The Hoedown

by: Tara

Welcome to Hazzard where the talk of the town is the Annual Hoedown.

“Daney, you decided what you’re gonna be for the Hoedown tomorrow?” Daisy asked, setting another clean mug on the counter top of the bar.

Daney shook her head. “I did see something I liked but I’m not sure.”

“I hope it’s there tomorrow…. Or you’re gonna end up wearin’ one of Bo or Luke’s old racing uniforms.” Daisy said with a big grin as they went back to cleaning and setting up the bar for the dinner crowd.

Daney thought about the song “Boys Are Back In Town” for a moment, then said “You know I could go as a thug or something like that.”

“You will do no such thing,” A voice called out as the front door slammed shut.

They turned to see the pretty, brown-haired, blue-eyed full-time Deputy (and part -time Boar’s Nest waitress) MaryAnne Coltrane strolling up to the bar with fast footsteps.

“MaryAnne, I was just kidding.” Daney explained sheepishly

MaryAnne blew a wisp of hair away from her face. “Ok. Just make sure you tell Bo and Luke. I seen ‘em at Rhuebottom’s awhile ago looking at them type of outfits.”

Daisy nodded. “We’ll tell ‘em, MaryAnne. Did ya get the new records for the jukebox by any chance?”

MaryAnne’s face lit up with a big smile. “Yep, got them right here. Going to put them on after I change into my work clothes.”

“I thought you were already in your work clothes,” Daisy teased. She and Daney glanced from the two bags in MaryAnne’s hand to her HCSD uniform.

“Argh,” MaryAnne muttered while storming off to the ladies room.

That is one lady I wouldn’t want to tangle with in a dark alley.

Daney turned to Daisy after the door slammed shut. “You think we should let MaryAnne handle the counter tonight? We should be able to cover the tables ourselves.”

“I think we’d better let MaryAnne decide on that… since we’ve given her a hard time.”

MaryAnne came out a few minutes later and opened the jukebox’s glass cover with her key. She carefully took one of the records out and laid it gently on a table. She took an album out of the bag, pulling the record carefully from its cover and placed it in the empty slot.

Daney walked over after she had changed about 10 of them. “What records did Boss order?”

MaryAnne turned around with a grin “What did Boss order? Nothing… I picked these out myself… Figure the place might liven’ up a bit.”

Daney picked up the empty album covers and scanned through them quickly “Kewl! Eagles, Lynyrd Synyrd, Allman Brothers. You turning this country honky tonk into a southern rock one?” she said, laying the covers back on the table.

MaryAnne shut the glass cover and chuckled “Well I figure the patrons won’t mind!”

Daisy came over by them. “No, I reckon they won’t.” She headed to the front door and unlocked it. She turned the “closed” sign in the door to “open.” As she walked back up to the bar, she was glad to see MaryAnne a bit happier. It had to be hard being a deputy full-time and working part-time at the Boar’s Nest. Just like Daney and Daisy herself had to do chores on the farm and work at the Boar’s Nest too. They all worked hard, and that’s why they looked forward to the Hoedown. It was a break from the usual routines, a chance to have some fun.

Daney said as the three walked out to their vehicles after closing the place up later that evening “MaryAnne, I’m sorry about early.”

MaryAnne grinned as she got in Maverick “I told you earlier it was ok.”

Daney smiled as the blue firebird sped away. The sudden horn beep from Dixie startled her. She turned. “Sorry Daisy, was just thinking-”

Daisy grinned. “It’s ok. C’mon. Bo and Luke are probably up waiting on us.”

For any of y’all still wonderin’ what a hoedown is… you start out with a get-together, then work your way up to a shindig. Once you’re about halfway out of liquor and folks have started dancing, then it’s a hoedown.

The next afternoon at the Duke farm, Daisy was showing off her costume. She came out into the living room with a “taa-daa!” of pride, making Daney smile.

Daisy grinned back, spinning around for the full effect of the long red and blue flowered skirt, that matched the trim of her white ruffled blouse. A matching shawl covered the blouse. Her hair was done up in a bun and she wore a rose tucked behind one ear. A lace-trimmed hand fan completed the picture of a Spanish senorita.

“It’s gorgeous! You’ll be the envy of the bullfight,” Daney said. “Do you know any Spanish?”

