Extracts from The Diaries of 'Professor' Cornelius Crane

All Rights Reserved ©

July 12th, 1968

My folks haven’t had a night on the town since little Claudia was born. So although I was surprised at first when my mother announced to me that they were going out, alone, for a meal and a movie, they (especially my mother) has by now rightly earned the right to a little well-earned leisure time.

I guess that she also feels that Claudia has reached an age where it is now safer and somewhat less demanding on her peace of mind to be leaving her in the care of a babysitter.

She had announced and warned, “Your Father and I are going out to celebrate our wedding anniversary tonight. Hannah will be looking after you and Claudia.”

The thought of having someone babysit me was highly objectionable. “That’s not necessary, ma. I’m big enough already to look after the both of us. You don’t need to be paying any unnecessary money for a silly old babysitter.”

“Don’t you be silly! You’re barely nine years old. There’s no way I’m leaving you alone with Claudia.”

“But I’m in that special class at school and you know that Hannah’s not all that bright?”

“Bite your tongue! I won’t have you saying nasty things about that girl, you hear? She may be just a little slow, but she’s a lovely sweet person; and she’s marvelous with children. The Johnson’s are also very happy with her babysitting their two as well. She’ll be a fine mother herself one day.”

“But, ma?”

“I said, ‘No!’ It’s all been arranged already. I don’t want to hear another word.”

“Oh, fine!”

“Another thing!”

“What now?”

“Don’t use that tone on me, young man.”

“If I’m a young man, then how come…”

“Stop trying to be so clever! You listen carefully to me now! It’s been quite some time since we last had Hannah babysit for us. She says that she’s looking very forward to helping out, so I don’t want you giving her a hard time, okay?”

“Okay, ma!” My tone was starting to display my frustration.

“If I hear any nonsense stories about you terrorizing her with rubber snakes or spiders or whatever, I’ll get your father to give you a taste of his belt.”

“Yes, ma.” There was more of the frustration present.

“You’re a big boy now; a lot older now than the last time she was here, so don’t be childish. The school says you’ve got the intelligence of a much older child, so behave like one, okay?”

“Yes, ma!” My tone was now overflowing with my annoyance.

“And I told you not to be using that tone of voice on me, young…child!”

“Sorry, ma.”

“In fact, I want you to help her wherever possible. In case I forget to tell her something, you know where I keep all Claudia’s things. I’ve even shown you how to change a diaper.”

“No thank you very much. Maybe if it’s a number one, but Hannah can have that honor all to herself if it’s a number two.”

“Stop being so squeamish about a little mess. Two seconds ago you were volunteering for the job, now look at you.” She smiled, and then we both laughed. “Yeah, you’re not so sorry about having a babysitter over now, are you?”

“Definitely not!”

“Good!”

“What’s showing tonight?”

“It’s an old classic, Ben Hur with Charlton Heston. I would have preferred something a little lighter or romantic, but beggars can’t be choosers.”

“I guess that makes me a classic too.”

“Why’s that?”

“It was first released in the year I was born.”

“Don’t be silly. Well it definitely will become a classic then.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“A classic little clown, yeah.”

We laughed again before I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know…remember that it was your anniversary. I would have gotten you something.”

Her expression became sad. She looked to the side as if she could see someone standing there; someone who had hurt her deeply. “Yes, you weren’t the only one.”

“He forgot too? I mean dad forgot?”

“It’s okay. He’ll make up for it. I’ll make very sure of that! I’ve already made reservations at the most expensive restaurant in town.”

“The Hillside Tavern?”

“Right!”

“Wow, that’s great! They make an excellent pepper-steak!”

“How would you know?”

“I…uh, heard it somewhere.”

“Hmm, well I’ll see. I’ll probably order something less spicy. Maybe a Schnitzel.”

“And how do you know…”

“I also heard it somewhere.”

“Well, I hope you enjoy yourself…selves?”

“I intend to!”

To my mother’s delight, Hannah arrived a little earlier than expected, and she proceeded to show her the ropes – especially all the dos and don’ts concerning Claudia.

I decided to retire to my room to do some reading. I had taken out a non-fiction book of the RAF’s involvement in the Second World War. I was finding it rather enlightening and engrossing.

At seven o’ clock, Hannah and I said goodbye to my folks at the front door.

The flick was a long one and the last show was starting at 08h45 sharp. They (Actually, it was entirely my mother’s arrangements.) planned to do The Hillside Tavern first, and have night caps at Pierre’s after.

Hannah was welcome to sleep on the couch if she got tired; a blanket and pillow were provided for her comfort.

Hannah had immediately settled herself down in front of the TV with some knitting. It didn’t seem to suit her at all. It is an activity I always associate with elderly ladies. Still, I was impressed at how remarkably swift her two large knitting needles moved as she hardly ever glanced down to inspect her progress.

She appeared like a ravenous Chinaman devouring a bowl of rice, but having more interest in something other than the victuals he was rapidly popping into his mouth. There was something very comical about it. I smiled before returning to my bedroom and my book.

About an hour later there was a knock on my door. Hannah stuck her head in.

She sang, “Hi, Connie! Everything okay in here? What you doing with yourself?” Then the rest of her body followed her head into my bedroom.

“Just reading,” I answered abruptly.

“You’re so quiet up here. I thought you might be getting up to mischief.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, I know how little boys’ minds work.”

“I ain’t little anymore, and for your information, the school says I got the intellect…the brain of a twenty year-old.”

Her eyes brightened. “Yeah, I heard all about that!” She sat down on the side of my bed near the foot. “I hear you’re in a special class, too.”

I sat up. “Too?”

She blushed and lowered her head. “I was also in a special class at school, but it was just for the opposite. It was for all the…slow kids.” She smiled and jerked up straight again. “I always knew you were special! I always said you were a bright kid; even when you were just a little baby like Claudia. I said to myself, ‘This little guy’s gonna be a doctor or a scientist one day.”

I swung my legs over the side of the bed. “Yeah?”

