by: Essy Jane
The General was on the dusty dirt roads of Hazzard that morning driving Maria, Tony and Jose to the Indian caves where they would hide out. They now knew the revenge was sought on Luke was to live with nothing. To have nothing to love or to hold…how they felt in prison. The only way to avoid anything happening to the Spanish Dukes, they would have to remain in hiding until the rest of the family figured something out.
As Jesse made his way back, he thought about leaving his cousin there. They had plenty of company. Jose could take care of himself. But what if someone found them there? Could Jose hold them all off by himself or would Tony be well enough to help? No one could really tell right then and there. What would happen if he lost his cousin? Being on probation wouldn’t be easy. Not only that, Jesse would have lost his best friend.
In any case, he didn’t feel right about this. There was no way in the world that Jesse would feel good until he knew they were in the house. “Lost sheep number 2 calling Sheppard…are you in Sheppard?” Jesse said over the CB.
“This is Sheppard go ahead lost sheep,” Bo replied.
“Mother hen and her chicks have gone to the field, repeat mother hen and chicks are safe, come back.”
“Good work lamb, now head back to the valley, repeat back to the valley. We have some counting to do, over.”
“Alright, lost sheep number two, out.” He continued on his way home wondering how in the world they were going to get out of this. Now that Luke’s family was free they would likely go after him. It was scary to think that Luke could get it. He wasn’t exactly in the best condition. If Luke would get up and try to fight you would probably see him right back down where he was before.
Who would be able to help him? No one could help him. How many people knew about it? Not many and that amount of people weren’t about to talk. So Luke was in trouble. If he tried to get help from the law, they would deny anything that had happened to him in the past.
Jesse pulled into the drive way and watched as his pregnant mother bent over to weed. How does she do that? Jesse thought to himself. “Welcome home son, sure is gonna be quiet around here without your cousin. With Jo working and all it has been quiet as it is,” Nancy-Lou commented. She couldn’t hold her balance much longer and soon she slipped.
“Mom, you’re pregnant, I can weed flower beds, and you shouldn’t be squatting about like this. My goodness,” Jesse answered. He looked up at his mom who was smiling. She was so beautiful. Nancy-Lou had a glow to her.
“Well maybe since you have nothing to do I will let you do my weeding. But don’t think you get to do it every week. Besides, I feel sick…I am gonna go eat some crackers.”
Nancy-Lou went in the house as Jesse reached for his car stereo and popped in one of his father’s Garth Brooks tapes. He began weeding slowly. There were a lot of small flowers so young Jesse had to be careful not to rip out the seedlings.
Nancy always entered in the Hazzard Beautiful Gardens contest. It was judged by Destiny Coltrane of course. Destiny was the hardest judge there was. The last two years Mrs. Sampson won. She would always flaunt her garden and everything. This year Nancy would beat her even if she would have to do it while she was pregnant.
Bo walked out of the house while helping Luke out. They looked at Jesse and laughed. He was wearing his mother’s flowered gloves that were obviously too small for him. “What? Haven’t you seen a man weed a garden before?” Jesse grumbled. Luke just smiled. Jesse was way too much like Bo but in many ways more like Nancy, enjoying the simpler things of life.
“You know, Bo used to sew,” Luke told Jesse. Bo’s head suddenly leaped up and Jesse’s did the same thing. Bo’s jumped up at the fact of a secret being told whereas Jesse’s was in surprise.
“You weren’t supposed to tell him about that,” Bo hissed.
“Well you did used to sew. You used to make dresses and make me wear them while you sewed them…though I don’t see why you didn’t just use Daisy.” Jesse began to laugh. Bo gave his son a look and he quit. “Don’t be mad at the boy, it ain’t his fault that his father sews.”
“You didn’t have to tell him Lukas.”
“Sure I did Beauregard; he had to know that these kinds of things aren’t only for girls.”
“Don’t call me Beauregard.”
“Why not Beauregard?”
“The name has always been Bo…I can’t stand that other name.”
“Not in your Mother’s eyes.”
“Luke, I could tell him about the time that you took dance and you were the only…”
“Oh wouldn’t I?”
“Bo, don’t you dare.”
“You finally remembered my name.”
“So you won’t tell him?”
