Mystery and Crime Fiction posted May 1, 2014 Chapters:  ...16 17 -18- 19... 


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The people are scattered. But, the focus is on Bel Air.

A chapter in the book The Bard of Bel Air

Roads to Los Angeles

by michaelcahill




Background
Most think Harpster the billionaire music mogul is dead. A homeless man in Bel Air is at the center of finding the truth.
Previously, the Bard and Harpster have escaped the mercenary camp. Tenaya has been contacted. Winston is beside himself over their disappearance. We pick up the story with an angry Winston about to make a surprise move.


 
A strange phenomenon occurred now. Nothing happened. A house of cards built on a sandy foundation in earthquake country still stood. Nobody told anybody else what they had discovered. Winston didn't tell Junior anything. Well, nobody told Junior anything. Nobody told the authorities anything. Nobody told any of the various litigants involved in the estate settlement anything.
 
Most of the world continued revolving in the belief that Johnathon Blackwell Senior had died and was currently chillin' at the cryogenic institute rappin' with the head of Walt Disney. True that was a comforting if not uplifting scene to imagine, but some of us know that it just isn't true.
 
With billions of dollars at stake, Winston couldn't afford to let his partners or more importantly, his customers know that more spotlights were ready to shine on them then had ever shone.
 
He pulled a device out of his pocket that looked like an old-fashioned beeper. He closed his eyes. You're a smart boy, Slater. You won't go far. You'll be spotted. He pointed the device towards the sky. "Goodbye, dad." A small explosion could be heard, far off in the distance. Winston couldn't see any evidence of it. The sound was good enough for him. But, you're not smarter than me.
 
Harpster came running out of the cave as surprised that he could still run that fast as he was at the sound of the explosion. An explosion in the desert sounds even louder as there is nothing to compete with it but a slight breeze. "Slater! Talk to me. You okay? What happened?"
 
The Bard stood in front of the wreckage of the chopper holding something that resembled a radiator house. "I reckon' yous a gonna have ta spend the night. Izza be fornicatin' repairs at sun up".
 
"Holy crap, Bard. What the hell did you do to it?"
 
"I told it I thought it was fat. It started demanding pies. GIVE ME PIES! I honestly have never seen an entity eat so many pies even in a Korean Pie Face Saving contest. Well, that's all meringue to find angels in. Ha! Like they would chance getting their wings sticky. I swear, Harpster, some of the ideas you dream up. Well, that's why you play harp and I play marbles. Hey…where are those damn things?"
 
The Bard handed Harpster a shovel and ran into the crude shack that served as a shelter and storage shed for various items. Blankets and tarps were among the items inside. He began covering the main frame of the chopper. He motioned to Harpster to begin shoveling sand on top of it. After a couple hours, it would probably blend in as part of the terrain if one were not looking too closely.
 
"What now?" Harpster hoped for taking a nap as an answer. He felt the effects of the last few days. Tired wouldn't begin to describe the level of fatigue he felt.
 
"Shopping about five miles south." The Bard pointed at a hill. "Edwards Air Force Base, ten miles east." He pointed towards another hill. "Lancaster, eighteen miles." He motioned towards the desert this time with little to obstruct the view. He gazed towards the area they had just flown from considering the sky. "They think they got us. No one is coming."
 
~~~~~
 
Night approached in the desert. Night had already arrived in Baton Rouge. The love of Harpster's life watched the sunset and thought back, a long ways back. It was a strange world that did not include Johnathon Blackwell Senior in it. She watched her daughter on stage singing and dancing as though she had been born for no other reason.

Had she been wrong to keep her from her father? It took a while, but she had convinced Harpster that Ruby was not his. Well, mostly convinced. Harpster always had a feeling deep inside that the daughter he never met might be his. But, Diamond told him no with enough emphasis that he stopped asking. There are words though, that dance forever on the tongue and never pass the lips.
 
 
Now, the truth had come out, and those words that had never been spoken, could be. Diamond's heart had softened now that she thought Harpster dead. Death does that. Indeed, Harpster had gained a lot of credibility since his supposed death. His true impact on the music industry had been documented in television specials. Yes, his wild ways came out too. In fact, he became legendary and beyond anything, he had ever been when he was alive. Well, he was alive. Okay, you know what I mean.
 
Ruby came to sit by her mother. Her set was over. "It's time to go to California, Mother."
 
Diamond sighed and let a half smile slip over her face. "Yeah, I figured that rather than argue I'd book us a flight."
 
"You are becoming wise, Mother."
 
"Oh. Is that what you call it?" Diamond looked serious now. "There is no tellin' what we are getting into. Think porterhouse steak into a starving lion's den. No guarantees, Ruby."
 
"I just want to meet my family. I know I'll regret it. But, I have to know". Ruby would be flying to Los Angeles with her mother. An interesting time awaited them.
.
 ~~~~~~
 
