Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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A Piercing Dilemma

April 5, 2017

This post describes another questionable adventure in retail. It happened several years after I’d become manager of the jewelry store mentioned in the previous post.




Jerry was one of my best customers. He and his lovely wife Mary Anne had purchased a small fortune in bling from me over the years. I was polite with all of my customers but over the years I developed a real fondness for Jerry and Mary Anne. It helped that Mary Anne was a beautiful woman, shapely with cascading Pre-Raphaelite red hair.


One day while browsing, Jerry slid up to me while Mary Anne was on the far side of the store. “There’s something Mary Anne and I want you to do for us,” he said.


“What?” I blurted out, wondering why he was whispering.


“I want you to pierce Mary Anne’s nipples.”


At first I wasn’t sure I’d heard him correctly. “Her nipples?”


Mary Anne wandered up and shot a smile in my direction.


Flummoxed, I wondered if Mary Anne knew what her husband had just requested. Did she really want her nipples pierced or was this all his idea? The answers came quickly.


“Jerry and I didn’t want just anyone to do the piercing,” she explained. “We know several people who might do it, but we selected you.”


I mumbled a half-hearted, “I’m honored.”


I was trapped between a rock and a hard place; much of that hardness came from the fact that Mary Anne was a lovely, well-endowed woman and she and her husband were giving me permission to examine one of her best attributes in a highly intimate fashion. But I shivered to think of what I’d say to Mrs. Chatterbox when I got home from work and she asked, as she was

inclined to do, “Did anything interesting happen at work today?”


Telling her I fondled a beautiful woman’s breasts while attaching nipple rings was an option not worth considering. Besides, the memory of the one and only time I’d tried to pierce someone—a hard-bitten biker chick—didn’t go well when the stud didn’t pierce the cartilage of her ear. Unlike that biker chick, these were outstanding customers and the last thing I wanted to do was offend them.


I thought about declining with something silly like, “I don’t think her nipples will fit into the piercing gun,” but instead chose a more flaccid response, even though it made me sound like a Casper Milquetoast, like my wife had my balls squirreled away in a safety deposit box. “I don’t think my wife will let me.”


This happened a score of years ago, but I’ve thought about Jerry and Mary Anne’s request more than I care to admit.


Ladies, how would you feel if your husband worked in a jewelry store and you found out he’d pierced a beautiful woman’s nipples? Guys, what would you have done? Should I have complied with their request and kept my mouth shut?








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I wouldn't mind examining the finished product but piercing sensitive body parts shouldn't be left to amateurs.
By: PT Dilloway on April 5, 2017
Wow...tempting. Oh so tempting. But no. :(
By: scott park on April 5, 2017
yikes- I would not want the liability....what if something went wrong? Good call on your part!
By: Kathe W. on April 5, 2017
Years ago when I was a practicing Electrologist in So. FL a man came to me to ask me to remove the hair from his penis and scrotum. No shock, it was So. Florida after all. Once he got undressed and was on the treatment table, I saw that he had the BIGGEST metal ring in his penis I ever saw! That really freaked me out! Just the thought of that process gives me the chills! I could remove hair from any part of the body but could never, ever see me piercing anyone. Oh, BTW. He did comment that the ring did create a certain "splash factor" :-). All in a day's work.
By: Gloria Williams on April 5, 2017
I would've said no as well although there would have been a pause...
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 5, 2017
I wonder if you had a lucky escape, that actually sounds a fairly weird request when they didn't even know whether you had any nipple piercing skills or not...
By: Jenny on April 5, 2017
Owowowowow! And that's all I have to say about that!
By: The Bug on April 5, 2017
We call that the Mike Pence Defense!
By: Laurie on April 5, 2017
I would have killed my husband if he'd pierced a woman's nipples. Of course, he probably took a look at plenty in his quest to lose me, the damned asshat cheater, but you did the right thing when you said no. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on April 5, 2017
I am too flabbergasted to leave a comment!!
By: fishducky on April 5, 2017
As long as it was part of his job, I wouldn't begrudge him that piercing. I WOULD draw the line at him reminiscing about it.
By: Val on April 5, 2017
First: I love the cartoon. Second: I would have done it without hesitation. They're just nipples! Third: What did Mrs. C think about it all when you told her?
By: Mitchell is Moving on April 5, 2017
As a journalist I never encountered that sort of workplace dilemma. But I'm curious-was piercing part of your professional resume and service? I'd need to know the couple rather well before making a decision. Need to understand their motivations and attitudes. I appreciate your sensitivity to not wanting to hurt a valued client or damage a good relationship. Your answer to them was a bit like Wally Cox as Mr. Peepers, BUT it worked. Now a side note-we are probably too modest about our bodies, even to the point of hang ups. All humans come with standard issue parts and we might just be a bit more psychologically healthy if we did not regard the body as a sexual machine or view the body in leering ways. I am not a nudist, but they may be on to something.
By: Tom Cochrun on April 5, 2017
I think you did the right thing. There are too many things that could go sideways in this one.
By: red Kline on April 5, 2017
Eeeeooooowwwwuuuaghhhh! I can't even imagine the pain. On either of you. Good decision, Stephen.
By: Catalyst on April 5, 2017
I'm good with my two ear piercings. :D
By: Lux G. on April 5, 2017
Those who say "it's just body parts" must be able to turn their libidos off and on at will. I would not want my husband going near any other women's breasts. I know they would always be on his mind after that. You did well to refuse.
By: Kate on April 5, 2017
Are you qualified/certified to pierce body parts? If yes, then its your job to fulfil your duties.
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 5, 2017
Growing up in a home with an ObGyn, i see it as just another day on the job. If her husband is there, and you keep it clinical, so what? Yes, i know not everyone will see it that way.
By: messymimi on April 6, 2017
it wouldn't bother me. but I know each to their own but I do not get nipple piercing.
By: Ellen Abbott on April 6, 2017
Clearly hard decision, but luckily you pulled out of that predicament before it came to blows.
By: Tom Sightings on April 6, 2017
I would be nervous at piercing an ear, anything else I think someone should have medical skills
By: Sage on April 6, 2017
I thought this story was going to end with, 'and then I woke up and realised it was all a dream!' And I don't think Mrs Jones would approve of me piercing a lady's nipples (in fact, if I did, I might find a couple of piercings through my dangly bits).
By: Bryan Jones on April 7, 2017
Hahahaaaaaaa-way too funny...hhaaaaaahhaaahaaaaa. I have a feeling that the next thing they would request is to pierce somewhere else. They may be into the swinging sixties with a bit of S & M. I'd kill my hubby and he would know better even thought he would be tempted
By: Birgit on April 7, 2017
I would like to think I would have declined in a less henpecky way, but probably not. Either way, I would have been afraid of ruining a piece of art. What training did you have to pierce anything beyond an earlobe?
By: cranky on April 10, 2017
I have to admit I winced while reading this... I don't think my husband could manage to pierce ANYONE'S nipples, but if I had been in your shoes, I might have found it easier to pierce the nipples of a total stranger than those of someone I knew as a close customer or friend.
By: Pixel Peeper on April 22, 2017

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