This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any actual resemblance to persons or historical persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Dukes of Hazzard characters, settings, locales, ect. are owned by other entities who have not endorsed this fic nor have they given express permission for the character's use. Author makes not claims to these characters and is not making any profit from their use.
All original characters are the property of the author.
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© Copyright: 1996-2004. Lisa Philbrick
The Winds of November (Part Two)
Roger Ellis watched with Gerald Emerson and Jason Bryar, as the Hazzard
Sheriff left the Finchburg County courthouse with a little girl in
Emerson turned to Ellis. "Is he going to be a problem?"
"He could be," the ATF agent replied. "That's his uncle you landed in jail. Ol' Rosco ain't likely to just stand idly by while Eli's being framed."
"It's not like he can do nothin'," Jason said. "He's out of his jurisdiction."
"If he gets Frank to side with him, he'll be all set," Gerald said. He paused in thought and then shook his head. "We can't have him messing around in this, regardless if he's out of his jurisdiction or not."
"Don't worry about it," Roger said. "I'll make sure he understands to not get too involved."
* * *
Later that evening, after Rosco showed MaryAnne where to find all her stuff in the spare bedroom, the Coltrane family gathered at the dinner table.
The four of them sat at the table made for six, with Raleigh seated at the head of the table. To his left was Abby and to his right was Rosco. Little MaryAnne was seated next to her cousin. After the grace, they all ate and talked, although MaryAnne spent most of her time quietly staring at her plate and pushing her collard greens around with her fork.
"MaryAnne?" Abby said. "You alright, honey? You haven't eaten a bite."
MaryAnne looked up. "I'm not very hungry, Aunt Abby," she said and then looked back down at her plate. She then placed her fork down and looked at Raleigh.
"May I be excused?"
"Only if you eat them greens and drink your milk," Raleigh replied. He knew Eli would have a fit if he found out MaryAnne had left that table with out eating something.
MaryAnne was about to protest, but remembered that Uncle Raleigh was a lot like her Papa, meaning she would not be leaving that table until the greens were gone and the milk glass was empty. So she picked up her fork and quietly went about eating her greens.
When she finished her food she looked at Raleigh again. "May I go now?"
Raleigh nodded and MaryAnne climbed down from the chair and ran out of the dining room and up the stairs.
Rosco looked at his mother and father.
"That little girl," Abby said, "has been through so much in the last year. This isn't fair."
Raleigh shook his head. "How's Eli doing?" he asked Rosco.
"Not much better," Rosco said. "Although, he's more concerned about her welfare than he is his own."
"Well, he's got to understand that his welfare affects her welfare," Raleigh said.
"I know," Rosco replied.
"Do you think you can get him out of jail?" Abby asked.
"I'm sure gonna try," Rosco answered and then looked towards the ceiling. "For her sake."
A little later, Rosco went up to check on MaryAnne before he left to do his evening patrol. He quietly opened the door and peeked in, seeing MaryAnne lying on the bed, curled up with her teddy bear.
"You ain't asleep are you?" he asked.
"Can I come in?"
As Rosco came in, MaryAnne didn't move. He walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge of it by her feet.
"Weren't hungry at supper huh?"
"Don't feel sick or anything do you?"
"Just not hungry."
Rosco nodded. He knew why she wasn't hungry and was about to say something when she spoke.
"I miss Papa," she said.
"I know you do, sweetheart."
"It ain't fair," she continued. "Why does he hafta be in jail if he didn't do anything wrong? You said it was somebody else that got him in trouble, how come they ain't in jail?"
"Because we don't know who it is that got your Papa in trouble. That's what I'm hoping to find out so I can get him out."
MaryAnne looked at her cousin. "What if you can't find the person?"
Rosco paused. If I don't find them, then you father stays in jail for the next 30 years.
"I'll find 'em." Rosco said.
Be careful what you promise her, Rosco.
He looked at MaryAnne. "That's a promise."
MaryAnne's face broke into bit of a smile.
"Yeah, that's the face I like to see," Rosco said.
Rosco smiled. "Listen, I gotta go do my patrol now, but I think your Uncle Raleigh is lookin' for someone to beat him at a game of checkers. You feel up to it?"
MaryAnne sat up. "Yeah!"
"Uh oh, Uncle Raleigh better watch out," Rosco said and laughed.
"Heehee," MaryAnne said.
The little girl ended up beating her uncle several times, and Raleigh insisted he wasn't letting her win just to make her feel better.
"Raleigh," Abby said, looking up from her book. "Are you letting her win?"
"No," he said. "The girl's beatin' me to a pulp here, Abby. Why would I let her win, when she's won a zillion times on her own already? That wouldn't do much for my pride."
Abby smiled as MaryAnne giggled.
"One more game," Raleigh said to MaryAnne. "I'm gonna break that winning streak of yours. We'll see who's laughing at the end of this one."
MaryAnne still giggled as Raleigh reset the pieces. The only other sounds that could be heard in the house were that of the checker pieces on the board, the turn of the pages of Abby's book and the ticking of the old clock on the wall in the living room. Abby and Raleigh figured to keep their attention focused on MaryAnne to help her keep her mind off the predicament of her father.
When the checker game was all over, MaryAnne still got the last laugh.
"Doh," Raleigh said as MaryAnne snatched up his last playing piece after she jumped it with one of her three kings. MaryAnne giggled in victory.
"This game's too easy for you," Raleigh said. "Maybe you should be playing chess instead."
MaryAnne shook her head. "I like checkers."
"Sure," Raleigh said, "cuz you win all the time."
"Wanna play again?"
"I think it's about time for you to be goin' to bed."
"No arguing now."
"But can't I wait for Rosco to come back, so I can say goodnight?"
"Rosco's not gonna be back until late."
"Oh." MaryAnne looked down at the floor in disappointment.
Raleigh glanced over to his wife who raised her hand in a simulated telephone position. Raleigh nodded and took MaryAnne by the hand.
"What?" MaryAnne asked.
Raleigh didn't say a word as he led the little girl into the kitchen over to the telephone. He picked it up and waited for the operator to connect.
"Good evening, Lillian," he said. "Can you connect me to the Sheriff's office please?"
MaryAnne beamed at her Uncle.
In town, the phone on Rosco's desk rang two times before he walked in from the booking room and picked it up.
"Hazzard County Sheriff's office. Sheriff Rosco Coltrane speaking."
"Miss MaryAnne Coltrane would like to speak with you, Sheriff."
Rosco chuckled. "Okay."
Raleigh handed the receiver to MaryAnne. She took it with both hands and held it to her ear.
"I just wanted to say goodnight to you," she said.
Rosco smiled. "Goodnight, MaryAnne. Sweet dreams."
"Night, night," she said. "Be careful."
She smiled and handed the receiver back to Raleigh. "Thank you, Sheriff," he said. "Everything's all set here."
Rosco laughed. "Okay, Dad. See you later." After Raleigh said goodbye, Rosco hung up the phone and went back into the booking room.
Raleigh looked at MaryAnne. "Okay, little one. Now's your bed time."
* * *
A little later, Rosco headed out to do a patrol. As he came out of the courthouse and walked down the steps he saw that the hood of his patrol car was up and someone was underneath it.
