**** **** ****
Old Route 112 crossed over into Tennessee. About two miles in, they stopped to dump the beige Plymouth, pushing the car down into a gully. Jay got into the front passenger seat of the Crown Vic and from there they crossed over railroad tracks and eventually connected with new Route 112, which took them in an easterly direction toward Chattanooga. They linked up with Interstate 24 and followed it directly into the city.
In all it was about a thirty minute drive. They left the interstate and drove into downtown Chattanooga.
Chattanooga was in the midst of an urban renewal. Unlike Atlanta, with its high-rises seeming to grow ever higher, Chattanooga’s buildings were relatively modest. Mixed with the new, modern construction, many of the older buildings of the city that once housed the mighty industrial and manufacturing businesses that drove the “Dynamo of Dixie” remained standing. Many were given new life as office space or condominiums while others stood vacant and frozen in time. It wasn’t unusual to have one city block completely modernized with new or renovated buildings, only to have a virtual ghost town across the street.
They wound through downtown traffic and turned down a street where a high-rise hotel was located. Across the street was a parking garage. Bill, Enos and MaryAnne all were watching out the windows of Bill’s Crown Vic as David pulled over with Carl pulling behind him in Enos’s bare patrol car. Ronnie drove the Charger across the street, into the garage.
A few minutes later, Ronnie walked out of the garage and returned to the patrol car. David pulled the Crown Vic away from the curb with Carl following and they left the Charger behind in the parking garage.
They drove down Broad Street, through the Tennessee Valley Authority complex and past more new and modern buildings to Chattanooga’s Main Street. Here, just a half a mile away from the shiny new buildings were the remains of Chattanooga’s industrial past. David guided the Crown Vic down a street with a row of aged empty manufacturing buildings, with broken windows and faded names of long gone business painted on the bricks. For Sale and For Lease signs hung out front and from the looks of things, the real estate market in this area was slow. David turned down a crumbling weed-choked alley between two of the buildings and around to the backside of a three-story.
A narrow dirt alley separated the ancient three-story from the lot that backed up to it. Stone footings squared off a portion of the other lot, which was now an empty parking area to another old dilapidated building. A cluster of hardy trees and brush grew along what was probably a property line and rounded the empty lot. The backside of the three-story had several bricks missing from its face and corner and almost all of what had once been windows on the upper floors were boarded up or filled in. The ground floor windows were either partially boarded up, broken all together or, amazingly, untouched.
Out of view of the street, Bill, Enos and MaryAnne, their hands still bound behind their backs, were escorted inside the building. The wooden floor creaked at their entrance and under the constant persuasion of the point of guns, they were led down a dark, dusty hallway off to their right. At the end of the hall, sunlight streamed through a window that wasn’t boarded up and they were corralled into an empty room and ordered to sit down on the floor.
“Now just a minute,” MaryAnne said. “Would it really be an inconvenience for y’all to let me answer the call of nature? I’ve been pretty patient I think.”
“This,” Ronnie held up his gun, “says you hold it a little longer.”
“Ya know, I figure you’re gonna shoot us anyway,” MaryAnne said, “and although I’m sure it’s not all the same to you, I’d rather not have a full bladder when I go, ya know? I mean, you do know what happens to people when they die an’ stuff don’t ya?”
MaryAnne smirked. “Ten points. No, I mean what happens to the body when it dies. Dying itself is undignified enough but letting go of various--”
“Allright,” Jay said, not caring the direction of the conversation. “Carl, take her outside and let her tend to business behind the trees. You two,” he looked at Bill and Enos, “can take a seat on the floor.”
Bill and Enos did as ordered but they were both watching MaryAnne as she was escorted back out by Carl. Bill wondered if the deputy was going to try to hoodwink Carl and if she was capable of it. Enos had the feeling she would try to hoodwink the thug and it made him nervous.
Jay, David and Ronnie apparently had another part of the building they wished to continue to plot their attack and they left Bill and Enos alone in the room, pulling the old wooden door shut as they left. A blast of dust wafted through the room and caused Enos to sneeze.
Back out in the narrow alley behind the building, Carl untied MaryAnne’s hands and told her to make it quick.
“I’ll be quick,” she replied, rubbing her raw wrists. “No peeking now!” She stepped behind a tree.
Carl, for his part, looked away and permitted MaryAnne a little bit of privacy, as much as could be afforded for her having to relieve herself in the middle of a rundown section of Chattanooga.