“Really! And now look at you. Gee whiz, look at that thick book you’re reading. Wow, it’s so great! I’m so happy for you…and your folks! They must be so proud of you? I just frustrate mine all the time. I know they love me, but…” She paused then laughed again. “Just look at that book you’re reading? At your age I was still having trouble with The Cat in the Hat. I’m so proud of you myself.” She leaned over and gave me a hug.

It was my turn to blush. “Uh, thanks. I…appreciate it. Thank you very much.”

She leaned back again. “And such a little gentlemen. Just look at you. So clever and handsome too. One of these days you’ll have all the girls running after you.” She smiled mischievously, “I’m going to be so jealous of them. Do you remember how I always used to tease you?”

“About you and me getting married one day?”

She nodded viciously. “Uh-huh! I knew you’d remember!” Her face reddened some more. “Yeah, you always used to be so embarrassed. Now look at me. Now I’m the one blushing.”

“Why?”

“Oh, I don’t know? I guess it just seems silly now that you’re so clever, and I’m still so…stupid.” The last word was uttered very softly.

“Not stupid! Just a bit slow is all.”

“You sound just like momma!” She gave me another hug. “I love you, little Connie! You always used to terrify me in the past with all your naughty pranks and things, but you always knew how to make me laugh and feel better in the end.” She suddenly remembered something. “Ooh, I need your help with something?”

“What?”

“I know you’re gonna think it’s sissy stuff, but I need help with my wool. I need someone to hold it while I…” She never finished her sentence as Claudia’s wailing had suddenly interrupted her. “Oh, dear! Your little sister’s calling for her bottle. I’ll speak to you later!” She rushed off.

I followed her to Claudia’s room and watched as she gently lifted my sister out of the crib.

Claudia’s face showed concern at the stranger’s touch and voice. Her crying would become more frantic if I didn’t help out.

I spoke quickly to her, and she immediately relaxed at the sight of a familiar face. Hannah bounced her up and down while I calmly spoke to her.

After about ten minutes, Claudia had fully accepted the surrogate mother, even calling her by that moniker.

“Mamma!” she said putting her hand on Hannah’s nose.

Hannah corrected her. “No, I’m Hannah. Say, ‘Hannah? Han…nah?’”

“Mamma!”

We laughed and so did Claudia, thinking that she had done something clever.

Hannah spoke again to Claudia. “Hannah is not a Mamma yet! But Hannah wants very much to be one. Hannah wants to have her own babies one day.” Claudia chortled. Hannah looked at me but continued to speak to Claudia. “Hannah hopes her babies will also be clever, just like Claudia and Connie.” The statement was meant to be flattering, but there was an underlying poignancy that only I experienced. “Oh, dear!” muttered Hannah feeling the bottom of the diaper. “I think it wasn’t your bottle that woke you up.” She lay Claudia down and peaked inside the diaper. “Whoopsie, it’s a poopsie!” Claudia chortled proudly at her achievement.

I blurted, “Wouldn’t it be great if somebody invented disposable diapers?”

“What?”

“A cheap diaper that you could just fold the mess into and dump in the trash can? No need to keep washing and sterilizing the same ones over and over.”

“It might be easier just to make a robot nanny who can do all the cleaning for you, Mr. Flash Gordon. Have you also been reading a lot of that science fiction stuff too?”

I laughed. “You think disposable diapers is science fiction?”

“Yep! Ray guns, robots, little green men from mars, spaceships, time machines and disposable diapers are all science fiction.”

I laughed again. “Well, that’s certainly a subject matter that Verne and Welles never imagined to write about.” I scrunched my face up at Claudia’s little disaster. “That’s strange, you know? She hardly ever messes herself in the day when she’s awake.”

“Children are like that at her age. It’s just at night that they go in there diapers.”

“Yeah? How would you know that?”

“I’ve had a lot of experience with children.” She ruffled my hair. “You included.” I blushed and shook my head away from her hand. She laughed. “Ah, you do still get embarrassed?”

“I’m gonna read my book! And it ain’t science fiction either, okay?”

“That’s okay! Me and Claudia are friends now.” Then she spoke to Claudia again whilst giving her a stomach a rub, “Isn’t that so?” Claudia squealed in delight. “Yes, Claudia and Hannah are good friends now. Hannah’s gonna clean up your little whoopsie while Connie reads his big, thick book again. Your mamma told Hannah that Connie don’t like it when Claudia makes a number two. But Hannah don’t mind at all.”

I knew that there was not a shred of sarcasm, a hint of vindictiveness, or even an iota of mildly playful teasing in her words or tone – Hannah was not the type; she had never done or wished bad on any one in her whole life!

Still, I felt uncomfortable by her words and her innocent sharp, stabbing honesty.

Intelligence makes one proud and vain. And pride goes before a fall.

Wounded, I retreated to the sanctuary of my bedroom.

About half an hour later Hannah tip-toed into my room. She placed a finger on her lips and said, “She’s sleeping again. Are you gonna come help me?”

“With what?”

“My knitting.” She indicated for me to follow.

I reluctantly closed my book and obeyed.

My face reddened again as she wound wool around my parted hands.

I asked, “Why are you doing this

“It’s much easier to knit when the wool is looser.”

“What are you knitting?”

“A scarf for Poppa. The front of the bakery, by the counter, gets very cold because of the refrigerators. He once had a stiff neck for two weeks. Ooh, I felt so sorry for him. I just wanted to hug him and tell him how I felt, but he said it would only make it worse.” She giggled before adding, “So I just hugged him by his big stomach.” Her eyes widened. “If your mamma buys the wool, I’ll make one for you as well.”

“I’ll tell her!”

“Great! What color would you like?”

“Blood-red! And one day when I ride down the street in my new sports car, the scarf’ll blow red and flashy in the wind behind me.”

“Wonderful! I hope you’ll give me a ride?”

“You’ll be my very first passenger ever!”

“Really?”

“Promise!”

