CJ and Roy Duke and JT Davenport were created by Marlene Martin and Matt Mazack and are being used with permission.
Dixie Duke was created by “Dixie”(RebelYank) and is being used with permission.
MaryAnne Coltrane….wait a sec, that’s my character. I ALWAYS have permission to use her. Khee!
“Rebel” (pic from CJ) =)
Late Summer/Early Fall…1989…
“Happy Birthday, CJ,” Roy said as he raised his glass of soda to his cousin.
CJ smiled and lifted her glass as well. “Happy Birthday, cousin. We’re finally 18!”
Albert and Betsy Duke smiled as they watched their grandchildren toast their passage into young adulthood. A big party was planned for that evening at the Boar’s Nest, but Albert and Betsy wanted to do a small private celebration so that they could give CJ and Roy the special present that their sons Jack and James had left for them many years before.
Betsy turned to Albert. “Go ahead and get the envelope,” she said quietly. Albert nodded and disappeared from the dining room.
“Where’s granpa going?” Roy asked.
Betsy smiled. “He’s going to get one of your birthday presents.”
The two cousins looked at each other.
“A surprise?” CJ asked. “I love surprises!”
After a moment, Albert returned with an envelope that was brown with age and he sat down at the table. Betsy joined him. He paused a moment, looking at the envelope. He already knew what it said, James having showed it to him the day he and his brother Jack made their decision. Albert had been so sure that his boys would have lived to see their children come of age and be able to give them this gift themselves. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Albert looked at his grandchildren. They were very curious about the envelope as was evendent in their blue eyes. He took in a deep breath and began to explain to them what it was.
“Just before your daddies past on, they left this envelope for me to give you when you turned 18. I’ve often wished that they could be here themselves to give this to you, but I’m sure they’re happy to see that you are finally about to receive something they had been working very hard on at the time of their passing. As you know, both my boys loved cars and racing, it’s a Duke trait. They always admired your cousins Bo and Luke and the General Lee and they too wanted to build a race car that was of Duke spirit.” Albert paused. “But it was never completed.” He handed the envelope to Roy. “Roy, as the oldest, I am to give this to you to share with CJ here.”
Roy hesitantly took the envelope and looked at CJ. CJ scooted closer to her cousin and nodded for him to go ahead and open the envelope. Roy carefully did, and pulled out the piece of paper.
September 23, 1976
Dear Roy and CJ,
Happy birthday kids. Well, you made it to 18 and now you get to really have some
fun. Jack and I, hopefully, have spent many years working on the car you are about to
receive. He’s probably won a lot of races and is the envy of the county, just like any other
Duke vehicle. Jack and I have probably spent countless hours tuning him up for races,
driving him around the countryside, getting him fixed and just plain having a good time. But
we figure that by the time you two read this, it’ll be time for a new generation of Dukes to
race, and to race this car in particular.
A year ago, Jack and I found a 1970 Dodge Challenger at the Capital City junkyard.
For a car that was only five years old, it had seen a rough time. We’re not sure what
happened exactly, but we figure it was wrecked in a car accident and no one wanted to
take the time to get the car fixed. So parked in the back of the yard, we found it.
I think Jack thought I was nuts at first. I kept telling him, “This is it, this is the one!
Look at it!” “Oh sure,” he told me. “Look at it’s missing fenders and busted back window.
Look at it’s stripped down engine and busted back axle. Are you crazy? It’ll take us years to
put this thing together!”
Well, after much prodding and promising, I convinced him. We towed the car to my
barn in Hatchapie County and eagerly started on working on the car. A year later, we have a
complete body on the car and the engine is almost complete. The underside of the car,
however, is going to take some time to complete.
We’ve debated on names. You know how us Dukes are, we name our cars. Jack
came up with “Rebel” which I think we might go with. Other possibilities are “Lightening,”
“Midnight Rider,” and “Manasis.” We haven’t decided on a number yet tho’.
By time you read this tho’, all those questions have probably already been
answered. But if somehow, somehow they weren’t, I’m sorry. You know that Jack and I
would never have left anything unfinished if we couldn’t help it. The future holds so much
promise yet uncertainty. I look forward to watching you, Roy, growing up and you, CJ,
becoming a young lady. Jack and I have made a vow to do everything we can for you kids.
We love you very much.
If Jack and I for some reason don’t have the keys to the car, your granpa Albert
should have the spare set. I know you two will take good care of the car and he in turn will
protect you and take care of you.
Good luck, kids. We love you.
Jack and James Duke
CJ looked at Roy as he slowly let the letter rest on the table top. “Wow….” he breathed.
“A car?” CJ said. She blinked a little, her eyes hinting at tears.
Albert nodded. “Your daddies were working on that car at the time they passed on. I know they would want you to have it.”
“Where’s the car now?” Roy asked.
“It’s still in Hatchapie County, in what was Jack’s barn. I don’t know how well it’s stood up to the years, but I’m sure it’s still there.”
Roy looked at CJ. “You wanna take a trip to your daddy’s farm?”
CJ nodded and paused a moment as the tears started to come into her eyes. “I remember that car now,” she said softly. “I can remember them working on it and how Bo and Luke used to help when they visited.”
Roy nodded and gave his cousin a pat on the arm. “I remember too. I think we owe it to them to finish what they started if we can.”
“You got that right, cousin,” CJ said and smiled now. “Listen, why don’t we stop in town first and pick up JT. He can come with us.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Let’s do it!”
Albert smiled. “Oh wait! You’re going to need these…” He disappeared out of the dining room and came back with a small jewelry box. He took the lid off and handed the keys to CJ.
CJ took the keys and held them in her hand for a moment. She then gently closed her fist around the pieces of metal and felt the Duke pride stir in her soul. She nodded to Roy and and they left the farm house.
* * *
CJ, Roy and JT Davenport looked at the old barn as they drove the blue Chevy pick up truck that CJ and Roy shared into the old farmstead. The barn was still standing and appeared sturdy. It’s big double doors were closed. The three climbed out of the truck and approached the barn.
“Well,” JT said. “If the car’s been sitting in here for 12 years or so, the body oughta be in pretty good shape. Assuming the barn never leaked.” Roy walked up to the door and pushed the big two by four that was across it up. He and JT both carried the board to the side of the yard and turned back around as CJ was pulling the door open.
The three stood there and looked. There, up on cement blocks was the 1970 Dodge Challenger. The body was complete and straight, although it was several different colors. Black, dark gray primer and bronze red. The hood was leaning up against the back wall, covered in a faint layer of dust. CJ and Roy approached the car and looked with JT into the engine block.
The engine was half complete. On a workbench next to the car were the remaining pieces to the engine. JT looked over the pieces with interest.
“Cool…a four barrel carb, chrome cylinder heads….wow…this is pure power waiting to be unleashed!”
“Looks like everything we need is here,” CJ said.
“Yup,” Roy said. “Now we just gotta get it all back to town.”
“No problem. We can use my uncle’s flat bed to bring it in,” JT said. He paused a moment and then said, “Hey, you know the Annual Hazzard Road Race is coming up. If we can get this car ready I bet you two could blow everybody else’s doors off!”
“Now you’re talkin’!” CJ said. “Roy, you and I have been dreaming of running in that race. Now we can!”
