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

Prologue

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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The Return of Ted

February 8, 2013
One of my favorite blogs is Comedy Plus, where Sandee seldom fails to start my mornings with a laugh. If you haven’t checked out her blog I highly recommend it. Among other things, Sandee has been blogging about her friend Seymour, who happens to be a rock. During my recent recuperation I’ve been spending a lot of time with my very own inanimate friend—Ted. I hope you enjoy this repeat from last year. Ted has been bugging me to repost it.

    

Enough of you have been following long enough for me to lower my guard to share another intimacy. I want to introduce a member of the Chatterbox clan who, up until now, hasn’t been mentioned, the only family member who doesn’t live up to the family name of Chatterbox—Ted.

    

Ted speaks very little. He came to live with us the Christmas of ’09 when we were snowed in and the only store Mrs. Chatterbox and I could reach on foot was the Rite Aid up the road. We did all our Christmas shopping there. Mrs. C. bought me a package of Metamucil cookies (yum) and a Slinky, and I splurged ten bucks on Ted because Mrs. C. still retained her little girl fetish for horses. I almost picked a puzzle of a black stallion but it came with only eight pieces and Mrs. C., a college graduate, would have been able to piece the puzzle together in less than ten or twenty minutes. So Ted trotted home with us.

    

But for some reason Ted never warmed up to Mrs. C. and quickly bonded with me. Isn’t this the way it so often happens? My wife named Ted, bathes and feeds him. She sees to it that he’s warm and dry, and flushes him occasionally with garden hose enemas when he gets backed up, but Ted’s glass eyes only light up for me.

    

Mrs. C. tells a story about a snowy Chicago Christmas when she was a six year old Army brat. The family had recently returned from a posting in Germany and were struggling to make ends meet. When the presents were all unwrapped her father asked if she’d gotten everything she wanted—a dumb thing to ask a six-year-old if you ask me. She stamped her little foot and said, “NO! I WANT A PUPPY.” So her dad trudged off into a blizzard on Christmas day and purchased a puppy that grew up to ignore Mrs. C. for the next twelve years. Now Ted ignores her.

    

Ted and I spend a lot of time together in the afternoon. No—we don’t nap together. Naps are for babies and kindergarten kids. Ted and I enjoy a southern European custom known as a siesta. We spoon a lot, I’m not ashamed to admit it, and we’ve come to accept each other’s sleeping habits. He’s been known to chase jockeys in his sleep, and he whinnies. But it’s quite soft and doesn’t wake me up. What does keep me awake is when he eats carrots, which requires us to sleep with the window open.

    

Unlike most horses, Ted doesn’t have any bones, which makes it possible for him to hold my bottled water when I’m using him as an i-Pad caddy. Truth be told, I think it’s a good thing Ted doesn’t have any bones because Mrs. C. is frustrated by the complicated and intimate relationship Ted and I share. She’s threatened to send Ted to the glue factory, but they won’t take him because glue comes from rending down horse bones. Ted feels safe, for now.

    

I know this fact about glue because Ted made me Google it.

 

 

 



