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.
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© Copyright: 1996-2004. Lisa Philbrick
Find out what that ATF agent in "Follow that Still" meant when he said to Rosco, "You used to be the best Sheriff in this state. Now, you don't amount to a hill of beans."
Tuesday, October 27, 1974
Almost everyone in Hazzard remembers the bond election where Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane lost his pension. They also remember what happened the week before, when their Sheriff put his life on the line for someone else. He didn't even think about it, he just did it. Of course, that's how he was then. Which was completely unlike him now.
"Fearless," the papers later said. "The citizens of Hazzard County can sleep well at night knowing that Rosco P. Coltrane is Sheriff, and they can't go wrong to re-elect him." Despite all the positive publicity, Rosco still lost his pension.
The whole thing started the Tuesday before the election. Hazzard County had been under grey skies for two days which matched Rosco's mood. Twenty-five years of hard work could be wiped out by the stroke of a pencil in that election, so Rosco was uncharacteristically more serious than usual. Who wouldn't be?
He arrived at the county courthouse early that morning to find out if his fate would indeed be put in the hands of the voters. His brother-in-law, County Commissioner 'Boss' Jefferson Davis Hogg had promised to try to get the pension off the ballot. Over the years though Rosco had come to learn that Boss promising and Boss doing something were two entirely different things.
Before he got to the door, he spotted the Hazzard County Gazette vending box and the front page headline.
County To Let Voters Decide.
Rosco fished a dime out his black uniform jacket and plunked it into the slot. He opened the box and removed a copy of the newspaper. He took a moment to read the article.
"Damn it," he whispered when his worst fears were confirmed. He went into the courthouse and stormed to Boss Hogg's office.
Rosco threw the door open and went in. When he reached the desk, he threw the paper down.
Boss glared at him. "What's this?"
"I thought you said you were gonna take the pension fund off the ballot?"
Boss fudged a bit.
"Yeah, thanks a lot. Come on, you can't take my pension."
"Rosco, the county needs to pay for those two bonds. There is no other part of the budget that hasn't allready been cut that can afford to be cut anymore. Now I understand that you're upset, but you and the county would be worse off if we default on those bonds."
"What could be worse than sending me to the poor house in four years?"
"You don't have to retire in four years you know," Boss said.
"Yeah, I know, but if I don't get re-elected in '78, I'll end up in the poor house for sure, no thanks to you," Rosco said and spun around storming out of the office.
* * *
While Rosco was having the fits about his pension being on the ballot, and thinking his day couldn't get any worse, State Senator Richard Everett's only daughter, Susan, was finishing her morning class at the State University of Georgia in Atlanta. A
slender girl, she walked and dressed like a model, wearing a tight black turtleneck sweater and grey plaid skirt that was several inches above her knee, but not mere centimeters below her waist. Her long legs were covered with black nylon and the inch
and a half chunk heel on her black loafers complimented the outfit. As she left Jefferson Hall, she was unaware of the two men who were following her to the parking lot.
Susan found her blue Mercedes convertible and took a moment to dig her keys out of her purse, while balancing a book and binder on her arm.
Susan turned to the two men, flipping her long super straight black hair. She looked down at the gun one of them was pointing at her.
"Would you come with us please? Quietly."
Susan did as she was told and followed the man with the mustache to a brown sedan, with the other man behind her with the gun. They got into the sedan and carefully drove out of the parking lot.
* * *
Rosco left word with the Hazzard telephone operator that he was going over to his Uncle's farm in Finchburg County in case anyone needed to reach him. If Hazzard County had any deputies, he wouldn't have to this, but Boss Hogg was too cheap to hire any. Just like he was too cheap to do a lot of things.
Rosco tried to visit his uncle Eli Coltrane and cousin MaryAnne as often as he could. Other than for his own mother and two sisters Lulu and Hortence Rosco had no other kin that were close by. He'd always been close to his uncle Eli, who was only about ten years older, and little MaryAnne, who wasn't exactly little anymore. She had turned seventeen just a few months ago and was becoming a pretty young woman.
Eli's farm was also where Rosco went when he was in a jam or was troubled by something and needed somebody to talk to or just time to think. When he first learned that the Hazzard County Employees Pension Fund, which included the Sheriffs pension,
was in consideration to be cut in order for the county to pay off two huge municipal bonds, the first place he went was Finchburg County. Now that he knew the fund would definitely be on the ballot, he found himself returning.
MaryAnne was sitting on the old porch snapping beans when Rosco pulled up. She wore denim overalls and a grey plaid cotton shirt. Her long brown hair was pulled back in a pony tail making her look closer to fifteen instead of seventeen.
"Hey there," she greeted when Rosco got out of the car. "If you're lookin' for Papa, he ain't here. He had to make a run."
"In broad daylight?" Rosco asked, coming up on the porch. He took his hat off and sat down next to MaryAnne. "Eli's never run shine in broad daylight."
"I know, he wasn't to crazy about it either but with the revenuers crawling all over this county like fleas on a hound dog, he had to get rid of the batch he had. And you know how he refuses to dump moonshine unless he really, really, really has to."
"Yeah, I know."
"So, what brings you out here once again?"
Rosco sighed. "MaryAnne, I think I'm gonna lose my pension."
MaryAnne stopped snapping and looked at Rosco. "Boss Hogg didn't get it off the ballot?"
She rolled her eyes. "Gee, what a big help he was. Your own brother-in-law, the County Commissioner, couldn't keep your pension off the ballot. Did he even try?"
"Oh man. So what happens now?"
"The bond election is next Tuesday. Either the citizens of Hazzard spare it or I end up in the poor house if I don't get re-elected in four years."
"Aren't you up for re-election now?"
"Yeah, but nobody's running against me."
"Oh, well at least you don't have to worry about that." She put the basket of beans on that was on her lap on the floor. "You want some coffee?" she asked standing up.
