19th of October – Season 2
Touch Mkhize's grandmother could see that something was troubling him. He couldn't keep still. It was still hours before Monday Night Fuel and she knew if he remained in this agitated state that he'd explode by the time he got to the Fuel Speedway. "What's wrong, mzukulu?"
"I'm trying to figure out what to do, Gogo." Touch explained to his grandmother after losing his title last week, he's felt like a wreck. Apart of him wanted to take revenge on everybody including Moodswing while another part of him wanted to crawl into a ball and cry.
"Well, I can tell you that revenge never works out in the end."
"I know Gogo. Moodswing's already tried to make up for last week so it doesn't feel right going after him." Touch explained that after Moodswing screwed him out of his title last week, he'd subsequently calmed down and posted an announcement on Feeder saying not only would he get two episodes of Touching Base this week, but he was also willing to give him a shot at the drag title tonight.
"So what's the problem. Go face this Penny and get your helmet back?"
"It's not a helmet, Gogo. It's a title. And it's not that simple." Touch didn't want to tell his grandmother that he didn't believe he could beat Penny, not in this state of mind. "Besides, the title is not the problem. In fact, next week I could be going after the King's title if I beat Jim Kieck at Hallow's Eve."
"So again, what's the problem?"
Touch took a deep breath. "I feel lost, Gogo. I feel like I'm not the same person I was when I started all of this. I feel like I've become a different person."
"Who have you become?"
Touch didn't know where exactly to start. "I dunno, someone who cares more about fame and money than anything else."
"Okay. And who do you want to be, mzukulu?"
Touch took a moment to think about the answer to that. "I want to be someone who enjoys what he's doing." It was true. Touch's dilemma wasn't one of morality. He knew the jig: one did not last long as a sports entertainer if they didn't know how to sacrifice morality for a victory, literal or figurative. No, Touch's dilemma was one of understanding why he was doing this at all. Fortunately for him, he had a wise old lady to help him on his path.
"It sounds like you need a restoration, my child."
"A restoration? What's that?"
"It depends. It's a cleansing of the soul for some. It's a returning to your roots for others. And it's redemption for those who need it. But what it means for everyone who needs it, is that they need to step back, look at the whole picture and see what's gone wrong and how to fix it."
Thinking on his grandmother's words, Touch realized that she had a point. It wasn't revenge that he needed, it was a restoration. He needed to figure out how to make this fun again. And part of that meant not going after the Duchess of Drag title just yet (or perhaps at all). Because his career couldn't just be about titles. It had to be about achieving something, a goal. Even going after the Crown couldn't be it. That was just a means to an end. No, he needed to aim bigger.
That's when he remembered something. It was a goal that had been born late into the first season. He remembered wanting to headline another pay-per-view. It was after Sunday Night Easter when he'd faced Mandla Xulu that he'd gotten the bug. That's what he wanted. And it wasn't going to be an easy journey... neither was it going to be a boring one either. But the first milestone lied in his race against Jim Kieck this Sunday. But before that, he was going to need hype... lot's of it.
TOUCHING BASE LIVE: THAWN OBERHAUSER
Touch almost felt sorry for Thawn Oberhauser. He had no idea that he was talking to a restored Touch Mkhize. He had no idea that he was talking to a man with a mission now, not a racer who'd just lost his title. "You have no idea why you're here, do you, sitting on this stage with me?"
In an effort to milk Moodswing's guilt for everything that it was worth, Touch had goaded him into letting his first of two installments this week take place on the middle-stage and that it takes place at the top of the show. The trade off was that he could only interview a racer who'd had a middle-stage segment before.
"I dunno, you needed to class up the place?"
"It's because you were the only one who fit the criteria. Rest assured Thawn, if there was anyone else I could have gotten up here I would have gotten them."
"Wow, is this how you treat your guests. No, better yet, is this how you treat the best racer in the series?"
Touch made a point not to laugh. "Thawn, let me ask you something: do you really believe that you're the best racer in the series?"
