by: Kristy Duke
Parking the borrowed Atlanta Police car behind the mud splattered older patrol car, I silently watch as the beaten sheriff’s car slowly slides to a halt inside of the old mechanic’s garage that lies across the street. A minute later, a man in a ball cap runs to the garage door and slams the wooden garage door shut, to hide the sheriff’s car inside. For a long moment, I stare silently at the closed door as my mind quickly races within me of all that had happened several minutes ago as we had stopped to look at the map. Only to send confusion thickly rushing through me. On an outward appearance, it was obvious that the two country boys had stolen the sheriff’s car and the sheriff had angrily gave them chase only for the two country boys to lose the law by jumping over the cliff…and us. Most criminals would have only worried about their freedom and their safety and would have given us little thought. But not them. They turned around and made sure we were OK. Apologized. And then, offered to lead us to the sheriff’s station…in the sheriff’s stolen car.
“What are you waiting for Danny?” Baez asks impatiently in the passenger seat, “You having second thoughts on not arresting them boys?”
I shake my head and shrug at the same time. “I…I don’t know,” I pause for a long moment as I grab my cell phone out of my pocket, “I am going to give the captain’s buddy in Atlanta a call. See what he has to say about them.”
Baez nods at me as I find the detective’s number I had saved in my phone before pushing the call button. “You know,” she states as she watches the old garage, “we could just go ask the commissioner what he has to say about those two boys. After all, it is their car that they stole.”
“Yeah, but according to everyone,” Jamie breaks his silence in the back seat, “the law in this town isn’t to be trusted. So if you ask the sheriff or the commissioner about those two, there is no way to know whether or not they are lying.”
“Burrows,” a gruff voice interrupts the rhythmic buzz in the phone and I am quick to ignore Baez’s and Jamie’s conversation.
“Detective Burrows,” I respond and both Baez and Jamie stop talking to give me silence in the car, “This is Detective Danny Reagan. We have made it to Hazzard and are about to go in and meet this Commissioner Hogg and his sheriff you were telling us about.”
He gives a sarcastic laugh. “As I said,” he pauses and I hear him typing in the background, “best of luck to you all with them. They are something else, that’s for sure.”
“I appreciate your warning and the info you gave us. We appreciate all of your help,” I pause to watch a family walk past us on the sidewalk, the parents talking to each other, the mom carrying a small baby while a young boy and his older sister run up ahead of them. “and I apologize to be calling and bugging you. Am sure you all are busy, but was wondering if you could do me one more huge favor.”
“As I told your captain and I told you earlier, I am here to be as much help as I possibly can. I’d send you a few of my guys, but they are all pretty busy with their case loads,” he responds, “what is it that I can do for you, Detective?”
“I was wondering if you could look up a couple of local boys. One is Luke Duke and the other is his cousin, Bo Duke,” I answer, my attention falls upon the closed garage door once more as I speak their names.
“Bo Duke and Luke Duke. Got it,” he responds, “I am typing it into the database as we speak. They causing you trouble already?”
“No. I wouldn’t say they are causing us trouble,” I pause as I glance down at my watch, “but we had a small talk with them and it seemed a bit odd. Got us wondering what they are all about and all.”
“I see,” he states and I hear him typing once more. “Here we are. Beauregard T. Duke and Lukas K. Duke. They were raised by their Uncle Jesse. Luke served some time in the Marines. Had a tour in Afghanistan.” He goes silent for a long moment and his typing once more fills the phone. “He returned home three years ago where Bo and him got arrested for running a load of moonshine. Seems it was the family business. But it says here that they were able to make a deal that put them on probation, no jail time, if they agreed to stop making and running shine. They agreed and have seemed to have kept their promise as there is no other accounts of them being arrested, but,” he pauses once more and I assume it is to read his computer. “it shows here several cases in Hazzard where they had some part in having people arrested in Hazzard or helping find stolen goods. Seem like honest people from what I am reading here. But look, a couple of the officers names on here are people I know. I can go ask around. See what they say and get back to you.”
“That would be greatly appreciated,” I respond as Baez throws open her door and Jamie slowly does the same, “thanks for the info and your help.”
“Not a problem Detective. If there is anything else, let me know,” he states before he hangs up.
