The next morning, the FBI found it's way to Hazzard. A Federal agent walked into the booking room, taking no notice of the prisoner in the holding cell. "I'm here to see Sheriff Coltrane," the agent announced to Enos.
Enos stood up from the booking desk and nodded. "Yes sir." He walked down from the holding area and over to Rosco's office door. He knocked and then opened the door, announcing to Rosco that there was someone there. After a moment, the deputy looked at the visitor and held the door open a little wider. "You can go on in."
The crisp-suited agent presented his hand to Rosco. "Special Agent Frank Mayson."
Rosco shook the man's hand. "Glad your here...um...can I see your ID?" Although weary, Rosco still had some of his guard up and he could take no chances. This could very well be a very cleverly disguised axe man to break Brian out of jail.
The agent flipped open his wallet-badge and held it for Rosco to inspect. "I understand your need for caution, Sheriff. And may I express my deepest condolences on the loss of your fine officer and family member, Deputy Coltrane."
Rosco nodded. "Thanks."
He looked over the ID and wallet and was satisfied that this was the
real deal. He then gestured to one of the chairs in front of his desk.
"Have a seat, there's a lot I need to brief you on."
Agent Mayson pulled up a chair. "Go on."
Rosco explained the fairly obvious first. Brian's return to Hazzard, MaryAnne's death at the hospital at the hands of Deuce, Brian's attempt to get the Dukes and then his subsequent arrest. Rosco then laid out the ground work of Luke's plan, reminding the agent that there was the possibility that more hitmen were coming to Hazzard, which they were counting on for their audience.
"If possible, I figure to let it look like they're gonna get clean away until you and your boys end up catching them just at the county line. As long as the Syndicate thinks the boys are dead, they won't care about Hazzard anymore. If me and my deputy were to nail these guys, the Syndicate would come to return the favor. I don't have the manpower or the resources to fight them. That's where you come in."
"Do I understand you correctly, Sheriff? You want to use a suspect in custody for this scheme?"
Rosco nodded. "I know it sounds...strange. But there's no other way we can do this, not without putting Bo and Luke in real danger."
The agent's expression was as flat as his thinning hair. "I find it odd for you to place your trust in a criminal."
Rosco sighed. "There's something you gotta understand. Believe it or not...Brian's kin. He's a cousin of mine. That in itself is pretty odd to begin with. He agreed to help...only because he feels guilty over what happened to MaryAnne, who was also his relative." Rosco shook his head, not sure he was making any sense. "I don't know how to explain it. I've been trying to figure it out myself for days. But the main thing is...he will help. And I believe he'll stick with it."
Agent Mayson folded his hands together. "You have a suspect in custody," he stated factually. "A suspect who shot an officer at point-blank range, who later died while hospitalized." Mayson leaned forward in his chair, making close eye contact with Rosco. "This same suspect became cooperative once he was incarcerated. I'm not surprised by that, Sheriff. The charge of capital murder carries a severe sentence."
Rosco nodded. "There's just one thing tho'...I don't think he's gonna be charged with capital murder. See it wasn't him that actually killed MaryAnne...it was his partner, Deuce. He snuck into the hospital and injected her with penicillin." Rosco's voice became soft. "She was lethally allergic to it."
Agent Mayson tapped the desk with his forefinger. "I've reviewed the medical file on Deputy Coltrane. Her allergies to penicillin were not lethal in themselves. I find it more plausible that she died of complications from her injuries." A subtle accusation grew in the agent's tone. "I hope your judgment in this case hasn't been clouded, Sheriff."
Aw shit...Rosco felt his mouth go dry and he looked at the agent in fear. Why the heck did the FBI have to go poking through MaryAnne's medical file? He averted his eyes for a moment and then cleared his throat and stood up, slowly pacing around the end of his desk. "Agent Mayson, if I tell you something, I need a guarantee from you and the FBI that what I tell you will not be repeated."
Mayson rose from his chair and stood rigid. "Sheriff, if you have information pertinent to this case, your duty as an officer requires you to disclose it. And my duty as a Federal agent would require me to use it."
Rosco kept his gaze steady with Mayson's. Rosco's trust in the FBI just went right down the toilet. "I have no further information pertinent to the case, and my duty as an officer and Sheriff of this county requires me to protect those that I serve. And I will do that in whatever way and capacity I have to. If the FBI's not interested in helping me with that, that's fine. As long as you get Deuce and Brian and any of their other buddies OUT of my county, that's all I need from you."
