This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any actual resemblance to persons or historical persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Dukes of Hazzard characters, settings, locales, ect. are owned by other entities who have not endorsed this fic nor have they given express permission for the character's use. Author makes not claims to these characters and is not making any profit from their use.
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© Copyright: 2002. Cuz Bonita
The landscape of the urban jungle was thick with concrete and steel. Streetlights arched high over the congested streets, where taxis cut each other off and brave pedestrians scrambled across the road in small herds. Stores with smeared windows and burnt-out neon begged for attention, and were spared none by the stone-faced people who hurried along the narrow sidewalks.
A black Chevy Impala trundled through the stop-and-go traffic. The driver of the car eyed the rough neighborhood nonchalantly, looking for familiar landmarks. Finding none, he lit a cigarette, tapped the ash out the car window, and tried not to look hopelessly lost.
Shoulda never lost that script, Brian muttered to himself. Dammit.
The next intersection had a red light that was longer than the last. Brians dark eyes darted to the rearview mirror and back. There was nothing to be worried about, he told himself. Sooner or later, hed find a street name he recognized, or a storefront that looked familiar, and he could find his way home. Until then, he just had to play it cool.
A red Ford Torino with a bold white stripe was parked along the curb of the street, squeezed brazenly in the overcrowded parking spaces. Two undercover detectives sat in the car with their lunch, their cbs, and the scattered notes of several unsolved homicide cases.
The detective seated behind the wheel, David Starsky, had dark, curly hair that crowned a Brooklyn-born face. His appearance and demeanor was as careless and casual as the suspects he investigated.
Starsky was often a mismatch to his partner, a blonde Midwesterner with fastidious habits. Detective Ken Hutchinson, or Hutch as he was called, was a serious man who may have turned out entirely different had he not entered law enforcement. As it was, he scrutinized everything in life with the cynical detachment of a crime scene. Including his partners lunch.
The cheeseburger Starsky devoured was undercooked and greasy; juice dripped from it with small globs of mustard. The smell of the onions wafted through the car, and although Hutch had eaten nothing more than a brown-bagged lunch consisting of meatless sandwich and an apple, he knew hed spend the rest of the day smelling like a hamburger stand. How can you eat that junk? he asked Starksy.
Starsky waited to answer until hed taken a giant bite of the cheeseburger, then spoke while chewing. Its called an appetite. Maybe if you had one, youd need more than rabbit food to survive.
I dont eat rabbit food.
You dont eat people food, Starsky contested. Bean sprouts dont belong in a sandwich.
The police radio cut off Hutchs chance for retort. Zebra Three, come in Zebra Three, over, the dispatch call came.
Ill get it. Hutch grabbed the mike before Starsky could. This is Zebra Three, we copy. Go ahead.
We have an A.P.B. of a late-model black Chevrolet, driver male caucasian, suspect considered armed and dangerous
Can they narrow it down to twenty thousand prospects? Starsky complained from the drivers side. Weve got as much chance of finding a .. As he spoke, Starsky happened to glance at the long black Impala that slowly rolled by. Could be our lucky day, Hutch! This one just fell into our lap!
Zebra Three responding! Hutch shouted into the radio. He hung up the mike and grabbed the red squad light from the dash, slapping the magnetic base onto the Torinos roof. The red Ford went from an undercover street cruiser to a pursuit vehicle in seconds, mag wheels squealing from the curb as the siren bleated into life. Other cars dodged aside like startled pigeons, leaving the black Chevy in plain view.
Brian glanced in the rearview mirror and saw trouble heading his way. He had no idea what the pursuit represented or why it was coming for him; he only knew that somebody had pulled his number. GAH! What the hell! He yanked Diablo out of the slow-moving line of traffic and gunned it, his strategy limited to the reaction of run-and-hide.
Get em, Starsk! Hutch hung on as the Torino surged across two lanes of traffic to follow the Chevys mad course. The black Impala cut a sharp left through a red light, confusing traffic and causing Starsky to swerve away from an innocent car that had got caught in between.
Maniac! Starsky yelled at the fleeing Chevy. It fishtailed another sharp left, its driver defying the zig-zag instinct that most fleeing suspects demonstrated. Where in the hell does he think he can run to?
Anywhere he can get! Dont let him get through that next light! Hes using traffic to cut us off!
Starsky knew the same thing. Whoever they were chasing had no qualms about forcing the pursuit to back off; the Impala shunned more open streets in favor of the rat-maze of heavy traffic. The Chevys horn was blaring on a solid, long note, and Starsky realized that the sound of that horn was being heard by other motorists before his siren was. Consequently, traffic was disrupted and confused, much of it moving away from the crazy Impala before seeing or hearing the red Torino which pursued it.
This ones bad news, Starsky gritted. Incrementally, they were losing ground. The Chevy went where it wanted to and was making traffic move out of the way; it hung another hard left at an intersection, but instead of turning on to the next street, it cut the maneuver sharp again at the last second, making a sliding U-turn. The Chevys tires threw up smoke and rubber shrieked in distress - but the banking move worked and the Impala backtracked the way it had come, blowing by the Torino before Starsky could get the wheel cranked around.
I dont believe it! Hutch yelled as the light turned green and a taxi shot out and cut off the Torino. Horns blared and drivers swore as the red Ford tried to complete a hopeless U-turn against traffic that had a green light.
Starsky and Hutch swore, too. They were losing sight of the Chevy, which had headed back for the wider streets where it could gain speed. By the time Starsky had moved the Torino through the confused intersection to follow the Chevys tracks, the black Impala had melted into the asphalt and disappeared.
Hutch radioed in the Chevys last known position, and threw a look at his partner. Those moves werent bought off the shelf. That was a professional behind the wheel.
Starsky gripped the steering wheel as if to it break it in half. Oh yeah? Thats going to be a professional behind bars.
***** ***** *****
Brian tucked Diablo into an alley that was so narrow, it was all he could do to open the drivers door wide enough to get out. He took a deep breath and adjusted his jacket collar, forcing himself back to a calm, collected image. He was still lost, and a pair of cops in a hot rod had nearly ran him up the river for God-knew-what but at least he was safe for the moment.
The bar hed found near the alley was the kind of dive that attracted sleazy salespeople, adulterous spouses, assorted criminal elements and shifty opportunists. It wasnt the Jigsaw, but it was the best sanctuary available on short notice. Under the guise of being Nobody Suspicious, Brian strolled straight up to the bar, took a seat near the center of it, and flagged down the bartender.
The proprietor was a thin black man with sunken eyes and an unwelcoming face. He didnt greet Brian as much as study him; so Brian studied the man in return until the silence had to be broken by somebody. My money good here, or what? Brian finally asked, slapping a ten-dollar bill on the bar.
Is makin sure you have money, thats all. The black man now smiled. Cats like you dont run a tab.
Brians mouth twitched. I never drink in debt. Sides, it aint a tab till ya have to pay for it.
You have to pay for it. The bartender snatched up the money. So what you buyin, man?
Brians voice dropped. A beer and the fastest damn way outta town.
Whadju do? The bartender leaned closer. If this white turkey had any money, hed take it.
I dont know, but Im not sticking around to find out. Brian, sensing he was talking to a wheeler-dealer of urban intrigue, leaned forward and dug out another ten bucks from his jacket pocket. He sat it on the bar but kept his hand on it. I need a nice, fast route out of town that doesnt have a lot of speed traps dig?
I got you. The bartender turned away, got Brian a beer, cracked the cap off the bottle and slid it over to him. You need to take this road out front here down to Bay View, then right to Arden Street and all the way down to the freeway. From there its up to your luck.
Brian slowly lifted his hand from the money. You wont remember I was ever here, he said rhetorically.
Neither will you, the bartender said, snatching the cash.
Damn right. Brian gave a nod and then slugged a long pull on the beer. He lingered only long enough to become forgettable by anyone who had noticed him to begin with. He was about to make for the door when it banged open and two men walked inside purposefully. They went to the very end of the bar and waited for the proprietor to come to them.
Brian didnt react, except to light a cigarette. He hadnt gotten a good look at the cops who had chased him, but a nasty feeling in his gut said that these two werent here to sign up for the dart league.
Huggy, Starsky said to the bartender. You got anyone in here you havent seen before?
Huggy didnt miss a beat. Only that South-mouth turkey in the black threads.
Hutch turned his head, cadging a subtle glance at Brian. South-mouth?
He got a drawl like hes a long ways from home, know what I mean?
Hutch turned to Starsky. Think thats our man?
Has to be. We crossed paths once without trying. Ill buy it can happen twice. Starsky began to walk towards Brian, interposing himself between the bar and the door. Hutch walked around the far side, until he and Starsky were standing on either side of Brian.
