“WHERE IS IT?” Mason roared. The mechanics nearby jumped, and rapidly turned their attention to minute tasks. Mason glared at them, but getting no response, he began stomping around the car.
“What’s going on?” Melissa asked, approaching Mitch with his drinks bottle. They watched the spectacle from their side of the garage.
“Mason has it in his head that he needs his lucky wristband,” Mitch shook his head. “It’s a crazy idea that he just dreamt up over the last few races. Like he hasn’t been lucky enough without it in the past.”
“Maybe I should go and talk to him?” Melissa suggested, raising an eyebrow as Mason swept some tools off a workbench.
“I wouldn’t, he’ll be in a foul temper until he…”
“Found it!” Mason held it up, triumphant and beaming.
“Now you can,” Mitch laughed.
Mason pulled up a seat opposite the pair of them, carefully placing a plate of pasta, a knife and fork, and the fabled wristband in front of him on the table. “What’s up guys and girls?” he said, taking a mouthful of the pasta.
“Just talking top secret strategy,” Mitch said, “for qualifying today. You’re not to know.”
“I’ll know in the briefing later anyways,” Mason rolled his eyes. “I do think you are monopolising far too much of our PR department’s time. I’ll start calling favouritism soon.”
“You’re the one with all the gigs coming in,” Mitch retorted. “Watches here, sunglasses there. What’s next? Wristband endorsement?”
Melissa started to laugh, but stopped when she saw Mason’s face. “Oh come on, you don’t really think it works, do you?”
He shrugged. “I haven’t had a scrap of bad luck since I started wearing it. There’s a pole position up for grabs today, what harm will it do? It weighs practically nothing.”
Melissa’s phone rang, and she excused herself from the table.
“Why not try it?” Mason asked. “Judge for yourself.”
Mitch shrugged. “I don’t have anything lucky.”
“I bet your lady friend has given you something lucky, surely?”
“It’s not like that, we’re…”
Mason held up a hand. “I don’t want to know the details. They’re either sordid or boring, and I care for neither. All I’m saying is, you like her, she likes you, she must have handed over some kind of trinket that you can bring with you in the car. You don’t feel different afterwards? Fine, experiment over. Maybe it’s all in my head. But if it brings me luck, why not? It’s not harming anyone.”
“Just your reputation.”
“For now. You won’t be laughing so hard when I’m in the press conference later, and you’re sitting in the barriers.”
Mitch sat back and folded his arms.
He remained deep in thought as qualifying approached. Perched at the pitwall, his eyes were resting on the screens, watching the data that flowed across them, but in his hands he was twirling a keyring.
It had been part of the old stock, and Melissa had saved it from one of the very last boxes to give to him.
“Not harming anyone,” he muttered. Then he shrugged and put the keyring on the console in front of him.
“Mitch, you’re up,” Pierre called from halfway across the pitlane.
Mitch jumped up, shrugging on his overalls, and took one last look at the keyring.