The next morning, Angie awoke to the sound of Pen's voice. Pen stood above her shouting, "Angie, wake up, look, look." Angie came out of a dream about the nice green notebook and found Pen standing over her. She wore her once-white shirt. It was dotted heavily in bright green spots, which covered over a few extremely faded red spots.
"What happened?" asked Angie sleepily.
"I went in my closet and there it was. Green spots now. What can it mean?"
By now Angie was at the door to her closet. "Mine, too," she said. "It must be Ivy. She's calling us."
"We get to go back there?" A spot fell from a particularly heavy cluster on Pen's shirt. It rolled to the closed door of the girls' room, hit the door with a thud, and fell.
"I think we'd better go right away," said Angie.
Since it was still early morning and Mom and Dad hadn't come down for breakfast yet, the girls left a quickly written note on the kitchen table saying that they'd gone out to play and probably wouldn't be home till dinner.
"They might get worried," said Pen.
Angie added, "Mom and Dad, don't worry" to the note.
This time, the girls knew to follow the rolling spots as they careened through the woods, bouncing off stones, rocks, and roots. In no time, the two of them were at Ivy's house, knocking on her door. Ivy was still in her long checked nightgown.
"Goodness," she said admiringly, "you girls have set a record. You've flown like the wind."
"We thought you wanted to see us," Pen said, happily following Ivy through the door to the raucous greeting of all the forest birds.
Ivy walked over to her perfume bench, with the girls behind her close as a shadow. She turned and studied them for a moment, her hands folded across her middle. "Look at the two of you. There's little doubt you're needing a trip to Green Land."
"Why?" Angie asked.
"Perhaps that little problem you had yesterday." Ivy cleared her throat. "Shopping."
"Ohh," the girls said in unison, Angie thinking of the notebook, Pen of the sticker book.
"Does Green Land have its own ways, Ivy? Like Red Land did?" Pen asked.
"Yes, indeed. Every land does." Ivy pointed to Pen and said, "You, child, will have little difficulty getting along there, but your big sister will be another matter. You see, Green Land is the land of immaturity, the land of the very young. Only childish behavior is acceptable there. Mature behavior, like planning ahead, is out of the question. If you don't watch your sister carefully, Angie will have broken the rules and been sent back in a parrot's wingflap, and if one child returns, so will the other."
"I'll watch her," Pen said proudly. "Unless you want to come, Ivy."
"Perhaps next time, my dear. But for now you've only to select your guide birds. Then I'll give them their scent and you may set them on your heads and be off."
"I'm picking that pretty green love bird," Angie said with unusual assertiveness. She's sooo pretty."
"But I like the love bird, Angie," said Pen, starting to pout.
"What?" scolded Ivy. "Pouting when there's a wonderful parrot you can take."
Indeed, there was a wonderful, large, squawky parrot hopping about in one of Ivy's middle cages.
"Oh," said Pen, happy to like whichever bird Ivy liked. "I'll pick that one."
Angie handed Pen the parrot, who curled his toes around Pen's finger and flapped his wings, delighting Pen enormously.
The two girls were nervous but not nearly so nervous as when they went to Red Land. After Ivy gave the birds a touch of perfume, the girls quickly settled the birds on their heads--which by now seemed almost ordinary to Angie-- and held hands and together said, "Dear birds, take us to your color land."
They just had time to wave and say, "Bye, Ivy" before Pen's feet began to get thin and wispy.
"Don't be scared," Angie said. Soon Angie felt herself changing and she saw the trail of smoke leading into the hearth. "Green smoke," she thought dreamily. Then she felt nothing at all.
Angie awoke sitting high in a tree with Pen beside her on a bobbing branch. Angie could barely see Pen, because the tree was so thick with leaves, but she heard Pen laughing merrily.
"It's wet here!" Pen said merrily to herself and she was right. The air was moist and misty and cool. Everything seemed fresh and growing.
"I'm glad you know how to enjoy yourselves," said a high-pitched voice from down below. A ladder started rising up along the tree trunk and minutes later a very sizable green rabbit--he was about Pen's height--was face to face with the girls.
Pointing at the whiskered, furry face in front of her, Pen turned to Angie and asked, "Who is that?"
"Don't point, Pen. He'll think you've been to rudity land. And don't pull the tree's leaves, just in case....."
"This is Pen," Angie said to the rabbit. "I'm Angie. Ivy stayed home." She couldn't think why she'd mentioned Ivy, except that everyone seemed to know her.
"Sorry for that, but do come down," the rabbit said. "My name is Myopia Murphy. I'm King of Green Land."
"King?" asked Pen, her eyes wide with admiration.
