All in a day's work - part 4

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The men stood in silence and stared at the broken crate. It had fallen on its side and the contents had spilled out. There was no mistaking it: There in the middle....




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.... was a human skull.



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Station Master A. Woodcourt was the first to speak: "Well it may be a murder, but it's hardly a recent one!"




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At this point the director of the travelling theater company launched into a major outburst: "A murder? Are you mad? We use that skull for Hamlet! Didn't I tell you we were playing Shakespeare? And now I really must insist that your men hurry up with the unloading, or there will be no play tonight at all!



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And with that, they all got back to work. All except T. Gradgind, the carter. For a long time, he stood looking at the skull: Those cheekbones, that forehead. It strongly resembled his aunt Augusta. Augusta, the would-be actress who disappeared under mysterious circumstances a few years ago. Should he tell someone? He decided against it. They wouldn't believe him. They never did.



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Meanwhile, Station Master Woodcourt had returned to his favourite spot at the end of the bay platform. He was thinking that it might be time for a toffee (and that he rather deserved it) when one of the men interrupted his thoughts. A point failure had developed at the entrance to the carriage sidings. It was being worked on, but the problem was what to do with the Slip coach off the 15:55: It was still sitting in platform 3, blocking the up main. Would it be acceptable to store it in the bay for the time being?



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That sounded good to Woodcourt, and so the handsome Toplight Slip was propelled into the bay siding....



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....with the trusty No. 835 and driver T.F. Oberon in charge.



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This particular Slip was a compo to diagram F15, originally introduced in 1909. Like the other Toplight designs, it clearly signalled the modern and functional style that was becoming apparent everywhere on the GWR after the beginning of Churchward's reign.



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As the coach came up against the buffer stop, a new problem became apparent: The coach would block the exit to the run-round when the first branch train arrived tomorrow morning.



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Uncharacteristically, Woodcourt decided to deal with the problem tomorrow. It had been a long day and he really was feeling his age. Perhaps tomorrow would be better. Tomorrow was June 28, 1914. That sounded peaceful enough.

THE END

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