877: Thomas and Friends: Sodor High Tales – Chapter SixPosted: November 2, 2014
Title: Thomas & Friends: Sodor High Tales
Media: Movies / Television
Topic: Thomas the Tank Engine
Genre: Adventure / Romance
URL: Chapter Six
Critiqued by Lyle
Happy November, loyal patrons! I’ll do my best to keep up on my updates this month. I’m also partaking in NaNoWriMo this year and my time will be sapped by actual writing. This might mean that I’ll have to do some really short one-shots this month to keep up. Only time will tell.
Last time on TF:SHT Toby came to town, Thomas accidentally hit a dramatic police man with his bike, and Toby’s dad threatened to have the police man fired because he has that kind of power, I guess. Toby started school with Thomas and, by request and not any manner of actual school policy, was placed in Tidmouth Class with the rest of the brats. There was some kind of hoopla involving James, a rope, and a mud puddle, some name calling, and a lot of wtf. Yeah, you didn’t miss much.
Chapter six does not look to be any more story-summary oriented than anything else we’ve read so far. Let’s get to it!
Chapter 6: Bertie and Terence and Polly
We’ve met Bertie briefly before. He’s
a bus the bus driver for the school. Terence is a “crawler tractor.” Polly is Gordon’s sister… because trains can have biological relatives. She doesn’t appear in the show but is merely mentioned by one of the characters at some point in a story line about sausages.
Autumn had come to Sodor and the leaves had fallen. The fields were changing from green to brown, and a tractor was hard at work in the fields. Thomas was passing by on his bike when he stopped to watch the tractor go by, but he paid attention to the strange wheels on the tractor. The man in the tractor, whose name is Terence, wore orange clothes, a farm hat, and had brown hair.
There really is nothing wrong with this passage, other than some tense confusion and me wondering what a “farm hat” is supposed to look like.
Thomas: Those wheels sure are ugly.
The driver heard him and stopped plowing.
Did he yell it at the farmer? Because tractors are fucking loud and I truly doubt that Terence would have heard Thomas’ voiced opinion from way out in the field with the motor of the tractor on. Diesel engines are not quiet.
Terence: I’ll have you know that these are caterpillar wheels. They’re very special and they help me go through the dirt and the snow too.
Doesn’t mean they’re not ugly. Practical and pretty are not mutually inclusive concepts.
Thomas: Oh really? I’d like to see that.
This is also canon plot regurgitation, by the way.
Then Thomas peddled off down the path to where the forest was. But he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going as he kept glancing back at Terence. He accidently steered his bike toward the farm and down the hill, through a very muddy field, and crashed into a large haystack.
With how much Thomas runs into things on his bike I would strongly caution his parents to take it away and make him walk. He’s not very good at riding bikes.
Thomas: Cinders and ashes!
“Cinders and ashes” is what the trains say as their swear whenever something horrible happens to them. It makes sense in the context of the show because they’re fucking trains. A human using that as their chosen set of curses?
Concerned, Terence turned the tractor down the fields to where the haystack was and, to Thomas’ surprise, his tractor drove straight through the muddy field, without getting stuck. Terence got off the tractor, climbed up to the top of the haystack and pulled Thomas out. But as he did, they slid down from the top to the bottom of the large haystack.
At least gravity works in this universe.
Terence: You ok, kid?
Thomas: I think so. Thanks for helping me.
One of the
trains kids is being polite?!
Terence: You still think my caterpillar wheels on my tractor are ugly?
Yes. Aesthetics and functionality are not mutually inclusive concepts.
Thomas: Oh no, not at all. I’m sorry. I was just agitated that I haven’t found someone I was looking for.
That… makes no sense.
Terence: I see. And that someone would be-?
Thomas: A girl.
Terence: Oooh. What kind of girl?
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Say no more, say. no. more.
Thomas: She’s got long, golden hair, wears pink and gold, and her face is….like an angel.
Hey, wait… this is a reference to Lady. I think it’s vaguely hinting at the original purpose of the story!
Terence: I think I know who you’re talking about. I’ve seen a girl like that pass by yesterday. I asked her where she was going and she said she was going home to the mountains.
Thomas: The Mountains? Is that where she lives? Which mountain is it?
Terence: I don’t know which mountain she lives at. But in the direction she was going on, I think it might be Muffle Mountain, in the Indian Valley. Try going to Shining Time Station first and then make yoru way to Muffle Mountain.
