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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: April 26, 2014      Views: 604
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Chapter 12 of the book The Bard of Bel Air
An evening out. A diva's decision.
"A Genius & A Diva" by michaelcahill

The death of a music mogul becomes more and more mysterious. The Bard of Bel Air is a mentally ill homeless man and the only witness to his possible murder.

Previously, the Bard shows up at the Cryogenics Institute demanding to see his friend and bring him a blanket. The disturbance brings the authorities and that turns out to be Detective Adrian. It becomes a perfect excuse for Tenaya to get a tour of the facility. At the end of the tour she is astonished to learn that Johanthon Blackwell Senior is not one of the bodies in storage at the facility. The Bard, Lucy and Tenaya take off to the Santa Monica Pier to relax and discuss the events of the day. We join the story as they walk the pier together relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

The Bard and the two detectives walked the Santa Monica pier and enjoyed the atmosphere. They didn't stand out and the Bard didn't receive any more stares than anyone else. The two detectives became two attractive ladies out for a walk in the cool misty air of the Pacific ocean. They were both lovely women and admired as such. Thoughts concerning the case weighed heavily on the detectives' minds, but thoughts concerning the crescent moon and the light dancing on the water found a way in as well. The Bard looked to be more content than he usually did, but the thoughts at play in his mind would be difficult to fathom for the most part.
"I used to come here often when I was a little girl." Lucy leaned against the wooden rail and looked out over the dark ocean. "My grandfather was a big time fisherman. He would tell me that a crowd of people made the spirit of a place hide. You had to come at a time when the spirit felt free to dance, then you could get to know a place. We would walk out to the end of the pier and he'd whisper to me. "She's here. Close your eyes now. She's very shy." I would close my eyes. He would say. "Here she comes." I could feel her. A warm breeze within the cool mist."
"She hides in the mist unseen by downcast eyes
and dances turns upon the ever fickle tide
she seeks the heart that yearns with hope
and slips in quick to tickle smiles inside"
The Bard didn't add anything off the wall. Tenaya put her hand on his shoulder. She existed in the moment and then a light bulb appeared over her head. It was one of those old style bulbs, the ones where you could see the workings inside. "Hey! "In and Out" double burger animal style with chili cheese fries!"
The Bard started lumbering down the boardwalk like a jackal that had just then discovered bipedal ability. "Fried flesh of unknown origin…fried tubers plucked from the spoiled earth soaked in an orangish goo…piping hot and into the abyss of my gullet. Morgan! Moooorgan! Da da da…da…da da da da."
Were the professional and serious minded detectives capable of joining in such a demonstrative display? Yes, they were indeed.
Tenaya smiled at the young man eager to take her order, "Yes, Morgan, we'll have three double burgers animal style, two with cheese and three chili cheese fries, two coffees and an ice tea."
The young man repeated the order, took her bankcard, processed it, returned it and never mentioned being called Morgan. "Number 236. I'll call when it is ready. Here are your drink cups." He smiled.
The three of them filled their cups and found a large booth. "In N Out" never had a time when it had several empty booths from which to choose. The Bard sipped his tea as the girls prepared their coffee.
"That body must have been dead. There wouldn't be any reason to pretend for Junior Jackass and the poorly dressed lab boys. What if someone insisted that the bag be opened? That would be a definite possibility. You could have insisted on seeing the body, Tenaya. Right? If that dancing clown would've backed you up at all. Zip, zip, zip…hey whom do we have in the bag Don Pardo? It would have to be Harpster or the whole plot goes to hell right then and there. What do we have for the winner? A new car! An all new putt-putt from Pitter-Patt motors." The Bard continued to sip his tea.
Tenaya shook her head in the affirmative. "That would be a risk. Unless they were certain that no one would open that bag. How could they be certain? The detective on scene, the first responders, the fire department, but those men had him on ice before any of those agencies arrived. They arrived there first. Now, we don't even know who they were. We know who they weren't. They weren't employees for the Cryogenics Institute. Unless Nagahito was lying. But, why would he?"
Lucy interjected impatiently, "The chief. Sandoval, Tenaya. He stopped you from investigating. He backed the doctor and the cryogenics team. You would have had that bag opened in a heartbeat. He ordered you off. Why? He's an idiot? Or, he is in on it? You know he kisses butt anytime one of those rich fools comes in. I thought he was going to have Robert Duval's baby when Duval had that parking complaint last year. Damn, that was embarrassing. Remember that? Christ! He was impersonating Brando. Not even from the Godfather either. Stella! Stella! What a moron!"
