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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Blog

Hung in Fussen

October 29, 2014
While traveling through Germany in the seventies, Mrs. C. and I took a train from Bitburg to Füssen in southern Bavaria to visit Ludwig II’s iconic Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Night had fallen by the time we stepped away from the train station to look for a hotel, my backpack heavy with souvenirs and a tattered copy of Frommer’s Europe on Ten Dollars ...

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Danish Traffic Jams...and Jellies

October 27, 2014
Denmark is amazingly clean, beautiful, and extremely well organized, unless you’re on a bus in Copenhagen on a Sunday. Mrs. C. and I were headed to see the world famous statue of the Little Mermaid, donated by Carl Jacobsen of Carlsberg Breweries and placed at the harbor’s edge in 1913, now arguably the most visited site in Denmark.
           
We sat ...

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Would You Eat This Stuff?

October 24, 2014
Since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with Ancient Rome. Had I been that kid in the movie Airport I’d have answered yes when Peter Graves asked, “Do you like gladiator movies?” Sure, the Romans had their problems, mostly a societal thirst for blood and a system of governance that makes our politics look like kindergarten squabbles, but Rome still managed to effectively rule ...

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Bifurcate

October 22, 2014
 
I’ve recently received word that two more of my stories have been accepted by Publishing Syndicate, this time for inclusion in their upcoming book On Sex, 69 hilarious stories about everything SEX. This publisher is also interested in completed manuscripts so I’ve been bifurcating my time between writing and painting. It’s been hard putting down my brushes after setting them aside for ...

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Subject Matter

October 20, 2014

I couldn’t see the owner of the voice saying “Hi” to me in our pool locker room because a curtain of clothes hangers blocked my view. I parted the hangers but still couldn’t identify the person. I said, “Who is it? Without my glasses everything looks like a Monet painting.”
                
The person said, ...

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Viral Couch

October 17, 2014
 If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a psychiatrist, here’s your chance. Grab a notepad and prepare to diagnose. I lie before you on an imaginary couch, in need of a psychiatric evaluation. I’m being haunted by a recurring dream.
    
We dream every night, but until recently I seldom remembered mine, aside from occasional “water” dreams when I drink ...

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The Leopard Changes Its Spots: Conclusion

October 15, 2014
This tale is from “The Kid in the Kaleidoscope.” If you missed Part One catch it (here) 
 
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By the spring of my junior year, it was time to do something about the abuse heaped on me by Coach Jenkins. The time for revenge had arrived, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Ricky Delgado had spent nearly as much time at Juvy ...

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The Leopard Changes Its Spots

October 13, 2014
 
 
 
 
 Phys. Ed. was my least favorite class at Wilcox High School. I’d managed to lose most of my excess weight, but I had yet to develop muscle tone. Mr. Jenkins, the P.E. teacher/football coach, was making my life miserable. He wanted my All-Star brother David for the football team, but David didn’t have time and constantly turned him down. Coach Jenkins took it out on me. Several ...

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Confession Time...Again

October 10, 2014
I watch too much TV.
    
With my propensity to chatter, it’s no surprise that I strike up conversations with anyone, including the cute 35ish lifeguard at the pool where I swim. I asked her if she was a fan of Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or any of the über-hyped programs about to return to the Fall lineup.
    
She said, “Oh, I don’t ...

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Taft's Tub

October 8, 2014
Recently, while watching Ken Burns’ documentary on the Roosevelts, I saw pictures of the president following Teddy into the White House. I was reminded of this post, written in the early months of Chubby Chatterbox.
 
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Some stories are stuck in the public’s consciousness and can’t be dislodged by logic or evidence to ...

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Doing the Right Thing

October 6, 2014

When I mentioned it to Mrs. Chatterbox she looked alarmed, like I’d lost my mind. When I stopped speaking she said, “You did the right thing.”
    
When I mentioned it to our son CJ, he cocked his head like I was stupid for even considering such a thing. Finally, relief flooded his face and he said. “You did the right thing.”
    
But I still feel ...

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Small World

October 3, 2014
About fifteen years ago, Mrs. Chatterbox and I flew to Tahiti where we boarded a ship for a cruise through French Polynesia. We weren’t particularly thrilled with Tahiti and its dirty congested capital, Papeete. And the famous black beaches were beautiful, but the sand heated up to nearly two hundred degrees, making it impossible to walk barefoot into the surf. But many of the surrounding islands were unpopulated ...

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