Tales From The Other Railway

Dax Derps Up

Derek makes a 'new friend' when the Thin Git decides to infiltrate a rival merchandising empire...

It was a tepid autumn morning on the Other Railway. Derek the Discombobulated Engine was excited. The Thin Git had sent him to collect an especially special special from Ginny Cotton, the Welsh demolition tycoon and childrens media mogul.

 

"Bang on, Derek," Miss Ginny said, as he clunked into the station. "You're a real chip off the old block!"

 

"Thanks, Miss Ginny!" he said, "although I haven't had any chips today. They're bad for my system."

 

"No, Derek. It's just my catchphrase. It makes me endearing, or so my marketing team says."

 

"Oh, yes," said Derek, ditzily. "Sorry, Miss Ginny. Is this my special?"

 

"Very special," she answered, patting the flatbed before him, "in every sense of the word."

 

The special appeared to be some sort of gormless construction machine. It was tall and black and boxy, with six small wheels wrapped in caterpillar tracks and an old pig's trough nailed crudely to its front. Derek had never seen such a bizarre bulldozer before, yet there was something familiar about its thin, pale face and wide, brain-dead smile that he couldn't quite put his buffer on.

 

"I'm Dax the Dozer!" the machine whirred proudly. "I can scoop and dump, and push lots of heavy things!"

 

"I can honk and self-destruct," boasted Derek, as if it was worth boasting about.

 

"And I can get you two chatterboxes off to the site," laughed Miss Ginny. "Oh, I'm such a relatable female role model! A woman - with welly boots! How

progressive!"

 

Soon, Derek and Dax were coasting happily along the line. Well, at least Derek was happy. Dax was looking far more sullen and sulky now. Derek tried to brighten the mood.

 

"Is this your first time at the site?" he called.

 

"Of course it is, Derek, you combustable clod!" said Dax. "It's me, Diesel!"

 

Derek jumped. Of course it was Diesel! The crinkled sour mug glaring down at him was unmistakable.

 

"Diesel!" Derek cried. "You're Miss Ginny's special? But why are you dressed up like a bulldozer."

 

"The Thin Git made me," said Diesel, grumpily. "Apparantely, Miss Ginny's jealous of all the cheap merchandise he's made of us for the station gift shops over the years. She's getting the Barrow Demolition Crew to knock down the old Woolworths up the road and build her own toy factory."

 

"Oh goody!" said Derek. "That'll make the Children very happy!"

 

"Yes, and the Thin Git very unhappy!" said Diesel. "If that toy shop gets built, Miss Ginny is going to start making cheap toys of her own mindless machines and steal all our customers! The Thin Git's making me go undercover to sabotage the operation, hence these hideous caterpillars. Yippee for me."

 

"Well, good luck, I suppose, Diesel," said Derek, "and watch out for those caterpillars. I had a nest of them in my undercarriage last summer. Itched like the Dickens, let me tell you."

 

Diesel shuddered. The image of Derek's undercarriage was now seared into his brain for all eternity.

 

As well as yours.

 

Yeah. Happy Halloween, suckers.

 

 

Soon, Derek delivered Diesel to the site. All the demolition machines were busy preparing the site for the new toy factory and showing off to investors all the moving parts and accessories their models could have.

 

Diesel couldn't wait to get his mission over with. He shuffled grudgingly towards a big green digger, who was proudly admiring the sandpit he had just dug.

 

"Hello there," the digger said, waving his arm, "you must be our new overeager-but-good-hearted rookie character. How pleasant! I'm Derek."

 

"Yes, because that won't get confusing," muttered Diesel.

 

"Pardon?" asked Derek.

 

"I mean, erm, I'm Dax," said Diesel, switching back to Gormless Idiot mode. "Can you tell me where the munitions are kept?"

 

"Oh my, no," the digger replied kindly. "I'm just the middle-aged mentor figure for our other overeager-but-good-hearted rookie character. Ask Don Juan."

 

Don Juan the Dozer was wooing passers-by with his giant blade and even more giant moustashe. His facial hair alone was bigger than Diesel's pig trough.

 

"Hola, senor!" he called. "I am the great Don Juan; the big, strong musclehead with the heart of gold! You are the new rookie, si?"

 

I'm Dax!" chirruped Diesel. "Can you tell me where the munitions are kept?"

 

"I do not know, senor," boomed Don Juan. "My character does not have enough development yet. Try Kim the Non-Gender-Specific Demolition Crane."

