The Man He Used to Be, ch. 2

by: Marty Chrisman

After finishing supper and the evening chores, Luke took a shower and changed clothes. He was planning to go to the Boar’s Nest, just like he did almost every day. It was the local hangout, a honky-tonk owned by Boss Hogg, the County Commissioner. But then, Boss Hogg owned just about everything in Hazzard County and what he didn’t own, he held the mortgage on. (Just like he had held the mortgage on the Duke farm until Luke paid it off) Actually, there was an ironic justice in the fact that Boss Hogg had been the one who had bought Kelly’s property. And he had been forced to pay a fair price for it since it was part of her estate and the selling price had not been negotiable. So, Luke had actually paid Boss back the mortgage on the farm with Boss’s own money.

The Boar’s Nest was located just off Route 7 about five miles from the Duke farm and eight miles from the town of  Hazzard. It was located in a large one story cinder block building with a huge dirt parking lot in front. Luke pulled in beside a white jeep CJ7 with the name Dixie written in gold on the hood. The jeep belonged to his cousin, Daisy, who was a waitress at the bar. Since Bo had the General Lee with him, Luke was driving the black Sable that had belonged to Kelly.

Luke climbed out of the car and went into the bar. Several voices called out a greeting as Luke made his way through the crowd to the bar. Daisy smiled and poured a cold draft beer for him when she saw him enter the bar. She was the prettiest girl in Hazzard county with big blue eyes, a friendly smile, and long chestnut colored hair. She could shoot like Annie Oakley, drive like Richard Petty and knew the words to every Dolly Parton song. The guys all flocked around Daisy just like a bee to honey.

“Hi, cuz.” Daisy said with a grin as she handed Luke the watered down beer. “You’re late tonight.”

“That’s cause I had to do Bo’s chores too.” Luke reminded her, with an easy smile. The three cousins were all exceptionally close. Having grown up together, Daisy considered Luke her overly protective older brother. Being the oldest, Luke had always been responsible for looking out for Daisy and Bo, a job he had taken seriously. As Daisy turned her attention to another customer, Luke took his beer and headed towards a table in the back of the room.

His close friend, Cooter Davenport, looked up as Luke sat his beer on the table and sat down across from him. “Hi, Luke.” He said with a grin “How’s it going?”

“Pretty good.” Luke said. Cooter had been a close friend of the Duke Family since they were kids. He was just like one of the family. He might as well be a Duke too.

“When’s Bo supposed to be back?”

“Tomorrow”

“Just in time for the race, huh?” Cooter said with a huge grin. The boys were the best drivers in three counties and the General was the fastest car. They entered every race they could both to bring in extra money and just for fun. And they usually won too. The General had only been beaten once. With Bo driving and Luke riding shotgun, they were an unbeatable team.

“You gonna be in it this time?”

“Naw, I’m gonna pass this time.” Cooter said. “Got too much work backed up at the garage.” Cooter owned the only garage in Hazzard (and the Duke boys gave him half of his business) and he was known all over the state for his mechanical talents. He could fix anything on wheels.

“Hi, Cooter. Hi, Luke.” said a sultry feminine voice from behind Luke. A pretty redhead with big brown eyes smiled and sat down at the table beside Luke.

“Hi, Margie.” Cooter said with a smile. Both boys had gone to school with Margie Lincoln. Like most of the girls in Hazzard County she had dated both Bo and Luke over the years. (Although she had dated Bo more then she had Luke, she‘d always had a huge crush on the dark haired Duke) Luke smiled as he felt Margie pressing her leg against his underneath the table.

Although Luke was still friendly and polite to everyone and he still flirted with the girls, he hadn’t actually gone out with anyone since Kelly’s death. And more than one girl had tried their best to tempt him. All the girls in Hazzard knew what had happened to Kelly and they all longed to be the one who could make Luke Duke smile again. Luke enjoyed the attention but he wasn’t interested in anything else, not even a one night stand.

His heart still belonged to Kelly and it always would.

“Hey, Luke” Margie said, leaning in close and batting her eyes at him seductively “Why don’t you come over for dinner Sunday?”

“Well, now Margie, I’d really like to,” Luke told her with a smile to take the sting out of his refusal “But Bo and me are in the race Sunday.”

“How about tomorrow?” Margie persisted.

“Luke promised to help me out at the garage.” Cooter said, giving Luke an excuse so he wouldn’t have to turn her down again. “I’m up to my ears in work.”

“Okay,” Margie said with a pout “Maybe next time.” She shoved herself to her feet and walked away.

Luke glanced at Cooter and grinned “Thanks, Cooter.”

“Glad to.” He looked at his friend solemnly “You know Lukas, one of these days, you’re gonna have to start getting out again if you catch my drift.”

“Yeah, I know.” Luke admitted “That’s what Jesse keeps telling me too.” He sighed softly. “I just ain’t ready yet, Cooter.”

Cooter turned their conversation to other subjects, knowing how painful it still was for Luke to talk about Kelly. It was close to midnight when Luke decided to call it a night. When he left the Boar’s Nest to head back to the farm, he didn’t notice the couple sitting in a car a short distance from where he was parked.

*    *   *   *

“You still ain’t told me what you’re planning to do to Luke.” Pete said, glancing at his partner questioningly.

“That’s none of your business. You were just hired to help me watch him. I got two fellows coming in from Atlanta to help me finish the job.”

“You’re not really gonna hurt him none are ya?”

“Of course not. We’re just gonna teach him a little lesson that’s all.”

*   *   *   * 

Bo arrived home early the next afternoon and the two boys spent the rest of the day and most of the evening getting The General Lee ready for the race the following afternoon. Satisfied that they had the General in top running condition, they turned in early so they would be well rested for the race.

 

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