In Louis Sachar's *Holes*, Zero proves himself to be surprisingly good at mathematics more than once. When Stanley is teaching Zero his letters, for instance, he tells Zero that there are twenty-six letters in the alphabet but two ways to write each of them (capital and lowercase). Zero immediately comes back with the remark that, in such case, there are actually fifty-two letters. He doesn't have to stop to figure out the multiplication or addition, it just comes to him at once. "That's just how many there are," Zero says when Stanley asks him if he added or multiplied.

Zero also notes that if Stanley teaches him ten letters per day, five capitals and five lowercase, he will know them all in five days, even though on the last day, he will have to learn six of each. Again, Stanley is astonished at how Zero figures out such a thing without any apparent effort.

Later in the book, Stanley is trying to figure out how long he has been at Camp Green Lake. He came on May 24, and he thinks it is July 8. Zero immediately responds that Stanley has been there forty-six days. Stanley accepts Zero's answer because he has "learned not to doubt him when it came to math."

With these kinds of offhand responses to mathematical questions, Zero shows that he is far from stupid, even though he hasn't received much education. He is, in fact, an intelligent young man who also proves to be loyal and brave.