Agent Mayson scowled. "My department has been following the Syndicate's actions for months, Sheriff. We're not about to pass up a sting operation as it presents itself. Even one as risky and half-baked as this one." Mason's attitude became one of reconciliation. "We'll do our job, Sheriff, and I trust you'll do yours. And I'm sorry about your cousins. Both of them."
"Yeah, I'm sorry too..." Rosco frowned a bit, "But lemme tell ya, Bo and Luke Duke have helped the FBI and the Federal government before. Their ‘risky and half-baked ideas’, have helped nail some of the biggest name criminals in the South. I think you'll find that when this is over with, everyone will get what they want." Rosco paused. "I'll let you know when Brian's loose, so you can mobilize."
The agent nodded curtly. "My men will have perimeters assigned throughout the county. We'll move on your signal." Agent Mayson covered the plan details for several more minutes, then prepared to leave. "One more thing, Sheriff," he said in parting. "If anything should go wrong, you'll be assuming full responsibility."
Rosco nodded. "I'm aware of that."
"Good." Mayson made his exit on that note. The booking room doors had just swung shut when Brian stirred in his cell. "Who was that?" he asked as Rosco came from his office.
"An officer from Atlanta," Rosco said, without missing a beat. "Expressing condolences on behalf of the Atlanta Police Department for MaryAnne."
Brian accepted the explanation. "Nice of 'em..."
"Yeah, I thought so..." Rosco stepped up to the holding area and looked at Brian for a moment. It seemed as though Rosco was going to continue to talk about MaryAnne, but then changed the subject instead. "So, ready for your big performance?"
"Anything to get out of this goddamn jail."
Rosco chuckled. "Sorry to hear you don't like it here." Rosco then glanced at Enos. "I'll be back in a little bit."
Rosco turned and walked out of the booking room. There was a lot to do and little time to do it. He went out to the impound yard and opened the Chevy, and made his preparations. He took Brian’s gun out from the glove box, having placed it there earlier. Now he opened the bullet chamber, dumped the live rounds out and then pulled the blanks from his pocket. He loaded the gun and put it back in the car, putting the live rounds in his shirt pocket. He then pulled the Chevy’s keys from his pocket and stuck them in the ignition. That being done, he returned to the courthouse and used the phone in the filing room to call out to the Duke farm.
Jesse got to the ringing phone first. "Jesse Duke, here."
"Jesse, this is Rosco. I'm gonna let him out. Are the boys ready?"
"They're ready, Rosco."
"Alright. The FBI's been briefed on what's going down. I'm gonna follow Brian out to the farm, a few minutes behind him." Rosco paused. "Tell the boys good luck."
"Okay, Rosco...and you be careful yourself."
"I will, Jesse. I'll see y'all soon." Rosco hung up the phone and walked back to the booking room. He came in with authority and strolled up to the holding area. He glanced at Brian and then grabbed the key off the wall and started to unlock the door. "To keep things consistent," Rosco said, "The story for the Syndicate is that you faked being sick, got Enos here to open the door and then ya decked him and took off." Rosco finished unlocking the door but didn't open it yet. "Can you handle that?"
"One-handed," Brian answered sarcastically.
"That's what I figured," Rosco said. He opened the door. "I changed the ammo in your gun and your car's in the impound. Now get the hell outta here."
"My pleasure." Brian wasted no time taking his exit, and spared Rosco no farewell. He fled the courthouse with due speed, hitting the impound yard at a dead run. The black Chevy bolted from the impound yard a moment later.
As soon as the booking room doors stopped swinging, Rosco stepped over to his office and made his call to Agent Mayson. As Brian was tearing out of town and the FBI was taking their positions, Rosco sat in silence for a couple of minutes in his office. He touched his hand to his shirt pocket, feeling the note he had written a couple of days ago still there. If something went wrong, he hoped it would explain things to folks. After another moment, he stood up and emerged from his office.
"Keep your ears tuned
to that radio, Enos. You're gonna be communication central here."
"Yes sir." Enos watched Rosco start for the door. He stood up suddenly from the booking desk. "Sheriff?"
Rosco turned to the deputy. “What?”
"I will, Enos. I'll see ya later..."
Enos nodded, even though Rosco had already stepped through the swinging doors.
***** ***** ***** *****
Special Agent Frank Mayson put his radio mike down after the last unit reported they were in position. The earlier discussion with the Sheriff still didn't sit well. The death of Deputy Coltrane...something was odd there. A lethal dose of penicillin? She wasn't even lethally allergic to it. Why would he say that?
Frank shook his head. He wondered if the Sheriff was flat out lying, not that the agent could blame him. As long as the Syndicate thought she was dead, they wouldn't continue looking for her.
