Sure, Holloway probably won’t jack me for my life savings and nail my girlfriend like Sawyer would, but within 20 minutes of meeting me, he’s already joking about putting a shotgun in my mouth (long story)—and pointing out the unfortunate shape of a duck’s penis . . . which does kinda look like a strand of rotelle pasta, now that you mention it. And, of course, thanks to Lost’s need for strict onscreen continuity, he looks like he just crawled out from under the shade of his tarp beach shack. Beard trimmed precisely to that eighth-of-an-inch scruff he calls “the squirrel,” dirty-blond hair tucked under a ball cap, hide burned brown, and dimples you could jackknife a rig in.

But it’s not just smarm and smirks that Sawyer and Holloway share—both possess canine-sharp survival instincts. On TV, his character hoards medical supplies and guns; Holloway, who was a casting fluke away from being Forest Ranger Josh Holloway or Josh Holloway, Friendly Neighborhood Realtor, hoards opportunity. After eight years of failed pilots and straight-to-the-garbage indie films, he’s finally getting his shot, at 36. Which is nice. But this being Lost, in which Others, polar bears, and mysterious “monsters” roam the jungle, he also knows he’s always potentially just a script away from getting killed off.

So despite being the dangling slice of man meat on television’s most-celebrated and cultlike show, despite the new contract that will pay him a reported $80,000 per episode, despite the Mercedes roadster in the driveway—despite success—he and Kumala scrimp. They still shop at Food Land. They buy the cheap couches. They save the boxes. Instead of paying some agency $6,000 to handle fan mail, they do it themselves. And when they make a major purchase, like the new wall-to-wall flat-screen television in their living room, they do so with frayed fingernails. Holloway calls it a trailer-park mentality.

“But I’m not going back to the trailer, man!” He’s yelling now over the roar of the outboard. “Making money is one education. But keeping it? That’s a whole other lesson.”

LET’S JUST SOFTEN THE BLOW A BIT HERE, SHALL WE? TOUGHEN THE GUY UP. YOU KNOW, like the ducks?

Josh Holloway—real man, man’s man—has, in his life, toiled in the southern sun working construction. Hammer and nails and sweat. He’s shoveled rotten chicken carcasses and buried them in the red Georgia topsoil. This is important to point out because, well, dude got his start as a hair model.

Yep. Hair model. That’s why we’re here. One day Holloway, then 17, went for a haircut—a “real haircut” as he puts it—at the Perimeter Mall outside Free Home, Georgia, and just never came back. So impressed was the stylist with Holloway’s golden mop, she asked him to strut the catwalk at an upcoming show. “I was like, ‘No way,’” he says. “But then she told me it was just me and 12 girls and I get the haircut for free. And I was like, ‘Done!’”