“Your steam engines are splendid,” said the Duchess of Boxford.
“Don’t ya like them?” asked Sir Topham Hatt. “I do. That’s why they don’t make ’em anymore. They found out I like ’em. That’s the way it is with everything. They find out I like it, they stop makin’ it.”
“The winds be calm,” said Salty sagely.
“Well, if they’re calm,” said Cranky, “they’re not really winds, are they?”
“Aye,” he conceded.
An angry farmer was telling Mavis just what she could do with her train!
“Why do we assume everyone knows where they can stick it?” asked Mavis. “Suppose you don’t know? Suppose you’re a new guy, and you have absolutely no idea where you can stick it?”
“I hope Glynn doesn’t ask me to show him the ropes,” said Stephen. “I have no idea where they are. Maybe I could pull some strings and find out.”
“Isn’t it time we stopped wasting valuable land on cemeteries?” said Reg. “Talk about an idea whose time has passed: ‘Let’s put all the dead people in boxes and keep them in one part of town.'”
“I say plow these motherfuckers up and throw them away,” agreed Marion. She bounced her shovel excitedly at the idea.
“Or melt them down,” suggested Reg. “We need that phosphorous for farming. If we’re going to recycle, let’s get serious.”
Percy was upset.
“I get dirty,” he complained. “I need wash-downs. Gordon only does it to feel important.”
“I am important,” Gordon sniffed. “I’m an Express engine!”
“When people say ‘clean as a whistle’,” soothed Percy’s Driver, “they forget that a whistle is full of spit.”
Gordon wheeshed indignantly.
“Sir Topham Hatt didn’t much like how I shunted those cars,” said Paxton sadly. “He said I need to be more careful.”
“You can’t take shit from someone just because you work for him,” said Diesel proudly. “Let him know who the real boss is. Tell him it’s your job, and you’ll do it your way. That’s what bosses like – people with spunk.”
“Huh! Maybe you’re right, Diesel. Maybe I just need to be more… spunkly. Thanks!” Paxton toddled off to shunt more cars with more spunk.
Diesel snickered to himself.
“Engineers at General Motors,” sneered Duck, “have developed a revo-thingummy new engine whose only function is to lubricate himself.”
Thomas pulled into the station. Sir Topham Hatt stood on the platform and pointed at his watch crossly.
“When you think about it Sir,” said Thomas, “12:15 P.M. is actually 11:75 A.M.”
Sir Topham Hatt felt exhausted.
“They gave me a new lamp,” said Percy excitedly. “Now I can take the Mail Train again!”
“Why don’t they have a lightbulb,” said James, “that only shines on things worth looking at?”
“The idea is that it helps keep order,” said Edward.
“Now they’re gonna get us to all look alike too?” complained James. “It’s not even a new idea; I first saw it in old newsreels from the 1930’s, but it was hard to understand, because the narration was all in German. But the uniforms looked beautiful! And the children did what they were told and never questioned authority.”
“It’s the Done Thing on every other Railway,” said Edward patiently.
“If it requires a uniform, it’s a worthless endeavor.”
“Let’s give credit where it’s due,” said Donald, “and admit that Scotch tape was a really great idea.”
The other engines were not impressed. They huffed and rolled their eyes.
“I beat Harold to the Quarry! I showed him who’s slow and out-of-date,” said Percy. “And then Fireman sang a song for me!”
“As soon as someone is identified as an unsung hero,” said Henry, rolling his eyes, “he no longer is.”
Percy ignored Henry and sang the song for him. Henry hoped it wouldn’t catch on.
“The phrase ‘digging up dirt” seems wrong,” said Marion brightly. “If you use a shovel correctly, the very first time you stick it in the ground the thing you come up with is dirt. The dirt is right there on top. It doesn’t have to be dug up.”
Marion set to work digging a hole six feet deep, just as the nice gentlemen had asked. They asked her to hurry too, but it was tricky business to dig in the dark.
“Sometimes when you’re burying a guy alive,” said Marion, “for a moment or two you start feeling sorry for him. And then it passes and you keep on shoveling!”
The nice gentlemen told her what a fine job she had done and how Useful she had been.
Toby found Daisy pouting in the Shed. He and Percy had spent the day giving her pitying looks over her encounter with Champion the Bull, which was surely worse than being teased. Toby thought Daisy looked like she’d had enough sympathy for one day.
“Did you ever run over a cow?” asked Toby innocently. “And then you panic? So you back up and run over it again? You ever notice the second crunch is not as loud as the first?” Toby chuckled. “I think it’s because the cow already has tread marks on it. But there it is, lyin’ right in front of your buffers. Might as well run it over again. What’re you gonna do this time, drive around it?”
Daisy was horrified.