“You wouldn’t have any toilet paper on you, by chance?”
“Yeah, I got some right in my pocket here,” Carl replied sarcastically. “Use your shirt.”
“You done yet?”
“Don’t rush me. And don’t be turnin’ around neither.”
Carl rolled his eyes but remained turned away from MaryAnne. MaryAnne finished and as she situated her uniform again, she looked around for something to give her some leverage. She found a good-sized stone and picked it up.
“Almost finished,” she said, “Been a long time since I’ve had to rough it ya know. Been spoiled by indoor plumbing…” As she spoke, she stepped out from behind the tree moving quietly, hefting the stone in her right hand and creeping up behind Carl.
Just as Carl was sensing her coming up behind him, MaryAnne raised the stone up and brought it down at the base of his neck.
The blow didn’t kill him, nor did it even knock him out. But it stunned him just enough to cause him to drop the gun he held. He went down on his knees with momentary disorientation and MaryAnne tossed the stone aside and immediately picked up the gun.
Showing she was serious, she clicked off the safety and grabbed Carl by the collar of his shirt shoving the gun into his side. “Okay, Carl. Sorry I had to take advantage of you being a gentleman and all. You’ll understand this is only business. Now get up. Put your hands out where I can see ‘em…”
Carl did as told but snarled in protest. “Ronnie was right. Y’all shoulda been popped and left somewhere.”
“You’ll have to take that up with Jay, he made the decision. Move…”
They walked back to the building and went inside. MaryAnne directed Carl down the hallway to the room where Bill and Enos were. Carl opened the door and they stepped inside.
Bill and Enos looked up and knew immediately what was happening. Bill grinned. “Way to go Blue! Deputy, I’m impressed!”
MaryAnne ignored Bill’s accolade for the moment and let go of Carl’s shirt. “Awright,” she said. “Untie these two gentlemen for me please, Carl.”
Carl hesitated and then stepped over behind Bill first, the Federal agent gloating as Carl undid the ropes. Free from the restraints, Bill stood up and kept a watchful eye on Carl as he freed Enos.
Once the deputy was free, Bill grabbed up the discarded ropes and proceeded to bind Carl’s hands behind his back.
“Watch it man, that’s tight.”
“Aw gee, sorry about that,” Bill replied insincerely. The ropes remained tight. “Have a seat, creep.” He pushed down on Carl’s shoulder and the man sat on the floor. Bill looked over at MaryAnne and smiled. “That was terrific, Deputy.”
MaryAnne disengaged the safety on the gun and lowered her aim. “Thank ya. But that’s only one down and three to go.”
“She’s right, Mr. Maxwell,” Enos said. “Now we gotta find those other fellas.”
“Agreed. And we’re not going to do it by standing around here.” Bill approached MaryAnne. “Deputy,” he said respectfully and held his hand out for the gun. “If I may?”
MaryAnne appeared to think about it for a moment, looking at Bill as if to be sizing him up for the task. She then nodded and then turned the pistol, handle first, over to Bill.
He nodded to her. “Okay,” he said to both of them. “Let’s go.”
They exited the room, closing the door behind them. Bill took point and led the deputies down the hall. At the end of the hall, the door to exit the building was to their left and a short hall way was to the right. Bill peered around the corner, found it clear and guided the way down the short hall.
It really wasn’t so much a hallway as it was a small foyer with a set of stairs leading up to a portion of the second floor on their right and directly ahead of them was an archway that lead to the building’s shop floor. The shop floor took up at least half of the building’s entire footprint with four large support beams lining down the middle of the room. The room was open to the second floor and steel trusses at the ceiling supported the third floor. Sunlight streamed through the first and second floor windows.
Opposite the windows, two metal staircases were on both ends of the wall leading up to what were probably offices. Large glass casements allowed for keeping watch on workers on the shop floor.
Bill, MaryAnne and Enos all cautiously peered through the archway into the shop floor. Opposite them and toward the front of the building, Jay and David were standing at one of the old large industrial tables, looking over a map. A couple of duffle bags and some rifles were laid out on another table.
“I see those two,” Enos said quietly. “Where’s the third one?”
“Yeah, the hot headed driver,” MaryAnne added.
The tell tale chuck of a shotgun answered from behind them. “Turn around and you’ll find the hot headed driver.”
