Extracts from The Diaries of 'Professor' Cornelius Crane

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December 28th, 1965

My parents (Or should that be Santa Claus) were kind enough to buy me the train set that I had asked them for Christmas. They seemed slightly surprised when I had changed my mind about the cowboy suit that I had apparently been raving on about since I saw it in Cap’s Hobbies and Toys two months ago.

My mother, to her great relief and delight, often finds me playing with my new gift. And, if memory serves me well, Sputnik 5 will be spared the terrible ruckus of the cap guns that originally accompanied the cowboy suit.

The actual reason for the train set is that that it gives me the opportunity to use my father’s books from his study. He doesn’t mind, just as long as I, ‘Put ‘em all back when you’re finished playing or I’ll give you a taste of my belt-strap!’ He believes that the books are used primarily to build bridges and tunnels about the train tracks, when, in fact, it gives me the perfect opportunity to catch up on some reading.

And although my father’s taste in reading material leaves much to be desired (He has a collection of about 20 James Hadley Chase novels and a lot of similar stuff), it does help to pass the time. Thank goodness for the large set of encyclopedias. I must be the first kid to actually start reading through his parents’ set of Encyclopædia Britannica – normally they just look good on the shelf whilst gathering dust.

Even though much of the information therein is laughably outdated (Well, to me that is), a great deal is still pleasantly informative and educational. I never knew that earthworms in Australia could grow to over six foot in length – fascinating.

God, I miss the internet!

Oh yeah, I’ve also managed to find the ideal place to hide my memoirs. There’s a slit in the material on the side of my mattress. The mattress is filled with a type of long brown grassy material. I think it’s probably coconut fibers.

Hell, it must be pretty ancient. If memory serves me right, my bed and mattress once belonged to my father when he was a kid. After I was born, my grandparents decided that I should have it. It has both a head and baseboard with some circular patterns carved into the wood. I remember how I used to lie in bed and run my finger in the grooves, tracing the carved lines. After many years I’m able to do it again. It gives me a strange sensation of well-being.

I wonder why?

Anyhow, my mother will never think to look between the coconut hair inside my mattress.

As mentioned, it’s the ideal hiding place.


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