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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Three Wishes

January 12, 2015

I was an unusually deep thinker as a child, a kid who contemplated philosophy and religion, a chubby little Stephen Hawking contemplating the nature of the universe. But mostly I was consumed by something that trumped these notable concerns. I was worried about genies.

           

“Genies?” you might say.

           

Yes, genies.

           

I was convinced that at any moment I could become the owner of a discarded brass lamp in need of polishing. Not being a typical kid, I resolved at all times to be ready with my three wishes. I’d read enough about these impish creatures to know they were a devious sort, always trying to trick you into making foolish requests, ready to punish you if you asked for more wishes. My best friend Ricky Delgado insisted that he’d need but one wish—to fire the genie and take his place, but I was too smart for that; as a chubby kid I had no interest in squeezing into a cramped brass lamp, nor did I want to be at the beck and call of future idiots acquiring the lamp, idiots like me. I wasn’t altruistic enough at that tender age to want to help make the wishes of others come true, and I never heard it said that the genie could grant wishes for himself, or else he wouldn’t be a captive of that lamp.

           

As you can see, I gave this serious thought. I also believed something that, though unsubstantiated, I held to be true: a genie wouldn’t give you days or hours or even minutes to make your three wishes, he’d make you rattle them off all at once in hope of confusing you into asking for something stupid, like being a king, only to find yourself as Louis XVI being pushed beneath the guillotine. There were many problems with wishing for immense wealth; I was painfully familiar with the story of poor King Midas, and asking for something as simple as “good health” could force you to live long after living had lost its appeal.

           

So what to wish for? I fretted about this for a long time. I had no interest in women back then, beautiful or otherwise, and it seemed a waste to wish for “thinness” since this was something I was constantly reminded could be remedied with diet and exercise—it never occurred to me to wish for willpower.

           

I finally narrowed it down to three wishes. These might sound ridiculous to you, but I assure you they were selected after considerable thought, choices designed to make my life better while not antagonizing a puckish genie into taking out his wrath on me.

 

Wish #1

My first wish was to be able to suck a Lifesaver without chewing it. I’d experienced tremendous ridicule from my older brother because I lacked the ability to suck instead of chew. My grandfather was in the habit of handing out Lifesavers and mine would be gone in seconds while my brother could make his last for hours. It didn’t help that Ricky Delgado could suck a Lifesaver thinner than a communion wafer. I’d feel like such a loser when I’d hear and feel that hideous crunching sound in my mouth.

 

Wish #2

It’s a sad fact that I was a lazy kid, but at a tender age I noticed my brother wasn’t asked to do nearly as much around the house as me. He was left alone because he had the uncanny ability to always look busy, whether or not he was actually doing anything. I thought this a marvelous ability, one worth acquiring. When I was doing nothing, it seemed an alarm went off at our house alerting my parents to the fact that there was an idle fat kid on the premises in need of being put to work. So my second wish was to have the ability to look busy when I wasn’t. C’mon, you’ve all had co-workers with this ability, someone always complaining about how swamped they were when you were churning out twice as much work, right?

 

Wish #3

This was the wish I was the most proud of—to never need to be busy. I imagined spending my life reading and playing and thinking, without worrying that anyone would realize I was a lazy oaf. Obviously, if I didn’t need to be busy, I’d need to be wealthy, having never actually asked for money. In this way, I could outsmart that snarky genie.

           

To date, I’ve never been visited by a genie. In spite of this, I was granted one of my wishes. If I concentrate harder than King George VI giving a speech, I can now suck a Lifesaver without chewing it. What about you? Have you ever dreamed of rubbing a magic lamp? No? Well think about it now.

