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HomeAction Stories Fuel Season 1: Episode 12: The Amazing Grace Strikes Back

Fuel Season 1: Episode 12: The Amazing Grace Strikes Back

Series: Stories of the Fuel Speedway

Penny Potgieter learns that revenge is a dish best served cold...

Just as with soapies, betrayal and revenge are common themes at the Fuel Speedway

18th of November – Season 1

“What do you mean I have to face her tonight!? You said that I had already qualified for the drag race at the pay-per-view.” These were the words coming out of Penny Potgieter’s mouth as she angrily spoke them to Glen in his office.

“Penny, calm down,” said Glen as he explained the events that transpired just a week ago that led to her and Brenda having a race tonight. “You’re already in the race to determine the first Duke or Duchess of Drag at the pay-per-view. This race is just for Brenda to qualify. It’s to give her an opportunity to get in on the race—”

“And make it a three-way drag race!?” said an appalled Penny, reacting. Penny had had the same reaction when she heard that the race Brenda had against Touch Mkhize – her established opponent at the pay-per-view – last week was also a qualifying race. A fed-up Penny stiffened her jaw. “Was this Moodswing’s idea?” She knew the answer anyway. Because it just stunk of his obsession with sports entertainment.

“Yes, it was. But not to hide behind him, I also think it’s a good idea.”

Penny raised an eyebrow at the F-X Racing Club Vice President. “Really? What happened to Brenda and me not being a good box office attraction? I thought the two of us paired together didn’t draw?”

“Well, you don’t,” said Glen, a little too frankly for Penny’s liking, “when there are no title opportunities involved. With Brenda getting a shot at a title race at stake tonight, you can bet that a lot of people are interested in what happens here tonight.”

Penny wanted to retort but restrained herself. Instead, she left Glen’s office in a huff and started for the Paddock. She was met by her relay partner, Dime, who had been waiting outside the office for her.

“So, what did he say? Is he going to call it off?”

Penny scoffed. “To tell you the truth, that was never likely to happen, Dime.”

“Then why did you go in there?”

“I had to let my frustrations out on someone? And I didn’t see you volunteering.”

Dime chuckled. “Well that’s too bad because speaking of volunteering, I wanted to volunteer us to take on Longitude and Latitude for the titles at Show-Down.”

Show-Down was the name of the upcoming pay-per-view. Penny and Dime had discussed how much they liked the title compared to the ones that came before because it was the first P.P.V. title to give the impression of competition in the name. But as Penny let what Dime said, sink in, she stopped walking, as did Dime.

“You wanted to do what? Why would you want us to face Longs and Lats at the pay-per-view when I already have a race?”

“Because someone needs to shut those boys up. They think they’re the bomb.”

Penny rolled her eyes. “Dime, no one says that anymore. Besides, they don’t think that.”

However, before Penny could start walking again, Dime stopped her and pointed straight up. “No seriously, look.” Penny looked up at the glass roof of the triple volume area where ordinarily, one would see the clear blue sky. Except that tonight, looking up through the glass, Penny saw two figures sitting on it, chilling as if having a picnic. “These guys think that they’re the ish.”

Penny wanted to slap her forehead this time. “We really need to get you a slang dictionary or something.”

When they finally got back to the Paddock, they ran into the absolute last person that Penny wanted to see. “So it seems that the chicken has come to roost,” said Brenda, smiling smugly.

It was Dime who responded with a chuckle, before shouldering Penny playfully. “And you say my slang is bad.”

Penny didn’t have the heart to tell her partner that what Brenda said made sense and she simply focused on Brenda. “Is that what you think this is,” responded Penny, passive-aggressively. “I don’t know what you said,” she said before curling a lip into a smirk, “or did to get Moodswing to make this thing happen tonight.”

Brenda’s expression suggested that she couldn’t believe what she just heard. “Huh, I know that you didn’t just suggest that I got my race tonight by exchanging physical favors with Moodswing.”

Of course, Penny knew better than that. But she couldn’t help but enjoy the look on Brenda’s face. Penny’s words had gotten to her so, instead of apologizing, Penny simply added on. “Well, it definitely would explain how you managed to get a shot at a title race. Correction: a shot at a shot at a title race. Because you’re not getting through me.”

Brenda swiftly ignored Penny’s comment about their race tonight and zeroed in on the initial topic. “I got my shot because I deserve it. Not to mention that unlike you and Touch, I’ll have had to earn my way into this race twice over. And over and above all of that, I’m a Christian. So what you’re suggesting is a no-no where I’m from.”

“Oh yeah? And what does your faith say about vendettas because regardless of what you did to get this race tonight, the only reason you’re doing this is because you can’t get over the fact that I replaced you! With a better racer, I might add!” It was at this point, that Dime had to stand between them as it seemed for all the world that they were about to hit each other.

Brenda refused to back down. “A better racer, huh!? Then why don’t the two of you have the relay titles yet, huh!? Why aren’t you a Baroness, huh Penny?”

