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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A Tale of Two Couches

February 13, 2017

In the forty-two years that Mrs. Chatterbox and I have been married, we’ve purchased our fair share of furniture, including a half dozen couches. We’re never happy with the couches we select; they end up being uncomfortable, the color is wrong or they fall apart—perhaps our fault since we live on our couches and we aren’t lightweight people.

           

There was a time when we decided on a sectional but got cold feet, instead purchasing two matching moss-green couches. We enjoyed them until we moved and they no longer looked good in our new place. We purchased a new down filled red couch from Crate and Barrel (which we also hated because of constant molting) and needed to rid ourselves of the old ones, one of which had been clawed by CJ’s cat when they lived with us.

           

We decided to keep one of the couches (I can’t recall why) and CJ suggested we sell the remaining one on Craig’s List, but I didn’t want to haggle with strangers and didn’t want any money. CJ suggested we offer them on Craig’s List for free, so that’s what I did.

           

I posted the ad and a woman called right away. She said she’d pick up the couch that afternoon. CJ had cautioned us that people would call but never show up so I warned this woman I intended to give the couch away to the first person to show up with a truck. She wasn’t happy I wouldn’t hold the couch since she claimed to be coming from a distance.

           

When a man with a truck arrived, I gave him the couch. As I helped load it into his pick-up I thought about the woman who just might be on her way and decided to give her the second unclawed couch in our garage, the one I’d intended to keep.

           

She showed up and saw me loading the couch into the fellow’s pick-up. She rolled down her window and gave me an uncooperative finger gesture—she flipped me off!

           

At the time, our street dead ended so she was forced to turn around and again pass by our house. Her window was still down so I gestured her over to the curb.

           

“You shouldn’t have flipped me off,” I said.

           

“You knew I was coming and you should have held it for me,” she grumbled.

           

“I have two identical couches and I was holding one for you, and it was in better condition than the one that fellow just drove off with.”

           

“Really?” she answered. “You still have a couch for me?”

           

“No, I had a couch for you. You really shouldn’t have flipped me off.”

           

She drove away in a huff.

           

I was reminded of this incident yesterday when Mrs. C. and I went shopping for a new couch. The one we’re currently sitting on will probably end up on Craig’s List. Let me know if you want to take it off my hands.

 

 

 

 

If you’re allergic to feathers you might want to pass.    

 

 

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Comments

26 Comments
AHHHCHOOO....not for me! Love the color! Have a soft downy day!
By: Kathe W. on February 13, 2017
Good response to Ms One-Finger-Salute. In recnet years I've sold/given away plenty of furniture, too. There's a lot to be said for living lean. :)
By: scott park on February 13, 2017
She blew it! Too funny. I wouldn't have given it to her either. We've been fortunate. In the coming up on thirty years we've lived together, my wife and I are only on our third couch.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on February 13, 2017
Will you hold it for me? I'll be there next week sometime. lol
By: PT Dilloway on February 13, 2017
When I gave a couch away a number of years ago, a charity sent a truck to pick it up. I think it was the Salvation Army. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on February 13, 2017
So glad you didn't reward her for her rudeness. I am facing the same conundrum right now. Want a new, but not sure how to get rid of the old.
By: Arkansas Patti on February 13, 2017
Do not need a couch but I have a terrific Oriental rug in red and navy blues that is about 12 X 18 and needs a good home for free!
By: Tabor on February 13, 2017
It's quite a job to get rid of ANYTHING responsibly these days. I hate throwing anything in the landfill if someone can use it, but I don't like dealing with ads and strangers. The most stuff we ever got rid of was during a town spring clean up. We had two barbecues and a bunch of metal stuff, and there was a little battered truck driving up and down the streets - as fast as we could put it out, they picked it up. There was barely anything left for the town to pick up. We thought they were probably in the scrap business. You did good! (and hopefully that woman learned a lesson)
By: jenny_o on February 13, 2017
Ive had several couches I tried to give away to the Salvation Army. They won;t take them if they look lived in. I thought they were in pretty good shape too, I don't remember how we got rid of them. Landfill probably. Even if you did not have a second couch, your response to the finger would have been prefect. Actually maybe even better.
By: cranky on February 13, 2017
You probably shouldn't talk that way to anyone anymore. Too many people are armed and angry.
By: Catalyst on February 13, 2017
I get the same experience on Kijiji. People say they'll be right over and then never show up.
By: redKline on February 13, 2017
We are starting to couch shop, it is a tricky proposition. Not sure if the couch pictured above is yours or not, but it looks comfortable.
By: Tom Cochrun on February 13, 2017
We've given away some things on Freecycle. It works well here, it's monitored and the monitors will ban people if they are no shows more than once or if they are trying to pick up everything that is offered (a sign they are collecting to resell).
By: messymimi on February 13, 2017
That's probably why our garage is filled with junk!!
By: fishducky on February 13, 2017
I calculated how many years you averaged per couch, because I want to get a new couch (I'm starting to hate ours), but feel guilty because it's only about 8 or 9 years old. I thank you for taking the guilt off me. I will start shopping for a couch! I need ideas, though. Could you show us a picture of your new couch?
By: Pixel Peeper on February 13, 2017
I salute you! And not with one finger! I like how you told her off, though I was thinking you might give her a salute of your own. Good thing you didn't have a mop bucket full of dirty water handy when she went by.
By: Val on February 13, 2017
I love what you did and serves her right. I'm not saying I wouldn't be upset but I would have parked the car and asked why? I'm glad she didn't get the couch and glad you have a new one
By: Birgit on February 13, 2017
Great looking couch. But, no thanks, and I won't flip you off either.
By: Mitchell is Moving on February 14, 2017
It doesn't pay to lose your temper.
By: Tamara Narayan on February 14, 2017
Cute story. Its great you stood your ground and made her eat the finger she threw up at you.
By: Lisa on February 14, 2017
Similar experience with a refrigerator...held it all through December for a "needy" couple. When they wanted to come in the rain and drive on the lawn, I said "no." Kindly asked them to wait till it was dry; after all, I'd waited a month for them. They said they'd do something else if they couldn't come that MINUTE. Arghhh.... But if you're willing to hold the NEXT couch, I only have to drive from Tennessee...
By: Cherdo on February 14, 2017
Love it! We gave a 1 month old flat screen TV with built in DVD, away on Freecycle (UK), we had no room for it and it was from a deceased relatives house, the kids wanted everything given away. A woman sent us a sob story, came and collected the TV. That night she sent us a really abussive, how we had given her a dead TV and how was she to SELL something that didnt work. She stated she was so annoyed with us, she hit it with a hammer and smashed the screen, as she was counting on the money from selling it. My other half sent her an email of one line, There was an on/off button on the back of the TV as well as the standby button on the remote. You just cant do anything nice for some people, they are just ungrateful and ungracious. Good for you with your retort!
By: Sol on February 15, 2017

By: Dani on February 15, 2017
A personal shopper/decorator might help the next time you're looking for a new piece of furniture. I'm pleased you provided the bird lady with a little education.
By: Daniel LaFrance on February 15, 2017
In the UK we have 'buy, swap & sell' which operates in a similar way. And after recently moving house, we've had a few bad experiences of where people have stated they want an item and then don't show up - infuriating!
By: Bryan Jones on February 16, 2017
She was rude and you did the right thing. What struck me as funny is that we are hell on couches too. Our last couch was like the red one in your photograph. It was comfortable, but the fabric collected (and showed) hair from our pups. We like the one we currently have, but it's beginning to sag on my end :( R
By: Rick Watson on February 18, 2017

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