by: Marty Chrisman
A week after Mindy’s funeral, the Dukes were just sitting down to supper when they heard a car pull into the driveway. A few moments later, a man’s voice yelled out “Alright, Jesse Duke! You send that boy of yours out here! We got a score to settle with him!”
“You boys stay here.” Jesse ordered, rising to his feet and going outside to see what in tarnation was going on. He paused just long enough to grab his shotgun on the way out the door. Cyrus Carson and his two sons, Tommy and Billy, were standing in the barnyard beside a battered blue Chevy. They all three cradled shotguns in their arms.
“Send him out here, Jesse.” Cyrus said angrily when he saw that Jesse was alone. “You send Luke out here right now.”
“That ain’t about to happen, Cyrus.” Jesse told him firmly, cradling his own gun in his arms but ready to aim it in a heartbeat if he needed to. “You ain’t getting near my boy. It ain’t his fault your Mindy’s gone.”
“You know damn it is and he’s gonna pay for it!” Cyrus yelled loudly. His eyes were rimmed with red and wild looking. He looked like a man who’d lost his mind.
“Take your boys and git off my land!” Jesse demanded in a carefully controlled voice. “I don’t want no trouble but you’re gonna git more than you can handle if you don’t leave me and my family alone!”
“That boy of yours can’t hide forever, Jess.” Cyrus growled, glaring at Jesse maliciously. “One of these days…me and my boys will git him for what he did my Mindy. You can count on that!”
Go on…” Jesse said gruffly, raising his shotgun in a threatening manner “Git!”
Cyrus glared at Jesse sullenly, and then motioned for his sons to get into the car. As he jerked open the door on the drivers side, he looked at Jesse and snarled “This ain’t over, Jesse. You can’t count on that!” Jesse watched as they drove away, standing where he was until they were out of sight, only then did he turn and go back into the house. The two boys and Daisy were all huddled around the back door where they had been watching and listening. “Daisy, call Rosco. Tell him to get out here.” Jesse ordered as he put his shotgun back in its usual spot on the rack above the archway between the kitchen and the living room. He looked at the two boys and spoke directly to Luke “Luke, I don’t want you going no place by yourself for awhile, least until Cyrus has time to cool down a mite.”
“You really think the old fool might try something, Uncle Jesse?” Bo asked with a frown.
“Right now he’s a dangerous man. Ain’t no need to be taking no chances.” Jesse replied. “He needs to blame somebody for what happened.”
“Maybe I should try talking to him” Luke suggested even though he knew that Jesse would never approve of that idea.
“You’ll do no such thing.” Jesse told him firmly “He’s in no mood to listen anyway. He’d rather shoot ya first and talk later.”
“Well, what’d ya call Rosco for?” Bo asked in a disgusted voice “He ain’t gonna do nothing anyway.”
“He’s still the law and we need to report what just happened.” Jesse told him “Now let’s finish supper while we’re waiting.”
They all sat back down at the table to finish eating even though the food had grown cold. They had just finished when Rosco P. Coltrane the Sheriff of Hazzard County arrived. Rosco was a tall thin man in his mid forties with black hair that was turning gray at the temples and brown eyes. He worked for Boss Hogg, the country commissioner of Hazzard County, and he did whatever Boss told him to. Roscoe used to be a good lawman but when his pension got voted out in the last election, he decided to join forces with Boss and he had become as crooked as Boss was. And since there was no love lost between Boss Hogg and the Duke family, Roscoe tended to ignore any problems concerning the Dukes (Unless it had to do with trying to frame Bo and Luke for something they didn’t do so he could send them to jail)
“Alright you, Dukes. What’s so all fired important that you gotta drag me all the way out here?” he demanded as if he had done them a favor by even coming out to the farm.
“Cyrus Carson and his boys were just here.” Jesse told him “And they threatened Luke. I just want you know that in case something happens.”
“Oh, pooh….you Dukes just lie all the time.” Rosco said brushing off what Jesse had told him. It was obvious that he didn’t believe them.
“We ain’t lying, Rosco!” Daisy said in an offended voice “They had guns and they said they’d git Luke one way or the other.”
“Well then I guess Luke best stay out of their way.” Rosco said with a stupid grin and his annoying giggle.
“Rosco!” Jesse said gruffly, fixing the other man with a cold stare “I want a report made about what happened!”
“Oh all right. I’ll make a report when I get back to the office.” Rosco said in an irritated voice. He didn’t want to get ole Jesse riled up. Everyone in Hazzard was familiar with the Duke Families volatile tempers. “Now if you Dukes are done wasting my time, I need to go. I have more important things to do.” With those parting words, Rosco was out the door and gone.
“I told ya it wouldn’t do no good to call Rosco.” Bo said with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
“Maybe not but at least he knows about it. Now if anything happens he’ll have to do something.” Jesse said. He glanced at Luke sternly, pointing his finger at him for added emphasis, and said “And you remember what I told you, Luke….I don’t want you going no place by yourself for awhile.”
“Yes, sir.” Luke said automatically. Jesse’s word was law and it was always obeyed, out of love and respect mostly but always obeyed. While Daisy started clearing the dishes off of the table, Jesse went into the living room to read his paper and the boys went outside to do their evening chores.
As the screen door slammed shut behind them, Bo glanced at his older cousin and said “Hey, Luke…you really think they’ll try something?”
“I don’t know.” Luke answered with a deep sigh “Grief can do funny things to a man. And like Uncle Jesse said, he needs somebody to blame for what happened to Mindy.”
“I guess Uncle Jesse’s right. There ain’t no need to take any chances.” Bo said as they walked across the barnyard to the barn.
“Guess not.” Luke agreed as grabbed an empty bucket on his way into the barn to gather the eggs in while Bo went over to the feed bin to get the grain out for Maudine the mule and the two cows, one that they kept for fresh milk and one that they raised to slaughter in the fall. When he had finished with that, he would milk the goats along with Luke’s help.