26th of March – Season 3
Glenwood Jacobs could feel the tension in the air as he pulled into the Engels Korta Town Square. While the people packed into the circled square were jovial as ever, Glen was all serious. This would be the first time in over a month that he'd get to be in and amongst the F-X racers he'd come to see as family.
Tonight marked his grand return and due to Moodswing and his personal obsession with doing everything over the top, the two of them were going to have a public summit. Glen was initially not a fan of the idea at all, but as the weeks passed, it began to grow on him as he now wanted nothing more than to give his so-called business partner a piece of his mind. Unfortunately, the one person who wasn't interested in seeing them fight, approached Glen.
"Glen, I know what you're going to do and I think it's a mistake," said Angela, Moodswing's wife. "What this series needs is peace, not war."
"Tell that to your husband. He's the one who suspended me, not the other way around. I'm getting sick and tired of always having to be the good guy."
"You play the good guys because you're good."
"No, I'm great. I used to be a great racer; an Auto One champion for Heaven's sake. Can Moodswing say the same thing?"
"Oh c'mon. That's below the belt, wouldn't you say? You know that Moodswing wanted nothing more than to be in Auto One."
"I know, Angela. I was there when he was trying to get in, remember?"
"And I was there when you abandoned him." Anger had risen in Angela, but she pulled it back, remembering that she was here to get these guys to make up. "But, you managed to get past that, so why can't you get past this?"
"Because this time, it's gone too far." Glen began to walk away when Angela got his attention.
"Okay then, how about a game of human chess instead?" This had stopped him dead in his tracks. "What if we make a wager in the races. You win, you go for the jugular in this summit. But if I win, you sue for peace. Deal?"
"That sounds great and all but what if you win, I go in there waving a white flag and he comes for me?"
"Then all bets are off. But let me worry about my husband. Right now, I want your word."
Glen thought about it, really considering it. It helped that this added personal stakes on the races, making them more interesting. But he still didn't like the odds. "How will we pick the racers?"
"No, you pick. It's you who will be making the sacrifice, after all, so you have dealer's choice on all the races. If who you didn't pick wins, that's a point to me. Person with the most points wins. Deal?"
Glen now loved these odds. Deal."
JUAN VAN ZONDER vs. TOUCH MKHIZE
Glen opted to watch the races from the area designated for VIPs. He hadn't gone to the paddock – despite yearning to see the racers and their race cars again – as he wanted to avoid Moodswing as much as he could lest he break the wager before it began.
Glen noted, as he watched JVZ and Touch Mkhize make their way to the racetrack that this race didn't need any extra stakes or excitement. In fact, none of them did. All the races on the card were either rivalry races, grudge races, or had something to do with the Crown. This one, in particular, started from a brief rivalry over who the better couple-team was: Touch & Plain Jane or JVZ and Teresa. Glen imagined that if their significant others weren't already in the feature race, this would have been a relay race.
Glen put his money on Touch – texting Angela as much – because of Touch's success in the series. Where Touch had won the Duke of Drag title multiple times and had even headlined pay-per-views in the past, JVZ had yet to do the same.
The race was a close one but by the time it came to the closing minutes of the race, Glen regretted his decision. It was only after upsetting Touch that Glen recalled that Touch was having something of a losing streak at PPVs. Perhaps ware and tear were setting in? Either way, it was now 1-0 to Angela. Glen needed to pull up his socks with the next race.
SOLO MAGUBANE vs. DEVì
During the fifteen minutes between races, Glen went onto the Formulary app and checked the racecard records for both Solo and Devì. This time, he was going to let the facts decide his choice, rather than who he believed would win. That was why, he was putting his money on Devì rather than Solo, who he'd instinctively root for.
This race was a closer contest, with both feature-racers showing why they belonged at the top of the series. So, it was curious that this race was personal rather than about claiming the Crown. While some believed it began right after Love 'n War when they both lost to Savana. Glen knew better. He knew that he was the reason for this rivalry.
