The next day, the boys are back to digging their own holes in a whole new part of the dried-out lake. The Warden is no longer coming to supervise the digging, which is a good thing, we guess.
Stanley's head is still hurting from when he got whacked with a shovel (duh). His body, though, has grown strong from all the weeks of digging: he's gotten better at digging holes, too, and finishes much more quickly than he used to. Practice makes perfect, right?
When he gets back to camp, Stanley starts writing a letter to his mother. Just as in his last letter, he makes up fun, camp-like activities to tell her about. He doesn't want to worry Mom.
Zero comes into the tent, but Stanley keeps writing his letter: he "didn't care what Zero thought. Zero was nobody" (18.7). (Sounds like Stanley's being a bit of a bully himself, don't you think?)
Then little Zero tells Stanley that he doesn't know how to read and write, and asks Stanley to teach him. Our guy is surprised, but answers with a big, fat, whopping no.