After a while he’d lost track of the day of the week, and how many holes he’d dug. It all seemed like one big hole, and it would take a year and a half to dig it. He guessed he’d lost at least five pounds. He figured that in a year and a half he’d be either in great physical condition, or else dead.
He looked again at the design engraved into the flat bottom of the tube. He could see an outline of a heart, with the letters
K Betched inside it.
It didn’t take long for the pickup to return. Mr. Pendanski stepped out of the cab. A tall woman with red hair stepped out of the passenger side. She looked even taller than she was, since Stanley was down in his hole.
One thing was certain: They weren’t just digging to “build character.” They were definitely looking for something. And whatever they were looking for, they were looking in the wrong place.
Later, as Stanley sat sprawled across an understuffed chair, he tried to think of a way to tell the Warden where the tube was really found, without getting himself or X-Ray into trouble. It didn’t seem possible.