Three weeks ago, Glen had asked for a ride from Solo to the Fuel Speedway where he snuck into the building and interfered with Moodswing's show. Unfortunately, Devì had seen this and blackmailed Solo's chance to become Number One Claimant from him. When she'd wasted that opportunity herself, she'd opted to build this feud instead. And it had only escalated from there with Solo gatecrashing her fitness app launch party. And now, it was time to put up or shut up.
Despite secretly rooting for Solo, Glen found himself having minor heart attacks every time Solo garnered the lead. The race remained close all through the 10 laps. In the end, Devì managed to pull ahead as the finish line approached and secured her victory and Glen's first point for the night.
Glen breathed a sigh of relief which someone noticed. "Well if it isn't the Club Vice President in the flesh. Why are you sweating?"
"Hi, Jane. It's nothing. Just a friendly wager on the races."
"Friendly huh?" The Duchess of Drag had seen right through him. "How much did you put in the pot and how much are you down?"
"It's not for money. It's for the right to tell Moodswing what he is. If I lose, I've got to be a gentleman about it."
Plain Jane made a face. "Wow. That's so much worse somehow. How did Moodswing get you to make this wager?"
"He didn't. Angela did. Moodswing knows nothing about it."
"Oh, I'll bet," she said sarcastically. "I'll bet it's a con. Anyway, are you betting on all the races?" A nod. "Who's winning?"
"It's even. And, you're way off base with Angela. She believes that the series needs both of us to run the show."
Plain Jane's smile said it all: "sucker".
"You're very judgey for someone who picked on a disabled person."
Plain Jane's smile barely faded as she simply ignored the jab. "So, who've you got in the next race...?"
JOHN KLOOF vs. MANDLA XULU
The next race was a gambler's nightmare as the stats said that the two were evenly matched. It was anyone's game when being forced to choose between former F-X Kings, John Kloof and Mandla Xulu.
On one hand, John did defeat Mandla for the title at The First Formula-X Grand Prix and successfully defended his title against him three times in Season 2. On the other hand, Mandla had returned the favour at The Second Formula-X Grand Prix, in a 12 Rounds Derby and beaten him at Love 'n War. In the end, it was a coin flip choosing who to bet on which was exactly what Glen did.
Glen ended up picking John Kloof which he didn't feel bad about. It was a good choice and the race itself proved so. Unfortunately, the ending didn't as Mandla managed to defeat John bringing their PPV scoreboard to 4-4 while bringing his and Angela's scoreboard to 2-2. The next race would be critical.
STYLES SITHOLE vs. DEAK de VILLIERS
If Glen thought the previous race was a gambler's nightmare, then this one was a full-blown night terror. Deacon de Villiers was the new guy on the scene so there was no information on him. Of course, that didn't mean that he knew nothing about him. Glen, just like Moodswing, went way back with Deak.
"I can't believe Moodswing let this guy into the series," said Solo approaching Glen. "And here I thought Moodswing was trying to distance himself from his past."
"Moodswing is an enigma, trust me. It's futile trying to guess what he's thinking." Glen swallowed hard. "By the way, I never got a chance to apologize for the last time we saw each other. I know that if it wasn't for me, it would be you in this race against Deak."
"Don't sweat it. My time will come again to claim the Crown. As for right now, Styles deserves this opportunity."
"So, you think Styles has got a shot here?"
"I think that Styles is on the cusp."
"So, if you were a betting man, would you put your money on him?" While Solo hesitated, he nodded which was enough for Glen who texted Angela his choice.
Solo noticed. "Wait, are you actually betting on the race?"
"It's not what you think." Glen saw that Solo was waiting for an explanation but Glen was tired already. "It's a long story."
Solo let it go and they watched the race with Solo rooting for Styles all the way. It was telling of how seriously Styles was taking this because he was foregoing his usual showy driving style. Instead, he was using bread and butter tactics. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as Deak managed to pull in the victory, becoming the new Number One Claimant for the F-X Crown.
"That makes it three-two."
"What was that?"
"Nothing." Nothing except that I'm losing. It was time to go back to the Formulary and do some honest-to-God research...