She hugged me again. “Oh, I love you! I’m just gonna love riding down the street with you in your fancy car. I’m gonna wave to all the other girls and make them so jealous. For once in my life I’ll be able to feel beautiful and important – just like Jackie Kennedy or Princess Grace. Oh, I can’t wait! I know it’ll really happen for you. Because I just know all your dreams are gonna come true for you!”

“You’re beautiful and important to me already, Hannah! In fact, I think you’re the most beautiful person in this whole town.”

She lowered her head. “I know you’re just saying that?”

“Am not! Most people don’t really know you at all. But I see you just like your momma sees you too. Has she ever told you that you’re beautiful?”

Her head bowed even lower. “Yeah!”

“And, did you believe her?”

She smiled sheepishly at me through the hair that had fallen partly over her eyes. “Yeah.”

“See! So why believe her, but not me?”

“It’s different.”

“How?”

“All mother’s think their daughters are pretty.”

“And all daughters are. It’s just that some daughters grow up to be ugly – especially the very pretty ones!”

“That don’t make sense?”

“That’s because you’re too beautiful to understand.”

“That makes even less sense!”

“But you don’t need to ever worry. You’ll never be ugly.”

“Why not?”

“Because you got too much love inside you for everybody. Even for all the people who have ever treated you wrong. And if those ugly people can’t see your beauty, then it is their loss, not yours.”

“I don’t understand everything you’re tryin’ to tell me, Connie, but I know you make me feel good. You’re a wonderful friend to me.” She hugged me again. This time I wanted to hug back, but the wool around my hands prevented it.

We chatted until ten past ten when she suddenly blurted, “Oh, my! Look at the time already! Your mum said to have you in bed at nine thirty already! Come on, off you go!”

“You gotta be kidding me?”

“No! You kids of today are lucky. I had to be in bed by eight o’ clock already! Hurry up, and don’t forget to brush your teeth first!”

The evening had been a pleasant one so far, and I had no intention of spoiling it. I obeyed…to a point.

I wasn’t feeling tired at all, so I crawled under the covers with my book and a torch.

Around ten thirty, just after starting a new chapter, I heard the chiming sound of the door bell, followed by the sound of the TV being turned down.

I slipped out from under the covers and moved swiftly to the stairs. I heard Hannah’s voice by the front door asking, “Mrs. Crane?” There was consternation in her tone.

The answer was a male voice. “Nah, Hannah, it’s me – Frankie!”

“Frankie Hollywood?”

“Yeah!

His real name was Francesco Rossi, but everyone called him Frankie Hollywood because he was always telling everyone that one day he was going to be a big filmstar. The name was born out of derision, but he had grown to accept it with much pride. He loved to comb his hair like James Dean, and although I am loath to admit it, he was rather handsome and dashing in appearance. His personality on the other hand, was more slippery than a greased viper.

The consternation in her tone had increased substantially. “What do you want?”

“Let me in.”

She opened the door on the chain. “What do you want?”

“I’ve come to visit.”

“The Crane’s are out for the evening.”

“I know. I’ve come to visit you.”

“Me?”

“Sure, why not. Gloria told me you were babysitting at the Cranes tonight. I figured you’d like the company. Are the brats asleep yet?”

“They’re not brats!”

“Are the little kiddie-widdies asleep yet?”

“Of course! It’s very late already!”

“Then, open up already.”

“That’s not a good idea, Frankie. You know my folks don’t like you being near me.”

“How old you now Hannah?”

“I’ll be nineteen next month.”

“Nineteen? And you’re still letting your parents make all your decisions?”

“You know I’m not all that bright.”

“Hell, you’re a working girl already.”

“You’ve been drinking! I can smell it from here!”

“One beer! Not even a whole one. Me and my goons shared one goddamned beer between the three of us!”

“I don’t like it when you talk like that!”

“I’m sorry! I thought I’d be friendly and give you some company, but you treat me like the plague.”

“Where’s Pete and Jake?”

“I dropped them off at home already.”

“Where’s your car now?”

“I parked around the corner.”

“Why?”

“Look, are you gonna let me in or not?”

“What do you want with me, Frankie? I know you got a girlfriend over at Valley High.”

“She’s just a friend. Nothing serious.”

“You sure she won’t mind you visiting me?”

“Of course not. She and Gloria are friends. Do you think Gloria would have told me where you are if…”

“What do you really want?”

“I told you I just want to visit awhile.”

“What’s awhile?”

“Ten minutes or so. I thought you’d like a little company. It must be boring sitting up all by yourself?”

“I dunno? Neither my folks or the Cranes will be happy if…”

“Nobody’s gonna tell nobody nuthin’!”

“Promise?”

“Promise!”

“Just ten minutes?”

“I promise!”

There was a short silence. I heard the chain on the door clinking. “Alright then! But keep it down. I don’t want to wake the children.”

There was another short silence. “I hope we’re not gonna stand here in the hallway the whole time. Let’s sit down.”

“Okay, but keep your hands to yourself.”

“Look, they’re in my pockets.”

They moved into the livingroom where I could see them clearly from behind the railing at the top of the stairs. The only lights came from a lampstand next to the sofa, and the silent flickering TV screen.

They sat down and Frankie asked, “So, how’s things at the bakery these days?”

“Oh, fine I guess.” There was less tension in her voice. “Momma wants to try a few new recipes, but Poppa says she’s just being foolish. He says the customers are happy enough with what we’re selling. Momma says she’s tired of baking the same old stuff, day in and day out – year in and…”

“You know I’d love to come see you at the bakery, but your pa don’t like it at all. I don’t know why? I never done him any…”

“I know! He told me also to make sure that I stay in the back whenever you do come in. Not only you but also…”

“I miss seeing you around, Hannah! You’re so pretty and…”

“Now you’re just teasing me.”

“No, really! I mean it. I think you’re very pretty. You’ve got a great pair of tits.”

“Frankie! Don’t talk like that! It ain’t proper.”

“Well, dammit, it’s the God’s honest truth!”

“That still don’t make it right to be talking like that.”