The three turned around slowly at Ronnie standing with Enos’s shotgun aimed at them. “Drop the gun Agent Maxwell. Jay! David!”
Bill grumbled and tossed the gun in to the shop floor. Jay and David hurried over as Ronnie ordered the threesome into the workshop.
As David picked up Bill’s discarded gun, Jay glared at the threesome. “How did you three get loose?! Where’s Carl?”
Carl’s voice carried from the back room. “I’m back here!”
“Ronnie, go get him.” Jay held his hand out for the shotgun and accepted it from Ronnie before the wheelman went to fetch Carl.
“You three are pushing your luck,” Jay warned.
“No more than usual,” MaryAnne replied. “Well, for me anyway,” she added with a glance to Bill and Enos.
“Yeah,” Bill added. “What, you expected this highly trained Fed and these two loyal deputies to just give up? Sit in that little room and say ‘Aw. Geez. I guess we’re through.’”
“You can fight and resist all you want, Agent Maxwell,” Jay said. “The price of failure for you on escaping or spoiling our mission, however, is extremely high.”
“You’ve already given the three of us a rain check on that deal,” Bill said. “We’re just not interested in waiting around for you to cash it in.”
“Nope,” MaryAnne said, coming to a split second decision, “we’re not. Sorry…” Hoping Enos and Agent Maxwell could react as needed MaryAnne suddenly kicked up a leg and knocked the pistol out of David’s hand.
Jay turned to see and in that split second, Bill and Enos reacted, lunging toward Jay to wrestle the shotgun away from him.
It was a hell of a dangerous move, one that could’ve cost all three their lives. Bill and Enos managed to wrestle the shotgun away from Jay and detain him while MaryAnne struggled with David. But the scuffle was short lived. Ronnie and Carl returned carrying weapons they had grabbed from their load of materials in Enos’s patrol car. Ronnie held Bill’s .45 and he pointed the gun skyward.
Thunder cracked within the shop floor and everybody stopped. David pushed MaryAnne away from him on the floor and the deputy slid a few inches on her rear to the waiting point of the business end of Carl’s rifle. Ronnie turned the .45 directly at Bill, who held the shotgun, and silently tempted the Fed to do something that would prompt Ronnie to pull the trigger.
Jay shrugged loose from Enos’s grip and relieved Bill of the shotgun. He then swung the butt end of the weapon into the Fed’s stomach making him double over. He lined up on Enos and whacked the deputy on his side. Unconcerned, Jay stepped away from the two lawmen and pointed the shotgun at MaryAnne, commanding her to get off the floor. Providing some extra help, David yanked MaryAnne up by her arm. She stood before Jay.
He said not a word to her and didn’t like the openly defiant look on her face. He simply lowered the shotgun, freed his right hand and cracked her hard across the face with a open handed slap. MaryAnne’s head turned at the force of the blow and the noise was like a firecracker going off in the workshop.
Bill and Enos both looked up. “Real tough guy,” Bill growled with a difficult breath. “Beatin’ up on a lady…”
Jay ignored the Fed and grabbed MaryAnne roughly by the arm, pushing her toward Enos and Bill. She avoided colliding into both men but put a hand out to an arm of each with a look asking if they were okay. Obviously, they weren’t great, as Enos merely gave a gritted nod while Bill was still trying to breathe regular again. She turned around to face Jay.
If Jay was annoyed before, he was infuriated now.
“Let’s waste ‘em,” Ronnie snarled. “Let me and Dave take care of them. Away from here. Dump them in the Tennessee River…”
Jay appeared to be seriously considering this. He met the gaze of each officer, holding their lives in his hands. A long moment passed, the stillness heavy within the old industrial building. A simple, one word answer would send them to their deaths.
Another simple, one word answer, would spare them one last time.
His gaze was intense and it silently issued one final warning. That had been their last chance. Failure after this and that rain check would be cashed in.
“No,” he said finally.
Ronnie sighed explosively. “You’re friggin’ impossible, Jay!”
“Not yet,” Jay said. “This time we secure these three nice and tight and no more potty breaks for any of them.” He looked at MaryAnne. “I’m afraid next time you’ll have to just piddle in your pants, Deputy.”
**** **** ****
Los Angeles, California
The three-hour time difference between Los Angeles and Atlanta meant that when Ralph tried to call Bill before leaving for school, Bill had already been on his way to Hazzard County. After being told that Agent Maxwell was out, Ralph left a message that he would call again later.
