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“Cooter thinks he gonna beat you and Bo during the race on Saturday.†Nick said to Luke when they were driving Dixie home.

“Yeah well Cooter is known for having an overactive imagination. Let him prove it first.†Luke said laughing.

“Who’s gonna drive? You or Bo?â€

‘Hmm we didn’t decide on that yet. I think I give the honors to Bo but it won’t do no harm teasing him a bit, not letting him know that yet.â€

Nick grinned. “Can I drive with ya’all?â€

Luke shook his head. “Neh we would be going really fast kiddo.â€

“Yeah I know!†Nick said excided.

“It would be to dangerous and by the way the extra weight would slow the car down. When you’re sixteen you can drive your own races.â€

“Alright.†Nick sighed. “But it sucks to be a kid, can’t do nothing.â€

Luke grinned but didn’t respond.

“How’s Daisy coming home now, when we have Dixie?†Nick chanced the subject.

“Enos is taking here out jukin’ tonight after work so I guess he’ll drive her home.†Luke explained.

â€What’s jukin’?â€

“Going out dancing on a jukebox.†Luke said as he parked Dixie in front of the farm and got out.

“Is Daisy in love with Enos?†Nick asked while Luke handed him a grocery bag to bring inside.

“You’re asking a whole lot of questions today kid.†Luke noticed while they walked in to the kitchen.

“Only cause I wanna know a lot of things.†Nick said like it was obvious.

“Well if ya really wanna know you should ask it herself, but I think she does. Otherwise she wouldn’t be dating him and she and Enos go along way back.†Luke said and put all the groceries on the kitchen table.

“So maybe they will get married, move out and have kids and stuff?†Nick asked again.

Luke frowned. “Could be possible and I think Jesse would be pleased if they did it in that order yes, but ya’re thinking quite ahead there. Things don’t usually go that fast, not even in Hazzard. But why ya wanna know all this stuff?â€

Nick shrugged. “O no reason, just thinking. Can I call Ray and Max or they wanna play?â€

“Check your watch.†Luke just answered. Nick did and saw it was half past 5. “To late again right?†Nick asked.

Luke nodded. “We’ll be eating in about half an hour, you can try after supper.â€

And so Nick did, but after supper his friends needed to do homework and with Bo and Luke of to the junkyard he decided to walk up to the bookcase again.

After putting Winnetou back on the shelf he watched the titles of the other books. He had to stand on his toes to read the ones on the highest shelve.

“Didn’t you like Karl May?†Jesse asked from the couch.

“I did too Uncle Jesse, but I already finished it.â€

Jesse frowned and walked up to the bookcase. “You’re sure?†He asked while getting Winnetou from the shelf again. He could see the pages had fresh wrinkles in them even at the end, but he still found it hard to believe an 11 year old would finish this book within the week. “Yeah I had a lot of time to, with Bo and Luke gone every evening. It’s a bit sad and some times a bit slow, but overall I liked it.â€

Uncle Jesse was impressed. “Well I make you a deal, cause I don’t really have a lot of books your age laying around, Bo and Luke never were great readers, but if you write me a book report on Winnetou I’ll go in to town and buy you a knew one.â€

“What’s a book report?†Nick asked.

“Well then you write down where the story is about, what is special about the book and what you liked or didn’t like. You have to do a lot of them later on in high school and because you’ll be going to school again sooner or later it wouldn’t do you no harm to practice a little in advance. See whether you write as well as you read. What ya say?â€

“Do I have to?†Nick said with reluctant expression on his face.

“I think it would be good for ya.†Jesse answered with a smile.

Nick sighed. He knew that meant he had to. “Alright I will write the report.†He said with out much enthusiasm. “Doesn’t mean now you have to buy me a book ya know. Ya’all bought me enough.†He said looking at his clothes.

“Don’t ya worry about that†Uncle Jesse said “Let me just see whether I can find ya some of my kids old workbooks you can use to write in.â€

As Jesse left the living room Nick sighed. Where did he let himself get talked in to?

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At the Boars Nest Daisy’s shift had come to an end. She stood alongside the bar talking to Becky Lee. “So ya like working here Becky Lee?’ She asked. During work they never had a lot of time to talk.

“Well yeah.†Becky said smiling, “It are long hours but I like it.â€

“Well good and if any of this guys is bothering you, just holler and we’ll show him something.â€

Becky smiled she was lucky to have Daisy as her co-worker. They had hit it off since the first day they worked together. “Oh Lordy, Enos will be here in a minute and I look lousy after working all day.†Daisy complained.

Becky looked at her with a grin on her face. “Daisy, I know I’m kind of new here but from what you told me, that guy wants to dance with you whole his life. I don’t think he mind if you look a little worn out, what is not even true, cause ya look great as ever.â€

“O Becky you’re so sweet. I don’t know, I never cared much about how I looked around Enos but lately everything has changed.â€

“Alright so you come here.†Becky said while she grabbed her magic purse and pulled out a brush.

“You definitely have to wear you hair down, cause it works great for you, just have to tie these front locks up at the back to keep it al together like this.†And she handed Daisy a hand mirror to show her what she had done. “Becky you’re an angel.â€

“Wait a minute I’m not done yet.†Becky interrupted her. “And she reached for her make-up powder and padded Daisy’s face gently. “Now only some lipstick and you’re ready to knock this guy out of his boots.â€

Earl the bartender looked from the other end of the bar at the girls. Daisy Duke was the only girl he knew who could get her make-up done in a room full half drunken men without getting any comments on it. Most of the guys would thnk twice before annoying her.

Daisy took the mirror and put on some lipstick, but just before she finished Enos came walking in. Like time stood still Daisy froze for a moment, like she was caught. Becky Lee was so nice to take the mirror and lipstick from her, awakening Daisy from her temporary hypnoses and ending the silly looking picture.

“Hi there Daisy.†Enos said when he stood in front of her beaming like always. He looked kind of trendy not wearing his uniform, but light blue jeans and a polo shirt. His hair that was normally pretty flatted by his hat had a lot more body now but was still tidy modeled.

“Hi Enos, you’re looking stunning to tonight.†Daisy said.