In Bel Air, Los Angeles, members of the Blackwell family were returning home. Lilith looked smug as she stumbled through the doorway. She looked at the smooth wood floor and admonished the perceived imperfection that impeded her entrance. "Lincoln! Where are my grandchildren?"
 
Ever the ghost, Lincoln stood before her. "They have not arrived yet, Mrs. Blackwell. They are due any moment though. Shall I inform you when they arrive?"
 
"Yes…inform…inform me when they arrive. That would be fine." She walked deliberately to her room. She walked very straight and very carefully, her posture was excellent.
 
Emma had come up to fix some dinner for her and Daniel and had Lucy assisting her. Lucy had other places to be, but hadn't come up with an excuse yet. She wanted to gather some information from Junior when he arrived and observe Lincoln's behavior around him. If Lincoln had the makings of a rat in him, she would sense it right away.
 
Junior stormed in like he owned the place. "No calls. No surprise visitors. No questions. No mail. No damn nothing! The world is full of nothing but parasites. Christ, why do I even leave my house!"
 
Three screaming kids weren't far behind. "Daddy! What's for dinner? I need this signed for school, Daddy!"
 
It would be difficult to say which kid had uttered which phrase.
 
"Lincoln! Lucy! Mother! Isabel! Anybody!" Junior looked as though unsavory creatures were crawling on him.
 
Lucy took her cue and rushed to the entrance. "Kids. I think your pops might want to sit down and relax for three minutes before you attack him without mercy. Am I right Mr. Blackwell?" Lucy could smile like Julia Roberts when the need arose.
 
Junior smiled back in spite of himself. "Ah…yes…thank you, Lucy. Ah,…yes. Thank you."
 
The kids took off as though they were a single entity made of six arms and six legs attached together by an ignored and spiteful God. Yet, somehow, they did move rapidly and exited their father's presence.
 
"I heard you call Isabel, did you rehire her?" Lucy used her detective training to study his body language.
 
"Oh. Habit, I guess. She quit. Winston told me. Attached to my dad. Couldn't handle it. I listed it as a firing so she could get unemployment. I miss her key lime pie. To die for." Junior looked off as though he missed Isabel. He kept swallowing. Lucy deduced it was the pie.
 
Hell, he knows less than Lincoln. No wonder Winston has him around. He has his hands on all of the money and doesn't have a clue what's going on. Lucy began to wonder if Junior had any idea what Winston was really up to.
 
Lincoln seemed to avoid Junior. Lucy found that to her liking. A rat would be trying to get him alone to spill the beans. Maybe he could be trusted to a point. Maybe he had more fear of Lucy than he did of anyone else. A loud knock on the door interrupted her thought process.
 
Lincoln answered the door. Winston stood there trying to look pleasant. He needed more practice.

 



Everyone is in the dark. Hardly anyone knows that Harpster is not dead and it is better for most of the ones that do know to keep it that way. Input and suggestions as always are sought and most appreciated. Everyone a bit scattered around. They will all be heading back towards Bel Air.
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