This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any actual resemblance to persons or historical persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The Dukes of Hazzard characters, settings, locales, ect. are owned by other entities who have not endorsed this fic nor have they given express permission for the character's use. Author makes not claims to these characters and is not making any profit from their use.

All original characters are the property of the author.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the author or any legally assigned agents of the author.

© Copyright: 1996-2004. Lisa Philbrick

RACE FEVER:
THE NEW DRIVER

 

 

The early afternoon sun shone over Hazzard County, surrounded with bright blue August skies. The lush greens of the grass and trees contrasted the dry dusty roads of the county. Another color also permeated the visual picture. Orange. A bright, fast moving orange…

 

Friends and neighbors, Tuesdays in Hazzard are usually pretty slow. And on this Tuesday there was no exception...

 

Having finished all their morning chores, Bo and Luke were heading towards the Boar's Nest in the General. Bo, at the wheel, had the Charger hitting around 60 miles an hour, taking small jumps in a single bound.

 

Of course, cars are excluded from that slow thing.

 

And seein’ as cars are excluded from slowin' down on Tuesdays, Bo and Luke weren't the only ones tearin' around.

 

On another road with in the same vicinity as the Dukes was MaryAnne Coltrane in her blue Firebird, Maverick. Directly behind her was her cousin, Rosco, in his patrol car. The Sheriff was in full pursuit mode, sirens screaming, lights flashing and his basset hound, Flash, riding shotgun.

 

There wasn’t a month that went by where Rosco didn’t try at least once to give chase to his own cousin. Knowing this, MaryAnne just grinned when she saw the Plymouth Fury come speeding up behind her. She let Rosco have the chase for about a mile and then came up with an idea. She picked up her CB mike.


"Awright cousin, let's make this worthwhile," she said. "Last one to the Boar's Nest has to do my shift and mop the floor."

 

"I'm the Sheriff. I don't do floors," Rosco replied back.

 

"Well, if you think yer gonna give me a ticket, you're gonna be doin' floors for a month! It's your choice. Sheriff."

 

"Jit! Awright, smarty bird yer on. Move it over!"

 

"Ha! Yer gonna have to pass me on your own merits. KHEE! I'll have the mop waitin' for ya, Rosco. I'm gone!"  MaryAnne dropped the mike and hit the accelerator, pulling Maverick ahead of the patrol car.

 

"DOH! Jit..." Rosco put his radio mike down. "You'd think I'd know better but...Khee khee! I can't resist a good chase!  Hang on, Flash!"

 

Flash looked up momentarily but her expression was no different than for anybody else Rosco ever chased.

 

As the General made it to the crest of the hill and the boys looked down at the road Rosco and MaryAnne were on, they saw the race.

 

Bo chuckled. "Rosco must be gettin' behind on his ticket quota."

 

Luke snorted and then picked up the General's CB mike, changing the channel. "Hey Rosco, this is Luke Duke. Ya need any help to catch that desperate criminal?"

 

"Khee! Desperate criminal...." Rosco grinned.

 

"Wait a minute," MaryAnne said. "You Dukes should be on my side!"

 

The boys laughed and the General fell in several feet behind Rosco, keeping a good distance to watch the two Coltrane cousins race.

 

Now Bo and Luke weren't the only ones getting’ a kick out of Rosco and MaryAnne's race....

 

A 18-wheel tractor-trailer truck, painted up in red and black was driving on a parallel road to the one the race was taking place on. Behind it, a large motor home followed.

 

The driver of the motor home, Beverly Simon, was an attractive woman in her late 40's with stylish short black hair and sparkling hazel eyes. She wore a blue denim shirt with a red and black embroidered logo for RussVesta Chevrolet Racing and jeans. She glanced at her brother in the passenger seat and pointed towards the race.

"Mickey, look at that."

 

The passenger, dark haired and green eyed NASCAR driver Michael "Mickey" Simon, turned his head from the passing scenery and looked at the blue Firebird as it kept ahead of the white police cruiser. He watched the race for a moment and then flashed a Hollywood smile at his sister. "That's gotta be her, Bev. That's the car the folks over in Finchburg said she drives now."

 

"What's she doing being chased by the Sheriff tho'? I thought she was a deputy?"

 

"She is, but remember her cousin is the Sheriff. They're probably just horsing around."  Mickey picked up the CB mike and called to his truck driver. "Follow that race, Bobby. That's MaryAnne in that Firebird."

 

"10-4, Mickey."

 

The Hazzard folk didn't notice the 18-wheeler and motor home that was following them. MaryAnne was too busy watching the open scenery in front of her and occasionally checking her mirrors to see where Rosco was at. Although her cousin was staying with her, he hadn't been given much of a chance to pass her and MaryAnne intended to keep it that way. She whipped the wheel around and slid Maverick through a turn. Rosco followed fishtailing the Plymouth as he came out of the turn.

 

Jit jitKhee!” He hit the accelerator, pushing the Plymouth for all it had to make up the distance to the Firebird. He managed catch up but MaryAnne wasn’t giving him so much as an inch to try to pass. Blue, white and orange blurs tore up dust along the road, leaving the 18 wheeler and motor home to make due with momentarily reduced visibility.

 

The race thundered on and came to an end in the Boar's Nest parking lot. Maverick tore up gravel as the Pontiac slowed down enough for MaryAnne to pull into a parking spot. She cut the engine and jumped out of the car, running into the Boar's Nest as Rosco was skidding his patrol car to a stop. After he got out of his car, and the dust in the air from their racing had started to blow away in the breeze, MaryAnne had returned with a mop in hand.

 

"Congratulations, Sheriff!" she said, handing the mop to him. "Use it in good health. KHEE!"

 

"DOH!"

 

Bo and Luke had parked General Lee and were walking up to the two Coltrane cousins, chuckling. "Congratulations, Rosco,” Luke said, “What’dya win?”

 

“He won my shift for the night here at the Boar’s Nest,” MaryAnne exclaimed.

 

“Well that’s definitely a race for the history books," Bo said. “Shoulda brought our camera, Luke, take a picture of that for posterity." He pointed to the Sheriff standing with mop in hand.

 

"Oh just hush, you Dukes," Rosco muttered. He glared at the mop he held in his hand and then looked at the boys. "What are you two doin' here anyway?"