"Hey!" he exclaimed.
The person looked up quick and then started to run away into the dark. Rosco bolted after them and managed to dive toward them and bring them crashing to the pavement of the street. But the person turned and Rosco suddenly had a fist in his face.
He let go of the person and they ran away. After a moment the sound of squealing tires could be heard and the car disappeared into the night.
Rosco brought his hand to his face and rubbed his jaw. Another car was coming around the corner and honked as it's headlights flashed onto Rosco. Rosco rolled out of the road and then sat up.
"Geez, Sheriff, you been nippin' or somethin'?" the driver called. "Get out of the road!"
"Oh hush, Wally! Go home!" Rosco called back.
Over at the Hazzard Garage, Isaiah Davenport came out of the garage bay and watched the car go by. He looked back in the other direction and saw Rosco getting to his knees at the side of the road. He pulled his oil rag out of his pocket and wiped his
hands and then jogged over to where Rosco was.
"You alright, Rosco?"
Rosco looked up. "Oh," he said. "Yeah, I'm fine." He stood up. "Ain't sure about my patrol car though."
"I came out of the courthouse and saw some joker messin' around under the hood." He started to walk back to his patrol car, brushing off his uniform, with old man Davenport following. When they got to the car they both looked and then Rosco went
and got his flashlight from the front seat. He came back to the engine and shined the light.
"Lovely," he muttered, looking at all the disconnected wires.
"Yup," Isaiah said. He reached in and grabbed the fuel line. "He cut your fuel line too."
"Can ya fix it?"
"Yeah, but not enough to get her driving again."
The mechanic reached for something else on the engine block. He touched and held up a single wire.
"He ripped out the started wire. I'll have to get ya a whole new starter and I ain't gonna be able to get one 'til mornin'."
Rosco sighed. "Damn..." he said.
"Could you see who it was?"
"Not specifically," Rosco said. "But they were wearing an ATF jacket."
Isaiah looked at Rosco questioningly.
"I ain't sure either. I know Agent Ellis don't particularly like me, but I don't think he'd stoop to this level." Especially considering I ain't even done anything to investigate what happened to Eli yet.
* * *
Rosco had to borrow a car from the impound to do his patrol. The only car that was running was a rickety white '52 Dodge station wagon that belonged to Jeb Prescott who was drying out in the county jail. When Rosco returned to town, around 11, he decided not to use the car to drive home with. So that left him with only one option.
Rosco sighed and started down the road out of town. It wasn't that he minded walking, but at this hour of the night, he'd much rather have car. It was six miles to the Coltrane house as the crow flies, but Rosco, even though he had his flashlight with him, didn't dare cut across Mr. Peterson's back forty, fearing he end up in the ditch by the small creek that ran across the country side. So Rosco stayed on the roads, which would end up making his trek closer to seven miles.
After about five minutes, Rosco heard a car coming behind him. He stopped and turned to look. All he could see was two bright headlights and he raised his hand to shield his eyes.
The vehicle slowed and came to a stop beside him. Rosco recognized it to be Isaiah Davenport's tow truck and he raised his flashlight, half expecting the driver to be old man Davenport himself.
"Cooter?" Rosco said, shining the light on old man Davenport's 16-year-old son.
"Pop told me to find you when he found out you were walking home. He told me what happened to your car."
"Yeah, well it's been one of those days where when one thing went right, six things have gone wrong."
"Well, hop in. Gettin' ya home in one piece can be atleast one more thing to go right."
Rosco went around the front of the tow truck and got in the passenger seat. Cooter then started to drive down the road.
Rosco smiled. "Gee, Cooter whatchya drivin' so slow for?"
Cooter laughed. "Pop don't want me gettin' no more tickets. You think I'm gonna speed with you sitting right in the truck?"
"Well, I ain't got my ticket book with me."
"Is that permission to speed, Sheriff?"
"Are you kiddin'? Of course not." Rosco laughed. "Although this must be a historical moment for you to be behind the wheel of this truck and not going over 50."
Cooter laughed again.
A few minutes later, they arrived at the house. Rosco got out of the truck and turned back to the open passenger window.
"Thanks, Cooter," he said.
"No problem. Take it easy."
"Yeah." Rosco smiled. "Hey, you think you can manage to stay out of trouble for a few days?"
Cooter laughed. "I don't know, Rosco, I'll try. I imagine the day I manage to stay out of the county jail, will be the day I get elected to congress."
When Rosco got into the house, he found Raleigh was asleep on the couch. His reading glasses were down on the bridge of his nose and the afternoon newspaper was spread over him like a blanket. Rosco smiled and walked over.
"Dad?" Rosco gently shook Raleigh's shoulder. Raleigh turned his head slightly but didn't open his eyes.
"Hey," Rosco said, shaking Raleigh again. Now, Raleigh woke up.
"Oh, Rosco, you're home." Raleigh sat up, grabbing the newspaper before it fell to the floor. He took his reading glasses off and tucked them into his shirt pocket.
"You didn't have to wait up, you know," Rosco said.
"Technically, I wasn't waiting up," Raleigh said. "I was up to finish reading the paper and in case MaryAnne couldn't sleep." He held up the paper. "Didn't get it finished, if you were wondering."
"Anything excitin' happen to you?"
"Well, I found a joker in an ATF jacket rippin' apart the engine in my patrol car earlier this evening."
Raleigh looked at his son in concern. "ATF jacket? What damn fool would wreck a Sheriff's car while wearing an ATF jacket?"
Rosco raised an eyebrow. "Roger Ellis?"
"Was it him?"
"I don't know for sure, but if it was him or if he had something to do with it I'm gonna have a few words for him when I see him again."
"Yeah, well be careful what you say, Rosco," Raleigh said. "He's already got Eli in jail and if he sees an opportunity to get that badge off your jacket, he'll take it."
"I know," Rosco said and drew a deep breath. "Boy, I know."
* * *
Hazzard County, Georgia
Saturday, November 16, 1963
The next morning, Rosco was up early and in the kitchen sipping a cup of coffee when he heard little footsteps come down the stairs. He looked up at the doorway and saw MaryAnne poke her head in.
"What are you doing up so early?" he asked.
"I always get up at this time on a Saturday," she said. "I always help Papa with the chores on the farm." She walked into the kitchen. "Who's gonna take care of all the animals now?"
"Well, a friend of your father's, Steve Daniels, said he'd check on the animals and house until you and your Papa get home."
Rosco smiled. "Even Cheyenne."
"That's good," MaryAnne said. She climbed up into the chair and sat across from Rosco.
Rosco looked at her a moment. He noticed her hair was all in tangles, except at the ends.
"Didn't you comb your hair?" he asked.
MaryAnne looked at the ends of her hair. "Yeah, I did."
"No, you only combed the ends. You didn't do the top."
MaryAnne looked at her cousin and then touched her hand to the top of her head. She suddenly looked as though she may cry. "Papa always combs my hair for me," she said softly.
Rosco watched her as she touched the ends of her hair. He then put his coffee cup down and got up. He extended his hand to her.
"C'mon," he said. "Let's see if I can do something for ya."
