I thought I might have a fairly decent idea for my second attempt at a story, but I needed one little thing to be different. For the record, I adore Roscoe. I love all his charm and childish antics, but anyone who knows the story of The Dukes will probably agree that Roscoe was much smarter in the first 1 ½ seasons than during the rest of the series. He was much less bumbling before the Dukes went to the 8pm timeslot, and although I understand the idea to make him a bit more family-friendly, I found myself sometimes wishing that he could have been a little less clumsy and just a tad more competent.
Now, my story will have to have taken place after season 4, but in order for my story to work, I simply need Roscoe to be a little bit, well… smarter. So, you can interpret this one of two ways; either you can read it as Roscoe being played OOC, or you can just see me borrowing the smarter Roscoe from the beginning seasons. Whichever way works for you is fine with me. I hope you enjoy it.
I do not own any rights to The Dukes of Hazzard or its characters.
Approximately 12:30 p.m.
There was a rustling, then a crashing sound coming from Ms. Harpswell's living room. At first she thought it was probably just the cat knocking over something from the bookcase, but after a moment she realized that the sounds had continued for longer than what the cat could create, so she decided to investigate. Much to her surprise, when she entered the living room there was a young man going through her strongbox at the end of her mantle. He was crouched down with his back toward her, and he had her small manila envelope that held her savings and mortgage money in his hand. She gasped at the site of him, causing him to stiffen at the sound of her, and he stood with his back still facing her.
Even without seeing his face, she knew who it was. The blond hair, the yellow, long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans, there was no questioning who this young man was.
"Bo Duke?" She cried. "What on Earth are you doing in here?"
The man didn't answer, however, he did raise his hands up slightly in surrender, but he never turned toward her.
"Never mind, I know what you're doing." She answered for him, "You just stay right where you are while I call the sheriff."
With that, the young man fled, bolting for the front screen door. However, the latch on the door stuck, leaving him no choice but to tear his way through it, ripping his jeans on the upper left side of his thigh. This maneuver barely slowed him down as he ran across her front lawn, placing his hand on her white fence to hurl his long legs over it and continued to race to the all too familiar orange sports car with the number 01 on the door and the confederate flag on top. Within seconds, the car sped away.
Ms. Harpswell grabbed her Polaroid camera that she always kept next to her window and chased after him. She stopped at her porch and snapped a quick picture as he sprinted across her lawn to the car. She continued across her lawn to her fence as she watched the speeding car make its getaway. She looked down at her fence where he had placed the palm of his hand. Although there were no fingerprints, there was a definite red smeared stain where his hand had been. Curiosity got the best of her and she touched the stain. It was fresh red paint. It probably had dried earlier, but with sweaty palms it would still leave a mark if pressed against a light colored surface. She shook her head in dismay, clearly confused and disappointed that a nice young man like Bo would commit such a horrible crime against her. Some time had passed as she looked at the now developed photo. It was a photo from the back, but there would be no question that it was definitely Bo. She sighed in disbelief and made her way back into her house to call the sheriff.
A little earlier, at approximately 12 p.m.
About a mile and a half from Ms. Harpswell's house, Bo Duke was just finishing some much needed repair work on Miss Tisdale's fence. He and Luke had gone their separate ways today, with Luke being sent across town to help Mr. Tucker bale some hay. Mr. Tucker could no longer carry the same workload since his heart attack last May, and he was very grateful that Luke had offered to come and help him. Luke had taken Dixie, Bo had taken The General Lee. It was turning out to be a rather hot day, and Bo couldn't help but chuckle to himself how lucky he was to be mending a fence rather than working in a hot field without any shade, doing very strenuous labor.
Now that the fence was repaired, it would need to be painted. Bo went into Miss Tisdale's shed and opened what he thought was a can of white paint. He sighed and muttered to himself when he discovered it was a can of red paint, not white, that he had just spent five full minutes trying to pry open. To make matters worse, the paint had sloshed up when the cover popped off, covering his hand in the bright color. "Well, genius," He chastised himself, "That'll teach you to read labels before you open something." He wiped his hand as best he could with an old rag, and then continued his task of retrieving the correct paint can for the job. As he turned toward the door of the shed, he thought he saw a shadow sweep across the doorway. He frowned for a moment as he peered out. Nothing caught his eye, so he shrugged it off.
Miss Tisdale was just coming out of her house with some sandwiches and lemonade for Bo as he made his way out of the shed and back toward the fence. "Oh, there you are, Bo." Miss Tisdale smiled. "I've brought you some lunch. I hope you're hungry."
