Families Stick Together, pt. 1

by: Essy Jane

Welcome to Hazzard County, you may think it is a boring place by looking at it but looks can be deceiving. Like any place, Hazzard had its good times and its bad. It had neat people who were there to help and mean people who were only there to cause havoc.

Now if I had to sum up Hazzard County in one word it would be unexpected. Mostly because Hazzard County has more adventures and more interesting things happen than any place I have travelled to. Gotta love this County, folks. People stick together and act just like a family. Sometimes it is hard to be a family. Why? Well, you fight about your differences. You fight about your similarities. Sure, you don’t fight all the time. There are times when families stick together, helping each other through the thick and the thin. Helping you when no one else will even look at you; people, know that Hazzard would take you in and help you even if you were a total stranger.

Sometimes, a family takes advantage of you. Other times…well let’s just leave it at that. I could go on and on about families. But hey, as a Balladeer I am supposed to tell the story, not bore ya with it. Besides, if we keep talking like this we’re going to miss the main event.

There was a play going on, a play done by those 12 to about 33. It had been done every year since they wouldn’t let Perry into the production in junior high. Guess who wrote the script this year? Uh huh, it was Jo alright, that girl would write everything and anything. This time her theme was about peace and love. What better time to show that off than in the 60’s?

The bright lights were set up on the stage and all were waiting for the announcer to finish his speech. The play would be the delight of Hazard County as it had been for years. The boys were so prepared for greatness and they didn’t even think back on it for a second. Well everyone except one Jesse V. Duke JR.

You ever heard of stage fright? Well, look over at Jesse. You wouldn’t think that boy was afraid of anything. One day he would be leaping off of the top of buildings and the next, chasing murderers with a bow and arrows. Now does that sound like a nervous person? No sir, I think not.

Just the same, our Jesse looked over towards the stage and froze. He wasn’t dressed like he normally was. He was wearing hippie clothes including a metallic peace sign and a vest; normal stage clothes. He didn’t like them all too much. I mean they looked old. Jesse didn’t like the sound of wearing high shoes. I mean, when the guy put them on he fell right over.

Jo Anna thought in spite of all of that she was going to make that character flow through him. That Dean Lowenstein could only be played by the great babe magnet, her brother. Everyone in town knew of Jesse Duke. A lot of the girls knew him a little bit better than the guys. Then again, Nancy always said he took after Bo.

No matter how many times Jesse tried to get out of it, Jo Anna would push him right back in. You see, Jo always had these ideas that everyone was able to do anything no matter how bad they were at it. Jesse was sure if you weren’t too good at it, practice and don’t do it until you feel ready. However, the play had to go on. Jesse wasn’t an actor but Jo kept with it. She was going to make sure that her brother had every line memorized.

Now you can imagine Jesse messing up his lines over and over? It wasn’t a pretty sight. Jo Anna said the lines to the guy until she was blue in the face. She was having fun though…a little too much fun. You know what else happened in the middle of the production? Well suddenly the director got sick and there was Jo Anna volunteering for yet another position.

Compared to the other director, Jo was a perfectionist. She was into every line. More emphases was put on every line…every movement. Jo didn’t even like the set! When it was three days until opening night, Jo Anna had it all torn down and told them to do it again. People spent hours redoing it just for her. I would have gone on strike if I were them. Anyway, the play was here and that’s all that matters.

Well back to Jesse, the scared nervous wreck. That’s right, at this very moment Jesse was having the biggest stage fright cases I had ever seen. I tell you, I have been in a lot of plays. You see my good friend Jesse wasn’t used to acting. He couldn’t see himself doing it ever.

Jesse liked attention but not this much. He didn’t like these eyes looking at him. If he made a mistake and they saw it…I suppose he would fall on his face. Something about being on stage freaked him out more than life. It was like sending a person that was afraid of heights on a sky diving trip.

Jesse was a sports fanatic…not an actor. He hated the idea of having to do it. When they mentioned the play to Jesse, he just laughed. Jesse thought highly of plays as long as he wasn’t in them. He liked watching the story unfold before his eyes. He didn’t want to be in them but as I said, Jo Anna can be very persuasive.

She told him that it would be a chance of a lifetime. Well of course Jesse wouldn’t go alone. Wherever he went he would convince Jose to come along too. After all, who wants to be alone in a production? Jose didn’t have any fear when it came to that kind of stuff. How could he fear something that actually was fun?

Jose used to act in plays before he got into bad stuff but when that day hit, he had nothing left to believe in…he couldn’t believe in anything. It was like he lost all hope in the world. He wouldn’t even look at things he used to see as great. He would deny love, hope and yes even his own faith. Now, his extended family started giving him something to look forward to instead of something to deny. He would rather act in a play then go back to the old life he once knew.

Jose looked at his cousin and smiled. That Jesse looked funny with that long wig on. Jose was dressed in a police officer’s costume. It was weird for him to play a police officer. A Duke in uniform didn’t sound all that appealing. After being the criminal for so long he wouldn’t be able to see himself as a police officer. Jose touched Jesse’s shoulder and he jumped. Jose laughed and simply ignored it.

