11th of October – Season 3
“Hey Doris, have you seen my leather jacket anywhere? I’m sure I put it in the boot but I can’t find it.” Brenda was speaking with some urgency as she was running late for her meeting with Moodswing ahead of Fuel.
Teresa jumped out of the back seat carrying something. “I actually almost forgot. Here you go.”
Brenda had felt the dread before taking the jacket. She was right to as the sleeves were no longer attached to the jacket. “Teresa, what the hell, man!”
Teresa tried to hide her smile. “Damn, where’s the swear jar when you need it?”
Brenda turned to Doris as if expecting her to answer for this atrocity. “Why you looking at me?” said Doris. “I’m not the jacket killer. That’s all her. She’s the one who’s woke.”
Teresa rolled her eyes. “That’s not how you use that word. Anyway,” she said turning back to Brenda, “trust me. This look is more badass. And you’re gonna need to look badass when you sit face to face with the first ever F-X Queen.”
Brenda scoffed, grabbed her title helm, slammed the boot shut, and took off in a huff. While Devì would be part of her meeting with Moodswing, Brenda sensed that this wasn’t the time to be too badass. No, something told her that she needed to be nuanced because this meeting had been announced just too soon after their spat on the Formuarly.
Indeed, when they got to the Club President’s office, Moodswing was unhappy and immediately let them know why. “This has got to stop,” he said turning his computer screen to show the social network homepage. It showed a video of Devì in a barely-there bikini followed by a highlighted comment from Brenda: “Well, well, well. It looks like someone is trying to copy me and my sisters. Well good luck to you, sistas!” Devì had responded and from there it only got dirty.
Devì, acting like she was above all this, was the first to respond. “Well, she started it.”
Brenda gave her an astonished look. “Excuse me? All I said was that you were copying and pasting which is exactly what you were doing. My sisters and I were the first ones to dress in bikinis as a way of promoting the brand. You just took—”
“Oh what bull—”
“Ladies,” said Moodswing cutting off Devì. “I don’t want to hear this.”
Devì raised an eyebrow. “But she’s slandering me. She knows very well that over the winter break, I was the one promoting Formula-X in more than just a bikini.”
“Well don’t you know that the off-season doesn’t count,” said Brenda vindictively, knowing that Devì had made a point a moment ago.
Devì was about to counter but didn’t get a chance. “LADIES! Now that’s enough. This isn’t about the posts or who did what first. This is about the way you’ve gone about promoting the series.” Both women looked at Moodswing somewhat confused. He continued. “We have recently gotten some feedback from the fandom that suggests that maybe we have become too provocative when it comes to using sexuality to promote this franchise.” Moodswing had their attention. “Basically, we need to tone it down.” They both still just looked at him so he had to ask for confirmation. “Do you two understand?” They both nodded and Moodswing zeroed in on Brenda. “And I’ll trust that you’ll relay that message to your sisters?”
While Brenda nodded, she noticed Devì at the corner of her eye, smiling from the comment. Fortunately, before she could say or do anything to her, Moodswing turned and noticed her smiling too. “I’m glad you’re finding Brenda’s misfortune amusing because I’m putting the two of you in a race against each other,” he said before leaning forward, “in the feature race.”
Brenda was having an internal conflict. While a part of her was excited to be headlining tonight’s episode of Fuel, another part of her was worried. After all, she would be facing someone who’d actually held sports entertainment’s most sovereign prize… something she’d never done. Devì on the other hand, was all smiles realizing that despite having actually lost that Crown, was still headlining Fuel.
With the meeting over, Brenda headed to the paddock to find that almost no one had arrived yet… almost no one. Penny Potgieter was standing by her lonesome, leaning on her vehicle – The Dollar Coin – reading what looked like a newspaper when she saw Brenda enter. While their rivalry had long since passed its expiry date – having taken place over a year ago – there was no love lost between them.
Penny smiled as if amused by something. “I heard you had a meeting with the Club President. I heard the Indian Princess was present too.”
Brenda – remembering the last time Penny had mentioned Moodswing and herself in the same sentence – rolled her eyes, tired already. “Look, if you’re gonna accuse me of being involved in some kind of sick fantasy…”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Penny all saint-like. “I’d never say something like that.” The blatant lie made Brenda scoff which made Penny smile. “I was just saying, if what I heard about that meeting is true, then—”
“Damn, you hear a lot, don’t you?”
“Damn? Hmm, I thought you Catholic girls didn’t like dirty words like that. Then again, after the past few weeks, I’d say you guys are barely Catholic.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that what I heard about your meeting is that Moodswing called it to tell you and Devì to knock off the sexy stuff. And you know what, I can’t say I blame him. You’re giving Formula-X a bad name.”
Brenda scoffed animatedly. “This coming from the woman who damn near invented it? If I recall, before I took this title away from you,” she said lifting the golden Duke of Drag helm up, “you were running around in itty-bitty cocktail dresses showing more skin than Pamela Anderson.”
