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.
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© Copyright: 1996-2004. Lisa Philbrick
The Dukes of Hazzard
Radios through out Hazzard County, from the Duke farm to the Sheriff’s
station, broadcasted the following message:
“The National Weather Service in Atlanta, Georgia has issued the falling tornado watch for Hazzard, Chickasaw, Hatchapie and Lampton Counties. Under a watch, conditions are right for the formation of tornados, high winds, and heavy rain....”
Friends and neighbors, tornado season has arrived in Hazzard County and the first one to hit Hazzard in several years was not going to do so sedately.
At the courthouse, Rosco looked up from the teletype sheet and glanced out the window. The sidewalk and street infront of the courthouse were soaked with rain, but the shower had stopped just a few minutes ago. He frowned, knowing tornados could pop up at almost any time on a day like today, but a watch? He shrugged and turned to Enos and MaryAnne.
“Whatchya got?” MaryAnne asked.
“The National Weather Service is issuing a tornado watch for Hazzard,” Rosco replied and handed the sheet to his cousin. She looked at it and gave a snort. “That’s nice. They issue these things like it’s going outta style.”
“They wouldn’t issue ‘em if the conditions weren’t right.”
“I know. But we use to hear them all the time in Finchburg County and not once did a tornado touch down anywhere inside the county line.” She handed the sheet back to Rosco. “I think they just like to get folks all worried for nothing.”
“Well, it don’t hurt to be prepared.”
MaryAnne smiled. “I didn’t say it did. I just ain’t goin’ runnin’ to the storm celler yet.” She turned and started towards the door. “I’ll see ya later!”
* * *
Over at Rhuebottom’s General Store, Jesse Duke and his niece Daisy were finishing up on their last minute shopping for storm supplies.
When it came to Mother Nature, ol’ Jesse didn’t mess around. Although the county was only under a tornado watch, Jesse had the boys getting the farm ready for a storm while he and Daisy were picking up a few supplies.
After paying for their items, Jesse and Daisy loaded the three bags into Jesse’s pick up truck. Jesse looked up to see MaryAnne come out of the courthouse. The young Coltrane waved to the Duke patriach and his neice and they waved back. After MaryAnne got into her patrol car and drove away, Jesse looked to the grey sky and suddenly his big toe started hurting. And that meant trouble.
“What’s wrong, Uncle Jesse?” Daisy asked.
“My big toe’s a hurtin’. And you know that means trouble.”
Daisy smiled, but she knew that when Jesse’s big toe hurt, it did mean trouble. There had been too many times before when events had occurred beyond coincidence.
“I’m sure everything will be okay, Uncle Jesse. We’ll probably just get a lot of rain with the storm.”
“I hope that’s all too. And I hope MaryAnne there is back in town before anything happens.”
“I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
I dunno, Daisy. Jesse’s toe’s a-hurtin’, a tornado’s coming....it just don’t look right from here.
MaryAnne eased her patrol car through a deep puddle of mud and turned onto Old Stage Road. The wind began to pick up more, pushing the patrol car a little, like a bully shoving the little kid on the play ground. MaryAnne looked around outside of her patrol car, giving the wind a dirty look.
“Hello? This is farmer Jacobs. You out there MaryAnne? Rosco or Enos?”
MaryAnne picked up her radio mike. “This is MaryAnne, Mr. Jacobs. What’s wrong?”
“My truck’s stuck in a ditch here on County 66. All this mud...and with this storm comin’...I’m a little stranded.”
“Hang tight, Mr. Jacobs, I’ll be there in a little bit.”
“Okay. Thanks, MaryAnne.”
MaryAnne spotted the turn off to Route 21 and took it. She stepped up the speed of the patrol car as much as she could, fighting more gusts of wind. After a particularly strong gust, the distant sound of a tornado siren could be heard.
The young Coltrane creased her eyebrows and looked around her. The sky was still fairly light, although grey and she could see no indication of an imminent twister. She grabbed up her radio mike.
“Rosco? I just heard a tornado siren go off...but it don’t seem like a twister is anywhere around. You think the strong winds we got coulda triggered ‘em?”
“Maybe. We just got the updated bulliten and it doesn’t say any funnels have been sighted yet.”
“Okay. Well, I’m gonna pick up Mr. Jacobs and get my posterior back to town. It’s actually kinda creepy out here, with that siren goin’ off.”
“I will. I’m gone.”
Not quite three minutes after placing her radio mike down, the sky suddenly turned darker. A sound, like that of a rushing engine of a train filled her ears and rain suddenly poured out of the sky in buckets, drenching the patrol car. It then shifted, assualting the car and windshield horizontally, like a thousand crystal daggers trying to smash through the glass.
MaryAnne slammed the breaks and gripped the steering wheel. The weight of the patrol car shifted instantly...upwards, the tail of the Plymouth getting sucked into the funnel and it swallowed the white car, it’s ferocious roar drowning out the deputy’s
Friends and neighbors...I’m prayin’
Back at the courthouse, Rosco felt a chill go through him. He shrugged it off and turned to look out the window. The rain had started again and he watched the trees in the square sway in the wind.
After five minutes of silence the radio came to life.
“Sheriff Coltrane....Rosco, this is Homer Jacobs, can you hear me?”
Rosco and Enos both turned to the radio set. Rosco walked towards the booking desk and gestured for Enos to hand him the mike. The deputy did so.
“I hear ya, Homer. What’s wrong?”
“I think a twister just touched down...I’m not sure, tho’, but the sky’s awfully dark over by Young’s Hill...do you know where MaryAnne was? I thought she’d be here by now...”
