Annie and her mom moved from Ohio to Oregon where her mom got transferred with her job. At first it seemed exciting for Annie, until her first day at school. Some other girls sat next to her during lunch and introduced themselves then started talking about how difficult math was.
“I find math easy,” Annie said. “I never have to study…”
As Annie continued bragging about herself, she saw a strange thing occur. A huge bubble began to surround each of the other girls.
Annie continued boasting, and the girls in each bubble started shrinking smaller and smaller. She stopped and stared. Within 60 seconds the bubbles were only about an inch around with a girl inside each one.
Then goymp! One of the bubbles popped and disappeared. Goymp, goymp, goymp! The rest of the girls disappeared when their bubbles popped.
After school Annie was walking home with another girl and a couple of boys. She was excited she’d already started making friends. The boys complimented Annie about her hairstyle.
“I’ve always gotten my hair done by one of the best hair stylists in Ohio,” she said. “He’s quite expensive, but I don’t care. My mom can afford it. Whenever I make an appointment he drops everything and…”
While Annie was flaunting her status the three other kids were each enveloped in a bubble. Quickly they shrank and then goymp, goymp, goymp, they disappeared.
That evening Annie and her mom were at a restaurant. Annie was telling her mom all about her day while they were waiting for their server to ask for their order. The server came and said, “That’s a nice sweater you have on.”
“I made this sweater by myself,” Annie said.
“Well, aren’t you talented?” the server said. Then she took their order and went to turn it in to the kitchen.
Then the server brought them their dinner. “Here’s yours ma’am and here’s the talented young lady’s dinner.”
Annie’s mom chimed in, “You know, my daughter is also a straight A student and is on her way to winning the…”
Just then the server was cloaked with a bubble, shrank to an inch then goymp! She was gone. A few minutes later goymp, goymp, goympy, goymp, the whole restaurant was empty of people.
After a few days Annie saw people everywhere around her goymp and disappear every time she spoke. Within a few weeks the entire population of Oregon had goymped and disappeared.
That’s about the time I met Annie. She and her ma was travelin’ through Montana to git back to Ohio. When they got to Montana everybody kepta disappearin’ til there weren’t nobody in the state that was around. So Annie and her ma was perty curious why I was still around. We had a nice chat about their experiences.
“Why is it I can talk to adults about myself, but kids my age all disappear?” Annie asked in frustration.
“Well, adults ain’t challenged by a child, but they are with another adult, just like a child is with another child,” I said.
“It’s lonely without anybody else around,” Annie said. “It sure would be nice to have some friends that would stick around.” Her mom agreed.
“Well, I gots just what ya need!” I said. I gave em some instruction then gave ‘em some little chocolate candies. “Eat some o’ these candies every time you have a conversation with someone, especially with one o’ yer peers.”
They looked at the small oval chocolate candies. They looked like M&M’s, but they said A&A on them instead.
“Why do they say A&A?” Annie asked.
“Just remember my instructions that whenever ya talk to somebody from now own, insteada talking about yerself, ask them about themselves and admire them fer it. Just Ask and Admire. That’s all ya needs to remember. Ask and Admire.”
So, off they went. Soon they seen a couple parents playing catch with their kid at a park.
“How long have you been playing baseball?” Annie asked the other kid.
“Just a couple of years,” the kid said.
“You’ve got a good arm,” she said. “I wish I had that talent.”
Annie’s mom asked the parents, “how often do you come here?”
“Couple times a week,” They said.
“I admire you for your dedication,” she said. “You’ve got a talented kid.”
The parent and the kids both thanked them for their compliments. Then all of a sudden a couple bubbles appeared, starting at about an inch in diameter, then quickly growing until Zoop! Zoop! Two more people appeared from the bubbles.
Annie and her mom engaged in conversation with them, then asked and admired. Then more bubbles came from all around, grew larger, then popped. Zoop, Zoop, Zoopy, Zoop! There were people everywhere making friends with Annie and her mom.
Before long Annie and her mom were back in Oregon eating their A&A’s and enjoying all of the new friends they had made.