Mr. Art returned to the set on Friday afternoon. By that point, I was sick to death of Kolb. I was too sullen and riddled with worry to talk, so he had free reign to let loose for two nights. He talked on and on about the Reds, about the bomb, and how he figured that men from Mars planned on letting us kill each other so they could come and colonize our rock. It was outlandish stuff, but seeing as how he was my only friend on set, I let him bellow without so much as a single interruption. When I saw Mr. Art again, I bent his ear.

“How did the shoot down in Mexico go? Everything alright?” Mr. Art looked at me with pure hatred.

“What the hell are you talking about? What’s all this about Mexico?”

That was all it took. Either Sharon’s story was a world-class rib or something that was supposed to be secret. I figured on letting things drop for the moment.

“Where’s Sharon?” I asked.

“She’s in her trailer. Now leave me alone, kid.” Mr. Art went away behind the cameras and began talking with the crew. I made a beeline for Sharon’s trailer. I knocked three times. She never answered, so I let myself in.

A scream greeted me. “Who invited you, you ugly bastard!”


The voice was all wrong. It was too high-pitched and too clean. Not enough smoke and whisky to it. I walked closer and found that the hair color was blonde, but the wrong shade. I then stared into the eyes and saw that they were blue, but far too dark. That settled it.

“You’re not Sharon Silverwood. Who the hell are you?”

“I am Sharon Silverwood, and if you don’t get out of my trailer right now, I’ll have Mr. Art’s goons break your legs.”

My jaw hit the floor. The gall…the sheer gall astounded me.

“Where’s Sharon? What did you do to her?”

The false Sharon let out a banshee wail that could have woken the dead. She screamed a whole bunch of blue words that included “ugly” as a prefix or suffix. When Mr. Art and two bums with Chicago faces and tumors under their blazers came in, the false Sharon was spouting something about attempted rape. I prepared for a donnybrook, but instead Mr. Art invited me outside.

“Come and talk with me for a second. Let’s walk.”

I followed him and his friends out into the bright sun. We all walked in silence until we reached a spot that was out-of-sight and out-of-hearing for the rest of the crew.

“I know enough about you to know that you’re not a total idiot,” Mr. Art said.

“Thank you.” I tried and failed to keep the anger out of my voice.

“Don’t take a petulant tone with me. You’re still my employee, kid. Wise up!”

“And that Sharon back there,” I said. “She’s an employee too?”

“That’s right. She’s the new lead. The general public will not know or care. We only have a few more scenes left to shoot, and then it’s splitsville. You and your alkie friend can go join a nudist colony for all I care.”

“What about Sharon, though? The real Sharon Silverwood from Los Angeles. The one that likes Camels and Tennessee whisky?”

Mr. Art got close. His henchmen got closer, with one practically putting his snub-nose into my ribs. By that point the message was clear to me, but Mr. Art was not completely satisfied.

“You are not going to say a word. And if you do…” Two fists hit me at the same time. One of the goons used his knee to hit me in my lower back. The blows put me down, but not out. I got back to my feet. I picked one of them up in a double leg and threw him as hard as I could. The other I put in a tight Shanghai sleeper. I held and squeezed until the cold weight of Hartford steel cracked the piece of skull behind my ear. My legs turned to jelly. I tried to stand up again, but Mr. Art shoved a blade underneath my chin.

“You’re a tough palooka; I’ll give you that. But unless you want to be a dead palooka, you will put that fucking rubber suit on today and then be on your merry way tomorrow. Am I clear?”

I spit in the sand. Another blow landed to the back of my head, which made me feel like I was swimming. The same floating sensation lasted for the rest of day. The final cut of The Creature from Los Alamos still includes one take where you can see me, the radiation monster, sway in place like a drunk on a ship’s deck. But I was a good little trouper; I played the monster for the final time that day. And when it was all over, I said goodbye to Kolb and headed home.

“That’s not Sharon,” I said to the old drunk as a final goodbye.

“Who’s Sharon?” He slurred so much that a flood of drool emptied from his bottom lip.

“Jesus.” That was the last thing I ever said to Alonzo Kolb.


For all installments of “Dig Two Graves,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2