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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: May 5, 2014      Views: 574
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Chapter 21 of the book The Bard of Bel Air
Lucy observes as tension mounts at the Blackwell mansion.
"Meet and Greet at the Blackwell's" by michaelcahill

A suspicious death witnessed by a homeless, poetry-spouting, mentally-ill man becomes more and more complex. Who is heir to billions?

Previously, Harpster and the Bard managed to hop on the Metro Link in Lancaster, Ca. and ride to Union Station, Los Angeles. With the few remaining minutes on the cell phone, the Bard called Tenaya. Tenaya directed them across the street to her aunt's restarurant, "Consuelos" to wait for her. They settled in and waited getting to know Tenaya's aunt Angela. Tenaya arrived to finally meet Harpster and they all began to make plans. It was agreed that it would be wise to keep the fact that Harpster was alive a secret as it could trigger Winston in to rash actions that might cause innocent deaths. The story picks up now as we return to the Blackwell mansion where Lucy is observing a tense crowd of individuals and contemplating what action she should take.
Lucy felt like she had walked into a dog-fighting ring, where none of the dogs had noticed each other yet. Lincoln scurried along the molding seeking shadows to hide in. He thought of Isabel, a permanent fixture in the architecture of the fireplace downstairs. He had the video tape. Winston took care of her, personally. Lincoln had seen the maneuver in countless movies. It always looked so fake. The bad guy would grab the victims head with both hands and give it a quick twist. Crack! The victim falls to the ground dead.
Isabel had told Winston, "I saw what you slipped the doctor and I heard what you said. Do you think you're going to get away with it? Not while I live and breathe."
Winston had said, "Very well." He had walked up to Isabel, looked to the left, then to the right, grabbed her head with both hands and with a quick twist, broke her neck. She had fallen in a heap, just like in the movies. It had looked so fake. Just stay out of his line of vision. Don't make eye contact. Lincoln felt like the top shrimp in a cocktail at a Vegas casino while a busload of seniors emptied.
Junior didn't quite have enough substance to be beside himself. He didn't like having these two claimants to his position as heir in his presence. Those six toes gave a special air of authenticity to Ruby Dancer's claim. Having six toes certainly wouldn't be a trait common to very many people. His own brothers and sisters made fun of him for not inheriting the Blackwell signature trait.
Junior's mind was spinning. I can't send them away. That is for damn sure. Christ, Dad! This would've been nice to know. Keep them close. Be cordial. My long lost sister. How smart can she be? I'll buy her off and send them back from wherever they came from. Y'all keep in touch now, ya hear?
Winston kept a look of calm about him. He had his hand in his coat pocket on his cell phone in case it vibrated. I know those two bastards are dead. I heard the explosion. Slater didn't go far. I knew he wouldn't. Still, though, I'd like confirmation. Just to tie up the loose end. He kept trying to look casual as he eyed those around him. Lincoln, skulking around like a little rat. Gotta keep an eye on him. Gutless. He doesn't know anything anyway. But, who knows what he might make up to save his own yellow ass. I gotta take him out. Maybe his buddy, Isabel, could use some company.
Winston kept eyeing Lucy. He thought he used discretion, but Lucy had the perceptions of a tigress. She had all of her senses on alert and monitored every blink of an eye around her. I could use a woman like that. She has a cool calculated manor about her. She doesn't panic. Not many woman will stand up to me like she did. What the hell is she doing working as a nanny. Something strange about that. Well, no matter. Maybe we'll talk at some point.
These two gals and their southern accents. Winston considered what that might mean to the matters at hand. Well, that's Junior's problem. Whatever keeps him occupied is fine by me. But, they could be trouble. The old one has a big mouth. I can't have her demanding to look at books and all that. So, That gorgeous dish is my sister. Too bad. She makes my wife look lady.
"Who in the great green-grass of hell are you? Dammit, Lincoln, don't you tell me who in purple blazes is sneaking into my own house anymore? What in the hell am I paying you for." Lilith had, what was once called, a snoot full. She had her drink on. She flew three-sheets to the wind. She had reached a lovely, warm state of inebriation. Well, she was drunk.
Lucy could feel the tension level in the room elevate. It surprised her. What once could have been cut with a knife, would need something considerably more intrusive. The household felt like war might break out at any moment.
Junior attempted to intervene. "Lilith, this might be my father's daughter. This is Ruby Dancer and her mother, Diamond." Junior couldn't possibly have introduced them with any more disingenuous venom.