“Hey Jesse, I can’t believe that you are going to be a hippy in this play. You look funny with those side burns. You look like your Dad. Have you ever seen those pictures of him when he was a teen. You’re lucky you have curly hair otherwise you would probably have a perm if Jo had her way,” Jose commented.

“Uh huh,” Jesse mumbled. There was silence between the two cousins as Boss Rosco and other important people of the town continued to make their speeches. Jose tilted his head and looked into his cousin’s eyes.

Jesse didn’t move. He took a deep breath and peered out into the audience. Jesse closed his eyes tightly. Jose wondered what was wrong. At the moment, he had to figure out some way to get his cousin talking. “To think that our parents wore bell bottom pants and big boots, better than platforms I guess. I can’t believe I was cast as cop. Can you think of us doing some creepy play Jo Anna wrote? I don’t like it that much but everyone else does. I get to play with a plastic gun today. I just hope Perry Coltrane doesn’t try to arrest us for holding guns,” Jose laughed.

“Knowing him that is a possibility,” Jesse replied blankly. He breathed in deeply and stared into the crowd once more. He couldn’t believe how many people wanted to join in this event. It wasn’t like anything he had ever seen before. Jesse could talk in front of crowds of this size. Everyone that wasn’t in the play was here tonight.

“Are you okay? You don’t look so hot.”

“Oh don’t worry, all will be over soon,” Jesse mumbled.

“I don’t know what it is about you but…well you have this look about you when something is wrong. Kind of like that look my mom gave me when I went on the streets. So, are you okay?” Jesse looked pale. He was clenching onto the curtain with all of his might. He looked more than nervous…he was petrified.

Jesse finally took the time to look up at his cousin. “I feel like a million bucks…why? Do I look horrible or something?”

“Horrible isn’t the word for it.”

“What’s that suppose to mean?”

“Ghastly, terrible, shocked, kicked in the teeth, bolt from the blue…I could go on and on.”

“I’m more than sure you can, jerk.”

“I didn’t mean anything by it and you know it! Let’s move onto a new topic like how quiet Hazzard’s been lately.”

“I know you have more to say.”

“About Hazard being quiet?”

“You know what I mean!”

“I’m afraid I don’t.”

“Oh come on, quit hiding things from me. I don’t like when you do stuff like that!”

“Okay Jesse but you better not hit me.”

“You better not make comments like that before you make a speech or I’m liable to get ideas.”

“Well cuz, you look like you’re going to cry.” I ain’t stupid enough to cry in front of you, Jesse thought to himself. Jose’s cousin was old fashioned in that way. Jesse didn’t cry in front of any man accept his father. Even crying in front of his father was hard to do. Jesse didn’t like having tears; he thought that they were worthless. Maybe someday he would be able to cry. It was just that Jose was so much tougher than he was. Jesse didn’t want to seem like a baby. It was one of his worst fears was to look foolish.

“I ain’t that big of a baby. I don’t suck my thumb or anything.”

“I knew you would take it personally.”

“I ain’t taking it personally Jose Duke now you take that back!”

“Okay, look I’m sorry. I don’t think that you’re a baby okay?”

“Yeah, you’re only making it sound like I am.”

“Look, I only told you that because you asked. Besides, if I thought you were a baby I wouldn’t associate with you, got it?”

“Yeah and that’s why you’re looking at me like that.”

“Like what? Jesse, are you seeing things again?”

“No, I just don’t like people to think of me holding onto a security blanket and sucking on my thumb at this age.” Jose tried to keep the laugh inside of him. You could see the laugh coming out of his ears almost thinking about Jesse sucking his thumb.

“Well I ain’t a thumb sucker and I certainly ain’t a cry baby. I didn’t cry when I got shot did I?”

“You were unconscious.” Jesse weakly smiled.

“That part slipped my mind.”

“You were okay though, that’s the good part. Jess, I don’t think for one minute I could have lived through that.”

“Thanks cuz.”

“Now stop your bickering and take a deep breath.” Jesse did as his cousin said. I’m going to be just fine, he thought to himself, that is if I don’t fall on my face and blow it. He looked deeper into the crowd. Jose gave him a slight push towards the stage, Jesse backed up trying to hide himself from the public eye.

“If you do that again Jose and I’ll, I’ll—well I don’t know what I will do but it will be good.” Jose Laughed a little and Jesse rolled his eyes. He crossed his eyes and growled. “You think that’s funny?”

“No.” Jose continued laughing. Jo came up behind both of them and knocked their heads together.

“Haven’t you two ever heard of the word quiet? The whole town is out there and they can hear you,” Jo mumbled. She walked away as she saw two people playing with the props. Jose rolled his eyes. He put his hands on his hip and pointed his finger at Jesse.

“Haven’t you ever heard of the word quiet?” Jose imitated. Jesse giggled. “At least I got you to smile,” Jose commented.