"Sure," Rosco replied. He stood and followed MaryAnne into the house.
While Rosco took a seat at the kitchen table, MaryAnne grabbed a couple of coffee cups from the cupboard. As she poured the coffee that had been keeping warm on the stove she said, "Well, you know, you could always come and work here on the farm." She placed the cup in front of Rosco who was looking up at her.
She looked at him. "Yeah, I know, you're a law man not a plough boy," she said sitting down at the table. "But what are you gonna do if you don't get re-elected?"
Rosco sighed. "I don't know. Retire broke I guess."
MaryAnne looked at Rosco as he stared down at his coffee cup. She had a hard time picturing him as a retiree. He was only fourty-two years old but he looked a few years younger, at least to MaryAnne. His dark hair was just barely starting to show grey, he had a tan that would have made her school friends jealous and he still seemed as skinny as ever. MaryAnne absolutely could not imagine him retired.
Rosco looked at her. "What?"
"I can't imagine you retired."
"Well, how do you think I feel? I can't imagine myself retired either."
"If you don't lose your pension are you gonna retire in four years?"
"Are you kiddn' me? Of course not. I ain't ready to be put out to pasture yet. I've been a law man for nearly twenty-five years and if possible I'd like to go for another twenty-five years."
MaryAnne smiled. Now that was Rosco talking.
* * *
State Senator Richard Everett was at his home in the suburbs of the capital unaware of what had happened to his daughter. He sat in hi study, looking over the latest legislative bills with a cup of tea next to him. When the phone rang he removed his
reading glasses and picked up the receiver.
"Senator Everett? I want you to listen closely and carefully. We have your daughter. If you want to see her safely returned you will do exactly as we say."
"What do you mean you have my daughter?" the Senator demanded.
"Exactly that. She has been kidnapped. You would be wise to pay careful attention if you want to see her alive again. Ransom is $100,000 to be paid in two days at Pruitts Field in Hazzard County. Do you know where that is?"
The Senators mouth was dry but he managed to find his voice. "Yes."
"Good. You will bring the money yourself and there's to be no cops involved. You call the cops about any of this, you can say good bye to your daughter forever. Is that understood?"
"Yes. Please, let me speak to her."
The kidnapper held the phone to Susan's ear. "Say hello to your father."
"Daddy? Daddy, I'm all right. Just do as they say. Please."
The kidnapper pulled the receiver away and brought it to his ear. "No cops and no tricks or you will have no daughter." The phone clicked.
Senator Everett sat in shocked silence listening to the dial tone.
"Hazzard County," he whispered. He hung up the phone and quickly left the study.
* * *
Rosco stayed at the farm long enough to finish his cup of coffee and then was on his way. Being the only law enforcement man in Hazzard County, he knew he had to be getting back. From the porch, MaryAnne waved as he drove out of the yard.
Half and hour later he arrived back in Hazzard. He went to tell Ann-Marie, the phone operator that he was back.
He opened the door of the Hazzard County phone company and poked his head in.
"I'm back," he said quickly and then tried to leave.
"Oh Rosco, wait," Ann-Marie said getting up from the switchboard. An attractive blonde in her late thirties, Ann-Marie had consistently flirted with him every chance she could. Rosco tried to avoid her as much as possible more or less because she gave him quite a quiver in his liver. A little more than he could handle.
Rosco stopped and reluctantly turned to her.
"No need to run off so quick," she said with a smile. She stood close and lightly ran a finger along the open lapel of his Sheriffs jacket. "I was just wonderin' if you've decided who you're gonna take to the dance next week," she drawled.
"Uh," Rosco stumbled. There goes the quiver. "Well, I--uh, I--" Sixteen years as Sheriff and here he was being reduced to a sputtering idiot by a pair of batting eyelashes. "Uh, well, no," he said finally. "I haven't."
"Well, I just want you to know that I would be more than happy to want to go with you."
"Uh, I'll, uh, keep that in mind," he said.
"I hope you do," she said and smiled.
Rosco nervously smiled and then hastily made a departure, leaving Ann-Marie watching him fumble across the street and head to the courthouse.
When Rosco was safely inside the booking room he took off his hat off and fanned himself for a moment.
"Holy moly," he breathed.
When he had recovered enough from the incident, Rosco headed to his office.
As he settled in, State Senator Everett was pulling up outside. The Senator got out of his car and quickly went into the courthouse. He found the booking room and saw the door with Rosco's name on it. He went to it and knocked.
Rosco looked up from his desk. "Come in."
The Senator opened the door and poked his head in.
"Yep. Can I help you?"
"Do you know who I am?"
"Well, I'm a state senator but I've realized that doesn't qualify for much these days. I'm Senator Richard Everett."
"Oh yeah," Rosco said and got up from his desk. He put his hand out. "Yeah, I've heard of you. What brings you to Hazzard County?"
The Senator shook Rosco's hand. "My daughter has been kidnapped," he said, "and I think she may be being held somewhere here in Hazzard."
"Are you serious?" Rosco said. "Oh, that's terrible. Here in Hazzard?"
"Yes. I received a phone call from the kidnappers a little while ago. They're demanding $100,000 ransom to be paid in two days at Pruitts Field."
"A hundred--" Rosco stopped sort with shock. Boss Hogg's 1973 Cadillac only cost about $10,000. "At Pruitt's Field? That's here."
The Senator nodded. "They also said if I went to the police they would kill her."
Rosco looked at him. "What the devil are ya doin' here then? What do I look like a crossing guard?"
"No. You're allegedly the best damn Sheriff in the state. I've heard about you and I need your help. You gotta get her back. I'll do anything for you if you get her back alive."
Rosco paused a moment and walked around the desk facing the Senator. "Can you maybe convince the county commissioner to spare my pension from next week's bond election?"
"I can sure try."
