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….

Sign up and read my novel for free.

Blog Archive

01/2013

A New Year's Confession

January 02, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I can’t bear the weight of a certain secret anymore, a secret that’s been a monkey on my back for years. I can imagine you reading this and screaming at your monitors, “What a beast! I knew this fat guy wasn’t right in his head. Get him some help before he hurts himself!”      What better time to rid myself of this burden than the beginning of a new year. New Years are all about starting over, shedding the past the way a snake sheds its skin. But the prospect of revealing the darkness at the center of my soul fills me with dread. I’ve worked hard to cultivate a climate of culture and amusement here at Chubby Chatterbox and if I go off the reservation with this admission I’m bou ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Twilight Zone Marathon

January 04, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Every year on New Year’s Eve when the Sci-Fi Channel runs a 48 hour Twilight Zone Marathon I tell myself that I’m not going to watch. This year I watched less than previously but a few of my favorites stopped me in my tracks, rendering me powerless to change the channel. I’m not sure why since I know the dialogue of most of the 156 episodes by heart.     When the program premiered in October of 1959 I was not yet seven, too young to recall if my parents tuned in to the loquacious man in a dark suit with a cigarette smoldering between his fingers. When the program went off the air in ’64, CBS ran episodes after school and during the summer. I was quickly hooked by sharp stories that were challenging, ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Radio Gibberish

January 06, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I love it when bloggers post music videos. I don’t make enough time in my life for music and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to add more music to my life. I inherited my dad’s radio when he passed a few years ago but I’ve yet to turn it on. Dad was a big country music enthusiast and I remember sitting on his lap and listening to Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. But it was another radio I remember most, a radio at my grandparents’ house. It played gibberish.         I’m calling it gibberish because I can’t think of a better word for speech I couldn’t understand. But gibberish sounds too negative and judgmental, not at all what I have in mind. What I heard ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Master of the Zombie Apocalypse

January 07, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Disclaimer: if you have an intense fear of your mortality you might want to pass on this post.        The public’s fascination with zombies never ceases to amaze me. TV shows like Zombie Hunters, Dead Set and Zombie Apocalypse receive huge ratings. And I know half a dozen bloggers who critique episodes of The Walking Dead with the seriousness of English majors analyzing Milton’s Paradise Lost.      I do not share this attraction for the “living dead.” Would someone please explain to me why zombies are always hungrier than stoned college kids? What’s the point of being dead if you need to spend all your time searching for live humans to snack on? Do zombies put ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

The *Science of Sneezing

January 09, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
There’s a nasty bug going around our neck of the woods. There’s probably one going around where you live as well. Yesterday I took Grandma Chatterbox to see her doctor for a post surgery checkup. (Yes, I did provide her with hair removal cream for her visit with handsome Dr. Fernando.)      I noticed that many people were sneezing in the doctor’s waiting room. The vampire sneeze is very popular these days, where you cover your mouth with your arm and sneeze into an invisible cape, which some say is preferable to covering your mouth with your hand and spreading crud like victims in Stephen King’s The Stand. Some people try to stifle a sneeze and make a sound similar to what happens when you remov ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Rubbed Raw in Verona

January 11, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Verona is a beautiful Italian city famous for someone who never lived there, as described by someone unlikely to have even visited Verona. Any guesses who I’m talking about? This should help:                          “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and (?) is the sun.”      Don’t have it yet?                                           &nb ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

The Other Side of the Mountain

January 13, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts

I don’t normally devote posts exclusively to pictures because my Blog is mostly about writing, but this image made me laugh so hard I couldn’t resist. No doubt you’ve seen pictures of Mount Rushmore but the view from the “other side of the mountain” is seldom photographed. And with good reason….

 


Happy Sunday everyone.




 + photos!,  read more

When Druids Go Wild!

January 14, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
One of the things I like most about travel is the unexpected effect famous monuments and sights have on me. I go to the Louvre to check out the Mona Lisa and discover that the painting is small and green, quite a disappointment. But other attractions exceed my expectations; the coffee shop on the Louvre's second floor has the best croissants I’ve ever tasted.      When Mrs. Chatterbox and I decided to visit Stonehenge we were told by friends and fellow travelers to lower our expectations. “It’s just a circle of stones,” they said, “and it’s smaller than you think.”       So I did lower my expectations. Standing in front of Stonehenge, I leaned against a protectiv ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

This Isn't My Underwear!

January 16, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  I recently posted a high school picture of myself and several followers commented that I didn’t look chubby at all. The picture was taken shortly after I’d managed to drop the weight.      I remember my parents taking me to have my thyroid checked when I was twelve because my baby fat wasn’t burning off. A slow learner, I’d finally come to the realization that life wasn’t fair; no one in my family was overweight. My older brother could eat a chocolate cake and burn it off by farting, whereas I could eat a carrot and my body would respond, “Let’s store this for the winter!” I remember seeing a chart in the doctor’s office that claimed I weighed as much as a f ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Channeling Julia Child