“Bye to you too,” I state into the dead air before pocketing the phone and turning to Baez and Jamie and relay all that he had said.
“Just goes to show,” Baez states as she steps out of the car and Jamie and I do the same, “that things aren’t always as they appear.”
* * * * *
After walking down the wide hall way of the sheriff’s station, we finally come to a closed door with a thick foggy window on the upper half of the door with the words: Sheriff’s Station printed boldly in the center. Sighing heavily in attempt to clear my emotions and thoughts, I slowly glance at Baez and Jamie who both nod at me. “Let’s get this over with,” I whisper to them before I slowly open the door and lead them into an open wooden room and past a couple of desks.
“Howdy there,” a thin man says with a bright smile across his face as he steps around the desk that sits in front of an empty cell, “I’m Deputy Enos Strait. How can I help y’all?”
“Well Deputy,” I nod at him as I slowly glance around the room, taking it all in, “I am Detective Danny Reagan. There is my partner Maria Baez and Officer Jamie Reagan. We are here to talk to a Sheriff Rosco Coltrane and a Commissioner JD Hogg.”
“Wow. Detectives in Hazzard!” he states in an excited voice, “Well, let me tell you. Y’all are in luck, because both the sheriff and the commissioner are in the commissioner’s office right now. You want me to go get them?”
I shake my head at him. “How about you just tell us where to go and we can give them a little surprise,” I force a grin at the local hick cop, “everyone likes a surprise here and there. Right?”
He looks at me a bit confused for a minute before smiling and nodding. “Right. OK,” he nervously states, “Commissioner Hogg’s office is right here.” He walks over to the closed door with the same foggy glass with Commissioner JD Hogg boldly stenciled on it.
“Thank you Deputy Strait,” I nod at him and wait for him to return to his desk before turning back to the closed door and quickly turn the handle to shove the door open. Inside the large office, a short round man in a three piece white suit and a white cowboy hat, jumps up from the swivel chair behind the oak desk while slamming shut a metal box. Standing on the other side of the cluttered desk is a taller and skinnier man in a patrol uniform who jumps in surprise before eyeing us with sharp blue eyes.
“W…who are you?!” the short man yells, eyeing us with angry dark brown eyes, “And who you think you are running in here without knocking?!”
“Yeah, who you think you are anyway?!” the sheriff echoes the smaller man.
I take them both in quietly for a long moment before forcing a small smile at them as I pull out my wallet that holds my badge. “Who I think I am?” I ask them in return as I unfold the badge and hold it up, “I think I am NYPD Detective Danny Reagan. My partner Maria Baez. And Officer Jamie Reagan. I assume you are Commissioner J.D. Hogg?” I eye the man in the suit who slowly sits back down and gives a short nod. Looking at the man in the uniform, I state, “And you being Sheriff Rosco Coltrane.”
“That I am,” he responds with a proud smile before his attention is drawn back to the commissioner who throws open a desk door and he shoves the metal box into the door before slamming it shut. “I hate to burst your ego Detective,” the sheriff states to bring my attention back to him, “but that nice shiny badge of your’s don’t give you no right to burst into Boss’ office like that. Unannounced. Aren’t you suppose to call before coming? Not alone knock before opening the door. What brings you all to Hazzard?”
I eye him for a long moment and he nervously takes a step back. “My shiny badge gives me every right to burst in here and to call ahead and knock may be the polite thing to do,” I shrug my shoulders, “but ask my partner. Ask my brother. I am not a very polite person.”
“Apparently not Detective,” the commissioner smugly states behind the desk, “but you are not answering my sheriff’s question. What brings you to this nice town of Hazzard? We didn’t call in for help…especially to New York.”
I give them a small nod. “Well sheriff, we are investigating a series of murders that happened in New York City. Gruesome murders. Murders of three innocent families. Parents. Children. Babies. A grandma,” I pause for dramatic effect, “And thanks to a couple of clues and to a witness, we have reasons to believe that the killers have ran to Hazzard to hide out for a while.”
“Killers?” the sheriff asks, fear in his voice, “In Hazzard?”
“Shut up Rosco,” the commissioner states impatiently, “there is no killers in Hazzard.” He turns away from his sheriff to address me, “Look mister -”
“It’s detective, Commissioner,” I interrupt him.
