A VERY USEFUL ENGINE

Weary Thomas trundled down the track.

It had been a busy day on the island of Sodor.

All the children had been to visit and have their photo taken with the No. 1 engine.

The Fat Controller had been very proud of Thomas.

Left alone at the end of the day each engine puffed away quietly from Tidmouth sheds to the tunnel. Thomas rolled in. James puffed smoke, Edward had cracked open a barrel of the black stuff and Emily was stoking Gordon’s pistons.

‘Another day,’ Percy said, as Toby injected him with a chilled smack of water.

‘Over 70 years of this,’ Thomas groaned.


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Copyright Dawn M. Miller

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

When I was a kid, I read and played and watched ‘Thomas The Tank Engine’, 35 years later I’m getting to know them all again with my kids. I do wonder how Thomas and Friends have coped with it all over all this time… Thomas The Tank Engine Wikipedia


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110 responses to “A VERY USEFUL ENGINE”

  1. Emily sounds like a bit of a go-er, if you’ll pardon the expression. Trains, hey? Never give up do they. Fantastic take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sandra 😉

      Like

  2. The lure of trains, isn’t it! Lovely nostalgic story, Kelly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It certainly is, thanks Neel

      Like

  3. Dear Iain,

    I guess even smiley ole Thomas has his limits. 😉 Fun take on the prompt.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Rochelle – he does seem impossibly happy on camera, surely on his downtime he can’t be like that too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good to hear the Fat Controller hasn’t retired yet! Delightful Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Keith, he’s still going strong, and in charge of more trains than ever!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is funny. My buddy and I just were riffing on this the other day, questioning the slavery of Sir Topham Hat and making fun of Gordon, whom we believe is closeted and would very much like to cut loose. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I reckon all these children’s characters would love to cut loose, I like to imagine what they would all really be like when the cameras stop 🙂

      Like

  6. Love this! Tommy getting old and cranky! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is the scene between sets the kids should NEVER see. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to imagine with all these children’s programmes – what would the characters be like when not playing to the audience!?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Elmo smoking a skinny spliff…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. He must do, surely.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. How else does he chill out at the end of a long shoot with a bunch of kids screaming & waving their arms abut as he does? LOL

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Took me back to my childhood. Good one, Iain!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shweta 😉

      Like

  9. Delightful story! I didn’t realize Thomas is over seventy years. Good memories for you kids too. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Charming post Iain. My nephews loved Thomas and his friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to be one of those programmes that all children just love!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “and Emily was stoking Gordon’s pistons.” Yikes (blush).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, the X-rated behind the scenes version.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. All my grands went through their Thomas the Tank period. We live near Strassbourg, PA where Thomas makes an appearance now and then. So I truly enjoyed your story as it evoked some most pleasant memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Did you watch when Ringo Starr was the conductor on Shining Time Station? Cute show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not aware of that show, but did love Ringo narrating the ‘Thomas stories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that’s the same thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve never read about Thomas the Tank Engine! But you caught the character’s “off” time very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have missed out a treat 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll put it on my library list!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I so enjoyed this – particularly reading about whatever Emily was getting up to.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yeah, she was the only female engine for a long time, so I assume ‘serviced’ them all…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I do love the voices of those engines… it’s a huff and a puff but they go on… I can understand it wears you out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bjorn – it gets to the best of them!

      Like

  17. No criticism of your story, Iain, as well crafted as always, but I can’t stand Thomas and co.
    I always found the books deadly dull compared to, for example, Julia Donaldson’s works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, you’re cold-hearted! Certainly the writing is nowhere as good, although they were written a long time before Julia Donaldson and co. came along. Nowadays ‘Thomas’ seems to be more of a TV and film (and toys) creation rather than literary. Big fans of Julia Donaldson in this house too.

      Like

      1. How old are your bairns now, Iain?
        Contact details on my About page if you prefer to keep this private.

        Like

  18. oh, those were the days. thanks for reminding me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, you’re never too old to enjoy Thomas 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  19. This was such a hoot.. ummmm a toot! I read this story countless times and even made a cake in the shape for my son. I’m sure I didn’t contemplate just how they spent their time after hours… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dale, I have been revisiting a lot of my own childhood favourites with my own kids – nostalgia, but at the same time you realise how ridiculous a lot of these programmes are!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some of them… man. Yet others… brilliant!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The best ones are the ones that sneak in little references and jokes that only the adults will get.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes! Love those ones.

            Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m not familiar with Thomas (my kids and I watched different shows when they were little) but I certainly recognized the weary, end-of-the-day feeling and the dread of knowing it starts up again in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All parents can relate to that feeling. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  21. LOL I always wondered what those trains did in their off time. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Awww, such a nostalgic little piece. I too took a retro childhood TV route… Kind of 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. And now for something completely different….well done, Iain. Always expanding!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sascha – it’s nice to write something completely different now and then.

      Like

  24. This one filled me with good old nostalgia, makes me one to find out what my own childhood characters might be like after all this year… if they had to live them in real time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a good way to watch kid’s shows and make then entertaining for the parents too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  25. All in a day’s work in the life of locomotive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And an evening to relax 🙂

      Like

    1. Oh yeah, he gets all the gals! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Fun! Maybe it is time for the poor engines to have a bit of a rest 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They certainly deserve it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Lovely nostalgic story with a humorous twist!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Great take on the prompt. Fun to imagine the engines’ back stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Penny – it’s often the only way to make watching these kid’s programmes bearable! 🙂

      Like

  29. OMG! I will never think of that as PG again! Lol very funny Iain. Gosh Thomas’s friends get up to some interesting relaxation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laurie, we all have to find a way to unwind, even children’s entertainer trains!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I never really got into the Thomas the Train stuff, though I’ve seen the TV show a time or two. I love the barrel of oil.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Ha ha, Reverend Awdry would be rolling in his grave! I read all of them to my children when they were small but they were never as funny as this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – I wonder what he would think about what his little stories have now become – never mind my intervention!

      Like

  32. Very fun read. I’m betting this one isn’t you’ve shared with the children!! haha..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not until they’re a bit older 😉

      Like

  33. It sounds like you are writing the adult version of life in an engine shed

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mean they’re all over 70 now – they must have done some naughty stuff in their time!

      Liked by 1 person

  34. A nostalgic read! Thank you for bringing back some lovely memories, Iain 🙂 Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Jade 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  35. A charming reminder of days gone by.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Sound like a party in the tunnel! Great read Iain!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. That last line brings home how many people feel about their work. Why not Thomas too?

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Poor Thomas! It’s about time he retired.
    A fun take on the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s earned the pension by now surely 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Ha! Ha! I now await your take on the Telly Tubbies 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, well now, all sorts of weird and sordid things going on there, let me tell you!

      Like

  40. Your story made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. A quirky, witty take on the prompt – the inside story of Thomas the Tank Engine & his pals. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Those backstage exposes would reveal all sorts I’m sure 😉

      Like

  42. Interesting. Connie and I recently bought a 70 year old pick-up truck that we are working to get back on the road. It’s had plenty of rest (close to 50 years in a barn). Hopefully, it will be happy to get a new engine and be back on the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How Thomas would love a 50 year rest!

      Like

  43. Brings back some memories, although a side I never saw! Nicely done

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, thanks Fatima 🙂

      Like

  44. Definitely brings back memories, but with a fresh twist! Great take on the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

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