MaryAnne took his hand and walked with him up the stairs to her room.
"Where's your comb?"
MaryAnne went to the dresser and grabbed the comb off it. She handed it to Rosco. He had her sit on the end of the bed and then he sat on the side behind her.
"Do you want it pulled back?"
"Yeah. Wait a sec," she said and got up again. She grabbed her pony tail holder and handed it to him before sitting down again.
Rosco looked at the accessory. It looked like an elastic brought together in the middle to make two loops with two dark blue balls on each loop. He had no idea how the heck it was supposed to hold MaryAnne's hair back. He placed it down next to him and started to comb MaryAnne's long brown fine hair.
She flinched a little as he started. "That tickles," she giggled.
Rosco smiled and continued to comb gently, working out the tangles. It was a few minutes later when he could finally drag the comb through her hair from the top of her head to the ends without the comb getting caught anywhere. He then picked up the pony tail holder and combed MaryAnne's hair back and held it all in one hand while he paused looking at the accessory, trying to figure how it worked.
"What's wrong?" MaryAnne asked.
Rosco chuckled. "I don't know how this thing goes in your hair."
MaryAnne smiled. "I think it goes around."
Rosco nodded to himself and took a hold of one end of the accessory in the same hand that held MaryAnne's hair and then pulled it around. He was about to hook the loop around one of the little blue balls when it slipped out of his hand and went flying back around the hair, slapping his other hand.
"Ow, dang it," he muttered.
MaryAnne giggled. "That happens to Papa all the time."
"That hurts," he said as he tried to bring it around again. This time he was able to secure it.
He looked at her hair for a moment and then said, "There. Did I do alright?"
MaryAnne reached up and felt the pony tail. She then grabbed her hair and separated it into two pieces, pulling them away from each other and making the hold of the pony tail holder a little tighter.
"You did fine," she said turning to look at him.
Rosco smiled. He then looked at his watch.
"Ooh, I gotta git," he said and then looked at her.
"You gotta go to work?"
"Can I come with you?" she asked anxiously.
Rosco's expression turned apologetic. "MaryAnne, I'm sorry but I can't bring you with me."
"I'll be home for lunch tho',"
She nodded, although still disappointed that she couldn't go with him. She lowered her head a bit.
"Come on now," he said, gently tilting her chin with his hand so he could see her face, "no frowning."
"But I wanna go with you. I wanna help ya find who got Papa in trouble."
"I know you do, honey, but I just can't bring you along. It would be too dangerous for you if I did. You can understand that can't ya?"
"I guess so."
Rosco got up, as did MaryAnne. They walked back down stairs and to the kitchen, where Rosco placed his coffee cup in the sink and then grabbed his black jacket off the back of the chair. He put it on and then picked up his hat off the table. As he placed it on his head he looked at MaryAnne.
"You'll be home for lunch?" she asked.
"Yes, I will."
"Okay." She reached her arms up to him so she could give him a hug goodbye.
Rosco leaned over and gave his little cousin a hug and then she kissed him on the cheek.
"Be careful," she said.
Rosco smiled. "I will." He started to walk towards the living room and the front door with MaryAnne following. Before he went out the door he turned back to her.
"You be good," he said.
"I will," she said with a smile.
Rosco returned the smile and then opened the door and out he went.
* * *
With no patrol car, Rosco had to walk to town, which was fine with him. It was a quiet and peaceful morning and the air was crisp but not too frigid. Besides, there was something more comforting with walking alone on country roads at this time of day, as opposed to eleven o'clock at night.
He pushed his hat up on his head a bit and then put his hands in the pockets of his uniform jacket. He tried to think of why somebody wearing an ATF jacket would wreck his patrol car, and if Ellis did have something to do with it, why? Was Roger Ellis so determined to keep Eli in jail as to try scare tactics?
Like I was really scared, Rosco thought sarcastically. Wrecking the patrol car got my attention but it ain't gonna stop me from finding out why Eli's being framed.
Rosco shook his head. It really didn't make much sense. On the surface it looked like Roger Ellis was just finally acting out his revenge against the Coltrane family. But why'd he pick now? He had had plenty of opportunities to try something like this before, but never really did anything. Something was motivating him to go this far for some reason.
But the other names that Eli had mentioned, that of Gerald Emerson and Jason Bryar. Something bugged Rosco about that. The two men, from what Rosco had learned of them, seemed likely to send all of Finchburg County into turmoil if they were ever elected to the government posts that they seemed destined for. Was it possible that Eli was the first domino that had to fall? Rosco remembered Eli saying something about how Emerson wanted to buy him out of the moonshine business and that Eli refused. Controlling the moonshine in the county was usually a good start in making sure that all the graft in the county was profitable for one person, and one person only.
Emerson seemed the type, which was strange for Rosco to think considering he'd never met the man. But the way Sheriff Fuller and Steve had talked at the diner about him, it all fit. Rosco decided that when he got to town, and if he had a car he could use,
he would go over to Finchburg County and try to find out more about Gerald Emerson.
From behind him, Rosco heard the sound of tires crunching against the dirt road. He turned and saw Jesse Duke's 1954 Ford F-150 pickup truck coming.
The truck was full of the whole Duke family. 11-year-old Luke, 9-year-old Daisy and 5-year-old Bo were all riding with their Uncle on his weekly trip to town to get supplies and groceries. Jesse brought the truck to a stop by Rosco.
"Mornin' Jesse," Rosco said.
"Mornin' Rosco," Jesse replied. "What the heck you doin' out here with no car?"
"My patrol car's being fixed." Rosco caught the look on Jesse's face. "No, I didn't wreck it. Somebody ripped out the starter wire on it last night."
"Who'd be doin' that to the Sheriff's car?"
Rosco shrugged. "Don't know. I didn't really see who did it," he lied. He looked in the truck at the three little faces who were looking at him and then looked back at Jesse.
"Um, you wouldn't happen to have any more room in there for one more passenger would ya?"
Jesse looked at his two nephews and niece.
"Sure we do," Daisy said.
"Only if one of us rides in back, maybe," Luke said.
"Oh boy, can I ride in back, Uncle Jesse??" Bo asked excitedly, tugging on his uncle's shirt sleeve.
"No, Bo, you can't ride in back. You'll sit on Luke's lap." Jesse looked at Rosco. "Get in."
Rosco smiled. "Thanks, Jesse." He walked around the front of the truck as Bo climbed on to his older cousin's lap. Daisy scooted over enough for Rosco get in.
"Hang on to Bo, Luke," Jesse said as he let the truck move forward.
"I wanted to ride in back," Bo whined.
"You ain't old enough to ride in back," Luke said.
"Don't matter how old he is, Luke," Jesse said. "It's too dangerous."
"Plus it's illegal," Rosco added.
"That too," Jesse said. "So don't you be gettin' any more ideas about riding in the back of the truck."
"Okay," Bo replied.
Daisy looked at Rosco. "How come you don't got another car besides your police car?"
"Can't afford one," Rosco replied.
"And considerin' how often your puttin' dents in your patrol car, it's probably for the best," Jesse said.
Rosco shot Jesse a look. However, he smiled. It was the truth.
