The Phlogiston Incident by Meepo the Kobold
“Phlogiston! The source of all combustion!” declared Amelia Duchagne to the crowd of gathered scientists. “Ever since Prometheus stole the flame, fire has been the greatest asset to mankind – indeed, without fire, our magnificent steam engines could not run. But today, Amelia Duchagne reveals a feat rivaling that of Prometheus: I have gathered and refined its very essence!”
She held aloft a crystal vial, in which danced a nearly colorless substance, faintly tinted red.
A woman scientist in the crowd sprung from her seat, her glasses nearly falling from her little nose. “Impossible! You mean you have collected pure phlogiston?”
“Lavender Hutchins, ever doubting my work! I have indeed collected it. And what more is, I have refined it. This phlogisten does not harmonize with living beings; in other words, it will not burn a human being!”
“Impossible!” spoke Lavender Hutchins, arranging the skirts of her blue dress and standing up. “Certainly, if it could be done, I would have accomplished it years ago!”
“Allow me to demonstrate.” said Dr. Duchagne, as she pulled a handkerchief from between her milky-white bosoms. She held this handkerchief over the vial, and pulled the cork: Indeed, the orange flame danced out of the bottle and climbed up on the handkerchief, setting it aflame in Dr. Duchagnes' hand, without harming her the slightest!
“Impossible”, repeated Dr. Hutchins, and she broke away from the awed crowd of scientists to step up on the stage. “Give me that! You must be using some trick!”
She snatched the handkerchief from Dr. Duchagne's hand, but as she did so, the flame touched the others' sleeve. Amelia blinked, and tried to shake the fire off, but it would not work: It clung to her wrist like translucent, sticky marmalade.
“Astonishing!” said Dr. Hutchins, staring at the handkerchief. “It really does not burn me!”
“I told you!” smiled Dr. Duchagne, hiding her hands behind her back to conceal the embarrassing fact that her sleeve was on fire. “This particular phlogisten is refined such, that it will burn only cloth!”
There came a gasp from the crowd, and Dr. Hutchins looked up from the handkerchief. Great flames were licking Amelia Duchagne's back, and she did not even seem to notice it! The flame had already bared her shoulders, which were only covered by a thin layer of ash!
“What?” she asked, looking around, “Is there something wrong?”
“Your- your dress-” exclaimed Dr. Hutchins.
“What?” said Amelia, and just then, her dress came apart: It fell to the floor with a loud w******* noise, and she stood before the crowd in but her petticoat and corset. She shrieked, and jumped out of her disappearing dress, but it was too late: The fire had caught her petticoat, and it too was vanishing!
“Water!” cried a man in the crowd, and a few men rushed to leave the room – but most remained, staring at the panicked Dr. Duchagne with awed expressions as the colorless fire brought her glorious breasts into plain view, and she shrieked and covered them with her hands. Before long, though, her hands were more full still, as her petticoat and bloomers vanished, and she crouched stark naked before the crowd, covering her shame with nothing but her hands! A final flame leaped up to her head, and her hair came undone, falling in a great cascade around her as the fire finally died.
“I- um- as you can see,” she said weakly, “I am completely unharmed!”
An amused smile passed over Lavender Hutchins' face. “I'll admit it: The naked truth is that you were right.”
Laughs roared from the crowd, and Amelia swallowed, blushing even harder. Then she realized something, cleared her throat, and spoke up.
“What became of the handkerchief? It was soaked in the stuff!”
Lavender Hutchins's smile froze on her face. She had stored it as any lady would: In her cleavage...