The FINAL Final Chapter (part 7)

January 7, 2022

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18g]

Texting with Wattson: 12/31/21 – 1/1/22

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Subject: Best New Year’s Eve Ever!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 12:27 PM

“Yo! Yo! Yo! Yo! Yo!” Deek’s call up my window awakened me from a cozy sleep: 5:30 AM. He wants the pups to stay with me over New Year’s Eve, because fireworks scare them. Filipino Jay was there, too; he greeted me with a broad, jocular smile as I opened the front gate to grab onto the leashes and bring the dogs inside. They wished me a happy new year, as I did in return…then rushed back upstairs with Flaco & Lucky racing ahead up the steps and into my hovel. Flaco ran right into the new box I procured off Noe Street last night, and began scratching away like mad before settling down inside it. The carton is larger than any previous one, like a little dacha all their own (see pic). Lucky, however, ran back out of the room to await my arrival a few seconds later.

I’m glad to see F. Jay hanging out with Deek these days, after disappearing from the Castro for almost a year. He’s an excellent ally on my behalf, who really tore into Deek last week, for talking smartass to yours truly in front of him…gave him QUITE a scare! Which he WELL deserved, and I thanked Jay for that a few minutes later (around the corner away from Deek’s ear.) He had given me a sly wink as he raked Deek over the coals, that I much appreciated.

The brindlekin were warm to my touch, and showed no sign at all of overexposure to the cold…indicating that Deek, one way or another, took good care of them. I was SO happy to have them in my arms last night, Wattson! And they seemed EQUALLY glad to be here, as they wagged their tails with delight and showered me with kisses. They then burrowed under the blankets and went right off to doggy dreamland…and I soon followed.

It is now 11:40 AM next day, they’ve already been fed (their appetite is superb) and I enjoyed my Rosenberg java, as usual. During which time I pondered over the events of the last few days, and concluded:

What an amazing script Arwyn has composed (again)! Filipino Jay arriving on the scene once more, only this time to play a VITAL role in this present act, rather than a minor character in a previous one. And leave it to my quasi-fascist neighbor to insert himself amid the drama for that cheesy soap opera embellishment: coughing a death rattle right there in the lobby, slumped against the mailboxes for support as I quickly scampered by to bring a hot cup of blueberry tea for Deek, huddled outside by the ATMS while the mutts hunkered down in the folds of the sleeping bag I gave them moments ago. And on top of all this: dealing with bedbug prep along with cold, nasty rain pouring down for that extra sting of melodrama. Through all of Exmass and beyond!

I told you the holiday season is ALWAYS my worst time of the year, good physician! And so it proves to be, once again.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: I think your mother would’ve loved this article:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 2:37 PM

> I do own the rights. But that doesn’t stop anyone from selling individual books. What they can’t do, but which I could, is get the books reissued or made into movies, etc.

I hope that happens…somehow, some way. I had my first dream ever with you in it, last night. You were accompanied by a female companion, though I don’t knew who she was, because kind of hazy, though warm and amiable as you were too. As I now dwell upon it fully awake, I like to think that was your mother.

I was introducing you to my literally “underground” community, that occupied a spacious, basement level of a towering highrise. Composed of many large rooms filled with artwork, books and all kinds of things you’d expect to find in a shared residence of talented, free-thinking people. In the first room I brought you to, there were around fifteen folks busy with their projects, or amicably chatting away about this or that fascinating topic. They turned their heads to greet me, and eagerly shook your hand, and that of your colleague.

There were at least several doorways in this secret complex, through which one could enter or exit unbeknownst to the “normals,” a.k.a. “outsiders”…including those who either work or live in the above-ground levels, or were passing through for whatever purpose (including tourists for the magnificent view from the topmost height). Some exits allow you to enter the ground level of this building, without anyone suspecting you arose from the subterranean realm.

You could then take a special elevator directly to the 40th floor, and enjoy the view outside all the way up, because it was made of glass, as were the walls of each floor. It was quite a thrilling uplift thanks to impressive speed and non-stop lift from bottom to top, and back again. Of course, there were OTHER elevators that stopped at each level, but they were not for the thrill-seekers among us. There were also restaurants, coffeehouses and shops contained in this astounding edifice, that we hypogean denizens were free to visit, in the guise of normals.

Nothing else happened in this dream, as I woke up feeling most pleased to recall it, and noticed the time was 1:42 AM. I soon returned to slumberland, hoping this particular dream would continue, but it did not. Maybe tonight, or another night soon.

What intrigues me about this sleeping fantasy, is that I’ve dreamt of this skyscraper a few times before, some years back. I was not part of some underground collaboration, though…I’d just go there by myself and ride the elevator a bunch of times, as well as explore hidden areas via the always-empty emergency corridors and stairways. I’d never see anything interesting, or meet anyone…it was just exploring vacant spaces. Well, one enormous room contained a myriad of pipes, blinking lights, humming engines and machinery which, I presume, were the organs and brains of this behemoth of concrete, steel, wires and glass. This dream that occurred about three times across a year or two, always gave me a privileged sense of freedom that I alone was privy to. Those around me in the elevator or anywhere else (such as the grand lobby on the second floor) seemed to not be aware of my presence. Which didn’t bother me in the least. Maybe I was a ghost.

In the midst of writing this missive, Deek showed up to collect a small speaker and smartphone. I couldn’t find a way to charge the speaker, since the only slot I found did not match either the standard USB plug, or the C. Turned out there was a little rubber flap that I missed WITH a C port, and that other slot was for something else. Deek of course got rather upset, but I reminded him I was half asleep when he brought it to me (along with the pups) and I’m an old man, so give me a break.

He griped about how my electricity was “slow,” and it’ll take HOURS to charge…and that now his day was RUINED. I told him that’s not true at all (re. the charge time AND his day), that’s it’s all in his mind, and he could flip that around in an instant, instead of acting like a brat.

He finally calmed down and asked me to bring the pups to him for the day…he’ll return with them towards evening, to keep them sheltered while New Year fireworks go off around the bay. I did just that, after first plugging in the speaker to see its little red light glow. I also charged a pair of bluetooth earbuds that I don’t use anymore, and thought it would be a nice gesture to make up for my faux pas.

With the doggies, I brought him a cup of blueberry tea and two cigarettes. He was by then very much calmed down, camped out by the lamppost on the corner. He opened a suitcase into which he placed each pup to curl up in.

“It’s a small speaker, Deek,” I told him, “so two hours’ charge should be more than enough. And I’m also gonna give you some Bluetooth earbuds that I forgot all about, but found just last night. I’m charging them right now, too…so they can be a backup once your speaker runs down.”

Having arrived at this amicable result, I then told him how WELL he handled this rainy, cold Exmass and my need to prep my room and keep the dogs away in spite of this despicable weather:

“I’m VERY impressed, Deek. Most street people are in a bad mood during the holidays, especially when the weather sucks…and I don’t blame them one bit.”

He smiled then, shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Well, I self medicate. That helps a bit.”

“Whatever it takes,” I chuckled at his quip. “I usually prefer to keep to myself during Christmas time, but I don’t anymore, for the sake of you AND the dogs.”

So now I’m back hovel and completing this, my latest missive. I just peered outside to see that Flaco is now in the shade, while Lucky remains resting in the sunlight. Why doesn’t he just slide the suitcase over a few inches? I think it would be better to have kept them here, to continue their sorely needed rest in warmth and comfort. He hasn’t even thrown some cover on them, to reduce the impact of the outdoor chill. Deek is a constant challenge.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Best New Year’s Eve Ever!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 3:02 PM

> That’s great!! You have them for the next 24 hours or so!! And you can protect them from noise, commotion, drunken revelers and the like.

Well, he has them back outside again, there by the bus stop. I just sent you an email about it. I will add this, though:

When he got PO’d that I neglected to charge the speaker, he demanded the dogs back. Had the speaker been properly juiced, this wouldn’t have happened. Just a moment ago, he collected the finally-charged speaker, the earbuds, along with a disposable razor and a large garbage bag. I was hoping he’d return the pooches, but no.

I’m pretty sure he’ll bring them back this evening. However, he indicated he may have another place to take them, where they’ll be inside and warm. Okay by me, I just hope he’s not making this up.

> That pic of the little paws happily ensconced in the box warms my heart.

Yes, it is a charming little pic. Something about those paws…

> I hate the “holidays,” too. Wistful memories, reminder of losses and all of that rubbish, plus everyone acting like morons.

That’s because they ARE morons…this Exmass hypocrisy just makes their idiocy stand out in sharper contrast. If only we really DID have that subterranean collective of my dreams to slink off to! Deek and pups would have to join us, as well.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Best New Year’s Eve Ever!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 5:20 PM

> Superb dream!

Thank you…dreaming is my greatest asset, whether by day or by night. That was my fourth skyscraper dream, and my very first dream with YOU in it. Let’s get Jungian all over it:

The subterranean region is, of course, the hidden part of the mind: the subconscious. And the skyscraper represents the ever increasing levels of consciousness all the way to the absolute top. I can freely transport myself from its very depths to its ultimate height…in complete safety and pleasure.

You are my most powerful ally, so it makes sense that I welcome you into my amazing universe, at last. And I presume your mother is YOUR most powerful ally, so of course she’d be there with you. These different levels of awareness are also akin to Buddhist theology. I have no enemies on ANY level, other than those who play such a role for the sake of adventure, and nothing more. This all suggests an achieved mind, where every compartment is “enlightened,” or at least, free of dark influences of any kind.

> I have a similar one from time to time, where I discover a wing of vast rooms attached to my house that I just never realized were there. The rooms are packed with arcane, beautiful treasures, which I wander among and examine in minute detail…the feeling is always: Damn! This was here the whole time, and I’m only now discovering it!!

Again, the Jungian spin: your house is your mind, as the skyscraper is in MY dream. So of COURSE it would include other rooms, other dimensions beyond these immediate walls. According to Jung, everything and everyone in your dreams is an aspect of your own mind. SYMBOLS of various aspects of your thoughts and makeup. Though sometimes someone or someTHING can stand outside of that, and actually be a psychic projection, connection or message. If an item or person or scenario stands out within a dream, you should meditate upon that, ask what it means to you, as a symbol can be entirely PERSONAL, as well as culturally, or even universally, shared.

That’s just a summary description, though I am now reminded of Timothy Dipalma’s curious telling of many years back when he still lived here in SF, that there is a teleportation tunnel leading from somewhere in my building, to somewhere in Mendocino, and vice versa. Perhaps there is just such a door to that tunnel in my skyscraper, and in your ethereal house. Or IOW:

“It’s all in the mind!’ – John Lennon


“Thinking is the best way to travel.” – The Moody Blues

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Aaaaaand…he just showed up a few moments ago…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 31, 2021 8:19 PM

…not just with the pups to bring hovel, but with a BUTT LOAD of groceries from some free pantry. “I had to wait in line a long while to get you this,” he bragged. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I don’t care for their crappy produce donations, including that quart of Mazola oil and large bag of white rice! Instead, I thanked him profusely, that I’ll be doing a lot of cooking tomorrow, to make veggie stew and freeze most of it for later consumption. How could I tell him otherwise, it was such a thoughtful deed!

Honestly, Wattson, I just dumped all the “fresh” produce into the compost bin downstairs, along with the rice. Broccoli, carrots, tiny apples, two hard-as-a-rock pears, and a large head of white cabbage…all of which have seen better days. The ONLY thing I kept is a 2-pound bag of “Pappy’s Pantry” lentils…though I’ll probably discard them as well. He also had a whole, plucked chicken to offer me, but I definitely turned that down…he knows I don’t eat any meat.

“Guess I’ll just leave it here,” he said, and deposited the raw carcass in its plastic bag right there by the curb, and took off. It’s now oozing all over the sidewalk, so I’ll go downstairs in a minute to dump it into the trashcan out front. And wash my hands THOROUGHLY once upstairs again.

I hope, Wattson, my faux-grateful acceptance of these items doesn’t start a trend! That would be un petit cauchemar! Can you imagine my dumping loads of inferior produce into the basement bin, filling up half its capacity each month? I’ll have to find SOME kindhearted way to discourage him from ever doing that again! The bag was a hefty 20+ pounds, which he lugged all the way from somewhere in the Mission, to my home. It was a WONDERFUL gesture, nonetheless. So if you have any ideas on how to politely put the kibosh on this, I’m all ears! He also offered me two tins of tuna fish, which I likewise turned down ’cause, you know, I’m a vegetarian.

The point here is: I HAVE FOOD STAMPS. So my stomachic needs are already well satiated. WithOUT having to resort to shoddy, tough produce and crappy stuff in bottles, bags or cans that I wouldn’t feed to a hyena!

What a remarkable New Years’ Eve this has turned out to be, what with the doggies back hovel, and Deek’s outstanding gift of food that he went WAY out of his way to bring me! Goes without saying, but:

He also returned the small speaker, the smartphone and the earbuds for me to charge, until later tonight when he returns to collect them. Meanwhile, time to step out and dispose of that dead chicken…give it a proper burial, so to speak. Then, time to feed the brindlekin, already zonked out on the bedding!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Aaaaaand…he just showed up a few moments ago…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 1, 2022 12:02 AM

> Great, great story.

Yes indeed! It’s a rather MEATY tale, albeit a tad FISHY.

> Will he be leaving the pups all night?

Yes! He even put a camouflage T-shirt on Lucky, said that Flaco had one, too, but she kept yanking it off. As if such a thin fabric suffices in this deathly chill weather! Flaco never had a problem wearing a REAL jacket or sweater, nor did Lucky. I don’t get it, but I just bit my lip instead of saying they need jackets, not T-shirts.

> You did the right thing, accepting the “food” graciously. If he does it again, just tell him you don’t have a proper refrigerator and that you can’t have that much food around all at once, because it’ll spoil and go to waste.

I already took care of it with kindly finesse, when he returned for his gizmos:

“That was a VERY nice thing you did for me, Deek…lugging such a heavy load of produce so far, for my sake. But I have food stamps, so hunger is not an issue in my world. And I hate to see you go through all that trouble for something I don’t really need. But it’s the thought that counts, and God smiles upon you for this one!”

That was it; he departed on his bike, and I returned hovel, glad he didn’t ask the obvious question:

“Where did that chicken go?”

Had he done so, I would’ve spouted the obvious bon mot:

“It crossed the road to get to the other side.”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Horrific!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 1, 2022 8:19 PM

Deek collected the canines three hours ago, then just returned to pick up the recharged devices. Before proceeding downstairs I left the door ajar, assuming he’s come to his senses, and wants me to shelter the dogs over this deadly cold night. But no, he just wanted his gizmos, then took off.

But before he did that, he pulled yet another mind fuck. Flaco had slipped out of her collar in her eagerness to get to the front gate, from where we stood ten yards away. So I called to her with collar in hand, “Come here, La Flaca!”

I call her that in Deek’s presence these days, because he blew up in my face several months back: “Her name’s LA FLACA, not Flaco!” Even though he’s been calling her Flaco for almost a year since adopting her. But when he told me her name stands for “skinny girl,” I explained the correct term in Spanish is “la flaca” for a female, and “el flaco” for a male. Then, some weeks later he demanded I call her La Flaca…though he still called her Flaco most of the time (and still does). And that he got the “la flaca” idea from me in the first place!

So tonight, after calling to the sweetie, he snarled at me: “Her name’s La Flaca, not Flaco!”

I told him I DID call her that, even though HE still calls her Flaco most of the time…and HAS called her that from day one until the recent past.

“Never mind,” he said, then took off with the pups towards Noe Street.

Now you watch, good physician, he’s still gonna call her Flaco in front of me. And if I remind him it’s “La Flaca” he’ll come up with some other bullshit.

Anyway, I hope he keeps the pups warm through the night, though I have my misgivings. For damned good reason. I already told him this afternoon that the temperature’s gonna plummet to 38 degrees later tonight! But I think his frustration over my keeping the dogs for a solid week recently, has caused his juvenile mind to upwell with resentment. I’m just trying to protect the pups during this prolonged, horrific cold snap!

Which I’ve already explained to him quite clearly, TWICE. Those poor, darling doggies!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Horrific!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 2, 2022 12:16 PM

> As my mother would have said: Isn’t that the limit…
> Surly jerk.

And he STILL hasn’t returned…38 degrees outside at 8 AM! He’ll probably wait until tomorrow morning, because he knows that’s when he’ll get his next payment. I’m thinking he’ll only bring them over when it rains, and not take into consideration the dangerously cold temps. Idiot. They are BOTH emergency conditions.

I now have two spare sleeping bags, still sealed in their factory wrapping. Which makes me wonder: when I give him one in such pristine condition, will he sell it instead of keeping the pups warm each night?

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Horrific!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 2, 2022 1:59 PM

> Probably.

The two kids’ sleeping bags he kept, but they were soaking wet two days later, then gone. The adult sleeping bag he did use to keep himself and the pups warm overnight…I know because he slept by the ATMs below me. Did he sell that rainbow comforter, claiming he got rid of it because it was bug infested (which it was not)? Maybe Filipino Jay knows what’s really going on…he’s been hangin’ out with Deek quite often these past weeks, and declared some days ago he’ll remain an ally with me, even if he falls out with Deek. AND he doesn’t touch meth or other hard drugs, just tobacco and pot.

At any rate, I checked out a website re. dogs and chilly weather…and this cold snap is borderline safe for pups of Flaco & Lucky’s type. THAT was good to hear.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Doggies Arrived Post-Midnight!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 2, 2022 10:35 AM

I was nodding off beneath my comforters around 12:20 AM, in the middle of a flick called “Red Rocket,” when I heard Deek softly call “Yo!” up to my window, several times. So I got up, donned the slippers he bought me for Exmass, and rushed on down…leaving my door ajar for the pups.

He was nicely dressed in warm clothes, including a jacket and watch cap…and the pooches stood on their hind legs and barked away at me with joyful spirits, the moment they saw me. Deek was accompanied by two others; they were in a jovial mood. Soon as he dropped the leashes to the ground and I opened the gate, the mutts crashed into the heavy doors that blocked their further entrance, desperately trying to force their way through, but to no avail.

Upon swinging the doors open, another resident needed in, so I flung the gate behind me while the brindlekin dashed upstairs without a moment’s pause…because Flaco had pulled herself free of the collar and, since she did that, I released her brother. Normally, I*d hold onto their leashes until arriving halfway up the first level of stairs, out of sight of the lobby camera. But things were happening so fast, and I didn’t want them to confront the other person entering with their excited barks.

But the dogs were surprisingly quiet as they rushed inside; they paid no attention to anyone or anything, in their zeal to enter their little sanctuary. And the resident stepping in behind me is a good guy anyway, who loves the pups and is amused when they bark at him. He’s a large black dude around 35, a bouncer at the gay bar up the block. His good manners and sweet disposition seem at odds with his present occupation.

The dogs were NOT shivering, and they were warm to the touch, so it looks like Deek took good care of them. We three had a lovely time in slumberland, and they ate a hearty breakfast just an hour ago.


I JUST received a voicemail from Kevin, that my neighbor reported bedbugs in his apartment…so he’d like to treat my room this Wednesday! I left HIM a voicemail to remind him my room was treated only five days ago, so isn’t that premature, or redundant? Some of the bugs probably scattered to THEIR unit as a result of treating my room. So isn’t it more sensible to just treat THEIR place? Perhaps he should talk to the exterminator about this.

I finished by telling him I assume he wants to go through with it, so I’m prepared to heat treat all my stuff again, tomorrow, and I’ll be ready by 2 PM Wednesday. Now, I’m waiting for his response. Jeez! And we’re gonna have MORE rain today and tomorrow.

So now I have to bag and seal all my throw rugs once more, along with the comforters. I won’t heat treat EVERYTHING tomorrow, but keep the excess items bagged until I treat them some day AFTER this next (pointless) extermination. Good thing I have those two EXTRA sleeping bags to ease the labor.


– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Doggies Arrived Post-Midnight!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 2, 2022 2:02 PM

> That’s a BIG relief!

Indeed. Especially to see he kept the pups warm and dry. I will make SURE to commend him.

> Oh, man, that’s outrageous!!

I can handle it, and the nearest laundromat now stays open until 7 PM, as of New Years’ Day. Instead of 3 PM due to pandemic crisis. And Kevin was VERY apologetic about putting me through this again, so soon. He called back, said this was the exterminator’s call, not his. Not one whit of griping came from my end, I just said,”Well then, my room will be ready by 2 PM Wednesday.”

But I’m worried if this will make Deek go over the deep end, and be afraid to have the pups stay with me any more. He might think I’m making this up, just to fuck with him, for all the difficulties he’s tossed my way. He doesn’t understand, or appreciate, the hardships I go through in this building, which have been MORE extreme because of the doggies…innocent as they are.

I HATE putting Deek through this a second time, just seven days later. He’s been a champ through the miserable ordeal over the holiday season. Though I’m surprised he hasn’t shown up yet, as he knows $60 is waiting for him as of today!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: I repeat: Exmass time has ALWAYS been the most miserable time of year for THIS bedraggled pilgrim!

Subject: Deek finally showed up around 4 PM…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 4, 2022 10:44 PM

…but didn’t pick up the pups. It’s now after 10, so I presume they’ll be staying the entire night. I gave him his $60 Sunday allowance, which was delayed because it fell on the 2nd this month, and my Social Security deposit doesn’t happen until the 3rd. When I handed him the moolah, I told him I’m surprised he didn’t show up yesterday (Monday), because he knew there was cash waiting for him. He had the nerve to respond:

“I was hoping for Thursday’s payment, too, since I usually ask for it on Wednesday, and that’s tomorrow.”

“No, you’re not getting a hundred dollars,” I replied, “I don’t work that way. You can pick up your $40 on Thursday, it’s only two days from now…you don’t need any advance payment by tomorrow.”

I’m trying to get him back into the Sunday-Thursday pattern, to keep him from trying to squeeze extra money from me towards the end of the month. But I’m sure THAT won’t last for more than another week…he’ll be back asking for his Sunday payment on Saturday, and his Thursday sum on Wednesday or earlier. Then, as the end of the month draws near, he’ll have to wait an entire week for his next payday, because I refuse to cross over any advance payment into the next month.

I told him to show up tomorrow by 11 AM, so I can finish prepping my room. Again, I go through the stress of worrying the asshole may NOT follow through. Once the cold weather ceases, he’d better not make that a habit, as it’s best to not have the doggies with me the day before treatment occurs, so I can get everything prepped without needless pressure. But he doesn’t give a flying fuck about how traumatic bedbug prep is for me, he thinks because I remain calm about it, that it’s really no big deal.

He showed up again, three hours later to pick up his gizmos. Some crazy dude was seated on the curb across from the ATM nook, where Deek was hanging out. I hate when he camps around my building, because he keeps hollering up to me for this and that, and I have to go up and down the stairs for his trivial needs several times or more before it finally hits midnight. And he does this in front of other street people, who see him call up to me, and my peeking out the window to find out what he wants next.

So I told Deek tonight to stop doing that when others are around. I don’t need some nut job parroting him, and calling up my window as well. Deek said okay, but the reality is, he’s been doing this more frequently the past few months, though I’ve told him repeatedly to cease. So I know it’s just gonna go on, and get worse, as he doesn’t listen, or respect my own limits. I think he has a sadistic streak, which doesn’t help.

He needed a USB cord to connect his smart phone to a battery pack. But he hollered up to me a minute after I brought it down, claiming it doesn’t work. Sure enough it didn’t, so I ran back upstairs to get a different one…which didn’t work, either. Again, I ran upstairs with the entire package of spare cord I’ve stored, and we tried four more. Nothing.

“You broke it!” he accused.

I told him no, those cords are perfectly good, and the smartphone charged perfectly fine at my place. He then demanded maybe a longer cord will work (the ones he tried were two to six inches in length). I told him that’s ridiculous, then he told me to bring down the cord I used to charge his smartphone, which happened to be two feet in length. Again, I ran upstairs to retrieve it. Soon as I handed it to him, he exclaimed:

“Aha! This is a long cord, it’ll work now,” he prematurely concluded.

I told him I doubt it and, sure enough, I was correct. And that I have no idea what the problem is, but he needs to stop blaming me whenever things don’t go his way. I did NOT break it.

“Boy, I’d be in a mental institution if I blew my cork every time shit happened to me!” I elaborated. “I get dealt tons of crap each month, but you never see ME exploding like a time bomb whenever things turn sour.”

He calmed down after that, and decided to take off, not telling me whether or not he’ll be back for the dogs later tonight.

I saw Filipino Jay again, last night, and discussed with him how Deek is a very DIFFICULT friend to have. He said he’ll have a talk with him, about things like putting tags on the pups with my phone number, and ceasing his temper tantrums in public, as they could easily bring harm to his dogs, if he fucks with the wrong person.

That’s it for now, Wattson…time to hit the hay. Tomorrow, once more I will be cast onto the streets for half the day. But this time around I’ll have money to eat out, and not be stuck outside in the cold rain.

– Zeke K-Holmes

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

Subject: This is Disappointing!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 10:57 AM

I’m glad Deek showed up early, around 10 AM, to pick up the doggies, so I can proceed with prepping my room for the exterminator. But here he is with them now: nothing to rest on except the concrete surface (see the enclosed pics). There is also this 6-second video:

He has NO cart, just his bicycle and a large bag containing whatever. I was about to feed them when he arrived, and he didn’t want to wait the five minutes or so for me to do that upstairs. So instead I brought the food outside in two, disposable plastic bowls…plus water. I didn’t want them to go hungry, because even though I brought him a supply of dog vittles, his nodding off like this may mean HOURS before they get to eat anything.

Of course, Deek also asked for his Thursday allowance, so I had to march on down to the bank to get THAT, as well. I’d rather not argue with him to wait one more day; he can be a real pest, as you know. And he DID show up, not just on time, but well before that…so kudos!

I just heard someone talking outside, so peeked out my window to see Filipino Jay with his own bike and baggage, talking with him. He was holding one of the lids I used to seal the plastic bowl containing water. Atop it was obviously some bud…meaning he just bought some pot from Deek (or traded). Jay then disappeared into the alcove, so I’ll leave well enough alone, though I HAD thought to bring down another sleeping bag. I’m just glad Jay is with them for now.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: This is Disappointing:
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 12:56 PM

> I can see a jacket on one of the pups, can’t see if the other is also wearing one.

That’s not a jacket, it’s a thin, baby T-shirt. He hasn’t bothered to buy (or get) a jacket for the pups for almost a year, now. He even denies he’s ever done that, I’m just fucking with him.

> But their poor little butts and bellies must rest on the cold concrete.

Right. But on a good note, Deek left shortly after Filipino Jay showed up. So they were only sitting on concrete for ten minutes or so. I have pointed out to him now and then, that they shouldn’t be sitting directly on the sidewalk ’cause it’s dirty and cold, and it WILL give them arthritis in the long run. Not that he has any concept of arthritis and what causes it (or what “in the long run” implies, as he is not particularly forward-thinking). IOW he’s basically illiterate. So it really had no impact on him. He either starts screaming at me, or calmly replies like so:

“We’ll just be here a short while.”

As if it weren’t easy enough for him to dig up something comfy for them to rest on, even just a cardboard sheet…ANY time he parks himself and the dogs, no matter how short a time.

> He sure has you running up and down the stairs lately…

I think he likes to show off to his street buddies that he has some old man (an “uncle”) at his beck and call. Or even when they’re NOT around, as he likes to play “boss.” Like I’m his Stepin Fetchit. He knows he has me around his little finger because of the pooches.

I’ve told him numerous times to stop calling up to my window when any of his street buddies are around. He’s says okay each time, but then continues the same old habit, and more often. Which is tragic because he doesn’t realize what a negative impact his childish behavior may have on Flaco & Lucky. If some crazy vagrant starts mimicking Deek’s calls to my window, this will further stress me out, and perhaps create enmity by other residents. Then there are his notorious temper tantrums, which ALSO could put the dogs at risk.

> Just watched the video–I see no jacket on lap doggy.

No, why would you, as he’s stopped getting them jackets for quite awhile now. When I mention jackets these days in my emails, I’m talking about using the HUMAN ones for something cushy to sit on in lieu of a blanket or comforter. People discard old jackets all the time, and they’ll do in a pinch, especially for small doggies. They even work for humans: find a few jackets and ya got yer bedding!

As for last night’s fiasco over Deek’s claim that none of the USB cords will charge his smartphone:

It didn’t occur to me later that he doesn’t know HOW to identify whether the phone is being charged or not, as he doesn’t know how to load the settings and get into the “battery” page. I was standing just a couple of feet away from where he sat, and I saw the screen brighten the moment he plugged it in, so I said:

“Looks like it works to me; here, let ME take a look.” But he refused to hand it over. My conclusion:

The phone was charging fine with BOTH of his battery packs…he just made it up that the cords were not working, to have something to gripe about, and put me down. Sort of a power trip for small egos like his.

The stupidest thing about this surprise second bedbug treatment is: IT WON’T WORK, THE PROBLEM WILL REMAIN UNCHANGED, AS USUAL. It only serves to exhaust me, and utterly disrupt my world. As well as drain my wallet, between the frequent laundering and eating-out expenses.

Well, time for me to eat the rest of my breakfast, then strip down my room and disconnect all my electronic devices. Thanks to Deek’s early arrival, I was able to run two kids’ sleeping bags and my two backpacks through the dryer…but the rest I’ll have to take care of mañana. Talk to you later in the day, Wattson.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: What Paolo Said
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 4:51 PM

That’s the exterminator. He showed up shortly before 2:00 p.m., as I was wrapping up the room prep. I told him I was not informed of this second treatment until just 2 days ago, but if I did know about it I wouldn’t have unbagged more than half my heat treated clothing, throw rugs and bed stuff. So I’m pretty exhausted right now.

Turns out the manager knew of this second treatment that was to be scheduled a week or so later, but failed to inform me until almost the last minute. I did not bother to question Paolo as to why he no longer affirms the next treatment by sending me a text, or answers my occasional question. I have a hunch Kevin admonished him to NOT communicate with me anymore. After I informed Paolo that the manager and I are not on the best terms, he ended the conversation abruptly:

“Everything’s fine, no worries.”

I came THAT close to telling him about Adidas and his mom’s harassment, facilitated by Kevin himself. But I thought better of it, and held my tongue.

He did not volunteer to explain why he stopped responding to my texts, which only numbered three in the past month. It’s not like I’m being a nuisance, and it’s more reliable to affirm treatment dates with him, than wait for the manager to make arrangements, and then forget to inform me until rather late in the game. Now I’m thinking maybe it’s not forgetfulness, but intentional.

Once I completed my prep and stepped out to tell him the room’s ready, Paulo remarked: “I saw your dogs on Mission Street the other day, with someone else.”

Jeez, Wattson, why am I so frequently put in awkward situations? People tend to freak out when I tell them the pups aren’t really mine, but belong to a homeless person. And that’s precisely what I told Paolo today, who met Flaco and Lucky several weeks back; they charmed him, though he was in a full-face respirator which aroused much barking. At that time I told him a friend owns them, and I help him out with dog sitting. But now he knows better, and whether this works for or against me (in relationship to the manager) remains to be seen.

“They are a joy and a heartbreak,” I told him. “We’ve been friends for over 12 years, and when I discovered he adopted a dog, I almost had a heart attack. Then he goes ahead 5 months later and gets another dog. My friend has problems, he’s bipolar, so that makes things difficult and somewhat scary.”

Just before I proceeded down the stairs Paolo stopped me to point out that my smoke alarm doesn’t seem to be working.

I shrugged my shoulders in reply: “Maybe because there hasn’t been any smoke?”

“Well,” he answered, “my fogging gear tends to activate the alarm, except yours.”

I told him thanks, I’ll check it out when I return tonight. Jeez, what a nuisance.

That’s all for now, good doctor. I composed this missive from Tart to Tart coffeehouse, my favorite hangout in the Inner Sunset. Though the adjective “favorite” leaves much room for improvement, in light of my trying circumstances.

– Zeke K-Holmes



Subject: Back home, sitting in the side hallway…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 5:59 PM

…with just an hour to go this time. 7:00 p.m. is when I can slip back into my hermit cave. I must add that Deek was calm and pleasant this morning, and didn’t bother me with recharging any of his gizmos.

