Ten years ago.
It was a time when producers had money to throw around. Films were made and car chases could fit in every movie’s budget. Plutarch was having the time of his life around that time, getting gigs left and right, doing what he loved, partying all night.
He had his arm around a sexy blonde when he first met Carmen. The blonde’s name was… Ugh, who cares. All he could remember was that she wasn’t a good lay. All the pretty ones aren’t, they aren’t trying hard enough. Whereas the average girls… Well, let’s just say they have more ways than one to get your attention and make you keep coming back for more.
He had slept with three actresses that week alone, the film was a good one in the titty aspect.
And he was walking to the stunt car, his arm around the sucky blonde’s tiny waist, and then he saw it. That beautiful ass of the woman that was elbows-deep inside his engine.
She turned around and frowned at him. “Are you the malaka who drives this car?” were her first words to him.
He opened his mouth but words didn’t come to him no more. “Ye-I-Um,” he stuttered.
The tall woman stepped close to him and looked down on him, her hands on her waist, still holding a greasy wrench. “Bababah,” she mocked him. “Yeah, that’s you. Didn’t you see my note of not going over five-thousand rpms on this one? We’ve modded it, it’s not a race car, it’s meant to keep your thick head safe!”
Plutarch let go of the blonde’s waist and opened his hands in apology. “I burned it, didn’t I?” he winced. “I felt it as soon as I made that last turn, the sound just shifted.”
“Well, duh! I had to replace everything! I had a part getting shipped by personal courier on a Sunday because you,” she poked his chest, looming over him, “needed to show off to this bimbo,” she continued, pointing at the bimbo in question without looking at her.
The bimbo chewed her gum. “Huh?”
“Look, lady. What’s your name?” Plutarch said.
“I’m Plutarch. Nice to meet you and everything. Yes, I messed up, I just said I felt it as soon as I’d done the deed.”
“I fucking know. It’s not like you needed to go fast, didn’t they tell you that the camera can’t pick it up anyway?” Carmen frowned, looking back at the car with sorrow.
She was a good head taller than him, strong and lean, with wild hair that refused to be tamed.
Plutarch got a hard-on.
“Can you fix it in time for the shoot?” Plutarch asked, actually worried. Partying was one thing, doing his job was another. He was proud in what he did, and he always tried to be a professional, even in this crazy world of filmmaking. ‘Everyone else can be flaky,’ his father told him. ‘You need to be dependable.’
Carmen snorted in a totally unladylike way. “Of course I can. But if you burn the engine out again…” she threatened him, raising her wrench.
“I won’t!” Plutarch raised his hands in surrender.
“Good.” Carmen eyed him hard and then turned back to the engine, shoving her upper body inside. “I’ll be done in an hour,” she shouted from inside the metal.
Plutach figured he had enough time to kill, so he fucked the blonde on all-fours in her trailer. She was not a good lay, and from this angle he could pretend he was holding onto that wonderful ass he’d just seen tinkering with his engine. It was a beautiful sight indeed, a true woman petrol-head, he could tell.
He grunted, fucking the stupid blonde just so he could temper his anxiety. He was anxious about the stunt, and he had made a mess by burning out the engine just before such a major one. He pulled out from the blonde and turned her around, jerking himself off to finish. She didn’t do anything to help him like a real woman should, no moans, no cupping his balls, no dirty-talk. Nothing, she was just a dead fish, counting on her looks to please the men she slept with. He came on her face and regretted it instantly, losing his strength and sitting back on the bed of the trailer.
He should have finished on her ass. That way he could still pretend it was Carmen.
The stunt was dangerous. Gripping the steering wheel, he went over it in his mind, visualising the entire thing. It was both a car chase and a crash, toppling the car as he, ‘the bad guy,’ got pushed off the street and into an obstacle. He could get a full spin in the air and land up-side down. It was all calculated neatly and the pneumatics were all inside the car, ready to blow out and tip him over.
