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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Giants

April 18, 2016

I consider myself to be a somewhat skeptical person, someone who looks for hidden truths and questions nearly everything I’m told. I’ve been called a contrarian, a Doubting Thomas, but this wasn’t always so. I was a gullible kid and easily accepted what I was told. It didn’t help that my extended family included people who loved pulling my short little legs. As an example: it took very little to convince me that giants existed.

           

Uncle Art lived close to my grandmother’s house and after visiting Grandma and Grandpa my family would often walk over to Uncle Art’s house for a visit with him and Aunt Betty. In the corner of Uncle Art’s family room stood a massive baseball bat. I was seven; that bat towered over me and weighed more than a hundred pounds. Aside from its size, it was typical in every way, down to the wood-burned Louisville Slugger label.

 

I believed it to be a real baseball bat instead of what it really was—a project my uncle made in a high school woodworking class. I’d wrap my arms around that bat and feel my face burn while trying to hoist it, only succeeding by lifting it an inch or two. My seven-year-old brain was a fertile Petri dish of fantasy, so it wasn’t much of a challenge for my mischievous uncle to convince me that bat was real and he’d stolen it from a giant.

           

I was skeptical at first, but I come from a long line of storytellers and Uncle Art made up a convincing story, which I can no longer remember, about the giant from whom he’d acquired the bat. Around this time, I learned about Paul Bunyan and Babe the giant blue ox. If there were enormous lumberjacks and oxen, maybe there were giant baseball players. I began giving serious thought to giants and even had nightmares about evil goliaths peeling back the roof from our house and grabbing me in my bed.

           

In the 60s a TV show aired called Chillers from Science Fiction, featuring a hodgepodge of “B” movies. I remember seeing The Amazing Colossal Man and Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, movies that reinforced the belief that I shared the planet with a race of behemoths, as if billions of people weren’t enough for our overburdened planet. The main characters in these questionable movies were always psychotic, but definitely large enough to swing Uncle Art’s bat.

 

 

 

 

           

 

Back then, I was troubled by a reoccurring nightmare where I woke in the middle of the night, looked over at my brother who I shared a room with, and saw that one of his hands had inexplicably grown to the size of a VW Beetle. Other nightmares involving 50 Foot women stunted my budding sexuality for a few years.

           

Eventually, I learned the truth about Uncle Art’s baseball bat…and giants. Yet the vault containing my childhood fantasies remained crowded, only to become as empty as Al Capone’s safe when I learned the truth about Santa… and unicorns…and leprechauns, and the tooth fairy, and….

           

Like I said, I was a gullible kid. What about you? Was it easy for others to pull the wool over your tender young eyes?   

 

 

 

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Comments

25 Comments
My dad never pulled the wool over my ears. He even told me Santa Clause wasn't really fairly early. He just didn't believe in tall tales (very grounded in reality). He did indulge my love in dinosaurs though and allowed me to read scientific books about them.
By: Michael Offutt on April 18, 2016
You mean giants DON'T exist? Nuts. Yeah, those'd be GIANT nuts.
By: Al Penwasser on April 18, 2016
What about the San Francisco Giants?
By: fishducky on April 18, 2016
I wasn't gullible, but my nephew was, and my best friend and I would tell him all sorts of tall tales, which he believed.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 18, 2016
So, due to the fact that I am the worst liar you will ever know... My daughter officially knows there is no easter bunny. We haven't tackled the toof fairy or santa yet. But as of right now, we're too old for the toof fairy. Thank goodnesss, lol ... Anywho, she comes home with some stories from friends at school and I'm wondering if she's also a little gullible... Some of them are just off the wall and if they're true... her friends have really messed up lives... I dont know know how to feel.
By: Hey Monkey Butt on April 18, 2016
I think I was born a cynic. Always wondering what was the catch, the hook, the thing that would take money or time from me...or as a child my sense of self-worth. Sorry kid.
By: Tabor on April 18, 2016
My belief came to a halt at an early age, but i always liked pretending those things were real.
By: messymimi on April 18, 2016
I read a lot as a kid so I probably got rid of my belief in the supernatural pretty early.
By: Catalyst on April 18, 2016
oh my- I was a believer in all things fantastical- I believed in Peter Pan, the tooth fairy, Santa- you name them I believed! I would write notes to the little elves I believed lived in our house- and my parents would write notes back! It was a magical time for me. When I began to not believe- I asked my parents and their standard reply was- " If you think they are real- they are". I eventually figured it out!
By: Kathe W. on April 18, 2016
I was a child with a child-like mind... gullible and proud of it. I think the world would be a better place if we as adults could retain some of our child-like minds.
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 18, 2016
I don't think I was gullible, but I was naive. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on April 18, 2016
Oh yes. My brother formed an large egg out of concrete, buried it, then tricked me into digging it up. He convinced me we would all be rich. I fell for it hook line and sinker. I kind of miss that innocence..
By: Arkansas Patti on April 18, 2016
I've always been pretty cynical. I learned about Santa after finding presents stashed in my parents' closet. I wasn't the least bit upset (my mom was more generous than Santa ever could be).
By: The Bug on April 18, 2016
If a grownup told me something convincingly I often believed it so I can see where he would have been able to pull the wool over your eyes. I think I would have bit too. R
By: Rick Watson on April 18, 2016
I can relate because I believed people and therein lies the rub. My family, except my brother, didn't pull my leg but other kids did and then laughed at me and called me stupid. It was not fun. Yours sounds like it was more lighthearted. I still can be fooled but now, it is done in jest and not in a malicious way
By: Birgit on April 18, 2016
I think my brothers had at me more than my folks, but I still have trouble believing anyone would lie to me.
By: cranky on April 18, 2016
Indeed, you come from a long line of storytellers! I don't remember people telling me any tales when I was a kid, but I wouldn't pass up a chance to do some creative embellishing with my younger brothers and sisters.
By: Pixel Peeper on April 18, 2016
You may call kids gullible but I think it's much more being naive. they haven't had experiences to back anything up. Yes I fell for a lot of lines too.
By: Kline on April 18, 2016
Every couple of years, when my class of 14- and 15-year-olds reads the chapter about the universe, which includes discussions of red giants and white dwarfs...a kid will say, "You mean there really ARE giants?" Funny how nobody ever says that about the dwarfs.
By: Val on April 18, 2016
The idea of 50 feet women resembling that poster would by no means have prompted a nightmare. To the contrary they would have been the source of adolescent longing. Why am I only now learning about this film and the very idea itself? To whom should I complain?
By: Tom Cochrun on April 18, 2016
There was an age when I believed everything. And slowly I began to suspect that maybe Santa and the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny were 'imaginary'. But I was also greedy and not sure if making known my doubts would end up bringing an end to the 'goodies' I dearly loved receiving!
By: The Broad on April 19, 2016
My mom always called me gullible, and I seem incapable of proving her wrong. Sigh.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on April 19, 2016
Yeah, I was pretty much putty for any story my Grandpa wanted to dream up... It took one of my friends, when I was about 9 or so, to register that Grandpa was NOT born the same year that Oregon became a state... Ahem. Okay, let's not go into my math abilities, either, thanks... Cat
By: Cat on April 19, 2016
Yeah and uncles were often the ones to pull the wool over my eyes... but just imagine being the pitcher facing that Giant with the bat :)
By: Sage on April 19, 2016
My father told me that, when the ice-cream van played music this meant that it had run out of ice-cream! And I wouldn't describe that 50-foot woman as a nightmare - more like a wet dream.
By: Bryan Jones on April 21, 2016

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