 

"Well, we just came here to have a drink," Luke said. "Unless, there's a law against that now?"

 

Bo snorted. "There might be now that he has to serve it."

 

MaryAnne snickered. "Khee!"

 

"Oh hush! Just, jit jit, HUSH!"

 

"Yer the one that started chasin' after me," MaryAnne reminded. "You should know better."

 

"Yeah, I know." Rosco suddenly grinned. "But I just can't resist hot pursuit!"

 

MaryAnne laughed and the boys chuckled. The red and black 18-wheeler caught MaryAnne's eye and the boys and Rosco looked too, hearing it coming.

 

"Ooo…who the heck is that?" Rosco wondered, seeing not only the 18-wheeler but the motor home behind it. The massive truck and motor home pulled into the dirt drive of the Boar's Nest.

 

"Looks like we're gonna find out..." Luke said.

 

"You know Luke that looks like..." Bo started to say and looked at the side of the trailer, seeing the red and black RussVesta logo. 

 

Luke looked at his cousin. "Mickey Simon?"

 

"I'll be damned!" Bo said and he and Luke walked toward the motor home to greet Mickey and his sister as they stepped out. Mickey had to negotiate crutches first and then stepped out of the motor home. His right foot was bandaged up. Despite the handicap he greeted Bo and Luke enthusiastically upon recognizing them.

 

"Hey hey Bo!" Mickey said, clasping Bo's hand. "Luke! Damn, I wasn't expectin' to find you fellas here."

 

Luke got a turn at shaking Mickey's hand in welcome and chuckled. "Well we're here everyday. It ain't everyday a top NASCAR driver comes rollin' through Hazzard County. What brings you here?"

 

"Well, I'm actually here to see the little lady that drives the Firebird there..." Mickey smiled and looked over at MaryAnne, who was regarding him curiously. Of course, the MaryAnne he remembered didn’t wear the short shorts or high heeled sandals that MaryAnne was sporting now.

 

"MaryAnne?" Bo said. He and Luke looked at MaryAnne, who walked over upon hearing her name.

 

"Hi..." MaryAnne said, still not sure who she was looking at.

 

Mickey smiled. "MaryAnne, don't you remember me?"

 

MaryAnne stared at Mickey for a moment and looked at Beverly too. Suddenly her eyes bugged out. "Holy smokes...yer lil' Jimmy's older brother!" She looked at Bev. "And sister! Sonofagun, the last time I saw you guys I was only about this tall." MaryAnne grinned and held her hand about two feet above the ground.

 

"Yeah, it's been a long time," Mickey said with a chuckle.

 

"Wait a minute," Bo said. He looked at MaryAnne. "You know Mickey Simon?"

 

"Well, I know his little brother Jimmy. We grew up together over in Finchburg County."

 

Luke looked at Mickey. "I thought you were from Kennesaw?"

 

"I am," Mickey said. "Dad moved us to Finchburg when I was about 12 because the mill he worked in had been closed. Jimmy was about a year old at the time."

 

"Which was a few years before my Papa moved us there," MaryAnne said, looking at the boys.  She then turned back to Mickey and chuckled. "I feel kinda stupid, I know you and Bev went off to NASCAR racing but...I ain't been able to follow it much in the past few years. How long you been on the circuit?"

 

"I’ve been on Grand National for about 10 years. I did modifieds before that,” he chuckled. “It's been a long road."

 

"I'll say," Bo said. "Two championships, three Daytona 500 wins, you've won at Charlotte, Talladega. You're a force to be reckoned with."

 

"Jumpin' Geehosafat..." Rosco exclaimed softly. The Sheriff was impressed.

 

"I was about to say the same thing," MaryAnne said. "More or less." She grinned. "Mickey, this is my cousin, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. Rosco, this is Mickey Simon and his sister Beverly."

 

"Nice to meet you, Rosco," Mickey said.  Rosco shook Mickey's hand and then removed his black Stetson before saying hello to Beverly. He gently shook her hand, smiled at her and was impressed with her looks a lot more than Mickey's racing history.

 

Beverly smiled back, recognizing Rosco's look was the same that hundreds of men had given her over the years. She was used to that, but found the Sheriff had a sense of chivalry and that was something she hadn't seen for a long time. 

 

Bo and Luke exchanged amused looks. They didn't blame Rosco one bit.

 

The driver of the tractor-trailer and another man had quietly stood back from the group. Mickey looked to them and introduced his crew chief Darcy Owen and his chief mechanic Bobby Randolph to the Dukes and Coltranes as well.

 

Once all the introductions were made, MaryAnne looked at Mickey. "So, what's a highly successful NASCAR driver lookin' for somebody like me for?"

 

"Well, Jimmy suggested I find you. He thinks you might be able to help me out with a problem I've got."

 

MaryAnne glanced at Mickey's injured foot and smiled. "Ya know, Jimmy used to joke that I was a Jill-of-all-trades-master-of-none but I ain't so sure I can help ya with an injured foot. But look, why don't we all go inside and sit down."

 

"Yeah, we'll have our new waitress here get us some beer..." Bo said, slapping Rosco on the shoulder.

 

Rosco raised his fist at Bo but said nothing. Luke let out a hardy laugh and the group walked into the Boar's Nest.

 

Mickey looked confused. “You serve beer in uniform, Sheriff?” Mickey asked.

 

“No!” Rosco said sternly. “Arrrrrrrre you kiddin’ me, no self-respecting Sheriff is gonna serve beer in uniform and while on duty…”

 

“Except when you lose a bet,” MaryAnne said.

 

“Except when I lose a bet.”

 

MaryAnne chuckled and looked at Mickey. “I’m the one that usually serves,” she said.

 

“Ah, I see,” Mickey said. “I was wonderin’ why you were dressed like that since the folks over in Finchburg said you were a deputy here now.”

 

“You went to Finchburg?”

 

“Sure did. Saw a lot of folks I haven’t seen for almost 15 years...”

 

As MaryAnne and Mickey chatted, Luke and Bo quickly put two tables together to accommodate the group. Daisy came over to say hello to her cousins and was introduced to Mickey and his sister. Daisy, of course, recognized Mickey, as he was one of the good looking drivers that she had taken note of in the past few years and she flashed her prettiest smile for him. Once the group was settled at a table and served beers, Mickey explained his situation.