Myopia Murphy laughed. "Ah," he said. "The gullible one Miss Ivy spoke of."
"What are you then?" asked Angie, "if not King."
"Just Murphy, my little Brussels sprout. Murphy, the hospitable hare. Pleased to welcome you to Green Land, where everything is fresh as the morning dew."
The girls easily climbed down Murphy's ladder, feeling unusually light and springy.
"I feel like I could skip for a mile," Angie said.
At the base of the ladder, Pen's parrot sat, flapping his wings at a large gathering of green chicks and ducklings and baby rabbits. "Run, run, run," the parrot squawked.
"Oh, babies everywhere," squealed Pen. "And all green like they're dyed with Easter egg colors.
"Look around," Angie said. "Everything here is green. And the air is so sweet and fresh."
"Tha's right all right," cried the parrot. "Everything green, everything young-like and fresh, tha's Green Land for ya, so long pals." He flapped his large wings and was gone.
"Was that my introduction?" Angie asked Myopia Murphy.
"It seems so," he said. "And now that you've been introduced, you won't be needing me."
"Wow!" said Pen, as Murphy retreated out of sight with one remarkable house-high jump.
Looking about her, Angie found she couldn't see very far at all because of the green mist that was everywhere. Whenever she looked into the distance things got extraordinarily blurry. Angie found she had to walk up quite close to things to see them. She walked to a little cluster of bushes, each as round as a lollipop. The sweet little bushes seemed to have small animals tucked into them here and there--baby robins and ducklings and little turtles who were faster of foot than Steady Freddy. In fact, all the animals in Green Land seemed young and quick.
While Pen was busy making friends with the baby animals, Angie skipped down the path ahead of her. The Green Land path was rather soft under foot. It was covered with spongy green moss that smelled more like mint than like moss. From time to time the path would wander off to the left or right for no apparent reason and circle around an ordinary object, like a tree or a rock, then it would meander back to where it started.
Angie walked ahead a few yards, then heard Pen calling.
"Angie, where are you?"
"Right here," she said. "I've only gone a few feet."
"I can't see you, Angie. Where did you go?" Pen called back worriedly. "You can't look ahead here. It's super foggy."
"Try looking at your feet and the path right in front of them," Angie said. She kept calling out "here, here, here" to help Pen find her. Very soon Pen was there, because the distance indeed was short.
"We'll have to walk around if we want to see what's here," said Angie, "because you can't see anything but fuzz in the distance."
The girls left the mossy path and walked through some tall, wet grass until they came upon a sign. It was nailed to a sparkly tree the color of emeralds. Angie read the sign aloud: "Beyond this point, NOT-GROWN UPS only."
"It's a place only for little children," said Pen.
"It doesn't say 'children,'" said Angie thoughtfully. "It says NOT-GROWN UPS."
"Can we go in?" Pen asked.
"It should be all right, but I think we should act childishly."
The two girls walked a few feet beyond the tree and suddenly could see a big man with puffed-out cheeks who was standing face to face with a skinny man whose spinach-colored pants were very nearly falling down. Each of the men had a suitcase beside him. The girls had to get quite close to the men to see them clearly. The two men were so busy arguing that they didn't take notice of the girls.
"The sun is to the right," said the man with the puffed-out cheeks.
"No, it's not," said the skinny man, yanking up his pants. "It's to the left." With that, he let go his pants and pointed to his left.
"RIGHT," said the first man, pointing and puffing his cheeks full of air.
"LEFT," shouted the second man, yanking up his pants once again.
"Oh, oh, oh," said Angie in exasperation..
"What's the matter?" asked Pen.
"Just listen to them," said Angie. "They're totally mixed up."
"Tell them," Pen said.
Angie looked to Pen. "Do you think I can?" she asked. "I can try to do it childishly so we don't get sent home, but I'm not sure I can."
"Try," said Pen, who had faith in her sister. "Go ahead, Ange."
Angie approached the two men. "Boys," she said, choosing her words carefully. "You listen to me." She tried to sound bossy, like little children can and she pointed her finger at them. Once she even stuck it in her nose. Then she said, "I'm always right," in order to sound as childish as possible. "Whether the sun is to your right or to your left depends on which way you're facing." She pointed to the puffed-cheek man. "You're right in saying--I mean, you're correct in saying it's to your right, from where you're standing now. But if you stand where he's standing--she pointed to the skinny man--it will be on your left, just as it's now on his left."
Pen blew her whistle as hard as she could to get Angie's attention. "Way too grown-up," she warned.
"So there! I'm right! I know everything!" Angie yelled out, just as she began to feel a bit dizzy. She pouted out her lips like a big brat, .
