Kalamongo Beach

By Stirling Edgewood

Copyright 2020

This is a retelling of a joke I heard in 3rd grade. I’ve added a few details. As far as I know the original author is anonymous. Props to the original author, whoever he is.

Once there was a little boy named Johnny. One day, his family moved to a new country, where no one knew them, and no one in the country even knew they were there. They got there in the morning, just about when school was starting, and Johnny’s mother said, “Go to school.”

“But I don’t even know where the school is!” Johnny replied.

His mother pointed out the window.

“Look, there are some kids walking down the street with books. Follow them.”

So Johnny followed the kids down the street, through the neighborhood, into a school, and into a classroom. He sat down in the back, hoping no one would notice him. The room had lots of maps on the wall, and the bookshelves were full of atlases, so he figured it was a geography class. Johnny loved geography. It was his favorite subject. He knew the names of all the continents, countries, states, cities, oceans, lakes, rivers, mountain ranges, and beaches he had ever seen on a map.

The teacher came in, looked around, saw Johnny, and said, “Hey Johnny, how you doing?

“Doing great!” said Johnny cheerfully.

“Now class,” the teacher said, “let’s pick up where we left off. Who can tell me where Kalamongo Beach is?”

Every hand in the class shot up. Every hand, that is, except Johnny’s. Kalamongo Beach? He never heard of it. He couldn’t remember it from the hundreds of maps he had seen and studied. He slouched down in his seat, trying to hide from the teacher so she wouldn’t pick him.

The teacher looked around the room for a minute, then pointed directly at him.

“Johnny, where is Kalamongo Beach?” She asked.

“Uh, I don’t know,” he confessed.

“What?” The teacher looked surprised. “You don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is? That’s too bad. I’m sending you to the Principal.”

Johnny got up from his desk, walked out of the classroom, and down the hall to the Principal’s office.

The Principal was sitting at his desk, sipping on his coffee. “Hey Johnny, how are you doing?” he asked.

“Pretty good.” Said Johnny.

“Glad to hear it,” the principal said cheerfully. “What brings you here?”

“Well,” Johnny began, “the teacher sent me down here.”

“Why did she do that?” The principal looked concerned.

“I don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is.” Johnny admitted.

The Principal suddenly coughed and spit his coffee out all over his desk. “What! You don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is! This is serious! I’m calling the Chief of Police!”

He picked up the phone.

“Hello, Chief of Police?” the principal said.

“Yeah, this is the Chief of Police.” Said a gruff voice.

“I’ve got a problem,” said the Principal.

“What is it?” asked the Chief. “But make it quick, I’m about to arrest a group of terrible criminals, and if they get away now, I’ll never get another chance.”

“You know Johnny?” the principal asked.

“Yeah, the new kid,” responded the chief.

“Well, he doesn’t know where Kalamongo beach is.”

“What! Doesn’t know where Kalamongo Beach is! I’ll be right over!”

REEEEE-ARRRRR, REEEEE-ARRRRR. Johnny heard the siren as the police care roared down the street. It came screeching to a stop in front of the school, the police chief jumped out, sprinted into the school, and exploded into the principal’s office.

“All right Johnny, up against the wall!” the chief shouted. “You Don’t Know Where Kalamongo Beach Is! I’m taking you to the Mayor!”

The police chief put Johnny in his car, sirens blaring, flying through red lights, and beeping his horn at anyone that got in his way.

When he got to the town hall, he slammed on the brakes, got out, opened the door, and said, “Now, you go in there and see the mayor!”

So Johnny got out of the police car.

“Don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is,” the chief muttered, as he got back into his car and drove off.

Johnny walked into the town hall, down the hall to the mayor’s office, and walked in.

The Mayor was sitting at his desk, pen in hand, about to sign an important new law to help orphaned kittens and puppies. He looked up.

“Hey Johnny, how you doing?”

“Alright, I guess.” Johnny said.