Agent Mayson snapped out of his thoughts and looked at the man that had come up to him. "Yes?"
"We just got a call from Atlanta. It appears that Don Mancini's sent a few more of his hitmen here to Hazzard."
"Three, maybe four. Information's kinda fuzzy. Our contact says he issued a contract on the Sheriff here as well."
Frank sighed. "How fuzzy is that piece of information?"
"It's not. Our contact knows that last part for certain."
"Great," Frank muttered. "So they're gonna try to take out the Dukes, the Sheriff and then take Brian Coltrane with them back to Atlanta." The agent sighed and looked towards the countryside. "See if you can contact the Sheriff in town. Tell him they Syndicate's looking for him now as well and that he should be very careful."
***** ***** ***** *****
It was eighteen miles from
the town of Hazzard to the Duke farm. Rosco was approximately four
minutes behind Brian, and the white Plymouth patrol car cruised along
Old Mill Road at a brisk pace, it's gumballs flashing with no siren.
He drove through the intersection with Route 16, paying no attention to the indiscreet black Ford sedan that was coming towards Old Mill Road. Bad luck was about to slap Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in the face.
The driver of the black sedan, Dirk, saw the neon invitation and he took it. He stepped on the accelerator and swung on to Old Mill Road catching up to the patrol car in no time. The orders were clear. Take out the Sheriff.
Rosco looked in his mirrors at the sound of a screaming engine behind him. The black car cut to the side of the cruiser and leapt ahead of it. Rosco swerved to avoid bumping it but Dirk turned the Ford to the side, blocking the road and forcing Rosco to slam the breaks.
The hitman jumped out of his
car and ran around the front of the patrol car, just as Rosco was stepping
out. Rosco caught a glimpse of the open switchblade knife in Dirk's
grip and he shoved the driver’s door open hard, right into Dirk.
The door caught the big man in the ribs and gut, slowing him up only for a second. Rosco wasted no time and started running but soon had Dirk after him. The Sheriff's adrenaline wasn't going to be enough and Rosco's weariness from the previous days events didn't improve his chances of getting away. Dirk lunged towards Rosco like a football player and brought him down in a cloud of dust. Rosco squirmed and managed to turn on his back but the hand that had the switchblade in it was now underneath him. Rosco tried to fight the big man off, and grab his gun but the pistol was still strapped into the holster. He gave a futile yank on the gun but stopped suddenly when his lower back felt like it was burning. He looked at Dirk in shock and with the realization of what just happened. The killer just smiled sinisterly and said, "So long, Sheriff...."
Out of the corner of his eye, Rosco saw Dirk's hand come out from underneath his body, holding the gleaming silver blade, which was half-covered in fresh blood.
Brian made only one stop in his haste. He screeched the Chevy to a smoking halt in front of one of county's rare pay phones. After dialing the phone with a nervous hand, Brian counted the rings and waited. Deuce answered and got a fast earful. "Deuce! Yeah, man, I'm out. I'm on my way to the hit now. Get out to the old farm on Mill Pond Road if you wanna see the show." Brian slammed the phone down and dove back into the Chevy.
Deuce put down the receiver and snapped orders to his subordinates. "Brian's on the move. Dirk's handling the Sheriff but I'm taking no chances. If anything with lights and a siren moves in this county, nail it. I'll take care of Brian." The hitmen disbursed in an organized frenzy, their stealth-built cars taking to the road.
***** ***** ***** *****
Agent Mayson walked over to where the agent who told him of the contract on Sheriff Coltrane was just getting off a car phone. The agent looked at his superior and shook his head. "The deputy said that Sheriff Coltrane is following after Brian, a good distance behind. He said he would relay the message on the radio though."
Frank nodded. "He said he was going to follow. I'm afraid that one of Mancini's men may find him and we'll never know..."
Dirk drew his switchblade through the front tire of Rosco's patrol car, laughing as he did so. He then heard a voice on the radio inside the car. "Sheriff? This is Enos, are you there?" Dirk looked in the car at the CB set. "Sheriff, please respond this is urgent!"
Dirk snorted and got into the car. He grabbed a handful of wires underneath the CB set and cut them with his switchblade. The radio fell silent. Before closing the switchblade, he wiped both sides off on the material of the driver's seat, leaving a streak of red on the soft tan colored fabric. He stepped back out of the car and looked down the road, where the Sheriff lay. He chuckled, finding it amusing that the law could be so inept. Dirk then walked back to his car, not knowing that Rosco still watched him. The Sheriff’s blue eyes were clouded, weakening, yet smoldering with anger and determination.