Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 Summary
The drama is palpable as Hillari Kimble’s birthday approaches. The day before the auspicious occasion, Hillari walks up behind Stargirl in the cafeteria and stands behind her. The entire room grows silent, but the only one who does not seem to be aware of the impending confrontation is Stargirl. Hillari moves to stand beside her and introduces herself. There is no need for that, of course, as Stargirl Caraway knows every student at Mica High. Hillari then tells Stargirl that her birthday is tomorrow. Again, this is no surprise to Stargirl, and she says so. Then comes the warning: “Don’t try singing to me.” Stargirl’s faint reply is heard by only a few: “I won’t sing to you.”
The next day the anticipation is almost unbearable. Students know any drama will happen during lunch in the cafeteria, so they hurry through their preliminaries so they can be seated and silent for whatever is to come. Hillari and her entourage enter first. Although her friends are on the lookout for the potential offender, Hillari studiously avoids any appearance of caring.
Stargirl finally enters and proceeds to eat her lunch. The room is abnormally silent—until Stargirl gets up and starts playing her ukulele. She roams the room, as always, but she avoids coming anywhere near the birthday girl. Instead, Stargirl stops at Leo’s and Kevin’s table and proceeds to sing “Happy Birthday” directly at Leo, though she inserts Hillari’s name in the appropriate place. She has kept her word; she did not sing to Hillari for her birthday.
Leo, the object of intense attention by both the crowd and Stargirl, is uncomfortable in every way. When the song is over, the room bursts into applause, Hillari storms out, and everyone wonders why Stargirl singled out Leo. She tugs on his earlobe, announces that she thinks he is cute, and walks out of the room. Leo is somewhat befuddled; Kevin teases him and suggests it is time for them to pay a visit to Archie.
Archibald Hapwood Brubaker (Archie) is a paleontologist who lives in a home surrounded by the bones of creatures long gone. In the bathroom, in the pantry, and on the furniture are bones and animal skeletons Archie either dug up himself or sneaked into his backpack if they were going to be thrown away. Archie is a retired university professor from back east. When his wife died two years ago, the sixty-seven-year-old Archie moved west to join all the other “old fossils.”
His home is as eccentric as he is. Because he loves kids and has none of his own, he lives near the high school. In the backyard next to the tool shed stands a cactus thirty feet tall. Nicknamed Mr. Saguaro, the ancient cactus has two crazy arms high up, and most of his leathery “skin” has peeled away and fallen to the ground; his chest is home to a nest of owls. Archie is a teacher without a formal classroom. Every Saturday morning, he opens his home to fourth- through twelfth-grade students, and the Loyal Order of the Stone Bone studies everything imaginable.
(The entire section is 813 words.)