“Yeah…I guess,” Jesse answered. He continued to look out into the crowd. I want to do good…I am going to suck. Maybe if I run away, Jesse thought to himself. He didn’t look at his cousin who was working hard to try and make him smile. Jose’s efforts weren’t working. He decided that it wasn’t worth all the energy and finally stopped. Jose put a hand on Jesse’s shoulder. Jesse stood there white as a ghost. He couldn’t do much more considering he was scared out of his wits.

“You really are freaked!”

“No…my chest is tightening because I feel happy,” Jesse sarcastically remarked.

“Jesse, maybe you should sit down for a while.”

“I don’t want to sit down!” Jesse snapped.

“It was just a suggestion.”

“If I wanted your opinion I would have given it to you!” Jose shook his head softly.

“You are a jerk when you’re nervous, you know that?”

“Maybe so but you know what, I don’t care, Jose, I don’t care at all.” Jesse looked around at all the people and prayed that he wouldn’t mess up a line. This play took too much time to work on for him to mess up now. It took two weeks for Jo Anna to get the lines in Jesse’s head permanently. It took even longer to get props and such ready.

Building a stage in the middle of town took a lot of time. They spent a long time on this play. Now performing it would be a different story. Jose looked at Jesse. He was staring out into the crowd it seemed like just waiting for his moment. But as Jesse stepped onto a box, he looked above the crowd. “What is it Jesse? You’re getting that determined look in your eye.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well every time you get that look in your eye there is this sudden change of direction and we’re in trouble again. It’s always a sure guarantee.”

“No it isn’t…I don’t get you in trouble every time.”

“Oh yes you do.” Jesse smiled and looked out above the crowd again and grabbed his cousin by the arm. “How did I know this was coming?” Jose pulled his cousin toward him. Jesse looked into Jose’s eyes.

“What?”

“Look, we cannot leave Jo without a cast. I am a cop and you’re my hippie. We’re the main characters in the play. Do you have any idea how unfair that would be to the rest of the acting folks if we up and left?”

“That’s why they call them understudies…you know, they study our lines.”

“It still isn’t fair. I wanted to be in this play. I wanted to show Bo how good of a kid I was. Now you’re taking it all away from me? It just isn’t fair.”

“Oh come on, you are a good kid.”

“You know what? You’re terrible. I hate you when you’re like this. Why can’t we stay?”

“Now you’re sounding like the baby.”

“I am not.”

“Look, you stay then, I am sure you’ll enjoy it. I am gonna go and catch the action.”

“No way Jesse, do you have any idea what would happen if I let you go alone?”

“Nothing, I would be just fine.”

“Okay cousin, you would be fine? No way, I’ll tell you what would happen. Number one, Bo would tan me from here until the next millennium. Number two, you would end up shot or dead without me. I ain’t putting anything in your hands alone. I wish we could stay though.”

“Well Jose I told you…”

“This sucks.”

“What’s your point?”

It’s unfair. It’s been so quiet lately and suddenly now you’re the one discovering trouble?” Jesse smiled.

“Don’t you love me for it.” Jose crossed his arms.

“Nope.”

“Then face the facts Jose, sometimes life is unfair. Come on Jose! You know you want to see what’s going on. Hazzard has been so dull the last two weeks. You said it yourself; you would sell your own mother just to have some entertainment.” Jose nodded. He grabbed Leonard and Steven and dressed them up in the right clothes. “Now, we can go in our normal clothes and leave.”

“Go where? Don’t tell me we’re going on another on of your wild goose chases. Last time we went on one of those I ended up tied to the top of that man’s car and it took three of you to take him down. That Milo Boudry and his four daughters are trouble.”

“Of course they’s trouble.”

“I am glad we can agree on something.”

“Yeah, okay we agreed now come on, we have goons to catch.”

“Where are we going?”

“Well there’s this car and I don’t recognize it. It’s a red stupid car that I hate very much.”

“Always a Neon.”

“Plus, I don’t think it will have the right licence plate either. I am sure No one will be able to tell where it was from.”

“What’s your point genius? We do have many visitors in Hazzard County.”

“Well think about it, weird car…by the bank. Now they ain’t waiting for the candy store to be opened. They certainly ain’t waiting for a meeting with Boss Rosco. Now what do you think they are here for?”

“Rob that there bank, as you would say.”

“Bingo!”

“I wish that I didn’t believe you but I do…now it is time to go to that place and kick some butt and sooner or later get caught. Then we’ll be chased, maybe shot at or murdered and all will be good.”

“That’s the spirit, now, let’s go.”

“Hold on a minute, how do I know you’re not just trying to get out of the show?”

“I am…but that’s not the point. I like adventure.”

“And you like getting out of things; that’s a fact.” The two smiled. Jesse and Jose snuck off the stage and headed towards the General Lee. Bo was close by General one and two. When he questioned what was going on of course the boys explained. Bo knew that Jesse’s instincts were just as good as any other Duke. Why wouldn’t he believe his son? He had no reason to.

“Well if you need anything I will stay by the CB. Don’t be afraid to call me if you get in trouble…I couldn’t live with myself if anything ever happened to you two,” Bo told them.

“Dad, don’t worry about us, we’ll be fine,” Jesse tried to comfort his Dad.

