Thomas in College-1
It was a bright, sunny day, and all over the school there was a sense of tense excitement. The teacher entered the classroom, sat down, and cleared his throat. Could I have your attention for a moment please, he called. Immediately, a hush fell on the room. The teacher paused for a second, and then began to take the register.
Yes Sir, said a boy wearing a blue and red striped shirt and jeans
Yes Sir, said the boy sitting next to Thomas, younger, also wearing jeans, but with a green shirt
Sir, said a girl sat behind Thomas, wearing a green top and skirt, with long brown hair and beautiful green eyes.
Sir, said a large and athletic boy wearing blue like Thomas.
Yes Sir, said a boy of the same build as Gordon, but wearing a green shirt.
Sir, said a boy at the far end of the class, with broad shoulders and wearing green.
Sir, said a Scottish boy with black hair, wearing a black shirt that did not hide his broad muscles and stocky build
Sir, said a boy identical to Donald.
There was no reply.
Ahem!, coughed the teacher. The class turned to look at a girl at the end of the class who was chatting into a mobile phone. She had blonde hair, a lot of make-up on, and was wearing and yellow and green striped top and a black mini-skirt. She was blissfully unaware that everyone was looking at her.
Daisy Cammell, said the teacher impatiently.
Daisy, hissed Emily, teacher!.
Daisy looked up, muttered a quick call you back into her phone, and straightened up, flicking her golden hair out of her face, before smiling pleasantly at the teacher.
Well, now that weve broken the record for the most time taken to take a class register, perhaps we can continue. Daisy Cammell
Sir, said Daisy pleasantly
Yes Sir, said a girl wearing a black top, black skirt and a red belt. She had blonde hair like Daisy, but it was flecked with black after a hair experiment gone wrong. She had modified it since then, and it looked rather nice on her now.
Sir, said a boy sitting next to Mavis, wearing a brown shirt and jeans.
Sir, said a mature looking boy with black hair and glasses, wearing a dark blue blazer with a shiny red prefect badge emblazoned upon it.
Sir, said an extremely handsome boy wearing a red shirt under a black jacket, with brown eyes and brown hair that had been gelled to perfection.
The teacher put down the register. Great, now that that is sorted, let us get down to business. As you know, today is your last day
. A few students muttered a small cheer.
and so, you will probably have fun ,I use that term lightly, lessons today. Though I cant imagine anything more interesting and stimulating than reciting the periodic table from memory, and then going over where you went wrong. There came a loud boo!, from the majority of the class, except from Daisy, who was listening to her MP3 player. The teacher laughed. No, Im sure it will be something completely different. Thank goodness, exclaimed Thomas. The teacher smiled. So, as I was saying, today is your last day, but still try and be as well behaved as you would if this were any other school day. The bell rang just then for morning lessons, and the class shuffled towards the exit, and to Thomass least favourite lesson, double maths.
Thomas had to admit that todays lesson had been much better than they usually were, not nearly as boring as usual. At least they had watched a DVD. It was a half day that day, so Thomas rushed over to where his friends were standing in the top playground. Hey guys, he said as he got there. Hey, said his friends. New Hornby range is out soon, said Edward. I know, I saw a preview on the internet, said Thomas, Their new range of A4s looks amazing. What is your obsession with trains?, asked Daisy exasperatedly. Daisy my dear, you ask this question nearly everyday, and everyday we tell you, its for the same reasons you like music, or clothes, said Thomas calmly. It was always the same, Daisy just didnt understand the magic behind railways. She was the only one in their group of friends who wasnt interested. Even Emily loved trains. Her speciality was drawing them, but she always caught all the detail of the coupling rods, the rivets and other things. Edward was into the engineering side of railways, and was never too far from a small notebook in which he made rough sketches of his own railway ideas. Thomas himself was into branch line and suburban railways, and his friends always said that if he were a railway engine, he would be a branch line engine. They all had their special area on railways, and it was their plan to save up enough to either take a railway holiday across the world, or to start a miniature railway company. Just then, the boy called Montague came up. He was walking awkwardly, which was quite usual, as he had been born with one leg slightly shorter than the other calling him to waddle slightly, giving him the nickname of Duck. Hey, he said as he approached, Dont look now, but theres trouble coming up from behind me. Yeah man, those trousers