Thursday, January 18, 2007

"The Great JB" by Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"


At 15:58 Standard Time, the Crew checked their watches to see,
If today’s Conductor would, indeed, be “The Great JB.”
In he strode, right on time, straight to the Sign-Up Sheet;
Covered all over from head to toe with Outside’s Ice and Sleet.
Assured that the "Cuts" were checked and marked to let the Drill begin,
He sternly cautioned the Brakeman, he was not to drop a Pin.
Pointing his Lamp toward the Baldwin, to announce the start of the Drill;
Relayed signal acknowledged by Horn Blast over the Hill.
Once the Engine started, there would be no second chance,
To regain the time advantage of that Drill planned in advance.
Counter-clockwise, he swung his Lamp, to bunch up all the Slack,
First Pin pulled, a Stop then thrown, freed Car rolled down the Track.
Quickly now, no time to lose, this Movement must not End;
Always forward without break, the "Cuts" rolled round the Bend.
The Cardinal Sin was to pass a Switch, 'cause backups cost Valuable Time;
But being the “Master Conductor;” JB stopped the Train on a Dime.
Hour after unrelenting hour, the Twelve Tracks of the Yard were Drilled;
Shuffled, reshuffled, crossed and doubled, until Car Sequence was Filled.
At 21:58 Standard Time, the phone rang in the Stiles Street Yard:
“It’s OK to pull the Houses,” said GM’s Security Guard.
The Switch was thrown from the “Ought;” putting the Engine on Track “A;”
Lit Flare in hand, the Flagman ran, to safeguard the Right of Way.
Vibrating, lurch-rumbling, screeching-wheels on sanded rail;
The Baldwin began its thrice-time run upon that Iron Trail.
Standing on the Platform braving Wind and Snow;
JB and the Brakeman were getting ready for the "Show."
Timing the exact moment when House Door was open wide;
The Engineer braked the Baldwin, precisely Eight Feet inside.
Knuckles open, then coupled closed, JB leaped from Cab to Car;
Landing on the Narrow Catwalk that for others was too Far.
The Brakeman was running on the ground, to close the inter-car space;
As JB “Knocked-Off” Top-Hand-Brakes, in this furious Against-Time Race.
Forty cars down, inside the plant, JB leaped onto the final Box;
He gave the signal to slowly "Pull" so as to avoid the Sways and Rocks.
Faster and faster, the train pulled out, into the Dark, Cold Night;
A Curtain of Sleet and Icy Rain back-dropped in the Baldwin’s Light.
The Saw-Toothed Tread of the Catwalks, quickly veneered with Frozen Glaze;
Making for Slippery Footing as JB leaped through the translucent Haze.
Autos stopped by the Crossing-Train, sounded Horns and Flashed their Lights;
Applauding JB, as he jumped moving cars, atop those perilous heights.
As the Engine approached the Office, JB leaped down on to the Ground;
Staying in view of the Engineer, as his Lamp wound Round and Round.
The final signal given, was to “Throw the Engine in the Hole,”
The long-standing-record was broken; time to set a higher Goal.

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