 

Diesel, puzzed, trundled over to the large purple crane knocking down an old portaloo nearby.

 

"I'm Dax!" Diesel began.

 

"Mind my paint!" snapped a little pink excavator who was fawning over Don Juan.

 

"Rossellini!" scolded Kim.

 

"Sorry," said Rossellini, "I'm the token bitchy one who's obsessed with their appearance but still always gets the job done no matter what. You eying me up, caterpillar-boy?"

 

"No!" spluttered Diesel. "Sorry, it's just you remind me of someone I know."

 

"That's because you might know her identical twin sister from the Scarface Railway," said Kim. "I know that because I'm the resident old and wise character who's been with the team since day one and knows literally everything about everything because I'm just that fantastic. You're also 58 years old and had Lidl's own brand petrol for breakfast."

 

"He's right!" gasped Diesel, "or she's right. Oh god, I must sound so insensitive!"

 

"That's all right," said Kim, "not everyone is as well-rounded a character as I am. Welcome to the Crew, and if you want to find those munitions I know you're looking for-"

 

"See the munitions vans!" Rossellini said cheekily. "They're off bullying Carter somewhere! Again!"

 

Diesel's mind boggled as he rumbled over the hill to the other side of the site.

 

"Genderequality, ethnic stereotypes, omnipotent oldies, brain-dead bullies... The Thin Git was right! Miss Ginny will steamroller us in the diversity department alone!"

 

Diesel found Carter buried up to his nose in mud. Carter is almost identical to Derek (not that one), but slightly smaller and a lot younger. He makes the hardest playsets to sell seem like good value for money.

 

"I'm Dax!" said Diesel, his mouth getting tired from smiling so much. "I'm here to help!"

 

The little digger gleefully shook Diesel's trough with his arm. "More help means more characters! More characters means more toys! More toys means more money! I'm Carter!"

 

Diesel was about to get Carter (Heh.) when suddenly a dozen or so huge, identical explosives vans roared by.

 

"The Van Clan!" cried Carter and buried himself deeper into his mudhole.

 

"So they're the munitions vans," said Diesel, "but there are so many of them - and they all look the same! My god, Miss Ginny would make a fortune just making toys from these ugly brutes!"

 

One of the vans sped towards Diesel with the kind of smile only a ventriloquist dummy could love.

 

"Look out, Dax!" cried Carter.

 

The van stopped just in time. Diesel refused to move; either that or his caterpillars were stuck in his siderods again.

 

"I'm Dan!" said the van, boorishly, "and we're the Van Clan, buddy! That's Han, Jan, Stan, Fran, er, Gran, um, oh, Van, and, erm, um; oh, who cares, we'll name the rest of us later! Out of our way!"

 

"Stop your generic bullying!" said Diesel, boredly. "I just want your bloody dynamite."

 

The Van Clan were surprised at Diesel's bluntness.

 

"Can't you play along?" snorted Dan. "We don't have much else in the way of character, other than being big fat arseholes."

 

"Then you're gonna love me," said Diesel. "So come on, gimme your goods. Now."

 

"We just deliver the stuff," Dan grumbled. "Talk to Lenny. He guards the stuff," and the vans all dieselled away to bother each other.

 

"Finally, we're getting somewhere," groaned Diesel and trundled off again, leaving Carter stuck firmly in the mud.

 

"Thank you, Dax!" said Carter. "Now, where did I put all those mud pies?"

 

Lenny the Byzantine Battering Ram was cheerfully banging his head against the munitions shed. Lenny had a big ram and a big heart and a big space where his brain should be. Sometimes his ram is too powerful, so Miss Ginny has to reinforce all the Demolition Crew's buildings with quintuple-thick titanium. It was that or have Lenny knock down all their hard work just by rolling past for termite spray.

 

Diesel oiled up to the battering ram. Finally he could put his plan into action.

 

"Careful, Balsa Wood-for-Brains! You were supposed to move these explosives hours ago!"

 

"I was?" said Lenny, still dizzy from his headbanging. "I don't remember that!"

 

"Yes, you do," said Diesel. "Miss Ginny said it was far too dangerous to keep such volatile material on a building site. Imagine if someone mistook them for fizzy drinks, man! Think of the mess!"

 

"Goodness, you're right!" said Lenny. "Sorry, new guy! What'll I do?"

 

"Empty that shed and bring all the horrid dynamite to the top of the hill. I'll get rid of it for you."