Enos blushed and chuckled a bit. “Oe well thank you Daisy. You looking great yourself but well…that ain’t much of a surprise cause your always looking great.â€

Beck Lee giggled a bit in an ‘I told you so kind’ of way.

“You wanna sit down and have a drink†Daisy asked.

Cause Enos didn’t respond at once Becky interfered “Yeah sounds like a good idea.†She said. “ Cause if you two keep starring at each other like this you’ll be blocking the bar the whole night. Now you two lovebirds just settle yourselves down and I’ll get ya something to drink?â€

Daisy and Enos both chuckled and sat down at a table in the back of the bar.

“Ain’t Becky a great girl?†Daisy said when they had sat down.

“Ya she is nice, is she new in town?â€

Daisy nodded. “Moved here together with her parents a couple of months a go and you know what…Bo is dating her!â€

“Ya kidding me.†Enos said “I didn’t know Bo was seeing somebody. Well really seeing somebody I mean.â€

“She told me a couple of days a go. But Bo doesn’t know that yet so don’t tell him anything cause actually I’m kinda waiting or I can tease him with it on of these days.â€

“Bo Duke having a steady girlfriend, that’s something new.†Enos grinned.

“Yeah it sure is.†Daisy affirmed but became silent as Becky-Lee came to bring their drinks.

“One root beer for the gentleman and a special cocktail for the lady, first round is on the house.â€

“Thank you sugar.†Daisy said sincere knowing ‘on the house’ mend she or Earl was paying for it, ‘cause Boss Hogg didn’t allowed any drinks to be given away for free.

Daisy tasted the cocktail and had to cough right away. “Woho I think that little girl wants me to be dragged outside in stead of walking.â€

“Well I’ll carry you anytime you want me to ya know that.†Enos joked.

“Don’t ya mind me drinking?†She said suddenly wondering this. “I mean you never drink yourself.â€

“O no don’t be crazy, I don’t mind at all, I just chose not to drink myself.â€

“Why is that anyway?†Daisy asked realizing she didn’t know.

A sad look disappeared on Enos’s his face and it seemed he had to gain some confidence before telling her. “Well you know my mama died when Lizzy and me were still kids right?â€

“Yeah she had a heart attack right?†Daisy said not quite understanding where Enos was heading.

“Yeah well, that’s what dad told us and everybody else for that matter. Until I came home really drunk one night after a party. I think it was after we won the state football championship, Luke was there too, not doing much better. My dad had to drag me of the floor cause I didn’t made it to my bed. The next morning he sat me down to have a talk. He told me what really happened to my mother. It seemed mom was never really happy. There was no special reason for it but she just was never happy and to overcome that she drunk or took some pills or sometimes even both. We were to young to really notice something. Of course we noticed she had bad moments in which she even could be angry to us and I know Lizzy maid a drawing at school ones of mom with a glass in her hand, because she just didn’t knew better, but really knowing we didn’t. Dad said he tried to help her and make her stop but then she would get mad and even more unhappy, so he just let her to it, cause he couldn’t stand seeing her upset.â€

“Oh Enos she didn’t…†Daisy said feeling sorry she had brought op this conversation.

“No, she probably didn’t intent to kill herself. Dad said she wouldn’t do that to me or Lizzy and if she did she would’ve left a note. Probably it was just an accident, to many pills together with to much vodka.†Enos swallowed for a moment and took a sip from his root beer.

“Dad wasn’t really mad at me and he didn’t forbid me to drink from then. He said it ain’t alcohol that destroys people but that people destroy themselves, that’s why he always kept running shine even after mom died. He just wanted me to know what alcohol could do to you and that you’re suppose to be mature about it. I guess after hearing the story I decided on my own I didn’t want to drink no more. You never know what genes can do to you.â€

Daisy took Enos hand and laid it in hers. “I’m sorry I brought this all up, I didn’t wanna make you sad.†She said sincere. “I didn’t know.â€

“Oh it doesn’t matter. Actually I’m kind of glad I told ya, cause I never told anyone before. I never wanted to tell anybody but I don’t wanna have no secrets for you Daisy, you’re to important to me.â€

“You’re very important to me too Enos and you can tell me anything ya want and I won’t tell nobody if ya don’t want me to. Ya can trust me on that.â€

“I know I can, but if ya do wanna talk about it to somebody I guess you can tell it to Uncle Jesse. I think he might know something, ‘cause of dad and him being friends and otherwise I’m sure he won’t tell nobody.â€

Daisy still felt a bit bad about bringing the subject up but somewhere she was also a little glad she had.

“O I almost forget I have something for ya.†Enos said while he got a little white box from his pocket. ‘Now don’t scare, it ain’t a ring.†He said in advance.

Daisy looked at he little box with big eye’s

“Oh Enos you shouldn’t have.â€

“I know, but I wanted to.†He said smiling.

Nervously Daisy opened the box and looked at a beautiful silver bracelet with little roses on it and little shining stones in-between them.

“But this is really expensive!†Daisy said. “I can’t except this.â€

“Well I think I would be kind of insulted if ya didn’t†Enos joked. “It was my moms, and I want you to have it.â€

“But Enosmyou know I’m a country-girl, always busy with my hands and stuff.. What if I lose it or I break it?â€

Enos shrugged his shoulders. “Than that would be a shame, a real big one, but I wouldn’t be up-set and I still want you to have it.â€

Daisy stood up from her chair, sad herself down on his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck to give the deputy a big and long kiss on the lips. “Enos I love you.†She mumbled just hard enough for him to hear while holding her forehead pressed against his.

“You really mean that?†Enos asked like her loving eyes weren’t prove enough.

“Yes I do.†She said and gave him another kiss. As she looked at Enos he had a weird kind of look on his face and his eyes were widely spread. “What’s the matter?†She asked a bit startled. “Something I said?â€

“Oh No,,, or actually yes …I mean†Enos stumble. “I mean I love you to Daisy, but I’m just trying really hard not to pass out and ruin this moment.†He said like he was truthfully afraid of fainting.

“O silly you.†Daisy said smiling and getting of his lap. “What about a dance would that keep you on your feet?â€

“I think it would.†Enos grinned back, acknowledging the situation was funny.