“And just like that letter said,” Roy said. “Our daddies dreamed that this car would win a lot of races and be the envy of everybody.” Roy’s eyes gleamed. “Now we can make that dream come true.”
“Well, I’m game!” JT said. “Come on, we’ll go get the flat bed.”
* * *
Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane was just coming out of the courthouse when the flat bed tow truck pulled into Cooter’s garage. He watched the truck come to a stop and looked at the dusty old multicolored car that sat on the back. He saw the two young Duke kids jump out of the truck along with Cooter’s nephew. They spoke excitedly about the wreck they had, saying how they were going to start on the engine first and then figure out a paint scheme later. The threesome disappeared inside the garage but Rosco continued to look at the car…
“Hehe, just think Rosco you’ll have two Duke cars to have to keep up with….”
James Duke’s words rang through Rosco’s mind with haunting clarity. Jack and James had picked up the car in Capital City and had stopped at Cooter’s Garage on their way back to Hatchapie County. Rosco had been walking to his patrol car, like he was now when James called out his announcement.
Rosco remembered everything now. The car was in a worse state of disrepair than it was now.
“Only if you cross over into my county. Khee khee, I’ll catch ya, you know it!”
That was four months after Bo and Luke Duke had got their “General Lee.” Things certainly hadn’t been the same in Hazzard since the orange Charger had come along. Rosco couldn’t help but wonder what it would’ve been like with two Dodges eluding him and two sets of Dukes getting their giggles at his driving expense.
Rosco looked at the Dodge Challenger one more time before getting into his patrol car. He couldn’t seem to shake the uneasy feeling he was getting about the car, whether it was the way it looked, unchanged since the day the two Duke boys met their untimely death or if it was something else….
Rosco started his patrol car and drove out of the square.
Inside the garage, CJ, Roy and JT were looking at the engine parts they had placed carefully in a box. JT had wrapped up the incomplete carburetor in a rag and now took it out and put it on Cooter’s work bench. They then separated out all the remaining parts they would need to finish building the carburetor and left the other parts in the box for safe keeping.
“Well, if Uncle Cooter don’t mind, I say we just park the old boy in here for now,” JT said.
“Yeah,” Roy said. “Maybe we can start on it this weekend and we can get Bo and Luke to help.”
“I’m sure they’ll help,” CJ said.
Everyone who had been invited to the celebration turned out at the Boar’s Nest. Streamers and balloons decorated the bar and walls and CJ and Roy were seated at the head of the tables. All the Dukes were there, Bo, Luke, Daisy, and Jesse along with Coy, Vance, Dixie and Jeb Stuart. JT and his uncle Cooter were there and even MaryAnne came in from Atlanta to be part of the festivities. Wrapping paper littered the floor near CJ and Roy and they had accumulated a good pile of clothes, records and gift certificates. Bo and Luke gave them another gift as well. A promise to help them with their car during the weekend.
“A car?” MaryAnne said. “Oooh!”
“It’s one that our daddies were working on,” CJ explained. “Me and Roy, along with JT, Bo and Luke are gonna finish it.”
“Great! Do you think you’ll have it done in time for the Annual Hazzard Road Race?”
“That’s what we’re planning on,” Roy said. “It’ll be the fastest car there!”
Everyone cheered in agreement.
“What kind of car is it?” Dixie asked.
“1970 Dodge Challenger,” Roy said.
“It’s gonna be sweet,” JT said. “Once we get that engine put together, there won’t be a thing in Hazzard that’ll catch it. Not even your cousin, MaryAnne!”
MaryAnne chuckled. “Well, if he had Maverick, maybe.”
“Where is Maverick anyway?” Luke asked. “We haven’t seen him since just before you took that job at the police academy in Atlanta earlier this year.”
MaryAnne frowned. “Maverick’s in the barn…wrecked. I can’t get him fixed this time, but I promised Rosco I wouldn’t get rid of the car.”
“Aw man..” Bo said.
MaryAnne chuckled. “Well, I’ll admit Rosco’s been pretty disappointed because he can’t drive it.”
When Saturday morning dawned, Bo and Luke met CJ, Roy and JT at Cooter’s garage. The boys looked over the car with interest and with memories. Happy times of working on it with Jack and James, but also the memory of how they were taken too soon.
“Well,” Luke said after he and Bo looked over every inch of the car. “Looks like all we have to do really, is get that engine finished. The body on this thing is perfect. I figure we can have the engine done and a new coat of paint slapped on by the middle of the week.”
“What color do you guys wanna paint it?” JT asked CJ and Roy.
“Well, I was thinkin’ gray,” CJ replied. She then winked at the boys. “Confederate Gray”
“Hehe, now that’s MY kinda color!” JT said.
Roy nodded. “CJ and I were talkin’ about this yesterday. This car here is kinda like a kid cousin to General Lee.”
“And built with Duke pride,” JT added. ‘I s’pose you gotta name for it too huh?” The tone of his voice though suggested that CJ and Roy BETTER have a name for it.
“Of course,” CJ said. “Actually it’s one of the names our daddies were thinkin’ of using. With the Confederate gray paint, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate name then ‘Rebel’.”
Bo and Luke nodded and smiled. “Sounds like a good name to me,” Luke said. Bo walked over to the car and gestured his open hand over the sail panel. “You could paint it right on the sides here,” he said. He then snapped his fingers. “Hey, you remember that decal we used to have on the General, the one with the checkered and rebel flag crossing?”
“Way ahead of ya cousin,” Roy said. “If possible, I think we should paint that right over the roof.”
“Yeewhoo!” JT hollered. “A new generation of Southern Pride!”
Luke, although smiling, offered the voice of gentle persuasion. “Okay, you guys. The first thing we gotta do is get that engine put together. We can figure the paint schematics later.”
“Luke’s right,” CJ said. “Let’s get at it.”
* * *
“Try it again.”
“Nope.” Luke shook his head.
CJ looked at the engine and then nudged Luke aside. She reached in and made an adjustment and then looked at Roy behind the wheel.
“Try it now.”
The garage erupted in rebellious celebration. “Yeeeeeeeehaaaaaaa!!”
Luke smiled at CJ. “Nice work, grease monkey.”
CJ grinned. “Hey, I learned from the best.”
The four Dukes cousins, along with JT and Cooter listened to the engine as it idled.
“The timing’s pretty good but we can make it better,” Cooter said.
“Yeah,” JT agreed. “Plus, when we get them new dual exhaust pipes, he’s gonna sound mean!”
Bo chuckled. “Hey, why don’t we celebrate? A round at the Boar’s Nest?”
“Sounds good to me,” Roy said. “Then when we get back we can put the hood on and start planning for the paint.”
“Let’s go!” JT exclaimed.
Roy shut off the engine and everyone left the garage.
Across the street, Rosco and Boss watched from Boss’s office window as the Dukes and Davenports got into their vehicles and drove out of town.
“They’re building a car?” Boss asked.
“Finishing one,” Rosco clarified. “Don’t you remember the car Jack and James Duke were workin’ on just before they passed on?”
“Barely. Argh, Rosco, just what we need is more Dukes lead footin’ around Hazzard!” Boss shook his head and then turned back to his desk. “Enough of this nonsense, I’ve got other things I gotta deal with.”
“What if they finish it in time for the Annual Hazzard Road Race?”
“So? They’ll probably drive in the race. That’s the Duke blood in ’em”
“Are you gonna try to stop them?”