He waves me off. “Fine. Detective,” he pauses as he opens a top door of the desk to pull out a card board box and pulls out a fat cigar, “that is one scary and fancy story you just made up,” he goes silent as he lights up his cigar and the room fills with cigar smoke, “but no one, I say no one, enters or leaves Hazzard without me knowing. No one. So,” he pauses once more with a broad smile across his chubby face, “if there was killers hiding here in Hazzard, I would know about it.” He looks at me confidently and shrugs. “Sorry to be the one to inform you that you have wasted your time and your trip here, because there is no killers in Hazzard.”
I eye him for a long moment before I glance back at Jamie who hands me the manila folder he had been holding. I nod in appreciation before turning back to the commissioner. “I think you are full of hot air, Commissioner Hogg. If you know everyone who enters and leaves Hazzard, as you say,” I begin to say as I open the folder and look over it to continue, “then why were you so surprised when we came through your door?”
“Well I, I,” he stutters before he sucks on his cigar and lets out a thick cloud of smoke, “so I got busy and missed you all. Despite that, I assure you, you are wasting your time here.”
“Am I?” I question him, “Well, how about you let me be the judge of how I spend my time.”
“Fine with me, Detective,” he states with a shrug, “but as for me, I don’t have time for you and your friends. So if you don’t mind, my sheriff will help show you to the door.”
The sheriff moves towards the door. “Well you heard the commissioner. He is a busy man,” he states as he opens the door, “right this way Detective.”
“Matter of fact, I do mind, Commissioner. Sheriff. Close the door,” I angrily state and they both eye me with a look of fear in their eyes. “Sheriff!” I yell as I turn around to face the sheriff who stands by the door, holding it open, “Close it! Now!”
“Uh, uh,” he stutters as he looks at the commissioner and back at me before he slowly closes the door, “OK.”
Turning back around to face the commissioner, I slap the folder down on the desk to send several of his loose sheets of paper floating to the floor. “I don’t have time for you and your silly hick games! The more time that YOU waste, gives them more time to get away. Gives them more time to hurt other people. Kill other people! They killed innocent people, in cold blood. They will not think twice to do it again!” I yell as I pull out the pictures we had of Dagger and Sword that the captain had printed off for us before we had left New York. “And despite your certainty that they are not in your town, this is my investigation and I will do it my way. I am not leaving Hazzard until I search it high and dry. We are not leaving until I am sure they are not here!”
“This is my town Detective. Sheriff Coltrane is my law. If they are here, he will find them and arrest them for you,” Commissioner Hogg states, staring at me as if attempting to intimidate me, “now if you don’t mind, I am busy.”
“This may be your town and we may have to call in your sheriff to help with an arrest, but I will do my own investigating,” I harshly state as I push the two pictures down onto the desk in front of Hogg who glances down at them and for a brief moment his eyes widen before he blinks and looks away, “sheriff, I want you to see this too.”
The sheriff slowly steps up to the desk besides Hogg and glances down at the pictures and his eyes widen only for Hogg to step on his foot. “Boss,” he states, “that’s my foot. You’re stepping on my foot.”
“Ah so I am,” he grins under his cigar, “sorry Rosco.”
“That is OK Boss, I know -”
“Enough already!” I yell to interrupt them and they both jump, “This is Sword and Dagger. Or as they are known on the street and to their gang. They are the ones that we think are doing the killings. You recognize them?”
Hogg is quick to shake his head. “No, of course not,” he states sternly.
“I um,” the sheriff shakes his head as he stutters, “haven’t seen anything that ugly before.”
I eye them both for a long moment. “OK,” I state as I pull out several crime pictures and lie them out in front of Hogg and Coltrane once again. Pictures of the burnt houses. Burnt toys. And a couple pictures of their victims. “Look at these pictures! Look at the hatred in these pictures. Of the violence. The pain their victims went through. Look -”
“We don’t want to see no more,” Hogg interrupts me, “take them away, now.”
“You’re going to give me nightmares tonight,” the sheriff chimes in.