 

"Okay…First of all, I wrecked at Michigan this past Sunday and the doc tells me that I won't be able to drive again this season with this foot injury. So the obvious problem is I need a replacement driver for the remainder of the season." Mickey looked at MaryAnne. "My second problem ties into my first one. I need a certain kind of person as a replacement driver.” He paused, letting out a quick breath of air. “I know this is gonna sound absolutely crazy, MaryAnne, but I’d like you to drive for me."

 

The Hazzard folks at the table reacted to the question. Rosco let out a “Jit!” while Bo and Luke looked at Mickey and then MaryAnne slack-jawed.

 

MaryAnne’s jaw was about down to the table too. "What are you, nuts?” she said. “Mickey, I'm not a race car driver!"

 

"Are you kiddin'? The way you handled that car of yours racing against your cousin here, you know how to handle a wheel."

 

"Well, shoot we were just goofing around. I don't think we went any faster than sixty. And I'll admit I did some dirt track racing when I was younger but....you're talkin' NASCAR. Where the average speed limit is a hundred and sixty miles an hour. Mickey, you need somebody like Bo here. He and Luke were on the NASCAR circuit. They know their way around a race track."

 

"Yeah, I know," Mickey said. "And I know Bo here can handle a wheel, I remember when he was on the circuit. But....he's not a cop."

 

More slack-jawed stares.  A cop?

 

"Cop?” MaryAnne drew in a deep breath. “Awright, Mickey, what's goin' on?"

 

Mickey glanced at his sister and took a deep breath. "Well this is my second problem. I'm really not sure what's going on, but the team's in trouble, MaryAnne. Somebody don't want us driving anymore. We started off the season with a bang, winning Daytona, finishing in the top five or ten here and there and then...I dunno, after the first Pocano race in June we've been plagued with problems. Mechanical problems, engines, tires you name it. First I just figured it was a bum turn of events....but every single race, up to this past weekends at Michigan, we've had some kind of mechanical failure. And when I crashed the car Sunday, I knew it was no accident. It wasn't just mechanical failure. Somebody monkied with my car just enough to send me into the wall."

 

"Which coulda killed ya," Luke said. "Who would want to take you out of contention?"

 

"I dunno," Mickey said. "And at this point it doesn’t make sense that somebody would want to take me out of contention. I’m so far behind in the point standings that all I care about is finishing the season knowing I still have a major sponsor for next year. Because I know that if we don't find out what's going on and put a stop to it so we can get back to making strong finishes and winning races again, we're going to lose our sponsorship with RussVesta."

 

Bo let out a whistle. "That's a lot of money to lose."

 

"Exactly. The thing I don't understand is that the team owner, Jack Porter, doesn't want to lose the sponsorship either but...he tried to talk me out of lookin' for another driver."

 

"Perhaps, Mr. Porter knows more than he's saying," MaryAnne suggested.

 

Mickey looked at MaryAnne for her to continue.

 

"Well, I dunno, maybe he knows who's been sabotaging your cars. Maybe he's under pressure for something. He doesn't want you to bring another driver in because he doesn't want to see anyone else get hurt, but at the same time he's not willing to give into whoever is pressuring him."

 

Mickey smiled. "That's why I need you to drive my car."

 

"Mickey, you need a private investigator, not a country cop like me," MaryAnne said. "What you should do is go to NASCAR and tell them that something funky's going on."

 

"I can't go to NASCAR, I don't have any proof , all I have are suspicions and those are vague at best. As for the business side of things, I'm just a driver. I don't know if Jack has any particular problems, financial or otherwise that could tie into all this. All I know is there is something seriously wrong. Besides, Jimmy highly recommended you..." Mickey reached into the shirt pocket of his black RussVesta shirt and pulled out a folded newspaper clipping. "He showed me this."  He unfolded it and put it down on the table, sliding it toward MaryAnne.

 

Bo, Luke and Rosco all leaned forward to look at it. It was a clipping from the Finchburg Times from 1983. The local-cop-makes-good story of MaryAnne and Rosco's involvement and eventual help in solving the murder case of State Senator Eric Monyahan.

 

"Khee, I remember that," Rosco said. "I was there!"

 

Bo and Luke grinned. "I remember there was a bit in the Hazzard paper about that too," Bo said.

 

"MaryAnne, I know you'll ask the right questions to the right people," Mickey said. "Bev, Darcy, Bobby and I are prepared to do whatever we have to, to get you behind the wheel of my race car. Nobody knows I'm even here in Hazzard, except the people at this table. Even Jack doesn't know I'm here, or that I'm lookin' to put a cop behind the wheel of my car."

 

“Well, Mickey…what’s he gonna say if I show up to drive?”

 

Mickey paused. “To be honest, MaryAnne, I was thinkin’ to keep the fact that you’re a cop a piece of information only known to those of us sitting at this table. He knows I’m gonna be coming back with a driver…he just doesn’t know it’s a cop.”

 

“Isn’t he gonna wonder tho’ what rock you dug me out from under? I mean, it’s not like you’re pulling me off the South Series. I’m not an established driver anywhere…isn’t he gonna wonder just exactly who I am?”

 

“Well, let me tell you. Before I left, he told me he doesn’t care who I bring back for a driver. Although I believe he doesn’t want see the major sponsor be lost, the attitude he’s displaying is that he doesn’t care. He even said that he thinks this will be the last season for Porter Racing, so…if my team owner seems to think we’re all gonna be out of work come the last race and there’s nothing anybody can do about it, then why not give an old friend the opportunity of a life time?”

 

“Well…” MaryAnne shrugged. “I still think yer crazy.” She looked at the news clipping and then up at Mickey. "But you're really serious about this ain't you?"

 

"You bet I am. If we lose that sponsorship, and Porter Racing folds, I may have to go back to go-kart racing."

 

"Yeah, but Mickey, you can't put somebody like me behind the wheel of a Grand National car. I'll end up doing worse than you with your injured foot!"

 

"MaryAnne, you did dirt track racing didn’t ya? All you do is get in the car, drive fast and turn left. Between me, Darcy and Bobby here we can get you acclimated to driving Grand National in five days. You'll be an ol' pro!"

 

Bo snorted. "Just in time for the Bristol race on Sunday."

 

MaryAnne glanced at Bo and then back at Mickey. This was all coming way too fast. "How many races are left for this season?"

 

"Ten."

