The offices of HIT Entertainment are surrounded by beautiful grey roads.
They have a photocopier, and a coffee machine, and a great big reception desk. The company also has lots and lots of railways,
and they all make lots of money.
In charge of all these railways is the Producer. One day, the Producer
was sitting down with a file when the telephone rang.
“Hello?” said the Producer.
“Good morning, sir,” said the receptionist, “James
the Red Engine to see you.”
“I’m afraid I’m very busy,” said the Producer.
“He’s very insistent.”
“Very well,” sighed the Producer. “I’ll
see him in five minutes.”
A little later, James came in.
“How did you get into this office?” asked the Producer.
“You’re an engine. We’re on the seventh floor.”
“Never mind that,” said James. “I’ve just
seen the scripts for the new series, and I’m not happy.”
“Look, James, we discussed this,” said the Producer.
“We’ve let you be one of the main characters, we’ve even let you keep that Scouse accent that you think
is cute… what more do you want?”
“I just don’t think I’m getting the character
development I used to have. I mean, every episode I’m all, ‘I’m red and shiny’.”
“Well, you are red and shiny. You’re James the Red
“I know, but there’s more to me than that. I’m
just worried people are going to think I’m some kind of jerk.”
“What would you prefer?” asked the Producer wearily.
“Would you prefer to be painted another colour, say? James the Yellow Engine? James the Purple Engine?”
“I’m happy with being red, it’s just… I
used to be the only red engine. Now there’s Skarloey, Rheneas, Salty, Arthur, Harvey… I feel like I’ve been,
you know, replaced.”
“You want to get rid of those characters?”
“No, just repaint them. Also, I’d like people to see
my caring side. I mean, that song you’ve got on the website, it’s not exactly complimentary, is it? ‘Vain
but lots of fun’?”
“The emphasis is on ‘lots of fun’, James. If
it’s any consolation, you’re not the only one who had a problem with that song. Toby objected to being ‘square’,
Percy objected to Thomas being ‘the cheeky one’ and Henry thought ‘toots and huffs and puffs’ implied
that he had a drug problem. Which, our lawyers have advised me to tell you, he does not. If it’s that much of a problem,
then we’ll change it. Anything else?”
“Well, yes,” said James. “I want these episodes
changed to portray me in a more positive light.”
“It’s not that simple,” said the Producer. “We’ve
paid for these episodes, we can’t just send the scripts back now.”
“No, I know,” said James. “And that’s why
I’ve written some scripts of my own. You don’t even have to pay me for them. They’re in my cab there.”
“How did you type these?” asked the Producer.
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s something to do with
the way I managed to fit through your door.”
The Producer read the episode titles. “‘James Saves
The Orphans’? James And The Benefit Concert’? ‘James Gets It Right (As Usual)’? Are these serious?”
“Yes. What do you think?” asked James hopefully.
“I’ll see,” said the Producer.
“Make sure you do,” said James. “Now, how do
I get out through this door?”