After he and pups departed from the ATM alcove, I decided to see if he left the dog food bowls behind, in which case I’d dispose of them properly. Neither was hungry when I left the food with them, so I wanted to find out whether they eventually ate, or not.

To my surprise, no bowls were there nor anything else of Deek’s. I checked the trash bin, too, but no sign of the bowls there, either! I concluded he took them with him, which is good…waste not, want not.

I now wish I had left the sealed bag of throw rugs in the side hall, that I could wash them while waiting to reenter my room…seeing as the laundromat is now open until 10:00 p.m. instead of just 3. Unlikely anyone would steal them, as they’d be hidden in that alcove right outside my room. But who would want that stuff anyway? When I packed them away this afternoon, I discovered dried doggy vomit on one of the rugs! How could I have missed that, unless Lucky (or his sister, though I presume Lucky, as she rarely upchucks) flipped a corner of the partly overlapping rug, puked his heart out, then flipped that second rug back upon the first? I sniffed the yellow-brown residue, to find absolutely no odor!

So how did YOUR day go, Wattson?

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Back home, sitting in the side hallway…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 5, 2022 10:15 PM

> My brother sent me a text today with a photo of a message written inside a New Year’s card he got in the mail, purportedly from our younger half-brother, the poor hapless semi-autistic PhD in organic chemistry who fell into the clutches of a bona fide madwoman, a ranting, paranoid, spittle-and-hate-spewing Q-Anon Trumpster “Christian.” I could see (and my bro agrees) that it’s not his handwriting, it’s hers–and the letter was all about the Trumpwoman’s adult daughter being kidnapped and possibly murdered, also about how they (Trumpwoman and half-bro) might have to leave the country because soon Biden will be throwing non-vaxed “Christians” into concentration camps, and on and on and on. Trulyexhausting madness.
> Other than that, not a bad day at all!!

Multiply that Trumpwoman by dozens of millions, and you have today’s Amerikkka. Your poor half-brother, he’s the one who needs to be kidnapped…to save him from being destroyed by that insane, Christo-Fascist harpy!

Glad you had a nice day, otherwise. 0_0

Re: Back home, sitting in the side hallway…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 6, 2022 2:44 PM

> He’s really hapless and helpless. My stepmother, his mother, was the classic “controller,” ruling my father’s life, and then her son’s, who was born when she and my father were 40. One of the reasons my mother divorced my father, she said, was because he wanted a woman to tell him what to do in every aspect of his life, and my mother didn’t want to be that woman. So they divorced, and my father found Charlotte, whom I renamed “Violet” in DEATH IN SLOW MOTION in the section where I describe the scandalous Peyton Place tangle of affairs and liaisons. Charlotte was a raving beauty, black hair and blue eyes, highly intelligent, and bossy as hell. My father fell for her. Michael (my half-bro) was born late in 1960. He was a little strange from the git-go–physically slow and awkward, but genius IQ, Asbergery but with a sharp sense of humor. PhD from Princeton and all that. My father died in 1996. Under his mother’s iron rule all his life, Michael capitulated when she demanded that he move into the NY apt. with her and take care of her until her death, which, she promised would happen in a few months. He obeyed, turned down a job at the Mayo Clinic in order to keep his promise. Well, it took her five years to die, in 2008 or so. In the meantime, he’d been out of the organic chemistry job market for too long, to the point that he was unemployable after his mother’s death, his PhD useless. He stayed in the NY apt. for a few years until he couldn’t afford it any more, drifted to New Jersey, and that’s where he met the Trumpette. She’s so much like my stepmother it’s eerie: utterly controlling, overbearing, vicious. And get this: her name is Violet, the pseudonym I’d bestowed on my stepmother in the book years and years before! Two major differences, though: my stepmother was a staunch liberal Democrat, and she had been a real beauty in her day. Violet is anything but a beauty, and is a hideous rightie Xtian fundie. He’s completely, totally in her thrall. There’s a really sad novel in there somewhere.

Well THAT’S a tragic story if I ever heard one…the Mayo Clinic part being the worst. Eerily ironic about the name “Violet!” Who writes this shit?

Subject: Dogs are back, Deek feels tired…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 6, 2022 2:51 PM

…and so it goes. He didn’t have anything for me to recharge. I asked how he is, and he just said “tired.” So I told him I’d be tired every DAY if I lived on the streets. He still has his bike, so I asked if he’s gonna ride it around, which he loves to do whenever the pups are with me. “Yeah, probably,” he replied.

The brindlekin are now enjoying the lush comfort and warmth of my sanctuary, and Deek is till resting downstairs by the ATMs. This is non-drama at its best!

So I ran into Boulevard Joe last night, on my way back from the laundromat. He greeted me in his usual, friendly manner, asked how I was, so I said fantastic, then told him the tale of Deek’s phony gripe about a supposedly non-functioning USB cord. I ended with: “He just makes stuff up to find something to complain about.”

Then I added how the Exmass holiday was always the worst time of year for me, including unexpected costs that empty my bank account. “It never fails, even though I keep to myself and do my best to ignore this time of year.”

“Me, too,” he agreed. “But I’m about to recoup my money drain shortly.” Whatever he meant by that; I suspect something of a vendetta, which I chose not to question. Then he said “I have a gift for you!”

“Oh, no,” I exclaimed with a perplexed grin, then saw him pull some black object partly from a pocket, which I thought was some kind of computer device…it appeared to be round, though hard to tell in the dark. “Is it a gun?” I joked.

Sure enough it was, which I did NOT expect at all. A plastic BB gun. What is it with Joe and guns and knives? He’s only gonna screw himself over, Wattson…just like his previous weapon-wielding escapades. The latest example being almost two years ago when he was carrying an unsheathed sword and loudly declaring his right to bear arms, while walking along Market Street. Long story short:

He wound up with a wounded hand, thanks to a cop who shot it with a rubber bullet, thus forcing him to drop the sword. He was thusly rewarded with a free hotel room gratis The City, by virtue of the injury and being homeless.

I didn’t care to be seen standing around with someone wielding a gun, so I just babbled a bit of jocular small talk as my prelude to departure. Fortunately, a young woman who knows Joe stepped in at that moment, and began to chat him up. She was polite, said excuse me for barging in…I said that’s fine, I have to go anyway. Perfect! I excused myself and vanished posthaste.

I hate it when the holiday bullshit drags on into the new year, for a time…like the proverbial albatross. It always does. May Hephaestus strike Santa Claus dead with his mighty hammer the moment he pops up from his first chimney, next season!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: New Smoke Alarm, Then Deek
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: January 7, 2022 6:57 PM

I texted the building manager yesterday that the exterminator said my smoke alarm might not be working. I really had no choice, as Paolo would probably inform him anyway, and I wouldn’t look very good if I didn’t chirp up. So our maintenance fellow, Victor, dropped by to replace my alarm. Took only a few minutes, the dogs barked but calmed down shortly, as I sat with them on the cot. Flaco plunked herself on my lap to assure my protection against all harm, while Lucky was curled up beside me, though with his head raised in constant vigil of the intruder…and a few low growls for good measure.

“They have their eyes on you!” I proclaimed to Victor, who was on the ladder mounting the new alarm. THAT gave him a chuckle, Wattson. So glad things went smoothly, as I’m pretty exhausted from all I’ve been through over the holiday season. So much invasion of my privacy over a short span of time!

Then Deek showed up barely a minute after Victor departed. He said keep the dogs, but can he get his Sunday allowance today. I said fine, came downstairs and gave it to him in an envelope. He just had a bicycle laden down with three bags chock full of god only knows. I suggested if he’s carrying around the dog food, to let me store it upstairs, make his journey lighter. He was, so handed over that bag, which contained four cans of wet food, two 1-gallon Ziplocs of kibble (one unsealed with half its original contents) and those two plastic bowls of dog food I gave him yesterday, sitting there like dark brown glop because the pups hadn’t touched it!

Of course I threw away the bowls and their contents, and the open bag of kibble. I’ve told him several times before, to throw away any food they don’t eat, after three or four hours, to prevent food poisoning. Dammit, I’ll have to remind him again, and he’ll probably tell me to shut up, don’t tell him about raising dogs, he’s done it all his life…blah blah blah.

Though it’s possible he might follow through on my reminder next time around, as he was quite friendly and reasonable when he showed up today.

“I might pick up the dogs later, if I wind up staying in a friend’s hotel room tonight,” he said to me with an impressive level of respect.

“Fine with me,” I replied, “so long as they have shelter from the cold…even if it’s just a tent!”

He also mentioned the rain, how much longer is this gonna go on? I told him another two days, on-and-off light showers. He was amenable to my keeping them for the duration. What a trying holiday season this has been for us both…though he’s handled it much better than I expected.

He was impeccably dressed in a brightly patterned shirt and a clean pair of jeans. Not looking homeless at all! I DO hope he’s telling the truth about having occasional access to a roof over his head. That would be great if he did.

The pups had to go poop last night just before 3 AM! So off we went into the byways and side streets of this edge of the Castro! Then, shortly after our return, Lucky suddenly threw up his entire dinner right on my new sleeping bag…didn’t have time to jump down onto the floor first. I quickly lifted him off the bedding once he was done, so he wouldn’t start nudging the comforter around to hide his output.

No big deal, I wiped it all up in record time. And Lucky seems no worse for it…that’s just what some doggies do from time to time! When he returned to bed, he chose the other end. But later on he moved up to lie beside my face, because all evidence was so cleanly removed, even his nose wasn’t offended. I just wish I could afford a diverse choice of vittles for them, so they’d get a break now and then from the same old. I’d buy ’em roast chicken very week, for starters…they go nuts over that.

– Zeke K-Holmes


Deek volunteered to tell me how he is; I didn’t even need to ask. “Oh I’m doing alright,” he said.

“You’ve ALWAYS been doing alright, Deek,” I replied. “You just don’t realize it yet. God puts us ALL through a ton of crap, to shape us into being better than we are. Once someone realizes that, their worries and stress fly away. You’ll even stop smoking meth one day, without even a struggle…no withdrawal symptoms at all.”

He smiled at that, and remarked: “Yeah, like I gave up crack.”

That threw me for a loop, but I quickly recovered to finish with: “You’re a difficult friend to know, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, for you’ve taught me a lot in the process, and I’m a better man for that.”

He thanked me profusely, then took off on his bike like he had wings.

The FINAL Final Chapter (part 6)

December 31, 2021

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18f]

Subject: Deek did the right thing, again…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 19, 2021 9:09 AM

…having the pups stay with me overnight, though it wasn’t until 1 AM he brought them over. He had slept by the bus stop all day long yesterday, and didn’t arise until around 6 PM! He wanted the dogs back, and dog food. I hated to bring them out in the cold, but I did, and he summoned them under the thin, dirty bedspread and bedsheet he had with him. Told me all his stuff was stolen, and the comforter I gave him was “stink ass filthy.”

Of course I told him that’s not true, I washed and dried it, and it was an excellent comforter that would’ve kept both him and the dogs warm. But I did not pursue it any further, as I’m accustomed to his crabby remarks and insults, and always “losing” stuff, and Flaco & Lucky are in the middle of it. He laid down on the sidewalk awhile longer, with the doggies curled up beside him for warmth, and beneath the shabby spread.

He finally got up and a couple of vagrants kept him company in a friendly circle. I was home during all this time, poking my head out the window now and then, to see whether or not Deek was still there. Before returning hovel, I reminded him that it’s deadly cold outside for little mutts, and if he can’t promise to keep them warm, just bring them over. He scoffed at me, said they’ll be fine, and I returned hovel in a less than cheerful mood…knowing I have a warm, cozy place to return to, but the doggies don’t.

I hit the hay a bit earlier than usual, around midnight…but was awakened an hour later by Deek’s call of “Yo!” beneath my window. So I rushed downstairs, where he told me he’s got his bike back, and wants to ride around…and gave me his charges to stay with me the rest of the night. “I’ll be back in the morning,” he said as he took off on his Cervelo P3.

The dogs of course were SO happy to be here again, and got right to the business of sleeping, after first showering me with affectionate licks and greets. So here we are, this icy cold morning, almost ready to step out for the first poop stroll of the day. But before we did, I decided to play the first twenty minutes of Marshall’s most recent “Memo of the Weird” podcast…and was delighted to hear your short piece on Stan Barr. I cracked up over your line:

“Stan Barr, a few hours before he died, he and I spoke on the phone. I was going to go over to this house that morning and get a little baggie of dope he had arranged for me to buy.”

It got even funnier when you rushed over there to pick up the, er, “dope” plus a tad more, just minutes ahead of the sheriff.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Deek did the right thing, again…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 19, 2021 10:22 AM

> So glad about the pups. The Stan story is 100% true, no writerly embellishments!

You procured the “dope,” that’s all that counts. Deek would be proud of you. :D

Re: Deek did the right thing, again…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 19, 2021 1:25 PM

> I was proud of me!

I can see you now, driving like a bat out of hell to obtain the goods before law enforcement arrived. There’s a touch of Damon Runyon in that tale. BTW, when I took the pups out for their late afternoon stroll yesterday, and winter’s stygian curtain had already dropped, I was still wondering when Deek would finally stir…fantasizing my approaching his motionless form sprawled out there on the sidewalk to check his pulse, only to discover he bought the farm.

Fortunately, I did NOT have to go through such a creepy scenario, as upon my return he was standing up draped in a bedsheet and hollering at my window: “HELLO-O? HELLO-O?”

Can a joy also be an embarrassment?

– Zeke K-Holmes

Stan Barr

Re: Here’s Stan
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 19, 2021 1:53 PM

> He was an odd-looking fellow, but sweet and kind, smart and funny. Real charisma. Homely though he was, women were mad for him. He had a rep for being a wonderful lover, and they could sense it.

Nice to put a face on the fellow. Charisma is everything…he was an authentic local character of the best sort. ANOTHER local character recently passed away, charismatic as well, though a real right-wing nut job whose letters to the Anderson Valley Advertiser provided MUCH amusement: Jerry Philbrick.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Jerry Philbrick

Re: Here’s Stan
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 19, 2021 3:51 PM

> Philbrick was the personification of a redneck Trumpster, long before Trump ascended.

His only saving grace was his colorful use of words and turn of phrase…albeit for all the wrong reasons, but highly entertaining nonetheless. He often came off as the PERFECT satirist of right-wing idiocy. SNL would’ve loved him! In fact, when I discovered him I was convinced he was mocking Republicans…to brilliant effect. Took me awhile to believe he’s actually one of THEM.

Pups are still with me, BTW. Healthy and in great spirits with an excellent appetite…they lick their dishes clean. Just wish I could lay down the rugs, and get them another box to chillax in…AND add the remaining three sleeping bags (two kid-size and one adult). But they’re happy, anyway. I can no longer procure a box from the basement, as the smoke shop has changed its disposal methods. And I haven’t had time yet to stroll about the ‘hood and find one.

I hear tell a series of storms are soon due, starting Tuesday, and will last for three or four days. So I’m gonna try to schedule bedbug treatment AFTER the storms all pass. Bad enough that I’D be stuck outside in the rain, I can handle that…but I can’t bear the idea of the pups without shelter, too.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Dogs Still Here for Another Night!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 19, 2021 11:15 PM

It’s now post-11 PM and Deek has not shown up. I am hoping because he realizes this weather is just too damned cold for little mutts to be outside. Which means he’s overcome his jealousy of them staying with me so often…and that their well-being always comes first.

Click here for a larger view.

Re: Dogs Still Here for Another Night!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 20, 2021 12:56 AM

> So glad! Get cozy and have a snuggly night! Arf!

Lucky just fluffed up a comforter and made a little cave out of it…see pic. And Flaco’s sprawled across the further end of the cot. So we’re good to go…doggy dreamland here we come!

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: This is Hekate
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 21, 2021 8:25 PM

A homeless dude’s been parking himself around the corner these past several nights…accompanied by another vagrant, and a smooth-furred dog that appears to be a pitbull/lab mix. Her name is Hekate…dark as night and sweet as honey.

“Aha…the Greek goddess of the underworld!” I exclaimed once he told me her name, as I scratched her belly while she coyly squirmed upon the sidewalk. “And what’s YOUR name?”

“Stormy,” he replied with a smile that revealed a full set of ivories, albeit crooked and stained dark yellow: his upper left incisor hung noticeably lower than its neighbors. Considering the decrepit condition of my OWN pearly grays, I felt quite at home visiting with him. He had a curly, disheveled mop of blond hair, and appeared to be in his mid-20s. His partner was still asleep, thickly wrapped and hidden in layers of bedding. I couldn’t even see his face.

Stormy coughed a jag, then joked about coronavirus, how he doesn’t have it, it’s just a death rattle from sixty years in the future. “Hmm, the guy’s smart AND witty,” I silently noted, then spoke aloud:

“Whenever a crisis occurs, the jokes soon follow!”

He knew this dog while it was still in its mother’s womb: “I’d rub her belly every day and talk to the little puppy inside her. She’s eight months old now, where does the time fly?”

As he spoke, Hekate sniffed my hand, catching my own scent mingled with that of the brindlekin…upon which she begged for my affection, so stood up on hind legs to receive my pats and strokes. Then, before long, I was crouched on one knee, hugging the darling canine.

Stormy further elaborated that Hekate was born right on the corner of Haight & Ashbury, and he chose her name by picking a card from his oracle deck. He then pulled out the deck from a fairly large, rusty tin, to show me the card. It was lovely, as you’d expect such a card to be. But more interesting was the tiny vial about the size of half your pinky, also stashed within that tin.

“That’s my grandma’s ashes,” he explained with verve while waving it under my nose. “It’s NOT cocaine, like some would think. Can you imagine snorting my granny’s ashes? Never!”

By then, Hekate was all over me with playful, soft bites and friendly moans. She kept pushing her nose around my jacket’s right-side pocket, attempting to force it inside but for my hand.

“That’s where I keep the doggy treats for our walks,” I exclaimed. “But it’s empty now, she just smells the scent.”

“Oh you have a dog, too?” asked Stormy.

“TWO pups, actually,” I replied. “You saw them last night, barking as we passed by.”

We talked a minute or two more while I semi-wrestled with Hekate before departing for Rosenberg’s and my morning coffee. But when I was barely a few yards away I placed my hand in that pocket to discover one doggy snack remaining! So I turned around to address Stormy and his partner (who by then had awakened and was sitting up):

“Hekate knew all along; I DO have a treat in my pocket. Can I give it to her?”

“Of course,” he said, and so I did. Hekate was pleased to receive it, and then returned to curl up beside her master, as if she knew there was only that single piece, a chicken-applesauce disc.

When I stepped back out with java in hand, I decided to cross the street and skirt around Stormy and friends, so as not to disturb them or spill the coffee. But once I returned hovel, I decided to return with two wedges of duck breast treats for Hekate. I also brought my smartphone to take a snapshot.

That was when I told them the brindlekin were not mine, but that of a street friend I’ve known for more than twelve years. The doggies stay with me when the weather is bad, or if he needs a break.

“I also keep a blog where I upload pics of the homeless and tell their stories, give them a voice to the world,” I said, then whipped out my Moto E. “Do you mind if I take your picture?”

Well, Wattson, he was not comfortable with that (“I don’t look my best right now; I prefer you don’t”), so I immediately assured him that’s perfectly fine.

“But can I take a shot of just your dog?”

He was fine with that, eager even (“she’s very photogenic”). And, as it turns out, indeed she is! You’ve seen her lovely image already, on your own phone.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting with Wattson: 12/18/21 – 12/20/21


Subject: Pups still with me, including overnight again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 22, 2021 10:48 PM

Deek dropped by earlier this evening, but just to give me a new speaker to charge, and an SD card to put new music on and insert into the speaker. He had no qualms about the doggies staying with me longer. This is a brief missive, as I have yet to write about our excellent meetup two nights back. I’ll do that tomorrow. As well as tell you what ensued with him today.

Re: Pups still with me, including overnight again!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 22, 2021 11:19 PM

> All ears. It’s pouring here.

It rained last night and into the morning, not heavily but steady. But no more rain since, and not quite as cold, a few degrees warmer. Forecast said rain through tonight and part of tomorrow, but it just may not do that here in SF.

Bedbug treatment scheduled for Wednesday the 29th, which is perfect…out of the rain zone.


Subject: Deek Update #whatever
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 23, 2021 12:58 PM

Last Sunday, the 19th, was when Deek slept all day until around 6 PM, by the bus stop…while I kept the pups with me. Though a cold and bitter night, he insisted on taking them back. Along with the mutts, I brought down another supply of dog vittles, plus that antler headdress sticking out of the sack. To which he replied with a sour visage when I pulled it out, expected him to place it on Flaco or Lucky:

“That’s not for dogs, I don’t want it!”

“Actually, it fits both of them quite well, Deek,” I replied. “I thought you’d like it, but never mind.” So I just took it back upstairs with me, knowing full well he’s always looking for an excuse to gripe, even though he loves to dress them up in festive head gear, appropriate to the season.

A couple hours later he returned with some kind of large, thick bag lined in some shiny material, to use for a doggy tent. Big enough for them both. Lucky was already secured within, curled up and warm, while Flaco sat contentedly on his lap.

We talked awhile longer before I departed, taking this time to tell him how well he’s doing, and that I’m not trying to trick him into letting me have the dogs stay with me more often.

“It’s this nasty weather, Deek,” I explained. “Winter is the worst time for little dogs, and they need to be indoors a lot more.”

To my heartwarming surprise, he calmly assured me that he realizes I’m not tricking him…and he’ll bring them over if they start to shiver, or the moment it begins to rain again. I was impressed by his sincere, non-drama disposition. Not like the old, bipolar Deek of yore!

Once I got up to leave him with the brindlekin, Deek held up Flaco’s dainty paw to wave goodbye: “Say bye-bye, Flaco!” I thought that was a nice expression of affection.

Well, Wattson, by afternoon of the next day, the rain came down. And much to my delight, he brought the pups over so I could shelter them. He dropped by for a few minutes, each of the past two days…not to collect the dogs, but to pick up his devices, or have me recharge them. I thanked him profusely for being so responsible re. the pooches, even though it may be difficult for him not to have their company.

“Oh, that doesn’t bother me so much,” he thoughtfully replied, “It’s Christmas and I miss my old family and friends. You’re the only friend I have, Zeke.”

“I understand,” I kindly replied. “I don’t have any family to be with either, but I sure as hell don’t miss them! Why do you think I don’t celebrate the holidays? It’s never been a good time of year for me, and so many are in a bad mood, so what’s the point?”

He then asked me how the dogs are doing…which he’s never done before! I told him very well, great appetite and all that. He suggested I give them a good washing, he’ll pick up some flea and tick shampoo for that. I’m sure that would be a relief for him, instead of dealing with the difficulty of bathing them outdoors.

Overall, I have to admit that Deek has been more thoughtful and responsible and considerate than ever, good doctor. And the pups remained with me for yet a third night of rain. Though it should clear up by tomorrow morning, and no doubt Deek will want them back. It will also be a few degrees warmer, just above that bone-biting chill that has me so worried for the doggies’ sake.

Neither was the least bit hungry this morning, but I’ll keep the dishes out for another few hours, just in case. They are otherwise in excellent spirits. Both had a good poop this morning, as did yours truly.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Re: Deek Update #whatever
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 23, 2021 3:07 PM

> Three dog-nights!! Wonderful!!

It’ll be a four dog-night, assuming they stay over till tomorrow. It’s been raining some today, and we’re supposed to have even MORE showers late into the night. Things will clear up after that.

> I’ve kept Surely’s PJ’s on him during the day, and put an extra jacket on him at night even though his little bedroom is snug. He is, after all 10 years old now, and I want to pamper him. He’s been a wonderful guard dog, very protective of the cats, which I really appreciate. And he never, ever barks unless it’s for good reason.

Sweetest doggy ever! And what a kind, wonderful life you provide for him, Wattson.

> So glad Deek is showing some sense. All thanks to you.

Thanks! He’s also taught me much in his own way, and I’ve done a lot of growing myself, as well. I forgot to mention the check he showed me last night…see the three attached pics. It’s a $277 refund from Louisiana’s State Treasury. But look at the date: June 10, 2021. Why did he only show me this now? I’ll have to ask him next time he drops by.

Of course he expected me to cash it for him, after signing it to me. I told him the bank will probably refuse, as ANYONE could sign the back. At best, they’ll probably require him to cash it himself, in person, with proper ID. Well, Wattson, telling him that unnerved him, as I guess he’s afraid of being caught in the legal net over child support, by acquiring an official ID that is traceable.

It was delivered to 100 Diamond Street, which is the address of the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, here in the Castro. They said he needs to show ID, too.

“But you said you’ll help me out with stuff like this!” he replied with a tone of resentment.

“No I did not,” I shot back. “I already explained why cashing checks and helping you with gov’t money in other ways is beyond my legal ability.”

“Okay, then, just get me a baggie and I’ll keep it with me,” he answered in frustration.

“You’ll LOSE it, Deek,” I exclaimed. “At least let me hold onto it, and maybe some time later you’ll get your ID, and can cash it then. There’s no way around this, you know. But I’ll take it to the bank tomorrow, anyway, and ask if your just making it payable to me will suffice. But I strongly doubt it.”

Of course I WON’T do that, but what he doesn’t know, won’t hurt him. I’ll just tell him he needs to show up himself, with an official ID card.

He was nowhere near as perturbed as he was the two previous times on similar money issues. At least I can say THAT’S an improvement. So I folded the check into an envelope, then placed it in a Ziploc for any future time he MIGHT get ID…or should he accuse me of cashing it myself. In which case I’ll bring it back downstairs to show him the check’s still here.

There are places that assist homeless people with getting either a San Francisco or state picture ID. Which he really needs to do. It’s just that he’s afraid to plug into the system, even in a small way. And I don’t blame him. I’d hate to get him all motivated to procure some official ID, only to be apprehended by some Louisiana child support regulation. Or something else that might be pending on his records.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Deek Update #whatever
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 23, 2021 3:30 PM

> Those official checks usually have a six-month “shelf life.” Hope it’s not too late for this one.

Yeah, that would be aNOTHER rotten deal, if he DOES go for his ID, only to discover (once he has it) that the check is no longer viable. Here’s the page showing the requirements for getting a San Francisco ID:

For the homeless it says:

“Written verification issued by a homeless shelter that receives City funding confirming at least 15 days of residency within the last 30 days.”

Well, he doesn’t GO to shelters, so I don’t know if other homeless services count, such as the church that serves food to vagrants here in the Castro…and lets you use their location for a mailing address. But the REAL problem is Deek’s fear of legal retaliation by his home state.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Extended Rain Forecast Through Tuesday…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 24, 2021 8:22 PM

…drat! Wednesday will be the first rain-free day, same day as my next bedbug treatment. As if things weren’t difficult enough already! Deek showed up (4:30 PM) right after I typed in the subject line above, asked for the pups back, and gave me a small speaker to charge. He was bummed about so much wet weather, that he’s lonely without the dogs for company. I told him I understand, but the dogs come first no matter what, so bring ’em over if he can’t keep them warm and dry.

Then he pulled a sob story over some of his friends accusing him of selling the dogs for drugs, because they’re not with him, blah blah blah. I told him ONCE MORE they’re just testing him, and surely there are others on the streets who praise my helping him care for the dogs…such as Filipino Jay. Though personally, I’m sure it’s another one of his cock and bull stories.

I handed him an envelope, told him there’s an extra $20 in it, as a Christmas bonus…so he got a whopping $80 this time around. Then he gave me some very NICE gifts: a pair of cozy slippers (“They’re new, I bought them, I hope size 10 fits, they’re just a little damp from carrying them around.”), a dainty box of “Delight Patisserie” cookies with the words “TRUST IS BUILT IN TINY MOMENTS” stamped on them, and a teensy-weensy, walking Christmas tree, which I just adore (“Here’s your Christmas tree,” he said in good humor, when he opened his palm for me to take it). I profusely thanked him for these gifts. See three pics and one video here:

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

Deek also apologized for his mood swings, for giving me a hard time now and then…which pleased me to hear. I told him he can be a most DIFFICULT friend, but learning how to deal with his bouts without anger has been an important lesson for my OWN growth. It’s made me a better person.

He then departed with mutts in tow, to purchase a meal at, I guess, the Chevron gas station at Market & Castro…or perhaps a sandwich from Walgreens a block further down. And I was back hovel, taking snapshots of his gifts, and trying on the slippers before setting them aside to dry off. Wouldn’t you know it, good physician, but rain started to pour down from the muddy sky twenty minutes later! So I figured (hoped, actually, with all my heart) he’d be back shortly, and sure enough he was.

He called his usual “Yo!” up to my window…I peered out, and he gestured to me: “Come down, just bring the speaker.”

I was so glad he decided to have the brindlekin stay with me for at least another night, and I was about to thank him for the gifts again, when he cut me off:

“I hate to bring this up,” he began while looking up to the sky while holding the pups’ leashes, “but I hope you aren’t doing anything funny with the dogs when they stay with you.”

“Oh c’mon, Deek,” I bristled. “You know better, please stop with the drama.”

But he didn’t, and ranted on with terrible insults and crude implications hurled at me. As he did so, I gently took the leashes into my own hand, and finally broke in:

“You say you have those awful thoughts, Deek,” I reprimanded. “But they’re not real. The devil hates friendship, so puts bad thoughts in your head to turn you against me. Stop giving them any attention, you’re an adult.”

“Sometimes I think you’re treating them really well,” he labored on, “but other times I have nasty ideas you’re not.”

“Oh, stop being a drama queen, Deek,” I cut in, “I take excellent care of the dogs, and you know it. I was just about to thank you for the gifts, tell you how much I like them, and here you suddenly fling insults at me. So STOP IT and let me talk.”

He did, finally, so I told him it’s the best Christmas tree ever, how it walks about in circles on my desk…that the slippers are a perfect fit, not loose or tight even though my shoe size is 9…and I’ll enjoy the cookies tonight with a cup of tea, and say a prayer for him while I’m at it. And be grateful for our friendship.

You’d think that would’ve calmed him down, Wattson, but no. Instead, he lashed into me further:

“I have friends all over the STREETS watching you,” he scowled with surprising ferocity. “If you do anything bad to my pups, they’ll have your neck. They’re all I have, they’re my children!”

Well that did it, so I scowled right back at him with even GREATER hostility, and told him I have my OWN friends watching over him, including the POLICE…and if he does any harm to these pups, guess whose NECK it’s gonna be!”

Deek then turned away and proceeded towards the corner, muttering and griping like a jilted banshee. I opened the gate to get back to the doggies, but before shutting it, called to him quite forcibly: “Jesus K-rist…and a merry Christmas to you, too!”

I think he hollered merry Christmas back, but he was too distant to be heard clearly over the traffic whooshing by on the wet asphalt. It wasn’t until I returned hovel that I realized he walked off with a fresh supply of doggy chow I had given him per his request, barely a half hour ago. “What’s he gonna do with it, when the pups are with me?” I thought. So I quickly put my slider sandals back on my stockinged feet and rushed downstairs, where I saw him cross the street, earbuds stuffed in his head so he couldn’t hear me yell “Deek! Deek!” I began to trot in the cold drizzle, but a sandal slipped off, and my foot landed in a small puddle.

As I placed it back into the sandal, I saw that Deek was ambling along at a snail’s pace, snapping his fingers to the music as he dragged the small cart along. So I slowed down myself, and caught up with him in less than a minute.

“Deek!” I waved at him to catch his attention. “Give me the dog food, I’ll hold onto it.”

He removed the buds from his ears and looked at me with some chagrin. I repeated myself, adding: “You’ll just lose it or have it stolen. You can pick it up when you take the dogs back.”

So he bent down over the cart to return the two large baggies of kibble and the five cans, half of which had already spilled out of the larger bag I used to contain them all. So he placed everything back in the bag, except two cans, claiming he can use it to feed someone else’s dog.

