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HomeDrama Stories Fuel Season 2: Episode 26 – The Black Tantrum

Fuel Season 2: Episode 26 – The Black Tantrum

Series: Stories of the Fuel Speedway

Stevie finds herself in the cross-hairs of the hot-headed newest racer in the series: Temper Kunene

In Formula-X, a race car engine isn't considered an inanimate object, but rather a mechanical manifestation of that racer's personality.

19th of April – Season 2

Themba 'Temper' Kunene had never expected his life to turn out the way it had. As a forty-five-year-old man, the last thing he ever expected was to get a shot at living his dream as an open-wheel racer. But if his ex-wife could reclaim her career, then why couldn't he? It was just a cruel twist of fate that they'd do it at the same place.

Currently, Temper was making his way to Monday Night Fuel with his daughter, Katlego. Due to the verdict of that damned judge, he only saw her every second weekend but fortunately, ever since he started racing on Fuel, he and his ex-wife had agreed that Katlego could stay until Monday and she would go home with her after the show. The trip had been quiet so far but that was just due to the nature of their relationship. Her childhood had been filled with memories of him shouting at her for doing anything even remotely wrong. However, there was something he had to get off his chest.

"Katlego, since when did you start putting on so much make-up and dressing like that?"

"It's Katty, Baba," she said quickly. "And there's nothing wrong with how I'm dressed. All the girls dress like this."

Temper had rolled her eyes at his daughter insisting on calling herself 'Katty'. Katlego was too beautiful a name to be butchered into 'Katty'. "I don't care about the other girls, I care about you! And I don't want you making these boys you call friends into perverts and predators." Temper knew instantly that he was overreacting. While she was wearing a black tank top that was too tight for his liking and a denim miniskirt, she was wearing a cardigan over the top and leggings under the skirt. Surely there was worse a teenager could wear.

"Baba, I'm seventeen. I'm not a little girl anymore. Besides, Ma never brings me to Fuel so I wanted to look nice."

Instinctively, Temper wanted to tell her off. He wanted to ask if it was that Koek girl, Teresa who was influencing her but he thought better of it. The last thing he wanted to do tonight was give Toney a reason to give him grief since they had both been surprisingly well-behaved since he started on the show. In fact, there was only one person he needed on his mind and that was Darcy Stevens.

"Do you think you can beat her?" said Katty, as if reading Temper's mind.

He knew she was just trying to change the subject. "Who, Stevens? Why, don't you?"

However, Katty backed out of the subject, realizing that it wasn't really a less tense subject. "Yoh, I was just asking, Baba."

When they arrived at the Fuel Speedway, Katty asked if they could enter around the back or if he could drop her off outside the entrance and walk inside. Temper had refused. He knew why she wanted that: because of the vehicle he was driving. It was a bakkie-converted tow truck. It was shiny gold with black tinted windows. It was one of the older tow trucks he owned along with his tow truck company but also the most useful. His other flatbed tow trucks came more in handy in the contract job with car insurances or with his repo man gig where the car owners tended to be less cooperative.

When they got out of the car, Katty smiled at a text she'd received and ran off claiming to be going to see her mother. Temper had aimed to stop her but then saw the pink motorcycle and the woman getting off of it. He stared daggers through Stevie as she ignored him and went inside. He suddenly felt that anger boiling inside of him but calmed himself down, remembering his technique for dealing with his anger... Leave it all on the racetrack.

 

IN THE PADDOCK

Intermittent explosive disorder, one doctor had called it; another had called it simply temper tantrums. Either way, Temper had always been an angry man and had no way of tempering that anger until he'd gotten into a racecar. It had started as racing lessons – which on an island obsessed with formula style racing for years wasn't hard – and eventually coincided with getting noticed by Terrance Moodley. Temper had discovered that if he channeled his anger into his racecar and then let all of it explode while he drove, it kept him from acting out with his tantrums. That was why he'd eventually called his vehicle The Black Tantrum because it was now the anger.

As Temper got settled in by his machine born of anger, he was approached by an F-X reporter named Wikus. "Hey new guy, care for an interview about your upcoming race with Stevie."

Temper looked at him, sizing him up. He could tell that he was the mild-mannered one of the bunch; the one who only reported on stories to meet his quota and not to make a name for himself. "No," he said through bottled anger, "I'll do my interviews in the Winner's Circle, thank you very much." Wikus immediately got the message and started away before Temper called out to stop him. "Wait a minute, didn't Toney cover this story last week? Shouldn't she be doing the follow-up interview?"

"Yes well, she's busy so I offered to step in," he said nervously.

Temper immediately picked up that this was a lie. "She's avoiding me, isn't she?"