Daisy giggled. "Hey, did you know Enos wants to be a police officer?"
Rosco looked at the little girl. "Enos? Enos Strate?"
She nodded. "Yeah. We had a career day at school last week and now he says he wants to be a police officer."
"Apparently," Jesse said, "he got to sit in the Georgia Patrol police car that was at the school and got to play with the siren. I guess that's what did it for him."
Rosco chuckled. "Well," he said and nodded, "that's what did it for me too."
Jesse laughed, along with Luke and Daisy. Bo smiled, although he didn't know why.
When they got to town, Jesse dropped Rosco off at the courthouse.
"Thanks, Jesse," Rosco said after he got out of the truck.
Jesse nodded. "See ya around, Rosco."
"Bye," Rosco said and waved.
Bo waved back. "Bye-bye," he said.
Rosco smiled and waved to the little blonde haired boy. The truck then drove away and headed over to Rhuebottom's General Store.
Rosco turned to walk up the steps of the courthouse. At the top, however, stood Roger Ellis.
The young Sheriff stopped, his shoulders slumping a bit.
Ellis was standing smugly, with his arms crossed over his chest. "Good mornin' Sheriff Coltrane."
"Could be better."
"Really? What's wrong, you have a rough night?"
Rosco eyed the ATF agent for a moment. "Somebody ripped apart the engine on my patrol car last night."
"Oh, sorry to hear that."
Rosco smirked. "Yeah, I bet you are." He started to walk up the steps. "And I bet you'll be sorry to hear that the person who did it was wearing an AFT jacket."
Ellis remained stone faced for a moment. "ATF's not into pulling tricks like that and you know it."
"Oh yeah, ATF wouldn't think of doing something like this. But you would, and you're a not an accurate representation of the ATF now are ya?"
Roger drew a breath.
"Save it, Roger. I know you're framing Eli and I know you're just waiting for me to step over the line so you can get me tossed out of the Sheriff's office. Well you go right ahead and try. Because I'm gonna prove Eli innocent, I'm gonna prove you're helping frame him and you're gonna be turning in your badge to your superiors in Atlanta when this is all over with." With that, Rosco brushed past Roger and went into the courthouse.
* * *
After chewing out the agent under his command for being dumb enough to be wearing the jacket while wrecking the Hazzard Sheriff's car, Roger Ellis went to see Emerson and Bryar. He told them how Rosco was dogged determined to get to the bottom of the whole thing and that they were going to have to do better than pidly scare tactics to get him to back off.
"What would you suggest?" Emerson asked. He, Bryar and Ellis were standing across the street from the Finchburg courthouse.
Ellis shrugged. "I don't know. "
Bryar chuckled. "Why don't we just tell him that if he don't back off, he could end up in the jail cell right next to his Uncle?"
Emerson smiled. "We'll wait on that." He looked at Ellis. "Let him investigate. He's out of his jurisdiction anyway."
"Yeah, but what about Sheriff Fuller?" Ellis asked. "What ever Rosco finds out he could pass along to Frank."
Emerson paused eyeing the ATF agent. "Sheriff Fuller won't be any help to him."
Ellis stared and was about to ask for Gerald to clarify that statement when the three men heard a car drive into the street. The looked up and saw the big white Chevy with Hazzard markings on it come to a stop in front of the courthouse.
"You better git," Emerson told Ellis. The agent nodded and turned and disappeared down the alley. Emerson and Bryar turned away slightly as Rosco got out of his patrol car.
He paused for a moment, watching the two men. Rosco knew he was being watched, but he didn't know who they were exactly. He walked around the patrol car and headed toward the door of the courthouse. Once he was inside, he quickly stepped over to the window and peeked through the blinds.
Frank looked up from his desk. "Rosco, what the devil you doin'?"
Rosco looked at Sheriff Fuller and waved a finger at him, telling him to come towards the window. The older sheriff got up and joined his younger counterpart.
"Who are they?" Rosco asked.
Frank looked. He then snorted and nodded his head. "That's Gerald Emerson and Jason Bryar. It's about time you saw them for yourself."
"Hmm," Rosco said and nodded. "Excuse me, Frank. I'm gonna go introduce myself." Rosco stepped away from the window and started towards the door.
"Rosco, I ain't so sure that's such a hot idea. They're bound to know who you are and probably don't want to talk to you."
Rosco shrugged. "We'll find out, won't we?" He opened the door and came back out of the courthouse.
Gerald and Jason both saw Rosco come back out and start to cross the street. They glanced at each other as they realized he was heading straight for them.
Emerson shook his head and started to walk down the alley, with Bryar following. Rosco saw them.
"Hey," he called. "Hey, y'all I just wanna talk to ya for minute."
But Frank was right, they didn't want to talk to him. Rosco stopped after he stepped up on the sidewalk and watched them disappear down the alley. He shook his head and turned back around standing there for a moment. He made eye contact with a young woman walking down the sidewalk and tipped his hat to her in greeting. She smiled and continued on her way and Rosco went back across the street to the courthouse.
"What did I tell ya?" Frank said when Rosco came in.
Rosco took his hat off. "Don't know why they wouldn't want to talk to a fine upstanding young man like me."
* * *
Hazzard County, Georgia
Sunday, November 17, 1963
Sunday morning the Coltrane family joined the rest of the town of Hazzard at the church. MaryAnne wore the light blue dress she had got for her birthday back in April and Abby had done up MaryAnne's hair with a matching blue ribbon, pulling the sides up and letting the rest hang down the back. The little girl sat between her uncle and cousin, who were also dressed in their Sunday best. Rosco's sheriff's badge was easily visible on the front of his suit jacket, just over his heart. He pulled at his necktie though, wishing his mother didn't make him wear the whole ridiculous ensemble every Sunday.
"But you look so nice in it," she would tell him whenever he started to protest. "And besides, I think one day during the week it ain't gonna kill you to wear something other than your uniform."
"People tell me I look nice in my uniform too," he would reply.
Abby, however, didn't find that funny and Rosco had just finally learned to not argue it anymore. But as soon as the service was over, and they were out of the church building, he would loosen the tie enough to make himself comfortable, and drive his mother nuts.
"Rosco..." Abby scolded.
Rosco looked at his mother. "What?" he asked, innocently.
MaryAnne giggled and Rosco looked at her and winked.
Outside the church, folks gathered to talk and chat. MaryAnne asked if it was okay if she could join with some of the other kids, seeing as she wasn't too interested in hanging around with the adults. Raleigh said okay and as she ran off, Abby called after her, "Don't get any dirt on that dress!"
"I won't!" MaryAnne replied.
"She will," both Raleigh and Rosco said at the same time. They looked at each other and chuckled as Jesse Duke approached.
"Howdy, Jesse," Raleigh greeted.
"Hello Raleigh, Rosco." Jesse tipped his hat to Abby. "Miss Abby."
They watched the kids across the way as MaryAnne joined up with them.
"How's MaryAnne been doin'?" Jesse asked.
"Pretty good," Raleigh replied. "I think she'd probably be worse off if she wasn't staying with family."
"She definitely misses her Papa tho'," Rosco said.
