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Mainline Mix-Up

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Mr. Jarrow: The bridge across the river needs repair. I'll have to make a weight limit to cross it for a while. Marty and Dennis will be all right, and Eagle too, but Molly and Neville are too heavy.

Molly and Neville looked anxious.

Mr. Jarrow: How would you like to help Edward and the main line engines?

Neville: Can Jamie, Kathy, and Lucy come?

Mr. Jarrow: {shakes head} They'll be needed here, I'm afraid. Eagle can't carry all the passengers on his own.

Dennis promised to look after Jamie, Kathy, and Lucy, but they were sorry to see Neville go. To cheer Molly up, Edward took her to see Bill and Ben, the twin engines who lived at the china clay harbor.

Bill: Oh, dear! Not another tender engine! First Edward, then Donald, then Douglas, and now-

Ben: Don't forget Gordon! He came here once, by mistake, so he says! I don't think he enjoyed it much!

Bill: No, but, seriously, Edward! Why doesn't Sir Topham Hatt buy tank engines, like us, for instance?

Molly: {letting off steam angrily} Let me tell you-!

Edward: All right, you two! Go and move those trucks, or there won't be room for anymore! {Bill and Ben run off, happily.} You just don't have to take them too seriously.

Molly: {to herself} I wish I knew how he'd deal with them.

Neville was drafted to help on the main line, but James didn't want to accompany him.

James: Why on earth doesn't Sir Topham Hatt paint black engines a proper color? Dirty, smelly things! Ugh! {shudders delicately} Black engines are kept strictly in their place, and not allowed to pull trains without special permission!

Neville was most offended, and Gordon, who was showing Neville around, lost patience with James.

Gordon: Stay outside then if you're so proud about it! Neville's a useful engine, no matter what!

Neville always stopped at Edward's station to set down trucks, and he often had to stop to let the express pass. But his mind wasn't on the trucks this morning.

Molly: {sadly} Hi, Neville.

Neville: Hi, Molly. I got trouble with this James. He makes fun of me just because I'm painted black.

Molly: I've got a similar situation to yours. Bill and Ben complain that there's too many tender engines, and not enough tank engines.

Neville: I hope that we'll convince them to stop.

Molly and Neville tried hard, but James, Bill, and Ben were not easy engines to convince. Often, they would joke about a yellow engine whose friend was a black engine. Neville wanted to pay them out, but he wasn't sure how.

Next day, James took a load of empty trucks to the china clay works for Bill and Ben. Then he went back to collect eggs, butter, and milk. James wasn't concentrating on his work. Instead, he thought about what he would say to Molly or Neville next time he saw them.

Unknown to James, Bill and Ben were pushing the china clay trucks on his track. They were thinking about what to say to Molly next time they saw her. Disaster lay ahead! Pom-Pom saw the twin engines, and slammed on the brakes.

James: Why are we stopping?!

No time to explain, James saw what was in front of him! Bill and Ben crashed into James, and the eggs, butter, and milk flew into the air, and landed on top of the three engines.

James: UGH! Just look at my red coat of paint! It's ruining my style!

{Pom-Pom and Strong Bad emerge from a bush where they'd been sheltering.}

Pom-Pom: {bubbling} (Just look at those eggs, butter, and milk! What a way to make an omelette!)

Pom-Pom made sure that James was not hurt, then stood back and surveyed the mess. He and Strong Bad began to laugh!

James: {crossly} It's not funny! {An egg yolk trickles down his nose, and busts on his buffer.}

Strong Bad: You're not standing where I'm standing, James! You look just like a scrambled egg!

James: If a scrambled egg is sticky and wet as I do, then it's most uncomfortable! Please clean me!

Pom-Pom and Strong Bad tried to clean James, but the heat from James' boiler cooked the eggs, and it stuck fast.

Pom-Pom: {bubbling} Sorry, James. We're going to get Molly and Neville to help.

James: What?! ME?! Rescued by a goth engine and a girl?! No way, Jose!

But James had little choice. Molly and Neville arrived, and found the whole thing funny.

Molly: Well, Neville, they teased us, now the joke's on them!

James: Are you going to help us, or are you going to stand here and laugh?

Molly and Neville helped James, Bill, and Ben back on the rails, and as they did so, they laughed about it.

Later that day, James, Bill, and Ben were cleaned, and went home. When James arrived, Neville had told Gordon, Henry, Donald, and Douglas about James' accident.

Henry: Ho, ho, ho! James' joke turned on him, eh? I say, Douglas, what is it that Sir Topham Hatt calls you?

Douglas: Och, versatile, but that isn't what he called James. I couldn't hear all he said, but I didn't think it sounded very polite!

James was very humiliated, and slept on a siding away from them. Bill and Ben had the same experience when Molly told Edward and Boco about, and said nothing. Later on, the bridge across the Norramby river was fixed, and Molly and Neville were allowed to come home. James, Bill, and Ben went to see them.

Ben: What are you giggling about, Molly?

Molly: Don't worry, you two. Your secret is safe with me.

Molly and Neville chuffed back home. James, Bill, and Ben didn't know what Molly had meant, although it was probably better if they hadn't.

THE END

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