"Well, even if you couldn't, I'd still help you."
Senator Everett smiled. "Thank you Sheriff."
* * *
Over in Finchburg County, Eli Coltrane was returning from his run. MaryAnne was still snapping beans on the porch when she heard the sound of the car as her father drove it in from the back side of the farm house and into the barn. She put the basket
beside her and ran to the barn to help her father cover up 'Miss Claudia,' the navy blue car Eli had run moonshine in for years.
"You made it," she said, coming into the barn.
"Barely," her father replied. Authentic Coltrane, Eli had the dark hair and blue eyes that were the most dominant trait among the clan. They both grabbed the tarp and began to pull it over the car. "I've never seen so many revenuers. I swear for every bottle
of shine I had there were six of 'em."
"Well, at least you made it." They completely covered the car. "Guess who was here earlier?"
"Did Hogg get his pension off the ballot?"
"Nope. Rosco's convinced he's gonna lose it now. He's sure he's gonna end up in the poor house in four years."
"If he doesn't get reelected then."
"Well, he can always come here. I could use all the help I can get."
"That's what I told him but you know how Rosco is."
"Yeah, I know. When you put your heart and soul into something for nearly twenty-five years and then lose your pension, you have some serious doubts about what the heck the whole thing was worth to begin with. Damn that Hogg. I just can't figure
what Lulu sees in him. That crooked tightwad practically owns everything in Hazzard."
MaryAnne was in thought. "Everything but Rosco."
Eli looked at her. "What do you mean?"
"Boss Hogg don't own Rosco, not like here
where Boss Emerson owns Sheriff Bryer. If Rosco loses his pension,
he'll be wide open." She paused, her eyes looking at her father in
concern. "Papa, I hope Boss Hogg isn't trying to set Rosco up to be
"Rosco wouldn't allow it."
"He would if he was desperate enough. If he loses his pension, sitting around for four years wondering if he'll get reelected will drive him mad. Boss Hogg has the power to make sure Rosco remains Sheriff and for that kind of security, Rosco could easily
throw the law book out the window."
"I'm not sure about that," he said. "Your cousin Rosco's been an honest law man for nearly twenty-five years. That would be an incredible 360 for him to do."
"But it could happen. Money is a very powerful motivator," MaryAnne said. "Although I hope you're right. Maybe his twenty-five years of honest service will help him resist the temptation."
"I think it will. He's been in some tight spots before and has done the right thing. He'll be all right." Eli put an arm around his daughter. "Now, how about some coffee?"
"Again? I just had a cup." She smiled.
* * *
After Rosco got what information he could from Senator Everett, he told the Senator to return home in case the kidnappers called again. Rosco would call him if anything came up.
Luckily for Rosco, Boss Hogg was out at his Boar's Nest office so he didn't know of Senator Everett's arrival in Hazzard or that his daughter had been kidnapped. Frankly, the less Boss knew about this the better. The last thing Rosco needed was the added pressure from Boss to get the Senator's daughter back and make Hazzard County, thus J.D. Hogg, look good. Rosco just hoped he could keep it a secret long enough to get the Senator's daughter back safely.
After the Senator left, Rosco headed out to do his regular patrol and to keep an eye out for the kidnappers. Being busy on a case, Rosco had forgotten his worries about his pension at the moment. A young girl's life was at stake and the Senator's promise to try to get Rosco's pension off the ballot had nothing to do with Rosco wanting to help. He would've helped regardless.
A few miles outside of town, Rosco came upon a car that had gone off the road. The driver flagged him down.
"Boy am I glad to see you," the man said as Rosco got out of the car. "These two fellas and a girl in a brown car done run me off the road. I don't think they meant to but they sure didn't stop to see if I was okay."
"Two fellas and a girl?" Rosco asked.
"Yep. The girl had this really long straight hair and one of the fellas had a mustache."
Alarms were sounding in Rosco's head when he heard the girl's description. "Did the girl have black hair?" he asked anxiously.
"Yeah, I think so."
"Did you get the license?"
"No. No plate on the car."
"Which way did they go?"
"That way," the man said pointing up the road.
"How long ago?"
"About half an hour. Is there something wrong Sheriff?"
"Uh, they sound like some fugitives I've heard about," Rosco said, returning to his patrol car. "Listen, you sit tight. I'll call a tow truck for ya." Rosco got into the car and tore off down the road.
The kidnappers, meanwhile, were already at their hideout, an old fishing cabin on the north side of Hazzard Lake. Susan had been tied to a chair and gagged and the two kidnappers were outside smoking cigarettes.
"That was really dumb Charlie," the mustached kidnapper was saying. "Running that guy off the road like that. He could go to the law."
"So? The law don't know we got Everett's daughter and that guy didn't know us from any other couple of guys with a girl. Just relax Reg."
"What if Everett called the cops?"
"He didn't. Trying to get the cops in on this and keep it quiet at the same time would be impossible. As soon as the press heard of it, it'd be all over the radio. He knows we'd hear it and he knows it would be good-bye to sweet Susan." Charlie dropped
the cigarette and crushed it into the ground with his boot. "C'mon, let's look at that map. I want to find the fastest way out of this hick county after we get the money." He and Reg went back into the cabin.
* * *
When Rosco arrived to where the road he was on split off into three different roads, he brought the patrol car to a stop and looked in each direction. One road led to Hazzard Lake, one to Boss Hogg's old ice house, and the last eventually led to Highway 32, which went right out of the county. Rosco decided to check out the old ice house, figuring that would make a good hideout. He put the patrol car in gear and proceeded down the road.
When he reached the ice house, Rosco got the feeling that he was on a fools errand. He saw no car parked out front, no fresh tire tracks and the place looked as if no one had been there in years. To be sure though, he checked it out and found no one. Just a lot of dust and old beer cans.