“Hold on, Homer.” Rosco looked at Enos. “Where’s the patrol map?”
Enos handed Rosco the county map, that had been divided up into six sections with red marker. Rosco picked out the section MaryAnne took for today and found County 66. He traced his finger along the road to....Young’s Hill, Route 21. They were
all in her block, and Route 21 would have been the only route she could have taken to get to County 66.
Rosco felt the same chill again and this time he looked at Enos in concern. “Enos, she may have been caught by it...”
The deputy’s jaw dropped a bit and Rosco lifted the radio mike. “Homer, I think something’s gone wrong....it’s possible she got caught by the twister, if she was over by Young’s Hill.”
“Oh no...Rosco, I’m sorry...”
“Listen, Homer, I’m gonna see if I can get Cooter to come get you okay?”
Rosco handed the mike back to Enos. He then grabbed his hat off the booking desk and turned to the doors.
“Sheriff, where you going?”
“I’m going to find her, Enos.”
“But, Sheriff wait! If there’s still storms out there, you could get hurt.”
“Enos, I’m aware of that. But I gotta find her okay? I’ll be alright.” Rosco continued on and out the doors of the booking room.
Enos sighed, “Yes sir...”
Enos knew not to try to change Rosco’s mind, considering what was at stake. And I think we all know that come hell or high water, Rosco was gonna do whatever he had to do to find MaryAnne and bring her back to safety.
In between the slaps of the wiper blades on the windshield, Rosco spotted MaryAnne’s patrol car. His jaw dropped at the sight, the Plymouth Fury was wedged into the rocky incline of the ditch off the road, on it’s roof. The back fender on the passenger side was crunched into the trunk of the a tree. Rosco slammed the brakes and jumped out of his car.
“MaryAnne!” He climbed down the ditch and around to the passenger side of the patrol car. He stopped at the sight of MaryAnne’s limp hand extending out the window. He then kneeled down and gently touched his index and middle fingers to her wrist. Her skin was cold and wet from the rain, but the pulse was there and Rosco drew in a heavy sigh. He then bent down to look into the car and saw his young cousin’s brown hair and the dark red spots on the shoulder of her uniform.
“Oh Lord..” Rosco whispered. He blinked the rain out of his eyes and pushed his hair off his forehead. “Hang on, MaryAnne, I’ll get you outta there.” He got up and climbed back up to the road and ran to his patrol car. He pulled open the door and
grabbed for the CB mike.
“Enos, you gotcha ears on? Listen, I found MaryAnne. Her patrol car’s in a ditch here on Route 21 and I think she’s pretty badly injured. I’m gonna call Tri-County and maybe get her out of there myself. You copy?”
“Ten-four, Sheriff. But there’s reports of more twisters headin’ through Hazzard. Do you want me to come out and help?”
“I’d rather you didn’t, Enos. If there’s more twisters coming, I’d prefer you to stay put.”
“Enos! That’s an order. Stay where you are!”
Enos hesitated. “Yes, sir. Be careful out there okay?”
“I will, Enos. I’m gone.” Rosco paused and then pushed the talk button again. “This is Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane of Hazzard County calling Tri-County hospital. I’ve got an injured deputy trapped in her patrol car and am requesting some assisstance. Over.”
It was a moment before a woman’s voice came back.
“Sheriff Coltrane this is Doctor Shelly Stanton. What’s your current location?”
“Route 21. I’m about 3 miles from the old railroad crossing.”
“Okay. I don’t have an ambulance to spare from this location at this time, but I’ve put a call into the Chickasaw City Fire Deparment and they’ll be sending an ambulance.”
“Chickasaw City?” Rosco asked. Panic started to set in now. “But, it’s gonna take ‘em atleast 20 minutes to get here!”
“I’m aware of that. I’m willing to coach you along to make sure your deputy is stabilized until they get there.”
“Uhh...” Rosco looked at the wrecked patrol car in the ditch. “Well, I don’t know if the CB in her car is working or not. She’s a good twenty feet away from me right now.”
“Okay. Do you have an portable radio and a med kit?”
Rosco blinked his eyes and the rain was coming down harder. He thought a moment and then answered. “Yeah, yeah I do.”
“Okay, get the med kit and radio and get down to that car. Call me when you’re situated.”
“Ten-four.” Rosco dropped the CB mike on the driver’s seat and grabbed the keys out of the ignition and went to the trunk of his patrol car and opened it. His uniform was soaked through now, but Rosco thought nothing of it as he grabbed the med kit and radio. He adjusted the frequency on the radio and ran back to MaryAnne’s patrol car.
When he as back down in the ditch he placed the med kit down and pushed the talk button on the radio.
“Doctor Stanton? This is Sheriff Coltrane. Can you read me?”
“Loud and clear, Sheriff,” Shelly said. “Okay, now can you tell me what kind of situation we’ve got?”
“Uh, well her patrol car’s on it’s roof and down in a ditch. It’s stuck between a rock and a tree on the sides.”
“Is she inside the car?”
“Can you describe the position she’s in?”
“She’s laying on the ceiling, kinda face down. I can’t see much from the side window here.”
“Can you get into the car?”
“Uh...” Rosco looked at the car and saw his only options were either the back doors or the back window.
“Yeah,” he continued. “It’s gonna take me a minute tho’.”
“Okay, see if you can get into the car. I’m gonna need you to get me some of her vital signs.”