just do not go with that shirt, said James. Hes not talking about that, idiot, said Gordon, He means that smeg head over there. Thomas looked around too see what Gordon was talking about, and saw, to his great annoyance, that 3 thuggish figures were coming towards them. Ignore them Thomas, said Emily quickly. The figures came closer, and everyone could see that they were Diesel Gronk, and the Iron twins, Bert and Harry (who was usually called 'Arry instead). So, last day then, said Diesel, with a football in his hands. Something like that yeah, said Henry. Yeah, weve only been looking forward to it since the day we started, said Thomas. Diesel looked coldly at him. So, what you gonna do after you leave, he asked. Its nowt to you, snapped Thomas. Diesel smirked, Just trying to be civil, choo-choo boy, he sneered. Thomas went red in the face. Thomas, ignore him, said Henry. He turned and looked at Diesel and the Iron twins. Why not just leave him alone?, he snapped. Diesel smirked again. You gonna make me?, he asked, his tone of voice indicating that he was just spoiling for a scrap. If he doesnt, then I will, growled Emily. Diesel looked at her. Oh yeah, how?, he sneered. Like this, said Emily. She then grabbed the cricket bat that Gordon was holding, drew it back, and then brought it swinging upwards, with surprising force, straight between Diesels legs. Diesel fell on the ground, curled up and whimpering. Arry and Bert leapt forward and grabbed Emily. LET HER GO!, shouted Thomas, as he leapt forward and punched Arry in the face. Gordon and Henry both leapt on Bert. James picked up Emily and brought her to safety, before leaping into the pile that consisted of Thomas, Gordon, Henry, Arry and Bert. Diesel had got up, picked up the discarded cricket bat, and was about to bring it crashing down on Thomass skull, when he was grabbed by a teacher who had seen everything. DETENTIONS FOR EVERYONE WHO IS CURRENTLY BRAWLING ON THE GROUND!, he bellowed. But sir..., protested Emily. NO EXCUSES!, bellowed the teacher, who still had Diesel in a tight grip. Actually sir, said Edward, who, being a prefect, had more authority than the other students These boys, that is, Diesel Gronk, and Harry and Bert Iron started all this. They came other to us, and provoked one of our group into attacking them, in this case Emily Stirling. Then, Harry and Bert attacked Emily, and then Gordon, Henry, James and Thomas rushed to her defence. The whole incident could have been avoided if not for the actions of Diesel, Harry and Bert. The teacher glared at Edward. Edward always had a knack for being able to outsmart the teachers even in the direst of situations. I will take this into account, said the teacher, but these students will still receive a detention, and he turned to lead them to the headmaster's office. And another thing sir, said Edward, Todays the last day, so giving these boys a detention wont do much good sir.
There wasnt much the teacher could do, except take the boys to the headmaster, a nice, kindly man who was strict but fair. He had watched the fight from his office window, and merely gave the boys a small telling off, after which he told them to stay away from each other and enjoy the rest of the day. Thomas was pleased that they had got off so lightly, and they went down to the sports field to watch Gordon, Henry, Donald and Douglas have a game of rugby. Then, they had a special assembly to wish all the year 11s good luck as they left school, then they all went to the town to hang around and chat outside the cinema.
Later, Thomas said goodbye to the others, (who all replied except for James and Daisy, who where kissing on the bench), and then he and Percy went home. Percy went to talk to their mother, while Thomas went upstairs to his attic bedroom, where he kept his masterpiece, his large Hornby train set that had been started by his grandfather, then continued by his father, before he had been killed in the army. Thomas went over to his workbench, where his prized possession was sitting on a sheet of newspaper, a little blue tank engine with six small wheels, a short stumpy boiler, a short stumpy funnel and a short stumpy dome. It had been scratch built many years ago, the frames cut from brass, the boiler made from a piece of old pipe, and the motor had been made by Thomas himself, which he was especially proud of. It was a curious design, kind of a cross between an LBSCR E2, and a Jinty of the LMS. He set it down on the track of his layout, and got 2 aged brown coaches from a small box under the desk. One of them had been the first coach his grandfather had built, and it was rather special to them both. He coupled them together, and started turned up the power on the controller, and the short train started off in a somewhat jerky fashion, rolling along the large layout of track, through tiny stations and long tunnels that had been built with passion and devotion, and a few bits of cardboard that had just been lying around.
