Contest by the Waterway

By Damon Cook [damcook@NMSU.Edu], this was published on the groaners listserv. Thanks, Damon.

Johnny was an arm-wrestling champion. For years he had set up his table out by the channel, right beside the water gate. Not once had Johnny ever lost an arm-wrestling match. And every time he won he took twenty dollars from the loser. One would think that the other guys in the town would stop coming, but they came back, time and time again.

One day the other guys decided they were going to get back at Johnny. He had been winning money from them for as long as they could remember. So they sent word out to Frankie from the next town over. Frankie was said to be stronger than any man alive. Surely he could beat Johnny.

Finally, the big day came. Johnny set up his table and Frankie sat down across from him.

Frankie grinned at Johnny, “Why don’t we raise the stakes a little bit this time?”

Johnny shrugged. “Two hundred dollars?”

“How about two thousand dollars?” Frankie’s grin was looking a little more sinister.

Johnny yawned. “Fine with me.” Then they got down to business.

As the referee yelled “go” the competition began in earnest. The sun sparkled off the slow-flowing water as sweat started to drip down the contestants’ faces. Slowly, Frankie was taking the lead. Johnny’s hand came down and down and down. In one final effort, Frankie forced Johnny’s hand all the way down onto the table, winning the match. The crowd went wild. Frankie jumped up and started dancing around.

As Frankie danced around near the edge of the channel, Johnny got up from the table. He ran over and knocked Frankie into the water and quickly turned the valve of the water gate. The water poured out and swept Frankie away. Johnny turned to the stunned onlookers and said, “It’s okay, guys. You win some, you sluice some.”

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