“So… how goes it?” asked his friend, a well-rehearsed concerned look on his face.
“It goes” he replied flatly.
“No really, how goes it?” his friend inquired again, a little more urgently.
“Well…” he began, then chose to half-heartedly move his arms in a way that imitated the motion of the wheels of a locomotive train.
His friend remained unimpressed with that as an answer. He fixed his eyes on him, mustered up as much sincerity as he could and repeated the question; “How. Goes. It?”
The man stood up and took a long swig from the glass in front of him. He then began to chug around the restaurant. Faster and faster, occasionally jostling the tables of other patrons and interrupting the staff as they made their way to and from the kitchen.
“How goes it?!” his friend bellowed from the other end of the dining establishment.
He paused and spit the water he’d been carrying in his mouth into a mist above his head. “It goes!” he bellowed back. Then he idled for a moment, his arms slowing, and said;
“Soon shall thy arm, unconquer’d steam! afar
Drag the slow barge, or drive the rapid car;
Or on wide-waving wings expanded bear
The flying chariot through the field of air.” (1)
His friend leaned back in his chair and quietly said to himself “Was that so hard?”
Meanwhile the man chugged right through the plate glass window of the restaurant. Outside a woman screamed. This did not deter him from saying;
“More coal, more smoke, more heat, more steam, more pressure, more speed. The engine raced forward streaming black smoke like a funerary ribbon rippling in the breeze.” (2)
Inside his friend tried to catch the eye of his waitress. He was ready to order.
The man on the other hand was no longer hungry. He was busy choo chooing down the street, bobbing up and down slightly, blood oozing from a few small cuts, his feet moving him in short succinct steps towards oncoming authorities. Before their arrival he was able to get out;
“The animal frame, though destined to fulfill so many other ends, is as a machine more perfect than the best contrived steam-engine.” (3)
A few blocks away the waitress finally made her way to his friend’s table, pen in hand and ready to take his order. He looked up at her with a well-rehearsed smile and asked “So… how goes it?”