"Why not? Is it wrong to tell a girl she’s pretty?”

“Just because I got large…breasts, don’t mean I’m pretty, or give you the right to…”

“Would you rather be sorry about the things you’ve done or about the things you haven’t done?”

Now I knew where Hannah had received her questionable philosophy! It had come from the smooth banter of this questionable slimy greaseball.

She said, “I don’t understand what you mean?”

“If we made love tonight would you be sorry about it tomorrow?”

“Frankie! I think it’s time for you to go!”

“I’m just trying to explain what I mean. You were the one who asked! It’s just a harmless question to help you understand. I don’t mean anything by it!”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah! Alright, maybe I should have asked it the other way round first. Let’s do that then. If we didn’t make love tonight would you be sorry tomorrow that you didn’t?”

“Say that again?”

“If you and I don’t make love tonight would you be sorry tomorrow that you didn’t?”

“Why should I feel sorry?”

“Because the opportunity might never happen again, and then you could spend the rest of your life wondering how it might have been. Understand?”

“I think so.”

“Okay, now let’s try the other question again. If you and I were to make love tonight would you be sorry about it tomorrow?”

“If Poppa found out, for sure. In fact, he’ll kill me if he just knew you were here right now. He told me if he ever found out that I went off alone with another guy, he’d beat me within an inch.”

“Okay, but what if your pa was never to find out?”

“Oh, he always finds out when I done something I shouldn’t.”

“Yeah?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“So you’re saying he’s gonna know about me being here now?”

“No!”

“But you just said…”

“We ain’t doing nothing wrong.”

“But you also just said that…”

“Then maybe you better leave already.”

“It’s too late already. The wrong’s already been done. So does that mean he’s gonna find out about it?”

“No!”

“Exactly! So stop your worrying then.”

“Okay.”

“Are you going to answer the question now?”

“How does it go again?”

“Listen carefully. If you and I were to make love tonight, and if your pa were never to find out, would you be sorry about it tomorrow?”

“No.”

“Really?”

“Uh-huh, but only if I knew for very sure that Poppa would never find out.”

“I heard about what happened with you and Johnny Lime at the Sunday School picnic out at Lake Lincoln.”

“You know about that?” she asked loudly surprised.

“Whoa, keep your voice down. You’ll wake the brat…kids up.”

“That happened a long, long time ago!”

He crossed his fingers. “Hey, me and Johnny are like this. He told me all about how the two of you made out in the bushes while everyone else was swimming. But don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me.”

“It’s not a secret. My folks know all about it too.”

“They do?”

“Mrs. Arbogast saw us coming out of the bushes together. She told momma.”

“Coming out of the bushes together don’t mean anything?”

“Momma tol’ Poppa, an’ he beat me till I told him the truth. He says if I ever fall pregnant he’s putting me out on the street. He’s not gonna have any unwed mother living under his roof. I ain’t been with anyone since. I’m too scared now.”

“I bet you touch yourself, though?”

“What do you mean?”

“I bet you sometimes use your finger to make yourself happy?”

“Do not.”

“Don’t lie?”

“Do not!”

“Come on, you can tell me the truth. There’s nothing wrong with it, you know?”

“No!”

“No you don’t do it or no you’re not gonna tell me the truth?”

“I’m not telling you anything, Frankie Hollywood.”

“I do it you know?”

“Do what?”

“Play with mine.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, all the time. In the shower or when I lie in bed at night. There’s nothing wrong with it, you know? All the guys do it.”

“Really?”

“Really!”

“I do too,” she said with a hint of embarrassment in her tone.

“See, I knew it. No need to be ashamed. I told you, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving yourself a little pleasure now and then.”

“Really?”

“Of course not! Where’s the harm? Can it make you pregnant?”

“Of course not.” She laughed. “Don’t be silly. It’s my own finger.”

“What about someone else’s finger?”

“No, of course not.”

“So then, what’s wrong with touching each other?”

“What?”

“What would be wrong if I touch you and you touch me?”

“I dunno about that?”

“Why?”

“How do I know you won’t try to do, you know, something…more?”

“Because I wouldn’t want to make an unwed mother out of you.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.” After a short silence he said, “So?”

“So what?”

“So, let’s do it then?”

“Hmm…uh…”

“Remember what I said about being sorry? If you don’t do it, you might end up being sorry about it for the rest of your life?”

“O…kay.” Then she added with far too much enthusiasm. “Alright!”

“Great! You do me first, then I’ll do you.”

“I thought we were gonna do it at the same time?”

“Nah, it’s better this way - safer.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“Of course. Frankie Hollywood is always right.”

“Okay. Just wait a minute.”

“What now?”

“I want to check the children first.”

“Alright, but move your ar…hurry up.”

I dashed back to my bedroom and gently closed the door.

Then I jumped into bed and narrowed my eyes pretending to sleep.

It felt like an eternity before my door opened. Hannah’s silhouette stood watching me for about half a minute. She had obviously checked on Claudia first.

As soon as the door closed, I immediately jumped out of bed again and quietly opened it. I crept back to my spot in the darkness behind the rail.

As I peered through, Hannah sat down next to Frankie again.

He asked, “Everything okay?”

“Fine, they’re both fast asleep.”

“Good, let’s do this then.” I heard the sound of his zipper. “Just a sec. Uh….okay, there we go. There it is. What do you think? Is that beautiful or what?”

Hannah was always painfully honest. “Johnny Lime’s is much bigger.” She giggled.

There was a hint of embarrassment in his tone. “Yeah, well it ain’t what you got; it’s how you use it.”

“Oh?”

“Right! Besides, you haven’t made him angry enough yet.”

“Angry enough?”

“Forget it! Just be nice to it then, okay?”

“Okay.” I saw her arm shift across. After an extended period of time she said, “I can feel that you like what I’m doing. And it’s making me feel good too.” She used her free hand to fan her face. “Shoo, I haven’t felt like this in ages.” I knew only too well the effect that a hard Mister Winky had on Hannah. If Frankie knew it as well, she would be putty in his hands – just the opposite of what he was in hers! She asked, “Am I doing this right? Do you like the way I’m doing it? Does it make you happy?”