"Yeah, that's understandable," Jesse said. They all watched the kids again and saw that Bo was now talking to the new girl, showing her his Matchbox car that he had brought with him. He let her hold it in her hand to look at it and MaryAnne studied it with interest. She too had a set of Matchbox cars at home.
Rosco chuckled as Jesse was shaking his head in disbelief. "He never let's anyone touch one of his little cars," the Duke patriarch said. "Especially not no girl!"
Rosco laughed out loud now. "Well, Jesse, she may one of the few little girls around here who has a Matchbox car set of her own."
"Nope. Eli's always saying how he's trying so hard to raise her to be a lady and all she wants to do is play in the dirt with her cars." Rosco paused. "Don't know what the problem is with that," he giggled.
"Sounds like Daisy," Jesse said. "If I can keep her out of the dirt long enough, then it's a good day."
The Coltranes and Jesse laughed together.
* * *
Hazzard County, Georgia
Monday, November 18, 1963
Monday morning, Rosco stepped out of the door and walked to his patrol car. He got half way there when Raleigh opened the door and came out after his son.
"Rosco, wait up."
Rosco turned to his father.
"Did you forget I'm going to Greenville today?"
Rosco just stared for a moment. "Oh shoot," he said. "And Mama and Lulu are--"
"Going to Atlanta," Raleigh said in unison with his son.
"Great," Rosco said. "That means I gotta bring MaryAnne with me. Can't leave her here by herself."
Rosco made a face, wondering how Boss Hogg was going to take the news. He sighed and headed back to the house to get MaryAnne.
* * *
MaryAnne held on to her cousin's hand as he walked with her up the steps of the Hazzard County courthouse. She looked up at the building in awe and could hardly contain her excitement at joining Rosco at work, even if it was just for a day.
When they came into the booking room, Boss Jefferson Davis Hogg was already there waiting. At forty-three years of age, he was a slightly heavy set man dressed in a white suit. His brown hair was already thin on top and the receding hairline just seem to move closer to the top of his head with each passing year. In his hand was his usual cigar and he looked at Rosco with questioning brown eyes and then turned his gaze to the little girl, who hid behind her cousin's leg, still peeking out at the big man.
"Uh..Boss, this is my cousin, MaryAnne. Eli's little girl." Rosco gently touched MaryAnne on the head to get her to come out from behind him. She hesitantly did, although she still stayed close by Rosco.
"Hello," she said shyly.
Boss looked at her and his expression softened. He smiled. "Hello there," he said.
"Raleigh's gone over to Greenville today and with Mama and Lulu in Atlanta I couldn't leave her at the house by herself," Rosco explained. "Is it alright if I have her with me today?"
"Well..." Boss knew about the situation regarding Eli's arrest and Rosco getting custody of MaryAnne, but a six year old girl riding shotgun with the Sheriff of Hazzard County was a little dangerous and he hesitated in giving an answer.
"I'm gonna try to talk to Miss Miller over at the school house to see if MaryAnne can sit in with the first graders there for the rest of the week," Rosco said. "So it should only be for today."
"I won't be no trouble," MaryAnne said suddenly.
Boss looked at her. "You won't, huh?"
"No, sir. I'll be a good girl. I won't get in the way."
Boss paused a moment in thought. If he said no, there was really no place else for MaryAnne to go, other than maybe his office for the rest of the day. He nodded, trusting that the little girl would remain true to her word.
"Alright," he said. "But you mind your cousin. If he tells you to do something or not to do something, you listen to him, ya hear?"
MaryAnne nodded. "Yes, sir."
"Thanks, Boss," Rosco said. He looked at MaryAnne. "Okay, kiddo, time for patrol." He put his hand out and she took it.
"Be careful, Rosco," Boss said as they headed toward the door.
* * *
MaryAnne enjoyed going with Rosco on patrol, but tended to get a little restless when she had to sit in his office while he tended to paper work and phone calls. When lunch time rolled around, usually Rosco just went over to the cafe across the square to get something to eat and brought it back to the courthouse. Instead, on this day he decided to make it more interesting for MaryAnne. He took her with him to the cafe and let her pick out a sandwich along with a small side order and a drink. He then took her in his patrol car to one of his favorite patrol stops (later speed traps) and they ate lunch underneath the
big oak tree. MaryAnne sat on the hood of the car, Rosco leaned against it and they waved to the few folks who drove by.
"So," Rosco said after MaryAnne took a bite of her sandwich. "What do you think of being with your big ol' cousin, the Sheriff, so far today? Not too boring is it?"
MaryAnne waited and swallowed her mouthful before speaking. "It's okay. I really like riding in your car tho'."
Rosco smiled. "Don't like having to sit in the office huh?"
MaryAnne shook her head. "Not really."
He chuckled. "Don't blame ya. I don't like it too much myself."
"Why do you do it?"
"Well, cuz I kinda have to. It's all part of the job. Just like with any other job, there are some parts that are interesting and there are some that are boring. You'll find out when you're older and you start working."
"I wonder what I'll be..."
"There's all kinds of things you could be. You could be a nurse or an airline stewardess or a secretary..."
"Could I be a police officer, like you?"
"Uh..." Up to that point in his life, Rosco had never met a female police officer. "Maybe," he finished.
MaryAnne nodded. They were quiet for a bit as they continued to eat. After MaryAnne took a sip of her drink she asked Rosco if she would be coming to work with him again the next day.
"Well, I was going to see if you could sit in with the other first graders at the elementary school. Can't go with out getting your educatin'."
"Aww," she said. "You mean I still gotta go to school?"
"'Fraid so. You won't be much of anything when you're older if you don't get an education."
"That's what Papa's always sayin'."
"And he's right," Rosco said. He then smiled. "See, if you get your educatin', you can be as smart as your Papa."
* * *
Later that afternoon Rosco and MaryAnne drove over to the school house. School had just let out and there were a few kids out front of the building waiting for the bus. Rosco parked his patrol car and then he and MaryAnne went inside.
They found Peggy Miller's first grade classroom and the young teacher was at her desk, grading work. There were actually two first grade classes, but Rosco chose Peggy's class because he knew her. They had gone to school together and Rosco had played baseball in highschool with Peggy's brother, Mark.
Rosco took his hat off and walked with MaryAnne into the room.
"Afternoon, Miss Miller," Rosco greeted. Even though he knew her, ever since she had become a teacher he called her Miss Miller.
Peggy looked up and smiled. "Well, howdy there Rosco." She then looked at MaryAnne. "Hello there. You must be MaryAnne."
"Yeah, it is," Rosco replied, looking at his little cousin with a bit of pride. He then turned his attention back to Peggy. "I wanted to ask you a favor, if you don't mind?"
"Sure. What can I do for you?"
"Well, MaryAnne's gonna be stayin' with me and my folks for awhile cuz her Daddy's in...uh...a bit of trouble over in Finchburg. Would be okay if she sat in with the other kids so she doesn't miss out on much of schoolin'?"
"Well, sure, I don't see why that would be a problem." She looked back and forth between Rosco and MaryAnne and then stopped at Rosco. "What happened to her daddy?" she asked carefully.
"Um...he was arrested," Rosco replied. "It's kinda complicated but he was arrested for something he didn't necessarily do."
