THE DON'T MENTION
suppose, on panties, we really should have
expected panties. The panties had spent panties
panties getting panties panties panties panties
panties panties -
sorry, I'll start again.
suppose, on reflection, we really should have
expected this. The captain had spent most of the
night getting completely blitzed on the vodka we
were supposed to be taking to Moscow. Plus our
ship hadn't been inspected lately. Plus we were
in the territory of the giant killer fish of the
Mid-Atlantic. Plus I sort of accidentally blew a
big hole in the hull one day while I was playing
with some cherry bombs and wandered off, hoping
no-one would notice. But I can honestly say I was
surprised when the ship began to sink.
captain had insisted he go down with the vessel.
Or at least, that's what I assume he was
screaming after we strapped him to his bunk and
locked his cabin door. There was only one
lifeboat, you see, and ten people on the crew. A
fight broke out between Keith and The Badger
trying to get into the thing, so me and Roger and
Fluffy kind of nicked the boat and paddled away
while everyone was distracted.
there we were, the three of us stranded in the
middle of the sea in a tiny lifeboat with minimal
food and water supplies. Our beards were growing
merrily, and the atmosphere was tense. When the
food ran out, no-one spoke for a day and a half,
too scared to make the obvious suggestion.
Finally, Fluffy spoke up.
lads," he said nervously. "We're out of
food, we're miles from land, and it could be a
long time before we're found. So ... I think we
should face the possibility that in order for the
rest of us to survive, one of us has to make the
on earth can we decide that?" moaned Roger.
basically, I decided it like this. I was second
mate, and you two weren't. Therefore I order one
of you two to kill themselves."
just stared at him.
alright," he said eventually. "We'll
decide this properly. How about Paper Scissors
don't wanna play Paper Scissors Stone with Roger,
he cheats," I complained.
how about this?" said Roger. "This is
an old game we used to play in the dorm at
boarding school. Basically we take it in turns to
say one word each of a story, and whoever says
'panties' first loses. How about it?"
and I exchanged glances. "Fine," he
said. "You go first."
nodded, and furrowed his brow. "Right,"
he said. "My word is 'panties'."
took a second for it to sink in, but when it did
he clapped one hand over his mouth and smacked
himself in the head with the other.
lasted a week or two. Neither of us were keen on
eating him raw, but when I offered to hold him
over my cigarette lighter for a while we decided
to risk the salmonella. When he was all gone, his
flesh devoured, the marrow sucked from his bones,
Fluffy and I cast his remains over the side and
sat staring at the floor for another whole day.
Finally, when the hunger pains were starting
again, Fluffy spoke.
paused. Fluffy was clearly a devious opponent.
game went on long into the night. Every word was
torture to squeeze out, as the word 'panties'
dominated both our minds. Sometimes whole hours
would pass between words. Our story became
romance, then erotica, then adventure, then
science fiction, then speculative high fantasy,
then erotic speculative high fantasy, then back
to romance. As we said enough words to fill two
good-sized novels, we found ourselves slipping
ever further from consciousness. It was only a
matter of time before one of us made the mistake.
- she," I said.
low moan escaped my mouth as I realised what I
had said. My eyes screwed shut. Hot, salty tears
slipped down my face. I tried to look up, but
couldn't. I just told Fluffy that I accepted my
fate, and begged him to make it quick.
Fluffy didn't reply.
Fluffy had died of salmonella poisoning.
they found me, weeks later, surrounded in
Fluffy's remains and endlessly chanting the word
'panties' like a mantra, they took me straight to
a hospital on the Canary Islands. They treated my
disease, fixed my weakened muscles, and, with
patient tuition, taught me how to say other
words. I thought the nightmare was over. I
thought I was safe. That was until I overheard
one of the nurses telling a colleague about the
pink panties her boyfriend had bought her.
I ate her.
she said 'panties'.
lost the game. It was her fault. She said
I said to the judge, "Panties panties
panties not panties guilty panties panties
panties your panties honour panties panties
panties panties panties panties panties
keep me in a padded cell now.
they never say panties.
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