Motorcycles In The Sand

Submitted into Contest #107 in response to: Write about a character pretending to be someone they’re not.... view prompt

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Creative Nonfiction Coming of Age Contemporary

A long time ago, when I was about seventeen years old, in a place far, far away, I had a very unusual job. Five mornings a week I’d show up for make-up and shoot the breeze with Elena, the make-up girl, as she applied concealer, pancake, and finished up with a light touch of eyeliner and a hint of color here and there on my face. No, I wasn’t a cross-dressing performer in a burlesque show—for almost a year I was acting in a soap opera on a Brazilian TV show. I played a young American rock musician named Steve.


I got the gig for two reasons. First, because my long, uncut hair at that time almost reached my waist. Second, because when they asked if I knew how to ride a motorcycle I lied and told them yes. Remember, I was seventeen at the time and at seventeen you pretty much mistakenly believe that you can do anything. The show wasn’t scheduled to begin shooting for at least another three weeks, so my plan was to learn how to ride a motorcycle prior to that first day on location.


Steve, the character I had signed a contract to portray, was not a very taxing part to play. He usually rode in and out of scenes on a Yamaha RT-1 Enduro 360 and flashed the peace sign during entrances and exits. His only line generally was one word, “Peace” (because my command of Portuguese was perhaps about as weak as my acting abilities). Since I was a young American rock musician named Stevie, who often went around uttering hippie slogans like “Peace”, it wasn’t much of a stretch to play Steve. That is, except for one thing: The Motorcycle. 


The three weeks in between accepting the role, signing a contract, and the initial day of shooting, flew by before I knew it. The television network was paying me quite handsomely, even before beginning my first day of work, and the cost of living in Brazil was way below what I had been accustomed to in the USA. Heck, I could even afford to lease a used, 1968 Volkswagen Beetle on my salary. So I did. Thus, before we began to lens our little production, I’d go out every night, drive in my Beetle to some nightclub where I’d party until closing time, then sleep most of the next day away, instead of investing any time into learning how the ride a motorcycle.


On the first day, I was scheduled at dawn for a pick-up shot on location at a Barra da Tijuca beach that was to be used for the beginning credit role during the show’s introduction to each segment. I arrived there hung-over and sleepy, just as the sun was rising on the eastern horizon above the Atlantic Ocean. On the pristine white sand three movie cameras on tripods had been positioned close to the shoreline in a semi-circle facing away from the crashing waves, and a black 1969 Yamaha RT-1 Enduro 360, resting on its kickstand, was parked in front of them.


After checking in with the assistant director to make my presence known she told me to go speak to the director regarding how the shot would be blocked for the scene. The director explained that when he shouted “Action” I was to ride the motorcycle directly toward the middle camera then veer off to my right and away before, God forbid, I ran into any of the cameras. He also told me I could never wear a motorcycle helmet because, in his own broken English words, “The camera will love you (sic) hair when it blowed (sic) you when ride (sic) the motocicleta.” In principle, this was a simple enough task, if only I had bothered to learn how to ride the Yamaha.


The bike’s key was already in its ignition so I turned to its START position, and while still in neutral, gave it some gas as the engine growled alive, before kicking up the kickstand with the heel of my foot. So far—so good—I guess. The director, a portable megaphone hiding his face, was standing behind one of the three cameramen holding a hand held high above his head that told me to wait for his cue. I gunned the throttle, making it roar like a lion, a couple of times for good measure.


“Action!” the director squawked through the megaphone as he dropped the upheld hand to his side. The direction I was facing and was told to drive toward had me looking directly into the already blinding morning sun. Even before attempting to shift the bike into gear, I was struggling to see clearly because of the bright blur of blazing light, courtesy of Earth’s closest star, that was messing with my bloodshot vision. Squeezing the clutch I tried to shift the motor into first…and nothing happens. After a few more failed attempts the director finally sent over a crew member to shift it in gear for me while I still held down the clutch, and then who scurried out of the frame of the shot so we could begin again.