Boss looked at Rosco and narrowed his eyes in question.
“I mean, so you can win. You do it every year.”
“I haven’t decided yet if I’m gonna enter this year.”
Boss studied the Sheriff for a moment. “You seem somewhat concerned about them.”
“Well…” Rosco shrugged. “I dunno, I just keep thinkin’ of what happened when Jack and James died. Hogg blood, Duke blood, it don’t matter, I’d hate to see it happen to those kids.”
“That’s understandable. Heck, I sympathize even, I certainly wouldn’t want anything to happen them. They’re my grand niece and nephew ain’t they? They’ll be all right, Rosco. You’ve got other things you should be more worried about. Like your ticket quota.”
Rosco made a face, knowing that was his cue to leave. “Yeah…” he said and turned to leave. Boss watched him go and shook his head at his brother-in-law’s nonsense.
Outside, Rosco walked to his patrol car and looked over towards Cooter’s garage. The garage bay doors were opened enough to see inside, and mixed in the shadows of the garage was the Dodge Challenger. The sun that reflected off the county courthouse, shined back to the headlights, making the car look like it had eyes that were wide open.
Rosco stopped from getting into his patrol car and looked around the square. Nobody was paying any attention to him, so he started to walk over to the garage. Once inside, he stood and looked over the car. The completed engine, new tires and rims. Rosco wasn’t sure why he was so concerned, only that what happened to Jack and James haunted him still, as had any other Duke death with an automobile.
The emotional connection between a car and human was nothing foreign to Rosco. The years spent with MaryAnne’s Firebird, Maverick, had nurtured that. Rosco often longed for the day when the car could be fixed and back on the road. After all, the car was like family.
And now the Dukes were about to get a new family member. Rosco stepped closer to the car and rested his hand on the top of the door where the window was rolled completely down.
“You take care of them kids, ya hear?” Rosco said softly. “I know you’re gonna hear them and their cousins bad mouth me, they always have. So I ain’t askin’ ya to do anything you probably wouldn’t already. You’re a Duke car, so you got an obligation to live up to here. They’re gonna be countin’ on ya.” Rosco glanced towards the street, hoping nobody was watching him. He was sure he must have looked silly talking to a car, a Duke car for that matter. But he didn’t care. Like with Maverick, Rosco believed the car was somehow listening.
The Sheriff gave the top of the door a pat and then went on his way.
* * *
“Rebel” emerged from Cooter’s garage on Wednesday afternoon. The checkered and Confederate flags were bright and proud looking across his roof. His name was prominently displayed on his sail panels and his door announced his racing number. 21
The number was chosen by CJ and Roy. They were the second generation of Duke racers, which was number one to them. Rebel’s Confederate gray paint shined. The four Duke cousins and JT and Cooter admired the car and their hard work. They also paused in memory of Jack and James. After all, they had started the work on the car and to see it complete now was a nice tribute to their memory. The 1970 Dodge was now complete in it’s transformation from parts car to race car. And CJ and Roy were ready to test it out.
“All right, can we drive this thing or what?” CJ asked and giggled.
Cooter handed her the keys. “Go to it, kid.”
CJ anxiously took the keys from Cooter and got into the driver’s seat. Roy climbed through the passenger window and looked at his cousin.
“Hit it girl!”
VRROOMM!! The Dodge revved in start up and CJ put it in first gear. Tires squealed as the car tore off down the road and around the square.
Bo whistled as Cooter removed his hat. “Ahh, what a sight,” the mechanic said. They watched the gray Dodge tear around town and then CJ took it out to the country side.
“Come on, Bo, let’s follow ’em,” Luke suggested.
“I’m comin’ with ya!” JT exclaimed, already heading towards the General. After everyone was in, the Charger headed out of town.
“There they are,” Luke said pointing to the gray Challenger up ahead. He picked up the CB mike. “How’s he handle?”
“Great!” came the reply from Roy. “Ol’ CJ’s driving this thing like she was born in it. Of course, she better be givin’ me a chance to drive too….”
The boys heard CJ chuckled before Roy let off the talk button. “I’m sure she will Roy,” Luke replied.
Rebel swung through the turn with General Lee following. The two cars romped through the country side pausing only long enough for CJ and Roy to switch. The playful chase then continued and eventually led back to farmstead of Albert and Betsy Duke.
“What in all this holy is this?” Albert wondered as the two muscle cars came rumbling into the yard. He laid his eyes on the Dodge Challenger and his heart leapt. “Betsy! Come out here and see this!”
“Howdy Grampa!” CJ said as she climbed out of the passenger side of Rebel. “Meet Rebel!”
Betsy came out of the house with a dish towel in her hand. She stood next to her husband admiring the car. “Bless my soul…you kids did get it put together.”
“They sure did, Aunt Betsy,” Bo said, smiling with Luke. “They worked very hard on this car.”
“We had help,” Roy said, looking at his older cousins appreciatively and at JT.
Albert walked around the car, looking at the “Rebel” name painted on the sail panel, the number on the door and the two flags crossing on the roof. He thought of his boys and a tear came to his eye, but the smile remained on his face. His boys would have been proud, and he was proud of CJ and Roy.
“You kids did a beautiful job,” he said softly. “Your daddies…your daddies would be very proud of you…”
CJ gave her grandfather a hug. Roy did as well and then said, “Tomorrow, they’ll be even more proud. Cuz we’re gonna enter the Annual Road Race.”
“Are you two gonna enter this year?” Albert asked Bo and Luke.
Luke shook his head. “Not this year. We’re gonna let CJ and Roy here have the glory. This is gonna be a special race.”
Bo nodded. “We’re gonna help ’em get ready tho’.”
Albert nodded. “Thank you, boys.”
“Wanna go for a ride Grampa? Gramma?” CJ asked.
Albert looked at his wife. “Whaddya say dear?”
Betsy smiled and nodded.
“Yeeha!” Roy exclaimed. He opened the passenger door for his grandmother. “You mean to tell me you ain’t welded them doors shut?” Albert joked.
Roy smiled. “Not yet. That’s on the agenda for tomorrow.”
The Dukes laughed.
* * *
Boss Hogg had set up an entry table in the Boar’s Nest for the Annual Race, as he had done every year. Standing behind him was Rosco, who kept a watchful eye on the folks comin’ in to sign up. “Kinda funny, no Dukes enterin’ this year,” he said to Boss.
“You just wait, Rosco,” Daisy said having heard the Sheriff. “CJ and Roy should be here any minute.”
The Boar’s Nest’s other waitress, Dixie Duke, nodded to her cousin. “Here they come!” she said as CJ and Roy came waltzing into the Boar’s Nest. They hopped over to the sign up table for the Annual Race, prompting a frown from Boss Hogg.
“Howdy, Boss,” Roy said and plunked the crisp 100 dollar bill down on the table.
“Entry fee for the race,” CJ said and picked up the form. “Where do we sign?”
“Right there on the bottom line,” Boss gruffed and looked at the hundred. He held up to the light making sure it was real.
“Didn’t think you two would know what a hundred dollar bill was,” he said.
Roy smiled. “CJ and I pooled together what we had and got it from your bank, so it ain’t counterfeit. Well, at least it shouldn’t be….”
“But considerin’ it’s from your bank,” CJ added.
Boss scowled and Rosco crossed one finger over the other. “Oooh…shame shame.”
