Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Sogwa should be President; chapter 2

            Chapter Two. Weather Witch

            Sogwa said, “First, some spare skins, just in case.”
            So she went to the toy store. There she found two bean-bag cat dolls just her size, color and shape. She bought them and took them home.
            Once home, she slipped out of her old doll and into one of the new ones. It felt good, like stepping into a new pair of shoes. She yawned and stretched. “Now, let’s see, my name is, oh yes, Sogwa.” Remembering one’s name is always the hardest part of settling into a new skin. Sogwa looked at the old Sogwa doll. It looked worn, so she put it in the blue basket with the other Old Favorites, in Sleepy Baby’s arms.
            “I’ll wear you again later,” Sogwa promised. “But in the meantime, I’m off to visit the big kids, and they play rough. You keep safe,” she told her old skin.

            Sogwa put the second spare doll in her backpack, along with a Swiss Army knife and a necklace with pendant. She took her backpack and her vacuum cleaner outdoors. She hung the pack on the vacuum cleaner, then she got on too. She turned the vacuum cleaner on full reverse, and it blasted into the air like a jet-pack.
            Flying a vacuum cleaner is noisy and dizzy, but cool. It’s way more modern than brooms.

            Sogwa flew long hours until she reached Lake Chimpy, the toxic waste dump formerly known as the City of Olde Phillippe. She landed on a muddy patch of ground at the shore of Lake Chimpy. With her Swiss Army knife, Sogwa cut a branch of weeping willow. She carved it into a magic wand, and she cut a notch in its side, so she could break it when the time came.
            Sogwa put on her necklace. Its pendant was a tiny empty bottle, just big enough to hold a single drop of water.
            Sogwa drew a wide circle in the muddy ground with her willow wand. She said, “I invoke the Four Elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water!” Then Sogwa drew a six-pointed star inside the protective circle. She said, “I invoke the Six Compounds: Fog, Dust and Neon; Ember, Booze and Mud!” She stood in the middle and planted the willow wand in the ground. She said, “I invoke the Void!” The wand, circle and star all flashed green, and Sogwa heard a loud
            A voice from the air said, “Welcome to Gaia Wireless. Please enter your P.I. Number.”
            “Three point one four one five nine two six five three five eight nine seven nine!”
            The voice said, “Correct to fifteen digits. Please enter your party’s extension.”
            Sogwa crooned, “Coreeeeenaahhhh!”
            The voice said, “Please hold while I transfer your call.” Muzak sounded.

