15th of December – Season 1
Teresa Koek held a hand in front of her face as she yawned, trying to keep her sisters from seeing her. She always yawned during hymns while in church. She didn’t know why. Actually, that was a lie. She knew why. It was because she personally found them boring. Of course, she didn’t dare tell Doris, or worse, Brenda this. Going to church every Sunday was sacred to her sisters.
Teresa was the youngest of the three Koeks being sixteen-years-old. She’d been raised by her older sisters ever since their parents died when she was ten. Actually, it had mostly been Brenda playing the role of parent as Doris was still in high school at the time. And boy had Brenda played the role well, making sure they went to school, went to church and helped keep the family catering business alive by working together. It was a small business that mostly operated on the South Coast, but it was so well established in the neighbouring communities that it did enough to pay the bills.
One of the reasons that church was so important was because it was the church that helped them out back when their parents died. And while Teresa was grateful, she couldn’t help but feel that she was missing out on all the fun of being a teenager. That was the reason she’d started to rebel: more make-up, shorter skirts and more talking back. Brenda was not pleased by this change in attitude but Doris – ever the mediator, having settled into this role over time – told Brenda not to be too hard on the youngest Koek and let her be a teenager. Teresa was happy about that because otherwise she would have had to point out to Brenda how unfair it was that she couldn’t act how she wanted but Brenda could be a racing star.
When Brenda had debuted on Monday Night Fuel back in September, Teresa and Doris had been so happy. They remembered how much Brenda loved go-karting as a kid and how she raced as a teenager on weekends. All that changed when their parents had died so when she was offered a job as a racer on a weekly show, they were both excited for Brenda. But Teresa especially got excited for the special monthly race nights they called pay-per-views because Brenda always came home with two tickets to the events meaning they got to watch them live… and today was pay-per-view night!
When mass finally ended, they walked outside and Teresa smiled, finally free of her religious obligations and now able to look forward to the racing. However, Brenda gave her a look. “I saw you yawning in there.”
“What? I wasn’t yawning,” lied Teresa. Brenda simply sharpened her look. “I wasn’t,” she lied more earnestly.
“I have a good mind to take that ticket from you and leave you home.”
Typical. “You know, I’m sixteen now. You don’t have to be so bossy.”
Brenda was about to rip Teresa a new one when Doris strolled in between them, very well associated with her sisters’ arguments. “Guys, guys, guys. Come on. You want to do this, right outside the church? Let’s just go to lunch and then make our way to the race track like a normal family.” Even though her words did the trick, as they always did, she knew that there was nothing normal about their family.
TOUCH, DUKE OF DRAG VS. PENNY POTGIETER
It was just as well that they had arrived early for the racing event as traffic added an hour to their time. By the time they found their seats, all of them were pissed, especially Brenda who was the closest to losing her marbles. She was playing reserve today which certainly didn’t help with her state of mind. Luckily enough, what she saw was more to her liking.
“Finally. I’m gonna see Penny have the floor wiped with her ass.” It was clear that Brenda was on Touch’s side.
Ever the rebel teenager, Teresa decided to pick on her oldest sister. “Are you going to wash your mouth out with soap for that because I’ll be happy to do the washing?” Brenda simply pointed a finger at her to which Teresa smiled. She glanced at Doris and caught her hiding a smile of her own.
The first race was a drag race with Touch defending his newly won title. Teresa knew that the odds were on Touch to take it but Teresa wondered if that was only the case because it would make for a better story. Unfortunately, this wasn’t scripted like wrestling so when the unthinkable happened and Touch lost not only the race but also his title, Brenda nearly lost it.
While the crowd went silent as they watched Penny get handed her semi-golden helmet, Brenda shook her head and told her sisters that it was time to leave. This time it was Teresa who went wide-eyed and immediately started complaining. Luckily, Doris correctly put Brenda in her place for being a child and sat her down so they could watch the rest of the races.
DARCY STEVENS VS. SOLO MAGUBANE
“Okay,” said Doris to Teresa, “my money’s on Solo. You got Stevie?” She had already begun fiddling with her purse. She knew that Teresa liked Stevie so she’d already assumed that she’d put her money on her.
“I’ve got Stevie,” said Teresa as a matter of fact. “You got money?”
Doris looked into her purse disappointedly. “An elephant.”
Teresa dropped her jaw. “Oh come on. Just twenty bucks? Not even a lion at least?”
Doris put her hands up. “You’ve won most of my money, you know that right?”
Brenda interjected. “I thought I told you two to stop betting on the races.”
Teresa shared a look with Doris who both had to hold themselves back from laughing. Betting on races was something they did every week with the races on Monday Night Fuel. When Brenda had discovered this at Hallow’s Eve – as she’d been playing reserve that night too – she had not been pleased. Of course, it had dawned on her that since she wouldn’t be there to stop it, it was a futile mission for her to try and stop them.
“Oh pipe down, big sister,” said Teresa. “I’ll buy you an ice cream with my winnings.” This time Doris did laugh, earning a clenched jaw look from Brenda.
By the sounds of the crowd, every time Solo had the lead in the race, they were clearly on his side leaving a vocal minority and Teresa on the side of the underdog. Fortunately, said underdog, had some fire in her because Stevie managed to knock off ‘The Franchise’ and put a crisp brown bill in Teresa’s pocket.
“That’s what happens when you bet against the Diamond in the Rough.” It was Brenda who’d spoken these words, clearly having been on Stevie’s side.
“Well don’t spend that money just yet,” said Doris looking at the racecard in her hand. “I’ve got Longitude and Latitude for the next one.”
