Sunday, February 4, 2018

Invasion of the Rascals!

Just prior to the last operating session, a number of us were in the kitchen enjoying a hot cup of coffee. I happened to notice a small box in the pocket of John Miller's sweatshirt when he arrived. I mentioned to him that I saw the box and he replied that he had brought something for someone else or some such excuse. A likely story, as anyone who knows John will attest.

After the session, I found the box stashed under the layout- see the photo below.

Of course, the box was empty. Which meant that whatever had arrived in it had either been given to someone else (highly unlikely!) or had been deposited somewhere on the railroad. I took a quick look around and didn't spot anything amiss. As with previous rascal adventures, I knew the unwanted contribution would show itself at some point in time.

On the Sunday following the session, I decided to continue work on the roundhouse. The photo below shows how it looked during the session.

The roundhouse wall was propped up against a block of wood in order to show the crews how the structure would eventually look. As I climbed up on a small step ladder to remove the wall, I found what appears in the photo below.

Found! I now was confident that I had found the wayward deposit that had arrived in the box that Miller brought. And I was feeling pretty good about finding it so quickly. I also knew that Matt Snell, who had been yardmaster at North Pierce for the session, had been in on the shenanigans as no one could have placed the snow plow in the roundhouse without his noticing it. So mystery solved and culprits identified. Or so I thought.

A quick explanation of the snow plow- I had to reschedule the session due to a snow storm that blew into town. So the rascals thought that a snow plow would prevent that from happening in the future.

The Monday after the op session, I attended a work session on John Miller's Kanawha & Lake Erie Railroad. The usual participants are John, Bill Doll and me. The usual workers are Bill and me. I told John that I had found the plow and he and Bill both claimed they had nothing to do with it. They said it had been solely the work of Matt Snell. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Up until this point, Matt had been one of the most reliable members of the crew and someone whom I would have least expected to join the rascals. Oh well. John also claimed that he had planned to do something but couldn't find a level spot on the railroad. He mumbled something about the "damned hills in Appalachia." The implication of his comment was that he had been unsuccessful in whatever mischief he had wanted to create. What stuck in my mind, though, was the fact that the box he brought was left in the train room and was empty.

Later in the week, I found the box that appears in the photo below stashed under the layout. This is clearly how the snowplow arrived on the scene.

And of course this meant that whatever arrived in John's box was still somewhere on the railroad.

Last night, I was re-staging the loader on the Weber Furniture spur in North Pierce. As I looked down the track toward Weber Furniture, I spotted was appears in the photo below.

I'm not sure what the story is behind the still but I'm certain I'll find out at some point. At least I think it's a still. I'm almost afraid to move it. And while I'd like to think I have found the last of the most recent round of rascal deposits, well...

These rascals are good. Really good. They have become masters at the art of deflection and deception. And they are multiplying. It's easy now to see the day when the whole crew is made up of rascals. Entire trains will end up missing. Sections of the railroad will be gone. A circus will sprout up where the yard at North Pierce used to be...


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  2. Jeez, the "usual suspects! Say what you will, though, it IS a nice-looking still. It may have to disappear again - there's a flat spot or two in the forests overlooking the Suffolk Northern main...