This summer the library held a creative writing contest, "What Happened Next?" open to elementary, middle, and high school students. To enter, participants considered the prompt: Dig deeper into your favorite book/movie/video game character and write a story, poem, or essay that answers the question: What happens to ___ character after the book/movie/game ends? Each winner receives a $50 gift card to the store or restaurant of their choice, and gets their writing published on the library's website.
Fourth grader Tucker Broderick, of Sleepy Hollow, is one of our "What Happened Next?" creative writing contest winners. Below is his entry "Maniac Magee, A New Chapter." Congratulations, Tucker!
Maniac Magee, A New Chapter
by Tucker Broderick
After living in such a stinky place as the buffalo pen at the Elmwood Park Zoo, I decided it would not hurt to take Amanda's advice and clean myself up. So once we got back to 728 Sycamore Street I got in the bath. I wonder what Hester and Lester will think when they see me, I thought. Although they were young, they were my best play buddies.
After the bath I got some fresh clothes. I'd left some here before I ran away. After I got dressed I fell asleep on Amanda's old bedroom floor thinking about my wonderful new place to live.
A little while later, I woke to Mrs. Beale's sweet voice. "Jeffrey... Jeffrey? Are you awake? I told you that a bed would be much more comfy than the floor!" she chuckled warmly.
"Huh? What?" I said.
"Sorry to wake you, but can I ask you a question?" she asked softly.
"Sure, what do you want to ask me?" I mumbled.
Mrs. Beale touched my shoulder. "Why did you run away? We all missed you so much, especially Amanda. We were trying to treat you the best that this ol' family could," she said. She did not exactly sound mad with me, yet a tiny bit disappointed. I could tell that she didn't have a clue why I had run away.
So I told her, "You see, people didn't like my skin around here so I thought maybe it was best to just leave."
She sighed, "Well, just know child, that you will always have a home here and no matter what anyone says, we think you are fine no matter what your skin color is."
All of a sudden, two voices as squeaky as mice were heard from the hallway. "Maniac, Maniac!" the two tiny voices squealed. It was Hester and Lester. "You came back, you came back!" the three and four year-olds yelled excitedly. They were jumping up in the air with so much energy and excitement.
"Hey guys," I said, rubbing their heads as they each hugged my knees. "I'm glad you missed me. I missed you too."
After playing with the toddlers for a while, I decided to go see Amanda. Before eating my breakfast, I sat down next to her at the kitchen table. "Hey Amanda," I said cautiously.
"What do you want?" she asked, still sounding the smallest bit disgusted with me over what happened yesterday. She had been up so late at night worrying about me and eventually found me living at the zoo.
I replied, "Well I just wanted to let you know that I'm sorry I ran away and left. I did not mean to hurt you in any way."
She smiled. "I probably was a bit grouchy last night, wasn't I?"
Then she got up and to my surprise, she hugged me. That was the first time we had ever hugged.
I ate up 2 packs of oatmeal and devoured a full dozen of butterscotch Krimpets. Did I mention they are my favorites? I was just about to go on a quick run when Amanda stopped me in my tracks.
"Hey Jeff, I want you to have this," she handed me a book. I gasped. It was encyclopedia A! This was one of her favorite books!
"I know it's a tiny bit ripped, but do you like it?" she asked.
"I love it!" I almost yelled. Now it was my turn to hug her.
Not much later when I was on my run, I heard Mars Bar yell, "Hey Maniac, want to play some catch with my new football I got?"
"Sure, why not!" I yelled back. We played for about forty-five minutes and then I said, "I need to get going. I'll see you later."
Mars Bar jokingly yelled back, "OK, bye fishbelly!"
I smiled and shouted, "Take care hot fudge." Mars Bar grinned at me. I was glad he no longer cared about my skin color.
While running back to my new home, I could not help but think about what had happened in my life like losing my parents, Grayson passing away, and now getting to live here in the East End.
When I got back, Mrs. Beale was sweeping and dusting to keep the house tidy. I decided that since Hester and Lester were doing their afternoon naps, I would do one too.
While catnapping, I had a dream that Grayson had come over to the West End to play baseball. Grayson was the batter and John McNab, the star pitcher in our town, was pitching. Grayson took the first pitch from McNab for a strike. Then, still dreaming, I shouted "Come ON Grayson!" On the next pitch, he hit the ball high and deep, right to me where I was sitting in the far outfield stands. I caught it and it was a home run. Right then, I woke up. I really missed Grayson. He had given me so much help when I needed it.
At dinner that night, Mrs. Beale asked aloud, "Jeffrey, do you really like us in this crazy house? I mean, we are a pretty wild household." She asked me this while staring at me straight in the eyes.
"Of course! Why wouldn't I? You guys treat me great," I said kindly. "Thank you for having me at this nice home."
That night I was tired. I slept extremely hard. I was on the floor, like usual. It was my comfort zone.
I woke the next afternoon to hear Mrs. Beale say, "Thank you Lord for waking this child up! We got a few things we gotta do today!" I wondered what she was planning...
I had a delicious lunch of bread, salad, leftover chicken, and Krimpets. Since I slept through breakfast, I was pretty hungry. I had two servings of everything, including butterscotch Krimpets. After cleaning up the kitchen table, we all went on a car ride. I asked, "Where are we going anyway?"
"You shall see," Mrs. Beale said mysteriously with a sneaky twinkle in her eye.
We eventually arrived at a large weird looking building. A tall girl asked as we were walking in, "What is your reason for being here today?"
"We have some very important business," Mrs Beale said as she smiled down at me.
What in the world is she talking about, I thought to myself. I was confused.
We walked into a massive room with a bunch of seats. A short skinny woman was sitting in one of the chairs in the center of a humongous brown table. The woman and Mrs. Beale whispered for a long while. When they were done, Mrs. Beale looked down at me again and said, "Jeffrey." She paused and restarted, "Jeffrey, how would you like to become an official family member with us now?"
All I could say was, "Yes." I had never been so stunned in my whole life!
The short woman said, "Then please sign your name here." So I signed my new actual name: Jeffrey Lionel Magee Beale. Now I had a true family! I felt so grateful.
That night Mrs. Beale came into my room before bed and said, "Good night Jeffrey."
I said back, "Good night, Mom." With that she kissed my head and closed the door. I officially had a family! I was loved.