DIME VS. LONGITUDE & LATITUDE
While Teresa wasn’t under any obligation to bet against Doris, the middle Koek knew that Teresa would roll the dice because it was just that much more fun when they bet against each other. As such, Teresa took Doris’ bet and put her newly won R20 on Dime coming out victorious against the Relay Barons.
“This guy is such an idiot,” said Brenda. She explained that Dime had once again challenged Longitude and Latitude for their titles expecting Penny to play double duty again only for Penny to refuse and say that she’d be focusing on her drag race. This left Dime in a sanctioned race against two monarchs with no partner.
“Why didn’t you offer to team with him?” asked Teresa.
“Because I can’t stand the guy.”
“But if you’d won the titles with him, you would be able to throw that in Penny’s face,” she added.
“Yeah, but then I’d also be stuck with an impulsive idiot as a partner,” finished Brenda.
That had been the last thing said as the race began. It was definitely an interesting race to watch as Longitude and Latitude alternated laps as they normally would in a relay race while Dime was forced to race every single lap. While it looked like the daunting mission was beginning to overwhelm him, Dime managed to find some resolve as he managed to be neck and neck in the 20th and final lap before shocking the world by capturing the victory.
This drove both Brenda and Doris up the wall. Brenda for realizing that while Dime may be an idiot, he was one hell of a driver and perhaps it would have been worth it teaming with him. Doris, for losing a second bet in a row and now owing Teresa an elephant when they got home.
“Do you wanna bet on the next one?” asked Teresa, all smug. Naturally, Doris shook her head.
JOHN KLOOF VS. JUAN VAN ZONDER
Admittedly, without any money on the line, Teresa wasn’t as interested in the next race as she had been the previous which was a shame. She had really enjoyed the rivalry between John Kloof and Jim Kieck. The way it had been presented on the Formula-X Streaming Service made it look so intense that every episode of Monday Night Fuel was a must-see episode. So, after Kloof had finally defeated Jim for the last time, everyone wanted to know what was next. Unfortunately, this race didn’t seem to be a step in the right direction.
Now well distracted from the race itself, a thought occurred to Teresa and she turned to Brenda. “Hey, why do they call this the Year End Bash when there’s no party?”
“The party is after the pay-per-view.”
“Wait, so there is a party?” confirmed Teresa, excitedly.
“Aha, and you’re not invited.”
Teresa threw her hands up in protest before throwing them back down in defeat. Typical. It occurred to her a second later that she didn’t know why she cared so much. Sure, she’d been to a few of her friends’ parties – behind Brenda and Doris’ backs, of course – but besides the alcohol being in abundance, there was not much she liked about them. It took her a party or two to figure out why: they made her feel lonely.
Teresa wasn’t really interested in dating… at least not in high school. She wanted to wait until university to find a boyfriend. There was something about being with a guy who’s actually working towards his future that appealed to her. Interestingly, she’d never given much thought to what else in boys that appealed to her.
Teresa realized that the race came to an end when Brenda began clapping. Teresa saw that she was clapping because John Kloof had won. Looking around, she saw that many others had started clapping and she realized that she had underestimated how much this race had appealed to the fans. But before she could join them in clapping, Teresa took one last glance down at the track and noticed something that struck her immediately.
The racer that John Kloof had faced took off his helmet to reveal bleach blonde hair that littered his face so perfectly. His stubble only added to the look. Teresa thought for sure that she was melting. She looked around to make sure and found that not only was no one looking at her melting, no one was looking at the gorgeous man on the racetrack.
Why does no one see how hot he is? It was like looking at some unholy lovechild between Paul Walker and a young Leonardo DiCaprio. And while Teresa couldn't be sure, she pegged him for being around twenty-two-years-old. Teresa had to calm herself. This was ridiculous. That was a whole six years older. Why was she acting this way? But before Teresa could get any more lost in her thoughts, Doris interrupted them.
“Okay, I got forty bucks that says Mandla dethrones The Impaler.”
KING THAWN OBERHAUSER VS. MANDLA XULU
Teresa was proud to admit that she’d managed to throw the thought of the pretty older man out of her mind as she focused on the feature race of the night. As a spectator, Teresa had found herself truly hating King Thawn. She didn’t like how he thought himself God’s gift to racing. Who the hell did he think he was? Unfortunately for her, Teresa recognised his skill. He was good. So she had no problem taking Doris’s bet.
As the F-X King and the Number One Claimant zipped around the specially-laid P.P.V. track, Teresa thought about what it must be like to be an F-X racer. While Teresa loved being a spectator of Fuel at home and more so as a crowd-member at pay-per-views, she couldn’t help but wonder what it was like moving at 200km/h. In fact, for weeks now, it had started to become a dream of Teresa’s: to be an F-X racer. She couldn’t get the idea out of her head.
As the feature race of the night reached its dying moments, every fan including the Koeks were on their feet as the end approached. It was a close finish but in the end, King Thawn proved why he was the best and Teresa proved why one should never bet against her. It was a bittersweet victory for Teresa as while she was R60 richer, she would also have to celebrate Christmas knowing that Thawn was doing the same but with the Formula-X Crown.
With the event having come to an end, the Koek sisters began their long journey home. With Thawn retaining his Crown, not even Brenda was up for celebrating. But as they drove home in Brenda’s Corsa Lite, they saw the fireworks from the party lighting up the sky and couldn’t help but feel uplifted. While they still weren’t in the mood for a party, they definitely felt good. After all, they had each other. Despite the difference that all three of them had, they were sisters through and through.