Well it's gonna be the death of me
Gonna be the death of me
Gonna be the death of me, oh Lawd
Kansas City Standard gonna be the death of me

They ever asked you what you want to be, son? Yeah, they ask everyone that. Damn fool thing to do. Half the time a kid doesn't know what he wants to be. Smart kid - when you haven't even just started on life, how do you know? The other half the kid does think he knows, and that's where the trouble starts. Yeah, I was one of those kids like that. Yeah.

What's that, son? Oh, it was pretty simple, really. I just told my Momma, "You know those old men who hang around the wood stove at Ruben King's hardware store? That's it. I want to be one of them, and travel the world and have adventures." She told me real gentle that those stories were just make-believe, using those exact words like I was four years old instead of an almost-grown man of seven or whatever I was at the time, and I told her that they weren't liars, dammit, and she said if that was the kind of language I was learning then she didn't want me going to the place no more. But I did anyway. Yeah.

Well it was a runaway
It was a runaway
It was a runaway, oh Lawd
Kansas City Standard was a runaway

You been to school, son? Yeah, I mean trades or college or whatever. What's that, you got a cer-tee-fuck-HAY-shun! Lemme see. Yeah, it's absolute rubbish, laddie, and I'll bet you don't even know what I'm talking about. Yeah, I been to school too, kinda. School of hard knocks, yeah.

They said she was a highway but she's not, she's a big old railroad, the KCS, I mean, and there ain't nothing better to be than a switchman, yeah, you stand there by the track and you know you've got the whole world in your hand. That big transfer to the East, will it get there on time? Up to you. Of course it's machines doing the real work, those wires over your head carrying the telegraph messages from station to station and the passengers are the least important part of the whole thing even if they make the most noise. I was a switchman years before your "Minnesota Central Steam Express" was a blink in a child's eye, and I'll be a switchman years after that narrow-gauge road is torn up and rusted away. And I guess I got my wish, I got my stories to tell. Some of 'em you wouldn't believe. Hell, none of 'em you'd believe, son, none of the good ones. The bridge we built with just a kid's kite string to start it, the midnight mailrun, all the sounds of the whistles...

Well I got my hand on the brake
Hand on the brake
Hand on the brake, oh Lawd
Hand on the Kansas City Standard brake
|o|                                                                     |o|
|o| The moment of enlightenment, memories from.  Well, you know what    |o|
|o| they say about that, don't you?  But to be honest and simple about  |o|
|o| it, I was tidying up one day and I found - yes, here it is, see for |o|
|o| yourself.  The silvery body, the gold plating on the legs, that     |o|
|o| stamped number.  1458.  I wondered, as I often had and as you       |o|
|o| surely must be wondering now, why 1458?  Why not, say, 555, or      |o|
|o| 7400?   But then I understood: 1458 is 2 times 741!  Of course!  It |o|
|o| was just like they said.  Shush, don't interrupt.  Years of         |o|
|o| meditation before you see it, and then once you see it, you're so   |o|
|o| ashamed that you could have taken so long, and so amused by it all  |o|
|o| that you want to tell all the world, but you know everyone must see |o|
|o| it for themselves in order to truly understand.  *That's* why the   |o|
|o| Buddha smiles.  Shush!  It's so perfect and beautiful.  What a      |o|
|o| triumph, to have gotten that one past the Marketing department!     |o|
|o|                                                                     |o|
|o| Yes, Grasshopper, I know.  1458 is actually 2 times 729, not 741.   |o|
|o| When I understood that...  that was the moment of enlightenment.    |o|
|o|                                                                     |o|
|o|                          *                                          |o|
|o|                   ** % *                                            |o|
|o|                  *T00T*                                             |o|
|o|                 *  %                                                |o|
|o|                /\      ___  /---------------\                       |o|
|o|               _||_____/|__| |  KCS  |  KCS  |                       |o|
|o|              (________|___|=|       |       |                       |o|
|o|             /_  OOO \__/OO  ---OO-------OO---                       |o|
|o|        =================================================            |o|
|o|                                                                     |o|
|o|                                                                     |o|
|o|                                                                     |o|
<Harp solo>
<This command will force a retrain>

Well they made me engineer
Made me engineer
Made me engineer, oh Lawd
Kansas City Standard made me engineer

In the day, when I was a little kid and I used to listen to the old men telling stories, and they weren't lies, dammit, they were oral history and my Momma cain't wash my mouth out with soap any more... those stories always had a punchline, son. You know what mine is? You listening close now?

Aw, come on, son, come a little bit closer than that. I cain't speak so loudly anymore, my voice is shot from yelling over the cooling fans. Oh, don't be so wary, I'm not gonna breathe alcohol fumes all over you or nothing. Like you could smell 'em anyway after that fucking cigar. Do you think that's cool? My Momma wouldn't have stopped at *soap*, I'll tell you that! Sheesh. My flask is full of Mountain Dew, yeah, but it's the kind that fizzes. And these eyes aren't bloodshot from drink.

Punchline, yeah. It's like that song, you know? "Ray-ay-ain..." Sorry, I'm not much of a singer. Look at me. See me? I see you, too, and I've seen a hell of a lot more that you probably cain't even imagine. See my face? Do you see real good? Can you see what you can't see? No wrinkles. None. No, I ain't well-preserved. I'm younger than you thought. I'm younger than *you*, if it comes to that. By a lot. You could be my father. Son.

Well it's gonna be the death of me
Gonna be the death of me
Gonna be the death of me, oh Lord
Kansas City Standard gonna be the death of me
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