus a shopping cart or huge sack bulging with possessions could freely stroll about the Castro and purchase whatever at Walgreens or any corner “Ma & Pa” shop. Maybe Deek could do same when dropping by: leave his debris parked some blocks away and just show up with the dogs. It would have to be a quick visit, though, to return to his possessions before they get stolen. Hopefully, he’d have a friend stand guard till he gets back.

For me to resume Deek’s allowance, he’ll have to listen to me instead of screaming me down and walking away in a huff. An arrangement that works for me is he hears me out in full, on whatever topic I choose before I hand over my next payment. For starters I will beg him to stop feeding the hounds chicken bones, stop tying them to a standing bicycle that can easily fall over, stop shoving them in anger, and stop screaming at them or in their presence (such as arguing with another vagrant).

I will make it clear to him how much I hate dog abusers, thus I have absolutely NO qualms reporting animal cruelty to the police and Animal Control. Which I WILL do if I ever see him commit any of the offenses listed above, or any new one that comes up. As will the police, since they are now aware of the situation and are keeping an eye on him. They know who owns these pups now, and if he is so foolish as to abandon them (such as tying them to a post and leaving them there), he will be arrested and jailed, and the dogs (hopefully) adopted into a loving home. Deek still has them wearing their rabies tags, so it will be a cinch for the SFPD to verify ownership.

I dunno, Wattson, I’m conjecturing too much rather than accepting my Bodhisattva Premise, which advises one to ALWAYS keep cool no matter the crisis, and trust everything to fall into its proper place with a fortuitous outcome. Things HAD to change, no matter what…I saw it comin’ down the pike for some time, as I’m sure you did too. Deek needs to change with it and stop finding any little excuse to complain and dump it all on me (or his furry angels)…and find the inner strength to be of good cheer through it all. Starting with one hundred percent loving care of the hounds, which will open doors for him as a result. He needs to STOP regarding them as an impediment towards moving ahead with his life, and see them instead as the ASSET they truly are.

Another interesting twist in the plot occurred yesterday morning, regarding my next-door neighbor, Asher, who previously played the enemy and spied on me per the building manager’s request…and no doubt maligned me to other residents. During all this time he remained aloof towards me, keeping a poker face at best, and never bothered to say hello or exchange any other friendly words. So:

I was seated on the steps of the nutritional supplement store on the corner of Noe and 16th, enjoying the early rays of Ol’ Sol and sipping on Rosenberg’s fine elixir, when he walked by with his shaggy mutt and crossed the intersection. Neither greeted the other, but a few minutes later when I entered the lobby he came back down the stairs and, on his way out, smiled and said hello. Of course I was taken aback but quickly rebounded with “You have a nice one now!”

His kind greeting was genuine, no whiff of sarcasm or snarkiness reached my third nostril (you know, like a third eye, only olfactorily speaking). Hinting once again, that this scenario is scripted, else why would he be kind to me after such drawn-out opposition and chilly silence?

Now get this, Wattson: soon as I completed the paragraph above, I heard some noise below my window: friendly chatter and sweeping sounds, like a large brush. I thought: “Are they applying a second coat of white paint over the plywood?” So I peered out my window and was surprised and delighted at the sight below. As if to affirm my Bodhisattva Premise and allay my worries! The following video I just uploaded to my channel explains all:

Mystery solved! I was wondering who pasted those pro-indigent posters in the ATM alcove after the automated tellers were removed, though the alcove remained open awhile longer. Thus allowing houseless folks to continue to gather there as they have for decades. Then when more posters were put up once the alcove itself was sealed off and vagrants lost their humble sanctuary, I continued to wonder…since nothing on any of the posters indicated who put them up. But lo and behold: just a few minutes ago I peered out my window to see two elderly gentlemen pasting another poster onto the painted plywood, though from my window I could only see the top of their heads, and not the actual poster, though of course assumed they were my mystery pasters. So I rushed downstairs with my digital camera, told them I appreciate what they’re doing, I’m a homeless advocate myself, and can I take their picture and a video for my blog. They said sure, go right ahead. After doing so, I asked if they’re from an organization such as the Homeless Coalition, but they said no, they’re doing this on their own. Before departing, I thanked them for all they do and handed them my Brindlekin card, said it’s a true story about my helping a homeless friend to care for his two little doggies.

ADDENDUM

Once the two gentlemen poster pasters departed, along with the two plywood installers who were also out there for some reason (one of whom was our building’s maintenance man), and who actually gave permission for the fourth and final poster to be displayed, I stepped out to take this pic:

Click here for alarger view.

Caption: “Peter. Unhoused, born in French Camp. Lifelong Californian.”

And guess what? Deonte has returned. Check out his pic and the pristine condition of that cushioned swivel chair I so badly need, but dare not steal:

Click here for a larger view.

The only chairs of that type I ever find on the streets are in somewhat dilapidated condition. Ironic, eh?


Subject: Happy Kukur Tihar!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 24, 2022 at 5:28 PM

Otherwise known as “Festival of Dogs,” a Hindu celebration in northeast India and Nepal…and it’s today, October 24th! From Wikipedia:

“In Hindu mythology, Yama has two dogs—Shyama and Sharvara—who guard the door of hell. Nepali Hindus believe that by worshiping dogs they start to see death positively, because a dog follows them in their final journey. They hope that dogs will guard them against the torture in hell. Dogs are considered to be a companion of Yama and to please him, dogs are worshipped.”


Re: Happy Kukur Tihar!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 24, 2022 at 8:10 PM

> Now, there’s a holiday I can wag my tail over!

Though don’t use balloons, one pop and all the party guests will scatter!


Re: [MCN-Announce]- Crushed Urchin shells……CHEAP !
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: MCN announce list
Date: October 25, 2022 at 1:03 PM

On 2022-10-25 12:08, George Dennis posted:

> Yes, I have actually thought about working up a routine for a stand up. It’s actually more like storytelling. I have plenty of stories to tell. Working humor into them is the hard part.

Everyone loves a good story, ever since humanity gathered in caves by the fire on cold nights to allay their fears and relieve the daily tedium of hunting down sharp-toothed and sharp-clawed megafauna. Today the mortal challenges are not megafauna but mega-bombs and mega-dictators. Not to mention mega-plagues, mega-poverty, mega-shootings, mega-instability and mega-idiocy. I COULD make this “mega” list much longer, but I’ll stop here as I’m sure you get my point, Mr. Gurney.

I am a humorist, too, rather than a stand-up comic, though an author can choose that particular style to reach the minds and hearts of the audience. Even if your writing talents don’t take off in popularity, regardless of what a superb gift you may have (and it looks like you do, going by what you post to this list), writing out your tales and notions can be highly therapeutic in such crazy, frightening times as these. I know firsthand because it certainly works for me.

Going out to the world and reading your stories at open mic venues would be frosting on the cake! At the very least you’d become an inspiring bard for the Mendoland community, and greatly appreciated for instilling hope and courage to so many. The world needs you, George, starting with those around you.

So it might not be the best option to suddenly slide down the slippery slope of freaking out over all the horrid news we hear, read and witness through the media 24/7. Every person who has a talent in one way or another to inspire others to forge onward in hope, good cheer and bravado is an indispensable asset for humanity.

Just one borderline-schizophrenic author’s opinion, take it or leave it as you will. Nonetheless I wish you an excellent day, each and every day from here on in. (Or should I say, “from Heron Inn,” a lovely retreat I often escape to in the idyllic, lush, orange-poppy meadow of my imagination?) Now about those crushed urchin shells…


Subject: Wood Chipping Cacophony [12 second video]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 26, 2022 at 12:15 PM

Another peaceful morning obliterated. Noise pollution here in The Castro is unrelenting!

No homeless around anywhere, even Deonte has vanished. Deek’s gone, dogs gone…dreary nothing burger neighborhood populated with small minds more concerned over profits and tourism than human beings down on their luck. Here’s a recent video of the Castro’s harsh repercussion against the houseless. Be aware it’s from Fox News, so definitely has a right-wing spin to it:

San Francisco businesses threaten tax strike over crime, homeless

Though the merchants have asked for more beds and housing, the chickens have come home to roost thanks to a collapsing economy and increased prejudice against the poor, black people, LGBTs and other minorities. The rise of fascism. I even understand the outrage against the ever increasing influx of indigents, some of whom are quite scary and others dirty, aggressive and obnoxious. As you know, Wattson, Deek’s sometimes outrageous behavior (screaming and dumping trash all over) contributes to the outrage, and I have been trying to get him to improve, for his own sake and that of the pups.

It was frightening to see him allow Flaco to eat a small pile of chicken bones the other day, though I’ve told him numerous times that is dangerous for dogs. (“Don’t tell ME how to raise a dog!” is his patent response, if any.) His anger at them for supposedly thwarting his other activities, shoving Flaco off his lap, yelling at Lucky, tying their leashes to an upright bike…all forms of animal abuse.

Whether or not I get to see my furry friends again, I remain helpless to improve their lot without Deek changing his ways. So what good will come if he drops by now and then, anyway? I now have nowhere to turn except to trust in the Fates. But those sweet hounds may have already disappeared from my world forever.

Tomorrow is Deek’s next payday, so we’ll see if he shows up. Though it’s quite possible I’ve scared him away for good by getting the police involved. This anti-homeless sweep was almost like them doing it just for me, that is: driving Deek away because it’s an unfair burden on yours truly and they didn’t want to see me suffer any further needless sacrifice. And it happened so shortly after I set up my dog-sitting tent!

Don’t know what else to say on this matter, good doctor; there are too many future possibilities to dwell upon, some being good outcomes, one of which I truly hope will manifest. And very soon.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Scheduled my next booster shot, spoke with Blvd. Joe
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 26, 2022 at 8:33 PM

Safeway pharmacy never called back in response to my voicemail telling them I forgot the date of my second booster I received at their location…and I can’t complete the application for the Omicron shot without filling in that date. I finally realized I could find out what day I got my second booster by just searching “pharmacy” on my WordPress site! Seeing as there’s no other time I can think of when I included that word in my tales. And thar she blew: April 7th. One of many benefits from writing my tales in diary format. So I logged onto Safeway Pharmacy’s Covid vaccine form for the second time, and got it done: November 8th at 2 PM. Includes the flu shot. Later on I’ll look into getting a shingles booster, DTaP and pneumonia shots. The latter I’ve never had, but I think it’s a good idea in light of my age…and who wants to catch diphtheria, tetanus or whooping cough? Not I, says the little red gay hen!

I finally got around to laundering my four sleeping bags (2 adult-size, 2 children) and a comforter I use for the bottom layer on my cot. I had already heat-treated them several months back to kill all bedbugs, but had yet to wash them, whereby they remained with cruddy brown spots and stains from their defecation. To my delight, all that washed out and the bedding looks sparkly clean once more! Then I bagged them up again until said time my room gets another treatment, seeing as the bugs are back once more. The exterminator is now scheduled to show up this Monday afternoon. On said morning I will bag up my OTHER four sleeping bags presently on my cot, and heat-treat them a day or two later. What an adventuresome life I live!

Actually, those friggin bugs never went away after the previous treatment! This has happened a few times before over the years. But when I called the exterminator several days to a week later to tell him they’re still here, he told me to wait another week or two, because it takes time for all the stragglers to die. But it never happened. By the same token I can’t afford to strip my room of all cloth items and do it all over again such a short time later. And when I say “afford,” I mean both financially AND emotionally!

So I’ve become accustomed to sleeping with the bugs crawling over me at night at certain cycles, and waiting long enough until my neighbor reports a new infestation. Then the building manager may or may not call me to have the exterminator treat MY room as well. From what I understand about bedbugs, whenever one unit gets infested, all neighboring units must be treated the same day, or another day very soon. But that’s not how they do it at Hotel California North!

This morning while picking a few of the critters off my sweater and popping each of the hapless lads between thumb and forefinger, I decided to report a new onslaught within a day or two, as I’ve put up with it long enough. Seeing as I’m beginning to recover from Deek’s exhausting challenges, I can finally deal with it. I’ll just tell Kevin I saw a few of ’em crawling on the wall this morning. I usually prefer to wait until the neighbor complains, but sometimes I make an exception…based upon how far to the right my insanity meter’s pointer has swung.

Hopefully, they’ll be eradicated this time around, at least for several months. But I’m not holding my breath as this nightmare has been a curse in my life for well over a decade. I lucked out, though, because right when I decided to contact the building manager soon, he called and asked if Paolo could drop by to inspect my place for bedbugs.

“Oh no bother,” I replied, “I spotted a few on the wall this morning, but I’m so caught up in my writing I was gonna wait till later today to tell you. So may as well set up another treatment.”

His voice came through semi-garbled, so I asked him to repeat what he just said, I got a new phone and that may be the problem.

“Your voice comes through loud and clear,” he affirmed.

“Well yours doesn’t and I doubt the problem’s coming from your end,” I replied. “So what did you say?”

“How about Monday, then?” he enunciated at a louder, slower clip.

“Monday?” I answered. “Well that gives me plenty of time to prepare, so let’s do it.”

At any rate, this is the first time I spoke with anyone on my new smartphone, and I’m concerned how it will hold up when I call in to Marshall’s radio show. Wouldn’t THAT be a bummer if the voice transmission is wonky! Because I have NO other option. I couldn’t possibly keep addressing him with “What? What did you say? Can you repeat that?” I can’t imagine reverting to a landline, but if that’s what it takes to be heard over the air, guess I’ll just have to do it. Will AT&T even comply?

I bumped my right foot’s big toe two days ago, against a carton of canned dog food nestled in  my closet. So now it hurts when even a little pressure is put on it, like a sock. A shoe or sneaker over that makes it five times worse! Barefoot is the best way to go, so thank god for those sandals! I seem to be quite the Sad Sack these days, a real low in my life thanks to my doggy dilemma and Deek’s hostility on top of everything else…including the upcoming midterm election which will likely see fascism take hold in this furshlugginer excuse of a nation. Be that as it may, let’s get on with Boulevard Joe:

Upon returning from the laundromat I saw him standing around with some backpacks and bags in the side street beside the Harvey Milquetoast Public Library. I took this time to update him about Deek, that he’s outta control, threatening to beat me up and get me evicted, and he continues to abuse the pups…ties their leashes to an upright bike that can easily come crashing down on them, lets them shiver at night, gets angry at them and shoves them, yells at them, and feeds them chicken bones, which splinters can choke a dog to death.

“He told me you reported him to the cops for abandoning them!” Joe blurted out.

“Not true,” I replied. “They came up to me in my tent and I told them I’m watching the dogs for a homeless friend and they asked when he’ll return, so I said any time between now (4:30 PM) and midnight. Then one of them said so he’s abandoned them? And I told him no, that’s not what I said.”

But of course that’s what I said, Wattson, though not in exactly those words:

“I’m worried he’s gonna abandon these dogs,” I addressed the fuzz, “He’s been having me watch them lately for ten to twelve hours at a time! He’s even threatened to tie them up to a post and walk away and make them MY problem.”

Deity forbid I should be so honest with Blvd. Joe! That would just make him seethe in anger, thus I told a white lie.

I further elaborated how he already knows that Deek badmouths me behind my back quite often, no matter how much I help him out and care for the hounds. That if any cop sees him abusing the dogs, they may take them away from him. Or anyone just walking BY could report him! So he needs to treat them kindly all the time, to avoid that possibility. And why shouldn’t he, they’re lovely sweet doggies, they’re a blessing. At any rate, it’s all outta my hands now, and I just wish some of his friends on the street would say something about his abuse and get him to treat them better. I can’t do it all by myself.

This is the third time I’ve spoken with Joe about Deek’s bad treatment of Lucky & Flaco, yet he remains oblivious on the matter. Not once has he ever said, “Okay, I’ll talk to him about it.” Nor has Filipino Kai, whom I’ve also spoken with on the same issue. What the fuck’s wrong with them, Wattson?

Unfortunately, Blvd. Joe is blatantly hostile towards the police on every level. So when I told him that cops love dogs, and they don’t take kindly to any canine abuser, he lashed out:

“No, that’s not true. They just like to fuck with the homeless and take their dogs away. Animal Control, too, buncha mutthuh fukkuhs!”

So that’s that, no reasoning with Joe, a fellow who is known to sometimes march up and down Market Street wielding a sword or large knife claiming it’s his constitutional right to do so! And he wonders why the police are not always friendly with him? And why, one night a few years ago, a cop shot a rubber bullet into his hand for wielding such a weapon in public. At least the resulting injury got him a free hotel room for several months! Why, I even saw him with a real GUN once, that he pulled out of a backpack to show me.

It seems to me that Deek isn’t the only dog abuser on the streets, for which reason the SFPD reports them and Animal Control picks the dog up and, hopefully, finds the poor creature a loving home. In other words: Joe doesn’t care to see the bigger picture. Not all cops are crooks; some really ARE trying to help out.

Well, I gotta get around to filling out my annual Medi-Cal reevaluation and give them my attorney’s name and phone number ’cause no doubt they’ll gaze upon my fattening bank account with a curious eye. I’ll add a note to the form, telling them that large sum is mostly my rent payments accumulating because on hold due to a lawsuit with Ablahblah Realty.

And I’m gonna spend the rest of Deek’s allowance for this month on new clothes, including a pair of sneakers. Well, that’s only a hundred dollars, but I have another hundred-fifty on top of that, so I should be fine.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: They gotta be kidding!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 27, 2022 at 11:17 PM

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Your Inactivity Alert from CA.gov
Date: 2022-10-27 21:57
From: ebtedge@fisglobal.com

You have $0.02 in cash benefits that will expire if you do not use it. Do not reply to this Alert.


Click here for a larger view.

Re: They gotta be kidding!

On 2022-10-28 12:47, My Dear Wattson wrote:

> Well, let’s see: you could buy a gumball. Maybe.

Ha, ha, you show your age, Morticia! I’m guessing they’re 25 cents now (or even 50), so looked it up, found this page, quote:

“A gumball machine is a type of bulk vending machine that dispenses gumballs, usually for a small fee. Originally one penny, the standard cost of one gumball in the United States is now one quarter.”

But what EBT (food stamps) does is give you an extra $20/month to purchase non-food items. You use the EBT card at your bank’s ATM to withdraw the amount, and no more. But if they see you haven’t spent it before their next allotment, they email a warning, because if you DON’T spend it, they take it back. At least, that’s what I figure, though they haven’t sent me $20 for months now, or posted a warning to spend it, until yesterday. Perhaps there’s a glitch in the system and they moved the “2” three places over to the right. I wonder if this has happened to any other EBT clients? I’m gonna visit my bank today and try to withdraw $20 again, though last time I tried, goose egg…that was almost five weeks ago. So I really don’t understand what’s going on, here. At least I’m still getting my $220 in food stamps each month, so I’m not complaining.

THE MARSHALL PLAN

I was planning to keep my air-wave pieces twenty minutes or under, seeing as last Friday’s narration came to 22 minutes including the digital voice reading of the missing text. So I posted to Marshall McGee the following:

Subject: Change of plan re. my tales narrated:

Seeing as each tale I send is a passage from one of my upcoming chapters, how about I just email you the latest one each week, without also posting it to the announcement mailing list…say, every Wednesday or whichever day you prefer? Everyone else can wait until the chapter is out, which includes that passage. This way, you will not have to keep a list of upcoming pieces to read that will pile up quickly. I’ll keep tabs on that.