“Yeah right, that’s what I used to say to my Uncle Jesse and that’s when I would get into the most trouble.” Bo laughed as old memories flooded through his head. Jose interrupted him suddenly and brought him back to reality.

“Well if you need us we’ll be playing cat and mouse,” Jose muttered.

“Oh, and please don’t get caught speeding.”

“We don’t speed.”

“Uh huh, and I don’t farm.” He shook his head. “Just be careful.”

“You already said that.”

“Well my Uncle Jesse always said it once. I figured if I said it twice, it might stay in there.” The boys nodded and got into the General. Bo went through the window of his General Lee and pulled the seat back. He loved the leather interior of his General Lee the boys made him. They did an excellent job on it of course. Those boys worked hard on Bo’s car. He laid back and closed his eyes. Bo hoped that they would be just fine but in Hazzard County, you never ever know.

Well the boys headed over to the Hazzard garage. It was a good place to see everything. Not only that, if they needed any supplies, they knew where the spare key was. Jesse looked around to make sure there wasn’t anyone he didn’t recognize around here. So far there was no one on this side of the street.

Jose stood there with this nasty look on his face. It was quite obvious that he didn’t want to be here. But here he was just the same. Jose put his hand in his pocket and slouched down a little bit. “At least we have a better view of the guys from here,” Jesse commented. He squinted as he looked at the weird guys they had never seen.

“They still look like tourists to me,” Jose mumbled. The two fellows were talking back and forth amongst themselves…didn’t look weird to Jose at all. They could have been talking about anything, even the weather. Aren’t people allowed to have a conversation? I think so.

Now friends, never ever listen to common sense here in Hazzard. If you do, you’ll be making the biggest mistake of your life. You see, nothing in Hazzard ever has made sense. Now if you look closely you would see that one of them was playing with something in his pocket. You could see his hand around something small but large. Now I will tell you one thing it ain’t a hammer and it certainly ain’t a toy.

They of course wouldn’t be caught dead strolling across the street to fight these guys. After all, those men would end up doing something to them and probably would have an advantage with those guns. They wouldn’t trust two boys walking over to the bank when there was a play in place. The play that was important to the whole town.

Jose and Jesse Decided to take the safest direction, the building route over to the Hazzard bank. They climbed up a fire escape ladder and began jumping buildings. Don’t they remind you of their fathers? Duke family traditions passed on through stories. Now as they lowered themselves into Boss’s office, they could see the shadows of three men. “So now we get out of Boss’ office?” Jesse questioned softly.

“Yep…we should also get them out of the way somehow. Let’s see, they are not expecting any company. I think I have a plan,” Jose replied.

“What’s that Jose? You haven’t come up with a good plan in months.”

“Who saved you from that cat burglar?”

“You did.”

“Who gave the Boudry girls a reason to leave you alone?”

“You did Jose.”

“Now do you think that I could have a plan?”

“Yeah…Okay, maybe you do have a good plan so I will listen to it.”

“Well if you think about it they know the whole town is into this. Now they won’t think anyone will be there to stop him. So we get them from behind and then we’ll swipe their car.” Jesse had a smile on his face which suddenly disappeared.

“I don’t get it.”

“Get what?”

“Why are we taking their car?”

“Well you see…”

“I don’t see why we have to rush over just to take their car.”

“Oh Jesse let me…”

“This better be a good reason because I am not a car thief and furthermore…”

“Would you just listen?!”

“Sorry.”

“We are steeling their car for a reason. We’re steeling it to get them away from the bank Jesse. Is that too clear for your or can I make it anymore obvious?”

“Sorry, I just didn’t like the sound of car jacking.”

“I know and trust me, I’m sorry for yelling at you Jess.”

“And I’m sorry for telling you that you were a nincompoop.”

“You never said that.”

“Ah but I was thinking it.” Jose rolled his eyes.

“Come on.” They were going to have fun this time. Jesse climbed over to the fire escape and climbed down slowly. Jose followed. The two men were about the same height as Jesse and Jose. One had dark black hair and the other blonde. The darker haired one had a moustache. The boys snuck behind the two creeps and knocked them to the ground.

“Now what do we do hotshot?” Jose thought about it for a few seconds. He looked up at Jesse and smiled.

“Well we break into the car and hotwire it. How else do you steel a car?”

“Okay tell me one thing, where in the world did you learn how to hotwire a car Jose Duke?”

“Well the same place I learned how to lift keys and wallets off of people. I don’t use the skill very often though.”

“That’s what they all say.”

“Seriously, I only do it in real times of need when there is no other way out of the situation.” Jose opened the door. He knew it would be open for a faster get-away. Jose got to work on the car pulling on wires and such to get the job done. The car started. “Get in now Jesse! They’re gonna really be on our tails.” Now Jose was right. The door instantly swung open as the sound of the engine became louder.

The three men raced out of the bank. As they saw their men, Jesse pushed the gas peddle to the floor. The crooks raced behind their car and suddenly stopped. The guys looked around for something to drive in. “You need to take control of the car.”

“Why is that Jess?”

“I am going to get the General, we’re gonna need him.”

