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Arbour Games [S2] – A Fuel Story

Series: Stories of the Fuel Speedway

As the fandom enjoy the return of PPV, we take a glimpse into the private life of the Club President

Arbour Games [Season 2] is the first stop of the season starring the F-X racers of Monday Night Fuel. Taking place on the "Falling Boot" street circuit, the event is headlined by F-X King, John Kloof defending against #1 Claimant, Mandla Xulu.

27th of September – Season 2

When Angela Moodley matriculated, she never dreamed in a million years that she would be involved in something like this. After all, back then she'd simply been Angela Mabaso: the typical "it" girl who was far more interested in dating the hottest boy than knowing anything about sports, let alone motorsport. Now here she was, not only married to Terrance 'Moodswing' Moodley – the founder of Formula-X – but also a woman who successfully managed a local Ngelosi female football player all the way onto the National team and subsequently made another female Olympic-worthy runner into a household name.

Despite being surprised how it all turned out, she wasn't surprised by her own success as, for her, it was never about being a sports manager as much as it was about being a people person that knew how to make someone look good and how to get someone else to see it. In fact, that was how she ended up with Terrance: she'd helped him make the most out of his short time in Auto 1. It was through him that she got to know Glenwood Jacobs.

When she saw Glen approaching her, sweating bullets, she got curious. "Hey, Glen. Why you sweating so much. What has my husband done to you now?"

"Oh nothing," said Glen, sarcastically. "He just hired some crazy, out of his mind rogue Taxify driver as a racer in F-X after telling the man that if he could get us across the city in ten minutes flat, he could have a job."

Angela rolled her eyes. This sounded like something Terrance would do. "I'm sorry, he hired a rogue Taxify driver? What does driving a taxi have to do with racing?"

"Well, the guy claimed he'd also been taking racing lessons for years. But that's not why he hired him. Get this, Angela: he hired the guy because the man is into some weird African witchcraft. And Moodswing thinks that introducing the occult onto Fuel would be brilliant."

Angela wanted to roll eyes again but instead found herself intrigued. "Well, it's not the worst idea Terrance has had."

"You're kidding me."

"I dunno. Having a guy who's into voodoo could really shake things up on Fuel."

"Aha," said Glen sarcastically. "Except that he specifically said that it's not voodoo but rather some lost mid-African form of witchcraft that he's been studying all his life. Anyway, I'm just glad that we arrived in one piece. Now let me get started on the racecard."

 

JIM KIECK vs. BRENDA AND DORIS KOEK

As Glen ran off to organize the rest of the racecard, Angela made her way to the VIP section to take a load off and watch the opening race. She watched as Jim Kieck walked on and smiled when he saw Brenda coming with her sister Doris. Angela admittedly liked the ongoing drama between these three as it was a testament to Moodswing's ability to spin a story: Jim was into Brenda but she wasn't into him. So when Brenda challenged him to a race at the Grand Prix, he'd taken the opportunity to seduce her. That seduction had continued right into Season 2 until Brenda's sister showed up to put a stop to it and support her sister... Hence this 2-on-1 race. Interestingly, Doris' arrival on the scene hadn't thrawted Jim's pursuit of Brenda in the slightest.

The race was a thing of beauty and definitely worthy of the opening contest as not only did it show Brenda and Doris as a credible relay team but it also showed that Jim Kieck was more than just a loverboy as he showed skill in trying to exploit the vulnerable point in the sisters' technique: the changeovers. This led to Jim leading the race for well over half the race. But in the end, the Koeks proved to be something of a well-oiled machine.

 

TOUCH, DUKE OF DRAG vs. STYLES SITHOLE 

Angela found herself joined by an old friend as the new color commentator, Miss Honeycomb took a seat next to her. "Hello, Beatrix. Shouldn't you be in the announcer's booth?"

Miss Honeycomb shook her head. "Nah, the Captain wants to do the next race solo."

Angela picked up on her tone. "Everything okay up there in the tower?" The announcer's booth was affectionately called the tower because on Fuel, the commentators called the action from the Old Airport's tower while and man-made towers were erected for PPVs.

"Oh yeah. It's just growing pains is all. But fortunately, we're both professionals so rest assured Angie, we'll figure it out. But he feels that this race doesn't have enough content for both of us to work the race."

