Extracts from The Diaries of 'Professor' Cornelius Crane

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August 13th, 2001

I had a private number call me today.

I had pushed the button and answered, “Crane!”

The voice was calm but dripped with the venomous malice of a Gestapo agent about to extract information from a reluctant informant. “Cornelius Crane, I apologize for taking so long to get back to you, but I’ve been catching up on some…reading. Some very interesting and enlightening stuff.”

“Tallis? You thieving bastard.”

“It’s good to hear your voice again too, Crane. Although the last time we spoke it was a few octaves higher. It’s been a long time; a very long time, indeed. Why, the last time we ever spoke was…”

“Not nearly long enough! How did you get this number?”

“We need to talk, Crane. Mano-a-mano.”

“Where?”

“Your place.”

“When?”

“Tomorrow night.”

“Time?”

“Eight o’ clock.”

“Morning or…”

“In the evening.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

“See you then.”

I pushed the button to end the call.

“Bastard! Not again!”

Yep, once again he has me by the short and curlies. A most painful situation to be caught in. What will it cost this time. A lot more than $400 I guarantee! A lot, lot more!

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