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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: April 19, 2014      Views: 584
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Chapter 4 of the book The Bard of Bel Air
Other aspects related to Harpster's death are considered
"The Will, Jagger and a Shakedown" by michaelcahill

Vast riches are always complex. A dead mogul perhaps murdered. An heir unknown to other family. A detective with a hunch. A mentally ill homeless poet.

Previously, detective Adrian attended the funeral of Johnathon Blackwell Senior looking for any suspicious behavior. She ran into The Bard whom she had heard of and found him to be of interest. He was mentally ill but certainly had information that supported her hunch that Harpster died under suspicious circumstances. The Bard claimed that he was murdered. Of course it was in the form of a poem, but nonetheless, it seemed like he had witnessed something and she planned to follow up and find out what it was. There are other aspects of the story to consider though. We continue with the story now as other factors, such as the will and an heir that is unknown to any one in the family are considered.

The will was in good order and expertly executed by Johnathon Blackwell's private attorney, and life-long friend, Q. The guess was that the "Q" stood for Quincy, but no one knew for sure. Well, Harpster knew. He had money and it bought information. He knew it stood for "Quark". A true friend would never reveal such a fact and he took it to the grave, or in this case, to the deep freeze with him.  

As I mentioned the will had been written by an expert and was in perfect order. It contained one phrase curious for its wording, more than anything:
"To my first born child, I leave 51% interest in Blackwell Publishing and Blackwell Enterprises, including, but not limited to, artists contracts and goodwill. The remaining 49% is to be divided equally between the remaining siblings."
It was a run of the mill legal transference of property and ironclad. The wording was curious though. No names appeared in the phrase. Throughout the entirety of the document, several detailed pages long, names where used to designate clearly who received what and how much. Q Aubrey Langston dotted his "I's" and crossed his "X's".
He'd befriended Harpster at Julliard as a not quite gifted French horn player. French horn happened to be an instrument no one wanted to play, so if you could play one adequately you were in demand. He could do that. It became clear that there wasn't a fortune to be made playing the French horn.
"Q & A", as he came to be known, transferred to Yale and received his law degree. He was gifted in that field. His friendship with Harpster remained and it became a business relationship. If one ever heard a French horn on a Blackwell, produced record, rest assured, it was Langston. If Harpster felt the temperature in the Jacuzzi getting a bit uncomfortable, Q & A was there to turn down the heat, legally speaking.
Langston did not like that wording one bit, and told Harpster so. Harpster had his reasons and there would be no talking him out of it.
"What reason could you possibly have, leaving a loophole a sperm whale could jump through in the most important clause in your will?" Langston wasn't used to Harpster showing his underbelly so willingly. It was perplexing.
"It means that I am doing the right thing for once, even though it won't matter in the long run. I am leaving it to my first-born child. That's all you need to know. It will all come out the way everyone wants it too. At least let me have the little solace knowing that in my heart, I did the right thing." Harpster had looked on the verge of tears when he gave Langston that cryptic response.
They never discussed the matter beyond that. Only The Bard knew anything about the reasoning behind the wording. With Harpster dead now only two people knew who the first born child of Johnathon Blackwell Senior was, The Bard and the child's mother.
"greedy Johnny doesn't know
another Blackwell's good to go
if she shows up? Uh Oh…
then it's hidee hidee hooooo!"
"Ladies and gentleman, Ruby Dancer!"
Ruby Dancer took the stage to enthusiastic but sparse applause. The late show at the Longbranch Saloon had a decent size crowd, but most of them had their minds on things other than music. Sometime within the next hour, the rest of their evening would play out.

Would it be another night passed out in front of a movie that went unnoticed? Maybe an angry stagger home that someone noticed and a call to the cops. Then a night in jail and an early morning walk in the cold southern air.

Maybe you'd find that high heel you lost or maybe you'd kick off the other one cause, to hell with it, you'd just get another pair.
Maybe, through that cloud forming before any sense you used to have, someone that could keep you company might show up at the last moment, and a pleasant evening would be in store.
Ruby's voice sounded so much better than the venue would lead you to expect. She didn't hold back either. She could have been on stage at the Grammys. Even though she sang My Funny Valentine in country and western's backyard, it wouldn't have mattered had anyone been listening. She sang without limits. She soared and every word took on new meaning as it left her mouth.
She called her mom up on stage. The applause drifted through the room. It was genuine, for Diamond Dancer was a well-known icon at the Longbranch. Still, desperate minds are distracted by the longing of the moment. They aren't intentionally rude. The Dancer ladies understood. It didn't stop them from leaving their hearts on that stage. They knew no other way. They sang a current song called "Say Something". Neither had any problem searching for heartache to reference within themselves. There might be those that could sing it as well, here and there across the country, but no one could sing it better than those two did, right there on that dingy stage in that run down bar.
"Sing Jumpin' Jack Flash! C'mon, Diamond, dance with Twinkle Toes." Jake Spratt had been coming to the Longbranch "since it twer a twig" as he liked to put it.

