A mentally ill homeless man lives in Bel Air and is a key witness into the disappearance and possible murder of a rich record mogul.
Previously, Lucy met a couple new relatives that lived in the Blackwell mansion that didn't have high opinions of Junior. She found the monitoring system for surveillance. Tenaya answered a call at the Cryogenic institute where the Bard was creating a little distrubance. We continue the story now as she intervenes on the Bard's behalf and angles for a tour of the facility.
"If you could explain to this gentleman that this is not a hospital. We are merely a storage facility. We preserve the human body for a time when medical science can restore these people to health and vitality. They cannot be visited in their current state." Mr. Nagahito quoted directly from one of the posters that adorned the wall right behind his desk.
We preserve the human body… Brother, word for word. Tenaya had a few questions. "Now, did he mention who he wished to visit?"
"Why, yes. He wanted to visit a Mr. Blackwell. He called him Harp Man, or something like that. I explained that we could not release the names of any of our clients. He said that he was cold and needed more blankets and that he did not like country music. All silly things that made no sense. I tried to explain to him, but he would not listen." Mr. Nagahito looked sincere, which Tenaya found quite amusing.
"These bodies are stored downstairs? Might I be able to take a quick look at the facility? I think our friend here may need some treatment. It might help if I were to tell his doctors exactly what we are talking about." Tenaya continued to give the eye to the Bard, who could clearly barely contain himself.
"Yes, for the children starving on Mt. Fuji. They ask for so little." At least the Bard said that softly and with reverence. Tenaya could barely keep a straight face, but she wanted to see the mechanics of this place without a search warrant. Hell, there was no way she would see a warrant in this case with the evidence she had now. That would be none.
"Well, that is irregular, but if it will facilitate an end to this manner…Susan, send Teller in please." He had pushed a button on his phone. "Yes, Mr. Nagahito." A drone-like voice responded.
A couple of minutes later, Joann Teller, an all-business woman in a grey suit arrived. She might have been attractive, but interaction with humanity was not high on her list of priorities. She didn't acknowledge anyone or even speak. She just stood there awaiting instructions.
The Bard looked at Tenaya with wonder and said, "She looks so life like."
"Joann, give these two a quick tour of the facility and entertain their questions please." He left out niceties, more because they would not register with her, than out of rudeness.
"Very well". She had yet to make eye contact with either one of them.
"They were never seen on planet Bel Air again. Legend holds that their progeny returned to the great seas of their planet and de-evolved into plankton, restoring the ecological balance. They had saved their planet, but no one was left that used language to tell of it." The Bard continued blathering though it was low key. Tenaya assumed that was the best he could do.
They went on their tour, the Bard singing a lovely ballad, Tenaya laughing and Joann Teller having no reaction whatsoever. Mr. Nagahito returned to the business at hand.
The tour went without incident. There didn't turn out to be much in the way to question. There were vats of liquid nitrogen with wrapped cocoon like objects suspended in them with a few wires attached. There were a large number of them, much larger than Tenaya had imagined. There were very few employees and very little for them to do. Most of the employees where on the sales staff.
This could easily be a complete scam. The only way to determine what was floating in that liquid suspension was to thaw it out and check. That, of course, would ruin the purpose of the freezing. Was everything done and being done according to specs? Who knew, there was no way for an outside party to check. Still, there was no motive for murder or a motive to conspire to murder. They got their money up front. If they were a part of a conspiracy or cover up than it was unwittingly. That remained a strong possibility as far as Tenaya was concerned. Having the body carted away and frozen beyond the hands of scrutiny was too sweet to be a coincidence. The Cryogenics Lab may not be participants, but they were certainly being used.
I had one question for Joann Teller. "Which one of these cocoons is John Blackwell Senior?"
"I'm sure Mr. Nagahito told you, we are not allowed to give out the names of the clientele."
"Well, in this case, to avoid further problems. Perhaps you could bend the rules. I'm sure this gentleman would just like to say a few words. Then perhaps he won't come back and harass your boss. I'm sure your boss would appreciate it."