THAWN & SAVANA vs. JIM KIECK & BRENDA KOEK
'The Millionaire Affair'. While Glen had only been away from the Fuel Speedway for 6 weeks, he felt like he'd missed an entire season. He hadn't been around to witness Thawn and Savana begin their rise which was clearly going to end in certain greatness.
The couple (mostly Thawn) had used surgical precision to carve their way to the top and this race was their first major hurdle. So, it was not shocking that Glen had put his money on them. When he'd texted Angela as much, she'd sent a humourous text back, responding "can't I take Thawn & Savana instead?"
While it was clearly a joke and Glen knew that Angela didn't intend on changing his mind, her words did make Glen think of what Plain Jane suggested. Could Angela be playing him? Was he being conned by the Moodleys? Glen quickly dismissed this. I've known her as long as Moodswing has for Heaven's sake. However, Glen also recognized that they were married meaning as much as Angela wanted peace, surely she'd always side with him.
While Glen really wanted to let this idea go, watching the couples take to the street circuit only enforced the idea of the bond between two people in a relationship. And it appeared that it was that bond that would decide this race. Even though there weren't any tangible stakes on the line, this race was still a must-watch because people wanted to see if Thawn & Savana would finally be defeated or if this was the beginning of something great.
The race was just as much a hit as the previous ones but was a different beast in comparison. It was scary seeing how well Thawn and Savana worked together. Each person was doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing. Yet, they weren't having an easy day because Jim and Brenda were proving themselves a threat like no other.
Despite being one of the longest races of the night at 20 laps, the excitement was consistently at a fever pitch. Even though Glen had no love for Thawn, he couldn't help but be happy when he and his girlfriend won the race. Upon winning, he got another text from Angela.
3-3. It looks like you're one win away from getting to tell Terrance off after all.
Once again, while Glen was aware that there was no tone to be detected here, he couldn't help but feel a passive-aggressive tone and wondered if she wasn't trying to manipulate him into giving in to her demands. However, on the flip side of these thoughts, Glen found himself considering it because this was Angela: the decent Moodley.
It's not over yet. For the next race, we each take two racers and if either of yours wins, you win. And you pick your first racer first.
The response didn't come right away but when it did, it was a one-word response:
Glen was surprised by this. He'd expected her to pick Stevie. Was she trying to throw this wager? It was his turn and he decided to give her a second chance.
That was confirmation: she wanted him to win. Maybe, there was a part of her that wanted to tell Moodswing what kind of bastard he was. Or... Maybe, she genuinely didn't believe that the F-X Queen had a snowball's chance in hell of winning. Regardless, Glen knew where he was putting his money...
THE FOUR-WAY FORMULA-X TITLE RACE
Glen was glad that they'd come to a draw in the wager. The tension had made the pay-per-view that much better and now the stakes were even higher. A part of Glen couldn't believe this was all over whether Glen would get to express his anger at Moodswing. That was until the devil himself walked in.
"So a little birdie tells me that you're a betting man tonight."
"What the hell do you want, Moodswing?" The venom was rising in Glen.
"Easy now, old boy," he said playfully. "You haven't won the bet yet. So no trash talking, huh."
Glen clenched his jaw. Jane, why did you have to open your mouth.
Moodswing, as if picking his brain, smiled. "You shouldn't blame good ol' Plain Jane. She so very much does love herself some soapy drama."
"And is that why you're here? You're looking to start something dramatic? Because, I can do dramatic."
"Not unless you win your bet. Now, let me guess: the score is even-steven and now it's all or nothing. And, you chose Stevie to be your champion. Am I wrong?"
Glen hated that Moodswing knew him so well. It didn't help that the bet was against his wife who he knew equally well. But, he wasn't going to let him get the last word that easily. "Moodswing, I can't wait to call you a piece of crap in front of the whole fandom."
"Oh yeah? And you know what I can't wait for? The day I rid myself and this series of you. And it's coming, my friend. It's coming."
"Stop it! Both of you!" Angela had walked in and she was not in the mood of taking sides. "Listen to the two of you? You've become one of the very storylines that you purport onscreen. Have you both forgotten what this summit is supposed to be about? It's supposed to be about laying it all out there so you can find a way forward. Not this! So, stop focusing on how you're going to get rid of each other and focus on trying to mend this."
