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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Weird On Ice

February 24, 2016

I can’t recall how the subject came up, but at a recent breakfast with some friends I found myself in a discussion about the strangest item ever placed in my freezer. Hey, one can only talk about politics for so long. Heads at nearby tables in the restaurant turned in my direction when I blurted out that the strangest item in our freezer was—a cat head.

 

I know many of you are fond of cats, but before you report me to the police for animal cruelty let me assure you that I’d never intentionally harm an animal. The cat head in our freezer was not real. It was made of white chocolate.

 

Mrs. Chatterbox was an Army brat and grew up in Germany where white chocolate was popular. When she and her family returned to the States she was disappointed to learn that white chocolate wasn’t approved by the FDA and not marketed in America, probably because it’s actually vanilla and doesn’t contain any chocolate.

 

After we married I tried to find products labelled “white chocolate,” and infrequently struck pay dirt at import shops, but a time finally came when even import shops seemed to stop carrying it. One day I was shopping and ambled past a bakery with a “white chocolate” life-size kitten in the window. The lady behind the counter said the kitten was actually molded from “vanilla” but that hardly seemed to matter. I knew Mrs. C. would think it cute, and if she didn’t she could always eat it.

 

Mrs. C. did love it, even gave it a name although neither one of us can remember it. That white chocolate kitten remained on her bedroom dresser for longer than I care to remember, until it started to yellow and I put it in the freezer. The arctic life of our “polar” kitten began a downward spiral when a paw broke off as I was foraging for an Otter Pop.

 

Sometimes when she was in the mood to bake something sweet I’d remind Mrs. C. about all the white chocolate going to waste in the freezer and she’d say, “Fine, but not the head!”

 

The tail disappeared into cake frosting—but not the head.

 

The rest of the paws sweetened up a batch of Christmas cookies—but not the head.

 

The shoulders brightened a batch of brownies—but not the head.

 

Pieces made their way into other sweets, until only the head remained. I finally risked life and limb by throwing it out several years later while cleaning the freezer. When Mrs. C. realized it was gone, I fessed up and admitted what I’d done.

 

“Thank God!” she exclaimed. “That head was really creeping me out.”

 

What’s the weirdest thing you ever put in your freezer?   

 

 

 

 