CJ smiled and handed the entry form and pen to her cousin. Roy signed his name and handed the form to Boss.
“There ya are, Boss. Once again, Dukes will be represented in the Annual Hazzard Road Race.”
“And once again, Dukes will win!” Dixie added and giggled.
“Bah,” Boss said. He placed the entry form with the others.
“Bo used to call it the Annual Hazzard Shoe-In,” Daisy said as CJ and Roy came over to the bar. The two younger cousins laughed.
“We’ll see if he’s right,” Roy said.
“I’ve the feelin’ he is,” CJ said. “Hey Dix, how come you haven’t entered?”
“It would require me to have a car. If I entered with my truck….well, I’d be running everyone off the road! That wouldn’t quite be fair now would it?”
Laughter sounded from the bar as Bo and Luke came into the Boar’s Nest. “Hey y’all!” Luke said as they came over. “Did you two sign up with Rebel yet?”
“Just finished,” CJ replied. “In fact we were trying to persuade Dixie here to sign up too, but she makes a valid point about her truck.”
The boy snickered. “Dixie’s about the only Duke in Hazzard Rosco hasn’t tried to chase yet. I think that big ol’ Chevy scares ’em!” Bo said.
“Well then I ain’t changin’ to a car,” Dixie said and laughed. “I prefer to be the unique Duke thank ya very much!”
“Speakin’ of Rosco…” Luke said and turned to watch the Sheriff leave. He looked back at his kid cousins. “You wanna give Rebel his real test?”
Roy looked confused. “What do you mean? We ran him yesterday he did great.”
“Luke’s talkin’ the REAL test.” Bo nodded towards the doorway that Rosco had just disappeared out of.
“You mean Rosco?” CJ said. “A chase??”
“Believe us, it’s the only way you’ll know how Rebel will handle under pressure,” Luke chuckled.
Roy had a devilish grin come to his face. He looked at CJ. “Whaddya say?”
CJ smiled. “Let’s do it! I’m drivin’!” She hurried out of the Boar’s Nest with Roy, Bo and Luke following.
The younger cousins quickly slid into the seats of Rebel and CJ turned the engine. The gray Challenger tore out of the parking lot with General Lee following. After a few minutes the white Plymouth Fury came into view. CJ and Roy snickered.
“Alrighty cousin,” Roy said. “Target is within range. Strike at your own will.”
CJ grinned and gunned Rebel’s engine. The Challenger came within a few feet of the patrol car and CJ hit the horn which surprisingly blared out the first few notes of “Charge!”
“Whoa!” CJ said and giggled. “I didn’t know it did that!”
Rosco jumped in his seat and looked in his rearview mirror. He saw the car and then picked up his CB mike.
“Awright! I don’t know who y’all are, but it ain’t nice to go scarin’ a Sheriff!”
“Shoot, Rosco, it’s only little ol’ me and CJ,” Roy replied. “We wanted to introduce you to Rebel.”
To emphasize Roy’s statement, CJ cut the Dodge around Rosco’s patrol car and came up along the Sheriff’s side of it.
“This is Rebel,” Roy shouted. “But if you want to appreciate the schematics you’ll have to catch us first!! Ha ha!!” The gray Challenger tore off in front of the patrol car and sped down the road.
“You Dukes! Jit jit!!” Rosco raised a fist and then went into hot pursuit giving CJ and Roy the royal treatment, complete with flashing gumballs and siren.
Bo and Luke laughed as they watched from the General. “Step on it, cuz,” Luke said, “I don’t wanna miss this!”
“Me neither,” Bo replied. He hit the accelerator and the General whistled ‘Dixie.’
“You know, Roy, I just thought of something,” CJ said. “What if he does catch us?”
“Hey, you’re the one driving, you figure it out!” He chuckled.
CJ laughed and turned Rebel down another dirt road with dust flying from behind the car. Rosco followed.
“Man…ol’ Rosco sure ain’t slowin’ up in his old age,” she said, glancing at her mirrors and seeing the grill of the Plymouth was still close.
“Bo and Luke weren’t kiddin’ about this bein’ a real test for Rebel,” Roy said. He looked around the country side. “Cut down Route 81 here, maybe it’ll slow him up.”
“Got it.” Rebel shot down the road. The patrol car swerved in the turn and then straightened. Rosco fell back a little but stayed with the chase. The General brought up the rear.
“I dunno, Roy…” CJ said after a couple of minutes of driving Route 81’s twisty stretch of highway and having no luck in shaking Rosco off their tail. “I think Rosco’s picked up a lot of driving skills from his cousin.”
“I think Rosco’s picked up a lot of driving skills from his cousin,” Luke echoed in the General. “He’s on them like a chicken on a june bug.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Bo said. “I’m sure CJ and Roy have some trick or something up their sleeve.”
“Try goin’ cross country,” Roy suggested. “That usually slows him up.”
Rebel swung off the road with Rosco and the General following. The cars bounced and leapt through the field with grass and dirt ripping up under tires.
“Uh oh…Roy, I ain’t got no pilot’s license.”
“Huh?” He looked out the front windshield and saw the creek bed coming fast. “Rebel yer about to spread wings! Don’t let off the gas CJ!!”
The gray Dodge hit the embankment and became airborne. CJ and Roy screamed out a “YEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAA!” with the sudden rush of adrenaline and a little fear with taking flight in a car.
Rosco slammed his brakes and watched the car sail over the creek and land on the other side safely. It drove forward a few feet and then came to a stop. Bo brought the General to a stop behind the patrol car and climbed out as Rosco got out of his car. They stood watching Rebel and waiting for the kids to get out of the car. After a moment, they did and they looked back across the creek.
“You all right over there??” Rosco called.
“Yeah, we’re fine!” Roy replied and looked at CJ. “We just jumped a creek!”
“I know we just jumped a creek! Holy smokes!!” CJ started laughing. “Wanna do it again??”
Roy doubled over in laughter.
After Rosco got the official introduction to Rebel by CJ and Roy he headed back to town. Seeing the car jump the creek, just like General always had was a somewhat comforting sight. But when Rosco stood at the bank of the creek waiting for the two young Duke kids to get out of their car to show they were ok, it only reminded him of when he found Jack and James Duke’s car at the side of the road that dark day in 1977. He could still hear Betsy crying after he had gone out to the farm to tell her and Albert.
Why was it he always seemed to be the one to find Dukes in such trouble? The question eluded him. Obviously, he was the Sheriff and all…but he was always the first one to find them when he would be out on patrol. And he would be the one that had to go tell the other Dukes what had happened. Why had it always been that way?
Bo and Luke had noticed that the Sheriff’s vim and vinegar had seemingly disappeared after the chase with CJ and Roy. After discovering that the horn installed in Rebel blared out the first few notes of ‘Charge!’, something Jack and James had installed all those years ago, they headed to town to talk to Rosco.
The Sheriff was alone in the booking room when Bo and Luke walked in. Rosco looked up from the booking desk and frowned.
“If you two are here about me chasin’ yer kid cousins, I don’t wanna hear about it. They was speedin’ and drivin’ reckless and they’re lucky I didn’t catch ’em!”
“Well, that’s kinda why we are here,” Luke said. “Bo and I couldn’t help but notice your fire of hot pursuit suddenly went out after they jumped the creek.”
