Bill and Enos both froze in place and exchanged a glance.
“Place the shotgun down, Deputy,” the man ordered. “You’re not going to need it.”
Enos did so carefully.
“And remove your handgun…”
Enos did as told, removing the .38 from the holster on his hip and tossing the gun aside.
“And you,” the man looked at Bill. “Toss your gun.”
Bill reached in slowly to his holster, gingerly removed his .45 and tossed it to the ground in front of him.
The man kept his eyes on the two lawmen as he reached behind him to grab a hand held CB radio from his back pocket. He clicked the talk button. “Ronnie, Carl, David…you better come back up to the cabin. We have a problem.”
“What’s the matter?” came the reply.
“We have...visitors.” Uninvited and unwanted visitors the man’s tone implied.
“We’re on our way.”
A moment later, an engine with a throaty exhaust announced the hit car approaching the knoll. The black Dodge Charger came over the crest and down on to White Ridge Road. Bill looked over at the car as it came to a stop.
The doors opened and the three men stepped out of the car. They all looked at Enos and Bill and the driver of the Charger looked especially annoyed. He walked up to the group.
“Well, well, well,” he said and then turned an irritated glance at the man who held Enos and Bill at gunpoint. “What ever do we have here? Why, I believe it’s the law!”
“Your sarcasm isn’t necessary, Ronnie.”
Ronnie snorted. “No? Well, lemme just guess here…” He approached Bill as he spoke, “that this dude is probably a Fed. He might even be the same Fed that was tailing us the other day…” Ronnie grabbed Bill’s suit jacket and pulled it open, finding Bill’s badge and ID in the inner pocket, along with his aviators.
Ronnie put the aviators on and flipped the badge open. “Ooo, I’m right. And I won this beautiful pair of Ray Bans to boot.” Ronnie turned back to the rifleman and held open the badge for him to see. “He’s a Fed, Jay. And he’s got the local law with him. And somehow they found out where the hell we were.”
Jay snatched the badge from Ronnie and glared at him. “Shut up, Ronnie. Why don’t you and the boys here pick up those guns instead of shooting your mouth off?” As the men gathered up Bill and Enos’s weapons, Jay looked at the name on the ID card and then looked at Bill. “Agent Maxwell. You’ll understand if I’m not honored to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Bill replied.
“Still, I’m curious as to why you’re here?”
“I want my car back.”
Jay laughed. “Excuse me?”
“My car.” Bill pointed to the Charger. “My old Grey Lady. I want her back.”
“Are you serious? This can’t possibly have ever been your car at any time.”
“Oh but I am. Ya see, I had her locked away in a Federal impound lot in California until about three weeks ago when she was stolen. Imagine my surprise when I saw her in Atlanta recently.”
Jay stared at Bill. Despite the Fed’s somewhat pompous attitude, he concluded the man was serious. “Then you’re the Fed that was tailing us the other day?”
“That’s right. I’ve been watching that car for the past week or so. I saw it when it was delivered to the garage and I watched the place while those boys were working on it.”
“Wait a minute,” Ronnie interjected. “I don’t get this. How would a Fed from Atlanta know anything about a car stolen all the way from California?”
“Because,” Bill said, “the Fed from Atlanta used to be a Fed from California. I impounded that car myself back home. Needless to say it was an incredible stroke of luck that I happened to see it when it arrived in Atlanta.”
“Luck?” Ronnie said, floored by the twist of fate. “Of all the damned luck!”
“Yes,” Jay said, “of all the damned luck.” He paused as he contemplated the fate of the two lawmen.
“We gotta take care of ‘em, Jay,” Ronnie said. “We’re too close to zero hour.”
“We’ll take care of them, Ronnie.”
Suddenly, the radio in Enos’s patrol car squawked to life. “Deputy Coltrane to Deputy Strate. Enos, you got your ears on? You boys all right up there? Come back...”
Enos froze and he glanced at Bill. Bill was watching the men who were all looking at Enos’s car and then turned toward Jay.
“Who’s calling you, Deputy?” Jay asked Enos.
“Enos?” MaryAnne’s voice came through the radio again. “Okay, I’m gonna assume y’all are checkin’ that cabin and can’t hear me. I’ll check again in ten minutes.”
“Where is she, Deputy?” Jay asked.
“She’s….” Enos hesitated again. He glanced toward Bill who only looked back him grimly.
Jay nodded at David, who stepped up to Bill and stuck Bill’s own .45 into his ear. Enos saw this and he looked at Jay.