He replied with his own question. “Do you like making me happy?”

“I do! Very much! I just told you that…”

“Would you like to make ol’ Frankie very happy?”

“How?” He leaned over and whispered in her ear. “What?”

“Why do you sound so shocked? Johnny Lime told me you did it for him?”

She slapped his arm. “Johnny Lime promised me he would never tell anyone!”

“It’s not my fault he broke his promise.”

“He’s a liar, liar – his pants are gonna catch fire!”

“Come on, please. It’s safe too. You can’t fall pregnant.”

“I dunno?”

“Why not?”

“Okay, but you also got to promise then.”
“You sure do love making people make promises don’t you?”

“If you don’t promise I won’t…”

“Alright! I promise! I won’t tell another living soul – ever!”

“Not just that!”

“What else?”

“You also gotta promise me that you won’t…” She paused.

“Yeah? Won’t what?” This time she leaned across and whispered in his ear. “Of course! I would never do that!”

“Promise?”

“I promise! Are you happy now?”

“Yeah.”

“Then how about making me happy as well.”

“Okay, but just tell me when you’re getting close, okay.”

“You mean when I’m angry enough to spit?”

“What?”

“Forget it. I’ll let you know, okay?”

“Okay.”

Her head disappeared into his lap, and he grunted his approval. Then he did a very strange thing. He started pointing frantically at the back of her head with both hands.

It took me a while to realize what was happening. There was a movement by the window and I just made out the shape of two heads peeking in.

Frankie was indicating his latest conquest to his two misfit pals, Pete and Jake. They pressed their noses flat against the pane in order to see better. Now I was also able to see them more clearly. They grinned like two kids peering into a candy store. Then they indicated their approval by showing the old thumbs up.

Frankie returned the signal with both hands.

Ignorant that she was the main attraction in Frankie’s sick little show, Hannah’s head continued to move rhythmically in his lap.

I felt the heat of anger rising in my chest as the two idiots outside clamped their hands over their mouths to stifle their mirth.

Moments later a different heat rose from Frankie. In an instant Hannah pulled away and bolted down the passage towards the bathroom. I heard her gagging and spitting.

Frankie quickly tidied himself up, and after indicating to Pete and Jake to meet him at the front entrance, moved with all haste towards the door.

I heard the door open and close. Followed by loud, vulgar laughter.

Then I heard Hannah coming back towards the livingroom. “You lied to me, Frankie Hollywood! You promised me you wouldn’t…” She paused at the sight of the empty sofa. “Frankie? Frankie!” She gazed around, and for a moment I thought she had seen me. But then she heard the laughter outside and rushed to the door.

I heard it open again, and then I too rushed downstairs into the passage. She stood in the doorway and shouted, “Frankie? What’s going on? Why are Pete and Jake here? I thought you took them home?”

The three outside began to chant, “Hannah Marnowijk likes to suck dick!” Over and over and over!

She slammed the door and began to sob. “You’re also just a big fat liar, Frankie Hollywood! Just go away and leave me be! I should have listened to Poppa!” She continued to cry until the chanting had faded away into the distance. “I hate you, Frankie Hollywood. You’re going straight to hell when you die!” Then almost immediately. “Oh, sorry!” She stood there moving her arms and hands rapidly, as if shaking water off them, and repeating, “Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! I didn’t mean that. I was just upset. I’m so sorry! It was my own fault again. I shouldn’t have let you in. I’m sorry.” Then she just continued to cry softly, her shoulders making irregular shudders.

Even though what had happened between Frankie and Hannah had ended in an awful transgression of both her trust and character, it had still managed to arouse in me a strange hunger. A hunger that would not be denied!

And although I felt extreme pity for this poor wretched creature; although I wanted to hold her and comfort her and tell her that everything was going to be fine - at the same time her naivety instilled in me a dark passion that pulsed inside my pajama trousers. I can’t ever remember wanting a woman so badly – and I hadn’t even reached puberty yet!

I knew that the fire that Frankie had lit still burned fiercely within her loins.

I would use it to my own advantage!

Hannah’s body gave a jerk as she turned and saw me standing in the hallway. Then she smiled awkwardly and said, “Connie? You gave me quite a start. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing! Everything’s fine. In fact, it’s just great.”

She frowned. “Why are you talking so funny? Did you have a bad dream?”

“Nope, but I been dreaming up a pretty damn good one.”

“Don’t cuss like that, or I’ll tell your mother!”

“Yeah?”

“Yes!”

“I wonder who’s story she’s gonna find more interesting – yours or mine?”

“What story?”

“The one about you letting Frankie Hollywood into our house.”

“I just spoke to him through the door! There’s nothing wrong with…”

“You’re lying!”

“That’s also an ugly word. You should rather say fibbing!”

“Whatever! Fibbing or lying, you’ll go to hell for both!”

“I wasn’t fibbing!”

“Yeah?”

“Yes! Now get back to bed! It’s way past your bedtime already!”

“When you checked to see if I was sleeping earlier, I was just pretending. Right after that, I snuck back down and saw everything. I mean everything!”

“You’re fibbing?”

“Am I?”

“What did you hear?”

“I said, ‘Everything’!”

“Such as?”

“‘Better to be sorry for what you’ve done than to be sorry for what you could have done.’”

“She slapped her hand over her mouth. After staring at me for the longest time she asked with a tremor in her voice. “What all did you see?”

“Everything too!”

“Like what?”

“Like what you were doing to his Mister Winky!”

“Oh my!” she exclaimed, her hand covering her mouth again.” She started pleading, “Please! You can’t tell anybody what you saw.”

“Can’t? Why not?”

“My father will kill me!” She placed a hand on her chest. “I need to sit down.”

She walked past me down the passage and returned to her spot on the sofa. She stared at the flickering images on the TV. There was a monotone image of a couple passionately embraced on a beach, but I knew her thoughts were on more authentic matters.