 

"And we'll be travelin' all over the country I s'pose..."

 

"Well, all the races except Riverside are here in the southeast; Tennessee, Virginia, the Carolinas. So it's not that you'll be too far away. But everything's paid for by the team. Heck, you'll get paid to drive the car."

 

"Oooh..." This had Rosco's attention. If there was one thing he and MaryAnne could use more of, it was money. They never really recovered from Boss's pay cuts from last Christmas and although Rosco had been making the payments on his loan faithfully, it would only take Boss being in a bad mood and firing him or MaryAnne or both, to upset the delicate scale and send everything straight into the toilet.

 

MaryAnne thought of all that too as she glanced at her cousin. She wondered how much a stock car driver was paid, but she refrained from asking for the moment. She was thinking of the sobering fact some race car drivers had died in pursuit of the sport. And if Mickey's cars were being sabotaged, her chances of such a fate were increased significantly. Tooling around in Maverick on Hazzard's dirt roads was one thing. Even driving a high speed chase in a patrol car was one thing. But driving a race car at a hundred and forty to two hundred miles an hour and possibly hitting the wall....that was something else.

 

Nonetheless, the justice seeking cop within was drawn to the whole thing. Somebody was trying to either put an end to, or severely hamper, Mickey's racing career. And it was possible it wasn't Mickey himself they were after, but he would end up a victim anyway. Although Mickey wasn't born and raised in Finchburg, neither was MaryAnne, but they were as much a part of that community as anybody else, and MaryAnne didn't like the idea of somebody trying to ruin what Mickey and his sister had worked so hard at.

 

Mickey could see MaryAnne's indecision. "I know I'm asking a lot of you, MaryAnne, and I'll understand if you don't want to do it. I realize I'm essentially asking you to get behind the wheel of a race car that may fail on you, but the reality is that could happen at any time, to any driver. Regardless of their experience. And with ten races, that's going to take you out of Hazzard for about three months and I understand you maybe not wanting to live off the road and be away from your family, although Rosco here is more than welcome to come along too."

 

MaryAnne was quiet in thought for a moment. "I suppose I don't have long to think about this huh?"

 

Mickey cringed a little. "I need an answer by tomorrow."

 

MaryAnne nodded. "I'll letcha know by tomorrow then."

 

Bo nudged MaryAnne with his elbow. "C'mon, MaryAnne, you can handle a race car. Shoot heck, you'll probably blow their doors off once you get going."

 

"Yeah," Luke said and grinned, looking at Mickey. "We taught her everything she knows."

 

MaryAnne snorted.

 

I think MaryAnne knows more about stock car racing than she think she does, Dukes influence not withstanding.

 

The next morning, Rosco knocked on Boss's courthouse office door and then walked in. "Hey Boss, you'll never believe what happened yesterday!"

 

"Ah!" Boss looked up from his financials, startled. "Rosco, I know what happened yesterday, my Sheriff was missing in action all afternoon!" He looked at Rosco as the Sheriff came to stand in front of the desk. "Where the heck were you anyway?"

 

"Oh, sorry 'bout that lil' fat buddy, I was at the Boar's Nest. I shoulda told ya."

 

"Rosco, I ain't yer 'little fat buddy'." Boss pushed his financials aside and picked up his cigar from the ash tray. "And just what were you doin' at the Boar's Nest all yesterday afternoon?"

 

"Servin' beer and moppin' floors."

 

"What??"

 

"Yeah. I lost a bet with MaryAnne so I had to do her shift."

 

Boss rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Ugh....so is that what you came in here all fired up to tell me about? You mopped floors?"

 

"No, no!" Rosco's grin was a mile wide. "Boss, you ever heard of a race car driver named Mickey Simon?"

 

Boss puffed his cigar thoughtfully. "Sounds vaguely familar. Probably saw his name on the sports page on my way to the financial section."

 

"Well, he's here in Hazzard and you'll never guess who he's lookin' to have drive his car for him."

 

Boss paused and then his face lit up. "Bo and Luke Duke?! Get them outta my hair and maybe take their cousins Coy and Vance with 'em??"

 

"No."

 

Boss's shoulders sagged. "Well then how can you stand there so happy when it ain't them Duke boys he's lookin' to take with him?"

 

"Because he's lookin' to have MaryAnne drive!"

 

Boss stared at Rosco in disbelief. "MaryAnne?! MaryAnne's not a race car driver."

 

"Well no, but she's had a little racin' experience. Besides that ain't why he wants her to drive. Seems he's been having some troubles and needs somebody who's a cop that can find out what's goin' on."

 

"Is that so? Well, he can just keep lookin' for somebody else, onaconna MaryAnne's already got a job!"

 

"Well, shoot Boss it's only for ten races..."

 

"TEN RACES! Rosco! That's almost three months! How is she gonna be your deputy and drive in ten races?!"

 

Rosco was cringing by this point. All he had done was tell Boss the possibility of MaryAnne going on the NASCAR circuit and Rosco knew that whatever he said from this point on was gonna put both their jobs in jeopardy. "Jit jit..uh well...I guess she'd hafta not be a...deputy. 'Course uh...I've been invited to go with her too..."

 

"WHAT!! Oh, no! No sirree! No way, no how!"

 

"Well now wait a minute lil' fat buddy, this is one of them one in a lifetime kinda deals ya know? And...to be honest if MaryAnne decides to go ain't nobody gonna stop her." Rosco's tone dropped to cautious. "Certainly not you...."

 

That did it. Boss looked at Rosco with a dangerous squint and the Sheriff knew he had crossed the line.

 

"Stop her?" Boss said, standing up from his chair now. "Oh no, I'm gonna help her! If MaryAnne wants to play race car driver, she's gonna have plenty of time for it! Onaconna she's fired!! And you can go right along with her, onaconna you're fired!! 'Cause somebody else will be only too happy to enjoy another once-in-a-lifetime deal...as Sheriff of Hazzard County!"

 

"Jit jit!! Why you little---"

 

"Ah! Ah! Ah! You're both fired! I want your badges turned in at the end of the day, today!" Boss jammed his cigar into the ash tray on his desk and headed for the door. "Why anyone would want a Coltrane near a race car, I’ll never know....harumph!" he muttered as he left the office.

 

Hmmm....you know I was kinda figurin' he'd do that...