“Ten-four.” Rosco put the radio down and crawled to the back of the patrol car. He slid under the upside down trunk and looked into the car. He figured the back window was his best option, so he pulled his pearl handled pistol out of it’s soaked holster and turned the butt of it toward the window. In one swift motion, the glass broke. Rosco knocked out the rest of the glass creating an opening wide enough to crawl through. He carefully brushed the glass out of the inside of the car and went back to get the radio and med kit. When he returned, he pushed the kit and radio into the car and then crawled in himself.
“Dang car seems a lot smaller upside down,” he muttered as he managed to get on his knees and get close enough to his couisn to turn her on her back. He stopped though, wondering if he shouldn’t. He picked up the radio.
“Doc, I’m in the car,” he said. “What do I do now?”
“Okay, do you know how to measure a heart rate?”
“Uh...” Rosco paused, realizing he was going to have to try to remember all the stuff from the basic medical training he, Enos and MaryAnne had done awhile back. “Yeah, I do,” he answered finally.
“Okay, go ahead and get her rate.”
Rosco gently took a hold of MaryAnne’s wrist and found her pulse again.
It’s so slow!
Rosco paused to do the figuring and then spoke into the radio. “Her heart rate’s 48, Doc. It’s awfully slow.”
“It is. Can you tell me what kind of injuries she has?”
“Not really. Should I try to turn her on her back?”
“Carefully. Don’t move her any more than you have to until we can figure out what’s wrong.”
“Yeah...” Rosco placed the radio down and then slowly started to turn MaryAnne over towards him.
He gasped and his jaw dropped a bit when he saw her. There seemed to be blood everywhere, soaked into the roof lining, all down the side of her face, her neck and soaked into the collar of her uniform shirt.
“Oh Lord....oh my Lord...” Rosco closed his eyes and turned his head away. He drew in a ragged breath and covered his face with his left hand, fighting the threat of tears. “Oh no...”
Rosco swallowed hard and picked up the radio. “Doc....Doc, she’s bleeding. It’s...it’s everywhere...”
“Where is she wounded?”
“I don’t know...I think it’s a head wound maybe...” He glanced at MaryAnne briefly, wondering if he was going to lose her.
Dear God don’t have me lose her now...
“Doc, I don’t know if I can do this...”
“Sheriff, listen to me. It may not be as bad as it looks. If it’s a head wound, those tend to bleed a lot anyway. Now I know you can do this and I know you can help her. I’m right here to coach you through it okay?”
“But Doc, you don’t understand. This isn’t just one of my deputies here. It’s my cousin, my kin! I can be such a klutz that I may end up hurtin’ her more than helpin’ her.”
“No, you won’t. You can help her, Sheriff. If you don’t do anything for her she may die!”
Rosco clenched his hand into a fist. “No! Doc, I ain’t gonna let her die! You hear me?? I ain’t!!”
“Well alright then. Now pull yourself together and tell me where she’s wounded.”
Rosco paused, taking a deep breath. He had to dig down deep to find the courage to continue and pull himself together. The life of MaryAnne was hanging in the balance now. This was not time for doubt or for second-guessing himself. He had to do what he had to do and he had to do it for MaryAnne’s sake.
It’s times like this when you find out what a person can do. And when it’s family, the possibilties are endless.
Rosco looked at his cousin. The sight of the blood still made him a bit nauseaus, but he fought it to pin point where she was bleeding from. Her hair was wet with blood as well and Rosco found the wound, about an inch from her hair line near her temple.
Rosco raised the radio. “She’s got a cut near her temple. I can’t tell how deep it is tho’.”
“Okay. Open up the med kit. I’m gonna coach you through cleaning her up a bit and bandaging the wound.”
Rosco had no idea that he had an audience listenin’ to his personal drama. With the phones and electricity out, folks in Hazzard were tunin’ in their car or portable CB radios and as they flipped from one channel to another they heard Rosco’s defiant claim that he wasn’t going to let MaryAnne die. Even the Dukes, huddled in their storm celler were listenin’.
“Okay, Doc, I’m set.”
“You should have two bottles in the kit, sterile alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.”
Rosco looked. “Affirmative.”
“How many guaze packs do you have?”
Rosco counted the packs. “Six.”
“Okay, is there anything in there to use to wrap around her head, like an ace bandage?”
“Uh...” Rosco rummaged through the box. “No, nothing. No ace bandage or anything.”
“You’re going to need something to wrap around her head to hold the guaze packs in place after you clean around the wound. Is there anything you can use?”
Rosco looked around in frantic thought. Should I cut a piece of the roof lining? He then looked at his necktie but it was wet from the rain.
But hers isn’t!
“Yeah,” he said into the radio. “I can use her necktie.”
“Good. Okay, go ahead and use one of the guazes for cleaning her face. Use the sterile alcohol.”
Rosco ripped open one of the guaze packs and then opened the bottle of sterile alcohol. He wet the cloth and then gently cleaned the side of his cousin’s face and neck.
Now she was looking a little better. He wiped up the last of the blood on her neck and then picked up the radio.
“She’s looking better, Doc,”
Shelly smiled. “That’s good. Now, are there surgical gloves in the med kit?”
“Put them on. As much as I know you don’t want to look at it, I need you to describe the wound to me in detail.”
Rosco swallowed. “Alright.” He pulled out a pair of surgical gloves and slapped them on. He then carefully parted MaryAnne’s brown hair to get a closer look at the wound.
“Eeww,” he said softly. “Sweetheart what did you hit?”
Rosco’s nausea was gone now. The determination to help his cousin was helping him get through having to look at the sight of blood. He got a good look at the laceration and then picked up the radio.
“It looks like it might be deep, Doc. And it’s about a half inch long.”
“Is it still bleeding?”
“Is the blood coming out in spurts? At the same rate as her pulse?”
Rosco watched the wound. “No.”
