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- When Stanley finishes digging his hole – once again, he's the last one to finish – he finds Mr. Pendanski and the other boys sitting in a circle back at the tent.
- Mr. Pendanski says they are discussing their future plans: he asks the boys what they like to do, trying to get them to come up with ideas for future careers.
- Then he launches into a lecture about how Stanley is the one responsible for where he is right now: he alone can set his life straight. This is some pretty serious stuff.
- Mr. P says that each of the boys is special in his own way. "Even you, Zero," he says. "You're not completely worthless" (12.41). Well, then.
- He asks Zero what he likes to do. The boy's response?: "I like to dig holes" (12.46).