I demanded he give me the ENTIRE supply, as I can’t afford to be feeding everyone else’s dogs, too. He immediately complied, with a demeanor of mixed guilt and gratitude…thanking me once more for watching the dogs, and have a merry Christmas.

“Okay, fine,” I said, and off I went back hovel. Now I’m wondering how much of the doggy vittles I give him go to other canines? Is he perhaps running a scam, whereby he sells or trades it…while collecting MORE than enough dog food from charity outlets? Is this why his requests for more kibble and cans have almost doubled as of six months ago?

There have been numerous times I give him a fresh supply, when he returns a day or two later, asking for more because someone supposedly walked off with his cart while he was sleeping. Guess I’ll never know the REAL story, eh?

I find it interesting that, despite his blowing up at me–and my blowing up in response, with greater verve–he has NOT demanded the pups back. So he actually TRUSTS me with the pooches, completely.

And his apology for his mood swings followed soon after by yet aNOTHER vile outburst! Time for my “Bodhisaatva Premise” take on the matter:

Sometimes when a shaman gives you a very nice gift or gifts (as Deek just did today), they turn around and treat you like trash. Or when you’ve been outstandingly generous to one such, they sometimes ALSO spout vulgarities in return. It seems to be a tradition among their kind. This behavior is akin to that of the “opposite” shaman who says the exact ANTITHESIS of what he or she means. For example:

When you’ve overcome an extremely difficult challenge, possibly risking life and limb in doing so, an opposite shaman will approach you, and say: “You’ve failed miserably, and brought shame to the Great Spirit.” An opposite shaman will not let you KNOW he is one; you have to figure that out yourself.

His unexpected tantrum was also another test, or fine tuning, of my emotional balance. I think next time I’ll just start laughing and tell him how ridiculous he is. Maybe that’s what he’s waiting for me to do, rather than show ANY anger in the least, or defend myself over such an outrageously false accusation. We’ll see, soon enough.

But the IMPORTANT thing in all of this, is:

Deek had the good sense and compassion to return the pooches to my care, to protect them from another cold and rainy night…possibly for two more days, as the weather is not supposed to clear up until Wednesday.

And he gave me three, very thoughtful gifts. It’s up to me to decide which face is the real one.

Now, regarding the building manager:

I’m wondering if the exterminator, Paolo, didn’t HAVE a car accident, but that Kevin made it up, and changed the treatment date for some time later, just to fuck with me. Knowing what a grievous process prepping my room can be! Since the date’s been postponed to the 29th, I texted Paolo yesterday morning to verify the new day and time. Yet he has NOT texted back. Which is unlike him, as he’s always promptly replied. That is, until recently, when he failed to affirm the ORIGINAL date, before he supposedly had an accident some days later.

Are they in cahoots? Or has Kevin admonished Paolo to not go over his head any more, so stop communicating with me directly. Never mind he really hasn’t overstepped his bounds, but that for some reason, Kevin thinks he did.

Though I don’t see how Kevin can get away with a ruse like this, as it’s vital to eradicate each infestation ASAP, and screwing me over will only wreak further havoc on other residents, because the bugs have more time to spread. And cause Ablahblah Realty greater expense. If it IS a scam, it’s poorly planned, though one thing MIGHT explain the manager’s harassing me that way, if indeed that’s what’s going on:


No matter. Like everything else I’ve learned in life, is to never obsess over any unpleasant scenario, but remain calm and cheerful as possible.

I will now fix me a cup of black cherry tea, break out the cookies Deek gave me, and wish him well as I enjoy the treat and the sweet company of Flaco, Lucky and the dancing Christmas tree. If I could wear the slippers tonight I’d do that, too. But they’ll take another day or so to dry.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: He took the dogs back, too soon!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 27, 2021 1:26 PM

Guess he couldn’t handle my keeping the pups for such a long span of time, so he dropped over just minutes ago, to take them with him. I saw this possibility, because of the extended rain and cold forecast, so decided to give him two of the kids’ sleeping blankets to help keep them warm. I already ordered two more, plus another adult sleeping bag…as I want to have a backup of extra comforters to make post-bedbug prep a simpler process. I’ll soon have a fresh set ready to go, clean, bagged and sealed…instead of being under pressure to heat treat pronto, the ones already laid out.

He was in a crabby mood, but I made sure he heard me say it’s VERY cold outside, and it’s therefore IMPORTANT to keep the dogs warm…that this kind of biting cold can KILL little doggies in one day. And he can always bring them back at any time.

“Don’t tell me how to raise my dogs,” he grouched back, “I’ve been raising dogs for years!”

Whatever. So I’m now back hovel, knowing he’ll take good care of Flaco & Lucky in spite of his cantankerous behavior. He heard me loud and clear. At any rate:

I still have to write down what has passed between us in the last several days…very interesting and mostly hopeful. I just hate it when he flings so much crap at me, and/or moves so quickly in positive ways in a short period of time…I can barely keep up with documenting it all.

More coming up about Filipino Jay, as well. What an ally!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: He took the dogs back, too soon! ADDENDUM
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 27, 2021 2:25 PM

On top of everything else, temperature will dip down to 38 degrees tonight…and rain will continue on and off into the New Year. Between the twice-postponed bedbug treatment (which I scheduled in hopes of AVOIDing the rain and cold for the sake of the pups), this prolonged deep cold and sporadic rainfall, and Deek’s frighteningly bipolar mood swings…it’s the PERFECT STORM threatening Flaco & Lucky.

When I emphasized that it is dangerously cold outside, especially nights, Deek snarled: “This is nothing, I’m perfectly warm, I’m sweating in fact,” I reminded him that’s because he’s dressed in warm clothes and a thick jacket, and the meth makes him feel a lot less cold than it really is. He added that the mutts aren’t shivering, they’ll be fine, to which I replied:

“Yeah, they’ve only been out here a few minutes.”

At that point he threatened to never bring the dogs over again if I “keep this up.” So I told him, “I’m only being honest, Deek.”

Not knowing what else to say, I thanked him again for the yummy cookies, the snug slippers, and that silly dancing Exmass tree, then departed back hovel with considerable heartbreak and anger.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: He took the dogs back, too soon! ADDENDUM
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 27, 2021 4:23 PM

> Mr. Hyde emerges.


> So, so sorry.

The coldest part of the season has just begun. If the dogs survive this round, he’ll be smug about it. And if they don’t survive, it’ll be all my fault in his deranged world. So I’ll have a madman on my hands who’ll then try everything possible to make me homeless, until he gets arrested or dies on the streets. Good times!

Re: He took the dogs back, too soon! ADDENDUM
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 27, 2021 11:18 PM

> They’ll survive.

Yes, of course. I’m just venting. Steady as she goes! Another gauntlet for me to run through, is all. Keep the eye on the prize, with faith and optimism for my aegis. Absurd drama: my being driven out into the cold on Wednesday with nowhere to go, the little dogs also stuck outside, and jackass Deek with his juvenile behavior. All coming together in one foul pile of crap in two days.

Hokiest script ever; I’m not falling for it. Soap operas are stupid.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: He took the dogs back, too soon! ADDENDUM
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 28, 2021 1:34 PM

> And now for a word from our sponsor.

Krampus himself.

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: He brought the pups back this morning…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 28, 2021 3:12 PM

…around 11 AM. He was waiting by the ATMs, because I didn’t answer out the window. I was crossing Market street with a tall, plastic hamper on wheels, when I spotted him…or at least what appeared to be the same cart he had last night, there in the alcove. Though I wasn’t sure until I approached my building to discover indeed it was him, and the pups right beside. So I parked my laundry (last load to be prepped for tomorrow’s treatment) by the front gate, and stepped inside the Wells Fargo recess.

He was slumped in exhausted stupor against the wall in a corner of the alcove, while Lucky was curled up in a large baby stroller, atop one of the comforters stuffed inside. The other was draped over his master, with Flaco seated atop. She immediately leapt off his lap to greet me with bright eyes and waggy tail. Her brother, however, just looked up at me in a happy greet, preferring instead to remain in his comfy, warm nest. I certainly can’t blame him!

I was pleased to see that both were dry and warm as I pet them. Deek looked quite bedraggled, and I had to call his name loud and clear several times to awaken him.

“Where were you?” he queried with droopy eyelids and head half raised.

“At the laundromat,” I replied.

“Here, bring them back inside,” he said, and handed me the leashes. “It’s colder now than it was last night!”

“Well, that’s how the weather works,” I said. “It went down to 43 degrees by 7 AM!”

I thanked him profusely for bringing them back, said “god bless you a hundred times over,” told him to hang onto those blankets, and reminded him he’ll need to pick up the doggies tomorrow morning by 11 AM. He said okay, he’ll return this evening to check up on them, maybe take them back for the night. I told him either way works for me, then escorted the pups and my laundry inside, leaving the hamper in the lobby to recoup some minutes later.

I filled the water bowl and the two dog dishes; Flaco ate half her meal, but Lucky showed no interest, preferring to drift off into a happy sleep posthaste. His sister joined him in doggy dreamland soon enough. After I bagged and sealed my final load of laundry, broke out the ladder and placed it on the loft with the other bags, I decided it would be nice to bring a piping hot cup of honey-sweetened, blueberry tea and a cigarette down to Deek. Ignoring my resentment over yesterday’s bad behavior on his part, I admitted to myself it’s worth the extra little effort because it was TRULY good of him to bring his charges back indoors.

Upon exiting with the tea and smoke, there was someone I preferred to avoid, standing in the hallway by the stairs, breathing heavily as if he needed to catch his breath. It was my quasi-fascist neighbor, Moe Fleisher. He didn’t see me as he was turned away and facing the wall…so I stepped back in hiding until he finally descended down the carpeted steps and into the lobby. With labored wheezing all the way, and two long pauses during his descent.

In light of his morbid obesity and this ongoing pandemic, a delicious shiver of schadenfreude tingled down my spine. Even my arm hairs stood on end, though perhaps it was just the chill air wafting through these Lovecraftian corridors. I was hoping to hear the gate slam shut, but no, he was probably just checking his mail or procuring a delivery.

“Should I remain out of sight until he returns to his apartment, or should I just march on down and walk by?” pondered THIS reluctant pilgrim.

I opted for the latter, and as I stepped onto the lobby’s porcelain tiles, saw him raise a box under one arm, then lean against the double row of mailboxes protruding from the wall…huffing and puffing for air once again.

“Good morning!” I greeted in passing, with steaming cup and cancer stick in hand, then opened the gate and stepped outside. As you can imagine, Wattson, no friendly comeback was forthcoming from his heavily masked cake hole. Not even a nod. Maybe, though, he was in the midst of aspirational paroxysm, and thus was incapable of responding in kind…so I shouldn’t take it personally. Since he didn’t collapse to the floor, I saw no reason to linger.

“DEEK!” I called to him five times, loudly, while crouched over his slumped form. He drowsily accepted my little gifts of tea and tobacco, whereupon I said “Need a light?”

He smiled, set down the cup while inserting the Fortuna 100 between two fingers, and muttered: “No, thanks, I’m good.” Having spoken those soft words of appreciation, he promptly went back to sleep…and I, to my doggy sanctuary. Oh, I did express my immense gratitude once more (before he fully nodded off), for bringing the pups back to me, and remarked that I’m sure it was no easy task keeping them warm overnight…sending him off to slumberville with these last three words: “You’re my hero!”

If Deek allows the mutts to stay overnight the day before bedbug treatment, this will be the third time he’s done that. While it’s a worry that he might not show up to collect them, he’s arrived right on time, on the two previous occasions. Which gave an ample two hours to wrap things up before I, myself, was cast out on the streets for several hours. So I don’t expect any mishap this time around, either. The only inconvenience will be not being able to run the sleeping bags through a dryer, then bag them up, before the exterminator arrives. I’ll just have to do that the next day.

It’s now almost four hours since Deek came by, and he’s still snoozing away below my window. Alright by me. At least he and the stroller and blankets are protected from any rain that may fall, and he’s warmly bundled up for now.

We are having yet another lack-of-toilet-paper issue going on in my shared restroom. This seems to occur about once every other month. Someone is unraveling the rolls and placing the paper into the waste basket, as well as pilfering three or four other rolls set on the rack. Now, since Todd in 209 died about one year ago, I only share the toilet with ONE resident. While he frequently has guests, I find it hard to believe the problem is coming from there, as he’s been a friendly neighbor for the two-plus years he’s been living here.

Yet there is NO indication that some roving schlemiel is sneaking in and messing with the TP. So what on earth is going on? I placed two of my own rolls there on Sunday, hoping that would help, but they were gone later that same day! I can’t imagine what the building manager thinks of all this. I may be suspect, as I usually am the Castro’s favorite scapegoat.

This has turned out to NOT be such a merry Exmass…which is fine with me, as a lot more people need to care about others, than they pretend. Though I firmly believe that somewhere along the line–and very soon–this country will hit bottom, and new, truly progressive movements will erupt to save the day. Looks like I have the optimism of Ann Frank.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: 11:50 AM and Deek has yet to show up!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 29, 2021 11:54 AM

And it’s fukkin RAINING! Where will I take the dogs if he doesn’t show up? The exterminator will have to bag the bedding himself, because the pups will be dismayed, not having a comfy place to curl up…only the dirty floor. I did a test run for just this situation a couple of months ago…Flaco REFUSED to let me bag the bedding; she kept jumping on it. Also, placing them in the side hall also causes them dismay, for they are perturbed they can’t enter my hovel.

But what am I gonna do if Deek doesn’t show up…stand in the ATM alcove until 9 PM, while the doggies shiver? If I keep them in the side hall by my room, will they be calm, or bark whenever they hear someone walk by or talk?

Hopefully, he’ll show up in time, but I wonder if the comforters I gave him will still be dry. Replacing them cost me $40. When he departed last night, the blankets were stuffed in his stroller with some other things, but he didn’t have it covered to keep the rain out. Even though I gave him extra garbage bags earlier that day, just for that purpose.

Newspaper has all been removed, so now the floor is bare. Now I have to rummage through the sealed bags to find fresh clothing. I also have to take a shower before putting them on, but I can’t do that until Deek shows up…otherwise, he could be calling up to me, and I will be in the washroom out of earshot.

This is fucked up.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: He just showed up, thank deity!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 29, 2021 12:14 PM

And with a full size shopping cart, including those two comforters which ARE dry. But now he wants me to charge three devices until the exterminator shows up! I prefer to leave around a half hour before the scheduled time…so it’s good I told Deek the treatment is at 1 pm, when it’s really an hour later. He is someone who will either drive you bat-shit insane, or turn you into a saint.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: He just showed up, thank deity!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 29, 2021 1:35 PM

> He’ll turn you into a bat-shit insane saint.

Yes, that makes sense. I was wrong about the comforters: they are SOPPING WET even though I gave him two 39-gallon garbage bags to keep them dry. So he just slumped off to sleep in the ATM alcove, with the doggies on the cold concrete, or sometimes on top of him. So I brought down an adult sleeping bag and said here, this’ll keep all three of you warm…but I don’t see why you couldn’t keep the blankets dry.

So there’s another $40 out the window, and I have hardly any bedding remaining. Deek’s inexcusable negligence is costing me too much! But he won’t listen, he’ll do his stupidity just the same.

I couldn’t have a complete breakfast, because how busy I am. Can’t afford to eat out, so I’ll starve till tonight. Clothes I wore today are wet, including the jacket, but I’ll have to bag them anyway. I’ll have to dry them off ASAP, meaning tomorrow morning, or the mold will take over. I have just enough moolah for the laundromat, if I don’t eat out.

And it looks like one of the two smartphones he gave me to charge is kaput…he’ll yell at me for that, no doubt, once I bring it back to him in a short while. I have NO time to take a shower, but change into fresh clothes and scram on outta here.

Wouldn’t it be frosting on the cake if the exterminator fails to show up, once more?

Well, I have to unplug my laptop and such, and stash THAT in the closet, so it’s ta-ta for now, Wattson. This is madness.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: He just showed up, thank deity!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 29, 2021 5:20 PM

5:00 p.m., I just returned to my building, to discover my room has at last been treated, and I can step back in by 7:45 p.m. You can imagine my underlying anxiety all day, wondering whether or not the exterminator will drop by. That perhaps I’m being screwed over by the building manager, in retaliation for our clashes earlier this year, as well as sheltering the pups on a frequent basis.

Meanwhile, Deek was outside by the ATMs with the pups, getting everything packed away. He said he doesn’t need to bring them over tonight, he has other plans, and not to worry, he will keep the dogs warm and dry.

I suggested that during the dry days, he lookel for comforters, blankets even thick jackets to bring to me for later emergencies regarding cold or rainy weather. He rejected that idea because, quote: “This is bug city.” I then made it clear to him I will bag anything he brings, and launder it the next day. But he still refused.

I told him I can’t afford to keep handing out comforters, and my suggestion is a very good one. Of course he then said he never asked for that and he can keep the dogs warm and dry without my help. And that I shouldn’t give him something, then make him feel guilty about it later. In conclusion:

I can’t win for trying. Not to mention double standards!

Though I have to say Deek was calm and softly spoken this time around. I am exhausted, sitting in the alcove beside my room as I type this email. Yet I still have almost 3 hours remaining before I can enter my hovel once again.

Deek has probably departed by now, and I’m going to step outside for another stroll, for lack of anything else to do. I will post you again later tonight, once I’m back inside my hermit cave.

Texting with Wattson: 12/25/21 – 12/30/21

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Re: He just showed up, thank deity!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 30, 2021 2:39 PM

> My deepest sympathies. Being poor is to experience a cascade of contingent catastrophes.

It’s horrendous, but that’s the price I willingly pay to be a subversive flower child. I could not live with my conscience any other way.

The adult sleeping bag just arrived (see pic)…I’m not even gonna open it, but keep it sealed in its plastic wrap. Under $30 including tax. Deek may have a phobia about bugs, and would explain why he rejects scavenged bedding and such, even though it will keep the pups warm. Or he’s just being an asshole. I know he also has an aversion to hugs. Or, again, he’s being an asshole. At any rate, I will try to stash a backup of two or more new sleeping bags, unopened, for those cold nights when the doggies are forced to remain outdoors. Since they’ll still be sealed straight from the seller, he can’t whine about bugs of any sort. (“Factory bugs?” I can see him saying that.)

I didn’t foresee this extra expense through the winter months because LAST year the brindlekin stayed with ME for almost all of January and February. And I ALSO presumed he’d be responsible enough to find some bedding on his own. OTHER houseless folks manage to, as well as find some way to keep their possessions dry. But no, not Deek, ’cause he’s oh-so-special! I’ll also give him a large garbage bag each time, hoping he’ll bother to use it to keep the comforter dry. My god, he’s such an ornery cuss!

The two KIDS’ sleeping bags will arrive Tuesday (under $20 each), and they’ll be just for the doggies when they stay over. I’ll actually have FOUR kids’ bags, with those two new ones. On top of one adult sleeping bag. I’d like TWO adult bags for more plush, so I’ll see if I can budget these new expenses in January’s finances. But if need be, I’ll stretch them over into February. I only hope and pray these cold snaps will be few and far between, or that Deek changes his tune about collecting comforters off the streets (or from charities), that I can store for him.

– Zeke K-Holmes

The FINAL Final Chapter (part 5)

December 18, 2021

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18e]

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: The Adventure of the Skanky Halvah
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 6, 2021 2:42 PM

The Palestinian corner shop ran out of that yummy halvah from Syria over a month ago. They tried to get more, but that supplier is no longer viable. (Maybe a scud missile or a drone attack from Israel, Russia or America wiped them out; who knows what’s going on halfway across the world in the REAL bible belt? All I know is: that was damn good halvah.)

Well, they finally found another brand, that one of the clerks promised would be “just as good.” But it’s not…it tastes waxy and fake; I couldn’t eat more than a few bites before I gagged. When I first saw it on the shelf, I noticed the cheap looking label and the drab, white hue of the contents, but ignored my first impression and purchased it anyway (just $5.99…a dollar less and twice the amount than the Syrian product…this one’s from Lebanon). Problem is:

That particular clerk seems to be the patriarch of the family, and he’s VERY proud of his corner-shop enterprise. He’s also annoyingly LOUD with his compliments to customers, as if he actually hates them. Like when I say “thank you,” he responds in a thunderous tone: “NO, THANK *YOU*!!!” His strident voice is like a strong gust of wind that’ll knock you down if you don’t grab onto something. He’s a large fellow, too, built like a gorilla…whose robust demeanor makes me think maybe there’s a Palestinian type mafia in the city.

So I hesitate to return, as I KNOW he’ll proclaim with much bluster: “WE HAVE MORE HALVAH NOW, I’M SURE YOU’LL LIKE IT!”

I’ve asked him twice over a few weeks, when the halvah will show up again, as it’s quite delicious. He finally told me several days back that it will arrive tomorrow, and be just as tasty as the previous lot. “Thank you, I can hardly wait!” I replied.


The day I purchased it he wasn’t there; his son was. But can you imagine now, how he’ll react if I tell him that brand is lousy? In fact, I’ve never tasted such awful halvah before, in my life!

This is a sticky wicket, don’t you think? I’d LIKE to continue to shop there, as it is truly convenient: only a block away and they take food stamps. I COULD show up and not mention the halvah, but I doubt HE won’t bring it up. And THEN what? Should I tell him I already bought a tub, and it IS delicious, just to avoid possible enmity on his part? Or will he be reasonable enough to appreciate my frank appraisal? Because in all honesty, Wattson, he should reMOVE that crap from the shelves posthaste…it’s THAT foul!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: I trust he doesn’t read my blog. Or anyone else in the “family.” I should have never told him I wrote about the Palestinian pandemic mask tête-à-tête with his handsome son, and given him my Brindlekin card. They could be pounding on my door any moment after I publish this piece!

Re: The Adventure of the Skanky Halvah
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 6, 2021 5:59 PM

> Was the good stuff on display when they had it?

Of course. It was on the shelves, like everything else; that’s how I discovered it. Where else would it be?

> If they get more, could you just saunter (or mosey, or maybe even amble) in and see if it’s there?

I doubt they’ll get more of that Syrian halvah…that would be unusual. My favorite halvah is rose flavored, though I’ve only had it once, and that was decades ago. I COULD order quality halvah online, but it’s pricey ($7.80 for 4 ounces):

They have rose and maple flavor, and other delightful blends!

I just did some searching online to discover Samiramis Imports in San Francisco, that sells halvah in various flavors for just $9/pound. On 24th & Mission, a half hour walk from here. Go to this page and search for “halva:”

No rose flavor, though. But they DO take food stamps!

> Big Daddy sounds a little crazy!

That’s why I called him “patriarchal.” I smell something gangsterish about him. Family-run shops are not always just that. Scads of criminal activity go on in cities that we know nothing about…what we read in the news is but the tip of the iceberg.

> I know what you mean about halvah. When it’s good, it’s divine! That delicate crunch when you bite into it…then the flavor blooms and spreads.

I’ve actually never had bad tasting halvah before. Even the popular Joyvah brand is good. This one was really yuck.

So, the pups are back with me. Their appetite is also back. Deek wanted Thursday’s allowance toDAY…three days in advance! I told him this is getting out of hand, but in one ear and out the other. Told him he ALWAYS has the perfect excuse. He said something about a girlfriend moving to another part of the city (so she’s drifting out of his life), how the weather is lousy today, and other nonsense. Sob story city, life in the concrete jungle, singin’ the blues, jonesin’ for the next rush. Then I joked: “Oh, you’re a meth addict, I forgot. Silly me.”

He said he’s doing a LOT to better his life, he’s not just some druggie looking for a fix, if that’s what I think. I told him no, that’s not what I think, he’s doing great, and thanks for the doggies’ company again. So I ran back upstairs to fetch $40, handed him the filthy lucre, then grabbed the pups’ leashes and off we went. Of course they were crazy-happy to visit once more, scrabbling and yelping at the gate as I fumbled with the key, and they’re now blissfully snoozing atop the plush cot.

Halvah nice evening, good physician!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: The Adventure of the Padded Swivel Armchair
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 9, 2021 2:35 PM

This was two nights ago. It was late, just after 1 AM, and the dogs were sound asleep. Or so I thought. I was watching a lighthearted movie (The Mitchells vs. the Machines), while the pups were tucked away in bed. But then I saw, to my surprise, Flaco sitting on the floor just to my right, looking up at me and wagging her curly tail. I keep my room dimly lit at night, and I was captivated by the action playing out on the LCD display…so of course I didn’t see her emerge from beneath the blankets and jump down. Lucky, OTOH, remained totally zonked out at the foot of the cot, oblivious to anything but his dreams. His little snores were barely audible, as he lay on his back with paws bent and belly exposed. How long she’d been sitting there, I had no idea. But I doubt it was more than a minute or two.

This was nonetheless unusual, as she never just sits on the floor, but either goes for the water bowl, or noshes from the dog food dish (if there’s anything remaining), or paces back and forth when she needs to poop, or scurries right into the cardboard box where she scratches away like crazy before plopping down to rest.

Flaco made no noise or touched me with her paw, to get my attention. She simply watched me with quiet poise until I noticed. “Does she need to go out again?” I thought while smiling down at her. Though that was unlikely, as she and Lucky relieved themselves less than an hour ago. Not having any idea WHAT she was up to, I left my comfy swivel chair to sit beside her and give some hugs. Whereupon she immediately leapt into the chair, curled up on the seat and looked back at me with a sweet, happy “thank you” face! Her eyes sparkled.

Click here for a larger view.

That’s all she wanted…to hop into that chair! Only in the past two weeks has Flaco shown ANY interest in my padded armchair. The first time, she just suddenly jumped onto it when my back was turned. Another time, while lying on the cot late at night, she stuck out a paw to give it a turn so the seat would face her, then scrambled on!

Well, it was late enough anyway, for THIS drowsy pilgrim to click “pause” on the show, and join the dogs in blissful slumber. Before climbing under the covers, I rolled the chair to the head of the cot, that I may reach out and pet her awhile. She seemed to love watching over me as I closed my eyes with one hand on her shoulders. An hour or so later, she awakened me as I lay on my back…she plunked herself right atop my chest, and was gazing into my eyes. She’s a spooky little Ninja, but in a most endearing way! As I gently caressed her sausage-y form, she licked my face clean…taking all of five, studied minutes to accomplish that, including a thorough washing of both ears.

Don’t know WHEN she returned to the chair, but when I awoke at sunrise there she was, curled up and sound asleep. Guess I need to get a second chair for myself, at this point. It will be a folding, metal one that can easily be stashed away and not take up much room when in use.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: The Adventure of the Discombobulated Milk Run
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 10, 2021 2:26 PM

So I stepped out for some milk last night, around 10:30 PM. As I turned the corner on my way to Rosenberg’s, I noticed Flaco & Lucky a half block up Market Street, lashed to a shopping cart piled with whatever, but no owner! I stood there at the corner, debating whether or not I should approach, and see what’s up. Just at the moment I decided not to, and turned away, Deek suddenly was in my face and queried, “Have you seen a black jacket?”

I told him no, then he squawked about how it had a hundred dollars in it and he needs to track it down. With that (and before I had a chance to respond), off he went up Noe Street to disappear into the dark. After purchasing a half gallon of two percent, I decided to visit the pups if their master were still elsewhere. As I neared I saw he wasn’t there, and the doggies began to bark in eager tones to call me over. So I sat myself down whence they crowded onto my lap for warmth and cuddles. It was a very chill night (upper 40s), and I had already suggested he let them stay with me, earlier that evening. “No, they’ll be fine,” he curtly replied. As I pet them, I saw they were NOT shivering, thank Hera…though they clearly sought my warmth.

Deek returned barely a minute later. He said hello, then went right to rummaging through his shopping cart, including a hardside polypro suitcase about the size of two breadboxes, which he laid on the ground and opened. Lucky instantly climbed onto it and began to fluff up the meager square of cloth stored therein among random items made of plastic and metal. Not much comfort for a little doggy, but he gave it his best shot!

“Who opened that suitcase?” boomed Deek.

“YOU did,” I replied while watching Lucky continue his futile attempts to turn the textile into a nest. By then, two other vagrants had magically appeared by the cart, one young and clean shaven, the other old and bearded with a hefty walking stick to lean on. Don’t know why they showed up right at that moment, but the older one started asking questions about the dogs that miffed me no end:

“Is she fixed, or can she have puppies?”

“No she’s not, but the male is,” Deek answered while going through some items in a search for his lost bills, I presume. Though I question the veracity of his claim of “losing” a hundred smackaroonies in the first place…he’s a conniving drama queen half the time.

The grizzled transient then emoted how sad he’s neutered, how did that happen, and wouldn’t it be nice to make the female pregnant with another dog, anyway. I really wanted to punch him out and tell him to shut the hell up. But I bit my lip and ignored him while bent over to pet the mutts. I decided then not to leave until those two idiots departed first…I just didn’t like their demeanor, so my protect-the-pups instinct kicked in. Deek then looked down at Lucky and hollered, “HEY, GET OUTTA THERE!” But the brindlekin paid him no mind and continued to spin around and disturb the contents, none of which were of value, anyway.

“Don’t yell at him, Deek!” I admonished, while reaching out to Lucky with comforting strokes. “He’s doing nothing wrong.”

The gnarly old cretin then interjected: “The dog’s disobedient!”

“No, that’s not what’s going on,” I replied in an even tone, in spite of my anger. “He just wants a comfy spot to sit on, instead of the cold concrete. He’s a lovely, sweet little pup…they both are. Screaming at them is just mean.”

The two vagrants then stared quizically at Deek, as if to say: “Who is this guy? Why’s he talking to you like that?” To which Deek summarily explained, “He’s my uncle, it’s okay.” Well, Wattson, good thing he said that, as I KNOW how to defend myself in short order, I know WHERE to kick to immediately disable an attacker, AND I carry pepper spray. Everyone assumes I can’t fight, but one clown learned the hard way I CAN…but that was years ago.

Then I witnessed the reason for those two transients showing up: Deek handed them each a line of crystal, and off they scattered. Upon completing the transaction he turned to me and told me to get the fuck out of his face. I told him I’m not IN his face, and that his hollering at Lucky is shameful.

“I’m in a bad mood right now,” he scowled. “I’m REALLY pissed, I just lost a hunner dollah. It happened fast, I was high and the jacket disappeared.”

“That’s NO excuse to be angry at your dogs, Deek,” I countered. He shrieked some more in response as he began to push the cart towards my building: “Get outta my face, bitch, get outta my face!”

I followed him from ten feet behind as he crossed Noe street, then turned left to cross Market, bellowing “Shame! Shame on you!” as he did so. “It’s very cold tonight, you better keep those doggies warm!”

He continued spewing expletives as he diminished south towards 17th Street, with the tethered pooches doing their best to keep up, their little paws clicking at a rapid pace while gazing up at him with sweet regard. I then returned hovel to place the milk in my fridge and watch another video. But I was still restless minutes later, so decided to step out again for some air, and a brisk walk to temper my temper. Wouldn’t ya know it, Wattson, but here comes Deek again, back across Market Street and marching in my direction! Pups, cart and all.

“We keep bumping into each other tonight!” I blurted in a friendly manner as they drew near. Deek parked himself by the bus stop, so I decided to sit down on the other side of the cart, where the dogs were leashed. They scrambled onto my lap before I could completely settle down with legs stretched out to provide enough room to raise them from the cold, hard sidewalk. But I managed with some difficulty to accommodate them both, once my butt was set firmly on the ground, and my back against a tree. Long story short:

Again, I advised Deek to never yell in front of the dogs, it hurts them…and besides, no one EVER has an excuse to scream and rant in anger, and start harassing friends who care. Naturally, he exploded and screeched some more, told me to shut up, and if I don’t he’ll yell even louder, and keep it up, and I’ll get evicted. Please note he wasn’t THAT loud, so did show SOME self control. He also threatened to keep the dogs away from me forever, he has a girlfriend with a backyard and the dogs love it, so he might have them stay there for now on. I accused him of intentionally returning just so he COULD scream and rant by my building…that he’s being mean to both myself and the mutts, and he’s full of crap.