“You’re the boss.” Jose grabbed the wheel as Jesse got out of the car. He leaped from the hood of the car and rolled down the hill like a bike wheel. Jesse pushed himself and noticed that someone had swiped Uncle Sam, Essy-Jane’s car. If Essy found out that he car had been stolen she would kill those boys…and that was a promise.

Now that car was just as fast as the General. Jose didn’t have a chance if they caught up to him. If those guys over powered him, Jesse would never forgive himself. Sure Jose was strong but those dudes had guns. Jose had stolen their car. What would they do to him if they caught him?

Jesse ran as fast as he could possibly go. He was almost totally out of breath but he kept going. His legs carried him pretty far. However, that neon dragged him out pretty far. Jesse just about lost all hope.

As he saw Grandpa Davenport, Jesse was too happy for words. Jesse jumped in and ordered his Grandfather to drive him to the Garage. Jesse explained of course on the way. “Well you boys certainly have a way of doing that!” Cooter exclaimed.

“I suppose we do but without the General Jose is mouse meat. You know how fast that car goes? I mean Uncle Sam has a good sized motor,” Jesse replied.

“Yeah I have seen how fast Uncle Sam goes. I used to drag race with Essy before she got married. Enough about me…you go get them tiger.” Jesse got out of the car and thanked his Grandfather. Cooter looked at his grandson and smiled. “Just like his Daddy,” He mumbled to himself.

He started to speed down the road. The trail of dust behind him was horrific. “This is lost sheep 2 to lost sheep three are you out there lost sheep 3?” There was no noise no nothing. Jesse tried again. “Lost sheep 3 are you out there come back?”

“This is lost sheep number 3 coming back to lost sheep number 2. I hear ya. These fellers are catching up to me. They stole Sam,” Jose replied. Jesse was relieved to hear his cousin’s voice.

“What road are you on?”

“You know where Cletus caught us for speeding last week?”

“Okay, I got it…I am on my way.” Jesse knew a short cut that he was sure Jose wouldn’t be taking. A couple of jumps would get him there in a matter of no time. Jose didn’t have that long though. Jesse had to make sure he would get there fast. It was a matter of life or death this time. Jesse raced as fast as he possibly could. There was the bright red Neon that they had stolen. “I hate Neon’s,” Jesse mumbled to himself.

Now there was no way that Jesse wanted to damage Essy’s car. If he did, Essy would tie him to the nearest tree and let him hang around for a few days. She needed that car to deliver mail. A flat tire had to be in order though. That was the only way to save his butt and Jose’s as well. However he couldn’t do that until Jose was in the car. Jose had these awesome shots to tires. He was talented with the bow and arrows now and when I say talented I mean talented. “Jesse, I am so glad to see ya cousin. I thought for sure you got lost on the way.”

“What are you talking about? I have lived here longer than you.”

“Enough teasing for today…you always pick the worst times to do it.”

“You want me to help you don’t you?”

“Maybe so but don’t let it get to your head.”

“I won’t Jose. Now is there something heavy that you can put on the gas?”

“Yeah there’s a suitcase here.”

“Good, then use it.”

“You can count on me to get us out of the mess you put us in.” Jesse noticed the increase in speed. Jose hoped that he wouldn’t die trying this. He got onto the hood of the car. Jose imagined himself as a surfer and hoped that he could pull it off. The car swerved a little as it was not being controlled. There was the General right beside him. Jose jumped onto the hood and got in. He was breathing hard.

“That Hazzard experience was brought to you by the makers of the General Lee. Our Generals make you speed.” Jose chuckled to himself. Jesse was always the crazy one. He always said odd things. Jose didn’t mind though…that was the way Jesse was.

The red car crashed into a tree. It didn’t look too serious…just serious enough to keep it out of the Duke’s hair for a moment or two. If it had a driver it could still work well. That could be a serious disadvantage for the Dukes. Now those bad dudes must’ve figured that they were going to get away with this. They still had Uncle Sam which truly was a fast car. They were speeding away in him. However, Jesse and Jose had seen two of their men. When it finally clicked, Uncle Sam turned around. They couldn’t rest until Jose and Jesse were dead as a doornail. Jesse and Jose wouldn’t rest until these men had given back the money.

When Jose did his arrow trick, those boys didn’t care. They wanted to be stopped. Once the crooks killed Jesse and Jose, they would take the General…or the neon. Jesse looked at Uncle Sam and took a deep breath. He wondered what would happen next though he figured the obvious was in order…a fight between them.

All the men slid out of their windows. The scores were three to two. Now those odds seemed fair to Jesse. The other two men were resting comfortably in the trunk of the car. How the bad guys fit them in no one could tell. They were there just the same.

“You boys have seen us one too many times. If you think we’re gonna let you go…you’re pretty dumb. Now we are gonna have to kill you!” One of the men said.

“You want to kill us? You must be out of your mind! What are you gonna do, shoot us to death?” Jesse spat. Two of the men took out there guns.

“Isn’t it obvious what they’re gonna do?” Jose questioned.

“I guess it is.”