“Si,” Daisy said. “Chili, hot tamale.”

“I’m impressed! All I know in Spanish is, ‘bonus nachos’.” Daney laughed and then looked at the time. “I guess I better go get ready.”

Daisy glanced at her watch and over at her cousin with a smile “Yep… Otherwise we’re going to be late.”

Daney laughed and bolted back to their room where the outfit she had picked up earlier was laying on the bed. When she came back out, Daisy gave a nod of approval.

I like Daisy’s costume. But wait until you see how some other folks are showin’ up.

The brown-haired man gave a small smile, looking down at the getup. He wore blue jeans, a white shirt, brown boots, along with a brown leather vest and chaps. Silver spurs jingled on his boots. A wide, brown gunbelt was slung over his hips, a toy revolver secured in the holster. He carefully placed the brown Stetson hat atop his head. He took a bandana and tied it loosely around his face, leaving only his dark eyes to peer over the top. He checked his reflection in the mirror. “Hmm, not bad for a city boy…khee… I’m so good looking, it’s criminal.”

A voice called to him from downstairs. “Git your posterior down here, or we’re gonna be late!”

The cowboy smiled from under his bandana, and headed down the stairs. “Awright, hold your fire, I’m on my way!”

What he saw at the bottom of the stairs froze him in his tracks. The young woman who had called him was wearing a black, skin-tight cat suit. It was a one-piece outfit, complete with soft black boots that made no sound when she walked. Thin black gloves covered her hands. Her hair was pulled back and tied into a snug ponytail. The black eye-mask completed her image as a professional cat burglar. She enhanced the look with a large black-velvet bag that was in her hand.

The cowboy chuckled. “Very nice! Changin’ careers, are ya?”

“Come on, we’re goin’ to be late. Remember, you are to be on your best behavior at the Hoedown or ELSE -” she said as they walked out the door.

Or else what? The cowboy thought, but he knew better than to say it out loud. There was no telling what was in that black bag of hers, and there was no sense in pressing his luck.

He followed the cat burglar up the street to the town square, where the festives were about to begin. His companion let out a chuckle as she spotted Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the gazebo in the center of the square.

As the cat burglar and cowboy got a little closer, they could hear, “Elementary, my dear dipstick, that microphone should be a little shorter.”

“Yessir, Sheriff…. I mean Sherlock,” Dr. Watson said.

Sherlock Holmes took his pipe and rapped Dr. Watson on the head. “I’m not the Sheriff tonight! You slip up like that again, I’m goin’ knock you in the middle of next week…” The sound of laughter coming from the cat burglar and the cowboy made the sleuth turn around. “Oh, good news, good news, our first guests!” He said as he looked at them. “And who might you two be?”

“Kid Coltrane and his one-armed cat bandit,” the cowboy said.

The cat burglar whapped him with the bag, grinning. “He knows dang well who we are. Right, cousin Sherlock?”

Sherlock’s blue eyes were amused. “Aww, jit jit, You know who you are talking to?”

Dr. Watson interrupted. “Sherlock, you gotta go pick up Commissioner Hogg now. He said 4 p.m. and it’s that time, sir.”

“Are you kiddin’ me? Of course I know it’s time to pick the Commissioner up. I’ve been waitin’ on you to quit messing around with that microphone is all.”

With that, Scotland Yard’s finest made haste for their appointment.

The cat burglar and cowboy were checking out the food table when an orange Dodge Charger screeched up to a stop across from the town square. A blonde man climbed from the driver’s side, dressed formally in a black tux and tails, complete with top hat, walking cane, and white gloves. He had a white silk shirt with a black bow tie, which he adjusted with a quick tug. He had an expression of aristocratic indifference as he surveyed the party, and he was soon joined by his dark-haired counterpart, wearing identical attire.

The cowboy and the cat burglar giggled at them. They heard the two men converse as they walked by.

“Lukas, shall we partake of a beverage before we hobnob with the rest of the Hazzard socialite scene?”

“No Beauregard, there will be plenty of time to partake of the refreshments and victuals later. We should mingle with the common folk first.”

“Capital idea.”

“Quite.”