And after each narration has been aired, I’ll splice it out of the podcast and post a link to that excerpt on my Youtube channel.

Each of my chapters now averages 50 minutes reading time, so not practical to narrate on your show. But the passages are around 20 minutes each, some a tad shorter, others a tad longer. I’ll keep each one to a minimum 15 minutes and a maximum 25 (or shorter if you prefer). The Pallas piece you read totaled 22 minutes after I inserted a digital voice reading of the missing text.

If for whatever reason you prefer to keep our present arrangement, that’s fine, too.

So he replied:

Re: Change of plan re. my tales narrated:

That sounds good. Less than 15 min. long is best for me, but you do what you need to do. Just for an experiment, try brutally whimsically cutting one to five or ten minutes and see what it looks like. It might be better.

Well, that’s quite a challenge to cut five minutes out of my tale, Wattson! For even at 20 minutes, ’tis nonetheless a mere PASSAGE from a chapter, not the entire chapter itself! After all, my stories are my BABIES born of excruciating labor. Were they REAL flesh and blood offspring I’d have NO problem chopping off a limb or two, but fer cripes sake I’M AN AUTHOR, not a kitchen-dwelling, barefoot pregnant wench! Or as I like to say when criticizing heterocentric dogma: “It takes no brains to insert rod A into slot B.”

But it certainly DOES take brains to give birth through the creative process, and much intense, drawn-out pangs to produce a final result of genius! So much so in fact, I’m tempted to hand out cigars each time I beget another mini-masterpiece offspring from the loins of my cerebral travails.

Nonetheless I accept Marshall’s preference to reduce the length of my tales to less than 15 minutes, for the sake of having them read over the air. Seeing as it’s an HONOR and a great opportunity. Though, good grief, chopping them down to TEN, or even a scant FIVE minutes? Blasphemy! Marshall can just take the occasional message I post to the MCN lists that may impress him enough to read aloud, for that.

On his last podcast, McGee exclaimed how he LIKES people who write books. Which may be one reason why he’s eager to read my stories once again, in addition to, well, my superbly eccentric writing style and prolific outpouring. *blush*

In fact, so superb and eccentric that George Dennis recently posted this hilarious critique of my Pallas tale to the announcement list:

“What a f*cking idiot. Actually tried to listen to this and it makes no sense. You are the worst writer in the world. Go find a manhole cover.”

I have a TON of Brindlekin Tales at this point, it would take YEARS for Marshall to read ’em all, at 15 minutes max and once per week. Not to mention any other tales I come up with over that span of time. So things are lookin’ superlative in that department.

AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY NONSENSE

Xfinity sent me a notice yesterday that they have yet to receive my Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) renewal, and I have until November 26th to complete it. Even though I filled out the requisite form almost two weeks ago, without a hitch.

So I checked the FCC site where I’m registered for the ACP, to discover that my EBT card lacks an issue or expiration date, either of which is acceptable. Turns out they DO have a start date, but it’s on the back of the card, and I only uploaded the front. So I took care of that and, for good measure, also uploaded a pic of my Medi-Cal card, which includes a start date on the front. Keeping my fingers crossed this’ll work.

SMARTPHONE UPDATE

As you know, I purchased a new phone in a panic, but I have since learned you can switch phones whenever you want, via Tracfone’s “manage lines” feature. I’ve already tried it, and it works like a charm…no loss of minutes or data. My old Moto E still charges, though slowly, but I’d prefer to use that one when calling in to Marshall’s show as I have a hunch the voice transmission will be better than my Blu View 2, which is $20 cheaper. But if not, I can switch back in hopes of resolving that issue, should it ever arise. It’s also nice to have a backup phone in case the other gets lost, stolen or stops working for whatever reason.

CLOTHING UPDATE

I finally caved in to purchasing new clothing via Amazon, Deek’s allowance be damned, it’s over. I cannot in good conscience continue to support someone, financially or otherwise, who abuses his dogs. This is NOT a veiled excuse to shop till I drop; my feelings about this are genuine. A pair of new sneakers ($47, yikes!), new sandals ($24) and two pairs of Hanes sweatpants with pockets ($26). And still, $125 remaining for the month, which I will hold onto until my next Soc. Sec. deposit arrives on the third, after which THAT remainder will go towards purchasing fresh underwear, socks, two pairs of elastic-waist pants, two sweaters, a couple of long-sleeve shirts and a second warm coat.

“Elastic waist?” you may be wondering, “What’s up with that?” Well, for the past 15 years or so I’ve never been able to stop hitching up my belted pants, no matter what kind of belt I try. Nor do suspenders work either: they’re made so cheaply these days, one of the clasps always breaks soon after purchase without any way to repair it. These belt-free trousers look good, and cost around $30 each. Unfortunately, the “try before you buy” option reserved for Prime members works only if you use a credit card, and I’m stuck with debit. But returns are free, so same diff anyway.

DEEK UPDATE

I am finding newfound strength dealing with his atrocities, though it’s been a rough ride, emotionally, these past several days. He has NOT dropped by since our heated clash, even though his latest payday has come and gone. Which, I believe, is a good thing. For it is obvious to me a new phase has begun, where I must LET GO of the pups and place absolute trust in Kismet they shall be perfectly fine through it all. In fact, my Bodhisattva Premise demands I do so, if I have learned ANYTHING from its teachings and the many previous real-life challenges, which have all resolved themselves admirably well when I cease to worry, and do my best to maintain a positive light.

For once again, this latest crisis has caused the demons of negative fantasy to rise to my consciousness. And it is MY responsibility, and mine alone, to vanquish each one ASAP. Worry over the pups’ happiness and well-being, Deek’s threatening behavior, imagining worst-case scenarios: all demons I’ve managed to quell by focusing on relaxation and looking on the bright side. In short:

NEVER CAVE IN TO DARK FORCES, WHETHER FROM WITHIN ONESELF, OR WITHOUT. ALLAY THEM ALL WITH KIND AND BEAUTIFUL THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS. DO NOT FIGHT THEM LIKE ENEMIES AS DRAMA QUEENS AND FAKE HEROES DO, BUT REALIZE THEY ARE ALSO TEACHERS. THEREFORE LEARN FROM THESE CHALLENGES THEY FLING AT YOUR FEET, AND BE GRATEFUL.

If I’m correct that Deek is but my main bodhisattva guardian these days, he KNOWS this, thus acted out a painful scenario and departed, allowing me time to figure things out and grow into a higher realm of existence as a result. And the SFPD, of all people, facilitated my transition into this new phase…making them my guardians, likewise. THEY EVEN DROVE ALL THE HOUSELESS OUT OF THE CASTRO for good measure, that I tend to my own needs right now! I know this is not all about me, but the timing is clearly to my benefit.

And yes, I WILL resume his allowance, once he gives PROOF he is treating the dogs with love at all times. Until then, though, no dice. One more thing:

PALLAS UPDATE

This morning when I went to Rosenberg’s for my morning java, Pallas was tending the cash register and, just before I departed, said:

“Hold on, I wanna write something out for you!”

“Oh, okay,” I replied, knowing full well he was gonna jot down one or more books of an Indo-religious nature to recommend. After all, that’s why I gave him my email some weeks back, but for some reason he never got around to it. Just as he began scrolling a ballpoint across the back of a receipt I decided to say in jest:

“Or you can just speak to me directly, I’m right here!”

So that’s what the attached pic is all about. Which appears to contain a short list of two authors, and a general theme:

Baba Deep
Singh Ji Shaheed
Sikh religion

I have yet to look ’em up on the web, but will do so later today. I look very much forward to holding scintillating conversations with him once I have all of the above references under my belt a bit. Or elastic waist band in my case.

– Zeke K-Holmes


The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 19)

October 21, 2022

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19s]

Subject: Thank you, Marshall McGee, and about that missing text:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: MCN announcement list
Date: October 18, 2022 at 8:53 PM

I emailed you the following via my gmail account a few days ago. But since I don’t know when you’ll get around to reading it, I thought I’d post a copy to the announcement list. Here goes:

I checked the pdf file you printed from, and it looks like you left out pages 3 and 4, because the last line before the missing text, and the first line after it, perfectly match what sentences embrace the body of text left out. My hunch is that either the printer skipped over those two pages, or they slipped out of your Friday night folder.

Nonetheless, an excellent narration and thank you immensely.


Click here for a larger view..

Subject: They’re sealing off the ATM alcove!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2022 at 11:45 AM

As you can see by the attached image. So THAT sanctuary is now kaput. And there’s a lot of roadwork going on behind my building, so that’s ALSO kaput for the time being…hopefully until later today. It’s the only doggy rest station in my vicinity that provides shade for these sunny, warm days. The bus stop out front offers little, if any…unless the pups scoot under the floppy “Diane Feinstein” seats. They’re called that because while she was Mayor, she replaced the old above-ground transit butt-rests with ones vagrants couldn’t sleep on. At least she thought they couldn’t, but they do because they found a way to adjust their bodies to accommodate the new situation.

Nature’s ability to adapt under almost any major alteration in the environment is extraordinary! Or as the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention. Stay tuned for further updates on my field work studying the local environs of Homeless sapiens. Ha, “Gorillas Revisited” has NOTHING over me; eat your heart out, David Attenborough!

Most of the time Deek’s shopping cart provides the shade when parked by the bus stop…if he has one at the moment, and if it’s stuffed with enough junk to block the sunlight. Well, I guess when it isn’t, I can bring one of my five-by-seven-foot plastic tarps down and fling it over the cart. Easy peasy.

Deek did NOT drop by at all yesterday, nor has he shown up today, so far. But I’m fine with watching the dogs again right now, except for the construction work going on around the corner, eliminating a shady refuge for the nonce. So I hope he holds off for another day, or at least till late afternoon.

Doesn’t look like Marshall is gonna narrate those two missing pages from my Paris tale, so I’m preparing to read them myself, and splice them into the audio file. Fine by me, should make for an interesting listener experience, anyway. But I’ll have to wait till eventide when the street cacophony simmers down. I can even do it on my Chromebook while in the tent, minus any interruptions like I had two nights ago.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: [MCN-Announce]- Thank you, Marshall McGee, and about that missing text:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: Marshall McGee
Date: October 19, 2022 at 12:01 PM

On 2022-10-18 17:30, Marshall McGee wrote:

> I’ll read another of your stories this Friday. Thanks for sending them.

Awesome. Obviously you’re picking them from the announcement list, so I won’t bother to send you a link to my latest piece anymore. They’re in chronological order, easy to figure out by the date of the first part of each file in case you get them mixed up. And it looks like the pdf format works for you. Have a great Friday, and I’ll listen to your podcast the next few evenings while relaxing with the pups in my Teton pop-up tent.

I could never give enough praise for our mutual friend, My Dear Wattson, for her many years as my greatest confidante and booster of my talent as an author. She’s the sister I’ve never had!

– Zeke


Re: [MCN-Announce]- Thank you, Marshall McGee, and about that missing text:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2022 at 12:31 PM

> Nicely done, old chap!

I propose altering the Skunk Train route to extend all the way to San Franshitsco, right in front of my building. That way, I can finally visit you, and other amazing folks way up yonder in Unicorn Valley.


Subject: Too much activity!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2022 at 2:28 PM

1) Sidewalk maintenance behind my building:

Click here for a larger view.

Looks like they’re wrapping things up, thank Polyphemus. That isn’t even a real vagrant you see sitting down on the left. He’s a long-term resident of the Castro, a disturbed individual always roaming about like a zombie, sometimes screaming into thin air. Has two other equally screwy brothers…all raised by a mentally deficient couple in their 90s by now. What’s gonna happen to them when their procreators perish…will they increase the local houseless population by three? I haven’t seen their father in over two years, so I presume he’s already departed from Crazyville.

2) Installing a plywood wall over the ATM alcove:

Click here for a larger view.

The fire engine behind him is part of an unrelated though simultaneous event, which you will learn about right now.

3) Karlsen being escorted off to ER once again:

Click here for a larger view.

First time I’ve seen him WALKING to the ambulance, though, instead of recumbent on a gurney! Just minutes before EMTs drove up, I saw Scooter standing around outside, but he was gone shortly.

4) Now for an overlap between the above two events: our building maintenance man, Victor, talking to an EMT. No idea why:

Click here for a larger view.

But he IS one of three workers boarding up the ATM sanctuary. His scowling at me the other day was most revealing. He’s never done that before; in fact he’s always been amicable. Like so many Latinos who flee to the United States for freedom, sanctuary and a decent income, they turn into Republican ass-wipes once they get those greens to fatten their wallet.

Well, everything’s calmed down since I took the snapshots and started composing this email. And we have a nice little spot of shade pooling by the bus stop, as the afternoon progresses:

Click here for a larger view.

84 degrees outside right now. No Deek yet, which is good.

I thought I’d throw in this picture, too. Suffice it to say it shows San Franshitsco still lives up to its Lonely Planet downgraded rating. It’s a honey bucket world out here:

Funny how Deek has left me alone all day yesterday, and continues to do so today…right when I’m wrapped up in a writing frenzy…when I haven’t even talked to him yet about granting me alternate days freed up from pup sitting. It’s like he can read my mind. Another clue he’s one of my bodhisattva guardians, thus knows me inside and out without a word from yours truly.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: [MCN-Announce]- Thank you, Marshall McGee, and about that missing text:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2022 at 2:46 PM

> It yoosta be possible (though before my day) to travel by train from here to Bay Area. Skunk train to Willits, then connect with north-south passenger line. The tracks are still intact. There’s a sad little never-used railroad station right by 101 at Cloverdale, built about 30 years ago when there was talk of reviving passenger train service. It never happened, of course, so there it sits, like a Cargo Cult airstrip, built in hopes of luring trains to come down the tracks…

In which case I hope Timothy Dipalma’s prediction of a wormhole teleportation tunnel from my building to downtown Mendocino will come to pass very soon! I need a fukkin break. I could abscond with the doggies, then shut down the tunnel before Deek discovers it. God, that’s all we need is for him to show up there and make it his new stomping grounds! But at least you’d get to meet his furry angels.

Or even worse: all the meth freaks, crack heads and other assorted vagrants come funneling through the wormhole to deposit themselves in Mendoland! In which case I’ll arrive as well, and set up my Teton pop-up tent right in front of the Masonic Temple. That would be a hoot. You’d drop by now and then to join me in canine revelry! We can howl to the moon together…all four of us.

It’s awfully quiet now in the ‘hood, not a single indigent to be seen in any direction. I hope the local businesses and homeowners aren’t overly serious about pushing them ALL out…that would be devastating for Deek and those darling little hounds. If such be the case, my tent will become a political statement, as I will continue setting it up behind my building come hell or high H2O. Maybe it’s time to speak with Boulevard Joe about this, see what he has to say.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Deek stuck me with the pups again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2022 at 3:46 PM

> It’s an astounding saga, and bound to be a classic, along the lines of Orwell’s Down and Out in London and Paris. Seriously!! What gives your story an extra dimension is the fact that two sweet little dogs are at the heart of it. They are the reason for it all. A beautiful story in a heartless world.

I cannot be more pleased with what the Fates have handed to my trust. It IS astounding, and on so many levels. The very inspiration from these stories–not to mention the manifestation of such wonderful scenarios that inspire me to take keyboard to screen–strongly suggests intervention from a higher power. And who doesn’t love a good doggy tale…or two, or three, or hundreds?

> But 13 hours?? He’s taking grotesque advantage of you.

It’s part of the saga, and for that reason makes sense. I trust things will balance out shortly, and he’s already left me alone for all of yesterday, and most of today. So that’s a good start.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Deek stuck me with the pups again! [FURTHERMORE]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2022 at 6:00 PM

I like to think of my tales with more of O. Henry/Damon Runyon vibes than those of Orwell. Though I DID write that piece, “Down & Out in San Franshitsco,” so there ya go.

The humble lives of the poor, their loves, giving of gifts found on the streets that nonetheless come from the heart, their struggles to survive yet still retain integrity, goodness that flows from their hands in the face of abject poverty. their dreams still intact…all the marks of an O. Henry treasure.

Then there are the Runyon characters: softhearted gangsters (drug dealers in my case), ex-cons who’ve mended their ways and spread kindness to others, simpleminded folks with hearts of gold.

There are also religious strains running through my stories. My camping out to support a homeless friend and his dogs is akin to Jesus or the Buddha turning their backs on the privileged, and mingling with the poor, the homeless, the downtrodden and the disenfranchised.

Of course there are many OTHER literary and religious influences running threads through my Brindlekin Tales to form an exquisite tapestry of the human saga through a queer perspective. But I’ll leave it to those analysts qualified to dig out the myriad influences and references in my opus, for most of them come unbidden to my mind, like a rush of epiphanies which deeper implications I myself do not often grok, except maybe with hindsight, after they’ve been written down. Otherwise I’m at a loss, so must rely on the Zekekrahlinology experts who have yet to be born or manifest on this earthly plane. But when they do, I assure you, Wattson, I’ll be hounding them with TONS of questions!

It is also a story of friendship, as our emails carry on through the Hallowed Halls of Time, to some day inspire millions…and then billions as my works expand through the solar system and beyond. Then trillions, quadrillions, etc. Off they will go to intermingle with sapient populations across the infinite and eternal cosmos, with Arwyn at the helm. Unless he decides he’d rather remain here on earth and continue his employment at Molly Stone’s…in which case I’ll keep in touch via hyperdiaperphone (an invention I may decide to claim as my own, though I will actually steal it from the future, it’s a teensy, paper-thin device you stick to one or the other butt cheek, whichever is shown to be the most receptive…but we’re getting way too far ahead here for our own, puny hominid brains to comprehend).

Now here’s a snapshot of the just boarded up ATM money pod, to get us BOTH back down to earth (though I hope not to stay here very long and get back to the Brindlekin Windmills of My Mind):

Click here for a larger view.

Well, THAT shrine to the homeless decorated with two incredible posters didn’t last very long, did it, Wattson? It will be interesting to see what kind of graffiti gets scrawled upon the plywood…or other posters/pictures. Maybe it will even be turned into a mural. But my main concern is that its closure may drive the rougher type around the corner and take over my little doggy-tent refuge. And then where would we go?

I’ve also been meaning to point out my gay-bible web host for quite some time now. Don’t you think it’s incredible they’ve kept their free service up for activists like me, for so many years now? As if it was set up mainly for yours truly, long before I even dreamed of putting up such a site. Part of the bodhisattva game plan, perhaps? I wouldn’t put it past them, good doctor.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Deek stuck me with the pups again! [FURTHERMORE]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2022 at 11:24 PM

> Oh, I wasn’t comparing you to Orwell literarily. Only that, like him, you’ve gone into the heart of the beast and told the truth about what you saw.

That’s what Julia Vinograd once said to me about her poems: “I just write what I see.” I was a bit offended at first because I thought, “And I don’t?” But she never really knew me as an author, our association was superficial…she had her clique and I wasn’t part of it, though came close on one special day at Cafe Mediterraneum, when her literary circle invited me to their table, absent Julia. And perused my homemade book, “The Fag Bible.”

I thought of another book two days ago, “Black Like Me,” where the Caucasian author made himself appear African-American to see the world from their eyes. In my case, since I’ve been sitting on the sidewalk with two little pups these days, it’s “Homeless Like Me.” At the equivalent of almost six books total by now, my Brindlekin Tales sure cover a lot of ground, eh, Wattson?