 

Standing alone in the office, Rosco did the only thing he could. With regret, he removed his badge and left it on Boss's desk.

 

Knowin' MaryAnne was headin' out to the Boar's Nest for her late morning shift there, Rosco headed out to catch up with her and let her know what happened...

 

MaryAnne heard the siren of the police cruiser coming up behind her. She glanced in the mirror and saw it was Rosco. She picked up the CB mike.

 

"Don't tell me you wanna mop floors again cousin?"

 

"Not exactly. Can ya pull over for a minute? I gotta tell ya somethin'..."

 

MaryAnne turned Maverick off the road and brought the Firebird to a stop in the field. Rosco pulled up along side. MaryAnne looked at him through the open windows.

 

"What's up?"

 

"Well, I got some good news and I got some bad news. Uh," Rosco put a smile on, "the good news is, Boss don't mind if we go with Mickey and his sister on the NASCAR circuit!"

 

"Really??" MaryAnne smiled. "Well I'll be darned, I figued he'd put up a fuss. What's the bad news?"

 

"Uh..." Rosco's smile faded, "the bad news is he fired us. He put up a fuss."

 

"Aw man..." MaryAnne rolled her eyes and sighed.

 

"I'm real sorry, sweetheart. I only told him you was just thinkin' about it and that I had been invited along too and all and...." Rosco sighed. "I'm sorry."

 

"Aw, it ain’t your fault, Rosco. Shoulda figured he wouldn’t like the idea of both of us leaving.” MaryAnne paused. “Guess I don't have to think about it anymore." She looked at him. "You wanna come with me on a three month auto racing tour?"

 

Rosco gave her a sad smile. "I ain't got nothin' else goin'."

 

"That makes two of us. Is this termination effective immediately?"

 

"At the end of the day," Rosco said. "I uh..." he looked down at his shirt, where his badge used to be. "I already turned my badge in."

 

Seeing the bare spot on Rosco's shirt saddened MaryAnne. At a loss for words, MaryAnne didn't say anything which prompted Rosco to look back up at her.

 

"Aw sweetheart, you know I wanna go with ya. Even if Boss hadn't fired us, I'd still go with ya."

 

“But you never told him whether you really wanted to go or not. You only said you’d been invited and he punished ya anyway. I can understand him firin’ me but…he shouldn’t have fired you too.”

 

Rosco shook his head. “It don’t matter now. I’m goin’ with ya. And I’m goin’ with ya because I wanna go with ya.” He smiled. "It ain't every day I get asked to spend time with a NASCAR race team….and see you run with ‘em."

 

MaryAnne smiled. "Thanks, cousin."

 

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world…” he said. His smiled held for a moment and then he resumed a serious look. "Well you better git a move on there. I dunno if Boss fired ya from the Boar's Nest too, but if yer late he won't hesitate."

 

MaryAnne nodded. "You'll stop by later?"

 

"I’ll be there."

 

"Awright, I'll see ya later then."  MaryAnne smiled and started the Firebird. Maverick then pulled away and headed toward the Boar’s Nest while Rosco headed back to town.

 

***

 

MaryAnne walked across the floor of the Boar’s Nest with a tray of beer and sandwiches for Bo and Luke. She smiled as she came up to the boy’s table and set the beer mugs down, followed by the plates with the sandwiches.

 

“There ya are, fellas,” she said.

 

“Thank ya,” Bo said.

 

Luke nodded in thanks and looked at MaryAnne. “You thought about drivin’ Mickey’s car?”

 

“Yeah,” MaryAnne said as she picked up the empty beer mugs that were on the table from the previous customers and placed them on her tray. “I’m gonna do it.”

 

Luke’s face broke into a grin and Bo looked up from his sandwich. “Hey that’s great!” he said

 

“Well, don’t get too excited fellas, I’m sure I’ll do terrible at the driving part. It’s because of the other reason that I’m doing it.”

 

“Aw MaryAnne you’ll do fine,” Luke said. He sat back, crossing his arms in front of him and smiling at her. “I think you’ll surprise yourself.”

 

“I’ll be surprised if I can make it through a race without slamming into a wall or something,” she said with a chuckle.

 

The boys snorted. “MaryAnne,” Bo said, “if it were Rosco driving, he’d probably go into the wall. You don’t drive like Rosco so I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

 

MaryAnne smiled. “Well I appreciate the vote of confidence.”

 

“Have you told Mickey yet?” Luke asked.

 

“Not yet. He said he’d be coming here later this afternoon so I’ll tell ‘em then.”

 

“What’s Rosco think of you going?” Bo asked.

 

“He thinks so highly of it he’s going with me.”

 

Bo nearly choked on his sandwich. Luke all but dropped his beer. “He is?!” both boys said at the same time.

 

MaryAnne chuckled. “Mickey invited him along. Heck, I don’t think Rosco would miss a chance like this.”

 

“He’s not gonna drive is he?” Bo asked.

 

MaryAnne laughed. “No, no that’s my job. But Rosco will be a big help to me otherwise.”

 

“Long as he stays away from the car, yeah,” Luke said.  “What’s Boss think of the both of you going?”

 

MaryAnne came to a quick decision. “Boss doesn’t know we’re going yet. Obviously, Rosco and I are gonna have to turn our badges in for the duration that we’re doing this. I figured if we wait until the last minute it’ll reduce the amount of grief we’ll have to listen to.”

 

“What’s Boss gonna do without Rosco around?” Bo asked with a grin.

 

MaryAnne shrugged. “He’ll manage I’m sure,” she said. “Heck he’s still got Enos and Cletus….” MaryAnne paused. “Although that may not be saying much.”

 

The boys laughed and MaryAnne left the table with a grin. A flawless grin that hid the truth that she and Rosco were already fired from the Sheriff’s department. MaryAnne wasn’t sure why but for some reason she just didn’t want to tell folks that she and Rosco had been canned. Of course, not that it would have surprised anyone; Boss was famous for flying off the handle like that and firing Rosco or whoever on a whim. But this time is felt like she and Rosco had the chance to do something good and Boss had to make sure he could ruin it all some how. But MaryAnne wasn’t going to let Boss’s unceremonious termination ruin this NASCAR trip, and the last thing she and Rosco needed was sympathy from the townsfolk about being fired before they left.