"Oh, I see. Well, I'm sure everything will turn out alright. Will she be starting tomorrow?"
"Yeah. Is that okay?"
"That's fine." Peggy looked at MaryAnne. "So you're going to be joining us tomorrow, MaryAnne?"
She nodded. "Yes, Ma'am."
Peggy smiled. "Well, we look forward to having you as a guest."
"Thanks, Miss---uh, Peggy." Rosco made a face and smiled.
"You were going to call me Miss Miller weren't you?"
"Yeah, I was."
"Well, I suppose it could be worse. I could be a Mrs.," she chuckled. "Then I'd really feel old if you called me that!"
* * *
Finchburg County, Georgia
Tuesday, November 19, 1963
Rosco dropped MaryAnne off at school the next morning. The little girl gave a bit of a look, as if to say, 'why are you leaving me here?' Rosco felt kind of bad about it, like he was pushing her out of the way. But he knew he couldn't have her with him all day. It was just too dangerous.
Her attitude changed a little when she saw the three Duke cousins, and being with some kids she knew a little made her feel better. She gave Rosco a kiss on the cheek and he told her he'd pick her up this afternoon. She said okay, and then ran off to join with the other kids.
From the school, Rosco drove straight to Finchburg County. He attempted to talk to Gerald Emerson, but was given the cold shoulder by Emerson's secretary.
"I'm afraid Mr. Emerson is a very busy man," she said. "You must have an appointment to see him."
"Oh," Rosco replied in the same kind of snooty tone. "Well, I don't have an appointment. And to be honest I don't want to make one either." He tipped his hat. "Good day, madam."
Finding Jason Bryar proved to be as easy as finding a needle in a hay stack. The folks at the diner told Rosco that Jason didn't hang around town much, and if he was in town he was at Emerson's office. Having just been there, Rosco didn't figure he'd be talking to either one of them on this day.
So that left him with one last person he could talk to. He got the address and directions from Sheriff Fuller and then drove out of town. Ten minutes later, Rosco pulled up to Charlie Danforth's farm and cut the engine of his patrol car. He looked up at the white colonial styled farm house that sat up on a hill, with the faded red barn off to the side and back of the house. The dirt drive looked like it went up and on forever, eventually leading up to the big white doors of the barn that were wide open. Rosco caught a glimpse of someone passing the open doorway and he figured it had to be Charlie himself.
Rosco stepped out of his patrol car and started up the drive toward the barn. The same person who had passed the doorway before was walking back the other way and saw the stranger coming up the drive. The man stopped and looked.
"Howdy," Rosco said.
The man gave a short nod. "Howdy," he said, with a bit of suspicion. "What can I do for ya?"
"Are you Charlie Danforth?"
Rosco removed his hat. "My name's Rosco Coltrane. I'm Eli's nephew."
"The Sheriff over in Hazzard," Charlie said. "Yeah, I've heard of you. And if you're here to talk about what happened to your uncle, I ain't got nothing to say to you." Charlie turned and walked towards the back of the barn.
"Really?" Rosco said following after him. Rosco glanced at the burlap bags that were strewn along the right side of the barn. "So you're glad to see him in jail? Are you saying your little frame up worked?"
Charlie turned back to him quick and glared at him. "How the hell did you get elected Sheriff talkin' like that?"
Rosco looked at the man. "It ain't no secret, Charlie. Eli knows and I know that you're one of a few people in this county that would like to see Eli sent up the river for moonshinin'."
"I wouldn't stoop to framin' anybody," Charlie said.
"No?" Rosco looked at the burlap bags again. He was only guessing it was there and he walked over and bent down to look at each one of them.
"What are you lookin' for?"
Please be here, Rosco thought. He moved two of the bags aside and found two more hidden underneath. He looked for the small brand near the top of one of them and found it. When he saw the initials E.C. he smiled and turned back to Charlie.
Charlie saw that Rosco saw the bag and that he knew who it belonged to. His face paled a little.
"Mr. Danforth, maybe you wouldn't stoop to framing anybody, but there are some people here in Finchburg who would." Rosco stood up. "I'm going to ask you where you got this, but before you answer I want you to know I already know what's in this bag and itís either squash or potatoes, so don't tell me Eli gave this to you out of the goodness of his Coltrane heart." Rosco never took his eyes off Charlie and reached into the bag. He pulled out a head of squash.
"Where'd you get the bag, Charlie?"
Charlie didn't answer right away. He looked at Rosco for a moment, a bit fearful now. "You don't know what's been goin' on here in Finchburg in the past coupla years," he said softly.
Charlie nodded. He then turned away from Rosco and gazed at the stack of baled hay along the wall of the barn. "You're uncle's a good moonshiner," he said. "People like his liquor. They used to like mine. Before he moved here I had a pretty good little side business going, ya know? Emerson said I could get it all back if I agreed to help him." Charlie turned back to Eli's nephew. "Gerald Emerson's looking to become the next county commissioner and he wants complete control of everything. Pretty much the only thing standing in his way is your uncle."
"So Emerson promised you a nice share of the moonshine business in the county if Eli was put away for a long time?"
"Rosco, you have to understand. My wife is not in good health, I can barely make the mortgage payments every month for this ol' place. Every morning I wake up I worry about how I'm going to make ends meet. You can understand that, can't ya?"
Rosco paused a moment and then nodded. "Yeah, I can." Rosco picked up the other burlap bag that belonged to Eli. "But I'm not gonna let my uncle stay in jail for something he didn't do. I appreciate your honesty and I'm sorry about your wife, Mr. Danforth, but I think you could have found other ways to make ends meet." Rosco turned and started to leave the barn.
"Where are you taking those bags?" Charlie asked.
Rosco stopped and turned back to him. "It's evidence. I'm taking it to Sheriff Fuller." Rosco turned again and walked down the drive back to his patrol car.
* * *
Emerson was sitting in his office, across the street from the courthouse when he saw the Hazzard Sheriff's car pull up. He glanced up and watched Rosco get out of the car carrying two burlap bags.
Gerald stared. After Rosco disappeared inside the building, Emerson turned and picked up his phone. He dialed the number directly and after several rings, Charlie Danforth answered.
"How did Sheriff Coltrane get those bags?" Emerson demanded.
"I just saw him go into the county courthouse. How did he get them??"
"He saw them," Charlie admitted. "He came out here and started asking about Eli. I didn't say anything at first and then he found the bags. He knew there was no other way I could have gotten them. What was I supposed to do?"
"Lied. As best you could, which probably still wouldn't have been good enough." Emerson forcefully hung up the phone. He paused a moment and then picked it up again and dialed a new number.
"He found the bags, Jason. When Ellis gets back here I want the two of you over here to my office pronto."
* * *
Hazzard County, Georgia
Tuesday, November 19, 1963
That afternoon, MaryAnne stood with Daisy Duke and a few other children who were all waiting for either the one Hazzard County school bus or for parents to pick them up. The front corner of the school yard was alive with the sounds of shrieking kids running around in an impromptu game of tag, which included Bo, Luke and Enos. Small school bags or belted books were lying along the bottom of the fence, out of the way so the kids wouldn't trip over them and add more scrapes or bruises to any that they may have already had.
