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Fuel Season 1: Episode 10: In Love and War

Series: Stories of the Fuel Speedway

Things finally get to a boiling point between Kloof and Kieck as the two engage in a chaotic chase!

Formula-X employs a tabloid-style of journalism when reporting the latest news online, on camera and on paper, with the F-X reporters encouraged to use sensationalist tactics to get the most drama out of the F-X racers.

4th of November – Season 1

“How did it feel to lose in front of your kid and your hot wife?” Those were the words running through John Kloof’s mind as his legs moved at a serious pace with his heart beating even faster. He wasn’t just running, he was chasing. No, he wasn’t chasing… he was hunting. And the man he was chasing was his enemy, his sworn enemy! Jim Kieck.

It was him who had spoken the words in a social media video last week all in an effort to get a rise out of Kloof. And now Kloof was going to give him a piece of his mind. The chase had started the moment that Kloof had arrived at the Fuel Speedway and saw Jim Kieck standing by the entrance. Jim must have known that this was coming because the moment that Kloof had called out to him, the man started running with Kloof in hot pursuit.

As Kloof chased him through the busy concourse and into the old terminal, he thought about what Jim had said and why he had said it. Moodswing. He was the one that had encouraged all the F-X racers to up the drama. That was the reason that Solo called out King Thawn even though he was not the Number One Claimant anymore. It was the reason that King Thawn shocked everyone by actually saying that he respected his new Number One Claimant, Darcy Stevens. Not a single person believed him… hence the drama. Moodswing only wanted one thing: people asking just what was going to happen next.

Well if Moodswing wanted headlines, he was going to get one as Kloof and Jim had taken the chase upstairs. They sped past the converted offices until Jim got to a definitive dead end and did the only thing he could: he jumped over the railing and landed on a table. When Kloof followed after him, he went right through the table. When he got up and continued the pursuit, he realized he was gaining on Jim as he had hurt himself when he’d landed on the table which hadn’t broken his fall.

“You’re not going to get away from me,” shouted Kloof. “You’re dead meat, Kieck!”

Jim didn’t answer. Having realized that the situation was becoming dire for him, Jim seemingly changed strategies and headed towards the paddock. Passing the other F-X racers who looked on, shocked by the scene in front of them, straight out of a Jason Bourne movie, Jim limped all the way to his vehicle, The Kissed-Off, got in it – no helmet, no racing suit, no race – and took off in a screeching start, just moments before Kloof swung for his head!

Kloof swore, before turning towards his own vehicle. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Touch Mkhize, watching Kloof sprint to The Big Boot, “what the hell are you doing?”

“What does it look like?” said Brenda, sarcastic as ever. “He’s running down scumbags.” She looked at Kloof gunning his engine. “Go get him, John.”

However, others didn’t seem to share Brenda’s sentiment as Penny Potgieter and her relay partner, Dime, were urging him not to follow after Jim. But it was too late. The chase was on. As if the live crowd needed to be reminded that this wasn’t an official race, Kloof had followed Jim right into the terminal and through the concourse. They immediately began dodging patrons. They sped past merchant stalls so fast that they fell down from the blowback.

Kloof had to give Jim credit for taking the chase to the parking lot at the first chance he got by exiting via the main entrance under the big FUEL SPEEDWAY sign. They then circled the parking lot, making a joke of the boom gate that was too high to prevent the two race cars from doing anything. Heading away from the lot entrance, Jim managed to find an open gate that lead to a back area. The area was being converted into the F-X Racing Club’s clubhouse – a place where the Club Committee could meet with its own runway-turned-race track where the F-X racers could practice during the week.

As Kloof continued to chase Jim around the track, Jim eventually found a paved area that connected the clubhouse track to the official speedway. That was when the capacity crowd roared in cheer, getting a serious kick out of the ‘unsanctioned race’. Kloof began to close the gap between himself and The Playboy when all of a sudden, Jim screeched to a stop. Kloof did exactly the same thing and came to a stop next to him and looked up to see what had stopped Jim. Glen was standing in the middle of the racetrack with his hand outstretched in front of him, ordering them to stop.

Kloof realized right then that it was over. It was one thing to try and hurt Jim. It was another to cross Glenwood Jacobs. But as Kloof and his mortal enemy looked on at the man who was about to punish them, they also listened to the crowd react to everything that had happened. "This is awesome! This is awesome!" They were loving it. And while a part of Kloof wanted nothing more than to rip the crowd a new one about them being sadists, he also had to admit that there definitely was something about hundreds upon hundreds of people cheering just for you that was nothing short of epic. But that was all about to come to an end as they stared down the barrel of a gun known as the F-X Club’s Vice President.