 

Little did MaryAnne know, Rosco wasn’t broadcasting his termination either because he was thinking the same thing. He didn’t want sympathy from the rest of the town. He didn’t want anyone to know he’d been fired. Despite having already turned his badge in to Boss, Rosco went about his normal routine, doing speed trap duty and his regular afternoon patrol then stopping at the Boar’s Nest when he spotted the big red and black 18 wheeler and the Simon’s motor home in the parking lot.

 

When Rosco went inside, he was greeted by applause. But it wasn’t for him. The Boar’s Nest regulars had just heard Mickey’s announcement that MaryAnne had accepted the offer to drive his race car and MaryAnne was standing in the middle of the Boar’s Nest floor, looking slightly embarrassed but smiling anyway. Mickey was on one side of her while Darcy stood on the other side. The crowd was clapping and hollering their approval.

 

As the applause died down, Mickey turned to see Rosco coming in. He waved the Sheriff over as he and Darcy sat back down at their table. “Rosco! Welcome to NASCAR racing, Sheriff!”

 

Rosco smiled. Khee! Thank ya.”

 

Beverly stood up from the table and presented Rosco with a black RussVesta Racing shirt, same as what Mickey had on the day before. She smiled as she handed it to him. “Welcome to the team, Rosco.”

Ooo, thank ya…” Rosco said. He returned a smile to her and watched her for a moment as she sat back down at the table. He decided this NASCAR adventure really wasn’t going to be too bad afterall….

 

MaryAnne came up next to Rosco. “I got one too,” she said, holding the shirt up. “This makes it all worth it right here don’t ya think?” she asked with a grin.

 

Rosco chuckled. “Yeah it does.”

 

Mickey and his crew laughed. “Can you sit with us for a bit, Rosco?” Mickey asked.

 

“Yeah, why don’t you get the basics of this whole thing,” MaryAnne said. “Seein’ as I still have to work slingin’ beer here.”

 

Awright,” Rosco said. He sat down at the table, between Mickey and Bobby, placing his new shirt on his lap. MaryAnne handed hers to him as well to hang on to.

 

“Yeah,” Mickey said. “I’m sure you’ve got some questions about how this whole thing’s gonna work.”

 

“Well I’ve got one.”

 

“Sure.”

 

“What the heck am I gonna be doindurin’ all this?”

 

Mickey chuckled. “Well that’s a good question. Obviously you’ll be moral support for MaryAnne but I’m sure we can put you to work otherwise. You any good with a wrench, Rosco?”

 

Uhh….”

 

“Only if you want the car taken apart,” MaryAnne said as she passed by the table on her way to another one.

 

Mickey and his crew laughed. Rosco looked a little embarrassed but he nodded, acknowledging that MaryAnne was correct.

 

“Well I’m sure we’ll find something for you to do,” Mickey said.

 

“He can probably help me,” Beverly said. “I can always use some extra help.”

 

Mickey nodded. “There ya go. Bev is our team manager and amongst other things, makes sure we’ve got supplies we need and on race day, makes sure there’s tires, fuel and whatever else we need in the pit.”

 

Rosco nodded and grinned. Awright.”

 

“We’ll probably find more for ya to do once we get going,” Mickey said. “The important thing now is to get MaryAnne situated with a race car. I figure we’ll leave first thing tomorrow morning, that’ll get us to Bristol by night fall. We’ll have all day Friday to get MaryAnne started on driving and get her ready for qualifying and practice on Saturday."

 

Rosco’s eyebrows went up a notch. Things were going to move fast. His brow furrowed in concern.

 

“What?” Mickey asked, seeing Rosco’s look.

 

“Well…I have a lot of confidence in MaryAnne and I know she’s a good driver but…you really think you can get somebody ready to drive a race car in just two days?”

 

“Well I’m countin’ on MaryAnne’s dirt track experience. She won’t be a perfectly comfortable driver on that track, but she’ll be familiar enough with the car to at least run the race. The more practice and races she runs, the better she’ll get.”

 

“Well I’m sure she’ll do fine if she’s all by herself on the track,” Rosco said. “But what happens when she’s got 30something other cars speeding around her?”

 

“Well….she’ll find out during practice on Saturday won’t she?”

 

“Yeah, I suppose that’s true…”

 

Mickey chuckled. “I think she’s gonna do just fine, Rosco.”

 

A little while later, when Rosco realized he had been at the Boar’s Nest longer than he probably should have been, for being “on duty” so to speak, he bid good evening to the Simon siblings, Darcy and Bobby. He waved to MaryAnne and started to head toward the door.

 

"Rosco?" Daisy said, coming up to the Sheriff. "Where's your badge?"

 

"Uh..." Rosco stopped and looked down at his shirt. Before he could come up with a lie, MaryAnne came up beside him and had one ready for him.

 

"Oh, it musta fell off again," she said. She balanced her tray of empty beer mugs on her hip and looked at Daisy. "The clasp on the back broke a couple of days ago. Usually when he goes to pick up Flash off the floor it falls off." She looked at Rosco and gave him a discreet wink.

 

"Uh yeah," he said, falling into step. "It's probably on the floor of the booking room."

 

"Well it's not like you'll need it after tomorrow," Daisy said with a smile. "Goin' off to the NASCAR circuit and all."

 

Rosco's chuckle had a double meaning but Daisy didn't pick up on it. "True," he said. He put his black Stetson on his head. "Well, I better git goin' here....patrol and all."

 

"Let me put these down and I'll walk out with ya," MaryAnne said. She delivered the tray over to the bar and then followed Rosco out of the Boar's Nest. When they got to his patrol car he stopped and looked at her.

 

"Thanks," he said. "I really didn't want to admit we'd been fired."

 

"Yeah, I haven’t wanted to admit it either for some reason. And I don’t want them to know why we got fired either." She looked at Rosco. "You sure you still wanna go with me?"

 

"Of course I’m sure. Are you sure you still wanna do this?"

 

MaryAnne paused. "Yeah..." she said. “Rosco, it's a once in a lifetime kinda opportunity. I may end up bein' the worst driver on the track and finish dead last in every race until the end of the season but....I'll never get a chance like this again. And besides, somebody's tryin' to ruin Mickey's career and the cop side of me wants to know who and why."

 

Rosco nodded. "Then I'm still goin' with ya." He smiled. "I wanna see ya be the worst driver on the NASCAR circuit."

