THE STRANGER'S STORY
"AT THE SEAMS"
Written by George West
and told by Angela Davis, The Yarnspinner
New Orleans is a city where the dead and the living are very close to each other. Closer than any other American city. The wall between us is thin at best and constantly breaking apart at the seams and throwing us together.
Everybody knew ol' Joe Johnson was a great comedian. He could make you laugh, your sides aching, have you rolling on the floor with tears coming out of your eyes! Some folks would say he was a great human being too! Old and wise, at an early age, he had a grizzly beard. A big wide man with a tendency to play practical jokes. He had some friends: Tina, John, Carla and Louis.
Using their talents, they climbed with him out of that trashy neighborhood of the city where they were born. Tina became a great singer, her records went gold, then platinum, several times! John made his success through writing, his name becoming a regular on the best seller lists. Carla became an actress an d won herself an Oscar. Louis became a comedian like Joe, had his own television show before launching himself as head of his own entertainment network.
They climbed up out of the hardness of the streets. That climb up polished them off, removed the rough edges and polished off the street dirt and smoothed out their language, but not Ol' Joe. He remained a diamond in the rough. With his old tastes, his old speech, and his old way of dress. Burned his candle at both ends and melted it in the middle so to speak.
Despite his talent, Joe was always in a pile of mess or a heap of trouble. He went from one house to another, one bankruptcy another, or one job to another. There was always something. His friends watched. They helped him when they could, but kept his personal disasters at arms length while they worked on their own careers. Each of his friends became distinguished in their own right. Putting mile after mile between themselves and the city.
Their old neighborhood, their old ways, their families, their friends, moving in higher and higher circles, except for of course ol' Joe. Now they kept him around, kind of like a cross between and old teddy bear and a good luck charm. Now you have to keep in mind the way Joe lived. He wasn't going to be around forever. Matter of fact, he died. You have to know how many times he wrecked his car. The end just wasn't a surprise to nobody. They found him and the twisted remains of his car in a ditch just outside the city. His will asked that he be buried at St. Expedite with his four friends as pall bearers.
Click on the coffin to find out what happened.