Professor Lovebody's Differential Pressure Cleaner; a short steampunk story in which the protagonist loses his trousers
I present below the design for a Victorian steampunk Modern and Efficient Steam-Powered House of the Future, which, if memory serves is filled with clunky steam-powered versions of every day 21st century household gadgets.
However, I am compelled to note that I created this design as the result of a discussion of some disappointing steampunk, um, erotica, which is why it's Professor Lovebody's Modern and Efficient Steam-Powered House of the Future, and is also why it inevitably goes wrong leading the doors to lock, the steam engine overheats it requiring the loosening of cravats and corsets, and it also vibrates at a frequency that arouses the visitors. As might be expected it is riddled with spyholes. I never got around to finishing the story it's supposed to go with/be part of the notes for, which is just as well as I expect I'd be too embarrassed to put it up under my real name.
Anyway, it had gone the way of most of my writing projects, and most of my projects in general until an online conversation took a left turn leading me to write this pitch for a TV show:
Every week Professor Lovebody and his companion Miss Prudence McVenture discover wonders and fight evil in a 19th century that never was, but should have been, during the course of which the Professor inevitably loses his trousers.
Which inevitably lead to me writing this:
Professor Lovebody turned to his audience. "Ladies of the Croydon, Sutton, Belmont and Cheam Gentlewomens' Society For Science and Technology, I have a demonstration that, although modest, I feel will be of great interest to you. I present my Steam Powered Differential Pressure Cleaner For Carpets, Floors And Other Indoor Surfaces."
To a smattering of applause, the professor pulled several levers. An unearthly howl built around the room, as the professor lifted a tube of ridged canvas resembling nothing so much as an elephant's trunk. Suddenly a strange breeze began to move across the room, causing the ladies to grasp at their hats and skirts.
"There is nothing to be concerned about" shouted the professor, as he struggled with the unruly hose. The device is perfectly safe, while sucking up any loose dust, dirt or other household debris. In fact..." At this moment the tubing twisted in his grasp forcing him to wrestle with the tube, which now seemed more akin to a boa constrictor. An unexpected movement caused the end of the tube to point directly at the professor's ankle, catching hold of his trouser leg. In moments, the device had swallowed the garment, and was making a highly distressed choking noise until a loud metallic clang could be heard outside. The noise swiftly died away. Mrs Dingle, the chairwoman, stood.
"Well Professor" she said in tones of deep disapproval, "you promised a demonstration that was both interesting and modest. To whom it would be of interest I dare not say; however I shall say that while you may consider it modest, I certainly do not!"
A voice from the back spoke. "He's certainly got nothing to be modest about!"
At this moment Miss McVenture entered, a lock of hair escaped from her usual severe bun, an oil stain on her cheek, soot on her pinafore and an oversized monkey wrench in her left hand. "Oh, Professor, I had to hit the emergency stop... PROFESSOR! What on earth is going on here!"
"Miss McVenture! Mrs Dingle! Ladies! I can explain! Wait! Where are you going? This device, easily adapted to a household stove or steam engine will make household chores a thing of the past! Can't you forgive this minor problem for science? Miss McVenture! Can you at least bring me something to preserve my dignity?"
"Here Professor; your patented spring-loaded-ejecto-pants should prevent any further embarrassment. But I thought that science was a respectable field of work; you may consider this my resignation."