"Miss Tisdale, you adorable thing, you." Bo flirted. He took the tray from her and brought his lunch to the picnic table. "I think you've been reading my mind." He sat down and took a huge bite of the first sandwich. "Mmm, mmm, this is exactly what I've been craving since breakfast."
Miss Tisdale beamed. "I'm glad you like it, dear. Now, I've got some errands to run in town and most likely will not be back before it's time for you to leave. Please be a dear and lock the storage shed for me when you're through, okay?"
"Yes, Ma'am." Bo answered. "Is there anything else I can help you with today? I'm just about done with the fence. It just needs a coat of paint."
Miss Tisdale thought for a moment, "You know, there is one tiny thing you could do for me. In my back yard, there is a small section of old barbed wire fence. If you could please get a pair of gloves and remove it for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Just throw it in the back of my pickup truck and I'll take it to the Hazzard Dump tomorrow. It's just a short piece, but, then again, so am I!"
Bo nodded as he swallowed his next bite of sandwich. "Sure thing, Miss Tisdale. Just be sure you get someone to help you unload it tomorrow. Don't try to do it yourself. Them barbed wires can get nasty if you get tangled up in them."
"Thank you, sweetie, I'll be sure to do that. Thanks again for all your help. Be sure you say 'Hi' to your Uncle Jesse for me!" She waved back at Bo, placed her helmet on her head and sped off on her motorcycle, popping her bike up on one wheel as she made her way down the road.
Bo shook his head and smiled at her. 'What a character!' He thought to himself as he made his way to the backyard to tackle the barbed wire. He would finish his lunch in a bit, but he wanted to be sure he got that wire fencing out of the way first. She was right, it was a short piece, but it was old and rusted and tangled. He put his gloves on, held the wire at arms length and carried it out to the truck. All of a sudden, he got the strange feeling that someone or something was watching him. He stopped and looked around, again saw nothing so he shook his head and made his way back to his lunch. "Man," he said aloud, "I've got to ease up on them Alfred Hitchcock movies. They're startin' to freak me out!" He sat back down at the picnic table and finished his lunch, washing it down with the tall glass of lemonade.
About an hour later, he had a nice thick coat of paint on the fence, the shed was locked up tight, the tray and plate from lunch had been placed on the front porch and Bo was headed for home. His favorite song was playing on the radio as he made his way down The Old Mill Road, and all in all Bo had had a fairly decent day. That is, until he turned in his driveway and saw the sheriff's car, along with Roscoe, Enos, Uncle Jesse, Daisy and someone who looked a lot like Ms. Harpswell standing in front of the house.
"Whatever, this is, it can't be good." Bo thought as he parked The General Lee and climbed out of the car.
Jesse saw Bo and called over to him. "Bo?"
"Front and center, boy." He answered, pointing directly in front of him.
Bo frowned, 'Nope, this certainly isn't good. What the heck can it be?' He thought to himself, then responded to his uncle's order with a quick "Yes, Sir" and jogged over toward the group of people standing in the driveway. Bo leaned against the sheriff's car and faced Jesse. "What's going on?"
Jesse took a step toward Bo, frowning at him and squinting his eyes. "I was hoping you could tell me." Roscoe stood next to Jesse, and Ms. Harpswell stood a few steps from Roscoe, with Enos and Daisy behind the rest of them. It looked as though Daisy had been crying. "Where've you been today?" Bo then noticed that Jesse held a small photograph in his hand.
A look of confusion passed over Bo's face. "I've been exactly where I said I was gonna be. I've been at Miss Tisdale's house, repairing her fence."
"And you've been there all day?"
"Did you leave her house at any time, for any reason?"
"No, I've been right at her house since eight o'clock this morning."
"And Miss Tisdale can vouch for your whereabouts all day?"
"She can until just before lunch, then she had to leave to do some errands."
At this point, Luke pulled in the driveway. His reaction was about the same Bo's had been when he saw the sheriff's car and the group of people gathered in the driveway. Luke's stomach turned a little bit when he noticed that they all seemed to be gathering around Bo. 'This can't be good.' He thought to himself as he walked over to join everyone. "Hey yall, what's going on here?"
Without taking his eyes off Bo, Jesse responded to Luke with a raised finger in his direction. "Hold on just a minute, Luke. I'm not done here yet."
Bo was still leaning up against the patrol car, with his hands resting against the side of it. Jesse looked down at Bo's jeans, seeing a tear on the upper thigh of his left leg. "How'd you rip your jeans?"
Bo looked down and seemed to be noticing the tear for the first time. He raised his eyebrows in surprise and ran his finger along the rip. "Gee, I don't know. I didn't know they were ripped until just now." He thought for a moment. "It could've happened while I was taking down a piece of barbed wire fencing. I must've caught my jeans on that." He shrugged back at his uncle.
