We have reached Part 5 of our story, halfway through, and I still have no idea how it’s going to end. I’m starting to get a vague sense of direction though, which is always good. Fun, isn’t it? The voting picked up again for Part 4, which was lovely to see, and the winner was also quite an outright favourite from the start:
It’s interesting that Mitch didn’t get to confront Mason after the first race, but now he’s had time to cool off, and actually see a chequered flag, he’s ready for the conversation.
Mason Mortimer sipped at his coffee, lazily turning over the pages in a local newspaper. A shadow fell across the table and he looked up.
“Hi,” John Mitchell said, “Is this seat taken?”
Mason looked around at the vast array of empty tables, and chuckled. “Knock yourself out.”
Mitch scraped the chair back noisily, and sat, placing his own newly purchased coffee on the table. “I made the first corner,” he said, simply.
Mason laughed again, an unpleasant sound with little joy in it. “Yes you did. And several of the corners after that, too.” He looked at Mitch, closely. “What do you want?”
Mitch purposefully took his time answering. He picked up a sachet of sugar, and stirred it into his coffee slowly. “I just thought it couldn’t hurt to spend some time with my fellow drivers.”
“You mean you want to know why I punted you off the track.”
“I know why,” Mitch said. “I want to know why not Bruno?”
Mason smiled, wryly. “I would if I could catch him.”
“It’s not fair, you know,” Mitch said.
“Aww, you gonna go crying to mum and dad about it?”
“You’re bitter because your father died, I get that. I know that feeling, my dad died too. But a racetrack is not the place to air those grievances. People could get hurt. People that actually have nothing to do with the past.”
For a moment, Mason was silent, and Mitch wondered whether his words had sunk in. Of course not. “Nice pep talk,” Mason said. “You’ve only been here five minutes and you think you know it all. For what it’s worth, the track is the place to sort things out. What happens out there, it speaks volumes. This conversation now, between you and me, is meaningless. I’m barely paying attention, you’ll forget it in a few hours. Your first race, though? That will stay with you forever.”
“Will it stay with you forever? The fact that you ruined what could have been the best day of my life?”
Mason shrugged. “It’s not personal.”
“Except it is. It’s personal between you and my team, and it shouldn’t be.”
“I don’t know why you’re defending them so much,” Mason said. “They’d favour Bruno over you in a heartbeat.”
Mitch stood up quickly, his chair scraping just as noisily backwards as it had forwards. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he hissed. Mason returned his attention to his paper, and didn’t look up again.
If the talking was happening out on track, then Mason Mortimer was pretty vocal for the next few races. He took a dominant victory, winning from pole, with Bruno in second. Next time round, he crashed out in qualifying, screwing up his race from the start. Cannelli grabbed that opportunity and yet another win. Mitch found himself squabbling in the mid-field for points time and again, and although Bob told him he was doing well, Mitch felt like he should be doing better. The only silver lining of running further down the field was keeping out of Mason’s way. But… if Bruno was up there winning, why wasn’t he?
The jewel of the calendar, or so they said. Mitch had found practice easy, and the circuit, far from being daunting as he had expected, followed a rhythm that suited his driving style.
“You’ll do well,” Bob said, when he climbed out of the car at the end of Thursday practice. “Don’t expect too much though. Monaco can be crazy.”
“That’s what I’m counting on,” Mitch laughed, pulling off his helmet. “A little bit of chaos, mix things up a bit.”
“Good. You need to be prepared. Do your homework, okay?”
Mitch nodded, and headed towards the back of the garage. Bruno was gulping down some water, and he waved a hand at his teammate.
“Party later?” he asked.
“The glove people are throwing a party. Inco Raceproof, whatever their name is.” Bruno noted the unsure look on Mitch’s face. “This is Monaco, John, do as the Monegasques do. You coming?”
To party or not to party?