Later was during his lunch break. Bill still wasn’t in. When he asked if Bill was expected to return sometime, Ralph was told that Bill had driven up north on a lead but was expected to be back within a few hours. Ralph decided to leave what information he could with the agent that had taken the call. He gave the tip that Johnny Diamante’s hit car had been transported out of California by a truck belonging to Vincent Vanlines. Ralph withheld the possible connection to the Fed named Turco until he could talk to Bill directly.
When asked for a name, Ralph answered, “Just tell him his number one nephew called. He’ll know who it is.”
Afterwards, he met Pam in the school parking lot and they drove down the street to a restaurant for lunch.
“Any luck getting a hold of Bill?” she asked after they sat down a table.
“No, he’s been out all day,” Ralph replied. “I left a message about the car being transported by Vincent Vanlines. I won’t be able to get a hold of Bill later because I have a staff meeting after school then I have to pick up Kevin, run errands, take Kevin to little league practice. I won’t be home until about seven. Then I have to help Kevin with his homework, and then I’ve got papers I’ve got to start grading if the kids expect to see them back by Friday…” He shook his head and gave a light snort. “You know, there are just not enough hours in the day sometimes.”
Pam nodded. “Sounds like a good night for pizza.”
Ralph smiled. “Kevin would like that.”
“I’ll pick some up and bring it over.”
“Thanks,” Ralph said. “Were you able to find out anything about Vincent Vanlines?”
“Not a whole lot. You ever heard of Noah Vincent?”
Ralph shook his head. “No.”
“I hadn’t either but apparently he’s a wheeler dealer and he owns Vincent Vanlines along with various other enterprises. He’s also rumored to have connections to the mob. They tried to indict him a few years ago on fraud but couldn’t do it. I’m not sure exactly what happened.”
“Hmm,” Ralph mused. “Well, if he has connections to the underworld that would explain why one of his trucks was used to haul the hit car out. Then you have to wonder if he was the one that ordered it stolen. And if he did, why?”
“Not only that but who even knew about Diamante’s car?” Pam added. “And why send it to Georgia?”
Ralph nodded. “Exactly. Plus there’s possibly a bad Fed tied into all this.” He sighed. “Hopefully Bill can connect the dots better than we can from here. If Vincent is rumored to be an underworld figure then the FBI is going to have a file on him. Probably from there Bill can make some kind of connection.” Ralph paused. “Where is the trucking company located?”
“Ralph, you’re not thinking of going out to the place…?”
“The thought crossed my mind. Not tonight but maybe this weekend unless I can get a hold of Bill before then.”
**** **** ****
It was probably going to be a little difficult for Bill to receive that phone call from Ralph eventually. When Jay had said he was going to secure the three officers nice and tight, he wasn’t exaggerating. Bill, MaryAnne and Enos were now tied like slabs of meat to three of the massive steel support beams in the middle of the shop floor. They stood with their backs to the beams, their hands bound behind them again and a coil of rope wound around them across their chests.
“I’m sorry, fellas,” MaryAnne said after they had all been tied up.
“Ain’t yer fault, MaryAnne,” Enos said.
“He’s right,” Bill said. “You were putting up a good fight, Deputy. That’s nothing to apologize for.”
Jay had been standing back and watching the conversation. He gave a light snort. “Personally, I was a little disappointed in you, Deputy Coltrane. I wasn’t surprised you duped Carl the way you did, but I expected more of a fight from you, given your reputation.”
“What reputation?” MaryAnne said. “I’m just a lil’ ol’ country sheriff’s deputy…”
“Uh huh…” Jay turned to walk away. He could afford to be smug now, since the three officers wouldn’t be giving him any more trouble. “You might as well get comfortable,” he said, “it’s going to be a long night…”
**** **** ****
Hazzard County, Georgia
It was late afternoon when Bo, Luke and Daisy were on their way to town to do a couple of last minute errands and mail off a letter for Uncle Jesse before the final mail pick up at five-thirty. As they came down County 7 toward the junction with Old Route 112, they spotted an animal in the road.
Bo slowed the General Lee down as they got closer and the three Dukes saw it was a dog. The dog stood and simply looked at the General and then absently sniffed at the ground.
“That almost looks like Bandit…” Daisy said. The boys concurred. Bo stopped the car and the Dukes got out.
The German Shepherd looked at the Dukes and took step toward them.
