Monday, April 20, 2009
Diesel Engine Blues
Gregory the engineer piloted the Number 29 back and forth across the state. After working his way up to the position of engineer he said "Is this really all I do?" The railroad instructor nodded and turned to mark something on a clipboard. Gregory silently cursed to himself and pressed the button to engage the electronic horn, wishing that it sounded like a steam-whistle. Then he leaned his head out of the window and imagined great clouds of smoke puffing joyfully out of the nonexistent smokestack. Outside nobody waved to the anonymous train as it passed their identical homes and cars, they merely grumbled at the inconvenience. Despite their complaints Gregory delivered their mail, their coal, their steel, and the thousands of other items that make up our lives; all the while looking out of the window watching invisible clouds rise across the plains.