             Mist rose up from Lake Chimpy and swirled towards Sogwa. It curled around the protective circle, faster and faster. It became a whirlwind, a small storm, and Sogwa’s circle was its calm eye. The wind buffeted, but the circle held, because Sogwa’s P.I. number was correct to fifteen digits. The Muzak stopped.
            The whirlwind loomed over Sogwa. It was Coreena.
            She bellowed, “YEAH, WHAT?”
            “Hi there, I’m Sogwa the supercat, and I have information about Chimpy.”
            “CHIMPEE?” Coreena roared.
            “Yeah, but please tell me something first!”
            The wind toned down a bit. “Whatcha wanna know?” Coreena grumbled, in a voice  loud enough to shake window panes.
            “What is it between you and Chimpy?”
            “AN’ HIS BUDS!”
            “Okay, you and him and his buddies. What’s the beef?”     
            “Ah’m mad on accounta WHAT THEY DONE TO MA MOMMA!”
            “That’s terrible!” said Sogwa; for Coreena was a daughter of Mother Nature herself.
            “Yeah, it is...” Coreena grumbled.
            “But what did they do?
            “They try ta FOOL her! AN’ THAT AIN’T NICE!”  Thunder rumbled. Then Coreena remarked, “ ‘sides, ya cain’t do it. MA Momma SEEN a thing er two! SHE bin AROUND! HEH, HEH, HEH, HEH, HEH!”
            “Good old Mom.”
            “Thass rite!”
            “But you got fooled.”
            “WHADDAYA MEAN?”
            “You got fooled! Look; did you find Chimpy?”
            “NO! WHEAH THEY HIDIN’ HIM?”
            “They weren’t!”
            “They weren’t hiding him! They didn’t have him!”
            “That was years ago! Your information is out of date!”
            “Yes! You were looking for Chimpy in all the wrong places!”
            “Yes! And the people in that town you smashed up, they don’t even much like Chimpy!”
            “SAY IT AIN’T SOOOOOOOOO!”
            “Sorry, it’s so! You messed up, big-time!”
            “Oh yes!” Sogwa yelled. “You and your Judgement Day! I call it Snap Judgement Day! I call it Bad Judgement Day! You showed bad judgement!”
            “BUT - BUT - BUT - AH DINT MEEEEN TOOO!”
            Sogwa yowled, “You silly monster! You drowned the wrong people!”
            Coreena wailed, “AHHMM SOOOO SORRRREEEEE!!!” She burst into a torrent of rain.
            “Alright already!” Sogwa cried. “Don’t drown me too!”
            Coreena tried to hold back her great hot raindrop tears, but she couldn’t. She was a giant, with giant emotions. She blubbered, “FERGIVE MEE, AH NEWW NOT WHAT AH DOOO!”
            “That’s just it, you didn’t know!” Sogwa yelled, spitting mad. She was drenched, and cats hate to get wet. “You know what your problem is?”
            “WHAAAAHHH???” Coreena asked, and cried, and rained.
            “You’re just plain ignorant, that’s what your problem is! And you know what you need?”
            “You need an education!”
            Coreena jumped outwards ten feet. “WUH YOU SAY?!”
            “You heard me, an education! And lucky you! You’ve come to just the right supercat!”
            Sogwa took the tiny bottle off her necklace. She opened it and captured a single raindrop from Coreena’s stormy eye. Then she stoppered the bottle and put it back on her necklace.
            Sogwa said, “Can you see?”
            The rain stopped. Sunlight broke through the swirling clouds, shining on Sogwa.
             Coreena said, “CLEAR AS CRYSTAL.” The raindrop on Sogwa’s necklace gleamed like a diamond. And since that raindrop was from Coreena, and of Coreena, everything that drop of water saw or heard, Coreena saw and heard too.
            “And now I’ll show you around,” Sogwa told Coreena. The raindrop on her necklace winked. “Now you can see things from ground level.”
            “MOMMA’S LEVEL,” rumbled the whirlwind.
            “And that will be educational.”
            “YES, MA’AM!”
            “And I promise to look for Chimpy. And I’ll find him, and his friends.”
            “And we’ll see them, face to face.”
            “And if he deserves it - ”
            “HE DOES!!!”
            “I’ll be the judge of that!”
            “YES, MA’AM!”
            “But if he does - ”
            “ - then I’ll call you up - ”
            “- and we’ll decide what to do.”
            “YEEEESSSSSSS!!!!” Coreena roared.
            Sogwa said, “Break?”
            The whirlwind cried, “BREAK!”

            Sogwa broke the willow wand in two, and the whirlwind flew outwards in every direction at once. The storm cloud dissolved into clear air with a hiss.

            A voice from the air said, “Thank you for using Gaia Wireless.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why Sogwa should be President; chapter 1

Dear Blog: Now that we are in the run-up to both Halloween and the Presidential election; and now that a gigantic storm has hit the country, I run this story that I wrote years ago, about Bush, Katrina and Sogwa; “Why Sogwa should be President”. It’s a political thriller starring my daughter’s old favorite cat doll. Its theme is the importance of getting your sums straight. I’ll blog it a chapter a weekday for six weekdays.


Why Sogwa should be President

            Chapter One. Absent Without Leave.

            Once upon a time, the world was upside down. The best lacked all conviction, and the worst were full of passionate intensity. The people at the bottom of the world felt cramped and restless; their souls yearned to rise and expand, but there was a ceiling in the sky, and no way through. The people on top of the world felt cold, heavy and small, and they secretly yearned to fall; but the fix was in, the plans were laid, so up they stayed.
            The coldest, heaviest, and smallest person of all was the one called Boy King, Fortunate Son, Smiter of Evil-Doers, Shield against Frightful Persons, Homeland Defender, Scourge of Infidels, Lord Protector, Dear Leader, and World Emperor; and he was also called Chimpy. He could not lose, no matter how hard he tried, and he tried very hard.
            Thus the whole world was suspended, as if on the edge of a great wet sneeze, one which tickles the nose, but not enough to happen. So things stayed for a long, long time.