I also suggested (once more) he leave the pups with me tonight, as it’s awfully cold outside, and he’s in a bad mood…and when he is, I’m concerned how this affects Lucky & Flaco. Sadly, he turned me down for the second time that evening. To which I responded, after eyeballing the contents of his cart: “I see you have a thick jacket and some blankies to keep them warm, so that’s good.” He finally regained his composure (if that’s what you want to call it), and I offered him Sunday’s allowance right then and there. He said, “Really? After all my screeching?” I replied yes of course, my pleasure. So I ran upstairs to fetch the cash, after which we spoke awhile longer, this time in peace. Then off they went, and I returned hovel. He DID give me a kind thank-you before departing. And to think, before this unexpected, unwarranted and uncouthly foolish drama went down:

All I did was step outside to purchase milk!

Oh, yeah: next bedbug treatment this Wednesday. Meanwhile, I have some electrical tape wrapped about the end of a broomstick, sticky side out, to pick off any bugs I spot on the wall. The bullshit never ends! Only the dogs keep me going.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting with Wattson: 12/7/21-12/12/21

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Pic 2

Subject: This is Worrisome
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 12, 2021 2:40 PM

Two cold nights in a row, and it’s been raining nonstop since well before dusk…and Deek has yet to bring the pups over, for shelter and warmth. His petty nature could spell their death.

Re: This is Worrisome
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 12, 2021 3:36 PM

> I was wondering about that. Damn!!!!!

I made it clear to him several times in the past few weeks (including two nights ago when he threw another temper tantrum), that if it’s cold outside and they start to shiver, and he has no way to keep them warm, bring them over immediately…I don’t care how late it is, I consider it an emergency. Infuriating and heartbreaking he’s not following up. I anticipated he WOULD drop them off last night when the rain began…but nope. I’m STILL hoping he shows up soon.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: This is Worrisome
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 12, 2021 6:27 PM

> Dreadful. Keep me posted. It was BITTER cold here, and rainy and windy; I hate to think of the pups out there in that.

I’d like to report they’re back with me now, safe and sound…but that’s just not the case.

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Subject: I just found this lovely comforter…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 13, 2021 3:31 PM

…right when I stepped out of the laundromat with my own fresh laundry. No one around to claim it, and it was already pretty clean, though left in a pile two doors up, with some other discarded items that were of no use to anyone. So I went right back inside the laundromat and washed and dried it…just too delightful a coverlet to resist, what with those vibrant rainbow stripes and fluffy innards! I will probably present it to Deek once he shows up, or when he’s ready to collect the pups again, after their next visit. Or just keep it; I’ll play it by ear. Seeing as anything I give him is lost within a day or two, including any jackets or blanket for the doggies…so what’s the point?

I bumped into Boulevard Joe, on my return to the laundromat before I found that comforter. He was going there, too, to dry out his own, rather dense bedding. Which wasn’t particularly wet, because he and several others camped out beneath the overhang of the local library roof. Where there used to be grass and flowers, but are now just small, jagged, man-made boulders embedded into a concrete surface dappled with smooth, round stones. Imagine trying to sleep on that…squeezing yourself between boulders in an awkward pose, with (hopefully) sufficient padding upon the stones!

We had our usual, friendly badinage…nothing vital to report, except I DID express my worries about Deek not bringing the pooches over during this latest squall. He always has before, and these little dogs shouldn’t be subjected to such harsh weather, especially when their guardian does little to protect them. Joe said nothing in return, just listened and nodded his head. So I guess he didn’t see Deek in the past few days, or he would’ve said something.

It’s not like we hanged out or anything, as Joe left shortly after he packed a dryer with his bed stuff. But I did walk by him twice on my back-and-forth treks between hovel and laundromat…the second time encountering a homeless person I haven’t seen for years: Legion. He didn’t recognize me at first, and I didn’t recall who he was at all, until after I resumed my walk, with that newfound comforter in a duffel bag heft over one shoulder. It was a brief hello, glad to see you after all this time, and so on. Guess our paths will cross again sometime soon, and we’ll chew the fat for sure. He’s a nice enough guy, certainly not one to avoid…and it may benefit me to have one more ally out there in the asphalt realm.

It’s now just after 3 PM and still no Deek and brindlekin. But if I’ve learned ANYthing through this, my Hero’s Journey, it’s NOT to drown myself in worry, but even more: be of good cheer no matter what, put smiles on other peoples’ faces, for they may be going through something even worse. Especially if they’re unhoused.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: I just found this lovely comforter…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 13, 2021 8:19 PM

> That comforter’s a beauty!

It was meant to happen…a gift from Artemis, who loves Canis familiaris, and anyone who loves them, too.

> I’m glad you have the attitude that you do. I sure as hell don’t.

Oh, I don’t think so. You would show the SAME forbearance and compassion as I do, towards someone with bipolar affliction, were you involved with their sweet little doggies. Just as you’ve been incredibly kind and patient to your mother, and other long-suffering good people in your life. You can’t fool ME, Wattson!

> I’m pissed at Deek for letting you twist in the wind like this; he KNOWS what those pups mean to you. If he doesn’t show up for his next allowance, then we can assume he’s had some sort of change of fortune, for good or for ill.

Now with a touch of hindsight, it is OBVIOUS to me, that this was just another bodhisaatva challenge. Look how everything fell into place: Boulevard Joe (and my telling him my concern for the pups), then the rainbow comforter, then my conclusion in my previous email, that anger is not the way, but shedding worry and being of good cheer no matter what, is the answer. And then, and ONLY then, does Deek finally show up…and he was SPECTACULAR:

I came running down ASAP as soon as he called up to my window. He looked superb: clean and well dressed in warm clothing. The dogs looked great, too, and THEY WERE DRY AND HAPPY, not shivering in the least. Well, almost dry…they WERE a tad wet because he uncovered them to rush across the street and to the ATM alcove below my window.

He quickly explained how he couldn’t bring them over last night, as he was stuck in a distant part of the city, and had to remain there in order to keep Flaco & Lucky safe, dry and warm. And I believe him, because they’d otherwise be DRENCHED, but they were not. I didn’t even have to dry them off once they got upstairs, because their burrowing under the blankets took care of that in a jiff. IOW: minimally wet.

Deek was of good cheer; in fact, he looked robust. He DID ask for his Thursday allowance in advance…which I knew he would, so had already slipped the bills in my pocket before stepping out. But first, I gave him a hard time about it:

“Are you kidding, Deek, it’s only Monday!” I exclaimed with feigned exasperation.

“But payday’s Wednesday, just two days from now,” he cajoled.

“No, it’s THURSDAY,” I corrected him. “I’ve just been letting you get your allowance a day ahead.”

He then rattled on why it’s no big deal to hand over the moolah now, why he deserves it, blah blah blah…I don’t know, I didn’t really pay attention, but right in the middle of his petition, I yanked out the envelope.

“Oh, you already had it on you,” he noted with an amused grin.

“Of course, Deek,” I barked back, “I KNOW you!”

He gave me (another) new Bluetooth speaker to charge; this one on the larger size, but easy to port upstairs. Along with that, he handed me a fairly nice headset, and his present smartphone that he’s managed to hold onto for almost two weeks now. That’s a record!

“Can you put Christmas music on it?” he queried.

I rolled my eyes, wondering why on earth this gansta rap junkie wanted something so sappy. He explained further:

“Not that stupid stuff like reindeers running over old ladies…just the regular, traditional songs.”

I don’t think he realizes that “traditional” goes deep into ’40s and ’50s territory, as well as the ’70s. ’80s and ’90s, and none of it is rap. But I said okay.

So here we are, good doctor: looks like Deek took damned good care of the pooches…and I believe he wanted to show me that…prove to me he can do it, that I never need worry. As well as a kind of apology for his fucked up behavior a few nights back. But I don’t even thinks it’s that.

I am convinced it was all another bodhisaatva script played out for my benefit…all planned that way, to crescendo into seeing Joe Boulevard, stumbling upon the rainbow comforter, and Deek’s excellent demeanor, with Flaco & Lucky healthy and in good spirit.

It was a real treat to watch them dash up the stairs with boundless delight, then dig themselves beneath the bedding before I even stepped inside. Group hugs, joy and friendship lit up the room, as I curled up alongside, so happy they’re back in my arms. I then got up to give them some chicken-applesauce snacks, which they so enjoyed…as I did, too, watching their little jaws chew on their nummies and make wee smacking sounds.

A little while later I set down their meals, and they went right to it, licked the bowls mirror clean! Now they’ve hidden themselves once more, beneath the rainbow coverlet. You can’t even tell they’re here, they’re so quiet…deep in doggy dreamland. Impossible to discern which lumps are air pockets, and which two are the mutts, unless you prod with a hand to discover a snout, a paw, a floppy ear or a tail! Or maybe a surprise lick of the tongue.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting with Wattson: 12/13/21 – 12/18/21

Video 1

Video 2

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3

Re: Well This Sucks (cont’d from smartphone message)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 17, 2021 11:30 PM

> So you were out of your place and walking around, thinking the treatment was proceeding, when you were notified that Paolo was in a car crash and wouldn’t be showing up?? And now you have to keep things ready so that they can give you same-day notice to get out??

No, they just need to reschedule. AFAIC the sooner the better, so I told Kevin I’d only need a day’s notice. The longer they take to schedule, the more items I’ll need to unseal and use, until I’m back at square 1 and will have to take EVERYTHING back to the laundromat for heat treatment. And I don’t really have the money to do that…or the temper.

I just find it strange that the exterminator never bothered to text back to me. I suspect Kevin of developing senility, and I just happen to be the lucky one to suffer his BS. I could be wrong about all this, but something’s going on that’s not kosher.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Coffee Spills & Other Ills
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 18, 2021 11:26 AM

Just stepped out to Rosenberg’s right at 7:30 to discover their gate still closed and locked. This happened once before, about three weeks back…but they opened shortly after 8. Hopefully, they will be ready for business just as quick, as I love to start my morning with a fresh cup of java and a little friendly badinage.

Meanwhile, the pups are warm and tucked in, not quite ready for their morning ablutions. I wish I had NOT told Kevin that I’ll only need a day’s notice for the rescheduled bedbug treatment. But that was before Deek brought the doggies by. If they schedule it for two or three days later, and the mutts are still here, I’ll have to say okay, not knowing whether Deek will return in time to retrieve them. For if the weather remains so cold, he may just not bother. Which is what I’d prefer anyway…it’s just this rescheduling is a monkey wrench in the works.

Because I DON’T want to tell the manager I can’t, since the pups are here until this cold snap ends. Maybe I’ll come up with some other excuse, should I find myself in such a difficult bind. Such as another sciatica attack…which I can easily fake by breaking out the walking stick.


So I just returned from getting a SECOND cup o’ mud from Rosenberg’s, ’cause the FIRST one suddenly leaked from the bottom ALL OVER MY DESK AND ONTO THE KEYBOARD! Fortunately, the keyboard was not damaged, as the spill only dripped onto the flat, touchpad end. It’s days like these I feel like my life is the story of Sad Sack.

When I stepped out that second time, I noticed a homeless person wrapped in rags and asleep beside the wall of my building. I took a closer look and saw it was Deek! Upon my return with the java, I ran back downstairs to take a pic of him, which I attached to this missive. (Apparently, the rainbow coverlet is already gone. He got a new haircut, though, tinted with purple atop…money he should’ve spent on doggy jackets.) This explains why, as we returned hovel, the pups were tugging on the leash to get close to him, though I assumed they were just curious–maybe smelled food on the person–and coaxed them back inside.

Later I realized he was camped out there all night, I just didn’t pay attention. He was there the FIRST time I exited to purchase coffee…but I didn’t notice because his face was blocked by two OTHER street people schmoozing with him, including Filipino Jay who broadly smiled at me and said hi. I didn’t stop, because I didn’t want the dogs to start barking right below my neighbors’ windows…and neither Flaco nor Lucky seemed to be aware that their master was close by.

FINALLY, I now get to talk about our meetup Wednesday afternoon:

I parted with my newfound rainbow comforter that day, seeing as the night would be icy cold, and he wasn’t about to have the doggies stay for a FOURTH evening in a row. Kismet brought me that coverlet at just the right time, Wattson!

Deek played Mr. Crabby for some minutes: “I’ll throw that blanket away if I find any bugs in it!” I told him don’t be ridiculous, it’s large enough to keep all three of you warm, and I just washed and dried it two days ago; if there are any bugs, they’re harmless, and I’ve seen him many times pluck unwashed blankets and coats from the trash.

I then motioned as if to snatch up the bedding: “Okay, I’ll just take it back.” To which he promptly pleaded, “No! No! I’ll take it!” I could tell, though, he was bitching for fun, loves to see my hackles up.

He was actually in a very good mood, and within a few minutes after giving him the comforter he placed it on the sidewalk, and the pooches immediately made it their nest. I then departed for the laundromat, where I had to pick up those two adult sleeping bags waiting for me after an hour in the dryer, on the hottest setting.

Deek had requested advance payment for this Sunday, even though it was only Wednesday. I said okay, but remember once you run out of your month’s full allotment, you’ll have to wait maybe as long as eight days before your payments resume. I can NOT afford to dip into the next month for an advance…in fact, I couldn’t do that even if I wanted, because I’d have less than ten dollars to my name, until my next Social Security deposit on the third. He said he’s fine with that, but we’ll see.

So Wednesday’s meetup was superb and, as I said previously, I’m proud of Deek for bringing them back to me last night, that they be sheltered from the biting, chill dampness.

Oh, yeah, I had quite a scare six days ago. I had gone downstairs with the pups and, just as we got to the door, a resident was about to step in. So I crouched down and held them by the collar, expecting him to open the gate and let us through, first. But no, he barged right on in, not giving me a chance to pull the mutts back as they barked with gusto. He said “sorry” as he stepped into the lobby, but then Lucky escaped my clutches and snatched onto his pant cuff for a split second before I could pull him away.

The young fellow then pulled up his pant leg to see whether or not he was bitten…nothing but unbroken white skin showed. I quickly rushed them outside, concerned he might run to the manager and complain. I felt sick with worry all that day, pondering the scenario of how I’d deal with it. Fortunately, nothing seems to have come of it, and I wish the idiot had the good sense NOT to force himself in the middle of two dogs he’s never seen before. Anyone else would open the gate and step aside for us to exit.

My new food stamp card showed up almost a week ago, and I was delighted it arrived so soon after I called their office for a replacement. But upon reading the enclosed notice I learned that my PIN will arrive in a separate envelope. So I’ve been spending more of my own money on food, than expected… because I’m still waiting on the PIN. If it doesn’t show up in two weeks, I’m supposed to call them. No matter how I plan things, December has ALWAYS been my toughest month when it comes to finances. Laundry expenses to prep for treatment have hit my wallet hard this month. As I decided to not just run all sleeping bags through the dryers, but wash them, as well.

I don’t celebrate Exmass, so no money wasted on that. Yet, even when I decide to be extra frugal in December, unexpected costs pop up to ruin what holiday spirit I MIGHT have had. So now my bank account has been stripped, my room has been stripped, and the dogs have no throw rugs or even newspaper to cover the dirty, softwood floor. They don’t even have a cardboard box to slip into when they’d like, because I tore up the one I had, in preparation for the exterminator’s arrival. I should lay down fresh newspaper in a moment, it’s the least I could do for the nonce.

I just looked out the window to see that Deek has moved himself to the bus stop, where he’s prostrate on a sheet of cardboard and soaking up the sun’s rays (weak as they are today). He’s been parking himself by my building much more often these days…which is fine with me since he’s not making a ruckus anymore when he’s right outside. Though I kinda wish he wouldn’t, because then residents see him crashed out with the same dogs they see ME with. And this could cause me grief, in light of SOME folks’ antagonism towards the homeless. And my having two street dogs stay with me once or twice a week, on average. But Deek is too stubborn to hear me out, and comply by camping for the night elsewhere. At any rate:

These are truly O. Henry tales, my adventures with Deek and the pups, this latest chapter being my second Exmass parable! Guess I’m getting what I wished for, as an author.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Deek Asleep by the Bus Stop
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 18, 2021 12:30 PM

I just took this shot…he obviously needs his rest, so I didn’t bother to wake him up. Nor did I bring the pups down to join him, as they’d probably be barking up a storm now and then, as his protectors. Besides, it’s cold outside and they wouldn’t have much comfort there on the sidewalk. And I’d rather not have my building’s residents see the doggies right there, totally exposed. It happens anyway, but it’s better to minimize the frequency of such a disturbing scenario. Leave well enough alone, eh, good physician?

All of Deek’s latest possessions seem to be gone with the wind. He’s very resourceful, however, and quickly recoups his losses. I don’t see how he does it; his resilience is astounding. Still, I’d rather have Flaco & Lucky stay with me another night, due to this lingering cold front…if he allows it. I have no idea WHEN he’ll finally awaken, and call up to my window.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Deek Asleep by the Bus Stop
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 18, 2021 2:55 PM

> I see that the pizza box he was using as a sort of wind/privacy screen in the earlier pic has moved. God almighty, to be sleeping on the cold hard dirty pavement in full view of the world…and yes, let him sleep as long as he needs to.

He has no qualms about sleeping/camping wherever, does NOT feel ANY shame or resentment being seen this way. Which is the best attitude to have, IMO, if you MUST live on the streets. This, however, tends to unnerve certain folks who are housed, and is why I’d prefer he park his ass elsewhere. But that is not to be, so I am forced to deal with it as best as possible.

Were THIS perplexed pilgrim homeless, I’d certainly handle it quite differently. For one, I would never APPEAR to be a vagrant. Though with the horrendous condition of my teeth, and being seen often, sitting on the concrete keeping the pups company (while Deek runs off to purchase a sandwich or whatever) some people think I AM unhoused. Worse yet, it always happens in FRONT of my building, ’cause that’s the only spot where Deek and I hook up. There goes the property value, plummeting like a stone thanks to little ol’ moi!

As I’m typing this, I’m watching Lucky fluff up the bedding into a tent so he can snuggle inside, in full comfort and warmth. Only the tip of his curly tail sticks out. Flaco, OTOH, is presently stretched athwart the cot, with her darling little head drooped partly over the side, Yoda ears pinned all the way back.

> It’s extremely fucking cold up here, too. Dressed Surely last night in new fleece doggy PJ’s underneath his regular doggy jacket. He sleeps at night in a cozy bed of quilts on a closed-in porch, with the door to the house open so he gets warmth from the wood stove. That plus the extra layers keep him warm and toasty. He doesn’t have much of a coat, and he’s almost 11 years old now, so I make sure he’s snug on these frigid nights. Right now he’s basking in a pool of sunlight in the doorway. As is The Kitten, aka HRH Princess Butterball, who has an extra-thick coat of deluxe fur. Peaceable kingdom, for now.

Sounds like heaven to me, but WHAT, NO PIC OF SURELY IN HIS PAJAMAS? Sometimes you are a cruel tease, Oh Osmium Empress!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Deek’s still outside by the bus stop, zonked out, and it’s now almost 3 PM. I soon will need to take the doggies for another walk…guess I’ll have them run all the way to the corner, in hopes they won’t spot him. I don’t want to wake him up to hear him say, “Leave the dogs with me.” Then return to sleep while they bark up a hurricane, forced to rest on cold stone.

Subject: My Convo w/Kevin
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 18, 2021 7:15 PM

I think I forgot to send this off to you:

The FINAL Final Chapter (part 4)

December 4, 2021

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18d]

Subject: “I’m not your bitch!” hollered Deek yesterday afternoon…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 26, 2021 4:30 PM

…as I schlepped his 12-pound Bluetooth speaker back to my building. “I’m not your bitch either,” I soundly retorted and, once I reached the front gate, looked back at him glaring at me, to embellish my assertive rebuttal with: “Happy Thanksgiiiving! Happy Thanksgiiiving!”

What brought on his latest temper tantrum was his request to bring the speaker back down (for which he had lost the charger, so asked me to just store it)…upon which his close examination revealed that the charging pin seemed to have disappeared in that tiny, black hole. He had returned with the (possibly) correct, 9-volt adapter, and wanted to be sure the plug would fit.

“You broke it! You fucked up my speaker!” he suddenly raged at me. “What did you do…bang on it?” He said much more than that, ranting on about what a fuck-up I am, always breaking his stuff. It was holiday-quiet on the streets, so I was sure everyone on this side of the building heard him.

“PLEASE calm down Deek,” I appealed to him with bowed head and both hands raised towards him, palms out. “I did NOTHING but stash it upstairs. I’m ALWAYS careful with your electronics, you know that.”

But that did nothing to temper his outburst, while the pups just sat there as calm as kumquats. During his absurd fury, he pulled out a piece of coat-hanger wire and diddled with the power port until he got the connection pointed straight up again. The adapter plug then fit perfectly, and he handed me the speaker with cord, to go upstairs and see if it works.

Of course, it might NOT work anyway, which would mean FURTHER rage pouring down upon THIS inculpable pilgrim. And it wasn’t until the gate closed behind me, that he finally ceased his pointless jeremiad that ended with “bitch.” At least for the nonce. Once I plugged in the device, that little red charge light turned on. But just to be sure, I unplugged it from the outlet (I didn’t DARE touch the port end), to see the light go out…then plugged it back in again, and once more it turned on. Whew!

So I returned outside to tell him the good news, but he griped further: “Are you sure? Are you really, really sure it’s the right light, and not the ON switch or something else?”

I told him okay, let me go back upstairs to double check. A minute later I came back outside to assure him that yes, it’s charging correctly. Only then did he calm down, and I was able to shower Flaco & Lucky with my joyful affections for a minute or so. Before I returned hovel, I pointed out that there’s NEVER an excuse to be angry, no matter WHAT the situation…it will only fuck yourself up further, whereas remaining calm will bring rewards. He actually listened politely, though said nothing in response. Though he did request that I bring him a cup of soda, and some water for the pups. So I did; he thanked me and said he’ll pick up the speaker that evening, and I wished them all a happy rest-of-Thanksgiving, with a “god bless you” at the end.

Deek was in good spirits when he showed up four hours later, and the dogs of course were overjoyed, hoping to spend the night in my hovel. They even dashed off to the front gate before either of us could stop them…for they were not tethered to the cart. Flaco escaped first, but Lucky caught up in a flash with a hearty chest bump as they both stood on hind legs and began playing battle droids with many gleeful yelps. Lucky’s chunky paws kept swatting at his sister, while Flaco’s own dainty mitts struck back with surprisingly deft countermoves. They were embraced in upright struggle, like a pair of Lilliputian Godzillas! Right there by the gate…a wondrous site to behold. But alas, I had to pick up their leashes and summon them back to their high lord and master, Deek the Street King of the Castro.

I neither asked nor suggested he allow me to take them in for the night, seeing as he was probably still perturbed over my refusal the day before, to allow him inside. For I concluded it’s better to just let him simmer down at his own pace. He’s bound to stop by tomorrow to collect his Sunday allowance…so we’ll see how things go then. Regardless of the outcome (whether or not the doggies can visit) I intend to surprise him with a bonus $20 as my holiday gift. For it is much better to not hold a grudge, and show a wayward friend you still care, no matter what.

– Zeek K-Holmes

Subject: And…they’re back!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 26, 2021 8:50 PM

Meaning Lucky & Flaco of course. Here’s a pic of each, blissfully sawing dogwood at opposite ends of the cot:

Flaco: click here for a larger view.
Lucky: click here for a larger view.

Deek showed up around 9 PM, inviting me to take the pups so he could cycle the streets of Saint Francis tonight. He also piled on a slew of devices for me to charge up: his present smartphone (rather cracked and worn by now), one portable battery pack, a teensy Bluetooth speaker that probably wouldn’t give him more than a minute’s play (you could hang it from a keychain), another Bluetooth speaker shaped like a cone with a flat top (about eight inches high and five at the base), and two used Kindle tablets that he said may or may not work, just plug ’em in and see. Plus his larger Bluetooth speaker for storage…because he ALREADY misplaced the adapter! So now he wants me to order a replacement from Amazon, which will set me back $18!

The stupid thing is, delivery will take five days, and he’ll probably want that speaker back before then, and lose it by the time the adapter shows up. I know, because it’s happened before with another speaker, last year. So I just might refuse to return it unTIL the adapter arrives, and I recharge the accursed device.

I also presented him with his $60 allowance, secured in a clean white envelope. Once I handed it over, I asked:

“Would you be interested in an extra twenty dollars, for a Thanksgiving gift?”

“Sure!” he answered in surprise. “That would be great.”

But before I extracted it from a pocket, I reminded him that he doesn’t HAVE to accept it, he COULD turn it down, maybe say something like “Thanks but no thanks, I wouldn’t know what to do with so much money in one lump.”

“No, that’s fine, I’ll take it,” he replied without a nanosecond’s delay.

“Are you SURE, Deek?” I queried with feigned incredulity, my hand now plunged deeply into that pocket.

“YES I’M SURE!” he shot back with an even wider grin.

I figured I teased him enough, so withdrew the bonus dub from my pocket, and dropped it onto his open palm. With sincere gratitude he wished me a lovely night, and off I scampered back hovel with the pooches.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Deek is showing remorse…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 29, 2021 2:49 PM

…over forcing the pups to live on the streets. Here is what he said, when he showed up yesterday evening to pick them up:

“I feel bad about keeping them outside so much,” he declared while puffing on a glass pipe heated by a torch lighter he waved just below the bulbous end. “That’s why I’ve been having them stay with you more often.”

Which is true, Wattson, for he HAS been dropping them off more frequently in recent weeks, and leaving them with me for longer periods, say two days instead of one (or just a few hours) and two nights (instead of just one or sometimes none).

He was hugging the doggies while he spoke (as they adored HIM with loving licks and glances), and I replied: “They are nothing but pure goodness, and having them shelter with me on a frequent basis is good for their health. They can totally chillax, free from stress and confrontations with crazy people…not to mention the cold nights sleeping on concrete. And they know they are safe and loved in my home.”

He went on to describe how some weeks back, a drug dealer offered him a thousand dollars for the brindlekin. Deek of course said no, and reiterated to me that he’d NEVER sell them at any price.

“That’s right, Deek,” I agreed. “Their sweetness and loyalty are beyond any price, and you’d break their hearts if you gave them up.” (Not to mention mine, too, and surely his as well, in the long run.)

I kinda think he made up that story, but I didn’t bother to challenge him about it, as his remorse is the important thing to focus on. If indeed he IS truly concerned for the pooches, rather than playing out some meth induced drama. He also asked me to find out about that free, drop-in clinic for homeless pets.

“I asked you about it once before,” he reminded me unnecessarily. For I DID remember, and quite clearly.

“That was like five months ago, Deek. I told you where and when you need to go, but you never followed up,” I softly admonished in the cool, pleasant air of an early night. We’ve had a long string of lovely weather for the entire month, BTW. I presume the same for yourself, living only 154 miles further north.

I also told him there are TWO free clinics for homeless pet care that I know of, but neither is walk-in anymore, since the covid restrictions began. Now you have to call in to make an appointment.

“I thought it was all over,” he retorted, regarding the pandemic.

“No, not by a long shot,” I said, miffed about his refusal to accept the situation, and writing me off as an alarmist, as if I make this all up, rather than share important updates with him. He has YET to get his booster jab, damn it. And damn his street friends for parroting that anti-vax conspiracy crap.

I told him there might be one or two other free homeless pet stations, but I’m sure none of them are walk-ins, either.

“I’ll see what I can find out for you, Deek,” I assured him. “However, you know other street folks with dogs, so why not ask THEM where they take their furry friends for checkups?”

He said okay, and I added: “I’ll be glad to make an appointment for you, once you decide where to go, if you can’t find a drop-in service.”

Though I realize this is problematic, as he naturally prefers to just show up at whatever time of day. Appointments just do NOT work for him, and I understand that. However, I’ll remind him the actual dates are set, so it shouldn’t be THAT much of a headache to show up at the appointed time. But what worries ME, is his complete ignorance of where these pet clinics are located, and when to show up, suggests he’s NEVER taken either dog to a vet, ever!

His endearment over the pups seems genuine, as he expressed other concerns about them, which impressed me no end. He had nothing for me to charge tonight, so after listening to his (seemingly) sincere words and responding in kind, I wished them all a lovely night and returned hovel…where I double-checked on the Internet, the conditions for bringing homeless pets to a free clinic. Nothing’s changed, you are still required to phone in first.

Now, for my “Bodhisattva Premise” spin on our latest meetup:

This bringing the pups over more often, and showing remorse for keeping them on the streets, is but the next step in the script that has preordained me the hero of this play. And if I am correct, then that means the building manager’s unkind regard towards the doggies’ stay-overs is nothing more then him playing his OWN role as an antagonist. That I, as the star of the show, may receive further applause for having the courage to ignore him, at risk of increased harassment and possible eviction.

So Deek is also just playing out his role as a street person with scary bipolar issues that challenge my efforts to protect the pooches, thus causing me grief. Though far LESS these days, than in earlier episodes…as I learn to further fine tune my emotions by applying FAITH and TRUST more effectively. I am ALMOST at the point of COMPLETE confidence over the brindlekin’s well-being, rather than allowing worries of any sort to obstruct my passage into a higher, and better, realm of consciousness. For as the Buddha once said: “Heaven and hell are a state of mind.”

I can’t imagine a more perfectly writ play than the one I am living through, to get me there…as hindsight has revealed the brilliance of these true tales, and their evolution. With you–my invisible confidante whom I have yet to meet in person–cheering me on from the bleachers. For you ARE the hero behind the hero!

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: Oh, yeah, I almost forgot…before our conversation started, he gave me this silver ring he says is a dragon. Pic enclosed. Hard to tell WHAT it is, because the figure’s so tiny…could be a bat or an eagle, but the wings clearly show. I thanked him, “It’s a GREAT ring, I love it!”

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: The Adventure of the Million Dollar Caper
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 30, 2021 6:35 PM

So Deek shows up yesterday afternoon (long after the sun had set, so it’s already nightfall) with a shopping cart loaded with a mountain of crap, and two happy dogs tethered to it. Upon my approaching him, he goes into this dramatic performance:

“You gotta see this, Zeke!” he emotes with a flourish of some worn out dollar bill in his hand that has all sorts of indecipherable markings on both sides. I take a momentary side glance just to humor him, then crouch on one knee to greet the pups.

“No, no, don’t bother with them right now,” he admonishes in a feverish wave of the soggy buck. “Check this out, in the light…it’s a million dollar bill! I’m scared for anyone else to see it!”

“Oh c’mon Deek,” I reply while remaining close to the pups with hugs and kisses. “How would I know if it’s authentic or not, I’m no expert. Besides, million dollar bills don’t exist.”

“No, they DO exist, and I found one!” he insists with breathless exhilaration. Acting like he’s about to faint as he slumps down upon the concrete, in the soft light of the bus stop’s backlit advertisement promoting some kind of cloud service called Project Launch.

He then forces the old greenback under my nose and demands: “Check it out! I need your help, I’m afraid to go to the bank and do this myself!”

“You’re off your rocker, Deek,” I exclaim while continuing to nurture the darling angels stumbling at my feet in joy. “No I’m NOT gonna help you, I refuse to go to my bank with a fake bill, let alone claim it’s worth a million dollars.”

I never really bothered to closely examine it, Wattson, though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone (a.k.a. “Deek”) had scrawled on it with a leaky pen: “WUN MILYUN DOOLERS,” or something similar. Not meaning to make fun of his possible dyslexia…but jeez Louise!

By then his friend Goose shows up, a peaceful, 40-something dude who always sports an acoustic guitar wherever he goes. I’ve never seen him play it, but that’s neither here nor there. He sets down guitar and a weighty, corded satchel of whatever, and quickly gets caught up in Deek’s million-dollar drama. He gives me a quick “oh, brother” glance, when at the same moment Deek begins to yell:

“You’re fucking up my chance to get rich, Zeke!”

He blurts other rude remarks as well, and I see Flaco gazing up at me for comfort, so I resume caressing her. Lucky, however, is curled up in blissful rest.

“See, Deek, you’ve upset her,” I interject between his rants. “You have NO excuse to be angry…no one does, no matter the situation. But screaming in front of your doggies, that’s just shameful. They’re innocent.”