“Well, that’s good. If it’s deep tho’, I can’t risk you trying to clean it, you may agravate it more. So I just want you to put three of the gauze packs on it and tie the necktie around her head firmly but not too tightly.”
“Okay.” With a nervous chuckle he added, “I can do that.”
Rosco carefully undid MaryAnne’s tie and then went about applying the gauze packs to her head wound. He gently wrapped the black cloth around her head and tied the two tails across her forehead. He then admired his work for a moment and lightly touched a finger to her chin, noticing how pale she was. “I hope I’m doing this right...” He drew a heavy sigh and then picked up the radio.
“Okay, Doc. All set.”
“Alright, now we have to check for any more injuries she may have. Broken bones or any other lacerations.”
“Broken bones? How do I check for that?”
“Well, look at her arms and legs. Are they bent funny? Are they in a position they wouldn’t naturally be in?”
Rosco reached out with his left hand and gently touched MaryAnne’s arms, checking that everything was right. He then checked her legs from the knees down and they seemed okay.
“No, they look alright.”
“Okay, can you tell if she has broken ribs?”
Rosco swallowed. “Bro--Broken ribs?”
“Yes. I can only guess that when her car got picked up by the tornado and thrown in that ditch, that she got thrown around inside like a rag doll. You can’t see them now, but I’m sure she’s got some bad bruises.”
“Yeah,” Rosco agreed. His voice was shaky as he continued. “But, broken ribs? Doc...doesn’t that mean she could have internal bleeding?”
“Possibly. It doesn’t exactly take a broken rib to have internal injuries or bleeding.”
Oh thanks, that makes me feel a LOT better!
“How do I check?”
“Just gently feel around her rib cage. You’ll know if anything’s a miss, but if you’re not sure you’ve got your own to go by.”
Rosco inhaled deeply and held it, taking a moment to touch his hand to his rib cage. Visualizing the contours of the bone in his mind, he then let out the breath and carefully checked MaryAnne’s right side. Fearful of feeling something god awful like
jagged edges or having it move to his touch, Rosco slowly traced the palm of his left hand over his cousin’s petite frame.
Suddenly, she moved. Rosco gasped and stopped, looking at her and seeing her head started to move too.
She slightly moved her arms and shoulders and then opened her eyes. She stared staright ahead at the passenger seat that was above her.
Rosco saw the confusion on her face and he gently placed his hands on either side of her head. “MaryAnne, it’s me. You’re gonna be okay.”
She looked at him. “Rosco...”
Her pupils were dilated and Rosco couldn’t believe she was awake.
“Tornado. I think you tried to out drive it but it caught you anyways. You’ve got a pretty bad lookin’ head wound.”
MaryAnne closed her eyes briefly and then opened them again. “Everything...hurts.”
“Sheriff Coltrane? You still there?”
Rosco picked up the radio. “Doc, she’s awake.”
“Yeah. She’s really hurtin’ tho’...” Rosco paused as a gust of wind picked up through the patrol car. “Uh oh...”
“What’s wrong?” Shelly asked.
Rosco crouched to see through the driver’s side window. The sky was the dangerous dark grey of another coming twister and Rosco knew there was a chance that the car could get thrown again.
“Doc, there’s another twister coming. I’m afraid this car could get thrown again.”
MaryAnne lifted her hand to Rosco. He looked at her.
“Do you think you can crawl out of here?”
She nodded. “We could get...killed if we stay...”
Rosco lifted the radio. “Doc, I’m gonna try to get her out of the car and to mine. I might be able to out run the twister if we hurry.”
“Sheriff, that may be dangerous.”
“It’s just as dangerous if we stay in here! MaryAnne said she’s gonna try to crawl out of here. I can carry her to my patrol car if I have to.”
Shelly didn’t like it, but she knew it was dangerous for them to stay in the car especially if it got thrown again. “Alright, Sheriff. But I wanna hear your voice on this radio, ya hear me? I wanna know that you and your cousin are okay.”
“Fair enough. Talk to you in a few, Doc....and thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” Shelly said softly. “Talk to you in a few.”
“Ten-four.” Rosco put the radio aside and looked at MaryAnne. “You ready?”
She nodded and Rosco started to back his way to the rear window. MaryAnne slid as much as she could towards the exit of the car. Rosco crawled out and waited with his hand extended to her for her to pull herself to the window.
Once she was out of the car, she paused with the dizzyness swirling around her head. She managed to get to her knees but fell forward onto her hands. Rosco was right beside her, with a steadying hand.
“If you can stand up, I can carry you,” he said.
MaryAnne nodded. Rosco gave her his arm to lean on and slowly she stood on her feet.
“Rosco,... it feels like the whole world’s spinning...” MaryAnne could feel the rain on her face, the necktie around her head and just before her knees buckled out from under her, she felt Rosco lift her into a cradled carry. Her head was pounding in pain, and the rest of her felt just as bad. She held on to the front of Rosco’s shirt and tie as he carried her to his patrol car.
Rosco carried her around to the passenger side of the cruiser and he bent his knees a little to reach his hand to the door latch. The door popped open and before opening it completely he looked back down the road.
In the distance he saw the skinny funnel cloud. Now was not the time to stall. He pulled the door open and then put MaryAnne’s feet on the ground.
“Okay,” he said, turning her to get into the car. MaryAnne held on to the roof column and then landed in the passenger seat with an ‘oof.’ Her head rolled back against the head rest and Rosco lifted her leg into the car. He closed the door and ran around to the driver’s side. He looked at the twister again and then quickly got into the car. Gunning the engine, he floored the accelerator sending the patrol car sliding in the mud before it got it’s grip with the road and tore on to town.