           

What would your three wishes be? Be careful they can’t backfire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

31 Comments
Love it. I'm not even a thoughtful adult, let alone a thoughtful lad like you were! But I did have my eye on a wonderful blue genie lamp in my grandmother's house, which now sits proudly on a bookshelf in mine.
By: Mike@A Bit About Britain on January 12, 2015
You wished to suck and it came true - that's good. I didn't want to look busy, I just wanted to be invisible so no one could find me doing nothing.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on January 12, 2015
The closest I ever came to wishing was imagining I was some sort of superhero.
By: Daniel LaFrance on January 12, 2015
Your wishes sound like something a kid would make. My wishes now would be: 1) I wish my parents were 20 years younger. 2) I wish I had $10 million dollars. That's all I really need to be happy for the rest of my life. 3) I wish my body would burn twice the amount of calories it burns now.
By: Michael Offutt on January 12, 2015
I did dream about finding a magic lamp but like most other kids, I thought I had the original idea of asking for three more wishes for my third. But one of my wishes was for everyone to be able to tune in and experience what someone else is feeling.. their level of pain, anguish.. joy or comfort. I guess essentially I wanted some sort of concrete meter for empathy. Or something a doctor could tune into to know what you're feeling. The other was that upon dying, we'd know the answers to all the little things we'd pondered through our lives.. What that little pain was.. What was that sound we heard one night?.. Why did so-and-so seem to disappear? etc. And then those three more wishes, please!
By: Hilary on January 12, 2015
#1 wish- to weigh 140 and look good in my clothes (I weigh double that). #2 wish- Have several million dollars to live on and help my kids out. #3 wish- to be healthy again. Dream of Jeanie was my fave show in it's time. I was a kid and wanted my own Jeanie so bad. Never happened. hmmm
By: Saundra McKenzie on January 12, 2015
#1 wish: omniscience. I'm still working on the other two.
By: Catalyst on January 12, 2015
I never realized they were so tricky, now I have to put in some real thought. 1. I wish my ex wives would come down with a rare condition that would make them hic cup "Camptown Race Track" three times a day. 2. I wish people would stop killing others for their beliefs. 3. I'd wish for the ability to make BMW's engine stall when they tail gate me or cut me off.
By: Cranky on January 12, 2015
These are some great wishes in the comments! Here are mine (with no thought whatsoever, so the genie will surely give me fits): 1. I would like $500,000. 2. I would like to ENJOY exercise. 3. I would like for Dr. M & me to be healthy.
By: The Bug on January 12, 2015
No wishes. No point. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on January 12, 2015
Yes I did dream of a magic lantern when I was younger. Pretty sure I put a pony first on my imaginary list (that came true sans genie) . Second was for astounding math ability(had a crush on my fresh out of college math teacher with Clark Kent looks) and third, hundreds of dollars. I kind of shot on the money low but then I was a kid with a 25 cent allowance. Hundreds was huge.
By: Akansas Patti on January 12, 2015
too funny! i'm a hard candy chewer, for sure! and as for my wishes, i dare say i'd be so specific so as not to be given some 'surprise' wish that the genie would fall asleep...
By: TexWisGirl on January 12, 2015
I also did mental gymnastics with the three wish thing. It must have been the Twilight Zone episode with a genie that made me have a carefully honed list just in case. I love your wishes.....great thoughts.
By: Oma Linda on January 12, 2015
1. World Peace 2. Everyone has a meaningful to them job 3. no one goes hungry. Hopefully no mean genie would figure out a way to make these 3wishes backfire! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on January 12, 2015
1) Lots of money for travel to see my family more often 2) a 1969 Jaguar XKE Convertible in Cherry Red 3) a maid who cooks, cleans, grocery shops and does laundry for free.
By: Bouncin Barb on January 12, 2015
So far, i've gotten as far as a long mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy life, and to always have as much money as i need for what i want and need at any moment of that life. Beyond that, i'm rather stuck. World peace, maybe?
By: mimi on January 12, 2015
1) acknowledgement for the positive things I do, 2) disregard of the negative things I do, 3) less things to do
By: Val on January 12, 2015
I always wanted tons of money. I didn't think much further than that, and I wasn't afraid of making the genie mad. Who cares about a mad genie when you've got tons of money? Now, as an adult, I'd have to think for a while...
By: Pixel Peeper on January 12, 2015