When he came back out, Rosco paused by his patrol car and thought for a moment. Hazzard Lake? Could they be at Hazzard Lake? There were a few fishing cabins, but trying to get in to get a look would be hard to do without letting the kidnappers know he was there.
Being at Hazzard Lake made sense though. Pruitt's Field was only about three miles away and County 17 ran by Pruitt's Field, which would take them right out of the state. And, he being a Sheriff with no deputies, they certainly didn't have to worry about
being caught by a deputy out on a simple patrol.
Suddenly, Rosco got an idea on how to flush out the kidnappers, if they were at Hazzard Lake. It was going to take all the shucking and jiving he could muster, but with some help and a little luck it could work. With a snicker, Rosco got into his patrol car and headed back to town.
* * *
Later that evening, Rosco went to the Boar's Nest to ask a very big favor of Ann-Marie. Doing this was probably more dangerous than the plan he had to flush out the kidnappers, but he had to try because he had to let Senator Everett know what was going down. If he tried to call the Senator from the phone in the booking office, Maebelle, Boss Hogg's cousin who was running the switchboard now, would hear it and would probably tell Boss. Rosco didn't want Boss to know of any of this, so the only way he could make the call would be directly from the switchboard, and although Ann-Marie had no allegiance to Boss Hogg, she would probably expect Rosco to take her to the dance next Friday in return for the favor. As long as that was all she asked.
He walked into the dimly lit establishment, and spotted Ann-Marie sitting at a table alone. Smoke, laughter and the cry of a steel guitar from the juke box filled the room. Rosco took a deep breath and went to the table.
He stood by the table and looked down at Ann Marie, with his best (and most unique) Don Juan look.
Ann Marie looked up at him. "Oh, Rosco, hello," she said and smiled.
"Hello Ann-Marie," he said, removing his hat. "May I sit down?"
Rosco placed his hat on the table and sat down across from Ann Marie, while still looking at her.
"Rosco, this is quite a surprise. Some days I'm lucky I can get the time of day from you."
Rosco smiled. "Well, Ann-Marie, you're a very pretty lady and I always act funny around pretty ladies, especially those who show an interest in me." Rosco was really pouring it on. Question was, where was it all coming from? "Maybe I've finally realized something."
"Realized what?" she asked, leaning toward him.
Rosco leaned toward her. "That you're the only telephone operator in Hazzard who can help me with something."
Ann-Marie sat back in disgust. "Shoulda figured you were lookin' for a favor."
"No, no, no wait a minute. Now what I said before was sincere. I can't help it if my feelings for you and my needing your help on some official police business came at the same time."
Ann-Marie looked at him, then broke into a smile. "You mean that?"
"Yeah," he said with a smile.
She leaned forward again. "What kind of official police business?"
"Can't tell ya that. Top secret. But I can tell you that I need to use the switchboard to make a direct call."
"What's wrong with the phones at the courthouse?"
"Nothing. But it's a very important and very delicate phone call. I can't risk having Maebelle hear it."
"And then blabbing it to the Boss."
"Right." Hmm, maybe Ann-Marie ain't so bad after all, he thought.
"When do you need to make this call?" she asked.
"Well, the sooner the better."
"And what do I get in return for this favor?"
Rosco paused for effect. "I'll take you to the dance next week."
Ann-Marie's eyes lit up. "You will?"
"Well, what are we waitin' for?!" she exclaimed, grabbing him by the arm and leading him out of the Boar's Nest.
They drove back to town in Rosco's patrol car, which was quite a thrill for Ann-Marie. When they arrived at the telephone company, Ann-Marie went in first and convinced Maebelle to take a coffee break and that she would watch the switchboard.
When Maebelle left, Rosco went in and Ann-Marie showed him how to make a direct connection and left him alone to make the call.
Rosco took his hat off and put the headset on. He then dialed Senator Everett's number.
"Senator Everett? This is Sheriff Coltrane."
"My daughter," the Senator blurted, "have you got her back?"
"Not yet. I'm pretty sure I know where she is though. If she's there, I should have her back by tomorrow."
"Where is she?"
"I think she may be being held in one of the fishing cabins on Hazzard Lake. I have an idea on how to flush the kidnappers out if they're there."
"Is it going to be dangerous?"
Rosco paused. "Yeah, it could be."
The Senator was silent for a moment. "As long as you bring her back," he said. "One way or the other, you gotta bring her back."
"Senator, I'm gonna bring your daughter back, and I'm gonna bring her back alive. You can count on that. Now I know I ain't got any deputies, but I've got a couple of people in mind to help me with this. And I know they ain't gonna let me down."
"All right. Do you want me to stay here?"
"Yeah, I think that would be for the best. I promise you though, as soon as I've got her back I'll let you know."
"Just doin' my job Senator. Don't worry, by this time tomorrow it'll all be history."
After Rosco and the Senator said goodbye, Rosco disconnected the line. He then re-connected it and dialed his Unlce's farm in Finchburg County.
Eli answered after three rings.
"Eli, it's Rosco. Listen, I'm gonna need you and MaryAnne's help on something over here."
"You working on a case?"
"Yeah. State Senator Everett's daughter was kidnapped this morning and she's being held here in Hazzard County."
"Now nobody knows about this; the kidnappers threatened to kill her if he went to police."
"Well how'd you find out?"
"He came to me. I think he figured a Sheriff with no deputies was a lot more secret than the entire state police and FBI being involved. Now I have a plan to flush out the kidnappers but I'm gonna need some help."
"All right. MaryAnne's gone into town for the night to stay with a friend but I can get a message to her to go to Hazzard tomorrow."
"Okay, here's what I need you two to do..."
* * *
After Rosco finished laying out his plan to Eli, he got off the switchboard and went back to his patrol car. He waited for Ann-Marie, who returned to the patrol car after Maebelle came back, and Rosco drove her back to the Boar's Nest.