Rosco grabbed the CB mike. “Doc Stanton? This is Sheriff Coltrane. I’ve got her in the car and I’m heading to town now.”
“Are you ahead of the twister?”
“Affirmitive, and I intend to keep it that way!”
“How’s the patient?”
Rosco glanced at MaryAnne. She was leaning back against the seat with her eyes closed. “MaryAnne?”
The young Coltrane didn’t respond and Rosco wasn’t surprised she had passed out.
“She’s out, Doc, which I’m not surprised.”
“Is she bleeding any more?”
Rosco glanced at the guaze pack on her head. “I don’t think so. But I ain’t sure, the guaze packs are all there.”
“Has it soaked through?”
Rosco looked again. “No.”
“Where are you taking her?”
“To the courthouse. I figure the basement will be the safest place and there’s the bunks in the cells down there.”
“Alright, I’m going to tell the ambulance from Chickasaw City to head straight there.”
“Thanks, Doc.” Rosco glanced in his rearview mirror and saw the twister was coming closer. “Doc, I gotta drive and I can’t be yappin’ on the CB while I’m doing it. Stand by.”
Rosco dropped the CB mike and gripped the steering wheel with both hands. The Plymouth leap frogged over the dip in the road and sent mud flying as it landed. The white car was covered in streaks of brown mud over the doors and fenders. The wind gusted behind the car, pushing it along and then turning against it the next moment. Rosco looked at the rearview mirror and saw the twister becoming bigger.
The push of the wind against the patrol car was becoming more and more forceful and began tugging at it in different directions. Rosco was begining to wonder if he was going to be able to out run it at all especially when he glanced at the speedomoter and saw he was pushing the 70 mark. As the needle creeped towards 75, Rosco glanced at the mirror again and saw the dirt and debris flying down the road behind him and the tell tale swirling of dirt into a funnel of destruction.
Up the road, Rosco saw the Garrison Road bridge. The heavy wooden structure had survived three previous tornados in the last thirty years. Rosco decided to take a chance and hope that luck was holding out for a forth time. He slowed the patrol car and snaked it around and down underneath the bridge, nudging the passenger side fender against the earth of the embankment of the now empty creek bed. In the dark, Rosco found his cousin’s hand and held it whispering both a prayer and an apology.
Friends and neighbors, that bridge better hold out for this one time. Because if it doesn’t, no speedin’ ticket in Hazzard will ever be the same again.
The patrol car shook with the gusts of wind that blew under the bridge. The little remaining light disappeared and small pieces of debris started to assualt the car. The wooden beams of the bridge creaked and moaned and one piece, about the size of a two by four, let go and came flying under the bridge, impaling itself through the windshield.
“Ahh!!” Rosco jumped in his seat and pushed himself back against it, away from the wooden dagger that rested on the dashboard just to the right of the steering wheel with shards of glass sprinkled around it.
Rosco wasn’t sure if his own heart was beating anymore, but he managed to push the two by four out on to the hood of the patrol car. As quickly as everything had started, it ended. The wind subsided a bit and the bridge above him was still intact. Light started to return to his eyes and he could now feel his heart pounding in his chest. The tornado had passed and he and MaryAnne, atleast at the moment, were okay.
Rosco swallowed and drew in a ragged breath. “Thank you, Lord....” MaryAnne’s hand was still in his and he gave it a gentle squeeze before letting go. Rosco started his patrol car and brought the battered machine out from under the bridge and looked for a section of the incline suitable enough to get the car back on the road. When the car was back on the dirt road, Rosco stared at the path of devastation the tornado had left in it’s wake.
The rain had stopped and the sky was now a light grey. The road before Rosco was littered with branches and limbs from trees, leaves, pieces of wood, rocks. Everything that could be moved by some force had been picked up and played with by the tornado and then tossed aside without further regard.
Rosco drove around the the huge limbs that looked like ripped apart corn shucks. He then suddenly remembered the CB and he picked up the mike.
Silence. Rosco looked in his rearview mirror and saw his CB antenna was gone.
With Rosco unable to communicate with the rest of Hazzard or with Doctor Stanton, it was going to make for a long afternoon. And a lot of folks took the silence on the CB as a bad sign that Rosco and MaryAnne were gone.
At Tri-County hospital, Doctor Stanton sat at the desk where the CB unit was and buried her face in her hands. She had tried four times to raise the Sheriff on the CB and only recieved an answer from Enos and the unwanted news that the Sheriff and his cousin had not made it to town. Enos then told the doctor that a twister was heading straight for town and Shelly had the horrible feeling that the Sheriff had been caught by that very same twister.
Those who still had functioning CB’s heard the same message. As the town itself braced for impact, Rosco was just trying to get MaryAnne to a place where she could be treated. But the sight that greeted him when he came around the turn was going to slow things up a bit.
Just up the road was the homestead of John and Sally Freemont, a young couple who had an eight year old son named Randy. They had been in Hazzard no more than three years and the barn that John had spoken of being strong and sturdy was now
flattened and in ruin. The farm house was devastated as well.
Rosco saw Sally was standing alone in the drive amongst the remains crying hysterically. Rosco pulled over and got out of his patrol car. Despite MaryAnne being his priority, he couldn’t drive by something like this.
“Sally?” he said as he hurried towards her.
The young woman looked up at the Sheriff and seemed geniunely relieved to see him. “Oh Rosco!” she exclaimed, grabbing the Sheriff’s arm. “John and Randy, they were in the barn!” She pointed to the flattened building, one end of which was partially held up by the Chevy pick up truck that had been parked inside the barn at the time. “They were in the barn!!” She sobbed and buried her face in her hands. Rosco put a comforting arm around her and looked at the barn with a weary expression.
