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Fuel Season 3: Episode 28 – Anger In Absentia

"Journey back as we find out what has been going on with the missing F-X racers."
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Author's Notes

"This episode marks the first ever flashback-heavy episode in the series."

9th of May – Season 3

Temper hated this part. But he knew that it was necessary as he stood up in front of the anonymous group of people and prepared to speak. “My name is Themba Kunene and I am angry…”

The session had gone on how it usually did which left Temper bored more than anything. It was only when it was over and he walked out of the hall of the Civic Centre did the day get interesting. It was the woman sitting on the bench outside the clinic with a bandage around her eyes that caught his attention. Even more so when she looked directly at him and recognized him. “Temper. What are you doing here?”

Temper took a moment to recover and accept that she wasn’t blind. “That’s a long story. Better question would be what are you doing here, Penny?” The last time I saw you was outside the hospital after The Scramble.”

Penny Potgieter did not answer immediately. “That’s an even longer story.”

Fortunately, Temper had an hour to kill before he had to fetch Katlego from school. “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

Penny smiled. Despite her facial injuries, it was still a beautiful smile. “Then you best take a seat. You could be here a while.”

 

31st of January – Season 3

When Penny woke up, she immediately knew that something was wrong. There was a terrible burning sensation around her eyes and when she felt for it, she felt bandages. That was when panic set in as she realized that she couldn’t see. “Help,” she said, almost whispering. She said it again but louder until she was shouting. By that point, she’d fallen off the bed, knocking equipment around in her delirium, trying to find someone to help her.

The nurses came rushing into the room from what she could tell and got her onto the bed, all speaking at the same time. They mumbled something about blood pressure and before Penny knew it, she was sedated. It was only after what felt like hours that she woke up again, this time much calmer, and had a doctor waiting by her bed for her to wake.

“Ah. Good morning Miss Potgieter.”

“Morning? If you say so. I wouldn’t know because I can’t see…” She’d choked on the last word as she began to cry which was extremely painful.

The doctor took her hand. “Yes you can, Miss Potgieter. It’s just the bandages that are preventing you from seeing. But I assure you, your eyesight is perfectly intact.” The more the doctor spoke the more Penny relaxed, although the talk of scaring on her face did scare her. But before he left, he introduced her to her nurse, Florence Masuku.

 

PRESENT DAY

“That’s how I felt when I woke up. But I’ve gotten stronger with every passing day.”

“I can tell. Although, I don’t think Plain Jane has helped with that considering all her comments.”

“Actually she has. Watching her headline pay-per-views; go into the ‘Highway to the Grand Prix’ as a monarch, drove me to get better just as much as anything else. Besides, I always knew that she didn’t mean the things she said. Unlike that Shih-Tzu, Savana who stole what was mine after putting me in that wall.”

This surprised Temper because it was the first time blame had been assigned. “You think she did it on purpose?”

“It doesn’t really matter because there’s absolutely no way to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Believe me, I’ve watched and re-watched the tapes. But it sure does irk me how much success she’s had after winning that race.

Temper understood. First, her love story with Thawn, then her headlining Monday Night Fuel week after week; her winning streak, and now she was a Relay Baroness – on the ‘Highway to the Grand Prix’ no less. “I see your point.”

“Do you?” Penny realized she was being too mean and changed the subject. “What about you? You’ve been suspended since Show-Down in November. That can’t sit well with you. What have you been up to?”

“Well for a long time I was angry. That was until Kloof challenged me at Love ’n War. That’s when I saw a sign of hope and I’ve tried to follow it ever since, not that it’s done me any good.”

“What do you mean?” Temper explained by taking her down memory lane…

 

13th of February – Season 3

Temper had a smile on his face and why wouldn’t he? After being suspended for over two months he was finally back at a Formula-X PPV. He was so happy when he got to his race car in the paddock, he couldn’t even be mad at his ex-wife’s rude greeting.

“So is that what it looks like when you’re happy. Who knew?”

Temper took this in his stride, turned, and smiled. “You used to, a long time ago.”

Toney Kunene seemed to be taken back in time from Temper’s tone alone, recognizing it immediately. “Excuse me. Who do you think you’re flirting with?”

“My ex-wife, who else?”

HABE!” she said shaking her head. “Cha, save it for someone who cares because I am now immune to your charms.”

“If you say so.”

“I do say so, Themba.”

“Fine, then let’s make it interesting. If I win tonight, you go on a date with me.”

“Forget it. I’m not playing this game under any circumstances.”

“And if I lose, I do anything that you want.”

This got Toney's attention. “Anything?”

“Anything.”

LATER THAT NIGHT

Temper was fuming. He’d just lost to Kloof again. And this time, he’d be forced to pay him as per the stipulations of the Derby. Fortunately, Temper refrained from tearing his car apart again and instead found a corner somewhere where he started hitting things. Temper had expected to be alone so when he turned to find Toney, he was disturbed. “What do you want?”

However, he was not as disturbed as she was. “So you haven’t changed.”

