|This article is about the book. You may be looking for the magazine story.|
Mr. Bubbles' Clown Show is in town and all of the engines are wheeshing with excitement, except Thomas, who has a crack in his funnel. While his old funnel is being mended, Thomas must wear a spare funnel. Thomas does not like the funnel. It is big, red, and ugly. He feels very silly indeed.
The Fat Controller has a special for Thomas. He is to bring Mr. Bubbles' special bubble mixture to Knapford in time for the show. The Fat Controller tells Thomas to be careful, so as not to spill the bubble liquid. Thomas puffs grumpily away with his big, red funnel.
At the crossing, Thomas meets Gordon, who laughs at Thomas' funnel. Thomas is so cross, he forgets to be careful. The bubble mixture splashes on to the road, right in front of the Fat Controller's car. The car slides right into a muddy ditch, but Thomas does not know. Next, the Fat Controller and Mr. Bubbles approach a viaduct and Mr. Bubbles persuades Thomas to slow down but Thomas himself refuses to listen and yet more bubble liquid spills out. The Fat Controller's car spins out of control yet again and crashes into a haystack, but as before, Thomas refuses to notice that incident. Later, at the bridge, Henry laughs at Thomas' funnel. Thomas is even more careless and even more bubble liquid splashes onto the road. This time, the Fat Controller's car slides right into a pond, but Thomas does not know this either.
When Thomas arrives at Knapford, the Fat Controller is very cross and Mr. Bubbles is sad that there is no bubble mixture left. Thomas is sorry and races to collect more. This time, after he has collected the mixture, Thomas puffs as fast as he can, but carefully. The children are very happy to see Thomas arrive.
Soon the show starts. Because of Thomas' funnel, the children think that Thomas is part of the Clown Show. Mr. Bubbles laughs and Thomas is now pleased with his funny, red funnel.