The Phil Phorce is a fictional periodical featuring my favorite characters from my own writing. It comes out in episodes, once every three months or so. To find out more and to read previous episodes, please go to these two pages: About the Phils and the Phil Phorce. Please enjoy Phil Phorce, Episode 6: Soap Opera.
“We’ve gone through all the bathrooms on this floor,” said Jordan as he entered the lounge. “Most of them had bar soap, but we found these in some obscure areas.” He pointed to a knee-high table for his two men to set down their boxes. The two boxes were both full to overflowing with liquid hand soap.
“All this was made by Dyslex?” asked Quirk, looking over the multicolored collection.
“All of it,” said Jordan. “Can we leave it to you to figure out what’s harmless?”
“Absolutely,” said Quirk. “I love soap.”
“I’m organizing a raid on the Dyslex Soap Company. If any of you want to join us, we can wait for you to finish.”
“I want to go,” said Steve. “If you want to succeed, you’ll need me with you.”
Jordan raised an eyebrow, but didn’t question it. He looked at Percival. “Will you come? You know where the company is and who’s responsible there—we wouldn’t want to arrest the wrong guy.”
Quirk saw Percival start to shake his head and shot him a look. Percival got the message. “Let’s go now, then.”
Jordan motioned to the boxes of soap. “Have fun.” He and Percival left the room.
Sebase was there first, examining the bottles. “It looks like mucus, colored somehow. Is it sanitary?”
“It’s soap, Sebase,” said Quirk. “It’s as sanitary as you get. Pass me that purple one.”
“Nobody touch anything labeled dragonwort,” said Phoenix. “It’s dangerous.”
The next fifteen minutes were mayhem, soap squirting everywhere. “This stuff is amazing,” said Quirk, staring intently at his purple bottle. “If you don’t read the names closely, you can see other words in there. The first time I read this I thought it said ‘bivouac’, but it actually says ‘lilac’.” He squirted some on his hand and rubbed it in. “That’s odd… I suddenly know how to pitch a tent!”
“I don’t see any other words,” said Sebase. “Come over and read this one.”
“It says tango,” said Quirk, holding up the orange bottle. “No, wait, that’s mango. Try it.”
Sebase rubbed it on his hands. Nothing happened. “It must be a dud,” he said, but then he threw out his arms and started dancing to inaudible music.
“Tango indeed,” said Quirk. “Who wants a campfire?”
“I think this one is clementine,” whispered Phume. Quirk jumped. He hadn’t heard Phume approach.
Quirk glanced at the label and caught the word ‘clandestine’.
“This is just between us, but it smells really good,” said Phume.
“Look at me!” yelled Steve. “I’m orange!” Phoenix squirted another blob of soap onto his plastic scalp and he turned darker. “It’s like a spray-on tan, but squirt-on instead!”
“Let me see the bottle,” said Quirk. “It just says orange, nothing else.”
“Well, it seems to match the effects,” said Sebase, twirling past.
“This one is dragonwort, so no one touch it,” said Quirk, picking up a green bottle. He glanced at the label. “It says teleport,” he said, setting it aside.
“Obviously,” said Phoenix. “Since everything else matches its description, why shouldn’t this one’s description match its everything else?”
“Why wasn’t I invited to this party, and why is there a party without pizza?” asked the old lady.
“You’re back!” exclaimed Quirk. “Let me pitch you a tent!”
“We’re trying out the different soap Dyslex makes,” said Phoenix. “All of them have interesting effects.”
The old lady picked up Sebase’s tango soap and looked at the label. “So this is what happened to Christopher?”
“And that one kid,” said Quirk. “He dissolved right after you left.”
“Sorry to hear that,” said the old lady. “Which soap does that?”
Quirk held out the dragonwort soap. “This one teleports people.”
The old lady took it, read the label twice, then frowned. “Dragonwort is the sample that guy gave me to try,” she said. Her eyes widened and she stepped back, dropping the soap. It squirted across the carpet.
Quirk was on his feet in a moment. If he had stepped in the spilled soap, he wouldn’t have cared. “What? Did you use it?”
“No, no, I… I didn’t,” said the old lady, staring at the green stain on the carpet. “I gave it to Isaac.”