Starsky leaned on the bar and looked at Brian, who hadnt acknowledged either officer. Howdy, Starsky said, making it sound as obnoxious as possible.
Howdy, Brian said back. His eyes stayed down on the bar.
It was Hutchs turn. You wouldnt happen to be driving a black Chevrolet Impala, would you?
Not at this time, Brian said neutrally. It was a true answer; right now he was at bar drinking beer, not driving. There was no admission of guilt in his answer and technically no falsehood. A team of lawyers could debate the merits of the statement for three years.
Hutch looked at his partner from over Brians hunched shoulders. He knows the game, he said aloud, not caring if Brian heard.
Lets see if hes ready to claim his prize. Starsky put himself closer to Brians face. Youre about to win a twenty-year stay in a non-luxury resort. If you want to trade for something better, youll have to come with us and answer a few questions.
Brian stared at the bar for a moment, then gave a deep sigh and slowly pushed the beer away, keeping his palms flat on the bar. Awright, he said so quietly that both officers had to lean in to hear him. I dont want no scene, yall. Im tired of runnin. I give...
Starsky had just started to smile in victory, when Brian struck out with each fist outward in a single, fast jerk, his hands flying up from the bar to smack into the face on either side. The move startled the detectives and they flinched back with stung noses, and Brian was out of arms reach and bolting through the door instantly.
Due process is no longer a concern! Hutch said, shaking it off and running for the door. Starsky followed. They were a few seconds behind the suspect, who was running like a Superbowl quarterback down the street.
STOP! POLICE! Starsky yelled after him.
@#%&*#%!! Brian yelled back, ducking into the alley where Diablo was parked. He scrambled over the hood and squeezed into the car. The engine kicked over at the same time that Starsky and Hutch rounded the corner and bolted into the alley. Seeing that Brian was about to escape, they drew their weapons. HOLD IT!
Brian threw Diablo into forward gear and the Chevy shot ahead, bearing down on the officers. These cops played hardball, and they fired repeatedly at the windshield until they were forced to dive out of the way. The second the shooting stopped, Brian peered over the dash and cranked the wheel hard to the right, squealing the Chevy onto the street and cutting off a truck. The horn blasted a long, profane note and the truck driver shook a meaty fist out the window.
The truck was Brians last concern. He pushed Diablo through the narrow no-mans lane between both sides of the road, feeling as if hed gotten enough of a lead to make a good run for it. This would have been true, except the intersection ahead was on a red light, and Brian was now stuck behind waiting cars, trapped in a left-turn lane.
Starsky knew Bay City traffic better than anyone. He took off on foot
after the black Chevy as Hutch ran for the parked Torino. It was with
shocked surprise that Brian checked his mirrors to see the curly-haired
cop chugging up the sidewalk, sprinting fast.
Aw, hell Brians eyes flicked from the mirrors, to the traffic light, and back to the mirrors. He hit Diablos horn, begging the cars ahead to move, but there was nowhere for anyone to go. A siren squalled uncomfortably close. Lord he began to pray.
DONT MOVE! Starsky was suddenly at the Impalas passenger window, his gun aimed through it at Brians head.
***** ***** *****
Far removed from the urban drama, Deputy MaryAnne Coltrane waited in her patrol car. She was parked beneath a sprawling oak along a dirt road, which served as the usual rendezvous point for meeting up with her black-clad cousin. It was getting late and she was becoming concerned; there had been no sign of Brian or Diablo for hours. It was if Brian had abruptly disappeared from Hazzard County altogether.
MaryAnne popped open the glove box and dug through it. Pens, ketchup packets, moist towelettes, ticket copies, loose change, a flashlight, a road flare and a can of tear gas were cluttered inside. Where the heck I know I had it in here, she grumbled, continuing to fish around. Wheres that script??
Not finding it, she replaced the contents of the glove box and searched the car. There was nothing under the seats except a city map of Atlanta and some empty bullet casings. Making a mental note to clean the car later, she got out of it to check the trunk.
MaryAnne popped the trunk. There was the standard police-issue equipment; a shotgun, a hand-held radio, more road flares, a spare tire and a jack, a rain poncho, an emergency first-aid kit, orange road cones but no script.
She sighed heavily and shut the trunk. Her copy of the script was lost. Anything could happen, she murmured to herself, increasingly worried. If Brian had lost his copy as well
There was still a way to get things back on track. MaryAnne dug the ticket book out of her pocket, flipped it open, and took a blue pen from her pocket. Time for Coltrane improvisation. Khee! She began to write, creating a replacement for the missing script. A black Chevy stirred up dust along the country road
One did. MaryAnne looked up at the sound of an oncoming vehicle, but soon felt disappointment. It was a black Chevy van, not an Impala, that approached her. What the
She stared as the black van with the red stripe pulled up alongside her. A huge, muscular black man sat behind the wheel, sporting a Mohawk with thick sideburns and a beard. Gold chains hung heavy around his neck, giving him the image of a very expensive mercenary. What fool map were you lookin at, Murdock? This dont look nothin like Ft. Worth!
We shoulda flown, I toldja, came a jaybirds voice from the vans backseat.
Ill fly you right outta this van!
Take it easy, B.A., Ill handle this. Well ask the nice police officer where Helloooo! Ill definitely handle this A handsome, light-haired man with a broad, charming smile leaned into view.
Keep it cool, Face, An older voice cautioned. Were on a mission.
MaryAnne could stand it no more. You boys lost?
The light-haired poster boy was leaning half-over the black driver. Lost? Oh, no maam! Soon as we heard how pretty the law was around these parts, we thought it worth the detour. Another radiant smile followed the words.
MaryAnne couldnt help but grin. You could give the local heartbreakers a run for their money. Where you boys headed?
Ft. Worth Texas. That is, if we can find the interstate. Personally, I wouldnt mind settling down here for a week or two. I think my hearts been arrested
Oh, please. MaryAnne had heard it all, but this guy was something else. Take this road for five more miles, then connect with Highway 36 West towards Atlanta, then follow the signs for the bypass.
Got it. Thank you, angel in blue... Face admired MaryAnne for another moment, until B.A. shoved him back and put the van into gear. It headed down the road in a cloud of dust.
MaryAnne shook her head, tore the page out of the ticket book and crumpled it up. Lets try again, she sighed. She began to write anew, trying for another angle. A dark-haired, dark-eyed young man in a leather jacket
A motorcycle hummed up. It was an older motorcycle, vintage 50s, and it ripped down the road directly towards MaryAnne. She watched it come close, and just when she thought it would go blasting by her, the rider applied the brakes and circled it around her, swirling up a dust-devil.
He idled the bike, giving MaryAnne the once-over. The biker wore a dark-brown leather motorcycle jacket, sunglasses, and slicked-back hair. He flashed a smile at MaryAnne. Aaaaaayyyyy.
Uh hey, she stammered. Let me guess youre lost?
The biker snatched off his sunglasses. The Fonz does not get lost. I happen to be taking the scenic route to Milwaukee.
You can say that again. Well, if you decide to make better time take Highway 36 east and follow the signs for Atlanta. You can pick up the freeway runnin North from there.
Youre a doll. Fonzie revved the throttle. Want a ride, toots?
Toots?? No Im on duty, but thanks all the same. MaryAnne smiled. Drive safely.
The biker put his sunglasses back on, gave her a thumbs-up signal, and headed off. MaryAnne watched him go, bemused. She slowly tore off the page from the ticket book and crumpled it up.
Im gonna try this one more time She said to herself, taking a deep breath. She started writing once more. A black car driven by a man in a black jacket sped down the highway
The high-pitched whine of a turbine engine hit MaryAnnes ears. A black car was coming towards her, sleek and modern, with a narrow red light dancing between the hidden headlights. It came at her disturbingly fast, and she took a few steps back. Now what?? she said nervously.
The car resembled a Pontiac Trans-Am, but it wasnt anything like the production models she knew. It came to a tight, expertly controlled halt right in front of her, the red light scanning back and forth hypnotically as dust settled around it.
Michael, the coordinates we have are incongruous with our position, the car spoke, startling MaryAnne.
I can see that, Kitt. In laymans terms were lost.
My electronic compass is experiencing intermittent discrepancies, Kitt conceded. However, we have fortuitously discovered a member of the law enforcement community.
And how! Michael Knight smiled as the pressurized drivers door hissed open. He got out of the car, his tall, 6-foot-and-four inch-frame unfolding gracefully. Hello there! he said to MaryAnne, casting a friendly smile at her.
Khee! she giggled, unable to stop herself. Howdy!
