TITLE: The Faster Shoes
GENRE: Middle Grade
"Give them back," shouted Topher Morgen racing down the aisle toward the locker room door. He lowered his shoulder and barreled through it. Once outside, he plowed into the crowd of kids pouring out of Fox Ridge Middle School. Topher craned his neck and scanned the sea of heads looking for the blond culprit. Gotcha, he spotted the tall eighth grader pushing through the crowd. Topher took off--his eyes fixed on the back of Brady Cooper.
"Watch it," said an eighth grader, shoving Topher out of his way.
Topher stumbled, putting a hand down to keep from falling. Back on his feet, he wove through the students and cut through a pack of girls. One of them shrieked. Others hurled insults but Topher wasn't listening. He had to catch Brady.
Out of the herd, Topher picked up speed. His eyes narrowed. Rounding the gym and heading toward the tennis courts, his socks ripped against the asphalt. The loose rocks from the blacktop cut into the balls of his feet. Not my socks too, he thought. How was he going to explain this to Mom?
Topher saw Brady stop on a tennis court. This was his chance. Topher's lungs burned as he sprinted toward his enemy. Hunched over momentarily, Brady spun around. Topher could tell from Brady's narrow pointy face--game over. Brady held Topher's shoes, tied together by the laces, and shouted, "Gopher, you want them? Come and get them." He chucked the shoes high into the air.