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Fuel Season 2: Episode 13 – Reprisal

Series: Stories of the Fuel Speedway

Dime sets his sights on an old rival as he finally takes revenge from an incident in February...

Due to the continuous competitive nature of Formula-X, rivals come, go and return which makes the series unpredictable at times.

30th of November – Season 2

The word success had always been a strange one to Dime. It was mostly because it was a subjective notion yet it was treated as an objective one. Everyone always measured success by some broad definition rather than by specific criteria. His career in Formula-X was a good example. Many would say that he hadn't had much success due to a lack of titles and having never headlined a pay-perview or even an episode of Fuel. Dime didn't see it that way.

As far as Dime was concerned, he was living his dream job as an openly gay man to boot. But, of course, that wasn't enough for some. For some, he was letting the gay community down by not having more "success" even though they didn't know how to measure it properly. Fortunately, for once, his version of success and their version of success were aligned as it was time for Dime to right a wrong: a correction that had been a long time coming...

"I want another shot at her title and I want it tonight." Dime was currently sitting in Glenwood Jacobs' office telling the Club Vice President his intention. I've waited long enough, thought Dime. Now time's up.

Glen looked at him with narrow eyes. "This is very out of nowhere. Why now? I mean, you've had title shots before. But those were last season and you lost all of them. What's makes tonight so different?" 

"Well you said it yourself: that was so last season. I'm different this season. A different man. And even Penny is a different Duchess. Last time I challenged her, she was still in her first reign. But now, that's not the case. Her weakness has been exposed. She can be beaten and I'm going to be the one to defeat her."

Glen seemed to contemplate Dime's request but was still doubtful. "I don't know, Dime. I mean, you two had just reunited as a relay team..."

"That didn't seem to stop Penny from turning her back on me the last time we were a team." 

"So this is about revenge? This about her becoming Duchess of Drag all the way back in December?" Glen saw the glimmer of confusion on Dime's face, wondering why revenge was an issue, what with this being a sports opera. So Glen explained himself. "Dime, the problem is that we've told that story before. It resulted in the race you two had at Heart-Attack."

"And what about Heart-Attack? What about my revenge for what happened there? When she knocked me out? She got a slap on the wrist with a thirty-day suspension and all I got was what, one title shot? She should have been stripped of the title. Instead, she got to walk into the Grand Prix as Duchess."

"Yes, the Grand Prix where she lost that title."

"Well excuse me but that wasn't good enough!" Dime had allowed himself to become angry. This wasn't the plan. But he needed to explain to Glen that what he was really looking for a way back then and right now was for Penny to feel how he'd felt after the V-Day Ball... humiliated. Of course, Dime was aware that he was the one that instigated it hence why he was kicking himself for bringing it up but Glen had to know.

Glen once again contemplated Dime's request but this time, more sympathetic. "Well, you know what, tonight already seems to have a theme of reprisals; things coming back. I mean Moodswing is all set to announce Gauntlet Two; Mandla is Touch's guest on Touching Base and then of course there's the ultimate throwback to Season One: the Twelve Rounds Derby."

"The what?" 

"Remember the One Kay-Em Derby back at Show-Down at Downtown? Well, this, Moodswing calls it, is it's bouncing baby brother. But you'll hear all about it when Moodswing makes the announcement. In fact, now that I think about it, you're actually doing me a favour by having this race with Penny. It reduces the number of racers I have to choose from for qualifiers."

Dime swore under his breath. He'd screwed himself out of a chance of making history. No, they're screwing me. But Dime also saw a silver lining. "Well as long as Penny is also out, I'm good with that."

 

LATER IN THE PADDOCK

"Due to the overwhelming success of the gauntlet race at Show-Down in Durban, I am proud to announce that there will be another gauntlet at our upcoming pay-per-view, Year-End Bash." These were the words that kicked off the show ahead of the PPV press conference. Moodswing continued by saying that Gauntlet II would once again be run by Solo Magubane, who'd survived the first gauntlet

Moodswing then went on to talk about the 12 Rounds Derby. "This contest is quite simple: two racers, twelve laps, and the racers that comes first in the most number of laps wins the contest. If the score is six-six by the end of the contest, then the race will go into a sudden death round: a thirteenth lap to decide the winner."