Michael walked up to her, his long-legged stance bringing him close in a few easy steps. Speed trap duty? He asked her conversationally.
Not quite. I was waiting for my cousin. Looks like he got turned around somewheres.
I know the feeling. Michael stuck out a hand. Names Michael Knight. Im with the Foundation for Law and Government. And youre
Deputy MaryAnne Coltrane, she said pleasantly, accepting the handshake. Pleased to meet you.
Pleasures all mine. I dont suppose youd know the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico
Never been there. She shook her head. I can tell you how to get to the interstate, tho.
Tell Kitt, if you dont mind. Hes better at directions. Michael jerked a thumb back at the car. The red scanner light swished back and forth with a faint mechanical echo, as if concentrating.
Uh okay. Take this road about five more miles until you hit Highway 36 she rattled off.
Kitt processed the instructions into his memory bank. Thank you, Deputy Coltrane, the car said politely.
Yer welcome. Uh listen, if yall ever get back through this way, feel free to stop by the Sheriffs Department in Hazzard. Well give ya the grand tour. Khee!
Michael winked at her. We just might do that. Thanks again, MaryAnne.
Michael smiled at her in goodbye, then turned and walked back to the sleek car. Kitt, radio Devon and give him an updated ETA.
Right away, Michael. The drivers door hissed open. Michael climbed inside and the door automatically shut behind him. Kitts scanner light quickened in pace, and the black TransAm took off with smooth acceleration, disappearing down the road in one long eye blink.
MaryAnne had to sit down after that one. She walked to her patrol car, got in and sat down behind the wheel, and picked up the CB. Songbird to Bear, she called on the radio.
I read you, Songbird! Whats yer twenty? Roscos voice came back.
Im on Mill Pond Road, waiting for Blackbird but theres something strange goin on. I think Blackbirds got himself lost.
Lost? He knows his way around here by now
Bear, its not that kind of lost. Ill explain later. We need to find the script he and I were workin on, pronto.
Yes before all hell breaks loose.
***** ***** *****
Hell had certainly broken loose in Captain Dobeys homicide unit. His two best detectives were struggling with a resisting prisoner and creating a disturbance that could be heard throughout the entire department.
Let me go! Yall got the wrong guy! I aint never even heard of @#&*% Bay City! Brian yelled.
Its not called @#&*% Bay City. Its BAY CITY. Theres no @#&*% in it, Hutch said, propelling Brian forward with a shove. Starsky grabbed the lapel of Brians jacket and hauled him along.
Brian tried pulling out of the grasp, but having his arms handcuffed behind his back made fighting difficult. Youre makin a big mistake! Im close kin to the Hazzard County law!
Yeah, whatever. Starsky kicked open the door to the homicide unit, lead Brian to a short table, pulled a chair out and threw him into it. You have the right to remain seated.
Whats all the noise? Captain Dobey said from outside his office.
Hutch smiled at the unit captain, a black man in his early fifties who was ulcer-ridden and short-tempered. Interrogating a suspect.
Wont take long, Capn, Starsky promised. If he doesnt cooperate, well shoot him.
Ive told you two before! No threatening prisoners! Dobey yelled, pointing a stubby finger in warning.
Whos threatening? Starsky shrugged. Its a statistical fact. We shoot more suspects than we prosecute. Thats what makes this a homicide unit.
That is NOT what makes this a homicide unit! Process him and get him outta here! Dobeys veins bulged in his forehead. He withdrew back into his office and slammed the door.
Neither Starsky nor Hutch blinked at the slam, but the sound startled Brian. Starsky gave a humorless smile and pulled a chair out from the table, seating himself across from the suspect. Okay, Johnny Reb lets get started.
Not a chance, man. Brian glared at Starsky. Yall aint got a damn thing on me and you know it. Just listen to me and call Sheriff Coltrane in Hazzard County!
Youll get your one phone call later. Hutch stood over Brian with his arms folded. Answer the questions. Keep it short and sweet and well get bail set for you.
He doesnt get bail, Starsky said, going into Bad Cop mode. Not after what hes done.
I suppose you dont want him to have fair trial, either, Hutch said, playing Good Cop.
No I dont! I want scum like this off the street for good. Trials are a waste of time and taxpayers money. Leave me with him for five minutes, Hutch. Ill close this case tighter than a drum!
I want to make a statement, Brian said hastily, lifting his dark eyes in an appeal to Hutch.
There, Starsk. See, hes willing to cooperate. Hutch smiled placidly and grabbed a clipboard and pencil, seating himself at the end of the table. Starsky gave a sullen growl and snapped on a tape recorder.
Go ahead when youre ready, Hutch said calmly to Brian. State your given name, your address, and the details of your involvement.
Brian nodded, sighing. My names Brian Coltrane. Im from Hazzard County, Georgia. Formerly from Atlanta. He took a deep breath and paused, as if afraid to go on.
You can tell us, Hutch encouraged. Its okay.
Awright. Well for the record then lemme say this. Brian leaned closer to the tape recorder, and said: #%&!! @%*%#&*$%sonofa%*&#@, and yall are %&#@ and yall can @#%&*$#%!!! And attention all units @%&*#$*%#!!!!!!!
Brian paused. You get all that? I can repeat it, if need be.
Hutch sat down the pencil on the clipboard. Starsky clicked off the tape recorder, slowly rose from the table, turned to one of the tall, metal file cabinets and proceeded to kick it and pound it with his fists in a sudden frenzy. He couldnt beat up on the suspect and get away with it, at least not to the deserved extent. The file cabinet took the punishment instead, which once again drew Captain Dobey from his office. What in hell is going on out here?
Hes interrogatin a file cabinet, Brian answered before anyone else could, watching Starsky work it over. Damn
Thats enough! Dobey yelled. Starsky gave the file cabinet a last, savage kick, making the bottom drawer pop open. He turned back to Brian with blood in his eye.
Captain! Brian said urgently. Im in wrongful custody! These hot-headed cops of yours refuse to call Sheriff Coltrane in Hazzard County and verify my identity!
Dobey eyed Hutch intently. Is that true?
We were just about to do that, Cap, Hutch sighed. Werent we, Starsky.
You bet. Starsky gave Brian a look that promised a very long walk to the holding cells.
***** ***** *****
At the Hazzard County Sheriffs Department, MaryAnne was on a phone call, doing her best to locate Brian. She was seeking some out-of-town help in an unofficial capacity, given the unusual events of the day. She wasnt having much luck; the phone rang several times, and then an answering machine clicked on. This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message, and Ill get back to you. Beep!
Jim, this is MaryAnne. Do you ever answer your goddamn phone?? Sheesh!!
MaryAnne hung up the telephone. Rosco, Im about ready to call out the Confederate Reserves. Nobody has seen or heard from Brian in hours. If we dont locate that script, he may never find his way back.
Doh! Rosco exclaimed. You mean
He must be trapped somewhere, MaryAnne said. I think he would have made it home by now otherwise. Theres been so many strange characters passing through Hazzard lately
Hush, sweetheart. Dont worry, well find that script.
What if MaryAnne bit her lip.
Rosco walked over to the booking desk where MaryAnne stood. He put his hands on her shoulders, reassuringly. Im sure Brians okay. You know what he always says...
Hes a bad guy, he can take care of himself. MaryAnne sighed. Thats just it, Rosco. What if hes got himself involved in a plot he cant escape from?
Hope for a sequel? Rosco suggested.
MaryAnnes eyebrows went up with the thought. There is that. In any case, we cant write him off as long as theres hope.
Zactly. Tell you what why dont we go on down to the Boars Nest and ask if anybodys seen em there.
Awright. Beats waiting around. MaryAnne and Rosco walked through the booking room doors and headed outside.
Behind them and out of earshot, the booking room phone began to ring.
***** ***** *****
No answer. Hutch hung up the phone and turned to his partner. We tried.
We sure did. Starsky yanked Brian to his feet. Come on, cowboy. Time to sit in the cooler.
Wait! They might be out on patrol! At least leave a message at another number! Try the Boars Nest!
Try telling it to the judge. Starksy hauled Brian out into the hall with Hutch close behind. I cant believe we fell for it as long as we did. A scumbag like you, related to a Sheriff and a deputy. Starsky shook his head.
Its true! Brian insisted.
Likely story, Hutch commented, giving Brians handcuffed arms a yank higher, supposedly to steer him around a corner.
Ow! Watch it!
Sorry, Starsky said insincerely. He bumped into Brian and sent him stumbling into the wall.