It was the classic scene you saw on all Hollywood action movies, but this wasn’t Hollywood, this was the Balkans. And whereas over there they did that for every b-movie with a gun, over here it was a big deal. That was why he had plenty of work, he’d gone and chased his dream in America before giving up and coming back to Greece. He quickly found out that his mediocre stunt skills were highly sought-after in the limited cinemaland of the Balkans.
The AD ran over to him, holding a clipboard. “Okay, Plutarch, we’re all set. You do as we planned, start at 60 km/h, the hero spots you, drives through a red light, you chase after him, then you slam the side doors on him but he prevails, pushes you over, you crash.”
That was the entire action plan for the stunt, it needed to be one-take for artistic purposes, as the director wished. “Yeah, affirmative,” he said. Of course, he knew the action plan, it was what he had been dreaming about for a month, both in his sleep and while being awake. It was dangerous and he wanted to make it look good. The cameramen’s job was to grab the take, that wasn’t his area. He was in on the meeting where they laid out everything, but the truth was, that if he hit all his marks it was their job to be there and film it, not his.
“Excellent!” the AD said and slapped the door, excited. Everybody was excited. This was a trailer-moment, the kind of shots that ended up in the trailer along with some powerful music and gunshots so that men would want to go and see it in the cinema. You saw that all the time from Hollywood, but in a Bulgarian move? Never before.
The AD gave him a walkie-talkie, leaving it on at the allocated channel. It had a piece of gaffer tape on it sticking out from the side.
Plutarch got it instantly and taped the walkie-talkie on top of the car’s radio.
He waited for his signal.
Carmen walked up to him. Plutarch gulped as she approached. “You know, if you wanted to kill me, this was the perfect opportunity for you,” he joked.
Carmen ran her finger playfully along the hood. “Everything I’ve installed with work smooth, like a ball-bearing. The rest is up to the malaka driving my baby.” She smirked as she said that, and Plutarch really liked that expression on her.
“Ready to go in one minute,” the director said over the walkie-talkie, hissing.
Plutarch pressed the button and said, “Stunt-driver ready.”
Carmen walked close to his driver’s door and touched his arm. He was well-built back then, his muscles tight along the t-shirt.
He raised his eyebrow. “Do you like them?” he asked her.
“Your muscles?” she scoffed, still touching him. “I much prefer muscle cars,” she said.
“Hey, me too,” he said, smiling.
“Ready to go in thirty seconds,” the director said.
Plutarch revved up the car. It was purring like a kitty, Carmen had indeed done a good job.
She pulled away and stepped backwards, the smirk still on her face. She finally turned away and made her magnificent ass bounce left and right.
Plutarch realised then that there was an actual chance he wouldn’t make it out alive. Sure, it was his job to minimise that risk, but the danger was there. That was why you didn’t put the star of the movie in the driver’s seat.
“Hey!” he shouted at her.
She turned to him.
“Will you go out with me?” he shouted.
“Ten seconds, nice…” the director said over the walkie-talkie.
She licked her lips.
“Well?” Plutarch shouted, his foot on the pedal.
She smiled, running her tongue on the inside of her lips. “Make it out in one piece and we’ll see,” she shouted and turned her back again.
He accelerated right on cue and got up to about 40 km/h. You didn’t need much to show speed on camera, especially if it was taking you from the side with a long lens.
The hero joined him on the street, right on cue as well. They were shooting at a closed-off location up in western Athens, it hadn’t been easy to get the mayor to agree on them filming a car chase, let alone a dangerous one at that. Plutarch had to show up and assure the mayor that he was a Hollywood-trained stunt driver and knew what he was doing.
It was true, but he’d left out the part where he hadn’t done any actual stunt driving, just theory and a couple of practise sessions. That’s how far he’d gotten, and this was before the time of IMDB where you could check someone’s credits in five seconds flat and you could find out if they were full of skata.
He convinced the mayor, and he gave them the permission to close-off the streets.
That didn’t mean that Plutarch wasn’t taking this seriously. He had gone through the process a hundred times already in his mind.
He caught up with the hero’s car. He accelerated, running a red light and forcing Plutarch to chase after him and expose himself. The traffic on the road was controlled, they added a couple of different cars going just 20-25 km/h to fake the city traffic while being practically stationary. Nothing could go wrong, Plutarch had gone through the entire thing a thousand times.