“Oh course I will. In his salsa lessons, he was good but there was one problem. He was the only boy. The rest of them were older ladies taking salsa lessons. Sucks when your cousin knows all your secrets, you can keep telling mine and I will keep telling yours.”
“That’s childish…but smart.”
“You guys fight like Jose and I do,” Jesse commented. He pulled out a big weed and put it in the white grocery bag. Jesse was good at this…better than most. “Well there ain’t anymore weeds, so I am going into the house to join Mom for a cracker. Anyone want to join me?” They both shrugged and walked in with Jesse. Bo and Luke had smiles on their faces. They loved being together again even if it was for a short time. Bo missed having his cousin around sometimes. They were connected like twins at birth. Luke and Bo knew when the other one was in trouble. They knew certain things about the other that no one else could know.
They all sat around the table and began to talk. Jesse loved to listen to their stories. Bo could tell a million of them about Luke. Most of them weren’t even embarrassing. But Luke would tell many about how Bo rushed into things. It didn’t sound like his father. Everything Bo did now was well thought out. As Bo and Luke got into arm wrestling, Jesse went outside to work maintenance on the cars.
He went outside happily smiling. The family was together once again. It was like magic the way they could just suddenly pick up their relationship like that…so Jesse thought. Bo and Luke always seemed to be connected at the hip. It was wonderful…better than a lot of things that were going on right now.
The arm wrestle continued. You could see the sweat roll off of Bo’s brow as he strengthened his grip. He was going to win this time…even if it killed him. Luke wasn’t going to give his cousin an easy time…he never did before, why would he start now? Bo knew Luke was weak right now and it would make him easier to beat. He finally got his cousin’s arm down.
“I won!” Bo exclaimed.
“Yeah, because I am hurt,” Luke replied. Bo nodded his head slowly and gave his cousin a hug. He hadn’t done anything like this with Luke forever. He was happy to be around here with him.
The two couldn’t be parted ever. Though the distance and put a halt on their brother like relationship, they still had technology on their side. Speaking of the phone, it began to ring and ring. It seemed to annoy everyone as it continued. Luke glared at Bo and Bo glared at Luke. As the phone rang again, Luke got up and answered it. “Hello?” Luke began.
“You have a nice hiding spot here Luke,” A familiar voice said. Luke’s blood ran cold as he gripped harder on the receiver. He took a deep quivering breath and bit his tongue. “Cute boy out there with his blonde hair…he’s your nephew right or is it your cousin?”
“You leave my family out of this!”
“Just like you didn’t leave us out of this? Well you do have a choice whether this side of your family gets killed.” Luke’s eyebrows lowered in anger. All his wrinkles seemed to come out as his face reddened.
“What do you want from me?”
“I want you to face me…I want to kill you Luke and the only way to do it is how they would do it back in China with karate and if you don’t know what I mean find out.”
“I know what it means, a fight until one of us die. I am not in any shape to fight you.”
“Luke, you should know by now that I don’t care about what shape you’re in.”
“I can’t fight you! I won’t do it. Look, can’t we make nice? This happened a long time ago.”
“You will fight me or face the consequences. With your immediate family out of the way we just have to take more action.” As the person said those words there was an explosion outside. Bo raced out there, remembering that Jesse had gone out to work on the cars. “That’s your warning, next time you won’t be so lucky.” Both hung up and Luke ran out to his cousins.
Jesse laid there limp. His clothes were slightly crisped. His dark navy blue shirt looked blackened as did is worn blue jeans. Jesse lost his eyebrows and eyelashes. It was better than the boy loosing his life. Bo looked at his son as the tears ran down the worried father’s cheeks.
It looked like the young Jesse Duke had sunburn all over his face. Bo looked at his son and gently stroked his hair. “Who would want to do this?” Bo asked as he looked at the remains of his truck.
“Bo…this is all my fault,” Luke mumbled.
“Now don’t you go blaming yourself…it ain’t gonna help anyone.” Bo looked up at his cousin and saw that confused look on his face. Luke frowned and knelt beside them both. All were in silence and bowed their heads down wondering what they would do next.
Bo and Luke helped Jesse inside when he finally came to. He was okay…for now. Luke knew that he had to face these guys or this would never go away. But how could he? Luke wasn’t in the shape to do it. He would have to figure it out and fast. This kind of stuff scared him more than anything. To help his family he would have to do everything in his power.
