Chapter 6 Summary
Stanley quickly learns that life at Camp Green Lake is anything but comfortable. Showers only last four minutes, and there is no hot water. Dinner is a tasteless meat and vegetable stew. Stanley finishes his serving even though he does not like it. While he eats, one of the campers asks him what he did to get sent to Camp Green Lake. Stanley says he stole a pair of sneakers belonging to “Sweet Feet” Clyde Livingston, a famous baseball player. None of the boys believes him, and Stanley reflects on the irony of this. Back home, when he said he was innocent of the crime, nobody believed him and he was convicted. Now that he is paying for the crime, nobody believes him when he says he did it.
Clyde Livingston is Stanley’s hero. Stanley used to have a poster of him, but he does not know where it is now. The police took it as evidence. During Stanley’s trial, Livingston testified. Even under the circumstances, Stanley was excited to see Livingston in person. At the trial, Livingston testified that he had donated the sneakers to a homeless shelter to auction them off for money. Livingston believed Stanley was guilty and that he was a horrible person for stealing from homeless children.
On his first night at camp, Stanley has trouble sleeping. His cot smells like sour milk, and it is so rickety that Stanley is afraid his big body will break it. He thinks about school, where a bully named Derrick Dune always used to bother him. Whenever Stanley tried to tell, the teachers did not believe him because Derrick was so much smaller than Stanley was.
On the day Stanley was arrested, Derrick had stolen his notebook and put it in the toilet. Because of this, Stanley missed the bus and had to walk home. On the way, a pair of sneakers fell from the sky. One hit him in the head.
At the time, Stanley thought the sneakers might be a sign from heaven. His father had been trying to invent a use for old sneakers for some time, so maybe they would help his father with his invention. Stanley picked up the shoes and ran. Soon after that, the police arrived, and he was arrested. Only then did he learn that the sneakers belonged to Clyde Livingston—who did not have sweet feet at all, apparently, given how badly the sneakers stank.
Stanley had to wait months for his trial. His parents could not afford a lawyer, so his mother advised him simply to tell the truth. He did so, but now, lying in his cot at camp, Stanley wishes he had lied. It was too far-fetched to say the shoes fell from the sky.