The two of them looked at each other, but only Moodswing looked unburdened by guilt. He shrugged. "Well, you know where I stand. I want to still be Club President next season."
Now both Moodleys were looking at Glen, perhaps hoping that he'd take the high road. Instead, Glen opted for a middle ground. "You two just better hope that either Teresa or Jane wins the title. Because, if Stevie retains, I'm not pulling my punches. I'm gonna go scorched-earth on this whole summit thing and then, I'm coming after the Club Presidency."
THE FINAL LAP...
Everyone was sweating. Glen, Angela, Moodswing, and certainly the racers down on the street circuit. Plain Jane captured the lead coming into the twentieth and final lap with Stevie doing her damndest to catch up. But Plain Jane was quick on the straights, putting her drag racing skills to good use. Stevie knew she couldn't catch her. Fortunately, where Plain Jane had acceleration, the Queen had experience in three-ways and four-ways.
Having been under pressure from Teresa for a while, Stevie allowed her to pass her knowing that Teresa's vehicle was also lightning quick on the straights. Teresa subsequently attacked Plain Jane, forcing her to defend against her. This gave Stevie the opportunity to pick the bones and she did just that, using her power boost to sneak by them both just in time to secure the victory.
The race earned a standing ovation from the capacity crowd. Even though Glen had been rooting for her, he'd found himself thrillingly surprised by Stevie's performance. Neither he nor Moodswing could have scripted that even if they wanted to. The psychology involved was outstanding.
Glen turned to the upset Moodleys. "See you guys down there."
THE SUMMIT OF THE CLUB PRESIDENCY
A middle stage had been built in the middle of the Engels Korta town square, specifically for this occasion. Like the previous events, the circled square was packed with patrons who'd just come from the racetrack as well as those who were attending the actual festival. Currently, Glen and Moodswing were standing across from each other on it at their own individual podiums. As the Club President, Moodswing opened the event with a few words.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the reason we're gathered here today... is because of one man's selfishness in not wanting to do what's best for the series and instead, wants to do what's best for himself."
While Glen wanted to hit Moodswing for what he said, he saw an opportunity to undermine him. "I couldn't have put it better myself, Moodswing. You sure are a selfish bastard." The dirty word got a pop from the crowd.
Moodswing looked out at the crowd dramatically. "Oh you people like that, did you? Well, that's what's wrong with society. You're all deviants. But it's not your fault. It's not, because you see, it's the responsibility of people like us, people in power to show you the right way. And Glen here, is clearly not fit to do that."
"Right. Says the man who's been playing human chess with those working for him; threatening the jobs of committee members and autocratically declaring himself president for life."
"I DID THAT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE CLUB!" Moodswing had raised his voice even though he'd been trying to compose himself. "I am the reason this series has achieved the success it has. NOT you! You want this racing club and this series to survive? Then you need me where I am: at the helm."
"Not if you're going to act like a tyrant and all-around jackass."
"Oh, more swearing. How mature."
"This isn't about swearing or the club's success, Moodswing. This is about you and your ego being unable to let go; being unable to accept that your creation might be in better hands if someone else was in charge."
Moodswing hesitated to answer and simply said, "you're not fit."
"Well if I'm not fit – the man that's universally seen as the glue that holds this place together – then who is?"
Moodswing was stumped momentarily, so he resorted to talking trash. "You're a piss poor leader, Glen. That's why I suspended you."
"A suspension you'll be lifting, unless you want everyone to know that you're a coward." Glen had meant to stop there, but added, "as well as a selfish bastard."
Moodswing ignored the jab. "You know, if Monday Night Fuel was firmly under your leadership, it would fail. That's how bad you are at your job. We've been thriving without you."
"Your delusions need work. They don't resemble reality in the slightest."
Moodswing responded and the argument continued. While the two continued to swear at each other, a thought had occurred to Angela when her husband had mentioned Glen being incapable of running the show single-handedly. She recognized this as her husband hinted at a plan he was up to. But it also hinted at an idea that, if executed right, would change the series forever.