Darlings, I have the most amazing story to report . I met this stupendous character, Catfish Joe, a West Philly Ikon. I was standing at the Skukyll River throwing white roses into its murky green depths and crying my eyes out. Of course, I had this “mad” red sun bonnet on and I fancied no one would notice my agony.. MY doctor told me I had polyps in my, dare I say it,, my colon and would need an operation. Oh, Heavens , cancer at forty-two. They had not determined they were malign but just wanted to remove them annyhoo. My insides would look like Swiss cheese, no doubt.

I would leave behind my wonderful , husband Herman Sherman- Emma Enigma. Herman is a hermaphrodite for those of you who aren’t “in the know. But that is another story. And let us not forget, my other close friends, Lady Lynda, my friend and co-writer of this Blog, The Fabulous Black Orchid, an immortal ,and the every lusty and sassy, Wanda Lust.

Anny hoo, I saw this black man standing beside me. out of my peripheral visison, and he seemed to eminate power. He was tall, rawboned and had about him a sense of assurance and a horrible scar going down his left cheek., He wore khakis and a white tee shirt like a workman. I was not inclined to speak to him

Hello, Ma’am you seem to be sorrowin’ ‘bout somethin’. Ol Catfish Joe be at yo’ service.,” He said. And pot his hand lightly on my shoulder.

“What do you know, you don’t have cancer? I raised my voice. “You’re just a stranger!”

“Ol Joe aint no stranger to those in trouble. Talk to me all bout’ it “ he said. His voice was low and very manly.

I broke down into tears and he held me gently in his arms saying comforting things.
“I gone tell ya some shit, Pardon my French. Lotsa people survive cancer and I betcha don’ really know if it’s cancer. You is just thinking the worst.”

How’d you know that?” I said.

“Cause the hand of death don’t look like he laying it on you. You got q bloom on ya’ kind of like a garden rose. You aint all gray and drawn.”

“Lookikng and being are too different things, “ I replied.

“My Lady, Ol’ Joe got second sight and I sho’ don’t see the “Angel of Death” hanging ‘round youj,” he said.

“I don’t believe in second sight, “ I replied.

Old Joe just laid his hands on me and I felt the warmth emanating from his hands and when I looked in his eyes they were old, wizened and had a glow about them. I had to admit his touch made me feel better.

“Ya feels it don ya. I aint no faith healer but the Lord do work through me time and agin’ I be a lay preacher and my pulpit is anywhere I’m needed..”

“Thank you, Joe, I’m Auntie Carol. People call me “auntie” because I’m always in people’s business.” I said and laughed.

“Meddlesome people is the best kind cuz’ they care. Now what you gone do about Big C?”

“I’m going to fight it and get the surgery and spit in the eye of death. Like you’d want , Joe,” I said.

“With Hope in your heart you can do anything, Honey. Ya might want to come to my Sermons by the River, East River Drive on Saturdays at Ten, The Prof got me lecturin’ to his students. Ya see I audits classes at Renn. The mind jes’ like a tract of Land. God want you to plant somethin’ on it,”

We all went to see his sermon and The Black Orchid tried her magic on him, her sensual musk, on Old Joe but he merely said in the great words of Ray Charles, “I gotta women way over town and she’s good to me,” He called her Etta, , his Earth Angel. The Black Orchid sauntered away casually and said, “You know, Joe, I never fail. I’m not through with you yet.”

To which Old Joe said, “OH, Lord Mercy, I got powerful temptation on me now. I aint no sleep around kinda’ guy. When Ya got cake at home ya’ don’t rob nobody’s cupboard.”

He held all us girls in his arms and said, “God be with ya, ladies,” and ‘specially, you, Black Orchid which cause her to lay a cat scratch on his neck. “I’m old as Medusa, don’t try that God shit on me.”

“God loves you, too Darlin ‘. Ya needs him as much as any serial killer. No, don’ scratch Ol’ Joe agin” Or He gon turn ya over his knee and give yo’ ass a whoppin’ Don’ test me , Bitch. You aint got no bidness wit Ol’ Joe.” The Black Orchid merely stuck her tongue out at him, asnd shook her boadacious ass at him,.

“You be a wrongun’ Lady, but I likes yo’ nerve, Ya needs to be takin’ down a peg or too. After All God fashioned Eve outa Adam’s Rib. I gone sanctify you in no impossible way. It may take time but gone to be done, it is.”

The Black Orchid smiled and sucked on one of her fingers seductively.
“What that a white man’s penis. Betcha used to that. You make Ol’ Joe show his mean side, Gurl. Ol’ Joe wasn’t always a preacher, ladies. I was a man of the World once.”

“Auntie Carol and Lady Lynda were shocked, while Wanda Lust looked on. The truth be told Wanda was afraid of preachers though she had never met one like Joe. In Fact no one has ever seen anyone like Joe.


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