Meanwhile at the Indian caves, Maria was sleeping in the dark while Jose was trying to light a fire. It wasn’t working too well especially since he was trying to do it with old matches. Jose was used to lighting a fire with the thin book of matches. He had already broken two in half. Patience was a virtue that Jose didn’t possess but he tried again. When the third one broke, Jose threw them on the ground.
“I would have been better off going to a camp than being thrown in jail,” Jose mumbled to himself. He took out one of his old lighters and lit the dry grass. Tony looked at his brother and smiled as the clouds passed over their heads. The light wind run through their hair and the hills rolled softly behind them. The sky was just beautiful as they saw a bird glide across the sky.
It was a wonderful time for the two brothers to finally get some time together. The last time Tony was here…it was about two summers ago. They had a lot of fun fishing until Perry found out that Jose’s fishing permit had expired. So much for that; Jose had to work for three weeks to pay off that fine.
“I can’t believe the only time we get to spend together is when I get kidnapped or something happens to you,” Tony laughed.
“Let’s think about something else. Do you have any ladies chasing after you?”
“Well a brother is supposed to know about these sorts of things. Come on Anthony, I would love to know.”
“You know I would rather be called Tony. Can you believe that I have two that are always asking me out? It is so weird…two hot girls I think. Not only that, they’re smarter than a lot of people I have met. Kayla wants to join Broadway and Gina is going to be an astronaut…I think that they will do awesome. Which one would you go out with?”
Jose laughed away. He couldn’t believe his brother was asking him dating advice. Out of all people to be asking in was Jose. It proved something though…he trusted his brother again. It was great to have his brother around again. “Jose,” Maria moaned. Jose got up and walked towards his mother.
“Mom, what’s wrong?” Jose asked. She tried to sit up but ended up just coughing away. Jose knew something was up. “Mom…what is it?”
“Son…I have been hacking and coughing all day. I was in that coffin way too long.” Jose felt her forehead. She was warm…very warm. She needed a doctor fast. Jose couldn’t contact anyone though otherwise those men might find them. Jesse was supposed to come by in about an hour to see them. But with the way things were going he would be late. He had to cool her off somehow.
He went to the small hose that Bo installed in the back and got buckets of water. Jose took off his shirt. He grabbed his pocket knife and shredded the shirt it into rags. He dipped it into the water and rung it out…watching the cool water hit the bucket. He put one on his mother’s forehead and wiped her face off with another. She had taken care of him for seventeen years…it was about time he gave something back.
“Thank you…you’re a wonderful son,” Maria mumbled. She fell asleep on Jose’s lap.
“Is she gonna be okay?” Tony asked.
“I don’t know Tony…I really don’t know.”
“Are you going to be okay?”
“Tony, I’m fine. Are you okay?”
“I’m just peachy. Mom, she’s too sick.” Tony crawled over to Jose and cried. They looked at each other. “You know, I wish I had your strength.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about little brother, you’re my hero. I was being stupid. You went through all of this. Tony continued to cry. He tried to push away his tears.
Tony didn’t know what else to do right then and there. His mother was sick and his father was weak and beaten up. Not seeing either of them was hard on him. Not to mention Tony didn’t know if his brother would escape the wrath of these people.
Jose wasn’t doing much better. Before his father phoned, there had been no answer in the house. Poor Jose was certain something had happened. When Luke was found, it was like someone crammed a needle into his hard. Jose was sure his Dad was going to kick the bucket. Luke made it though and that was a great gift. Jose was still sad even though his father was alright. He missed his father a lot of times and sometimes a phone call didn’t cut it.
Bo was a great person to have around but Jose still couldn’t think of him as dad. Though sometimes, on occasion the young man called him that. Bo was a special person and without him, Jose would be dead but that didn’t mean that he was his dad.
Luke was his father and he always would be. In New York, Luke would still hug him when he did bad, even if Jose pushed him away. Luke would cry at night. No one could imagine the pain that Maria and Luke felt while their son was in trouble.
“Hey Tony?” Jose began.
“Yeah?” Tony asked.
“Don’t hide your tears. It takes a strong man to cover up his tears but it takes a stronger man to cry.”