"Mkhize, I know I am."
"Okay, then let me ask you another question: why aren't you on the Hallow's Eve racecard?" That question truly caught Thawn off guard because for the first time since Touch had met him, he was speechless. Touch continued. "I mean, could it be because the 'great Impaler' has been overlooked by the Commissioners of Fuel?"
"It would be foolish to overlook me."
"Then what happened?"
"You'd have to ask them."
"I'm asking you. I want to know why you haven't been fitted with a race yet. I mean Stevie was back all of two minutes and she'd already in a high profile race against this mysterious new guy. But you? You're nowhere to be seen."
"Well, you can rest assured I will be on that racecard because I'll tell you right now that it would be foolish of them to keep me off of it. In fact, they'd be idiots not to include me."
Touch had to fight off a smile. He'd fallen for it. Thawn had committed the same mistake he had last week. But even Touch was surprised when Thawn continued by saying that he'd even go as far as to say that the showrunners were stupid if he wasn't added to the P.P.V. feature race if he defeated King Kloof in tonight's feature race. Now those were bold words. And they made for quite an exciting installment and this was just one of two. But before he could get to the next one, he needed to win a relay race. And he was going to need to do it alongside the last person in the world he wanted to team up with.
LATER THAT NIGHT
As Touch sat in the pit lane waiting for his relay partner to finish her lap, he was aware of how everyone must have thought he was crazy for teaming up with the racer that beat him for the title last week. It would have been one thing if this was leading to another race with her, then it would have been billed as "Enemies Unite" to build excitement. But instead, he was teaming with her in order to take on their respective P.P.V. opponents.
When Penny came back around in the 7th lap, she'd lost the lead to Styles Sithole who'd handed over his lead to Jim Kieck as Touch began his chase. Touch had been happy to hear that Styles was the racer chosen to challenge Penny for her newly won title. He deserved it. But currently, Styles wasn't Touch's problem... His teammate for the night was. As they raced on, Touch could tell that Jim had been training during the offseason. He was a different driver now, a more determined one. Touch would have his work cut out for him this Sunday, the same way he had it cut out for him now.
The race continued this way for some time before Touch finally managed to overtake Jim on Lap 14. Of course, it wasn't enough for him to take the lead. He also had to rely on Penny maintaining it which she did. By the 20th and final lap, they had even managed to create something of a gap giving Touch a very satisfying victory. And it wasn't just because he had one over on Jim, but also because he'd been the one to officially take the winning lap and he'd been the one to execute the game-making overtake, meaning he'd shown the new Duchess up.
However, the night wasn't over. He had one more thing to do.
TOUCHING BASE: CALIBER KID
When Touch invited the rookie onto his show, he could tell that he was nervous so he did his level best to make him feel welcome. But it was clear that it wasn't just his talk show that was bothering him.
"I lost tonight. I kicked off the show by losing. So it's just..."
Touch smiled warmly. "First of all, you didn't kick off the show. I did that. Secondly, there is no shame losing to a former Formula-X King."
"Well, I'm not like you, Touch. You," he said hesitating, "you lost your title last week. Yet here you are this week, teaming with the person that you lost your title to. It's like it didn't faze you."
Touch could see that he needed to open up to this kid if he was going to succeed in making him feel better. "It fazed me. Believe me, it fazed me. But I'm doing my level best not to let that loss break me. And for you, if you start doing that now, you're in for trouble, Kid."
"So what was your secret."
Touch smiled again. "A wise old lady told me that I needed to step back, see the whole picture, see what's wrong and how to fix it. It's called a restoration."
Caliber Kid seemed to let these words sink in as they continued with the show. While he doubted the rookie needed that advise this early in his tenure in Formula-X, he was happy that he was already putting his grandmother's advise to good use. In fact, he could imagine his grandmother watching the show, smiling at Touch. And he was smiling back because the advice had worked. He felt that he was now ready to go to Hallow's Eve and tackle his big milestone.