The cowboy and cat burglar broke out into open guffaws, laughing harder as the two formal-looking men turned to face them. The cowboy couldn’t pass up a taunt. “Y’all got any Grey Poupon? When E.F. Hutton talks, y’all listen? Or are you two just a pair of renegade wedding ushers?” The laughter continued.

The dark-haired gentleman turned to his companion. “Are you offended, Beauregard?”

“Yes, Lukas. I am offended. Are you offended?”

“Indeed.” Lukas pulled off one white glove, stepped up to the chuckling cowboy, and whapped him with it. “You insult me, sir. I therefore challenge you to a duel.”

A hush fell on the gathering crowd as Luke threw down the glove. The cowboy let it lie there a moment, then picked it up. “I accept,” he said loudly, returning the glove with a short whap to his opponent’s face. Luke took the glove back, put it on, and gestured to Bo.

“My second. And yours?”

The cowboy jerked a thumb at the cat burglar. “She’ll be my second.”

“Very well,” Luke said gravely. “Beauregard…please bring the weapons.”

As the blonde man sauntered off, the cat burglar grabbed the cowboy by the vest and yanked him aside. “You know what you just got us into?”

“What? I was just playin’ along,” the cowboy shrugged.

“You apparently forgot how things work in Hazzard,” the cat burglar hissed. “Trust me, things could get messy here!”

The cowboy was about to ask what she meant, when Bo returned. He presented the weapons to the cowboy and the cat burglar, opening the two cartons of eggs to display the ammo within.

“Egg toss at twenty paces,” Luke intoned. “Choose your weapons.”

The cowboy stared at the egg cartons. The cat burglar gave him a nudge. “Take the grade-A extra-large! There’s always one larger set and one smaller set in a duel.”

The cowboy then noticed that one carton had slightly bigger eggs. He chose it, and then he and Luke turned their backs to each other. Bo counted off the paces. “One! Two! Three…”

At twenty, the cowboy turned and faced his opponent, lobbing an egg underhanded into the air. Another one, thrown by Luke, was already headed his way. The cowboy caught his, barely avoiding crushing it. He instantly realized the Duke’s advantage. They were farmers, used to handling eggs, and had probably tossed them around since kids. The cowboy had an urban upbringing, and had never taken an egg farther than the fridge to the frying pan.

I think I’ve been shucked n’ jived, he thought as another egg sailed towards him. He managed to catch it, but he was losing ground. Luke was lobbing the eggs high in the air, which meant they took more time to descend, which gave Luke the upper hand. He could prepare another throw while the cowboy was still struggling to catch the last one.

The cowboy realized this strategy a moment too late. He had hastily grabbed one of his own eggs to throw, but another inbound missile was looming. Having no choice, he caught the egg while another was in his hands – and they both broke.

The cowboy’s expression as he held the gooey mess made the spectators laugh. He grinned, being a good sport. “Anybody care for an omelet?” He said to the crowd. Then he yelled congratulations over to his victorious opponent. “Let me shake your hand!”

Luke declined. “No thank you, my good man, it’s enough to have made you crack.”

A figure in black suddenly shoved the cowboy aside. “Move over,” the cat burglar said. “Somebody’s got to salvage the family honor.”

“Be my guest,” the cowboy grinned. The playing field was now level. The cat burglar had lived on a farm for most her life, and was on equal footing when it came to an egg toss with the Dukes.

She wasted no time. As Bo signaled them to begin, the cat burglar lobbed not just one egg, but two in short sequence, then reached for more. Luke, being an expert, caught them both without breaking either one.

He could get no more than a single egg of his own in the air before she had another two coming at him. She caught Luke’s single-volley and immediately threw two more, then waited a half-beat and threw a third.

Luke caught the two eggs, but had no time to set them down before the third one was heading his way. He tried to catch it on his fingertips, but the extra-large grade-A made the difference, and it tumbled off to fall on the ground and break. The crowd applauded. Luke had made a good effort, but the tactic employed by the cat burglar was nearly impossible to defeat.

The cat burglar, victorious, casually juggled eggs while she waited for Bo to step up to the field of honor.

Bo gave it his best shot. Perhaps it was the way the black cat-suit fit on his female opponent, but whatever the reason, his concentration was off. He too, was defeated. The cat burglar took a bow and was goin’ to go bask in the glory, when another Duke stepped up.