Oops, careful there, Hutch added, grabbing Brian and shoving him forward into Starsky, who shoved him back like a medicine ball. The mild roughing up was unnerving. The detectives were making their point; they could trash Brian between here and the holding cells and nobody would stop them.
Watch your step, Hutch said, spinning Brian towards the wall and shoving him into it hard.
GAH! Dammit! The casual, unconcerned mauling was making Brian nervous. Especially when he was kept pinned to the wall, and the cops began to speak to each other in hushed tones.
Starsk, you sure about this? Hutch whispered harshly.
Of course Im sure! Nobodys gonna ask any questions about him.
Hutch didnt seem so sure. You really think Captain Dobey wont investigate? This would make the third suspect that died in an escape attempt this week!
Third? Died? Brian said, and got shoved into the wall again. AAAAH!! So whos tryin to escape?!
Quiet! Starsky growled near Brians ear. Hutch, Im telling ya, this ones not worth the trouble of a court appearance. Ill get rid of em. You fill out the report.
There was a short pause. Okay, Hutch said heavily. Well have to make it look good.
Whether they were bluffing or not, Brian threw down his cards. AWRIGHT! Lets put it in perspective! Everything I told ya was true! Addin to that, Im a former member of the Atlanta Syndicate! And I wish I could tell ya what the hell Im doin in Bay City, but I cant! I dont even know how I got here! I lost my script, and the next thing I knew
Wait a minute, Hutch said, spinning Brian around to face them. Script?
Yeah! Brian heaved out. I lost it and ended up here, it the city of the damned!! I didnt break no laws except for evadin yall! I swear!
What do you think, Starsk? Hutch said.
I dont like him, Starsky answered. But I believe him.
It could coincide with the script we lost ourselves. Hutch gave a sharp look at Starsky. Question is what can we do about it now? Weve got a job to do. Johnny Reb may be the wrong bad guy, but hes all we got to work with.
Thats true, Starsky said critically. We know what has to be done. This guy isnt as slimy as most of the sleazebags we cancel, but hell do on short notice.
Brians dark eyes widened in alarm. Wait a damn minute. You cant
Hutch pulled on Brians jacket collar. Like it or not, were all on the same page. Youll know when its your cue. Now move.
But Ive got my own life! I dont belong here! Call it a cameo appearance and let me go!
Tough break, cowboy. Starsky and Hutch each took one of Brians arms and led him down the hall.
***** ***** *****
I dont believe this. MaryAnne spotted a gold Firebird in the Boars Nest parking lot. She parked the Plymouth Fury next to it, and she and Rosco opened the cruisers doors, getting out to examine the gold-colored car with the California plates.
Rosco looked over at MaryAnne. Youd just left him that message a little while ago. He really gets back to ya fast, dont he! Khee!
I wish it were that simple. MaryAnne walked into the Boars Nest. Sure enough, a black-haired, mild-mannered private eye, clad in a blue-checkered suit coat and a clashing shirt, was sitting at a table holding a conversation and a cold beer. Seated next to him was another private eye, a young woman wearing a brown suede jacket and matching high-heeled boots. Her long straight hair was pulled back in a strict ponytail.
MaryAnne and Rosco walked up to the two private eyes. Involved in their conversation, the two investigators didnt come up for air until MaryAnne cleared her throat for attention.
Oh! Hi MaryAnne, hello Rosco! We didnt notice you come in, Daney Duke smiled.
Sure we did, Jim said cheerfully. We just ignored you.
Jim Rockford and Daney Duke, MaryAnne grinned. The two of you come here often?
I work here, Daney complained, Between paying cases.
You have clients that pay you? Jim said enviously. Maybe I should relocate.
Rosco chuckled and pulled out a couple of chairs for himself and MaryAnne. What brings you all the way out to Hazzard? The Sheriff asked.
Havent decided, Jim answered. Im rather surprised to be here, matter of fact. I was just telling Daney how one minute Im on Ventura Boulevard, and the next thing I know, Im between truckstops in the deep south.
Well, Im glad youre here. You too, Daney. Theres been a few lost souls drifting through Hazzard today, but theres one in particular I havent been able to find.
Brians missing, Daney said with certainty.
MaryAnne looked at her. Yes but how did you know?
Because Ive bumped into everyone on earth today except for him. You wouldnt believe some the characters Ive ran into.
Actually, I would. MaryAnnes gaze traveled around the table, taking in everyone in turn. My gut tells me that Brians in trouble.
Brians always in trouble, Rosco pointed out.
This is different. Look at all of us, MaryAnne said, gesturing around the group. If any of us wound up lost somewhere, wed be okay. Anyone looking at us wouldnt be immediately suspicious of our motives
Khee! At least till they knew us better Rosco chimed in.
Exactly my point. What do you think would happen to Brian if he were to suddenly show up in the wrong place? At the wrong time? His image doesnt particularly lend itself to the benefit of the doubt.
Ooo! Jit! Rosco winced. Across the table, Daney nodded seriously. She knew what MaryAnne was suggesting. If Brian looked like a bad guy, talked like a bad guy, acted like a bad guy...odds were, hed be treated like a bad guy. Some people had very expedient methods for dealing with the type, and this gave MaryAnne every reason to worry.
Jim Rockford sensed this as well. I take it your missing cousin is the black sheep of the family?
Blackbird, Rosco corrected.
Wed better get started then. Now tell me, does anybody have a script?
***** ***** *****
The noise from the holding area was like the clamor of a zoo. Unlike the small, clean cells of the Hazzard County jail, the Bay City cooler had large, barred rooms crammed with undesirable people. Some were repeat criminal offenders, some were tripped-out substance abusers coming down from a high, and some were derelicts whose greatest crimes were poverty and vagrancy. Collectively, they pressed their faces forward to stare and jeer at the fresh meat being led to the detention officer.
Got a present for you, Starsky said to the officer, shoving Brian up to the counter. Book him on the usual Twenty Year package. If he gets out in anything less than ten, Ill punch your face in.
No need for sweet talk, the thin detention officer replied. You search em?
Hutch nodded and tossed an evidence bag on the table. As much as health codes allow. Here. A clear plastic bag containing a handgun, loose bullets, a thick wad of cash and a few marijuana cigarettes was tossed on the counter top.
HEY! Brian protested. That stuff aint mine!
Starsky grinned. It is now. You shouldve worked with us when you had the chance, Johnny Reb.
Brian thought fast as the detention officer itemized the bags contents and wrote them down. Once he was moved into that cell block, he would be trapped forever in the bad dream known as Bay City. He had to find a way out of this mess!
That all of it? The detention officer asked, having put the gun and the rest of the items in a small tray, which he sat back on the counter.
Thats all youre gonna get, Brian snapped suddenly, baring his teeth. Starsky and Hutch, along with the detention officer, were momentarily confused - until Hutch figured it out and tugged at the lapel of Brians jacket, giving a wry smile to Starsky.
Youre gonna have to put your coat in the closet for twenty years, Starsky said to Brian. Dont worry, well take good care of it. Right after we rip out the lining and look for drugs.
#@%*&%!!! Brian said, getting shoved into the counter. Secretly, his hopes were soaring. They had to take off his handcuffs to remove the coat and if Brian had so much as one hand free, hed have a chance.
Being no fool, Hutch kept a one-handed grip on Brians left wrist, keeping the arm painfully high against his back. Brian let out a muttered curse of pain but remained still, allowing Hutch to spring open the lock on the metal binding his right wrist. The moment Brian felt the lock give, he snatched his right arm free, drawing it forward and then slamming it back immediately, driving an elbow hard into Hutchs solar plexus. Hutch lost his grip on Brians left arm, and Brian spun and threw a roundhouse right into Starskys jaw. He then grabbed the stunned detective and threw him bodily into Hutch, sending both of them tumbling to the floor.
The detention officer ran out from behind the booking counter to capture the prisoner, which was a bad move. It gave Brian the heartbeats span he needed to grab the gun and a handful of bullets from the evidence tray. He popped the chamber, slid in one bullet, flicked it shut with a snap of his wrist and spun the gun in his hand once pointing it dead between the eyes of the detention officer, who froze in his tracks in horror.
The detention officer trembled. Before him, the criminal clad in black held him at point-blank range, his dark eyes grim and his smile wicked. The handcuffs still dangled from the prisoners left wrist, one metal loop empty and open. Officers Hutchinson and Starsky were rising to their feet, but cautiously and with genuine trepidation. This, perhaps more than anything else, terrified the detention officer.
The sound of running, heavy feet were coming down the call and from the cell area. An alarm had been tripped by the detention officer, Brian surmised. Explain the situation to the pigs, he growled in his throat, never taking his eyes from the frightened hostage.