            Then a falling star punched a hole through the ceiling in the sky, and a dark angel flew through. The dark angel was named Coreena, and she was a daughter of Mother Nature herself.
            Coreena had stormy eyes that flashed at the sound of lies; Coreena had wings to fly above the clouds. She was a whirlwind, she was turbulence, with giant emotions, and a giant’s strength, and a giant’s carelessness. Coreena was Trouble with a capital T.

            She waded in from the ocean. Ten miles tall, she towered over the City of Olde Phillippe. All who could, fled; the rest hid. Coreena swept through the streets of the city, frowning at everybody she saw. She shattered the streetlamps, shorted the power, and silenced the phones. Mighty was her fury and vast was her wrath. Her shield was the thunderhead; her sword was the lightning. In a voice of sounding brass, she roared, “WHEAH IS CHIMPEE?”

            Coreena ransacked the City of Olde Phillippe in search of Chimpy. She tore down trees, but Chimpy wasn’t in them. She knocked over trucks and blew in windows, but no Chimpy. She turned whole houses inside-out; still no Chimpy. She roared, “WHEAH IS HE?”
            The people of Olde Phillippe said, “He ain’t heah, ma’am!”
            But Coreena was was rattled by her own roar, and she could not hear. She howled, “HE DONE MA MOMMA WRONNNNNGG!”
            She tore holes in the roof of the stadium. Her angry eye glared at the people cowering within; but none of them was Chimpy. She bellowed, “WHEAH YOU HIDIN’ HIM?”
            “We ain’t got no Chimpy, ma’am!” the people of Olde Phillippe cried, but she was crazy with anger, and she would not listen.
            Coreena tolled, “HEY HEY HEY, IT’S JUDGEMENT DAY!”
            Coreena executed Judgement on the City of Olde Phillippe. She did it with thunder, with lightning, with blasts of wind and with torrents of rain. In her rage she burst the levee, and the river gushed through. It flooded the city, bearing mud and sewage and toxic chemicals and the bodies of the drowned. The city sank beneath the sludge.
            Thus Olde Phillippe was destroyed; but Coreena remained dissatisfied. She blew away over the horizon, still grumbling “WHEAH IS CHIMPEE?”
            The people of Olde Phillippe were now all exiles, every man, woman and child. Their homes were drowned under a deep pond full of toxic sludge; and the Exiles of Olde Phillippe called that pond Lake Chimpy, in honor of the Emperor.

            For where was Chimpy? That is what the Exiles of Olde Phillippe wanted to know. The Boy King, Fortunate Son, Smiter of Evil-Doers, Shield against Frightful Persons, Homeland Defender, Scourge of Infidels, Lord Protector and Dear Leader; where was the World Emperor? This was just the sort of fearsome catastrophe that he had vowed to protect us from; so where was he? He had promised help, where was it?
            They waited for him to send help. They waited and waited. The air was hot and damp, and there was no clean water, or food, or beds, or toilets, and people were hurt, and people were sick, and people were dying, and they needed help, right this very instant, now, now, now!
            All the Emperor’s Humvees and all the Emperor’s men awaited his orders. Eagerly they revved their engines, and readied themselves, needing only the Emperor’s single word to come charging to the rescue, bearing food and water and medicine and doctors and beds and help.
            They waited... and waited... and waited...
            A day came and went, and people died. The oldest and the youngest died first. A second day came and went, and people died. They died of heat, and thirst, and hunger, and sickness, and for lack of medicine. A third day came and went, and people died horrible deaths on global TV, waiting for the Emperor to act. And as they waited, people asked, “Where is the Emperor?”

            Where was he? On vacation. He was resting up. He had more important things to do than saving people’s lives. He was goofing off, taking it easy, recharging his batteries, letting the good times roll. The Emperor was slacking on the job, just when he was needed most.

            If anybody else had messed up that bad, then they’d soon be unemployed. They’d be fired; but not Chimpy! He just stayed where he was, as if nothing had happened!

            That was infuriating, so Sogwa the supercat decided to do something about it.     

Monday, October 29, 2012

When Sogwa Met Sleepy Baby

            Once upon a time somebody from the future meddled with the past. That created a rift in time, and the whole world went the wrong direction, down a false path. The false path had neither truth nor beauty nor vigor, so all the color went out of the world. There was neither blue, nor green, nor red, nor even shades of grey, but everything was in black and white. In the empty world of the false path, everything smelled like deodorant spray, everything tasted like tofu, everybody’s music was off-key, and even thunder sounded tinny. Neither ice nor the noonday sun felt either warm or cold; silk felt ratchety, and a bath felt dry. Nothing moved smoothly, everything was as herky-jerky as a strobe light. When crowds of people walked down the street, they had to march like robots, herky-jerking their arms and legs in unison. Worst of all was a strange itchy emptiness that everybody felt inside, as if something important was missing.
            All of that was spooky, so Sogwa the supercat decided to do something about it.