The cat burglar’s new Duke opponent was none other than Daney. The young Duke woman was wearing a Native American costume, and the fringed buckskin looked natural on her. She wore two feathers in her braided hair, and colored beads decorated her outfit. Her moccasins were calf-high and laced with strips of rawhide. A small tomahawk hung from a belt around her waist.

The two women said nothing, as they waited for the signal to begin. The second it was given, eggs filled the air from both directions. One of the cat burglar’s shots went wide, and Daney let it go rather than break her neck goin’ after it. Boss Hogg had picked that moment to walk behind her, and the egg splattered him square in the chest.

His costume had saved him. “Heh heh heh heh…I’ve been to enough of these Hoedowns to know what to wear,” Boss said, wipin’ the egg away. Impervious to everything but a sudden rain, Boss Hogg was decked out in a full suit of armor. The visor on his helmet was up to allow for his cigar. It was a marvel to see the portly man encased head to toe in gleaming metal, and the townsfolk could only guess as to how he had found armor that would accommodate his girth.

“Khee! You look like a rhinoceros,” Sherlock told him.

“Oh yeah? Well, I think I happen to look like the first-prize winner of this here contest,” Boss said. He and Sherlock Holmes walked up to the gazebo.

Meanwhile, the participants in the egg duel had mutually agreed on a future rematch. For now, they ended their competition to listen to the Commissioner’s announcements.

The speech was short, thanks to Boss’s bird’s-eye view of the buffet table. He was a man of few words when there was food to be had. “Folks, I wanna thank you all for comin’ out to this year’s Hoedown! The costume judges this year are Jesse Duke, Cooter Davenport, and Miz Tizdale. The three best costumes will each get a prize! Now let the Hoedown begin!”

On cue, the band started playing a lively country tune, and people were soon dancing, eating, drinking, and whooping it up. The cat burglar slipped off into the crowd, and the cowboy turned around to find her gone. He walked curiously over to the Indian squaw.

“Howdy,” he said to her with a tip of his hat. “Wanna play cowboys and Indians?”

“Sure,” she said with a smile. “I could use another scalp.”

“I could use another feather in my hat.” The cowboy’s dark eyes were mirthful. He gestured towards the party. “Nice pow-wow, ain’t it?”

“It’s turnin’ out to be,” Daney said with a bold smile. “Are you just ridin’ through, or are you goin’ to stake a claim in this town?”

The cowboy chuckled. “We’ll just have to wait and see.” He looked over at the band, then offered his arm to the Indian squaw. “Care to dance, Pocahontas?”

Daney looked at the offered arm, suddenly shy. It had been awhile since she had danced with anyone. He looked familiar but since the bandana covered most of his face, she wasn’t sure … but there was a look in his dark eyes that was hard to say “no” to. She entwined her arm with his, and they headed for the band.

While the cowboy and Indian found common ground in the dance area, the cat burglar was having a full day. She stalked up to the punchbowl, poured herself a glass of punch, drank it, and then dropped the glass into her black bag. She then ladled out several glasses of punch until the bowl was empty…then the bowl was added to her bag. She added the punch ladle too, just for good measure. Smirking, the cat burglar slunk away to the buffet table, finding more treasure in the form of silverware, plates, and cocktail toothpicks. No trinket escaped from her gloved hand; no witnesses saw her clever acquisitions. She eventually moved on and worked through the crowd, muttering pardons as the voluminous bag bumped into party-goers.

One of the people she bumped into was Sherlock Homes. The sleuth spun around at the contact. “Doh! Lady, you outta watch where you’re – oh, it’s you! Khee-khee! Havin’ fun?”

The cat burglar grinned, white teeth shining brightly. “I’m picking up a good time,” she answered. “How ‘bout you?”

“This party’s a doozy! It’d be even better if I could quit losin’ my dipstick-sidekick.” Sherlock Holmes scanned the crowd. “My dear Watson seems to have got himself lost! This could be a job for Scotland Yard, alright…”

“I think some pretty senorita may have distracted him.” The cat burglar pointed to the beverage table. “See, there they are.”

“Ooo! I’d better go tell ‘em that the judging is about to start. Don’t want to miss that, do we?”