“Yeah, well at least your nightmares, Sheriff, you can wake up from. These people that they killed, they won’t be able to wake up from this nightmare,” I sternly respond, “and if you want me to be honest with you, I don’t believe a word you are saying. You recognized Sword and Dagger -”
“You calling us liars?!” Commissioner Hogg jumps out of his chair with fiery anger locked in his dark eyes, “Get out right now!”
“You recognized Sword and Dagger or know something that you aren’t telling us and when we find out, and trust us, we will find out, we will make sure you are reported. Arrested. You saw those pictures. Of what they did. Of what they are capable of and if they are in your town,” I pause once more for dramatic affect as I place a finger on one of the victims, “just imagine this being a family in your town that went through this. Your family. Your friends. Because I warn you right now, monsters like this don’t stop their hatred. Their violence. They will keep killing until they get caught…and if you are covering for them, you are just as responsible as they are!”
“I told you, get out!” Commissioner Hogg yells as he points to the door that his sheriff now holds open again.
“Danny,” Baez states as she puts a hand on my shoulder and I inhale deeply before nodding and sweeping all the photos off of Hogg’s desk and back into the folder. “Let’s go.”
“I can’t see how any one of you has stayed in office as long as you have,” I state, looking Hogg in the eye only for him to blow his smoke in my face and I force a smile at him, “have a good day Commissioner.”
He grunts at us as we walk out of the office and into the sheriff’s station only for the sheriff to slam the door shut behind us. “Hey again,” the deputy grins broadly at us as we walk past, oblivious to our run in with his boss.
“Hi Deputy,” Baez nods at him, “thanks for your help.”
“Hey no problem. You let me know if you need any more help and we will be glad to help you any way you can,” he states with a smile.
“Well what ya know. There may be one thing you could help us with,” I state and he nods, eager to help, and he walks around to where we are, “we are looking for some really bad men who has killed a lot of people in New York. Your commissioner and sheriff weren’t of much help. But maybe you would recognize them.”
“Wow. That’s horrible!” he states, his smile quickly disappearing, “Sure I can have a look, but the only people I know are Hazzard people and none of them would do such a horrible thing like that!”
“I understand, Deputy,” I give him a kind smile as I open the folder and Baez takes the pictures of Sword and Dagger out and holds them up for him, “they are known as Sword and Dagger. Their street names for the gang they belong to.”
I watch as he takes a long look at both faces before stepping back and shaking his head. “Sorry y’all, but I know I haven’t seen those two before. I would definitely remember them by their tattoos and all. We don’t see much of that around here. Nor have I heard of anyone called by those names. As I said, I know mainly Hazzard folk and all. Sorry I am not much help,” he shrugs as if disappointed that he wasn’t able to help, “but if I see something or hear anything, I will let you know if you give me your number.”
“Sure thing. That would be great,” I respond as I pull out a card with my name and number on it, “here it is. Call me day or night if you have anything or think you have anything.”
“Not a problem, Detective,” he nods as he reads it before putting it in his pocket, “Best of luck getting those guys. You think they are in Hazzard?”
I look at him for a short moment and take in the fear that enters his blue eyes. “I’m afraid so Deputy,” I slowly state as I nod at Baez who places the pictures back in the folder and hands the folder back to Jamie. “Have a good day Deputy. Thanks for your help.”
* * * *
Stepping out into the sunny afternoon, I slowly glance around at the slow paced town at the few people milling around and at the old buildings that line Main Street. “Damn,” I hiss as Baez and Jamie catch up to me at the car, “I can’t believe these people have to live with such ignorant and greedy law every day. It took all I had not to do something to that fat man and I just met him!”
Baez sighs and nods in agreement. “What now?” she glances up and down the street before her dark eyes land back upon the garage. “Perhaps we should drive the car across the street. See your new friends and see if they know anything.”
“Yeah,” I sigh heavily as I walk across the street and we all climb back into the Atlanta police department car, “I guess it couldn’t hurt…though they aren’t my friends. Friends don’t try to kill you…”
With that, I quickly turn the car on and watch the street before jerking the car out of the parking stall and drive up onto the slightly slanted garage drive way before pulling to a halt in front of one of the empty gas pumps. “Look Danny,” Baez states as she opens the door and turns to face me, “I know you and those two boys didn’t get off to a good start, but please give them a chance.”