STAY BACK! Hutch yelled down the corridor. Starsky waved back the jail guards who were likewise approaching.
Brians voice was a snarling hiss. Awright. Were goin for a ride. I think one of you have the keys to a 67 Impala. Hand them to the nice hostage. Any of you try anything, Ill plug em. Ive got nothing to lose by wastin a cop and Im happy to prove it.
Starsky very slowly reached into his pocket. Brian clicked the hammer back on his gun. Make sure the only thing comin outta that pocket are keys. If I even think it looks like a gun, this mans dead. Dig?
Take it easy, Starsky said. Slowly, he removed a set of keys, holding them at arms length.
You put your hand beneath the keys, Brian told the hostage, And you, Starsky - drop them nice and careful. They hit the floor, I pull the trigger.
The hostage did as he was told, as did Starsky. Walk, Brian commanded the hostage. Nice and slow. Walk right around and right through anything and anybody you have to.
The detention officer did, shakily. Starsky and Hutch did not interfere, though their hands clenched into fists of futile anger. Brian, they noticed, kept his eyes on the hostage at all times. His complete attention was on the detention officer at the end of his gun. The deadly, single-minded focus allowed for no distractions; no missteps, no tricks. Even if another officer shot Brian, he could end up killing the hostage out of convulsive reflex.
Brian and his hostage made it down the hall, past the stunned and silent officers. They made it outside and began the walk to the impound yard. Cops spilled from the police department and followed in droves. Brian didnt care. His heart was drumming a pounding cadence of life and death. He had no wish to harm the officer, but of course no one knew that. And if Brian wanted to make good on his escape, he couldnt afford to show any humanity. His own life was forfeit, however, should he lose the advantage for the merest second. The number of cops around would make certain of that.
Getting through the gated impound, which happened to be within a parking garage, proved no problem. More cops watched and waited, some with the kind of rifles that made short work of hostage situations. Brian kept his gun close on the hostage, not taking his eyes off the man as they came upon the black Chevy.
Open the passenger door, Brian ordered. Slide across to the drivers side. Do not put the key in the ignition yet.
Starsky and Hutch watched. Damn him! Hutch swore. Hes making Terril drive!
Hes a pro, Starsky said. We shouldve shot him at Huggys place . No questions, just boom. Case closed.
Theyre in the car, Hutch interrupted. The Chevys motor kicked over loudly, echoing through the parking garage. Come on. Well follow. The two homicide detectives crouched low and ran for the Ford Torino.
Drive, Brian ordered the detention officer, Nice and easy. He sat next to the hostage and kept the gun planted in his ribs. Diablo idled out of the parking garage and into the street, melding into the traffic. Behind it, a long string of police cars followed.
***** ***** *****
MaryAnne piled the stacks of paper high on the table. She slapped the sections together like phone books. Jim Rockford watched the growing heap of pulp without reaction, waiting until MaryAnne sat the last of it down before making his comment.
Is that all you have?
Everything weve finished. MaryAnne sat back down as Jim leafed through the collection of scripts. He took a pen out as if to make notes, but MaryAnne noticed that Jim was simply doodling pictures.
Draw any conclusions? She asked.
I think so. Your cousin Brian is a real case.
Thats why were all here, Daney reminded. But I dont know what good these old scripts are going to do.
Ill tell you, Jim answered mildly. For one thing, it shows that MaryAnne never throws anything out.
KHEE! Rosco laughed. Thats the truth.
I like to think of it as keeping good records, MaryAnne said with a slight blush. Jim, I have to agree with Daney. Im not sure how all this is going to help.
Jim closed the cover of an old, yellowing script. MaryAnne, its plain to me that your missing script wasnt lost. It was stolen.
Stolen! Daney said. Hes right! MaryAnne, you couldnt have lost that script, not after taking such good care of all these!
MaryAnnes blue eyes narrowed as she considered the possibility. But who would any have anything to gain from it?
And why would they risk mixin up so many people by disrupting things? Rosco asked.
Simple. Somebody wanted to change everything to suit their own needs. Jims brow furrowed with a new thought. Somebody who wanted to take Brians place
Or have Brian take theirs! Daney said suddenly. MaryAnne! All the characters I met today is it possible?
It is, MaryAnne said with a soft growl, understanding where Daney was going. Somebody stole not only my script, but a bunch of other folks, too along with Brians. No wonder so many people were lost.
What are all of ya thinkin? Rosco asked.
Rosco, MaryAnne said solemnly, Somebody wanted out of their own script. Whoever did this searched very carefully for a substitute to take their place. A substitute that could fill in as a close-enough match and they picked Brian.
Rosco absorbed the meaning. So much for bein a bad guy that could take care of himself.
Somebody read the wrong things about your cousin, Jim concluded. The only hope of getting Brian back, is to find the person who took his place in Hazzard County and recover that script.
***** ***** *****
You wont get away with this, Terril said shakily. Give yourself up!
In a word, man . Brian looked at the string of cop cars in the mirror. NEVAH! He kept the gun in Terrils ribs as the hapless officer drove Diablo.
Ive got a family, the officer blurted.
Congratulations. Now shut up and drive.
Where to? Theyre going to block the roads! You cant escape!
Brian was realizing that himself. He knew, for as much as the cops were following at a safe distance, they were also quietly lining up a chokehold on all the main routes. If they wanna see yer badge number on tomorrows roll call, theyll back off, Brian threatened.
Where you from, anyway? Terril asked suddenly, curiosity overcoming his fear. You got a southern accent.
Cause Im from the South, you jackass! DRIVE!
Okay! Terril flinched. He fell silent for a few moments. Traffic ahead of the black Chevy was relatively thin, and Terril cut through the streets with ease. This told him that roadblocks were going up on the main roads, limiting traffic. Maybe another two miles, and this whole thing would come to an end. He thought of his wife and his one-year old son, and knowing that he may never see them again, felt a new determination coming to him. He decided to chance a few words to the criminal.
You just want to get back home, right? Terril said rapidly. Put the gun down and I promise Ill take you someplace safe where they wont find you.
Brian was tempted. But he remembered the rules of the game, and the side he was playing on had harsh rules. Youll do that anyway, or youre dead. I mean it, man.
I read you, Terril said, but he felt bolder for the dialogue. He also felt reassured at the sight of the red and white Grand Torino that had just swung behind the Chevys rear bumper.
Brian saw it too. Damn, he whispered to himself. There would be no second arrest.
***** ***** *****
Luke, you hear all the commotion on the CB? Bo asked his older cousin. The two of them were chopping wood at the farm, each taking turns at splitting logs while the other stacked the woodpile.
Sure did, Luke said, heaving the axe down. Ol Roscos on a real manhunt. Wonder who theyre after.
Least it aint us, Bo said gratefully. Or the whole Hazzard County Sheriffs Department would already be here.
You never seem to mind MaryAnne stoppin by, Luke teased.
Neither do you, Bo grinned back. You know whats funny, Luke? I got fewer tickets ever since she came to Hazzard. It aint cause shes busted me its because shes happier when she doesnt have to bust me. I end up takin it easy on the roads.
Its good to keep MaryAnne happy, Luke agreed. I know what you mean, Bo. I dont have any more concern for speed traps than I ever did. Its just I dunno.
MaryAnne has a way of makin ya want to do the right thing, Bo summarized.
You got that right, Luke nodded. The ax came down with a heavy chop before he continued. I think maybe thats why ol Brian turned around some. Somebody finally cared if he did the right thing.
Yeah. The two boys worked in silence for time, finishing their chores. Neither of them noticed the stranger who watched them from the shadow of the farmhouse. Dressed mostly in black, except for ragged blue tennis shoes and a dirty grey t-shirt, the criminal hid out of sight. He peered around the house and scratched the bristling stubble that covered his pockmarked face, debating whether he should kill the two men and take their orange Charger. It would make an adequate substitute for his own getaway car, a black Chevy Camaro that the Bay City police department knew too well. It was hidden off the road for the time being, tucked behind the barn.
Only the flashy, attention-drawing nature of the General Lee was saving Bo and Lukes lives at the moment. Thinking better stealing that particular car, the criminal settled for forcing his will on the farm family for the purpose of getting a meal, a change of clothing, and whatever cash could be found. Then he would kill them.
With this decided, the criminal reached into the coat pocket of his imitation leather jacket, digging to find the gun he had hidden between two booklets of paper. Yes, the scripts were still there, he thought to himself. Hazzard was his for the taking, while the sucker hed found to take his place was about to die an ignoble death as a nameless, forgettable bad guy.
A wicked, triumphant laugh came from the Bay City criminal. The sound startled Bo and Luke, and they spun around quickly, their sharp eyes searching the farmyard. Luke saw the dark figure in the shadow of the house and relaxed marginally.
