A mentally ill homeless man is detective Adrians only witness in a case she considers a murder. A billionaire music mogul is dead and cryogenically frozen.
Tenaya is left to rummage through The Bard's papers while he makes his rounds. It turns out that the Bard is writing a book amongst other things. The book is about Harpster and is somewhat a biographical piece. It makes mention of a daughter that would be his first born living in the south. Much of the writing is lucid and then it lapses into parts that are less so, much like the Bard is in person. She meets the Bard later that day where he has come through with bags of trash, including a laptop and a couple CD's from the Blackwell's trash bin. Lucy is undercover as a nanny at the Blackwell mansion. It remains to pull the wool over Chief Sandoval's eyes. Tenaya has trash to go through and Lucy has a mansion to explore. We join the story as Tenaya looks at what the Bard has provided to her.
The laptop had a virus, but it belonged to Harpster. A trip to Bel Air Computer was in order. Some music perhaps. Music to sort trash by. Ahh, yes. "Diamond Dancer." Nice title, let's hear it. Lucy put in one of the CD's The Bard had lifted from the Blackwell's trash receptacles and began to look through the papers he had purloined.
Hmm. Royalty checks. Johnathon Blackwell. Savannah Nights, The Train to Nowhere…I know some of these songs. I didn't know he did any more than throw money at artists. More Checks…musicians royalty's…little checks…$24.44…$8.23…not much for a billionaire to bother with. No "Diamond Dancer" though.
"Southern night, she glows while I try to stay afloat
Diamond Dancer dazzles all the stars in the sky
why does this shadow drifting 'neath the moon
think she'll even notice me, drifting at sea…alone…all alone
Diamond Dancer shine a crystal smile on me.
with your dancing eyes, guide me home."
She couldn't help but sigh when she listened to the lyrics. The instruments were unusual. That had to be Harpster. She had never heard a harp play anything but angel music before. This harp played the blues kind of like a guitar. The singer had an innocent voice with a lot of feeling. She liked the record. A little gem no one probably ever heard. I wonder if it was him? She mused. Diamond Dancer. Who was this Diamond Dancer? Was this the mother of his child? What was her real name? It all painted a different picture of Harpster then what most people would imagine.
All of these little receipts that would normally be handled by a nameless accountant, he handled himself. For all of his faults, he cared about the music and he clearly cared about this woman. He doesn't seem to be the complete monster that many want to portray him as. This would keep her busy awhile. Lucy should be arriving at work soon.
The time had come for Lucy to meet the Bard.
"Wooooowwww! Wonder woman! Wonder woman! Miss. I'm having trouble figuring out where to put this parking ticket. I can't find your windshield. Haaaa. Heeeeee. Get it? Invisible plane? I'm known as the Bard.
The harmless man that tickles
offers you some pickles
it rhymes with butter brickles,
makes no sense.
But, I'm here to say hello
sayin' watch out from bellow
for there's one thing I know
Satan might be lookin' up your dress!
At your service, I'm the doorman. May I escort you?"
"Yes, that would be lovely. There just aren't any gentlemen anymore." Lucy pointed her key ring at an empty space on the road and a clicking sound echoed down the street. Her Honda Accord or her invisible plane was secure depending on one's perspective.
The Bard was both impressed and delighted with her response. "So, you’re the new nanny, Fran Dresher with the funny voice and pretty face? There's an old uncle living in the dungeon. I think he's titched in the head. But I abhor gossip and vacuums, they aren't natural, you know."
"Oh? What is this uncle's name? Is it Mr. Blackwell Junior's uncle? Senior's brother?" Lucy held out some hope that perhaps an uncle lived elsewhere in the house and she might get some information from him.
"It be a swarthy old uncle cuss of a son. Well, son of a cuss, really. Harpster's deaf brother. Daniel. Disabled in Vietnam, PTSD. That happened to me in Korea, but I live with it. No sense crying over spilt goat's milk. Watch out for him. He might mistake you for the most beautiful woman on earth and ask you out." The Bard shuffled his feet a bit and looked away shyly. It was the way a shy boy looks away from a pretty girl, not the way someone crazy drifts off to the next delusion.
Lucy made note of the information. She enjoyed that he had the nerve to compliment her when so many men were too intimidated. "Thank you, I'll keep my eyes open. Any other surprises to look for."
"A lot of anger in that house. Lots of dreams, lots of nightmares. Lots of smiling faces, smiling faces, someti…i…i…imes ha! They don't tell the truth." He wandered off singing the song.