Across the street, Roger Ellis watched the scene and kept a particular eye on the little brown haired girl from Finchburg County. He figured he had one more way of getting through to Rosco to back off and there she was, standing right there near the fence. After a moment, Roger got out of the car and walked across the street.
He reached the fence and then kneeled down to approximately MaryAnne's height. She was standing about five feet away and he spoke her name.
The little girl turned and looked at him.
"Come here," he said. "I have something to tell you."
MaryAnne paused, not wanting to approach the stranger.
"It's about your daddy," Roger said.
"What about him?" she asked, still standing in her same spot.
"Come here, I'll tell you."
She took a couple of steps toward him. Daisy and the other children were watching her and the stranger in the grey police-like uniform.
"What?" MaryAnne asked stopping now about two feet away from him.
"I'm afraid your daddy's gonna stay in jail for a long time," he said. "And your cousin? Rosco? If he's not careful, he could go to jail too. You wouldn't want that would you?"
MaryAnne swallowed with a little fear. "No..."
Roger nodded. "But, that's what's gonna happen. He's going to go to jail, just like your daddy."
"NO!" MaryAnne cried. Roger looked towards the school yard and then stood up straight and turned to walk back to his car.
"You're lying!!" MaryAnne screamed at him, stepping all the way up to the chain link fence and grabbing a hold of it. "I don't believe you!! My Papa's not gonna be stayin' in jail! He's NOT!!"
Roger never looked back at her. He got into his car and drove away.
MaryAnne turned away from the fence and buried her face in her hands. Daisy and the other children gathered around her, trying to find out what happened, but the little girl just cried.
A few moments later, Rosco pulled up to the school yard and saw MaryAnne was standing with a small cluster of children around her, including Jesse Duke's little niece, Daisy. He saw the pained expression on MaryAnne's face and the tears that were on her cheeks when she pulled her hands away and looked over to him, when Daisy told her that he was here. Rosco quickly stopped his patrol car and got out.
"MaryAnne? Are you alright?" he asked, hurrying over to her.
MaryAnne just continued to cry. Rosco got down on one knee and gently touched her on the arm.
"A man was talking to her," Daisy said.
"Yeah. He was wearing clothes like you, only grey. Just like the men Uncle Jesse is always being careful of."
"ATF," Rosco said softly. He looked at MaryAnne. "Sweetheart, what did he say to you?"
MaryAnne took a sharp breath. "He said--He said Papa was gonna stay in jail and that you were gonna be next," she sobbed. "I don't want you to go to jail too! Why did he say that?"
Rosco sighed and drew her to him, letting her cry into his shoulder. "I don't know, honey," he said. But even as he said that, his blue eyes were already clouded with fury towards Roger Ellis. Without another word, Rosco grabbed a hold of MaryAnne's school bag and he took her by the hand and walked her back to his patrol car.
MaryAnne was still upset when Rosco pulled his patrol car into the driveway of the house. He walked with her up the walkway and into the house and he dropped her school bag in the chair in the living room.
Raleigh was seated in his favorite chair and saw that MaryAnne's eyes were red and that Rosco looked ready to chew nails.
"Dang ATF agent talked to MaryAnne at the school yard. Told her that Eli was gonna be in jail forever and that I was gonna be next."
MaryAnne started balling again. "I want Papa to come home! And I don't want Rosco to go to jail either!"
Raleigh extended his arm to her and MaryAnne ran to her Uncle.
"It's alright, little one," he soothed, giving her a hug. "Rosco's not going to jail and your daddy's gonna be home, don't you worry." He looked up at Rosco as MaryAnne sobbed into his shoulder.
Rosco sighed and turned to leave.
"Where you going?" Raleigh asked.
"I'm going to find Roger Ellis," Rosco replied, turning back to his father. "This is the last straw. I'm not gonna continue to play games with him about this anymore." He started to head to the door when MaryAnne suddenly came running up behind him.
"No!" she cried, grabbing a hold of the bottom of his uniform jacket. "They'll put you in jail! I don't want you to go to jail!"
Rosco turned his head to see his little cousin tugging on the back of the jacket. He took a hold of her hands, to get her to let go of the jacket and then he turned and kneeled down to face her.
She looked at him, her eyes fearful and full of tears that streamed down her face. Rosco wiped them away with his hand.
"I'm not gonna end up in jail, MaryAnne," he said. "I'm just going to have a little talk with someone that's all."
"Shh," he said softly. "Ain't nothin' gonna happen. And I ain't gonna let anything happen that'll keep your Papa in jail or put me in jail. I'll be back in a little while okay? You stay here with your Uncle Raleigh."
MaryAnne sniffled. "All--all right."
Rosco smiled. "That's a girl." He gave her a hug and then stood up and turned and placed his hat on as he went out the door.
MaryAnne still looked at the door after Rosco had left. Raleigh came over and kneeled down next to her.
"You believe your cousin don't you, MaryAnne?"
She sniffled again. "Yeah, but I just don't want Papa and Rosco to be gone forever." She looked at him. "Like Momma."
* * *
Rosco found Ellis's ATF car parked in front of the courthouse in town. He parked his patrol car behind the Ford, got out and walked over to it. He gave the car a dirty look, as if to say, 'what's this piece of junk parked in front of my jail?' Rosco went around to the side facing the courthouse and he leaned against the front fender, waiting for Roger to come out.
When the ATF agent came out, Rosco kept a steady eye on him as he came down the stairs. Roger slowed his pace when he got half way down the stairs and saw Rosco standing by his car. He lazily stepped off the last few steps and stopped, looking at the young Sheriff.
"Howdy, Ellis," Rosco greeted, his blue eyes making it clear that it was not meant to be friendly.
"What the hell you up to?" Roger retorted.
"Wanted to talk to ya," Rosco replied. "Can't I atleast do that?"
Roger took a few more steps towards Rosco. "Well, make it quick. I've got things to do."
Rosco smirked and was going to make a comment but he bit his tongue. "I just wanted to tell you that if you, or one of your boys tries to talk to MaryAnne again, I'm gonna make sure they rip those ATF badges off y'all so fast that you won't know what happened until you've all been tossed out the door by Commander Donovan in Atlanta."
"What are you talkin' about?"
"Somebody wearing an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms uniform approached MaryAnne at the school yard today. I don't know if it was you or one of your boys and frankly I don't care. If you're gonna try to prevent me from clearing Eli's name, fine, but you leave her alone. Or so help me, I'll..."
Roger raised an eyebrow. "Or you'll what?"
Rosco kept his cool and gritted his teeth. He took a steady breath and stepped away from the car, turning to walk around the front of it. When he got to the other side, he looked at Ellis again.
"You just stay away from her," he said, "or you will be sorry." Rosco continued on back to his patrol car with Roger still watching him. After the Chevy disappeared down the road, Roger got into his car and drove out of town.
* * *
Gerald Emerson looked at ATF agent for a moment.
"He ain't gonna stop," Roger added. "Frankly, I think he's on to y'all."
"Us," Emerson reminded. "After all this is a group effort."
Ellis made no response as Jason turned the conversation back to the main point. "Alright, so what do we do about him?"
