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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What Would You Do?

November 3, 2013




I work out of the house and don’t have as much contact with people as I’d like, so I enjoy it when Mrs. Chatterbox comes home from working at our local police department with stories about co-workers. The other day she came home with an interesting tidbit that made me think.


One of the police officers (I’ll call him Bob) went shopping at Costco with his wife. When they returned, the wife handed Bob a $50.00 package of filet mignons to put in the garage freezer. Once in the garage, Bob got distracted and set the package on his workbench. Two days later Bob discovered the package and was unsure what to do about it. Should he take a chance the meat hadn’t spoiled, put it in the freezer and say nothing? Should he fess up, throw out the meat and tell his wife he neglected to put it in the freezer? Or throw out the meat, dash to Costco and buy another package?


When Mrs. Chatterbox told me about this incident (on what must have been a slow day at the police department) I thought the solution to this cop’s dilemma obvious, but the more people I mention this to the more answers I get. Fifty dollars is not a fortune but, for me, it’s a significant amount of money to throw away. If this were you, would you be afraid of what your spouse or “significant other” might say or do? I’m no psychologist but I bet your answer says something significant about your relationship.




What would you do? I’ll post my own response later in the comment section. 





Oh, it would kill me if this ever happened, but I'd fess up right away and get some new ones.
By: Shelly on November 3, 2013
I suppose it also depends where you live. If I left meat on the bench in the shed this past week, it would probably still would have frozen anyways.
By: Ken on November 3, 2013
Wife #1 I would freeze it and take a chance. Wife #2 I would throw it away, buy new and say nothing. Mrs. Cranky - I would fess up and we would have a good laugh at my expense.
By: Cranky Old Man on November 3, 2013
Many husbands would not have to be concerned with the answer because they would be DEAD!!
By: fishducky on November 3, 2013
Well- if the meat had been frozen and was in our garage in the winter- I'd fess up and cook up the meat that day However, if it was during the summer I'd fess up and go back to Costco to replace what would be spoiled at that point. It would not matter if it were frozen or not- it's hot here! Looking forward to your response!
By: Kathe W. on November 3, 2013
Knowing Dave (my husband), he would fess up and tell me it would be ok, that we could eat it and be fine (knowing, of course, I would never go along with it). If he had handed me the steaks, and I had accidentally left them out, I would NEVER tell, hide them in the garbage and go replace them.
By: Laurie on November 3, 2013
totally laughing at fishducky. :) my husband would have gone, bought another package and never confessed. i wouldn't have bought such expensive meat in the first place.
By: TexWisGirl on November 3, 2013
I'd fess up and definitely NOT eat it. But if I had a tough relationship with my spouse, I might go out and buy a replacement and not let him know.
By: Tabor on November 3, 2013
I would not be afraid. But to save myself embarrassment, and future argument-winning exclamations of, "AND, you wasted $50 worth of filet mignon!" I would toss it and then go buy a replacement.
By: Val on November 3, 2013
Toss it, admit it, and go buy more. Bet it won't happen again. :)
By: Scott Cody Park on November 3, 2013
I couldn't lie, my wife knows me too well to see past anything I coulld come up with.
By: David Walston on November 3, 2013
My hubby or I would fess up and go buy new (although he'd wanna smell the steaks and would probably pronounce them fit to eat no matter how bad they reeked). But for the cop, I'd say toss them, run to Costco for more, freeze those and say nothing -- unless he's got a very understanding wife. ;)
By: Lexa Cain on November 3, 2013
throw it out and confess to the blunder....but not until i was asked where the meat was.
By: lime on November 3, 2013
I'd toss it and probably go to a closer store to replace it. It would probably cost more, but I hope no one would be the wiser.
By: Al Penwasser on November 3, 2013
I'd cook 'em up right away. I think the cooking would kill any bacteria that might have formed.
By: Catalyst/Bruce on November 3, 2013
Food poisoning is serious business. I'd toss the meat, fess up to my husband, and we'd decide together if we wanted to spend another $50 on filet mignons. We'd probably eat a lot of lentil soup/stew/chili for a while to make up for the loss of the $50. Wait...scratch that...we don't eat beef.
By: Pixel Peeper on November 3, 2013
My Sweetie would come tell me, and i'd be upset for about two seconds, and then i'd go get more. Not that i would ever be able to afford that expensive meat in the first place.
By: mimi on November 3, 2013
You asked the following question. "If this were you, would you be afraid of what your spouse or âsignificant otherâ might say or do?" My answer: No, I wouldn't be afraid. I'd likely be more upset with myself.
By: Daniel LaFrance on November 3, 2013
This is what I get for being slow to read blogs lately. I would fess up in a heart beat as there is no way I would take a chance on eating some meat that hadn't been refrigerated. I can tell hubby just about anything without worrying about reprisals or judgements. While I would be embarrassed at being that forgetful, something would happen down the road where he would make a mistake. Everything evens out at some point.
By: Cheryl P. on November 3, 2013
I'm glad I never have to worry about that scenario. I definitely wouldn't try to cook them. Replacing them would be the better way to go.
By: PT Dilloway on November 3, 2013
I don't have a spouse. I have Willy Dunne Wooters, but I don't have to account for anything to him. I'm not his child. I'd throw out the meat and buy more when I could afford it. No way would I take a chance on meat that had been sitting out for a couple of days. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on November 3, 2013
I would own up as I cooked it.......assuming it was not "off"!
By: John on November 4, 2013
This is another time that I am glad I do not have a significant other. Ha. I would hope that if my husband flubbed up like that he would tell me and we could decide together if the temp was cold enough for the meat to be on the shelf on the garage so the meat could be eaten. If not, oh well, throw it out and don't hold any grudges. The money belongs to both partners, the thing that matters is how they support each other during times that could have been ouchy.
By: CiCi Winningham on November 4, 2013
I've made many goofy mistakes over the years and so has Mrs. C. I would have kicked myself in the butt for doing this but I would have told Mrs. C. about it. We would both have shrugged it off.
By: Chubby Chatterbox on November 4, 2013
Without a second thought, I would immediately go in and tell him what I'd done. No WAY in hell I'd chance eating it/serving it to anyone else. And telling him would NOT be a confession of guilt. It would simply be sharing the dumb thing I'd done. And he'd commiserate. I'd hate to be with someone I'd be afraid to tell anything.
By: Mitchell is Moving on November 4, 2013
I would confess and if he said anything negative to me about it, I would politiely remind him of all the money we spent on speeding tickets and no seatbelt violations on him! That would do the trick.
By: Bouncin Barb on November 4, 2013
I'd confess and take the punishment - but then again, I'm a wimp.
By: Bryan Jones on November 5, 2013
I can't imagine forgetting something like that.
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on November 5, 2013

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