"As you can see, Detective Adrian, I spoil my wife, Lucy here. She acts when she should dance." The Bard jumped up in the middle of In N Out and started singing, "I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night." He put out his hand to Lucy. She grabbed it and gracefully pulled him to his seat in a swift move. He continued in Brando's voice, "I coulda been somebody, I coulda been a dancer, a prancer, a chance taker and a rainmaker and a booty shaker. I'm not the only one with a tree house you know. Van Johnson's grandkids still live in his estate. The old man invested wisely. His daughter Mitzi and two boys and a girl. She's a widow. The older boy, seventeen. He sees."
"You mean another neighbor can see into the study?" Lucy grew serious.
"Brandon. He goes by Bran D On. Some kind of rap artist he thinks. Couldn't flip about two cats in a spat over a hat, believe dat. Couldn't free style on the green mile to get a stay of…oh well like I say…went to his head…he's dead. Now he can see most of the study, but he can see the driveway too. He can see the comings and goings of the sheep on the loaming so he could be knowing who, what, when and maybe where or where can my baby be."
Tenaya had known the Bard long enough now to understand all of that. Or, at least get the gist of it. The kid next door could see the study and driveway from his treehouse. If he happened to be up there that night, he might have some information. She leaned forward and kissed the Bard on the forehead. "You are a genius."
The Bard blushed and smiled. "Opinions vary."
The three of them laughed. The rest of the evening was for relaxing. They finally made it back to Bel Air and left the Bard where he requested. Tenaya and Lucy went to Tenaya's apartment on the outskirts of Westwood near U.C.L.A. They shared a little wine and tried to come up with a plan.
Tenaya tried to break their case down. "I'm at a loss. We have no evidence. But, we know something is going on. Harpster is certainly missing at the very least. Hostage or more probably dead. But, where. Junior and the doctor are directly involved, but is Junior the mastermind? Lincoln knows something and is being paid to keep it to himself. What does he know?  The will reading happened this afternoon. We need to find out about that. Interview the kid. Our best bet is whatever you can dig up in that house. Lincoln needs to come over to our side. I don't want to threaten him yet. See if you can recruit him."
Lucy smiled. "That has possibilities. Junior doesn't treat people worth a damn. Lincoln, his great aunt and uncle are all-unhappy with him. He fired the maid that had been there for decades. Izzy…Isabela, that's it. I'll find her. She wasn't there, but she may have something. We just bide our time and wait for someone to slip up. Junior is arrogant and thinks he is in the clear. I say we let him think that. Then drop the anvil on his head all of a sudden."
It seemed like a long evening, but it still hadn't reached eleven o'clock yet. They decided to call it a night and rest up for a busy day. It was three hours later in Baton Rouge.
"I'm not meaning to offend you, Diamond. But, our interest is in Ruby.  That isn't to say we don't think you have talent. We happen to think you have some great pipes. But, to be honest, you're a little old to be starting your career. If you were already established that would be different. Even Ruby here is not young by industry standards. We usually sign new artists out of high school. She is one of a kind vocally. We can make allowances for her age…"
"Allowances? You act like she's an old lady. Thirty-five isn't all that old. She looks twenty-five. I may be old, but I can blow most of what's on your label off the stage. I never heard of your little label anyway. Deep South Records? Sounds like you made that up walkin' in the door." Diamond Dancer had spoken to talent scouts before. She had spoken to producers, record executives from little fledgling labels to Capitol records and Motown. She knew the business and she had watched it change.
"Deep South Records has been charting on Billboard for five years now. We are hardly little or new. We are a division of Blackwell Publishing, I'm sure you've heard of them. The decisions are made here, but the pockets are deep and go all the way to Bel Air, California. No, Miss Dancer, we're not little. With Whitney's death we see Ruby stepping into that spot. Not replacing her. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that she would be promoted as the voice of all voices. The number one diva in the country."

The book continues with The Heir, Kidnapped, Suspended!. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
The feedback has been so encouraging and helpful. I love all of the ideas and suggestions. You would be surprised how little things stick in one's head and influence direction sometimes. Please feel free to offer anything. Thank you very much.

In N Out is a popular fast food chain in the U.S.-Animal style is extra lettuce, tomato, cheese & onion. You have to ask for it. It isn't offered. You have to be in the know!

The term "Flip" refers to making up rhymes or lyrics on the spot to music being played. A good rapper can make up intricate rhymes and meters on the spot. Some of the best rappers like Eminem and Tupac Shakur are true poets. (my opinion)


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 is 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.

Daniel- Blackwell Senior's Deaf brother.

Esmeralda "Emma" Blackwell- Blackwell Seniors Mother

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