“Any last words boys or do you wanna die quietly?” Another man said. Jose and Jesse thought about it for a minute.

“Well…I don’t want to die quietly. I would like to say it was a privilege taking your boys out. I wish I could go back and do it over,” Jesse said. Now Jose was about to say something when he hear a familiar sound. You know the funny thing about the law? They always seem to show up at the right time for the wrong reasons. The lights were flashing and Deputy Perry P. Coltrane was on the case. He had seen the General speeding and thought it was his chance.

He was further away so that the General wouldn’t notice. But that sound was enough to send those boys down to their Neon. They of course were off in a flash. They ran off so fast that they left the money in Uncle Sam. What a pity…for them. Jesse still looked very anxious.

“We have got to get Essy’s tire fixed. If Perry sees this car and no Essy we’re doomed,” Jesse commented. Thank goodness they picked up good tire changing methods from Bo and Luke otherwise they would have been in big trouble. Just as they got the last bolt tightened, there was Perry getting out of his car.

“Alright you Dukes, you just freeze it right here,” Perry commented. Now them boys didn’t do anything obviously. However, Perry wouldn’t accept that for the life of him. Like father like son. Anyway, Jesse and Jose put their hands up.

“Perry…we didn’t do anything.”

“What do you call that?” He said as he pointed to Uncle Sam. Jose wasn’t thinking on how he could explain how Uncle Sam got here. He knew Perry wouldn’t listen to reason. Jesse on the other hand was still trying.

“Well…I didn’t take him. There were these boys see…and…they were robbing the bank and…well…”

“Well nothing. I don’t see anyone else on this road accept for y’all and even that I don’t believe it because you’re suppose to be on stage. So, here are the magical cuffs that you boys seem to love so much…” Perry slapped on two separate pairs of hand cuffs. “Now to bring you to my Daddy…my boss and yours Boss Rosco P. Coltrane khee.”

“Oh come on, this ain’t fair.”

“Life isn’t fair, Jit-jit. Mama says I have the stupidity gene from Daddy. Do you think that’s fair?”

“I guess not.”

“Well I personally think that is hitting below the belt. Mama’s never been real nice to me. Did you know that?” Jose rolled his eyes. He looked at Jesse and knew that he would have something else to say as usual.

“Well that doesn’t mean you have to arrest us.”

“Sure it does. Boss loves having you two in jail and I like to please Boss. That means a bigger price range and I will be allowed to stay in the house longer. Khee! Now, you know that Daddy loves it when I bring in Dukes.” Jesse didn’t know what else to say. He couldn’t think of anything at that moment. Jose had a plan though…this was his day or maybe better yet, his year.

“Perry, were you named after anyone?” Jose asked.

“Well if you would really like to know, my father named me after my Great, Great…Grand pappy Coltrane. His name was really Periwinkle but Daddy thought that this would be too long,” Perry replied.

“Oh that’s interesting. How about the P. that is in your middle name?” Jesse asked, following Jose’s lead. Perry turned around to face Jesse. Jose reached for his keys slowly.

“Well…you know…well it is… I don’t know. I mean Daddy’s named Rosco P. Coltrane. I think that my Grandpa had a P for his middle name too. I don’t know where it came from. Maybe it is some shortened form of something. I have never known what the heck that stands for.” Jose unlocked his handcuffs slowly so that Perry couldn’t hear them. He put his hands behind his back after he finished.

“Well that’s hard to believe Perry that you wouldn’t know your own name.”

“Well I don’t know it. Quakers on crackers, I have no idea.”

“That’s a crying shame Perry. I wish you knew your name. It must be hard not knowing your full name.”

“Jose and Jesse, you both know your full names right?”

“Of course we do.”

“Why don’t I know my name then? I mean I should know it right? I don’t know why my parents have to be so difficult. They wanted me…well my dad did anyway. My mom said it was so much pain that she would never give me a little brother.” Jesse tried to hold in the laughter. Destiny wasn’t the nicest person in the world. She was also probably motivated by money.

“Well I have a little brother and I love him Perry,” Jose commented.

“I have a sister and I want to throw her out the window…though she’s great. Anyway, we best be off. I am glad we stopped and got to chat about your name and your history. You know, we should do this more often,” Jesse added. Uh huh, I can see that shuck and jive just working its magic on Perry.

“Thank y’all for taking the time out of your day,” Perry said.

“You’re very welcome. I hope you find out your name.”

“Me too…I hope I find it out soon. Maybe Mama will tell me…maybe not.”

“Bye now Perry…see ya around.” Both boys backed up to the vehicles slowly. They knew that this would be a good moment to get out of here. Perry had almost totally forgotten that he was arresting the boys. Not only that the man was thinking about his name a little bit too hard. Now I tell ya, them Coltrane’s are great for a shuck and jive. Rosco was good…until he went to school.

The engines were started and both cars were headed back to town. Perry was still too concentrated on his name to catch them. He looked out into the distance and smiled as he waved to the boys.

By the time they got back to town, the play was over. Essy was standing looking in the driveway where Uncle Sam usually sat. She looked at it a grumbled. Judd walked by and looked at Essy with loving eyes. “Hey sweetheart, what are you doing standing out here? Waiting for me my love?” Judd asked. Essy smiled as she kissed him.