> I KNEW that ATM alcove wouldn’t last more than a few minutes. Can’t have the houseless be safe, dry and comfortable, now can we?

They should revolt: set up their tents smack dab on Market Street, block traffic. Or congregate behind my building and spread out up and down Noe and 16th Streets, have cookouts, play music, sing songs. Free speech, bro! I’m gonna see what Blvd. Joe thinks of that idea.

So, no Deek all day today, which makes this two days in a row he’s been invisible. But I’m SURE he’ll show up early tomorrow and ask for his Sunday allowance in advance. Maybe he feels bad about leaving me out there so many hours both days, and figured he’d give me a break. He needs to know a full day dog sitting is FINE with me, so long as it’s not two days back-to-back…every other day is an excellent compromise. I’m actually meeting people and they listen to my story, how I’m not homeless myself, but my friend who owns these dogs is. This can lead to increasing support for the pups and their owner.

I just uploaded Marshall’s reading of my Paris piece, inserting a digital narration of those two missing pages. And I did not erase where he says some text is missing, kept it in there ’cause it’s got character…and the narration suddenly jumps to a digital voice to read the missing text, then later Marshall takes over again.

The Paris tale is a 23-minute reading. So I’m gonna keep my KNYO pieces to a length of between 20 to 35 minutes max. I’ve gauged the size of my text files so I’ll know where to stop. My original plan was for him to read an entire chapter, but they’re too long for his show: 45 minutes on average, a few go as high as an hour-plus! So Marshall reading selections from my chapters works out very well. The next piece coming up on the airwaves is “A Scammer & A Scooter,” which delves into the trail of blood mystery. He’s gonna love reading that!

Unfortunately, because of two pages missing, he didn’t get to read this:


I hadn’t even begun to break fast with my usual toasted Orowheat whole wheat English muffin slathered with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! No rest for the wicked, even less for the good. Or as Marshall likes to say on his show whenever someone calls in: “What fresh hell is this?”

But he DID enjoy reading another reference about him, where I call him “Marshall McGee,” and his show “Memo of the Weird.”

Though my chapters are a multimedia experience, I’ve adjusted my writing so that the listener of Memo of the Weird doesn’t feel like she’s missing anything, though may be curious enough to check out my blog…and my Youtube channel. Providing them to Marshall in pdf format maintains the links to pics and videos, which he can just skip over, while those MCN subscribers who read them, can copy and paste the links to get the whole enchilada. Pdf is also nice because it displays all the special characters that do not come through correctly on the text-only MCN lists. And the printouts do the same, thus more accommodating for Marshall to narrate.

Obviously he’s enthusiastic about narrating my tales every week from now on…an excellent sign that others will spread the word, and my writings will fan out in various media formats. Assuming I become famous, I guess he’ll be going along for the ride…and you, too, Morticia! And (good gawd) Deek!

So my court case is still out there floating around in the ether, which is most intriguing as it ties in with my Brindlekin Tales and LGBT homeless activism. Let’s see how the pot mixes all that into a savory curry in the long run! Fuck the tofu.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Deek and pups showed up right when I was about to email you this missive. Will tell more tomorrow, other than he’s not behaving like a jackass.


Subject: One Alone
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 19, 2022 at 2:39 PM

[Wattson: If you’re pressed for time, jump down to “part 2” about the SFPD speaking with me, and “part 3” where I take the first step toward driving Deek outta my world, and possibly calling Animal Control to take the pups.]

Click here for a larger view.
Click here for a larger view.

Part 1: DOG-SITTING NOTES FROM YESTERDAY

First pic shows Deonte sleeping by the closed ATM nook, who’s only been on this block for less than two weeks, and found tenuous refuge in the ATM alcove until yesterday. Second shows him later that day, slumped down on a discarded office chair.

A young black fellow, couldn’t be more than 25, god only knows what HIS childhood was like, his family, schooling, and what depressing situation drove him onto the streets. Like so many houseless, he smokes meth, which helps blunt a harsh reality, makes life somewhat palatable. Deonte still smiles now and then, and when he does, it’s radiant. He still has all his teeth, and white as pearls. This is no lost soul. Not yet.

Once the ATM nook was boarded up by late afternoon yesterday, he showed up on my corner, seated in a cushioned swivel office chair by the bus stop and nodding his dreary head while the mellow, golden rays of the sun warmed him like a blanket. That blue sleeping bag you see cocooning him in the photo, he’s had since the first day I encountered him about a week ago.

Funny that I’m looking for exactly that kind of chair to replace the one that finally broke at the armrest, and became dangerously wobbly as a result! But he needs it more than I do, obviously, so I wouldn’t dream of talking him out of it with a 20 dollar bill. Which I can’t afford anyway, as my October budget is tighter than a dying man’s grip on his mistress’s blouse.

Here’s a 17-second video commentary I shot below my window and in front of the now shuttered ATM homeless refuge, which piece I sarcastically call “Ebony & Ivory” because it depicts two homeless vagrants sleeping alongside each other, one white, one black:

After recording that video I proceeded to Rosenberg’s but stopped when I saw torn up chicken meat and bones strewn beneath the bus stop’s floppy black seats. All those tiny, splintery bones that tempt little doggies to scarf them up and possibly choke to death, or pierce their stomach lining and bleed out! Right where Deek usually parks his furry charges.

“I’ll pick them up when I return with my coffee,” I thought to myself, but a moment later decided to clean everything up now. I used the torn, greasy paper bag that still held some chicken parts, to grab as many pieces as possible and toss them into the garbage bin. I did this two more times before the sidewalk was clean of all chicken debris, and was pleased to have possibly saved a dog’s life, not just Flaco and Lucky’s.

It was only several minutes after I arrived hovel with my java and was ready to toast an English muffin when Deek called up to my window, shopping cart and hounds in tow (plus his new wagon piled high with whatever). He wanted me to bring down his hefty speaker I had charged overnight, and watch the dogs and cart. I told him fine, but I’m nervous about the police telling me to move on, in light of the recent sweep and banning shopping carts. So maybe he could check up on me in a few hours. Well guess what, Wattson, and I’m sure you can because so predictable:

He scoffed at my concern and request, just as he did last night when I told him I can sit the pups every OTHER day, and no more. Considering he’s been having me watch over them for 10 to 12 hours at a stretch the last couple of times, so I’ll need the following day free to myself. Otherwise, I cannot possibly handle the stress.

“I DON’T WANNA HEAR IT,” he scowled. “You’re no friend, you don’t really care about the dogs, I’ll just take ’em with me now, screw you! Just watch my cart, then!”

“Now how can I do that,” I wondered, “sit by the window all day? Besides, you said there’s a war on shopping carts here in the Castro,”

Well, he grouched and whined and ridiculed me some more, but then handed me their leashes and told me to get everything set up for them, they already ate so just bring down some water, he’s gotta go now. So I escorted the mutts around the corner, tied them to a thin post in one of those movable metal fences the city provides for street maintenance, told them I’ll be right back and hurried upstairs. But before I could enter the building, Deek asked why behind I put them behind the building instead of at the bus stop?

I explained to him ’cause it’s more discreet in light of his shopping cart, and I’m gonna set up the tent, so the doggies can have a good rest. The foot traffic, other dogs walking by and the occasional lunatic along Market Street rob the pooches of their sleep, but just around the corner things are more peaceful. Then I dashed upstairs while he moved the cart to where the dogs were leashed, lodging it firmly against the fence by the curb, so it couldn’t start rolling down the hill by a mere push or tug, but remain firmly in that spot.

He griped and snarled a bit more before departing with the pups, wagon and cart, and called out to me as he traversed 16th Street:

“Thank you! Thank you!”

I looked up from where I was tethering the furry quadrupeds to the cart, and smiled back. Then ran upstairs to collect the tent, two tarps (one to place beneath the tent, the other to place within it) and what served for bedding (a large mattress cover and two doggy blankets, ’cause the wind was a bit chilly). Lucky and his sister immediately dashed into the tent soon as I untethered them, and curled up in happy balls of brindle. I then reattached their leashes, this time to the back of the cart, said I’ll be back in a minute and rushed hovel to toast a muffin and slather some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on the two halves. Having done that in record time, I slung my smaller backpack over a shoulder, snatched up two paper towels, my now-cold-but-still-savory coffee, and a folded sheet of cardboard to place in the tent for my own derriere (I now keep a supply of corrugated cardboard in my room to simplify matters), and hurried on down the stairs, and back to the hounds who remained at rest.

About two hours after we were settled in, a street maintenance crew drove up in a flatbed, while I had begun to secure the tent by tying cord around its fiberglass rods and the bars of a metal fence…for the wind was kickin’ up. But since the fences would soon be gone, I untied the cord, got the canines out and started to push the weighty shopping cart up the hill to a street sign with a thick, round post that could be used to lodge the cart against it.

It was then the wind blew stronger and caused the tent to roll over with all its blinkedy-blankety contents! So I quickly set the cart against that post, tied the pups to it as well, and ran down to grab the tent before it started to roll further down the sidewalk and onto Market Street. Meanwhile, the crew only removed the orange, plastic fences and drove away, leaving the metal ones alone…so I didn’t have to move my camp in the first place! It was a struggle setting the tent aright with all the contents removed and dumped at my feet, because I was fighting with the wind…and the hounds were thirty feet up the hill, barking a storm. I finally got everything back into place, including the dogs, and secured two legs of the tent to the same metal fence as before. Which really made a big diff, as the tent remained stable and did not blow over when a gust of wind pummeled it every few seconds. But one nice thing came out of this:

As I prepared to move my tent back to its original location, one of the workers told me not to resettle on a particular spot (which he pointed to about ten feet away) because they were soon going to raise the rectangular concrete slab to work on some cable boxes buried therein.

“Is where I am now, okay?” I queried.

“Yes, you’re okay there,” he replied with a smile.

It was this amicable exchange that impressed me, but I did not look forward to any jackhammers or other ungodly cacophony that may soon disturb our peace. However, they never returned and thus did not get around to any kind of raucous, subsurface activity.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to access the Internet on this side of the building, even though I had an excellent connection the first time I set up camp. But what I CAN do is find out the wifi password for Super Duper, as the burger joint extends all the way to the back of the building. The connection is strong, just not accessible to me yet. I’ll just order something on the cheap side tomorrow, maybe coffee and French fries, then open my Chromebook, key in the password and I’ll be good to go from now on.

It’s now 4;45 pm, and no one’s really bothered me, no gendarme has ordered me to move on, no crazy person has harassed me. I’ve been writing this piece on and off as I hunker down in my nylon hut and, once it’s completed, will rush back hovel to send it off to you, good doctor.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot: Scampy dropped by and fussed with the contents of Deek’s cart while arguing at the air. Though she was communicable and friendly with me. She was rummaged through all the items stashed there…mostly clothes and blankets. I told her please don’t take anything (as she is know to do to Deek while he’s sound asleep or away from his cart), since I am responsible for watching over his possessions. She said okay, and continued rearranging and folding the contents until everything looked impressively neat and orderly. I’m sure Deek will make some wild accusation about my allowing her to do that, but he can get fucked for all I care. That was just Scampy’s way of paying a friendly visit with an excuse to linger.

While she was rummaging through his things, I saw my missing puffy black jacket in there! So now I know what happened to it: I had folded it along with some blankets, around my arm and carried it upstairs. The jacket must’ve dropped to the ground by the tent, so Deek snatched it up rather than tell me I dropped something. Oh, well, I got it for free, so decided to place it back in the cart after using it for a butt cushion for awhile. Because I KNOW he’ll say he didn’t find it here, he traded for it, I’m making it up, I’m a lowdown rotten thief. Or something in that vein. Not worth touching the tar baby! Something funny happened this morning, that had to do with a new Bluetooth speaker he claims to have bought:

It was of good quality, hefty and cylindrical and could be held in one hand. He claimed it’s a $100 item and I believed him, because I know quality electronics. He of course asked me to charge it for a couple of hours, and so I did, plugged it into my charging hub and left it alone while I worked on another story, downloaded a bunch of Youtube videos by my favorite news commentators (Cyberdemon 531 is my favorite these days), and watch a few of them. When the clock struck midnight it was time to bring the speaker down to him, but when I bent down to unplug it (the charger is hidden in a box under my cot), the speaker lifted right up without any resistance! Which meant it was not plugged in!

“When did that happen?” I thought. “I’m sure I plugged it in, as a red light started blinking. I guess somehow I shifted the box with my foot, causing the USB plug to fall out? Or maybe when I fussed with some other cords later on, I inadvertently loosened it? Either conjecture didn’t add up, because the plug fit tightly in the first place. Be that as it may, I knew that the speaker may not have power for very long, in which case Deek might show up and holler below my window some time around 3 or 4 AM. Surrendering to the inevitable, I handed it back to him without mentioning anything about the plug mishap. But when he arrived this morning, the first thing out of his mouth was:

“My speaker got stolen already, dammit!”

Whew, close call there, eh, Wattson?

Part 2: SFPD INTERVENES

Deek has yet to return, and it’s now 8:16 PM…AND THE COPS HAVE BEEN OVER TWICE! First time around 4 PM, one policeman who said he’s getting complaints about this tent, that I need to move everything elsewhere, away from this area because it’s been problematic (referring here to the number of homeless in general, their disruptive behavior, and their shopping carts and tents, all a detriment to local business). I explained my situation, that I live in this building, and I’m watching the dogs for a homeless friend. If I move along now, he’ll freak out because he won’t know where to find me. He said he knows about Zach, and I should talk with him about finding another spot. I asked him can he recommend a better location, but he said no he can’t do that.

I also suggested he or another cop speak to Deek, as he’ll probably accuse me of making this up, he has bipolar mood swings which make it difficult to reason with him. Then he asked when I think he’ll return to pick up the dogs and his cart, so I shrugged my shoulders and said “Any time between now and midnight.”s

I also told him I’m a homeless advocate for many years, and write about them…and offered him my Brindlekin card, but he said no, he doesn’t need to see it. He was reasonable overall, even commended me for keeping my spot so tidy. I thanked him, and he departed.

So I returned to my tent and dog sitting, took them for a poopy walk, fixed their meal, then my own. All the while deliberating upon Deek’s return and how he’s gonna handle the bad news. Then, as evening fell, I lied down beside the doggies for a peaceful rest.

[Pause: as I was typing the paragraph above, some gentleman approached my tent and offered me half a roast chicken, which I gratefully accepted. I’ll let Deek have it. Fortunately, the mutts remained asleep, that is, they didn’t smell the chicken and go nuts.]

Now, about 20 minutes ago a bright light shone through my tent…it was the SFPD again! Same dude as before (let’s call him Douglas), and a female (let’s call her Sarah). Doug was a bit perturbed, said “I talked to you four hours ago, and you’re still here.”

“Yes,” I replied, “and I told you my friend may not show up till around midnight, like the last two times he did this to me.”

[Pause again. This time Cyrus popped on over, wondering when Deek will be back. I told him probably midnight. Then he scowled a bit and exclaimed that Deek has a clever mind and is industrious, and really should find a way to get off the fukkin streets, he can do it. Yeah, but he’s got a wicked temper, I replied. At any rate, as Cyrus took off for parts unknown, I told him if he sees Deek, let him know the police dropped by twice about getting rid of the tent, and they threatened to turn the dogs over to animal control if he’s not back by midnight.]

Sarah interjected, wanted to know more about my situation, so I told my story like I did to Douglas, but added the following observation:

That he is neglectful and marginally abusive to the dogs, and I am seriously thinking about reporting him for animal cruelty. He doesn’t love the dogs, he wants them to adore him, but he doesn’t adore them back. And now he’s kind of abandoning them by dumping them on me, more and more often. I love these dogs, but cannot take them in where I live.

“Sounds like you’re enabling him,” Douglas declared, “You should go your way and he go his, let HIM take care of the dogs by himself.” (Jeez, how’s THAT for brazen idiocy, Wattson? Is providing assistance for the houseless “enabling?” Or feeding the starving masses loaves and fish?)

“Well, this is a brand new situation,” I replied, “but I do let him get away with a lot of crap for the sake of these doggies, they’re wonderful.”

Sarah then asked: “When either your friend picks up the dogs, or we show up to surrender them to Animal Control, will you get rid of the tent?”

“Certainly!” I assured them both. I think they’re under pressure by local homeowners to get my tent off the sidewalk. So this has genuinely morphed into a war on the homeless. While I understand that people don’t want the homeless around them, I also understand it is their own narrow-minded prejudices against the poor that led to this in the first place! The chickens have come home to roost, and some of them live in tents.

So what it all came down to is, they’ll return by midnight, and if Deek hasn’t shown up by then, I’ll charge him with animal cruelty, and they’ll call Animal Control to pick them up. I made it clear to them I’m ready to stand up to Deek, but my main concern is the pups find a loving home. Sarah explained that Animal Control would give me a contact number that Deek can call to arrange a meeting where he could try to get them back.

“That would be a mistake, and not just because he’s homeless,” I said. “I’d rather they be adopted into a loving home. Deek should NOT get them back.”

I told her he’s too disorganized to do that anyway, doesn’t own a cell phone, and wouldn’t know where to go. In fact, he’ll most likely fly into a rage and start screaming in front of my building, and I’ll have to call non-emergency, then probably put a restraining order on him. He’ll go mad.

How casually Sarah talked about my informing him the dogs have been carted off to Animal Control, and here’s a number he can call. As if he’ll blithely accept the situation and simply say “okay.” I’ll have to lie a bit, tell him the cops threatened to take the dogs if he doesn’t show up by midnight and pick them up themselves…rather than tell him I’ve charged him with animal abuse.

But I did inform the cops I’ve come to an impasse with him, he’s hopeless, and I’m grateful that they’ve intervened. After all, better the police call Animal Control than yours truly! It’s horrible all the way around, as the best solution is nonetheless a sad and scary one.

Okay, it’s now almost 10:30 PM and I’m sitting by my work station. Deek returned a half hour ago and when I told him the bad news, he berated me like nobody’s business!

“You should have said NOTHING to the cops!”

“You should have told them they’re YOUR dogs!”

“You should have said there’s no law against pitching a tent!”

“Now I gotta go into hiding for weeks, lay low, you got the cops after me!”

“You’re a good-for-nothing snitch!”

He also conjured up a tall tale how he had a backpack stashed in that cart, containing $400 worth of bud, but now he’s screwed. I told him there was NO backpack that I could see, and he replied by saying why was I snooping through his stuff.

“I wasn’t,” I explained, “but when Scampy showed up and started to rearrange and fold everything, I watched with a hawk’s eye to make sure she didn’t steal anything. And there was NO backpack.”

“Why would I make this up?” he retorted in faux outrage. And the argument went on for some minutes longer (“Scampy’s not a friend, she steals from my cart all the time!”) before I managed to extricate myself from his web of lies and proceed hovelward.

So I guess tonight puts an end to my tent adventures, and spending any more time with My Lovely Brindlekin. Here’s the final video that closes the rather short but insightful chapter:

Part 3: NOTES FROM THIS MORNING

Soon as I woke up I checked to see if Deek and dogs were still crashed out on 16th Street, behind my building, by peering out the hallway window. Nope, all gone. However, it turned out he had simply moved around the corner to the front of Hotel California North.