“I’ll scream whenever I WANT to scream!” he screams, rattling the windows of the front side of my apartment building. “My dogs have been through EVERYthing, sirens, crazy people, fireworks…this doesn’t bother them. They’re fine.”

“Yes it does,” I berate him in a calm voice as I continue to pet Flaco. “This is different, your dogs look up to you, and this hurts them. Even if they don’t show it.”

Though I must note here, Wattson, Flaco didn’t really seem perturbed at all, she just loves my attention. And Lucky appeared TOTALLY blasé about it all. So Deek is correct, I suppose…however, it comes down to ALWAYS being kind and soft spoken around your furry friends, no matter your mood. But it was WELL before ten o’clock, when the anti-noise rules kick in, as weak and ineffective as they are in this lunatic asylum of a burg. In fact, it was only around 7 PM. So screw the grumpy residents (meaning just two: the building manager and my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hall.)

“You have no right to scream in front of my building,” I elaborate while wagging a finger at him. “You fuck up my living situation, you fuck up yours, too. I hate drama queens, and you’re acting like one right now. Please STOP it.”

Somewhere amid his string of tempestuous bouts, the issue had switched from this million-dollar-bill fiasco (with the scraggly GW he didn’t want anyone else to see, now sitting exposed on the sidewalk beside Deek, like the useless paper scrap it really is) to getting his junky Bluetooth speaker to work again. The 9-volt AC/DC adapter I ordered showed up that afternoon…three days early! So I bring it down for him to plug in (as I refuse to touch the connecting parts, to keep him from blaming ME should it still not work). Yet the connecting pin is not the least bit visible through the tiny hole, no matter how close you eyeballed it, and at what angle.

So Deek resumes screaming about THAT now, saying how I break EVERY device he gives me, and that if only he could go upstairs to plug it in and see for himself, problem solved. I tell him that wouldn’t make ANY difference, and remind him once again, there is NEVER an excuse to be angry, let alone over such a TRIVIAL matter. Well that sets off yet aNOTHER round of expletives, you’d think the world was about to end. Goose remained quietly watching the scenario unfold, then breaks in to suggest he remove the back panel, to see where the pin is, and maybe that would fix things. For which I am THEN required to bring down a small phillips screwdriver and a portable light. So I hurry back upstairs, rummage around for the tool, find two of them (I have many, actually, for laptop and peripheral repairs and upgrades), and bring them back downstairs.

I forgot the portable light, Deek says never mind, he can work by the glow of the bus stop advertisement. He picks one of the screwdrivers from my open hand, and begins to struggle with loosening all four corners of the speaker’s back panel.

Flaco & Lucky are by now, dreaming together in cozy proximity, atop a couple of sweaters Deek had laid down for them. He, too, is finally in a calm state of mind, so I say if it’s okay by him, I’d like to go back inside and eat the rest of my dinner that’s been sitting on my desk for almost an hour…he can call up to me when he’s done with that. He says okay, and off I go, leaving him with Goose’s patient company.

As it turns out, the pin is broken, so that puts an end to his bedeviled speaker, thank god, and I can finally have some peace. Guess that’s worth the eighteen dollars I wasted on an adapter, which served no use except to drain my bank account. Ironically, he had shown up with another adapter he somehow acquired, to which I commented that my purchase was a waste of money. That didn’t seem to bother him one iota. Deek’s done this before: ask for an adapter replacement, only to wind up not needing it. In the first incident (about a year ago) he lost the device in question before the adapter arrived. So I now have TWO perfectly good adapters of different voltage, that may or may not come in handy later on down the line. I’M the one who should be angry, if anger were justified, which it never is. So I just accept the situation with a bemused sigh, grateful for the GOOD things in my life, those two sweet doggies being right at the top of the list! Next on that list (not sure what it is, I haven’t really given it serious thought) is, I assure you, a VERY distant second. For NOTHING comes close to Lucky & Flaco!

As for my budget: this month I was able to save a whole friggin TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS! Which means that, once the food stamp boon comes to an end, I’ll STILL be able to hold onto a hundred dollars each month, at least. So I already spent a sizeable chunk of that $200 on an entire month’s supply of dog food for December (both canned and dry)…may even spill over into the New Year. I also ordered a more up-to-date AC-powered USB charging hub that works for both micro and C plugs, and has eight separate, interchangeable ports. Plenty of charging power for ALL the devices Deek may bring over on any given day.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: The Adventure of the Million Dollar Caper
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 30, 2021 9:52 PM

> I have one of those million-dollar bills. I should take it to the store, buy a pack of gum, and ask for change…

Let me know what happens. Just be aware that, after attempting to pass it on as legit, our letters to each other will be snail-mail only, and highly censored with portions blacked out.

> Jeeziz, what next???

I’m guessing maybe he finds some paste jewelry, claims they’re real diamonds (or gold) and demand I bring them to a pawn shop or wherever, and cash them in for thousands of buckazoids. He’s actually done something like that, several times before. Much to my annoyance. But that was over three years ago; may it remain in the past.

> I’m impressed as hell that you saved $200!! And still gave Deek his allowance!

Believe me, Wattson, I’ve impressed myself as well! BTW I wasn’t finished with my tale before accidentally clicking on “send” instead of “save.” As you probably guessed by that big blank space towards the end, with a partial sentence dangling in the void, before coming to my “budget” passage. So here’s the rest of the story:

The remainder of the evening is peaceful, as Deek and pups camp out for a few more hours by the bus stop, and four other vagrants keep them company. They are quite slovenly and out of it, unlike his previous gatherings by the bus stop…definitely NOT the same people. HE may not appreciate it, but knows how to handle better than I could, how to deal with such types when you’re often exposed to them whether you like it or not, by circumstances beyond one’s control, because homeless. Nonetheless they’re quiet, and soon depart after Deek leaves, around 11:30 PM.

By 11 PM, he asks me to bring down the smartphone and latest speaker he acquired that same night, and which I charged up to maybe half-full. The phone is at 100 percent by then. The new speaker is of a much more portable size: cylindrical and about eight inches long and three wide. I keep the pooches company for ten minutes or so, while Deek ambles down the block to schmooze with a couple of street folks too distant for me to make out in the dark, away from any streetlight.

I conclude that Deek’s million-dollar BS was just his way of playing with me. NO ONE would believe a story like that! Most likely he cooked up that scheme after picking up an old dollar bill on one of his trash-bin explorations. And thought: “I’m gonna have a little fun with Zeke tonight, he takes things too seriously!” All I can say is, he’s a damned good actor! What a slam-bang show he put on. As for the speaker with the broken pin:

More drama with no point to it, except to press my buttons, as he often does. Though I want to mention something I forgot, about that recent night he expressed remorse over keeping the pups on the street. Besides explaining that’s why he has them stay over with me more often, he also said when he begins to feel irritable, it’s a good time to bring them here, as well. So he can take a needed break, and not be mean to the pups.

Now, just this evening he had them crash with me again, so he could ride his bike and collect a bunch more cans and bottles to pay someone off. And that’s why he asked me for this Thursday’s allowance tonight, instead of tomorrow. As that would help, too. Whether it’s all bullshit or not, he appears to be more stable, reasonable and responsible than ever before…in spite of his continued outbursts which are, happily, less frequent and a lot less explosive and prolonged. And I am able to manage these advance payments withOUT coughing up even MORE money than planned, for each month’s allotment.

I told him I don’t know how he does it: keeping so busy juggling his transactions and survival needs day in and day out…AND take care of the mutts on top of all that! If I tried the same thing, I’d collapse in exhaustion in two days flat! I’m sure he appreciated the kudos. Before he took off on his bike (which he said is from Brazil of all places) I asked him when the dogs last ate. He said hours ago, so they should be hungry again. Then he added with a gesture of the hand, like casting fairy dust:

“Make sure you sprinkle whatever extra stuff you add to it, to help their appetite!”

Now, that was an unusual thing for him to say, as I’ve always assured him I give them no treats…just a mixture of canned and dry. That’s because he was being a drama queen for many months, claiming doggy snacks are bad for them, and make them aggressive. Which is just more of Deek’s bullshit.

Since as you know I HAVE been adding a wedge of those duck breasts into their dishes, after first grinding it up into a powder. So how does he suspect that’s exactly what I’m doing, when I’ve told him otherwise, more than once? And how does he know I turn the jerky into a powder (rather than just breaking it up with my fingers), as indicated by his using the word “sprinkle?”

It’s as if he can read my mind…perhaps as a bodhisattva angel who knows things about me, that such gifted spirits are privy to. And that, by bringing this up with the “sprinkle” part thrown in, he’s giving me another hint as to his true, divine nature. IOW, he and all my other guardians know everything about me, without ever having to ask. Some COULD be reading my tales online, and find out THAT way. They can certainly do so without leaving any trace of having visited my blog, because of their paranormal abilities. Seeing as, normally, WordPress records EVERY visit to my site, in some detail.

Yet, as vehemently opposed to feeding them treats as he’s behaved in the past, his “sprinkle” statement this evening was expressed with a smile and clear appreciation.

Ironically, though, I HAVE recently begun to feed them withOUT adding a pulverized nummy to their meals. So far, so good; they STILL gobble everything up. Tonight is the fourth time I’ve fed them without flavor enhancement, and they ate very well. I really prefer to be honest to Deek about what I feed them, so I’m happy that my experiment worked.

So wonderful to open that gate and release them halfway up the stairs, to go bounding in great joy the rest of the way! Maybe dashing to and fro in the hallway first, before darting into my hovel and onto the cushy cot, where they frolic some more. Group hugs, belly rubs and scritches all around! They are now sprawled out on the bedding, deep in the world of doggy dreamland as I type this missive.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: The Adventure of the Folded Rug
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 1, 2021 1:36 PM

The pups ate supper last night around 7 PM, yet showed NO interest in stepping out to relieve themselves four, five or even six hours later! For neither jumped off the bed to pace the floor and peer out my window, indicating a need to poop. Nor did they dance around me any of the several times I grabbed a jacket from the closet, as a test. So, when I sacked out by 1:30 AM, I knew they’d be eager to step outside shortly after daybreak…and I’d better be ready to move fast!

Sure enough, Lucky woke me up at precisely 7:16 AM, jonesing to hit the pavement. Pacing the floor, making little “woofs” to get my attention. Upon returning, we encountered that amiable Taiwan refugee, Andrew, descending the stairs with his bicycle. I moved the pups aside on the first landing, to allow him passage…he laughed as the mutts barked. Then, as we proceeded upward, I looked back to see that Lucky had puked, so I rushed them inside without even removing their collars, grabbed a few microfiber rags and wiped it all up. Not a trace remained, much to my relief. He had also regurgitated a bit outside my door, and resisted entering until he was done. Also an easy cleanup.

He upchucked one more time, a few minutes later by the sink. I took care of that as well (needless to say, but leaving that out might disturb you, dear reader). Lucky then lapped up some water and returned to lie down on the cot…thus indicating it’s all over…probably. For if it weren’t, he’d remain on the floor, rather than mess up the bedding.

Awhile later I departed for my morning java. Upon returning with steaming cup in hand, I opened the door and looked around the room to see if any NEW puddle of glob were present. Flaco was sprawled out on the far end of the cot, belly up and eyes closed; while Lucky was curled up by my pillow. He looked at me with a placid gaze, as if to say, “It’s all good, glad you’re back.” Just when I thought the coast was clear, I noticed that a throw rug by the opposite wall was folded at one corner, reducing its size by a third.

“Hmm, it wasn’t like that before I stepped out,” I thought. “Or maybe I kicked it up without noticing…that happens a lot.”

Just to be sure, I approached the rug to flip the corner back down, not REALLY expecting to see another gastric revelation. Yet there it was! Lucky had chosen the best location possible, that is: furthest away from the bed. Then, in his own fastidious manner, had managed to make the evidence disappear with a few nudges of his snout, maybe with the help of those chunky paws and/or sharp little teeth to grip the rug’s edge and fold that part over. I would’ve loved to have filmed his maneuvers with a hidden camera! In conclusion:

Who needs a Roomba with Lucky around?

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: The “Sprinkle” Reference was the Punchline!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 1, 2021 6:34 PM

I have brought this up before in my tales: the nature of bodhisattva humor. Seeing as they exist in a realm of eternal life and can time travel, they often make up jokes which punchlines are set up to trigger hours, days, weeks, even years later! In fact, some of their BEST jokes take many centuries for the punchline to manifest. Though I hardly think such drawn out buffoonery is targeted at mere mortals like ourselves, dear reader, but at their own kind. Taking such a conjecture to the extreme, one may even say that the big bang is the first joke, which punchline ends with the big collapse…then starts all over again. Vedic scripture claims the universe originated with a particular sound, which they call “aum.” Who’s to say it wasn’t helped along with a whoopee cushion? But I digress.

When I mentioned in a previous email, Wattson, Deek’s “sprinkle” remark, and pondered on how he knew I was adding a ground up treat to their meals when I told him many times I am NOT. And that it was as if he could read my mind…which of course he can, if indeed he IS one of my bodhisattva allies. It wasn’t till the fourth or fifth time I thought about it, that I realized IT’S A JOKE! Or in other words:

He knew from day one when I started having the pups over and feeding them myself, that I was adding that treat to their meals, though I denied it. Because he set up the joke by making a big deal over why I should NEVER give them treats, reprimanding me with great ANGER not to do this. And it went on for months. (I’m sure you remember when I wrote about it.)

Just so he could bring up his “sprinkle” remark almost a year later, knowing it would throw me for a loop, because he spoke in FAVOR of the treats. He knew I’d finally figure out the game he was playing. And I DID figure it out, just today in fact.

It’s more than just a joke, though, as bodhisattvas tend to ooze with spiritual gifts no matter WHAT they do (or don’t do). For my realizing the punchline was also a breakthrough in my higher awareness, regarding my relationship with Deek. I had WITNESSED (albeit with hindsight) just how he laid down the trap and sprung the prank on me in a future time…impressively far-flung from when he set me up. But the best thing I get out of this is:

He knows how well I treat the doggies.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Click here for a larger view.

Subject: Double Whammy Joke!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 3, 2021 11:52 AM

Little did I dream that Deek’s “dog treat” joke would have a SECOND punchline three days after the first! Here’s how it came about:

Early last year when Deek was warning me to NEVER feed them snacks (an absurdity if I ever heard one) he insisted that ALL such nummies are made of raw meat, which turns dogs violent. I corrected him otherwise (that the flesh is cooked and processed and no, it doesn’t make them aggressive), many times over because he kept bringing this up repeatedly, across the span of several months. But his mind was set in concrete, and my appeals were to no avail. So I decided just to feed them treats now and then, without telling him. In fact, adding the duck jerky wedges or the chicken-applesauce disks to their meals resolved a worrisome loss of appetite that went on for days.

So, when he camped out for a few hours last night by the ATM nook below my window, he showed me a half-gallon bucket of frozen, raw meat purchased from Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods right around the corner. I actually saw that transaction from my window, but didn’t know at that moment, exactly what the kind gentleman had passed to Deek, through the passenger side of a parked vehicle.

So there ya go, Wattson: a double-whammy punchline. The first, his surprise approval of giving the pups treats…the second (that was sprung a few days later), his ready acceptance to feed them raw flesh.

This particular blend is called “Canine Beef, Yams and Veggies,” which I lugged upstairs to thaw out in the fridge. It will probably take almost two days before it’s mushy enough to eat. I’ll put out a scant cup for each dog, warm it up a bit in the microwave, then mix it in with some kibble. According to an employee at Jeffrey’s (who I talked to this morning), the meat should keep fresh for three or four days. The price for a half gallon is $39 BTW.

These are excellent, wholesome ingredients, which I’m sure the brindlekin will love…thus may put an end to Lucky’s latest loss of appetite. The timing should work out just fine, as they’ll probably be visiting me again in another day or two from now. However, it’s such a huge quantity, no doubt almost half will go to waste.

Interesting how Jeffrey’s shop came to the rescue once more…this time without my ever planning it so. Are they in on it, too…this bodhisattva intrigue? I’m guessing “yes.”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting with Wattson: 11/26/21 – 12/03/21

Pic 1

Pic 2


Pic 3

Pic 4

Re: Double Whammy Joke!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 3, 2021 6:00 PM

> Looks good enough to eat!!!

Yeah, like cow flavored ice cream, with a beefy chunk in every bite. Yummy! Bordon’s ice cream containers have the image of a cow on it, but I never thought that Elsie was part of the contents, other than her moo juice!

Click here for a larger view.

Thanks to Deek and his pups, my room has become a sort of meat storage locker…me, a diehard vegetarian, who’d preFER to not share utensils, dishes and fridge with animal flesh EVER. Alas, Kismet deems otherwise.

> Our dog has learned to recognize the peculiar distinctive meows made by Ernie, our fixed tomcat, when he’s bringing prey home. It’s a sort of semi-muffled but loud and triumphant announcement. When Surely hears that, he races out and tries to make Ernie drop the gopher or rat (usually gopher), then he grabs it and gobbles it up whole. Crunch, crunch. He’s successful only about 20% of the time in getting the critter away from Ernie, but the whole game is amusing. Except, of course, for the gopher. I rescue them if they are alive and uninjured.

I had no idea such massacres were going on in your little fiefdom…on a regular basis! No doubt the rats and gopher gods are indecisive as to whether or not to punish you. Or even reward you, in light of your occasional rescue. If there were a Tarot card with a rat or gopher on it, I might be able to prognosticate the outcome. But you’re on your own this time, Wattson!

BTW it’s a good thing I did NOT rush down to the EBT office for my replacement card, as Deek showed up barely an hour ago, and might have had to wait an uncomfortably long time before my return hovel. He collected his Sunday allowance (TWO days prematurely, instead of just one), gave me three devices to juice up, and left the pups in my charge.

The frozen meat was reasonably thawed out by then, at least halfway from the top, enabling me to scoop out two cups’ worth. There were still some ice crystals embedded within that portion, so I warmed it up a bit in the microwave…one minute on high reduced it to room temperature. Then I mixed in some kibble, and placed the dishes on the floor. THEY BARELY TOUCHED IT!

Only Flaco leapt off the cot to try it out, while Lucky remained apathetic, preferring instead to sleep. His sister wasn’t much better, as she only sampled a few bites, then returned to bed. Egads! They loved Jeffrey’s raw food in a can, when I fed it several times to them last January…it got them over their lackluster appetence like a champ!

Maybe they were recently fed, though Deek made it sound like their only meal today so far, was hours ago. Which may or may not be true, as he’s not the most reliable guy when it comes to updating the doggies’ situation. I surmise he was more interested in rushing off with the moolah to get high ASAP…and wasn’t even listening to me with more than a dipteran’s attention. I will try again later tonight.

Lucky still doesn’t even want his favorite treat, and he’s been like that for four days now. Flaco, OTOH, maintains a good appetite. But since she also showed no desire for Jeffrey’s gourmet vittles, I presume she was well fed earlier, and more recently than her master indicated.

Deek was not clear as to whether or not the mutts can stay with me tonight. I’m guessing yes, because he’s flush with cash and wants to “party” all night long, or maybe beyond that. I hope so!

– Zeke K-Holmes

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Subject: Frustrating!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: December 4, 2021 2:14 PM

They still wouldn’t touch their food. This morning I set out BOTH the raw meat portion, then an hour later, their usual kibble-and-canned food mixture. Flaco finally decided to try the raw vittles once again but, just like last night, she only took a few bites and returned to her cushy place on the cot. Nonetheless, they seem perfectly fine.

Took them for an early morning stroll (5:30 AM!) because I didn’t have the heart to wake them up just before the witching hour, for their late-night run. I knew this meant one or both pups would summon my attention at a wee hour, and sure enough that’s what went down. Only it was just Flaco, who paced the floor and made subtle “arf” sounds until I arose. Lucky joined her, soon as I donned my jacket.

The super-early-morning walk was delightful, Wattson: pleasantly cool air and quiet as a graveyard, strolling along Noe or one of its side streets. I think I’ll make that a habit, as it’s so nice not to have to deal with residents going up or down the stairs (especially the building manger), or maneuver through a gauntlet of foot traffic, other dogs, vehicles and the surprise crazy drifter who pops up out of nowhere to disturb the peace, and put the mutts in a frenzy. I can even let them run about, unleashed! They come immediately to my side when I call their names, so no worries about them running off.

BTW, Flaco curled up in my chair when we resumed our bed rest. She’s never done that before. It’s a swivel seat, and was not facing her where she sat on the cot. So she turned it with her paw until it did, then climbed on! I think she likes the psychological security of those two arms draped in a cloth spread, surrounding her. So she’s sheltered on three sides, with the open part facing the cot, where Lucky and I lay down in sweet repose. I could easily reach out and pet her. A nice arrangement all around.

It’s now 2:13 PM…Deek dropped by a short while ago to pick up the brindlekin, dog food and devices. No drama thank God, he simply wished me well and they took off.

Upon returning hovel, I disposed of the remainder of Jeffrey’s raw victuals, seeing as the pups didn’t care for it. $39 WORTH OF QUALITY CANINE CHOW DOWN THE TUBES! So glad I didn’t pay for it. And THAT, my friend, is food for thought since it barely touched a stomach.

– Zeke K-Holmes

The FINAL Final Chapter (part 3)

November 25, 2021

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18c]

Texting with Wattson: 11/18/21

Video (morning corner greets)

Pic 1 (wattson’s cat)

Pic 2 (flaco & lucky)

Pic 3 (flaco & lucky closeup)

Pic 4 (snack boxes)

Pic 5 (doggy sanctuary)

Video (where’s flaco 2)

Subject: I almost bumped into Arwyn this evening…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 19, 2021 11:55 PM

…as I stepped out the front gate. Pajama party crowds filled the sidewalk, so I didn’t see him, but heard his voice from about twenty feet away to my right. I turned left on my way to 17th & Noe to pick up a frozen ravioli dinner. Rather than stand on the corner and wait for him to meander by, I crossed the street and didn’t turn around to look at him until I reached the other side. Though I heard his boisterous talk all along, just like he was walking beside me.

He was clowning around with another person, but did look my way as he joked, allowing me to acknowledge him with a wave of my hand on outstretched arm across the broad distance of Market Street. It was as if he were speaking in two worlds simultaneously: on the surface, to his present company, but on a deeper level greeting me with joy.

He did not wave back, but clearly made a point of noticing me in return. For when they paused on the far corner to wait for the light to turn green, he turned his head in my direction in such a manner as to not alert the other. (Being such a tall fellow, that’s an easy trick to pull off!)

Please note I do not remember anything he was saying as he passed behind me and while I traversed the four lanes of traffic until I reached the southwest corner. Yet his volume did not diminish one iota as I grew more distant from his physical presence, until I finally turned around to look back. Then, and only then, did his vocalizations reduce their resonance to the expected level for the distance now between us…IOW barely a whisper.

Perhaps I cannot remember any words from the jumble he flung my way, because he may have spoken them in such a manner as to be intentionally indecipherable. Like how extras in a movie actually mumble nonsense to simulate a crowd of many voices. Something told me not to stop, but to cross the street and not look back until I reached the other side. Could that something have been his telepathic instructions? And could those puzzling utterances have been contrived to reveal themselves later on tonight, perhaps in a dream…or upon abruptly awakening at a wee hour, in startled realization that I should quickly get dressed and meet him outside? And bring the pups. (Yes, they’re here; second night in a row…will tell you more about it in my next missive.)

So here we have yet one more sudden appearance by my Wily Wyvern, in what is becoming a string of recent encounters…albeit a surreptitious collection of an increasing number of beads.

But what an almost CLOSE encounter it was: I almost walked right into him by accident! At least, it would’ve been an accident on MY part, had it actually occurred.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: The view out my front gate last night…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 20, 2021 3:04 PM

…around 1:30 AM. Party atmosphere late into the morning. Doggies wanted to go outside later than usual (little Lucky has had diarrhea since yesterday morning, so had to poop more frequently). Quite a hassle threading our way through the throngs of pajama-clad revelers, before maneuvering to a quiet side street off Noe. Upon returning hovel, there was a homeless guy sound asleep and in a wheelchair, right outside my building. What a charming city!

So after tucking the pups back into bed, I returned downstairs with my Moto E, to take these five delightful snapshots.

Pic 4: He looks to be an artist, judging by the yellow pen in his hand, and the colorful images he’s already drawn on a stiff sheet of paper. You’ll probably have to enlarge that image in order to make it out. Not sure what he’s clutching in his left hand, but I hope he doesn’t drop it out of somnolence, or drug-induced stupor.

Notice the “Whole Foods” bag hanging from the back of his wheelchair in pic 5.

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Subject: Yo, I got myself a fairy pouch!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 20, 2021 9:28 PM

An unknown resident on my floor discarded a slew of items on the back porch shelf, most of which held no interest for me. But I found this:

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I didn’t know what to call it (other than a pouch) until I opened it to discover a silver fairy medallion attached with string! I like it because it ties in with my love for Celtic mythology…and they ARE the ones who gave the world our fairytales!

Don’t know what I’d use it for, but I’m sure that part of the puzzle will come together in due time. I also found a deck of Tarot cards which, I guess, would be a perfect fit for the pouch:

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However, I’m not actually into Tarot, except for my appreciation of archetypes a la Carl Jung. Who actually had much good to say about applying them to unlock secrets of one’s psyche. Well, I’ll take the cards, too, as they MIGHT serve as a relaxing tool for meditation.

I’m wondering if these be yet two MORE gifts from my bodhisattva guardians! Not that they expect me to go all woo on them, but that they stand as symbols of spiritual achievement…with the fairy being a corny reference to my devotion to LGBT liberation. And the cards may represent humanity’s archetypes, which Carl Jung’s teaching of helped to liberate my OWN soul.

And to think understanding my Hero’s Journey all started when the first psychiatrist I ever saw, turned me on to Carl Jung, starting with the book, “Man and His Symbols.” That was when? Way way back in 1975 or thereabouts. Amazing!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: The view out my front gate last night…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 20, 2021 10:12 PM

> Poor guy. Ever seen him before?

Nope. I suspect we San Francishitscans may soon be overwhelmed by a tremendous influx of homeless from other states. Soon followed by LGBTs seeking refuge from those same states. After all, Kyle Rittenhouse’s “innocence” from all charges has cast a bold green light upon open hunting season against all who do not abide by Christo-Fascist values. Get ready for the Exmass Massacre! Queers will be a main target, and Redneck Santa’s ready to lock and load.

Re: Yo, I got myself a fairy pouch!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 21, 2021 1:54 PM

> That’s seriously cool, that you found such a potently symbolic little bag of goodies.

Just more little gifts from the Deities of Good Fortune.

> And yes, potent for the reasons you describe. Jung is the antidote to Freud.

Sigmund laid down the concept, and the foundation, of the subconscious. But for whatever reason saw it as simply a rather dark and scary realm, with little relief to be had. A great money mill for therapists of his ilk!

Jung explored it in greater depth, to discover a much more complex and wondrous dimension containing great promise and many adventurous therein. All potential fodder for the Hero’s Journey, for anyone who cared (or dared) to accept the challenge and learn about the varied archetypal deities who populate that world.

> Sometimes the artwork on a deck of Tarot cards is the point, the whole point and nothing but the point.

That’s it right there, Wattson! I shall enjoy each card as a tool for meditation, gazing upon one each night to see where it takes me.

If you notice, that wee fairy trinket flashes a teensy diamond right at the tip of one foot! And the pouch itself sports the embroidered image of a dragonfly in a luminous, light shade of blue. This particular insect symbolizes transformation and rebirth. Not to mention the obvious “dragon” part. This site re. spiritual meaning of the dragonfly, says:

“By affinity with the dragonfly aerial lightness, those who have this animal as totem can develop the ability to take things lightly even in the darkest moments. Lightness in feelings, lightness in thoughts. The dragonfly spirit animal invites people to keep a light, positive outlook no matter what.”

A most apt strategy for my present circumstances around Deek and pooches. The dragonfly also symbolizes the Fairy Kingdom. Of course.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: This happened four nights ago (Nov. 17):
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 21, 2021 2:58 PM

Deek crashed outside by the bus stop, with the pups. Just yards away from my hovel, yet he wouldn’t let them sleep indoors. Infuriating. Barking ensued, on and off, though it was just Flaco, whose barks are not robust like her brother’s, and really not disturbing. Except what disturbed ME is that when I stepped out to check on them, Flaco was walking about, sniffing here and there, and sometimes barking at passersby…right there on the corner.

Just an hour before this incident, I had already brought the pups a box and two, jumbo-size terrycloth towels I had found on the back porch days earlier…clean and neatly folded. By then, Deek was already sound asleep; nothing could wake him at this point, not even Armageddon. They had nothing cushy to sleep on, just Deek’s body, so I figured the towels would help, for both warmth and comfort. Lucky was already curled up in the box, but when he arose to greet me, I placed one towel partly inside the box, and he began to rearrange it to his liking. Meanwhile, Flaco was sitting up on Deek’s hips, attentive to any potential intruder into their space. She was very glad to see me, and I draped the second towel over her, which she graciously accepted. But soon as I did that, Lucky grabbed onto one edge and began to pull it inside the box, with the other towel already formed into a nest. I told him no, that’s for Flaco, and gingerly pulled the second towel back upon her. He seemed to understand, and returned to the cozy seclusion of the box, which was set right beside his master, and Flaco.

Deek’s custom when sleeping, is to secure the leash loop to his wrist, for both dogs. However, Flaco’s slipped off, thus she was free to roam. Her barking had alerted me, and when I peered out the window, I saw her standing around, freed from her owner’s hand and warning strollers to keep their distance. I could not wake him up even if my life depended on it, so lifted his hand to secure the leash once more. I comforted both pups for a few minutes, then returned hovel. But a little while later, I heard her barking again, so stuck my head out the window to see, this time, LUCKY had untethered himself from Deek’s loose grip, and was walking about, sniffing here and there!

So I stepped outside again (it was around 12:30 AM) and summoned Lucky back to the box. Just before I reached him close to the crosswalk, and picked up his leash, someone said to a friend while waiting for the light to change, “Where’s the owner?”. I escorted Lucky back to the box, and slipped the leash’s loop back over Deek’s wrist. It was a bit of a fuss to accomplish that, since his available hand was partly closed into a fist, and I had to first uncurl it. Flaco was still tethered and sitting atop her comatose master, barking at those who came too near (which distance seemed to be less than three feet).

I decided at this point to bring both pooches upstairs, for their safety. Flaco was eager to go, but Lucky wouldn’t budge, refused to leave his master, and even made a point of that by firmly resisting my tugs. The best I could do, was nudge him out from the box, whereby he immediately plunked himself in the crook of his master’s legs, intent on remaining there, come hell or high water. He looked up at me as if to say, “How dare you…WTF are you doing?”

I saw then he’d be perfectly fine remaining beside his shepherd, and wasn’t the one barking. So I covered him with both towels (lending Deek some warmth as well), and attempted to remove the end of Flaco’s leash from Deek’s other hand. Impossible! For it was tucked under his torso, and I’d have to turn him over to get at it. So I rushed back hovel to retrieve a spare leash, then returned to unhook Flaco’s collar and replace one leash with the other. Then off we went!

I knew that once Deek awoke, he’d probably be screaming his lungs out right up at my window, “Where’s my dog? Did you take my dog?” Thus creating yet MORE needless drama and disturbing the residents…building manager and my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hallway, in particular. But that is a price I’d gladly pay, so long as Flaco was safe and allowed to get some solid rest. I decided not to worry about it (que será será), and returned to my cozy cot plump with comforters, with Flaco totally blissed out as I held her in my arms and gave her those cherished belly rubs. She went out like a lamp in less than one minute flat. By now it was almost 2 AM, and I remained awake, though restfully so, hoping that Deek would stay zonked out until some time after sunrise. But that was not to be.

3:35 AM to the second, he called up to my window in a blustery timbre, “Is Flaco with you?” I quickly leapt out of bed and went to the window, nodded at him with a smile. “Bring her down right now! What the hell is wrong with you?” He rattled on with a few more choice retorts (including something about taking just ONE dog inside) but, to my surprise, was not particularly loud or angry. He gets a gold star for that.