January 18, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
One day during my freshman year of high school an idea wormed into my head: it occurred to me that cooking could be nearly as satisfying as eating, so I got up early and made breakfast for everyone. My mother usually restricted herself to coffee and toast in the morning, with Dad and David settling for cold cereal. That morning I made scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes for everyone including David, even though my older brother treated me with the same disdain as my nemesis Chris Ferris. They all chowed down. I cleaned the kitchen and barely managed to get to school on time. That was when it dawned on me that I hadn’t had any breakfast at all.      Before long, I’d turned our kitchen into a breakfast caf&eac ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Helpful Husbandry

January 20, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
In an effort to demonstrate what a good husband I am I’ve decided to help Mrs. Chatterbox with an odious task. I screwed up the other morning and Mrs. Chatterbox is intent on telling everyone she can about it. So to spare her the trouble of hunting you down individually to inform you of my f**k up I’ve decided to let the cat out of the bag myself.      Mrs. Chatterbox and I have been together nearly four decades and in that time we’ve run out of gift-giving ideas. I’ve given Mrs. C. gifts both expensive and classy, as well as gifts that were questionable. (Note: Orange velour capes and matching hats such as the set I gave her in the seventies are making a comeback.) My wife has showered me with ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

A Magnificent Day!

January 21, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Today Barack Obama will once again be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. I’ve tried to steer clear of politics on this blog because the subject has become too volatile for a site attempting to entertain with art, humor and nostalgia. But this historic moment, like the inauguration four years ago, deserves a passing comment.         No doubt I’ve done a poor job concealing the fact that I’m a liberal, even though I don’t believe the Federal Government is the solution to every problem. As a liberal I reject the notion that the Federal Government cannot do anything right. I’ve long been at odds with those who wrap themselves in the flag while shouting, “ ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Travels and Travails

January 23, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
As I mentioned a few weeks back, Mrs. Chatterbox and I have decided to visit India at the beginning of March. Our travel agent forwarded an e-mail with the address of the Indian Consulate in Washington D.C. Evidently, we need visas for entering India. Last year when visiting Turkey visas were available at the Istanbul airport for thirty dollars. The Indian government charges nearly five times that amount and isn’t as accommodating, requiring these to be purchased in advance.      The form was lengthy and we struggled to fill it out. Questions were repeated in a variety of ways and we soon realized these questions were designed to reveal any affiliation with Pakistan. The two countries don’t get along. They& ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Tea & Tanks

January 25, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
This picture only resembles the silver tea service currently turning black with tarnish in our closet. I thought about polishing it for a photograph but I’m much too lazy. The tea service was commissioned in Berlin in 1961 by my father-in-law, Ed Petty. Ed was a lieutenant at the time, two thirds through a distinguished Army career that began at sixteen when he lied about his age and was sent to the frozen Aleutian Islands. He retired from the military as a lieutenant colonel.      In 1961 the Pettys were stationed in Berlin. The German capital still showed damage from relentless WWII bombing while managing to be a festive place, at least for American soldiers who considered it fortunate to be posted there. There ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Tea & Tanks: Part II

January 27, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Military personnel were on high alert in the months following the erection of the Berlin Wall. Russian forces were thought to be preparing an assault on the western sectors and the Petty family was put on alert; they needed to be ready to be airlifted out of Berlin at any moment. In a governmental SNAFU the family dog was accidentally shipped to Poland and kept alive with scraps from a kindhearted cargo handler.      Ed had little free time as he carried out his duties but he never forgot his debt to the silversmith. Try as he would, he wasn’t able to communicate with the old man or send money beyond the Wall with any hope of it reaching the right party. In 1962 Captain Petty’s Berlin tour of duty came to a ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Peculiar Picture # 21 - Jan 28th

January 28, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I’ve long enjoyed work from the golden age of American Illustration, early twentieth century paintings from masters such as Howard Pyle, NC Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish. Color photography was just coming into its own, adding a new dimension to classics like Tales of the Round Table, Robinson Crusoe, Aladdin and Treasure Island. I recall warm summer afternoons while sitting under the sycamore in our front yard, my nose pressed close to color drenched images of fairy tale characters, pirates and heroes.      In the 90s I succumbed to the temptation of trying my hand at fantasy illustration, but the need for a consistent paycheck caused me to switch to conceptual illustration for which there was a larger market. My Dr ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Pee: Standing or Sitting

January 30, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Several years ago Mrs. Chatterbox told me about a coworker (Glenda) who insisted her husband and four boys pee sitting down; standing in front of the toilet was forbidden. I commented that this wasn’t natural and those boys would probably grow up to have psychological problems. I might have referred to the husband as a wuss for putting up with such an aberration. After all, males were designed to urinate standing up. It’s hard to imagine early settlers crossing the continent in Conestoga wagons, fighting off hostiles, looking for water and a place to graze their oxen while looking for a nice place to sit and do a tinkle.      It might come as no surprise that Mrs. Chatterbox thought Glenda’s sitting-w ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Join 3000+ in the Bull Pen
Stephen Hayes
(a.k.a. Chubby Chatterbox)
has been published!
 

 

Order from your favorite book retailer

Another Easy Way to Follow

Type Your Email Here:

Visit our Store

 

-0001 (1) 2011 (5) 2012 (76) 2013 (200) 2014 (155) 2015 (140) 2016 (140) 2017 (76)