“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“Well,” said Johnny, “Teacher sent me to the Principal, Principal sent me to the Chief of Police, and Chief of police sent me here. All because I don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is.”

The Mayor’s hand jerked down, breaking the pen and tearing a big hole into the new law.

“WHAT?” he yelled. “You Don’t Know Where Kalamongo Beach Is? I’m sending you to the Governor!”

The Mayor grabbed Johnny’s hand, took him down to the train station, and put him on a train to the State Capitol. When the train arrived, Johnny got out and walked to the Governor’s Mansion. He walked, in, and went down the hall to the Governor’s office.

The governor was holding a beautiful and priceless painting by the frame and admiring it. “Hey Johnny, how are you doing?” He said.

“I’ve had better days.” He replied.

“Why are you here?” asked the governor.

“Well,” said Johnny, “Teacher sent me to the Principal, Principal sent me to the Chief of Police, Chief of police sent to the Mayor, and Mayor sent me here. All because I don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is.”

The Governor suddenly flinched, breaking the frame and ripping the picture.

“WHAT!” he exclaimed. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE KALAMONGO BEACH IS! I’m sending you to the President!”

The Governor took Johnny to the airport and put him on a plane to the Nation’s Capital.

When the plane landed, Johnny got off, and walked to the President’s House. He went in and walked down the hall to the President’s Office.

The President was reading something by candlelight. It was a peace treaty he was about to sign that would end war and suffering throughout the world.

“Johnny, so good to see you!” said the President. “How are you?”

“Not good,” Said Johnny.

“Why are you here?” the President asked.

“Well,” said Johnny, “Teacher sent me to the Principal, Principal sent me to the Chief of Police, Chief of Police sent me to the Mayor, Mayor sent me to the Governor, and Governor sent me here. All because I don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is.”

The President jumped in the air, knocking the candle over onto the peace treaty, and it instantly burst into flames.

“WHAT!!! YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE KALAMONGO BEACH IS!!! I’m sending you out of this country!” said the President.

Johnny went down to the docks, found a ship leaving the country, and walked down the gangplank. As he boarded, the captain of the ship was on deck overseeing the loading of a valuable cargo of precious gems.

“Johnny, what a pleasure!” said the Captain. “What are you doing here?”

“Well,” said Johnny, “Teacher sent me to the Principal, Principal sent me to the Chief of Police, Chief of police sent me to the Mayor, Mayor sent me to the Governor, Governor sent me to the President, and President sent me out of the country. All because I don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is.”

The captain threw his arms in the air, bumping the cargo net, which swung out over the water, dumping all the cargo into the sea.

“WHAT!!!. YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE KALAMONGO BEACH IS!!! You get below decks right now and I don’t want to see your face until the voyage is over! And when we get into port, you get right off my ship!” shouted the Captain.

Johnny went below deck, and down a dark, smelly gangway. He saw a door, opened it, and stepped in. It was very dark in the room, and the door screeched shut behind him, making it completely lightless. As Johnny’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, he noticed a pair of glowing eyes staring at him. What Johnny didn’t know was that this cabin was never used by the crew of the ship. It had been forgotten long ago. But in it was a man who had spent his entire life on the ship, in this cabin. He was born when a stowaway came here to hide and gave birth to him. He had never left the cabin. And since no one ever came into the cabin, he had never seen or spoken to another human being his entire life. He got up and approached Johnny. He was dressed in rags, smelly, and had a hungry look in his eye. When he reached the spot where Johnny was standing, he peered closely at him, then said, “Hey Johnny, how are you?”

“Well,” said Johnny. “I’ve had a pretty rough day.”

“So sorry to hear that. What are you doing here?”

“Well,” said Johnny, “Teacher sent me to the Principal, Principal sent me to the Chief of Police, Chief of police sent me to the Mayor, Mayor sent me to the Governor, Governor sent me to the President, President sent me to this ship to send me out of the country, and the Captain sent me here. All because I don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is.”