“Yeah…well…it was all a surprise. I don’t think they intended to jump that creek.”
“No, they didn’t,” Bo said. “And half the time Luke an’ I never intend to jump a creek either. It just happens.” The boys looked at him, knowing something was gnawing at him. They wanted to know for some reason, but they respected it if he didn’t wanna talk.
“Is it…Maverick?” Luke suggested, trying to find an starting point.
Rosco shook his head. “No…wellll..no. No, it’s not Maverick sitting wrecked in my barn.” He sighed. “It’s them kids.” He looked at the boys and pointed a finger at them. “I remember the day their daddies died in that wreck. I can still see yer aunt Betsy cryin’ her eyes out when I went to tell her and Albert what happened. You dang Dukes keep gettin’ yerselfs killed in car wrecks and it’s always me that finds ya!”
The boys stared at Rosco for a moment. The Sheriff’s blue eyes were intense and then they softened with his sigh. “I can remember when the four of ya brought that Challenger back from what ever junk yard you pulled it out of back then. When I saw it sittin’ over at Cooter’s garage over the weekend it just reminded me of all that happened. I can’t help it.”
“CJ and Roy are good drivers…” Bo started.
“It ain’t about their drivin’ skills,” Rosco said. “Jack and James were pretty good drivers too, and it didn’t do them much good.”
The boys were sobered now. Rosco had a point. Many of their relatives had died in car wrecks, and Rosco had found or took part in finding just about each and every one of them.
“You showed that Jeb wasn’t responsible,” Luke said softly. “And Uncle Jesse has always said that it’s the Lord who decides when it’s someone time.”
“I know…” Rosco stood up from the desk. “But sometimes it’s not fair. And I just don’t want to see it happen to those kids, that’s all.” He picked up his hat and started to step away from the booking desk. He paused as if he was going to say more, but he didn’t and headed out of the booking room.
Bo and Luke exited a few moments later. They walked silently to the General and climbed into the car.
“Can’t blame him, I suppose,” Bo finally said.
Luke shook his head. “No, ya can’t.” He paused. “You know, maybe after CJ and Roy win that race it might help Rosco a bit. It would be something happy to associate Rebel with, instead of when Jack and James died.”
Bo nodded. “You got a point there. I think when they win that race it’s gonna be a happy moment for a lot of folks.” He grinned. “We could make it a real barn burner!”
Luke smiled. “Sounds good to me. Let’s go see what Jesse and Daisy think.”
The General Lee pulled away from the curb.
* * *
The day before the race, the Boar’s Nest was packed with half of Hazzard. CJ, Roy, Bo and Luke were at a table with Cooter and JT, talkin’ race strategy. Rosco was sitting at the bar watchin’ the Dukes and everyone else in the honky tonk. Dixie walked over with her tray and a glass of root beer for the Sheriff.
“So ol’ Boss isn’t gonna enter the race this year?” the six foot tall waitress asked, handing him the mug.
He shook his head. “Nope.”
“Maybe you oughta enter,” Dixie said with a smile. “Shoot you could borrow my truck if you want.”
Chuckles echoed in the Boar’s Nest. Rosco looked at Dixie, half amused. “I dunno how you drive that thing,” he said.
“You’d love it! Imagine hot pursuit in a 4X4! You’d strike fear in anyone who tried to cross you.”
“Sheesh, Dix! Don’t go givin’ Rosco any ideas!” CJ hollered.
More laughter in the Nest.
Dixie Duke’s ’86 Chevy Silverado short bed pick up truck had become as unique and well known in Hazzard as her cousin’s General Lee and now, Rebel. It was also one of the most intimidating pick ups around, with a dual exhaust that had no muffler, and it sat several inches higher than most trucks. It was also fast…and no one had dared challenge Dixie to a race. Yet.
“I’ll stick to my patrol car, thank ya very much.”
Dixie giggled. “Well, if you ever change yer mind, lemme know.”
Rosco raised his mug to her. “I’ll let ya know.”
Dixie smiled and continued her rounds. She delivered a round of drinks to a booth that was not far from where the Dukes and Davenports were sitting. The two men were quiet as Dixie placed their drinks down and after she left they looked at each other, listening to the conversation at the other table.
“I still say y’all ain’t got nothin’ to worry about with that race tomorrow,” Cooter said.
“Of course they won’t,” Bo said. “Don’t call it a shoe-in for nothin’!”
“You can bet that after CJ and Roy win that race tomorrow we’re gonna have ourselves a big ol’ shin dig right here,” JT said tapping the table.
The two men smiled at each other and nodded.
* * *
John Raycomb and Boss Hogg had known each other for about five years, having done various business together. Usually illegal, but otherwise profitable. Therefore, Boss wasn’t all that surprised when John arrived at the Boar’s Nest office with his two usual gophers. But his business proposition, however, threw Boss for a bit of loop.
“A bet?” Boss repeated as he got up from the chair of his desk. Rosco stood by the pool table.
“A friendly wager,” John said and smiled. “Seeing as you’re not entering a vehicle in this year’s Annual Road Race, I thought maybe you’d be interested in betting on someone.”
“Ain’t no one in that race this year that’s a particularly good driver. Other than them Duke kids.”
“There ya go,” John said. “You bet on them to win, I’ll bet on them to loose.”
Boss narrowed his eyes. “You don’t know anything about them Dukes.”
“Oh but you forget. We have Dukes in Placid County. I know what they’re all about.”
“Then you know you’re wastin’ yer time.”
John paused. “They’re young. This will be their first race. They’ll be nervous.” He shook his head. “I don’t think they’ll win.”
“Well, as much as I hate to say it, I think they will. How much you lookin’ to wager then?”
“Five thousand dollars. After all, this is a friendly wager.”
“Of course! Friendly wager, heh heh heh.” Boss grinned. He then put his hand out to seal the deal. “Five thousand dollars on the Dukes!”
John shook on it. “Five thousand.”
Rosco was grinning now. He watched the handshake and then John started to turn towards the door.
“I’ll see you race day, Mr. Hogg.”
“Oh you certainly will Mr. Raycomb!” Boss chuckled and saw all three of them out the door. Once they were gone and he closed the door, he turned to Rosco.
“Oooh heheheheh, five thousand samolians easy! For once them Dukes is gonna help me with something! Hee hee!”
“Khee! I love it, I love it! You know, he shoulda just given ya the money now.”
“Yeah!” Boss giggled some more and then settle down. “awright, awright Let’s not get too excited here. We certainly don’t want them Dukes to know that I’ve got a bet on them to win. Especially don’t want Daisy or Dixie out there to hear us.”
Rosco nodded. “Yeah. If they found out, CJ and Roy would probably purposely loose just to spite ya.”
“Yeah. So don’t say nothin’ to nobody ya hear?”
“Won’t say a word!”
Rebel left dust behind him later that afternoon as CJ and Roy set out for some practice runs. But they weren’t alone. Mr. Raycomb’s two flunkies were bird dogging them and when it seemed like there was no one else on the road, they tried to strike.
From the passenger seat, Roy saw the car come up along the driver side of Rebel.
“Looks like we got company.”
CJ looked and saw two masked men. The four door Ford they were driving suddenly rammed into Rebel.
“What the–??!” CJ gripped the steering wheel and pushed the accelerator, cutting Rebel ahead of the Ford.