And so they moved to the dance floor, dancing fast on the Dierx Bentley and Lynard Skynard songs and slow at the music of Joe Nichols. And while they danced in the middle of the Boars Nest and Daisy had her head resting on Enos’s shoulder she felt as the queen of the ball.

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At the farm the phone rung and Jesse answered. Nick who was sitting at the table listened careful. “’Duke farm, Jesse speaking…..Ah ha….Yes I see that…..well Luke ain’t home at the moment and…..Just a moment please.†Jesse looked up from the phone and held his hand over the horn. “Nick would you get yourself ready for bed please.†He asked gentle.

“I ain’t aloud to hear right?†He said but without arguing any further he got up from his chair and walked to the stairs.

“Thank you.†Jesse said to him and continued the conversation.

Because of Bo and Luke being home late the last couple of days Luke hadn’t been up to Nick’s room no more check up on him, but tonight he did. He wasn’t surprised to see the light was still on as he walked over to the room. More surprised he was not to see it go out when his footsteps noticeably came closer to the kid’s bedroom.

Luke gave a short nock on the door and then walked in. He saw Nick standing in front of the window holding something in his hand.

“Ain’t you suppose to be in bed a long time ago?†Luke said while he stood besides the boy and also looked through the window

“Couldn’t sleep.†Nick mumbled.

â€And how’s that?†Luke asked

â€Don’t know, just couldn’t.â€

“While standing up here ain’t gonna help you, come on in bed with ya.†He said while pulled back the blankets from the bed.

Nick sighed and stepped in to the bed still holding something in his hand.

â€What ya got there?†Luke asked while he sat down on the side of the bed.

“Nothing special.†Nick said, hiding the thing under the blankets.

â€Don’t ya wanna show me? Ya don’t have to I was just curious.†Luke said

“Well I guess ya can see it.†Nick said a bit hesitating but pulled out an old wrinkled photograph and handed it to Luke. Luke saw a men and a woman standing next to each other holding a baby and a little fellaw which was obviously Nick about 6 years ago.

“That’s ya family right?†Luke asked already knowing the answer.

Nick nodded. “Only thing I got left from them.â€

“And the baby that’s Thom?â€

“Yep he’s much bigger now of course.â€

“Where did they take this picture?†Luke asked.

“Uhm I think it was on a birthday from my aunt. A sister of my mother. I remember the beginning of the day was nice but later on my mom and her family got in to a fight and we never went back again. Didn’t saw much kinfolk at all after that.â€

Luke nodded, he didn’t want to stereotype nobody but a look at the picture did tell a lot of Nick’s family story. The first thing he noticed was that nobody was laughing. Second thing was the nice looking outfit the mother wore while Nicks clothes looked like they could fall apart any minute and his shoes had wholes in them. The father didn’t showed a lot of warmth. The large man with a lot of hair on his face had his cap pulled over his head this low you could barely see his eyes and he didn’t even lay a much as a hand on the boy’s shoulder he was standing next to. Luke didn’t want Nick to know what he thought and so he just smiled and handed him back the photograph. “Nice picture.†He said “Better hold on to it very well.â€

“How was working on the junkyard?†Nick asked to change the subject.

“Well wouldn’t wanna make a career out of it but it was okay. I heard you finished your book already.â€

“Yeah and now Uncle Jesse wants me to write a book report, but I rather read then write.â€

“While I think it is pretty great ya doing it. I won’t be such a great step when ya go back to school.â€

Nick shrugged but then smiled. “You know I’m using your old working workbook to write in?â€

Luke nodded. “Yep saw that when I read your work.â€

Nick had been a little surprised about Luke immediately reading what he had wrote down. “Well it ain’t finished yet, but anyway I looked through your old work to see what a book report was supposed to look like, but I didn’t see a lot of work done, only drawings from cars and engines.†Nick said grinning. “And some conversations you Enos and Cooter had on paper about ditching the next English period.â€

Luke smiled. “Well I guess you’re right to say English wasn’t my favorite subject.†He said while going with his hand through his hair in a apologizing way. “I was better in physics and Math and stuff, but I was always sure to pass it although barely.â€

“I don’t like going back to school. Rather help out on the farm or garage. I mean I like reading books and stuff, but I don’t like having to do assignments on it.â€

Luke smiled while he got up and stood beside the bed. “Working on a farm is fine, but going to school gives ya a choice in case one day you change your mind.â€

Nick shrugged. “Guess so but I still am glad I don’t have to go now.â€

“That’s okay, hey what about you and me going fishing tomorrow afternoon after chores?â€

“Don’t I have to go to Cooter’s than?†Nick asked surprised.

:â€Hmm, I think he won’t mind if I ask him if I can borrow ya for a day.â€

Nick yawned and stretched himself. “That would be cool, but only if Cooter don’t mind ‘cause I did promise I’d be there.â€

Luke smiled. “I’ll be sure to ask him.†He said “Think ya be able to get some sleep now?â€

“Yeah I guess I will.†Nick said while putting the picture on the table next to his bed.â€

“Good, see ya in the morning then. Good night.â€

“Good night Luke.â€

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Down at the Boars Nest Daisy en Enos were still having an amazing night. A bit short of breath from dancing they had grabbed themselves some barstools and settled themselves at the bar. ‘That was great.†Daisy said with a broad smile. “I never knew you were this good a dancer.â€

“Well I’ve had enough time to watch others doing it.†Enos said grinning.

Becky Lee brought them another round of drinks and together they watched Pete Summer, make a fool out of him self by taking the microphone and singing to a girl who really didn’t want to have anything to do with him.

“O poor Pete.†Daisy said sincere seeing the girl turning him down.

“O don’t feel sorry for Pete.†Ernie said from behind the bar. I have seen him do this at least fifty times to fifty different girls. I think they‘re starting to see through his routine.

Daisy took a sip from her coke. Although Enos had said he didn’t mind her drinking, after the story she kind of didn’t feel like it anymore. That didn’t meant she wouldn’t drink anymore at all, but tonight she didn’t want to. She looked at here watch. It was almost twelve but she didn’t wanna go home yet. “Enos I wanna go somewhere and do something silly but I don’t know what.†She said.