"Daughter? Well, I'm his WIFE.  As in partner till death do us part? And my part is...ALL OF IT! So, Hope Diamond here is your mom? How nice. I guess she thought this was the Emerald City, huh? Well, you've just met the wicked witch of Bel Air honey. Back to Ohio for you, my pretty…and your mom, too. Hahaha!" Lilith found her little speech highly amusing, did a little twirl, and fell, most gracefully, to the floor, much like a skilled actor portraying death might.
Junior laughed. "She's such a kidder. I'm afraid she hasn't been herself since the death of my father. I hope she hasn't offended you. She is really a very sweet woman."
Diamond had a fire stoked behind the black coals that constituted her eyes. "Well, I've read the will, so I'm not too worried about what her…", she glanced down at the barely moving Lilith, "…opinion is."
Junior looked to be in thought. "Ruby Dancer. Hmm. You're the singer. I have people in Baton Rouge scouting you. They told me about you. Is that where you came up with this? What is it; you read somewhere my father had six toes? That gave you the idea? The agents were for real. They told me you had some real talent. You're willing to throw that away to pursue this nonsense. You have a million dollar recording deal on the table. You really want to jeopardize that?"
Junior seldom had the brains to come up with such a smart play. If these two had doubts about their claim or simply didn't think they could fight the lawyers that money could buy, then maybe they would go for the big bucks record deal. He had heard the name. A great singer down south. He remembered the name that sounded completely made up to him. He didn't care about the talent, but it did sound like there was money to be made. Maybe this would work out after all.
"It isn't nonsense, boy. My daughter is Johnathon Blackwell Senior's daughter, and she is two years older that you. She is the first-born child and heir to Blackwell Publishing and its subsidiaries. You don't need to sign her. She can sign herself." Diamond looked at him with an icy stare.
Lucy caught Winston looking at Diamond at the same time. His gaze took on a sinister glow as though he fantasized something unspeakable. Of course, just because one might not speak about something doesn't mean that one won't do it. Lucy's instincts told her that the wise move would be to get those two woman out of there. Lucy thought there might be a chance that Winston could kill them for no reason at all.
Christ. This guy is pure psychopath. He could kill anyone here for any reason. None of them has a clue. Lucy had seen this look before. She had studied it. He had at least three weapons on him that she could see at the moment. There could be more. Even if she got the drop on him, he could kill more than one of these people before she secured him. For all she knew he had back up outside waiting to be called in. Mercenaries don't travel alone, not even to visit their dear old family.
She wanted to draw her service revolver and handcuff this freak right now. What's my evidence? Lincoln? There is a great witness. He's a paid conspirator. The Bard? He's a mentally ill homeless man. What does he really know and, more importantly, what can he testify to in a courtroom that a jury will believe? The only action available to Lucy was to wait. She had to wait for evidence. She had to wait for Winston to get the hell out of there. She had to wait and hope that bullets wouldn't start flying at any second.
This is a helluva situation. Lucy thought to herself. None of you is the heir. You're all ready to fight for something that isn't even there. I hope I can keep you from dying for it. I could put a bullet through Winston's brain and I know it would be the right thing to do. But, that wouldn't stop his people from storming the house and killing us all. That wouldn't stop the deal to sell American secrets to our enemies and jeopardize God knows how many American citizens. I hate waiting.
Lucy didn't change her expression as thoughts raced through her head. Something that the Bard said popped into her head and made her smile:
"They say to kill a snake, cut off its head. They don't understand that there isn't one snake. It's a snake pit. You have to kill them all. You kill one…another one crawls out. And, he's pissed."



The book continues with Dancing On Thin Ice. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
A cat and mouse game is underway. Can you call the cops? which ones are in on it? Evidence still needs to be gathered. One false move could jeopardize many lives. Suggestions and input are always sought and given serious consideration. Your reviews have been excellent and I read each word with great interest. Some suggestions I put to use right away and others I have on the back burner for editing. Thank you for the great help. mikey


Johnathon Blackwell Senior-Harpster, presumed 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

Winston- Blackwell Senior's son. War hero turned mercenary. Kidnapped father and the Bard.

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