“It is Bandit,” Luke said and kneeled down to the dog, who welcomed the presence of familiar company. It had been a long afternoon of wandering down Old Route 112.
“What’s he doing out here?” Bo wondered. “Where’s MaryAnne?”
Bandit’s ears perked briefly at the sound of his mistress’s name. He, too, apparently had the same question.
“I dunno…” Luke said. He took a moment to check Bandit over. He found no injuries but the shepherd was hot and Luke suspected the dog might be dehydrated. “I think he’s been out here for awhile tho’.”
Bo carefully checked Bandit’s gums. “I think you’re right,” he said. “He’s showing signs of being dehydrated.”
“We better get him to town and to Rosco,” Daisy said.
“And find out where MaryAnne’s at,” Luke added. “C’mon, Bandit.” They coaxed the dog over to the General and then lifted the shepherd into the car. Once the cousins were back in the car they continued toward town.
In town, they parked in front of the courthouse. Daisy took Uncle Jesse’s letter over to the post office while Bo and Luke unloaded Bandit from the General and took the dog inside.
Rosco was sitting at the booking desk when the boys came in. Bandit immediately went over to the water dish on the floor and began lapping up the much needed fluid.
“Okay,” Rosco said, in his usual irritated tone when he saw the Duke boys. “What are you Dukes up to now? This ain’t a pound…”
“Rosco,” Bo admonished. “You don’t recognize Bandit when you see him?”
“What?” Now concerned, Rosco stood up from the booking desk and stepped down to the main floor. “Bandit? He’s supposed to be with MaryAnne.” The Sheriff kneeled down to the dog and saw the collar. It was indeed Bandit.
He looked at the Dukes. “Where’d you find him?”
“On County 7,” Luke replied. “Near Old Route 112. We didn’t see MaryAnne out there tho’, you have any idea where she’s at?”
“She was supposed to be on her way to Atlanta. She n’ Enos. They showed that Fed where that car y’all spotted at Rhuebottom’s this morning was at. I heard the Fed call in to Commander Mayson at the F B an’ I, he said he’d caught two of the suspects and was bringin’ them and that black Charger back to Atlanta. Enos an’ MaryAnne were goin’ with him.”
“Then it makes no sense that Bandit was left behind,” Luke said.
“Somethin’ must’ve gone wrong,” Bo said.
“Maybe you better call Commander Mayson and see if Enos and MaryAnne arrived with that Federal agent,” Luke suggested.
Rosco was looking at Bandit, lost in thought. Suddenly he snapped out of it. “I’m gonna call Commander Mayson t’ see if she an’ Enos showed up with that agent or not…”
Bo and Luke exchanged glances. “That’s a good idea, Rosco,” Bo said.
Rosco walked back up to the booking desk and picked up the phone. He dialed the FBI office in Atlanta and asked for Commander Mayson. A few moments later, Frank Mayson was on the line.
“Mayson? This is Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in Hazzard County. Listen, uh, have you seen MaryAnne?”
“I was thinking to call you,” Mayson replied. “They should’ve been here hours ago.”
Rosco’s heart sunk. “She ain’t there?”
“No. Haven’t seen her, Enos or Agent Maxwell since they called in to say they were on their way. I’ve tried raising Agent Maxwell on the radio but have gotten no response.”
“Something’s wrong,” Rosco said. “Because MaryAnne left her dog here. The Duke boys found him wandering out in the country.”
“Definitely something wrong,” Mayson concurred. “Okay, Rosco, I’ve already reinstated the APB on that black Charger and have alerted law enforcement between here and Hazzard. Do you have any idea where that car was found in Hazzard?”
“Yeah, I have a general idea.”
“Check it out, will you? And let me know? I’ll keep you informed of whatever I find out on this end.”
While Rosco had been on the phone with Mayson, Daisy had come into the booking room. Bo and Luke quickly brought her up to speed on what was going on and all three cousins looked over at Rosco as he said goodbye to Commander Mayson.
“They never arrived in Atlanta,” Rosco said after hanging up. “Mayson wants me to check out where that car was found here in Hazzard.”
“We’ll help you, Rosco,” Luke offered.
Rosco shot the Dukes a look. “You bet you’re gonna help me. Because one, I’m short on deputies and two, it was you Dukes that spotted that dang car at Rhuebottom’s in the first place!”
“What?” Bo said. “Rosco, you can’t blame us for what happened--!”