“Well we could go for a right in my car and see if anything silly comes along, but where would you like to go then?â€

“I don’t know, it’s just that I’m so happy I wanna do something like going outside on the street screaming my lungs out, or singing so everyone can hear it..â€

Enos looked at here and smiled. “How could this girl ever be his?â€

He stood up and walked behind her while she was still sitting on her barstool so and he wrapped his arms around her, giving her a kiss in her neck. “Everything you want honey, but I better get us out of town then. Wouldn’t want you singing wake up all the neighbors that would be disturbing the peace.â€

Daisy grinned and came of her stool. “Like peace ever lives in Hazzard.†She said soft and after Enos paid for the drinks, they walked out, their arms wrapped around each other.

Morning came at the Duke farm, but it came a bit early to some peoples liking. It had taken Nick still a couple of hours before he had fallen to sleep the night before and he was still very tired. Luke and Uncle Jesse had both already knocked on his bedroom door, telling it was time to get out. Both were given a not so happy groan as response indicating the boy was awake, but after half an hour there was still no trace of the kid.

Bo was pretty much of a morning person, that is, if they hadn’t been to the Boars Nest the night before, so he was cheery as ever when he knocked on Nick’s room and walked in whistling. Nick who couldn’t handle that much happiness in the morning hided away under the blankets as far as possible when he heard Bo come in.

“Rise and shine sleeping beauty.†Bo joked as he stood in front of the bed. “Breakfast is almost ready.â€

“No thanks I’ll skip breakfast, wake me up for lunch.†Nick mumbled form under the blankets being very serious. Bo grinned and pulled the blankets away.

“Hey! What you did that fore?†Nick screamed out in frustration being shook up by the cold air and trying to get his blankets back.â€

“Good morning to you too buddy.†Bo grinned while throwing the blankets back on the bed. Come on get yaself dressed we’ll be waiting for ya.â€

“No really, I don’t want to, have breakfast without me. I just wanna sleep some more.†And again Nick hided under the blankets turning his back towards Bo.

“Come on kiddo, ya have to get out now. It will do you no good lying in bed half the day.â€

“I don’t care and leave me alone.†Nick snapped

Bo sight. He didn’t had Luke’s patient for things like this and if it wasn’t for him having promised to get the boy out of bed, he would have walked away, just letting the boy be.

Again Bo tossed the blankets and lifted Nick from the bed up in the air and dragged him over his shoulder. Nick was fighting him kicking and screaming feeling embarrassed to be carried around like he was some little kid. “Bo would you put me down!†He screamed out hitting with his fist on Bo’s back. “If I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to eat, now put me down ya hear.â€

“Well then ya won’t eat, as long as ya appear at the table.†Bo said cranky while he walked to the bathroom still carrying the boy over his shoulder. “And will ya keep it down? Daisy is still sleeping.â€

Now Nick got definitely upset. â€Why is she aloud to stay in and I’m not?†He cried out.

“Cause you’re still a kid and unfortunately have to do as you’re told.†Bo said while putting the kid down on the bathroom floor. “Now you think ya can get ready yourself in about 10 minutes or do I have to put ya under that shower myself, pajamas and all?â€

Nick sighed and figured out he had no choice. “Alright, alright I’ll be there in a sec.†he moaned “Would you get out now?â€

â€As ya wish kiddo.†Bo said and left the bathroom.

Ten minutes later Nick was sitting at the breakfast table still not very cheerful. Jesse’s cooking made up for a lot though. If he had to sit here anyway, he decided, he could eat just as well and Jesse’s bacon and eggs were sure a good medicine for his morning mood.

“Why is Daisy still in bed?†Nick asked at Jesseâ€Is she sick?â€

Jesse shuck his head. “No but she was home really late tonight and she has to work again this evening so we just letting her sleep for awhile.†He answered kind.

“Can’t remember we ever have such luck.†Luke mumbled jokingly to Bo. Jesse heard what Luke said but only gave his oldest nephew a stern look.

Jesse put everyone’s plates on the table and said grace. Nick made sure not to make a sound and even closed his eyes during grace but wasn’t really praying with them and didn’t say ‘amen’. “So when are we going fishing?†He asked Luke.

“What you think of after lunch.’ Luke responded

“Great I bet ya I catch the first fish again!†He said enthusiastic.

“And after ya apologized to Bo for being rude back there.â€

Nick sighed; he already had had the idea he wouldn’t get away with that as easy as it seemed.

He looked at the blond young man who sat in front of him across the table. . Bo didn’t seem up set or mad or anything so he kind of wondered why he had to apologize, but he figured he’d better not argue. “Sorry Bo, I was just cranky. Didn’t intend to be mean to you.â€

Bo smiled, also thinking Luke was pushing this one a bit. “That’s okay kiddo, just know next time I will put ya under that shower and it will be a cold one.†He said grinning.

“Cute Bo, real cute.†Nick muttered like he had heard the Duke Cousins say more then once. The other people at the table couldn’t help laughing.

After breakfast Bo and Luke started chopping wood and Jesse and Nick took care of the dishes. Nick’s mind was wondering of constantly causing him almost to drop a plate. “You thinking of something?†Jesse asked him. “Yeah kind of.†Nick just responded.

“Wanna talk about it?â€

Nick doubted. He didn’t know of Jesse would appreciate the questions he had.

“Luke told me ya head trouble sleeping to night, does it has something to do with that?†Jesse asked again when he wasn’t given a response.

“Eh...No not really.†Nick stuttered a bit. “Well maybe a bit eeh I don’t know, just that I was thinking about God.â€

Jesse raised his eyebrows for a second, he didn’t expect that to trouble the boy.

“Now that’s a good subject to think about, so what’s bugging you?â€

“Well, please don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to be rude or anything.†Nick said in advance, thinking the subject might be a bit tender since what happened the day he came to the farm.

“But I don’t think he existsâ€

Jesse thought for a moment and then smiled. “Sure he exists, and he’s there for you too if ya need him.†The old man said caring.

