"No Whistle as Shrill"


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I wrote something similar to this in the "Olde" forums, and seeing how I'm waxing nostalgic, and noticing many new names, I thought I'd revisit it tonight.

A simple, short story:

"No Whistle as Shrill"

Well there it was, the final turn toward home. Your home, your neat little house like every other neat little house in the subdivision. Your head is pounding and your stomach feels like an industrial acid bath, it had been a very bad day. It rained from a gray and sullen sky since you walked out the door this morning and had not stopped, not even once. The work site was a mess, the trusses were late and you had to pay six laborers for a half day of doing nothing. The job was over budget and past target and somehow; it was all your fault. The only high point of the day was being stopped by the crossing gates a mile away from home. As you sat and watched the long freight slide by you congratulated yourself for being first in line for the show. It was a simple pleasure, but they are few and far between now-days.
It wasn't until the garage door opened and the light from inside made you squint before you realized you were sitting in your driveway, your hands clenched around the truck's steering wheel. As you turn the key off you see your daughter give you a dismissive wave as she runs by the door, on her way to her boyfriend's car parked at the curb. This guy was the knuckle-headiest of all the knuckleheads she ever dated, and of course, true to your life, it looked like love.
The rain ran down your collar as you made your way inside. Your son was stretched out on the couch, watching a blaring TV show and listening to his I Pod. You mumble "Hello", but he doesn't even acknowledge you exist. Your wife of twenty years makes her grand appearance to berate you for being late. When she realizes you forgot to stop and buy bread on the way home, she launches into her best nagging mode. "No whistle was ever as shrill as her voice" you find yourself thinking. She follows you to the bathroom, where you down a few aspirin, but she shows no mercy for your head or your manhood. The inevitable shouting match is postponed however, by the ringing of the telephone. The last words you hear her say are "Don't know why I ever married him" as you close and then lock the door to your den.
This is your time, you muse as you start the PC. You remember that new steam engine you downloaded late last night, and quickly start the SIM. Soon enough you are viewing it close up in Driver, and listening to the mighty steam booming from your speakers. Another sound now interlopes on your happiness; your wife pounding on the door to your sanctuary. You turn up the sound, and every time she screams you push the "H" key. You know you have to stop soon, but in desperation you look toward the ceiling and mouth a silent prayer for help.

No one was amused when the police broke down the door to the den. The paramedics seemed disappointed, but the police officers took it all in stride. "Ma'am, did you see your husband enter this room tonight? Uh-huh....Ma'am, have you had anything to drink tonight?" The room was empty, only the steam engine puffing away on the computer screen gave any sign of life.

You opened your eyes from your prayer, and stood transfixed in the bright sunlight. The smell of freshly cut timber and pine cut through your head like a knife. Ahead, a small knot of men were talking and laughing beside the tender of the most beautiful steam engine you had ever seen. They notice you approaching as you are drawn ever closer to the behemoth. "Well durn, we gave you up fer' dead, and were just gonna draw straws to see who was gonna drive today! Well, let's get going, she's watered and oiled and them logs ain't gonna drive themselves to Carson!"

Not sure how to respond, you turn around to see if he's talking to someone else behind you, and there appears a large picture, no....it's your den! It's right there......your keyboard and your chair....and what are those cops doing there? Wait, it's getting smaller, smaller, shrinking and moving away from you now, this picture of your den....toward the tree line, toward the distant peaks.......and.....gone!

A hand on your shoulder...."Jim? Jimmy....you okay?"

"Yes" you say as you turn back toward the fireman, "Yes,...in fact...never better!" He smiles and nods as you both walk to the cab of the engine. "Let's go then, let's go!"

As you pull the whistle you find yourself thinking "No Whistle as Shrill, no whistle as shrill......as......what?"


Nice work Ed. Very nice. Definitely bought a smile to my face :)
Glad to see some people like to bring some life to, well, life. :)

Thank you very much for sharing this with us again Ed. When reading it I feel drawn in to it and realize how true it often is for me as well. :)
this is one great simulator to get lost in.

This story reminds me of once when I was house-watching for my mom (aka home alone, long term) I fired up UTC and with the radio blasting music, computer blasting well diesel engine sounds, pizza in one hand, key board in the other i was off. I got to the point where I actually thought I was there in Switzerland running a krok up the mountains with a hand full of cars loaded to the gills with passengers. then the phone rang. If the phone had been in my room I probably would have picked it up saying "Engine 37 here" or something like that. ahh what a lovely sim :)