Diesel is a shunting engine who works at the Big Fat Station on the Other Railway. He's a nasty little engine
with six small wheels, a short stumpy cab, a short stumpy body and a short stumpy temper.
He's a careless little engine,
too; always pulling coaches about and losing them before the big engines can take them on long journies. And when trains come
in, he takes forever to pull the empty coaches away so that the big engines have less time to go and slouch about the sheds.
Despite this, Diesel thinks no engine works as hard as he does. He loves playing tricks on them, including Old Stuck-Up, the
biggest, proudest and snootiest engine of all. Diesel likes tooting rudely at him.
"Wake up, you lazy b*****d! Why
don't you work hard like me?" he'd say.
Of course, Diesel never worked hard either. In fact, he was a complete and
utter slacker. But he was too up his own exhaust to ever notice this.
One day, after pulling the big Express, Old Stuck-Up
had arrived back at the sidings feeling very tired. He'd been working so hard that his train was only twenty minutes late.
He was just going to sleep when Diesel came up in his rude way.
"Wake up, lazy b*****d! Do some hard work for a change!
You can't catch me!" And off he ran, laughing.
Instead of going to sleep again, Old Stuck-Up thought how he could get
back of Diesel. But he couldn't think of anything, so he stole an idea from a book his driver had read once.
One morning, Diesel wouldn't wake up. His driver just couldn't make him start. The little engine had been up late the
night before on a goods run, blaring his horn like crazy and keeping the entire town awake for kicks. Now, he was fast asleep
and it was nearly time for the Express. People were waiting, but the coaches weren't ready. The passengers were quite used
to this, though. The coaches wouldn't have been ready yet even if Diesel was there already.
At last, Diesel
started. A quick punch on the nose from his driver did the trick.
"Oh dear! Oh dear!" he yawned. He fussed into the
station where Old Stuck-Up was waiting.
"Hurry up, you!" said the big engine, "The masses are starting to make my eyes
water! Phew! What a pong!"
"Yes, well, my horn's completely hoarse and I haven't had my 11-hours evil sleep!" replied
Diesel. "So, shut up and don't rush me, you bossy blue lump!" As he began sorting the coaches in a painfully slow manner,
Old Stuck-Up began making his plan.
"Actually," he said, "I think I might," and almost before the coaches had stopped
moving, he reversed quickly and was coupled to the train. "Get in quickly, riffraff!" he tooted. The passengers grumbled to
each other and complied.
Diesel normally pushed behind the big trains to help them start. Well, he was supposed
to, but he rarely did. In any case, he was always uncoupled first. This time, Old Stuck-Up started so quickly that they forgot
to uncouple Diesel! And by 'forgot', I mean the driver of a certain blue diesel made a few well-placed bribes to the station
staff. The big engine's chance had come.
"Move it, you slags! Move it, you slags!" called Old Stuck-Up to the coaches.
The train went faster and faster; too fast for Diesel! He wanted to stop, but he couldn't! Actually, he wanted to shunt Old
Stuck-Up into a peat bog, but stopping would do just as well.
"Toot toot! Stop! Stop!" he wailed.
Gotcha!" laughed Old Stuck-Up.
"You can't get away! You can't get away!" sang the coaches. Diesel tried to nut the
coach in front of him, but she got him first.
Devious Diesel was going faster than he had ever gone before (Come to
think of it, so was Old Stuck-Up!). He was out of breath and his cheap wheels were starting to grind into powder, but he had
to go on.
"I'll never be the same again!" he thought sadly. "My wheels will be bloody worn out!"
At last, they
stopped at a station. The passengers cheered. Old Stuck-Up had been going so fast that his train was on time for the first
time in fifteen years. Diesel was uncoupled and he felt very silly and exhausted. Next, he went onto a turntable, thinking
of everyone laughing at him. Then he realised the turntable was broken and he heard them laugh even harder. Growling, he gave
up and ran onto a siding out of the way.
"Well, little Diesel," chuckled Old Stuck-Up, "now, you know what hard work
means, don't you?" and he laughed loudly as his tired wheels promptly fell off.
Devious Diesel couldn't answer. He
had no breath. He just chugged slowly away to rest and had a long, long drink of the strongest oil available. He went home
very slowly and was careful afterwards to be a lot more subtle when insulting Old Stuck-Up from then on.