Big Day, folks: It's time for Susan's oratorical competition. She asks Leo and Dori to join her in the car that Mr. McShane will use to drive her to Phoenix. Mr. McShane is the faculty representative to the state contest.
Leo goes with her, of course, but Dori does not. Susan explains that Dori is mad at her because she feels like Susan betrayed her true self when she got rid of Stargirl: "She just doesn't understand how important it is to be popular" (27.13).
She does know that Dori will be at the front of the mob that welcomes her home, however.
Susan plans what they will do when they get back and there is a big crowd waiting. She asks Leo if he will hold her big silver winner's plate, so it doesn't get lost in the confusion.
Leo warns her about counting her chickens before they are hatched and reminds her that she may not win, but Susan is sure that's impossible.
She admits that she is nervous, but more nervous about the crowd out of hand when they get back.
Our girl, observant as she is, notices that the desert looks like it is celebrating with them. It is April, and there are many blossoms over what used to be dull cacti and scrub.
When she asks Mr. McShane to pull over, she hops out to frolic "among the prickly natives" (27.56). How very Stargirl of Susan.
Mr. McShane and Leo wait in the car and laugh while watching her bow to a cactus, and other fun stuff. Susan suddenly stops and looks off in another direction for a long while with a cocked head. Hmm. That's strange.
When they get back on the road, Susan asks Mr. McShane about extinct birds. He knows of just a couple, one is the Moa.
The Moa was a giant bird who stood about thirteen feet high who was killed off by people who were half his size.
She asks about this because when she was out of the car in the desert, she heard a mockingbird, which doesn't have a call of its own. Mockingbirds imitate other birdcalls instead.
This reminds her of something Archie told her once: that mockingbirds do more than repeat living birds around them. He believes that they also imitate the sounds of extinct birds, too.
According to Archie, generations of mockingbirds have passed them down through the ages, so it's possible that when a mockingbird calls out they are "pitching fossils into the air" (151).
For a while, the car trip proceeds in thoughtful silence. Then the mood turns silly when Stargirl (oops, we mean Susan) starts telling Mr. McShane about how super cute Leo is. For the rest of the trip, they have goofy fun.