“Hush! Now we only got a few hours of day light left so we better get goin’. MaryAnne last spotted that car out near White Ridge Road, you know where that is?”
“Yeah,” Luke said. “It’s out in the boonies.”
“Awright then. Let’s get goin’.” Rosco picked his black Stetson up off the booking desk and stepped down from it. He brushed past the Dukes and walked out of the booking room.
“Fellas, he’s really upset,” Daisy said.
“Yeah,” Luke agreed. “It’s just as well we’re helpin’ him out. C’mon…” They turned and left the booking room.
Out at White Ridge Road, the first sight that greeted them was MaryAnne’s patrol car, still parked by the side of the road. Rosco left his patrol car idling for a moment while he checked MaryAnne’s. Finding nothing amiss, and no clues as to her current whereabouts, he returned to his patrol car and he and the Dukes traveled up White Ridge Road.
They checked the Mosley place first and, of course, found it empty. None of them, however, could have imagined what they would find at the Hartshorn cabin. The first thing that greeted them when they pulled up the drive was the discarded light bar from Enos’s patrol car lying on the ground along with the torn off SHERIFF decals and door stars.
“Oh Lord,” Daisy said with worry, seeing the remnants through the front windshield of the General. They parked their vehicles and exited, looking around the dirt driveway of the cabin. Tire tracks were fresh and multiple and the grass and brush was heavily trampled on. The porch of the cabin had a few disposed items and the front door was wide open.
The woods around the cabin were still, punctuated only by the sound of crows squawking in the trees. Bo and Luke asked Daisy to wait outside while they followed Rosco into the cabin. Daisy didn’t protest.
The boys stepped up on to the porch with Rosco and looked at the items left behind. The Dukes recognized some of the items the two men bought that morning at Rhuebottom’s. They crossed the threshold and entered the cabin. It was empty, other than the random empty food container and miscellaneous debris. A check of the other rooms found the same. Bo returned to the front door and waved for Daisy to come in.
“Find anything?” she asked.
“Garbage mostly,” Luke replied. “They packed up quick and left even quicker.”
“Whoever ‘they’ are,” Bo said. He looked at Rosco. “Any idea who the people are that Fed was after?”
“No,” Rosco replied. “That’s what bothers me. All he was ever after was that car they stole.”
“Well from the way he described that car, I think these people who have it are trouble,” Luke said. “Serious trouble. And I’m willing to bet that Enos, MaryAnne and that Fed Maxwell dropped in on something they shouldn’t have.”
“Hey fellas, look at this,” Daisy called from the window. “There’s some cars in the field down there.”
Bo, Luke and Rosco went over to the window and looked. Through the thin cluster of trees they could see the obstacle course that Jay and his crew had constructed.
“What do you make of that?” Bo wondered.
“Let’s check it out,” Luke said. He turned to Rosco.
“Yeah, go ahead,” Rosco said. “Let me know what you find. I’m gonna look around here for any clues.”
“I’ll help you, Rosco,” Daisy said.
Luke nodded and he and Bo left the cabin. They walked through the woods toward the clearing.
The boys investigated the course, checking out the old cars that had been set up, the pick up truck that they found still ran and of course, all the fresh red paint splotches on the wooden targets and on the truck itself.
“Doesn’t look like much,” Bo said, looking at the layout.
“It’s crude, yeah, but I think it does the job. You know, that agent never said what it was about that car specifically that made it so dangerous. I mean, he called it a Hit Car, but he never explained much beyond that. But looking at this, I’d guess these dudes were practicing to fire at both stationary and moving targets.” Luke looked at the red paint on the truck, still splattered across the windshield. “And it looks like they’re pretty good at it…”
While the boys were checking the practice course, Rosco and Daisy were searching through the cabin. In the bedroom at the back of the cabin, Daisy poked through what little pieces of debris remained. Mostly empty beer cans and a tattered shirt, she didn’t expect to find much of anything. She kept looking, however, in every corner, in the empty closet and even under the bed.
There, she saw something. She kneeled down and reached for it discovering it was a photograph. There was hardly any dust collected on the picture, which lead her to believe it had gotten there only just recently.
She looked at the picture. It was a street in a city somewhere. She flipped the photo over and saw a notation on the back. Carter Street to W 9th Street on ramp north. There was also a date stamp, probably done when the photo was developed. It was from two months previous.
