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- “What's the weather like up there?"
"It must be chilly."
"That reminds me of a story I know..."
"Please! Not another one of your boring stories!”
- ―Bill, Ben, Salty and Cranky
No Sleep for Cranky is a magazine story.
At the docks, Cranky has to work very hard and never gets a holiday or a chance for a snooze. Sometimes, Cranky has to work all through the night which makes him very tired. The engines think this is what makes Cranky so bad-tempered and cranky.
One morning, Salty arrives at the docks to pick up some vegetables. Then, Bill and Ben arrive to pick up crates of books. Bill and Ben cannot resist teasing Cranky who complains about them being late. The situation reminds Salty of a story. Cranky hates Salty's stories and he swings his arm round too fast and drops some heavy pipes on top of the boat shed. The broken shed falls over and completely blocks the tracks.
The Fat Controller is very cross and hurries to the docks. He talks sternly to Cranky and says that all the engines will have to stay overnight at the docks and Harvey will arrive in the morning to clear the lines. As soon as the Fat Controller leaves, being trapped reminds Salty of a story. Cranky tells Salty not to tell it, but Bill and Ben want to hear it, if only to annoy Cranky.
Salty spends all night telling tales of the sea. Cranky orders Salty to be quiet so that he can get some sleep, but Salty keeps on talking and talking all night long.
By morning, Cranky is very relieved to see Harvey arrive. Soon, Salty and the twins are able to steam away, much to Cranky's delight. Harvey thinks Cranky looks very tired, but the crane is so thrilled that Salty and the twins have gone that he forgets to be cranky. He is even pleased to see Thomas and Percy arrive. Cranky promises to be nice from now on, as long as he does not have to suffer anymore of Salty's stories.