“Thanks, you’re the best.” A few hours later, Jose woke up and looked around. There was no sign of Jesse anywhere. Why wasn’t he here yet? Jose was getting worried. If Jesse wasn’t there maybe he was…no, Jose couldn’t think of that right now. His cousin had to be alive. Jesse had always been there and he couldn’t have…died.
Luke sat across from the couch in the living room where Bo was giving Jesse first aid. Luke’s hands cupped his nose and lips. He was breathing in deeply. “Man, this is all my fault,” Luke mumbled to himself.
“I heard that,” Bo replied.
“Oh Bo you can tell me it wasn’t my fault but I knew I shouldn’t have come here.”
“Hey, we’s family. Families stick together no matter what.”
“Thick or thin come hell or high water, family always comes first.”
“Yeah and that’s why I should not have come here.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Jesse got hurt.”
“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here,” Jesse butted in.
“Jess, I hurt you and that’s something that I never wanted to do,” Luke told him.
“No, you didn’t hurt me, they did.”
“I agree with Jesse on this one,” Bo cut in.
“I don’t, if I wasn’t here none of this would have happened. If I would have moved to another city…”
“They would have found you. It would have taken them longer.”
“Boys, stop fighting. Look, it happened. Jesse’s okay,” Nancy grumbled. She sat down on the reclining chair and balanced the ice cream she had taken out on her stomach. She opened it up and put the lid beside her. Nancy began eating.
Bo put some dressing on Jesse’s knee. He ripped it off and threw it across the room, crossing his arms. “Owe! That really hurts,” Jesse commented. Bo rolled his eyes.
“You got burned son, I have to put this on,” Bo answered.
“The treatment is always worse than the burn.” Bo put a new dressing on his knee. Jesse looked at the giant gauze pad that had been placed on his left shoulder. “Can you make this quick? I have got to go and see my cousins.”
“Oh that’s why you wouldn’t let me take you to the hospital.”
“You’re lucky you were wearing your shirt while you were working otherwise you would have been burned even worse than you are,” Luke added.
“Yeah, yeah,” Jesse grumbled. Jesse got a fresh shirt on. He put on the jeans Nancy took out for him and walked out of the house. He looked at area where the barn used to be. Bo walked out and looked at his son. “What are we going to do about this?”
“We’re gonna rebuild it of course. We need it to store the hay and the seed. With the other Dukes here we can do it in no time,” Bo answered.
“Hey, can we paint it red?” Luke started to laugh.
“With what money?” He asked.
“Are you kidding me, Luke? We bought back the land we lost in the depression and we have been doing great. Crops have been outselling our neighbours. Why do you think we extended the house, had money to buy all the diapers and everything early?” Bo added. Luke laughed.
“My gosh, Uncle Jesse did know what he was doing when he left you the farm,” Luke commented. Luke smiled at his cousin.
“Well, I was planning on redoing the barn anyway and putting a white wash on our outhouse.”
“Why do you keep that outhouse, Daddy?” Jesse asked.
“The Duke farm wouldn’t be complete without it. Besides, Uncle Jesse would have a fit if I didn’t keep it up.”
“I still don’t get it.”
“You think that’s a shocker, do you remember the first fax in Hazzard County?” Luke questioned.
“Uh huh, everyone was amazed it came so fast to the courthouse,” Bo answered.
“Now the internet, that was an interesting connection here,” Luke replied.
“The internet is old news, even in Hazzard. Look, you two old guys can babble all you want,” Jesse announced.
“Hey we ain’t old,” Bo spat.
“Wanna make a bet? The internet is in all the schools. Tony said you always ask him for help when it comes to the computer, Luke. Dad, you ain’t too bad on it.”
“Made my own website.”
“Anyway, I am dying to see Jose. You know, he really grew on me now, it’s like if he isn’t around, I am missing my brother.”
“Jesse please remember…”
“I’ll be careful, I know, they’re after the Spanish Dukes but also me.” Jesse walked over to the General and got in. “I’ll take the scenic route. Bye y’all.”
“I’ll stick close to the CB.” Jesse started up the engine and drove off.
Back at the Indian caves, Jose was holding down the fort like he normally did. He looked at his small family all around him. Jose pushed back his tears before they even came. He missed his brother, mother and father. All the young man wanted was his family to visit. Just one visit, that’s all. A little bit of time where Tony and Jose could go fishing. Not where they had to come down when something bad happened. Tony was a good little brother, a lot of fun. He always was but Jose didn’t really catch that until he left New York.