“Hey,” I shrug as we all climb out of the car, “I treat people the way they treat me. It’s all up to them.”
We quietly walk up to the small walk in door and as we approach it the dark haired Duke boy opens it with a small welcoming smile. “We was wondering if you would come or if you’d get what you need with the sheriff and the commissioner,” he states as he closes the door behind us, looking out the window before he follows us up alongside the parked sheriff’s car to where his younger cousin sits on an overturned milk cart. Standing next to the blond haired Duke is a man wearing grease stained holey clothes with a light brown scruffy beard and mustache and a yellow ball cap covering his hair. He eyes us with dark brown eyes with a tint of craziness and curiosity filling them. “You met my cousin, Bo. That there is the town mechanic and our family friend, Cooter Davenport.”
The man in the beard nods with a smile. “Yep, that’d be me,” he states offering us his grease covered hand and we all shake it. “How y’all like ol’ Boss and Rosco?”
I eye him for a short moment before looking down at Bo who watches us all carefully and still not trusting us. “You mean the commissioner and the sheriff?” I question looking back at Cooter who nods and I roll my eyes at them, “Like is definitely not the word I would use towards either one of those two! They are ignorant and greedy. I don’t know how they are still free not alone running and protecting any town! How you put up with them?!”
Bo gives a small laugh and Cooter nods and pats him on the shoulder. “Good question, Detective,” Cooter states seriously, “but at least with them, we know what we are dealing with.”
I look at him in disbelief for a moment before looking around his small garage and the tools that line the thin wooden walls before taking a step back and taking the manila folder from Jamie. “Yeah well, if it was up to me, I’d have them locked up for being so ignorant and blind! The commissioner has seemed to lie so much that he believes his own lies! And the sheriff? He seems like he doesn’t know what to do or to think unless the commissioner tells him what to do or what to think. I’ve never seen anything like it! Don’t want to either,” I harshly state, “Though the deputy seems nice and honest…must make for some free entertainment.”
“I don’t know about free,” Luke finally states, leaning against the patrol car, “nothing with Hogg is ever free.”
I nod as I glance down at the pictures in the folder to send anger and hatred racing through me towards the two men in the picture. Anger and hatred for what they had done to those families for little to no reason. I slowly sigh heavily and look up in attempt to shove my thoughts and my emotions away in order to move on and to do my best to get the men responsible for it all. “Well, we asked your commissioner and your sheriff if they recognized these two men and they were little to no help,” I slowly state before shaking my head at myself, “actually they were of some help.”
“What you mean?” Baez questions, “They were lying through their teeth! The only one that seemed honest with their answer was the deputy!”
“Yeah I know. But it is their lies that gave it away. They obviously recognized them or know something about them that they are not willing to come forth with. Either that or Hogg is too use to lying that he doesn’t know how to tell the truth,” I state as I eye the three local men in front of me, “Anyway you look at it, they know something and are lying about it.”
Luke shakes his head and says, “That don’t surprise me. As we said, Boss does anything for an extra dollar and he has been known to make deals with not so nice people in order to rob the people of Hazzard to get the money. Of course, when it is all said and done, there is no hard evidence pointing at him and he has his own sorry story to cover himself up. While hired men get arrested and do his time.”
“Maybe that is what is going on here then,” Jamie states behind us, breaking his silence, “the sheriff was about to confess something before Hogg stepped on his foot to shut him up.”
I nod at him and look at Baez and then back at Luke again. “Yeah it is starting to sound that way with your bank robbery charge that they were going after you with,” I go silent for a moment as I let it all sink in, disbelief that I am believing the story I had refused to believe earlier. The story that seemed so far fetched, now seeming more and more like the truth. “Well look, we are here in Hazzard trying to find a couple of men who are responsible for brutally beating and killing three different families before burning their house down. There is no connection between the families that we can tell of. Nor do we really know why they did it. But we got a witness and a note that has led us to believe that they have ran away from New York to hide here in Hazzard.” I go silent for dramatic affect once more and take in the shock and fear that enters all three sets of eyes that are planted on me. “Their street names are Sword and Dagger. Dagger is the prominent gang leader and Sword being his back up man. Would you mind looking at their picture and see if you have seen them here in Hazzard?”
