The Startling Discovery Of Phlogiston

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Things started getting weird round here some time ago, following the startling discovery of phlogiston. The previous belief, kept alive for many years by charlatans, was that everything was made up of 118 elements, all arranged neatly by the number of protons, electron configurations and recurring chemical properties, into something they called the Periodic Table. What nonsense this seems now.

The Startling Discovery Of Phlogiston by Chris Green

Things started getting weird round here some time ago, following the startling discovery of phlogiston. The previous belief, kept alive for many years by charlatans, was that everything was made up of 118 elements, all arranged neatly by the number of protons, electron configurations and recurring chemical properties, into something they called the Periodic Table. What nonsense this seems now. How on earth did they get away with such poppycock for so long? It is now accepted worldwide that phlogiston, a substance without colour, odour, taste, or weight, is present in all materials.

Certainly chemists struggled against the facts at first, insisting on their complex explanations of matter. This was understandable I suppose; they were trying to protect their lucrative research posts, but they were finally forced to admit that they had made all of the mumbo jumbo up. There are as we now know just four elements.

Since the startling discovery of phlogiston, things tend to be much more random. Here’s a snapshot.

Chris Christ, my housemate is watching the brilliant blind surfer, Tom Crews in the final of the water sports on his screen. Crews is going for Gold.

‘Oh My God.’ CC screams as Crews with the help of his guide dog, Marvin manages to get himself upright on the board and ride the huge breakers of the Boogaloo Bay swell.

CC tends to be easily impressed so I ignore his outburst. I am more interested in the octathlon which is playing on the other channel. I am rooting for Curt Tarver in the Quoits. He is already twenty points ahead after an heroic performance in the Shin Kicking but his close rival, Bud Register has his best events, the Moonwalking and the Cheese Rolling still to come. And you can never rule out Benito Pond. He is the World Bog Snorkelling champion.

It is hard to believe that just a few years ago people played mindless team games like football and cricket and bet money on horses running round a wet track and jumping over hedges. And that silly game where they hit a ball backwards and forwards over a net for a few hours.

Imagine now, driving forty miles in a slow moving queue of traffic to an out of town retail park to buy a car-load of stuff that you didn’t need. These days everything just arrives as you need it. You don’t even have to go on the internet. The internet. What a waste of time that was.

Look! Here’s a delivery now! Its simply uncanny how they know I need forty pounds of kelp and a rusty mangle. I greet Bryn, the driver of the Scammell. Bryn and I chat about sandstorms and gravy and of course about the benefits brought about by the startling discovery of phlogiston. Quite thoughtful of Bryn to have brought the bucket of snakes too; CC will be able to cook them up later and make a nice stew.

Bryn says he’s off down the road to Tequila Hawks’s caravan next. Tequila has entered the Poison Your Neighbours Pet competition and she needs henna to lace the neighbour’s ferret’s coca cola with. If she wins she is going to use her prize money to take the hovercraft to Rangoon.

‘Enjoy the sunshine,’ Bryn says as he gets into the Scammell.

I wonder why we are still pretending that the earth orbits the sun. How stupid is that? It’s clear that the sun moves around the earth. You can see it every day crossing the sky. It’s amazing just how much we are duped.

© Chris Green: All rights reserved


Submitted: April 05, 2015

© Copyright 2020 Chris Green. All rights reserved.

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Comments

B Douglas Slack

Good one, Chris. technological regression at its best. !Tom

Sun, April 5th, 2015 3:06pm

Author
Reply

Thanks Tom. Thought it was time for a completely frivolous one. But it was not so long ago that phlogiston was the height of scientific discovery.
Regards
Chris

Sun, April 5th, 2015 8:17am

Joe Stuart

Ha-ha. Were you out in the mid-day sun when you wrote this, by any chance Chris? I had a cup of coffee while I read this story. I thought I had emptied the cup, but now I wonder if it remains full of phlogiston. I will have to throw my cup in the fire to find out. I understand that you have to burn stuff to release its phlogiston. ~ Joe

Sun, April 5th, 2015 7:32pm

Author
Reply

Are you perhaps one of the old die-hards, Joe, sticking to the idea that there are 118 elements. That's a bunch of baloney and you know it. Phlogiston is key to all life.
Thanks for reading and commenting. It's always appreciated.
Regards
Chris

Sun, April 5th, 2015 10:33pm

Megan Fox

I thought it was illegal to give ferrets coca-cola, but they're allowed to have sprite. Good bit of fun that one.
Megan

Tue, April 7th, 2015 3:18am

Author
Reply

Thanks Megan. You shouldn't really give them fizzy drinks at all according to consciousferret.net, but there you go. Tequila's neighbour wasn' to know that. Thanks for reading.
Regards
Chris

Mon, April 6th, 2015 10:09pm

One Anonymous Scientist

Reminds me of the scene in the Harry Potter series (I think it's the 5th volume) where Arthur Weasley is bashed by everyone around for having trusted in a medical doctor who, can you believe it, tried to sew his wound with a needle. Of course, everybody knows that you can only trust magic healers.

Thu, April 9th, 2015 11:02pm

Author
Reply

Thank you One Anonymous Scientist. I'm pleased you enjoyed the tale. It's good to turn science on its head sometimes. We take so much for granted.
Regards
Chris

Thu, April 9th, 2015 10:35pm

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