Ruby and Diamond were troupers. Diamond would dance for the millionth time with Jake and Ruby would sing the song that she had grown to hate for the millionth and one.

The only way to sing that song was the same way Mick Jagger did. Nothing felt sillier than impersonating Mick Jagger. Ruby had tried many times to change it up and put her own spin on it. It never worked. There was only one way to sing it, Mick's way.
"Hit it!" Ruby shouted and let out a throaty "Yeoooow!" The band kicked in and she tore that song up as though it was an audition to be in the Stones. Ruby never held back, not even in the shower. Diamond and Jake kicked up sawdust into everyone's beer and they drank it with smiles.
If only Ruby knew. She was the legal owner of one of the largest recording and publishing conglomerates in the music industry today. That song they just sang could be released the following morning with a multi-million dollar promotional campaign to launch it.

If only Ruby knew. But like I said, Mr. Blackwell Senior was dead and Diamond Dancer had nothing to say about it.
The Bel Air police station didn't have any of the high-tech gadgetry that its Beverly Hills counterpart had become famous for in the movies. In truth, it looked quaint and from a different era altogether. One might expect to see it at Disneyland with a review, pretend drinks and Keystone cops performing hijinks. I suppose that crime simply wasn't allowed around such wealth. At least not crime that would get dirt under anyone's designer nails. The decibel level coming from the police chief's office sounded out of place.
"Look, Chief, I appreciate this little gal detective trying to do her job. Very nice, bravo. But, she is starting to interfere with my business. Every time I look up there she is nosing around hassling my friends and clients. For Christ's sakes, she stopped Snoop Dog on his way into the studio! What the hell, does she think? He killed my father? You need to back that girl off and her amazon escapee partner too. I do not want to push this. The mayor and I will be golfing this Saturday; I'd hate to have to bring it up." Johnny Junior, as he despised being called, spoke loudly for all to hear, without yelling. He delivered his message to Chief Sandoval in his usual detached, cold manner.
"I'm on it Mr. Blackwell. I can assure you that Detectives Adrian and Smaldino are acting on their own and not under my authority. They will be dealt with firmly today. You won't hear from them again." Chief Sandoval extended a sweaty, ambitious palm to Johnathon Blackwell. Blackwell gave it a firm, quick shake, wiped his own hand on his pants leg, turned and exited the building. What a sleaze. He'd make a nice doormat for my Vegas condo. Why don't I think I've seen the last of those two chicks? Well, maybe I'll call in a favor from His Dishonor on Saturday.  


The book continues with Q, The Clubhouse & Bullfrogs. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Trying to follow the story line even when it doesn't quite conform to what a regular post might be here. I hope it doesn't throw things off kilter too much. I'm trying to look at the whole piece and not just parts. I've been known to get into trouble throwing things in on a whim. Hahaha. Great input and suggestions. I hope you'll continue to feel free to offer ideas, help and critique. mikey


Johnathon Blackwell Senior-Harpster, deceased former owner of a music conglomerate.

Johnathon Blackwell Junior- Senior's son and heir apparent to the family fortune.

Lilith Blackwell- Widow of Blackwell Senior and claimant to the estate.

The Bard-Stewart Slater, homeless, writer, musician, mentally ill. witness to the death of Harpster amongst other things.

Detective Tenaya Adrian- lead investigative detective. Perhaps the only one that thinks there is a murder to investigate.

Detective Lucy Smaldino, Tenaya's partner

Lincoln- The Blackwell family butler.

Ruby Dancer- singer and Daughter of Harpster though she doesn't know anything about it.

Diamond Dancer- mother of Ruby and former mistress of Harpster. Refuses to tell Ruby anything about her father.

Dr. Khin- The Blackwell personal family physcian

"Q & A"-- Q Aubrey Langstan--"Q" The Blackwell family attorney.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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