I brought Flaco back downstairs in quick order, and attempted to explain WHY I brought her inside, struggling uphill all the way to squeeze my words between his nonstop lambastes:

“Flaco kept barking, she needs her rest, and so do I and everyone else in the building…

“She’s a very cute little pooch, someone could’ve stolen her, or reported a stray dog to animal control…

“Both her and Lucky were roaming free, and I couldn’t wake you up to tell you I’m taking them inside…

“Lucky wasn’t the one barking, and I saw he’d be fine staying outside with you…

“If you crashed behind my building, none of this would happen, there’d be no distraction from noisy clubbers and drunks, they could even roam around a bit to poop and pee…

“You did NOT provide them with a comfy spot to sleep on, forcing them to lay on the concrete, in the cold night air…

“NOTHING wakes you up, even if they were barking furiously to stop someone from stealing them…”

I ended my sharp admonishments with: “I didn’t know what else to do, Deek.”

He calmed down then, held up a hand palm-out and responded: “Okay, okay. You’ve done too much already. I’m awake now, everything will be fine. But I’m pissed right now, because it looks like my pot stash was stolen, and some other stuff.”

Everyone on the street knows how nothing can wake up Deek, once he’s off to slumberland…so absurdly EASY to steal anything around him, even on his own person, including pilfering his pockets. Much earlier that night, as I was returning from my pre-bed stroll up and down Noe Street, a homeless black dude, portly and of middle age, was attempting to wake him up, in order to purchase some weed.

I approached and told him he needs his sleep, best not to wake him. Flaco had begun to emit some low growls, so I comforted her with caresses and told her it’s okay. But the fellow persisted, so I managed to wake him up (to my surprise) and tell him this guy wants to buy some pot. Whereupon he sluggishly sat up, procured a pile of shake (about four handfuls) that he poured onto an open sheet of newspaper, folded it up and handed it over…receiving in exchange, four one-dollar bills.

“Oh, I know it’s good,” the black dude replied before taking off. “You always have good leaf.”

Good leaf? I thought. That stuff is crap, but who am I to thwart a transaction?

Deek immediately lied back down and fell asleep once more, while I managed to tuck the pups back in: Lucky in his box and Flaco atop his chest. I placed a towel back upon her little, brindle form and gave Lucky a few pats as he settled down upon his own towel. But this was some time before Flaco’s barking ensued, and her and her brother’s roaming-free escapades began…and my night turned out to be a sleepless one.

So I’m guessing it was this “customer” who later stole his remaining stash. Seeing as he could easily see where he kept it, as Deek grabbed some from a plastic bag…and returned later on to abscond with it, knowing what an extraordinarily SOLID sleeper he is. Whatever else Deek found missing, may have likewise been stolen by that same fellow.

I returned to bed by 4 AM, after wishing him a good remainder-of-the-night…though I got a good rest, I don’t think I actually fell asleep. But the late-night gaggles had finally dispersed, the street quieted down…so no more barking and Flaco finally got to sleep, relieved as she was from her watchdog duties. Later that morning, well after sunrise, was when I shot that video of the pups I call “Morning Corner Greets.” That was three days ago, as I now compose this missive.

I thought about what if Deek refuses to crash behind the building, or allow Flaco to sleep upstairs with me, and came up with only ONE, last-resort solution: that I join them outside, on the sidewalk, to keep Flaco calm and watch over them all, for the entire night. An unfair situation for yours truly, but I’ll do ANYthing to keep the pups safe…including from Deek’s own foolishness.

THIS is precisely why I’ve requested time and time again, for him to NOT hang out around my building. Because to do so puts me smack dab in the eyes of residents, making my situation with him and the dogs an open book, causing possible alarm and antagonism on their part. For SOME resent my sitting a couple of HOMELESS dogs. Had they not seen them with Deek, they’d logically assume I’m the owner, and there’d be no problem. But no, Deek insists on FORCING upon me, additional and needless conflict that threatens my ability to help take care of his dogs. Doesn’t he realize that fucking me over also fucks HIM over, too? And, by extension, the doggies?

I obviously have NO choice in the matter, Wattson, due to Deek’s thoughtless persistence in doing the WRONG thing that dumps a pointless cross upon THIS exhausted pilgrim’s shoulders! Thus, applying my Bodhisattva Premise, I accept it as an intrinsic part of my Hero’s Journey, and must find whatever strategy works to lighten my burden, and leads me toward a joyful outcome…not just for myself, but for all parties involved. Which at this point includes ALL the residents of 9666 Market Street! And, I suppose, the entire Castro district as well.

You will not be surprised to learn that, just Friday morning, Deek decided to tear into me again, for taking Flaco upstairs against his wishes. But I made it VERY CLEAR to him that I did the right thing, repeating some of the reasons for doing so. And that, should it happen again, I won’t hesitate to repeat my actions. INCLUDING taking them BOTH upstairs, should I deem that necessary.

He gave me ADDITIONAL grief later that day, in the eventide, accusing me of lavishing all my attention on Flaco, and ignoring Lucky. Which is bullshit, of course, but it is in his devious, trickster nature to constantly find SOMEthing to gripe about, and dump it all on me! He KNOWS Flaco squooshes herself between me and Lucky (just as she does with Deek), to soak up ALL the affection raining down. But he ALSO knows I find a way to reach out to Lucky in equal measure…if not at the exact same moment, then shortly afterwards, to balance things out.

Deek never ceases coming up with one NEW problem after another! He’ll even MANUFACTURE a problem where none exists, just to keep the angst rolling along. Ruining for me, what could’ve been a wonderful interlude with the brindlekin. For I gently placed Flaco on the sidewalk so I could stand up and get real close to Deek, whereby I took a swing at his hat to show him he’s behaving like a punk. I then crouched down to where he sat, and stared at him with fury:

“I do all these good things for you and the dogs, and you still talk shit to me?”

I remained glaring at him, while he rattled on about how he’s just calling things as he sees them, shrugging his shoulders like the smartass he is, saying if I hit him, I won’t see him and the dogs for a LONG time. Upon which mealy-mouthed declaration I stood up again and gave the bag of dog food lying before him, a wallop of a kick. But because it was all stashed in a tough, plastic grocery bag, no damage was done, and it was heavy enough that it only moved a few inches forward to touch one of his legs.

Right then and there, Flaco approached and tapped on my leg with a dainty paw, looking up at me with those darling brown eyes. So I returned to my seated position and returned her onto my lap. Rather than curling up, she stood with front paws planted firmly on my chest, and gazed sweetly into my own eyes. My heart melted, and I demanded of Deek:

“Now just shut up and let me enjoy the rest of my minutes here with BOTH dogs.”

He continued to spew nasty accusations at me, but this time in mumbling undertones. So I once more ordered:

“I said shut up, I can still hear you! Let’s have some peace around here, please.”

He then quieted down as I pulled Lucky closer to me, where he lay down upon a towel Deek had provided earlier. That way I could give them BOTH my attention, just to appease their master’s irrational charges against me. Which I KNEW have no grounding in reality, but were simply his latest guilt-trip poppycock.

Several minutes later he softly called Flaco over, but she couldn’t get there because her leash was tethered to a bicycle pedal some feet away. No danger of the bike falling over, because he had set it down on its side…it was just too far removed for either dog to sit by Deek. So I asked:

“Did you want Flaco to sit by you? I’ll have to remove the leash from your bike, first.”

He said yeah, so I stretched backward in a half twist to reach the peddle with a fully extended arm, and raise the loop free from its bondage. It took some struggle, because my fingertips could barely touch it, but I didn’t want to stand up again, since then I’d force Flaco back onto the concrete. Once accomplished, I nudged her to go ahead and sit by Deek. She wouldn’t budge, so I told him to call her over again. With that, she quickly switched laps, and I was now free to give Lucky ALL my hugs, pats and scritches. Which little doggy moans of pleasure expressed eternal gratitude for my small kindness.

After ten minutes or so, I stood up and wished them all a lovely night, about to head on hovel. But just before I did, he pulled another one of his nasty tricks out of his hat: he suddenly draped two, large gauze curtains that appeared out of nowhere, over himself and the dogs (who were nuzzled up to him on either side). Then he lit up his meth pipe, waving the flame beneath the bowl to warm it up properly.

“Wait a minute, Deek,” I abruptly warned. “Those curtains are gauze, they can ignite real easy. PLEASE remove them when you do that!”

He didn’t look up at me, but DID snuff out the flame. “Leave me alone, these are not gauze, I know what I’m doing! Get outta my face!”

“Yes they ARE gauze,” I corrected, but thought better of defining just what “gauze” IS at this alarming juncture, in order to get to the point. “But even THAT doesn’t matter because ANY thin cloth so close to a flame can flare up in an instant. And both you AND the dogs are wrapped up in it! PLEASE listen to me and remove those curtains first, before smokin’ whatever!”

He still told me to fuck off, and I did because I made my point and didn’t see any sense in repeating myself. So I put my trust in the Fates to protect them, and simply departed hovel without uttering another word. But I looked out my window soon as I got inside, and saw he had removed the offending cloth, while puffing away on his pipe.

See what I mean about his cooking up one new problem after another? Almost every time I turn my head around! For which reason I believe he does these things intentionally, while NEVER planning to carry out the offense…just does it to press my buttons. Soon as I’m gone he reverts to non-POS mode.

An hour later I stepped out again, this time for my nighttime stroll. I saw the doggies still in that spot, leashed to the bike and quietly resting. Deek was nowhere to be seen, so I crouched down beside them, to give reassuring comfort with my words and caresses. A couple of minutes later their guardian showed up, said: “I’m watching them, don’t worry.”

I eased myself back up to a standing position (while my achy knees objected from so much kneeling and crouching out of love for the mutts) and replied, “I know, I just stepped out for a short stroll.”

For Deek had been just across the street, stuffing recyclables into a large garbage bag from the several bins scattered along that block. I then wished him an excellent night, but the moment I turned away to proceed upstairs, he said what has now become music to my ears:

“I guess you can have them over tonight.”

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: This happened four nights ago (Nov. 17):
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 22, 2021 10:39 PM

> Nerve-wracking and harrowing! Especially the part where Flaco was wandering around loose. She could have been stolen or run over. Terrible!

On a good note: neither she nor Lucky wander more than ten feet from Deek…they just sniff around, quite comfortably among the foot traffic. I think they only get up to relieve themselves, explore a bit, then return to their spots. They NEVER walk off the curb, but stay on the sidewalk. It is just that, until the number of pedestrians diminishes later in the night, Flaco feels she must protect her family, thus barks at anyone who gets too close, which is within three or four feet…or if they’re acting crazy. So she doesn’t get any sleep the first half of the night. Lucky, however, remains pretty mellow through it all.

Deek said they won’t allow anyone to touch them, and will begin to bark furiously if they try. He’s correct about that. However, since NOTHING wakes him up, they COULD be absconded and he wouldn’t even know about it till way too late. That is why I told him it would be better to sleep behind my building, so there’d be no distractions to keep Flaco on the alert. And they could even sniff around, and no one would be there to possibly bother them. But he’s stubborn and will most likely not follow up on my suggestion, and remain crashing by the bus stop now and then. They could just stay with me, for cripe’s sake!

Or if he gave them a cushy, semi-sheltered arrangement in which to rest, I think Flaco would be less prone to play guard dog.

> You totally did the right thing. So sorry you lost a night’s sleep.

Well, it looks like there may be more sleepless nights ahead for me. This is a new development, as it’s the first time he’s done this. Before that he’d hang out there with the pups, waiting for his devices to charge up for two or three hours. He’d remain wide awake, with the company of one or two others who show up. Deek used to hang out a block or two away as his gizmos were recharging, but now he’s determined to camp out right in front of my building…something which I’ve told him over and over again to please NOT do. The antagonism from the smoke shop is no longer, due to an employee changeover several months back, and that’s why he’s resumed parking his ass almost below my window.

He doesn’t care to realize that not only is this not safe for the pups, but I CAN’T GET ANY SLEEP WHEN HE DOES THAT! Because I’m always checking up on them, every time I hear one or the other barking. But on another good note: at least he’s no longer noisy with his rap music, or his visitors when he IS nearby at night. They’re all quiet.

It is infuriating because there are three EASY solutions to keep the doggies both quiet and safe, yet he stubbornly refuses to respect my suggestions. Those are: (1) sleep behind the building, (2) let Flaco or even both dogs stay inside with me, and (3) set up a little doggy tent or shelter with a cushy spot where they can sleep and stay warm.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Deek was planning to let the pups stay over, but…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 25, 2021 12:08 AM was under the condition I let him drop by, too, for just a few minutes: “I wanna see how you’ve fixed up your room, and watch the dogs hop onto your bed, then I’ll leave!”

I told him no, I don’t have ANY human visit me any more, not since the pandemic started. Only the pooches can visit.

“But I got my shots,” he persisted. “And I’ll keep my mask on.”

I told him again, “No, because I’m an old man and not interested in doing that with anyone anymore.”

“Doing what?” he played dumb. “I just wanna see your room and do a quick wash-up.”

“You can do that outside, Deek,” I replied. “I’ll bring you a razor, and some sanitizer.”

“Oh c’mon, I won’t ask you ever again,” he persisted, feigning like he was about ready to shed tears, “My nuts are aching, it’s Thanksgiving, I let you have the dogs visit. I’ll even do it myself, you don’t have to touch me.”

“Nope, I’m sorry,” I remained firm. “Let me bring these devices upstairs, and i”ll come right down to pick up the dogs, if you allow that, without YOU coming inside, too.”

All this while I was giving Flaco belly rubs as she lay supine in my lap, while petting Lucky who was curled up on a small towel right beside me. Deek continue pestering me, it went on for more than ten minutes while I ignored him and gave Flaco & Lucky my complete attention. I DID make it clear that I can NOT have the pups over, under the terms he set, because that’s using them for selfish purposes. Like if he demanded another twenty dollars from me, or I can’t have them visit. I wouldn’t agree to that, either.

“Okay,” I finally said, and stood up, after gently rolling Flaco off my legs. As I proceeded to take the speaker and smartphone upstairs, he escorted me towards the gate, with doggies in tow.

“No, Deek, you can’t come in!” I repeated, and waved at him to move back so I can enter alone. I glared at him until he did just that, and I could step inside sans him and the mutts. I then returned downstairs to sit with the brindlekin awhile longer, seeing as Deek continued whining about letting him visit.

“No, Deek, I’m not gonna break down, no matter how much you beg,” I repeated myself. “You are not respecting my wishes…that is OVER, you can easily find someone else closer to your age, to play around. I’m too old to care to do that stuff anymore, and I’m glad to be done with it. But you know that already, so stop it, please.”

After several more minutes of enjoying the pups’ company while Deek ceaselessly begged, acting like i’m being mean to him on Thanksgiving, and other BS. Crocodile tears.

“I’ll never ask you again, I promise,” he whined on. “Let me bring the dogs upstairs with you, I’ll even carry the speaker.”

“No, I can do all that myself,” I asserted. Flaco was again in my lap and, as I rubbed her belly, saw her hind legs tremble. “She’s shivering, Deek. Let me bring them inside.”

But he said once more, only if I let him drop over for a short while, too. So, with a sigh, I stood up again and said to the doggies, “I’m sorry, but it looks like your master isn’t gonna let you stay with me tonight.”

As I began to return hovel, I told him: “If you change your mind later, about letting the pups visit, just call up to my window.”

I also offered to come downstairs once more, with my smartphone, to show him pictures and videos of the dogs in my room…to see how happy they are, and how nice I’ve done up my place just for them. But when I returned downstairs with my phone, I saw they were gone. So I went back hovel.

About twenty minutes later I decided to step out for a stroll…to find that artist, Alex, seated on the sidewalk with his lovely art.

He smiled, said, “Am I on your blog, yet?”

“Oh, hello Alex,” I grinned back. “Yes you are. You’re in my latest chapter I released just yesterday. Give me a moment to load that page on my tablet, and I’ll bring it down to show you!”

So I did, with the page set right in the middle where he is featured, including two photos of him. He was most appreciative, and wished me a happy Thanksgiving. I did likewise, and went back upstairs to drop off the tablet before stepping outside again.

Deek and pups are presently sleeping behind my building, though much further up the hill than usual. It’s dark up there, so I didn’t get too close where I’d alert the pooches, but just close enough to discern it was him, by the silhouette of the shopping cart, and two dogs resting upon his legs and chest.

My grave concern, Wattson, is that this is an ego thing, a power play, on his part. And so long as I refuse to let him “visit” me, he’ll act offended, and refuse to let Flaco & Lucky come over anymore. For if he did that, it would be conceding to me, in acceptance that he’ll never be able to enter my room again. Like I’m being mean to him, as if he’s been castrated.

But I can NOT cave in to his urgings, as that would be damaging to our friendship. The two things just won’t mix. He would come to think I’m paying him for his “services,” which would corrode my association with him AND the doggies. He is also unpredictable, in that sometimes when he DID visit, he’d start an argument…under my own roof! Nor can I afford to have the building manager see him come and go, not to mention what Moe Fleisher would say. Hard enough dealing with the dog issue, I don’t need Deek’s difficult presence to make things worse.

I tell ya, he’s always coming up with some NEW grief to dump on me, it never seems to end. He loves to create problems when there are none in the first place. Though one good thing about tonight, is this:

At least they’re crashed out behind the building, and quiet as church mice. I just hope he doesn’t drag this latest conflict out…for the sake of the pups, more than for myself.

At any rate, when I returned from my stroll, a whacked-out black dude blocked my entry and wouldn’t step inside. Kept muttering about the resistance, are you with the resistance, do you have two dollars? I dared not try to get around him to insert the key, so just moved on, down the block then across the street and up the opposite block, where I could watch him from a distance. He finally moved about ten feet to the left, and sat down in the ATM alcove. I managed to slip inside behind another pedestrian, who I used to block the idiot from spotting me.

He’s still out there an hour later, spewing scary nonsense! So glad Deek didn’t decide to sleep at the bus stop tonight, since Flaco would have none of that…she’d keep barking furiously at the disheveled miscreant, and get no sleep. I would’ve had to stay out there with them, to calm her down.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: Oh, and another good thing…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 25, 2021 12:36 AM

…besides seeing Alex again, and that Deek slept behind the building:

I got my booster shot this afternoon. Took awhile to find a place that had the Moderna vaccine, but I was determined, as the CDC claims it gives you the best protection over Pfizer or J&J. Safeway three blocks up Market Street has it, so I logged onto their site to schedule an appointment. After going through all the crap with filling out their form, they tell me there are no openings for the rest of November…and all of December is booked up as well!

But I found another place, a medical center called “Mission Wellness,” which is about an eight block walk from hovel. Not a walk-in, I had to make an appointment online, and it turned out they were available today…or tomorrow, or the next day, etc.! So I got my shot this afternoon, at 2:30 PM. Relieved and feeling GREAT about getting that done, here comes Deek to suck all the joy outta me.

He was even mocking me, saying he’s not gonna get no fuckin’ booster, he’s sorry he even got a shot in the first place (J&J)…the vaccines are killin’ people. I advised him to not be a fool, that everyone who’s died from COVID-19 was not vaccinated, and that NO ONE has ever died from taking the jab. It’s saved untold millions of lives.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Re: Deek was planning to let the pups stay over, but…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 25, 2021 2:01 PM

> Oh, that’s just despicable. “My nuts are aching. It’s Thanksgiving.” As if it’s YOUR problem that his nuts are aching, and your responsibility to “relieve” him. And to introduce that into the already-complicated mix, and use it to try to blackmail you! Fucking, fucking asshole.

I despise white-trash behavior, and have always avoided those kind of people…believing once upon a time, foolishly, that moving to San Franshitsco would spare me from that. Now, I’m all wrapped up with such antics, thanks to Deek, and am coerced to figure out ways to counter his BS, like walking on egg shells or through a field of landmines…actually both!

> Glad you stood your ground. Giving in even once would open the door to further abuse and exploitation.

Exactly, Wattson…even if it meant never having the dogs over again, ever. Which was a TOUGH call for yours truly. But he seems to have cooled down by this morning, as he was amenable to my visiting him outside, where he was by then camped out on my block, though much further up towards Castro Street. (Another crazy, loud dude was hanging around in front of my building, so I guess he figured it’s better to keep his distance, so the dogs could have a peaceful morning, lying in the warm light of the sun.) He had blankets set out in a comfy pile for the doggies, and was sitting with one of his friendly allies, Kurt. The whole arrangement was neat, colorful, and quite inviting. They wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, as I did in return.

Seeing such a cozy layout for the pups assured me that most likely, the pooches slept well last night behind my building, in warmth and security.

> And the other whack-job blocking your way later!! Awful!

Yes, right when I was in the middle of dealing with a grievous conflict that was flung in my face by surprise, THIS had to get thrown into the mix, as well. *sigh*

As for Deek’s attempt to blackmail me for sex (using the pups as collateral): who knows, Wattson, but maybe he was testing me? Conjecturing on the bodhisattva level, he wanted to see how strong was my will…and had I caved in, he’d’ve seen that as a failure on my part. And report it to his bosses, who’d then conclude I need to go through further painful episodes until I learned my lesson fully by growing stronger in spirit. All I know is: many of the homeless here in Eureka Valley are now well aware of me, more from an angle of respect and appreciation, than from any hostile intent.

I did buy him a pack of cigarettes for Thanksgiving (not the pricey kind, but a brand that only set me back $10), which he and his company much appreciated. And tomorrow, when he picks up his Sunday allowance of $60 I’m gonna toss in an extra twenty, just because it’s Thanksgiving. I’m actually doing very well with my finances, and it looks like I’ll have $100 left in the bank by the time my next payment from Uncle Sam shows up.

So it’s all good, and I have Moderna’s benevolent protection on my side…she’s a goddess! Though her name sounds more Roman than Greek.

– Zeke K-Holmes

The FINAL Final Chapter (part 2)

November 20, 2021

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18b]

The Civic Center Hotel

Subject: The dragon has arrived!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 12, 2021 11:51 PM

[Note: while I express dismay over Deek’s request at the start of this missive, you’ll learn later how pleased I am with him overall, thanks to last night’s extraordinary outcome.]

Well, good physician, to my delight the dragon pendant appeared in my mailbox yesterday afternoon. Nothing fancy, no little gift box, or ribbon tied around. Just a 3.5 by 5 inch padded mailer with the trinket and company card enclosed within, sheathed and sealed in a narrow, zip-lock pouch. Cast from pewter and hand polished to a silver sheen, the wee Welsh wyvern had a nice heft to it, and cast a friendly light. I decided to present it to him exactly as it arrived in the post. Except now the packet was neatly slit open along the top edge.

Deek returned that evening to collect his gizmos, and more dog food. The weather’s been fair and warm since the last rain, even the nights are balmy-cool…so no sense of urgency to shelter the pups again, so soon. I was disappointed, though, that he requested his full Sunday allowance TWO days in advance, rather then his usual ONE. I gave him a hard time about it, reminding him that I recently increased his weekly allowance by $40 (paid Thursdays) just so he WOULDN’T ask for advances any more.

“But I REALLY need it,” he begged while seated on the sidewalk beside the bus stop, a shopping cart and, of course, the two brindlekin. “And I know you can afford it.”

“That’s just not true, Deek,” I countered, “I can NOT afford to cough up an extra forty to a hundred dollars each month, and that is what you keep setting me up for, by pushing up your payment dates to squeeze an extra week outta me.”

“NO, I don’t do that,” he objected (though in a soft tone),”I only ask you for payments twice a week, and no more.”

“That’s a lie, Deek,” I exclaimed. “You sometimes wind up asking me THREE times a week, and you started doing that a few months back. You’re SCAMMING me, a friend who’s already helping you with tons of money and in many other ways. I doubt you’re gonna wait all the way to Wednesday, for your next payment.”

“Oh yes I will, I promise,” was his anticipated defense, as it’s rote by now.

“That’s what you ALWAYS say,” I rebutted, “but you never do! It’ll be Tuesday or even Monday, and you’ll ask earlier and earlier until the well is dry seven to ten days before the next month begins. By which time you’ll expect me to give you even MORE money, in advance of the NEXT month. WHICH I DON’T HAVE AND YOU WON’T GET!”

The point here, Wattson, is he keeps forcing me into a struggle to stretch his allowance over the entire month, so that he doesn’t wind up living through end-of-the-month misery, so common among the poor. I suspect these advance-payment requests are one of many little scams he’s learned while serving jail time, or from ex-cons on the streets. You mix up the payment dates by someone who’s already being generous, in hopes of causing confusion so that, towards the end of each month, they wind up giving you EXTRA moolah. Especially if the benefactor is elderly, like myself.

ANOTHER scam he pulls on me now and then, is to deny he ever said something, accusing me of making it up (that I’M the liar), and why bring it up after so long (even if “so long” means just a day or two…god forbid I should dredge up something he CLEARLY stated months ago…”I’ve moved on, why can’t you”). I predict he’ll use that when he asks for his next payment too early, claiming he never said he’ll wait till Wednesday (or Saturday, depending on his timing).

He was doing well withOUT the additional $40 per week, and now he does THIS? Is that cheeky or what? At any rate, I eventually said okay, and brought him the $60…stuffed in the same packet with the pewter token of our friendship. (I should mention that, throughout this entire meetup, the pups were of course all over me, showering me with their usual, boundless affection…so I was crouched down for most of our conversation, with Deek seated just a few feet away.)

“Here’s the dog food AND your money, Deek,” I plunked the weighty bag down beside the cart, and handed him the yellow padded envelope. “It’s in there, plus a little gift.”

The medallion dangled from a tough, black cord of good thickness, which I suggested may not be the right length for his taste, but he can do what he wants with it, maybe put it on Lucky. I also pointed out that’s the same dragon depicted on the Welsh flag, which I showed him a few days back on my smartphone.

“Though that one was red, and this one is silver,” I added.

“I don’t even know what a welsh is,” he deliberated while swinging the lavaliere from its cord, like a hypnotist his disk.

I then played with the doggies for a few minutes and, before I knew it, Deek had removed the original cord and attempted to pass a flashy, thin chain through the pendant’s loop. Alas, it was not quite slim enough, so he plunked the elegant gewgaw back into its mailer, pocketed THAT, and arose from his cross-legged position to gather everything up, in a rush to move along and convert his newfound cash into product. Thus I bid a loving adieu to the pups before returning hovel.

Upon ruminating over our latest meetup from the comfort of my SRO, and his premature request for moolah, I realized I’m not too bothered over this, seeing as Deek is doing SO much better anymore, and the brindlekin are SUCH a glorious blessing in my life, that it all really comes down to Alfred E. Neuman’s sage words: “What, Me Worry?”

Hardly two hours later he returned, bearing a bundle of spanking new Air Jordan sneakers and shoes, eight pair in all! I was already outside, returning home and just turned the corner when we intersected, with Deek pushing his cart onto the sidewalk by the bus stop, Flaco & Lucky untethered but close to heel, and so happy to see me again! He quickly laid out his wares on a clean, blue blanket, then threw down four, large plush jackets that served as comforters for the pooches, which they immediately clambered onto and curled themselves up for a cozy interlude. Lucky promptly entered snoozeville, while Flaco very much enjoyed my company, and wanted me to stay beside her, to receive my gentle words, hugs, pats and scritches…even though she could barely keep her eyelids open.

It was a most impressive display of items for sale, fenced off on one side between curb and bus shelter by a shopping cart neatly stuffed with contents unknown, but possibly additional goods for purchase. Deek had created a warm, inviting spot in no time flat! And the dogs were already sound asleep: not a peep, woof or bark out of them! He also had some sweet style rap music playing, but the volume so low even my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hallway couldn’t complain. Nor the building manager who lived right above him.

Now, good doctor, know that I did NOT ask Deek ANY questions as to where he acquired these pricey sundries, for surely my $60 allotment could not possibly have pulled that off! As you, as EVERYONE, knows, shoplifting is off the chart these days in Baghdad by the Bay. So I surmise maybe THAT is the source of Deek’s vendibles, probably not that he, himself, lifted them from the shelves, but acquired them on the cheap through third party “distributors.”

Though some days back when he handed me a new micro SD card that I presume he purchased from Walgreens out of the $40 I just gave him earlier, I looked it over and told him he shouldn’t waste his money, as the card is 64 gigabytes, more than twice the storage he needs to copy over his ENTIRE music collection.

“You could’ve spent less for a 32 gig chip,” I told him.

“Doesn’t matter,” he replied, “I just tore if off the hook and walked out with it.”

How far some of the street people are going, to obtain goods for free…I have no idea. Guess I need to ask Boulevard Joe about this interesting development, as I’m sure he has his finger in THAT pie, too!

I do not know how well Deek’s Black Friday hawking went, as I remained hovel most of the night, and didn’t give that aspect any attention. Every time I peered out the window, there’d be a gaggle of strollers crowding that corner, looking over the sneakers, shoes and whatever else he may have placed out there for a price.

They were quiet, too…the doggies slept the whole time, and Deek kept the music way down. He also had friends come and go,  peaceably seated around him and the pups, speaking low and lighting up their glass pipes: bright orange embers that bobbed in the dark, like Chinese paper lanterns from afar. Around 3 AM I woke up (as I did throughout the night, thanks to old-man-itchy-skin syndrome, which happens sometimes). So I decided to poke my head outside one more time, to see if Deek and mutts were still there. Nope, vanished! Best of all, the place he occupied for several hours was IMMACULATE! You’d never guess anyone had even camped out there.

I’m sure my quasi-fascist neighbor (Moe) and the building manager (Kevin) were impressed by that, though Glaucus forbid they’d ever admit it! I’m sure, however, they ARE bothered by small groups stopping there right below their windows, igniting meth pipes and lingering for a considerable while! Tough noogies, the city decided to leave the addicts alone, as bolstered by the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014.

Moe and Kevin are living in the past, they need to catch up with the times! Their little spot in the Castro is no island unto itself, and MUST share in the city’s overall, newly established policies. They’ll probably blame ME, though, for bringing them here because I’m Deek’s friend. Though once they realize how quiet they remain, and how much SAFER they’ll make the area around our building, they’ll sing a different, and happier, tune. For Deek and friends are a better crowd than those truly crazy, disturbing types that strew garbage everywhere and terrorize our fair burg.

One of Moe’s concerns is that such gatherings will invite further break-ins and nuisance to our residence. But I think quite the OPPOSITE will occur. For one, Deek and company know all about me, and are much more interested in watching over yours truly, that harm will not come my way. And since I LIVE in the same building Moe does, he will benefit from their protection as well. They will be like free security guards on this end of the block. Their very presence will discourage the dangerously unstable vagrants from disturbing the peace, or worse.

Deek et al have a VESTED INTEREST in maintaining their spot right outside as their OWN safe space. In exchange, they provide us with protection, and a peaceful ambience. Win/win all the way around! Boulevard Joe’s own little community enjoys hanging out and sleeping overnight behind my building, sometimes. They are ALSO quiet and pick up after themselves. So we could wind up having WRAPAROUND security, between these two groups! Do you think I’m being too optimistic or unrealistic on this matter, Wattson?

Before leaving Deek to his latest entreprenuerial venture I DID spend twenty minutes or so with him, outdoors. Mostly for the sake of Flaco’s wish for my comforting touch, but also because someone I like very much, but whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time, showed up! That would be Jared, who’s always been excellent company the rare times we’ve gotten together. He’s been busy straightening out his life, including finally getting a roof over his head. He now resides at the Civic Center Hotel, just six blocks down Market Street from my own building. It’s been overhauled to accommodate the homeless, and I hear it’s very well maintained. It’s now part of the Navigation Center, a service specifically for the homeless. Here’s the hotel’s web site.

They allow pets, too, I just found out. Now THAT looks like the right place for Deek! It’s not in EITHER sketchy neighborhood: the Tenderloin OR the Inner Mission. I’ll bring it up next time he drops by, and suggest he visit Jared there, to check it out. Though there may be prerequisite conditions before one can get into the hotel, such as residing for at least several months in one of their warehouse arrangements. And THAT is something Deek refuses to do. They might also require him to go through a drug rehab program or partake in some kind or social or vocational training. Who knows? Deek will turn 43 come January 22nd, BTW.