 

"How kind of you," said Kevin. "Thanks, new guy!"

 

"Dax," sneered Diesel, "and believe me, the pleasure is all mine."

 

Lenny's confused banksman emptied the munitions shed and let Lenny follow Diesel up the hill with a little red wagon in tow, piled high with barrels of dynamite and gunpowder.

 

"I must be careful, I must be careful, I must be careful," he said, running over six workmen's feet along the way.

 

At last they reached the top. Diesel looked down on all the other machines hard at work on the site and grinned wickedly.

 

"Let's see you sell your toys without any factory," he cackled to himself, "or indeed, any characters! Stand aside, Leonard! I'll get rid of the nasty boomsticks for you!"

 

Diesel wrenched the wagon from Lenny's grip and began pushing it towards the edge of the hill.

 

"Phew!" said Lenny. "We've dodged a bullet there, eh? Thanks, Dax! Put it there, new buddy!"

 

Then there was trouble.

 

Lenny gave Diesel what he thought was a playful pat on the back. In fact, he knocked Diesel so hard that his caterpillars came loose and got tangled up in the wagon's wheel axles. Before Diesel knew what was happening, he was being dragged down the hill right behind it!

 

"LEEEEENNYYYYY!"

 

But Lenny was unaware of anything but the sound of his head bashing against a nearby skip.

 

Diesel freaked out and dug his pig trough hard into the ground. He braked with all his might, but the sparks he made only set the tower of dynamite ablaze!

 

Diesel saw the unfinished toy factory up ahead. He tried to pull away, but wound up steering the wild wagon towards the railway lines instead.

 

"Grease and oil!" cried Diesel.

 

Diesel didn't stop. He hopped the rails, rumbled round a corner and out of sight.

"Hold on, Dax!" called Kim and plodded over to help (Omnipotence does not equal athleticism), but it was too late.

 

BOOOOOM!

 

The whole building site froze. Thick black smoke poured from around the bend.

 

"Are you all right, Dax?" called Carter.

 

"I think so?" Diesel coughed back.

 

"Really?"

 

"NO, OF COURSE I'M NOT F***ING ALL RIGHT, YOUR TURGID TONKA TOYS! I'M A BLOODY WRECK! PUT ME BACK TOGETHER THIS INSTANT! GAAAAAAH!"

 

 

Don Juan brought chunks of Diesel back to the depot, where the fitters spent several days trying to put all his pieces in the right place. Once he was repaired, the entire Barrow Demolition Crew held a huge party in his name to celebrate the completion of the toy factory.

 

Miss Ginny was pleased. Diesel was devestated.

 

"Bang on, Dax!" she said. "You're a real chip off the old block!"

 

"Oh, shut up!" snapped Diesel.

 

"It's a medal of honour for you, my boy," Miss Ginny went on. "The Crew can't sell toys without a toy factory and we wouldn't still have one without your bravery!"

 

"You mean, I saved your stupid arses!?"

 

"I wouldn't have our overeager-but-good-hearted rookie be any other way," Miss Ginny grinned.

 

"We're a cracking pack!" said Kim, joining the Van Clan in an impromptu dance number.

 

"And all the better for Dax's being here," said Rossellini, making goo-goo eyes at a flexing Don Juan.

 

"Welcome to the Crew, Dax!" cheered Carter, still caked in mud and who knows what else.

 

Diesel was so horrified he couldn't think of anything to say, so he just revved his engine and smacked himself in the face with his trough.

 

"And now," said Miss Ginny, "to complete the celebrations, our very own Derek will deliver the inaugural load of toys to the toy factory!"

 

"Will I?" said Derek, from the back of the crowd. "No-one told me that. That'll be fun!"

 

"Wait a moment," said Miss Ginny, "if our Derek is here, then who's out there taking the toys to-"

 

BOOOOOM!

 

Everyone poked their heads outside. Away in the distance was a huge smouldering crater where both the toy factory and its toys once stood.

 

As Miss Ginny screamed blue murder, and the Demolition Crew began arguing over whose cheap toys might have started the blaze, Diesel slipped out of the depot and snuck back towards the Other Railway, feeling very happy.

 

"I did say that having two Dereks would get confusing," he chuckled. "Yes...Welcome to the Other Railway, Miss Ginny."

 

THE END.

Tales From The Other Railway - Series 6 / Story 1
Based on Jack Jumps In - Written by Jonathan Trueman, Abi Grant & Phil Fehrle