“One more time, Deputy. Where is she?”
“She’s…she’s down at the bottom of the road,” Enos replied.
“Okay,” Jay said. David removed the gun from Bill’s ear. “Tie these two up,” Jay continued, “and then Ronnie and Dave, go get Deputy Coltrane.”
With rifle and shotgun barrels pointed in their backs, Bill and Enos were marched up the driveway to the cabin. Inside, they remained held at gunpoint while Carl and Dave tied the hands of each officer behind their backs. Bill and Enos were then directed to sit on the dirt-covered wood floor. With this completed, Ronnie and Dave left the cabin.
Bill glanced around the cabin, and to his surprise, Enos was doing the same thing. Jay and Carl kept a watchful eye, and gun, on each officer.
“You know, not that I’m in any hurry or anything but we all know where this is going,” Bill said, looking at Jay. “If you’re gonna kill us anyway, what are you waiting for?”
“The opportune time to kill you, Mr. Maxwell. And the two deputies. Your arrival complicates my plans. Your deaths will complicate my plans as well if I don’t orchestrate this correctly. I apologize for the suspense but I’m sure you understand.”
“Just what is it you boys are up to anyway?” Enos asked.
Jay looked smug. “Only the most spectacular event this country has ever seen.”
Bill gave a mild sniff, but he really had concerns about what it was these guys were planning on doing. “Eh, big talker. What are you gonna do?” he asked offhandedly. “Kill the President?”
Jay snorted lightly. “No. But perhaps, I’ll let you live long enough to see what will transpire. And what wonderful tactical advantage your old grey lady gives us.”
That’s exactly what Bill was afraid of.
Meanwhile, down the road, MaryAnne was pacing outside her patrol car. She checked her watch having a couple more minutes to go before she would try the radio again.
She didn’t like the feeling she was getting though. Something just didn’t feel right. She paced rigidly back and forth, going the length of both her patrol car and Agent Maxwell’s Ford Crown Vic. Bandit, sensing her unease, had his head poked out the back window of the patrol car and watched her.
“I don’t like this,” MaryAnne said to the shepherd. “If they don’t answer me on the radio in a couple of minutes, Bandit, we’re goin’ up there…” She looked at her watch again and debated making it nine minutes instead of ten.
When she was at the tail of Maxwell’s grey sedan, she heard thunder coming from White Ridge Road. She looked over to see a demonic looking all black vehicle come out of the woods. She spun immediately and ran back to her patrol car.
The black Charger sailed off White Ridge Road and rounded the tail of the Crown Vic, dust billowing from behind it. MaryAnne jumped into the seat of her patrol car and turned the key in the ignition. She threw the car into drive but could go nowhere when the Charger suddenly blocked her path.
Out of the passenger window, a silver rifle barrel was pointed at her. “OUT!”
The driver of the Charger was out of the car and came around behind it with a gun in hand as well. “C’mon!” he commanded. “Out of the car! NOW!”
MaryAnne put the gearshift back in park and shut it down. The driver yanked open her door and waved his gun at her. “Let’s go!”
“Okay, okay, simmer down! Sheesh---HEY!” MaryAnne hardly had one foot out of the car when she was grabbed by the arm and pulled. The driver kicked the patrol car’s door closed.
Seeing the commotion, Bandit was at the back window barking in warning and attempting to squeeze through the half down window to help MaryAnne. MaryAnne struggled against the grip on her arm and the man stopped momentarily, raising his gun to take aim at the dog.
“NO!” MaryAnne yelled and grabbed for the gun, knocking the man’s arm upward to spoil the shot.
“Ronnie!” the passenger in the Charger hollered. “Forget the damn dog! C’mon!!”
Ronnie, now even more enraged, abandoned the dog and pulled MaryAnne toward the Charger. The driver side door was already open and he pulled the front seat forward. “Get in there!”
MaryAnne did as told and climbed into the back of the Charger. Ronnie got behind the wheel and handed his pistol to the passenger who now faced MaryAnne and kept the gun pointed at her. Ronnie slammed the door shut and threw the Charger into gear.
MaryAnne’s heart was pounding in her chest. “Who the hell are you guys?” she asked.
“Shut up,” Ronnie answered. The Charger spun around and headed back up White Ridge Road.