I like your cartoon at the end. I would not ask for anything personal but would want to see piece in the world.
By: red on January 12, 2015
I'd wish for ten more wishes, of course!
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on January 12, 2015
And of course, you may remember the late John Ritter dressed as a genie for a party in "Skin Deep"! :)
By: Michael Manning on January 12, 2015
Peace in the world, health for everyone and perpetual happiness! Good work in learning how to manage the life of a lifesaver.
By: Tom Cochrun on January 13, 2015
I don't really have three wishes because I gave up on genies a long while ago. But I like your wishes so maybe I'll just copy you.
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on January 13, 2015
A great post and a thought provoking one too. The last TV show that I watched with a Genie, was set at Christmas and it was called Bernard and the Genie.
By: John on January 13, 2015
Loved your number three wish. It reminds me of Solomon replying to God that he would be granted wisdom and God liked that answer, gave him the wisdom and gave him riches as well because he knew he could handle it. Let's see what my wishes might be: I am tempted to ask the genie to replicate the lamp tenfold, thereby tricking him into giving me 30 wishes and not just 3. But here is what I would wish: 1. Universal good health 2. Universal happiness 3. Universal prosperity In that way I could unselfishly wish for health, happiness and prosperity. Interesting subject. Sorry I have been away for so long . . . . . :) Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year ~ we don't need a gene . . . . lol
By: Eddie Bluelights on January 13, 2015
I spent much of my childhood in an imaginary world where all things were possible and genies, fairies and pixies were real and I could talk to butterflies. Maybe I'd wish to return to those times. I read a story once about a man who wished he had 'just enough' - enough words to say the things he needed to say, enough time to do the things he needed to do, enough money to pay for the things he needed because 'just enough' was enough, it always seemed like a good wish to me.
By: Sarah on January 14, 2015
Those are the most disappointing wishes I've ever heard! Well, except for being able to suck a Lifesaver. I still can't do that.
By: Mitchell is Moving on January 14, 2015
I once sucked a life saver down my throat and like to have chocked myself to death...so I probably wouldn't wish anything but death to one of those dreadful candies. My childhood wishes were foolish, but I have many now that aren't. I can't tell you though, because telling a wish will make it not happen. Right? LOL!
By: Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines on January 16, 2015
I would wish for a) to swap bodies with Sophia Loren even though she has to be 103 by now,right? b) to have a kitchen with a table in the middle of it c) to get my memory ... to get my ... what was I saying?
By: Fran on January 17, 2015
One evening in a tavern on the northern edges of Bakersfield, California, a regular-sized man walked in with a quite tiny man sitting on his shoulder. The man had a look of being in great pain on his face when he bellied up to the bar. So, the bartender rushed over to ask him what he wanted, and the man ordered double-shot of Jack Daniels. As soon as the bartender placed his drink in front of him, the tiny man jumped down onto the bar and kicked over his drink, along with the drinks of everyone else around the bar. When he was finished, he jumped back on the regular-sized man's shoulder. The bartender jumped back in shock, as did everyone else. The regular-sized man sighed deeply and ordered another round for everyone. This appeased everyone, and bartender served the drinks. Again, the tiny man jumped down onto the bar and kicked over all of the drinks. Then jumped back upon the regular-sized man's shoulder. The bartender demanded to know what was going on. The regular-sized man mumbled that he did not want to talk abut it and ordered another round for everyone. The bartender refused to do so until he got an answer, and then the regular-sized man started speaking in a strained voice. I do not think I will ever forget what he said. "Well, it started with me finding an old oil lamp in my grandparent's attic. They had worked as archaeologists on several digs around Persia years ago, and the lamp was one of artifacts they kept for themselves. The lamp was quite tarnished. So, I started rubbing on it, and then a genie appeared, offering me one wish. I thought long and hard before settling on something that I figured would benefit me the most. My wish was to have a foot-long prick, and he is the one who has been kicking over the drinks."
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on January 17, 2015

By: gsikftr on July 3, 2015

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