First thing I saw when I stepped out for coffee was Flaco eating chicken bones. Apparently they’re from the half chicken I gave Deek last night that some kind fellow gave me. So I ran up, said:

“No, Deek, don’t let them eat chicken bones, they can splinter in their mouth and choke them!” Whereupon I bent down to collect what few bone scraps remained before she scarfed them down, too. Deek didn’t say a word.

Awhile later he called me down to stash an extra pair of shoes for him. It was a typical, damp and chilly San Franshitsco morning. Lucky & Flaco were curled up nearby, but the blanket cover didn’t reach beyond her brother, so she was shivering. I told him to please keep her warm, she’s shaking from the cold right now. Though on second thought her shivers may be solely due to his screeching rhetoric.

“SHUT UP, I DON’T CARE! SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Need I say who said that?

Flaco then attempted to jump onto his lap (probably to comfort him, she’s that sweet natured) but he knocked her back down…not THAT hard, more like a shove…just the same, it was abuse in my eyes. I told him he always should be kind to his dogs, no matter what. But again:

“I DON’T CARE, SHUT UP! GET OUTTA MY FACE!”

He then went off on a stupid diatribe how he can’t handle the dogs anymore, because he can’t get anything done with them around 24/7. And I’m a piece of shit for not watching them anymore.

I told him that’s not true, he’s playing the drama queen victim, and if he really loves these dogs he’d find a way around any obstacles. He adopted those dogs, there is no reason for his hatred towards them.

“The kinder you are to the pups, the better your life will be,” I iterated for the umpteenth time. “But you don’t really believe that, do you?”

“SHUT UP, I’M SICK OF HEARING YOU SAY THAT! YOU’RE DISGUSTING, YOUR A NASTY OLD SCUMBAG, AND WORD WILL GET AROUND, I’LL SEE TO THAT. YOU WON’T BE SAFE STEPPIN’ OUTTA YOUR ROOM, WAIT AND SEE!”

Another vagrant dropped by to hang out with him, and he’s a more stable, mellowing influence…which is exactly what the doctor ordered in Deek’s case this morning. He’s still out there, and I can see him speaking calmly with My Trickster. And he DID arrive early enough to witness all of Deek’s verbal attacks. At any rate:

He really tore into me, accused me of not truly caring for the doggies, he’s gonna tie ’em up on a post out front and leave ’em there. I told him if he does that I’ll have Animal Control take them and report him to the police for cruelty. His visitor sat there calmly, didn’t speak a word as Deek continued harassing me, with a whole litany of false and horrid accusations. I warned him if he screamed outside my building again, I’ll call the cops. He did, so *I* did.

Am still waiting for the SFPD to show up, even though he’s finally departed and took the mutts with him (Thank god? I’m not sure anymore if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.) But before he took off, he hollered out: “Zeke, Zeke Krahlin, I’m leaving the dogs here!” Meanwhile our building’s maintenance man was outside again to further
work on the ATM alcove…and probably witnessed Deek’s behavior. “That’s just great,” speaking sarcastically here.

Deek called me outside one final time, claiming I didn’t charge the speaker, it’s already down to 20 percent. I told him I don’t know what to say because it displayed a full charge by the time I got up, and I left it plugged in until he asked me to bring it downstairs. Then he flew off into another tirade, so I simply waved a hand at him in disgust, and returned hovel to complete this missive.

By the way, the woman who picked up my non-emergency call was awfully kind, said she’s a dog lover too, and thanked me for caring so much for these pooches living on the streets. I told her thank you immensely, I’ve tried everything I possibly can to turn this into a happy ending, but he keeps obstructing me every step of the way with paranoid accusations. She said she understands perfectly, and reminded me those dogs were his emotional support. For me, too, I replied, but when he turns on me with threats of violence, that’s where I draw the line. She told me if he harasses me any further, to call 911.

“Really?” I said. “I can call 911 at this point, since the crisis has accelerated?”

She said yes by all means…and wished me success in this difficult scenario.

Now, let’s drop the asshole for a moment so I can tell you about a sweet dream I had last night:

It starred my quasi-fascist neighbor, Moe Fleisher, who as you know played an enemy of mine (because anti-homeless) and recently passed on. In the dream he was descending the stairs from the third floor with his two papillons (both of which have long ago died, and owned in separate decades. The first one, Skellington the Third (or “Skelly”), he kindly shared with me, so I guess he’s not ALL that bad a person.

He looked young and healthy (he died at 62 and looked pretty awful), though still overweight, and gave me a warm smile as I stepped out the door to my hovel. He then approached me and laid a gentle hand on my shoulder, and spoke reassuring words that lit up my world.

What exactly those words were I can’t recall, but his impression was of great kindness. I then smiled back, said some friendly words in exchange (again, not recalled)…and that’s when I woke up. At 4:30 AM to be precise. I felt joy for the dream, taking it as a sign that my present fiasco will soon be resolved in the most positive of ways, then rolled over and resumed my slumber.

– Zeke K-Holmes

ADDENDUM

And now my phone’s dying, because it no longer charges! For the past several weeks it would only do “slow charge” even though I’m using the charger and cord it came with, which should say “AC charge” on the screen. I tried different cords, different chargers, but no cigar. THE TIMING IS TERRIBLY IRONIC in light of my need to keep in touch with the police…as well as a VERY tight budget this month. Nonetheless, I ordered a $29 Tracfone model a few minutes ago, will arrive tomorrow. But I’m freakin’ scared that setting up with “keep the same number” may have glitches in it, or delay the new setup for god only knows how long, this is the first time I’m switching to a new phone. And Tracfone is not known for its seamless service, to put it politely. Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and use the new number it comes with, just to play it safe. Though I’m not sure if my service payment will carry over. My Moto E has only been lightly used, which makes this loss especially egregious.


The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 18)

October 19, 2022

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19r]

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Subject: Clean as a grubby whistle!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2022 at 2:22 PM

This morning upon returning hovel with my Rosenberg java, I observed that the ATM nook was strewn with garbage, along with a new chair that was large and plush enough for BOTH pups to share. So I decided to clean up the area after breaking fast. So an hour later I stepped out to do just that but, lo and behold, someone ELSE had already taken care of the dirty business! See first pic.

At first I thought maybe some ambitious vagrants came by to make their humble oasis presentable enough, that residents who live close by would not complain, with the city winding up having it caged off. I’ve seen Scampy doing cleanup of this or that homeless encampment more than once, and she’s done a spectacular job each and every time! Usually with the help of one or two other indigents. But maybe it was the Castro Cleanup Patrol that you see daily with their wheeled bins, brooms and cleaning rags.

Sure enough, when I looked around I saw one of them nearby, who probably took care of the ATM alcove while I was upstairs noshing on an English muffin and guzzling down a banana smoothie. See second pic.

Nice thing is: the plush chair is still in that corner, with the added bonus of two NEW plush pillows! At any rate, with or without anyone’s kind intervention, I myself will participate in cleaning up whatever debris the homeless may leave behind, without waiting for someone else to do it.

I actually did that for the first time yesterday, after Deek and friends departed. To my surprise, they left it spotless, so all *I* had to do was remove several cardboard sheets. That little area is right in front of the Super Duper fast food joint with outdoor seating, so I think it’s good policy to make sure no debris is left behind, to keep the goodwill flowing and not motivate them to push vagrants away.

Same thing goes for the ATM depot and the area behind the building…all long established hangouts for the homeless to gather now and then. Where would I watch the doggies if indigents were banned from around my building? I’d be too far removed from my hovel to tend to my own needs and be back within minutes, such as preparing a bite to eat and using the restroom…not to mention fixing the pups’ meal and bringing them water. My conclusion:

I should not worry so much, as some other equally good option always steps in to replace the old one.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Deek has not shown up yet today, to have me sit the pups. I appreciate the break, but I suspect he’ll arrive later, maybe by evening. At least because he’ll need his devices charged, if not the mutts watched. But at any rate, they now have a cushy easy chair to rest upon next time they visit!


Subject: Just got off my shift…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 14, 2022 at 10:34 PM

…dog watching, of course. From 3:30 to 9:45 PM. Such long hours, I should demand a raise! Pleasant day, Boulevard Joe showed up 20 minutes before Deek; excellent conversation. Deek was mellow, he’s out there now with two other visitors, one of ’em Scampy…and the doggies are comfortable in their plush easy chair. So:

Five pics of the dogs, and one of Matt who I’ve never met before. Asked if he could sit down, I said of course and handed him a square of cardboard for his posterior. We talked a little, then he lit up a bubble (after first inviting me to join, but I said no thanks, go ahead it doesn’t bother me). He soon went fast asleep. Nice fellow. So there’s a pic of him, too. Deonte was there as well, snoozing in the opposite corner all day long.

Oh, good news: I asked Joe if he’s seen Arwyn lately and he said yes, he’s working at Molly Stone’s these days! I’m so glad for him that he is. Not that I’m gonna surprise him by showing up (it’s a ritzy-titsy overpriced supermarket anyway), but he’s still in the neighborhood is what counts. In fact, he took a whack at the parking sign out my window just last night!

Even though others have taken to slamming that sign with their fist (especially the Hohokum jerks), I always check to see if it was Arwyn. This time around, it was! I watched him walk up Market Street towards the Bay until I could no longer see him. He did NOT look back to see if I was there at the window…why should he since I’m sure he knew I was. Fine with me, because I knew that he knew that I knew, just the same. It is HIS unique way of letting me know he’s around and watching over me in his own obfuscating style.

I can’t wait till he finally sees me sitting out there with the hounds! THAT should be an interesting encounter; he might even think I’m homeless now. What a hoot.

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Re: Just got off my shift..
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 12:44 AM

> That alcove is great!

It’s become an accidental shrine to the homeless. SO much nicer minus the machines, and the elitist rabble they attracted!

> And the dogs look very cozy, comfy and happy.

After a few hours of them sleeping there, I took the pups for a little poopy walk, up and down the block. Apparently, they only needed tp pee, because when I turned them around to proceed to the other end of the block, they tugged on their leashes when we got near the alcove…they were dying to climb back into their cozy nest, so I let them.

> Those other pics you sent, of the alcove with its posters, are especially compelling.

Yes, striking, bold, radiant! They have transformed the ATM nook into something far better because meaningful. Though Blvd. Joe made this excellent observation:

“But they’re not from here, looks like it could be Los Angeles…and they’re all Latinos. There should be pictures of the LOCAL homeless, of various ethnicities: black, white, Asian, Native American AND some Latinos.”

I told him i agree, but this is a good statement nonetheless…and that I’ll contact Frigga and suggest she make it her pet project: shoot pics of the local indigents and paste their photos on the ATM wall.

> It’s chilly and damp up here, can’t be too much different down there. Hope you are warm and dry.

The weather’s actually quite fair today, not at all chilly and damp. Been like that for several days, now. But tonight had a sad ending anyway:

Deek had moved his things and the mutts to the bus stop and sat there for fifteen minutes or so before leaving the neighborhood. But while they were still there, a skateboarder came careening by, the dogs leapt, barking and pulling on their leashes until Deek’s bicycle (laden with large bags tied to it) came crashing down. Fortunately, Flaco & Lucky were not injured, but I saw Deek examining Lucky’s snout to see if the skateboard had struck him there. The skateboarder had stopped and was most polite to Deek, and apologized.

So many times I’ve told him to NOT tether the pooches to his bike unless it’s laid down on the sidewalk first. He finally started to do that several months back, but recently he’s returned to his old habit of tying the leashes to the handlebars while the bike’s standing. And when I tell him that’s shameful and disgusting to do that, as if he WANTS the dogs to get hurt (and I will, just as I have before), he’ll scream at me and walk away. NOTHING gets resolved! Then he has the nerve to demand I give him money in advance.

I have never seen any of his friends press him on this, and I don’t know why. Maybe if I talk to Scampy, she’ll listen and get on his case. I’ll bring it up to Wes, too.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: He’s trying to terrorize me!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 12:51 PM

Before I get into it, I want to note that my “just got off my shift” previous missive was composed in large part beFORE the skateboard incident. But I had yet to send it off before it occurred. Thus, what I had planned to be a celebratory piece was poisoned at the last moment by another one of Deek’s fiendish machinations. But as it turned out, it didn’t stop there, for he called up to my window some hours later–2:50 AM to be precise–asking me to bring down his charged devices. Foolish me, I had assumed he’d return in the morning around 8:30 to retrieve them!

That Bluetooth speaker is HEAVY, around 35 pounds, so being rudely awakened at such a wee hour, then lugging it downstairs on its tiny wheels–thunk, step, thunk, step, etc.–was NOT appreciated, to say the least. His other devices (smartphone and two battery backups) I could easily pocket, so no problem there…except that HE WOKE ME UP from a deep sleep to get them! Soon as I reached the front gate, but before opening it, he groused: “C’mon, hurry up!” Once he took the small items and grasped the speaker handles the bullshit hit my ears:

“You shorted me twenny, you still owe me fitty dollah for Sunday, I know you have it, so bring it!” (Meaning the Sunday that is tomorrow, just so you won’t get confused by Deek’s intentional obliqueness.)

“Nope, I don’t,” I replied in a stoic fashion, as I knew his game was to try to make me erupt in anger. “I already GAVE you $50 for Sunday in advance, which was on Wednesday. Next payday is Thursday, and you’ll just have to wait. No more advance anything, you’re out of control. And no, I didn’t short you.”

I then took the opportunity to tell him I saw the skateboard mishap, and the bike crashing down:

“You could’ve injured those sweet little dogs, because you lashed them to the bike when it was standing! You KNOW skateboarders come by there a lot!”

In the middle of my admonishment he walked away towards the bus top, where bike and pups were parked, and called back to me:

“I’m tempted to tie ’em up to this pole and leave ’em there for YOU to worry about! Or just leave ’em there anyway, even if you don’t!”

I coolly responded with a shrug of my shoulders: “In that case I’ll have NO choice but to call the SPCA, tell them two dogs were left abandoned by my building, and to please pick them up. And have you arrested for animal cruelty. DON’T push it, Deek!”

In the midst of this argument (no screaming, though, he kept an even keel, voice-wise) he also blurted:

“You even said I could GET a good pair of shoes for eighty dollah, I didn’t need a hunner!”

As if my saying that (after the fact, mind you) were some sort of “proof” I didn’t give him the full hundred. Dummy. Well, not so much dummy as conniver, as he knows exactly what he’s doing. For no matter how flimsy his argument (and he KNOWS it is), he’ll fling it to the wall and hope it sticks. He’ll try to trip you up with a barrage of accusations so fast you can’t possibly debunk more than one or two before he resumes his bratty blather. So my tactic is just to stand there and listen, then when he’s done I simply say, “What a load of crap,” or something similar. I just don’t deal with it, as tar babies are best left untouched.

I stood at the gate the whole time, leaving it ajar until I decided conversation closed, fuck you and I need my sleep. Just when I turned and the gate clacked shut behind me, guess who I saw crossing the street towards the further end of my building:

Scooter.

While Deek was settled in the bus stop stall, smoking a cig, and the hounds were lying down on a large shag-carpet remnant on the sidewalk right behind him. (I wonder where he got that, it’s actually nice. And he had another just like it, same beige color, about two weeks ago!) Again, the pups were tethered to a standing bicycle, though tilted this time in such a way as to be secured from crashing down.

“Jebus fukkin christ, what next…the two are gonna team up against me?” I thought as I climbed back up the stairs. One blood stain, by the way, could not be entirely removed, and is still visible there on the left wall close to the first landing. Still quite distinct; the wall’s rough surface in that spot obviously stymied any attempt by our maintenance fellow, Victor, to completely scrub it out. “Out damned spot! Out I say!” Here’s a pic I just took a minute ago:

Click here for a larger view.

Soon as I got back hovel, I peered out the window to see Scooter walking back and forth below Karlsen’s window, whistling up and calling to him every two minutes or so. But in a little while, he moseyed on down towards Deek, and the dogs started to bark. He walked around to the other side to distance himself from them, and asked Deek for a smoke. Whereupon Scooter, now with a lit Marlboro between his fingers, returned to the far end of the building to resume his meth-and-vodka mating call.

This went on for about ten more minutes, towards the end of which time Deek turned on his speaker and blasted rap music you could probably hear a block away. So you can imagine how loud it was for me (and all the other residents on this side facing Market Street)! Scooter finally departed to catch a late-night bus (thank god) and I wondered how I’m gonna get Deek to quiet down.

“He’s trying to roust me outta my bed, get me to step outside and beg him to turn it off,” I thought. “And then another argument would ensue. So that’s not gonna happen.”

Meanwhile, some tweeking fool meandered by, which set the mutts up for another barking spree.

“Shut up, Flaco,” Deek yelled several times, his voice louder than her barks. “Shut up!”

Now I ask you, Wattson, is he being kind to these angels? Certainly not, because all he had to do was bring the poochies to sit BY him, atop a comfy nest he can easily arrange. They’d quiet down in a jiff. Those poor darlings, my heart goes out to them, and it looks like their master is conjuring up an even WORSE scenario to thwart my friendship with them, than he’s ever done before!

I finally broke down and dialed the SFPD non-emergency number, to report a noise disturbance. They answered the phone promptly this time, and said they’ll send someone out soon as they can, short of other emergencies that might intrude. I thanked them and she told me if anything changes, please call them back. Well it did, only several minutes later while I lay back down and focused on some scary tale playing from my smartphone set beside the pillow. I don’t really have a pillow, by the way, thanks to this ongoing bedbug fiasco…instead, I use an old winter jacket, rolled up. Quite comfortable, actually, better than a conventional pillow. Go tell THAT to the “MyPillow Man!”

To my relief, the rap fest suddenly ceased a scant four minutes later. So I got up again to look outside, and saw Deek and mutts ambling down the sidewalk towards Castro Street. So I redialed non-emergency which did NOT immediately pick up this time around, but I didn’t have to wait long nonetheless. Told them to cancel my complaint, as the offender just took off, and all was pacific once again.

It was close to 4 AM by now, and soon as I laid my weary old body back down in a blissful state of mind (anticipating the undisturbed repose I surely deserve), a Recology garbage truck came rumbling up to the bus stop, and spent ungodly minutes emptying the trash bins out there. Think CLUNK! CRASH! THUNK! RATTLE RATTLE! about a hundred times in a row, right in your ear.

It was nothing short of a dopamine high when I heard the truck finally thunder down the street and the night fell silent once again. But that only lasted a measly ten minutes or so before a humongous delivery truck parked right beneath my windows and kept the engine running at a roaring decibel while the driver moved palettes of goods from his vehicle, and wheeled them into Super Duper Burgers. Seven slow, excruciating trips in all before he slammed the back door down into its locking groove, like a garage door on rollers, and took off.

Approaching 4:30 AM, I rolled over and focused on the horror podcast still whispering from my phone (though I had missed the first six parts) as I drifted off to sleep, at last. But a short while later some screeching crack head made his presence known all along this block of Market Street, preaching hellfire, brimstone, the sins of faggotry and flying saucers, that we may all heed his dire warnings and not boink him in the ass without first being anointed by The Sacred Hooby-Heeby.

The bane of insomnia has not been my lot for the past several years, thank Cthulhu, with rare exception. But damned if I could get any sleep for the remaining hours till daylight! So I arose from my cot an hour earlier than usual, 7:30 AM instead of 8:30, performed my morning ablutions, then strolled on over to Rosenberg’s for that bracing, golden brown elixir. With a cholesterol clogging shot of Half ‘N’ Half and two packets of Sweet ‘N’ Low. Ah, Avalon! Belenus is in the clouds and all’s right with The Isles!