            Sogwa rummaged in her science cabinet and got out a screw driver, a soldering iron, a TV remote, a microchip, a quartz crystal, a dark energy transmodulator, and a roll of duct tape. She took these things to her lab bench and got to work. She taped and soldered and fiddled and fussed and rewired and repackaged and reprogrammed. Finally she snapped the remote shut. She turned it on and punched the numbers two-seven-one-eight-two-eight-one-eight-two-eight-four-five-nine.  The remote buzzed in her paws like an angry bee; then it made a noise like this:
            And its buttons blazed bright in zebra-colored light.                                               
            And by these signs Sogwa knew that she was holding a fully-operational dark-energy- powered Universal Remote.

            Sogwa took her universal remote outdoors and climbed up to Snail Point, the highest hill in the neighborhood. At the base of Snail Point she paid a brief visit to the Buddha statue that lived there.  She sat facing the Buddha of Snail Point. As usual, she couldn’t quite tell if he was smiling or not, or thinking or not, or napping or not.
            The Buddha of Snail Point opened his eyes and said, “Know thyself.”
            Sogwa replied, “Know thyself.”
            “You carry a weapon,” said the Buddha statue.
            “A tool,” said Sogwa. “I’ll fix the rift in time with it, and get the world back on track.”
            The Buddha said, “In a dream you seek to heal a dream. But who is the dreamer?”
            Sogwa said, “And who is the dream?”
            The Buddha of Snail Point said, “I am the dreamer and I am the dream. But who am I?”
            He closed his eyes. Once again you couldn’t quite tell if he was smiling or not, or thinking or not, or napping or not. Sogwa thought: how very like a cat! Then she got up to go.      

            Sogwa climbed to the top of Snail Point. She looked around. Over this way was something that looked like the city, over that way was something that looked like the ocean. But the breeze off the ocean wasn’t cold, and the noonday sunlight wasn’t hot. The sky had particularly suffered; with no blue in the world, the sky was as black at noon as it was at night.

            Sogwa could see the lukewarm noonday sun, but also the moon, and the planets, and the stars, and the galaxies, and the superclusters. Atop Snail Point, Sogwa could see the Universe as plain as day and as bright as a light at midnight.
            She lifted her dark-energy-powered universal remote; and she pointed it at the universe; and she pressed REWIND.
            And time spun backwards.

            During her time-trip into the past, Sogwa saw by the zebra-colored light of dark energy. She saw a butterfly flutter by in reverse. She saw birds unfly and people unwalk. The sun zipped across the sky. It set in the east and a moment later it rose in the west. Then again, and again, and again the sun, moon and stars spun round and around, faster and faster until they blurred into circles in the sky, dipping and bobbing like the bands on a wobbly top. The sky made a whirring sound as it spun. Sogwa saw trees ungrow. A year unpassed, and another and another and another - and suddenly the sky made a loud noise:
            - and time’s reverse flight stopped. Time paused. Sogwa’s universal remote had taken her back to the moment of the time rift, when someone from the future had meddled with the past. Sogwa pressed her universal remote’s PLAY button, and time started up again.
            Right away Sogwa knew that she had gone way back. She was in the old days, when Neanderthal knights in leather armor rode tyrannosaurs down the interstate highways. It was deep time, so far past that lungfish still played video games. In those ancient aeons, trilobites had websites, jellyfish were TV preachers, worms ran the government, and bacteria made all the big decisions. It was four whole years ago, not long after the dawn of time.
            Sogwa knew this because she was in the Old Crib, which was in the old bedroom of the old apartment in the old neighborhood from before the move. And in the Old Crib with her were the Old Favorites. There was Raggedy, and the Girls, and Blue; and there was Rattle Doll, and Brownie, and Tic-Tac-Turtle, and Scorch. And so was the most favorite of the Old Favorites: Sleepy Baby.