She had a point as drag races in Formula-X tended to last all of two minutes. As they spoke, Touch Mkhize made his way onto the straightest section of the street circuit to defend his title. Angela found herself fascinated by Touch's career so far as the man was arguably the most assimilated racer to take to the ways of sports entertainment. He hosted his own talk show, he'd headlined a pay-per-view and he'd won the Duke of Drag title twice. The man knew how to make himself the talk of the town. But now it was time to put up or shut up as his opponent wanted nothing more than to be Duke of Drag himself.

Styles Sithole had made a name for himself as well due mostly to his elaborate sense of style, breathtaking driving styles, and cool nickname: 'The Cryptic Crusader'. The race was intriguing for a 2-minute race. Watching them shift gears was awesome but in the end, it was Touch Mkhize who proved the better drag racer.

"Well, it looks like that's my cue," said Miss Honeycomb. She turned back before leaving the VIP area. "Say, have you met Captain Khumalo?" She continued after Angela shook her head. "Well, the man's a legend. You should meet him. I can introduce you. Say, just before the feature race?"

Angela smiled. "I appreciate that, Beatrix. Thank you." She then disappeared as Angela took in her own excitement.

 

THAWN OBERHAUSER vs. LONGITUDE & LATITUDE

There was no doubt that Thawn Oberhauser had an effect on the fandom. There was no other racer that could get them to start booing like 'The Impaler'. This was the second 2-on-1 race of the night and it was clear that expectations were that Thawn was going to lose. Angela wondered if it would be correct to say that Thawn brought this on himself. After all, all he'd done was played to the demands of his own massive ego by having that elaborate segment called 'The Thawn Oberhauser Homecoming' (now amusingly classified as an unmitigated disaster by F-X reporters).

Despite the expectations of the fandom, Angela believed that this was something of an even "fight" as Thawn was just pissed off enough to pull this off. If he could channel that rage into skill. The beginning of the race definitely showed shades of Thawn doing this as he led the race. He'd clearly identified Latitude as the weaker of the two Relay Barons as he played hard and strong with Longitude but slightly looser with Latitude.

Unfortunately for The Impaler, the brothers picked up on this and baited Thawn into taking Latitude for granted allowing the so-called weaker brother to overtake him in the second half of the race. However, Thawn proved his salt when he took on Longitude in the penultimate lap and managed to take back the lead and keep it in the last lap against Latitude thus exacting his revenge for what they did during his homecoming.

With the last support race of the night over, Angela made her way up to the tower to go meet the legendary Captain of the Academy.

 

KING JOHN KLOOF vs. MANDLA XULU

"Angela Moodley, pleasure to make your acquaintance." These were the words that greeted Angela. Except they were spoken by a man who hadn't turned around. Captain Ken Khumalo was a Zulu man with a chocolate complexion who always wore a blue cap with a Captain's insignia on it. She'd heard that he was enigmatic.

"How did you know I was here?"

"At the Academy, those who aren't observant beyond their own eye line tend not to last long." He finally spun around to give her a warm smile. "So what brings the wife of Terrance Moodley to my place of work?"

It was Miss Honeycomb sitting next to the Captain that spoke. "I invited her to meet you."

"So you aren't here to talk about the weather; to shoot the breeze; to talk about the ongoing protests?"

Angela didn't know what to say so she shrugged. "If that's what you want to talk about."

"Well Beatrix and I were about to call the feature race, so why not talk about Amandla's Rebellion." He then held out a pair of headphones. "Care to join us on commentary? It will definitely add something to hear from the perspective of someone familiar with management."

Angela didn't need to be asked twice. King Kloof and Mandla were just about ready for the highly anticipated 20 Lap Match Race as Angela settled into the extra seat. They spoke about the background of Amandla's Rebellion and how it had started back at the Grand Prix and only grown once Formula-X launched its own social media network: the Formulary. As the race kicked off, Miss Honeycomb asked what Angela thought about the racial undertones of the rebellion.

"Well Miss Honeycomb, I think it's too early to say that there are any racial undertones. While King Kloof may be white and Mandla – along with a majority of his C.M.A. followers – may be black, I don't think it's a race thing at all. After all, Azania is known as the 'Paradise that knows–"

"The Paradise that knows no color, yes, we know," said Miss Honeycomb. "But that doesn't mean race has no part in these ongoing protests against King Kloof's reign."

"Well, I think it's important to note that these so-called protests have been anything but violent. Just a crowd of people singing praise songs really."

Captain Khumalo interrupted what was seemingly becoming an argument. "Excuse me but I think you're both overlooking one critical element." He paused to make sure that he had their attention. "Perhaps these so-called protesters aren't so much protesting against King Kloof as much as supporting Mandla. Just listen." 