Penny effortlessly ignored this. “I’m a role model for women in motorsport, Brenda. My ‘Women’s Dynasty’ is going to be a showcase of the angels by the time I’m done. I’ve taken down John Kloof and I’m going to take down Thawn at Hallow’s Eve. But you? I mean, do you even plan on defending that title at the next pay-per-view? Or are you going to have another non-title bore-fest with your other sister and disgrace yourself by calling yourself a monarch?” Penny’s smile widened when she saw that Brenda had no comeback. “Now you may have the feature race tonight—”
“How could you know t—”
“But I have the opening race. And I don’t care if it’s ‘Enemies Unite’ and I have to team with Thawn, I’m going to shine so bright that by the time you lose tonight, no one will care to even watch.”
LATER THAT NIGHT
Brenda had been given a lot to think about by Penny. She’d tried to put it out of mind by watching the show but one thing was tough to shake: was she really that bad a role model to women in motorsports? It was something she hadn’t even thought she needed to be. Were there little girls looking up to her and her sisters? As if it was the theme of the night, one segment between races had Queen Stevie being interviewed.
Darcy ‘The Diamond’ Stevens. Now here was a true role model. Bursting onto the scene at the age of nineteen, headlining a pay-per-view within two months flat, contending for the Formula-X title for what felt like the entirety of a season before finally capturing the Crown almost two weeks ago, Stevie was definitely a role model. So it was unfortunate that instead of talking about that, Sherry – ever the scandal chaser – asked about what had become known as the ‘Era Before’.
“Look, I know that everyone has a lot of questions about the ‘Era Before’,” said the F-X Queen, “but the thing is that nobody wants to talk about it. All of that happened a long time ago and there are a lot of people who would much rather forget about it because a lot of people were hurt.”
Brenda wasn’t sure what to make of this and neither was the fandom. Ever since Angela Moodley – Moodswing’s wife – had an outburst last week where she called him a criminal because of things he did before starting Monday Night Fuel, people had been curious about the secret origins of the franchise.
Brenda’s thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Doris who she hadn’t seen approaching her. “So, was your jacket badass enough?”
Brenda’s mind had been so busy with this other stuff that she’d completely forgotten about her jacket. She waved her hand indicating that it didn’t matter. “Hey Doris, do you think I’m a bad role model?”
Doris looked at her. “Where is this coming from?”
“It’s something that Penny said.”
“Argh, Brenda,” she said pathetically, “why are you listening to that bitch?” Just as Brenda’s eyes widened from hearing Doris swearing, Doris had pulled out an R20 bill (double the usual amount they put into the Swear Jar per swear word) and handed it to Brenda before continuing. “You know she’s got it in for you, right? She believes that she should be the only woman here that people care about?”
“Yeah,” said Brenda admittedly. “Still, doesn’t mean she’s not right once in a while.” It was at that moment – just as their younger sister Teresa was approaching – that Brenda had an idea. One that would ensure that her race at Hallow’s Eve didn’t become a bore-fest; one that would ensure that she was taken seriously as a monarch.
“Hey guys,” said Teresa. “Did you see the race between Temper and Dime? For two guys who are supposed to be a relay team, they sure are competitive.”
“Well what do you expect after their argument last week?” said Doris. “And they’d won the race for Heaven’s sake.”
Teresa shrugged her shoulders. “Still, I can’t imagine fighting with one of you; not like that.”
“Well maybe we should,” said Brenda earning puzzled looks from her younger sisters. “Maybe, we should show the fandom that we’re more than just hot bodies. Maybe we should show them that even though we’re sisters that we’re not here to play.”
“What are you saying, Brenda?”
“I’m saying that I think I should defend my title against both of you at Hallow’s Eve. A three-way drag race, what do you say?”
THE FUEL FEATURE RACE
By the time Brenda headed down to the start line, she was pumped. Her sisters had agreed to the 3-Way Drag Race at the pay-per-view meaning it was on. This race against Devì was now about building momentum. It started out hot with both of them jockeying for position from the onset. Brenda was so pumped that she didn’t even let the branding of the race get her down.
‘Battle of the Babes’: that was what Moodswing had labelled this race as when he officially announced it to the fandom. It was degrading, to say the least, to be downgraded to simply being a babe. But as the race neared the halfway mark, Brenda began to pull ahead, smiling as she did. She was on her way to showing Devì who she was.
Unfortunately, it appeared that Devì had something to prove too as she overtook Brenda late in the race and converted it into a victory, showing her why she had been the first woman to be Formula-X Queen.
It was a known adage that it takes both popularity and skill to rise to the top of Formula-X. But looking at her loss in the feature race of the night, Brenda wondered if she hadn’t been focusing too much on the popularity aspect. Perhaps now it was time to focus on the skill.