“Hey Rosco, look at this,” she called, coming out of the bedroom. Rosco turned from the kitchen cabinet he’d been going through to Daisy. She handed him the photograph.
“What’s this?” he said. He squinted at the picture. “This ain’t no street in Hazzard…”
“No, but maybe it’s a street in Atlanta? The picture’s only a couple months old, Rosco.”
Daisy rolled her eyes. “So, if these people who have that car Agent Maxwell’s looking for have been planning something for it, maybe this is where it’s gonna happen. Or somewhere near it.”
“Ooo! Yer right! If we can figure out just where exactly this is, then we catch the bad guys and find Enos and MaryAnne.”
“Here’s hoping what?” Luke asked as he and Bo came back into the cabin.
“We found this picture,” Daisy said, pointing to the photo Rosco held. “It’s fairly recent. These guys must’ve taken pictures of their target.”
The boys looked at the photo and the back of it. “Well, it’s a city street somewhere,” Bo said. “Question is, where?”
“My guess would be Atlanta,” Daisy said.
“Yeah it could be,” Luke said. He took the photo and looked at it. “But we’re almost two hours away from Atlanta. Why would those guys have been hiding out way up here?”
“To avoid suspicion?” Bo suggested.
“Eh, maybe,” Luke said. “Still, it doesn’t really add up. I mean, didn’t Maxwell say he tailed that car all the way from Atlanta? Finding an out of the way place is one thing, but to go two hours out of the way?”
“Well if it’s not a city street in Atlanta, then where is it?” Daisy asked.
Bo shrugged. “I suppose trying to find that out will be like finding a needle in a haystack.”
“Wait a minute,” Rosco said. “Maybe not. What’s the biggest city we got closest to here?”
Bo snorted. “We don’t.”
“Wait, yes we do!” Daisy said. “Chattanooga!”
“Chattanooga?” Bo said. “That’s not as big as Atlanta.”
“Well, no, but it’s the largest city near here,” Daisy said.
“Possible,” Luke said. “It’s only a half hour or so from here. But what could be going down in Chattanooga of all places?”
“I don’t know,” Rosco said, taking the photo from Luke, “but it’s the best we’ve got to go on.”
“Well, where ever they’re at, they’re in a plain white Plymouth Fury,” Bo said. “Along with that black Charger and probably that Fed’s car too.”
“I’m gonna let Mayson know what we found here,” Rosco said. “I reckon first thing in the mornin’ I’m drivin’ to Chattanooga myself.”
“Now Rosco, wait a minute,” Luke said, “you don’t know for sure that that’s where these people went, or that Enos and MaryAnne are there with them. That picture could be of anywhere. And…Enos and MaryAnne could be anywhere…”
“I gotta look somewhere. I gotta start somewhere…” Rosco said, looking at the picture again. He knew, though, that it could be a fool’s errand. But he had to look for himself. “I can’t just wait around here and do nothing! I gotta… I gotta find my kin, that’s all there is to it.”
The boys and Daisy glanced at one another. “What time are you leaving in the morning?” Luke asked.
“First thing. I’ll have Cletus do the early patrol.”
“Rosco, you can’t go in lookin’ for Enos and MaryAnne by yourself,” Luke continued. “Look, if Boss will let me n’ Bo cross the state line, I think we should go with ya.”
“I don’t need you Dukes’ help.”
“You don’t?” Bo said. “Then why’d you drag us out here? Before you were blamin’ us for Enos and MaryAnne bein’ missin’ now you don’t---“
“Bo…” Luke interrupted and calmed his cousin. He then looked at Rosco. “Look, Enos and MaryAnne are our friends, Rosco. You’re upset that somethin’s happened to them both and that’s understandable. We’re concerned too. But you can’t go into Chattanooga by yourself tryin’ to find them. Let me n’ Bo go with you, if Boss will let us.”
“I’m sure Boss will too,” Daisy said.
Rosco looked at the Dukes and decided they were right. Deep down, he appreciated their offer to go with him, it was just very hard for him to admit it. “Awright,” he said. “If Boss Hogg says y’all can cross the state line then you can go.”
“Awright,” Luke said.
“I’m glad we got that settled,” Bo said with a smile.
“Shoot heck,” Rosco said, “I figured you two would probably just follow me up there anyway whether I or Boss said you could or not!”
The Dukes chuckled. “You’re right,” Bo said, “we probably would’ve!”
“Yeah,” Luke agreed. “We never let technicalities like that stop us before.”