Brian Coltrane, one of these days youre gonna try sneakin up on us and get an arrow in your posterior. Where you been, anyhow?
The criminal drew his gun and stepped from the shadows, coming into full view. Luke had been about to smile, expecting a smart remark back from Brian but at the sight of the stranger holding a gun on them, the Duke boys knew that things were very wrong in Hazzard.
Who are you?! Bo demanded. And what are you doing on our farm?
Shut up. In the house. Both of you. Now. The criminal waved
his gun. His speech was clipped and toneless. Luke knew, by the lack
of any sort of drawl in the mans voice, that
he was way out of his natural territory.
Luke also remembered that Brian had been missing for several hours. With the quick reasoning that he was famous for, Luke realized that the CB calls going back and forth between the Sheriffs department meant two things: One, the frantic activity was probably a search for the criminal in front of them and two, that this criminal may be the cause behind Brians disappearance.
Do what he says, Bo, Luke said quietly, raising his arms halfway, and nodding towards the house.
***** ***** *****
The scouting party was making a search of Hazzards back roads, one person to a vehicle. Daney picked up the CB mike and radioed to MaryAnne. Anything yet?
Negative, MaryAnne radioed back. Bear, what about you? Any luck?
Nuthin out by Moose Creek, the Sheriff reported. What about whassis-name there?
Its Jim, for future reference, the P.I. called in. No, I havent seen anything suspicious either, except for a dozen or so moonshine stills Ill pretend I didnt see.
And Ill pretend I didnt hear that, MaryAnne responded. Radio silence prevailed for a few minutes. The search for a suspicious character was proving fruitless, and MaryAnne was growing impatient. There had to be clues. But where? Neither Brian, nor anyone remotely in his likeness, had been seen in town or at the Boars Nest. Yet MaryAnnes cop-instincts told her that she was missing the obvious. Where? Where? Where?
Jim Rockfords voice came over the airways. MaryAnne, is there anyplace in Hazzard County we havent looked? Anywhere that hes been found before?
No, MaryAnne started to answer with a sigh. Then her sharp intake of breath could be heard on the CB. Wait! I take that back. The Duke farm! Daney, radio the boys! See if theyve spotted anything out there!
Ten-four! Daney cleared the channel and changed it, turning the monitor to the Dukes home frequency. Scout to Lost Sheep, come back.
A hiss of static and a sharp crackle was the answer. Daney tapped the CB mike and tried again. Scout to Shepard, over?
Nothing. Knowing that Daisy was at the Boars Nest, there was only Uncle Jesse and Bo and Luke to answer. One of them should have picked up.
Scout to Lost Sheep, Scout to Shepard, Daney called worriedly.
Silence again. Daney turned the channel back to the Sheriffs Department frequency and heard MaryAnnes voice on the channel. Songbird to Lost Sheep! Come back
I think we know where to look now, Rosco cut in. Keep the gumballs and siren off, Songbird. Well go in sneaky.
Ten-four. Daney, Jim, you copy?
Got it, Daney answered.
Loud and clear, Jim said.
Awright. Yall see anything unusual along the way, give a holler.
You mean unusual for Hazzard, Jim amended.
The four cars began to converge on the Duke farm from different roads. It was Daney who got there first. She almost missed the black car that was hugging the side of the barn, tucked back as it was from the road. For a second she thought it was Diablo, but she quickly realized the black Chevy shed found was much shorter in frame. The presence of a strangers car on Duke property set her heart pounding. She eased her green duster, Hunter, off the road and snuck it up to the Camaro. Scout to Songbird! Theres a black Chevy here but its not one that we know. Its parked on the east side of the barn.
I read you, MaryAnne said immediately.
I copy, Rosco echoed.
Same goes for me, Jim put in. Im on your twenty. The gold Pontiac had been a short distance behind Daney. Jim followed the path that Daneys car had cut into the field, joining her near the barn.
Over here! Daney whispered as Jim got out of his car. Stepping awkwardly over the stones and ruts of the field, Jim met up with Daney near the black Camaro. She was staring into the passengers side of the Camaro like a pointer on a pheasant.
Resting on the seat was a pile of scripts, many of them torn and rutted through carelessly. The two P.I.s carefully opened the Camaros door and began to sift through the stack. By the time Rosco and MaryAnne pulled up, Jim and Daney were concentrating their eyes to a single script, riveted to the page.
Rosco and MaryAnne got out of their patrol cars quietly, not letting the doors slam. The two Hazzard officers jogged through the field to join the P.Is. Whatd you find? MaryAnne asked in a hushed voice, noting their sober expressions.
Jim glanced at Daney, and at a silent nod from her, handed the script over to MaryAnne. Rosco peered over her shoulder and they read the unfamiliar script, their blue eyes scanning the pages as the ending gripped them like a vise
With the criminal distracted by the sight in the rearview mirror, Officer Terril performs an act of courage and heroism. Ignoring the gun held against his ribs, he slams the brakes of the black Chevy, the sudden jolt forcing the criminal to brace his arms out against the dashboard. The gun is momentarily forced away from his ribs, and Officer Terril makes a grab for it, while the stopped Chevy is quickly surrounded by the law. Detective David Starsky draws his weapon and shouts and order to the criminal, but a shot rings out sharply from within the car. For a heartbeat, no one moves. Then slowly, officer Terril lets go of the gun, which in the struggle had turned back against the criminal. The shocked, dark eyes of the criminal glance up to see Starskys face in the car window
Starsky stares back without pity, holding his gun at ready. It is not needed. The black-clad figure slumps weakly against the seat, his lips curled back in a snarl as the fire fades from his eyes. He does not move again.
Detective Ken Hutchinson takes in the scene from the other side of the black Chevy, and Officer Terril looks to him nervously. Sirens howl in the background.
Hutch says nothing, but nods in understanding, seeing that the officer is badly shaken. When Terril looks back at the criminal for too long, Hutch finally speaks. Go home to your wife and son. Theyre waiting
MaryAnne closed the script and rolled it up into her fist. It was supposed to have been a happy ending; and from the traditional perspective, it was. Unless one happened to have sympathy for the bad guy.
Im sorry, MaryAnne, Jim said gently. We may be too late.
No, MaryAnne said sharply. No, I refuse to believe that. Angrily, she took the pen from her pocket, unrolled the script and tried drawing lines through the distressing sections. The pen wouldnt write.
Let me try, Rosco offered. He took the script and soon found that his pen had no effect either. Jit!
I know why, Daney said softly. Its not your script, so you cant change it.
This aint over yet. MaryAnne looked through the Camaro for herself. My script isnt in this car, and neither is Brians. Whoever stole them is taking no chances.
Whoever stole em still has em, Rosco declared. Along with the Dukes.
Goddammit! MaryAnne looked to the farmhouse. Why does every criminal in the world find his way to Hazzard County?
And find his way to this farm? Daney piped in.
Could be a law of nature, Jim said blandly. Kind of like how ducks fly south.
Ooo! Rosco lit up. Then all we need to do is get a decoy!
A duck decoy? Daney said
No! A Duke decoy! Khee khee!
Rosco, MaryAnne chided. This is serious .WAIT a minute! A Duke decoy! Youre right! The young Deputy suddenly slapped Daney on the shoulder. Daney, youre about to be a decoy!
The female P.I. blinked at MaryAnne uncertainly. Huh?
Youre going to walk right up to the front door there and go in as if nothings happened. Me, Jim and Rosco will go round back. Youll draw the attention of the bad guy so the rest of us can sneak in through the windows.
Nothing to it, as long as I dont get shot, Daney frowned. If this works, Brians gonna owe me big.
Thats incentive enough, isnt it? MaryAnne smiled.
Daney blushed a little, hiding a grin. I guess so. Okay .wish me luck. Without another word, she turned and walked around the barn, striding towards the farmhouse. Rosco, MaryAnne and Jim gave her a few moments head start, then cut through the cornfield to sneak around the back.
***** ***** *****
The Duke kitchen was ransacked. Spilled flour and broken dishes marred the floor; half-eaten food was heaped wastefully on the table. The criminal stood in the kitchen, gun in one hand, cramming bread in his mouth with the other. He tossed the uneaten crust aside, not caring where it landed. He commenced a search of the cupboards, searching for money, valuables, anything worth his interest. There wasnt anything so far, and it made him angry. Im through wasting my time here, he snarled dangerously. Unless you farm fools come up with real cash, your lives wont be worth a damn.
From the living room, Bo, Luke and Uncle Jesse watched impassively. Each of them were grateful for the fact that Daisy wasnt home. Her shift had not yet ended at the Boars Nest.