Jared told me a few years back, he wants to be a trucker. I didn’t know if he really planned to pursue it, so was surprised to hear he’s going to trucking school in Arizona very soon.

“Really?” I replied. “That’s great. For how long?”

“Three weeks,” he answered.

“Oh, is that all?” I exclaimed. “So you’ll be coming right back to SF?”

“Yes, I will,” he answered. “I thought about moving to some trailer park in Arizona, but I’d be bored outta my skull!”

“You made the right decision, Jared,” I commended him with a pat on his back. “Stay here for now, this city’s gonna be poppin’ soon, starting some time next year.”

He asked what I meant by that, so I went into how this city, and the state at large, is soon gonna be way ahead of all the other states, as new increased funding and innovation kick in. And that–even though this city treats its homeless like shit–it’s even worse everywhere else…but things will quickly improve for those living on the streets of Saint Francis.

“It was really great to see you again,” I said to Jared before we departed. We gave each other a warm, long hug…the third one that night. Unlike Deek, he’s not the least bit reserved about showing his affection. And he’s VERY pleasing on the eyes, to boot! Skinny and nicely put together, he’s 5-foot-10 with thick shocks of dark-gold hair cut short, and quite a handsome mug which I’d rather not describe in any detail, because I’m tired right now and need to crash out.

He gave me three cell numbers: “None of them are active yet, but one of them, my Obama phone, should be in a few days from now. The first number I gave you, well, I can activate soon as I get home tonight. The second number, I’m not sure HOW soon it will be working, maybe in two or three weeks.”

So far, NONE of the phone numbers function, but I’ll keep on trying, once every day. I have this fantasy that, once I become a global celebrity I’ll hire a handsome chauffeur to drive me around. That could be Jared! We’d have oodles of fun exploring the small towns and backwoods along the coast, and inland! Deek and the pups would join us, too.

And then, once the civil war breaks out and LGBTs flee in droves to Athenia as refugees from other states and nations, me and my buds are gonna rock this world…we’ll go underground as guerilla warriors and shag the daylights out of each other, in between slaughtering homophobes. We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them in their homes, we shall fight them in their churches, and at Trump rallies, Nazi marches and wherever else these vermin roam.


Frosting on the cake: before I returned upstairs and to bed, I spotted Samuel (“chihuahua man”) step out with his pooches. I quickly greeted him with a smile as he held the gate open. Instead of stepping completely inside, I held the gate ajar to watch him pass by Deek’s open-air department store. I was very pleased to see the brindlekin (who were NOT asleep at that moment) didn’t bark at all, even though they kept a keen eye on everyone who strolled nearby.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: I have no idea what he did with that dragon medallion, as he was neither wearing it about his neck, nor anywhere else on his person (or on Lucky) when he returned to set up his Friday night corner boutique. But I certainly hope his pop-up venue did stupendously well. I doubt he’ll bother to tell me if it did, as I’m sure he doesn’t want me to know he made a killing, as that could impact how much allowance I give him every week…like, zilch. But I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough, through the homeless grapevine…which IS comprised of just one solitary fellow, who is of course Boulevard Joe.

Re: The dragon has arrived!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 14, 2021 5:56 PM

> I don’t like the way he wheedles extra $$ out of you

It’s called “pressing my buttons”…I’m not SUPPOSED to like it. Deek playing the bodhisattva role as antagonist, in order that any remaining negativety gets flushed from my psyche. But I handled it well, did not withhold my dragonly gift as a result, and quickly recovered from any angst that came of pressing that particular button. The “Advance Payment” button. I gotta relegate it to the trash bin; it shouldn’t even be connected to my circuitry anymore, hardwired or soft.

> but I like your attitude toward it.

Too much is at stake to behave otherwise…the doggies’ lives are in the balance.

> He’s taking advantage of your generous nature

Or just APPEARING to take advantage, in order to provide me the opportunity to find a non-angst-evoking reaction.

> but NOT because you’re a doddering, confused old man

Well yes, that’s part of it, ageism and all that rot. To project that prejudice in my direction, that I find a way to deflect ALL of it, rather than allow even a single DROP of negativity to slip into my brain pan. It did, but not for long. Next time around, even THAT little bit will not get through…if there IS a next time, since I seem to have completed that particular mental Kung-Fu exercise, after many impromptu sessions…including hours spent in detention for poor performance.

> and you rightly see it as building a nest of safety around the doggies. And you are firm with him when he pushes you to the limit.

With the goal to learn how to be TOTALLY RELAXED AND JOYFUL in repulsing whatever wrong-thinking comes my way. Deek KNEW he’d press my button by requesting another advance payment, this time for the FULL AMOUNT. He did the right thing, and I quickly overcame the Demon Of Resentment, who extinguished his flaming sword the moment I released the ego egg sac of anger that began to stir in my bosom like a voracious clot of parasitic worms threatening to devour my liver and demolish the remainder of whatever happiness the day still held for yours truly. (Ha-ha, that last sentence was a joy to compose…shades of Bulwer Lytton!)

Support from homeless allies seems to be coming at me from every direction these past several weeks, as I’ve already documented in my most recent tales. And just this morning I came across Filipino Jay again, this time resting in the alcove of a shuttered grocery store on Church Street. I greeted him with a great heart, thanked him profusely for all his incredible support when I was going through crises with Deek…which lifted my spirit and gave me the strength to forge ahead. Until by now, Deek is growing in leaps and bounds, his life coming together in amazing ways.

He said he’s glad to have helped, and feel free to talk to him anytime I need. After a few minutes of chewing the fat, joking about Deek selling shoplifted goods and such, he excused himself (“I have a meeting to get to”) and took off on his pilfered, battery-stripped bicycle courtesy of Ford’s GoBikes.

> His open-air “market” is intriguing! He must have shoplifted those shoes. Where else would he get them? Such an entrepreneur!

Assuming he was ACTIVELY involved, instead of purchasing the items off the streets for cheap, and reselling them: I’d love to see the business establishment’s camera footage…PRICELESS! He did seem a tad nervous about me sitting down beside his wares for awhile, so I could be close to the pups.

“Okay, be cool!” he stated with a touch of alarm.

“Deek, I’m ALWAYS cool,” I retorted. “Cooler than YOU could ever be.”

“Okay, okay,” he dismissed my words with a wave of the hand, but I persisted:

“In fact, I may very well be the coolest person on the planet! Aren’t you aware of that yet?”

“Alright, never mind, I’m too busy to argue,” he declared, before turning to a potential customer who just showed up, somewhat drunk but curious about a ruby-sparkle pair of hi-tops.

So I’m thinkin’ maybe this wasn’t Deek’s usual anxiety about being seen with me for more than brief moments, but his fear I might press him over how he acquired all that primo footwear. I’m sure those fluffy, large jackets he got for the dogs’ comfort are also part of the contraband. Along with the lush blanket he used to display his wares. Or maybe he didn’t want me to see all the lucre flow into his hands, that I might reduce (or even eliminate) his allowance. But what do I know; maybe all his stock was totally aboveboard, no shady acquisition involved. (Hmm, perhaps I WILL buy that bridge in Brooklyn some pock-faced vagrant with rotten teeth and halitosis that could kill a herd of bison from a hundred yards afar, offered to sell me this morning.) Be that as it may, I only languished outside for twenty minutes or so, showering all my attention on the pups, not paying Deek ANY mind whatsoever. IOW: I utterly ignored the hooman.

> Do I think you’re being overly optimistic about Deek & Co. “guarding” the building? Maybe a little, but your reasoning is sound. Savvy street people who are not insane have sharp survival skills, and a peaceful zone in front of your building works to their advantage and yours. And they know better than anybody who’s “crazy” and who’s not.

That IS the scenario I envision, so long as turf wars don’t erupt in the long run, as increasing numbers of citizens are evicted from their homes and brutally dumped onto the streets. Maybe we’ll need to build a moat, or a crenelated barrier, to ward off the barbarians. Or both. With a drawbridge. At that point, I guess I’ll become Lord of Mini-Fiefdom #4 in the Castro, and go to battle with the neighboring parcels until I eventually rule the entire valley of Eureka. Emperor Zeke, here we come!

> Checked out the Civic Center Hotel. Looks pretty darned good. And they allow pets?? Extraordinary! I hope they don’t impose the usual strictures, like you have to be drug-rehabbed and have a job before you can move in. Seems to me the better order of things would be to get people off the street, get some rest and a hot shower or two, relieved of the stress of living life in public 24 hours a day, THEN let them kick the meth or whatever dope they’re using, THEN get a job. The other way around seems impossible.

The new policy in San Francisco is to provide housing withOUT mandating rehab or employment first. I’m not so concerned about that, as I am about a probable very long waiting list, and possibly a preliminary requirement to reside in one of their warehouses for at least several months, before taking the step towards occupying your own room. That doesn’t work for Deek.

> And good for Jared! Truckers are in huge demand at the moment. Think he’ll do it???

Your guess is as good as mine, though he seems to be pretty damn stable these days, so I’m confident he’ll figure his way through all the bullshit, and land himself in a decent situation, whether or not trucks are involved. But it WOULD be nice to have a friend, finally, who is licensed to drive…and maybe even OWNS a car.

> And the vision of slaughtering homophobes at Trump rallies sounds like great fun. Hope you’ll let me join in!

Oh but you’re already there, good physician, as the Osmium Empress and My Most Trusted Military Advisor, which I spelled out in my revelatory tale, “Misfortune is a Cookie Named Zeke!” You will set up SCADS of fake Trump rallies, Nazi marches and Christian dating events in order to lure them in for the culling.

> I think we should capture a few and perform “experiments” on them.

Let them eat cake while we dust off the guillotines and iron maidens! Are mercury colonics a thing?

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: This is Roberto
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 14, 2021 7:46 PM

He’s a street artist (obviously) who showed up in front of my building just two evenings ago. Since ANOTHER artist also has been parking himself at this very same spot for more than three weeks now, I decided to start introducing myself, and take their pics, if they so wish. Just a short while ago, I came downstairs to compliment him on his excellent drawings, and asked:

“If I give you five dollars, can I take two or three pics of you?”

“Sure, go ahead!” he cheerfully replied. And here they are:

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

“You’ll be in my blog later tonight,” I explained. “Can I use your real name?”

He agreed to that, but was not interested in a video interview, even though I offered him another Lincoln.

“That’s fine,” I replied. “And since I teased you with a little more money, it’s only fair I give it to you anyway. But is there anything you’d like to tell me, to include with your photo, a story for example?”

“Ahh, no thanks!”

I then handed him the second bill and said: “I’ve been a gay activist and homeless advocate for decades now. I take pics and videos of scenes and people on the streets, and write true stories about them. Or sometimes fairytales.” He laughed when I told him the title of my series: “True Tales from the Castro: Eat Your Heart Out, Armistead.”

“My latest in this collection are my Brindlekin Tales,” I bragged, “and they’re all about my homeless friend of more than twelve years, and the two dogs he adopted almost 23 months back.”

As I handed him my card, three burly queers guffawing and punching each other like rowdy sailors, suddenly stopped right before us. One fell hard on the sidewalk. They were obviously soused, and roughhousing in good sport. Yet their wealthy queer privilege was evident in their so crudely disrupting my visit with Roberto, who quickly packed up his items to get away from them…and I did likewise by returning hovel poste-haste.

At any rate, Roberto appears to be most congenial, and I look forward to seeing him again, in the very near future. And I hope that OTHER artist shows up as well, some time soon, so I can also take his pic, and hold a likely enjoyable conversation.

Who knows, maybe this is a new trend, where LGBTQ artists start materializing below my window, day after day, week after week, until it turns into a full-blown outdoor exhibit!

– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting with Wattson – 11/14/21

Larger pic of tent & towels

Subject: O. Henry/Runyon Fairytales CAN Come True…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 16, 2021 8:50 PM

…they can happen to you, when you’re old and in the Castro where you’ve been a dedicated gay activist and homeless advocate for decades!

Just reflecting upon the extraordinary events now spicing up my world. My wish to portray the LGBT underbelly with both an O. Henry and Damon Runyon spin, appears to be manifesting in spades. The humble lives of the poor (with their own dreams and struggles) echo the former author, and the presence of kindhearted thieves and drug lords, the latter. I’m sure, however, that my sporadic glimpses of this homeless underworld–as fascinating and inspiring they may be–are but the tip of the nipple of the belly of this beast!

This coming together of sweet encounters, these new realizations of hope, friendship and puppy devotion have placed me solid in the center of Athena’s bold spirit (or Buddha’s benevolence, or Christ’s heart, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s savory sauce, whatever works for you). This morning when I stepped into Rosenberg’s for my usual cup o’ java, Charlie gave me his usual greeting, “How are you today, boss?” I responded with one of my rote replies, “Oh, hangin’ in there, thanks.”

Then grabbed the small, open carton of Half-N-Half from the fridge, poured some into a paper cup I plucked from an upside-down stack that tilted precariously towards the coffee pot, added two packets of Sweet’N Low that I brought with me, and finally submerged it all in that steaming, golden brown elixir so many of us just can’t do without…almost all the way to the lip, but not quite. For I had to leave room for a half teaspoon of raw honey from my own pantry, once I returned hovel.

As I approached the counter to pay up, Charlie asked me once again, that same question. With that, I broke out of my post-dawn haziness, looked directly into his dark-gray eyes and declared:

“Amazing! Things are going full blast INCREDIBLE for me anymore!” To which I appended this afterthought only seconds later before exiting into the foggy, chill morn:

“I don’t think I’ll ever have a bad day again!”

But now that I think about it with a touch of hindsight, I wonder if that was NOT the best thing to say, as maybe it came off as snarky, or sarcastic. After all, Wattson, who on earth would say such a thing, except perhaps a serial killer just before his next bloody rampage?

Be that as it may, the deed has been done, I can’t take it back. I hope Charlie will forgive me, and allow me to continue patronizing what’s been my fine little shop around the corner since before the Stone Age.

I should note here that yesterday morning, I humorously replied to Charlie’s usual greeting with something similar, though a tad toned down:

“Oh just great. Everything’s going my way!”

So maybe he got a kick out of that, and was nudging for another clever repartee. I doubt I disappointed him.

[Here I have paused my writing, to stroll about outside, it’s such a lovely and peaceful day. Will resume in a half hour.]

Okay, I’m back. A group from Boulevard Joe’s little community was enjoying the afternoon right behind my building. Here’s a pic:

Click here for a larger view.

The only person standing up is Roberto, the artist I met two nights ago. The woman in that pic, with the orange color along her shoulder, has been living on our streets for well over a decade. Don’t know her name (actually, I forgot) but I DO know she’s an authentic Inuit from Alaska. Her skin has that smoky-brown hue typical of her people.

I also shot a quick, 2-part video of them, first from right below the hallway window, then outside where I stood on the corner. In the first segment you’ll see a medium-size dog that I suspect is Lucky & Flaco’s mother, based on her rich, brindle coat. She’s very sweet, but NOT pretty. It was mating her with a dachshund that made my brindlekin so superbly cute. Though Lucky’s butch physique, especially that generous rump, suggests a THIRD dog in the lineage…so maybe that mongrel out there is another offspring, rather than my brindlekin’s bearer. The music in the video comes off MUCH louder than it actually was in real life:

After shooting the pic and videos, I looped around a two-block portion of the Castro and, on my way to pick up a half-gallon of milk from 17th & Noe, I came across a box filled with junk, but with two items worth snatching up:

First, a box of Dutch chocolates. Don’t know if they’re REALLY from The Netherlands, but that is what the pictures on the wrappings suggest. They could be from Holland, New York for all I know.

Click here for a larger view.

The label on the back is too faded to reveal their source. All that I can make out are the last ten characters of the heading: “PEN & MOLENS.”

Click here for a larger view.

I am, right now, nibbling on a rectangle: tastes and looks fresh, even though it’s obviously not. A pleasant, twilight repast with a small glass of milk while composing this missive.

Second, amid the junk I also found a batch of about sixty plain, white card-size envelopes that I really don’t need, but thought they’d be nice to hold Deek’s biweekly allowance. Something to present him with, that’s a bit formal…like a REAL paycheck.

In retrospect, I think Jeddi’s promise to talk to Deek and get him straightened out regarding the pups, is too good to be true. Not that he wouldn’t follow up in one or two ways, but he was just too slick for credibility. Boulevard Joe warned me about his devious nature. However, how did he know to push all the right buttons, even though I’ve never met him before…well at least not CONVERSED before? A likely answer is that HE knew about ME in some depth, before this encounter. But how could THAT be? I conjecture further:

MANY among the homeless know myriad details about me, because they are SHAMANS for whom their duties include watching over yours truly. But part of the fun is not letting me in on the secret, rather, to let me discover this myself, a revelation of sorts. So it is not that Jeddi was trying to deceive me for selfish gain, but tossed me a CLUE as to his bodhisattva nature…knowing I’d figure that out a little further down the line. Boulevard Joe’s negative assessment could just as easily have been a ploy at my expense. For as I told you in a previous email, shamans have strange ways, and one of them is to lie about someone, as a way of testing my integrity, as well as my level of consciousness.

There is definitely more interaction between myself and the local street people, in these past weeks. And not because I’ve gone out of my way, but because increasing numbers of them have approached me, or shown up when Deek is visiting me, or begun to loiter below my window in greater numbers and more often. The pups have ALSO drawn them to me, in my poopy walks…but that is a recent thing, even though I’ve been strolling around the ‘hood with them for MONTHS now, a whole YEAR in fact. And now Jared, a homeless friend from the past, has also begun showing up in my world once more.

It is as if they are preparing for some remarkable event, of which I am the focus. A surprise party so to speak, though one with far more IMPORT and DESTINY than something so mundane as a birthday party. With the playwright of these scenarios still standing in the wings, but ALSO making brief appearances in my life with some frequency, after having vanished for months. Who, of course, is Arwyn.

No need for me to describe the particulars of this conjectured event, seeing as I’ve already DONE that so many times in my prophetic ponderings. At this point were I to do so, it would be like bludgeoning a defunct Equidae! And you KNOW how much I love animals to ever consider doing THAT.

The brindlekin’s popularity is also on the rise: yet another of my dreams, that they become the mascots of the Castro. The glorious result of which would be to form a wider circle of protection and care for them, that goes well beyond my quite limited reach.

Judging by the way things are coming together, I’d say this stupendous event is soon due to blossom. And the timing appears to be aimed at the upcoming Exmass season. Which, BTW, can still be a brindlekin holiday, in spite of Brindlefest now established a day before Halloween. We can call this OTHER doggy celebration BrindleMASS, and come up with distinctively different ways to honor Canis familiaris, than we would for Brindlefest. But I’ll leave the logistics up to my admirers, rather than exhaust myself musing over the technicalities.

I expect Deek will show up tomorrow as it’s payday again. Hopefully, the pups will stay with me at least overnight.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: This is Alex…
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 17, 2021 12:47 AM

…the other street artist who started showing up below my window about two weeks ago. Here is a pic of him as viewed from two flights up:

Click here for a larger view.

And here he is at ground level:

Click here for a larger view.

I hardly got a chance to speak with him, due to sudden disruptions, just like with Roberto. What is it with these jerks who show up out of the blue and break up my conversation? This has been going on for decades, here in the Castro. It’s as if some nasty queens say, “Oh, there’s Zeke, let’s fuck with him.” Deek was in the mix this time, showing up just when I stepped downstairs to photograph Alex. So that cut everything even shorter.

At any rate, he’s another friendly guy, like Roberto, and is open to a video interview some time soon. All the art on display is his own. I think he’s on the streets because he lost his job seven months ago.

Good news: the pups are with me tonight. Deek collected his $40 Thursday stipend, so I hope this means he won’t show up again for two days….that he’ll go partying with the money and will zone out for awhile. I also asked him about the shoplifting scene:

“So, what are the homeless doing, now that shoplifting is all the rage, and no one gets arrested?”

He acted surprised: “What are you talking about?”

“What I mean is, do some of the street people swipe stuff off the shelves and resell them on the streets?”

“Uh, yeah, but it’s mostly tweekers and crack heads who do that,” he answered. Then queried: “Why are you asking me this?”

“Because Boulevard Joe is not here right now, and you are,” I retorted.

“Oh,” was his brief reply.

“Another question, Deek,” I prodded further: “Isn’t it also possible to buy the shoplifted goods for cheap from someone ELSE who stole them…then resell them on the streets? Not as profitable, but another person did all the grunt work for you.”

“Yeah, that’ll work, too,” he answered.

“Hmm, I guess I could do my OWN in-store looting if I want, right?” I mused aloud. “After all they’re not gonna stop me just because I’m NOT an addict.”

“I suppose you could,” he replied in a slightly perturbed fashion, as if wondering what I’m driving at.

“Well that’s quite interesting, Deek,” I acknowledged. “Thanks for filling me in.”

I then returned hovel with the doggies who were absolutely DEEEE-lighted to visit me once more. Deek, meanwhile, remained right outside for ten or so minutes more, sorting through his huge pile of recent possessions, figuring out how he should arrange it all to make everything FIT. He had MORE than enough to fill THREE carts. Some time during the sorting, he called up and asked for a large trash bag, which I summarily tossed out the window.

After I got the pups settled in, and they fell asleep in short order, I peered out the window one more time, to see if their master were still around. Nope, he had vanished to parts unknown by then. And here’s a pic I just took of my angels; Lucky had returned to bed just a second ago, after slurping from the water bowl:

Click here for a larger view.

– Zeke K-Holmes

P.S.: While I was still outside and petting the mutts, Deek mumbled on for a minute or two about how he knows how to raise dogs, he’s been doing that all his life, etc. I have no idea where THAT came from, so I just ignored him, not wanting to start an argument when I was THAT close to bringing the pooches inside. Though I would’ve LOVED to tell him that the very idea ALONE of planning to make Flaco pregnant while still on the streets blows away ANY claim he may have about properly caring for man’s best friend. I have a hunch that this mumbly outburst was due to a certain someone who may have confronted him recently about taking better care of the dogs. Jeddi, perhaps? No matter what, I sense we’re finally out of the danger zone when it comes to Flaco & Lucky’s safety.

Subject: Deek’s Temporary Storage Lot
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 17, 2021 10:34 AM

Apparently, Deek had accumulated so many NEW possessions last night, he left a third of it parked behind my building…a convenient holding zone until he returns to pick it up. I couldn’t help but notice them on my way to Rosenberg’s…who wouldn’t? Two pics…first one side, then the other:

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

Why so many blankets/bedcovers, jackets and other cloth items, Wattson? Perhaps he plans to hand them out to his street-wise compatriots? They certainly don’t look salable. This arrangement doesn’t always work, because if he shows up too late, it will all be vanquished by our efficient city scavengers, San Francisco Public Works, who are quite familiar with these mounds of clutter appearing out of the blue…dumped by both housed and unhoused alike. One can forgive the latter, but the former?

– Zeke K-Holmes

The FINAL Final Chapter (part 1)

November 11, 2021

[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 3: Chapter 18a]

Subject: Boulevard Joe’s feedback, disappointing but no surprise!
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 3, 2021 6:02 PM

Regarding Jeddi, Freddy-Tom and Joy.

I came across him during yesterday’s afternoon stroll, right by the Harvey Milk Library. Again, he was all spiffed out, and you wouldn’t even THINK the dude’s living rough. As a matter of fact he ALWAYS appears clean and sober these days; it’s been a steady run over the past several months…MOST impressive.

He spotted me first: how ya doin’ Zeke? I told him oh, really well, and yourself? Pretty good, thanks, he replied. Then I asked him about the three new acquaintances in my life listed above. He said Jeddi’s trouble, you really don’t want anything to do with him. He’s a smooth talker and will impress you, but better to keep your distance. He owes someone a butt load of cash that he’s never paid back, and the guy’s lookin’ to beat him up right now.

Freddy-Tom got Boulevard Joe’s thumbs up (no details though), and Joy is “very needy.” Nice lady, just keeps hitting up everyone she knows for one thing after another; the list never ends.

I didn’t get a chance to ask him about Luba…she’s someone I haven’t mentioned to you before (except ambiguously a couple of times, back in November last year I think). But she knows Deek, actually lives indoors in what I think is Section 8 housing less than two blocks away, and is often seen strolling around with her two little chihuahuas in a double-deck baby stroller. I’ve spoken with her twice in the past week, as part of my continued outreach for the sake of the doggies.

–open sidebar:

She’s quite the booze hound, but a good woman nonetheless. She knows the local homeless crowd, some of them personally (including Deek)…and you can tell Luba’s been around the block more than once. She’s 74 years old, 5-foot-2, of Mexican heritage (though speaks perfect English, as well as Spanish, Portugese, Italian), sharp as a tack and just as funny…definitely the gregarious sort, a local character. She has a pretty face with a pointy little nose, though caved in a bit here and there, due to the ravages of age…embellished with that typically Latina custom of lining one’s eyes and eyebrows with thick layers of black pencil and mascara. She was dressed in a thick, black coat, fluffy white blouse, dark slacks, and a pair of old, green sneakers that have seen better days.

She went on about how she spent over $900 last month on food, because her pooches won’t eat that canned or kibbled stuff. (“It’s not real food!”) As a result, she is wildly popular with the merchants at a produce and butcher shop in the Mission District called “La Tierra” (which means in that context “the soil”), because she always orders “el pollo grandote” (the largest chicken). Upon hearing that, I immediately thanked Boudica that Flaco & Lucky aren’t such gourmet fussbudgets. Though I feel bad that I can’t afford to feed them a better quality of vittles, due to their occasional tummy issues.

She brought up Deek who, I know, visits her from time to time, and quickly mentioned under her breath that they sometimes smoke together, “but I DON’T let him get into my stash.” Nice to know she’s in control, I guess…as I can’t imagine just what havoc would be wreaked the other way around! Especially if she was talking about METH and not ganja! (Doesn’t the word “stash” imply just marijuana, or can it mean hard drugs, as well?)

“I tried to take one of his dogs away from him,” she admitted. “But not really.”

I remember Deek talking about that early last year; and of course I raked him over the coals for the very IDEA of giving up either one! He was considering letting Flaco go, since Lucky has been with him longer, “through thick and thin, all my ups and downs” as he phrased it. Right, he’s only had Lucky five months before adopting his sister. So please, stop this sentimental BS…BOTH pups are remarkable, and should NEVER be separated at this point! I almost had a heart attack. Why not just pass her on to me? Or both, for that matter! Why look elsewhere if he really wants to give them away?

“This little chi is preparing to go to heaven soon,” she said, indicating the one still in the carriage, not the other who was standing beside me on the sidewalk, plying for hugs and strokes from her newest amigo, which I gladly gave. You could tell the resting pup was quite old, all gnarly faced and dim eyed…ready to kick the proverbial bucket, if only it were thimble sized. Though still a sweet, cute princess all the same.

“We thought she was gonna pass on two years ago, me and the vet, and I wanted to replace her. But look…she’s still here!”

Luba asked about me, so I told her I’m an author, and a gay and homeless activist, and I’m presently writing true tales inspired by Deek and his pups. She took out a small, spiral bound notebook and a pen, and asked me to write down the URL. “I’m always prepared,” she proudly declared upon handing them over. As I began scrawling out my name and web page, the ink stopped flowing, because it ran into a nearly invisible spot of grease that stained the page. “Sure, you’re prepared,” I thought to myself, “but you still can’t plan for disruptions like these!” I flipped through the pages (there weren’t many) only to discover that the oily substance ran through the entire book! (What did she do, drop it in the pot with the pollo grandote?) At any rate, I managed to force the writing instrument to stubbornly spell everything out, with considerable pressure and repetition of the ball point over the same characters, two or three times, that they finally be visible to the naked eye. If only I had a brindlekin prayer card on me!

“Oh, you’re left-handed, do you know what that means?” she exclaimed.

I told her I think so, but it may just be superstition. That lefties are spiritually and creatively gifted, psychic abilities and all that rot. “I’ve met plenty of right-handed artists in my life, so there ya have it.” (Actually that isn’t true, only because I’ve never paid attention to such DEXTEROUS details. I think somehow, it’s a bit SINISTER to judge people that way, like many also do, based on astrological claptrap.)

“Aha! So you DO know!” she emoted. I simply shrugged my shoulders, so the conversation could quickly move to another topic less riddled with woo. Hard enough hiding all my paranormal powers under a basket, when it’s made of clear lucite these days! She’ll learn soon enough, if she ever gets around to reading my tales. My point being: one must be respectful of such gifts and not let them go to your head (or that thing dangling between one’s thighs). Humility IS key to such abilities, which can frighten the shit out of you if you’re not careful. Or sometimes, even if you are! Why, I once almost destroyed the MOON by meditating upon my navel o’erlong, Wattson!

Other things she talked about was she’s gonna be in the news soon…not sure about what, but maybe has to do with a pit bull that bit her in that same apartment building she resides in, or other difficulties at present. Sure sounds like a Section 8 fiasco to me! A little alarm then went off in my cranium, to never accept an invitation to visit.

“Oh I get into trouble all the time,” she remarked, “sticking my nose into other people’s business when they say I shouldn’t. But that’s only because they’re making trouble for everyone else. Someone’s gotta speak out!”

“Ha, I can relate, Luba!” I coughed in empathy. “I’m the same way!”

I mentioned Boulevard Joe, but she didn’t seem to have a good opinion of the man: “He gets into all kinds of nasty stuff.” Whatever that means; maybe it’s a compliment from her pespective. Like some folks say “bad” or “sick” to mean “really really cool.” But at least now you see why I’m interested in his take on that lady.

–close sidebar

At any rate, one of Joe’s “minions” interrupted our conversation barely moments after it began. Which abruptly cut off the flow of information I was soaking up like a dry Maxi Pad, and thus could not acquire any insight he may have on Luba. He was a comely fellow with a noble forehead and exquisitely arched eyebrows (which for some reason aroused my base chakra into full and sudden attention in spite of my age), kissed above by locks of chestnut hair that glinted amber in the sunlight. Eyes like mercury peered through his otherwise scarf-wrapped visage topped by a 5-dollar Walgreens watch cap, as he bowed his head before Mr. Boulevard, hands raised in prayerful respect like a Buddhist monk. More humorous than sincere, I take it. While I couldn’t see the grin beneath that scarf, I saw the sparkle in his eye.

Two other minions quickly followed (one a female, the other in a rusty wheelchair), and thus I was surrounded and silenced, at which time Joe excused himself, so I stepped aside (they had crowded that close around me) and bid him an excellent day as they all wandered off to God only knows where, and for what reason. I felt snubbed, excluded from a big secret, not invited to the party. Story of my life.

I don’t know, Wattson, but I think they’re all bodhisattvas, having fun at my expense. I suspect that Boulevard Joe’s description of those three is not necessarily correct…in that he may have intentionally lied about Jeddi (and perhaps Joy), to see how I handle it. Which he’ll learn once his scouts report back to him, after speaking with me once or twice. But I’m onto them, so I’ll keep my whistle clean (so to speak)…as if that hasn’t been my style all along!

I stepped outside again for another short stroll, to deliberate upon what I shall further report to you in this, my latest missive (or should I say “missal”). Before exiting, I glanced out my window to see that by now the dreary, overcast sky had dissolved into a sun drenched, Rembrandt masterpiece. The day was warming up; vapor rose from the asphalt like phantoms from last night’s debaucheries (whatever they were, I am not privy to such knowledge, nor care to know).

I had to squeeze my way between a very tall ladder and the front gate, as two workers kept busy repairing or replacing that electric sign for the Hohokum smoke shop…which now featured a variety of embarrassing dildos in the left-side display window, as of three months ago. Much to my disgust. They were absurdly bloated, ginormous and utterly immodest. Straight shopkeepers really have twisted ideas of what actually flies off the shelves in the Castro! We’re all just tacky queens, godless perverts, dontcha know!