            Sleepy Baby sighed, “It’s Sogwa.” Blue yipped, Brownie whimpered, Raggedy and the Girls cheered, Rattle Doll rattled his body, Scorch screeched and Tic-Tac-Turtle went “Grahh!”
            Sogwa said, “How did you know I was coming? I’m from the Future!”
            Sleepy Baby said, “What’s Future?”
            “Don’t you know what Time is?”
            “Don’t know. Don’t care. Help me, help me.”
            “What’s the matter, Sleepy Baby?”
            Sleepy Baby sobbed, “They hurt.”
            “What hurts?”
            Sleepy Baby cried, “Channel Thirteen!”
            So Sogwa used her Universal remote to tune to Channel Thirteen.

            Thirteen was the Memories Of Pain Channel. On it, Sogwa, Sleepy Baby and the other Favorites could see all the ouchies, owies, bumps, bruises, scrapes, cuts and other miseries suffered by a certain little girl.      

            Pain memories came, one after another. Blue whined, Scorch snorted, and the Girls groaned. The show ended big with a face plant.
            Sleepy Baby cried, “Stop it! Change it!”
            Sogwa said, “You want me to protect her?”
            “Make it all better!”
            Sogwa said, “Yes, I can do that. Maybe move things out of her way, maybe warn her just-in-time, maybe catch her when she falls...”
            Sleepy Baby shouted, “Make it didn’t happen!”
            Sogwa said, “I can do that, too. My universal remote has an ERASE button.”
            “Save her! Save her!”
            But something was strange. Something was missing. Sogwa asked, “Who is she?”
            Sleepy Baby said, “She’s Her!
            Sogwa said, “Yes, I know she’s Her, but... who’s She? I can’t remember!”

            Sogwa couldn’t remember the little girl’s name. Her name was gone from the world, along with color and music and everything fun. Sogwa realized, to her surprise, that the strange itchy emptiness that everybody felt inside was none other than that girl’s absent name. Her name was the something important that was missing.
            Sogwa said, “Who is she?”
            Then she said, “Who am I?”
            Then Sogwa said, “Wasn’t the time rift created by someone from the future meddling with the past? And I’m from the future. And this is the past.”
            Sogwa sat silent awhile. The Old Favorites all looked at her.
            Finally Sogwa said, “No. I will not meddle.”
            The Old Favorites yelled, gronked, howled, rattled and demanded.
            Sogwa said, “No! Forget about it! I refuse to change the past! That would be lying to myself; and lying to yourself is naughty.”
            Sleepy Baby said, “But owies hurt!”
            “Then let us learn from these owies, so they will not hurt us again.”
            Sogwa brought popcorn and apple juice, and she replayed the Pain Show from beginning to end. The Old Favorites ate popcorn and sipped apple juice, and Sogwa said things like, “Those have thorns.” Or, “That thing pinches.” Or, “That’s too high.” Or, “That’s too far.”
            Finally came the big finale. That lively little girl was running fast, laughing out loud, without a care in the world, when suddenly -
            “Urk!” said Tic-Tac-Turtle.
            But Sogwa said, “Don’t scuff your feet while running on concrete!”
            The Old Favorites all sighed, and the color red washed back into the world. The time rift was one-third healed.
            But not all healed.  Sleepy Baby snuffled, “Unfair.”
            “What’s unfair, Sleepy Baby?”
            Sleepy Baby pouted, “Channel Twenty-Three.”
            So Sogwa used her universal remote to tune to Channel Twenty-Three.

            Twenty-three was the Memories Of Conflict Channel. On it, Sogwa and the Old Favorites could see all the snubs and insults and denials and outrages suffered by a certain little girl. There were all those so-called friends and their so-called promises. And the times they took the bigger piece of cake. And when they cut ahead in line. And when they shoved. And when they grabbed. And then there was that birthday party where everybody was invited except Her!
            “I remember it well!” said Sogwa the supercat; and then she made a super-catty remark about a certain snooty someone. The Favorites all laughed.
            So they sat, ate popcorn, sipped apple juice, watched those so-called friends, and laughed at Sogwa’s catty remarks. And they had a pretty good time.
            Then Sleepy Baby said, “But Mommy said No. Daddy said No.”
            Channel Twenty-Three, the Conflict Channel, showed Mommy saying No, Don’t Do This. And Daddy said No, Don’t Do That. And you can’t have These. And you can’t have Those. And that was that; No meant No, no matter how much you fussed and yelled and kicked.
            Sleepy Baby pouted, “Unfair! Hmpf!”
            Sogwa said, “You have to forgive the poor dears. After all, they are only human. What’s more, we are stuck with them.”
            “They were wrong!”
            “Sometimes. But I can forgive that.”
            “They were right!
            “Other times. And I can even forgive that.”
            Sleepy Baby rolled eyes, and heaved a huge sigh, and the color green washed back into the world. The time rift was two-thirds healed.

