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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: April 22, 2014      Views: 597
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Chapter 7 of the book The Bard of Bel Air
Lucy Smaldino applies for a part time job.
"Ruby Debuts & A New Nanny" by michaelcahill

A tangled web of suspicion surrounds the death of music mogul Johnathon Blackwell Senior. The Bard is a witness. However, he is mentally ill and homeless.

Previously, Tenaya followed The Bard to his home, which turned out to be a no longer used clubhouse on the Blackwell estate. It had been outgrown by the children and stood abandoned until the Bard snuck in and made it his home. As luck would have it, the attached tree house had a clear view of the study and all its goings on. The Bard witnessed the death of Johnathon Blackwell Senior. Somewhere, within his mind, was the truth. We join Tenaya, as she considers some of the facts and mysteries the Bard has left her with.

Tenaya's suspect list grew. She had a lot of information. The Bard could certainly give her a lot to think about. She had a couple hours of recorded conversations already. There were clues in his ramblings; was there evidence? Well, there were pathways to follow, they could lead somewhere or they could lead to Oz.
Johnathon Blackwell Senior, Harpster, lead the pack when it came to womanizing and wielding his power to get what he wanted. Indeed, he had only truly loved one woman in his life, Diamond Dancer.

The bartender called the singer over and spoke under his breath. "A couple suits in the corner." Bruno "Shnots" Ernst tended bar along with owning and grilling bratwurst and red onions. He spoke perfect English with no accent. The only time he displayed an affinity for his German ancestry is when a patron ordered shots for the house. Bruno would yell out, "Shnots!" Where he came up with that, no one knew. But, it put everyone in the mood and made for a great nickname and mildly amusing anecdote.
Diamond Dancer casually eyed the two gentlemen in the corner booth. "Suits" no longer referred to attire. They donned outfits that were still out of place for a seedy blues club, but there were no ties of gold cuff links clanking on the tabletops. Bastards. After my little girl. Over my dead body.
Music scouts and agents were common even in out of the way clubs in Baton Rouge. They had hit the major venues and had a couple days left to go fishin'. Linda Reynard, the country star, burst to stardom from a club less than two blocks down the street. Talent didn't have the compelling draw to the business it once had, but amazing talent always had business people seeing green. A record could go gold without ability; with talent, it could go platinum.
Ruby couldn't hide her excitement backstage. "Momma, who do you think they're with? This could be our chance. We have to sing "Say Something" and for Christ's sake, you tell that jackass that I ain't doing "Jumpin Jack Flash" tonight, not with record agents watchin' me."
"Ruby, you listen to me. These bastards don't care about your music or talent. They care about what's in your drawers. You let me handle them. I've been dealing with them since I was seventeen years old. I know what I'm doing. You just sing. Pay 'em no mind." Diamond had that cold distant look that Ruby never understood.
Ruby pulled out all the stops and the scouts were impressed. They approached Ruby backstage. The younger one spoke with enthusiasm. "We liked what we heard. You have a voice that could sell some records. I see you as a classic soul singer ala Aretha. But, I know you have ideas and we want to hear them. The point is we are interested. I haven't heard a voice like yours in a long time."
The older one seemed to have a more business-like approach in mind. "Well, we have superiors to report to. But, our initial report will be positive. These things take time, Miss Dancer."
Diamond had been standing nearby listening to all of this and was listening no more. "Look. When you have something on paper and a meeting set up with someone that can make a decision, you let us know. In the meantime, we have another set to perform. We don't socialize. This is all business for us."
She took Ruby by the hand and dragged her into the dressing room.
The younger one called out, "We'll be in touch soon. This is for real…"
If he said anything else, Ruby couldn't hear it through the closed door. "Momma, what the hell? What was wrong with them? They were just talkin'. I don't see why you don't want to get ahead. Aren't you tired of being poor?"
"We may be poor, but no one owns us. We ain't nobody's whores or slaves. Is that what you want to be? These men are nothing but flunkies. You think they got record deals in their back pockets? They got lies in their back pockets. Lies and lines to get you in bed with 'em. Just like your father had for me." She knew about Harpster's death and part of her outburst was fueled by her feelings about that.
"You said you didn't know who my father was."
"That's my point, baby girl. There were agents and record executives all over me back then. I was stupid. Star struck and dumb as a fence post. You don't know the favor I did you denyin' you a father. I wish I'd been denied my father. I wish father had denied me night after night until he found my sister. I don't know who your father is Ruby. But, I know he was no damn good. None of 'em are."
"I'm not sleeping with them, momma. I just want to make music and get paid for it. I'm not getting any younger and neither are you." Ruby tired of poverty. She oved her momma. But, she wanted to know who her horrible father was. She wanted to know.
Junior wasted no time in moving his family into the mansion. Lilith remained there in no mood to relinquish any of her rights. The cordiality that passed between them loomed as a necessity between possible combatants at a future court battle. No one wanted to tip their hand. Junior felt secure. Lilith thought she had some ammunition that he had no knowledge of. It constituted a cat and mouse game with those roles yet to be determined.
Junior had arranged for interviews conducted for two part-time nannies today. One position would be for a daytime caregiver and the other for a nighttime live-in position with days free. Lucy Smaldino hoped to get the daytime position. She had done her research.
Lincoln announced her to Junior who conducted the interviews in the study at the very desk where his father had died. "Sir, a miss Lucy Smaldino to see you, sir."
"Very well, Lincoln. Show her in and then give us a few minutes alone. I will call for you when we are finished with the interview." He waived his arms around in an unclear manner. Lincoln understood the meaning and escorted Miss Smaldino into the room. He turned and left immediately.
"Are you sure that you’re a girl? I hope you don't plan to take this position by force. Lincoln there is a master of Kung Fu. He's pretty dangerous." He flashed a completely disingenuous smile and motioned to the plain fold up chair at the front of his desk.
Are you sure, you wish to remain a man? "I'll be sure to watch myself then, Mr. Blackwell." She laughed as though highly amused at Junior's sharp wit. She was not. "I'm so excited to meet you. I have all of Misty Summers albums. She's my favorite. You have taken her beyond any place I ever thought she could go. That slow version of Purple Haze is amazing."
"Why thank you, Miss Smaldino. Lucy, isn't it? Not too many people realize how much work a producer does to make an artist and a record a success. She didn't want to do that song you know." He chuckled as though Misty Summers were a child, "But, I knew what was best for her voice. She was pleased she followed my advice when she heard the final mix down."

