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After Maniac leaves Amanda's home, there is a short span of time where the reader does not know for sure where Maniac lives. It appears that he must have just been living out on the streets, because when the story picks up again, he is filthy and starving. Maniac is found unconscious in the buffalo pen by the old zoo caretaker, Earl Grayson. He has apparently been living in the pen for awhile, hiding from "some kids...somewhere out there...some other town" (Chapter 22).
Grayson takes Maniac to the baseball equipment room behind the bandshell in Elmwood Park, where the Zoo is located. He feeds the voraciously hungry boy, and cleans him up. Grayson himself lives at the Two Mills YMCA, but although he suggests that Maniac stay with him there, Maniac, afraid that he will bring bad luck to Grayson like he has to the other people he has lived with, declines. Maniac chooses instead to make his home in the baseball equipment room, and Grayson visits him there and brings him food everyday. Soon, Maniac is going out each afternoon to help Grayson with his work, and the two learn about each other and strike up a deep friendship. Their ability to fill a void in each other's lives is mutual - Grayson takes care of Maniac's needs and is a father-figure to him, and Maniac provides much-appreciated companionship to Grayson, and teaches him to read.
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