Johnny was in love, in the way that only a thirteen year old boy can be in love – deeply, madly, annoyingly in love. The affair had begun last Christmas when his parents surprised him with a new bright-red iPhone 12, but the when he received a pair of AirPods for his birthday, personalized with his initials no less, he was a goner. He would never leave home without them.
The next morning he rose early, wolfed his breakfast, threw on his backpack and was out the door quicker than quick. The last thing he heard before he settled his AirPods into his ears was his mother’s warning, “Keep your wits about you, Johnny, and watch where you’re going!”
“Yeah, Mom,” he called over his shoulder, and he loading his latest playlist, cranked up the volume and headed off to school. By the time he reached the end of the block, he was lost in the music, his head in the clouds. Just then around the corner came old Mrs. Limply with her faithful dog Rags pulling at his leash.
“You, there! Watch out!” shouted Mrs. Limply.
“Arf arf,” warned Rags.
But Johnny couldn’t hear a thing, and he didn’t see them, either, as he gazed down at his phone.
Ooph! Ouch! Down he fell, heels over backpack, Johnny and Rags tangled together while Mrs. Limply tugged weakly at the entwining leash.
“Your mother will hear about this, young man, make no mistake!” and Mrs. Limply retrieved poor Rags and left Johnny sitting on the sidewalk, rubbing his skinned elbow.
Mrs. Limply was as good as her word, and Johnny spent a week without his beloved iPhone, just – his mother said – to teach him a lesson. But as soon as Johnny and his phone were reunited, all his promises were forgotten, and Johnny’s head was soon lost again in an electronic cloud.
It was a perfect spring day when Johnny passed the three Fisch girls in the way to school.
“Hi, Johnny!” called Sarah, but Johnny couldn’t hear her.
“Earth to Johnny,” laughed Rachel, “he seems to have lost our signal.”
“Johnny! Watch out!” shouted little Becca. “You’re going to fall right into the….”
Splash! Slosh! Gurgle! Into the pond went hapless Johnny, face down among the water lilies. In a moment he found his feet, and with a little help from the Fisches, he was able to pull himself out of the water. There he stood, dripping wet with pond water pooling around his sneakers. Johnny was sure he had never been so wet. As he pulled his arms out of his sagging, sodden backpack and lowered it to the ground, the older Fisch girls could no longer contain their giggles.
“Oh, Johnny, said Becca with a worried look. “Where’s your phone?” And they all looked into the pond where they could just see a shiny rectangular object resting in the mud.
“Silly Johnny,” said Rachel, “you should have known. Now you’ve lost your bright red phone.”