â€But how ya know that for sure? I mean not like he’s showing himself or something.â€

“How I know huh…well I know because I do see Him showing Himself a lot actually. I see Him if I look to my kids and I remember how lucky I’ve been to have them. And I see Him if I think back of my late wife Lavinia and how many happy years we’ve got together and believe it or not I even see Him in you asking me this questions.â€

Nick frowned and looked at Jesse with questioning eyes. How could he have anything to do with God?

“I know this might be a bit complicated for ya and I don’t expect ya to understand immediately.†He said with a soft smile while placing his hand on the boys head for a second. “But let me tell you this. I know God exist the most of all because He lives in my heart and because of that I just know it. I can feel it. But if ya lock your heart He can’t get in and ya can’t feel Him. So ya have to open up your heart if ya want to.â€

Nick still wasn’t ready to give up. “But why is he making all this bad things happening then? Cause if I was God I would make sure everybody was happyâ€

“Ya would, wouldn’t ya?†Jesse said with a soft smile. “I think it’s very difficult to make everybody happy, but I think God is trying to. Just that some things just have to happen for a reason, for a bigger purpose.â€

“Why can’t everybody be happy? Lot of people are praying right? If He just answered their prayers I’m sure they all be happy.†Nick said convinced things would be as simple as that.

“Sure it would, but what if all those people asked for the same thing? Like winning the lottery? He would have to disappoint a lot of people to make one person happy. And a lot of people ask for things that just ain’t good for them. Ya got to thrust God knows what’s good for ya and he will give ya what ya need. “

“Did you ever doubt he exists or not?â€

Jesse nodded. “Yes I did, when I was a young boy. I guess everybody doubts ones in a while and that’s okay. Without doubt there is no choice and without choice there is no free will and God did give us free will to use it.â€

Jesse could see on Nick’s face he was going to theoretical on the kid. “You know what why don’t try it yourself for ones.†Jesse said while he handed Nick the last plate. “Why don’t ya ask Him something ya really want? Something that’s realistic. See whether he hears ya.â€

Nick frowned he didn’t really know about that.

“Give it thought, ya don’t have to tell me or ya did it, or what it was ya prayed for, but think about it. Ya might be surprised.â€

Nick climbed on a chair to put the stack of dried plates he collected, in the top cabinet. “Alright, maybe I’ll do that, but I’m not sure yet what I should ask about.†He said while getting down again.

Jesse smiled “I’m sure ya think of something. Now why don’t ya go see whether Sheila is in for some exercise?†Jesse knew Nick loved the horses and he had let him walk Sheila on a lead now and then, him not being able yet to ride alone.

“Alright. I’ll do that.†Nick replied enthusiastic.

â€Ya know how to put the halter on her right?†Jesse asked just to be sure.

“Yes sir not a problem.†And he wanted to run out of the kitchen when something came to mind.

“Uncle Jesse?†He said hanging in the doorpost. .

“Yeah†The man responded.

“How do you ask God something?â€

Jesse smiled. “Just fold ya hands, close ya eyes, say what ya have the say and end with a sincere Amen.â€

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Nick smiled and left for the stables. As he was standing in the Sheila’s box putting her halter on suddenly he heard a loud noise. Sundance, the mare standing in the other stable was kicking against the stable door. Nick walked out to take a look.

“He girl, what ya doing, making all that noise?†He tried to reach her head with his hand, leaning over the door, but she reared up her hind legs almost kicking his hand. Nick, kind of scared bye her reaction, made sure Sheila’s stable door was shut and run to the farmhouse, calling out for Luke.

Bo and Luke, who were still chopping wood, were alarmed by the boy’s voice and came walking towards him.

“Luke Sundance is acting really weird. She was up on her hind legs and everything.†Nick said when the man had reached him. “Did something happen what could scare her?†Luke asked while they walked in to the stables. “Not that I know of, I was just making Sheila ready to go for a walk†Bo and Luke stood in front of Sundance’s box to check the whole thing out. The mare did look nervous and she was shaking her head in a weird kind of way.

“Howdy there little lady.†Luke talked to the horse while he took the halter hanging on the stable wall and walked in the box. “Ya sure ya wanna do that?†Nick asked not ad ease. “What is she rears up again and kicks ya?â€

“She won’t.†Luke said convinced.

He stroked her neck and padded her gently. “Something bothering ya girl? Better take a look at ya then.†He put her halter on and walked her out of the stable where there was more space.

“Ya think something is wrong? Bo asked with a worried face.

“To be honest I have no idea.†Luke said. “I don’t know much about horses accept from how to ride them. Maybe it’s just her hormones.â€

Suddenly Sundance began to move uneasy and tried to get loose from Luke’s grip. Luke had to put all his strength in it to hold her down.

“Some hormones.†Bo reacted. “Better get Jesse to look at her.†and he ran of to the farmhouse.

“Why hormones?†Nick asked when Luke seemed to have regained grip on the mare.

‘’Cause she’s with foal.†Luke responded, looking worried at the horse.

“Something we can do?†Nick asked.

Luke shook his head. “Neh just keeping her calm and let Jesse take a look at here.†Suddenly Sundance let herself drop down on the ground and Luke had to give her some more lease

“Could it be she’s having her foal now?†Nick asked

“That would be really early. It’s hard to predict when a mare will give birth but this would be very early. I would give her at least another month maybe even longer.â€

Nick nodded. When Uncle Jesse walked up his face looked stressed.

“I already called Otis-Jay.†He said worried. “I don’t like the way she’s lying down like that.â€

Knowing there was nothing they could do just standing there Bo went back to chopping wood and Nick went on with what he had been about to do, walking Sheila around, while Jesse and Luke stayed with Sundance.

It took Otis-Jay Harkins about 20 minutes to get to the Dukes farm. When he arrived he took a look at the mare. He took her temperature, touched her belly, listened with the stethoscope, but couldn’t find anything unusual. He also looked at her feet and legs wondering of that would be the problem but again couldn’t find anything.

“Nothing I can see from here Jesse.†He said when he came up from the ground. “Think its best when I take her with me to the clinic to make some pictures from the little one.â€

“Any long guesses what it could be?†Jesse asked.

