The Man He Used to Be, ch. 9

by: Marty Chrisman

The house was quiet after Bo and Daisy left.  Jesse settled down in his chair to read the paper while Shelby helped out by doing the dishes. Shortly before eight o’clock the phone rang. Jesse answered.

“Uncle Jesse, its Daisy.”

“What do ya need, honey?”

“Pete Madison is here at Boar’s Nest and he’s pretty drunk. He keeps telling me how sorry he is about Luke…..and I don’t know, Uncle Jesse… but I think he knows something.”

“I’ll be right there.” Jesse said. He told Shelby what was going on and the two of them left, heading for the Boar’s Nest. On the way, Jesse got hold of Bo on the CB and told him what was happening. Bo said that he would meet them there.

Bo and Jesse arrived at the Boar’s Nest within minutes of one another and they all went into the bar together. Pete was sitting by himself at a booth near the back. He looked up, his eyes widening with fear as Bo and Jesse walked up to his table. Jesse slid into the booth across from him, while Bo sat down next to Pete forcing him to move over so he was sitting next to the wall. Shelby had gone over to the bar to talk to Daisy while Jesse and Bo talked to Pete.

“Howdy, Pete.” Jesse said in a deceptively calm voice “You look like you could use another beer. How about letting me buy ya one?”

“No…no, thanks…..” Pete stammered, obviously very nervous about something.

“What’s the matter, Pete?” Bo asked, his eyes cold as ice and a smile just as cold. “You’re acting like a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers.”

“Naw…” Pete said trying to stay calm “I just had a fight with my girlfriend that’s all…” He swallowed hard, squealing with fear, as Jesse suddenly reached out and grabbed his wrist. Jesse leaned forward, his eyes as deadly as a rattlesnake.

“I think it’s more than that.” Jesse said, his voice still calm but with a threatening overtone. “I think you know something about what happened to my boy.”

“No…I don’t, Jesse.” Pete stammered, pulling his hand away from Jesse’s grasp. “I swear I don’t….”

“You sure about that, Pete?” Bo said in a cold, dangerous voice. “Cause if you’re lying and I find out…..” he let the sentence go unfinished but he saw the fear growing in Pete’s eyes.

“I don’t know nothing…..” Pete said anxiously. He didn’t want no fight with the Dukes. Damn, why had he ever let Christy get into him this mess? He was scared of her and her hired thugs, but he was more scared of the Dukes.

“If you know something about what happened to Luke, you need to tell us before it’s too late.” Jesse said. Normally, Jesse was not a man to threaten someone or try to intimidate them, but it when it came to the safety of one of his kids, he’d do whatever took to protect them.

“I didn’t wanna do it…………” Pete stammered, caving in. “Christy swore she wasn’t gonna hurt Luke………”

“Christy?” Bo exclaimed in a surprised voice “Christy Lane? What the heck has she got to do with this?”

“She told me she just wanted to rough him up a little…..get even with him for dumping her…….” Pete said “They weren’t supposed to hurt him none…”

“Who else is in this besides Christy?” Jesse demanded

“A couple of thugs she hired out of Atlanta.” Pete told him

“Where have they got him at?” Bo demanded, struggling to hold on to his temper until they found out where Luke was. It wasn’t easy; right now all he wanted to do was  punch Pete out.

Pete took a deep breathe, he’d gone this far, he might as well tell them everything.

“There’s an old deserted barn up in Rainbow Canyon. Near the north end. That’s where they got him….but I don’t know if he’s still alive or not. He was pretty messed the last time I was up there.”

“When was that?” Jesse demanded anxiously

“Yesterday.” Pete told them, his eyes darting from one face to the other like an animal trapped in a cage. “Look, I just hope you find him in time…I don’t wanna be no part of anybody getting killed.”

“You better hope we find him in time.” Bo said coldly, as him and Jesse squeezed out of the booth. “Or I’ll be back after you.”

“What’s going on?” Daisy asked anxiously as Bo and Jesse joined her and Shelby at the bar.

“He told us where Luke is.” Jesse said

“Yeah, and he also told us that Christy is behind all this.” Bo snapped

“Christy?” Daisy exclaimed, as surprised as Bo had been to find out that Christy had something to do with Luke’s disappearance.

“We need to get hold of Roscoe and get up to Rainbow Canyon.” Jesse said grimly. “Let’s just hope we’re not too late”

“I’m coming with you.” Daisy insisted in a determined voice.

“So am I” said Shelby
Daisy asked one of the other girls in the bar if they would take over for her. The girl readily agreed once she found out that they knew where Luke was. The Dukes and Shelby hurried out to the cars. Bo and Daisy took the General, while Jesse and Shelby followed them in Jesse’s pickup. On the way to Rainbow Canyon, Jesse called Roscoe on the CB and told him what they had found out and about Pete’s involvement in Luke’s disappearance. Roscoe said that he would meet them at Rainbow Canyon, along with Enos.

The Dukes arrived first, with Roscoe and Enos arriving shortly afterwards. Even though Roscoe could be incompetent and scatterbrained at times, in a real emergency the trained lawman in him came out. “Now Jesse,” he said “I think you and them girls need to stay here till we get back.”

“I ain’t staying here!” Daisy said sharply, her jaw tightening and her eyes flashing with typical Duke Stubbornness. Roscoe had seen that look before and knew there was no use arguing about it.

“Alright,” he said, giving in. “But you girls stay with Uncle Jesse and stay back in case somebody starts shooting.”

“Pete said the barn was at the north end of the canyon.” Jesse said “That’s almost five miles yet.”

“Shoot, I know where it is.” Enos said “That’s ole man Peabody’s place. My dad used to horse trade with him when I was a kid. It’s been abandoned for years.”

“Perfect place to hide somebody.” Bo said dryly “Or to kill ‘em……”

“Bo,” Jesse said sharply “Don’t even talk like that!”

“Let’s go…” Roscoe said. He climbed into his squad car and Enos climbed into his. Since Enos knew the exact location of the barn they were looking for, he took the lead. Bo followed in the General, with Jesse bringing up the rear. They descended on the barn where they believed they would find Luke like Shermon marching into Atlanta.

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