by: Jason McBroom
Rosco sat in his office after his patrol shift. As he was getting up to leave, he felt a pain in his left shoulder. This was one of several aches and pains that were getting harder to ignore lately. “All those horrendous crashes must be finally catching up with me,” he said to himself.
A few days later, Rosco was out on patrol, and saw the Duke boys speeding toward town. As usual, he went off in hot pursuit after them.
A few years ago, he had inadvertently gotten Boss Hogg to finally buy updated cruisers by breifly quitting his job. Even though this one was on about it’s 14th set of fenders, the big Interceptor still had plenty of power. Rosco had actually overtaken the General Lee in it a couple of times.
A loud hissing sound suddenly reminded Rosco that he should check his radiator more often, and the steam fogged up his windshield.
He turned on the wipers just in time to see the General slowing down for a turn. Rosco managed to avoid the General, but skidded off the road and smashed into a tree stump, sending the car flying into the air. Just as he was thinking about Boss having his hide for scuffing the car, it landed on it’s side and violently flipped twice, coming to rest roof-first against a tree.
The boys saw the wreck and came back. Bo ran over to see about Rosco while Luke called Cooter on the CB.
“Rosco, you alright?” asked Bo.
“Boy, that was more horrendous than usual. Soon as I can move, I’m giving you a ticket for not signalling a turn,” said Rosco.
“What do you mean, soon as you can move?”
“I think I hurt myself this time, Bo. Get me outta here, will ya?”
The boys laid Rosco across the back seat of the General and took him to Doc Appleby’s office.
“You just strained your back, Rosco,” said Doc Appleby. “You’ll be back on your feet in a few days, but you really should stop banging yourself around like that. You’re not as young as you used to be, you know.”
Even though he didn’t want to admit it, Rosco was nearing 60 and knew Doc was right. He had been a lawman for well over half of his life. Maybe it was time to slow down.
Boss didn’t have too much of a fit when he found out Rosco had hurt himself. Underneath all the bickering, the two of them were actually pretty good friends.
“Rosco, why don’t you start giving Enos a little more responsibility and try to take it easy?” asked Boss.
“But, with Enos being the sherrif, that’d leave Cletus to do most of the patrolling. You’d be fixing and buying cars all the time.”
Boss rolled his eyes. “Not as many as I have with both of you wrecking them.”
Rosco grinned, having deliberately referred to Enos as sheriff.
Later that day, having decided to at least semi-retire, Rosco knocked on the Dukes’ door. Bo answered.
“Feeling better, Rosco?” he asked.
“A little. I’m here to give you that ticket I promised.”
“Yep, he’s all better,” said Luke.
Bo yelled, “You can’t be serious! That was an accident and you know it! If you wanna get technical about it, you were tailgating!”
Rosco laughed. “I’m kiddin’. I just wanted to thank you two for coming back. I coulda been there all night. I also wanted y’all to know that I thought about what Doc said and I’ve decided to hang up my guns while I’m still in one piece. My retirement will be announced very soon.”
“You mean you’re just gonna quit? Police work’s all you’ve ever known.” said Jesse.
“I’m just gonna ease off. I’ll be around a while longer, just not out patrollin’ much. Then I guess Enos’ll be Sheriff.”
A couple of months later, Rosco was climbing the steps to the courthouse and stopped. Today was the day. His last day as Sheriff of Hazzard County. He thought back to when he first became sheriff. All the awards and comendations he had gotten. A letter from the President himself recognizing him for single-handedly busting a gang of interstate smugglers.
Rosco had been accurately refered to as the best sheriff in the state, and was very proud of his accomplishments.
But when he lost his pension, he was forced to take part in Boss’ corruption to survive. This, he wasn’t proud of at all.
With a long sigh, he proceeded up the steps.
That afternoon, Rosco was in his office putting his personal belongings into a box. Enos walked in and said, “Not leaving already, are you?”
“Nah, just getting ready. I’m not officially retired until you’re sworn in tomorrow morning.”
Boss had been standing at the door and said, “That’s not entirely accurate. You see, it won’t be Enos being sworn in tomorrow.”
“What?!” said Rosco and Enos at the same time.
“Enos has been here longer than anyone besides me. He’s the only one qualified.”
“The sheriff’s right, Mr. Hogg. You can’t possibly mean Cletus.”
“Of course not. I’m talking about Grady,” said Boss.
“Grady Byrd? That dipstick cousin of yours that filled in when I was in Atlanta?”
“That’s right,” said Boss.
Enos’ eyes narrowed and he yelled, ” You know something, Mr. Hogg? I like Grady and everything, but you can just tell him to find a new deputy! This ain’t fair!”
With that, Enos stormed out of the room, slamming the door hard enough to break the glass.
Boss and Rosco were speechless as they watched Enos throw his car into gear and leave rubber all the way around the square and out of town.
Neither of them had seen Enos angry since they’d known him.