Once again the director cued the shot. This time as I let out the clutch and gave the bike way too much gas, that Yamaha RT-1 Enduro 360 shot forward like a bullet from the barrel of a gun. I had never driven a motorcycle in my life, so trying to drive one on the sand with little to no vision was crazy. The cameras I drove toward were coming at me much too fast as I did my best to navigate, at high speed, in their direction. Frantically flailing his arms the director was signaling me to veer away from the spot where he, the crew, and several other actors there that day watched what was happening with expressions of mixed shock and horror.


Before I could crash into any of them I must’ve hit a bump on the beach, because the cycle popped a wheelie and reared up like a bucking bronco. Then I fell off the back of the bike and landed on my butt in the sand. Watching speechlessly from my seat on the beach the chopper continued directly in a beeline for the cameras, cast, and crew. Fortunately, everyone got out of the way in time before the driverless vehicle slammed into the expensive cameras. The sound of crunching metal and breaking glass filled the fragrant sea-scented air.


Did I get fired on that first day I was cast as Steve? No. Insurance covered the cost of the damage and the executive producer really wanted a genuine American actor in the series, so I got to portray that good ol’ longhaired, peace sign flipping “Peace” person Steve for eight more months. His support for me in that role went a long way. Even after several other crack-ups left a few more motorcycles, cameras, lighting, and props damaged in the sand. In fact, someone else in the cast told me I’d been given the nickname assassino de moto, which roughly translated in English is “the motorcycle killer”.


What finally did get me canned is that the aforementioned executive producer had a wife who had a taste for young guys. She was on set one day while I was filming and asked me for a ride back to town in my Volkswagen Beetle (which by then I had exercised an option in the lease contract to buy) when we wrapped for the day. Before dropping her off, we stopped at a secluded spot along the way and did the dirty deed, a-time-or-two, in the backseat of the small German automobile. Alright, I’ll admit it; I guess I had this thing for older women when I was younger.


I should have just let it be a one-and-done event but we got together to get it on together a few times each week. Hey, don’t look at me that way. I was only about seventeen, remember? When her husband found out about the affair he had me written out of the script by having me killed off (are you ready for this?) in a motorcycle accident. In my final episode, I was seen last driving off a cliff after one of the female characters in the series shared the happy news with me that she was pregnant with my baby.


It was never made clear to the show’s audience whether my death was an accident or if I had ended my own life. That created an interesting subplot in the storyline which enabled the series to extend, or at least so I’d heard, for many seasons. Well, they may have killed me off, and I did lose the only acting job I ever had, but in the end, they didn’t uncover two of my deepest and darkest secrets. One was I didn’t know a damn thing about acting. The other secret was that I knew even less about riding motorcycles. I was the great pretender. Yeah, I was some long hair, crazy teenager at that time, so hey, cut me some slack. Peace out, dudes!


August 13, 2021 20:13

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47 comments

Keya Jadav
07:16 Aug 22, 2021

LOL 'I am only seventeen remember?'--- I loved this inserted wicked humour. The title was just perfect. Great Job!

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Stevie B
10:56 Aug 22, 2021

Thank you as always for your kind words and support, Keya.

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Eliyas Shiek
08:16 Aug 21, 2021

Wow! This is a very nice piece, I must say. The youthful aberrance and all. Awesome!

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Stevie B
12:26 Aug 21, 2021

Thank you very much, Eliyas!

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Jude S. Walko
09:02 Aug 20, 2021

Whoa Stevie this parallels my real life a little. I acted in a movie called "Aces" in which I was a long-haired American poker player who rode a huge hog. I did know how to ride a motorcycle, but not one of those huge ones that are hard to balance. I cheated it by coasting on to my mark after cutting the engine. Guess where we shot that? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My characters name was Jimmy Blue Eyes. You can see the trailer here hahaha https://youtu.be/n0wZtd1lSTo I'm at the 1:43 mark.

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Stevie B
10:00 Aug 20, 2021

Jude, thank you for sharing that with me. Hopefully you were a better actor than I was!