As he drove out of town, Ann-Marie said, "Um, you're not taking me back to the Boar's Nest are ya?"
"You want to get your car don't ya?"
"Oh," she said, disappointed she couldn't get Rosco to give her a ride home. "Yeah, I suppose I do."
They arrived at the Boar's Nest and after Ann-Marie got out of the patrol car she closed the passenger door and then leaned on the open window.
"Now don't forget Rosco, who you're taking to the dance next week."
"I won't," he said.
Ann-Marie smiled and then made her way to the entrance of the Boar's Nest. Rosco watched her go. She stopped and waved sweetly to him before going in.
"How can I forget?" he said.
* * *
Wednesday, October 28, 1974
The next morning, Eli arrived in Hazzard and met Rosco as the impound yard. Rosco was out of uniform and instead was wearing jeans, a red and black flannel shirt and black boots. In his shirt pocket was his Sheriff's badge. He stood next to a light
green '63 Dodge as Eli drove in.
"Are we all set?" Eli asked, climbing out of 'Miss Claudia.'
"Yep. Did you tell MaryAnne that my patrol car will be out on Route 14?"
"Yeah. She should be headin' out there now if she's not already there. Good thing you put it out there, my pick up ain't gonna be of much use if we gotta chase them."
"Hopefully we won't have to but she'll be there for back up."
"All right then," Rosco said. "Let's get goin'."
Rosco and Eli got into their vehicles and headed out to Hazzard Lake. Rosco's plan was for he and Eli to pose as cabin owners who were checking their cabins. His hope was to spook the kidnappers and make them flee with him following in hot pursuit.
Although he and Eli would have shotguns, Rosco didn't want no shooting unless absolutely necessary. He didn't want to risk the Senator's daughter getting hurt. MaryAnne was on Route 14 more or less for insurance. Rosco was pretty sure he and Eli
could corral the kidnappers somewhere before they got to Route 14, but if not MaryAnne would be waiting.
When they go to Hazzard Lake, Rosco and Eli split up and went to separate cabins at opposite ends of the lake. They reported to each other at each cabin. The first two cabins turned up nothing, as did the second two. As Eli was pulling up to his third
cabin, he saw something shining through the trees from the cabin next door. He got out of his car and went to take a closer look.
Through the trees, Eli could see the next cabin over and a brown car parked out front, the same brown car that Rosco had said the kidnappers were driving. He went back to his car and picked up the CB mike.
"Papa Bear to Smoky Bear. The boys are off to camp Hurley."
Over at the cabin he was at, Rosco leaned into his car and picked up the CB mike. He snickered before pushing the talk button. "Ten-four. Let's hope they have a good trip."
Rosco threw the mike into the car and got in. He tore off to the other cabin.
Eli was still watching the cabin as Rosco drove in behind him. The old Dodge made enough noise to wake the dead, which was exactly what Rosco wanted it to do. In the cabin next door the kidnappers heard it.
Reg, the mustached one, got up and went to a window. Through the trees he could see Eli and Rosco's cars. He turned to Charlie.
"It's the cabin a few yards away. Coupla guys there. You think we oughta get out of here?"
Charlie got up from his chair and took a look. He could see Rosco and Eli looking in the kidnappers direction.
"Yeah, it looks like they can see the car. All right, very quickly and quietly let's get her out of here."
Reg and Charlie untied Susan from the chair and then escorted her out of the cabin.
Rosco and Eli watched the kidnappers put Susan in the car and then get in. They began to drive away.
"All right," Eli said, handing Rosco the keys to 'Miss Claudia.' "get goin'. I'll be behind in this thing." He gestured to the Dodge.
Rosco got into the navy blue car and brought the engine roaring to life. He tore off after the kidnappers.
"God I hope he doesn't flip it over," Eli said. He went to the Dodge and followed after Rosco.
In the brown car, Reg was looking between his rearview and outside mirror. The little blue car they had seen at the other cabin was coming up on them fast.
"What's this guy up to?" he asked.
Charlie turned to look out the back window. "I don't know but I don't like it. Lose him."
Reg stepped on the accelerator.
Rosco stayed right with him.
"He's stickin' right to us," Reg said. "You think it's a cop?"
"Can't be. Everett knows what we said we'd do if he called the cops. C'mon lose this guy."
Rosco tried several times to pass the brown car but Reg kept blocking him. They turned off the road on to Route 14 followed by Eli, who was hanging back. MaryAnne was supposed to be waiting in Rosco's patrol car about two miles up, but she was now just arriving at the patrol car, having had to stop to change a flat on the pick up.
Route 14 was one of those roads that ran straight and gently sloped over hills for several miles. As MaryAnne came up to where the patrol car sat off the road, she could see the three cars heading her way. She pulled the pick up off the road and grabbed the shotgun from the front seat. She got out and ran to the patrol car.
She brought the car to life, turned on the gumballs and pulled out on to the road, blocking it. She then got out and scurried to the other side of the car. With shotgun in hand, she waited.
Down the road, Reg realized that there was a Sheriff's car in the road up ahead.
"Damn Charlie!" he exclaimed. "I told you that guy you ran off the road would go to the law. If Coltrane's waiting up there he must have his help behind us. Now what the hell do we do?"
"I ain't takin' any chances with Sheriff Rosco Coltrane. Turn this car around."
Reg turned the steering wheel hard to the left and brought the sedan completely around. He accelerated as Rosco flew by.
As Rosco was turning 'Miss Claudia' around, MaryAnne got into the patrol car and tore off down the road.
Eli had been hanging way back and saw the sedan and Rosco turn around. He had just enough time to turn the old Dodge to block the road and get out. He stood behind the car with shotgun in hand.
"Shoot!" Reg exclaimed.
"Go 'cross country."
"What? Are you kiddin'? It's been raining the last three days, that field's probably as soft as quicksand."