“YOU! DON’T! KNOW! WHERE! KALAMONGO! BEACH! IS!” Screamed the man. “You go sit over there on the other side of the cabin, and don’t even look at me.”

“It’s kind of dark in here,” observed Johnny. “I probably couldn’t look at you, even if I wanted to.”

“That don’t matter, just go and sit down!” Commanded the man.

So Johnny went to the other side of the cabin and sat down. Johnny could feel the ship starting to move, and hear the hum of the engines. After a while, the ship started shaking and rocking, as if it were caught in a storm. Suddenly, claxons sounded out, and the floor beneath him was jolted by a huge bang. Before Johnny knew it, the entire ship was breaking apart. The floor of the cabin opened up, and he fell through into the sea.  Johnny swam up to the surface and looked around. The ship was completely gone, sunk to the bottom of the sea. He began swimming through the waves and spray. Suddenly he became aware of something swimming close to him. He looked over and saw a large shark fin sticking out of the water. He swam faster, but the fin kept right up with him. Then the fin sped ahead, turned around and starting moving directly toward him. It was moving faster and faster. Just before it reached him, the shark reared up out of the water. It had nasty black eyes, and an evil snarl on its face. It opened up its huge mouth, which was full of long, sharp teeth, and said, “Hey Johnny, how are you?”

“Really bad,” Said Johnny.

“Aw, that’s so sad.” Replied the shark. “What are you doing here?”

“Well,” said Johnny, “Teacher sent me to the Principal, Principal sent me to the Chief of Police, Chief of police sent me to the Mayor, Mayor sent me to the Governor, Governor sent me to the President, President sent me to a ship to send me out of the country, the Captain sent me below decks, the ship crashed and sank, and now I’m here. All because I don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is.”

“WHAT!” Yelled the shark. “YOUDON’TKNOWWHEREKALAMONGOBEACHIS!!! You get out of my ocean right now!”

So Johnny began swimming again. He swam and swam and swam. He was very tired when he looked ahead and saw an island. He swam to the island, and with his last ounce of strength, pulled himself onto the sandy shore. What Johnny didn’t know, was that this was a remote and obscure island that had never been discovered. It wasn’t on any map, and no one in the world knew about it. The inhabitants had never had contact with the outside world. In fact, the people who lived there were savage cannibals. As Johnny lay there, too tired to move, a huge man with an even bigger club in his hand emerged from the jungle with a hungry look in his eye. He saw Johnny, and started running toward him with a bloodcurdling scream. When he reached Johnny, he raised his terrible club high over his head, then opened his mouth and said, “Hey Johnny, how are you?”

“Bad, awful, terrible, horrible, and even worse than that,” said Johnny.

“Johnny, you poor little boy,” said the savage. “What are you doing here?”

“Well,” said Johnny, “Teacher sent me to the Principal, Principal sent me to the Chief of Police, Chief of police sent me to the Mayor, Mayor sent me to the Governor, Governor sent me to the President, President sent me to a ship to send me out of the country, the Captain sent me below decks, the ship crashed and sank, I swam till I met a shark, and he sent me here. All because I don’t know where Kalamongo Beach is.”

“You don’t?” asked the savage.

“No,” replied Johnny.

“Well, l have good news then,” said the savage. “You’re on Kalamongo beach!”

“Wow!” exclaimed Johnny. “That’s great! Now I know where Kalamongo beach is. I can go back to my country, back to my state, back to my city, back to school, and see my family again.”

“I’m so happy for you Johnny,” said the savage. “You should tell them right away. Across the street from the beach is a satellite phone with wireless linkup.”

“Hooray!” shouted Johnny. He rushed up the beach and starting running across the street. Suddenly, a high speed maglev bullet train coming down the road smacked into Johnny and flattened him out dead.

“Poor Johnny,” said the savage.

What’s the moral of the story? Look both ways before crossing the street.

Copyright 2020

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