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PARTY ON HORROR BEACH

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CHAPTER EIGHT
The film crew didn’t have access to cranes for lifting their find off the seafloor, so Mike was forced to improvise. Diving with a tube attached to the air-compressor they used to fill the oxygen tanks, Mike and Charlie tied empty trash-bags and deflated beach-balls to the Monster’s arms and legs, then inflated them with air from the hose. With some scrambling and adjustments, they eventually had enough buoyancy to lift the body off the bottom and float it to the surface above. Then Mike slowly guided the motorboat along the coast until they reached the beach where the film crew had set up camp. The stunt-men jumped into the surf and waded ashore with the heavy eight-foot tall body. Once on the sand, they placed it on a plastic tarp spread out waiting for it. With the Monster’s body on the tarp, they could drag it further up the beach. Everyone had to pitch in for that effort. There was a long line of suntan-lotioned, bathing-suit wearing workers tugging and hauling at the sides of the tarp while the Monster’s head lolled from side to side. Eventually they muscled it into place and almost in unison dropped onto the sand panting and exhausted.

During the salvage operation, an unseen presence watched them though the windows of Mornay House. As clear as the pane he stood behind, Geoffrey Radcliffe stared down at the motorboat bobbing on the waves and the circles of bubbles rising from the divers below. The bubbles formed rings on the surface, like glass mushrooms sprouting on a sea green lawn. He chewed his lip and occasionally took a sip of champagne from a long fluted glass.
“They’ve found the Monster and they’re trying to raise him.” Radcliffe said, through he was the only one in the room.
He leaned forward, invisible hands pressed against the glass as the black shape of the Monster bobbed to the surface. He laughed at the colorful beach balls tied to the bolts on his neck and the inflated trash bags that lolled about like a flotilla of black Portuguese Man’o’wars surrounding him.
“They’ve brought him up! It worked!”
For a few moments he nodded to himself, as if listening to a distant voice.
“But there is no way they can revive him. They are film-makers, not doctors or scientists. They don’t have the equipment or the knowledge.”
A voice that may or may not have been actually audible whispered in his ear.
“Leave that to me.”
Far below, in a stone-walled secret vault hidden beneath the castle, something stirred inside a coffin made of slick black-lacquered wood. Fingers clawed impatiently at the lid, but the sun was still up and the Thing in the coffin was still pinned to its grave of native soil, strewn across velvet padding.
“Leave that to me!” a richly accented voice said aloud.
Laughter, a woman’s voice, echoed from a coffin nearby, as hollow and dark as the box that contained it.

“So, you think you can rig up something that looks like a gizmo to recharge the Frankenstein Monster?” Roger asked, licking his lips and gazing on the incredibly life-like prop they’d salvaged with something disturbingly like love.
“Boss! You gotta ask?” Mike replied, holding a hand over his wounded heart.
“Can you have it by tomorrow?”
This time Mike frowned and chewed his lip.
“Sure. That’s what you pay me for.” His eyes were already roving around the camp scanning for bits and pieces he could use.
“Yeah. No problem. But, if you don’t mind me asking, why the rush?”
“Margie’s been listening to the radio. They’re saying that there’s a storm brewing up just south of here. It’s boiling up right out of nowhere. Weather Service is saying that it might start moving toward the coast in a day or two. I don’t want to be camped out on a beach when a hurricane comes stomping across this island. I want to wrap up the big finale scene tomorrow and bug out before nightfall. We can film the rest in studio or on La Mirada’s beach.”
“Right. I better get right on it then!”

That night, while Mike was banging away and spray painting and cussing, going through the crew’s supply of silver duct tape at a terrific rate, Roger gathered the rest of the crew together to go over the changes he’d made in the script. They were sitting cross-legged at his feet, like kids gathered round to listen to a campfire tale. A bonfire crackled and hissed behind them. Beers were passed around. His sentences were punctuated with the snap of pull-tabs and the occasional appreciative chuckle. Rod sat on a folding chair facing out toward the ocean. He listened intently, waving his hands in time with Roger’s voice, as if knitting or conducting an invisible orchestra.
Bobby kept trying to sneak a kiss with Bobbi, or slip his hand into her lap, but she wasn’t having it. She was all work, focused entirely on the changes to her dialog.
“Okay, the biggest changes are to our villain and his motivation. Instead of Professor Erik Lindsay, out to avenge the death of his brother Otto, we now have Johnny Frankenstein. Johnny is a wacked out would-be doctor who got thrown out of Med School. He’s out to revive the Monster built by his great-grandfather and he’s using the Beach Girl Monster…”
“Crazy Kelp-Head!” Shouted Charlie and the crew laughed.
“…and the Party Beach Monster…”
“Hot-Dog Monster!”
More laughter.
“…to collect parts he needs to patch-up the Monster.” Roger smiled indulgently. “Instead of the brooding war criminal Erik, I see Johnny as a crazy Beatnik disc-jockey with an over the top laugh.”
“Cool!” Frankie shouted. “That gives us an excuse to slip in a couple more songs.”
Roger nodded.
“Indeed it does. Hope you’ve got a couple more we can use.”
“Daddy-O, I have a trunk full of songs!”
“Well, you’ve definitely got a trunk full of something.” Baby Blue cooed, snapping the elastic band of his tight swim-trunks.
Everybody laughed some more. Bobby succeeded in planting a sloppy kiss on Bobbi’s cheek and she patted his head, which only encouraged him more.
“If Johnny Frankenstein knew what he was doing, he wouldn’t need so many bodies for parts. He keeps dropping organs or cutting too deep when he’s taking them out. He’s more butcher than surgeon, but he doesn’t know it.”
“He would probably get away with it if it weren’t for our two heroes.” Roger pointed to Rod and Bobbi. Rod raised his hand and waved, even though he was sitting with his back to the group.
“Dr. Adams figures out where the monsters are operating from and tracks them back to Blood Cove, where Johnny is just about ready to revive the Monster. Andrea’s already there, having been kidnapped by the Beach Girl Monster in scene fifty-eight.”
“Damn Fantigua fish!” Red shouted. “Can’t keep his fishy hands off the goods!”
She tossed an empty beer can at Charlie’s head.
Everyone laughed.
“But!” Roger raised a finger dramatically, “Being in danger summons her alter ego, the She-Creature, who wades in out of the mists and oceans of time and attacks the other two sea-monsters.”
“Go, She-Critter!” Bobby shouted, shoving his head past Bobbi’s hands and dropping it into her lap. He stared up at her with goofy waggling eyebrows and lascivious intent.
Despite her determination to focus on the script changes, she began to feel tingly and squirmed, ever so slightly.
Bobby grinned.
Roger knew he was about to lose them so he cut to the chase.
“The She-Creature tears up the other monsters, throws Johnny Frankenstein into his own machinery before the Monster can be awoken, then vanishes back into the mists, having saved the day!”
The crew laughed and applauded.
“I have copies of the new scenes for all of you, make sure you read ‘em and are ready to go at sun-up!”
The Production Assistant, whose name Roger never could remember, caught his cue and began to hand out the pages he’d spent all afternoon typing up.
Bobbi snatched both copies, twisted out from under Bobby, and jumped to her feet to run off into the dark sands down the beach. Bobby smiled at his companions, saluted briskly, and ran off after her.
Everyone else settled in to read typescript pages by firelight and party long into the night