There once was this street-car conductor who was doing his job, going down the street, driving the street car. Ringing the bell, going ding-ding-ding down the street. When suddenly, a woman jumps in front of the train. He tries to stop, but can’t. The streetcar hits the woman.
There is a big commotion. The police arrive, the ambulance comes and takes her to the hospital. She has four hours of surgery, and then she dies.
The city goes crazy. “How could this happen?” “That conductor is a murderer”. There are allegations and investigations. The streetcar conductor is arrested. There is this huge trial that goes on for weeks. There are witnesses, charts, graphs, photographs of the crime scene and just about everything you could think of. After a full week of jury deliberations, the streetcar conductor is convicted. He is sentenced to the death penalty.
After a length appeals process, the day finally comes when the streetcar conductor is going to be executed. The prisoner is asked for his request for a last meal. He says “I would like a red banana.”
Now, red bananas only grow in deepest, darkest Africa every other year. This was not one of those years, so they postponed the execution until they could send one of the guards to fetch the red banana from deepest, darkest Africa. So finally the guard returns from deepest, darkest Africa with a red banana in hand. They strap the streetcar conductor to the electric chair, and hand him the red banana. He peels the banana very carefully halfway down the length of the red banana. He places the red banana in his right hand and, without eating it, tells the executioner to go ahead.
The executioner is really upset at having to wait all this time for the red banana from deepest, darkest Africa. Then having the conductor not even eat the darn thing was maddening. In this jurisdiction, they use the electric chair. He throws the switch as hard as he can.
The red banana glows and glows and then it drops from the streetcar conductor’s hand. The executioner is thinking that there goes another one. But Wait! The prisoner is alive. The executioner is beside himself!
Now there is a codicil of law that states that if you survive the sentence, you are a free person. Strange, but true. The streetcar conductor is released and even gets his old job back.
Well, wouldn’t you know that three years to the day of the first accident, the streetcar conductor is driving the streetcar down the same street, ring the same bell, “ding ding ding.” Guess what? He hits another person. The person dies again. He is charged again. This time the trial takes less than a week, The appeals are dispensed with, and he is sentenced to die again.
The day arrives. They ask what he would like for his last meal. He says “I would like a red banana.”
Luckily for the everyone concerned, it happened to be the right year for red bananas. The send a guard to deepest, darkest Africa. So the guard returns from deepest, darkest Africa with a red banana in hand. They strap the streetcar conductor to the electric chair, and hand him the red banana. He peels the banana very carefully halfway down the length of the red banana. He places the red banana in his right hand and, without eating it, tells the executioner to go ahead.
The executioner, really upset about the last time, has rigged all the electricity for the entire prison through the chair. He throws the switch and the prison goes dark except for the unbelievable glow of the red banana. The red banana falls to the floor.
He turns the switch off and the lights return to the prison and the streetcar conductor is still alive! He is released, and somehow gets his old job back.
Well, he was driving the streetcar down the same street again, ringing the same bell again, and he hits and kills another person. Short trial. No appeals. Into the chair he goes. He is once again asked about his last request and he says “I would like a red banana.”
The executioner says “Fine. The last time this happened, we made sure that we got two bananas. Here you go.” And the executioner hands the prisoner the red banana. He peels the banana very carefully halfway down the length of the red banana. He places the red banana in his right hand and, without eating it, tells the executioner to go ahead.
This time, the executioner has wired the entire city’s electrical grid into the chair. He throws the switch. The entire city is plunged into darkness. The red banana glows so bright that it looks like the sun! No one had ever seen anything like it. The red banana drops from the conductor’s hand.
The execution thinks that this guy must be toast, and turns off the switch. The guy is still alive! The executioner is now crying on his knees.
He finally asks the prisoner just what is going on. “How can you still be alive?!?!?” To which the prisoner replied “I guess I am just a lousy conductor.”
p.s. I heard this 30 years ago and it has always been groan-worthy ever since.