As of 12 Jul 2012, I don't own the television program Justified, or any of the copyrighten characters associated with the above mentioned program et al. This is an amateur written piece of fiction, based on characters that are/were created by, and that remain the intellectual property of, the creators and producers of Justified and is written solely for the purposes of entertainment, and not for any monetary gain.

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Harvesting Someone Else's Crop Is A Bad Idea

Chapter One

Caution: This fiction contains language not suitable in church, and drug references.

"Never rub another man's rhubarb."

The Joker

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Dewey Crowe, it has been noted previously, and most likely would continue to be done so for the rest of his life, wasn't quite the sharpest anvil in the packet. Even when you take into consideration that, generally speaking, anvils only come one to a pack.

"What do you mean, I won't fit? There are four seats. I'm sitting in the back here," he pointed through the open door to the back seats of the small airplane.

The pilot tried again, "This is a grass, dirt strip, bit less'n half a mile long. Now, with three growed men, we'd need a full mile long, proper black-top runway to get off the ground."

"There are four seats," pointed out Dewey, proving that the second time he went through second class hadn't been a complete and utter waste of time, despite what that pretty blond teacher, Miss Walker, had wrote on his report card.

The pilot tried alternating looks to the other guy, "Three men from this airstrip, we'll just plow inna those trees at the end," he gestured in the direction of the fish farm at the back end of the home made runway. "Look, I'll do what you ask, you don't hurt my folks, I fly you 'round lookin' for the Bennett's….. lands … but we just can't take three from here. If we was to fly to town," the pilot waved to the north, towards the bluff, "we can load all a you up…."

Fortunately for everyone involved, the 'other guy,' Boyd Crowder, was smarter than his associate, Dewey Crowe.

"Dewey, he's probably right. Him an' his daddy been flyin' outta here for more 'n fifteen year," said Boyd. The pilot, Peter Goodsir, nodded.

"Not fair," complained Dewey.

It had been Dewey (surprisingly) who had had the idea. 'Course he never knew that the idea came from himself when Boyd said he come up with the plan.

Dewey had seen in a Geographic magazine, you could still see bare native titties in them if you hunted hard enough, that in Hawaii, army chopper pilots had to fly at a certain height due to the dope growers taking pot shots at them. The photo showed a swimming pool sized dope crop seen from the chopper. The color was different from the rest of the green in the photo.

"Now Dewey, if'n you want, I'm sure we can organize a 'nother flight, just for you," said Boyd in a menacingly even tone.

Dewey backed down straight away, he might be as thick as a cow sandwich, one with extra pickles, but he knew that tone from Boyd, "Naw, is okay…. I can help Johnny keep eyes on them old folks," he pointed over to the brick built house.

The old folks in question, the local mad doctor and his wife, both in their seventies, were currently back over in the house, having gotten fed up with trying to explain airplane weight and balance to the Crowe boy. Mrs Goodsir went back to her baking, and the doctor was making filter coffee for everyone. Johnny was over there with them, feeling a bit left out, even thought he was the one with a sawed off pump action.

Dr Goodsir was considered mad ever since he bought a hundred acres of useless scrubby re-growth and creek from old man Crawford. Crawford, and most everybody else, considered the land near worthless. If you were a farmer, you'd be right. But for someone wanting to bulldoze a dirt runway, put down a house and fly a private plane from it, it was just about perfect.

It was possibly the only sale that old man Crawford felt he'd gotten the wrong end of. His customers weren't supposed to enjoy themselves like that.

Dewey felt that the younger Goodsir was farting about way too much with the plane. He'd pushed it backwards out of the shed, and then spent a good ten minutes fussin' about like an old woman, testing this, wiglin' that. He even got a wooden stick and measured the gas in the tanks. Planes have two gas tanks, who knew? But wasn't that what the gauge was for? After he crawled about on his hands and knees under the plane, he got up, and said it was ready.

Goodsir reached inside and let the parking brake off, and then using the handle thing for the front wheel to steer, he pushed the plane back for a bit, then the plane found the gradient, and rolled back by itself out onto the runway proper.

Goodsir and Boyd got in, and after more waiting and farting around, the engine began to turn over. Dewey thought that once it caught, jeez, it had a nice meaty sound to it. Then the pane began to drive slowly down to the western end of the runway, its wings wobbling a little with the uneven ground. The plane went out of sight due to a slight downhill at the far end.

After a bit of engine roaring, the plane came slowly wobbling back up the runway, and past Dewey and the shed on its way toward the two lane blacktop at the other end of the runway. What the hell was going on? The plane turned around again and sat there, its engine running fast. Then the engine note changed a couple of times, and then it went quiet. And still nothing happened. Jeez Crow! They could-a driven there by now!

