Sogwa stepped through the portal, to Mount Auburn, Plot Number 10782 / 2 .
It was late pre-morning, dew-time; the sky was black, with a faint hint of pink towards the east. And right below the eastern horizon, just barely visible to Sogwa’s cat-eyes, was her destination; the City That Only Kids Can See. She needed only its true name to enter.
All around Sogwa were see-through people, all glowing blue. They chatted to each other:
“Sun’s coming up soon!”
“Back to bed then, now, right?”
“Right! I can’t outshine that!”
And the blue-glowing see-through people all went back to their plots. They stepped down into the earth like you would get into a tub. Sighing, they laid down and vanished into the ground.
A blue-glowing see-through person approached. It was Grandma Marge.
Grandma Marge was as beautiful as ever. Her eyes were sky blue, her hair was brown, with white roots if you looked hard. She wore a half-smile; her face was grooved deep with smile lines.
Sogwa said, “Grandma Marge, it’s me.”
Grandma Marge saw her, and smiled deeper. “Hi, Sogwa.”
Sogwa said, “I know you have to lie down before the sun comes up, but before you do, please, Grandma Marge, can you tell me the true name? I need it to get home.”
“The true name of what?”
“The City That Only Kids Can See,” said Sogwa. “That one over there,” she said, pointing a paw towards the east.
Grandma Marge squinted towards the east. She said, “I can’t quite make it out.”
Sogwa said, “I can see it plain as day!”
“Then tell me what you see.”
Sogwa said, “Look! Right there! It’s the spaceport! See? A ship just blasted off!”
“Mm-hm!” Grandma Marge murmured, not seeing.
“Can’t you see all the hovercabs flitting around? And the monorails? And the bullet trains? And the geodesic domes?”
Grandma Marge said, “No, I can’t, it’s still too dark.”
“Look! Over there! It’s the Robot Works!”
“Who works there?”
“What do they make there?”
Grandma Marge said “Hmph!”
Sogwa pointed out other sights of the City That Only Kids Can See; the wind farms, tide-mills and sun towers; the recombinant zoo, the gasoline trees, the fusion incinerator, the air-car perch, the cyberspace cafe, the moving-picture-paper mill, the super-telescope, the replicator works, the rejuvenation clinic, the hologram theater, the World Parliament and the Lunar Embassy.
Sometimes Grandma Marge said “Mm-hmm!” and sometimes “Ahh...” and sometimes “Hmph!”; but each time she smiled, with smile-lines creased deep. All the while Grandma Marge saw not a thing, for it was still too dark for her human eyes, though not for Sogwa’s cat-eyes.
Finally Grandma Marge said, “So you want the City’s true name.”
“And the reason why,” Sogwa added.
“The reason why is clear enough,” said Grandma Marge, “and so’s the name. But really, it has many names.”
Then Grandma Marge gave Sogwa three true names for the City That Only Kids Can See. Sogwa saw in each name its own explanation.
Grandma Marge told Sogwa the specific name she needed to get back home. Sogwa marvelled at the name and Grandma Marge noted, “It makes its point.”
With that, Grandma Marge stepped down into the earth like you would get into a tub. With a sigh she lay down and vanished.
Sogwa said, “Goodbye, Grandma Marge.”
Then Sogwa held up a paw and said, “Access web.” One claw on her paw gleamed bright; she whipped her paw around in a circle; this left behind a glowing circle in the air, which flickered one, twice, then blazed blue. The portal sounded a chime, and it said,
“Welcome to the Web.”
Sogwa clicked on System, then Tools, then Damons, then Clock Damon.
The portal opened halfway; from within glittered brass gears, whirling and clattering. The Clock Damon said, “State your destination.”
And Sogwa whispered the true name of the City That Only Kids Can See.