I switched on the main light in the livingroom and moved between her and the TV.

She looked into my face and pleaded again. “Please, I beg you. I’m so sorry you saw what you did.”

“Are you sorry you did it, or sorry because I saw you doing it?”

“Both.”

“You’re fibbing again. What was that you were doing to Frankie?”

She blushed, and after some deep thought said, “Uh, we were just playing lollipop!”

“It seemed like a lot of fun?” I smiled and laughed to help relieve the tension.

Her eyes brightened and she laughed. “Yeah, it was!”

“I know he enjoyed – what about you?”

“Oh yeah! She said widening her eyes some more. “It was…it made me…it was fun!”

“Don’t be shy to say it? ‘It turned you on!’”

“Hoo, where did you hear that? I don’t think you should be talking like that?”

“Don’t be silly. I already told you that I’m like twenty years old already. Besides, it isn’t called lollipop.”

Her mouth gaped wide as I explained all the terms that I knew for it. “How…”

“I read a lot of books. And I bet playing lollipop made you feel as though someone had lit a fire inside you?”

“Yes! My gosh but you’re bright. You seem to know me better than I even know…”

“More than you can imagine. I know that you felt that same feeling that time you were bathing me. I know that it wasn’t a cramp or a crab that made you scream.”

She turned a flush of the reddest hue that I have ever seen her, or any other person, produce from embarrassment. If she was not inclined to refrain from blasphemy or profanity she would have filled the air with an abundance of both. Instead, she finally managed to choke out, “Oh my goodness! All this time I thought…was hoping…”

“That I never realized what you were doing to yourself while you were washing Mister Winky?”

“Yes! How…”

“How many times do I have to tell you that I’m…ahead of my time. You may think I’m a silly little kid standing here in front of you, but I’m actually a grown man.”

“You’ve definitely made that very clear!”

“If you understand that, then you must also understand how frustrated I must be.”

“Of course! It must be terrible for you. What with everybody still treating you like a kid all the time.”

“Exactly! But the worst part is that I also have the desires of a grown man.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I want to hold and kiss a woman. I want to be able to make love to her. I don’t want to wait years for it to happen. Do you understand that as well?”

“Of course.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Then will you help me. Will you also play lollipop with me?”

“What?”

“You heard me?”

“No!” She turned her gaze away from me. “I couldn’t! It would be wrong!”

“More wrong than what you did for Frankie?”

“Yes, of course!”

“Why?”

“Because you’re a…a…a…”

“Go on, say it, ‘A kid!’ After all I’ve told you, you still treat me just like all the rest. I’m still just a stupid little kid in your eyes!”

“No!”

“Yes! Even after I was kind enough to tell you that you’re not stupid you still hurt my feelings by calling me a stupid little kid.”

“I never said…”

“Maybe not? But I could see it in your eyes! That’s exactly what you were thinking?”

“That’s a big fib!”

“Is not! Go on! Admit it?”

She struggled for some time to find the words, then blurted, “Alright then!”

“See, I knew you’re like all the rest! Just…”

“No! I mean alright, I’ll do it!” For the briefest of moments I was stunned into silence. We stared intently at each other before I finally choked out, “Really?”

“Yeah, but only if…” She paused and glared some more.

“If?”

“You first gotta promise that you won’t tell another living soul – ever! Not about us, and not about me and Frankie either.”

“Frankie ain’t a nice guy at all, but he was right about you and all your promises.”

She smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, but I know that you’ll never ever break yours.”

“I’ll do even better than promise – I’ll pinky swear! Lightning will strike me dead on the spot if I ever tell another person about what we’re about to do; what you and Frankie did; and about the time you said you got a cramp in your foot - not ever!”

She bounced up and down on the sofa. “Oh, that’s great. I love you!” This time I was able to hug back. I found myself crushed against that magnificent chest. The feel and smell of her was an unnecessary aphrodisiac. She was pensive again for a short moment before adding, “Guess what?”

“What?”

“I’m actually looking forward to helping you! It must be terrible having the feelings of a grown man inside a child’s body.” It was a statement not a query.

“Does your momma know that sometimes you can be very quick too?” She laughed and I said, “And, if you like I’ll help you too if you start to have feelings. I can help you put out that fire inside you - again.”

“How?”

“I know just what to do! Trust me.”

She giggled. “Okay, this is so exciting. I can’t wait!

I gazed down the hallway. “Did you put the chain back on?”

“Of course!”

“I’m gonna double check to make sure. You go up to my bedroom in the meantime and make yourself comfortable. I don’t want to take a chance that someone might see us through the window.”

“Okay!” She ran off giggling even louder. “Hurry up!”

“I’ll be as fast as I can! You can trust me on that!”

I had rushed towards the front door to check that it was properly secured, but I had taken my time on the way back towards my bedroom. I wanted to give her the opportunity to make herself more comfortable.

On flicking the bedroom switch, I was disappointed to find that she had merely removed her sneakers before lying down flat with her head on the pillow.

“That was not what I meant when I said, ‘Make yourself more comfortable.’”

“What then?”

“I was hoping you would have taken your clothes off as well.”

“What? I don’t think…”

“Come on,” I said stripping completely naked. “It’ll be easier and much more fun this way.”

Her eyes had fixed on my groin area. “You’ve certainly gotten a lot bigger since the last time I bathed you.”

I gazed down at Mister Winky who had gotten himself very excited at the prospect of near-future events. “See, nothing to be ashamed of? Your turn now?”

“Okay, but put the light off?”

“Shit, don’t tell me you’re one of those always-do-it-in-the dark types?”

“Watch your mouth, Connie Crane! Just ‘cause you’re like twenty years old don’t mean you got the right to cuss like one!”

“Sorry!”

“Put the bedroom light off. There’ll still be enough light from the livingroom. It’ll be more romantic too!”

I flicked the switch and she started to disrobe in the subdued glow. She had been correct. It was far more romantic… and sensual…and stimulating.