Does not my Bodhisattva Premise teach me never to get caught up in any negative emotions or fantasies? And in this case the Demon of Worry threatens to rend my spirit asunder. Dwelling on worst case scenarios such as Scooter hooking up with Deek, or my Cajun trickster trying to intimidate me or cause me to react in anger, or his dumping those furry angels for good, are poisonous concoctions that one should never quaff. For instead of quenching one’s thirst it will quench soul sucking vampires that will surround and suffocate me if I give in to delusional nightmares. So:

‘Tis another loverly day in Paradise, count your blessings, Zeke, and trust that your confounding amigo shall come to his senses (at least in part) and show you a modicum of respect.

I presume Marshall McGee of “Memo of the Weird” read my Pallas piece last night, and eagerly anticipate hearing it once I download the podcast this evening. Though, since I have no idea WHEN he read that tale in his six-plus hour show, it may be a day or two or three by the time I reach that passage of prosaic epiphany. I can’t imagine what his side comments/wisecracks will be, or his concluding words…but I’m sure they’ll be a delight to my ears and to my heart. He’s a superb narrator if nothing else!

By the way, I got an even BETTER chair than the previous two. This one’s made entirely of brushed aluminum, like the ones Super Duper uses for outdoor seating. Though before anyone accuses me of theft, let it be known I came across it in the ATM alcove two doors down, where apparently some indigent picked one up and transported it there. A happy though unintended boon for yours truly, or perhaps one of my bodhisattva guardians’ wish to please me?

I vote the latter! Maybe this was the chair that Frigga sat upon!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Chair #2 has been returned to the spot I found it: again, the ATM nook. Just like chair #1. It’s a small world after all!


Subject: 3 Doggy Videos from Yesterday
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 2:00 PM

All 20 seconds or less:

This is Flaco attempting to fluff up a discarded easy chair someone put there.
Flaco loves boxes…she’ll dive into any she comes across in a flash. You can’t stop her!
Lucky is such a sweet boi…look at that noble, darling face in repose!

Re: He’s trying to terrorize me!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 2:37 PM

> He’s bullying you horribly. Waking you up at almost 3 AM, making a racket, making demands, extorting money out of you, holding the dogs hostage…really heinous.

He thinks he’s kewl, playing gangsta. But it’s gonna backfire on him horribly, unless he shapes up fast. I’ve already warned him more than once, he’s going in a bad direction. He’s got a hook into a “perfect excuse” to harangue me constantly, the so-called “Twenny Dollah Gyp.” But if it weren’t that, he’d find something else; he’s constantly scheming up new ways to malign me. Boy do I need a spy cam now, to record all this. But alas, I can’t afford one, and besides, they’re cheaply made and will fail on you within a month or two. I can’t just hold a camera up to him, smartphone or otherwise. Thus, my best option is simply to not worry and trust the Fates. They have never failed me.

He has tried to set me up many times before, but since I held my ground calmly (and not in anger) he’s backed off each time. I’m being tested once more, per my Bodhisattva Premise. I can see Arwyn getting involved with me again, thanks to the doggies…he’ll fall in love with them in an instant. And once he witnesses some of Deek’s malicious pranks, Arwyn’s certainly the one who can set him straight.

Deek hasn’t shown up yet today, I thought he would. Maybe later, though I think he could be staying away until his next pay day approaches.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Scrumptious Repast
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 4:52 PM

Someone left this tasty meal atop the newspaper stand on the corner of Noe & 16th. I opened the cardboard container, delighted to discover the fragrant contents within! It’s now back hovel, warmed over and ready for me to dig in, after first removing the food from the container, dumping it into a dish, and taking this snapshot. The pie slices on top are actually some kind of egg dish (fritata?), and there’s roasted potato wedges, bell pepper strips and onion. All kicked up a notch with spices and herbs. I’m enjoying it right now: flavorful and healthy! What a nice way to warm up a foggy, chill afternoon. I splashed a little balsamic vinegar over it: taste bud ecstasy!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: Scrumptious Repast
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 15, 2022 at 5:55 PM

> Damn, that makes me hungry!!!!!

They know how to cook, whoever they are…I have no idea which eatery it came from. Perhaps the Mediterranean Cafe almost right across the newsstand. Though it could be from any number of other spots within a short walking distance. I like to think it was a gift from my guardians to give me a little boost of good cheer after last night’s ordeal. Not just food for the body, but for the soul as well. True comfort!

– Zeke K-Holmes


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Subject: Doggies love their tent!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 16, 2022 at 1:04 PM

I asked Deek if it’s okay to camp behind the building again, since the sidewalk there has recently been washed down and scrubbed. He said okay…and I guess he agreed in part because two houseless dudes at the ATM depot were kinda sketch and the dogs would bark too much and not get their needed rest. After moving the mutts, his cart and cumbersome two-seat bicycle around the corner, I realized now is a good time to try out the tent. Very pleased with the results!

First pic is the general scene.

Second pic shows the tent with the screen zipped up. Since the pooches’ leashes are not tied to anything, this is a perfect solution for whenever I have to return hovel for a few minutes.

Third pic is a closeup of Flaco & Lucky, in dreamy bliss in their new lodgings.

Excellent news to report about Deek, but details must wait until this evening, when Deek has collected the canines and I’m back indoors. Just thought I’d tell you now, so you wouldn’t worry after the ugly scenario I described in a recent missive. It’s all kewl now.

Well, gotta get back to the pups! I just reached the part in Marshall’s latest podcast where he begins reading my Pallas tale…just after hour 3. So I’m gonna lie down in the tent with my feet stickin’ out and the pups by my side, and enjoy the narration.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Sitting in my tent right now, typing on my Chromebook…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 16, 2022 at 8:53 PM

…and I even have Internet! Someone who lives in the back of this building also uses Xfinity, so I piggybacked on it. This is a nice feature they provide: any Xfinity customer can use another customer’s wifi, and it’s very secure, you can’t access another person’s activity, nor can they yours. This feature can be turned off, but most keep it on…it’s an opt-out feature. The connection is not great, but quite doable.

Deek returned an hour ago, delighted to see my “pup” tent…and has not even suggested he sneak inside it with me. Right now I’m sitting in the tent with my legs sticking out and the mutts curled up beside me. Deek and a friend he said he’s known for 10 years, “Old Joe,” are sitting a few feet away, smokin’, drinkin’ Arizona tea, noshing and chewing the fat. It was nice to see none of his comrades added alcohol to the mix. Deek himself is an unrepentant teetotaller. He told me Old Joe is part of his street rapping group:

“He has a great singing voice that imitates the sound of an old radio. He used to join in on choruses while in prison, and add his vocal talent as background harmony.”

Boulevard Joe visited awhile, too, for around a half hour. I don’t know what they talked about, as I was listening to more of Marshall’s podcast with earbuds. Deek said I could go back indoors if I’d like, he’ll just be hangin’ here for a bit. Offered to help me knock down the tent, but I said not necessary, I can do it easily myself, and I’d like the doggies to have their tent while he’s still here.

Then he wants to hop somewhere else for about an hour, if I don’t mind being outside longer. I said no, that’s fine. I can go upstairs right now and kick back if I want, and Deek knows not to allow anyone inside the tent, it’s just for the dogs. He’s mellow tonight, said he took some shrooms today. Wish he’d take them more often. Regarding our meetup this morning:

He backed off of his false accusations and crazy talk, apologized…said he was on some “crazy shit” last night. I advised him to stop talking to other people about our money arrangement, especially when he tells them I ripped him off. It could cause trouble for me (and him), and it’s really no one’s business.

“Apology accepted,” I said. “But you could do a lot of damage in my life by flying into a rage and badmouthing me, before you come to your senses and apologize. I trust this shitty kinda behavior will be a thing of the past at this point.”

At any rate, I had a lovely, peaceful day, and got to hear Marshall read my Pallas tale. Unfortunately, he skipped two whole pages of it, because for some reason the text was missing! He prints everything out he intends to read, and I think what happened was those two pages slipped out of his folder. Nonetheless, I thanked him in an email for another superb narration, after showing him those two missing pages in the pdf link he used to print out my tale.

He’ll probably narrate it all over again, just for me, so I can upload it to my blog…like he did for my “Zeke’s Last Supper” parody, where he mistook the word “lilies” for “dildos.” Remember that? But if he doesn’t follow through, I can always read those two pages myself to an audio file, and insert them into his narration. Just for plot continuity, if nothing else.

I feel like a new world is unfolding. And I’m not even on shrooms!

– Zeke K-Holmes


Click here for a larger view.
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Subject: Deek took forever to return…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 18, 2022 at 11:03 AM

…but it was a lovely night anyway. After commiserating with various street amigos, he finally went for a ride on his bike. Said he’d be back within an hour, but it turned out to be THREE! That is: I was out there in my tent until 12:30 AM. Longest pup-sitting ever: almost twelve hours, because it began around 1:30 PM! By the time the clock struck 11, I decided to purchase a bag of popcorn in lieu of the supper I missed. I hurried upstairs to slice up some sharp cheddar cheese and pour soda into a cup…then enjoyed the snack outside, happy that the doggies slept in comfort and warmth. And that Marshall has resumed narrating my unique, true stories.

Pic 1 shows the nighttime view from inside my tent.

Pic 2 shows the spot where I had camped out, after I departed…what a contrast, talk about the neighborhood going to the dogs (so to speak, because its shabby appearance is due to LACK of dogs). I don’t know WHO’S in that blue tent, but I did see Deek setting it up…apparently for someone else because I saw him this morning crashed out front. Maybe his “ex,” Scampy, is in there. I saw a foot sticking out, but it could be any old waif.

Pic 3 shows Deek and his furry charges this morning when I stepped out to Rosenberg’s.

Pic 4 is the same scene from a different angle.

Upon returning from Rosenberg’s, from across 16th Street I saw a Super Duper employee waking Deek up ’cause it’s time to go. By the time I reached his spot, he was sitting up in a dreary stupor, not aware I was standing close by until I addressed him:

“Good morning! I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, so you’ll need to free me up then; I’ll be back by 1 PM.”

This was NOT true, Wattson, but I didn’t care to be teased about getting my next covid booster shot at Safeway. Not only would he scoff, but possibly impose dog sitting on me just the same, claiming covid is a government lie, I don’t need to get that shot, it’ll probably kill me. Calling this a “doctor’s appointment” is something he’d more likely respect.

He looked up at me, still in a pleasant mood from the shrooms…but about eight 1-dollar bills lay strewn on the sidewalk, to his left. I pointed at the GWs and said:

“Pick up that money, you don’t want anyone stealing it!”

He turned to look, exclaimed “oh jeez” and stuffed them in a pocket as I said “Well then, I’m going now, I hope your day goes well,” and gave the pups a few pats before returning hovel. It’s now almost 10 AM and he’s still out there. I’m sure they’ll roust him again soon, this time with some urgency.

Last night when Deek and his little gathering sat by my tent, sharing the bubble pipe and chatting away, at one moment he turned to me and apologized:

“I usually keep this stuff away from you, sorry!”

“No, that’s fine,” I replied, “so long as my tent remains drug-free.”

Something funny he said to me about Old Joe who is an elderly African-American, heavyset and fat-faced with jowls and impressive bags under his eyes:

“He’s not as scary as he looks.”

There was obviously a warm exchange between the two, aided along by mutually fond memories of New Orleans, the Ninth Ward in particular. But this is all pre-Katrina, mind you. Though I mostly kept to myself, partly hidden by the tent flap while tapping away on my Chromebook. Deek kindly included me in his humble conclave now and then, by asking or showing me something, or offering me a snack or a drink. I guess I should consider it a great compliment finally to be included in the inner sanctum of a group of meth addicted street folks as “one of us.” Some of whom are no doubt bodhisattva guardians feigning that role.

In fact, Boulevard Joe appears to have even greater respect for me, now that I’m hangin’ on the streets for the doggies’ sake. Perceived as a result by the “normals” as a houseless person myself, and all the crap that goes with it. I told him how the other day our token Castro tour guide and her gaggle came upon me and the pups occupying the ATM nook for the afternoon.

“She hates the homeless,” he interjected. “She thinks it ruins her presentation, and cuts into potential profit off her gay history walk.”

“I know, and I felt it drilling into me,” I affirmed. “Gave me a scowl before resuming her lecture, like I’m just another useless piece of trash disgracing the heart of Gay Mecca!”

We had a good laugh at that, then discussed other matters relevant to the homeless cause. Never before has Joe spent this much time speaking with me. I seem to have impressed him that much by my latest outreach project, dog-sitting for a vagabond.

By the way, Blvd. Joe said homeless is a biased word, because we have a home, San Francisco, not just not a house.

“Oh I agree,” I replied. “I knew the person who first coined the word ‘houseless.’ It was Timmy back in the nineties. Then the new word took off from there. Sadly, he came down with AIDS and had to return to his fundamentalist family in Alabama. I also told him:

“I use other terms, too, such as ‘vagrant,’ ‘indigent,’ ‘waif,’ ‘hobo’ and so on, in my tales. But with the intent of elevating them, to hopefully expunge their seedy aspect still attached to such words.

Cyrus also showed up last night, for just a moment. “Where’s Boulevard Joe, I’m lookin’ for him!”

Deek said he’s probably up 16th Street a few blocks, but maybe at the club. I have no idea what he means by “the club,” but there ya go. I poked my head through the tent’s flap and called to him: “Hey, Cyrus!” But he kinda brushed me off with a lackluster “Hi, Zeke,” and no smile…he really seemed eager to track down Joe!

Soon as Cyrus took off, Deek turned to me and explained: “Boulevard Joe’s the big man on the block these days, so everyone’s looking for him!” Meaning of course that he’s wheelin’ and dealin’ tons of meth and other mind-altering products of perhaps a less injurious nature. I suppose he’s been building up to that for years. Just goes to show: fairy tales CAN come true, they can happen to you!

I dunno, old chap, but sometimes I feel like a cultural anthropologist out on the field, embedded within the tribe I’m researching…in my case, that tribe is composed of long-term houseless in the Castro who have built their own mini-society. And it seems to be well networked and efficient, with Deek, Blvd. Joe and several others the tribal chiefs! Though I suspect many other shamans abound that keep their mission well hidden for awhile longer before it blossoms across the city, and then the planet.

I just took a break after composing the paragraph above, to check up on Deek and canines…who have finally moved just around the corner, drinking in the sunshine. I stepped out with a fresh bowl of water and asked if they’d eaten yet. He just shrugged his shoulders as if to say “damned if I know.”

“C’mon, Deek,” I declared. “You’re the one with them now, but I’ll take that as a ‘no’ and fix them a meal, okay?”

He shrugged his shoulders again and ordered me to remove their sweaters, now that the day is warming up. Soon as I started to first do Flaco, her brother gleefully started to squirm on his back with tongue hanging out. One of his delightful ways in expressing joy for my friendship. Naturally, I scritched his belly and, the moment I did, Flaco started to squirm on her back, too! So I wound up scritching TWO bellies at the same time, then got around to taking their garments off. In the midst of which their master griped:

“C’mon, hurry up! I can’t talk bidness when you’re still here!” There was another fellow standing nearby, who showed up just moments ago.

“I can’t rush, Deek,” I responded with exasperation. “I’m being gentle to these little doggies, and I don’t think you’d have it any other way. Do you want me to stash them upstairs?”

“Yes, yes, c’mon get the fuck outta here!” he snapped.

I stood up then, both camouflage slipovers in hand and said, “You should take shrooms more often, it mellows you out. You’ll enjoy each day more, which would be nice to see.”

The other man chuckled at that, and I could see he approved of my retort rather than Deek’s rudeness.

I left Deek with these parting words: “Don’t be a jackass, it hurts your reputation as Prince of the Castro!”

When I returned with the doggy vittles (and two sheets of cardboard for the pups to rest upon), Deek showed me an over sized book about the fifties, flush with black and white photographs, that his present guest had just handed him.

“You remember the fifties, don’t you?” he queried.

“Uh, not really. I was born in 1950…I’m old but not THAT old. I was just a tot back then.”

He rifled through the dusty pages to show me a bunch more snapshots.

“It’s a classy book,” I noted. “Looks sales-worthy to me, if that’s your plan!”

I think he wanted to make up for his crude behavior by showing me this artifact from the mid-twentieth century. He certainly didn’t act eager to brush me off, this time around. Which I appreciated, but soon as I saw the hounds start to dine I told him to have a great day and returned to my humble monk’s cell upstairs…keeping my fingers crossed that he takes to heart my suggestion about eating more shrooms!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: By the way, I love how Marshall introduced my Pallas tale, quote:

“Ezekiel Krahlin has been writing a series about…dog sitting, mostly. And writing faster than I can read the pieces one week at a time; so I’m gonna read just one of them and let them pile up and tackle them as the time reveals itself to be available.”

During last night’s visit with Blvd. Joe (no one else was there, besides Deek and myself) I told them “Listen to this!” and played back that quote above on my Chromebook. Just to let Deek know I really DO have my stories narrated over the airwaves, I’m not just faking it like some big shot bag of wind. When he heard the “dog sitting” part, he cracked up immediately. But neither one asked me to play it further, nor was I about to force it on them.


Subject: Deek stuck me with the pups again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 18, 2022 at 6:54 PM

“Stuck” being a reverse euphemism for “blessed,” of course. How could I ever regard the darlin’s as anything less than a heavenly gift, no matter the inconvenience, discomfort or stress? He dropped over (from the corner by the bus stop out front where he slept) around 10:30 AM, telling me the cops are doing another sweep behind the building, so I should just watch ’em for awhile, he won’t be gone very long, he just has to get outta here till it blows over. And it’s now 8:10 PM as I type this missive from my tent! Will he return tonight? Will he EVER return? What will happen to Lucky & Flaco; I can’t adopt them myself.

“But what if they tell ME to move, too?” I replied. I knew he wasn’t lying about the cops, as I just saw one turn the corner, and all debris was removed when I checked behind the building an hour later, with not a single vagrant standing (or lying down, to put it aptly).

“DON’T STRESS ME OUT, I don’t wanna hear it,” he erupted while sorting through his new wagon that he said a nice lady just gave him. It’s made of thick, dense nylon fabric instead of wood or metal (or plastic I guess).

“Go wait for me over there!” he ordered, meaning the ATM alcove. But since he told me a few days ago to not hang the leashes on the lever-type door knob that opens to a room behind the ATM machines (if you have the key) I had nowhere to tie the leashes, where they could rest in the shade. I found that handle to be most convenient, yet Deek loves to make everything difficult when it comes to THIS imperturbable pilgrim!

He also had a shopping cart, which held some possessions he transferred into the wagon. Took his sweet time doing it, too, as I patiently waited with the equally patient brindlekin.

“What are you doing just standing around?” he grouched as he finally approached with the empty cart (if you don’t count the sparse number of goods still contained therein: all trash as far as I could tell).

“I was waiting for the cart, so I could tether the dogs,” was my “duh!” reply.

