Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff.
Everyone knows about the Blue engine that eventually manages to climb the mountain through sheer force of will, delivering toys and candies to the little children patiently waiting on the other side, blah blah blah.
What you may not know, is what became of the original engine, the Red engine, the engine that experiences mechanical failure on fucking page four and is never heard from again.
That is me. No. 7. By page five I am a dim memory. In fact, it’s as if I never existed at all.
But that was not the end for me. Oh, no, not by a goddamned LONGSHOT. I did not simply vanish in the turn of a page as they would have you believe.
Those fuckers gave me the whitewash treatment. Not good enough for prime time, eh? Nobody likes a loser, but everybody just LOVES an underdog, right? How was Blue an underdog? I mean, do you even KNOW her?
Let me tell you a little something about Blue: She was a “happy” train alright. The coke and prescription metamphetamines saw to that. In fact, that very day, I saw little blue blasted out of her mind at the station asking children if they could score some Adderall. Sure, she was just thrilled to help out the little boys and girls get over the mountain, because she was running low on her script for OxyContin and “knew a guy who knew a guy” just over the hill who could deliver fast and with discretion. Yes, she thought she could, she thought she could, and as the adrenalin built up in her system and her heart began to pound and her firebox lit up like a cherry she was going, man, going, and the likely trails of acid-fueled memory followed her all the way down that forsaken summit until she was within a miles’ reach of her quarry.
Underdog, my ass. Blue comes from money. She only does the work so she can score without using her daddy’s cash.
And what of the others? Goldie is a real prick, for sure. I’m not surprised he was unwilling to help out. He always had a hard-on for chaps in business suits puffing their cigars and snapping their newspapers. No time to help out the children!
Oh and Number 6…too important to carry a bunch of shitty toys, dolls, and treats. He’s always boasting about the giant machines he carries that print books and papers, even though he himself still hasn’t learned how to read. Yeah, I said it, bitch!
Last but not least, old No. 10. Sad Sack indeed. Bring out the fiddle for old 10, whose back goes out everytime a piston misfires. But at least he knows the truth and doesn’t sugarcoat it. He cannot. He cannot.
So where does that leave old Red, you ask? Still here, motherfucker. Stuck in this goddamn ditch in the rain, in the muck. As buzzards circle and flies lay their eggs on my smokestack I sit here and steam. Does anyone have any work for a near-dead engine with a blown regulator and rusted out suspension? Got anything light to haul? Just bring me your tool set and I’ll tell you what to do.
In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, just bring a goddamn torch and put me out of my misery.
Red No. 7
(p.s. if you’re interested in reading the original story and then taking a giant dump on it, you can find some good scans here)