Tony knew Jose had a lot of problems when he left and was amazed now. Really, Jose had changed a lot. He wasn’t the same guy at all. Before, Tony couldn’t even have a decent talk with his brother. Jose didn’t like sharing his feelings. There was always some sort of problem with that.
“Hey, what’s wrong big brother?” Tony questioned.
“Oh nothing,” Jose replied.
“I was just thinking about that family picture of you three. It looks really nice.”
“No, there’s something else wrong.”
“I’m not in it, is that enough for you?”
“Tony, you know that I would love more than anything to have you here with me. You’re the best brother I have ever had.”
“I’m the only brother I have ever had.” Jose began to laugh.
“Nice to see my boys getting along,” Maria said. She rolled off of Jose’s lap and looked at them both. She sighed. “About the family picture, I’m sorry you couldn’t be here. I got a tongue lashing about it from Bo. He said you should have been in it.”
“Mom, you shouldn’t have to drag everyone here for a silly little family picture,” Jose mumbled.
“Jose, I talked to Bo and he said he wanted you in his family picture. He wasn’t going to tell you but I thought it would be okay considering the circumstances.”
“Bo wants me in his family pictures?”
“Yeah, after the twins are born.”
“Why would he want you?”
“Jose, he kind of loves you. You’re part of his family. He knows you better than we do.”
“That’s not true.”
“You know when we came over last time, I was going to make you tacos because that was your favourite meal. Bo told me you like enchiladas better, a meal you never liked when you were at our house. Sure enough when I made it, you gulped it down.” Jose smiled and sighed.
“People change tastes. That doesn’t mean you don’t know me.”
“Son, your father and I will always love you but now you and Jesse are close. To try to take you back to New York would be impossible. You love it here.”
“I like listening to all of Bo’s stories. I like the country air.”
“Yeah, especially the people.”
“You don’t have to worry about loosing us.”
“You’ll never loose me Jose,” Tony added.
“Thanks, you’re the best,” Jose stated. Just then, he heard the General’s engine roaring down the road. Jesse climbed out of the General and smiled. Jose had a look of shock on his face. “Hey Jess, did you forget to put sunscreen on again?” Jesse bent down and looked at his face. It was a little pink.
“No, I’m okay, don’t worry about it. How are you? Are you getting bored? I wish you could come with me,” Jesse answered.
“Woe! You’re talking a mile a minute. Now I know something’s wrong. Jesse, what happened?”
“Okay, don’t freak out okay?”
“Every time you say that, something really bad has happened.”
“Your Dad got a phone call saying that he had a nice hiding spot and stuff like that. You know, trying to scare him. I was out working on the General. I looked in my tool box and the crescent wrench was missing. So, I walked over to the barn.”
“Is my Dad okay?”
“Shh! Come on, you asked for the story now listen.”
“Anyway, the barn blew up and I went flying. I would have been okay if it wasn’t for those couple of pieces of wood that were on fire. One landed on my shoulder and the other on my knee.” Jose’s eyes widened. He pulled back Jesse’s shirt on each side. He looked at the bandage.
“Oh my giddy aunt!”
“It doesn’t hurt too bad. Anyway, the rest of the phone call went something like this, fight me to the death or I will kill this side of the family.”
“He can’t fight him! Dad’s wounded.”
“Yeah, no kidding. Don’t worry, I have a plan.”
“Do you always have a plan?”
“Yeah sure, I’m going to fight in his place.”
“WHAT! No you’re not, there’s no way I’ll have you getting hurt.”
“Hello, I’m an expert when it comes to fighting. I can take on quite a few.”
“You’re wounded too.”
“So, you could get hurt.”
“So you want Jo to fight him?”
“Well, I am going to. I didn’t tell her about this. She’s working today. Luke doesn’t know yet either but I’m gonna be the one to face him. It’s more fair that way.”
“You are out of your mind Jesse Duke.”
“Maybe so but I won’t stand by while I loose my cousin.” Well I guess Jesse had his mind set. He was gonna do this whether they wanted him to or not. Now I don’t think Bo’s is gonna be too thrilled about this.