When the engine began to roar, a lot louder than before, Dewey saw dust blow up behind the plane and get pushed across the road. By the time the plane was level with Dewey and the shed, it must have been going sixty mile an hour. A little ways past Dewey, and the thing lifted a little off the ground. Just before it reached the place where it disappeared last time, it began to climb and fly proper. The wheels folded back into the body of the plane, and it flew off to the west and out of sight.

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Goodsir made sure Boyd had a plastic shop bag to use for airsick, just in case. He'd explained to Boyd about needing to warm the engine up before running it full throttle. Take off and climb-out are not the times you want the engine to seize up. Not that you want that in a light plane at anytime really, but given your 'druthers, the first few minutes of any flight are busy enough without having to worry about the engine deciding to stop work and down tools.

Where they were flying wasn't really 'tiger country,' like in the olde time maps with a 'here be dragons' written across the bits no-one had been before. But in aviation terms, it was close to being a 'designated remote area.' There were no towns to fly to or from over this patch. It was just empty, like in the middle of a Spirograph pattern.

Since Boyd was wearing the headset so they could talk using the intercom instead of screaming at each other over the engine, that also meant Boyd could listen in to the radio. That meant Goodsir couldn't set the transponder to the 'hijack' code, so he left it on the setting it was already on. Boyd had forbidden him from using the radio. Because of where they were going to be flying, Goodsir decided to let that slide. There wouldn't be any other traffic at their altitude.

It took them two hours of flying to find three of the Bennett crops. There were probably more, but Boyd decided that was enough.

Boyd had flown enough in helicopters while he was in the army, being paid to blow shit up, to know that from the air, the farm strip looked small. Goodsir came in from the west, the direction that they'd taken off into, low and close to the tree tops. As soon as they passed the last tree, he cut the power and the plane dipped for the ground sharply. Just above the ground, he leveled off and let the plane kiss and then stick to the ground.

Because they came in from the western end, Goodsir was able to use the uphill portion of that end of the runway to slow down, and by the time he was level with the shed, near the middle of the runway, he was able to turn in without having needed to brake heavy, and park back on the concrete wheel strips, where the Cessna had been when he'd done the pre-flight earlier.

Dewey and Johnny were full of fruit cake and almost asleep. It was Mrs Goodsir who heard the plane come back – the good doctor was, in Mrs Goodsir's opinion (and experience), as deaf as a post.

Both Dewey and Johnny lit up as soon as they were outside the house, the old biddy had refused to let them smoke inside, shot guns or no. Both of them were relieved to be out of the house, but wouldn't say it. They hadn't figured on Dr Goodsir having a real live human skull on top 'a the bookcase. The damned thing had watched them the whole time.

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Deputy US Marshal, Raylan Givens was reluctantly involved in Boyd Crowder's theft of Mags Bennett's marijuana crop(s) when his boss, Chief Deputy Art Mullen, stopped by his desk and asked a simple question.

"Raylan, how is it that since I have inherited you and all your shit, that the name Boyd Crowder has crossed my desk more times than I care to count?"

Raylan sighed and not really caring about the answer, asked, "What's he done now?"

"Stole someone else's dope crop."

"Good for Boyd. And this intersects with the Marshal's purview, how, might I so enquire?"

Art rocked back and forth on his heels for a moment, "Well, the federal aviation authority getting involved in the investigation of a crime, that kind of puts the ball in our court. Them an' us being federal an' all."

Raylan sucked in his teeth for a moment, thinking. After a bit, he repeated, "The federal avi….?" asking it as a question.

"Aviation authority."

"…aviation authority. Thank you, that would mean a airplane….. I'm guessing the name…." Raylan had to think a bit harder, "Goodfell…. Goodsir is gonna crop up in this conversation fairly soon?"

Art shook his head, "I'm not even gonna ask how you figured that out."

"Well, they got about the only small plane in Harlan I can think of not based at a real airport. Now, if I was to go about, spotting dope crops from the air, an' I didn't want people to know about it, that might be the plane I'd pick. 'Cept, the good doctor an' his wife called the cops once Boyd let 'em go, right?"

"Actually, the family's trying to keep quiet. Boyd probably threatened them. We got a little lucky, the son flew the plane up from Lauderdale last week, and there's some radar transponder doohickey he'd left on the same setting from he flew last week. Not supposed to do that, apparently. Anyways, they called on the radio and got no response, and when they rang up on the phone, the family denied that the plane ever left the ground. So, we got a radar track of him flying a nice neat search grid. And right where the flight path does a little loop back on itself a couple a times, guess what's on the ground?"

"Ahhh, probably not a dope plantation any more."

"Nope, but obvious that there'd been one recently."

Raylan sat up straighter, "Have we talked to the Goodsir family?"

