Chapter 3: Racer X: The Harbinger of Boom
"Controversy surrounds Racer Motors, now embroiled in IP litigation. And while evidence remains inconclusive whether or not Speed used an illegal device… the Fuji- Helexicon seems destined to become another mark of shame added to the notorious Racer family legacy…a legacy that has forever tainted the integrity of this-"
"Please shut up Sparky." I said in a quiet voice. He looked at me in silent apology and placed the paper down. We had discovered that Royalton was a filthy bastard with too much money that decided to make our lives a living hell because Speed decided to not sigh on with him. We went to Fuji and Speed got in a wreck which caused him to lose the race. Then Pops was sued for IP litigation. Isn't the world just fucking perfect right now?
"I'm gonna send that guy some Chim-Chim cookies." Chim-Chim nodded in agreement with Spritle but Pops would have none of it. "You'll do no such thing."
"We gotta do something, Pops." Speed spoke up from his silence next to me. "This is exactly what he said would happen if I didn't drive for him." I motioned for Pops to cover Spritle's ears and he nodded. "That fucking bastard it just trying to scare you shitless, Speed! Don't let him get to you! Men like him make me just want to….Ugh! They infuriate me so much! He's a pompous jackass! Just like the ones that tried to scare Rex! If they want a fight then we'll give them a fucking fight!" I let out a shaky sigh and nodded to Pops who lifted his hands from Spritle's ears.
Everyone looked at me slightly shocked for swearing. I looked around and let out another sigh. "I'm gonna go take a nap." And then I went to Rex's room where I closed the door, grabbed the picture of us together off the old dresser, and lied down on the bed in one fluid motion. I looked at the crumpled picture and looked at it with a trembling smile. "Oh Rex…we need you now more than ever…why did you have to leave?" Then I cried until I succumbed to sleep.
That didn't last very long. I heard Spritle scream about something and a door slam shut. Then I heard talking and Pops let someone inside. I held the picture to my chest and opened the door cautiously and stepped out, attempting to conceal my red eyes. "Who's at the door Pops?" Then I looked up and let out a small gasp.
Racer X and Inspector Detector were sitting in the living room (well, more or less the Inspector was sitting and Racer X was standing but that's not the point). I sniffed slightly and placed the picture down on a nearby table and smiled at the duo. "Hello Inspector Detector. It's been awhile." He nodded with a soft smile which I returned. "Ten years."
"Yeah…" I said as I attempted to sit down on the arm of the chair that Speed was sitting in. I shoved his arm off the arm of the chair and sat down looking at him. "Let me sit Mini-Racer."
"Make me Bambi." I let out an immature whine and crossed my arms. "I really don't like how you're brother taught you that…" I said with a huff. He smiled cockily at me and I playfully slapped his arm. He looked at me with a playful glare. "If there weren't people here it would so be on."
"Bring it Mini-Racer." Pops cleared his throat and I blushed slightly to find that everyone was paying close attention to us even Racer X. Can it get any more embarrassing? I coughed awkwardly and looked at Inspector Detector. "So why are you here Inspector?"
"We've been after Royalton for years for dozens of capitol corporate crimes including WRL fixing, but we haven't had the evidence we needed to convict him…until now." Spritle and Chim-Chim poked their heads over the counter and Spritle pointed an accusing finger at Racer X. "What's he doing here?"
"Racer X works closely with our WRL Corporate Crime Division…helping us recruit drivers like you, Speed." Speed nodded slightly and I pursed my lips and leaned back into the arm chair. It was so weird…I felt like I could take apart an engine and put it back together. I felt like I could watch a rerun of a race and understand every word. Odd.
"Why does he always wear that mask?" I nodded with Spritle and crossed my arms over my chest. "Yeah, why?"
"If any of you actually knew his identity, you'd become targets for his enemies which includes some of the most vicious fixers in the world." Spritle swallowed then ducked behind the counter with Chim-Chim as my eyes widened slightly. "Alrighty then…" I placed a hand on Speed's shoulder and he looked at Inspector Detector in confusion. "What do you want with me?"
"Are you familiar with the driver Taejo Togokahn?"
"For years he's been contracted by a fixer named Cruncher Block. Recently, Taejo's been forced to lose races, and he began resisting, thinking he could do it on his own. After Fuji, he realized he needed help." Pops jumped into the conversation, curious. "Why help him?"
"Because he has a file with enough information to connect Block to Royalton which could put both of them behind bars for the rest of their lives. The problem is, he won't give us the file unless we help him stop the takeover of his family's company." Speed nodded and I removed my hand from his shoulder and crossed them again. "How?"
"There's an upcoming race that Taejo believes if he can win…it'll catapult back into Togokahn Motors into the spotlight and double the cost of the buyout, which should kill it." Speed shook his head in confusion but I had a sick and twisted feeling that I knew what race they were talking about.
"There aren't any more races left except for the Grand Prix and we both failed to qualify."
"Which still ticks me off…" I muttered. Speed smiled at me and I smiled back and we went back to the conversation. Inspector Detector cleared his throat awkwardly and nodded a bit. "There aren't any more track races. This is a cross-country rally." Racer X spoke up and I would have admired his velvety voice for if not what he said. "Casa Cristo."
"What?" Pops demanded. I took a few shaky breaths and Speed put a hand on my shoulder as he stood up. "I know it seems cruel of me to ask. Taejo made it clear he had to have Speed and X on his team or there would be no deal."
"Absolutely not." Spritle had come from the kitchen with a glass of water for me and I ruffled his hair with a smile. "Thanks kiddo." He swatted my hand away and flattened his hair again. "Sure thing…Bambi." I nearly screamed then. Just as I was about to make a witty comeback he dashed out of the room. I sighed and took a long sip from the glass as the conversation continued.
"You'll have the support of the entire C.I.B."
"No. Rally racing is a back ally sport filled with jackals, headhunters, and thugs. I'm sorry Inspector, but I've already lost one son to that deathtrap. I won't lose another."
"I understand. If you change your mind…" Pops shook his head at the inspector. "Keep your card, Chief Inspector."
"Thank you for your time." Racer X looked at Speed and then at me. I couldn't see his eyes but he just seemed so …handsome and mysterious…No! Don't you dare think like that Bee! You only ever loved Rex and you'll only ever love Rex! No if's or but's about it. The family dispersed as soon as they stepped out the door. Except for me that is. I paused for a moment and thought about the possible consequences of my actions.
I could possibly be ridiculed by this family for the rest of my life and never be allowed to speak to them again…but if I did what I was thinking I should do then they might actually be grateful eventually… My mind was set.
I wrenched the door open and just as Inspector Detector was stepping in the car along with Racer X I let out a "Wait!" I made my way over to the place where Inspector Detector was now standing and I looked down at the ground awkwardly, shuffling my feet.
"This is probably gonna get me kicked out but… I have a feeling that Speed might need that card."