“Who the heck IS that?!” she exclaimed to her cousin looking at her mirrors to see where the other car was now.
“I don’t know! Step on it cuz or they’re gonna—”
Rebel skidded and swerved on contact. CJ fought with the wheel and shifted gears, planting the accelerator to the floor. The Ford stayed with them, even after CJ turned Rebel down another road.
“Roy! What the heck is going on??”
“I ain’t sure cuz, I don’t know who they are or what they want!” Roy grabbed up the CB mike. “This is Roy Duke looking for a friend. Me and CJ are in some kinda trouble. Come back!”
The Ford inched up a little more and tried taking a bite out of Rebel’s back fender.
Dixie was on her way home from the Boar’s Nest when she heard Roy’s call. She grabbed up her CB mike.
“This is Dixie, where are you guys at Roy??”
“We’re on Snake Nation Road. Some joker’s tryin’ to play bumper cars with us…and they’re wearing ski masks for cryin’ out loud!”
“Hang on cousins, I’m on my way!” Dixie put her CB mike down and the Chevy truck thundered down a short cut to Snake Nation Road. A white Plymouth Fury was also heading towards the same road.
The Ford managed to clip Rebel’s back fender before CJ swung the stock car off the road and across country. The back of the Ford swung around a little too much and it took a moment longer for the car to get back on track after Rebel.
“There’s Dixie!” Roy exclaimed, seeing the black truck on the other side of the clearing. The pickup came off the road and headed straight for the chase, at about a 45 degree angle from where CJ and Roy were. CJ kept Rebel right on trucking.
The car behind them seemed undeterred by the presence of the pick up truck. Dixie turned the truck to fall in line behind the Ford. CJ led the chase back onto a dirt road and Dixie started flanking the Ford. With the sound of the truck rumbling behind them, the two figured to abandon their attempt but not before Dixie got in a couple of hits, pushing the Ford around like a toy.
Rosco saw the chase ahead of him as it came towards him. He pulled to the side to allow it to pass so he could turn around and go after it, but the Ford ducked out of the chase now that the Sheriff had shown up.
Dixie ignored going after it down the side road and followed after her kin. They passed Rosco and the Sheriff swung his car around. He stopped long enough to see the Ford disappear down the road. He recognized having seen it at the Boar’s Nest earlier….
The Sheriff narrowed his eyes in thought for a moment. John Raycomb had two flunkies with him when he approached Boss about the bet on CJ and Roy….were these two the same? And if they were, Mr. Raycomb more than likely was trying to prevent Boss winning the bet. With this in mind, Rosco drove down the road where the Duke’s vehicles were stopped. He stopped behind Dixie’s black Chevy truck and got out.
“Awright, what the heck was that all about??” he asked as he approached Rebel. CJ and Roy were standing by the front fender of the car with Dixie. The fender was scratched and dented.
“That’s what we’d like to know!” CJ replied. She pointed to the fender. “Look what they did!”
Rosco looked at the damaged fender. “Oooh, that is scuffed ain’t it?”
“Them dudes are gonna pay for this,” Roy fumed.
“Listen, you don’t know who them two were or what they wanted,” Dixie said. “You can’t go seekin’ revenge when you don’t even know who were attacker was.”
“Yeah, well, if they try this again, they’re gonna pay,” he said. “You gonna try to find them Rosco or what?”
“Well I might, or I might not. Depends on whether or not you two instigated the whole thing. How do I know that you two didn’t go bumpin’ into that other car first?”
CJ rolled her eyes. “Thanks a lot. Come on, Roy, we’ll just go find them two dudes ourselves. We’ll get Bo and Luke to help us.”
“Yeah. Thanks for nothin’, Rosco.” Roy walked around Rebel and climbed into the passenger window while CJ slid into the driver seat.
“Go on, move it on outta here,” he said, making a sweeping motion with his hand. Dixie just shook her head.
“Boy I wish MaryAnne had never taken that job in Atlanta,” she muttered as she walked to her truck. The tall Duke girl climbed in and fired up the truck, causing Rosco to flinch.
“Jit jit! Don’t you go scuffin’ my ears like that!” he hollered as the Chevy roared away. “I’ll gitchya for disturbin’ the peace! Woojit!”
After the Chevy’s exhaust faded, Rosco returned to his patrol car and headed back to town.
“I can’t believe Rosco’s still the dang Sheriff,” CJ muttered. “MaryAnne shoulda stayed here in Hazzard and took over.”
Roy chuckled. “Well, ol’ Rosco’s been Sheriff for about 500 years, he’ll probably be around for another 500. About the only thing he can be counted on for is being unreliable.”
CJ laughed. Rebel headed toward the farm of Jesse Duke.
* * *
“The Sheriff and one of their other kin showed up,” one of the men said after he and his partner returned to John Raycomb’s office in Placid County.
John nodded. “It’s all right. We’ll try again tomorrow. I’ve got the both of you entered into this race anyway. I don’t care who wins…just as long as it ain’t them two.”
The two men nodded. “We’ll take care of it.”
* * *
“Tried to run CJ and Roy off the road?” Boss repeated, looking at Rosco across his courthouse desk with a furrowed brow.
“Yeah. And I think it was them two gophers of that fella from Placid County you made that bet with. He’s probably tryin’ to make sure that CJ and Roy don’t even show up at the race, causing you to forfeit!”
Boss nodded. “You gotta point there, and ol’ John Raycomb ain’t above doin’ something like that.” Boss stood up from his desk and shook his head. “I shoulda known something was rotten in Denmark when he insisted I bet on them Dukes to win!”
“So what are you gonna do? I mean, we can’t really prove it’s him that sent them two to try to wreck CJ and Roy’s car…”
“We don’t have to,” Boss said suddenly. “Cuz yer gonna do what you do best when it comes to them Dukes.”
“Bird dog ’em. Keep an eye on ’em, don’t let no jokers get near that gray bucket of bolts they got–”
“Whatever. AND you’re gonna enter yourself in the race.”
“I am?? But Boss, the deadline was yesterday I can’t enter in that race.”
“Yes you can, on accounta…I’m the one in charge of the entries.” Boss grinned.
“I’ll forge an entry for ya. Now we just gotta get you a car…Maverick ain’t up to snuff huh?”
Rosco shook his head.
“All right, that’s okay. We’ll get ya one from my used car lot. Come on, Rosco! We don’t have time to loose!” Boss quickly grabbed his white Stetson hat off the hat rack and left the office with Rosco following.
Daisy poured another glass of lemonade for Roy as Jesse looked across the kitchen table at his young grand niece.
“What could’ve them two been up to tryin’ to wreck Rebel?” he asked.
“That’s what we’d like to know, Uncle Jesse,” CJ said. “I mean they were wearin’ masks, they didn’t want us to recognize them for some reason.”
Daisy sat down at the table. “Good thing Dixie was close by when you called on the CB,” she said.
“Yeah,” Bo said, standing behind CJ. “I suppose we should say good thing Rosco was close by too, but it didn’t sound like he was too much help.”
“He thinks we instigated it,” Roy said, shaking his head.
“Well, you can be sure that me and Bo will keep an eye out for that car,” Luke said. “Ain’t nothin’ or nobody gonna stop you two from gettin’ to that startin’ line.”
“You know I never thought our first semiprofessional race would be this excitin’…BEFORE the race!” CJ said and laughed.
