Writing books is an effort I can do without, so like any sensible author I rely on finding stories stuffed inside bottles that have washed up on the nearest beach. But! Disaster! One of the bottles wasn’t done up properly, and so the latest pirate story has a big hole in the middle, probably from where a crab crawled in and ate the parchment. Crabs are annoying like that, they’ll eat anything. Obviously I’m much too lazy to fill in the blank myself, so instead Random House are offering YOU the chance to have a go. The best adventure will be published in the back of the fourth pirate book, which might be called The Pirates! In An Adventure With Napoleon, and might not, depending on what turns up on the beach. A lot of famous writers, such as Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and even Victor Nabokov began their literary careers by getting a short story published in the back of a pirate book, so this could well do the same for you. Or maybe you’re at work reading the internet instead of doing anything more constructive and just fancy a way of killing a couple of hours until you can go home. Either way, it’s a fantastic opportunity to type some stuff. Here's the story as it stands:

The Pirates! In An Adventure With [the crab has eaten the end of the title, you’ll have to fill this in too]

It was a cold out, so the pirates were sat in the pirate boat’s kitchen discussing their previous adventures. The pirates enjoyed talking about their previous adventures even more than they enjoyed having them in the first place, because it was a lot less exhausting and they could eat pancakes at the same time. They could eat pancakes during an actual adventure of course, but if the adventure involved swordfights or disguises or breaking codes then the pancakes would tend to get in the way. Also, when they were just discussing adventures rather than doing them, they could gloss over the boring bits and exaggerate the exciting bits. And if when recounting an adventure the pirates found themselves stuck trying to describe a particularly visual scene, it was always possible to draw explanatory pictures on the pancakes in chocolate syrup.

 “Our best adventure was the time we ran that hotel in Torquay,” said the pirate with gout.

“Rubbish,” said the albino pirate. “Our best adventure was the adventure with all those lady models.”

“No it wasn’t!” said the pirate in green. “It was the one with the Giant Spiders!”

Before the pirates could start fighting over this the door to the kitchen crashed open and in walked the Pirate Captain. Even wearing his 'Have You Hugged The Chef?' apron and carrying a plate of pancakes, the Pirate Captain cut an impressive figure. He was all teeth and curls, but with a pleasant open face, and he had a great big luxuriant beard that looked like [another unreadable bit here, because it’s covered in crab lick.]

“Hello Pirate Captain!” said the pirate with a scarf. “We were just discussing what our best adventure was. What would you say our best adventure was? In – ooh – about five hundred words or less?”

The Pirate Captain scratched his hairy cheek. “Our best adventure,” he said, after a thoughtful pause, “was that time…”

 [Big chunk missing here. Little crab toothmarks everywhere.]

“… and not only that, but it taught us all an important lesson about friendship," said the Pirate Captain. "So that’s why it was our best adventure, possibly involving a creature, in five hundred words or less.”


All you need to do is send your entry to BLAH BLAH BLAH. Probably best to use email or an envelope rather than a bottle.