"We get him out of the way," Emerson answered simply. He then looked at Roger. "And we make it permanent. But first," Emerson looked back to Jason, "you and I are going to have a little talk with Sheriff Fuller."
* * *
MaryAnne was relieved when Rosco returned to the house and she ran out to greet him after he had pulled into the yard.
"See? I told you nothing would happen," he said to her with a smile as he kneeled down so the little girl could give him a hug.
"I'm glad," she said.
Rosco chuckled. "Okay." MaryAnne let go of her cousin and looked at him.
"Hey, I'll tell ya what," he said. "Why don't we have a little after school snack...like milk and cookies, khee khee. And then you can change out of your school clothes and we'll go over to Finchburg and see your Papa, 'k?"
"Okay," MaryAnne agreed, her expression brightening.
Rosco smiled with her. "Alright, come on." He took her hand and led her back to the house.
One thing unique about Rosco was that he acted like an adult only when he really had to. Otherwise, he was always a kid at heart. And with that in mind, the grown man in a Sheriff's uniform, sat with his 6-year-old cousin, dunking chocolate chip cookies into his own big glass of milk with her. MaryAnne's giggling rang throughout the house and from the door way of the kitchen, Raleigh watched the site and couldn't help but smile.
Rosco caught a glimpse of his father and said, "Guess they should have verified my real age before I got elected huh?" he joked.
"Hey, just because you're getting older, doesn't mean you have to grow up."
* * *
After MaryAnne changed her clothes, she and Rosco headed out to Finchburg County. Raleigh saw them off and was glad that things seemed to be getting better. But they weren't. Rosco and MaryAnne weren't even a mile over the county line into Finchburg, when they discovered that things were about to get worse.
Rosco slowed his patrol car to a stop and he and MaryAnne looked at the person lying in the road near another car.
"Are they hurt?" she asked.
"I'm gonna find out. You stay here."
Rosco stepped out of the car and MaryAnne watched him as he walked towards the person. He was about to kneel down to check on the person when somebody jumped up from the other side of the car.
Rosco jumped up as well and nearly pulled his gun out but stopped when he saw the ATF agent had already drawn him.
"Hello, Rosco," Roger Ellis sneered.
Rosco moved his hand away from his gun just as three more agents came out of the woods and the 'injured' motorist suddenly got up.
MaryAnne watched the whole thing unfold. When she recognized the guns that were pointed at her cousin she screamed, prompting everyone to turn to her. One of the agents started walking towards the patrol car. Rosco took a step to try to stop him and suddenly was grabbed from behind by Roger.
The agent paused long enough to turn to look towards Roger.
"Leave her alone," Rosco pleaded.
Ellis smiled. "Go get her, Matt."
"No!" Rosco struggled against Ellis's grip. "MaryAnne, get out of there! Get out of the car, run away!"
MaryAnne did as she was told. She pulled on the door latch and pushed the passenger door open and jumped out of the car, running like crazy down the road back towards Hazzard.
Rosco watched her and then watched the agent take off after her.
"NO!" Rosco pulled one more time and managed to break free of Ellis's grip. He tried to run after the agent who was chasing MaryAnne but was stopped when Ellis grabbed at him again and the other agent, the 'injured' motorist, whacked Rosco on the base of his neck with the butt of a gun.
Rosco tilted his head back and dropped to his knees. Roger still had a hold of his arm and he grabbed the Hazzard Sheriff with his other hand as well to keep him from falling face first into the dirt. Roger then glared at his fellow ATF agent.
"You idiot! Just for that you can carry him to the car."
The other agent made a face and then proceeded to lift Rosco up in a cradled carry.
MaryAnne, meanwhile, was still running. She could hear the pounding foot steps behind her, which mixed with her heart pounding in her ears. She glanced back briefly and saw the agent was a lot further behind her than she had figured. She saw an opening in the woods and ran down from the road into the trees.
Matt stopped chasing her at that point. He watched her disappear into the thick of the woods and shook his head.
Damn Roger Ellis, he thought. I hope he's happy scaring her off. He looked into the woods for a moment longer and then turned and walked back up the road.
MaryAnne kept running, jumping over fallen trees and not paying attention to the branches that slapped at her arms as she went by. She came out of the other side of the woods and onto another dirt road. She continued to run until she tripped and fell to the gravel.
Dust swirled around her and she pushed herself up to a sitting position, the tears already starting as she looked at her ripped pants, scraped knees and elbow. She looked around and found she was all alone.
"Papa..." she whimpered. She sniffled and then just sat and cried. She stayed like that for almost five minutes, until the sound of a car approaching made her look up. Although she didn't know it right off, the white 1960 Cadillac would end up taking her home to her Uncle Raleigh and Aunt Abby.
Behind the wheel of his convertible, Boss Hogg saw the little girl sitting in the middle of road. As he drove closer, and slowed the Cadillac down, he recognized MaryAnne. He stopped the car.
"MaryAnne?" he said as he got out of the car and approached her.
MaryAnne just looked at him with teary eyes. But she recognized him which made her feel a little better.
"Child, what are you doing out here all by yourself? Where's Rosco?"
"They took him," she rasped. "These men. They had guns! They took him!"
"A little while ago. One of them ran after me, but I got away." She wiped away some of the tears on her face with the back of her hand.
Boss looked around, wondering just how long ago was 'a little while ago,' and where exactly this all took place.
"I ran through the woods," MaryAnne said. "I fell down when I got here."
"No one came out of the woods behind you?"
"No." She looked her ripped pant legs and scraped knees again.
Boss looked too, and knew he had to get her to Raleigh and Abby and get her cleaned up.
"Well, let's see if we can find Rosco," he said. 'Then I'll take ya to your Uncle Raleigh okay?"
MaryAnne sniffled and nodded. Boss took her by the hand and she got up and walked with him to this car. When they got to the passenger side, he didn't even open the door. He just carefully picked her up and put her into the car. He then walked around the front and settled into the driver seat, started the car and turned the Cadillac around.
Boss drove back to where the road he found MaryAnne on met with the one that went to Finchburg County. They headed toward the county line and when they reached it there was nothing there to be found. Rosco's patrol car was gone, the other car was gone and the ATF men were all gone.
And Rosco was gone.
Boss brought the white car to a stop and looked around.
"We thought it was a somebody who was hurt," MaryAnne said. "They were lying on the ground by a car. When Rosco went over to check on them, another man came out from behind the car with a gun, and then all these men came out of the woods."
"What did these men look like?" Boss asked.
"They were all wearing grey clothing, almost like what Rosco wears."
Boss knew that grey uniformed police men would be ATF agents. He could see the fresh tire tracks in the dirt just ahead of where he and MaryAnne sat and based on what had happened to Eli, Boss figured that somebody, somewhere in Finchburg County seemed to have it in for Coltranes.
He also spotted Rosco's black hat. He got out of the car and went to pick it up, looking at the area around him again. He then looked at the hat and wondered just how the heck his brother-in-law could be Sheriff for only five years and be in this much trouble already.
Boss turned back around and returned to his car. He didn't say a word as he put the Cadillac in reverse and backed the car up, then swung it around and headed back to Hazzard.
* * *