She stood naked, the livingroom light producing magnificent crescents along all the rounded parts of her body.

I expressed my approval in a subdued tone. “Wow.”

She laughed nervously. “Do you think I’m pretty?”

“Why do you always dress yourself in such…frumpy clothes? Look at you? You’re…if there was a better word than beautiful, then that would be the one that describes you.”

“Poppa says he won’t have me walking the streets looking like some cheap hussy.”

“I wish I could make love to you on a big four-poster bed with silk sheets and flower petals sprinkled all around.”

“Oh my, that’s amazing!”

“What?”

“That’s exactly the same wish that I’ve always had. It’s unbelievable!”

“That’s because in some ways we’re alike. That’s why we are meant to be doing this.”

“You’re so clever, Connie. You’re always so right about everything. You know just what to say to make me feel good.”

“I also know just what to do to make you feel better than just good.”

She folded her arms across her large chest and asked, “So, how do you want to do it?”

I smiled inwardly remembering in my first life that it was I who had asked very similar words on the day I had made love to her for the very first time. She had taught me well that day.

Now I would return the favor!

“Lie down again and I’ll show you.” She obliged and I climbed onto the bed, standing above her. I looked down at her much larger frame in awe and appreciation. “Open your legs.”

“Why? What are you going to do?”

“Stop worrying, Hannah. I won’t do anything you wouldn’t want me to do.”

“Promise?” Then she laughed. “I guess I do ask people to promise a lot?”

“You sure do,” I smiled before giving her the assurance that she so often sought. “I promise.” Perhaps her need for guarantees is born from a lifetime of being taken advantage of?

She spread her legs and I dropped onto my knees between hers. I then used the outside of my fingers to gently caress the insides of her thighs. “How’s that feel?” I asked.

“Okay. Nice, I guess?”

I heard the nervous tension in her voice. I could also feel it clearly in the muscles beneath her smooth skin. I needed to be patient. “Relax,” I crooned.

For the next fifteen minutes I felt like a horse whisperer, stroking and calming an anxious filly. With each stroke I moved my fingers just a slight bit further up her thighs. I smiled as I felt the tension beneath my fingers fading with each caress. I knew I was gaining ground when she unclenched her hands from on top of her chest and placed them casually behind her head.

She smiled and said, “I really like what you’re doing. You’re so gentle and loving with me. The other guys just wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. And when they got what they wanted they had no more thoughts for any of my needs or feelings.”

“I want you to be happy tonight. Do you want me to make you happy?”

“Yes, Connie, very much so. Please.”

“You won’t mind if I touch it then?”

This time the anxiety was from expectation. Her breathing had grown rapid as well. “I want you to. Please, do it!”

She tensed slightly, and for a moment her breathing ceased as my fingers found warm wetness. Her mouth opened wide, but for the longest time she never uttered a sound, although her tongue and bottom lip shivered and moved, as if she were a mute trying to force sound from her quivering throat and mouth.

Yep, she had given me permission to use her remote control. And I utilized it to my utmost advantage…and pleasure. I had felt like an evil genius who had, at his fingertips, the means to bend the mind of a physically larger and more powerful entity to do his bidding.

I also knew that I could make her do that bidding in such a fashion that she would believe that her actions were a product of her own desires and making.

And, as I am very familiar with the exact button to press to achieve that desired result, I had absolutely no problem activating her into action.

But, it required not only the knowledge to know where to find that particular button, but also the necessary experience to know how to subtly push it in the exact proper manner.

I had once been told, in my younger, rushed, inexperienced forays into the mysterious realm of the female anatomy, that I was failing to produce arousal, and had, in fact, created an incredible desire within the test subject to…‘take a pee,’ as she had so blatantly divulged to my eternal embarrassment.

But, fortunately, I have learned well from most of life’s little knocks, and I am a far better man and lover for it.

The worst mistake that any man can make in the sack with a woman is to be impatient.

I don’t have a timepiece, but I had made a point of checking the hallway clock on my way up. It had been 10h45 pm. There was time enough to take time, but even an aroused woman has limits to her patience. And when it becomes time to take her to that happy place (Not heaven, but very close to paradise.), any further patience on the part of the man will be frustrating and annoying.

Foreplay and teasing are fine and necessary, but they have their limits.

About twenty minutes after my initial incursion, Hannah showed all the positive signs that she had indeed been pushed to her limit, and that it was time to push her button!

My finger moved up, and into position. She affirmed my accuracy with a positive and excited, “Yes!” It took less than a minute to open her bomb bay doors. She started to repeat my name frantically. “Connie? Connie? Connie?”

“What?”

“I want…I want you…I want you to…”

“What?”

She was too ashamed to put her desire into words, so she simply and physically created her intended desire in a series of four swift actions.

Firstly, she had pulled my hand away from the aforementioned button.

Secondly, she had sat bolt upright.

Thirdly she had enfolded her arms around me, squeezing tightly so that I found my head pressed snugly in between those delightful mounds of firm flesh that dominated her large chest.

And fourthly, still clutching tightly, she laid back down again.

As she moved back again, my legs straightened, and I fell forward on top of her.

Maybe I had maneuvered my hips slightly, or maybe it had been just sheer luck, but I…we found the target first time - again! And in that same instance, I realized with a sensation of victory and ecstasy that, in this lifetime, The Roxy was not to be my first.

I now had a new special place to file to memory.

Like the Roxy, my bedroom, had many wonderful memories. But no toy had ever given me this amount of pleasure.

Still clutching tightly, Hannah had unnecessarily issued the commands, “Don’t stop now! Don’t stop! Don’t stop! Whatever you do, don’t stop!”

I happily obliged and we actually both reached the happy place at exactly the same time.

This time I reveled in the new tension in her thighs as she clamped me tightly between her knees. She was suddenly endowed with incredible strength as she crushed me to herself. My breath was forced out of me, and I felt pain in my hips and ribs as her vice-like grips threatened to squash me. It was sheer bliss!

