25th Trillium Award

Write Across Ontario: Madison Smart and the Broad Street Baker by Meghan Butcher

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Every Tuesday in January, Open Book will feature one of the four winning stories in Open Book: Ontario and IFOA Ontario's Write Across Ontario contest. Ontario elementary and high school students were asked to compose a story of 500 words or less in response to a "story-starter," which was written by a well-known author.

Meghan Butcher, a grade 6 student in A.R. Kaufman P.S. in Kitchener, was awarded first place in the grades 5-6 category for her story, ?Madison Smart and the Broad Street Baker.? The story starter was provided by Richard Scrimger (Ink Me, Orca Books). Congratulations, Meghan!


"Madison Smart and the Broad Street Baker?

By Meghan Butcher

The cake didn?t look poisoned. But the dead rat lying next to the small pile of cake crumbs told a different story. Madison Smart gave a small chuckle as she took a photo of the scene. ?This?ll be the first time the wedding guests are happy the caterer is a rat-infested slob.? It was a good thing, she thought, that they hadn?t arrived early. It would be just like a movie star to sneak a taste of the icing... which is what the killer of the rat had surely intended. Madison put her camera and notebook back in her coat. Time to call the police. The Broad Street Baker had almost struck again.

* * *

After she had arrived at the police station, Madison told everyone about what she?d seen. Madison was a detective, and since she had discovered the cake, she fully intended to be the one to investigate further. She got her wish... but was paired up with her least favourite colleague, Alyssa Turner. Alyssa was snooty, selfish, and never any help whatsoever. Madison groaned and prayed silently that Alyssa would just tag along and let her solve her case.

* * *

The next morning, the two were set on figuring out just what was in the cake, and it didn?t take long. Alyssa came waltzing into work with a maddening superior look, brandishing a bottle supposedly full of vanilla, judging by the label. But —

?It?s drain cleaner,? she told Madison, sticking the bottle under her nose. ?Found it in the kitchen where the reception was supposed to be.?

?And how, might I ask, did you get in?? Madison demanded, raising an eyebrow. ?It?s been blocked off and locked all night!?

?Oh, I know someone,? Alyssa replied mysteriously.

?Are you kidding me? You have, like, two people on the planet who actually like you!?


?Good. Now, let?s just go find this stupid murderer.?

Alyssa opened her mouth to say something, but thought better of it and simply left to find more clues.

* * *

Madison sat in her room the following night, studying a flyer created by the culprit. She was sure she could find some information — she had to. She was not going to let Alyssa beat her to it!

Madison looked some more. Name... didn?t matter. Of course they?d make one up. Email address... they would change that for business, too. Normal address... 294 Broad Street.

But why did that look so familiar?

Growing excited, Madison pulled her laptop in front of her and clicked on the folder labeled ?Important People?. Up came several profiles of ?Friends?, ?Family?, ?Colleagues? and ?Fishy people — Keep Watch?. Her grandma... she certainly doubted it. Her best friend... she sure hoped not! Colleagues... Alyssa! She?d seemed weird lately... well, weirder. And Madison knew she never could have gotten into the kitchen of the crime. She wasn?t exactly popular. Heart pounding, Madison scrolled down to her address, which was... 294 Broad Street, overtop the bakery! Of course! She hastened to print out the evidence and write a report, and, after what felt like forever, trudged off to bed.

Tomorrow was going to be a long, long day.

* * *

When Madison arrived the next day, Alyssa sauntered over and draped a friendly arm around her shoulder. ?Hi! So, any progress?? Madison shoved her away.? Get your filthy hands off me! I know what you are, and I?m not going to save your skin either, because you?re already enough of a snob, and now you?re a murderer, so don?t play nice now!? she snarled. Alyssa, looking both startled and terrified, ran towards her office. Madison quickly followed, to find... an open window. Oh, this was bad.


Meghan Butcher was born in Cambridge, Ontario. She loves to sing, dance and draw along with writing. When she is older, Meghan would like to be a fashion designer. She plays the piano and is currently in grade 3 for the Royal Conservatory of Music. Meghan enjoys knitting and sewing her own things to pass the time and currently lives in Kitchener, Ontario with her parents and sister, Lauren.

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