The Bard of Bel Air
: Houseguests and Desert Treks by michaelcahill
"Good evening Mr. Blackwell. So good to see you again. My I get your coat?"
Lucy's ears grew several sizes and she put her hand up to cover one of them self-consciously. Tenaya had filed her in on Winston. What the hell is he doing here? Damn. I could be on my way to meet my friends. Lucy slowly made her way towards the door and planned her escape should the need arise. She hadn't been apprised of the escape yet.
"Lucy! Come over and meet my brother, Winston." Junior seemed insanely jovial. It gave Lucy something like goose bumps but decidedly larger.
Lucy managed a smile of sorts. "My pleasure."
"I like a gal with a little squeeze in her gun hand. You a hunter Lucy?" Winston stood a little too close and though only a couple inches taller tried to tower above her.
Lucy negated whatever advantage he perceived having by leaning into him. "It depends on what I am forced to consider prey."
"You finally got someone here that can teach those kids of yours some discipline, Junior. A pleasure to meet you miss." Winston smiled in the manner a snake would if it had been a lifelong wino and had just been fitted for dentures.
Lucy discovered what she needed to know. Winston didn't know who she was. He also had no reaction to Lincoln. He had no dealings with Lincoln. Lincoln was strictly Junior's problem. Furthermore, Junior reacted to Winston like he would to a brother. He didn't cow down in fear or break into a sweat. Junior didn't know what Winston was really up to.
The scenario had comedy written all over it. If everyone knew what everyone else knew it would cause a miniature riot right in the living room. But nobody knew anybody's business but their own.
Junior knew nothing about Winston's agenda. He didn't know that Winston was behind everything. Junior only knew that money fell into his lap and he liked it. He liked it more than he liked anything else on earth. If only he knew how much money was at play in Winston's dealings.
Lucy felt her phone vibrating in her back pocket. Under the circumstances, the sound of it could have been a jackass braying. It sounded that loud to her adrenaline-drenched eardrums. She slipped away to answer.
"They escaped. By they, I mean the Bard and the very much alive, Mr. Johnathon Blackwell Senior. Winston had them both hostage somewhere in the Mojave desert. They're holed up their now. Winston thinks he blew them up in their helicopter. He didn't. We've got to get them out of there. What about you?"
"I put the hurt on Lincoln. Junior's a sap. He don't know anything. Lincoln knows more. Dr. Khin knows more than that. Winston's the one. They're all crooks. Winston's a killer. Isabel is decorating their new fireplace from the inside. We'll meet later and get those two. Hell, Tenaya, I was worried as can be about that crazy fool. He grows on a person, you know? How'd they escape?"
"The Bard flew them out in a helicopter. How else? Listen. This Winston fool is dangerous. He is up to his eyeballs in crazy. He's selling secrets to the Chinese and anyone else with money. He's a traitor. He doesn't care about anything but money. Be ready to drop that gig in a heartbeat."
"I'm on guard. Know that. My eye has been on the door since he walked in to the room. But, there's a house full of innocent people here. I can't very well leave them here at the mercy of a psycho and an idiot. Stay in touch. Call Braniac while you're at it. Have him wise that kid up. Bran D On. He thinks he's a secret agent. If I know he's around with his nose out, so does everyone else. He's gonna be a passenger in a Humvee if he doesn't watch it. I don't mean the front seat either."
"Humvee? Is that what Winston drives? Is it black?"
"Yep, as coal. Inside and out."
"Good to know. Later."
Lucy came out to the sound of the doorbell ringing. Funny, it sounded like any other doorbell. She was expecting something fancy. She observed Lincoln wearily trudging towards the door.
"May I help you? We aren't hiring."
"Hiring? We might be firing if you don't move out of that doorway. I'm here to see my daughter's brother, Johnathon Blackwell Junior."
Junior heard the commotion and approached the doorway. "I'm Blackwell. Who are you?"
"I'm Diamond Dancer. This is my daughter, Ruby. She's your older sister."
"Ma'am, if you have some sort of claim against the estate, you'll have to get in line. You need to have your attorney contact my attorney. He handles this sort of…."
Diamond put her hand up. "This is no claim. Ruby here, is the new owner of Blackwell Publishing and all of it's subsidiaries. I am assuming that this little cottage is part of that. Now, can we get a drink and get acquainted now?"
"I know nothing of any sister. My father never said a word about this to me. Like I said, claims to…"
Diamond cut him off more briskly this time. "It was a long flight. Ruby, show the man."
Ruby removed her right tennis show and the white sock and displayed her bare foot to Junior and the other's that had gathered around. It looked like a foot with some nice ruby red toenail polish on the nails. It hit everyone at the same time. They counted multiple times. Ruby had six toes.
Junior opened his mouth, but nothing came out. Everyone in the room had stopped staring at Ruby's toes and were now looking at Junior's Bruno Maglis.
The Blackwell Mansion was beginning to get interesting.
Out in the Mojave desert, the lights of a helicopter bothered the Bard. They hadn't come near his small area. Still, the fact that they were out there looking made him and his friend, Harpster, ill at ease.
"Like a lover's eyes that turned green
when baby blue made you shiver
you didn't see it coming
those grains of sand that she found
the ones that weren't from
this part of the desert
how did she know that?
as if you didn't know
and aren't you just a little
why are you so angry about a little sand…unless
We need to get out of here. He either wants to make sure that the Globetrotters are still at the throttle or he needs something out of that wreck. Either way, if he wants to find it, he will. All aboard. Lake L. A. Express to Lancaster on to Metro link. Next stop Union Station. The mission district. Brother can you spare a dime. Soup kitchen. Mommy the soup is cold. You know that dad is going to get mad. Yes, mother. You do deserve it. Look what you have done to his knuckles. Those aren't just simple drag marks."
Harpster abhorred exercise. He was fit, especially for his age. He hated anything designated "for his age". He could walk the five miles to Lake L. A. to get on the bus. He just didn't like the idea.
The walked around near the bus stop singing duets with their hands out. The Bard had the pipes, there was no question he had the better voice. But, Harpster had produced a lot of records and could put over a song. He had a decent voice and knew how to sing. They did "Yesterday" and the Bard started making up his own lyrics and Harpster managed to keep up and sometimes just sang the original lyric softly underneath the Bards freestyle.
Yesterday, I saw troubles and I laughed them away
now I'm crying that's the price I pay
dreams never wakened so asleep I stay
oh, I lost my hope in yesterday
can I just return to yesterday?
Just a memory that I miss today
Before long they had the five bucks for bus fare. Once on the bus, they blended in perfectly and for the first time in a long time, Harpster was able to relax. He was asleep before the bus made it's first stop. They would search for Harpster where someone like Harpster would go. They would go instead to where someone like the Bard would go. They'd be safe.
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