Back at the cabin, Ronnie and Dave hauled MaryAnne out of the Charger and escorted her inside. They bound her hands roughly behind her, same as what they had done to Enos and Bill, and then shoved her down to the floor, next to Agent Maxwell. She bumped against him and managed to keep her balance, grimacing at the tightness of the ropes around her wrists. She gave Ronnie, Dave and their two friends an openly hostile glare. All but Jay ignored her.
“Well, Miss Coltrane. I must say I’m rather honored to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you over the years.”
“All bad, I hope.”
Jay snorted lightly. “Perhaps the rumors and stories over the years are exaggerated, but there’s still a grain a truth to them I’m sure.”
MaryAnne looked at Bill and Enos. “Who the hell are these guys?”
“Who we are isn’t all that important Miss Coltrane,” Jay said. “Especially in light of your current situation.”
“What you’re looking at, Deputy Coltrane,” Bill said, “is four guys who failed sandbox. They’re not very nice nor are they very sociable.”
“I say we pop him first,” Ronnie said. “We pop ‘em all, here. The dog too. Leave them and go on to Chattanooga.”
“What about the Sheriff?” Carl asked. “He’s gotta know that his deputies are out here. He comes looking and finds them dead, we’ll have every law officer in the South looking for us. Feds, Marshalls, you name it.”
“They won’t know where to find us,” Ronnie said.
“Correction,” Bill spoke up. “There’s an APB out on your black Charger and the local sheriff’s office here has a description of your other car as well. As soon as the Sheriff realizes his deputies are missing, then you’ll have every law man in the South looking for you.”
“Then we take them with us into Tennessee,” Ronnie countered. “Kill them there, dump the bodies in a ravine or something.”
“Whether we kill them here or kill them in Tennessee, it doesn’t change the fact that the law has a description of our cars,” Jay said.
“Yeah, but nobody will find them in Tennessee,” Ronnie said.
“Won’t matter,” Jay replied. “They’ll be declared missing and the law will be looking us.”
“So what the hell are we supposed to do? We can’t leave them here to be found and we can’t let them go.”
“Obviously not, since you let slip where we’re going,” Jay said.
Ronnie was taken aback and then realized that he had let it slip.
“Yeah,” Jay said, annoyed. “Now if you’d shut your mouth for a minute and let me think…” He paced a few steps away from MaryAnne, Bill and Enos.
Bill didn’t allow Jay the leisure of silence. “I wonder what’s going on in Chattanooga?” he wondered, looking at MaryAnne and Enos.
“Yeah, I’m curious too,” MaryAnne said with Enos concurring.
“I reckon these fellas won’t be goin’ to ride on the Chattanooga Choo Choo,” Enos said.
MaryAnne chuckled. “On Track 29?”
“Leaving the Pennsylvania station about a quarter to four…” Bill added.
“Will you three knock it off?” Jay said, coming to stand in front of them again. He looked at Ronnie. “You said something about a dog. Where?”
“Down the bottom of the road. Police dog in one of the cruisers.”
“How many cars down there?”
“Two. A sheriff’s car and a Crown Vic.”
“Okay…” Jay paused a moment longer to organize his thoughts. “Agent Maxwell is going to cancel his APB and inform his superiors that he has found the Charger and is bringing it back to Atlanta. The two deputies here are going to inform the Sheriff that they will be accompanying Agent Maxwell back to Atlanta. They will report also that they have captured two of the men who had the car. The other two fled in another vehicle which, as could be expected, will be found dumped somewhere else.”
“Then what?” Ronnie asked.
“Wait a minute,” Bill cut in. “What makes you think I’m gonna cancel that APB?”
“Oh you’ll cancel it, Agent Maxwell. Otherwise, me and the boys here rough up the lady. And you can watch.” Having silenced the Federal agent with that statement, Jay continued, looking at Ronnie. “Then, we will continue on to Chattanooga, driving the Charger which no one will pay too much mind to and we will use the Crown Vic and one, maybe both of the deputies’ cars as well. We’ll dump our Plymouth somewhere over the state line, down a ravine for example, and continue our preparations in Chattanooga.”
“And where are we dumping these three?” Ronnie asked. “Here? In Tennessee?”
“Neither.” Jay cast his eyes over the three law officers. “We’re going to take out a little insurance policy. These three will be coming with us.”
“Are you nuts?!” Ronnie exclaimed. “Jay, we can’t haul these three with us! That’s extra baggage we do not need to be carrying!”
“I think it will be worth it, Ronnie. When we make our strike, the law will be especially hot immediately afterward and they’ll spot the black Charger instantly. Our plan calls for abandoning the car anyway, why not leave these three with it?”