There was no answer. Sherlock Holmes turned back to find the cat burglar gone. “Boy, she’s shneaky…” Shrugging, he walked over to join Watson and the senorita.

“Sheriff! I mean Sherlock! The punch is gone!” Watson said the moment he spotted his superior.

“Well, go get some more! Do I halfta do everything around here?”

“No, I mean the punch bowl and everythin’ is gone! Look!”

Sherlock Holmes examined the beverage table. Sure enough, there was a large empty spot where the punch bowl belonged. “Eeeegads! You weren’t kiddin’…khee khee! Looks like we got us a real-live mystery!” The sleuth reached for his trusty magnifying glass within his plaid cloak. “Now where the heck did that go…Enos, I mean Watson, did you take that magnifying’ glass of mine?

“No sir, I ain’t seen it,” Watson answered, and the senorita shook her head.

“Dang it all. I guess I’ll have to rely on old-fashioned detective skills…” Sherlock Holmes turned back to the party. “HEY! Who the heck took the punch bowl?” he shouted to the crowd.

A slow chorus of “I dunno’s” came back.

At the other end of the square where the dancing was in full swing, the cowboy and the Indian were enjoying themselves. The cowboy approached the band and made a request. “Know any Eagles tunes?”

“Sure,” the lead guitarist said. “You name it.”

The cowboy did, and then walked back to the Indian with a smile. As he took her hand again, the music started, and the song New Kid In Town began to play.

It was a good song for dancing; not too fast, and not too slow. The gentle rock beat swayed the crowd and filled the dance area, but to the cowboy and the Indian, it seemed to be playing just for them. There was, in fact, some truth in the lyrics for them both.

You look in her eyes, the music begins to play…Hopeless romantics, here we go again…But after awhile, you’re looking’ the other way…It’s those restless hearts that never mend.

Johnny-come-lately, the new kid in town…will she still love you, when you’re not around?

The dancing couple was under observation. Bo and Luke watched Daney with a protective eye. The cowboy’s interest in her had them slightly concerned.

“There’s a new kid in town,” Bo muttered.

“I don’t wanna hear it,” Luke answered, echoing the song.

Commotion from the buffet table suddenly caught their attention. Boss Hogg was sputtering loudly about missing silverware. The Dukes went to check it out.

“Gone!” Boss bellowed from the table. “All the forks, knives and every last spoon, gone! Who’d do such a thing?”

“Who, indeed?” Luke said, and looked back at the cowboy. Bo followed the gaze and nodded. They might as well start with a likely suspect.

The Dukes walked up to the cowboy, who had just bowed to the Indian as the song ended. Each Duke grabbed an arm on the cowboy and hauled him back from Daney.

“Whoa, y’all, if ya wanna dance, just say so!” the cowboy laughed. “Plenty of me to go around.”

“Too much of ya, if you ask me,” Bo said. “Don’t play cute, we know you were over by the buffet table earlier.”

“So what?” the cowboy retorted. “So was everybody. Since when it is a crime to help yourself at a barbeque?”

“Since you’ve helped yourself to more than the barbeque,” Luke answered. “What do you say, Bo…should we dispense with a little frontier justice?”

Bo grinned. “Nothin’ would please me more.”

The cat burglar suddenly bumped into the three men. “Excuse me,” she said sweetly, brushing close to Bo and Luke, who broke out in automatic smiles.

“Anytime,” they told her, watching her lithe form walk away. They momentarily forgot about their hold on the cowboy, who easily twisted away from the distracted Dukes.

“HA! Awright, now I got the drop on ya…” the cowboy went for the toy gun in his holster. It wasn’t there. He stared at the empty holster in mute surprise.

“Somethin’ wrong, quick-draw McColtrane?” Luke laughed. Bo, however, was searching his own pockets frantically.

“Luke, my wallet is gone!”

Luke rolled his eyes. “You probably left it in the General.” All the same, he did a quick check for his own wallet…and found it missing. “Dang it! Mine’s gone too!”

“And he had nothing to do with it,” Daney said, placing herself in front of the cowboy. “He’s been with me all the while.”

“Yeah,” the cowboy said. “And believe me, the only thing I’ve had my hands on all day is this pretty squaw here.”