"Nonsense," said the man whose cheeks were full of air. "Why should I stand where he's standing? I'm standing where I'm standing."
"But if you take his place, you'll see that the sun is on the left for him. You'll see how right and left depend on where you're standing," Angie said, sticking out her tongue and putting her fingers in her ears.
"What do you mean they depend?" asked the skinny man. "Why that means nothing at all. It's stupid, totally stupid. Either the sun's to the right or it's to the left, one way or the other."
"That's right," said the fat cheeked man. "It's one way or the other. Only a foolish person says, 'it depends.'"
Angie was getting very frustrated talking to these stubborn men. Tears started to roll down her cheeks. "I'm not stupid," she said. "Stop saying that. Why you two talk inside-out, upside-down talk without even knowing it. And you've gotten yourselves into a terrible mess."
"You're so dumb," said the skinny man, his head down by the ground because he was pulling up his pants again. "How can we be in a mess? We're going on a wonderful trip together, in the direction of the sun, as soon as we figure out the direction."
"And, to satisfy you, Miss Smartaleck Missy-Fissy--"
"What??" said Angie, aghast. "How can you call me--?"
"--Don't interrupt," said the thin, spinach-pants man. "You sound like you've been to rudity land. To satisfy you, we'll take a vote and that way we'll know the correct way to go. So there!!!!! Blah. Blah. Blah."
"I'm older, so I have the bigger vote," said the other man, puffing his cheeks with more air.
"What!!??" exclaimed Angie.
"Oh, Angie," Pen shouted out, because she was beginning to get very frustrated, too. "Tell them that's not how voting works. Tell them to use their heads. Tell them to think and not be so babyish and stubborn."
Then Angie heard Pen going, "Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Uh-uh-uh." She knew what was happening. Pen was getting dizzy. Luckily, Pen had the good sense to stick out her tongue and poke her fingers in her ears and in a few seconds Angie could see her sister was all right.
The two men continued their plan to vote. "I'm ready with my vote," said the skinny man. "I vote that the sun is to the right."
"I vote it's to the left," said the second man, who had the bigger vote.
"That settles it, according to the rules," said the skinny man with the smaller vote. "We'll go to the left and begin our wonderful trip."
"But wait," said Angie. "If you both go to the left--"
"Oh, shut up," said the balloon- cheek man, who had won the vote.
Pen's frustration was building again. She wanted to tell them to open their silly eyes and look ahead, to think where they'd each end up if they both went to the left. But looking ahead to her own future, she knew she couldn't say that or she wouldn't be able to stay and get a better look at Green Land (which wasn't going to be as easy for her as Ivy had predicted!). And she had to admit that the thick fog wouldn't allow the men to see where they'd be heading.
Off the men started on their trip, each walking to his left. The puffed-cheek man walked toward the lovely but fuzzy, lime-green sun and the skinny man walked in the exactly opposite direction. Soon they were so far apart they could not hear each other talk.
"What ridiculous people," Angie said in frustration, turning back to Pen.
"Those men were silly, for grown-ups."
"I think they were NOT-GROWN UPS." The girls giggled.
Angie and Pen continued down the road until they passed beyond the NOT-GROWN UPS area and came to an avocado-colored bean bag chair sitting under three trees holding up delicious-looking limes. They sat down to rest and enjoy the pocket of lovely, cool air. The smell of limes was in the air and little green chicks and bunnies gathered at the girls' feet. Pen got down in the grass to pet the animals, while green and white striped butterflies settled on Angie's shoulder.
"I like it here," Angie said. "Everything's sweet. There are so many things to make you happy, smells in the air and pretty pictures and animals."
"I like it, too," said Pen, "most of the time. But you can't see very far because of the foggy air and the people don't see things very well, either. Maybe the people are gullible like me; they believe things without thinking."
"Still," said Angie, putting a little bunny on her lap, "it's kindof nice just looking at what's right in front of you and beside you and not thinking all the time or worrying about what's down the road."
"Because you can't see it!" Pen laughed.
At that moment a pale chartreuse arrow came flying through the air and hit the ground just beside Pen's feet. "Ouch!" yelled Pen, imagining what she would have felt had she been hit.
"That was close," Angie said, watching the animals scatter.
Then, a whole shower of arrows passed over their heads and landed just beyond them.
"Duck," Angie yelled to Pen, as both girls threw themselves on the ground. Seconds later, the girls heard laughing and soon four children came running toward them, each carrying a bow and a sheath of arrows.
"Great shot, Jeff," one boy said to the other, patting him on the back.