I was proud, that although I would still grow to be much bigger, I had managed to produce that cramping-pain-scream from her once again. And, unlike many of the women from my first life, I knew that it was genuine, unbridled pleasure that had made her exclaim her approval in an uncontrollable manner.

Thank goodness I was still wearing her large, fleshy earmuffs at the time. I could feel her heart galloping frantically against my cheek as well.

My patience had paid off in the end.

When she finally relaxed, releasing my small frame from between her larger arms and legs, I rolled over and, moving up, placed my head next to hers on the pillow.

I waited, wanting and allowing her to speak first. She put the back of her hand against her forehead before breathlessly admitting, “That was the best I’ve ever had!”
I couldn’t resist the old standard reply, “I bet you say that to all the guys?”

“No!” she exclaimed it’s true. No guy has ever made me…you know…get to that part where…you know…it becomes really…”

“Like a cramp?”

“No! A cramp is painful! That’s like…I can’t even describe it it’s so wonderful.”

“I told you I knew just what to do.”

“I never would have thought it possible to be so good from reading books?”

I laughed. “You think I learned that from a book?”

“How else?”

I felt like quoting Woody Allen and saying, ‘I'm such a good lover because I practice a lot on my own.’ Instead I blandly answered, “Sometimes it just takes a bit of common sense.”

“Well, you sure got plenty of that!” She thought for a moment, then asked with a smile. “How come you call him…it, Mister Winky?” We both looked at the shiny subject.

My mother had probably given him that moniker because, as is the case with most mothers, she would have found it embarrassing to use the correct anatomical term.

Although I lied to Hannah, the explanation seemed like a very valid one. “Because he only has one eye, so he’s always winking. Look he’s winking at you right now – giving you the eye. He also thinks you’re the best.”

She laughed. “Shame! Poor guy! I feel kinda sorry for him.”

“Nah, he’s very happy that you helped us out. Besides, don’t concern yourself too much about my one-eyed fella. He plans to have frequent visits to the…Kingdom of the Blind.”

“What?”

“Don’t you know what they say? ‘In the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king!”

“What’s that mean?”

“I think it means that the disadvantaged are able to take advantage of the more-disadvantaged.”

“Would you ever take advantage of me?”

The question had left me pondering too long. She gave me a push. “Would you?”

“You mean like what Frankie did?”

“Yeah.”

“Nope, I would never do something like that to you…or any other woman – ever.”

“I know! You’re a good guy, Connie.”

Before I knew it, the question had leapt out of my mouth. “Am I?”

I had felt a slight tinge of guilt! After all, the irony of the situation was not lost to me:

A man in a child’s body had just seduced a child in a woman’s body!

If anyone is at fault, it is not Hannah. But, at least, I know for a certainty that both of us had found the experience extremely pleasurable and exhilarating!

“Of course!” She grinned. “You’re…you’re my best friend now!”

“Oh, who was your best friend? Well, maybe Ruth. But she’s married now, and moved far away.”

“Who’s Ruth?”

“My elder sister, silly? Don’t you remember her?”

“You’ve got an elder sister?”

“Yeah!” She became pensive for a moment before saying, “Ruth’s bright like you. Poppa always jokes that it’s good she was born first.”

“Why’s that?”

“He says if it had been me, he would definitely never have had any more children.” She laughed.

“Your father said that – to you?” The anger in my voice was clearly discernible.

“He was just joking, silly! Relax.”

“I don’t think that any father should ever say nasty things about, or to, his children.”

Again she became pensive for a moment then added in a depressed tone, “Poppa often calls me stupid when I make silly mistakes.” Then she smiled cheerily again. “But you can’t blame him, especially when I cost the bakery money at times. Last month I burned a whole batch of vanilla cookies.”

“What happened?”

“He made me eat them all myself. Took me a whole week to do, but he made sure of it.” She smiled some more. “Actually, they weren’t all that bad. We just couldn’t sell them to the customers is all.”

“Do you like working in the bakery?”

“It can be tiring some days. But at least I get to spend most of my time with my folks.”

“Don’t you ever wish you had a place of your own?”

“Oh, no! I would miss them too much.”

“You said you want to have your own kids one day. What if your husband wants to also move far away like Ruth did?”

“I dunno? I’d really miss seeing them. I really miss Ruth too. We always had such fun together. We used to bath together and everything. It was her who showed me how to…you know…touch myself.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah! I would never have known what happens, when you do it long enough, if it wasn’t for her.”

“Uh-huh?”

“She’s so lucky and clever. She’s got two little boys. They can be real terrors. Just like you!” Her expression was of one that had been rudely slapped through the face. “I mean like you used to be. I’m sorry! I’m still getting used to the fact that you’re not a child anymore. Sorry!”

“It’s okay! Relax! I understand!” I needed to change the subject. “I wanna ask you a favor?”

“Yeah?”

“It’s not my right to tell you what to do, but it’s for your own good.”

“What?”

“Try to stay away from Frankie Hollywood?”

“You’re jealous! That’s so sweet!”

“Yeah, that’s right. So will you do it – for me?”

“Nobody’s ever been jealous over me before. I think I like it.”

I made my young voice as stern and as demanding as possible. “Will you do what I asked?”

“I’ll try, but he’s always popping up somewhere to tease me.”

“Trust me! You gotta stay away from him. Your Poppa is right. That guy’s just trouble, okay? He’ll tell you anything to have his way. Look at what he did tonight? He made a joke out of you in front of his pals. He had you in tears. You’re too good for him, Hannah. You forgive and forget too easily. It’s a wonderful quality to have, but one day it could get you into serious trouble. If you see that guy coming towards you again, you run the other way, okay?”

“Okay, Connie. I’ll do it. But only because you asked me to.”

“Promise?”

“I promise!”

“Pinky swear?”

“Okay!” She smiled offering me her little piggy.

“Just remember now, lightning will strike you dead if you don’t?”

I’m very happy that my mother was so determined and adamant about the need to have an older person cater to mine and my sister’s needs.

In fact, I can’t wait for her to babysit us again!

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