Following the Club President's announcement, Dime waited patiently for his race while watching the press conference where Formula-X King, John Kloof sat across from Jim Kieck who was revealed to finally be getting his one-on-one title shot for the Crown at Year-End Bash now that Mandla's title shots had finally expired. 

"It takes a brave man to admit defeat," said Styles Sithole, joining him. "To know when he can't beat someone and bow out."

While Styles was seemingly talking about Mandla who had gone up to King Kloof last night after the 3-Way race and told the King that he was the better race, Dime had a sneaking suspicion that he was alluding to him and the fact that he had another shot against Penny, whom he'd never beaten. "I'm not admitting a damned thing, Styles."

"Dime, take this from a man who's faced Penny: she's a tough cookie to crack." 

"But she can be cracked." Dime made a point to keep his voice down. They were still in the paddock and he didn't want the F-X reporters making a story out of him until after he'd won that title. "She's lost that title before, she can lose it again. And just because you and Touch failed to get the job done, doesn't mean I will too."

"But you have failed before, Dime. Just remember that when she humiliates you again." Styles then walked away, having said his piece.

While Dime was confident enough to simply ignore Styles' words, he did find himself uncomfortable seeing another individual who'd heard the whole conversation and was smiling. "Have something to say Spell-Castor?"

Blackcat Mathunzi was already an intimidating presence, but his baritone voice only made him more so. "It's Master Spell-Castor, Dime. And I don't think you're going to fail tonight because Penny's a good racer."

"You're right, I'm not going to fail." 

"You're going to fail," continued Blackcat, completely ignoring Dime's comment, "because you're not ready for what you need to do. You're not ready to become vengeful."

Was he kidding him right now? "I am ready. I've been ready since Heart-Attack."

Blackcat giggled which with his voice was scary. "Dime, I've raced alongside you. I know what you are and you are not vengeful. But fear not. I shall grant you a good luck charm." 

"Gee thanks," said Dime sarcastically, rolling his eyes. 

"But I shall want something in return someday soon."

"I'm not giving you anything, Creepo. Not based on my own hard work." 

"Oh don't worry. Rest assured, Duke of Drag," he said presumptively, "I assure you, you won't have a choice." Sure of himself, Blackcat upped and left, leaving the creepiness behind. Dime really, really didn't understand this man. What did he think he was going to get for doing absolutely nothing to get him the title. But that wasn't tonight's problem. As Dime stared across the paddock at the reigning Duchess of Drag, he saw the problem.

 

LATER THAT NIGHT

As Dime stood on the racetrack, across from the Duchess of Drag, he purposefully controlled his breathing. He tried to channel his frustration over what Penny did at Heart-Attack into his skill with drag races. He thought about the meaning of success again and remembered what he was fighting for. By the time the race started, he was focused.

The race began with screeching tires as Penny led the race through first and second gear. As Dime closed the gap through third gear, he thought about Styles' words about Penny being a tough cookie and how he would look after being the one to crack said cookie. He thought about Blackcat's words saying he wasn't a vengeful person and how beating Penny tonight would prove him wrong.

The last leg of the race commenced after they'd cycled through all their gears. They were neck and neck with only horsepower and will power left to declare a winner. In the end, Dime managed to pull ahead by inches and won the race to the shock of the crowd. As Dime got out of his race car to celebrate, he noticed the shock on Penny's face and his smile widened. He'd done it. He'd completed his revenge. He'd become the first gay man to win a title in Formula-X!

Oddly enough, as Dime celebrated with the shiny gold helmet that he'd just been handed, he thought about Mandla Xulu and what he might talk about during Touch Mkhize's show. He wondered if he was going to confirm his admitted defeat like Styles had said or if he was going to live to fight another day like he did. If he was going to lie in wait until he could make a reprisal of his own. Because his supporters damn sure wanted him to. Only time would tell.

 

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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