"Well, I suppose that I can't tell you who is here, but I can tell you who isn't. There is no Johnathon Blackwell Senior in this facility."
"What? Is there another facility? Technicians from this facility came and wrapped him up. I was there investigating his death. I watched them drive him away in one of your vehicles. He's here. That much I do know." Tenaya rarely was thrown for a loop like this.
The block of ice that was Joann Teller thawed ever so slightly. "He's not here, Detective Adrian. Mr. Nagahito runs a tight ship. There are no pseudonyms or scenarios. There can't be. This is long term and by long term, I mean past the lifetimes of succeeding generations even. Identities must be clear. A little mystery now would be an unsolvable enigma ninety years from now. I'm sorry, sir, but your friend isn't here. There are no other facilities associated with us. We are exclusive to Los Angeles County."
Joann took us quickly back to Mr. Nagahito and explained our dilemma.
"This is unfortunate. Of course, we have nothing to hide and certainly have no desire to be part of a murder investigation. How can we help?"
Tenaya's head was spinning. Even the Bard was speechless. Tenaya said, "If you could give me a step by step run down of how you acquire clients and the procedures involved when it is time to…how do I say this…gather one up? Has there been any contact at all between you and Mr. Blackwell? Or, how about any other member of the Blackwell family?"
"I have not personally spoken to him or anyone from the family, but I will find out if anyone on our sales force has. They would be the ones that would intitially approach or be approached. I would be brought in more towards the end when decisions were being made. I will be on it immediately for you detective. I am sorry about your friend sir and this misunderstanding." He bowed to Tenaya and the Bard. Tenaya nodded her head and the Bard bowed at the waist completely at a ninety-degree angle. Mr. Nagahito found that amusing and smiled. Joann almost smiled; the sound of ice cracking could be heard near her jaw line.
Tonight's meeting would prove to be revealing. Tenaya decided to bring the Bard along. She had passed the point where trust was an issue. He knew enough to sink the whole investigation already. He had information and there was no telling when he would throw out something relevant. Lucy suggested the Santa Monica Pier and Tenaya agreed. They had to be sure that none of them were seen together from here on out. Lucy could run into the Bard near the house. That would be the extent of their interaction, the investigation depended on it. It was possible that lives were in danger if their involvement in the investigation was known.
Tenaya couldn't wait. "I don't know if we have a murder case. I don't even know if he is dead! I know this, if he is, we don't know where his body is. It isn't at the cryogenic institute. The one witness that saw him dead, is our number one suspect. Is that crazy? Junior found the body and made the phone calls. Or, did he just make some phone calls? There was a body. I saw it. Was it Blackwell's? Was it dead? I don't know."
"Who's the body in the bag?
the Harpster dude, or some old hag
my buddy drank a cup at two
left the room and left my view
I didn't see a body fall
I saw no one make a call
wonder what is on that page
yep, all the world is a stage."
The Bard threw his usual twist into the mix. Lucy decided to use her charm on him. "Are you saying that you didn't see Harpster after two? Do you know who was in the bag they drove away with?"
"No. Lovely Lucy in the Sky. I don't know. But, no dead bodies in the study. No phone calls in the study. No nothing in the study. Two o'clock. Empty. Three o'clock the door opens the show begins. From the outside in." The Bard didn't add anything clever.
Lucy looked at Tenaya. "Hell, partner, we don't know a damn thing. We have a body. We don't know who it is. We don't know if it is dead or alive. We have a team of imposters throwing it into a truck. We don't know who any of them are or where the truck went. Mr. Blackwell was last seen at two P.M. We don't know where he went or if he is alive or dead. We don't know if there has even been a crime committed. At best, we have a missing person's case and I suppose a false insurance claim. That's it. The will!"
Tenaya jumped up at that. "Hell yes. If there is no dead Brewster, there is no estate to divide. That should force somebodies hand. Whoever wants the money better come up with a corpus delicti or they aren't gonna see a dime."