“Sally, listen to me,” he said, turning her to face him. “I’m gonna see if I can find them okay?”
Sally nodded and then glanced up towards his patrol car. She gasped. “Oh Rosco...MaryAnne..what happened?”
“She was caught by one of the twisters. She’s alive and I’m trying to get her back to town, but I’m not gonna leave you alone here okay?”
“Maybe I can help her...I’m a nurse.” She looked at him. “Rosco, please find them. I’ll see what I can do for MaryAnne.”
Rosco nodded and Sally went to his patrol car as Rosco walked towards the destroyed barn. Rosco glanced up at the sky and heaved a sigh and then tugged at his damp uniform shirt. He reached the truck and looked in through the cracks between the
broken wood beams.
“Randy?! John?!” Rosco took one step to start around the perimeter of the barn when a small voice called out.
Rosco stopped. “Randy??”
Rosco looked down to the bottom of the pick up truck. He then got down on his knees and looked under the truck, where Randy was trapped between the bottom of the truck and the ground, allowing about a foot of space.
“You okay?” Rosco asked. He could barely see the boy’s dirt smudged face in the light.
“Yeah, but I can’t move.”
“You pinned in?”
“My legs. I think one of the beams fell on them. I can’t pull them up.”
“Can you feel your legs alright?”
“Yeah. They hurt.” Randy paused. “Where’s my dad?”
Rosco paused. “I was gonna ask you that. Do you know where he was in the barn when the twister hit?”
“Over by the horse stalls,” Randy said. “On the other side.”
“Okay. You hang in there, I’m gonna try to find your dad, alright?”
Rosco stood up and walked around the and through the debris. He saw the smashed hay bales and could pick out where atleast one stall once was. In amongst the rubble were riens, buckets, a horse brush, a pitchfork. Rosco started picking through the debris, pulling the larger wood boards and beams out of the way.
Rosco kept digging and started to become discouraged when he wasn’t finding anything. He stopped and gave a frustrated sigh, praying he wasn’t going to have give Sally good news and then bad news. He was about to resume digging when he heard a voice.
Rosco stopped. The voice sounded far away and muffled.
“Sheriff, I’m over here....”
Rosco scanned his eyes along the hulking remains of the barn, but he didn’t see anything.
“John?” he called to the wind.
“I’m to your right.”
Rosco turned his head to his left. He heard a chuckle and then the voice said, “Other side.”
Rosco turned his head the other way and looked. He saw a hand inbetween two splintered beams waving at him. Rosco climbed over the debris and reached where John was buried under a few boards and beams.
“Did you find Sally and Randy?”
“Sally’s fine,” Rosco said as he lifted one of the boards. “Randy’s alive but he’s trapped under your truck.”
“He’ll be alright. He’s alive atleast.” Rosco pushed another broken beam out of the way and made a big enough crawl space for John to get out. The transplanted New Englander pulled his six foot three frame out of the rubble and wobbled a little as he stood up.
Rosco grabbed John’s arm and waited for the man to steady himself. “You okay?”
“Yeah...” John shook out the cobwebs. He then looked at the Sheriff. “Thanks.”
“Save it for when we get Randy out from under the truck. Come on.”
For the moment, it looks like Rosco’s got Lady Luck with him. His concern, however, was still for MaryAnne, and he figured as soon as Randy was pulled out from under that truck, the sooner he could get MaryAnne to town. Assuming the town was still there.
Out at the Duke farm, the boys, Jesse and Daisy were emerging from their storm cellar to see that their home had been spared the brunt of the storm. After checking that things were okay around the house and barn they decided to all head out to try to find Rosco and MaryAnne, none of them having liked the Tri-County doctor’s desperate calls to a Sheriff who never answered.
Having not liked the silence on the CB after the doctor tried to call Rosco, the Dukes headed out to try to find him themselves.
The sky was still grey, but had lightened as the three Duke vehicles took off in different directions.
Back at the Freemont farm, John and Sally were letting go of each other after hugging in reunion.
“Randy--?” Sally asked.
“He’s alive,” Rosco said. “He’s trapped under the truck tho’.”
“Is he hurt badly?”
“I ain’t sure. He said his legs hurt, which is better than him saying he can’t feel them at all,” the Sheriff said. “I think we can get him out of there--”
“Rosco, wait. John and I will try to get him out of there. You’ve got to get MaryAnne to the hospital or to Doc Appleby.”
“Has she gotten worse?”
“The wound’s starting to bleed more. She’s awake, but not really aware of her surroundings.”
Rosco looked back towards the patrol car in concern.
“Go ahead,” John said. “We’ll be allright here.”
“I’ll try to send help for you,” Rosco said.
Sally gave the Sheriff a hug. “Thank you, Rosco. You’ve done more than enough. Go on, we’ll be okay.”
Rosco nodded and then jogged to his patrol car. He stopped at the passenger door seeing MaryAnne’s eyes were wide open.
“MaryAnne?” Rosco opened the door and crouched down on his knee. He took her hand and looked at her eyes that were unfocused, droopy and dilated. Slowly she blinked and turned her head slightly to look at him.
“Hang in there, sweetheart, you’re gonna be alright.”
MaryAnne didn’t say anything and just continued to stare. Rosco couldn’t help but feel a little haunted by the look. He gave her hand a gentle squeeze and then stood up and closed the door and jogged around to the driver side.
