29th of May - Season 3
When Angela Moodley heard her phone ring, she knew who it was before she saw the screen: TERRANCE. She ignored it. While she knew that there was no way he could know, there was that part of her mind that betrayed her, suspecting that her husband knew what she was up to. But how could he? Surely he'd stop me if he knew. Angela was knocked out of her thoughts by the lawyer closing a book with a thud.
"Well Miss Mabaso, it would appear that you were right. The loophole does exist so your plan is possible to execute."
It was strange hearing the lawyer call her by her maiden name but it was a necessary exercise. Her husband could NOT find out. Angela smiled. "Well that's excellent."
"But I'm afraid there's a catch. I'm afraid there's no way of doing this without disclosing to Mister Moodley what is about to happen."
Angela gave the lawyer a stern look. "No. That's unacceptable. My..." she bit down on the word husband, "Mister Moodley cannot know about this until the papers are signed."
"Well, that will be difficult considering that he is the President as well as founder of the Formula-X Racing Club. I'm afraid that he had the right to know."
Angela thought about those words. "Well, what about the people who actually own the business? The shareholders. There are silent partners in the business. So what if you informed them of this move and not Terrance?"
The lawyer considered it. "Well the law is a bit murky here since silent partners don't have that much control over the business but since, by definition, they do own the business, it is possible to alert them and not Mr. Moodley."
Angela smiled. "Excellent," she said standing up. "Get it done and send me the bill."
Before she left, the lawyer asked her one more question. "Miss Mabaso," he said, "do you know Mister Moodley, personally?"
Angela didn't answer immediately. "All I know is that the man's acting like a tyrant right now and something needs to be done to stop him."
AT THE GRAND PRIX STREET CIRCUIT
When Angela arrived at the jam-packed section of the city cordoned off for the pay-per-view, she swore. The first race had already taken place. It was the drag race for the Duke of Drag title that saw Styles Sithole defending against Plain Jane. Styles had retained his title. The next race was Solo Magubane vs. Touch Mkhize. Angela was interested in seeing this race ever since Moodswing had given Solo an ultimatum that resulted in him having to put his job on the line. She hated that her husband's madness had actually managed to generate buzz around this race.
"Hey, there you are." Angela had literally jumped when Moodswing had appeared out of nowhere. "Where have you been?"
"Around," lied Angela.
"Liar," said Moodswing, calling her out immediately. "What, were you doing something shady? Is that why you're so jumpy?"
Angela shifted the blame quickly. "Between the two of us, I'm not the one being shady, Terrance."
"How am I being shady?"
"How about with him?” said Angela pointing to one of the racers making their way onto the racetrack.
“Solo? What about him?”
“ Why did you force him to put his job on the line?"
"Oh c'mon. That wasn't shady. No, that was me showing these racers who is boss. No. It was about showing them who’s the KINGMAKER. They need to understand that I own them. Their success is wholly dependent on me. And it’s about time everyone started getting with the program.” As if that wasn’t egomaniacal as it was, Moodswing just had to add, “Including you.”
Angela’s brow furrowed. “You don’t own me, Terrance.”
“Maybe not but what I said still stands. I know you’re up to something so you should consider this a warning. Stop it, whatever it is because it will not end the way you think.”
Angela’s poker face must have been the stuff of legend because she didn’t give anything away and it was clear from their stare down that Moodswing didn’t know anything. At least not the important details. And she had to keep it that way. But with him suspecting anything and everything, one thing was clear: Angela had to move fast.
A FEW MINUTES LATER
Glen was admittedly caught off guard when Angela approached him basically running, high heels and all. “You alright there, Angela?”
While it was a good question, Angela didn’t have time for chit-chat. Although she did hilariously pose her question as casual. “Quick question: if you had to choose a racer, any racer, to be the face of Formula-X, who would it be?”
“That’s easy: Stevie.” Glen saw Angela’s face twitch as if that was the wrong answer so he explained himself – something he saw was unnecessary. “What? She was Queen for six months; she’s probably going to regain her title tonight and she’s been through hell and somehow came out better for it.”
“I get it but I don’t see her jumping over is all.”
“Jumping over? Angela, what are you talking about?”
