Extracts from The Diaries of 'Professor' Cornelius Crane

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August 17th, 1994

It is the anniversary of the day that I was sent back into the past. It seems strange to be talking about the anniversary of something that must still take place, but as I’ve mentioned before, ‘Time Travel can be very confusing.’

Each day I move closer to the actual date of August 17th, 2014, when my consciousness was projected back through time. It is now exactly 20 years before that incident would have happened.

I say, ‘Would have happened’, due to the fact that I now intend to get much further down the timestream this time round; much more further than 2014 before I again utilize the services of the Consciousness Projector.

My physical body was already close to death when the literal Brain Drain occurred, and would probably not have survived much longer in any case.

So, in order to achieve my goal, I have chosen to live a healthier lifestyle – but only to a certain degree of course. After all, it is as Woody Allen once said, ‘You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.’

Therefore, I am taking steps to cut down on wine, woman and song. I’ve decided to do it in stages so that the shock to my system won’t be too great. I’ve made very good progress so far – I’ve completely stopped my singing in the shower!

Getting past August 17th, 2014 is actually the easy part of this new journey of mine. The difficult part is going to be completing a new and, hopefully, improved Consciousness Projector.

The most important component needed towards that successful outcome is none other than one - Steven Matthew Ferran!

To this end, I will be phoning him in December to set up a meeting between us for the evening of the 16th. It was what he asked me to do – it is what I promised to do!

This will also be the first time that we actually speak to each other in this timeline. I look forward with much excitement and anticipation to meeting my oldest and dearest friend - for the very first time.

Yep, Time Travel is definitely confusing!

During my first life, we didn’t want either of us to have any alcohol passing through our brains during the evening of the transference, so Steve and I had decided that it would be best to say our goodbyes (I was almost about to say celebrate, but the evening had eventually turned out too somber to be regarded as a happy event. Let’s say it was more a bittersweet farewell.). On that second last evening of my first life, we were on our third or fourth round of drinks when Steve suddenly slid a piece of paper across the bar counter.

“What’s this?” I had asked studying the number written on the small note.”

“My phone number.”

I smiled wryly. “You choose a strange time to come out of the closet, Steve.”

“Up yours, Prof.”

“That…is exactly what I’m talking about.”

“Fuck you!”

“This isn’t getting any better.” We both laughed loudly. “I gotta admit though, this is definitely a first for me. I had quite a few women slip me their phone numbers back in my bad old days at Navigators. They mostly used the paper napkins, but there was this one time…”

“The school teacher from Lincoln Elementary?”

“You remembered? Yeah, the slightly inebriated history teacher.”

“Pissed!” He corrected. “You had definitely said, ‘This pissed former prissy from Lincoln Elementary, after using a permanent marker pen, had slipped her panties into your pocket.’” He thought for a moment. “Cicely Adams, I believe.”

“Your memory is impeccable.”

“How could I forget? Especially when you mentioned that the evening had culminated with the best history lesson that you have ever had. I believe it involved the Invasion of Sicily.”

“Yep, Cicely had insisted on us performing a very in-depth reenactment of the event.”

“Must have been very educational?”

“You have no idea. She was a great believer in rote learning; woke me up another three times to repeat the lesson. By the fourth time my ships were firing duds, but I managed to complete an oral examination to her satisfaction. I’m happy to say I managed an F plus.”

“Your country is proud of you!”

“I still have that little keepsake of hers filed away somewhere.”

He pointed to the piece of paper. “You’ll have to file that one in your noggin.”

“Oh?”

“That is an old phone number of mine. I couldn’t remember it myself. I had to scratch it out of an old box in the attic. I have no idea who would answer it now, if at all.”

“Ah, you want me to phone you once I’ve gone back?”

“Exactly! We have no idea how far back your consciousness will be projected, but we both agree that it will probably not be much further than twenty or twenty five years at most.”

“Shit!”

“What?”

“I just thought of something.”

“Yeah?”

“What if it’s only capable of sending me back a month or two at the most?”

“That would be tragic. But with the juice we’ve hooked up to her now, I seriously doubt it.”

“What about that spike.”

“That inexplicable surge we keep getting?” I nodded. “No need to concern yourself. If anything it will only improve the quality of the transference.”

“Quality? That sounds like I could lose some of my mind in the process.”

“There’s no danger of that. I meant it would help in pushing…or punching a deeper hole into the timestream. Stop fretting! Trust me! You’ll end up much further back than a couple of months. I’m hoping at least to before 1995.”

“The year we met?”

“Yes, but it was also earlier, at the end of ‘94 that I met Nicolette at my works party.”

“Your first wife?”

“Yes, that Nicolette. Nicolette Kurtzman! And we both know how that turned out in the end. You’re the only one that I ever told the truth.”

Steve had come home early from a business trip and found his wife in bed with, not one, but two men. She had often told him that she fantasized about having a DP, and wondered what it would be like. I guess she had decided it was time to find out – sans Steve’s help or blessing!

It was only about three years later, on a night of drinking much similar to the one we were having the night he had handed me his old phone number, that he had gotten the courage to tell me the truth behind his divorce.

With the passing of even more time the incident had become less traumatic and more of a joke.

In fact, it became a habit of mine to niggle him quite often about it.

“I still say you should have been more open-minded about the matter. After all, Mondays were your nights out with the boys, and Wednesdays was her nights in with the boys.”

“Fuck you, Corn. I knew it was a bad mistake ever telling you about it!” We both laughed. Then he said seriously. “If you help me this time round, I never will have to tell you about it.”

“What do want me to do?”

“Nicolette worked as an assistant to Frank Myer in our satellite R&D department. If I hadn’t gone to Futronics’ year-end function on December 16th, 1994, I wouldn’t have met her.

“I was already considering contacting you to discuss the possibility of starting up a new company. I knew back then already that we would make a dynamic combination. If you hadn’t contacted me first, sooner or later I would have gotten the guts to call you.”

“You never told me this before?”

“I didn’t want your head getting any bigger than it already is. That would certainly cause some problems with the transference of your consciousness. Then we’d have to build our own power station in order to send you back!”

“Ho, ho! That’s very witty. Very amusing indeed.”

“Touché!”

“Go on.”

“I need for you to arrange our initial meeting six months earlier.”

“On the night of the work’s function?”

“Right!”

“You realize of course that changing the past could have serious consequences on the future.”

“To never meet Nikki will be more than worth the risk.”

“Yeah, women have no idea of the damage they can cause to a man’s mental well-being.”

“Ah, yes! I’m sure you will also make a point of steering well-clear of the Balmoral Hotel?”

I raised my glass. “You said it! Let’s drink to new beginnings.”

“Here’s to second chances!”

“To second chances!”

Our glasses clinked together.

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