Smokey is a little steam engine who
works on the Scarface Railway. Come to think of it, he's the only little steam
engine who works on the Scarface Railway. No, sorry, scratch that. He's the
only little engine who works on the Scarface Railway, full stop. Somebody has
to, I suppose.
Smokey's best friends are Renegade and
Scarface, or at least that's what he tells himself every night. They had a
deal; Smokey helps them slack off by doing their work for them in exchange for
some half-hearted attention to his cheerful ramblings, but sometimes he works
so hard covering up their laziness that the little steam engine forgets to do
his own work.
One day Smokey returned late to the
railway's merchandise museum with last month's unsold stock from the station
gift shops. He careered into the yard so quickly that the cheap plastic toys in
his trucks rubbed against each other and caught fire. Before you could say
"Batteries not included!" the whole yard was alight and Smokey was
even smokier than usual. The Wee B*****d was cross once his ears had stopped
"Sorry, sir," Smokey's driver
said. "We were, ah, 'helping' Renegade and Scarface."
The Wee B*****d scowled. With the
merchandise museum burnt down, he could now see the two engines in the sidings
behind playing 'Happy Slaps' with their buffers.
"I know ya like helping Renegade
and Scarface," said the Controller, "but they are, for lack of a
better term, gits. And so are you for hiding their laying-aboot! This line is
in a bad condition. How can I sell more models and playsets and books when
there's only one engine doing all the work?
"There's only one thing for it;
I'm gonnae double the length of the line! More track means more tourists means
Smokey was delighted. "More work,
sir? What fun, sir! But what will Renegade and Scarface do?"
"Exactly what I tell them
to!" said the Wee B*****d. "Now get tae work! NOW! Don't stick that
out at me, Renegade! It's no' big and it's no' clever!"
He had made up his mind. There was
nothing any of them could do. Not without serving twenty to life for culpible
So it was that the line was to be
extended beyond the old nuclear plant to the caravan park, the gravel pits and
that one portaloo left behind by the World Health Organisation's last
inspection ("Final grade: D triple minus. An accident waiting to stop
Renegade and Scarface came (i.e.
dragged) out of their sidings and were made to pull long, boring works trains
all day long. They worked as slowly as they could, but the workmen never missed
an opportunity to slap them round the grills and make them get on with it. Most
of all, they never missed reminding them of all the horrid passengers that
would be coming to the grand reopening.
Smokey could see they were not happy,
especially when they called him things like "Fat-face squealer!" and
"Tell-tale tosspot!" He was intuative like that.
Shortly before the extension was
completed, the Wee B*****d came to them with important news.
"Dinsdale will be blasting for the
next two days," he said. "If Farmer Giles won't let us cut through
his land, then we'll make sure he doesnae have any land left to cut through! It
won't be safe for our profits to have you blown to smithereens before opening
day, so I'll have to find ye other work."
"Please, sir!" said Smokey.
"May we use the two days to properly inspect the line? Then we can go back
to all the other jobs you have for us."
"Most of the gangers are still
recovering from their New Years hangovers," said Smokey's fireman.
"We won't have anyone to work for anyway."
The Wee B*****d reluctantly agreed.
"But you only have two days to
make sure everything's spic and span," he said sternly. "This is a
site of great prestige and heritage after all. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off
tae blow up the balloons for Mr Bubbles' show and book the bloke from Benefit
Street for the ribbon ceremony."
The extension's rails were made in
gleaming scrap iron and the highest quality black market Jobi wood. The tracks
were blinding the drivers with their fine polish. Georgina the Excavator
thought cleaning up the line was totes McGotes cray-cray. Her words, not more.
"OMG, wot a bovver!" she
snorted. "This place is gonna be jumpin' once it's all done, innit? All
those fathead posho tourists wiv more cash than brains? Ruddy nightmare,
"She's right," grumbled
Scarface. "We've 'ad it now. We'll be pulling passengers from now till
doomsday wiv a line this long!"
"Fanks a lot, Smokey!"
scoffed Renegade. "Now we're gonna be Really Useful and s**t like that!
Useful ain't fun!"
"Don't give up just yet,
friends!" said Smokey brightly. He had just the plan to make them like him
"Of course you're right, you
two," he said, even more innocently than usual. "This place will be
ever so decedant and helpful for those wealthy holidaymakers! Oh, if only we
knew someone who was good at warding off silly rich folk!"
Georgina stopped. Her non-existant ears
"Well, what am I, chopped
liver?" she snapped. "I'm a certified toff-trasher!"
"Well, we do need a special kind
of revolutionary," teased Smokey.
"I am a special kind of
revolutionary!" protested Georgina.
"It requires vandalism," said
"Vandal's my middle name!"
said Georgina proudly.
"And pulling no punches!"
"I never pulls my punches!"
said Georgina, smacking Scarface across the grills.
"And it requires a mind filled
with nothing but half-baked political opinions and stupid buzzwords!"
"My driver got me Russell Brand's
new book for Christmas and I loved every word of it!"
"So you'll do it?" said
"Already started!" called
Georgina. "Take that, you fancy-pants ponces! Viv la revolution!"
Georgina was as good as her ravings.
She poured rubbish and pulled branches all across the extension line. She
helped rip up a proud sychamore tree from the cattle farm nearby and clubbed
the workmen's machinary into spare parts. By the end, the whole extension
looked like a rollercoaster designed by a drunken hillbilly.
"Thank you, Georgina!"
cheered Smokey, belching proud black clouds from every cylinder. "We couldn't
have done it without you!"
"No duh!" said Georgina
proudly and she rolled off back to the yard, crane arm held high. But Renegade
and Scarface were still puzzled by what had actually happened.
"It's all very simple," said
Smokey. "The Wee B*****d can't make you work if there's no new extension
to work on, and Georgina will happily take credit for smashing up a line just
for silly rich tourists, so no-one will suspect it was all a ploy to skive
Renegade and Scarface were very
impressed. It seemed little Smokey had learned much from them.
"Well done, Smokey!" they
said. "Maybe now we'll actually listen to what you say when you talk to
"Well done indeed, Smokey, ya sly
The engines gulped. Out from the
shadows, half-hoarse from blowing up balloons, was the Wee B*****d.
"You think this extension isn't
CCTVed up the haggis-hole?" he said. "Good way to collect data on
buying habits and demographics!"
"Sir, I can explain..."
"No' a word, Smokey," said
the Wee B*****d. "I'm not here tae yell at you. I'm here tae congratulate
you! Ye've given me a wonderful idea!"
"I have?" said Smokey,
"Oh aye," said the Wee
B*****d, darkly. "Now that I know how much effort you put into getting
oota work, we're gonnae extend the extension to quadruple the length and film
every single second of it with the new cameras! Think of the videos we can
sell! The playsets we can make! The cheap, crass, crayon-scribbled childrens
books we can crank oot based on your adventures in avoiding your jobs! I'm
gonnae be rich, rich! And you're going to be very, very busy for a long, long
Smokey chuckled nervously as Renegade
and Scarface seethed silently next to him.
"Ahaha. Ha. Best friends
Renegade and Scarface just snarled.