For the first time in the entire debate, Ronnie seemed to be willing to come over to Jay’s side of things. He had a question though. “How are we going to arrange that?”
“I have an idea, but we can work that out when we get there. Since we’ll be sacrificing our Plymouth we can use Agent Maxwell’s car to escape in. What color is it, Ronnie?”
Jay chuckled deviously. “Can you think of a better, more inconspicuous vehicle to use? The law will be busy questioning these three and of course, they’ll deny everything, but it’ll buy us time to make a clean getaway.”
Ronnie and the other two men were nodding their heads in agreement.
“What about the dog?” Carl asked.
“After the deputies make their call to the Sheriff, cut it loose. The dog can’t talk or give much clues. And he’ll probably wander around and die from starvation in the woods or something.”
Bill looked at MaryAnne, who shot daggers from her eyes before turning her gaze down to the floor. Her expression was stoic. Given the casual way these men were debating his, hers and Enos’s demise, it didn’t surprise Bill that the dog would essentially be left to die. Deep down, he figured he and the two deputies wouldn’t necessarily be allowed to just be left for the law to pick up after this “strike,” whatever it was supposed to be, was finished. They too, would be dispatched somehow.
“Carl,” Jay said, “I want you to start packing things up while Agent Maxwell and Deputy Coltrane here make their calls.”
**** **** ****
After being pushed into the back of the beige Plymouth Fury, Bill and MaryAnne were driven down to the bottom of White Ridge Road. There, Jay, Ronnie and David let them out of the car but kept their hands tied. Bandit was back at the window of MaryAnne’s patrol car to see what was going on now. The shepherd’s ears were pointing straight up and a low growl came from the animal.
“Easy, Bandit,” MaryAnne said softly as she and Bill were lead the patrol car. Jay reached in through the window and grabbed the CB mike.
“Just how do you expect me to call Atlanta?” Bill asked. “Smoke signal? Carrier pigeon? Shout at the top of my lungs?”
“No, Mr. Maxwell,” Jay replied. “I believe Hazzard County is advanced enough that they can patch in their police CB channels to the phone line. Isn’t that correct, Deputy?”
MaryAnne looked at Jay surly but nodded.
“There.” He held up the CB mike to MaryAnne and pushed the talk button. “Do your thing, honey. Help Agent Maxwell call home.”
As an added incentive, Ronnie and David held guns pointed at both her and Bill. MaryAnne sighed and spoke into the mike. “This is Deputy MaryAnne Coltrane calling Maybelle Tillingham of the Hazzard Phone Company. You out there, Maybelle?”
“Howdy, MaryAnne!” came back the bubbly reply. “Whatchya need?”
“I need you to patch me in to the phone line if you would please,” MaryAnne replied. “I need you to dial the FBI office in Atlanta.”
“Sure thing, MaryAnne. Anyone in particular?”
“Frank Mayson,” Bill told MaryAnne. “He’s the agent-in-charge.”
“I know who he is,” MaryAnne replied. “Commander Frank Mayson, Maybelle. And if you can’t get a hold of him, there’s his deputy, Roger Kelley.”
“You got it, MaryAnne. Stand by.”
While Maybelle was dialing the FBI office in Atlanta, Bill was looking at MaryAnne. She knows Mayson? She knows who Roger Kelley is? This creep Jay even knows who she is…
MaryAnne felt the stare and looked at Bill. “Will you stop looking at me like that?”
Jay smirked. “While we’re waiting for Mr. Mayson to join our conversation, I remind you Agent Maxwell, no tricks. No coded messages. You’re going to tell him plain and simple that you’ve found your car and you’ve captured two of the suspects. You’re on your way back to Atlanta with both car and suspects and you want the APB that was placed to be cancelled. Understood?”
“Gee, I can’t ask him about his family? Talk sports scores and stuff like that?”
Jay just glared at Bill.
“MaryAnne?” Maybelle’s voice came over the CB. “I have Frank Mayson on the line for you. Stand by while I connect you.”
Jay raised the mike back up to MaryAnne and pushed the talk button. “Thanks, Maybelle,” she replied. MaryAnne listened for the click over the radio and then spoke again. “Commander Mayson, can you hear me?”
“Yes, MaryAnne, I can hear you. What’s up?”
“Well, I have one of your agents here. Maxwell. He has some news for you.” MaryAnne looked at Bill and Jay turned the CB mike toward the Fed.
“News?” Mayson replied on the radio. “Don’t tell me he found that car in Hazzard?”
