Diesel the Diesel Engine
hates the Other Railway. It's always filled with unpleasant surprises. One day, when he stopped at the Big Fat Station, he
found the platform filled with crazy homeless people plying their trade for the evening rush of passengers.
done took my kidneys!"
"Buy me a beer or the lizards win!"
"To Serve Man! It's a cookbook!"
am Spartacus! Geez yer dosh!"
Suddenly, the dirtiest and smelliest homeless person ran up to Diesel.
Diesel was insulted. "Me!?"
"Yes, you!" said the Homeless Person. "I sense much trouble
in your future!"
"I sense much trouble in my present," grumbled Diesel. "Please leave. Your BO is even worse than my
"Ignorant dustbin!" said the Homeless Person. "I see all and know all, and I see and know that your days of
wine and roses will soon be over! The dead will rise to signal the end times, the Lord and Master of the Bad Place will arrive
on a chariot of lightning, and you, my friend, will end up in right royal trouble. The womenfolk shall be torn from
your couplings, and without them your entire world shall crumble and fall forever more! Repent, sinner, and run! Run from
this place, while you still can!"
"With pleasure!" said Diesel, and run he did - from the homeless person, that is.
scoffed. He knew things weren't quite as bad as the homeless person had made them out to be, but as he passed the business
district, he saw workmen erecting a large new billboard. It read:
"THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE SALE!
SAVE £££ ON BOOZE AND FLOWERS!
ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT
AT SHOPLAND, BARROW!"
The Driver noticed
the workmen's Supervisor yelling angrily up at them through a loudhailer.
"Stupid buggers must have put the wrong billboard
up," he said to Diesel, "Valentine’s Day was six months ago," but Diesel wasn't listening.
"'The dead will rise
to signal the end of days of wine and roses'!" he thought, amazed. "Huh. The crazy bum was right. Ish."
into the Yard, and was just about to tell the other engines about the Homeless Person when Spamcan rushed in.
looked confused, smelly Spamcan," said Old Stuck-Up, "even more so than usual. What's up?"
"The Thin Git told Driver
that 'e's 'ad that Fat Git from Sodor asking questions 'bout our Pip and Emma this mornin'! Even promised 'im a few freebies
on the morning Expresses!"
"Disorientating!" said Old Stuck-Up.
"Disturbing!" sighed Bowler.
should not have to put up with uncouth passengers, especially not that tub of lard!" agreed Cromwell.
to say something about the Homeless Person, but solving the mystery of Pip and Emma's new friend came first.
The next day Diesel
was shunting at the junction when, with a strained "Good morning," Pip and Emma rumbled by. At the end of the train was a
private carriage, in which Diesel could clearly see the Stout Gentleman from Sodor. Clearly the extra coach wasn't the only
thing weighing the train down.
Moments later, with a strain and a snort, the twins were gone.
"They're a sight,"
remarked Diesel's Driver, "I hear the Thin Git's sending them to stay over on Sodor for a few days. Poor things will have
their work cut out hauling that plump lad around."
Diesel began to grow worried. First the 'end of days' prediction
came true, now the 'Lord and Master of the Bad Place' had indeed arrived on his 'chariot of lightning'.
Diesel told himself. "It's just silly superstition, that's all!"
A little later, Diesel set off down the line with
a train of trucks following grumpily behind.
Today there was a Probation Officer on Diesel's footplate, so the small
space was even more cramped than usual. The Officer was assessing Diesel's Driver for possible demotion.
at the station by the brewery for Diesel to collect some tankers and drown his sorrows. While they waited, Diesel's Driver
saw something brown and hairy on the bridge in front.
"What's that?" he asked.
"Just a dead bear, I expect,"
said Diesel, only slightly tipsy. "Come on, I'm bored now."
Just as they set off, Diesel's Driver saw a large moustache
uncurl and a brass blunderbuss appear from under the mysterious something.
"Stop!" he called. "It's not a bear!"
the Driver braked, but it was too late. Diesel bumped into the brown lump and sent it tumbling into the river. The Probation
Officer went to look, and then returned to the cab, looking panicky.
"It's the Duke of Bambridge!" the Officer told
Diesel's Driver. "He must have been hunting swans on the parapet of the bridge. Can you idiots do anything right?"
watched anxiously as the two men helped lift the Duke back onto dry land. He was a bullish man, covered in thick tweeds and
sporting a very impressive moustache. He flapped his arms wildly, but the Probation Officer and the Driver tried to hold him
Very impatiently, the Duke pushed the two men aside, and stormed towards Diesel. He punched the confused shunter
square in the jaw and the Probation Officer covered him with his coat.
"OUCH!" exclaimed Diesel. "How can someone that
fat hit so hard?"
"Off we go, Diesel!" said his Driver. "As fast as you can!"
The Guard had hastily bribed the
Signalman at the brewery station, so they had a clear run to the top station, but word of Diesel's accident spread fast, and
soon all the engines had heard about it. Arry and Bert mocked him when he reached the shed, and so did the others. Old Stuck-Up,
particularly, was greatly amused.
"Just think," he chortled, "if it had been me, I would've been able to stop and say
'Wait a tic, perhaps running into the large, unidentified, hairy, brown thing at full speed would be a bad idea'! You
really can be a moron sometimes, Diesel, you know that?"
"No, Stuck-Up," said Diesel, "that smack in the mug set my
brain straight. I now know why the Fat One is so interested in Pip and Emma. The Homeless Person told me so."
Person?" said Stuck-Up. "What are you dribbling about?"
Diesel told the engines all about his run-in at the Homeless
Person and his cryptic predictions.
"'The dead will rise to signal the end of days of wine and roses' - he meant the
new billboard in the business district! 'The Lord and Master of the Bad Place will arrive on a chariot of lightning’
– he meant Fatty’s free rides on Pip and Emma! 'I will be in right 'royal' trouble' - he meant my mishap with
the Duke of Bambridge! But the last one - 'the womenfolk shall be torn from your couplings, and without them your entire world
shall crumble and fall forever more.’
"Isn't it obvious? The Fat Git wants to buy Pip and Emma! He's going to
take them away from us, and we'll be shut down - FOREVER!"
TO BE CONTINUED...