Wait… is Terence telling Thomas how to stalk this girl?
Thomas: Well, thanks again, Mr…
Terence: Call me Terence. And you should be careful with your manners on whom you’re speaking to, even if you have a bad day.
Holy cow! Gotham properly used “whom” in that sentence! *hands Gotham a cookie* Well done!
Thomas: Ok, and my name’s Thomas, by the way.
After getting his bike out of the haystack, Thomas said goodbye to Terence and peddled away to Shining Time Station, where Muffle Mountain was. He stopped at a traffic light and a red bus pulled up beside him and a voice called out from the window.
Bertie: Hello Thomas! What are you doing out in the middle of nowhere? Getting yourself lost?
Bertie is being a responsible adult by checking on a kid he knows that’s way out in the middle of nowhere by himself. My question is why is Bertie driving the school bus all the way out into the middle of nowhere to begin with?
Thomas: Very funny, Bertie. I’m going to Muffle Mountain to look for someone.
Bertie: Well you be careful. Don’t go too fast and you might end up in an accident.
You can’t give him a lift, Bertie?
Thomas: I can go fast if I want to! I’m faster than anyone!
And here comes the canon race between Bertie and Thomas. Now, in the show it’s a bus versus a train. Here it’s a bus versus a kid on a bicycle. No idea how Thomas thinks he can ride a bike faster than a bus.
Bertie: Oh really? You might not be!
Thomas: I am so!
Bertie: What do you say we have a race, just you and I? First one to Shining Time Station wins!
Thomas: You got it!
This is going to end well, don’t you think? Way to be a responsible adult, Bertie.
When the traffic light turned green, Thomas and Bertie started off down the road. Thomas couldn’t go faster at first, so Bertie drove up in front. But Thomas didn’t mind, he remembered the level crossing. Bertie was behind the gates fuming while Thomas peddled past him, laughing.
Technically, Thomas, that doesn’t prove you’ve gone faster. It proves that your bike is able to go through areas that are inaccessible by a large bus. You’ve proved nothing.
Thomas: Goodbye, Bertie!
When he left, the gates opened and Bertie started up again. After that, the path left the road so Thomas couldn’t see Bertie. But he had to stop to let a pair of sheep cross the path to get to the other side.
He didn’t ram into them with his bike like he rams into everything else? That’s inconsistent with what we know of Thomas’ ability to bike.
Thomas: Oh, bother!
Then he looked ahead and gasped. There was Bertie tooting his horn triumphantly while driving down the road. When the last of the sheep passed, Thomas peddled after Bertie. He was getting tired of peddling and had to stop at a nearby station. Bertie was there, waiting for him.
Bertie: Goodbye, Thomas. You must be tired. Sorry I can’t stop, we bus drivers have to work you know. Goodbye! (drives away)
Thomas: Now I’m sure I’ll lose.
You’re riding a bike! He’s driving a bus! How did you ever think you were going to win in the first place?!
But he felt much better after taking a drink from the water fountain. Then he started up again. As he crossed the bridge, he heard an impatient beeping sound. Bertie was waiting at a traffic light. The light changed and he chased after Thomas. Now Thomas reached his full speed, peddling very fast down the road. Bertie tried hard to catch up to Thomas. Shining Time Station was up ahead over the hill.
Thomas: (panting) I’ve done it! I’ve made it to the station!
He screeched to a stop at the station. Bertie’s bus pulled over beside him. He leaned out from the window and spoke to Thomas.
Bertie: Thomas, you’re just a kid. How did you manage to win the race?
The issue at hand is not that he’s just a kid. It’s that he’s on a FUCKING BICYCLE.
The average speed of a Tour de France winner is between 24 and 27 miles per hour. And that’s on a special street bike made of lightweight carbon-fiber material and built for the least amount of wind resistance possible.
Thomas: Because I tried very hard, Bertie.
Kids, despite what you’re told, you can’t accomplish anything you put your mind to. Thomas should not have been able to out-bike a bus.
Bertie: I’m older than you and my bus is the fastest and best on Sodor.
For all we know, you’re the only bus on Sodor.
Thomas: If you’re offended, I’m sorry.
Bertie: I’m not offended, I’m impressed. You’re probably the fastest biker I’ve ever seen.
Thomas: Really? Thanks.