"Try to go around him then."
Reg did but the sedan didn't go far. It slipped into the ditch on the side of the road and continued to move until it hit the tree line if the woods. The right front fender caught on a tree, ripping apart from the rest of the car and bringing it to a stop.
Both Reg and Charlie scrambled out of the car and took off into the woods as Rosco and MaryAnne were coming to a stop. Susan was left behind in the car.
Rosco, MaryAnne and Eli all converged on the sedan at the same time. MaryAnne pulled open the back door and helped Susan to get out. As Rosco untied Susan's hands, MaryAnne removed the gag.
"Thank you," Susan sobbed. "Oh, thank you so much." As soon as her hands were free she threw her arms around Rosco.
"There, there," Rosco said. "You're safe now."
After a moment Susan let go.
"Okay MaryAnne," Rosco said, "I want you to take Susan back to town and call Senator Everett. Let him know she's okay."
"What are you gonna do?" MaryAnne asked.
"Go after them kidnappers."
"Rosco, you can't do that by yourself," she protested. "They could be anywhere in these woods. Shouldn't you call the state police now?"
"MaryAnne, I ain't got time to argue and I ain't got time to wait for the state police. I'm goin' after them. Now git!" Rosco went to the Dodge and grabbed his shotgun. MaryAnne and Eli took Susan to Eli's car. MaryAnne watched Rosco head into
"Don't worry MaryAnne," Eli said. "I'll stay here. You get Miss Everett back to town."
"All right," she said. She looked at Susan. "Let's go let your daddy know you're okay."
* * *
Maybe MaryAnne was right, Rosco thought as he stood by a tree and carefully looked around, maybe I should call the state police. The woods he was in consisted of several hundred acres. If the kidnappers continued north, perpendicular to Route 14, they'd end up at Hoit Road. If they went east, parallel to Route 14, they'd end up back at Hazzard Lake. If they went west they'd end up at Jeb Carpenter's place. Thing was, did the kidnappers know all that?
Rosco knew he didn't have time to go back to his patrol car and call the state police on the radio. So he continued on, going deeper into the woods.
* * *
MaryAnne, meanwhile, was speeding back to Hazzard.
"The man in the red plaid shirt," Susan said, "that was the Sheriff right?"
"Yep. Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. Come to think of it we never introduced ourselves to you did we? The other guy is my father, Eli Coltrane and my name is MaryAnne."
"You're all related?"
"Yeah," MaryAnne smiled. "Rosco's my cousin. It's not the first time my father and I have helped him with something."
"Are you deputies?"
"No. Rosco ain't got no deputies. I think that's why your father contacted him. The kidnappers threatened to kill you if your father went to the state police or the FBI. But with Rosco being the only law man in all of Hazzard County, it was easier to keep things quiet and low key."
"I owe all of you a debt of gratitude," Susan said. "You saved my life."
"Well, it was Rosco's idea to spook the kidnappers. My father and I were just there for back up."
"Well, your cousin should be given a medal or something. I think he's the greatest."
MaryAnne smiled. "Yeah, I think he's pretty great too."
* * *
The two kidnappers had stopped running and were laying low in the woods. They could see Rosco, but Rosco could not see them.
"That looks like Coltrane," Charlie said. "I'm gonna enjoy this." He raised his gun and pulled the trigger.
Rosco flinched when the bullet hit the tree a few feet away from him. He crouched down and crawled over to a large tree. Carefully, he looked in the direction the bullet had come from. The kidnappers were very well hid.
"Dang," Rosco whispered. Clearly, the kidnappers had the advantage at the moment. They had an idea where Rosco was, but he didn't know where they were.
Eli had heard the shot as well and he had all these terrible thoughts running through his mind. He knew the shot was from a pistol and not Rosco's shotgun. What bothered him was that he didn't hear Rosco shoot back and was afraid that maybe he
Rosco was still anxiously looking in the direction the shot had some from. If he waited long enough the kidnappers may try to run. If they did then he could turn the advantage back to him by firing over their heads.
MaryAnne, meanwhile, was pulling up to the courthouse in town. She and Susan got out of the car and ran up the steps.
They burst into the booking room and MaryAnne went to the phone. She pulled out the piece of paper in her pocket that had Senator Everett's phone number on it. She picked up the receiver and dialed.
"Hello?" the Senator said anxiously.
"Senator Everett? My name's MaryAnne Coltrane, I'm Sheriff Coltrane's cousin. I have somebody here who is very anxious to talk to you." She handed the receiver to Susan.
"Daddy?" Susan said. "Daddy, it's me. I'm okay."
* * *
Senator Everett was ecstatic to hear his daughter's voice and to know that she was alive and okay. He told Susan over the phone that he was on his way down from the Capitol. She told him she would be waiting at the courthouse.
Knowing MaryAnne was anxious about Rosco, Susan told her to go back out to Route 14 and make sure he came back alive and in one piece. She'd wait for her father.
MaryAnne jumped into 'Miss Claudia' and tore out of town.
As she was driving like a bootlegger with twenty revenuers on her tail, Reg and Charlie were wondering what happened to Rosco.
"How come he ain't fired back?" Reg asked.
"Probably can't see us," Charlie said. He paused a moment. "C'mon," he said and led Reg in the direction Rosco was in, trying to stay low.
Rosco saw them as soon as they started moving. He aimed the shotgun above their heads and pulled the trigger.
Reg and Charlie hit the ground as the bullet ripped through the leaves above them.
"Careful!" Rosco called. "I'll part your hair for ya!"
"He's starting to make me mad," Charlie muttered to Reg. Charlie suddenly got up on his knees and rapidly fired the five remaining shots in the direction Rosco was in.
Charlie remained on his knees after all the bullets had discharged and silence returned to the forest.
"How 'bout it now Coltrane?" he called.
No response came from Rosco.