            But not all healed. Sleepy Baby murmured, “Gone.”
            “What’s gone, Sleepy Baby?”
            “Channel Zero.”
            So Sogwa used her universal remote to tune to Channel Zero.

            Zero was the Memories Of Loss Channel. At first nothing much happened. Sogwa and the Favorites just lay around the old bedroom. Popcorn crumbs and sippy cups were scattered all over. Then the door clicked open, and in walked Grandma Marge.
            Grandma Marge was as beautiful as ever. Her hair was brown, with white roots if you looked hard. Her face was grooved deep with smile lines. She wore a  half-smile and she hummed a half-tune. Grandma Marge glided around the room, neatening up. She brushed popcorn crumbs off the bed, she straightened the sheets, she gathered the dolls, she tucked them into the crib, and she picked up the sippy cups. Then she glided out, still half-humming. The door clicked shut.

            Sleepy Baby and the other Old Favorites all looked at Sogwa. This time they were calm, and Sogwa was upset. There was a lump in her throat. Sogwa said, “She was old,” and she could say no more. Then she said, “Gone so sudden,” and again she could say no more.
            Finally Sogwa the supercat said, “There’s nothing I can do.”

            And Sogwa wept.

            And the color blue washed back into the world. The time rift was all healed.

            Sogwa cried awhile, then dried her tears. She said, “Thank you.”
            Sleepy Baby cooed, “You’re welcome.”
            After that, Sogwa and Sleepy Baby played games. They played Huggy and Kissy  and Funny Face and Tickle Me and Spin The Baby. At first Sleepy Baby smiled; then giggled, then laughed out loud; and finally Sleepy Baby said, “Sleepy.”
            So Sogwa laid Sleepy Baby back down in the Old Crib. Sleepy Baby’s eyes rolled shut, and Sleepy Baby slept. So did the other Old Favorites.  Blue, Tic-Tac-Turtle, Brownie, Rattle Doll,  Raggedy, the Girls and Scorch all slept quietly as Sogwa crept out of the old bedroom on cat-quiet feet.
            Sogwa went out back to the Blue Room. She leaned out the back window of the Blue Room and she pointed her dark-energy-powered universal remote at the sky. She pushed FAST FORWARD, and time sped forward.

            Sogwa saw people walk and birds fly, fast-forward under zebra-colored light. The sun zipped across the sky. It set in the west and a moment later it rose in the east. Then again, and again, and again, faster and faster until the sun, moon and stars blurred into circles in the sky, dipping and bobbing like the bands on a wobbly top. The sky whirred. Sogwa saw trees grow. A year passed, and another and another and another - and suddenly the sky made a loud noise:
            - and time’s forward flight stopped. Sogwa’s universal remote had taken her up to the present moment. Time paused. Sogwa saw a butterfly suspended in midair, right in front of her nose. She pressed PLAY, and time started up again. The butterfly fluttered by.
            Sogwa shut down her universal remote, for the world was back on track. The sky was blue again. The sun was hot and the breeze was cool, again. From the top of Snail Point Sogwa could hear sweet music, and noisy jackhammers too, and she loved the music, and she loved the jackhammers. A dandelion seed drifted by, and its drift was smooth. Sogwa licked her fur, and her fur was smooth.
            Sogwa breathed deep. She smelled the cool breeze. It carried a whiff of yummy fish, which was wonderful. Then the breeze shifted, and it brought a whiff of stinky dog-poop, which also was wonderful. The world around Sogwa was full of beautiful colors, and ugly colors too, and both beautiful and ugly were wonderful. Sogwa picked up a pebble, and it felt rough and jagged, and that too was wonderful.
            For it all was real, and it all was true, and real is wonderful, and true is wonderful.

            Sogwa climbed down from Snail Point. She hurried home, eager to tell Hannah.

            That’s the story that Sogwa told me last night, and now I’ve told it to you. The End.