He glanced up towards the barn and saw John and Sally were near the truck, talking to Randy. He sighed, wishing he could help them pull the boy out but he had to get MaryAnne medical attention. He did take some comfort, however, in the fact that he had found both John and Randy alive.
Rosco atleast was glad to think that even tho’ the Freemonts had lost pretty much everything they owned....they didn’t lose each other. I think we can give the Sheriff a gold star for that.
The Dukes, meanwhile, were trying to retrace Rosco’s steps. The boys headed to town, Daisy went out on Route 21 and Jesse went to check at the Coltrane house, figuring there was a chance that Rosco could have cut across country and sought shelter there.
The town of Hazzard survived the tornado with minimal damage. A few broken windows, scuffed cars and downed trees. Nothing a normal Hazzard car chase wouldn’t have created.
Daisy found herself driving much slower than usual, having to manuever around the debris that littered the road. She passed the spot where MaryAnne’s patrol car once was. The car was now twenty feet down the road, back on it’s wheels but severely
battered and wounded. Daisy gasped at the site and brought her Jeep to a stop to investigate.
Rosco’s black hat was lying vertiually untouched in the middle of the road. Daisy picked it up and then stepped towards the dented Plymouth. She peered in and saw the windshield glass sprinkled over the front seat over the front seat, the remains of Rosco’s med kit strewn everywhere and the emergancy radio lying on the floor by the passenger seat. She then jogged back to her Jeep and grabbed the CB mike.
“Lost Sheep, Shepherd, I think I found MaryAnne’s patrol car.”
“Where are you at, Daisy?” Luke asked.
“I’m on Route 21, almost the same spot Rosco had called the hospital from.”
“Okay, keep looking they gotta be around somewhere.”
“Ten-four.” Daisy started the Jeep and drove around the patrol car and down Route 21.
* * *
Back in town, Enos was trying to make the paramedics from Chickasaw stay in case Rosco showed up with MaryAnne, but that was proving to be easier said than done.
The second of the two paramedics came back into the booking room after checking in with Tri-County hospital.
“Tri-County lost contact with the Sheriff. Plus there’s possible fatalities in Cedar City, they want us to get over there now.”
“But the Sheriff,” Enos blurted. “He could be on his way to town, his radio may have been knocked out or something.”
“We’re sorry,” one of the paramedics said as he and his partner started towards the door,” but where the dispatcher tells us to go, we go and right now we have to go to Cedar City. If the Sheriff and Deputy show up, call Tri-County. I’m sure they can get somebody back here lickity split.”
Enos heaved a sigh and was about to protest when the two slipped out the booking room doors.
Rosco had it clear to town and he pushed his patrol car for all it had left. Ten minutes after the paramedics had left, Enos looked out the window to see the battered Plymouth Fury come to a stop at the curb.
“Sheriff!” Enos bolted out of the booking room and out of the courthouse as the weary Sheriff was stepping out of his patrol car.
“Sheriff!” Enos exclaimed. “You’re okay!”
“Yeah....Enos, where are the paramedics?”
Enos looked at Rosco apologetically. “They left. I tried to get them to stay a few more minutes but they got another call.”
“Where’d they go?”
Rosco’s eyes clouded with a tinge of anger. “Well, we ain’t got time to call Tri-County and have them send another ambulance. Go get your patrol car, Enos, we’ll take her ourselves.”
“Yes sir.” While Enos dashed off to get his cruiser, Rosco went around to the passenger side of his car to check on MaryAnne. Her eyes were closed now and Rosco checked her pulse. It was still slow, as it had been when he found her, but atleast it was
there. As Enos’s patrol car came up behind him, Rosco prepared to lift MaryAnne out of the car.
Enos came up beside Rosco to assist and make sure MaryAnne didn’t hit her already bruised head on the door frame.
Across the street, Cooter watched from his garage. When he saw them pull MaryAnne from the car, he ran over to help. He opened the passenger door on Enos’s cruiser and Rosco gently set his cousin in the seat.
“We thought we’d lost the both of ya the way you didn’t answer on the CB,” Cooter said. “The Dukes are even out looking for the both of ya.”
“Well, tell them to go back to their farm---” Rosco started to say, somewhat exasperated. “No wait! The Freemonts. Tell ‘em to go help John and Sally Freemont. Randy got trapped under his dad’s truck when the barn collapsed.”
“I’ll tell ‘em to get over there!” Cooter called as he ran back to his garage. Rosco closed the passenger door and then looked at Enos and told him to get in back.
“Wait, why don’t you let me drive? You can keep an eye on MaryAnne and rest a bit.”
Rosco nodded, not having any energy to argue anway. “Alright.” He climbed in back of the patrol car while Enos ran around to the driver side and the patrol car was on it’s way to Tri-County Hospital.
“Breaker one, breaker one might be crazy but I ain’t dumb, Crazy Cooter comin’ at ya, any y’all Duke home on the Hazzard net? Come on...”
“Right here, Cooter,” Luke said. “What’s up?”
“Well, y’all can break off your pursuit of ye olde towne Sheriff and the fair Miss Coltrane. They made it to town okay.”
Each Duke smiled in relief with the news.
“That’s great to hear, Cooter!” Luke said. “How’s MaryAnne?”
“Well, Rosco and Enos just took off with her in Enos’s patrol car, I’m assuming they’re going to Tri-County. But listen, Rosco wants y’all to get out to the Freemont place. He says their son, Randy, is trapped under a truck. Their barn collapsed. I’m
gonna head out and give y’all a hand.”
“Ten-four, Cooter, we’ll see ya there.”
“Hang on,” Bo said, and swung the General Lee around.