Penny noticed how it was Dime that flinched from the comment that was meant to hurt her. Penny responded to the verbal jab. “I might not be a Baroness, but rest assured, I will be Duchess of Drag come Show-Down.”

They’d eventually walked away from the confrontation but not before the camera crew caught some of it on camera. Luckily enough, from what Penny could tell, they hadn’t caught what Penny had said earlier when she suggested that Brenda had used her body to get this opportunity. Having calmed way down, now standing by her race car, The Dollar Coin, Penny regretted having said that. She, more than anyone, knew how hard it was to break into open-wheel racing as a woman and that both of them had been handed once-in-a-lifetime opportunities by being in Formula-X.

However, the more Penny thought about it, she couldn’t find it in herself to apologize. After all, wasn’t this what Moodswing wanted: sports opera? He wanted this kind of drama, from the women and men alike. So no, she couldn’t go over to her now and apologize. She’d just have to leave it as it was. It wasn’t like the camera had caught that so there was no harm done.

While Penny rationalized her actions, she caught a glimpse of Dime who was talking to the Relay Barons who had come down from the roof. Penny wondered if Dime had actually been stupid enough to let Brenda get to him and goad him into challenging them for the titles at the P.P.V. Didn’t he know that she had done it on purpose so that she had two things to worry about on that night? But before Penny could go over there and caution Dime, Penny’s thoughts were interrupted by Touch Mkhize.

“I hope you know you have to win tonight,” said the Loud Mouth.

Penny simply looked at him, remembering that regardless of what happened tonight, he would still be the enemy come Show-Down. “Glad to hear you’re rooting for me.”

“I’m serious, Penny.”

“This would be the first time,” quipped Penny.

“This drag race at Show-Down should just be between you and me.”

“Preaching to the choir there, Touch.”

“Brenda shouldn’t be involved in this. So you do us both a favor and smoke her.”

Touch had stepped in close to her in an attempt to be dramatic so Penny repelled. “If you don’t step back right now, boy, I’ll smoke you.” Touch did as she asked. “Speaking of smoked, why do you smell like smoked chicken?”

Touch smiled. “That’s compliments of catering.”

Penny rolled her eyes again. Ever since he discovered catering, the man was always eating. But something else caught Penny’s attention: what Touch was wearing. He was wearing his racing suit which – like all of the F-X racers – shared the same color scheme as his race car, The Moyeni. Touch noticed that she’d noticed.

“Didn’t you hear? I’ve got a race tonight. Against King Thawn. For the title.”

Penny didn’t want to admit it but she was jealous. She was thoroughly jealous. The Formula-X King had done this ‘open challenge’ thing last week as well, to the behest of Moodswing, rumor had it. But what bothered Penny right now about this was that Touch now had an opportunity to become a double champion. Or as F-X would say: a double monarch. Suddenly Touch’s words rung true. She really did need to smoke Brenda tonight.



As Penny raced around the track, leading at the halfway mark of their 10 lap match race, she couldn’t help but listen to the sound of the live audience watching, cheering from the stands. What did Moodswing mean that she and Brenda couldn’t draw? The crowd seemed to be loving what they were seeing. Of course, it occurred to Penny that this could all be because there was a title shot at stake for one of them.

Penny focused on the idea of that title shot as she raced on, the speedometer reading over 200 km/h. She thought about how she couldn’t let Brenda take this race. Because if she did, if she won tonight, not only would she go on to that drag race, but she would be carrying a lot of momentum having beaten both her opponents in successive weeks leading up to Show-Down.

Penny knew that she wasn’t the hero of this particular story, especially the way she knew the F-X reporters would tell it. No, she was the woman who cut another racer’s legs – female racer to boot – from underneath her and left her behind for greater pastures. No, she wasn’t the hero here. But she didn’t need to be the hero in order to beat Brenda.

Unfortunately for Penny, none of this mattered when Brenda overtook her in the final lap to take the race and qualify for 3-Way drag race at Show-Down. As Penny watched Brenda cross the finish line, she didn’t see her. All she saw was her race car. The Amazing Grace. Penny wondered if what happened here was some kind of divine intervention: her faith giving her the retribution she so rightly deserved.

Penny pushed that thought out of her mind, remembering that this was just the qualifying race. Surely, if this was faith at work, then it would have her win the title itself. So no, this wasn’t the end of the world. Although when Dime came to her after the race and told her that he had in fact challenged Longitude and Latitude to a Relay Baron title race at Show-Down as well, it sure as hell looked like it. But Penny’s night ended with a smile on her face as Touch’s race with King Thawn ended up not being a title race which he went and lost anyway meaning that he wouldn’t be a double monarch after all.

This all meant that come Show-Down, there would only be one title on their minds. A 3-Way drag race to decide the inaugural Duke or Duchess. Now there was a showdown. And it would be a showdown for the ages. The Dollar Coin vs. The Moyeni vs. The Amazing Grace.

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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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