Comments

26 Comments
Ted is truly a multi-talented, albeit boneless horse. Hoping you continue on the road to recovery!
By: Shelly on February 8, 2013
So Ted is still with you. Hope both he and you are feeling good. Take care!!
By: Cheryl P. on February 8, 2013
First thanks for the shout out. That was very nice of you. Howdy Ted. I knew about you and I think it's great that a post was done in honor of you. Perhaps there will be other posts too. I'm planning on doing a post about Seymour at least once a week. Poor Mrs. C. I can so relate. Our Little Bit (dog) I chose, but she loves daddy the very best. Have a terrific day. :)
By: Comedy Plus on February 8, 2013
We have a 4' tall boneless brown bear who lives with us. (Actually, Fred thinks I'm his birth mom--& I don't have the heart to tell him he's adopted. Besides, he looks a lot like my husband.) He'd like to correspond with Ted. Can I give him your email address, or does Ted have his own?
By: fishducky on February 8, 2013
Sounds like a great friend and one you can keep all to yourself.
By: John on February 8, 2013
Ted is a handsome guy, and a steal at ten bucks. I'm betting he's a softy AND a good listener. No wonder you like him so much :) Buying Christmas gifts at the Rite Aid sounds quite interesting, actually. I keep asking my family to buy mine at the dollar store, because I'm interested to see what they'd pick, but they won't.
By: jenny_o on February 8, 2013
If you think someone else's blog is worth a peek...boy howdy I'm galloping right over to Comedy Plus.....but first I have to stop laughing at you and Ted! You two are quite the Odd Couple! Such a funny story! Thanks for excercising my ribs!
By: Kathe W. on February 8, 2013
We have a few such boneless animals at our house, and they are my favorites -- unlike the cats (which Charles Schultz always claimed were boneless, but are not), these don't leave me unwelcome gifts on the bed and carpet. Enjoy Ted!
By: mimi on February 8, 2013
TED sounds like a great friend. Doesn't ask for much, yet loves you unconditionally. Hope your health is improving.
By: Daniel LaFrance on February 8, 2013
I remember Ted from last year, but now he's made me laugh all over again. Ted, take good care of your dad, please. Love, Janie Junebug
By: Janie Junebug on February 8, 2013
Equine love.......I do understand.....this is very funny, thanks, I needed a smile today. Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on February 8, 2013
Sounds like you have all the comforts of Ted with minimal work... or next to none. Enjoy and keep warm! http://arewethereyettravelblog.blogspot.com/
By: Are We There Yet!! on February 8, 2013
We have about 30 "Ted's" in our house right now. We have a zoo of stuffed animals...What's even more shocking is that I can remember the names Peanut gave them.
By: Stephanie D on February 8, 2013
" Noâwe donât nap together." Then you must drink together. I mean, if you're going to be awake anyway, you might as well corrupt the boy. I'm really glad you and Ted are buddies. The older we get, the more we can allow ourselves some relaxation from prescribed gender roles. For instance, my wife has a blue-green bedroom, and mine is pink.
By: Snowbrush on February 8, 2013
Ooh, I don't know what happened to my text. The screwy part is the part that I copied and pasted, so maybe that doesn't work so good here.
By: Snowbrush on February 8, 2013
I think Seth MacFarlane totally ripped off that "Ted" movie from you and your stuffed horse. Lawsuit!
By: PT Dilloway on February 8, 2013
Hmmm, maybe I should have thought of this when it came to having kids? Oh, probably not, since it's obvious that you've just trained him well!
By: Tom Sightings on February 8, 2013
I loved Ted the first time round! So glad you brought him back for a visit.
By: Nancy on February 8, 2013
So, how do you know "Ted" isn't really "Tina"? I've seen nothing to indicate otherwise. Maybe Mrs. C should be a little nervous. No, a LOT nervous. ;) S
By: scott park on February 8, 2013
I'm sorry, but if someone gave me enemas on a regular basis, I'd be their friend for life. Ooops, I meant "feed me" on a regular basis. The enemas would be a bonus, though.
By: Al Penwasser on February 8, 2013
If my spouse gave me Metamucil cookies for Christmas, I'd keep the horse, too!
By: Pixel Peeper on February 8, 2013
we just watched the red box movie Ted last week...about the teddy bear ted who comes alive and interferes with their marriage plans b/c all he wants to do is party....any relation?
By: momto8blog on February 8, 2013
I hope you haven't given Ted some sickness you picked up at the hospital. I can't hear through the computer, but he looks like he might be a little horse.
By: Val on February 8, 2013
I was going to suggest you make a movie about Ted but apparently some dildo beat you to it!
By: Catalyst/Bruce on February 9, 2013
Ted must not be a cover hog, that is good. Hope you are feeling better.
By: Tom Cochrun on February 9, 2013
A tablet and water holder. Ted is a genius!
By: Hilary on February 9, 2013

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