A few minutes later, at Tri-County hospital, a female nurse was hurrying through the halls of the ER trying to find Doctor Stanton. She founding her, coming out of the X-ray room.
“What is it?” Shelly asked.
“You know that Sheriff you were talking to on the radio?”
“Yes?” Shelly’s eyes lightened with a little hope.
“He just came in, with the woman deputy.”
“His cousin...where are they?”
“There were just bringing a stretcher to his patrol car not a minute ago. They’re at the ambulance entrance.”
“Okay. Go find Doctor Miltner. She has a head wound, we may need his expertise.”
The nurse nodded and hurried off in one direction, while Shelly jogged down the hall to the ambulance entrance.
The stretcher with MaryAnne on it was being wheeled in with Rosco and Enos following behind it. The Sheriff looked haggered and the deputy was just plain concerned.
“Sheriff! Sheriff Coltrane!”
Rosco looked up at the woman doctor approaching. She smiled and when she was beside him she stopped.
“I’m Doctor Shelly Stanton. You have no idea how relieved I am to see you!”
“Oh, Doctor Stanton,” Rosco said, his eyes lightening a little with his smile. “I want to thank you for what you did.”
“Well, you’re welcome. I’m just glad you and your cousin made it here. Don’t worry about her a bit, we’re going to take good care of her.”
Rosco nodded, taking a moment to watch the stretcher disappear behind a curtain.
Shelly looked at Rosco’s damp and dirty uniform. “You look like you could use a hot cup of coffee and a comfortable chair.”
“Yeah, and a dry uniform.”
Shelly smiled. “Well, about all I can offer for an alternative is a warm blanket.”
“I’ll take it.”
* * *
Bo pulled the General into the drive of the Freemonts and Luke started to climb out the window, even before the car had stopped. John and Sally were over by the barn and the truck and Luke ran, with Bo following behind.
“Cooter’s on his way,” Luke said to John and Sally. He kneeled down by them and along with Bo, took a moment to talk to Randy.
After Cooter arrived and then Jesse and Daisy, it took an hour for them to get the debris cleared away and to pull Randy out from under the truck. Luckily for the youngster he only had scratches and bruises. The Dukes then took them all to the hospital to make sure they were okay.
The Sheriff was sitting with the blanket draped over him and his head titled off to one side, dozing.
...well, was resting peacefully.
A nurse walked over to the dozing Sheriff and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Sheriff?” She waited for him to open his eyes. When he did, she smiled. “Sheriff, MaryAnne is awake, she’d like to see you.”
“Oh,” Rosco said, fully waking up now. He stood up and left the blanket on the chair and followed the nurse.
MaryAnne was sitting up, her back against her pillow. She looked at Rosco and gave a smile, despite the dull throbbing pain in her head.
“How ya feelin’?” he asked as he stepped towards her.
“Alright. If I move my eyes the wrong way they feel like they’re gonna fall outta my head tho’.”
Rosco smiled sympathetically. “It was a heck of a ride that’s for sure.”
“Musta been. You look awful.”
Rosco made a face. “I’ve got quite a story to tell ya that’s for sure.”
“I’d like to hear it, cuz I honestly don’t remember anything that happened. The last thing I remember is doing my patrol and hearin’ the tornado sirens go off.” She looked at Rosco. “The dang thing musta touched down right on top of me.”
“Pretty darn close I think,” Rosco said. “When I found you, you were still in your patrol car and down in a ditch. It wasn’t a pretty sight.”
“I can imagine.”
At that moment, Enos peeked into the room.
“Sheriff, I just saw Cooter. He says he and the Dukes were able to get Randy out from under that truck. The Doc says he’s gonna be fine.”
“Ooh, that’s good news, Enos.” Now Rosco was very relieved.
“Howdy, MaryAnne,” the deputy smiled. “Sure glad you’re okay. I was pretty nervous when Sheriff Rosco here went out lookin’ for ya with all them storms still coming.”
MaryAnne looked at Rosco, with as much of a disapproving look as she could achieve. “You what!?”
“Jit jit.” Rosco pointed a finger at MaryAnne. “Now, MaryAnne don’t you go gettin’ all upset with me. If I hadn’t found ya when I did, you---” He wagged the finger a couple of times and then dropped his hand back to this side. “You probably wouldn’t be here...” he finished softly. “I sure as heck wasn’t gonna leave ya out there.”
MaryAnne’s expression softened. “I’m sorry,” she said, realizing she was being inconsiderate. “Thank you.” She flashed a smile, taking Rosco off defensive mode.
Enos grinned. “I’ll go let the Dukes know that MaryAnne’s okay as well.”
“Thanks, Enos,” Rosco said. He then looked at the white bandage on his cousin’s head. “How many stiches you think you got?”
“I dunno. Two hundred and fifty?” She grinned and then started to giggled but stopped. “Ow.”
“Yeah, see you can’t do that yet.”
“Dang it.” She gently touched her hand to the bandage. “I hurt in more places than I knew I had.”
“Do you have any broken bones?”
“No. Just lots and lotsa bruises. I’m gonna color cooridnate with my uniform and with Maverick in a couple of days. That’s both interior and exterior.”
MaryAnne smiled. “So what’s the story you want to tell me?”
“Well, it started when Mr. Jacobs called on the CB....”
The town of Hazzard was fortunate during that storm. The Freemonts, along with a few other folks, lost most or all of their homes, but thankfully not lives. Several folks were injured but MaryAnne was about as serious as it got. Together as a community, the folks in Hazzard County cleaned up and began rebuilding houses and barns, just in time for the next natural disaster to strike...
The Annual Hazzard Road Race.
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