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Francis Daisy
16:00 Aug 14, 2021

Stevie! You got it together to get it together alright! WOW! Your sentences keep flowing and keep the reader smiling and on the edge waiting for what will happen next, and then you top that! What a wild and crazy ride of a story. This was quite a read! I'm still smiling... :)Amy

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Stevie B
16:15 Aug 14, 2021

Thank you, Amy. I sincerely feel that these Reedsy Prompts, as well as the wonderful interactions with all the amazing writers on this platform, has been a great asset in the sharpening and honing of our writing skills.

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Francis Daisy
18:01 Aug 14, 2021

Agree! And some prompts are definitely more inspiring than others! :)

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Darrell Grant
16:53 Jan 24, 2022

Nice story of a young mans journey through an episode in his life.

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Stevie B
17:41 Jan 24, 2022

Darrell, thank you for reading and commenting.

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Joan Wright
16:51 Aug 26, 2021

Great story!!!Humor is hard and you do it beautifully. The main character could laugh at himself which makes it possible for us to identify with him. He is so human as seventeen year olds are. Your character had maturity in some areas. The reader was led through situations where you knew what was coming but your humor made it all the more interesting. I was hooked at the first paragraph. Thanks.

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Stevie B
01:06 Aug 27, 2021

Joan, thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful words of support. I often feel I can do the best job of creating something when I simply just stop writing and merely chronical what has happened. In other words, remove myself from the equation to allow the events to express themselves. Thank you again.

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Paige Ishii
22:00 Aug 25, 2021

Stevie, really fun, creative story. I loved that you kept reminding us that you were only seventeen. I was drawn in by your opening remarks and you kept my interest as you created scene after scene. Nice job.

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Stevie B
22:17 Aug 25, 2021

Nice of you to say that, Paige.

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Sarah Desouza
20:42 Aug 25, 2021

Did this happen when you needed your big break in Life? You might have been young and tender back then. Wow nice story. Did you dream of being an actor, being one of the glamourous most noticed people- not that I know of but something tells me so?

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Stevie B
21:09 Aug 25, 2021

Sarah, I dreamt of being a rock star. But acting kept me from being homeless and starving. My parents kicked me out when I told them I was dropping out of school to play music, so at 17 I didn't have many other job offers...

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Sarah Desouza
21:18 Aug 25, 2021

nice ! So inspiring! I wish you would read my stories too! I wish you would read 'God and Sunshine: Laney observes the Sun rise'

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Stevie B
22:16 Aug 25, 2021

I'll give it a read.

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Daniel Hayes
16:19 Aug 25, 2021

Hi Stevie, I loved this story! I thought you did an excellent job writing it, and I found myself really engaged in the narrative. Great job! :)

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Stevie B
17:30 Aug 25, 2021

Thank you, Daniel, for your kind and thoughtful feedback!

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Diedre Knight
20:07 Aug 24, 2021

Engaging story, great flow. Well done!

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Stevie B
20:08 Aug 24, 2021

Thank you, Diedre!

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Aimee Cardenas
20:36 Aug 22, 2021

Nice! 😁

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Stevie B
21:22 Aug 22, 2021

Thanks, Aimee!

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Ruth Porritt
06:44 Aug 22, 2021

Hello Stevie, I was pleased as punch to find that you had shared another story with us. From what you have previously written, and from our correspondence, I guessed that (in your youth) you acted in exactly the ways you describe. This story reminds me of a tale that Warren Beatty might share from his wild days, and it also reminds me of the excellent writing in Cary Elwes' memoir about 'The Princess Bride'. (I can't remember the name of the memoir, but your narrative reminds me of the part where Elwes was fooling around, during a break ...

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Stevie B
11:14 Aug 22, 2021

Ruth, thank you as always for your kind words and support. I suspect we all act in various ways throughout our lives. For example, when we're young we act without thinking; senior citizens such as myself think without acting... As to the number of lives I've lived, and to be precise, countless (I'll admit I've probably rounded up on this number). But honestly, I believe we should never take today to look back and count, because we should be too consumed by reinventing ourselves for tomorrow. Just a tidbit of food for thought - bon appétit!