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Comments

27 Comments
A chilling tale, or head?
By: John on February 24, 2016
The strangest thing we ever put in our freezer was a nine-pound stripe bass that my niece caught when she was about eight-years-old. She wanted to have it mounted but that proved to be expensive so she asked if we'd wrap in in aluminum foil and keep it in our freezer until she could save up the money. A few years ago when our freezer died and we had to toss all the defrosted stuff in the trash, we found that fish in the bottom of the freezer. It's fortunate that we realized the freezer had died soon after it stopped working or I'm sure we would have smelled dead fish in this house for a while :)
By: Rick Watson on February 24, 2016
I think you have me beat- cannot remember any odd object in my freezer ever. Other than when refrigerators did not self defrost and I would end up with a huge chunk of ice surrounding my teeny freezer inside my fridge that could only hold perhaps two ice cube trays.
By: Kathe W. on February 24, 2016
All that fuss to keep the head and she was glad when you finally threw it out? Right now we have snowballs from a snowfall over ten years ago in our freezer. My wife put them there. If I ever needed to kill someone in a snowball fight, they would do the trick.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on February 24, 2016
a dead juvenile bluejay.
By: ellen abbott on February 24, 2016
Lots of odd stuff in our bathtub like a huge halibut for a conference, but nothing in the freezer.
By: Tabor on February 24, 2016
My mom used to hide money in the freezer--cold cash!!
By: fishducky on February 24, 2016
too cute. not my freezer but my sister's. she had to put her dachshund down in winter. the ground in wisconsin was too frozen to dig a grave. yup, she wrapped her and put her in the freezer until spring.
By: TexWisGirl on February 24, 2016
Strangely enough...nothing odd. Just an occasion cell phone in the ice bin. They overheat, you know. But stranger, when I told my son you had the cat head in your freezer, (no mention yet of the white chocolate component), he said, "Only a head?"
By: Val on February 24, 2016
One night I killed an owl that was diving for prey in front of my car. It was a beautiful bird and I wanted to have it mounted so I put it in the freezer till I could get to town. Then I learned it was a protected bird and I could face charges. I took it out early in the AM and lay it peacefully on the road side, solid as a rock. Always wondered if anyone came upon the frozen bird before it defrosted what they would think as this was summer in Florida.
By: Arkansas Patti on February 24, 2016
I have absolutely nothing to offer from my freezer. Mrs C should have used the head though, I hear white chocolate brains are quite the delicacy.
By: Mitchell Is Moving on February 24, 2016
Ok, um. Yarn. Wool yarn, to be specific. If you store it in the freezer, it freezes any little hitchhikers that want to EAT said yarn. So it's not really as screwy as it sounds. Or, maybe it is. But yes, a cat head is... Unique. So, does green merino beat a cat head? Cat
By: Cat on February 24, 2016
Like Alex J. we used to save snowballs.
By: cranky on February 24, 2016
You do not want to know, i promise, so i will just say almost an entire wild boar #2 Son shot on a hunting trip. That's close enough.
By: messymimi on February 24, 2016
I used to keep rolls of film (remember film cameras?) in my freezer to prevent it from aging. Not sure if that is considered weird.
By: Pixel Peeper on February 24, 2016
I've heard tales (tails) of people putting their murdered relatives in freezers but never a cat. Shame on you!
By: Catalyst on February 24, 2016
We've had two different cats die in winter when the ground was too frozen to bury them, so ... draw your own conclusions!
By: jenny_o on February 24, 2016
That is a really cute post. You sound like a super sweet husband to be hunting around for ways to surprise and please her. As for something odd in the freezer...I have come to realize how horribly boring my life is. I can't think of anything unusual that has ever made it's way to our freezer.
By: Cheryl P. on February 25, 2016
Years ago, long before there was a Mrs and when I shared an apartment with a fraternity brother we made a discovery while defrosting the freezer-remember when you had to do that. We had to do that because the side ice had become so thick we could no longer store our tv dinners and frozen entrees. On one such "de-icing" we found something wrapped in aluminum foil that we could not identify. Had no idea if it was plant or animal. It was dark, frozen solid though it looked like it had molded. Maybe it was just that, mold, frozen in foil. And neither of us could recall ever having seen it. Still a mystery.
By: Tom Cochrun on February 25, 2016
Stephen: You never fail to bring a laugh, or keep us on the edge of our seats before you deliver the ending of a great story with relief!
By: Michael Manning on February 25, 2016
Beer mugs and rolling pins... Your story reminds me of an Easter joke with a chocolate bunny (with a tail) tells another his tail hurts and the other (whose ears have been eaten off) says, "What?"
By: Sage on February 25, 2016
I had a New Year's party which was great. being young and not caring about the freezer, when I moved out in April, I found an opened ice cream box, without the ice cream, with a party favour stuck in it.
By: Birgit on February 25, 2016
Years ago, I remember when my mom was ironing, if she had a shirt that was really badly creased and the iron wasn't getting the creases out she'd pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Seemed to do the trick, but I wonder if that would work now with modern frost-free freezers.
By: Botanist on February 25, 2016
OMG this is hilarious!!! Okay weirdest thing in our freezer.....when I was a teen, my older sister worked at a wild bird care center. Whenever a rescued bird died unexpectedly, my sister had to perform autopsies on the birds. Sometimes she got behind on this part of her job, so she left the dead birds in our freezer----sometimes for months. It wasn't unusual to find a dead hawk or a seagull in the freezer next to a carton of ice cream.
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on February 25, 2016
Dont' think I can better a white-chocolate cat's head, but I'm off to have a look.
By: Bryan Jones on February 26, 2016
At one time, we stored batteries in the freezer. We believed it extended the battery's life.
By: Daniel LaFrance on February 26, 2016
Whoa, this has me confused. For I do not like white chocolate (or at least what I have eaten that was called white chocolate) but I LOVE vanilla. I now wonder what it really was that was called white chocolate. Almond milk comes to mind, but I am not sure at all. In any event, I also love milk chocolate, and Arlynda much prefers the dark variety (when it comes to chocolate, that is).
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on February 26, 2016

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