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.

All Blog Posts


Paradise Lost

March 27, 2015

One of the guys I hung out with in college was an architecture student named Alan Aoki, the son of a prominent Northern California florist. His parents often sent flowers to his dorm room, which at first we all thought strange, but eventually we came to appreciate the wonderful scents and colors.

           

One night while partying in Alan’s room, he pointed at a recently delivered birds of paradise arrangement. We were admiring the brilliant tropical colors when Alan launched into a lecture on this native South American plant. He shared with us a florist secret. Pulling one of the flowers from its container he said, “Most people don’t know this, but beneath the bird-shaped flower is another, waiting to bloom. The main flower usually dies before the second appears, but if you make a small slice with a knife, the second one will emerge before the entire thing dies.”

           

You can imagine how hopped up we were on Ancient Age and pot to find this fascinating.

           

A few weeks later, I found myself sitting in the living room of my girlfriend’s parents. As it turned out, birds of paradise were my future mother-in-law’s favorite flower; a large bouquet of them rested on an end table. Like most guys, I wanted to impress my future in-laws, and remembering Alan’s lecture, launched into the history of birds of paradise, making a point to mention the secret to releasing that second bud.

           

Mrs. C’s mother smiled patiently, and when I stopped talking she said, “There aren’t any secret buds waiting to open in that bouquet.”

           

I politely told her she was wrong. “I know for a fact because I’ve seen it with my own eyes—if you take a knife and make a slice in the stem just below the flower, another will emerge in a few days.”

           

Mrs, C’s mother smiled politely and shook her head. “That’s highly unlikely.”

           

As an overly confident college student eager to display my newfound knowledge, I did my best to convince her I was right and she was wrong. We discussed this for several minutes, until she finally exclaimed, “I hear what you’re saying, but it really doesn’t matter, In this case, you’re wrong.”

           

“How can you be so sure there aren’t hidden flowers in this bouquet waiting to bloom?” I asked.

           

Mrs. C’s mother grinned. “I know because that bouquet is made of plastic.”  

 

 

 

 

Painted by my alter ego, Esteban Correia

 

 

 

 

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

 

 

 



Comments

24 Comments
Poor you! Still and all, I bet she learned something she hadn't known before!
By: The Broad on March 27, 2015
Why do women do that? That would be my wife, they just can't say "It's plastic" up front.
By: Cranky on March 27, 2015
If I were the mother, I probably would have just said, "That's interesting! I did not know that," and let it go. You got a damn good painting out of it, though!
By: Katy Anders on March 27, 2015
hah! silly you!
By: Kathe W. on March 27, 2015
I saw that coming. However, I was worried that, in your enthusiasm, you took out your pocketknife and did a demonstration on the face flower.
By: Mitchell is Moving on March 27, 2015
Someone was 'schooled' that day. Did the in-laws remind you whenever the opportunity arose?
By: Daniel LaFrance on March 27, 2015
Well, i usually can't tell fake from real flowers, either, until i look closely.
By: mimi on March 27, 2015
Once in Hawaii I heard a know-it-all tourist talking to her friend, who was admiring a bird of paradise plant. Her friend had never seen one & was told by the know-it-all that Hawaii was the only place in the world they grew. I thought that was interesting because my mother-in-law (in Los Angeles) had 2 HUGE plants at her home, so I almost always had some in a vase at my house!! There are 3 flowers in each one & I would just reach in & gently pull the others up.
By: fishducky on March 27, 2015
oh, that made me laugh! :)
By: TexWisGirl on March 27, 2015
Well darn, I thought sure you would do the surgery. She really reeled you in. At least you knew then what you were getting into.
By: Akansas Patti on March 27, 2015
Oh dear, you did make an impression! I think I am somewhat glad I forget my stupid stuff, but then I have nothing interesting to write about!
By: Tabor on March 27, 2015
Ha! That sounds like something my mom would have done.
By: The Bug on March 27, 2015
That was just mean and ungracious of her to argue with you and then "prove" herself right in the end. At least I know from your frequent mentions that your wife turned out much nicer than her mother.
By: Lexa Cain on March 27, 2015
Well...one of you was right.
By: Val on March 27, 2015
Hmmm...I'm wondering if your mother-in-law had a particularly odd sense of humor! Was she just trying to pull your leg by keeping the information about the flowers being plastic from you?
By: Pixel Peeper on March 27, 2015
Oh, my! You tried so hard. Who has plastic flowers? Not I, said the Junebug. Plastic flowers should be illegal, and the same with plastic fruit. Pot, however, should be legal. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on March 27, 2015
Hahahahaha! She really had you going there!
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on March 27, 2015
This post made me hoot!
By: John on March 28, 2015
Ouch! ....but it is a good story! :)
By: Jenny Woolf on March 28, 2015
I'm still trying to accommodate how you fortified yourself with pot AND Ancient Age. You must have been running with stallions in those days. Your alter ego created a great painting none-the-less and I am glad that your younger self was not impetuous enough to take pocket knife to Bird of Paradise.
By: Tom Cochrun on March 28, 2015
She shoulda put money on it!
By: Al Penwasser on March 28, 2015
Ha, I just knew that was coming!
By: LL Cool Joe on March 29, 2015
In the Farscape sci-fi series, the bird of paradise flower was what allowed the Scarin(?) to evolve into highly-intelligent brutes.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on March 29, 2015
Ouch. I can see myself in that situation. :)
By: Rick Watson on March 29, 2015

Leave a Comment

Name:
Email:
Comment:

Return to All Blog Posts Main Page


RSS 2.0   Atom