The chopper flew in low over the arid desert plane, which had just landed owing to its arid condition in search of the fuel truck near the end of this makeshift runway in Tacos, New Mexico. We were behind schedule and Ford hadn’t helped any by his impromptu rescue of what he laughingly referred to as the ‘alien’.
When he’d finally set down over by the cratering truck, (a catering truck sinking into a crater – duh…) I hustled over to where he landed and beckoned him.
“Jesus Harry, we’re sucking sunlight here and you’re off chasing after…” I looked at the tarp he had thrown over the thing, then back at him. He looked up at me, with that Harrison Ford twinkle, and realizing he had disarmed me again, smiled.
“You won’t believe it. This thing is the real deal.” He was enthusiastic. I was skeptical.
We were shooting second unit stunts with Ford and Daniel Craig for the film, Cowhards and Lizard People From Qantolopopolous (later shortened to Cowboys and Lizard People)*. It wasn’t going well. I was fresh off my script ER work on the ill-fated Spunky Does series when I got a call to direct some touchy second unit stuff with the principals from the film. As Spunky didn’t, I needed a break, so I caught a flight to Taos, New Mexico and things got weird.
*later shortened to Little Greeny
It turns out there is a Taos New Mexico and a Tacos New Mexico and that pretty much everyone involved in the project ended up in the wrong place, Jimmy Smits completely befuddled landed in Chimichanga, Old Mexico. So, by the time I had assembled everyone, I was in no mood to fuck around.
Unfortunately for me, Harrison Ford was always in the mood to fuck around. And as he was the money shot, (sorry Danny, we had some good times, but you know Han Solo trumps Bond every time – so get over it) I had to play along to keep him mollified.
At first it was drunken pranks, we’d sit up drinking until late and then guess who on the crew was gay, then call gay escorts to their hotel rooms and bet which ones would end up staying. Tacos has a major underground gay scene, literally in bunkers to protect them from illegal aliens, outer space aliens and Dick Cheney and we found some of the overnighters a little surprising – and you know who I’m talking to, Danny.
Anyway, it didn’t take long for Harrison to get bored with the gender preferences of the crew and others, and take up more troublesome exploits to stave his advancing ennui. We barely avoided a national incident when he loaded about 500 gallons of black paint into hoppers on his chopper and set about painting some of the White Sands military installation black. We had 2 F-16s on us until one of the pilots made visual confirmation that the pilot was indeed Indiana Jones so they let him finish painting, then blew it up after we flew out of visual range. Some great guys. My ass.
Daniel Craig, drunk again, (Christ, it was 10:00 in the fucking morning, what is with these Brits?) sauntered over and glanced between Harrison and the tarp strapped to the skid of his chopper. Ford had set it up for medical carry so whatever he was up to was contained on a stretcher, lashed down under the tarp.
“I saw it while flying over the mesa. I landed up on a dune and snuck up on the little bugger.” His eyes twinkled, “Fought like a son of a bitch. Lucky I didn’t get bit.”
We peered underneath and saw the oddest creature. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. They made it all sticky and all but impossible for me to see. I pulled back and gave them a quick rinse with a bota bag I carried for just such emergencies, sweet, sweet saline solution. The critter either belched or farted, as I couldn’t tell one end from another it was impossible to determine.
Meanwhile, Craig was vomiting onto the pavement, mostly due to the wretched smells emanating from the “thing” we had just taken hostage – but his drunkenness usually led to a puking frenzy some time during each shooting day so it wasn’t out of the ordinary. Just horribly disgusting.
We had both seen plenty of weird things lately, but this last was a real doozy. It looked like a family of five all living in the same body, oddly potato like, but very spewish. It writhed around, almost appeared to be copulating with itself and made all manner of unfortunate sounds
What was it? Where did it come from? Could we eat it? Seriously, I was getting hungry and really needed to know. The cratering truck had cratered completely – I told them not to park there but the stupid bastards wouldn’t listen and now we had to send all the way back to Tacos for burritos.
I lay flat down and examined the creature more closely. It was scared, that’s all I could tell. Harrison was all full of himself, puffed up as if he had discovered a new species. He addressed no one in particular as the crew began to congregate.
“Think I caught an alien. A, a real one, not like someone from Mexico.”
The thing made a sound “Dekkerssssszzz” then deflated into nothing. I looked at Harrison. “Nice Harry, real nice. Now can we get on with our real reason for being here…?”
Harrison looked perplexed and befuddled. “What the…? What did you do? The…”
I squared off with him, just like Lou did with Jake in Chinatown, Craig in the background wiping spittle from his mouth, “Harry. It’s Roswell.”