“No, no. Not at all,” Luke states stepping away from the car to take the pictures in his hands and he carefully looks at them for a long moment before shaking his head and giving them back to me. “No, I haven’t seen the likes of them at all. Especially in Hazzard. We don’t get much visitors so mainly all we see is Hazzard folk.”
“Thanks,” I nod before I turn around and hand them to Cooter who take them and looks at them for a long moment.
“Nah. Sorry, but I haven’t seen either one of them. Think if I did, I’d be quick to run the other way. Both are scary looking,” he says as he hands the photos back to me, “and to think they are in Hazzard. Just horrible!”
“Yeah,” I state in agreement and nod in appreciation before I slowly turn to Bo who remains sitting on the crate, watching me with untrusting blue eyes. “Mind having a look?” I force myself to use a calm voice with him despite wanting to knock him off of the crate.
He gives me a hesitant shake of the head before he slowly reaches up and grabs the pictures from me and I glance up to find Luke protectively watching his cousin. Glancing back down at Bo as he grabs the top poster picture from the top and places it behind the other one. As he looks at the last picture his eyes light up and fear is quick to flood through them and he is quick to look up at Luke, as if asking him silently for help. A second later, he looks up at me before he slowly forces himself to stand up and I find myself looking up at him who stands a few inches taller than me. “I uh,” he pauses as he looks back at Luke and then at Cooter before looking at me, “I haven’t seen or recognize him.” He pulls the bottom sheet, the picture he had looked at first, and hands it to me and I look down to look at Sword.
“What about the other guy? Dagger?” I question, trying to prompt him on.
He eyes me for a short moment and back at Luke and then back at the picture that still stares back at him and a visible shudder crosses his lean body. “I think I saw him,” he goes silent, “yesterday morning. In town. But he had shorter hair that was blond and his eyes were darker than they were in the picture. But it was him. He had that same tattoo on his neck. Same scary look.”
I look at Baez with a brief hint of hope and back at Bo as Luke takes a protective step towards Bo, a look of concern deep in his dark blue eyes. “You saw him in town? Yesterday?” I ask and Bo nervously nods his head before he looks back over at Luke who nods him on, “Well at least we know he is here If he is here, so is Sword. So,” I pause slowly as I glance back at Baez to make sure she is taking notes, which she is, “so how did you meet Dagger? You walk past him on the street? He talk to you? What?”
Bo quickly hands me the picture of Dagger and runs his hand nervously through his thick bright blond hair as he looks back at Luke once again. “Well no,” he slowly states as he looks back at me, “I was in town to grab a few groceries my uncle was needing. I was leaving the grocery store and as I walked past the alley there that guy came running out,” he pauses again and he glances down at his feet, obviously wishing he was somewhere else, before looking back at me and continues, “and ran into me. Ran into me hard enough to knock me over and everything went flying.”
“He came running out?” I question and he is slow to nod, “What happened after he ran into you?” Bo chews on his bottom lip for a moment as if in thought. “Well as I was getting up he came running back at me where he grabbed my shirt and shoved me into the side of the building. He was real angry. Crazy looking. In a bad way,” he states before going silent.
“Did he say anything?” Baez questions behind him, trying to prod him on.
Bo nods slowly. “Yeah he…he shoved me into the wall, held me there and got in my face,” he pauses once more, “and spit in my face saying that I better get out of his damn way. That next time I won’t be so lucky. That if I knew what was best for me. For my family,” with that he fearfully looks over at Luke who places a protective hand upon his shoulder and nods him on. “If I knew what was best for my family that I best forget all that happened. Forget that I saw him. And not say anything.”
I watch him momentarily once more, taking him in before I glance back at Baez to see if she got it all. She stops writing and nods at me. Looking back at Bo, I ask, “He say anything else? Do anything else?”
“He um,” Bo stutters nervously, “he threw me back on the ground and kicked me in the stomach. Told me I should consider myself lucky for still being alive. And if I want to keep on living not to say a word. That next time I wouldn’t be so lucky. He then turned and ran down the street where he got into a red Chevy truck. I uh…didn’t see the license.”
“Very good,” I praise him, “anyone else in the truck? Older truck? Newer truck?”