Angela didn’t explain and instead pestered on about her mission. “Just bare with me, Glen. Who would you pick, and I’m talking about if you had to go to them now and tell them to pick between you and Terrance, they’d pick you without question.”
Glen was more confused by Angela’s question and she was so insistent. Was is this all about? Incidentally, Glen wasn’t sure that he had an answer for her. It was not like he’d ever asked any of the racers to choose between them. After all, he’d expect nothing less than for the racers to protect their jobs. But since this was hypothetical, surely there was no harm in giving an answer. He answered by pointing to one of the racers on the racetrack and almost immediately regretted it as his pick lost.
However, for some reason, Angela smiled. “Solo. That’s a good pick.”
“A good pick? He just lost his job, Angela.”
“That might just be a good thing,” she said under her breath.
“What?” But the confusion Glen felt was replaced with shock as something dawned on him. Wait, is she planning some kind of takeover? Is her plan to usurp the presidency from her own husband? “Hold on Angela. What exactly are you planning?”
Angela smiled. “Something big; something that’s going to change the playing field forever.”
“Oh, Lord. I knew. No. Angela. I’m not going to play Moodswing’s game and dirty.
“Oh, there’s no need to play dirty. I found a legal loophole.”
“It doesn’t matter right now. What matters is: is there anyone else who you think would take your side against my husband?”
By the time the show had gotten to the penultimate race, Glen had developed an entire list of racers that Angela was impressed with. It had the likes of Touch Mkhize, Jim Kieck, Pretty Penny Potgieter, Plain Jane Deyi, and all three Koeks. She was joined by a familiar face.
“I hope that look on your face means that you’re making progress,” said part-time racer and committee member, Thando James.
“Actually I am. How are you doing Two-Bar?”
“I’m doing well. Did you just say you’re making progress? Does that mean you got the list?” Angela gave Thando a piece of paper which Thando studied. “Hmm.”
“Hmm. Got any more thoughts than hmm?”
“Well, it’s just that there’re only two former Kings on this list. That’s not much clout. Surely we need star power.”
“You’re confusing quantity with quality. Look at the list again and tell me you don’t see the future of the series on that list?”
“Oh sure, there’s potential. But look at the people who aren’t on the list: Thawn, Kloof, Mandla, Devi, Stevie?”
“I see you’re just naming former Kings. Now that’s all well and good but I think you’re demeaning the other accolades in the series. I mean, just look at the people who’ve won derbies. Brenda, Penny? How about gauntlet races?”
“I only count Solo? All the other Gauntlet Survivors are still on Moodswing’s side.”
“I think I can swing Styles to Glen’s side. Remember, Glen, put this list together. I asked him who would follow him no question but I think he underestimated his own ability to sway people.”
“And you think you can sway Styles? Any why Styles?”
“I’m sorry. Did you just ask me why I want the new Duke of Drag on this list? Wow, you really don’t respect anyone who hasn’t worn that Crown, do you?”
“No that’s not it. It’s more about the feature-racers in my book. Now if you were talking about Thawn and Savana.”
“There’s no way we’re getting them on here.” Which was a shame in Angela’s mind considering that they were not only victorious tonight in their high-profile races but were also the reigning Relay Baron and Baroness.
“Okay. Fair enough. But I think there’s one name we definitely need to get on here.” Thando elaborated not with words but with a look towards the racetrack, specifically to the two stars making their way on it. And while Deak DeVilliers would have been a good addition to the list, Angela knew that Thando was referring to the other half of the night’s feature race. “Do you think you can swing her?”
Now there was a question…
Having not wanted to pull Stevie out of her current state of mind, Angela opted to wait until after the race to ask Stevie the most important question she’d ever ask her. So instead, she opted to watch the biggest race of the season. And what a race it was!
There was no way to understate just how big a deal this race had become; the stature and the spectacle of it basically sold the event all on its own. Aside from the barnburners that John Kloof and Mandla Xulu had put on at the First Grand Prix and Solo and Devi put on at the Second Grand Prix, there was also how the racers were now clamoring to end the biggest show of the season.
