//Rosco’s arrested the boys again – along with Jessica, this time – on another trumped up charge, and he’s locked all three of them in the cells.//
“Shoot, now how’re we gonna get out of this one?” Bo was fretting, pacing up and down the small cell.
“Oh, we’ll think of something, Cuz, we always do.” Luke sat on the bunk, and looked up as his cousin stopped pacing and turned to him, excitedly
“Maybe we could pretend one of us was sick, and get Rosco in here. We haven’t pulled that one for a while. Then we could grab his keys, and…” his voice trailed off at the skeptical look on his cousin’s face.
“Bo! Do you really think even Rosco’s gonna fall for that? One of us just gettin’ conveniently sick – right after he’s locked us in here?”
Bo’s face fell. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Umm…” He was interrupted by a sound from the next cell.
“Ha-hem.” Jessica, lying full length on her mattress, cleared her throat and looked at the rather grubby ceiling, an innocent expression on her face. “Do you two happen to remember what I do for a living?”
“Well, sure. You’re…” Luke broke off and looked at his cousin, grins dawning on both their faces.
“I’m a professional actress.” She confirmed, and turned her head to look at them, smiling. “And no offense to your Sheriff, but he doesn’t exactly strike me as being the brightest candle in the box…”
Bo snorted as Luke muttered “You got that right!”
“Well then, if I can’t persuade him that I’m sick – then I’ll give up acting and go get a job flipping burgers, somewhere!”
Both Dukes started to chuckle and Luke asked “Ok. So how are we gonna work this?”
“Well… Maybe we can tell him I’ve got asthma, and I’m having trouble breathing.”
“Asth..” Luke was momentarily confused by her pronounciation of the word, it being significantly different from the American*. “Asthma! Ok. And you don’t have any medicine with you?”
“It’s in my bag. Upstairs. You remember – he confiscated it when we came in.”
“Okaaay… And when he brings your purse in… Hang on a minute. What if he just opens your purse and brings your medicine down here? He could just hand it to you through the bars. He wouldn’t even need his keys.”
Patiently “Well, first of all, I don’t really have asthma, so he won’t be able to find it…”
“And besides, cuz,” Bo broke in “Can you really imagine Rosco, digging around in a lady’s purse? For any reason?”
Luke laughed “You got a point there!”
Jessica grinned “Ok. So he brings my bag to me in here – because I’m going to be waay too sick to come and get it!”
“Then…” She shrugged. “We can take things from there. Ok?”
“Ok!” Both boys were grinning, as the young woman curled up into a ball on her bunk, and took a couple of deep breaths, before starting to cough. A coughing fit that lasted long enough for Luke to almost start getting concerned for real, and which ended in a series of painful-sounding wheezes, and a whispered “Go!”
//Both the boys started yelling just as loud as they could – and let me tell you, those boys have both got real good lungs. Comes o’ clean livin’ and not smokin’ cigarettes I’d say. Anyways, they nearly raised the roof off. Or they would’ve done, if they hadn’t a been in the basement.//
“ROSCO!” They didn’t let up until the sheriff appeared in the cell-block’s doorway
“Now then, what’s all o’ this noise? Shame on you, makin’ such a racket when ah’m trying to take a nap, – ah mean, do mah paperwork!”
“Jessica’s sick, Rosco. She needs a doctor!” Luke told him, urgently.
“Oh, pish-tush” Rosco was offended “You really think I’m stupid enough to fall for that one? That’s got whiskers on it longer than your Uncle Jesse’s!”
“Rosco, she’s got asthma!”
“Yeah. The dust in here’s set it off. You know, you really ought to clean up down here, a bit more often.” Bo looked around the small room, as the woman in the next cell started to cough again.
“Sheriff.” she managed between ragged, laboured breaths. “My… medication. It’s… in my… bag.” She closed her eyes for a moment before looking up at him pleadingly “Please… Sheriff…” She started to cough again.
“Shoot!” //Rosco looked at Jessica, who was wheezing and coughing, and fairly obviously having trouble breathin’ – apparently in the throes of a full-blown asthma attack – and looked back at the boys, securely locked in their cell next door, then turned and headed for the stairs.//
“Alright, darlin. You just… just hold on there, now. I’ll be right back!”
As soon as he was out of sight both the Dukes started to laugh. “You really got him. He really believes you’re sick.”
“Hey!” Luke spoke “If I hadn’t known better, I’d’ve believed her, too.” He looked the woman “You’re good!”
She raised her head “Quiet! He’ll hear you! And this is what I do, remember? – But thankyou!” She grinned at him, briefly, before resuming her curled and wheezing posture on the bunk, just as Rosco came back in with her purse in one hand, and his set of cell keys in the other.
“Here we go, honey. You’re gonna be okay, now!” He said soothingly as he fumbled with unlocking her cell door. “I got your purse right here, and you’re gonna be just fine!” He stepped inside and placed the bag on the bunk, next to the supposedly ill young woman.
Jessica shakily undid the clasp and opened the purse, sliding her hand inside and pulling out, not medicine, but a gun – which she trained on the uniformed man in front of her. Sitting up, now without a trace of a wheeze or a cough, she slid her feet over the edge of the low bunk and stood, turning, the gun never wavering from it’s aim at Rosco’s chest.
“Sit down. On the bunk, there.” As he complied, she added with a small, cool, smile “That’s a good Sheriff!”
“Jessica…” Luke, in the next cell, hadn’t been expecting this, and he and Bo had both turned pale, shocked by the turn events had taken.