Jesse's face showed no reaction to Bo's answer, as he stole a glance at Roscoe. Roscoe returned the look to Jesse, but didn't have any verbal response. Jesse turned his gaze back to his nephew.
"Hold your hands out where I can have a look at them."
Bo sighed and held his hands in front of him for Jesse's inspection. Jesse took both of Bo's hands in his, turning them palms up and immediately concentrating on the hand that had a smeared red mark across the palm of it. Jesse let out a deep breath when he saw it, and Daisy placed her hand up to her mouth to stifle a sob. "And the stain, where'd that come from?" Jesse continued.
Upon seeing the crowd's reaction, especially Daisy's, Bo showed signs of nervousness. His eyes darted across to each person watching him, including Luke, who was the only other person looking just as confused as he was. Luke shrugged at him, Bo shrugged back.
"I spilled some paint when I opened the can. I was getting paint to finish the fence."
"You painted her fence red?"
"No, Sir. I painted it white, but I opened the wrong paint can accidently. Can someone please tell me what the heck is going on here? Was I supposed to have done something wrong?"
At this point, Roscoe spoke, taking a step toward Bo. "Alright. I've heard just about enough of this nonsense." Jesse tried to interject, but Roscoe put his hand up. "No, Jesse. I've let you have your talk with him, now it's my turn." Roscoe put his finger in the middle of Bo's chest. "At approximately twelve-thirty this afternoon, you were seen in Ms. Harpswell's living room, stealing an envelope from her strong box that contained twelve hundred dollars in cash. You then fled the scene, tearing your jeans on her screen door and leaving a red stain on her fence as you hopped over it, making your way to The General Lee."
"What!" Bo hollered. "That's insane! I would never do something like that!"
Luke heard this accusation and immediately came to Bo's defense. "Aw, come on, Roscoe. You've got to be joking. There's no way Bo would ever do that." He gave a pleading look to Jesse. "Uncle Jesse, you know they're lying. You know Bo better than that!"
Roscoe continued. "Ms. Harpswell saw you with her own eyes. Even took a picture of you making your getaway." Roscoe then took the photograph from Jesse and handed it to Bo. "How do you explain this?"
Bo stared at the picture in disbelief. Luke came to Bo's side and also looked in shock at the photo. He looked up at Bo, then at Roscoe. "When was this taken?"
"Ms. Harpswell took it of Bo as he was running away from her house today. You can see the envelope still in his hand. There's no doubt it's Bo." He pulled the picture down a little so he could point at it. "Look, you can even see The General Lee in the background, there. Coot, coot!" He laughed as he watched the boys squirm a little.
Luke's expression seemed to change as he added up the insurmountable evidence against his cousin. He looked down at the rip in Bo's jeans, and then touched the stain mark on his palm. He then looked Bo in the eyes and studied him. "Bo?" he finally stammered out. "Can you explain any of this?"
Bo looked helplessly at Luke, then at everyone else gathered around him. "All I can tell you is that I wasn't there. It wasn't me. I was at Miss Tisdale's all day today fixing her fence. I swear to you all, I didn't do this." He almost looked as if he were going to break down.
Luke thought of something. Turning to Roscoe, he continued. "Where's the money? If Bo took the money, then he should have it on him."
Roscoe nodded. "You're right, Luke. He should have it on him." He then took Bo by the arm. "Turn around and put your hands on the hood of the car, there. I'm gonna search ya for evidence." Bo did as instructed, and Roscoe patted him down, finding nothing.
"See?" Bo replied, turning back to face Roscoe. "I told ya, I didn't take anything."
Roscoe seemed undaunted at not finding the envelope and turned toward The General. "Well, that only leaves one other place it could be, then." He turned and looked back at Jesse. "You don't have a problem with me searching the car, do ya? After all, I believe I have plenty of probable cause."
Jesse thought for a second, then nodded his head. "Go ahead and search it. If Bo's tellin' the truth, then he's got nothing to fear in that."
Roscoe leaned into the driver's side window, feeling under the seat and checking the dashboard. He then did the same on the passenger side of the car, but when he swept under the passenger seat, his fingertips brushed up against the object he was looking for. Grasping it with his hand, Roscoe pulled out the small manila envelope in question. For the briefest of moments, a look of disbelief crossed Roscoe's face as he studied the package, then opened it and pulled out a considerable amount of cash. He held up the contents for the rest of them to see.