The criminal slammed a cupboard door hard, shattering a teacup. Where do you keep your valuables?! he demanded.
Right here, Uncle Jesse answered, tapping a finger over his heart. The things we cherish aint kept in dollars.
Spare me the sermon, The criminal spat. You cough up money or you lose. The gun was raised and aimed at Bo Duke. The blonde Duke swallowed hard and darted a frightened look to his cousin.
Hold on, Luke said anxiously. We aint got cash here cause we just paid the mortgage. Take anything you want but theres no need to hurt anybody.
Theres no need to leave witnesses, the criminal stated, clicking back the hammer. A cruel sneer twisted his mouth. Bye bye, country boys
The screen door suddenly creaked open and Daneys voice called in. Hey yall! Im hoooome! Whats for supper?
The criminal whirled on Daney and oriented the gun on her. At the sight of the slender woman, an ugly smile grew on the criminals face. Do come in, baby. Ive been looking for some entertainment.
Oh my goodness! Daney said breathlessly, acting terrified.
Bo and Luke had taken a half-step forward when the criminal barked an order. Stop, country boys. Or Ill waste her where she stands.
Helpless, Bo and Luke froze. Come here, baby, the criminal coaxed Daney. I wont hurt you much.
You awful man! Daney squealed. Ill have nothing to do with you!
The voices of Daney and the criminal carried back to Rosco, MaryAnne, and Jim. Quietly, and with stealth that Brian would have been proud of, the three of them climbed through a bedroom window. So far, Daneys ringing protests where covering the creaking of the floorboards.
The bedroom door was open a crack, and MaryAnne peered through it, seeing Daney slink up to the criminal like a cowering deer. Dont hurt my cousins, she pleaded. Ill do anything you want
Now were getting somewhere. The criminal reached out and grabbed her ponytail, twisting it around in his hand and forcing her face to his own. You and me are going to hit the road together. Right after I finish this. He pointed the gun back at the Duke boys.
No! You cant! NO! Daney shrieked, not acting now.
HIT THE GROUND, BOYS! MaryAnne yelled, drawing her weapon and throwing the bedroom door open wide. At the movement, the criminal turned and fired towards MaryAnne, drawing Daney in front of his body as a shield. Bo and Luke pulled their Uncle Jesse down with them to the floor, pushing and pulling him to relative safety behind the couch.
Bullets peppered the doorframe and wood splintered off, forcing MaryAnne to duck back. Rosco grabbed her arm and pulled her over to him. Sweetheart, I know yer brave, but this aint gunna work! Not while hes got Daney!
I realize that, MaryAnne said conversationally, reloading her gun. She glanced at the private investigator from California. Jim, youve handled hostage situations, havent you? Go talk sense into that guy.
Jim peeked one eye cautiously around the door frame, and a bullet immediately exploded into the wood an inch from his nose. Cant be done, he said matter-of-factly, brushing sawdust off his face. MaryAnne, thats a grade-A lunatic youve got out there.
Terrific. MaryAnne took a deep breath.
Ill handle this, Rosco said. He cupped a hand around his mouth and yelled towards the living room. AWRIGHT, HOODLUM! Putcher gun down and yer hands up! We got you surrounded!
Ive got her, the criminal responded menacingly, tugging Daneys hair. Unless you want to be responsible for her death, youll throw down your guns and come out! Im counting to three! One two
Goddammit! MaryAnne said, and threw her gun down. She motioned for Jim and Rosco to do the same. Two more pistols skittered across the floor.
Theres three of us, plus Daney and then the Duke family, Jim grumbled, Theres one bad guy. And were the ones giving up! Whats wrong with this picture?
Thats what happens when ya lose a script, MaryAnne sighed. It messes things up somethin awful. She raised her hands up halfway and walked slowly out of the bedroom. Rosco and Jim followed suit, none of them sure what to do next.
The criminals hard eyes took in the visage of MaryAnne, glaring at her wickedly MaryAnne Coltrane, he said darkly. Ive read about you. I know who you are
MaryAnne looked back at him. Im glad. Youll remember my name long after youre behind bars if youre lucky enough to make it that far.
The criminal was thrown off a second by MaryAnnes fearlessness. Daney sensed this and suddenly pulled away from the criminal, forcing his attention back to her. Bo and Luke had been lying on the floor like panthers, and now they sprang, knocking both the criminal and Daney back as the four of them hit the floor in a heap, Luke wrestling for the gun.
The criminal let go of Daneys hair in order to fight the Dukes. Instead of retreating, Daney reached into the criminals jacket, finding an inner pocket she suspected would be there. She pulled out the scripts.
NO! The criminal shouted. But MaryAnne, Jim and Rosco were now there too, and Uncle Jesse soon stood over the thwarted criminal with a loaded shotgun.
Daney handed the scripts to MaryAnne, who unrolled them hurriedly. One was hers, written in blue ink the other was Brians, written in black ink. Instinctively, she knew that seconds counted. She had time enough to modify one script. She only had a blue pen, though, so she knew the effort would have to be made on her copy. She ran to the kitchen table, shoving things out of the way. Quickly, and with a steady hand, she began to write.
***** ***** *****
Damn this guy! Starsky swore. Hutch, why didnt we shoot the sonofa
We didnt have just cause.
The hell we didnt. Next time, Ill risk the suspension instead of losing an officer.
We havent lost him, Hutch reminded. Dont follow too close. Terrils driving pretty smooth, so Johnny Reb must be keeping his cool.
Johnny Reb is gonna be marching home in a box. Look at this! Hes making Terril turn down the alley! What the
Hes going to avoid the road blocks! We dont have the alleys contained, just the main roads! DAMN! Hutch watched the black Chevy Impala dive into a narrow alley, crunching over litter and trash as it sped between the buildings. The Torino followed. It was single-file down this route, and the path effectively controlled the pursuit.
We can still get em, Starsky growled. Radio Captain Dobey and have him send the squads to cut off the alleyways!
Zebra Three calling Captain Dobey! Hutch transmitted. Were in pursuit between Clark and Adams! Send units to block off the adjoining alleys!
Ten-four, Zebra Three! The rough voice responded. CATCH that sucker!
Were working on it! Hutch said into the mike.
Inside the black Chevy, Brian had to chuckle. His hostage, officer Terril, had followed Brians instructions to the letter, turning precisely when told, accelerating and slowing when instructed, and keeping his eyes forward. Terril didnt know it, but his own police training was working against him now. What Brian was putting him through wasnt much different than the high-speed pursuit training served up by the police academy.
Every think of bein a Syndicate wheelman? Brian said in compliment as Terril avoided a trash can and saved some of Diablos chrome.
Cant say I have, Terril said, surprised by Brians joke. He glanced sideways at the criminal who held him at gunpoint. Instead of cool hostility, there was a look of mild amusement in Brians dark eyes.
Theyll send units to block the alleys, Terril commented, quickly returning focus to his driving.
I know, Brian nodded. Ive bought some time but its about gone. Well its been fun. Brian drew in a sigh, and Terril tensed up, ready to slam the brakes and take his chances rather than be shot passively.
Cut back to the road at the end of this alley, Brian ordered before Terril did anything. Give it some gas, then slow down, open the door, and jump out.
What? Terril glanced quickly at the criminal, who was putting his gun away.
You heard me. Its over, man. I aint takin you down with me but I aint givin up. Dig?
Terril saw the expression in Brians eyes, and felt the criminal was telling the truth. There was no time to guess otherwise. The end of the alley came up, and Terril yanked the Chevy back into the street, sirens echoing in the air all around them. The Impala gave a burst of speed, gaining a few seconds lead before the Torino was out of the alley.
Ill take the wheel, Brian said, edging closer. Slow down, open the door, and jump! NOW!
Terril took his foot off the gas and pumped the brake once. He opened the door, dove out of it and rolled, hitting the pavement hard. The black Chevy kept coasting for a second, then suddenly roared forward, fleeing the Ford Torino that was bearing down upon it.
Starsky! LOOK! Hutch pointed to Officer Terril, who was picking himself up off the street, stepping back and watching the Impala tear off.
Good! Starsky said in relief. Now its just us and Johnny Reb. Weve got em.
Brians dark eyes flicked over the mirrors. The Torinos wide
grill was ready to run up Diablos tailpipes. Damn cops,
Brian muttered. And there were more. A roadblock loomed in the intersection
ahead, as rows of police cars boxed up the street behind wooden barricades.
A score of uniformed officers stood at ready with their guns drawn.