As I passed the Mediterranean restaurant (where Dieter often appears, except for the last week or so, as he’s bedridden with sciatica right now), I heard a favorite Beatles tune waft from its doorway: “All You Need is Love.” So I decided to pause nearby, to enjoy those lyrics before proceeding up Noe street any further. As I stood there in quiet reverie, a skinny, homeless dude with a shaggy mop of hair and decked out in Salvation Army duds came up to me and asked if I had a light. I did, so handed him my Bic.

“Best do it yourself, I’m not good at lighting up for other people.” I noticed as he attempted to ignite the snipe (street slang for a discarded butt found on the sidewalk), his loosely acrylic-gloved hand was too close to the flame. “Careful, don’t burn yourself!”

He then handed back the lighter after achieving his goal, thanked me and moved on. And I did as well, since the song had just ended.

An elderly fellow approached and passed by from the other direction, with a charming little, wiry, gray-haired and bearded dachshund in tow. All joy and curiosity at the end of a leash! I notice little doggies a lot these days, now that I have two of my own to watch over. As I approached Morey’s corner shop, I saw that no one who works there had stepped outside for me to greet, so decided to cross over and walk down the other side of Noe Street on my return hovel. As I did, a dark green Mazda SUV waited for me to pass.

Another fuzzy, diminutive canine watched me from the passenger side with keen interest. The driver was a 40-something woman who smiled and waved at me. I returned the gesture and added, “Hey, little doggy!” He didn’t bark, didn’t jump about, but remained still and continued to stare at me from his erect posture with paws on the open window’s ledge. So close, I could’ve extended an arm and touched him as I crossed that corner. Maybe he was just a very realistic stuffed toy, but I thought better about finding out. Even his eyes didn’t move.

In the middle of my return walk I espied from a distance, a gray-bearded, scraggly old dude in a long purple trench coat saluting a thumbs up and a hello to those walking by in his direction. No one bothered to respond, but moved along as if he were invisible and unheard. Until it was MY turn:

“Yo! Good morning!” he declared with an extended arm and a thumb pointed upward.

“And a good morning to you,” I smiled in kind, with my own thumb erect to the sky. “Thank you!”

I did not, however, pause in amicable badinage, nor did he seem to care about that, anyway. Just wanted to spread a little good cheer. Fine with me, ’cause I certainly have MORE than my share of actual bums in my life, these days. Even the Castro’s own underground, Patron Saint of the LGBTQIA+ Homeless has his limits!

After my short morning stroll, I purchased my usual cup of Rosenberg coffee, then sat just around the corner on a low ledge sheltered from last night’s inconsequential rainfall. Here’s a pic of my view from that spot:

Click here for a larger view.

I would’ve preferred to linger on the other round of the corner, by the two adjacent parklets, but some street dude had made a big mess, setting up a passel of rain drenched clothing for sale, right there on the asphalt beside the curb. I didn’t want his crazy disturbance within view or earshot, as it would ruin my morning pause. Here’s a pic of the unwelcome hawker, setting up what little protection an umbrella could provide. At least it’s a pretty shade of blue, unlike the slushy gray troposphere cowering over the East Bay:

Click here for a larger view.

Finally, here are two shots of the signage workers right below my window, plus a quick video to show you how noisy they were, for such an otherwise peaceful day’s start:

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

Once again, good physician, I paused from completing this email, to take another quick stroll…this time to Morey’s shop for a box of large trash bags (though really just an excuse to drop by and say hello, for I already have plenty of these bags at home). On the way there, I came across this booklet someone left out for free on their doorstep, which I find MOST appropriate for my own, doggy rescue mission:

Click here for a larger view.


Click here for a larger view.

Introduction (first paragraph):

Click here for a larger view.

Upon entering Morey’s shop there was some music playing from their ceiling speakers, most unusual because they NEVER do that! Instead, they often have a TV turned on to the news, or some tacky cop or crime drama. Guess what the song was, as it reached my ears upon stepping inside?

Almost Paradise.” That figures. My bodhisattva guardians are no longer dropping little HINTS here and there, like rose petals or bread crumbs. First, this morning there was “All You Need is Love,” now later today, this. Yeah, I get it, “we’re knocking on heaven’s door” (as it says in the lyrics). THEY’RE ALMOST LITERALLY HITTING ME OVER THE HEAD AT THIS POINT! So now what…MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT wherever I go, for now on? Angels surrounding me with their golden voices? Like in my essay “The Birth of the Final Testament” so lovingly illustrated years ago by a perfectly gay stranger?

Click here to read the essay.

Subject: Joe Boulevard’s feedback, disappointing but no surprise! (cont’d)
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 3, 2021 10:59 PM

Deek & doggies dropped by…no sleepover or visit for the mutts, he just wanted me to charge his latest Bluetooth speaker. It’s got built-in wheels and a telescope handle, but is reasonably light-weight this time around. VERY easy to carry up and down the stairs. Maybe twelve pounds? I think it’s lithium powered, so the battery won’t last as long as those cumbersome lead-acid ones. Maybe three or four hours at high volume, instead of six or more.

He said he purchased it NEW for $125, and I believe him because it LOOKS spanking new, though no price tag (he probably removed it, or it was on the box). Looks like he’s changed his stopover habits to camping out right at the bus stop for around two hours while waiting for his devices to be juiced up at least halfway. He used to park himself further up the block, or on an adjacent block across the street. I find it infuriating that the pups are right outside, barely yards away…yet forced to remain outdoors where they’ll bark more and sleep less. ALSO infuriating how he wastes his money, when he LOSES his current speaker in less than a week, and could spend far LESS for something STILL of good quality…thus have more money for other stuff, such as JACKETS for the dogs.

Giving them a box to curl up in usually quiets them down…Lucky especially, but Flaco prefers to be on the alert regardless, as Deek’s guardian. Ready to jump out and bark aggressively at this or that person walking by. Usually, that’s someone who’s edgy (such as a tweeker or rowdy clubber), or if they’re accompanied by a dog of their own. Lucky, however, couldn’t be bothered, preferring instead to slumber on. These stopovers start around 9:30 PM and last until just before, or right at, midnight.

He first showed up by his lone self last night, and asked for his Thursday allowance of $40. “No, it’s too soon, Deek, wait till Thursday.” Though Wednesday is fine, too, if it comes to that. “But it’s already Wednesday,” he replied. “Really?” I answered, a tad confused. Well, Wattson, turns out I thought it was still Monday, and when I realized my error, I had less than fifteen minutes to rush down to my bank before they lock up ATM access, which is 10 PM. So I apologized, rushed upstairs for my wallet, then boogied on down to the local Chase branch, and withdrew $60 (one Jackson for myself).

By the time I returned, another vagrant had joined him outside: an older dude with long, gray hair and trim mustache about six-foot-one, and stretched on his side upon the sidewalk. He seems to be a somewhat new acquaintance, as I’ve never seen him before with Deek, except for a few times in the past couple of weeks, out there on the corner. He appears to be a very healthy, trim 48 years old…good looking, too, in a narrow-face, Appalachian kind of way. NOT gregarious in the least, never says hi to me, keeps to himself but at least is pretty damn quiet, even speaks softly. I AM a bit wary of him, but we’ll see.

Around a half hour after I returned with the moolah and headed back upstairs, I heard Flaco barking. Time to bring down the box! Lucky scooted right inside and curled up, but Flaco preferred to sit on the edge and look out. So I added a sheet of cardboard I procured from beside the trash bin, right outside the box…that she also have a clean spot to rest upon. (Dammit, why doesn’t Deek take care of these things himself?)

Just before I was about to return hovel, who shows up out of the blue, but Filipino Jay! Don’t know if you remember him from my December tales, but that was the last month I saw him until last night. He’s ALWAYS been immensely supportive of my befriending Deek and his charges, but very alarmed at his frequently shitty treatment towards me. “You need to respect that man,” he’s told Deek more than once. “You need to keep a good person like that in your life!” Not that he’s spoken these words in my presence, but informed me of such. And I believe him.

We gave each other fist bumps and side hugs, glad to see each other again. We talked awhile about this and that, as Deek pulled out a glass pipe to smoke some meth. As he held a lighter below it to heat the contents, Flaco broke out into demonstrative barks aimed directly AT him.

“See that, Deek?” I called out in jest, “She don’t want you smokin’ that crap no more!”

I then seated myself beside Flaco to quiet her down. She immediately climbed onto my lap with her customary sweetness and joy to be close to me again, and ceased her barks. We were right beside the box, so I reached in to give Lucky some petting as well. I explained to Deek that he needs to keep them quiet when hanging out here, or my neighbors will complain. And that’s easy enough to do, either with a box for them to hide in, or let Flaco sit right beside him. ‘Cause that’s all she wants is your attention now and then, and that’s why she was barking.

He ignored me, so I gently placed Flaco down and grabbed another sheet of cardboard and placed it beside Deek, so she could rest alongside her master. With that, he exploded in anger:

“Get outta my face, don’t tell me what to do with the dogs, leave me alone!”

“But Deek,” I spoke calmly from barely two feet away, while caressing Flaco who stood by my feet. “She loves you, and only wants to rest beside you. Why so mean?”

“YOU do that, then, I’m busy here!” he spit back.

“But I gotta go upstairs and finish my dinner,” I replied. “Here, Flaco, come sit by your master.”

I pointed at the cardboard I had just set down, and beckoned her over. Just as she was about to curl up there, Deek hollered again:

“Get outta my face, I’m claustrophobic, gimme some space, your dick is right in my face!” which scared Flaco, so she slipped into the box to sit by her sibling.

“Well I’m on the short side, so what do you expect,” I quipped. (Not really, but I wish I had. Another good line would’ve been: “These are workout pants, Deek, they don’t even HAVE a fly.”) What I REALLY said was:

“Look, you’ve upset Flaco, you need to calm down.”

“I SAID, get outta my face!” he repeated.

“No way Jose,” I taunted back. “You need to chill out first, and THEN I’ll step back.”

With that, he leapt up and moved to the other end of the bus shelter to finish smoking his pipe. “You wanna see me scream and upset your neighbors? Better get outta my face then, or I will!”

“No I won’t, and no YOU won’t,” I gently answered. “Come back here, sit down and let Flaco lie beside you, Deek. THEN I’ll leave.”

The older fellow who was still reclined upon the sidewalk said not a word, and seemed nonplussed. Jay looked up at me from where he crouched and softly said with a grin: “So that’s your relationship, eh?”

I shrugged my shoulders and replied: “I’m not gonna take this crap. I hate drama queens, and I hate it when Deek acts like one.”

Deek finally returned to his spot where he called Flaco over. She immediately curled her little brave body upon his crossed legs with happy wags, soon closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. Before departing, I proposed he keep the dogs with me while camped out here…or at least Flaco, as she’s the one who keeps barking. Upstairs she’ll get some needed rest, instead of feeling like she has to be on constant sentry on high alert. He said no, they’re fine, so I let it slide…seeing as this is his usual pattern before abiding by my latest suggestion. If it comes down to it, I’ll sit out there with Flaco until it’s time for Deek to move on, so she’ll get the affection she craves and so WELL deserves, and thus enjoy a good two hours of rest. Though I suspect this will crimp his style when it comes to jawing with his street pals in my presence. Which may prove effective in that he’ll tell me to take the dog upstairs. Or he’ll move to another spot, away from my building. I’d prefer the first outcome, for the sake of Flaco’s well-being.

Now that Deek had finally mellowed out, with Flaco secure in his care, I returned hovel to finish my dinner and watch some videos. Flaco barked on and off a couple more times, but not so loud or long as to be a nuisance. Another homeless person had shown up with his German Shepherd…a very friendly and calm dog, not a single bark, yelp or whimper out of her. But in spite of that, Flaco wouldn’t cease her cacophony until they departed around the corner, on 16th Street. By 11:45 PM Deek was packing up and ready to depart. I came back downstairs to wish him a good night.

The gray-haired “Appalachian” excused himself and disappeared to parts east, while Jay remained awhile longer. He kindly remarked about what an excellent arrangement Deek has with me, and how I work so hard to watch over them. I said thank you, then somehow the conversation came around to my age.

“Do you wanna guess how old I am?”

Jay hesitated to supply an answer to this awkward question, as is the polite thing to do. Then I told him:

“Seventy-one, can you believe it?”

He remarked how much younger and healthy I look. “You’re always full of energy!”

“Yes I am. And that’s because Deek and his doggies keep me on my toes,” I proudly confessed, which admission I knew would warm Deek’s heart.

We watched him quietly leave with pups, cart and bicycle down Market Street and towards Castro. At that point, I picked up the box to return upstairs with it. Just then, “chihuahua man” showed up with his two little angels, while I suddenly made myself busy cleaning up the debris that remained from Deek’s visit. I was really sort of avoiding him, but he came right up to me and said:

“Well THAT get together didn’t last very long!”

I almost cracked up, and replied while fussing with some discarded cans and paper wraps, rather than look up at him:

“Yep, that’s just how I want it.”

He gave a quick snort of hilarity, before he and pooches returned inside. I figure he stepped out just ten or so minutes ago, saw the small congregation of three street folks, and the two brindlekin…then upon returning from his walk, saw them pack things up and leave. Not realizing they were actually camped out there for almost two hours! I gather his apartment faces 16th Street, rather than Market.

Once Deek was far enough down the street, I took a few more minutes to speak with Jay.

“You know, I’ve recently established a network of street people to make sure he takes good care of those doggies,” I explained. “It’s taken me OVER A YEAR to get this going!” To my surprise, he then said something amazing:

“Oh, we all know about you, Zeke, how kind you are and do whatever you can for the homeless!” To which I interjected:

“Some have even come up to me just a couple days ago, to reassure me they watch over Deek and the pups, and appreciate my efforts and concern!”

“You bet,” he continued. “You are well known for your good works. And Deek truly respects you, though he doesn’t show it around you. Some dudes are just like that, but I assure you he has nothing but admiration for what a good friend you are.”

I was SO glad to hear that, coming out of the blue from a person I trust, thanks to his consistent praise of my outreach. Before departing, I thanked him once more and said:

“We met again at a VERY opportune moment!”

He agreed with a smile, then departed and I returned to my humble sanctuary, pleased as punch. Now, for a bit more Bodhisattva Premise conjecturing:

Remember when Deek wore my Buddha necklace with great pride? That was back in April. It seems to me that someone so Christian influenced (as he clearly was, growing up in the deep south), would NOT readily jump into Buddhism, as Deek has done. He even REQUESTED I return the medallion so HE could wear it. And that was barely two weeks after gifting me with it! It’s a great video BTW, so here it is again in case you’d like to view it once more (or maybe for the first time…or not at all, as I know you are quite busy tending to your own life challenges):

This, I believe, is but one of MANY clues of a bodhisattva presence…through Deek and numerous others living on the streets. And that they already KNOW my destiny, my role IN it, and their devotion and support in getting me there. I DID NOT ACCOMPLISH ALL THIS ON MY OWN; I HAVE MANY ALLIES. All of whom are as much a hero as I am, if not more so.

Well, good doctor, it looks like my Brindlekin Trilogy is not yet done. Actually, it’s a quaternity at this point, and soon to morph into a QUINternity! Though I’ll leave it to my literary admirers to sort out the breakdown of Book 3 into one or two more books. It would just be TOO exhausting for me to do that myself, what with all my ongoing busy-ness composing further tales, tending to the dogs and Deek, and so on.

I have run through all twenty-six letters of the alphabet for chapter 17 (or “The Final Chapter (parts 1-26)”. So now I’ve established the first episode of chapter 18, entitled “The FINAL Final Chapter (part 1)” or “Chapter 18a.” Though I’m sure that, even once I complete this series, which I believe will encompass five books in all:

I’ll be writing about Deek & pups for many years to come…for as long as I live, in fact. And THAT may be an eternity, seeing as the Grim Reaper herself couldn’t snatch me away.

So whaddya think of Hell Freezer (assuming you’ve gotten around to hearing one of his brilliant narrations of human idiocy). I really CAN’T imagine you going other than ape-shit over his videos.

And I am so delighted to stumble upon yet a THIRD season of “What We Do in the Shadows”…that superb modern-vampire parody. I binge watched all ten episodes over the last few days, and was FAR from disappointed. OUTSTANDING comedy, still fresh and original as the first two seasons! I DO hope you find some way to watch all three seasons yourself. They are officially on Hulu. Plenty of great excerpts from that show on Youtube, to give you a taste of what a fantastic series it is.

That’s it for now, thank Bridget! I spent the ENTIRE day composing this 2-part missive. And ignored all my usual daily amusements and online activities. NOTHING else is as important as my tales, not even close.

– Zeke K-Holmes

Subject: “Take the dogs, I gotta get to work!”
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 4, 2021 11:27 AM

About as domestic a scene as you can expect, in a homeless world. The man of the house, the lord and master, king of the castle, he who brings home the bacon, MUST be off to work and he can’t bring the mutts along. So it is MY duty as stay-at-home doggy dad, to bring the pups inside and tend to their simple needs. 8:16 AM, his string of “yo’s” got me out of bed. Not that they actually woke me up, as I drank my second coffee far too late in the evening, and I could NOT fall asleep.

“Take the dogs, I gotta get to work!” he called up to me the moment I appeared in the window.

So I slipped on my zories and rushed downstairs. As I emerged from the gate, the pups spotted me right off, from where they were still tied to the cart at the corner of 16th & Market. They happily summoned me with barks and dancing on their hind legs, tugging at their leashes with great joy. Deek untied the woofies and handed them over, whereupon they pulled me forward like wild horses till we reached the gate…pawing at it like there’s no tomorrow, barking and yapping with gleeful anticipation. I looked back at Deek to say thank you; he wished me a nice day, mounted his bike and off he went.

Soon as we reached the first few steps and were out of range of the lobby camera, I released the hounds who scurried with merry barks up to the second floor, and into my hovel. Which door I intentionally left ajar for their quick entry. I reached my floor ten seconds later, and Lucky popped back into the hallway to welcome me to their abode, playfully tugging at my pant cuffs as I staggered slowly onward. At that moment, Flaco suddenly scooted from my hovel as well, and dashed up and down the hallway a couple of times, with Lucky in chase, their ears pinned back in frenzied delight. Soon as I entered the room myself, they followed and hopped right onto the cot, cushioned by four layers of plush comforters.

I do want to point out that Deek never said before, that he’s off to work. But his saying just that this morning indicates a new stability in his life, a positive energy that’s gonna take him places as he builds on that foundation.

And what does “going to work” mean for him? Rummaging across the city for recyclable cans and bottles, of course. (And maybe “selling product” as I like to call it.) Reminds me of my father’s occupation, which was what we then called “garbage man.” Deek is VERY industrious…like a cyclone swooshing down streets and alleyways and sucking up any bottles and cans within miles in every direction. I’m sure he’s at his best when the pups aren’t around to distract him.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually landed a part-time job in some restaurant or other service outlet, under the counter. Seeing as employers are hungry for workers these days, and are willing to pay better wages (for the most part).

– Zeke K-Holmes

Texting with Wattson – 11/07/21

Venus & Moon pic 1

Venus & Moon pic 2

Subject: No Venus & Crescent Moon Tonight! :(
From: Ezekiel Krahlin
To: My Dear Wattson
Date: November 10, 2021 1:50 PM

[Please note I started this missive two days ago.]


Drat! I wanted to take a twilight shot…maybe tomorrow. It’s raining again now, not too bad but more than enough to get the pups soaking wet for hours. Deek dropped by earlier to pick up his large speaker, and a garbage bag to keep it dry. So he knew we were due for another nighttime shower. I guess he cares more about his electronics and rap music, than about his wee charges!

“What about the dogs?” I asked as he readied to leave. “Shouldn’t they shelter here tonight?”

“No, I gotta go somewhere!” he obliquely answered while giving the cart a shove.

“Does that mean you’re gonna keep them warm and dry?”

“Yes!” he said, denying me another moment to question him further as he crossed the street with the little angels in tow. They flashed a couple of forlorn glances back at my diminishing figure. I returned hovel with a sad heart, soon as they reached the opposite corner.

Earlier that day, I bumped into Boulevard Joe. He asked how I was and I broke into an imromptu speech, as if I were channeling a message from the deity:

“Halloween REALLY starts once they discard the costumes onto the streets…San Francisco better wake up, and acknowledge that the heart of this city IS the homeless. It used to include not just street people, but the low income as well: artists, writers, dancers, innovators…what some call the Bohemian lifestyle! What you said some years back is SO true: today’s middle class are tomorrow’s homeless! I have always suspected there are at least SOME shamans living on the streets, if not MANY, perhaps ALL of them. How could they NOT reach a higher state of consciousness with such tremendous burdens placed upon their shoulders, day in day out, year after year? INTOLERABLE! CRUEL! HEARTLESS! I’m teaching Deek about Celtic mythology, so I ordered a Welsh dragon medallion that should arrive in a week or so. But he’s also taught ME many things, not by lecture but by action, including pressing my buttons to the point of exhaustion, many times over. Sweet and sour, yin and yang, the teacher becomes the student, and vice versa.”

To all of which Joe nodded in hearty agreement, especially about the shamans. I suppose my loquacious outburst was also my stream-of-consciousness way of letting him know I’m there, I grok what’s REALLY going on. Later that day I realized my stalwart praise of the homeless will likely be broadcast among many other asphalt jungle denizens, through his voice.

And I finally had the chance to ask Joe what he thinks about Luba. He praised her to the heavens: “Oh, she loves me! I fixed her heater, her television, her door lock, all sorts of stuff. I’m her on-call handyman.”

“Cool,” I replied. “She drinks too much, but still, Luba strikes me as a good person, and quite the character.” Of course I bit my tongue over her not-so-kind opinion of HIM. These are shamans, they have peculiar ways about them…one of which is LYING about someone to test my reaction, and behavior down the timeline. If I repeat what gossip they project, it could foment further angst, and I will be judged poorly. But THAT shall never happen, as I obviously know better.


In the context of Buddha’s declaration that heaven and hell are a state of mind, I believe I have recently crossed over, as good things keep happening to me anymore, including Deek’s more consistent cooperation and mild manners regarding ANY confrontation I present. His refusal to let the dogs stay with me tonight notwithstanding, because he did so peaceably…that is, without a smidgen of angst. Cultivating a worry-free perception of life (whether on a personal or a more general, species level) has certainly contributed to this auspicious transition.

For one, I am frequently complimented more often than ever, by passersby charmed by the doggies. Even when they’re barking for no apparent reason except to show off their pride in guarding THIS Moirai-kissed pilgrim, people still say things like:

“Oh, such cute little doggies!” or “I love those pups!” or “What gorgeous coats they have!” or “Look at those darling mutts!” and so on.

And, just three mornings ago, a sweet elderly woman working the register at the corner store on 17th & Noe said “I like your mask.” So I told her the tale of the young clerk at that same store, who first expressed admiration for my Palestinian face cover last month.

“That’s my grandson!” she lit up the moment I mentioned him.

Once I finished the delightful anecdote, she remarked: “God brought that to you!”

I nodded my head and replied: “It’ll be a sad day in my life when this mask gets too worn out to wear any more!”

‘Oh, no,” she declared with verve, “it will NEVER wear out!”

I neglected to tell her how I was drawn to their store only several days after acquiring the mask (without yet knowing its message, or that the shop is run by a Palestinian family)…which sort of clinches the “god” thing. Next time she’s present when I drop by, I’ll be sure to fill her in. At any rate, she spoke with pride about her Palestinian heritage, that her people are hard workers, enduring and inventive, through all their unbelievable struggles. Our conversation ended with the kind lady expressing her appreciation for this talk. And thus I departed, walking on a cloud. I’m sure I made her day, too.

Seeing as we’ve been discussing dragons again, I decided to purchase a Welsh dragon medallion for Deek:

Click here for a larger view.

Only $10, so when he inevitably loses it a short time later, no big deal…I’ll get him another one the following month. It’s due to arrive any day between the 12th and 18th. I’ll present it to him as a friendship gift, and welcome him into the Clan of Dragons:

“Because you have the strength, courage and street wisdom of a dragon, yourself!”


Good news! Shortly after the rain began to pour down last night, Deek showed up with the pups: “They told me they wanted to spend the night with Uncle Zeke.”

The pups were NOT shivering; in fact they appeared in good spirit despite their soppy condition. I pet them both, and felt their body warmth emanate through the fur. Once back hovel I dried them off immediately, then gave them treats. In no time flat they were sound asleep, burrowed beneath the blankets. I DID wake them up an hour later to feed them, and they dined with vigor.

He also handed me a “new” smartphone and, to my amazement, once I plugged it in and turned it on, discovered it had a dragon-themed background!

Well shucks, no Muslim light show tonight, either, thanks to an overcast sky. Guess it just wasn’t in the stars. Earlier today I spoke with Sami, one of Morey’s two coworkers. He’s around his mid-seventies, tall and lanky, looks Middle Eastern (perhaps Lebanon) and has a quick wit. Though it was MY turn to be clever this time around.

“Did you see that sky show the other night?” I asked with enthusiasm.

“Yes I did, it was beautiful,” he answered back.

“Venus was so dazzling, the crescent moon so sharp and brilliant,” I gushed, “and the alignment so perfect, I almost surrendered to Islam!”

Four nights ago, Lucky puked several times…caught me off guard, but I promptly cleaned up the various spots, dispersed among several throw rugs. No stink, no stain remained…though neither his nor Flaco’s vomit ever smells foul in the first place. I then covered the entire floor with double-layered sheets of the Bay Area Reporter, just to play it safe. But he was fine after that, and they both had good appetites.

Deek wore another creepy mask two days after Halloween. Also rubbery like the evil rabbit mask, but one that fits just the face, not the entire head. It made him look like a derelict 30-something high school dropout with a really bad case of cystic acne, the kind cruel kids would call “pizza face.” Splotches of fake blood and dirt completed the gruesome visage. I couldn’t Duckduckgo a mask that even comes CLOSE to what Deek wore, to show it to you. So you’ll have to trust me when I say it was frightfully realistic.

“Wow, you really look different, Deek,” I exclaimed, with one arm slightly raised across my face in revulsion. “I don’t even feel like talking to you, some scary stranger.”

“GRR-ROWR!” he replied in character.

“It reminds me of my first boyfriend,” I cracked.

“Your FIRST boyfriend?” he queried in a wobbly, eerie tone of voice…then raised his hands like claws about to tear my face apart: “Well I’M gonna be your LAST boyfriend!”

He then turned around to fuss with his bicycle, and I opined with a chuckle: “That was very funny, Deek!”

NOVEMBER 10 (today):

Well, yesterday evening the building manager came down the stairs as I stepped outside my hovel with the pups, who commenced barking. As I crouched down and told the pups to quiet down (though they didn’t), Kevin addressed me from the main hallway:

“You NEED to stop bringing those dogs into the building!”

I ignored him, though really had no choice in the matter, as attempting to holler over their barks would only excite them further and cause even MORE noise. I simply remained hunkered down, urging the doggies to chill out.

“Do you hear me?” Kevin demanded. But seeing that he was NOT gonna get ANY reply from yours truly, he finally doddered off to parts unknown.

With that, Flaco & Lucky’s barks diminished into thin air as I escorted them downstairs and outside. I really don’t see ANY point in talking to Kevin, as he’s making a mountain out of a molehill…everyone loves the pups, and they are absolutely NO problem at all. I am dogsitting for a friend in a PET-FRIENDLY building, they are not living with me, and that’s that. Instead of being antagonistic, he could EASILY approach the dogs in kindness, pet them and make them feel welcome (which he HAS done a few times in the past, FYI). His overly authoritarian behavior as building manager does NOT impress me in the least. Nor do his mood swings, which I suspect are early-onset-dementia inspired.

I DID expect to find another one of his spooky letters taped to my door in an envelope, upon returning hovel with the pooches, but nothing yet. Let’s see how this latest scenario plays out, Wattson (if it even does). All previous confrontations in This Beleaguered Mansion Of The Dysfunctional have shown me that standing my ground, while remaining calm and friendly through it all, is the winning ticket. I’ll simply take this as the latest challenge presented by one of my bodhisattva guardians, to disregard animosity flung in my direction, and maintain a joyful demeanor. And not obsess in my mind’s eye over worst case scenarios such as “I might wind up homeless because I refuse to deny the doggies shelter!” Besides: Kevin appears to be on his last legs, as I’ve mentioned before, and more than once.

Oh, I also passed by Moe Fleisher (my quasi-fascist neighbor down the hall) last night. I said hello as I descended the stairs while he ascended. And believe me, that was no easy task, as he’s morbidly obese, and the stairs are narrow! Had he slipped just then he would’ve crushed me like a sea elephant. Not so much as a hello back. The nerve! Well, he’s friends with Kevin, so I guess that has something to do with it. Along with Deek’s more frequent campouts by the bus stop. Though Deek and pups have been MOSTLY quiet all along, to a suprising degree. So I can only conclude he just resents them being there at all. Even though such peaceful gatherings BENEFIT the residents, as a kind of building security, and safe space right outside.

It seems that Deek has a couple of girlfriends, but that may simply be braggadocio. Last night he was talking about one of them, and how she loves the brindlekin…though sometimes cannot have them over, which is one reason he brings them to me. I have no idea if any of this is true, though he did put on a display of boinking her ghostly form by ramming his hips forward and back, while doing the same with fisted arms, in opposite motion:

“When I brings her da pups I gets me da fuks!”

He was supposedly setting off to see her last night, said he was in a hurry. But after I returned hovel, I saw him still out there ten minutes later. I decided then, to step back outside and show him the image of the Welsh flag with the red dragon on it, that I had downloaded to my phone. He’s never seen it before, and I thought he should, considering he’ll soon recieve a medallion of that same image. How much better he’ll appreciate it, as a result!

So I approached again, this time with my phone, and said: “I thought you were in a rush, but you’re still here! You asked me to hurry, bringing stuff down, but I really could’ve taken all my sweet time!”

“I’ll be leaving in a moment, sorry,” he thoughfully replied.

“Naw, that’s okay,” I said, then showed him the Welsh flag on my Moto screen. I explained how Wales is one of four nations that compose the British Isles, the other three are Ireland, England and Scotland. (I forgot about Northern Ireland, but that’s just as well for the nonce.) Unfortunately, he blathered over me (about god knows what; I sure don’t), so I repeated myself two more times while he chattered aimlessly, to be sure it all sank in.

He finally said it was time to go, and wished me a good night. I responded with: “You, too, Deek, have a great night. But before you leave, tell me: what are the four nations of the British Isles?”

He didn’t bother to answer, just wandered off towards Castro Street, as I stood there waving at the doggies whenever they looked back. Didn’t appear to ME like he was rushing off to meet this girlfriend…more like just another night with him and the mutts, rummaging for recyclables and perhaps stumbling upon some choice items that will serve as gifts or trade-worthy goods. Maybe he’ll show up next time with another outstanding Halloween mask!

So now it’s the next day, early afternoon, and I’m about to send you this email. Deek dropped by two hours ago to pick up the usual crap, plus $40. Though he did NOT request dog food this time around (to my surprise, as he didn’t last night). I took time out to give him my latest pep talk: “You’re doing stupendously well, Deek!”

“What do you mean?” he replied, lips in a twist while lashing down the speaker with a bungee cord, atop the shopping cart already porcine with a mound of newfound clutter.

“Just the way you handle your life these days, very impressive,” I explained. “And I don’t mean this as someone who thinks he’s holier-than-thou, for I have learned much from you, as well. You’ve made me a better person.”

He seemed quite pleased to hear that, but with a satirical, eye-rolling facade: “Thank you kindly, but I wouldn’t take things so far.”

Before returning hovel, I wished my three darling charges a lovely day, and to spend the money wisely. Well, Wattson, I certainly look forward to all our future encounters, as what’s been happening between us these past few months is a definite sea change. For the better. His behavior in general, and attitude towards me, has softened considerably, with a wry sense of humor that reflects just that. Why, only the day before he reassured me that he really IS looking for a place to live, but he’s not gonna accept a bug-and-rat-infested hotel room populated by crackheads and ex-cons in the Tenderloin, or stay for months on end in a large, crowded tent, quonset hut or warehouse by the bay, with all sorts of chaos and stupidity going on. For which declaration on his part, I can only conclude:

He’s got all his ducks in a row!

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