Both Dukes glared at the cowboy, who put his hands half-up in mock surrender. “Hey, we were only dancin’! Besides, I seen how the two of y’all were lookin’ at my cousin…”

“That cat-suit is somethin’ else,” Bo admitted, and Luke nodded. “She should wear that out on patrol. She’d never need a gun or handcuffs to catch nobody…”

Daney shook her head and turned towards the cowboy. ”C’mon… Let’s hit the judging stands before more of your costume turns up missing.” She said mischievously and took his arm. He grinned as they walked away before the Dukes could protest.

At the judging stand, there was more trouble. The first place trophy was missing. “I’m tellin’ you, it was right here!” Cooter said to Uncle Jesse.

“Consarn it, how we gonna have a first-prize winner if there’s no first prize?” Jesse asked. “How in tarnation does somebody lose a trophy?”

“Beats me, but we’ve lost one.” Cooter scratched his head under his baseball cap. “Last I seen it, we’d just got done judging that cat-burglar…”

“The cat burglar!” Miz Tizdale cried. “She must have taken it!”

“We’ll have to let Sherlock, Enos and Cletus find her,” Jesse said. “We’d best get on with the judging and hope that trophy turns up.”

“Where is Cletus, anyway?” Cooter asked. “I haven’t seen him at the party yet.”

“You can’t miss him,” Jesse answered. “See that white-sequined leisure suit coming out of the courthouse?”

Cooter looked across the square to where Jesse pointed. “Sonofagun,” The town mechanic exclaimed. “Elvis done left the building.”

Elvis, in the form of one Cletus Hogg, milled through the crowd. “Thank you,” he said as people cheered him. “Thank you very much…”

“Nice wig,” Sherlock Holmes told Elvis. “You should wear it more often, it’s an improvement.”

“Really, you think so?” Elvis said, smoothing the pompadour hairdo. “Gee, I should of thought of this a long time ago!” He continued on to the judging stand, singing Jailhouse Rock slightly off-key.

The band saw him first. The lead guitarist struck the first two chords, the familiar twang, twang! sounding just before the answering drumbeats. Hearing his calling, Elvis made a detour to the stage. Everyone gets fifteen minutes of fame in life, and Cletus was about to have his. He climbed onto the stage, grabbed the microphone, and belted out the first line as if he was born to it.

“The warden threw a party in the county jail, the prison band was there and they began to wail…”

“Hey, I know that song,” the cowboy exclaimed.

“I don’t doubt it!” Daney agreed. The two of them had just been reviewed by the judges, and were now drawn back to the music stage. They watched as the woman in the black cat-suit climbed up on the stage to join Elvis.

“Khee! There’s one Hogg on the stage, but two hams,” the cowboy said. “Let’s join ‘em, c’mon!”

The Dukes beat them to it. They knew this song well themselves, and they joined in on the chorus as the cowboy and Indian climbed the stage.

“Let’s rock…everybody let’s rock! Everybody in the whole cell block, was dancin’ to the jailhouse rock!”

Cletus swung the microphone stand back and forth, playing up to the crowd. His back-up vocal section included everybody who could fit on the stage.

The Hoedown was in full gear.

In the audience, Boss Hogg pointed to the cat burglar. Sherlock Holmes nodded to the order, and approached it with Dr. Watson at his side. They waited for the song to end, and then met the cat burglar as she descended from the stage.

“You really went all out for the Hoedown this year, didn’t ya?” Sherlock said to her. “Well, c’mon. It’s time you faced the music…khee!”

The cat burglar grinned and allowed herself to be guided to the gazebo in the center of the square. There, Boss was opening the envelope containing the judges’ decisions in the costume contest. “Alright, it’s time to announce the winners in this year’s costume contest! Third place goes to…” Boss paused for the drum roll. “Bo and Luke Duke!”

Applause sounded as the Dukes walked up to the gazebo to collect their prize. They removed their top hats and gave the audience sweeping bows, then spun their walking canes flamboyantly.

“Alright, simmer down now, there’s more,” Boss said before the Dukes stole the show. “The second place winner is…Cletus Hogg!”

“Thank you…thank you very much…” Cletus bowed and cradled his trophy, basking in the moment.

“Ahem,” Boss said into the microphone. “Now, the first place winner is… The cat burglar MaryAnne Coltrane, seein’ as how she walked off with first prize already, and dang near everything else!”

