What was the deal Maniac made with Russell and Piper in "Maniac Magee"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maniac actually makes a series of deals with Russell and Piper in order to get them to attend school.  He begins by "promising to show them the shortcut to Mexico on Saturday" if they go to school faithfully for the rest of the week.  On Saturday, Maniac tells the boys that they cannot go to Mexico right now because it is volcano season, and he makes a new deal with them, telling them that he will treat them to a large pizza if they go to school for another week.  Russell and Piper buy into the agreement, and Maniac buys them pizza and offers the same deal for another week.

School "is still agony for the boys", however, and soon they decide that they want more in exchange for their attendance than just a pizza.  Their association with the notorious Maniac Magee is bringing them a lot of attention at school from their friends, and so Russel and Piper ask Maniac to perform a series of daring stunts for each week of school he wants out of them.  First, Maniac must enter Finsterwald's backyard and stay there for ten minutes, then he must complete a "series of heroic feats" including hitting a telephone pole with a rock sixty-one times in a row, and climbing the fence to the bison pen at the zoo and kissing the baby buffalo while the mother looks on.  Finally, Maniac is given "the most perilous challenge of all" - venturing into the East End neighborhood, a white boy all alone (Chapter 36-37).