lacking companions or companionship
Maniac drifted from hour to hour, day to day, alone with his memories, a stunned and
luggage consisting of a small case with a flat bottom
He returned only long enough to pick up a few things: a blanket, some nonperishable food, the glove, and as many books as he could squeeze into the old black
satchel that had hauled Grayson’s belongings around the Minor Leagues.
marked by extreme and violent energy
But sometimes he would suddenly sprint,
furious ten or twenty-second bursts, as though trying to leave himself behind.
move sideways or in an unsteady way
Even so, in his mind’s eye he saw the red and yellow trolley
careening from the high track, plunging to the water, killing his parents over and over.
continue to live through hardship or adversity
He would retrieve the satchel from wherever he had stashed it and find a place to
endure the night.
forsaken by owner or inhabitants
Other times his overnight quarters might be an
abandoned car, an empty garage, a basement stairwell.
an amount of something available for use
When his original
supply of food ran out, he fed himself at the zoo or at the soup kitchen down at the Salvation Army.
a bleak atmosphere
Here the Continental Army had suffered through a winter of their own, and the vast, stark, frozen
desolation itself seemed a more proper monument than statues and stones.
ask for or request earnestly
Dreams pursued memories, courted and danced and coupled with them and they became one, and the gaunt,
beseeching phantoms that called to him had the rag-wrapped feet of Washington’s regulars and the faces of his mother and father and Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan and the Beales and Earl Grayson.
make a counterattack and return like for like
retaliated, and Maniac had to step back while a two-kid tornado swirled around the cabin.
censure severely or angrily
Then the brothers had to do some more trembling and clinging while John finished
lambasting them for running away, which apparently they did about every other week.
use a name to designate
Really little kids
referred to him as “Mr. Maniac.”
the feeling that accompanies something extremely surprising
To the utter
amazement of all, when Russell finally croaked, “Time,” Maniac Magee was still there, alive, smiling, apparently unharmed.
marked by casual unconcern or indifference
He took off his sneaks and socks and walked —
nonchalant as you please — through the rat-infested dump at the foot of Rako Hill.
laugh at with contempt and derision
He climbed the fence at the American bison pen at the zoo — he had suggested this feat himself, everyone else
scoffing — and, while the mother looked on, kissed the baby buffalo.
a state of high honor
As for Maniac, he understood early on that he was being used for the greater
glory of Piper and Russell.
fraught with danger
And then one day they gave him the most
perilous challenge of all.
marked by or showing hopelessness
Forlorn, marooned on concrete and asphalt, no place to burrow, April’s orphans.
the outcome of an event
But there were other considerations: whom he was racing against, and where, and what the
consequences might be if he won.
marked by excessive or uncontrollable emotion
These were heavy considerations, heavy enough to slow him down — until the
hysterical crowd and the sight of Mars Bar’s sneaker bottoms and the boiling of his own blood ignited his afterburners, and before you could say, “Burn ’im, Magee!” he was ahead, the pink thread bobbing in his sights.
His only recollection was a feeling of sheer, joyful
exuberance, himself in celebration: shouting “A-men!” in the Bethany Church, bashing John McNab’s fastballs out of sight, dancing the polka with Grayson.
a retaliatory action against an enemy in wartime
Maniac kept moving, embarrassed, wishing he could just break out and sprint for the West End, wishing he could duck into the Beales’ house and be sanctuaried there and not fear
reprisals on them — and just about then, miraculously, two little hands were worming into his, two familiar voices squealing, “Maniac! Maniac!”
In spite of their twisted,
ludicrous impressions of East Enders, the concern and the tears in their eyes had been genuine.
rise up against an authority
“What’s gonna happen is, one of these days they’re gonna
a barrier to impede the advance of an enemy
Maniac tried to picture Amanda and Hester and Lester and Bow Wow storming the
raid and rove in search of plunder
And he told Maniac what he often imagined, lying in bed: the blacks sweeping across Hector one steaming summer night; torches, chains, blades, guns, war cries;
marauding, looting, overrunning the West End; climbing in through smashed windows, doors, looking for whites, bloodthirsty for whites, like Indians in the old days, Indians on a raid.
anything maintaining separation by obstructing access
So easily he could picture the Beales’ brown faces around this dinner table, and the little Pickwell kids’ white bodies in the bathtub at 728 Sycamore. Whoever had made of Hector Street a
barrier, it was surely not these people.
reckless or malicious behavior that causes annoyance
He took them to the library, then scrapped that idea after their
shenanigans left the librarian blubbering and blue-faced.
affected with or marked by mania uncontrolled by reason
One day he heard
frenzied horn-honking and screaming.
completely unordered and unpredictable and confusing
It was a maddening,
chaotic time for Maniac.
ludicrous or foolish
Running in the mornings and reading in the afternoons gave him just enough stability to endure the
zany nights at the McNabs’.
unaware because of a lack of relevant information
Whites never go inside blacks’ homes. Much less inside their thoughts and feelings. And blacks are just as
ignorant of whites.
squeeze together tightly
Mars Bar allowed himself to be dragged into them, but his jaw was
clenched and his eyes kept straying to the gaping hole in the ceiling — and to the Cobras, who were slouching against the walls and baseboards, sipping beers and watching his every move.
a form of punishment with two lines of men facing each other
The Cobras stayed, and Maniac, clamping the struggling Mars Bar for dear life, lugged him down a
gauntlet of seething eyes to the door and the street.
lacking any definite plan or order or purpose
This was the first in a series of apparently
a step in walking or running
stride, shoulder to shoulder, breath for breath, till they were matching on all points, a harnessed pair, two runners become one.
in an uncontrolled manner
He shrieked and babbled at them, but he made no sense, so they just followed as he raced
frantically back up the street.
move or force in an effort to get something open
“Even when we got off, the midget wouldn’t let me go. ‘We’re off it,’ I says to him. ‘You’re rescued.’ But all he does is grab me harder, like he’s a octopus or somethin’. Off the platform, down the steps, out to the street — he’s still doin’ it. I couldn’t
pry him off nohow.”
twist or pull violently or suddenly
But the voice of the buffalo was the voice of Amanda Beale, and its teeth were her fingers pulling and
wrenching his poor ear till he was sitting upright.
satisfied or showing satisfaction with things as they are
He was quite
content to let Amanda do the talking, for he knew that behind her grumbling was all that he had ever wanted.