There was a last alley between Diablos position and the roadblock, and figuring that hed have better luck against smaller odds, Brian spun Diablo into a sharp turn and took it. He expected to see a squad car blocking the end of the alley, but instead, the view startled him.
The alley was clear, and at the end of it, a street sign was visible. It read, TO HWY 36 - HAZZARD COUNTY with a large arrow beneath it.
Thank you Lord, Brian exclaimed, hammering Diablos throttle. He could make it
The Torino followed behind.
***** ***** *****
Inside the Duke farmhouse, MaryAnne was staring down at what she had written on the script.
Rosco read it from over her shoulder. I dont know, sweetheart. Thats a little lean.
It has to be enough, MaryAnne said. I have no idea where the hell Bay City is.
Listen! Bo said, standing near the screen door. I hear a siren!
Luke looked over at him. That aint nothin new.
It aint a Hazzard County siren! Bo insisted. Conversation halted as everyone turned an ear towards the sound. Jim Rockford and Uncle Jesse the only ones not to join the group gathering at the door, as they were keeping guard over the criminal whod been handcuffed and seated on the couch.
MaryAnne strained to listen. She heard the siren, and she also heard the growing vrrraaaahrrruuum of a familiar engine as it gained a gear closer to home.
Its Diablo, she said with conviction. With a siren behind it. Sounds like Brian is bringing company home for dinner.
Khee! Rosco chuckled. It worked!
It did! MaryAnne said, proud of herself. Matter a fact, it worked like a charm! There he is!
A long black Chevy roared down Mill Pond Road. A red Ford followed close behind it, a single police light attached magnetically to the roof.
Nice cop car, Bo commented, watching Diablo spin around to try and lose the Torino. The two cars danced like a matador and bull, swirling up dust in billowing clouds.
Ol Brians had his hands full, Luke remarked dryly, seeing the Torino call the Impalas bluff and move to cut off the Chevy. Diablo leapt into the farmyard, tearing up sod.
Think hes requesting back-up? Rosco asked MaryAnne as Diablo roared up to the house.
Yup. I think hes gonna be happy to see us, MaryAnne agreed. Come on.
Through the Impalas windshield, the Duke farmstead looked as welcome as anything Brian had ever seen. Nothing had stopped the cops pursuing him, and Brian was desperate for any help he could get to explain things - even Duke help. When he saw MaryAnne and Rosco coming out of the farmhouse, Brian gave silent thanks for a good turn of Coltrane luck and threw Diablo into park, bolting from the car and running for the house.
HOLD IT! Starskys voice shouted behind him. Brian stopped and raised his hands, the handcuffs still dangling from his left wrist with one open loop.
MaryAnne and Rosco calmly walked down the steps with Bo and Luke behind them. Behind Brian, Starsky and Hutch were coming forward to claim their quarry. Sorry for the disturbance, Hutch told the people coming from the farmhouse. We have things under control.
I see that, MaryAnne said calmly. Looks like you had quite a chase.
Starsky let out a breath. You can say that again. You officers probably dont see this kind of action out in the country.
Oh, youd be surprised, MaryAnne said wryly. You gentlemen are from Bay City, correct?
Yeah, Starsky said, surprised. I suppose we should cover the courtesies, huh? Im Detective David Starsky. Thats my partner, Detective Hutchinson. Were with the Bay City Homicide Unit. And you officers are with .
Rosco stepped forward. Hazzard County Sheriffs Department. Im Rosco P. Coltrane. This is my cousin, Deputy MaryAnne Coltrane. Rosco extended his hand with a smile.
Sheriff and Deputy Coltrane? Hutch said, sinking a little as he accepted the handshake. From the corner of his eye, he saw Brian grin and relax his posture.
Thats right. Khee! Rosco shook Starskys hand next, then moved aside for MaryAnne.
Its a pleasure to meet both of you, MaryAnne said cordially, greeting them with handshakes as well.
Pleasures ours, Hutch said politely, but he seemed a little concerned. He looked over at Starsky, then back at MaryAnne and Rosco. I suppose the two of you dont happen to know who this is he gestured towards Brian.
Obviously some renegade, MaryAnne said, beaming a wide grin.
Just another desperado, Rosco nodded with a smile.
Who owes me big! Daney said suddenly, pushing past Bo and Luke to march up to Brian. You dont know what Ive been through today! Youd better make it up to me!
You?? What you been through? Wait till you get an earful of my day, sweetcakes. Im tellin ya, these cops
MaryAnne smiled at the chatter, and pulled Starsky and Hutch aside. I think you two have already figured out that youve got the wrong man.
We lost our script, Starsky admitted with a shrug. We used what we had to work with.
MaryAnne looked over at Brian, who was now catching good-natured grief from Rosco and the Dukes. Well, he doesnt look any worse for wear. I suppose I should thank you for giving him some practice. Brians slowed down a bit since his reform, ya see
Reform? Slowed down? Starsky sputtered.
Shhh! Dont let him hear you! Hes sensitive bout it.
Sensitive? Hutch blurted. His language is sensitive!
Dont tell me he said @#%&*#%, or %#@&*!!! MaryAnne quoted blandly.
Several times! Starsky said. Right into the statement recorder.
Khee! Ahem. I mean, my goodness. MaryAnne held back her grin. Gentlemen, youll be happy to know that weve located your stolen script, along with the suspect youre really looking for. If you dont mind dropping whatever charges you might have on our cousin over there .well call it even.
Hes all yours, Starsky grumbled. With our compliments.
MaryAnne smiled. I thought youd feel that way.
***** ***** *****
The Dukes kitchen was crowded. The entire Duke family, along with the Coltranes and Jim Rockford, were seated around the kitchen table. In a peaceful hour spent with a homemade apple pie and a pot of good coffee, everyone shared their relief that things were finally back to normal.
Id better head out, Jim said eventually. Its been a good visit. MaryAnne, dont be afraid to call me once in awhile, okay?
Dont be afraid to answer your phone, she retorted, drawing laughter. She stood up and gave the P.I. a friendly hug. Thanks for your help, Jim.
Dont mention it, he said easily, returning it. Im always glad to help. Jim gave his regards to the rest of the group, collected his script from the stack that had been recovered from the Camaro, and walked away from the table. On the way past Brian, he gave the black-clad Coltrane a light whap over the head with the rolled up script, as if it were incidental.
See ya around, Jim, Brian said to his back, chuckling. Nice sport coat, by the way
Trade it for your jacket, Jim said without turning around, still walking to the door.
Didnt think so. Jim Rockford wandered out the door, and moments later, the gold Pontiac was headed out of the farmyard.
MaryAnne didnt let silence settle for too long. She handed a script to Brian. Here. Try not to lose it this time.
Brian took his script, flipped through the pages, then rolled it up and tucked it inside of his jacket. Believe me, I wont. Dont lose yours either. Our lives are complicated enough.
No kidding MaryAnne gave a light snort. So tell us, Brian. Is the asphalt blacker on the other side?
Oh, theres plenty of opportunity for a bad guy in Bay City. I could have made my mark there as a police chalk outline on the pavement.
They had your number? Rosco asked with a sip of coffee.
Yep. Brian didnt elaborate. But then a question struck him. Hey, MaryAnne. You saw the script for them Bay City homicide cops tell me somethin. How was it supposed to end?
Uhhh hard to say. I didnt see the whole thing. MaryAnne changed the subject. Brian, you havent explained how you found your way home, she baited.
Aw, I just followed the sign for Hazzard County. Couldnt miss it big blue letterin and all
Blue? MaryAnne said innocently, smiling into her coffee cup. The Dukes chuckled around the table.
Eeeeyep! Amazin coincidence. One of those nick-of-time escape routes.
Coltrane luck, Rosco offered for explanation.
Coltrane luck, Brian agreed, but the way his dark eyes glanced around the table in appreciation, it was clear he knew better. He smiled at the Dukes and at his cousins, then rested his gaze upon Daney. I owe you big, huh?
Will a trip to the Boars Nest make a good start?
Its a step in the right direction, Daney said. Lets go.
Ill see yall later, Brian said to MaryAnne and Rosco. He stood up and clasped them both on the shoulder.
Have fun, MaryAnne said, grinning up to him. Who knows, maybe well swing by there ourselves.
Awright. As Brian walked to the door, Jesse Duke wagged a finger at him.
Bring Daney home at a decent hour, he warned.
Yes sir, Brian answered. He paused, waiting for another Duke-sponsored remark. When none came, he took a step towards the door.
Dont get lost, Bo chirped merrily. As laughter burst from around the table, Brian kept walking, hiding his grin. The Dukes screen door shut behind him, and only then did he holler back his rejoinder.
This aint over!