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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Doppelganger

February 4, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

doppelgänger |ˈdäpəlˌga ng ər|

noun:

an apparition or double of a living person.

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from German, literally ‘double-goer.’

 

        

When I was thirteen I went with my dad to fetch a pizza from a place up the highway. It was hot in the pizzeria because of the huge oven so I went outside to cool off. Next door was the Honky Tonk, the bar where Ricky Delgado’s dad went after work for a snootful. Ricky was my best friend, and I knew George had beaten him more than once after staggering home from the Honky Tonk. Dust from the nearby El Camino Real coated the window. I rubbed a spot clean and peered inside. George Delgado wasn’t at his usual place at the bar, but I recognized someone else.

           

I walked back to the pizzeria and rejoined my dad.

           

“Is George next door?” he asked.

           

“No, but Uncle Kenny is.”

           

Dad looked at me curiously. “Uncle Kenny? You must be mistaken.”

           

I shook my head. Dad had nine siblings and Kenny was his youngest brother. “It’s him alright,” I said.

           

Uncle Kenny had lived with us a few months after returning from Japan and leaving the military.

           

When our pizza was pulled from the oven and boxed, Dad paid for it and placed the pizza on the backseat of our car. Then we went to see if I was right or needed new glasses. Uncle Kenny was a bachelor currently living across town. He wasn’t in the habit of coming to our neighborhood unless invited for Sunday dinner, and we hadn’t seen him much since he landed a new girlfriend. I followed Dad inside, even though the sign on the door said: NO MINORS.

           

Uncle Kenny sat with his back to us, but a mirror ran the length of the wall behind the bar and his face was plainly visible in the reflection.

           

Dad grinned, walked up to his brother and slapped him on the back. “Hey stranger! Haven’t seen you in months. What are you doing here?”

           

Uncle Kenny swiveled on his barstool and looked up at Dad. “Do I know you?”

           

Dad’s mouth dropped open. “Kenny?”

           

“’Fraid not.”

           

It was unbelievable! The man had a deeper voice than my uncle, but the likeness was uncanny, far more than a mere resemblance.

           

Dad kept staring.

           

“I can show you my driver’s license if you’d like.”

           

“That isn’t necessary. Sorry to bother you.”

           

We went back to our car.

           

“That was weird,” Dad said as we drove home. “I’d have identified that man as my brother in a police line-up, sworn under oath it was him. That must have been your uncle’s doppelgänger.”

           

“Doppelgänger?” I asked.

           

“Sure. It’s said we all have one, somebody who looks just like us. But before today I hadn’t believed it.”

           

It got me wondering if there was another chubby me out there, wearing Junior Husky Jeans rolled halfway to the knees, maybe someone who got better grades in Math than I did. I wondered if I’d ever find him, and what I’d say to me if I did.

           

Do you believe in doppelgängers? Have you ever come across one of yourself or someone you know?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

