A possible murder in Bel Air. A homeless man nicknamed The Bard is a witness. But is this poetry spouting mentally ill person reliable?
Previously, we attended the funeral of Johnathon Blackwell Senior. A man known as "The Bard" was initially denied entrance, but the deceaseds son recognized him and allowed him in. The deceased was rich and powerful and "The Bard" was a homeless man that lived in Bel Air one of the richest cities in the world. Mr. Blackwell has been put in cryogenic freeze. His coffin is buried empty nonetheless and services continue on as though he is in it. We go back now to when The deceased was originally found dead in his study.
Everything is peachy keen
Harpster's dead and no one's seen
Wrap him quickly pretty please
Hide him out in your deep freeze
Whoa! tell me that's not sharp.
Enters Heaven with his own harp!
The cryogenic team received a call the instant Harpster's son found him dead. Procedures to preserve the body were well underway long before the cops and paramedics arrived. The family doctor already had a death certificate filed out and waiting.
Detective Teneya Adrian didn't like it and voiced her opinion of the matter loudly. Her protestations fell upon deaf ears. She nonetheless went by the book and treated the area like a crime scene gathering evidence in spite of the lack of cooperation by…well…everyone. Even her superiors offered no support.
"Dammit! This is a sixty-two year old man in perfect health. Your carting him off to the deep freeze without even a once over. Who the hell ever heard of such a thing?" Detective Adrian wasn't known for outbursts and displays of temper. This was not the norm for her.
"We have the death certificate already in hand, detective. That's all I need to hear about it. Write it up and let's leave this family to their grief." The chief of police rarely came out into the field. This was a prominent case. Chief of Police, Antonio Sandoval never passed up publicity and he wasn't about to have this little detective show him up. He smiled for the cameras. He knew the angles and the expressions to make himself the focal point of the show.
Detective Adrian didn't give a damn about that. She didn't like this whole scene. This was a powerful family and the team packing Harpster on ice looked to be professional and orderly. Everything looked perfectly above board; it wouldn't be more orderly were it scripted. Detective Adrian saw everything as a murder. It was her nature and it served her well. Theories ran sprints through her mind and then, after a rest, they ran marathons. Perfect crime scenarios began to work their way in to her mindset.
Kill him. Freeze him. Hide the body underground. All right in front of everyone like it's the thing to do. The perfect crime. Hell she had no idea what happened. The doctor said "heart attack". Fine. Let me see his damaged heart. At least a nice snapshot…something. But, no. You got the evidence on ice and you're taking him away to some vault where I can't get my hands on him. Bullshit!
"Listen. I realize this may all be routine. I understand the terrible loss you all feel. But, we can get this done now, or I can keep coming back. One way or the other, these reports have to be filed out and turned in. Now, I'll start with who found Mr. Blackwell." For such a petite woman, she had a commanding presence and when she spoke, people responded.
Chief Sandoval continued smiling for the cameras outside, while Det. Adrian's furrowed brow put one's mind in memory of their mom's childhood admonition, "Your face will freeze like that."
"I did." Junior answered her question. He looked steely-eyed and confident as he strode up to the detective.
Det. Adrian thought to herself, He's either totally innocent or totally confident in getting away with it. "So, you found your father right here in the study?"
His expression didn't change and he answered immediately in a steady voice, "Yes, I had some papers for Dad to sign, an Elvis Costello tour, and though the hour was late, I new Dad was a night owl like myself. I have a key, so I let myself in. I walked to the study where I observed a light on and walked in. Dad was not in the room. At least, I did not see him upon entering. I approached the desk and saw his feet sticking out behind the desk to the right of it. He was wearing slippers."
He paused to pick some lint off the knee of his pants.
Detective Adrian took a quick glance around the room. Lilith Blackwell, now a widow, stood looking out the window, detached from the rest of the family, and deep in, what seemed to be, worried thought. Junior's other siblings that had arrived after her, shared the same detached demeanor and the worried expressions as well. I can't wait to lay my eyes on that will. She turned her attention back to Junior.
He continued without even clearing his throat, "I rushed over calling his name, but he did not respond. I pushed his desk chair back out of the way and rolled him onto his back. He was cold and his eyes were open. I knew he was already dead. I immediately pushed the button on his alert necklace. That mobilizes the cryogenic team. I didn't have my cell phone with me."
He mimed hitting his pants pocket and gestured towards the driveway outside.
He once again continued without missing a beat, "I had left it in my car by mistake. I picked up the landline and dialed nine-one-one. I informed them of the situation. By the time they arrived, my father's personal physician had already arrived and pronounced him dead. The cryogenic team immediately commenced to prepare his body for cryogenic freezing."
He remained seated. His expression didn't vary nor did his tone of voice. He didn't even use much in the way of voice inflections or modulation. It was as if a computer voice had been endowed with an .advanced technology that made it sound human.
"Now, Mister Blackwell, where were you before you came to find your father here in the study?" Tenaya had learned to speak without any comfort in her voice. Her questions accused without any semblance of an accusatory tone.
To his credit, Junior revealed nothing in his response. "I had left the launch party early with the papers for dad to sign. Mr. Costello has a reputation for volatility when it comes to commitments. I'm not his favorite person nor is anyone in the business end of things. I believe he considers us as necessary evils. In any case, there was a sense of urgency when it came to sealing the deal. Thus, the late night swing by Dad's house and the shocking discovery. You may call me J.B., by the way, all my friends do."
Suddenly the ice sculpture developed a pulse and a personality burst forth. J.B., as friends called him, had his warmest smile and a friendly warm demeanor come upon him.
Tenaya made note of his transformation, but had no outward reaction to it. "How long were you at this event, Mr. Blackwell?" She didn't need to use any name, as it was clear she was talking to him. She made the point that she did not call him "J.B.".
"I'll save you some trouble. I spent the prior evening at a location that shall remain nameless with a party that shall also remain nameless. I arrived at the office at 7:45 A.M. and made some coffee. My secretary, Angela Barr, arrived at 8 A.M. and we went to work on the Costello tour tying up loose ends. A little before nine the rest of the employees began arriving. I was there until I left to bring my father the papers as we discussed." He looked smug and defiant now.
Tenaya smiled. A nice, pleasant smile that would surprise anyone that had spoken to her in the last hour. "Okay, J.B., I appreciate the detail. You understand that this is all routine. Some guy in an office, with nothing to do, reads these and lives to find little mistakes to make our lives miserable." She had her suspicions and wasn't about to let him in on them. She wanted him to feel free and clear…for now. That's right. You can relax now. That's when people make mistakes, when they're all nice and cozy thinking the heat is off. Just how I want you to fell…J...B.
"Did he suffer?" Lilith spoke to no one in particular. She had not said a word since arriving about an hour earlier.
"No. No, dear. It was quick, Lilith. A massive heart attack. He never knew what hit him." Doctor Khin spoke his first words, as well, since Detective Adrian arrived on scene. He put his arm around Lilith's shoulder. She didn't seem to enjoy the attention.
Tenaya knew that Dr. Khin would be the next to answer questions. "Dr. Khin? If I can have a moment to clear up some technical issues, time lines and the like."