Bertie: That was the most fun I’ve had in years, but to beat you over that hill, I should fly an airplane.
I’m sure that Thomas would still win because he’s the main character of this tripe.
Thomas: If you flew a plane, who would drive me and my friends to school?
Pilots can drive buses, too.
Bertie: Well, I better get going. See you around, Thomas.
I’m guessing Thomas’ question was rhetorical, then, since Bertie chose not to answer it. Either that or he’s evading the question.
Thomas: Bye Bertie!
When Bertie drove off, Thomas glanced around at Shining Time Station. The last time he came here was when he was a kid. He loved riding the train, Rainbow Sun, he loved listening to the Jukebox Band while waiting, and liked playing on the little playground near the station. It brought back memories to him.
Then he spotted someone he knew. The beautiful, mysterious, blonde-haired girl. He had found her. She was standing by the food stands, as if wanting something to eat, but she didn’t have any money. So Thomas bought a vanilla ice cream cone and a hot dog. He offered the ice cream to the girl. She gasped lightly when she recognized him.
You buy a hungry person frozen sugar-milk instead of real food like the hotdog you’re bogarting. Brilliant. Also, you did this without first asking her if she wanted something to eat. Maybe she has allergies. Milk is a serious allergen for some people. She could see your gesture as an attempted murder! Or maybe she’s vegan. Did you think of that? She might be Jewish. Is that ice-cream kosher?!
I think I’m over-thinking this…
Thomas: Here, I bought it for you.
The girl took the ice cream and licked it, and found it quite delicious. Thomas offered her a seat next to him on the bench. She hesitated and sat down next to him.
Thomas: I’m so glad I found you. I was looking for you all day. I wanted to thank you for taking care of me after we escaped those weirdoes.
Whom we haven’t heard about over the last five chapters.
The girl nodded her head and continued licking her ice cream.
Thomas: So what’s your name? I never saw you around here before.
But the girl didn’t answer and she kept on licking her ice cream.
Wow, rude much?
Thomas: Alright…my name’s Thomas Billinton. I’m a student at Sodor High. My homeroom class is the Tidmouth class where all my friends go to. There’s Percy, James, Gordon, Henry, Edward, and Toby. Our principal is Sir Topham Hatt and our vice principal is Mr. Percival.
Uhm… That’s a bit of an odd info-dump. When you introduce yourself to the person you’re stalking, do you typically give them your homeroom class and principal of your school?
Polly: (quietly) Polly.
Thomas: What did you say?
Polly: My name is Polly Stone.
Thomas: That’s a lovely name.
Polly: Thank you, and thank you for the ice cream. It’s delicious.
Thomas: Your welcome.
How she smiled at him and speak to him reminded Thomas of a princess, with a face so lovely and a voice full of grace and charm, and with such good manners.
Yes, we get it. He’s crushing on her hard.
Thomas: So are you new here?
Polly: Yes. I live in the Indian Valley with my guardian.
Interesting choice of words.
Thomas: What do you like to do on your free time?
Polly: I like taking walks in the valley to admire the scenery, but I like to take trains rides with my guardian at Shining time. He’s an engineer and he loved railroading.
Thomas: I like trains too, and I liked coming down here to Shining Time to ride the train. It looks like we have something in common, a love for trains.
In fact, I get this odd feeling that we used to be trains in a previous incarnation! Crazy, right?
They both laughed. Polly’s laughter was like music to Thomas. But they were interrupted when a blue pick-up truck pulled up to the sidewalk. Polly sat up and walked to the truck.
Thomas: Where are you going?
Polly: It’s my guardian. He’s come to take me home. Bye Thomas.
Thomas: Will I see you again?
Polly: I don’t know.
Thomas: Well, if you ever consider joining Sodor High, you’re more than welcome to. I’d be glad to have you in my class.
Because Thomas has the jurisdiction to enroll students in the high school and choose their class schedule.
Polly: I’ll think about it.
She got into the truck and it drove off, rather quickly. Thomas waved goodbye to her. He stood on the sidewalk still staring off into the distance where the truck had disappeared, and had a lovesick expression on his face.
Do these kids not have telephones? Wouldn’t a good solution to the “Will I ever see you again” been to have exchanged phone numbers with her?
Anyway, that’s it for this week! Hope you enjoyed my very picture-rific riff. See you next week!