"I bet yours went farthest," a little short-haired girl said to a girl with very long legs.
"Hey! You almost hit us." Pen sat up and shouted indignantly at the kids.
"Sorry," they all yelled, but they kept smiling and laughing.
"You should look before you shoot," Pen said, still mad.
"We do," said the short-haired girl. "But we can't see anything. We can shoot much farther than we can see. We just have fun shooting and don't worry where the arrows land."
"But you'll hurt someone," Pen insisted.
"We can't help it," said the boy named Jeff. "We can't see what we're doing, so we just take our chances."
"That's dumb," said Pen. "Your mothers should tell you not to do that." Pen was throwing the Green Land rules to the wind. The ground beneath her feet started to shake a little and knocked her off her feet. Angie laughed when she saw what was happening.
"We don't have real grown-ups here," said the second boy happily. "We only have big people that act like children. So we get to do whatever we feel like." He did a handstand, then ran ahead of the others.
"What if you kill someone?" Angie shouted after him but the ground trembling under her feet soon stopped her comments.
The boy shrugged.
A tall girl approached Pen and Angie. "I don't think he knows what you mean," she said. She handed Pen a bow and arrow. "You try it," she said, showing Pen how shoot it.
Pen's arrow shot high into the air and disappeared. A minute later they heard a loud, "Ouch."
"Oh, you've hit Jerry," the long-legged girl said. "He's the one who ran ahead."
"Did I hurt him?" Pen asked worriedly. She ran a few feet from where she'd been standing to avoid any shaking of the ground.
"Oh, don't worry," said the girl. "He's always running off and getting hit by our arrows."
"I'm tired," Pen said, looking at Angie.
"I'm a little scared," said Angie, still thinking of the arrows that had come through the mist "Let's try walking back toward the mossy path."
The girls walked until they came upon a circle of beautiful pots of paint just like the ones they'd seen in Red Land.
"Wow," said Pen. "All those colors look so pretty after nothing but green. Can we try them?"
Angie noticed that the pad of paper beside the paints had nothing but green squiggles on it, even though the brush, which had been left lying on top of the paper, was covered in blue paint. "I wouldn't bother," she said wearily. "I think these paints are like the ones in Red Land. They're just a Color Lands trick. Only the really gullible fall for it twice."
"Uh-oh," said Pen. "Hey, can we go home? I 'm getting tired of green, even though it's pretty."
Angie wrinkled her brow in thought. "Try saying something very mature," she suggested.
"I don't know. You have to think of something."
"How about, 'Always brush your teeth before bed and don't play after the lights are out. And look before you leap!'" Two green parakeets that had just flown past the girls suddenly started squawking and, within a minute, a very familiar parrot and lovebird were on the ground beside the girls. One hopped onto each girl's head, as if onto a nest of grass, just as Pen took Angie's hand and the two began to feel strangely misty. Angie heard a triple thump and saw in front of her the fuzzy form of Murphy Myopia, waving to them.
"You did it!" Angie whispered to Pen.
Next thing they knew they were three in a row on Ivy's sofa, pressed like peas in a pod.
"Well, well," said Ivy, setting right her bun, which one of the girls had knocked sideways, "Angie must have done very well indeed for you two to have been gone so long."
"It's hard to tell how much time is passing in Green Land," Angie said. "I looked at my watch but it was always fogged up from all the mist."
"That's a funny place, Ivy," Pen said. "You forget about things right after they happen and you can't really think much about what's down the road."
"I suppose you might have happened upon some NOT-GROWN UPS."
"I don't think those NOT-GROWN UPS were going to have a very good trip," said Pen, giggling. "At least, not a good trip together."
"I think I had a harder time than Angie with the Green Land rules," said Pen.
"Just as I'd imagined," Ivy said.
"Wait! But you said....." Pen started to protest, but then she and Angie locked eyes, and their mouths opened together as they shouted out, "Gullible!"
"And did you meet one Myopia Murphy, the hospitable hare?"
Suddenly, Pen wrinkled her brow. "Uh-oh," she said. "I just remembered something. I forgot to feed Hiphop this morning. I think we better go home, Ange."
"Oooh," crooned Angie sadly. "Can't we stay and talk with Ivy? I like telling her what we did."
"Me, too. But Hiphop hasn't eaten all day."
Ivy lifted her eyebrows and nodded at Pen, causing her bun to shift off-center once again.
The girls laughed. "Ivy needs hairpins," Angie teased.
"Maybe we'll find her some in our next land," Pen said, already looking forward to another trip.
On the way home through the woods, Angie said to Pen, "You know, I think I'm going to buy that green notebook tomorrow. It was so pretty."