“No not really. If I look at her like this I think she looks pretty large. Could be the foal is a bit to large for the mommy to handle and that could cause Dystocia at birth. Both Jesse and Luke knew that wasn’t a good thing and that it was dangerous for both the mare as the foal.

“Just as possible though something else is bugging her and maybe it’s just a colic condition, also I think not. In any case I would like to get her home with me.â€

“Alright lets get her in that trailer of yours then.†Jesse said not to pleased with the whole situation. The three men helped the horse on her legs again and walked her to the vet’s trailer. Nick who already had brought Sheila back to her stable again stood next to them and watched.

“He there Nick.†Mr. Harkins said after the trailer door was closed and Sundance was ready for transport.

“Didn’t see ya around the tree house for a while. You and my boys ain’t in some kind of fight there are ya?â€

“No sir, we’re not.†Nick said rubbing the back of his head a little shy. “Just that I did something stupid and because of it I can’t go to the tree house in the afternoons. But in a couple of days I can again.â€

Otis-Jay laughed. “Well that would be nice. We are looking foreword to having ya over at the house one of these days. My boys told me how ya didn’t bale on them when those punk-kids came by. We appreciate that.â€

Nick didn’t really know how to react on that. It hadn’t been such a big deal. He thought with Max and Randy being his friend, not baling on them would be obvious.

“Wasn’t much.†He just said. “But I would like to come over once. Can I?†And he looked at Uncle Jesse.

Strange enough Uncle Jesse didn’t seem to know what to know what to say immediately. “Yes I think ya could, but better wait with making appointments. Ya can call about that anytime. Mr. Harkins has to go now and look after Sundanceâ€

Nick just shrugged his shoulders and figured he would make the phone call later that evening. Although he had liked working in the garage eventually he had missed playing with his friends.

Otis-Jay said good bye to everyone and the Dukes went back to there chores. Nick walked in to the kitchen where he found Daisy, still a bit sleepy sipping coffee.

“Hi sugar.†She said “Was that the vet’s trailer I saw driving by.â€

“Yep he’s gonna take a look at Sundance cause she’s behaving weird.â€

“Ow that’s too bad.â€

“So where did you and Enos go last nigh?†Nick asked curious.

“Well first we went to the Boars Nest. And after that he drove us to Atlanta just to get some ice-cream.†She said with a dreamy kind of smile.

“You drove to Atlanta to get ice-cream?†Nick asked disbelieving “At night?â€

Daisy nodded giggling. “Yeah. In Atlanta they’ve got an ice-cream shop which is open 24 hours a day, so we went there.â€

“Daisy do you think you and Enos ever get married?â€

Daisy was kind of surprised by that question. “Why ya asking that sugar?â€

Nick shrugged. “No reason, just wondering. But what ya think?â€

“I’m not sure , I mean I love Enos a lot and he makes me really happy and I would like to marry him the way I’m feeling right now, but those things take time. Ya have to be with each other a while before ya make that decision.â€

Nick seemed to be a bit disappointed. “Yeah that’s what Luke said.†He responded.

“Sure there is no special reason for you asking that?†She asked while moving her hand through his hair as she got up from her chair.

“Yeah I’m sure.†Nick said not really convincing and walked out the kitchen again, wondering what he should do to entertain himself.

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Not really knowing what he could do, he just wandered around a bit, until he saw Bo working in the barn. He was moving boxes in and out like he was searching for something and had to make room. Nick climbed up the hayloft, which covered about half of the barn, without Bo seeing him, and laid there flat on his tummy observing what the blond man was doing.

After watching him for awhile Nick thought there should be al lot of more fun to gain from this situation. He waited for Bo to come a little more close and then pushed some hay over the edge, seeing it fall right down Bo’s neck and in his hair.

Nick giggled while he saw Bo slap him self on the shoulders trying to prevent the hay from falling further down his shirt, but ducked as soon as he saw Bo look up. Nick realized it wouldn’t be long before Bo would come upstairs to check out what was happening so he decided he had to act immediately. While Bo was still staring upstairs he pushed a whole pile of hay over the edge, causing Bo to look right in to a flood of hay falling over him. Nick slid down a pole and watched Bo flapping his arms wildly trying to prevent the hay from touching him. “He Bo you hitting the hay already?†He said laughing out loud.

“Well you little…..†Bo scolded as he saw the young boy laughing. Nick realized he’d better ran for his life and took of as fast as his legs could carry him. Bo wasn’t about to let him get away with it that easy though and started a hot pursuit. Bo’s legs being much longer than Nick’s it didn’t took him long to catch up with him. “Thought that was funny huh.†He said while grabbing him around his waist and taking the boy in some kind of wrestling clutch. “Well yeah actually I did.†Nick said still laughing but also moaning a bit by the strength of Bo’s grasp. “Well see of ya think this is funny.†He said with an evil smile and started to tickle the kid without mercy. Nick was screaming from laughter and tried to wrestle himself loose, but Bo’s grip was way to strong so the only thing he could do was letting himself drop on the ground. “Bo stop that!†Nick cried out, grasping for air while he had his back pushed to the ground and tried to escape from Bo’s hands squirming

Bo wasn’t about to give him a brake though and pressed Nick’s arms down with his legs and sat on top of him. “Not so tough now huh squirt?†Bo said grinning, making sure he wasn’t really hurting the boy with his weight.

“I ain’t no squirt!†Nick reacted not even in this situation loosing his pride.

“O no, seems to me you are.†Bo said and started tickling again. Nick screamed his lungs out.

“Alright, alright. What ever ya want.†He said panting from fighting back. “Would ya let me go now?â€

“Hmm, doesn’t sound really convincing.†Bo grinned mean and tickled him again.

“Bo please!†Nick cried out not knowing how long he would last.

“That sounds more like it.†Bo smiled and got up and offered Nick a hand. The boy was still panting when he was up on his feet again. While he wiped the dust from his clothes he suddenly pulled an awkward face. “Oh no.†He said looking at the rip in his shirt. â€Daisy ain’t gonna like that.†Knowing this was his 3rd shirt he tore up in a week time.

Bo looked at him with sympathy and slapped him on the shoulder in a brotherly way. “Don’t worry about it.†He said comforting. “Just blame me as she gets riled up.â€

“But I started the whole thing.†Nick said not knowing why Bo would wanna take the blame for it?