And now, here was Stevie and Deak doing the damnedest to outdo the previous two showstoppers. It was nonstop action from start to finish and surprisingly meta with Deak leading most of the race and Stevie chasing from behind just like she was chasing her dream of winning the title again. She was chasing him down and chasing him down hard! And with only a few laps left, it was now or never. Unfortunately, Angela was distracted before the race came to an end.
“I heard what you did.”
Angela had had her guard up when she heard the person approaching thinking it was her husband but then let it down when she realized that it was. “And what have you heard, Solo?”
“That you’re putting together one hell of a roster. And you want me to be your number one draft pick.”
Suddenly Angela’s guard went back up. How did he know? “What makes you think that?”
“Because, considering everything that’s going on, it’s the only smart move: cut the series in half and have Moodswing and Glen both do their own thing. What I can’t figure out is how you’re going to pull it off without another show.” Angela’s silence damned her. “You’ve got to kidding me? Another show? How the hell did you pull that off?”
“I used a legal loophole. Are we going to have a problem here?”
“How do you mean?”
“I’m asking if this is going to turn into some sort of blackmail thing.”
Solo burst out laughing. “Wow, you’re very paranoid. Has anyone ever told you that? No, I’m not here to blackmail you. Your secret is safe with me.”
“Is that because you believe in the plan or because without it, you’re out of a job?”
Solo shrugged. “A bit of both.”
This made Angela curious. “You’re actually upset about not racing for Formula-X anymore? What happened to the man who only wanted to be here for a single season?”
“What can I say? The series has grown on me.”
“I figured as much. But I’m just saying that you’re literally the only racer that has an even better job to fall back on.”
“I get that, but I don’t see it that way.” Realizing that he needed to elaborate, Solo shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t want to go back to Auto One a loser. In fact, I want to go back as Formula-X King. And I believe that joining Glen is the way to do that.”
Angela smiled. “I’m glad to hear that.”
Solo smiled as well. “Now tell me about the other racers you have for this new show.”
“Well, here’s the list but right now, there’s only one person that I’m concerned with getting on Glen’s show.” Once again, Angela didn’t need to explain who that was as there was a pop from the crowd as they became unglued. Down on the racetrack, celebrations were abound as Stevie had just crossed the finish line first. She was once again Formula-X Queen!
AFTER THE FEATURE RACE
Angela was on her way down to the Winner’s Circle when she got a phone call. “Hello?”
“We hear that you’re looking to exercise a loophole. Care to elaborate?”
Angela came to a complete stop as she realized who she was speaking to. “There’s nothing to elaborate on as I can’t do anything without your approval, Mister Chairman.”
“Mmm. And do you think we should give that approval?” There was something about the Chairman that was completely mysterious yet oddly charming. She’d never met the man yet could feel his charisma through the phone.
“Yes. Moodswing is out of control, and he needs to be stopped.”
“Then why not try to remove him from Club Presidency?”
“Because, unfortunately, I believe that Formula-X still needs him. But what he can’t seem to understand is that it needs Glen too. And if both these guys working on different shows is what it takes then so be it.”
“Okay? Does that mean I can tell the lawyer that the Board approves?”
“Yes but on one condition. You cannot approach Stevie.”
“Because I want the Queen to make a decision about where she wants to be unadulterated.”
This seemed fair at first until a thought occurred to Angela. “And what if Moodswing approaches her?”
“How could he? He doesn’t even know what’s about to happen. But let us be fair: you can approach Queen Stevie on the condition that you let Moodswing know what’s about to transpire.”
Angela gritted her teeth because she knew that she couldn’t let her husband know about any of this until it was all on paper. “I can’t do that, Mister Chairman.”
“Then you have our terms. If you accept them, then call the lawyer and let's start making motorsport history.” The line went dead with the Chairman of the Board getting the last word, leaving Angela with her thoughts.
As Angela thought about this turn of events, the celebrations continued on the racetrack and in the crowd. And while Angela was too busy with her own mind to smile, she realized that this was a good moment, a happy moment. She’d won. She’d bested her husband and possibly even saved the series. She’d liberated Glen and was about to usher in a new era.
While she knew that there was a lot of work to do, she decided to enjoy this moment. She decided to let in and enjoy this last hurrah of a previous era. The fact was: everything was about to change.