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Ruth Porritt
00:17 Aug 24, 2021

Hey Stevie, Yes! :) Totally agree with everything you have said. Gotta go, (gotta get to my day job) and catch you later, Ruth

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Michelle Gregory
17:18 Aug 18, 2021

LMAO. Oh youth. I have done the 'bucking bronco' and the 'flying w' on a dirt bike! Thankfully I didn't kill myself! Fortune favors the bold! Very funny story. If we weren't young and dumb and invincible, we wouldn't have great stories to tell!

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Stevie B
17:44 Aug 18, 2021

I couldn't agree with you more, Michelle.

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07:52 Aug 16, 2021

Great story! I enjoyed reading about the unique character, and the plot made me laugh. I also love how even now that the narrator is reflecting back on his reckless youth, he still has the same perspective as he did at the time of the memory. Thanks for writing :)

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Stevie B
10:21 Aug 16, 2021

Silver, thank you for reading and commenting.

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Aimee K
11:02 Aug 15, 2021

Well written story. It made me laugh a couple of times :)

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Stevie B
11:13 Aug 15, 2021

Aimee, thank you and glad it made you laugh.

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Elle S
19:24 Aug 14, 2021

LOL! Thanks again for the laughs! This was such a pleasure to read. You have been an inspiration of my latest story. It is about my experiences here at Reedsy Prompts :) I couldn't submit to contest, but I'd love for you to check it out. Great tale. Well written. Amazing sense of humor. Keep it up (:

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Stevie B
20:39 Aug 14, 2021

Thank you, Leseka. Your kind words mean the world to me. I not only read your story and liked it very much but also left you a comment on how it made me feel. And to make our readers feel is at the heart of what every artist strives for.

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Elle S
18:04 Aug 15, 2021

I truly could not have said it better, Stevie. Thanks for liking my story very much (: Indeed, that should be what every artist strives for, otherwise the piece of art would lack depth. In which case, what would be the point of indulging, right?

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Eric D.
18:28 Aug 14, 2021

Lmao I adored this story it had a lot of charm. The ending was fantastic just the narrator speaking to the audience too and the nickname he was given was funny.

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Stevie B
18:41 Aug 14, 2021

Eric, thank you for taking the time to not only read my tale but to share your kind words and observations. Depending upon how you perceive it, true life is the funniest skit that's ever been conceived and performed.

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Dhwani Jain
11:59 Aug 14, 2021

PLEASE READ AND REVIEW MY LATEST STORY AND THIS IS MY LATEST BLOG POST: Are you having a block? Reader's Block? Writer's Block, maybe? Then what are you waiting for? Read my tried and tested tips to overcome all types of Creative Block here: https://wp.me/pd3y1A-co

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Stevie B
13:20 Aug 14, 2021

Thankfully, in both body and mind, I'm block free, but thank you for asking. Plus, if anyone does suffer from said blockage one may always remedy the situation by just copying and pasting, right?

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Dhwani Jain
11:59 Aug 14, 2021

PLEASE READ AND REVIEW MY LATEST STORY AND THIS IS MY LATEST BLOG POST: Are you having a block? Reader's Block? Writer's Block, maybe? Then what are you waiting for? Read my tried and tested tips to overcome all types of Creative Block here: https://wp.me/pd3y1A-co

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Stevie B
13:20 Aug 14, 2021

Thankfully, in both body and mind, I'm block free, but thank you for asking. Plus, if anyone does suffer from said blockage one may always remedy the situation by just copying and pasting, right?

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Dhwani Jain
15:05 Aug 14, 2021

Yeah.

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Dhwani Jain
11:59 Aug 14, 2021

PLEASE READ AND REVIEW MY LATEST STORY AND THIS IS MY LATEST BLOG POST: Are you having a block? Reader's Block? Writer's Block, maybe? Then what are you waiting for? Read my tried and tested tips to overcome all types of Creative Block here: https://wp.me/pd3y1A-co

Reply

Stevie B
13:20 Aug 14, 2021

Thankfully, in both body and mind, I'm block free, but thank you for asking. Plus, if anyone does suffer from said blockage one may always remedy the situation by just copying and pasting, right?

Reply

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