 

MaryAnne snorted. "Thanks a lot. Before, you were praisin’ me for runnin’ with the big boys. I knew I could count on your rock solid support.”

 

"Khee!"

 

MaryAnne grinned. "Awright then. So what are you gonna do now? You're not really going on a patrol are you?"

 

"Naw. I figured it'd look funny if I hang out here all night, so I'll go home and start packing some stuff. I'll come back when ya close up."

 

"Ooo! And help do the floors?? Whatta guy!"

 

"Don't push it."

 

"KHEE!"

 

****

 

The next morning, Rosco and MaryAnne weren’t even out of the county yet when Boss dropped the news to Cletus and Enos that the Coltranes had been officially fired the day before.

 

“Fired?” both deputies said.

 

“Shoot, cousin Boss, they’re just goin’ off to the NASCAR circuit.” Cletus said. “How could you fire ‘em for that?”

 

“That’s exactly why they were fired. If them Coltranes want to play race car driver they’re welcome to do it, but I’m not gonna fund paychecks for a Sheriff and a deputy that ain’t here. Now, Hazzard County needs a new Sheriff.” Boss picked up Rosco’s old badge off his desk. “Cletus! Look alive.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Raise your right hand.”  Cletus did so. “Do you swear to enforce the law and rules of Hazzard County, set forth by the County Commissioner

 

“Namely you.”

 

“Namely me, to the best of your ability?”

 

“I do!”

 

“Done!” Boss put the badge in Cletus’s raised hand. “Congratulations Cletus, you’re the new Sheriff of Hazzard County.”

 

“You mean temporary Sheriff, don’t ya Mr. Hogg?” Enos asked. “Rosco n’ MaryAnne will be back.”

 

“Nope, permanent. Rosco might be lucky to get a job as a meter maid when he gets back. And MaryAnne can still work at the Boar’s Nest if it’s good enough for her after this illustrious racing career she thinks she’s gonna have.” Boss saw Enos and Cletus just staring at him. “Well don’t just stand there, git out there and get those speed traps going! Time is money…”

 

The new Sheriff Hogg turned and walked out of Boss’s office with Enos following. Cletus still held the Sheriff badge in his hand and he stopped a moment to turn back to Enos. Enos looked sympathetic and sighed. “Better put your badge on, Sheriff,” he said before walking out of the booking room. Cletus looked at the badge for a moment longer then finally switched his badge for the new one, not really liking the idea of it all being permanent. Once the badge was in place, he headed out of the courthouse to do his patrol.

 

******

 

Before finishing up on getting their various affairs in order, Rosco and MaryAnne made sure they visited with Lulu to say goodbye. Lulu, as expected, lamented their leaving and probably would have cursed Boss in the same sentence, had she known her baby brother and baby cousin had been fired the day before. But they didn’t tell her and Boss hadn’t said anything about firing them to Lulu, only complaining about them going in the first place. MaryAnne promised they would call as often as they could and send letters when the time allowed them to write. Lulu begged them to be careful and they promised they would. Although Lulu had never watched stock car racing on TV, she said she would watch for them when she could.

 

The Coltrane cousins by passed the courthouse. There wasn’t much sense in saying goodbye to Boss and seeing the two patrol cars of Enos and Cletus missing from out front, they knew they’d missed the two deputies, which would have been the only reason they would have stopped at all. Across the street, Cooter saw the two Coltranes in MaryAnne’s Firebird and flagged them down before they drove out of town. He wished MaryAnne luck, told Rosco to stay away from the race car and all around marveled at the idea of a Coltrane behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car.

 

Back home, Mickey and Beverly were waiting with the 18 wheeler and motor home parked along the road that ran in front of the Coltrane homestead. Rosco and MaryAnne didn’t have to pack all that much, just clothes and personal items. The hotels they would be staying at would offer laundry service, and they’d be wearing shirts bearing the names of sponsors more than their own shirts. MaryAnne would have to be fitted for her racing suit and a new racing helmet had been ordered and was on it’s way to Bristol from North Carolina. Neither Coltrane would need their car, as all their traveling would be in the motor home, except for the last race of the season in California, which they would fly to. This left MaryAnne and Rosco with just two dilemmas. What to do with their cars…and their dogs in the meantime.

 

Mickey solved the second problem easily. He offered they could bring Bandit and Flash with them, but the dogs would have to stay with the motor home at the various tracks (as opposed to the hotels, where pets usually weren't allowed) and in the garage area during the races. Rosco and MaryAnne found that agreeable and they appreciated being able to bring the pups along. Especially Rosco, who wouldn’t have liked not seeing Flash for three months.

 

For the cars, Rosco decided it wasn’t worth trying to do anything for his old LeMans, which had seen better days, other than to just park it in the barn. But MaryAnne’s Maverick had to at least be parked somewhere dry. Although their old barn would suffice for the job it couldn’t fit two cars. After thinking about it for a moment, MaryAnne came to a conclusion.

 

“Daisy.”

 

“Daisy Duke?” Rosco said.

 

“Sure. She’ll take care of Maverick for me. At least she’ll take him for a spin once in awhile, so he won’t rot like he would if we left him here in the barn. We can even ask if she or Jesse could check on the house once in awhile.”

 

“Well I suppose…”

 

MaryAnne grinned. “C’mon…”  She looked at Mickey and Bev. “We’ll be right back.”

 

A moment later Maverick drove out of the yard with Rosco following in his LeMans.

 

The Dukes were all out doing chores when the two cars pulled into their yard. The unmistakable blue Firebird of MaryAnne’s led the way with Rosco’s brown Pontiac LeMans coming in behind it. The Dukes all stopped what they were doing and gathered toward the two cars.

 

“Hey there,” MaryAnne said with a smile as she stepped out of Maverick.

 

“Howdy MaryAnne, Rosco,” Jesse said. “We figured you two’d be long gone by now.”

 

“Almost,” MaryAnne said, “had a couple of last minute details to take care of.” She glanced at Rosco as he came up beside her. The Dukes each found it strange to see both Coltranes in civilian clothes.  In her hand, MaryAnne held the keys to Maverick and she looked back toward Daisy. “Daisy, I was wonderin’ if maybe you could do me a favor?

 

“Sure, MaryAnne, what do you need?”