“You look like you’re ready to take off,” he exclaimed. He was right, but not in the rude way he meant it…I wanted to hurry back upstairs where two sliced up bananas were sitting in my blender, along with a scant tablespoon of flax seed meal, an equally scant tablespoon of cocoa powder, two packets of Sweet ‘N’ Low, and two heaping tablespoons of tahini, to have nonfat milk poured over them and get all whizzed up. I imagined the oxygen turning the bananas a puke-inducing brown as I lingered outside, accommodating Deek’s frantic drama.

He then grabbed a small chair that happened to be nearby and said: “Here, take a load off, enjoy the day while I figure something out. I’ll be back soon.”

So I tied the leashes to the cart, now wheeled into the alcove by Deek’s loving hands, and watched him depart towards Castro Street until he was from a distance where he wouldn’t see me scurry off to my hovel and press button number 5 on the osterizer. The bananas remained a clean shade of yellow, you’ll be pleased to know.

I sat with the hounds about a half hour (and scarfed down my entire smoothie) before three angry gentlemen showed up and demanded I leave this spot and take everything with me. They had to enter that door for whatever chores (one of them had a key), so I thought they just meant I should transport my butt several feet over, to the other end of the alcove.

“Okay, I’ll just move ’em over here now that it’s shady,” I calmly replied. “I’m just watching my friends’ pups for awhile. Sorry to be in your way.”

“NO! You gotta get outta here, the whole section!” ordered one fellow with a nasty scowl on his face and a Mexican accent. To my surprise (no, to my SHOCK) it was Victor, the building’s maintenance man! I thought we were on pretty good terms, but this opened my eyes, good physician. I imagine he’s caught up in the building manager’s gossip, along with various other residents. Besides which, it may be difficult for these pinheads to wrap their heads around my dog sitting for two homeless poochies…first, indoors for a year-and-a-half, then outside and around our building, sitting with the canines for hours, right under their noses. The nerve of me! Don’t I realize they pay good money from their parents’ (or Silicon Valley’s) largess to live in San Francisco, and they don’t need to see THAT where they live!

As I placed two cardboard sheets and a bowl of water into the cart and began to roll it outside the alcove, another fellow said “Take the chair, too!”

“Uh, no,” I replied, “that was already there.”

Then the third goofball, a gaunt, elderly man with whispers of gray hair floating around his cranium addressed me:

“I’m security around here!”

I was tempted to say “Well aren’t you special!” Instead I just continued moving forward and onto the sidewalk towards the bus stop where I hunkered down and laid out the cardboard and a small blanket for the hounds, hoping those creeps wouldn’t harass me here, as well. I kept looking back to see what they were up to and, nope, they didn’t bother me any more, didn’t even look in my direction. Granted, I was on the opposite side of the stall, and mostly invisible to them as a result…I made sure of that.

I just want to note that these three unwise men are your typical, childish, Brave-New-World Delta working stiffs, confronting me in anger rather than a friendly request that I go elsewhere. Discrimination against the homeless much? He’s security around here, my ass. A bunch of brownshirts is what they are.

But it looks like the ATM depot is no longer a good place for the pups and myself anyway, due to a recent arrival of rather crude indigents taking over. They’ve made it their home, and are there almost 24/7, and it’s not that peaceful, especially after nightfall. And quite filthy and littered with their debris. One screams a lot and harasses pedestrians, and another speaks loud, foul, violent language in his dream state…no doubt meth induced. Plus it’s lit up all night long, which I find disruptive to a restful state.

Camping out by the bus stop yesterday was not at all serene this time around. The pups were constantly on the alert to protect their turf, barking at more than half the dogs that walked by with their owners. Then there were so many skateboarders you wouldn’t believe! There was a motorcycle parked four feet away from us when we arrived, and about two hours later the rider returned, decked out in biker apparel, including a helmet with a mirror visor, so I couldn’t see his face.

Instead of first pulling back to the corner, he revved up the engine with its raucous “Vroom-vrooming!” right in my face, which of course roused the hounds to full barking mode. I think the biker did that intentionally, because an easy excuse to harass the houseless.


It was nice that Wes showed up while we three we there. It was small talk, but friendly. He offered me eggs he got on the cheap, but I said no thanks, I don’t eat eggs usually. He asked me two more times, like he was pushing heroin, and seemed to be a bit angry about my turning down his kind offer. But he soon calmed down and talked about his private campsite “in the hills,” wherever that is, I didn’t bother to ask as that might come off as snoopy and possibly trigger paranoia. He said he comes down from the hills only to shop and sometimes chew the fat with other vagrants, including Deek whose strain of pot he prefers (which I suspect was grown around a rat infested, boarded up old warehouse that most everyone thinks was demolished ages ago and for some reason doesn’t see it still standing, as if invisible to “normals.”) It seems that cooking is his passion, and he looks forward to fixing himself a plump omelet this evening, with cheese and onion.

Cooking is my passion, too, though I do little of it anymore, due to the limited kitchen amenities of my humble abode. In fact, my room is so run down at this point its almost unlivable by any building code standards on the planet except in Outer Slobbovia, and in desperate need of an industrial overhaul. As a result of such a squalid condition I don’t feel inspired to whip up tasty fare, except those that are quick and simple to create. I’d prefer to order to-go meals to make my life easier, as there are many healthy options these days, but I just can’t afford it.

A tad later on, a nice lady who stops by often, said those dogs are wonderful, gave them each a treat, said kibble destroys a dog’s kidneys, use canned wet food only, she’s a retired veterinarian and knows these things. Great, that’s all I needed to hear: dog food prices keep going up, and now it will cost me even more to switch over to canned, exclusively! Though maybe she’s exaggerating, as I looked up kibble on the web, and if it has quality ingredients, it’s actually healthy for the canine constitution.

Another nice lady (who looks similar to that other nice lady, also Japanese and sporting a covid mask: strange coincidence) who also stops by often, told me for the second time to present a little treat to the pups to distract them from barking at bicycles or skateboards. I told her I tried that last time she suggested it, but it never works. They totally ignore the treat and their eyes remain riveted on their target. But what DOES work is gently closing my hand around their snout and saying: “No barking! No barking!” They now bark far less as a result…a little growl or a woof is all. But she didn’t believe me, insisted on the treat tactic, even though I already explained it doesn’t work. I nonetheless wished her a good day for caring about these dogs and stopping by to say hello. I can use all the emotional support I can get!

I managed to fix a lunch in record time, though it’s stressful because the dogs are outside without protection, and you never know what will happen. They started barking while I was indoors, slapping together a bite to eat, with a cup of Twining’s black currant flavored black tea. But I put a painless choke collar on the brindlekin, so no way can they escape their leashes. For they CAN slide out of their regular collars, even when properly adjusted, if they feel bold enough. Which they often do, when a skateboard or large dog comes near…or sometimes even a tiny pooch if it’s all gussied up like a cheap tart.

The bus stop is usually NOT such a disruptive location to sit the dogs, it’s often quite pleasant…but yesterday was NOT one of those days! So around 6 PM and Deek had yet to return, I decided to set up my tent for the first time, in back of the building. Even though the SFPD had driven a few homeless people away from that spot earlier today, and Deek might be enraged upon his return to see us there. But I figured since the ATM depot was already flush with vagrants once more, I’d be safer with a tent around the corner.

I actually prefer to sit the dogs away from all the foot traffic and disturbances typical of a busy street like Market. The doggies rest better, and I can work on my Chromebook. And I can also take them for their little poopy walks on that same block, or right across the street…where I can keep an eye on my tent and Deek’s shopping cart. The tent is a Teton 2-person pop-up, high quality and repels even heavy downpours…exactly what the doctor ordered as we enter the rainy season.

SOME crazy shit happened while camped out there, but it was otherwise a pleasant evening. Such as:

When I lie down with the canines I keep my shod feet poking through the tent’s flap. This may cause some people walking by to think I’m available for conversating. Like what happened a couple of hours into my dog sitting last night:

“Is anybody home?” someone called within a few feet from the tent. “Hey, anybody home?”

I sat up then and pulled open the fly, to see a semi-grubby fellow with a large shock of frizzy brown hair. I said:

“Yeah? What’s up?”

At which point Flaco & Lucky poked their noses out and began barking furiously as I held them back with one crooked arm. He replied:

“Do you have a pedal wrench for my bicycle I could borrow?”

“Jeez Louise,” I thought, “disrupting me and the hounds over THAT? Can’t he see the tent is closed and I shouldn’t be disturbed? I could’ve been asleep!”

Though I wasn’t, that’s no one’s business, but you can see, Wattson, how my sense of being truly hobo has kicked in! Some veritable stranger had trespassed on my transitory turf that was all mine tonight!

I sat up and stuck my head out, told him while struggling to restrain the hounds:

“No, no I don’t, sorry!”

“Oh, okay,” he replied while eyeing the furry quadrupeds. “Apologies for interrupting your peace.” Then off he went, back into the damp night like a specter drifting by in the fog.

The dogs then returned to the quilted mattress cover I found in a free box two weeks back, and use for their blanket, fluffing it up with great vigor as doggies do, and is so fun to watch, pulling and adjusting with tooth and paw and an occasional growl of “no-that’s-not-quite-it” frustration, before rearranging it to their satisfaction and plunking themselves down into their cozy nest. Lucky rested against the far side of the tent while Flaco nuzzled up beside me and licked my face and ears clean because that is what doggy love is all about. A cool, pleasant breeze wafted through the ventilated tent as I massaged her shoulders and stroked her floppy ears and neck. Then reached out to scritch Lucky’s little forehead and grasp one of his chunky forepaws in friendship.

About an hour later, some scrappy Chicano dude asked if I’d like to buy some [insert a list here of various illegal drugs]. I shook my head “Nah, but thanks” upon which the dogs burst from the tent, yanked the shopping cart I had thought was firmly stuck in place by a construction sign on a folding metal stand that I placed in front of of it, but the cart swayed to one side, causing it to push the sign away and start rolling down the hill and the dogs with it (because leashed to the bottom rail of the cart, near the back wheels), so I maniacally dashed through the tent flap, grabbed the cart and pulled it backwards to its original station.

There was also a tall blonde dude standing around who came outta nowhere (like everyone else I suppose), behind the tent and rattling on about the meaninglessness of life, how becoming homeless was the best thing that’s ever happened to him, since it finally put rea; purpose in his life which he never had before. He wore a lovely sweater depicting silver bolts of lightning on a loose knit of blue and purple.

Neither fellow helped me with the cart and sign, dammit…and I struggled to put everything back in place with the dogs still tethered and unharmed. Though the Chicano ran away once the dogs and cart started chasing him, the blonde fellow remained, and was glad to engage me in badinage.

For he did talk up a storm about this corrupt society so like Nazi Germany, and how the pursuit of happiness is a farce. But he’s happy and even proud in his outrage, always ready to rumble for any demonstration that fights for the people. I found his spirited philippic a delight, along with his comely appearance: handsome, frowning mug, thick golden mane of curly shocks and a well formed body like a vision of Helios! But a 72-year-old gay codger like myself must suppress the excessive drool gushing from his saliva glands back down the gullet, lest he be declared a dirty old man.

So no, don’t even entertain the notion that this vibrant scenario will lead to a passionate tryst in my tent as you scroll down the page, dear reader. Perish the thought! Jack off now, please, get it out of your system. I’d NEVER invite a stranger into my abode, whatever it be for the moment, when the brindlekin are under my keep, and present.

He amazed me with his social critique because it paralleled the very things I have issues with, and discuss now and then in my tales!

“You remind me of a character out of Allen Ginsberg’s poem, Howl!” I declared as he paused for breath. I was thinking here of the opening stanza that starts with:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.”

I figured he knew what verse I was referring to, so didn’t bother to explain, or quote anything from that seminal poem that rang in a New Age which is about to REALLY take off like gangbusters. The Event will be like a scimitar slicing through history, and change everything.

I also told him: “You clearly have all your ducks in a row, though I’m sure the average dufus believes otherwise, but that’s just the way it goes.”

“Aren’t you friends with that guy they call Po’ Boy?” he quizzed me.

“Yes, that’s his street moniker,” I explained. “But I know him by his birth name, Deek. I watch his dogs for him whenever he needs to run errands without them slowing him down, or just wants a break to ride his bike through the city.”

He thanked me for my talking with him, then apologized for the disruption of my dogs and the shopping cart, and not bothering to help me, he was just too caught up in his own reveries.

“No problem,” I assured him. “I really enjoyed the conversation, too. Is there a way I can say God bless you, if you prefer some other word than god?”

“Oh, well, god is perfectly fine with me,” he replied. “After all SOMEthing glues everything together in the universe.”

“I actually prefer the term Universal Mind or the Great Spirit.”

And upon that note the handsome trickster took off for parts elsewhere, saying he might drop by again tonight. He did not, but I have a feeling we’ll soon meet again, seeing as he’ll probably seek me out another evening where set up camp with the mongrels. My tent is easy to spot.

I then returned back inside the tent after such an explosive interruption; the dogs wagged their tails and I hugged and scritched their bellies both. So glad to have this little family of two sweet souls under my wing…or should I say my tent flap?

For another hour or so I sat up with the Chromebook in my lap, typing out the first part of this piece. I had no Internet last night, which got me to focus on my writing.

Deek finally showed up by 11:30 PM!

“Where’d you go, to the moon?” I asked him the moment I emerged from my pod.

He didn’t comment on that, but just plunked himself on a sheet of cardboard, pulled his socks down and started scratching his ankles like crazy. UnbeLIEVable crazy. I bet he picked up chiggers, fleas, lice or (god forbid) scabies on some clothing he found while rummaging the streets. Though that possibility was never discussed, I didn’t even comment on his itchy shanks…so just an observation and conjecture on my part.

He was in the company of a small, robust fellow named Joe. He extended a hand to me in greeting, which was nice, but he was too far gone on his meth spree for me to bother with him, because pesky (though harmless). I needed to focus on knocking down my tent ASAP as I was eager to call it a night and return hovel.

So I first cleared out my tent of the mattress cover, spare jacket, my backpack containing the Chromebook and two dogs, whose leashes I tethered to their master’s bike lying down by the curb…distant enough so they wouldn’t try to get back inside the tent during its disassembly.

Problem knocking down the tent…turned out to be a tiny latch you just press down on and voila! the whole tent collapses. But for a few moments there my heart sank at the thought of a broken frame which would make the tent unusable and I’d have to discard it…a waste of $125, and I can’t afford to replace it! I couldn’t possibly sit outdoors completely unprotected for so many hours, and not just because I’d have to forego using my Chromebook. My Teton 2-man pop-up has proven to be a godsend.

While Deek continued his frenzied scratching, he looked up at me and said: “You’re sure taking a long time to knock down a tent you said is easy to handle.”

“The top is stuck, like it’s fused on, it won’t budge!” I replied in an exasperated tone of voice, then sighed: “I’ll have to go upstairs and get on the web to find a video that shows me why I’m having this difficulty.”

So once back hovel I loaded a 4-minute video about this particular tent, and that is when I was reminded of a tiny latch, which I just forgot about after knocking it down the previous evening, with ease. You just give the latch a flick and it instantly collapses. All you have to do then is fold the fiberglass rods in on themselves and roll up the tent.

Deek asked me to take this bag with shoes in it, and store it upstairs for a day or two. It was then I noticed Flaco’s sweater was removed, but not Lucky’s.

“Why did you remove her sweater, Deek?” I queried.

“It’s not that cold out,” he answered.

“So why didn’t you also remove Lucky’s?” I was genuinely curious, wondering if he had a malicious streak about my relationship with Flaco, that he perceived I love her more than the brother (NOT true ’cause I love ’em both, infinitely), so he caused her to shiver at night while Lucky remained warm. I saw Flaco shirtless several times before on chilly nights, while Lucky remained wearing his. And THAT is how my suspicion was aroused.

“Well, let me take Lucky’s sweater upstairs, too!” I pointedly stated, to test his reaction.

He simply shrugged his shoulders, said okay, and so I did. Perhaps my suspicion was spot on, and Deek agreed with me to cover his sorry sadistic ass.

After stashing the tent and its contents back hovel, I returned downstairs to pick up his bulky speaker that he had asked me to charge tonight. It was then he complained:

“Stop putting so much cardboard down, it’s why neighbors complain and call the cops.”

I told him that’s not even the half of it, because there is often a ton of junk strewn about that is far worse than cardboard. And besides, I always remove the cardboard I lay down, unless other people show up and use it for their own comfort. In which case THEY are responsible, not me. I’m certainly not gonna wait till they leave hours later at 3, 4, 5 AM and pick up after them!

Having said that, I collected all the cardboard, six sheets in total, and proceeded to carry them around the corner to dump them off by the recycling bins. But some heavyset homeless fellow appeared outta the blue and said:

“Hey, do you need that cardboard anymore, can I have it?”

I turned to him and said, “Sure, I was just going to throw it away, here it’s yours for just a penny and a song.”

He then took a closer look and stepped back with palms out, and said: “Oh, that’s not the type I need, sorry!”

I had no idea what he meant, but Deek did, who addressed him: “Yeah, I figured it’s not what you want.”

I will make a point of asking Deek next time I see him, what all this “cardboard type” is about. I’m guessing it has to do with its different uses by the street people, though right now I can’t imagine what. Maybe they use glossy coated cardboard to snort powder?

Before we went our own ways, I told Deek when I delivered his charged speaker at the front gate, late last night:

“Know what I feel like these days, Deek?”

“Uh, no, what?”

“Like I have a regular job and I work 70 hours a week for NO PAY, the boss is a prick, though I love what I do.”

“Who’s the boss?”

“You!”

He chuckled, waved his hand and departed. I hope he got the hint, rather then obligating me to argue like Hades, for it would be a painful, dragged out upward crawl to the top of that hill. But I MUST get there, by hook or by crook or by ATM nook! ‘Cause one thing’s for sure:

It’s gotta change, this is way too much of a burden Deek’s dumped on me. I can handle such lengthy dog sitting every OTHER day, so I’m freed up on days in between to write my tales, prepare meals, shop for groceries and do other menial chores, take a shower, surf the Internet and post emails, and so on.

NOW FOR SOME QUICK NOTES BEFORE I END THIS WAY O’ERLONG DISPATCH

“14 megabits per second tonight on my Chromebook from my tent, I’m really sailin’ ,” I thought when I first set up camp. But a bit later I suddenly lost my connection and could NOT get online for the rest of the evening if your life depended on it…and it does. For reasons you need to figure out on your own.

Flaco has come up with a new trick: squirming on her back for belly rubs. Only Lucky has been doing this until recently…now they BOTH do! I presume this is his sister’s way of competing for my affection. Very cute; now I have to scritch TWO doggy tummies at the same time! Another sweet thing about the dogs is when I started setting up the tent for a second day in a row:

I tethered them to a pole about ten feet away, so I could raise it undisturbed by their frenzied desire to step inside. No way could I work around them if they were occupying the tent while still collapsed! As I was fussing with the flexible rods, the top cover and so on, they started in with happy “woofs,” their way of telling me to hurry up. It began within a couple of minutes struggling with positioning the shade/rain cover correctly. Suddenly, Flaco voiced an insistent, single bark. She had grown impatient. I looked over to her and said: “I’m working on it, almost ready!” Her joyful brown eyes sparkled back at me. Then Lucky joined in, and they wouldn’t let my ears rest until they could enter their nylon igloo, a home of their own.