“You forget, cuz,” Roy said. “This is racin’…in Hazzard County…”
The Dukes all laughed.
* * *
To avoid suspicion, Boss and Rosco purposely avoided each other on the day of the race. John Raycomb was there watching and Boss noticed that two partners were entered to drive in the race, conveniently enough. Rosco kept an ear open and an eye out on the two and on CJ and Roy while the rest of him appeared occupied under the hood of his race car; a 1984 Chevy Monte Carlo.
Boss overlooked the race festivities from the main viewing stand that was set up in front of the Boar’s Nest. He hadn’t paid much attention to the entry forms, having only given them a glance as he tallied up the total amount of entry fees. Seems he could recall now that a couple said Placid County…
That Raycomb fella should know better than to try to pull some shenanigans in MY county! Hmph!
Rosco spent more time memorizing the lay out of all the belts and hoses in the engine than actually making any real adjustments. He had tinkered and tested the engine earlier with some help from Boss, but for now he looked convincing enough. So much so that CJ and Roy came up to him to wish him luck with the race, figuring him to be an out of town contestant.
“Hey, me and my cousin probably have the second fastest car in the county,” Roy said, “but we just wanna—-Rosco??”
The Sheriff looked up at Roy as he spoke and then cringed.
“Rosco P. Coltrane!” CJ hissed. “What are you doin’ in this race??”
“Whaddya mean, what am I doin’ in this race? You know what the prize money is. I could use that to get ol’ Maverick fixed! Besides, ain’t no law that says I can’t be in this race.”
“General principle says you shouldn’t be in this race!” Roy said. “Good thing we didn’t bother to fix that fender yet…”
“Oh hush! It wasn’t me that wrecked yer fender.”
“Well as much as we like Maverick, we’re gonna win,” CJ proclaimed. “Hope you enjoy eatin’ Rebel’s dust.”
“Yeah, well, that would make my day—uh I mean, go ahead, make my day!”
The two Duke cousins shook their heads and continued on to the next driver.
“Howdy,” Roy said. “Me and my cousin CJ here have probably the second fastest car in the county, but we wanna wish ya luck in the race.” He put his hand out. The driver of the car, one of John Raycomb’s boys, turned from the engine and looked at the young man. “Go back to your trainin’ wheels,” he said, and then resumed tuning his engine.
Roy stood with his hand out a little longer and then finally took it back and looked at CJ who shrugged.
Rosco glanced up when he heard the comment. He figured he was going to have to keep his eye on that driver and the one behind him.
“Awright everybody!” Boss Hogg called a few minutes later. “Let’s get ready to race!”
“Yeeeeeeehaaaaaaa!” came the reply from Roy and CJ, mixed with the cheers from the assembled crowd.
Bo and Luke let out a whoop! and Rebel’s hood came down. “Good luck cousins!” Luke called.
“Thanks Luke! Thanks Bo!” Roy replied with CJ as the two kid cousins slid into the cockpit of the Challenger.
Behind them, Rosco already had his racing helmet on and was bringing the Monte Carlo’s hood down as Bo and Luke walked by him. Neither Duke recognized the Sheriff.
“Khee…” Rosco grinned and fumbled his way into the car through the window. “Good grief…I’m too old for this!- – Ooof!” Once in the seat, he adjusted his helmet and watched Boss Hogg.
Boss handed the green ‘go’ flag to Dixie Duke. He then spoke through his bullhorn.
“Awright now! Ladies and gentlemen, start yer engines!”
A collective of six screaming engines replied. Driver’s checked their tachometers and had steady grips on gear shifts as they watched Boss Hogg and the tall Duke girl with the green flag held up.
Engines revved and waited for the flag to drop. When it did, the dirt lot in front of the Boar’s Nest was soon engulfed in dust from the race cars as they tore out. The crowd hooted and hollered, cheering on their favorite driver…most of whom were cheering for the Duke kids.
The cars fell in line as they took to the road. One of Raycomb’s boys took the lead, followed by another local car, then Rebel, Rosco, Raycomb’s other flunky and then the last local driver.
The race went in single file for a few minutes. The course layout had spots here and there with folks watching and the race actually went in a loop, which meant the drivers would be passing the Boar’s Nest for several laps.
CJ held a conservative stance at first, nudging up enough to the car in front of her and Roy to remind them that she was there, but making no attempt to pass just yet. The second place car however, was impatient and half way through the first lap, it tried to come along side of the lead car, driven by one of John Raycomb’s men. It was at this point that the Dukes and Rosco realized what kinda of race they were in.
Another group of spectators cheered as the cars roared past and they saw the fight for the lead. But the fight for superior horsepower turned ugly, when the lead car started bumping the second car. On purpose.
“Look out, Cuz…he’s playin’ dirty…” Roy warned as he and CJ watched the second place car skid and skip over the dirt road. It tried to fight back and stay on the course but the first place car kept hitting. Just before the race went into a turn, the second place car slid off the road completely, going sideways into the brush and bushes.
Rosco looked at the car as he zoomed by and then returned his attention to the road in front of him. He fought the urge to grab up his portable CB radio and warn CJ not to try to pass Raycomb’s car. But he didn’t go through with it. He figured they knew enough to not try it after seeing that.
CJ had no intention of trying to pass just yet. “Man…now I see why that dude said for us to go back to our training wheels.”
“Yeah well, that wasn’t fair if you ask me. If he’s gonna play rough, we’re just gonna have to play smarter.”
“You got it.”
The race roared past the Boar’s Nest for the completion of the first lap. The Dukes hollered for their kin and even Boss rooted for them. Silently, of course. Once they were out of view of the Boar’s Nest spectators, Rosco suddenly felt the back of the Monte Carlo get hit. The car lurched and swerved and Rosco fought with the steering to keep it on the road. He glanced in his mirror and saw Raycomb’s other driver was barreling down on him for another hit.
“JIT JIT!! Back off you cowchip!! Oooo, I hate a cheater!” Rosco forced the accelerator to the floor and started closing the gap between himself and Rebel.
CJ was watching her mirrors as well. “That other dude’s pushing Rosco around like a bully in a school yard, cuz.”
Roy turned to look. The Monte Carlo took another hit.
“DOHHO!” Rosco managed to keep the car on the road, but his patience was wearing extremely thin. Time to play possum….
He watched the other car and let the Chevy take one more hit. He made it like the Monte Carlo was beat and he pulled to the side, letting Raycomb’s other driver pass.
“Khee hee! Now I’m gonna teach ya some manners! You don’t go scuffin’ Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane and think ya can get away with it!” Rosco punched the accelerator and was soon barreling down on the other driver.
The race snaked through a turn at a blistering speed and the next group of spectators cheered as the cars passed.
“I think we’re boxed into something we don’t wanna be in…” Roy said, looking from the car in front of them, to the one behind.
“Not for long. Hang on!” CJ replied. Rebel growled as CJ pushed the accelerator and the gray Challenger cut to the inside of the lead car. The lead car reacted immediately and slammed against the Dodge. CJ hit the brake and fell back in line behind it.
The car behind the Dukes would have attempted to knock Rebel out of the race at this point…if it wasn’t for the relentless Monte Carlo behind him.
Rosco came close enough to nudge the Ford in front of him a few times and then swerve from side to side, being a constant in the other car’s mirrors. When the Ford tried to cut him off, Rosco turned the wheel at just the right moment and brought the Chevy along the left side. The two mechanical beasts were soon trading paint.