Charlie and Reg got to their feet. Charlie started to walk toward where Rosco was, when Reg grabbed his arm.
"I'm gonna finish him off," Charlie said.
"Forget him! Let's get the hell out of here. If we get caught they'll fry us for sure. Killing a Sheriff and kidnapping. Dammit Charlie this is Georgia! Let's go while we can."
Charlie paused a moment, looking at Reg then in the direction Rosco was.
"Yeah, all right," he said. "Let's go."
They ran north, heading toward Hoit Road.
Eli had felt relief when he heard the shotgun and Rosco's voice. The five rapid shots, however, turned his stomach.
That was it. Eli couldn't stand waiting around any longer. He went to the patrol car and grabbed his other shotgun, and went into the woods.
MaryAnne meanwhile, instead of going back to Route 14 went to Hoit Road. The kidnappers wouldn't try to go back to Route 14, or back to Hazzard Lake, so that left Hoit Road and Jeb Carpenter's place. If they went to Carpenter's place he'd probably shoot them on site, so MaryAnne went Hoit Road. Of course, she didn't stop to think what good a seventeen-year-old girl with a shotgun would be against two men who may or may not have been armed.
As she turned on to Hoit Road, she saw two men walking along the road. She put her right hand on the shotgun that was on the seat and accelerated.
The two men turned as MaryAnne came up to them. Recognizing 'Miss Claudia' the two men tried to run but MaryAnne cut them off and brought the car to a stop in front of them. She pointed the shotgun out the open driver side window.
"Hold it right there fellas," she said. Charlie dropped the empty gun before he and Reg put their hands up. Carefully, MaryAnne got out of the car.
"All right, I want you to put your hands on the trunk of the car right where I can see 'em. Don't do anything cute, 'cuz I'll blow you into, through, and beyond the next county."
Charlie and Reg did as they were told. Holding the shotgun under her right arm, MaryAnne pulled the two sets of cuffs out of her back pocket that she had grabbed from the booking room.
"Okay, I want both of you to put your hands behind you."
They did, and while keeping one eye on Reg, she put the cuffs on Charlie. When they were secure, she slapped the other pair on Reg.
She opened the back door. "Now, if you two will get in the car I can take you Sheriff Coltrane so he can read you your rights, although you don't deserve any."
"I don't think Sheriff Coltrane's in any position to be reading anybody their rights," Charlie said.
"What are you talkin' about?"
Charlie smiled. Without another word he got into the car followed by Reg.
MaryAnne knew exactly what that smile meant and she slammed the back door angrily. A part of her didn't believe Charlie, but it was a very tiny part. She got into the drivers seat and brought the car to life. She then tore off back down the road and headed toward Route 14.
When she arrived she didn't see her father. She pulled the car off the road behind the green Dodge. She got out, taking the keys and shotgun with her, and went into the woods.
"Papa?" she called.
"Over here MaryAnne," he called back. MaryAnne turned to look and saw her father. She ran to him.
"Papa, where's Rosco?"
"I don't know. There was some shootin' but most of it came from them kidnappers."
"Whadya mean you know?"
"I caught 'em Papa. There were on Hoit Road." She paused. "Papa, I think Rosco might be--"
"Now don't think like that MaryAnne," Eli scolded. "I'm sure Rosco's all right, let's just go find him."
He gave her shoulder a pat, and they split up to look for Rosco.
MaryAnne, although she didn't know it, headed in the direction where Rosco was. She made her way toward him, dreadfully looking for the red plaid shirt. When she was a few feet away from him, she spotted it between the leaves of plants. Rosco was on the ground.
"Oh Lord," she whispered. "Papa!"
Eli ran to where MaryAnne stood. He spotted Rosco lying on the ground, shotgun resting across him.
Together, they knelt down next to him. As MaryAnne carefully took the gun from Rosco limp grip, Eli gently placed three fingers on Rosco's neck to feel for a pulse.
"Tell me he's all right Papa."
Eli paused a moment then looked at MaryAnne. He smiled.
"Are you sure? What happened to him?"
Eli lightly patted Rosco on the side of the face. After a moment, Rosco's eyes fluttered open.
Eli looked at MaryAnne. "He passed out."
MaryAnne giggled in relief. "Ah yes, the most feared lawman in these parts." She looked at Rosco.
"Congratulations Rosco, you did it." She helped him to sit up.
"I did? But wait, the kidnappers, they got away."
"No they didn't. C'mon, we'll show you," she said as she and Eli helped Rosco to stand and led him out of the woods.
When they reached Eli's car, MaryAnne pulled open the back door.
Rosco looked. "Judas priest on a pony. Charlie Phelps, haven't you learned you ain't gonna get away with anything in Hazzard County?"
"You know who these guys are Rosco?" MaryAnne asked.
"Just that one," he said, pointing to Charlie. He slammed the back door shut and turned to MaryAnne and Eli. "He's been getting into trouble for as long as I can remember. I must've arrested twenty times in the last five years." He looked at Eli.
"How'd you catch 'em?"
"I didn't catch 'em. She did." He pointed to MaryAnne.
"I sure did," she said. "After Susan called her dad she told me to come back out here and make sure you came back in one piece. Instead of coming here I went down Hoit Road and there they were. I'll tell ya though I don't think I'll do anything that gutsy again for awhile."
Both Rosco and Eli smiled, and Rosco put his arm around MaryAnne's shoulders.
"Eli, you got some daughter here," Rosco said.
"Yeah, I know." He looked at her. "Don't know where she gets it though."
They all broke up into laughter.
* * *
When Boss Hogg returned to the courthouse he was shocked to find Senator Everett and Susan there. The Senator explained to Boss what had been happening and what Rosco had been doing.
"Rosco?" Boss said. "Rosco P. Coltrane?"
"Yes," the Senator said with a laugh. "I can see know why he's considered one of the best Sheriffs in the state."
