This chapter describes in detail the deadly yellow-spotted lizards. They have yellow-green bodies with yellow spots, yellow eyes encircled in red, black teeth and white tongues. They live in holes, eating small animals, insects, cactus thorns and Mr. Sir’s sunflower seeds.
Notes: Again, because of a little bit of information, curiosity is aroused. The reader knows that the lizards are fatal and wonders when the combination of holes and sunflower seeds will cause the lizards to affect one of the characters.
Stanley showers without soap, dresses in his clean orange clothes, saving the dirty ones, and heads to the “wreck room.” The other boys from Group D are there and when Stanley trips over a large boy they come to Stanley’s rescue. They comment that Caveman is a tough guy that should not be messed with. Stanley is relieved that he completed his first hole, the hardest one. X-Ray corrects him saying that the second hole is the hardest because you are already tired and sore and “the fun’s gone.” Stanley did not want to disagree with X-Ray.
When the other boys leave to play pool Stanley begins writing a letter to his mother. He writes as if he had been out on a real lake all day and would be participating in water sports. Zero is staring angrily at the letter over Stanley’s shoulder. He abruptly asks Stanley if the stolen sneakers had red X’s on them. Stanley wonders how Zero would have known that. The other boys call Caveman to dinner and Stanley realizes they are talking to him.
Notes: Everything in the “wreck room” is reminiscent of the surface of the lakebed. The pool table, the wall, the TV, the couch, everything has holes. The boys have done this.
Small, with thick glasses, the boy ironically called X-Ray is the leader and bully of the group. Stanley, who is the biggest, is weak. As happened with Derrick Dunne, being a bully has nothing to do with size. At first Stanley does not realize that the powerful sounding name Caveman refers to him and his size. He responds to it with his trademark shoulder shrug thinking to himself the name is “better than Barf Bag.”
Stanley wakes up early, sore and resenting the sun. Back on the lake he begins his second hole, trying to avoid putting pressure on his blisters and being careful to pile his dirt far away from what will be the perimeter of his hole. He protects his hands with his cap, at least until the sun comes up, and saves some of the water in his canteen.
He finds a rock with a fossilized fish in it and slacks off on his digging thinking that the fossil will qualify as something interesting to report and he will be given the rest of the day off. When Mr. Pendanski arrives with the water truck the boys line up in their predetermined order. At the end of the line is Stanley who shows Mr. Pendanski the fossil. Mr. Pendanski fills Stanley’s canteen, laughs and tells Stanley the Warden is not interested in fossils. The other boys pass the rock around.
Notes: Upon finding the fossil, Stanley displays the Yelnats ability to remain hopeful. Mr. Pendanski’s potential toward cruelty is again suggested when he laughs at Stanley’s hopeful expectation for getting the rest of the day off.