28 Comments
ooh, that's cool to have it happen in real life (not just celebrity pages). :) i bet we have several look-alikes out there - i mean, how many combinations of human genes can there be? :)
By: TexWisGirl on February 4, 2015
I've seen plenty of doubles in my life, but never MY double. But if he's out there, poor bastard, I wish him well. ;)
By: Scott Park on February 4, 2015
I'm not sure if I believe in doppelgangers or not. I'd like to think there's one of me out there somewhere. I hope she's rich, healthy, and happy. :)
By: Lexa Cain on February 4, 2015
Yes, I have experienced this myself several times...it is creepy.
By: Cranky on February 4, 2015
With all of the combinations of DNA out there I do believe in dopplegangers. They change over time. I once thought I looked like Kim Darby but we both have changed in different ways. I also saw my son and my dad in Italy on my last trip there!
By: Tabor on February 4, 2015
I haven't, but I'd LOVE to!!
By: fishducky on February 4, 2015
Yep I believe in dopplegangers! I have spotted friends that cannot be where I see them- and my friends have seen me in foreign places when they know I am still home in the US. It is weird though....cheers! PS did you ever tell your Uncle Kenny?
By: Kathe W. on February 4, 2015
At least your dad made the same mistake. I do believe some people have twins, although I've never met mine.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on February 4, 2015
I have seen many look-alikes of others. But with the exact features, not yet.
By: Lea on February 4, 2015
Had a few close look alikes but no dead ringers, I hear we all have one. I use to want to find mine so that I could blame my misdeeds on her
By: Akansas Patti on February 4, 2015
One of my neighbors has a doppelganger who lives somewhere in our neighborhood. When I see the doppelganger, I get confused. She even has a daughter and a son, like my neighbor. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on February 4, 2015
I believe that we might have a hard time realizing that someone looks just like us...similarly to how we don't recognize our own voices when we hear them recorded and played back. With that said, a few years ago I noticed a silver Honda Civic hatchback in traffic - just like I was driving. I looked at the person driving it and was stunned as to how much the other woman looked like me, right down to the dimples. We sort of grinned at each other and then lost each other in the traffic. I don't know if she thought that I looked like her, or if she just grinned because we drove the exact same type of car. It was spooky.
By: Pixel Peeper on February 4, 2015
I've never come across myself, but I have met my brother many times. I told one guy that he looked exactly like my brother. His obvious reply, "He must be a good lookin guy."
By: red on February 4, 2015
No, i've never seen look-alikes except for twins.
By: mimi on February 4, 2015
Never seen one. Which is not to say I don't believe in them.
By: Val on February 4, 2015
Well, you-all really do look an awful lot alike.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on February 4, 2015
Yes, there's a lady in my town who looks so like my sister, the same height, the same hair, same walk, they even where similar clothes. I often think it's her although up close (and it has to be pretty close) I can see it's not. When I was 15 a girl in my class brought a magazine into school and asked if one of the models in a hair article was me. Even I thought it must be me, she was my double down to the small mole to the left of her mouth. The only difference was that she had blue eyes whereas I have one blue and one green. It was incredible though, other than that we were identical!
By: Sarah Mac on February 5, 2015
A most interesting story and amazing that such physical similarities exist.
By: John on February 5, 2015
Great story. I have had people tell me that they've seen my twin. My niece looks just like me. In fact my mother keeps calling her by my name when she sees her and then corrects herself..LOL. I will write a post about my true doppleganger very soon. I don't want to give away the story you've inspired. I'll link back to you when I do.
By: Bouncin Barb on February 5, 2015
Twice in my life I have come face to face with "me", or at least a very close facsimile. Once when I was in high school. The family drove to Yellowstone and in a restaurant was a waitress who even my Mom was flabergasted by the resemblance to me. And then a couple of years ago, I went to the senior center close to my house to pick up the schedule of trips and activities and there I was sitting in a classroom learning how to knit. It was kinda spooky.
By: Oma Linda on February 5, 2015
I can't say that I've seen anyone who was identical to someone I know .. strong resemblances though. And I've been told by a few people that they've seen my doppelganger through the years.. different places and times.
By: Hilary on February 5, 2015
It was with significant unease to realize there's probably someone out there who looks like me. Poor bugger.
By: Al Penwasser on February 5, 2015
I believe. That's remarkable that his own brother thought it was him, though. He could've been a twin. I've had many people tell me they know or saw someone who looks just like me. I haven't met her/them yet, but I look forward to that day.
By: Robyn Engel on February 5, 2015
When I (and he) were both younger, people often said I resembled Robert Redford. I couldn't see it myself. I mean, I think of myself as handsome.
By: Catalyst on February 5, 2015
I never heard of the term before. I have heard people mention they've seen my double.
By: Daniel LaFrance on February 5, 2015
I have a good friend who eventually became a colleague. Before that he was an FBI agent and a contact of mine during my reporting days. I saw him a couple of times at a favorite restaurant, said Hi but got no response or a kind of rebuff. I thought, well he may be on an investigation or undercover and couldn't acknowledge my greeting for some good reason. Well it turns out, as I learned later when we became better buddies, he has an identical twin. As we sorted through this and laughed about it I learned his twin had a real liking to the restaurant and it was him, not my pal that I saw.
By: Tom Cochrun on February 5, 2015
I once went home with a friend from college so he could freak everyone out - I looked just like his sister, apparently & he thought it would be fun to show me around. I never even met her, but people did agree we looked alike. I only went along because I was interested in him, but either he wasn't interested in me or he was dense because he didn't make a move during the whole trip. What a waste! :)
By: The Bug on February 6, 2015
That must have been a weird experience. I suspect I do not have a doppelganger - my mother used to often say that they threw the mould away after I popped into the world!
By: Bryan Jones on February 8, 2015

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