“Quiet! I’ll get to you two in a minute.” She kept her eyes on Rosco, taking the key ring that was still in his hand “I’ll take these – thank you! And I might just take this, too.” She slid his gun out of it’s holster. “Just in case. I don’t want anybody getting hurt, after all.”
“Jessica!” Luke’s voice was more forceful this time.
The young woman ignored him, as she slung her bag over her shoulder and backed out of the cell, locking the door on the Sheriff, who was still sitting on the bunk, with his hands raised. “Right. Now for you two.” She tucked both guns in her purse and unlocked the door of the other cell. “Come on.” As the boys hesitated she said, “Look, do you two want out, or not? Come on!”
//The boys reluctantly followed her out as Rosco, locked in the next cell, found his voice.//
“You Duke Boys! You planned this! You knew she had a gun in there, an’ you deliberately set out to trap me! Khoo, khoo, I’m going to have you two in jail for this, for so long, you’re gonna forget what the outside world looks like!”
Jessica led the boys out through the door leading to the main office stairs, shutting it behind them, and stopped at Luke’s hand on her arm. “Jessica that was not funny!”
“Yeah,” Bo added “Rosco may not be too bright, but he is a police officer. You can get into real trouble for pulling a gun on him like that.”
Jessica just smiled at both men “First of all, that’s not a real gun. It’s a movie prop.” She held up a hand as both boys started to speak “Humour me, ok. Just for a minute? Please?” Her smile turned impish “Luke, when I say ‘Go’, can you just call out “Aaaand CUT! Just like that?” Luke started to say something but she pointed a finger at him and said “Go!”
Luke frowned suspiciously, but did as she asked “Aaand CUT!”
Jessica clapped her hands together, loudly, as he finished speaking. “Great!” She opened the door leading back to the cells and crossed to Rosco, who was standing now, and holding onto the bars of his cell. She unlocked his door and smiled up at him. “That was great, Sheriff! Thankyou so much for co-operating with us!”
“Co-oper… You mean you was filmin’ that? Rosco’s head came up “I’m gonna be in the movies? I’m gonna be in the movies!” He raised his chin even further and straightened his shoulders as he took the gun the woman held out to him, and absently holstered it, a smug expression starting to play across his face. “I’m gonna be in the movies! Kheee! I’m gonna be a Movie Star!”
“Well… that was just a rehearsal. We weren’t actually filming – but you did really well. Have you ever done any acting before?”
“We-ell,” Rosco tried to look modest “I’ve usually had a part in the Hazzard County Dramatic Society’s play, every year.”
//Now what Rosco didn’t mention was that his part was usually backstage, somewheres. He was such a ham that nobody would put up with him, out front.//
“Well, you did really well. I think you’re a natural at this.” Rosco’s chest started to puff up as Jessica led him back towards the main office.
They passed the boys, who were trying to keep straight faces at the way Rosco was being buttered up, but not really succeeding. Rosco spotted them and turned, a suspicious look on his face.
“You Duke boys… That’s why you had me arrest you! You wasn’t really doin’ anythin’ wrong at all! It was all part of this movie scenar, scenari.. thing.”
“That’s right, Rosco.” Bo assured him, his grin widening “Jessica, here, wanted to see how you did as a sheriff, and we…” Rosco cut him off with a snort.
“Hmph. Well, I did ‘Real Well’! I’m gonna be in the movies!” He turned his head and posed for a moment, muttering “I wonder which side will look better? The left or the right?” and “Rosco P. Coltrane – Movie Star. I like it, I like it!” before catching sight of the boys again, and frowning. “What are you two still doin’ standin’ around here for? Go on, get!”
“Sure Rosco. Come on, Bo.”
//Luke caught his cousin’s arm, and they both headed outside, where, as soon as they were out of earshot of the Sheriff’s office, they both doubled over, laughing fit to bust.//
“Can you believe that?” Bo was the first to find his voice again.
“I can’t believe Rosco actually fell for it!”
“He’s such a “natural actor”! Heck, Rosco couldn’t act his way out of a Paper Bag!”
“And now he thinks he’s gonna be a movie star!” Both of them started laughing again.
“Well, some people will believe anything, when it comes to show business. Movies in particular.” //Jessica had come up behind them, having made some excuse and gotten away from the starry-eyed Rosco.//
“Huh.” Luke turned to look at her “You know, you really had us both going, with that gun you pulled.”
“Yeah, You could have at least of warned us.”
Jessica had the grace to look embarrassed “Well, you might have said no, and that would have spoiled the whole thing!”
“I am an actress you know!” She looked at her watch “And I’m going to be an actress that’s late on set, if she doesn’t get a move on!” She grinned and winked at the boys “I’ll see you both later!” and started off down the street.
Bo started to chuckle again as he watched her leave. “Sheriff Rosco Coltrane, Movie Star!”
Luke’s laughter joined his. “Yeah, right! Come on, Cuz.” They moved off in the opposite direction to the woman, still chuckling.
//They was looking forward to telling Uncle Jesse and Daisy about this one. Rosco P. Coltrane: Movie Star! Heck, it was enough to make a cat laugh!.//
Later, Boss caught Rosco posing in front of the mirror.
“Rosco, what are you doin’?”
Rosco explained and added “She said I was a natchural actor!”
“You knucklehead, you couldn’t act your way out of a closet! Now come on, we got work to do!”
*Americans pronounce the word Asthma as almost a single aspirant, with a long initial syllable. The English (And most Australians) pronounce it with a short A (as in maths) and an emphasis on the first syllable. Aths-ma, instead of Aaathsma. I know it confused the heck out of me, the first time I heard the word pronounced in an American movie!
ii : This was supposed to finish with the Balladeer’s comment, but Boss, as usual, insisted on having the last word! Lol!