“How in the heck am I supposed to deliver the mail without Uncle Sam? He was here when we went to the play. The people need their mail. I suppose I could take the motor cycle but…” Essy began.

“Stop…stop right there.” Judd put a hand on Essy’s Jaw and tilted her head up. She and Judd kissed. “Is that better?”

“A little but I would like my car back. Who ever took him is gonna die.”

“Essy, I am sure that’s why the boys were missin’ the play. Jesse would never allow anyone to touch that car.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” That’s when Jose pulled up in Uncle Sam. Essy tapped her foot slowly as Jose got out of the car.

“Well we found Uncle Sam.” Essy took a deep breath and let it out slow. She pushed back her red hair with silver streaks in it. Jose and Jesse explained what happened and Essy’s temper soon went out.

“I suppose he’s safe and I have him because of you boys. I wish that I would have moved him I guess.”

“Well we got to go now Essy,” Jose said. He got into the General along with Jesse and soon they were off. Essy looked at them only for a moment before she was off delivering mail. Nothing could hold this woman from her job.

Meanwhile…

The five men took off their masks and slapped them down with great force. They shook all over. The blonde and the curly dark haired men walked slowly, holding their heads. They looked at each other and then at the other three.

It was horrible. Everything that could have gone wrong was wrong. They were mad that they didn’t rob the bank like they had planned. Most of all them crooks were angry because of those boys seeing their faces. I tell you, those crooks were madder than a bear caught in a bear trap.

They looked at the big oak desk and the leather chair that had been turned backwards. The chair rocked a little and began to turn slightly. It wasn’t enough to see the person in the chair but who needs to? We all know he’s bad news. “Did you get it?” A familiar voice said.

“Jason, there we these two boys in an old fancy car and they…” Eric, the youngest began to say. This one had blonde hair and blue eyes. He was one of the ones that were standing guard. The other that was guarding outside had dark curly hair like Jose’s. He had a big bushy moustache. His name is Scott.

“Did this car have a 0-1 painted on the door?” The boys looked at him surprised. Was Steele a mind reader? No, he couldn’t be.

“Sure it did Boss. A big 0-1 painted in black with a white boarder. But how do you…?”

“Was it an odd color of orange?”

“Yeah that’s right.” There was a sudden silence that filled the room. The criminals looked at each other and waited on the next person to talk.

“It also said General Lee on it. It had a confederate flag. I can’t believe those guys are still at it!” The chair turned around slowly. The man was recognizable. He had a few wrinkles and wasn’t as young as he used to be but there he was all the same. Jason Steele was his name. Now he didn’t loose his licence or anything like that. Jason was a happy man afterwards and people wondered what became of him. Well being older doesn’t exactly pay for itself anymore.

With the loss of his best friend, Jason’s morals went out the window…so we think. He no longer had that company either. It burnt to the ground. His janitor and his best friend were in there so he assumed that they died. Steele didn’t wait for business anymore; he would go out to find it.

He got mixed up in something that made his adrenaline fun faster than anything. He was used to finding a way to press the law on someone. Well that was old. Nothing worked anymore. When he went to get a new place, something just turned off in him. He wanted a challenge—something that didn’t involve staying home and feeding the chickens.

The only logical thing to do was to find a new career. Something that didn’t involve the cheap tricks he used to perform. Jason began to rob banks…he didn’t think it was logical until someone told him he couldn’t do it. Why couldn’t he? Jason knew how a cop thought and how to get through security if he had to. So of course Steele did it but for what price? The loss of his sanity…the loss of respect for himself; Steele was a whole new person.

Jason had opened a good business. Not exactly a legal one but it made good money. He would find thugs and teach them how to be big criminals. It worked too. All the men he trained were almost invisible…accept in Hazzard County. The Dukes always knew the signs though. The only one that was unpredictable had always been Jason Steele.

“I didn’t know that you had people that could beat us here. Don’t you remember what your promise was? Don’t you? Steele you told us that everything would always work like clock work. You always told us to get them when they were down. When something was valuable and thought to be stolen, you said to take the object everyone forgot about. You said we’d be invincible!” Eric commented.

“I thought those men would have gotten a hobby by now. I mean honestly…they’re old.”

“Old?”

“Don’t interrupt me! Dang those Dukes, they always have to do this! Now tell me, did one have blonde hair and the other brown?” Jason asked.

“Yeah that’s about right,” Scott answered.

“They both have blue eyes?”

“No…one has brown.”

“Those ain’t the Dukes I remember. Why would this guy have brown eyes? A Duke’s Trade are those spiking blue eyes and that honest smile.”

“Well this one had spiking brown eyes and an honest smile. That would make him a Duke right?”

“It doesn’t make sense. Luke Duke has blue eyes.”

“Well this guy is Spanish Boss…he looks it and talks it anyway.”

“Spanish we have got a…a Spanish Duke boy?” Jason thought for a minute. It must have been their children. Luke got married? He figured those boys would stay single. “Both of them were young…no grey hairs?”

