The vacancy in Group D is filled by a boy they call Twitch who is always twitching, he says, in readiness to steal a car. But Stanley cannot stop thinking about the possibility that Zero is still alive. His feelings overcome him while digging the next day and he attempts to take Mr. Sir’s water truck to rescue Zero. As he presses the accelerator the truck goes nowhere. Twitch calls to Stanley to put the truck in gear. Stanley does and zooms across the dry lake only to crash inside a hole. He leaves the truck and runs away, his canteen empty.
Notes: The climax occurs as Stanley shows his bravery and friendship by going after Zero.. The themes of fate, friendship, and compassion for victims of social injustice are behind his actions. He is showing the authorities at Camp Green Lake that they are wrong. Someone does care about Hector Zeroni.
Stanley walks slowly, looking for Zero, but thinking of eventually turning back. He passes a surprising number of holes at a great distance from the camp, and peers into each one. He runs from one hole where he sees a family of yellow-spotted lizards. He comes across a sunflower seed sack, finds one seed inside and calls it lunch.
Notes: Though Stanley is looking for Zero, the reader knows that Stanley expects to find only Zero’s body in one of the holes. His walking seems to be pointless.
Stanley continues walking toward elusive mirages of water. He thinks he can see “God’s thumb” in the distance and, though he knows it is futile, keeps walking toward it. He changes direction when he sees something off to his right. It turns out to be the remains of an overturned boat. Stanley reflects on the irony of the possibility that someone might have drowned on the very spot where he is dying of thirst. He reads the name “Mary Lou” on the back of the boat, and then hears a noise. He shouts, trying to scare the critter back into the boat. A hand with an orange sleeve reaches out.
Zero emerges, weak, but smiling. Stanley suggests that he and Zero go back to camp. Zero refuses and offers Stanley some “sploosh.” They crawl into the shade of the boat and use Zero’s shovel to break open a tightly sealed jar of sweet, mushy nectar. Zero says that it is the last of the sixteen jars of “sploosh” he had found there. Not all of them had been sealed so tightly. Again Stanley suggests going back, and going to a hospital like Barf Bag had done after stepping on a rattlesnake. Zero explains that Barf Bag did it on purpose. He had taken his shoe and sock off first.
They crawl out from under the boat and Zero doubles over in pain. Stanley insists on taking Zero back. Again Zero refuses. Stanley gives in and points Zero toward “God’s thumb.”
Notes: The connections between the past and present are coming together showing fate’s hand in Stanley’s family history. The boat and spiced peaches that belonged to Sam the onion man, who was a victim of cruelty and racism, have saved the life of Zero, a victim of the same evils. The holes in the story are slowly being filled in. However the reader still does not know how the link between Stanley and Zero as a descendant of Madame Zeroni will be resolved, nor do we know how or if the boys will survive on “God’s thumb.”