Somehow, she had the feeling that there was just as much sane as there was insane in the Bards ramblings, maybe more.
Junior opened the door just as Lucy started to knock. "Glad you're early, Lucy, grandkids and nieces, nephews…hell, I don't know who some of these kids are. They're everywhere. Mind starting early?" He didn't wait for an answer. He turned and went back in the house as though he were diving into a particularly unpleasant hot spot in hell. Lucy followed him in with a big "bring it on" smile on her face. Kids had the same reaction to her as men did. Kids, however, had nothing to fear.
"Will reading, gotta run. You can handle it, right? Good. I should be back in a couple hours. Help yourself." He didn't close the door. His wife didn't say a word. Lilith Blackwell had already passed here on the road as she drove up.
Help myself? Self-help advice or just an invitation to raid the fridge. She'd play it by ear. "Anyone under five feet tall, front and center!" She had a voice that boomed bigger than her frame would have you believe. Commanding would be an understatement. Lincoln stood by in awe as eleven unruly children came tumbling in from all over the house and lined up.
One of the kids stood well over five feet tall. "I think you are over five feet, sir. You didn't have to come."
"I didn't want to chance it." He stood at attention.
"I'm keeping this one. You kids go and play now, but behave! I'll be watching." Lucy picked him up and flung him over her shoulder. He started giggling as she sat him down and let him run off with the others.
"Damn. That was amazing. Where were you when these Blackwell monsters were kids?" Lincoln smiled in amusement and awe.
"I'm afraid I wasn't born yet…thank God!"
They both laughed at that. Lucy wanted some alone time, meaning she wanted some time to sneak around the house and see what she could find. That meant losing Lincoln.
"What are your hours, Lincoln? If I didn't know better, I would say 24/7 365 days a year. I'm guessing every four years you work February 29th too." Lucy had plenty of charm when the situation called for it.
"I see you've done you're research. That is my job to a tee. I'd give anything for an afternoon at the movies. It just never works out that way. None of these little lovelies were supposed to be here today." Lincoln looked tired.
"I know you've gone through a lot with the death of Mr. Blackwell and all. It had to be a shock, someone that young to die so suddenly. I doubt anyone was closer to him than you. You were with him every day. You lived life with him, everyday life. Not just deals and money and fame, but talking about real things that matter. Now, his son just takes over. I don't want to get in trouble cause I need this job, but he doesn't treat his help very well…you know, with respect." Lucy went into sympathetic mood with grace and honesty.
Wisdom doesn't always come with years. A simple understanding of what a person is receiving and what they want can go a long way. It didn't take great insight to know that a shallow man like Johnathon Blackwell Junior would have little regard for a butler in his employ like Lincoln. Of course, Lucy also knew about possible payoffs involved that would give Junior a further sense of dominion over Lincoln.
Junior doesn't have the complexity to understand that Lincoln has less to lose and therefore more power over him who has everything to lose. Lucy looked thoughtful. "It would be nice, just once, to trade shoes with someone like Junior. Let him see what it's like. Well, I got these guys under control, It's my specialty. Why don't you take the afternoon for yourself? God knows you have earned that and then some." Lucy smiled and put her hand on Lincoln's arm.
"I owe you won. I haven't had an outing with my grandkids in too long a time. I'll be back for dinner. Thank you Lucy." He put his other hand on hers and gave it a squeeze.
Time for a tour. The first thing she had to find was the security room. There were cameras set up, nothing state of the art, but several that appeared to be active. She needed to know the security layout in order to get Brainiac in and out undetected. Bugs in this place will be a piece of cake. I could put one in Lilith's Easter bonnet and she wouldn't know it.
The monitors ran unattended in a room on a lower level of the mansion. It ran VHS tapes and had a limited coverage of highly trafficked areas inside and outside the property. The front driveway was covered, but not the garages. The living, dining and guest bedrooms were covered, but not the study, master or any of the other bedrooms were covered. The entrance and foyer and the entrance to the kitchen were covered. Anyone aware of the cameras could easily avoid them. A look at the tapes from the day of Blackwell's death would make for interesting viewing. There should be a storage room here. Crap! Someone's coming! Who the hell could that be? Hide? Play dumb? No, react to what does happen.
"Who the hell is in there? Is that you Johnny? Uncle Daniel needs some smokes. I could go, saddle up Bessie."