 

LATER THAT NIGHT

While Kloof and Jim had expected to end up in Glen’s office, what they hadn’t expected, was to also have the cameramen there as well. When Glen noticed the two racers looking at the cameramen, feeling awkward as hell, he spoke. “Oh, don’t worry about the cameras, fellows. I’m your worst nightmare tonight. After what you guys pulled, you’re lucky I’m not suspending you!”

Jim spoke as if he was the most confused man in the world. “Wait, so you’re not suspending us?” The Playboy smiled like he’d just been handed the winning ticket of the Lotto.

Glen laughed, exasperated. “I can’t do that, can I? Not when all those people out there loved that mess you caused. Moodswing will never allow that.”

“And where is our fearless leader?” asked Kloof. The tone in his voice earned a look from Glen. “I mean, he’s not here, is he? So why are we putting on this show,” he said pointing at the cameras. "This is sports opera."

“Because this is what we all signed up for. What I signed up for and what you two signed up for.”

“So,” said Jim, “if we’re not going to be punished then—” Jim began to stand when Glen cut him off.

“Oh, I never said that you weren’t going to be punished. I just said that you weren’t going to be suspended. But you’re definitely going to be punished. Because I’m putting the two of you in one of the newest races in the series. It was created by Moodswing himself. It’s called a One Kilometer Derby.”

“What kind of race is that?” said Jim.

“First of all, it’s not a race, it’s a One Kilometer Derby. The One KM Derby is a contest that we consider to be a test of fortitude in the Formula-X series. The race gets its name from being exactly one kilometer in length. However, what sets this contest apart isn’t its length or number of participants. It’s that this race is always done for stakes. Both parties have to put up something which is what makes the race carry so much weight.”

“We gonna race for stakes?” said Kloof. “What is this, horseracing?”

Glen smiled. “It’s funny you say that.” Glen explained that the one kilometre in question was based on the classic horse race in that it started off on the back stretch, curving around the racetrack before ending in front of the grandstand. “You guys will be facing off at the next pay-per-view only this time, this rivalry,” said Glen pointing at them, “will come to an end.”

Kloof couldn’t help but smile. “Well amen to that.” Kloof finally stood up. “I can’t wait to be rid of this clown.”

 

LATER THAT NIGHT

By the time Kloof had gotten back to the paddock, The Big Boot was already back in its parking spot. The whispers started almost as soon as he got there. Due to how much time they’d spent in Glen’s office, Kloof realized that he’d missed most of the races of the night save for the feature race which would see Solo Magubane and Brenda Koek take on Stevie and King Thawn in a relay race.

“So,” said Styles Sithole walking up to him, “I hear that you and Jim Kieck will be facing each other for a third time on pay-per-view.”

Kloof greeted his opponent from two weeks ago. “How did you hear about that?”

Styles pointed at the big screen in the paddock. “We were spectating the whole thing over here. So, do you want to tell me how I haven’t had a single race on pay-per-view, yet you’re going to be racing the same guy for the third time?” Style’s tone was anything but jealous.

“Well apparently it’s because it’s the race that everyone wants to see.”

Styles shook his head. “Nah.” He pointed at the screen That's the race that everyone wants to see.” On the screen, Solo was completely having a stare down with the Formula-X King, Thawn Oberhauser, ignoring the King’s relay partner and P.P.V. opponent, Stevie and his own relay partner, Brenda.

From the stare down, Kloof understood what Styles was referring to: Solo vs. Thawn for the title. “Well maybe that’s true. But either way, Jim and I, we’re doing this thing again. And Lord help me, it’s going to end one way or another.” Kloof reacted when Styles laughed. “What’s so funny?”

“You say that it ends with this race but that’s not true, is it? Nothing has ended until you win that Crown,” said Styles, pointing at King Thawn's golden helmet. “That being said, if you have to smoke this guy first, then smoke him.”

Kloof thought about Style’s words as he watched the feature race. He realized that what Styles was saying was true. At the end of the day, the King’s title was why they were all here. It was what everyone wanted and so should he. The fact and the matter was that he was just as much in the war for the Formula-X Throne as Solo and Stevie. But like Styles said, first he had to smoke The Playboy. And while Jim had already beaten him twice, Kloof was determined to make sure that that wouldn’t happen again.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © All stories are Copyright © 2016-2020 by S.T. Kubheka (also known by the pseudonym Bernard "Beesting" Bayede). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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