He dented the hero’s car, while also trying to look menacing. Again, this was the time before easy visual effects with the computer, so he played himself with a leather jacket, he was one of the villain’s lackeys. He even had a speaking part, two whole lines, which they offered to him as if they were sprinkling fairy dust on him. Filmmaking was weird, but as long as he could do fun shit like this, who was he to complain?
The hero bumped him back, he was being filmed by a second cameraman crouching on the passenger’s seat, hidden away.
“Second mark,” the director said over the walkie-talkie. He sounded tense and excited.
Who wouldn’t be?”
Plutarch accelerated and matched speeds with the hero, then pulled a gun on him. This looked badass, he could admit that he was really enjoying this. The gun had nothing in it, of course, but it looked like the real thing.
The hero dove his head down and drove away from him, all premeditated.
Plutarch chased after him, swerved to avoid an incoming car that was approaching him at the blazing speed of 20 km/h, which was additive of course when going at opposite directions, and then bumped the hero’s car from the side once again, making a nice, long scratch that looked good on camera.
Then it all went to shit.
The hero tried to bump him a couple of seconds too soon, missing the mark. Plutarch realised it in time and tried to salvage the take, he wasn’t gonna fail the biggest stunt of his career. He accelerated far beyond what he was supposed to to make his car look as if it had been pushed off the road by the hero.
He fell on the barrels. He dove to the side, bracing for impact. The special-effects team activated the pneumatics and send him flying in the air and spinning all the way. He was gonna land upside down, but he wasn’t afraid. He had a cage installed inside the crash car, rigged by Carmen herself. They were right underneath the ceiling of the car, giving it about ten centimetres of headroom. That allowed the roof of the car to scrunch up like a tin can while keeping the passenger inside it safe, as long as he literally kept his head down.
Plutarch braced for impact, flying and spinning in the air. All he could think of as he saw everything in slow motion was how the crew guys kept saying that Carmen did the most beautiful welding of them all.
Such a stupid thing to think about.
The car came crashing down, Plutarch saw the ground come at him with full force.
It was all planned, but he had hit that obstacle with at least 30km/h more than what they had calculated.
The car spun again and again, missing the landing spot completely and sending him off into the fields.
He woke up with bruises and a completely broken femur, but otherwise he was fine. He didn’t have a concussion, the nurses told him, and the doctor just came in, checked his x-ray and told him he’d need to take it easy and that the leg was set properly.
But he couldn’t do anything but watch TV all day.
None of the pretty actresses came to visit him. The fellow crewmembers did on the first day, spoke their words of sympathy, told him they got the shot and all was good. There was another stunt driver that could finish the last minor stunt, but that was doable by anyone, really. They just didn’t want to endanger the actor. And getting benched with a major injury was all in a day’s work.
Having nothing to do and not being able to move, he slept a lot under the ramblings of the television.
He opened his eyes to see a vision. Okay, it was just a tall babe, but same thing. He was high on morphine so everything looked pretty right now.
“Hey, you’re awake,” Carmen said softly.
“Hey,” he pushed himself up.
She rushed to hold his pillow so he could prop himself up better. “Thanks,” he croaked, his throat dry.
She poured him some water from a plastic bottle. “There you go.” He drank it all, and she poured him some more. “I hope you don’t mind, I shut the TV off, it was driving me nuts,” she said nasally, pointing a thumb at the idiot-box.
“You’re telling me? I haven’t watched this much TV for years, and it’s only been two days. I can’t move at all, the bone needs to set properly before I can put any weight on it. They terrorised me with how they’d have to break it again and set it right if it healed wrong.”
“Such meanies,” she cooed, sitting on the chair next to him.
He sighed. “I look like a mess, don’t I?”
She shrugged. “So? What are you, one of your pretty little blondes?” She looked around. “Where are they, anyway? I was almost certain I’d come in and find one jerking you off or whatever.”
He sighed. “They sent their ‘get better’ wishes with the crewmembers.”