Jay hit the talk button. “Uh, as a matter of fact,” Bill spoke into the mike, “I did, if you can believe it. Listen, Commander, I’ve got the car and I’ve got two suspects in custody here. I’m bringing them and the car back to Atlanta with the help of a couple of deputies from Hazzard. If you could have that APB I put out cancelled, uh, I’d appreciate it. It’s about two hours from here back to Atlanta and I don’t need us being pulled over by every state, county or city cop along the way.”
“Will do. So the damn thing was in Hazzard all this time? What were these guys up to anyway?”
“Ah, well I can explain everything to you when I get this collection of riff-raff back to Atlanta...” Bill eyed Jay as he spoke, promising to make that all true. “All the same, sir, there’s, uh, still two other suspects on the loose. They escaped in another car.”
“You have a description?”
“Yeah, I put the APB out on that one at the same time I did on Diamante’s car. A beige four-door Plymouth. You can leave that APB out there.”
“You got it. Good job, Maxwell. I’m glad you were able to find that car.”
“Yeah,” Bill said, although his tone of voice nearly betrayed him. “So am I.”
“We’ll see you back here in a couple of hours then? Deputy Coltrane there coming with you?”
“Yes, sir. And Deputy…ah…Strate.”
“Okay. We’ll see you in a couple of hours.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.”
After Mayson signed off, Jay looked at MaryAnne and Bill. “That was good for part one. Now on to part two.” Jay raised the mike back to MaryAnne. “Call your---“
“This is Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane callin’ Deputy MaryAnne Coltrane. Sweetheart, I just overheard that federal agent talkin’ to Mayson. You an’ Enos are goin’ with him back to Atlanta?”
“Yeah, Rosco, we are. We’re gonna make sure he gets these hooligans out of our county.”
“Oh. Well good, good. Boss’ll be happy to hear that fella’s gone.”
“Yeah…” MaryAnne hesitated and glanced at Jay and then at the gun in Ronnie’s hand. “Listen, Rosco, me ‘n Enos are probably gonna be a little late getting’ back, but we’ll try to get back as soon as we can so Hazzard’s not short handed on deputies, ‘k?”
“Ten-four, MaryAnne. Of course, there’s always Cletus but that’s not saying much. Khee!”
MaryAnne’s smile was half hearted. “That’s why Enos and I will try to get back as soon as we can. We’re gone…”
MaryAnne heard Rosco sign off as Jay tossed the CB mike back into the patrol car. “Well done,” he said, looking at Bill and MaryAnne. “How’s it feel to be an accessory?”
“Accessory to what?” Bill asked.
Jay smirked. “An accessory to murder, Agent Maxwell…”
“What? Who’s murder?” Bill demanded. “You know, if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a criminal who thinks he’s so smart because he’s so elusive!”
Jay had no response and he gestured to Ronnie and David, who pushed Bill and MaryAnne back toward the beige Plymouth. David and Ronnie drove them back up the road, while Jay brought Bill’s Crown Vic up to the cabin. Bill and MaryAnne were returned to the inside of the cabin and situated back with Enos again, while Jay and his troop finished packing up their gear
At one point when all four men were outside the cabin, Enos leaned toward Bill and MaryAnne.
“I don’t know what’s goin’ on in Chattanooga, but I think these boys are preparin’ for war,” he said. “You shoulda seen the guns that ol’ boy was packin’ up when you was down the road.”
“Well, according to Mr. Wonderful who’s leading this crack commando unit,” Bill said, “they’re going to kill somebody. They admitted that much.”
“I have the feeling it’s gonna be somebodies as opposed to just one person,” MaryAnne theorized.
“I think you’re right, Deputy,” Bill said. “I also don’t put much stock in the idea that they’re going to leave the three of us to take the rap for all this when it’s over. They needed me to cancel that APB and they needed you to feed the Sheriff a couple of marshmallows to buy them some time. Nobody’s going to think twice when that car goes rolling up into Chattanooga. And nobody’s going to realize the three of us are in trouble until it’s too late.”
“We gotta figure a way to stop them,” Enos said.
Bill nodded but could say no more, as Ronnie and Carl came in to grab the last few remaining items. When they were gone again, MaryAnne looked at Bill and Enos.
“Got a blue print for how we’re gonna do that?”
“Not at the moment,” Bill replied. “But I ask that you two remain vigilant and if possible look to me for a cue. These creeps are bound to make a mistake, because just like that one said, we’re extra baggage they don’t need to be carrying. They may dump us at the state line. They make take us into Chattanooga. Either way, we have to be ready for any opportunity to turn this to our favor and even up the odds.”
