Published: August 6, 2013Publisher: self publishedPages: 260Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.
When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion, a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world's population have mysteriously disappeared. But that's only the beginning...
All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.
The screen-name had been generic enough. SparkleFlower. Like the creature behind the name wasn’t a human at all, but a bunny living on an open prairie surrounded by rainbows.
I’d just come home from a showing of The Lost World: Jurassic Park feeling like I’d been punched in the face, and the dinosaur fanatic in me wanted to vent in an America Online chat room. When I stumbled across a room called Movies 4 Teens, I started hunting and pecking out my disappointment on my father’s dusty old keyboard. Almost no one agreed with me about The Lost World’s endless flaws, but SparkleFlower came to my defense. She too wanted more from the movie than a Tyrannosaurus rex trampling through San Diego.
I don’t remember everything about our initial conversation, but it went something like this:
zippitydoodah: Do you think we'll get to see more pterodactyls in Jurassic Park 3?
SparkleFlower: There’s not gonna be a 3, this one was soooo bad.
zippitydoodah: Yeah but remember box office.
SparkleFlower: Box what?
zippitydoodah: It made like 100 million, they're gonna make another.
SparkleFlower: Well if they do, can I see it with you?
zippitydoodah: Of course. That would be fun.
SparkleFlower: Where do you live?
SparkleFlower: Oh. I'm sorry.
zippitydoodah: Tell me about it. What about you?
SparkleFlower: Seattle, Washington. You should come visit me.
zippitydoodah: I wish I could.
SparkleFlower: Well maybe not today, but someday?
zippitydoodah: I hope so, I like talking to you.
SparkleFlower: Same to you. I'm Mira, by the way.
zippitydoodah: That's pretty.
zippitydoodah: I'm Zipporah.
SparkleFlower: I've never heard that name before.
Zippitydoodah: It's from the Bible.
SparkleFlower: Oh. Well, can I call you Z?
zippitydoodah: Haha. Okay, sure.
SparkleFlower: Great. My friends are forcing me to see Speed 2 with them in a couple weeks. I wish I could see it with you instead.
zippitydoodah: You and me both.
I wanted to talk to Mira for the rest of the night, but my dad spun me around and slapped me on the buttbefore I had the chance to defend myself.
“You know the rules, Zipporah!” he shouted. “No Internet without my supervision! You have no idea what kind of pedophiles, what kind of fruitcakes, run amok on there!”
“Go to your room!”
I must have lain in bed for hours just staring up at the ceiling, so happy to have connected with someone. Even if it was online and not in person. Even if I didn’t know what she looked like.
I knew at an early age that I was different. While the other girls at my middle school gossiped about thecute new boy in Mr. Zitt’s social studies class, I crushed on my English teacher, Mrs. Paradine. While the other girls showed up at school with dresses and halter tops, pounds of make-up on their faces, I arrived wearing plain t-shirts and shorts, my lips covered with a little raspberry chap stick. While the other girls took carpools to the West Ridge Mall, I spent hours at my friend Tomas’s house playing Star Fox 64 and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. I knew I was different, and I didn’t care. I just wanted to be true to myself.
I fell asleep on that warm May night looking forward to when I could next talk to my new online friend.
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