Extracts from The Diaries of 'Professor' Cornelius Crane

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July 22nd, 1969

My mother was on the phone all morning. The terrible news has the community all abuzz!

The main headline of the Sedgefield Oracle read:

Local Baker Dies!

Beneath that in smaller type was:

Community morns the passing of a gastronomic great.

The shock to my mother’s system has been great. She needed to have some sugar to calm and stabilize her nerves.

I was kind enough to offer her some specially imported candy from Belgium.

Yesterday I took a bicycle ride out to the Ol’ Bradley plot to see what was developing out there. The large red and black ‘For Sale’ sign had been painted over with a shabby ‘Sold’ in white paint

I leaned my bike against one of the two supporting poles of the sign and sat with my back against the other, resting up for a while.

After the short respite I took a walk into the large field beyond the sign. It was a beautiful field carpeted in an abundance of white daisies with large yellow centers.

It was a shame to think that this would soon be replaced with the concrete and asphalt used in the construction of a large, greasy gas station and repair workshop.

I decided to make a last use of the plot’s natural resources. Besides its wonderful aesthetic value, it would prove most useful to me in doing a little insect hunting for a private little project I had been mulling about in my head for a couple of days.

Luckily I had had the forethought to bring along a couple of containers for just such a purpose. The first was a box of matches, and the second a large can of baking powder.

I emptied out the contents of both in order to complete the task.

It took me a long time to gather what I considered to be a sufficient amount to complete the project in a proper and thorough manner (This particular assignment could not be approached in a half-hearted manner.). For motivation, I kept reminding myself of the marks I had witnessed on an innocent child’s bruised and battered body on the night of July 12th.

I had worked up a reasonable appetite by the time I reached town. I decided to treat myself once more to that gastronomic great’s great custard slices.

There was absolute terror in the man’s eyes as he spied one of the three winged creatures buzzing angrily about his head.

I had taken the liberty to annoy the little buggers by giving the matchbox a vicious shake, while he had been retrieving my treat from the refrigerated display, before releasing them.

He disappeared swiftly through the doorway that led to the area where I expected the baking and food preparation took place. He shouted frantically, “Hannah! Marta! Come quickly! Another one of those damned insects is inside the shop again. Get in there and kill it. Quickly!”

Marta and Hannah had been quick – but I had been quicker. By the time they appeared through the doorway, wielding rolled-up newspapers, I had already made the swop.

Hannah killed one of the deadly pests with the sports section of the Sedgefield Oracle.

I was then kind enough to point out a second one crawling on the floor. Marta squashed it beneath her shoe.

I have no idea what happened to the third, but as for the other twenty or so – I knew exactly where they were hiding; they were waiting for a sweet tooth for foreign candy to release them, and their canned-up frustration.

I hope Marnie’s immediate family also possesses the skill to make those custard slices that I’m so partial to?

If not, I may just end up missing the bastard myself!!!

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