“Yeah well, I’m older ain’t I?†He stated like that said it all

Nick smiled. He guessed that was how it must be to have an older brother. First having your hide but later on saving your neck.

“Come on.†Bo said, “Lets clean up that mess in the barn.â€

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After lunch Jesse and Bo and Daisy took off for town as Luke and Nick went fishing.

At the fishing pond. Luke sat on the ground and leant against a large tree. He looked smiling at Nick who stood besides him and tried to improve his swing. Luke realized that with this boy on his side he would never catch a lot of fish. He just rambled on about anything. Luke remembered how he could get angry with Bo when they were young. Bo being to young to go fishing alone, Jesse made sure Luke would take his younger cousin with him but Bo never could keep his mouth shut for about more then 20 seconds.

Now he could only smile about the little fellaw next to him.

“Ya know I’ve been thinking about becoming a farmer right.†He said serious to Luke.

“But I don’t think I’m gonna do that.â€

Luke grinned. “And why’s that?â€

“Cause ya have to get up way to early every morning!†He said with a tired face.

“But I already found something else I could become.â€

Luke knew he didn’t have to ask what that was because the boy would tell him anyway.

“I’m gonna be a professional racecar driver. Ya don’t have to get up early for that and ya don’t have to go to school for it either.â€

Luke could do nothing but laugh about the serious tone the boy spoke in.

“You do have to know how to drive real good.†Luke added, trying to sound just as serious, not wanting the boy to think he was making fun of him.

“Yeah I know that, but I’m gonna practice real hard and if I’m sixteen I’m gonna jump my car over a creek, just like Bo does.â€

Luke grinned. “Sure ya will, better make sure you have a good car by then.â€

“Well I can borrow The General then can’t I?†Nick asked, picturing himself already in the orange car.

Luke sighed and a sad look run over his face. He knew he had to tell the boy now ‘cause the longer he waited the harder it would be for him to accept.

“Nick listen, we have to talk about something.†He said in a real serious voice.

Nick noticed the change of mood and as in a habit he became tense.

“Did I do something wrong?†The boy asked, his eye’s spread a little wider as he always did when he was expecting trouble.

“No ya didn’t, calm down.†Luke said with a soft smile, having expected such a reaction.

“Just come sit over here for a while would ya?†and he padded the ground besides him.

Nick laid down his fishing pole and did as he was asked. He sat down beside Luke and leant with his back against the man’s side, so Luke couldn’t see his face, his knees pulled up to his chest. He already knew what was coming. He had known it from the time the phone rang last night. He also had guessed that was the reason they were going fishing and he didn’t had to go to the garage. But as long nobody had said nothing, it hadn’t be true yet and he had tried not to think about it. His little masquerade hadn’t work.

“I have to go back right?†Nick guessed while he starred at the ground.

Luke nodded. “Social services called yesterday.†Luke explained. “They told us it’s becoming time you go back to the orphanage and they can find a real foster family for ya.â€

The boy grabbed a small stone from the ground and threw it in to the pond.

“When?†he just asked.

“Next Saturday, after the race.â€

“Back to Albany?â€

“If ya want, but The Hazard County Orphanage also had some space left, so you can chose.â€

Nick sniffed. “Not much of a choice.†He muttered.

Luke understood what the boy felt and he wished he could make him feel better, but he knew he couldn’t.

“Guess it’s not.†He just said in a supporting voice.

It became quite at the pond

In Nick’s head thoughts were spinning around. He felt really low and most of all he just wanted to cry out of anger, but his dad had always said boys didn’t cry and he didn’t want to let Luke know how upset he was. He had known from the start this moment would come, but still he used to have a little bit of hope that if he would behave real good they would let him stay at the farm. Or well, at least as good as he could. Now he knew that had been a silly thought. This family wasn’t any different than the others. All good and nice in the beginning, but in the end they wouldn’t keep him.

Luke felt Nick’s mussels tense up. “It will be ok kiddo.†He said gently while putting his hand around the boy’s shoulder. “You’ll be fine and you’ll find a good family I’m sure.â€

Nick shrugged his shoulders and moved away from Luke’s arm. He didn’t wanna be touched at the moment and he definitely didn’t wanna here things would be alright. “I doesn’t matter. I’m not going anyway.†He said determined, almost putting his head between his legs.

Luke sighed “I’m afraid you have to.â€

Nick turned around now, looking angry at Luke. “No I won’t!†he said “I don’t wanna go back to the orphanage and I don’t wanna go to another foster family. I’ll run away again.â€

“You won’t do such a thing†Luke said like he was sure of it.

“Yes I do! Those other people don’t wanna keep me anyway, just like ya’ll don’t want to, so I just walk away again.â€

“Come on kid, don’t be like this.†Luke tried to calm the boy down. “It’s not true we don’t want you to stay. Ya know that.â€

“Yes it is, ya’ll don’t want me no more and now ya just lying to make me feel better.â€

“Now Nick that ain’t fair to say.†Luke said serious. “I never lied to you yet and I’m not doing it now. Social Services decided you have to leave, and there is nothing I can do about it even if I would.â€

Nick was thinking now. It was true Luke had never lied to him yet, and grownup’s most of the time did.

“Well would you?†Nick asked him a bit more calm.

“Would I what?†Luke said wrinkling his forehead.

“Would ya do something about it if ya could?â€

Luke sighed. “Sure I would.†he said natural. “But there is nothing I can do, so it has no use to discuss that.â€

Nick swallowed, he was about to ask something he never had asked before, or even shown to care about.

“Ya’ll could be my foster family.†He said hesitating.

Luke looked at the boy with great empathy. Although it was obvious Nick had liked living at the farm and he never hided his aversion against the orphanage, he never openly admitted he wanted to stay with the Dukes permanently.

“You know that ain’t possible.†Luke said soft.