He smiled. "Now, Lucy, we need someone to watch the kids during the day. Most of our own children our grown. But, we have a couple older teens and grandchildren that will be here often. There isn't a great deal of care involved. An ear to lend, a snack and a little cleaning perhaps. We are in and out and need a pair of eyes in the house. How would you feel about that?"
"I love kids, Mr. Blackwell. I could certainly use the job. And the opportunity to work with such an icon of the music industry…well, I guess that shouldn't matter, but, wow, that sure is exciting too."
"Well, Lucy, to be honest, I've been interviewing all day and you are the first candidate that I have felt comfortable leaving my children with. I think we can bypass the formalities. You have the job." He stood and extended his hand.
"Oh thank you so much, Mr. Blackwell, you won't regret this. I will bust my tail for these kids and keep you informed of every detail. Wow, Johnathon Blackwell. My friends won't believe it. Can I take a quick picture of us? Just for fun, so my friends won't think I'm in a dream world?"


The book continues with The Bard Writes & Crime in the City. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Lots of suspicion, but no evidence. It is a tangled web, but so far nothing is trapped in it. Tenaya's partner Lucy is attempting to get on the inside by working undercover as the Blackwell's nanny. Any thoughts or tips. Ruby Dancer is still unaware that Blackwell Senior is her father. Tenaya has supects but no evidence. Meanwhile, Seniors body is conveniently absent in deep freeze. Amazing input. Thank you so much. 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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