"Yeah, we staged a raid, local TV and everything, kept the faces hidden, but apparently there's a lovely shot of the airplane in the background. Made sure the TV people showed it every news break. And how's they're refusing to cooperate with the authorities."

Raylan smiled, "Cute, so Boyd and his crew know that the family is doing what he asked. But that we know, too."

Art nodded. Raylan started getting up, knowing he was about to be sent back to Harlan. "Funny that Mags hasn't filed a complaint on Boyd, him stealing her property an' all."

"Oh, I'm sure that she has, but the paperwork just got lost somewhere on its way here to Lex," Art said as he headed to his office, waving farewell over his shoulder as Raylan checked his weapons, hat and ID in preparation to head on out to Harlan.

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Raylan was wrong about one thing, Mags Bennett had complained to the local police about the Crowder boys stealing her crop. It might not have been a formal written complaint, but she definitely did complain to the local sheriff about the theft.

The local sheriff let her vent for a while. Sheriff Doyle Bennett was a good son, and always listened to his momma.

"..them sons a bitches, an' then you bring 'em here, so I can castrate 'em like my momma used to do to the sheep…" Mags vented while she paced the aisles of her general store. She'd been going for what felt like five minutes so far. Doyle had never seen her so pissed with anyone before. Not even with Dickie.

"Yes momma," said Doyle, hoping his mother would eventually run out of steam, and give him a clear direction.

"…Dickie and Coover can get my crop back, while you an' your trained dawgs can do things all legal like."

Roughly what Doyle had expected. "Momma, my deputies an' I can handle Boyd an' the others, we don't need to bother Dickie and Coover. You sure it's them, but?"

Mags Bennett whipped around, fixing a solid thousand yard stare at her eldest, and totally belying that sweet little old, moonshine stillin', harmless general store keeper image she believed she portrayed, she said, "You think I don't know what goes on in my own county? Old man Crawford lifts a cheek to fart, an' I know about it! Oh, it was Boyd Crowder done this, believe me. That idjit cracker, Crowe, just can't keep his mouth shut."

And speaking of cracker idiots, Doyle's two brothers pulled up outside the store, and barged through the screen door like they owned the place.

"Hey, momma," said Dickie, while Coover loaded up on essentials from the snack shelves.

"Momma, you said somthin' 'bout Boyd an' 'is boys," said Coover around a strip of packet jerky he was holding in his teeth, since his hands were full.

"Pay for that, or put it back," said Mags, "and yes, I need you to recover some of our harvest that the pair of you let get stole the other day."

"Now momma, you know we got a fair amount o' land, scattered fair wide," placated Dickie. He knew he was his momma's favorite. One day, Dickie knew he would get it all…..

"And yet, we aint never been hit this big before!" stormed his mother. "They used a God damned airplane to find our crops!"

"Momma, we'll get it back, you see," tried Dickie again, sure his momma would calm down for him.

"Damn straight you damn well will," she spun to face her sheriff son, "Doyle, you arrest him on something, broke taillight or whatever, and beat the location out 'a him. Then you let your brothers know where to go pick up our stuff."

"Momma…." began Doyle. It wasn't like it was in the old days. Now they had cameras in the police cars an' everything.

"Nobody's messed with a Bennett since George Washington was just a general. That aint gonna change now."

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Considering that Boyd Crowder was wanted by both the local and federal police, he was surprisingly easy to find. He and his boys still hung out in the church of the holy swastika.

Finding, yes. Charging with a crime was somewhat different.

Boyd told Raylan with that shit-eating grin that he was nowhere near the Goodsir place on the day in question.

"And you can prove that, how?" asked Raylan.

"My associates," Boyd swept his arm in a grand gesture to include Dewey, Johnny and the funny looking asshole, known only as Devil, "will be only too happy to provide the Marshal Service's finest with a alibi."

"Boyd…" sighed Raylan, "you're gonna need more…. reliable witnesses…."

"Hey!"

"Wadda ya mean…."

"Did you just call me witless…" said the trio of witnesses.

"… an' you know," continued Raylan as if nothing of importance had happened, "that Mags is gunning for you and your little posse here."

"Devil, can you fetch a jar for me and the marshal please?" Devil turned on his heel angrily and went in side, "Thank yew," said Boyd to the door of the church. "Raylan, our impartial and legally elected sheriff can search my property as many times as he likes. He will not find what is not in my possession. The possession of the item of which he seeks is illegal, as I think you well know. Thank you Devil," he said when Devil returned with a mason jar partially full of a clear liquid and some glassware that dated from a time that when you purchased more'n five gallons of premium, the gas station attendant gave them to you.

"To your very good health, marshal," toasted Boyd.

Raylan managed to not cough as the high octane liquid tried to burn its way to freedom via the most direct route.

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