My lovely black puffy jacket is missing! Though I’m sure I brought it back upstairs with my tent and other items, I can’t find it anywhere inside my room now! I was using it folded up, to cushion my left hip whenever I’d lie down beside the mutts. Not to mention as a fine comfort for those chilly days and nights. Where could it have gone? How could such a large, bulky item disappear in my diminutive hovel?

Scheduling my third booster shot at Safeway is like pulling teeth! I guess it’s the same everywhere, and here’s the problem:

When I called their pharmacy two days ago, they told me they’re all out right now, but a new shipment will arrive on Tuesday, and then Thursday. And no, no appointment is necessary, just walk on in. So I called back on Sunday to verify this, as I planned to get my covid and flu shots that Tuesday. But the person who picked up told me no, there is a backlog of customers waiting for their shots, and not enough vaccines will arrive this coming week…so I MUST make an appointment online. He apologized, as the logistics change every day, and what that other person told me was true at the moment, but now it’s not.

But when I loaded the application, at page three they asked the date of my most recent booster. That was my second booster, which I got by walking in, at Safeway. But I either forgot to jot down the date, or it got erased from my hard drive somehow. It’s not like they hand you a card as proof you’ve gotten your latest shot, which I wish they did. So I was stuck from proceeding towards completion of the form, no way around it, no option to say “I forgot.” I DO have the dates for my original jab, and the first two boosters, though I don’t know if giving them the date of the earlier shot will make me eligible for this omicron version.

It’s a shame you have no alternative to setting up an appointment online, such as a FUKKIN PHONE CALL.

So I called them back, but no one picked up, I had to leave my message on their voicemail:

“Hello, I forgot the date of my second booster shot, but I got it at your pharmacy. I can’t make an online appointment for the third shot, unless I know the date. So please call back, I’m in your database and can easily prove I’m who I say I am: Ezekiel Krahlin…and then you can tell me the correct date, so I can complete the form.”

That was yesterday afternoon, and they most likely won’t call back. So NOW what do I do? I can’t just try some other location, such as Walgreens, as they’ll STILL ask me for the date of my second booster!

Today Medi-Cal sent me their annual renewal form, and they’re gonna see a ton o’ moolah in my account because I haven’t been paying any rent since June! So I’ll have to explain those extra dollars are from a lawsuit, and that’s all my rent money piling up since June…which I’ll eventually have to pay back in the long run. They can verify this by contacting my attorney at this number. I HOPE this doesn’t get me in a pickle!

One good thing to report, though, in the gov’t subsidy department: my monthly $220 pandemic bonus food stamps were deposited again, yesterday. Don’t know how much longer this will continue, but when it stops I’ll be resuming a measly $19/month, and I’ll have to lower Deek’s allowance from $100/week to $80. But that’s not the good news part…he’ll probably scream bloody murder.

This morning around 8:30 I peered out my window to see Deek across Market Street with his bicycle and wagon hitched to it, doggies riding atop. Lucky gave a yawn of contentment, but I thought: “Oh god, please don’t drop by again right now, or today!” I watched as they reached the corner, alarmed he might turn left in my direction and cross the street. But they continued straight ahead and I breathed a sigh of relief. And so I stepped out for my morning java at Rosenberg’s to welcome a new day.

And I managed to complete this latest Brindlekin Tale, which took HOURS and could not be done if I had to sit the little angels. Or would be much more painstaking to achieve with my Chromebook while seated in my tent. Because I couldn’t even BEGIN to compose until sunset when the tent goes up. No way would I sit on the sidewalk totally vulnerable to theft…and almost asking for it!

– Zeke K-Holmes


The FINAL Final Final Chapter (part 17)

October 14, 2022

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 19q]

Re: A Scammer & A Scooter
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 10, 2022 at 10:56 PM

> Another fine piece of work.

Thanks! I had an especially fun time describing my artsy-fartsy shopping cart (were I homeless), and my pariah status thanks to the simpletons all around me, who are financially privileged.

> Scooter looks sinister even from behind.

Indeed he does. And he often glances up at my window, whenever he’s out front calling up to the Bohemian POS. At least he doesn’t holler my name out, too…he tried that once, but I ignored him. And he does not approach me when he sees me coming or going, or hangin’ with the pups, even when Deek is not around. I think I sufficiently scared him off, as he sees I’m not the type to be pushed around and WILL take action if need be.

> Karlsen appears to be a sad wreck of a human being. The short videos and pics are fascinating glimpses.

He’s still not back and with any luck, he’ll give up the phantom while at UCSF Medical Center. That means no more Scooter, either. Unless he sees my building as a honeypot and tries to hook up with someone else who lives there (unlikely, TG)…or has come to favor this neighborhood and my corner in particular. *shudder*

Seeing as Karlsen is highly stressed out by Scooter’s persistent intrusion on his world, such pressure may be what pushes him over the edge and into the grave. In which case I’d say Scooter is serving a useful purpose, like a scavenging hyena on Wild Kingdom. Or a Grim Reaper proxy from the Twilight Zone, ready to escort a foolish man to the depths of Gehenna. Maybe Karlsen faked an emergency and called 911 just to get away from him! Particularly satisfying was hearing one EMT who placed Karlsen into the ambulance say to Scooter:

“Oh, no, you can’t visit him because of the covid restrictions.”

And what was that trail of blood in my building all about, anyway? The Friendly Ghost Detective Agency needs to know!

Deek has not dropped by yesterday or today, and I’m concerned he may be in an ungodly snit about the “missing” $20. Though he’d be faking it, if that were the case, in an attempt to bully extra cash outta me. Which will NEVER happen, even if he brings some dumb lug along to intimidate me. Besides that:

He’s not gonna like it one whit when my food stamp supplement drops back down to $20/month from $220, and I’ll have to reduce his allowance accordingly: to $80/week instead of $100. But I told him very clearly when I increased his stipend, that it’s only temporary, and why. It’s quite possible the reduction has already begun, this month…but I won’t know until November arrives. The nights and days are getting cold again, and I weep for Flaco & Lucky, for the unkind master they are leashed to.

My swivel chair broke last night…the right-side armrest suddenly snapped, making the seat wobbly and difficult to sit upon without falling over. So I’m now perched upon the 5-gallon tub I purchased last year from Amazon, the one with a toilet seat lid. Hopefully, I’ll be able to scrounge up a decent chair soon, one discarded on the street somewhere. A metal folding chair would be nice, as it will hold me over until someone dumps another cushy swivel chair in reasonably good condition, outside their home. King Zeke needs his throne!

I just watched a Youtube video called “Why the Internet Makes Us Lonely,” and it made some good points. So I decided to reply to one person’s thoughtful comment, like so:

> It's also been shown that internet interaction does not compare to or replace face-to-face interaction.

That explains why, as an activist for the homeless for more than 4 decades, I have wound up having friends who all live on the streets. They're the only group of people for whom the Internet does not play a large role in their lives, and still base their world on face-to-face interaction.

One thing to be grateful for, though:

At least that damn skin tag on my neck has finally disappeared, hopefully for good! Once it got down to a tiny nub, it took forever to diminish into nothing as I dabbed a spot of tea tree lotion onto it twice a day. Would be just my luck if another one starts growing, this time on my nose. It would be the pièce de résistance that completes the village folks’ suspicion they’ve had all along, that I’m a witch! Well, at least I’ll have a place to hang my keys where they’ll always be in sight.

And my tales are more fantabulous than ever! Glad to delight a kindred soul like you, Morticia, with these stories, as a balm to ease your OWN ridiculous burdens. Some day, they will touch many other hearts.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: What a Mess!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 11, 2022 at 1:03 PM

Here’s a pic of what I’m talking about:

Click here for a larger view.

Scampy is on the right, but I don’t know who the other person is, though I’ve seen him around. What DID catch my eye among the rubbish is a folding deck chair…which will do in a pinch for my own chair-ful need until I get something better! However, in the last hour or so since I took that snapshot, they’re still out there and Scampy is sitting on that chair. With any luck, it’ll be left behind later in the day and I can procure the goods. I keep checking via the hallway window to see if they’ve left, but they’re still out there. Several indigents have parked there for the past two days, who’ve set up what I call a hobo street sale. Looks like they’re having another sale this afternoon, though they didn’t camp out there last night. Here’s what’s going on right now, three street people moving junk around down there, rather pointlessly it seems:

And for your delectation, I thought I’d throw in a video of yet another lost soul talking to himself (or an imaginary companion) below my window:

What a nuisance to wake up to, and ruin an otherwise quiet morning! No jackhammers, no huge delivery truck vrooming outside, no rap music blasting…just this asshole.

Oh, regarding the appointment I made with VetSOS for Deek’s dog Lucky: it’s scheduled for November 14th. But seeing as he’s required to bring a signed note from a social worker this time around, which he refuses to do, I canceled it, with the following email I posted three days ago:

“I was disappointed to learn that Deek has not followed up with finding a social worker, and refuses to do so per our conversation yesterday. Perhaps he’ll have a change of heart, but I don’t think so, as he’s quite stubborn. So go ahead and cancel the appointment. I know there’s only so much your organization can do, and understand this restriction. Thanks again for your compassionate work. Fortunately, the doggies are just fine, his worry was unfounded.”

Not that Deek even bothered to ask if I got an appointment set up for him, nor have I even brought it up. November 14th’s an awfully long way off for an emergency, anyway…obviously they only do vaccinations, medications and checkups. His ONLY option, as I said before, is to rush over to the ASPCA emergency clinic. You don’t need a social worker’s approval for that.

I was sure Deek would wake me up today, but no, and the whereabouts of him and pups remain unknown. But I’ll bet you dollars to donuts he’s conjuring up another flimsy justification for demanding a hundred buckazoids advance payment, which would make this the third time in a row. NOT gonna happen, no matter the hissy fit he’ll probably play out. He swore he wouldn’t do it again the last time around, and I’ll hold him to it. But you never know: he just might decide to not give me any grief over this, and resume our usual meetups in peace. THAT would be a relief beyond measure!

Last night it occurred to me that my Scooter piece is another scary tale that Youtube narrator Skeptical Crow may enjoy reading and posting to her channel! So I’ll get on top of this later today. I’m gonna call it:

“Scooter & the Trail of Blood (a true scary tale of recent vintage with no resolution at hand; maybe there’ll be a second part and I’ll still be alive to tell it).”

Now get this, Wattson: last night a couple of hours after I had removed my defunct office chair and replaced it with that bucket, I stood up to peer out my window ’cause I heard a dog bark that sounded like Flaco. Alas, it wasn’t her, so I returned to my work station and plunked myself down into the chair that was no longer present, and fell off the bucket with a resounding “thunk” onto the splintery, filthy old softwood floor! Fortunately, I’m in the envious possession of a solid, firm derrière that absorbed the entire shock like a plush cushion, and I came out of it unscathed and pain free.

“Gee, thanks for nothing!” I spoke aloud to my invisible bodhisattva guardians as I stood back up and set the bucket aright. No doubt they were having a most hearty laugh over pulling the seat from under me! How much longer is this going to happen, I wonder, whenever I’m in a drowsy state of mind? The need for a new chair is indubitably urgent, good doctor!

And finally, two remarks about me from Marshall McGee on his latest “Memo of the Weird” podcasts, the first being constructive criticism on his show dated September 30th, like so:

“Okay, um, Ezekiel…wrote…and I haven’t read anything on the air by Ezekiel for such a long time because he has his own folder in my, uh, email program because he sends like, you know, two or three dozen posts to the announce list serve every day, and it’s just…it’s frustrating because he’s not STUPID. I don’t know what the thing is, he doesn’t seem to…why? And most of the posts are just a link to some article that he liked. Put it all together and send it all in one post! You get the same job done and don’t bug anybody.”

The second remark aimed towards yours truly came on his next show one week later: highly complimentary though preceded by a wrist slap, like so:

“Another exception I’ve been making to embracing people’s total chaotic freedom to paint MY world with their own shit has been Ezekiel, who for all his faults never struck me as dangerous or scary, just lonely and working through trauma and genuinely CREATIVE. So I’ll be reading another of his stories of his current life, and travails in dog and homeless person fellowship a little later on in the show, and probably next week too, and the week after that, put him on the air in person if we ever get the phone thing fixed.”

1:00 PM and still no Deek, but I got a ton of writing done in the past two+ days during his troubling absence. I hope he comes around ASAP. No one else can deal with his bullshit except THIS pro-transient, intransigent pilgrim! Besides, I miss the brindle mutts already…as I always start to do mere seconds after they depart for the nonce.

– Zeke K-Holmes

ADDENDUM

Jeez, look how clean they left it, quite impressive. You wouldn’t even know anyone was ever there, and held a hobo sale to boot:

Click here for a larger view.

But I missed the chance to snap up that deck chair! Oh, well, they probably needed it. And I just got this reply from VetSOS:

“Thank you for letting me know and for looking after your friend and his dog.”

So I just posted back:

“Oh, I’m very inspired: [link inserted to my Brindlekin Tales page].”


Click here for a larger view.
Click here for a larger view.
Click here for a larger view.

Subject: GOT MY CHAIR!! (see pic)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 11, 2022 at 7:27 PM

It’s the cheapest kinda chair you can get, but hey, it’s a step above a bucket! It will do for now, that I can bide my time waiting for a cushy swivel chair to manifest. The chair’s now covered with a decorative cloth, but it’s so lightweight I wouldn’t dream of just plunking my ass on it, like dropping a bowling ball onto a Tonka truck!

There were actually two OTHER chairs out there, believe it or not, but the one I picked was the best of the lot. The second one was all metal, with a concave, meshed back, but it was way rusty. And the third chair sported a cushion seat, though ragged and filthy. So the folding chair was just right, and Goldilocks Zeke made herself home in it!

What’s so funny is I also found a pristine pair of sneakers on my way to the bank, shortly before I returned hovel to discover a suitable chair in the ATM nook. I saw them lying beneath a tree, picked them up for a sniff: no stink at all. Then sat down on a doorstep and tried them on: perfect fit! So I dropped them into my backpack and continued my short trek, elated for the find.

Upon my return from the bank, I stopped by Morey’s corner store to purchase a couple of items. As he rung ’em up, I stood back with outstretched arms and asked if he likes my military look, for I was wearing the khaki jacket Deek gave me.

“Is that from Russia?” he queried. (Amusing first question to ask, eh, good doctor?)

“I have no idea,” I replied. “It’s a gift from Deek, so god only knows WHERE he got it, maybe in the Mission or UN Plaza, probably black market ’cause he does a lot of wheeling and dealing on the streets. I never ask him ANY questions when it comes to whatever gift he brings my way!” (Not to mention the myriad devices he has me charge.)

I then told Morey it doesn’t close in front, it’s too narrow but I didn’t have the heart to tell Deek since he presented it to me in honor of a soldier I once loved.

“Is there a label in the back?” he persisted.

So I removed it to discover a label not on the back, but on the lining side of the right pocket.

“I can’t read it though,” I said while holding it before my squinting eyes, “not without my spectacles!”

Morey then whipped out a magnifying glass from below the till (hmm, a touch of the Sherlock in that fellow, too!), and told me to lay it down on the counter so he could take a closer look. But as you can see by the pic, it only states instructions on how to keep the jacket in tip-top shape, and nothing else. Well, so much for its Russian origin!

But my whole reason for wearing that coat was to make a statement to Morey that I’m not REALLY a prisoner of Deek’s demands, as there is more to it than that, which includes kindness. And I figured VISUAL proof would have a better impact over VERBAL. After all, Wattson:

One picture IS worth a thousand words!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Well THAT was a corny ending to this missive, but I like it anyway. Please pass the borscht, comrade Wattson.


Re: He’s not stupid!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 11, 2022 at 7:36 PM

> Damn! Pretty good advice!

I don’t know about that…I did it to stir up the boobies. He has no idea the kind of crap I have to put up with in the discussion list, and then there are the anti-vaxxers and other assorted fruitcakes on the announcement list. The ONLY reason I decided to cease and desist, was because Marshall’s offer was too great a boon to turn down. But I DO think the way he went about it was hilarious, and worth a transcript in my latest chapter.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Spare Change of Heart
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 11, 2022 at 9:04 PM

I just might give him the “twenny dollah” as he calls it. And here’s how it will go down:

He’ll make some wise crack about my ripping him off of a Jackson, and I will answer back thusly:

“All this fuss over a lousy twenty dollar bill, even though I give you THOUSANDS of dollars a year? I don’t know, Deek, you sound awfully childish to me!”

And he’ll make some kind of indignant comeback, to which I will respond:

“Well, tell ya what, Deek. Hows about I return that military jacket so you can sell it. After all, you said you could get at LEAST $20 for it. Does that work for you?”

He’ll probably lower his head and mutter something like, “Nah, I don’t wanna do that. It’s a gift I really want you to have.”

Though he just possibly might catch me off guard and say, “Okay, I can roll with that!”

In which case I’ll reply: “Hmm, I have a better idea,” and then proceed as I had planned anyway:

“I still don’t believe I gypped you out of your money, but I’m gonna let it slide and give it to you just the same, and for a very good reason you can’t imagine.”

“Oh, what reason is that?” he’ll ask, perplexed.

“Because during our argument, you did not raise your voice one single time in front of the dogs. And THAT, my brother, is worth twenty dollars to me! Though realize this is a very tight month for me, budget wise, because I have to pay my publisher $69 every October to keep my book on the shelves.”

This solution is under the assumption, of course, that he won’t be screaming at me when he DOES finally show up and rag about what a shyster I am. I’ll have to play this by ear, Wattson. But don’t I always?

– Zeke K-Holmes


Re: GOT MY CHAIR!! (see pic)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 11, 2022 at 11:12 PM

> “Insist on it being properly pressed!” Oh, I love that!!

Sergeant 1st Class Orville P. Snorkel’s orders.

> Cannot believe those shoes. They look brand new.

Some wear shows inside, but not much. And I didn’t realize they’re Nikes till a couple hours later…NOT a cheap brand. Deek ALWAYS notices a person’s shoes, and he’ll see these on my feet and wonder where I got ’em. He won’t believe me when I say I found them, he’ll think I have plenty of money and accuse me of lying. End of day 3 since I’ve last seen him and the doggies.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: Ha-ha!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 12, 2022 at 12:00 AM

I just noticed the sticker on the folding chair’s backrest: “Quality cannabis for quality people.” I was so preoccupied with just having a chair, any old chair, I didn’t pay attention to that detail until now, and I had covered it with a bolt of cloth anyway.


Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Fuck, he’s back!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 12, 2022 at 12:41 PM

That’s Karlsen, in the red hat sitting at the bus stop. I looked out my window just a moment ago and was MOST disappointed to see his unsavory visage once again. The nightmare continues.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Subject: The $20 Fiasco Resolved!
From: Ezekiel Krahli
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 13, 2022 at 11:59 PM

Not the way I had planned, but in a similar vein albeit unexpected. And he did not even fly into a fury, but remained impressively stable. I was glad to see him and the pooches after a three-day absence. The first thing he said to me was:

“You short changed me twenny dollah!”

“No I didn’t,” I replied, and then he went off on a tangent how badly he NEEDS “the full amount” (his words) of Sunday’s allowance in advance. Which SHOULD mean $50 ’cause that’s what I allot him gratis twice a week, Sunday and Thursday.

“No, no, no, Deek, that’s WAY too soon! Ya gotta wait till Sunday, and that’s four days from now.”