Indeed, the crowd cheered Mandla on as the race continued. The ladies then let Captain Khumalo call the rest of the race. He called attention to the newest feature in the series: the power boost button.

"Now the power boost button is not something original in motorsports as Formula One, IndyCar and Auto One have variations of the device. In fact, the now defunct A1 Grand Prix actually called theirs by the same name." Captain Khumalo explained that in Formula-X, the button could only be used by racers not in the lead as not to give the lead racer an unfair advantage while also giving the trailing racer a chance to make the race interesting.

As the race neared its end, the trio spoke about the effect the race could have on Amandla's Rebellion, agreeing that while Mandla winning would effectively end the rebellion, King Kloof winning, could see the protesting turning a chapter, perhaps even a more rowdy chapter. 

"Here we go, ladies and gentlemen: endgame in sight. It is the twentieth and final lap, 'The Steamroller' in the lead." Apparently Captain Khumalo had taken a liking to the nicknames, even issuing out a couple in his own right, like Mandla's one: 'The Steamroller'. "Mandla has got this locked in. We could be seeing the end of the Rebellion right here ladies and gentlemen and..." the Captain trailed off when he saw it. "What's this? It looks like King Kloof is making use of his remaining power boost in the dying moments of this race. It's a risky move as he'd need to hit it at exactly the right time. Has he done that here? Here we go. Here we go! HERE WE GO!!!" 

In a stunning photo finish, King Kloof did the unthinkable when he overtook Mandla at the last possible second and won the race." Good Lord Almighty, " exclaimed Miss Honeycomb. "He did it! John Kloof is still the Formula-X King. He retained the title!" 

While Angela could feel the excitement in the tower, out in the stands, a hush had taken over the crowd. Angela thought for sure that they would break into a boo but instead, it was just murmuring. While Angela couldn't be sure, it appeared that King Kloof's performance might have won over the fandom, but they were too embarrassed (or loyal to Mandla) to show the King his due respect. So instead, they kept relatively quiet. Regardless of the reaction, the one thing that everyone could agree on was that they'd seen one hell of a race.

With her part done, Angela left the tower. But before she went home, there was one person she needed to speak to... 

 

AFTER ARBOUR GAMES

As people left to go their separate ways, Angela waited by her silver BMW Z4. While they'd arrived separately, she was his ride home. When he finally approached the car, she simply looked at him. "It's about time you arrived." 

"You know better than to rush art." 

"And here I thought it was sport." Angela gave Moodswing a kiss before they got in the car. "So I heard you hired a witch today." 

"And I heard you on commentary, " he said, reading something on his tablet, barely concentrating on her. 

"Lemme guess: not my forte." 

"You have many talents, my love, including being right about almost everything," he said before looking up, "when it comes to reading people." It was a backhanded compliment meant to tell her that she should stay off commentary, but they both knew better than to argue about such little things. Instead, Moodswing took a break from his work and looked at her. "So, tell me what you thought of tonight's event?" 

She knew that he was counting on her being honest. It's what made them work. "I think it was definitely better than last year's Games. But I'm worried that that was because of Amandla's Rebellion. I'm worried that without some kind of, I don't know, non-racing hook, Arbour Games is destined to be the least favorite pay-per-view."

Moodswing thought about his wife's words. "Well,  what do you have in mind? Because we already have a trick or treat coming up; a year-end party; a Valentine's day ball–" 

"–which you might wanna rethink." 

"A festival," said Moodswing ignoring Angela's jab, "an Easter Egg Hunt and a spectacle. What else can we add?" 

Angela shrugged. "Hey, you're the brains around here. I'm just the muse. But you think better after a good night's sleep so let's get home first." 

"Alright." Moodswing went back to his tablet but not before saying one last thing. "By the way, I enjoyed listening to you on commentary."

The comment made Angela smile. Their marriage was a strange one and often misunderstood. On the surface, it looked like a loveless marriage of convenience. But the truth was, they did love each other deeply. It was just an old love. From the word go, it felt like they'd been married for years and had a soul mate connection that was so deep that their ability to separate church and state was a powerful one. Angela had an ability to understand Moodswing's more ruthless business mind while Moodswing understood that he had to keep said ruthlessness at work. They were a team: the key to what made each other work. And nowadays, they were weaponizing those keys to make Formula-X work. And one way or another, they were going to make it work. 

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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