She clicked her tongue. “I see. Well, I got nothing better to do since you trashed my car.”
“Hey! You saw what happened, I was trying to salvage the take. I know you were looking,” he defended himself, pointing a finger at her.
“Don’t you shout at me, shorty! I can kick your leg and have you screaming like a little girl,” she threatened with a frown.
“Try me,” she said, deadpan.
“How did the other stunt go?” Plutarch said after a short staring contest, which he lost.
“Pfft. It was nothing, he just jumped off the hood in motion.” She waved it away and looked out the window. “Hmm. At least you have a nice view,” she said.
“I certainly do,” Plutarch said, his eyes locked on Carmen.
She came back a couple more times, spending some time with him. They talked about a bunch of things, about his trip to America, about her projects, which V8 was the best one. She brought him a cake she made, and it was terrible, absolutely inedible. But she presented it with so much happiness to him and he didn’t want to make her feel bad, so he ate it all, forcing himself to eat it.
Her welding might be legendary, but her cooking was not.
They laughed, they chatted, they even watched some TV together.
After a week, he got out of the hospital and got sent home with instructions to take it easy. She was supposed to be there but she never showed.
It was a time before cellphones. He just picked up his crutches and got into a taxi.
“You kept it,” Plutarch said, squinting under the blazing sun.
She wiped her hands on a greasy rag. “Yeah. It kept you alive, didn’t it?” She was sweaty and dirty, fixing up an engine.
“It sure did,” Plutarch said and stepped closer to her. The yard was a junkyard of cars, mostly jeeps discarded from the army, but there were other cars piled up around over the years. She worked there, modded cars, added safety bars for Rallye drivers.
It was dusty, it was fricking hot, and it was a petrolhead’s best place to be in, second only to a driving track.
He touched the smashed-up car. It was supposed to just tip over and sit on the roof, the cage inside keeping it from being crushed completely under the weight. Instead, it was battered up, bent out of shape, it even had a sideways angle as if it was a snapped twig. It was KIA, he could tell just by glancing at it.
And he’d gotten out of it with just a broken femur. Phew, that was a cheap price to pay.
“You can walk,” she stated the obvious, pointing at his leg.
“Yeah,” he said and ran his fingers along the bent metal. There was a shiny scratch that he liked a lot, he felt its texture all the way across the side of the car.
“Sorry I couldn’t come when you got discharged, I got a last-minute client,” she said with no real apology in her voice.
“That’s fine,” he said casually, kneeling down at the front. Phew, that one was a beauty. Like a face smashed from the bottom-side, it was bent upwards, the engine completely taking the fall. Fluids drained on the dirt, staining it. There was a ripped out car battery, perhaps salvaged by Carmen. Why waste a perfectly good battery, after all? And some other bits and bobs that he could see.
Carmen walked next to him. “It was quite an impact.”
“I can see that,” Plutarch said, nodding. He turned to her, then titled his head up. “Hey, did you get even taller since the last time I saw you?”
She punched him on the elbow. “No, you lost some bone, remember. It’s the price of not pulling out and aborting a stunt.”
“I couldn’t abort it. I just improvised. It went well in the end, didn’t it?” he said, running his fingers along the curves of the crashed car.
She snorted. It was still unladylike. “Yeah! You’re lucky I installed the five-millimetre bars anyway, instead of the lighter ones, or you’d be smushed in there.” She pointed at the steering wheel.
“I’m sorry, smushed?” he asked, stepping close to her.
“Say it again, it’s so cute when you say it,” Plutarch said, now bringing his face next to hers. He was shorter, but the effect was the same.
“Smushed,” she said softly.
“Say it again,” he said, staring at her lips. “I like the way your mouth moves.”
He planet a kiss on her. She tensed up, then gave in and kissed him back. He pushed her back on top of the crashed hood, pulling her t-shirt off.
She was sweaty and he wanted to lick her all over her endless body. He pushed her further back, her female form taking the shape of the rent metal, adjusting to the shape, becoming a mould.
She breathed deep as he pulled her jeans from her.
They made love on top of the car wreck that didn’t manage to kill him, thanks to her.