After Thomas and Percy had had their tea, Percy went to bed, Thomas stayed up to watch Sharpe on UKTV History. He was thinking, now that school was over, what could he do? He wanted to do something worthwhile, like got to university, get a degree and put that to good use. Get him a decent job at least, with plenty of money, enough to buy a house, a car, enough to start that railway they had thought about, to pay for a big expensive wedding with Emily, for her to become Mrs Awdry
Thomas shook his head. He needed to think clearly, which was a bit difficult with the noise coming from the television. Just then, the film went into a commercial break, and Thomas watched the adverts, in the hope that something would come along that would make a difference. A noise from the television suddenly caught his attention, and he looked up. He knew that sound, the sound of a Victorian steam whistle was a joy to his ears. He looked intensely at the screen, and then a figure appeared on the screen, a stout, kind looking gentleman in a black suit with grey trouses, a yellow waistcoat and a top hat. Greetings viewers, he announced, I am Sir Charles Topham Hatt, Managing Director of Sodor Railways, and Headmaster of the Sodor College of Railways. We are currently looking for new students, who are looking for a steady job with regular pay, and have a passionate interest in railways. If you think that you are one of these people, then call this number at the bottom of the screen, or go on our website at www.sodor-railway-college.sodor.sch.uk. Remember, your course will leave you with good qualifications in the field of engineering and transport history and the experience of working on a unique, coal fired, standard gauge, world famous, British steam railway. In a flash, Thomas grabbed the little red and black notebook he carried in his pocket, and quickly jotted the address, phone number and website of the Sodor College of Railways. He then grabbed the phone, and typed in Edwards number.
Hi Edward, its Thomas.
Oh hello Thomas, how are you? .
Im fine thanks. Listen, could you do me a favour? .
Ok, what is it?.
I need you to help me phone everyone and tell them to come around to my house tomorrow.
Alright. Just two questions though.
Firstly, who exactly do you want me to call? .
Well, Ill call Emily, Mavis, Duck, Henry and Gordon, and you call Toby, James, Duck, Daisy, Donald and Douglas.
Ok and second question.
Thomas smiled to himself.
Its a surprise, he said finally.
Its not like the last surprise you had is it? , asked Edward, Because I can still remember the last one.
Look, that rocket was water powered, I have absolutely no idea of how or why it caught fire like that.
Spontaneous combustion my friend, happens to all of us, said Edward.
Well, will you please tell them, asked Thomas exasperatedly.
Of course, of course, said Edward calmly.
Ok, bye then. said Thomas.
See you, said Edward.
Thomas put the phone down, just in time to see Sharpe raise the flag of Saint James over the village of Torrecastro on the television.
The next day, the friends met in Thomass bedroom to find out what Thomas wanted to tell them about. So, said Thomas, when they had all sat down, Has anyone decided what theyre going to do now that term has finished college wise?, he asked. I dont need to go to college, said Daisy smugly, My family is rich. What do I need a job for when I already have money?. I was gonna go on to university or something like that, said Edward. Well, you can just about change your minds right now, because I have found something much more better, said Thomas smugly, Percy, if you would
. Percy nodded and turned on his chair and pressed a button on the screen of the computer. After a few seconds, the Sodor Railway College website appeared, and they all saw an image of the little blue engine that had appeared on the advert last night. I saw this whilst I was watching Sharpe last night, said Thomas, Its this school on the Island of Sodor, somewhere in the Irish Sea, that basically is a college of railways. I propose that we all apply for it now, and go there next year. No one said anything for a moment. Then Duck spoke out. Well, he said slowly, Its definitely a good idea, but its making the decision to go there thats the problem. I mean, this could influence the outcome of our lives, and its just that thats making me uneasy about the whole thing. A few people murmured in agreement. Well I think its a great idea, said Emily, I mean, were nearly all interested in steam engines and railways and that, this seems the perfect place to go. But are we going to make a successful career out of it?, asked James, I mean, how many railways nowadays use steam for regular services, and pay you for it?. Its not just driving the trains, said Edward, Its also learning the history of railways and the engineering behind railways. We could definitely make money by learning about that. Could even start our own railway company, he added. Well I just thought that Id let you know about this, said Thomas, I mean, I thought you were all interested, but obviously I was wrong. Its not that Thomas, said Toby, Its just that this is all so sudden. Of course I would love to go, but its just the fact that this is all such short notice like. Will you at least have a think about it?, asked Thomas. Yes, said everyone together. Good. Now, I think now would be a really good time to watch a DVD, said Thomas cheerfully, Now what will it be, the Young Ones or Bottom?.