MaryAnne snorted lightly. “A little while ago, you didn’t have much confidence that Enos and I could help you even up the odds.”
“Well, to be honest, Deputy, so far you haven’t.”
MaryAnne bit her tongue.
Enos, ever the peacekeeper, spoke up. “Agent Maxwell, them boys got the drop on us, you gotta admit. But if there’s a chance we can get out of this situation, you can count on me ‘n MaryAnne to do whatever has to be done. I know you don’t know me ‘n MaryAnne hardly at all, but if you could just have some faith in us? After all, we have faith in you. Don’t we, MaryAnne?”
MaryAnne looked at Enos as if to say Are you kidding? However, she knew if the three of them were going to have any chance on getting out of their situation alive, they were going to have to trust in each other and work together. MaryAnne trusted Enos fully, but the only thing she could afford Bill Maxwell at the moment was the benefit of the doubt. She glanced at Bill, her expression softening a little and she nodded. “Yeah, sure.”
Bill nodded. “Yeah, okay,” he said. “We’re all we got to get out of this spot, the best we can do is have a little faith in each other. We all have the same goal here. Okay, so…what kind of city is Chattanooga? Any theories on what these turkey’s could be up to there?”
“Your guess is as good as ours,” Enos said. “Chattanooga’s an old railroad and industrial city. Reckon they got the same problems just about everybody else has nowadays.”
“How big is it?”
“Well, it’s a pretty good sized city,” Enos said. “I reckon they got over a hundred thousand folks there.”
“That’s all?” Bill said. LA was pushing the 3 million mark last he knew. “Well, is there any significance to the place? It’s not the state capital of Tennessee. That’s, what? Nashville?”
“Yeah,” MaryAnne said. “I dunno, Agent Maxwell, we’re just as stumped by the whole thing as you are. Like Enos said, Chattanooga’s an old railroad and industrial city. Most of the manufacturing is leaving, got problems of economics and all. The freight trains still run because they connect with Atlanta. The place got beat to a pulp before Sherman marched on toward Atlanta during the Civil War. ”
“Is there any events going on there that you know of?”
“Anything. Anything that would make a tempting target for creeps like this. Any well known people that are going to be there for any reason? Politicians, world leaders, the President?”
“Not that I’m aware of.”
Bill looked at Enos, who shook his head.
Bill made a face. “Well there must be something going on.”
“There is something goin’ on,” MaryAnne said. “We just don’t know what.”
A few minutes later, Jay, Ronnie and Carl came back inside the cabin and hauled Bill, MaryAnne and Enos to their feet.
“Hey, I don’t suppose I could use the little girl’s room before we go?” MaryAnne asked.
Ronnie shoved her shoulder in the direction of the door. “Ah! Awright, awright. Just remember it ain’t gonna be my fault if I piddle all over the back seat of your car…”
Behind her, Bill smirked. At the least, the woman had some moxie.
Outside, the three were loaded into the backseat of Bill’s Crown Vic. David got behind the wheel of the Ford, while Ronnie took the Charger, Carl drove Enos’s patrol car and Jay drove the beige Plymouth. Enos’s patrol car was now plain white, the sheriff decals removed along with the light bar. As the cars pulled away from the cabin, MaryAnne saw out the window that the light bar had simply been discarded on the ground.
At the bottom of White Ridge Road, the parade of cars paused for David to exit the Crown Vic long enough to open the back door of MaryAnne’s patrol car to let Bandit out. The shepherd jumped out of the car and skidded on the dirt as David kept a firm grip on the collar as he closed the back door again. He ordered the dog to sit, which Bandit did so obediently. David then let go of the collar and the dog remained sitting to receive further orders.
David returned to the Crown Vic and the cars moved forward. At this point Bandit realized something wasn’t right and he was up on all fours watching the cars go by. MaryAnne turned enough in the backseat to look out the window. She turned back once she could no longer see the dog.
“I’m sorry,” Bill said, sincerely.
“Maybe he’ll be okay, MaryAnne,” Enos offered hopefully. “Maybe he’ll find his way back to town.”
“Don’t cry for the dog, sweets,” David said. “If Ronnie had had his way, the dog would’ve been shot dead.”
Not sure which fate was worse, MaryAnne just glared at David’s eyes that reflected in the rearview mirror until he turned his attention back to the road.