“Oh c’mon. Don’t start with me, Toney. You saw what happened out there. I was humiliated and I have to pay that guy. I have the right to be angry.”

“I don’t think you do. Not if you’re going to bring that anger home to your daughter.”

This was not helping. It was only making Temper angrier. “You don’t get to tell me what to do anymore.”

“Well that’s not true, is it? I believe we made a bet, meaning there is one last thing you have to do for me.”

“Okay, Toney,” said Temper at the end of his tether. “Okay. What is it?”

“You need to go to anger management classes.”

PRESENT DAY

Penny had been listening adamantly. "So is that how you ended up here?"

"Yep."

"And has it helped at all?"

"Not really. But that's because, according to my sponsor, I haven't identified the root of my anger. Once I do that then I can start to resolve my issues." Temper noted that Penny looked deep in thought. "What's going on in that head of yours?"

"I'm just wondering about my anger and the root cause of that. But I already know what it is."

"Do tell."

"The root of my anger is one person; the person that took the most from me; the person that stole what was mine: my dynasty."

Temper knew who she was talking about Savana. It had not been a stretch to see why Savana was the source of Penny's anger. It was only last week that Savana had had the audacity to say that Penny should call herself 'Pretty' Penny. It had sent shockwaves through the fandom. Then again, it was exactly what Savana and Thawn had wanted: to make a statement. That gave Temper an idea. "I think you should do something about it."

"What did you have in mind?"

LATER AT THE FUEL CLUBHOUSE

Penny wasn't sure about this. "Temper, are you sure about this guy?"

Temper smiled. "Trust me. Hush Mathulane is the guy you wanna talk to."

"But this is a podcast, Temper. Why aren't we going to Touch?"

Temper had to bite back a glare of anger upon hearing Touch's name. "Because Touch is an egomaniac who's currently using his talk show to make himself feel important. Hush on the other hand—"

"—isnt an egomaniac? Are you really going to tell me that that guy," said Penny, pointing at a guy behind a window in a room that looked like a crude radio booth dressed in black and turquoise leather with a mullet-like haircut, "isn't an egomaniac?"

"Oh he is, but he isn't making everything about himself at the moment."

Penny scoffed. "That's only because he hasn't debuted yet. It must be nice to have an exclusive contract."

"Mhmm. Now c'mon, let's go."

*

From the word go, Penny could tell that Hush was going to fit in just fine in Formula-X as he had a good grasp of the sports entertainment world complete with his ability to fan the flames of any rivalry. Currently, Hush was regaling his listeners with what Thawn and Savana had said last week, adding color where he could, painting a beautiful picture of a brewing rivalry. "So now, we get to hear from the lady of the hour, Miss Penny Potgieter about how she feels about Savana's words last week."

By the time Hush had finished hyping up the rivalry, Penny had actually mellowed a bit. "So, a lot of people want me to say something angry about Savana's words, but the truth is: I kinda like them. You see, I'm not angry, I'm motivated, now more than ever, to get back on the blacktop. And at The Third Formula-X Grand Prix, I'm going to do just that."

Hush was nearly overcome with excitement at what he'd just heard. But Penny wasn't done. "As for what she said about my looks, you're damn straight I'm pretty. In fact, from now on, you can officially call me Pretty Penny Potgieter."

*

An hour had barely passed before Hush was gushing about the show hitting new numbers, even going as far as saying this news could be bigger than King Razor opting not to appear on Monday Night Fuel ever. Pretty Penny was amused at hearing this but it appeared that Temper was not done with his plan to hit back at Savana.

"What else did you have in mind?"

"Something more dramatic and much better suited to sports entertainment..."

LATER AT THE FUEL SPEEDWAY

SAVANA'S RACE

Pretty Penny was not a fan of this plan, even if she had to admit that it was awesome. The problem is that it made her feel uncomfortable. Pretty Penny tried to focus on something else to take her mind off of it. Currently, she was in a passage near the front row seats of the stands with screaming fans too preoccupied with the race to notice that one of the stars of the show was this close. And she couldn't blame them considering that Savana was on her way to winning yet another feature race.

This was what truly got Pretty Penny's mind off of her discomfort. The idea of Savana succeeding just boiled her blood. And suddenly, Pretty Penny wasn't afraid anymore. With the race in its 8th lap and Savana in the lead, Pretty Penny walked to the front of the stands, stood right next to the fence, and without thinking twice, took off the cloth around her head.

It didn't take long for one of the cameras to get pointed directly at her, giving the world their first look at her scarred face. The cheering stopped as a hush overcame the crowd with a few even gasping. But it took almost the entire lap for the most important person to notice. And notice she did.

When Savana noticed, she instinctively hit the brakes, but her opponent didn't which allowed Jim Kieck to pass the 'Saharan Knockout' and win the race. By the time Savana realized what happened, she was fuming at the finish line, turning red with fury.

Meanwhile, Pretty Penny was smirking, an image that dominated every screen in the Speedway, creating a lasting impression with her rival and an iconic image for the fandom. Pretty Penny may not have tamed her fury, but she sure found a way to make the best of it.

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