“No greys. They were so young it’s not even funny.”

“Well I can’t believe that! Who would marry those thugs? No matter, we’ll get their children then. I knew this was too good to be true.” Jason had to investigate. There was nothing more that he could do. In the meantime they were going attempt to rob the bank again, thinking that the Dukes wouldn’t expect it.

However, the Dukes were a bit smarter than Jason remembered. They were tough cookies to crack, especially as a family. If you separated the family they were still pretty smart. Those Dukes are great and they would find out how this happened and who did it.

Back at the Duke farm the talks were going about the bank robbers. Bo was laughing when Jesse went off about the neon. He laughed even harder when Jose told him about their shuck and jive.

“You boys did well. If it wasn’t for Perry though y’all might have been wasted but I am still impressed with y’all. Jose, you’re becoming a natural Duke,” Bo said as he had a helping of his wife’s apple pie. Jo wasn’t too pleased though. She worked hard and wanted her main stars to be up there acting. Jo kept up the sour looks through dinnertime.

“Well I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the brains of the operation. You should have seen Jose out there. He had every plan in the whole thing almost like a master,” Jesse replied. Jose put his head down as if he was embarrassed about it. It wasn’t that he was humiliated, that wasn’t the case at all. Jose didn’t want credit for anything he did right.

“It was nothing Jesse…nothing to talk about,” Jose said plainly.

“What do you mean by that? You were amazing Jose. I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit.”

“Who needs credit? We didn’t do much. Anyway we have to go back again tonight.” Jesse was puzzled. He looked into his cousin’s eyes with bewilderment. Now folks, Jesse wouldn’t think of going back for a second run.

“Why? We scared them away…they ain’t coming back.”

“Don’t be so sure Jess.”

“I don’t get where you’re coming from.”

“When you think they are done they have already begun. You returned the money and there wasn’t much of a fuss. So in other words they are going to try it again. I propose this time we come up with a new plan.”

“Yeah you’re right. They will expect us to come from behind again…if we come. I think that they must be pretty stupid to think that we won’t foil them again.”

“They are stupid…I mean they’re robbing banks ain’t they?”

“You want a suggestion from an old time Duke?” Bo asked.

“Sure Daddy,” Jesse replied.

“Well when Rosco was sheriff and Cletus was a deputy, we used to do nasty tricks with Daisy. She would dress up in clothes that were amazingly beautiful and they couldn’t their eyes off of her. You could do that. I don’t think that the grumpy Miss Jo Anna would do it though. Maybe you could convince your cousin Lilly to do it. I know she’s not too keen on dresses but she would have more fun than your sister over here.” Bo knew that he would have to convince his daughter to do it. Maybe two girls would get more attention than one. It was pure luck that Jesse caught onto this as well.

“True, Jo Anna couldn’t pull off a dress even if she wanted to anyway. It’s her figure after all.”

“Are you calling me fat?” Jo Anna questioned.

“I don’t know am I?”

“Jesse Duke! How dare you insult a lady. Now do you think I’m fat?” Jesse sat there wondering how to continue this shuck and jive long enough. He was sure that he was already going to reel her in. Jesse smiled softly and thought all the more.

“No, not at all; I am saying that Lilly has a better one than you that’s all.” Now that meant war. Jo wouldn’t take insults, she never has and she never will. That was something that really sucked about her, as Jesse would say. Now of course she agreed to wear the dress. However, Jo was such a tomboy that some changes would have to be made to her style. Lilly-Rose at least knew how to put on a dress.

“You think I can’t do it? I can do it. I can put on a better show than Lilly could ever.”

“Yeah…you think so? I think that you couldn’t do it at all.”

“Watch me sucker, you just wait. I will show you that I could do it better than you could ever do it.”

“I ain’t a girl so you would have an advantage.”

“Well I am in you can count on me, oh my goodness!” Jo’s eyes widened. She looked up at her father.

“What’s wrong baby?” Bo asked.

“I just said I would wear a dress—willingly.”

“Yes you did.”

“My goodness, I must me right out of my mind.”

“Honey, it ain’t a crime to wear a dress. You wore it on my birthday.”

“Yeah, to get you to follow me, Dad, it was bad enough then.”

“Jesse sure doesn’t think so do ya?”

“Nope, you’ll look great and sis, you ain’t fat. I was just kidding,” Jesse commented.

“Kidding? Kidding! Jesse, you tricked me!” Jo exclaimed.

“Oh come on Jo Anna, it’s not that bad.”

“Call me Jo, I hate the name Jo Anna.”

“You have good legs. The men will love you.” Jesse laughed and laughed. Jo didn’t take too kindly to that.

“Do you wanna fight Jesse Duke ‘cause let me tell ya…”

“WOE! No fighting in the house. Jo, you already committed to it. You ain’t gonna back down now!” Bo exclaimed.

“Yes sir. But let me say something, this is gonna be a long night.”

So they made their plan. It wasn’t just any plan, it was a Duke plan. This time they would see who this criminal master mind was. With a little help from the girls they would be able to do what they wanted to do.

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