Well, he kept pushing, finally making it clear that by “full amount” he meant a hundred, not fifty!

“NOT gonna happen,” I answered back. “Look, how ’bout I return that lovely military jacket so you can sell it?”

“No, I don’t want it back,” he stated, then abruptly got up to leave in anger, yanking the pups from the large, plush pillows someone had placed in the ATM alcove yesterday.

“DON’T do that, Deek,” I ordered. “Don’t take it out on the dogs, that’s just wicked!”

I could see they were confused, as they thought they were gonna have a nice, comfy rest on those pillows, and they hadn’t even gotten settled in when he crudely pulled them off. He then looked at my feet:

“New shoes! Where’d you get the Nikes?”

“I FOUND them, on my way to the bank yesterday,” I replied.

“They look new. I gotta have ’em, I NEED them!” he exclaimed. “How ’bout giving them to me, plus fitty dollah?”

“Seriously?” I queried. “That’ll work for you?”

He said yeah, so I bolted upstairs to change back into my ratty old sneakers, shoved my wallet into a pocket (so I could go to my bank to withdraw fifty), then flew back downstairs to present him with the Nikes. I was surprised how delighted he was with this arrangement. And that it came down to giving him SOMEthing I had in the way of apparel to please him. Wattson, I shoulda known it would be the Nikes instead of the jacket, as he always goes NUTS over that brand of footwear. But for some reason I never thought of that, even though I told you in a previous missive he always notices a person’s shoes.

After returning from the bank I handed him the cash in the usual Chase envelope and told him to count it out, to verify it’s the right amount. He did, then asked me to watch the dogs today, which I was hoping he would. Then off to the races he went, and I got the mutts settled in for what turned out to be another lovely day. Perfect weather, too: sunny and slightly warm with a light, cool ocean breeze.

I first watered and fed the pups, and when I was upstairs preparing their meal, I heard two old ladies’ voices gushing sweet words over them:

“Oh, aren’t you a darling. What a sweety pie! Yes, I love you too-oo!”

Turns out they know Deek, and I explained I live in this building, have been his friend for many years and dog sit for him several days a week, so he can run other errands without being slowed down by the pups, and take a break now and then so he can ride his bicycle around the city.

“He’s a good man,” said one of the both-plump lesbian couples in silver hair. Then she paused and added with a frown: “I hope he’s not so fucked up now, like he used to be!”

“No, he isn’t,” I replied, “But he IS a challenge ’cause he needs to make MORE changes.”

She nodded her head and smiled with appreciation at my comment. They doted on the hounds a few more minutes, then bid me adieu and hopped into their vehicle and varoomed up Market Street. That’s when I wished I had brought my Canon Powershot downstairs: I could’ve gotten some great pics of the two ladies so colorfully attired while standing by their car and chatting merrily, before they took off!

So when I returned upstairs to use the restroom, I made sure to return with a camera. And the first pic I took, and a video, was of a friendly African-American dude who was homeless, and settled in at the opposite end of the ATM alcove:

I just met him today while sitting in the ATM alcove below my window, dog sitting for Deek. He showed up about about two hours after I set up camp, gave a kind smile and hello, then plunked himself down and started grooming his legs, feet and toes. His name is Deonte, and I felt very comfortable in his company.

Some time later a young Japanese woman came by to compliment me over how well I take care of Deek’s charges. I see her a lot these days, and she tends to show up only when the dogs are around, whether with Deek or yours truly. VERY nice person, always encouraging Deek to take better care of the hounds, but never in a conflicting manner. I really appreciate her! Don’t know her name yet, but I’ll be sure to find out next time we meet. She even kept Flaco company while I took her brother for a brief poopy walk up and down the block, and did the same when I switched doggies.

“You’re an angel!” she told me before departing towards Noe Street.

“These sweet little dogs bring out the best in me!” I called back with a friendly wave.

Here’s a pic of the poochies resting on those pillows:

Click here for a larger view.

The cardboard laid out on the right of the snapshot is what I put down for my own comfort and hygiene. I felt very secure with Deonte nearby and even lied down on my side with Flaco in one arm, and my right hand reaching out to pet Lucky and scratch his neck. I didn’t fall asleep, not my intention anyway, but was quite relaxed reclining there in such a position that my right hip didn’t press down on the hard surface. I was actually surprised how cozy I felt! Those corrugated cardboard sheets really make a difference.

After about an hour or so I sat back up to see Deonte still there, and the sky had darkened into late noon, the air a bit chilly, though not unpleasantly so. I decided then to put the pups’ sweaters back on, a clean pair I had stashed away on my loft, so I returned upstairs to retrieve them. The older pair Deek had given me to wash this morning, and were now hanging by a cord reaching from closet to shelf, to dry out.

It was only after I put their little garments on, that I paid closer attention to two posters that had been plastered over the boards yesterday, where the ATMs once stood. I was both astonished and elated to discover their message, which you can view for yourself in the following video:

The ATM station below my window has been a mini-haven for the local homeless for many years. Finally, customer complaints to Wells Fargo recently led to the money machines being removed and boarded over. I was worried they’d also close up the entire nook as well, but to my surprise it’s remained available for street people to continue to congregate, and sometimes sleep. It’s also a great shelter from the rain. That’s when I realized the plan to shut down the ATM depot has backfired in a way, because it wound up being a MORE accommodating spot for vagrants to gather…no longer disturbed and frowned upon by those wanting to withdraw cash, and sometimes even chased away by the po po. In fact, there are now two pro-homeless posters where the ATMs once stood!

You can pause the video at some point for each poster, and read the title at bottom. But just to make things easy, I’ll type them here:

Poster on the left: “Caledonia Street homeless encampment group photograph.”

Poster on the right: “Alberto and Jaime unhoused couple.”

Dare I say this little alcove that once housed automated teller machines for more than three decades has morphed into a shrine and gathering spot solely for the indigent? I’d sure like to find out which person or people put those elegant posters up, and shake their hand!

Now here’s a delightful video I took a bit later after recording the posters, of Lucky during one of his “fluffier” moments:

I dog sat for my homeless friend Deek today, where we settled into the ATM nook below my window. This is a charming scene of Lucky attempting to fluff up a large, fat pillow, but it doesn’t go anywhere. His sister Flaco is in the foreground. Watch the entire piece (it’s just one minute), you’re in for a treat…and you’ll know what I mean when you see it. It’s close to the end, starts at 46 seconds and lasts just three.

DEEK GOT A POP-UP TENT, MY MIND IS BLOWN!

He showed up around 6:30 PM with Wes (who greeted me joyfully: “Someone just gave me a skateboard, Zeke!”) and a large, floppy orange pop-up tent wobbling from a fiberglass rod in one hand! I was flummoxed, because he doesn’t know I recently bought a rainproof pop-up tent of my own, to protect the doggies during soggy spells. And today I was thinking if it would fit in the ATM station, imagining myself and the pups snug within! As if he could read my mind, and was having fun with it…just as he did this morning by accepting some apparel in lieu of $20, which I only thought about while he was gone for three days. Here’s a pic of the tent:

Click here for a larger view.

I shot it from behind the tree in front of the gate, and at such an angle Deek couldn’t see me. I’m sure he’d have a conniption if I tried to take a photo of him with his knowledge…thus I can’t share with you the complete image of that tent. It’s more of a sun shade than a real tent, though it serves his needs just fine, in light of the fair weather. Flaco immediately stepped into it the moment he set it down, but a few seconds later realized the lining was too thin for comfort, atop the cold concrete without any additional cushioning…so returned to the plush (though dirty) pillow in the corner.

“Would you like me to put the pillows inside the tent?” I asked Deek who was already seated within, beside his large Bluetooth speaker. But the idiot said no, so the dogs remained several feet away from him, rather than snuggled beside their master. Which I’m sure they’d prefer, along with the plump cushion for a bed!

At any rate, I had yet another lovely day, and some adventure (as you predicted) sitting the dogs for the fifth time since this started. And learned something new:

That more people than I realized are aware of Deek and the doggies, and go out of their way to pet them and say hi to him. And as a result of my outdoor presence as Deek’s friend and dog sitter, more folks are becoming aware of MY role in this. Which is exactly what I’ve been working towards, that Flaco & Lucky become the mascots of the Castro, and protecting and watching over them become a community project. Seeing as Deek is not the best master he should be, so surrounding him with caring residents will work in my favor, and that of the dogs. There are helping hands out there, and their number can only increase.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: one more pic, this time a view from where I sit on the ground in the ATM alcove, wearing my worn out old sneakers instead of the Nikes I thought would be mine:

Click here for a larger view.

You can’t see this, but both heels have been partially chewed up by Lucky when the mutts used to visit me upstairs, the right heel more badly mauled than the left. Those shoes were his chew toys…and they still are sometimes when I take him for a walk and he suddenly clamps down on my heel like a curly-tailed stealth ninja, and I drag one leg along with great effort for a block or more, and passersby laugh as I say to Lucky: “Oh ya got me now, ya got me now!” Flaco, on the other hand, couldn’t be the least bit interested in shoes, but it’s just her little beating heart’s delight to be in my company. The feeling is, of course, totally mutual.

ADDENDUM

I almost forgot: Scooter showed up while I was out there today with the doggies. I was walking Lucky, so was about thirty feet from the ATM alcove, when he attempted to stand inside it while waiting for Karlsen. But Flaco, resting on a pillow, would have none of it and jumped up and started to bark wildly at him until he stepped back onto the sidewalk. She continued to harangue him until he moved further away and out of sight, by the bus stop. Had her leash not been secured to that rusty metal chair, I’m sure she would’ve chased him down the road until he crossed the intersection.

Then he saw me return with Lucky, but did not show any desire to intimidate me, or even talk. He wisely kept his distance, mouth shut…and a few minutes later Karlsen stepped out whereby the meth duo departed from my area, crossed Noe Street and disappeared around the corner. Good!

ONE MORE THING

I decided the other chair, the one with a cushion on the seat and backrest, was better than the flimsy folding chair I took hovel yesterday. Because it is heavier and more solid, something I could feel more relaxed in. And besides, while it looks kinda seedy, covering it with a decorative length of cloth eliminates the eyesore.

So I deliberated on WHEN I should lug it upstairs: nighttime I concluded, so as less likely to run into any snoopy resident who might panic that I’m bringing in bedbugs. But I checked the chair thoroughly: no fecal or blood specks or crud, no tiny brown critters scurrying about: it was “clean” in that sense. But I thought if I waited so long to claim it, some street person might walk by and take it. So I finally decided to bring it inside right away, and just keep my fingers crossed that I’d meet no one on my trek up the stairs and into my room.

I opened the front gate with the chair tucked partly beneath my arm: the lobby was empty and so was the first flight of stairs. So far, so good. It was, however, in the back of my mind that the exterminator might still be around, as about two hours earlier I espied one of his pesticide spray canisters set down in my hallway by a neighbor’s door. I felt victorious halfway up the next level of stairs and to my hovel when suddenly someone greeted me at the next landing up. Of course it was the exterminator who I was afraid would notice the scrappiness of the chair and stop me with questions, and ask to look it over. Or possibly, just report it to the manager.

At any rate, I figured the best strategy was to rush on by and tell him I’m busy right now, watching my friend’s dogs outside. Thankfully, that worked, he said good to see you again and have a nice day. It remains to be seen, however, whether or not he snitches on me.

I took the folding chair downstairs with me and returned it to the place I found it: in the opposite corner of the ATM nook, from where the pups and I sat. A few minutes later some boisterous, mop-headed vagrant barged right on into the alcove, spotted that chair and kicked it around a few times (upon which the dogs stood up and commenced to bark like mad) before marching off with it.


Re: The $20 Fiasco Resolved! [ONE MORE THING]
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 13, 2022 at 4:06 PM

> And the beat goes on!

Ha-ha. Nice touch, insinuating the exterminator into the scene of my dragging a beat up old chair upstairs. I’m tellin’ ya Wattson, this is all SCRIPTED! Another mini-masterpiece coming up shortly, stay tuned!


Re: The Schnoz
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 13, 2022 at 5:48 PM

> I have the same jacket for Surely!

Who can resist a camouflage jacket for a little doggy? Seems to be the only way to go.


Subject: Just Work With Me Here
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: October 13, 2022 at 7:34 PM

Deek showed up early, 8:30 AM in fact. He called up to my window, but I was already in the lobby on my way to Rosenberg’s, so I startled him upon opening the front gate.

He demanded I sit the pups NOW ’cause he’s off to work collecting recyclables. I tried to set up a schedule to make things less stressful for me, while giving him ample free time away from the pups. A generous arrangement of six hours every other day, then two or three every day in between. Which would allow me enough hours in the week to continue my writing and Internet activities (though I’d have to cease SOME aspects of it, such as posting so much to the MCN mailing lists).

Yes, he could even break up the six-hour days into two separate time slots totaling six. But I couldn’t get any further than “Let’s set up a schedule, here’s my idea…” before he rudely interrupted and ranted on how I’m not doing my fair share, and he’ll have to give the dogs up if things go on this way!

I told him the mutts are a blessing, he knows it and is just using them to play me.

“I can’t get anything done, when they’re with me I just sit around, bored out of my skull!” he exclaimed. “There’s a lotta things I need to do, and they’re tying me down, Zeke.”

“Oh please. Stop the drama. The more love you show the dogs, the better your life will be, and you know it.” I replied. “I didn’t say I won’t watch them again right now, glad to do it. I just want to establish some sort of schedule that works for us both. Otherwise, I’ll get exhausted and won’t have time to write more stories and make that breakthrough.”

“Exhausted?” he snapped back. “All you do is sit around all day, so how could you ever get exhausted?”

“It’s MENTAL, Deek, and it’s REAL,” I retorted. “Just because you don’t understand does not justify bossing me around. Dealing with that ALONE is an exhausting proposition.”

I also told him he was fine on his own with the hounds before they started visiting me, and I’m now giving him plenty of time each week to do his errands on his own, and his bike riding for recreation. Well, Wattson, he refused to listen, all the blame is mine, blah blah blah. Then he said:

“Gotta go now, the dogs are yours!”

“How soon will you be back,” I called to him as he dropped the leashes and swiftly moved on towards Castro Street.

“I don’t know!” he called out, with a large sack of aluminum cans and glass bottles rattling against his shoulder blades and butt. Two things are going on here:

1. He knows how much I adore the pooches, so he holds that over my head, threatening to get rid of them unless I do this or that.

2. Everything is leverage to him: whatever he possesses or conjures up in his mind is always geared to manipulating the other person so he’ll get his way, or at least TRY to. And the pups are simply one of those possessions.

Though I must admit: every time I sit the canines I have a really nice day; but it IS a bit nerve-racking sometimes, such as when a speed freak parks his fundament in the alcove and acts sketchy, or whenever I have to return to my hovel to fix a meal, use the bathroom, etc…because they’re out there without protection for whatever craziness may come down the road while I’m upstairs.

Wes showed up today, still with that skateboard, and we had an incredible conversation…talking about street shamans, Terence McKenna and his brother Dennis, Alan Watts, Carl Jung, Buddhist teaching, and other topics that made our meetup a total woo fest! Before departing, he said:

“You’re an outstanding man, Zeke, and I understand and agree with everything you’ve just told me…I’m a bodhisattva guardian myself! But I have appointments today, and many forms to fill out, so I gotta leave you now.”

I wished him an excellent afternoon, and said next time we get together I’ll let HIM take the stage, as I babbled on too much about my own theories of the world.

One bonus I get out of this newfound camaraderie is that he’s friends with Deek, and thus an excellent tempering link for Deek’s mood swings regarding how he treats me. But the other bonuses I get have nothing to DO with Deek, which are: he’s intelligent, conversational, attuned to the world in a spiritual way, optimistic, outgoing and cheerful. I’m sure Wes’s company will be an outstanding boost in my world on many levels. Another bodhisattva guardian (and he even admits it) not as an adversary but a compassionate ally. What a relief, eh, after all these crises and challenges over many moons?

Later on a Castro tour guide with a cortege of rubberneckers magically appeared before the ATM nook, where I sat with the hounds, typing away on my tablet with some difficulty due to solar glare and lack of a real keyboard. When the guide (lesbian and 60-something-ish) saw this mini-oasis occupied by two assumed-to-be-transient men (the second being Deonte, who had slept here overnight and was still recumbent), turned to her brood, sighed and said:

“Just work with me here.”

Humph, I thought, considering my decades of dedicated activism for LGBT rights here in San Franshitsco, and our homeless family in particular, *I* should be part of the tour! Yet here I sit, perceived as some old codger down on his luck with nothing worthwhile to say, or know about him. No golden years he! Rather than brushing me off, I wish the lady WOULD have declared with immense pride:

“And now may I introduce you to our local LGBT advocate of many years, Zeke Krahlin, who focuses on our homeless and is presently dog sitting for a long-term friend who lives on the streets. Mr. Krahlin himself is still housed, though it is indeed a most humble cell he occupies. Living many years in a rent controlled, single room whose two windows you can see right above the front gate here, has allowed him to dedicate a considerable chunk of his Social Security stipend towards helping his indigent companion and these delightful pooches.”

At any rate I recorded a snippet of her talk, which you may now watch and listen to here:

While I was sitting Deek’s pups this morning, our fabulous Castro tour guide whose name I don’t recall, paused before me for a few minutes with a gaggle of eager neophytes. So I decided to shoot a brief video of this momentous moment when they totally ignored yours truly, regarding me as a hopeless old vagrant instead of a dedicated activist of many years, for our LGBT houseless. She really should make me part of the tour! What she said in that clip, in case her raspy, pot smoker’s voice was too blurred from the murmur of traffic for you to discern, was the following: “…sexuality. For instance, I know several female-to-males that still date lesbians. How did Lou Sullivan identify that they were transsexual?”

Scampy also showed up today, said hi where’s Deek, and I told her collecting bottles and cans…and then she noticed the pro-homeless posters in the ATM nook and exclaimed:

“Wow, that’s awesome. Who put those signs up there?”

“I’d like to know that myself,” I replied, “and shake their hand. But there’s only the title and nothing else to indicate the photographer’s name or the person or group who put them up.”

Her recognition of those posters, and appreciation OF them, really impressed me, good doctor. Makes me realize how easily a homeless person, especially one with obvious psychological issues, can be underestimated! Scampy has her act together more than I realized. Guess I’m guilty of underestimating the indigent, myself. I suspect she’s yet one more bodhisattva angel in the guise of a vagrant. But they’re SUCH good actors, it’s easy to forget.

Deek returned three hours and some minutes later from the time he departed…not bad at all. I think he likes to keep me guessing, the little snot. I really don’t mind his getting me out of bed at cock’s crow and passes the doggy leashes to me, even though I haven’t had my coffee yet…I just prefer to start each day slow and calm. But with my Cajun devil it’s like boot camp where you have to move your arse pretty quick once you arise, and it’s an ORDER to jump out of bed, not a leisurely decision on your part. I’ll just have to adapt, as it IS all about the brindlekin: a most worthy mission that warms my heart. One final note worth your interest:

After Deek returned he laid out some mixed wet and dry dog food on a folded trash bag. I was about to tell him I don’t think they’re hungry yet, but then I realized he’s no longer forcing them to eat off the sidewalk. Which pleased me no end, so I kept my trap shut. He does indeed listen to me!

– Zeke K-Holmes


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