"Now why would she do that?" asked someone sarcastically.

Temper turned around to find Stevie standing there. Wikus took his leave urgently. "Mind your business, Stevens."

Stevie shrugged and quickly moved on. "I'll do my interviews in the Winner's Circle," she said, mocking him. "Do you know how ironic it's going to be when end up doing my interviews in the Winner's Circle? Tonight's, this Sunday's, either way, you should take Wikus up on his offer otherwise you could end up not appearing in this week's issue at all." Just then, the Fuel intro music boomed and Stevie momentarily turned her attention to the big screen where the show opened with King Solo and Styles Sithole sitting at their press conference. "Are you ready for tonight's relay race?"

Temper scoffed at the question, insulted. "Are you?"

Stevie scoffed in return. "Well I'm teaming with Jim Kieck, you're the one teaming with 'The Box Office'. And I can tell you from experience, Thawn Oberhauser is not a team player." Stevie turned her gaze back at the big screen as she continued to speak. "But I hope you are ready for tonight because those two are involved in a big time three-on-three race tonight and I for one want to show them up in our race tonight. So be on your A-game."

 

JUST OUTSIDE THE PADDOCK

After Stevie's not-so-kind words of wisdom, Temper had found himself too infuriated with too much time before their race to stay in the paddock so he'd gone for a walk. Unfortunately, Temper came across the last person that could help him with his headspace: his ex-wife and F-X reporter, Toney Kunene. She was currently interviewing the racer known as 'The Feline', Fiona who sounded like she was going through her own stuff.

"Blackcat is abusive. Not physically abusive or even emotionally abusive but religiously abusive, if that’s a thing. He believes his faith in our belief to somehow be more powerful than mine and my input is disregarded at every turn."

Toney turned at that exact moment and locked eyes with Temper and he just knew she was relating to Fiona and her words. She wrapped up the interview in a little bow so that it teased Sunday Night Easter before turning to him. "So where's our daughter?"

"She said she was coming to see you," said Temper dismissively.

Toney's lack of reaction suggested that she wasn't worried. "She's probably with Teresa somewhere in the stands. I heard them talking earlier this week on the phone about meeting up here tonight."

This made sense since both the girls had never really been to Fuel until recently. "So I see you're sending stooges to interview me now? Are you avoiding me that badly?"

"Can you blame me? Working with your temperamental ex-husband every Monday wasn't exactly in the divorce settlement."

"Well, maybe you should get a restraining order next time."

While the joke was dark, Toney couldn't help but find it funny, although she hid her smile from him. "Next time? Huh. Look, I'm going to find our daughter. Good luck with your relay race tonight."

 

THE RELAY RACE

Just as Temper had dismissed Stevie's question of whether he was ready, Temper had also dismissed Toney wishing him good luck. I don't need luck, he'd thought. But now, three-quarters of the way through his relay race, he wondered if that was true. He had wanted to take the even-numbered laps but Thawn wouldn't hear of it, wanting to be the one to win the final lap. But now that they were losing, Temper wondered if he hadn't been too quick to surrender to his wishes.

As the race entered its dying laps with the writing being on the wall, Temper couldn't help but think of Stevie mocking him earlier and saying how ironic it would be when she went to the Winner's Circle. And when the race ended with her and Jim Kieck winning, that became a reality. However, Temper wasn't mad about it because he'd left all that anger where it belonged: in The Black Tantrum. In fact, Temper was about to pat himself on the back for his control of his anger until he heard Stevie speak in the Winner's Circle.

"Well, I’m definitely a happy girl. I’ve finally given that hot-head a taste of true defeat: F-X style. While I know the critics are gonna cry that a relay race is no one-on-one race but he and I both know it doesn’t matter. He has to walk in S.N.E. with a defeat on his shoulders."

Now Temper was furious and with his next race only on Sunday, he had nowhere to put this anger. He was about to lose it and kick something but then he saw his little girl come up to him in the paddock and found the will to bottle the anger. "I just wanted to say good night before I left. And, I do think you're going to win this Sunday, Baba." Temper was moved. "So do a lot of people on the Formulary."

Suddenly Temper was inspired. He'd kissed his little girl goodbye and made his way to his tow truck. Inside the dark cab, Temper opened up the Formulary app and pressed the video function. He knew where to put his anger. "The Diamond, they call her. That’s cute. Well, I don’t do cute. I don’t mess around and I don’t showboat. I’m known for two things: I like speed and I like to win. That makes Formula-X the perfect place to be. I'm here to make an impact and if Darcy Stevens is so confident, then she won't mind making our race this Sunday a Twelve Rounds Derby for twelve grand. So what do you say, Stevie?"

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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