After a long moment, Boss said, “Well, what got into him? I hope he knows that window’s coming out of his pay.”
” Why, you greedy little meadowmuffin! He’s right. I don’t blame him,” said Rosco, and left.
Enos was right. Grady had done a fair job as acting sheriff, but he was getting up in years himself. Rosco and Enos both knew why Boss wanted to make Grady sheriff instead of Enos. Enos was honest.
Rosco was passing by the Boar’s Nest and saw Enos’ patrol car in the parking lot. He stopped and went in to talk to him.
He found Enos and sat down with him just as Daisy came to the table. “What’ll Hazzard’s finest have today?” she asked.
“A beer and a buttermilk, Daisy,” said Rosco.
“Make that two beers, Daisy,” said Enos.
“Enos, you’re on duty. Besides, you never drink.”
“So are you, and I do a little once in a while. It doesn’t matter anyway. We’ll both be off duty for good soon.”
“Maybe not, Enos. I have an idea. I just wish you wouldn’t quit. Hazzard needs at least one honest lawman.”
“Excuse me, Sheriff, but did you just say what I thought you just said?”
“I did. I’ve always admired your honesty. Don’t ever make my mistake. No amount of money is worth your credibility.”
“Thanks, Sheriff. I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Now the law says that my second in command is to finish out my term, then run for the office if he wants.”
“Yeah, but Mr. Hogg don’t care what the law says. Besides, Grady wasn’t a bad sheriff. I guess it won’t be too bad working for him.”
“You do that. Then when the time comes, run for Sheriff. I don’t know anyone in Hazzard that wouldn’t vote for you. And don’t worry about Boss rigging the election. Talk to the Dukes. They made sure I got re-elected fair and square a couple of times.”
“Boy, Sheriff, you sure are acting different. Standing up to Mr. Hogg, and saying good things about the Dukes.”
“I haven’t got anything to lose by being myself anymore, Enos. And by the way, you can call me Rosco.”
The next morning, a small crowd stood in the hallway of the courthouse and watched Grady Byrd be sworn in as the first for-real new sheriff since many of them could remember.
Rosco noticed that Grady had kind of a funny look on his face as he handed him the Sheriff’s badge and congratulated him.
After the ceremony, Rosco stopped by his office to grab a couple of things. Grady walked in just as he was leaving.
“Rosco, I just wanted you to know that this wasn’t my idea. Boss came to me the day you told him you were retiring and all but threatened me if I didn’t take the job.”
“I’m not surprised, Grady,” said Rosco. “But Enos is the one you need to convince.”
“I feel just awful for Enos,” said Grady. “He deserves to take your place, not me. I Know he’s upset, but he won’t talk about it.”
“It’s not you he’s upset with, Grady. It’s Boss. But you can bet on some competition from him in the election. That is, unless you want to just give it to him.”
“I would, Rosco, but Boss’d hang me out to dry.”
It was obvious that Grady wasn’t all that interested in being sheriff, and Rosco knew why. But he was relieved, and knew Enos would be, to know that Grady might be interested in helping Enos get into the Sheriff’s Office, as long as he could do so discreetly.
A couple of days before the election, Grady and Enos sat in Grady’s office. After making sure Boss wasn’t around, Grady said, “Now, Enos, I know you want to be sheriff, and the whole county knows you deserve to be. As long as the election stays fair, which Jesse Duke assured me he’d see to, you will be.”
“You’re a good, honest man, Enos, and deep down, even Boss has to respect that. But he’s going to put alot of pressure on you. Sure you can handle it?”
“I’ll be alright, Sheriff. Besides, you can always be one of my deputies if you want.”
“I might take you up on that, Enos. Maybe Boss won’t be too hard on either of us that way.”
The day of the election rolled around, and the whole county waited for the results. Including a man from the state Election Commissioner’s office, whom Jesse had tipped off. No one was surprised that the new Sheriff of Hazzard County would be Enos Strate.
After Boss calmed down from his fit, Rosco walked over to him and said, “See, none of this would’ve happened if you’d just left well enough alone. And I’m gonna make sure Enos is treated fair. He’s gonna have two deputies, he’s gonna make at least a full standard sheriff’s salary, and you’re gonna let him run the Sheriff’s Department his way, not yours.”
“Who do you think you are, Rosco Coltrane, talking to me like that?” sputtered Boss.
“Your brother-in-law. You wouldn’t want me to sic Lulu on you, now would you?”
Boss shuddered at the memory of the last time someone told his wife he was cheating someone she cared about.
“Alright, Rosco. You win.”
And, so, Enos ended up succeeding Rosco as Sheriff after all. He kept his word to Grady, making him a deputy. He kept Cletus on as his second deputy, and even ended up talking Boss into letting him put Rosco on reserve. That suited Rosco just fine, as he only had to work when he felt like it, and when he did he was once again the straight-as-an-arrow lawman he was in the old days, and wished he had been all along.