"He is?" Boss said. News to him.
"And he ain't even got any deputies," Susan added. "His uncle and cousin helped him."
Outside, Rosco, MaryAnne and Eli were pulling up to the courthouse. Boss, the Senator and Susan went out to greet them.
Before Rosco got Charlie and Reg out of his patrol, Susan ran up to him and gave him a hug.
"I'm so glad you're all okay," she said. She hugged MaryAnne and Eli too.
"So am I," Senator Everett said. He shook hands with Rosco. "Thank you so much."
"Well, like I said before," Rosco said, "just doin' my job."
Senator Everett shook hands with Eli and MaryAnne too, thanking them for their help.
After Rosco put Charlie and Reg in jail, he called the State Police which set the ball rolling of media coverage on Hazzard County.
Not one to miss and opportunity to look good, Boss Hogg used the gazebo in the middle of Hazzard square the next day for him and the Senator to publicly praise Rosco along with MaryAnne and Eli for their heroic efforts to save Susan. Everybody in
Hazzard County and half a dozen newspapers from around the state were there.
To Ann-Marie, Rosco went from an everyday country sheriff to a knight in shining armor. After Boss and the Senator finished their remarks, Ann-Marie went right up to the gazebo and gave Rosco a kiss on the cheek. The crowd laughed and applauded,
MaryAnne giggled and Rosco began to wonder if he was going to regret taking Ann-Marie to the dance the following week. A photographer snapped a picture of the kiss which ended up on the front page of the Hazzard Gazette.
Afterwards, Senator Everett talked to Boss Hogg about trying to get Rosco's pension off the ballot. Boss explained that Rosco's pension was part of the County Employees Pension Fund, where everyone's money was pooled together and invested.
Separating just Rosco's pension would be difficult. But, Boss said he'd do what he could, which Rosco knew meant nothing.
"I'm sorry I couldn't convince Commissioner Hogg to spare your pension," the Senator said. He and Susan stood with Rosco outside of the courthouse. "A good officer like you doesn't deserve to be short changed like that."
Rosco shrugged. "I don't think even the President could convince Boss to spare it. I do want to thank you for trying."
"It was the least I could do after all you did. I only wish I was more sucessful."
"Well, maybe the citizens of Hazzard County will spare it."
"Let's hope so." The Senator put his hand out. "Thanks again Sheriff. If there's ever anything I can do for you let me know."
Rosco shook the Senators hand. "I will and you're welcome."
Susan gave Rosco a hug goodbye and then she and her father got into their car.
They waved as they drove away and Rosco watched the car until it disappeared out of the square.
* * *
Tuesday, November 3, 1974
The fateful election day had arrived, and on his lunch hour, Rosco went to the Boar's Nest to cast his vote.
When he went in, Rosco signed the register sheet and was handed two ballots, one for the bond election, the other for the municipal election. He then headed to one of the booths and stepped inside.
He went through the municipal ballot first, checking off the names of those who currently held the office, most of which were running unopposed, like him. Under "Sheriff of Hazzard County," he voted for some fellow named Rosco P. Coltrane.
When he finished, he put the municipal ballot aside and went to work on the bond ballot. The ballot consisted of only three questions. The first asked, "Would you support the County cutting the County Road Repair budget to pay for the two bonds?"
Rosco snorted. What was the difference? Roads in Hazzard County were never repaired, and those that were under construction had been for the past ten years anyway. He checked 'yes.'
The next question asked, "Would you support the County cutting the Capital Improvement budget to pay for the two bonds?"
Most folks in Hazzard didn't know what the Capital Improvement budget was. They thought it was money the county sent to the Capitol for improvement there. Believing that, they would vote yes, thinking the state already takes enough money in the
form of taxes and what money they took didn't do much to improve the Capitol.
Rosco, however, knew what the Capital Improvement budget was. That was money used to fix up schools, libraries, county buildings, etc.. If folks in Hazzard knew that, they probably wouldn't let the county touch the budget. Rosco, on the other hand,
would rather have the county courthouse collapse then lose his pension. He checked 'yes.'
The last question was the one he'd been dreading. "Would you support the County cutting the Hazzard County Employees Pension Fund to pay for the two bonds?"
Without further thought, Rosco checked 'no.'
He put the pencil down and collected the two ballots, checking them over to make sure his marks were where and how they were supposed to be. He then pulled the red, white and blue curtain aside and exited the booth.
After turning in his ballots he left the Boar's Nest, reflecting on the fact that a week before he could have nearly lost his life.
Was it really worth it? he wondered as he walked back to his patrol car. He had put in twenty-five long, hard, underpaid years, sixteen of them as Sheriff, serving and protecting the citizens of Hazzard County. Would their vote to cut the pension be their
way of saying thank you? Thanks but no thanks, he thought bitterly.
As history knows, and he'll certainly never forget, Rosco lost his pension that day. Ninety-five percent of Hazzard voters supported his reelection though. Thinking he'd still be in a bad mood by Friday, he tried to get out of going to the dance with Ann-Marie. She wouldn't hear of it.
"No way Rosco," Ann-Marie said when he called and told her. "You're not weasling your way out on me now."
"But Ann-Marie, I just lost my pension. I put in twenty-five years for nothin'."
"Oh pension shmension. Rosco, you've had a tough coupla weeks and I think it'll do you good to get out and just forget everything for awhile."
"I'll tell you what. Come with me Friday night. If you're not in a better mood within two hours after we get there then I'll let you go home."
Rosco though for a moment. "All right," he said. "I guess that's fair."
Ann-Marie turned out to be right and Rosco actually had a good time. And when Ann-Marie turned off her seductress act long enough, she turned out to be a pretty good hearted woman.
At least, from the table she was sitting at in the shadows that night, MaryAnne thought so.
Back to the Coltranes of Finchburg.