 

“Well…I’d appreciate it if you could take care of Maverick for me while we’re gone. I hate to leave him just sitting for a long time and I don’t have the time or money to prepare him right for long term storage. So if…you could take him for a spin once in awhile I’d appreciate it, as would he.” She held the keys out to Daisy.

 

“Oh my goodness,” Daisy said softly, accepting the keys from MaryAnne. She smiled at the young Coltrane. “Well of course, MaryAnne! I’d be honored.”

 

MaryAnne smiled. “There’s a house key on there too…if ya could just check the place over once in awhile we’d appreciate it. We asked Miz Tisdale to hold our mail until we get back.”

 

Daisy nodded. “Sure thing.”

 

“What about your car, Rosco?” Luke asked with a grin.

 

“Yeah, why don’t you let me an’ Luke look after that for ya?” Bo said, with just as wide a grin as Luke’s.

 

Daisy and MaryAnne both giggled. “Maybe you oughta let ‘em, Rosco,” MaryAnne said. “Maybe when we get back they’ll have wrecked it enough for you to get a new car.”

 

Rosco paused. “I’m contemplatin’ that…” 

 

The Dukes laughed.

 

“It’s too bad both of you are leaving,” Bo said. “I gotta admit I’d like to be driving this car when Rosco’s chasing us.” He looked to Maverick.

 

MaryAnne chuckled. “Well, even tho’ Rosco won’t be here I’m sure Boss will have some kind of trick or something up his sleeve for y’all. If ya need another car by all means, use Maverick,” MaryAnne said.

 

“We’ll take good care of ‘em for ya, MaryAnne,” Jesse said.

 

“Thanks y’all. I appreciate it.” She looked at Rosco. “Well I guess we better get going.”

 

“Good luck, MaryAnne,” Daisy said. She gave MaryAnne a quick hug.  “Show ‘em how it’s done.”

 

MaryAnne returned the embrace and then stepped back and smiled at Daisy. “I’ll give ‘em what for.” She looked to Jesse and the boys, who expressed their well wishes for both Coltranes. Rosco and MaryAnne then said their farewells and walked to Rosco’s LeMans. A moment later the car disappeared out of the Dukes yard. MaryAnne couldn’t help but to look at Maverick in the outside mirror as they drove away. Rosco saw her and patted her arm.

 

The Dukes meanwhile, looked at Maverick sitting in their yard. Although they were happy to take care of the car for MaryAnne, it was going to be strange to not see Rosco nor MaryAnne around town for three months.

 

Jesse sensed this too but he broke the silence with some humor. “Well, any more cars in this yard we could open our own car dealership.”

 

The Duke cousins all chuckled. Daisy carefully tucked the keys to the Pontiac in her pocket and the Dukes all resumed their work. Suddenly Luke stopped and looked at his kin.

 

“Hey, y’all…why don’t we give ‘em a proper Hazzard County send off and follow Mickey’s rig to the county line?”

 

“Yeah,” Daisy and Bo agreed. “With Maverick and the General,” Bo added.

 

Daisy nodded and looked to Jesse. “Wanna ride with me, Uncle Jesse?”

 

“Sure,” Jesse said. The Dukes dispersed for their vehicles and as Jesse opened the big passenger door of the Firebird he looked at the boys. “Lookit these nice doors, how they open!”

 

Back at the Coltrane homestead, Rosco and MaryAnne were taking one last look around before boarding Mickey and Bev’s motor home. Bandit and Flash had already climbed aboard and MaryAnne was standing on the steps on the motor home, watching Rosco as he looked back at the house and barn he was leaving behind…his home. Their home. MaryAnne looked one more time herself and then watched her cousin, knowing what he was thinking. Here they were, leaving everything they’d ever known of life for an opportunity that didn’t come everyday and had a future that was untold. It was hard to leave, but each of them knew that even though there may not be any jobs to come back to in Hazzard, there was still home. It would be there waiting for them.

 

With that thought in mind, Rosco finally turned and looked at MaryAnne. He gave a smile, as if to ask, Ya ready? MaryAnne smiled back and stepped into the motor home, letting Rosco come up the steps, pulling the door closed behind him. A moment later the 18 wheeler slowly rolled down the road with the motor home following.

 

Neither Cletus, nor Enos had planned together to try to meet up with the tractor trailer and escort it out of Hazzard County, but the timing of the two patrol cars showing up on opposite side roads off the main highway that led north couldn’t have been better if had been planned. 

 

Cletus stared across the highway at the other patrol car. He picked up his radio mike. “Enos, what are you doin’ over there?”

 

“Same thing you’re doin’ over there,” Enos replied with a grin. Waitin’ for Sheriff Rosco and MaryAnne.”

 

“Buzzards on a buzz saw! Heh heh!”

 

A few moments later the big red and black 18 wheeler came down the highway and passed, the motor home a trailer length behind it.  Mickey and Beverly both saw the two patrol cars and Beverly pointed them out. “Hey Rosco, MaryAnne, look at that.”

 

Rosco and MaryAnne got up from the side seat that was behind Beverly and looked out the front windshield. “Sonofagun…” MaryAnne said, smiling.


”What are they doing?” Rosco said. “They should be on patrol!”

 

“Oh Rosco,” MaryAnne gave his arm a light swat. The former Sheriff grinned.

 

As they passed, the two patrol cars pulled onto the highway and followed, giving proper escort with lights going.

 

“You’re getting the full treatment y’all,” Mickey said, looking at his side mirror. “They’re following us.”

 

MaryAnne turned and went to the back of the motor home to see the two patrol cars out the back window. Rosco followed.

 

“I think I’m gonna cry,” MaryAnne said, seeing the two cruisers.  She and Rosco both waved and Enos and Cletus waved back.  It wasn’t too long before there was a cloud of dust and the General and Maverick came off a side road and joined the escort.

 

“Now I am gonna cry!” MaryAnne said, seeing the orange and blue behind the white. The parade followed to the county line and before they got there, the two patrol cars pulled off to the side of the road. The General and Maverick followed for several more feet, before the General pulled to the side of the road and then finally, as the motor home crossed the county line, the blue Firebird slowed and pulled to the side of the road. Rosco and MaryAnne waved one more time and the Dukes waved back, until the motor home was too far down the road.

 

Friends and neighbors I don't know if NASCAR is ready for one Coltrane, let alone two of them, to be in their midst. This oughta get mighty interestin'....

 

 

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