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


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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Six Minutes

July 26, 2017

These days the police seem to be receiving a lot of bad press, so a good cop story would seem to be in order. You might have missed this on the news because there wasn’t a tragic outcome, but for me it’s personal; it happened in the building where my wife and son work.


The Police Records Department is located several yards inside the front door to our city hall. A thin young man, approximately eighteen years old, paced in the entryway before approaching the window and mumbling something.


Kathy (not her real name) was working the desk. “Could you repeat what you just said?”


The young man wiped sweat off his brow with the back of his hand and said, “I need help. I’m overdosing on mushrooms.”


Kathy called for police backup. It didn’t take long for three officers to appear. Unfortunately, the mushrooms were playing tricks with the young man’s mind and instead of police officers he later claimed he saw three terrorists about to release bombs. He attacked, swinging at them.


The officers tried to restrain him, without success. During the mêlée that ensued, the young man was tasered several times, to no effect. He registered no pain and possessed super human strength.


During the scuffle with police the young man, who records would later show had a spotless record, ripped a gun from one of the officer’s holsters and fired, leaving an apple-sized hole in a concrete wall a dozen yards from the Records window near a waiting area where, fortunately, no one was waiting that day. The mentally disturbed man managed to squeeze off another shot, this one aimed at the face of another officer. For reasons not yet known, this time the gun did not fire.


While trying to suppress and disarm this young man, one of the officers tore the bicep muscle from his elbow, an injury that will require surgery and physical rehabilitation, but all three officers persevered and continued to struggle with him.


Six more officers appeared on the scene, and they worked up a sweat pinning the guy’s flailing arms behind him. Although the kid was slender and not built like a linebacker, he snapped the metal cuffs like they were a toy. More tasering proved ineffective. It took the combined effort of nine officers to finally subdue him.


Fortunately for the officers who’d drawn their weapons, the young man was restrained with only minor injuries. I understand he’d intended to enlist and had been planning a career in the military, a career now all but impossible.


Although my loved ones were not present at the time, a stray bullet could have taken the life of a friend or coworker. I’m grateful for the presence of the police, and I’m sure that one day this fellow will appreciate the fact that, at great risk to themselves, the police chose not to shoot him.


Slapping a moral onto this story is just too easy. Instead, I’ll point out that all of this took place in six minutes, six minutes that could have occurred in your city as well as mine.


Thanks to police men and women everywhere. Yes, there are bad ones out there, which is why it’s important to comment when they act with restraint and heroism.





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Wow I didn't realize shrooms did that.
By: PT Dilloway on July 26, 2017
That could have turned out so differently!!
By: fishducky on July 26, 2017
Six minutes. Amazing!
By: Kelly on July 26, 2017
A great story with a happy ending. Like you I'm a supporter of our police. Not an apologist for those few who do wrong, but a supporter of all those who take care of us and do good in our communities.
By: scott park on July 26, 2017
What a terrifyingly long 6 minutes!
By: Laurie on July 26, 2017
In this day and age, police and all other first responders work can be catastrophic at any time or place. I agree with you Stephen, we need to hear about the positive outcomes.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 26, 2017
Not all cops are bad. We had an incident with our older daughter in AZ a couple of years back which I couldn't blog about, but I have to say the police handled the whole situation brilliantly. I was so worried as unlike British cops, American police carry guns etc. but they handled the situation with real restraint.
By: LL Cool Joe on July 26, 2017
An important and great post, Stephen. You are absolutely correct! Thanks for sharing. I am grateful a potentially lethal situation turned out as it did.
By: Tom Cochrun on July 26, 2017
Yes, it would have been easier just to shoot, i'm so glad they did not. Perhaps this young man can now turn his life around.
By: messymimi on July 26, 2017
Probably not a coincidence that the young man in trouble WENT TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT for help!
By: Val on July 26, 2017
There are good stories that happen every day and we need to do our best to share them. It took guts to do what those guys did. R
By: Rick Watson on July 26, 2017
Just say no to shrooms. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on July 26, 2017
What a sight that must have been, good job on the cops for showing restraint.
By: blogoratti on July 26, 2017
This sure makes one think what could happen in six short minutes and how wrong things could go. So happy for your family and the police that it went well this time.
By: Kate on July 26, 2017
Too often these situations end in tragedy. There's no easy way to control and often fire arms are used.
By: redKline on July 26, 2017
Wow ... I'm glad no lives were lost. I am also glad for those who feel called to these jobs and stand between danger and the public on a regular basis.
By: jenny_o on July 26, 2017
wow- this could have ended up so differently. My hat's off to these brave police. Not just now but every day. They keep us safe and they are very brave. Only a few are bad apples. Thanks Stephen.
By: Kathe W. on July 27, 2017
You are so right. These things happen all the time but get no press. We only hear those with fatal outcomes. Thanks for telling this story Stephen. It is needed.
By: Arkansas Patti on July 27, 2017
Great job my the cops, but holy crap...he broke the cuffs? I love mushrooms, but they don't give me super strength.
By: cranky on July 27, 2017
My little brother is diabetic and had a dangerous blood sugar drop in the middle of the night. Out of insulin for some reason, he hopped in his truck to go get more and his mind left him somewhere along the way. He was found by an elderly woman out on some backroads 60 miles from his home. She called the police to get the strange man. When they arrived, his brain couldn't process what was happening and he thought, Hulk Hogan was trying to kill him. He was in a weakened state because of the blood sugar issue, so it was not difficult to subdue him, but not before he tangled himself in a barbed wire fence. The officers were awesome.
By: Brett Minor (Transformed Nonconformist on July 27, 2017
It seems incredible that it took 9 officers to subdue one skinny young man. But I know when someone is going crazy they're unpredictable and sometimes have superhuman energy ... which all goes to show how much the police put on the line personally to do that job. We should all be thankful. I wonder ... what do you think about body cameras?
By: Tom Sightings on July 27, 2017
Amazing how six minutes can change your life.
By: Pixel Peeper on July 30, 2017
That could have gone so badly wrong in many different ways, I'm glad nobody was killed in this instance, like you pointed out, officer, bystander, or even this young man, anyone could have lost their life in that six minutes. I thank the Good Lord for our police departments, it's a difficult job with little recognition for their good deeds.
By: Jimmy on July 31, 2017

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