Fenders clicked and grinded and the fight continued as the cars raced towards the Boar’s Nest. The Ford pushed and fought back, nearly sending Rosco off towards the folks who were watching the race. But the Sheriff held a strong grip on the steering wheel and turned the Chevy sharp, impaling the corner of the nose of the car into the Ford’s driver door.
Wounded, and with too much push against it, the Ford swerved off the road, narrowly missing a tree and coming to rest in a cloud of dust. Rosco zoomed past, not giving the other racer a second thought.
The crowd cheered, even if they didn’t know who was driving the Monte Carlo. Boss was grinning.
Two laps down, two more to go.
CJ held Rebel’s stance to just a foot or so behind the lead car. The Chevy bounced around behind the Challenger, like an anxious young pup following the older, bigger dog.
Appearances were deceiving, however. CJ at least had a different feeling at seeing Rosco’s car behind her.
“You know cuz…it’s almost like he’s on our side,” she said.
“Yeah, I had the same feeling. But let’s not look a gift Sheriff in the badge. Stay ahead of him and try to get ahead of this other dude so we can win.”
“You got it.”
Tailpipes roared as the race tore on. Both CJ and Roy realized about half way through the lap that Rosco was not making any attempt to pass them. The realization was fleeting, because they also realized they didn’t have much time to get into the lead in order to win.
With priorities in order, CJ pushed down on the accelerator. It was time for Rebel to prove all that he was worth. The Challenger cut to the inside of the lead car and CJ pushed down hard on the accelerator.
The lead car, another Ford, tried to bump Rebel off, but the old Dodge held it’s ground. While busy trying to fight off the advance of the gray stock car, the driver of the Ford didn’t notice the Monte Carlo coming up fast.
Two nudges and the Ford swerved a little. CJ swung the steering wheel and all there was in front of her and Roy was open road.
“Yeeeeeeehaaaaaaawwww!!! We may just make it cousin!” Roy exclaimed.
The Dukes and friends cheered when they saw Rebel go screaming past the Boar’s Nest, comfortably in the lead.
“Yeah!” Boss exclaimed, raising a fist in victory. He then stopped suddenly, realizing he couldn’t necessarily be seen cheering for Dukes. “Oops.”
The Ford driver was now thinking to focus his revenge on the Monte Carlo. He let the car past and then zeroed in on the tail of it.
Rosco could see him in the mirror. “Jit jit…I think he’s mad. Khee!” A quick glance to see that CJ and Roy were far enough ahead, Rosco hit the accelerator hoping to stay ahead just enough to make it to the finish line. The Ford kept up with Rosco, nudging the back of the Chevy as a constant reminder. Rosco followed Rebel around the corner and the Boar’s Nest was in sight.
“Come on…c’mon…” the Sheriff urged to the gray Dodge. The Chevy lurched again and swerved. Rosco managed to keep it straight.
The crowd at the Boar’s Nest were hollering and cheering as car number 21 went speeding past the checkered flag being waved by Dixie. The Ford came up along the passenger side of the Monte Carlo and slammed into it, sending it sliding off the road and into the dirt drive of the Boar’s Nest, the back end swinging around and kicking up a thick cloud of dust.
Not many people noticed the Ford car didn’t hang around for the festivities. The car never stopped and disappeared down the road.
After congratulating their kin on the win, Bo and Luke walked over to the battered Monte Carlo. The driver was slowly climbing out of the car.
“Hey, that was some driving you did,” Luke said as he and Bo gave the driver a hand in getting out of the window.
“Yeah, that other guy nearly beat ya to a pulp, but you did one heck of a job holdin’ him off. Shoot if it weren’t for you, CJ and Roy may not have been so lucky…” Bo added. The driver removed his helmet and turned to look at the boys.
“Khee, thank ya,” the Sheriff said.
Two shocked faces stared. “Rosco?”
“Rosco??” Daisy and Dixie came up behind the boys, their faces full of surprise as well.
Soon enough the Sheriff’s name was echoing across the parking lot.
“Rosco! That was you driving in the race??” Dixie asked, walking up to the Sheriff.
“Yeah…” Rosco looked at everyone with a ‘what’s the problem?’ look.
“When did you learn to drive like that?!” Dixie exclaimed and then broke up into giggles.
“MaryAnne. Who else?” Luke said.
CJ and Roy joined the conversation now. “We knew Rosco was in the race,” Roy said. “We met him at the start line.”
Bo and Luke looked at each other. “I don’t remember seeing Rosco at the start line,” Luke said.
“That’s cuz you weren’t lookin’,” Rosco said.
The boys laughed.
“Hey, Boss! Didja know Rosco was in the race?” Bo asked.
“Yeah I knew,” Boss grumbled. “By the time I found out it was too late to get the cowchip out before he did some damage.”
“Well this time, Rosco did damage to all the right cars!” Daisy said.
“Come on, everybody, we gotta party to get started here!” JT called to the crowd. More cheers and people started moving towards the door. When all the Dukes backs were to them, Boss and Rosco looked at each other. The two flashed thumbs up.
The celebration at the Boar’s Nest lasted into the early evening. While everybody was celebrating, Boss quietly collected his winnings from Mr. Raycomb.
“It’s been a pleasure doing business, John…heheheh,” Boss said as John grudgingly slapped five thousand dollars into Boss’s palm.
Later, as Rosco watched the celebration from the bar, he couldn’t help but grin. Helping the Dukes win a race, even if it was for lining Boss Hogg’s wallet, actually helped him a bit. The dark feeling that usually came when he looked at the old Dodge was gone. The car had won a race, there was celebration in the air, happiness.
Luke proposed a toast to CJ and Roy. And the Sheriff raised his soda glass to them too.
Dixie walked over with a full glass of root beer on her tray, having noticed Rosco’s was nearly empty. “On the house,” she said, offering the glass to Rosco.
“What did I do?” Rosco asked as he took the glass.
“You were a good racing teammate for those kids,” she said. She then sat down on the stool next to the law man. “Those other two drivers were trying to cheat in order to win. You showed ’em.”
“Dix, if you think I entered that race to help Dukes win, yer wrong. I only entered to try to get the prize money to fix Maverick.”
Dixie eyed the Sheriff. “Sure.” She leaned to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “And we’re all glad you stuck to that priority. MaryAnne’d be proud of ya.”
Rosco blushed as Dixie walked away.
* * *
As the evening crickets sang to them, CJ and Roy stood on the porch of their grandparents farm, looking at Rebel with the twilight colors of orange and purple reflecting off the car. “Awesome race, cousin,” Roy said putting his arm around CJ’s shoulders.
CJ grinned. “Yeah, it was. But I’d like to know what them two dudes were trying to pull tho’. I mean, they tried to wreck our car before the race, and they nearly pulverized ol’ Rosco during the race!”
“Eh, they’re probably just trouble makers. Just wanted to win without working for it.”
“Yeah, I suppose your right.” She paused, looking at the ’21’ that adorned the door of the Challenger. “Ol’ Rebel earned his flags today didn’t he?”
“Yep. He’s General Lee’s little cousin, and now everybody knows it.”
CJ smiled and with Roy turned to head back into the house. Now everybody knows it…and they better not forget it!