Cheers and whistles erupted as MaryAnne took the stairs. She pulled the first place trophy out of her black bag and held it up high to thunderous applause.

Sherlock came up behind her, took the black bag, and dumped out the contents. “Any of y’all missin’ anything, here it is,” he called out. “Scotland Yard has solved another case!”

Good-natured laughter came from the audience. The Dukes retrieved their wallets, and the buffet and beverage tables recovered their supplies. The cowboy got his toy gun back, and he spun it from one hand to the other before replacing it in the holster, showing off for the Indian.

Gradually, the crowd disbursed from the gazebo and went back to the serious business of eating, drinking and dancing. The Hoedown went on to the late hours of the evening, lit by a festive string of colored lights. As the beer ran out, the barbeque was finished, and the band had played its final set ending with a request from the Indian, folks started calling it a night in ones and twos. The partygoers left tired, but happy.

The Dukes were gathering themselves up to head back to the farm. Uncle Jesse and Daisy met Bo and Luke by the courthouse steps. There was one Duke missing.

Daisy frowned slightly. “Either of you boys seen Daney?”

Bo shook his head “No, not since after the costume winners were announced.”

“I’m sure she’s fine,” Luke replied. “Probably just needed a few moments to herself.”

Daisy nodded. She knew her cousin Daney was subject to reclusive moods. “Yeah…”

Luke smiled reassuringly. “She’ll probably be here in a minute”

“That’s right,” Uncle Jesse added.

Bo retorted “Well she was dancing with….”

“Bo, …” Luke paused as they all looked around. The town square was nearly deserted now.

Daisy noticed a couple sitting on the gazebo steps.
Nah it couldn’t be… what the heck could those two have to talk about?

“I think I see her,” She said to her family. “I’ll be right back.”

Daisy was almost to the gazebo when the cowboy and Indian stood up. She pretended not to be watching as the couple said their good-byes.

“I had fun tonight,” the cowboy said.

“Me too,” Daney smiled. Her face then grew serious. “Will we ever see each other again?”

The cowboy didn’t answer. He only drew her close, took her in his arms, and kissed her tenderly. He released her with a sigh, wishing he could say yes. But he didn’t believe in leading women on, and there was no telling what his future held.

“Tell you what,” he said as he took a feather from her hair. “I’ll hang onto this until we do meet again.”

“And I’ll hang onto this,” she said, clutching the bandana in her hand. She bit her lip, keeping her emotions back. “Goodnight…”

“Goodnight.” He touched her hand once more, and was gone.

Daney watched him walk across the square, his spurs jingling with his sure steps. She watched him until he was swallowed up by the darkness of the night, and until the tiny sound of the spurs were no longer audible.

Tears burned in her eyes and she didn’t know why.

“Daney,” a gentle voice said behind her. She turned and saw Daisy standing there. “Daney, let’s go home.”

She wiped her eyes quickly. “Daisy, you better not have been spyin’ on me.”

“No, we were just all wonderin’ where you were.”

“I’m okay,” she said with a small smile. “Just don’t make a habit out of sneakin’ up on me.”

“I won’t. I intend to spy on you outright.”

“Oh…you!” Daney giggled, giving her cousin a light shove. Daisy chuckled “C’mon, cousin. I’ll get the boys to let you drive home.”

The two young women walked back to the rest of the Dukes, who stood waiting by the General Lee. The town square was silent except for the rumble of the General’s pipes a moment later.

Daney was quiet as she pulled the General away from the curb.

Daisy however, couldn’t resist a mischievous question. “Daney, you are gonna stay in Hazzard?”

“Maybe…” Daney answered with a grin as she floored the accelerator on the General. She hit the Dixie horn, blaring it out as a salute to the cowboy.

I think this turned out alright. But now I’m curious what is going to happen next…

Aren’t you?

Author’s Notes:
Thank you to all the readers and Lisa for allowin’ me to borrow MaryAnne =)

It’s hard being a writer sometimes. That is where good friends and beta readers come in. The story you just read was 75% percent written by one of those brilliant folks I’m fortune and honored to know. The other 25% was written by me.

So this one is for that nameless person who won’t take credit =)

Copyright 2001

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