“Just him,” Bo answers, “and uh, it was an older beaten truck. Had a few dents in the back.”
“Very good Bo,” I repeat as Baez folds her notebook up to signal that we are done with the questions and a thick air of silence fills the dark shadowy garage.
“Bo,” Luke speaks up to break the silence, concern and fear laced in his voice, “why didn’t you tell us?”
Bo hangs his head and shrugs. “Well he said not to say anything,” Bo pauses for a long moment, “and figured it was a one time deal. It wasn’t a big deal.”
“Not a big deal?!” Luke yells in fear, “He threatened you! He kicked you! Not a big deal? I’d say it is a big deal!”
Bo just shrugs as he sits back down on the crate as if searching for a way to disappear. “Look, I’m sorry,” he slowly states, “OK?”
“Sorry? You have nothing to be sorry for…I just wished you would have said something,” Luke states, “I wish I woulda went with you. Damn.” Luke goes silent as he looks back at me, “Now what?”
“Well,” I sigh heavily, “we go on with our investigation. And you go back to your lives and hope that they don’t intertwine.”
“But they threatened Bo!” Luke protests, “What if they come after him now that he opened up to you?”
I shrug again. “Look Luke. It’s just me, Baez, and Jamie. We can’t go to your law for help. They are no help. It’s not like I can assign anyone to look out for him. For you all. I just can’t,” I try to comfort his fears though know nothing short of an arrest will.
Luke shakes his head in anger. “You just said that they have killed several people in New York. He just threatened to kill my cousin. My cousin opened up to you despite all that!” Luke continues, “And just like that, you are going to leave him to protect himself against a known killer?! He’s killed before so obviously he won’t think twice to kill Bo…heck Bo’s probably lucky that jerk didn’t kill him then and there just for seeing what he looks like! Probably why he got upset at Bo in the first place!”
I shake my head at him. “What you want us to do, Luke? I understand your fears, trust me, I do! But if we were to stay and guard him like you do, how we suppose to go out and arrest them?” I sigh heavily, “I wish we could, we just can’t!”
Luke nods as if in understanding before he glances down at Bo. “Look, where you staying at while you are in Hazzard?” he finally questions, looking back at me.
I shrugs glancing at Baez who shrugs in return. “I guess we haven’t thought that far ahead,” I finally state as I face Luke, “I guess the nearest hotel. Where would that be?”
“Uh the Notel Motel here in Hazzard,” Cooter is quick to speak up, “though if I were you, I wouldn’t waste my money or time there. Sorry to say.”
“How come?” Baez questions.
“Look William Yasper is the motel owner and manager. He owes his mortgage to Boss Hogg as does everyone else in town and around town. And Hogg keeps raising his rates,” Cooter shrugs, “William is a great guy and he does all that he can do to keep the place up, but he is close to losing it due to not having the money to keep it open and not enough guests to stay there. So he can’t pay the electric bill a lot of the time or for the water or the appliances. The appliances, bed, and everything is way old. Most of the stuff don’t work. Half the time there is no electricity and the other half of the time there is no hot water. Some times there is neither. As I said, it is nothing against William. He is a great guy. He is just a victim of one Commissioner JD Hogg..”
“Well,” I pause, “we aren’t here for comfort. So it may have to do until we close this case.”
“Not necessarily,” Luke states, “you all can come stay at the farm with us. We got a comfortable couch and some blankets. We got a barn that you could use as your office if you need your own space. And our cousin Daisy has her own queen size bed she could share with Baez if Baez wouldn’t mind.”
I look back at Baez who slowly answers, “Nothing against your cousin or you, but I’d be OK with the couch or sleeping on the floor with your blankets.”
I eye her and then back at Bo before giving Luke a smile. “You have a quick mind, Luke. This is your ploy for at least some protection for Bo,” I state and Luke gives me a curt nod, “and it is a good one. But Baez can have the couch and Jamie and I will sleep in the barn…be like the few times dad took us camping while growing up. Huh Jamie?”
“I think they always ended up in some sort of disaster or some sort of fight,” Jamie says with a small smile, “if I remember right.”
“Well, we’re older now,” I state, “OK Luke. We’ll take you up on your offer.”