A look of absolute horror crossed Bo's face. There was no possible way this could be happening. He shook his head and tried to stammer out something, but before he could say anything, Jesse walked right up to him and pressed his chest against his, pinning him to the side of the patrol car.
"Okay, Bo. You need to start talking and start talking fast. How did that money get in your car?"
Bo looked helplessly at the money, then at everyone looking back at him. "I have no idea how that money got there, I sure as heck didn't take it."
Jesse sighed. He took a deep breath as his face hardened a bit. "Bo. Do you remember the last time you lied to me?"
"Yes I do. I was fourteen, and you whooped me and washed my mouth out with soap."
"And do you remember that as a pleasant experience?"
Bo shook his head. "Not at all. I couldn't sit down for three full days, and everything tasted like lye for a solid week."
Jesse stared deep into Bo's eyes. "And are you lying to me now?"
Bo looked Jesse square in the eyes. "No, Sir, I am not." He adamantly stated.
Jesse held his gaze as he studied him. He then nodded and placed a hand on Bo's shoulder. "I'm sorry for that, Bo, but I had to be sure. Now, I want you to know that I believe you, but we have to figure out an explanation to all of this. It really doesn't look good." He stepped back away from Bo, taking the pressure off his chest. He scratched his chin and thought. At that moment, Luke thought of a possibility. "Did you crack your head on anything today? Maybe get dazed or stunned for a while?"
Bo shook his head. "No, nothing like that at all."
Jesse placed his hand against Bo's cheek. "Maybe you were out in the sun too much and got heat stroke. Remember how sick you were with it a few summers back? Maybe the heat caused you to black out."
Bo reached up and took Jesse's hand away from his face. Again he shook his head. "No, Sir. Nothing like that happened. I can account for every minute of the day today, and at no time did I leave Miss Tisdale's land. I feel fine, and never hit my head or any other part of me on anything." He pointed to the picture. "If that picture was taken today, then there's another fella out there that looks just like me, 'cause that's not me."
Roscoe took the picture back from Bo. "Well, if that's the case, then he dresses like you and drives the exact same car as you. He even spilled paint on the same hand and tore the same place in his jeans today." He smirked at Bo. "C'mon, Bo. You can't seriously expect me to believe you, can ya? The evidence speaks for itself." He waved back towards Enos. "Enos, you dipstick. Get over here and do your sworn duty. Arrest Bo for breaking and entering and theft, and get him cuffed and stuffed."
Enos sheepishly stepped toward Bo. "I'm real sorry about this, yall. I wish there were some other explanation for all this." He took out his handcuffs and motioned for Bo to turn around. "Don't give me any troubles, now."
With a look of total defeat, Bo quietly turned around and placed his hands behind his back. He looked over to his uncle. "As long as you believe me, Uncle Jesse, that's the most important thing."
"I do, Bo, honest, I do. Don't worry, we'll figure out someway, somehow to prove that you're innocent. One way or another, we'll get to the bottom of this." Jesse then placed a hand on Enos' shoulder. "When you get him to the jailhouse, Enos, I want you to do a drug test on him, just to be sure that he hadn't been slipped anything and that all our bases are covered." Enos nodded. "That's a good idea, Uncle Jesse. None of this seems to be in character with Bo at all." Enos opened the rear door of the police car and helped Bo inside, and then he and Roscoe got in front with Ms. Harpswell. The rest of the Dukes watched helplessly as the car pulled away.
Daisy couldn't help but break down and cry. "Oh Uncle Jesse, Luke, what on Earth are we going to do? I know that Bo's telling the truth, but there's so much evidence stacked against him this time…"
Luke shook his head. "It's too perfect. It's just too neatly packaged. I just don't get it, but somehow I know the answer is right in front of us, we just can't see it yet."
Jesse nodded. "I know what you mean, Luke. The question is, will we be able to see it in time to save Bo from going to jail for the next ten years?"
"Well, I know one thing; I'm not going to find the answer here in this driveway, that's for sure. I'm gonna head into town and do some snooping on Boss Hogg. He's the obvious first place to start. It wouldn't be unlike him at all to try to frame Bo for something like this. What I don't understand is, why would it be just Bo and not both of us?"
"I don't know, son, but I do agree that J.D would be the most sensible person to start looking at. I'm gonna make a stop over to Miss Tisdale's, just to be sure Bo didn't get his times wrong. Maybe she can put a few missing pieces together for us."
"And I'm gonna head over to the Boar's Nest and do some eavesdropping myself." Daisy added. The three Dukes all headed off in separate directions, each promising to check back with each other the minute any of them got any bit of information. Somewhere out there were the answers that would explain all of this, they just had to find them, wherever they were.