“Yes it is, ya’ll could adopt me if ya wanted and then I could stay here.â€

“It ain’t as simple as that kiddo.†Luke tried to explain. “To become foster parents you have to fulfill certain standards. There are procedures and stuff. Now Uncle Jesse ain’t that young any more, and Bo an me are on probation. We ain’t got a lot of money and just nearly enough space. We just don’t look good on paper.â€

Nick shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t want them to look good on paper, whatever that meant anyway, he just wanted a family and he wanted it to be them.

“There are a lot of other nice people who have a lot more to offer. I’m sorry.†Luke said sincere.

The sad expression on Nick’s face changed for a grey mask without much emotion. “Well like I sad.†Nick sad noticeably cool. “It doesn’t matter.†He stood up from the ground and walked to his fishing pole. “Can we go to the farm?†He asked well looking over the water. “I don’t wanna fish anymore.â€

Luke couldn’t do anything else than to grant that wish and without a word was spoken they drove back to farm. At the farm, Nick ran upstairs and locked himself up in his room before Luke even got out of the car. As he knocked on the bedroom he wasn’t given a response and the dark haired man decided it was best if he let the boy be for a while. With his cousins and Uncle not being back yet Luke sat him self down at the front porch moving his hands through his hair. He felt lower than a snake’s belly.â€

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Nick didn’t came out of his room anymore, not even when Bo and Jesse returned to the farm with the General, not even for dinner. He just sat there thinking. Thinking of what he should do next and being angry with himself for believing in fairytales. As he heard the General’s engine running again he knew Bo and Luke left for the junkyard again. He was really hungry but he didn’t wanna see nobody. Not with tears standing in his eyes.

Suddenly a knock on the door woke him up from his thoughts. They had been knocking on the door ever since he locked himself up, Bo, Luke , Jesse, they all had tried to get him out, but he ignored their voices. Pretended he didn’t hear them.

“Nick you still there?†Jesse asked worried, but he didn’t heard anything. “Nicholas James Taylor ya have to open this door at once now ya hear me. Ya don’t have to come out, and ya don’t have to let me in, but I want you to unlock it right away now. Ya wouldn’t want an old man have to burst a door down now would ya?â€

Nick couldn’t help grinning a bit sad about that, but he also believed Jesse would be capable of it. So he unlocked the door climbing back on his bed immediately hiding his face between his legs. He heard the door opening.

“Ya mind if I come in?†Uncle Jesse asked kindly

Nick just shrugged without really responding.

“I thought ya might be hungry so I brought ya your dinner.â€

Nick looked up for a moment and Jesse could see the pain in his eyes.

“Nick listen I know you’re disappointed right now and ya don’t want to be lectured but ya can’t just lock yaself up like this.†He said in a caring voice while he sat down next to him on the bed. “Ya had us all pretty worried about ya.â€

“No need for.†Nick said in a low voice. “And I’m not disappointed I just don’t wanna talk to nobody. That’s possible right.â€

“Sure it is.†Jesse said and just said beside the young boy not saying a word. Suddenly Jesse noticed the changes in the room. Bo’s comics who Nick had borrowed lay neatly on one pile instead of spread through the whole room. The clothes Daisy had bought for him were laying folded on a chair and he was wearing the same outfit as he had come in with. His brown backpack stood in a corner ready to leave.

“Were you thinking of going anywhere?†Jesse asked him.

Nick shook his head. “No, not like running away again, but if you don’t mind I would want to ask ya whether ya could drive me to the orphanage.â€

Jesse looked surprised. “Right now ya mean?â€

Nick nodded. “Yes sir if ain’t to much trouble. Otherwise I’m willing to walk just as well, it’s not that far away right?â€

“Uh.. No it is not, but I’m happy to drive ya if that’s what ya really want but are ya sure ya wanna leave right now. Without saying goodbye to everyone?â€

Nick let his head hang “I guess if I have to leave, better do it now, don’t wanna be anymore of an inconvenience to ya’all.â€

“Son would ya look at me?†Jesse said a bit stern. Nick looked up with a shy expression on his face. “Now you listen to me very careful.†Jesse said with as much love in his voice as he could. “You have never be an inconvenience for any of us and we all like having you around. So don’t ya say crazy things like that. No you’re our guest not our prisoner so if ya really want to I’ll bring you to the orphanage right away, but I think you would really hurt Luke with that.â€

“He’ll live.†Nick said mumbling like he didn’t want to be thinking of that.

“O yeah he will.†Jesse said. “But believe it or not he cares about you a lot and if you left without saying goodbye you would really hurt his feelings and I don’t think he deserves that or does he?â€

Nick bought his head. “No sir.†He mumbled feeling a bit ashamed.

Jesse sighed. “Well why don’t you just try to eat something and come down when ya feel like it okay? And if you still want me to bring you, that is also okay, it’s your choice.â€

“Thanks Uncle Jesse.†Nick mumbled.

Jesse left the room and waited in the living room for the boy to come down again. But Nick didn’t came down and when Jesse went back checking on him and bringing him some cookies , he found the boy fast a sleep lying on his blankets his clothes still on. Jesse smiled as he got the empty plate from the floor and snapped the light of to let the boy sleep.

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At the Boars Nest Becky and Daisy were facing a quite evening. With the couple of customers they had all being served they found time to chat a little.

“So how is you and my cousin going?â€

Daisy asked after she told all about her and Enos’s night out.

“Well fine actually.†Becky said, but a little crack in her voice told that something was wrong.

â€But…?†Daisy asked knowing Becky didn’t tell her everything? “Is something wrong, ain’t he treating ya right?â€

“O No that ain’t it, he is being wonderful sweet and nice, and oh Daisy I think I really love him.â€

“Well what’s the problem than?†Daisy said grinning not seeing why loving somebody was a problem when that love was returned.

“Well it’s me.†Becky Lee said. “But I’m not sure whether I should discuss this with you, no offence Daisy but he is your cousin and I would feel silly talking about him.â€

“Now don’t ya worry about that girl.†Daisy smiled. “I know my cousins, and I know everything about them, so not al lot you’ll say will surprise me. And whatever ya tell me, your secrets is save with me. I won’t tell.â€

Becky sight, she did wanted to talk about what was going on and she didn’t had much friends yet in Hazzard.

“Alright, but ya have to swear ya won’t tell him okay?â€

“Sure honey, I can keep a secret.†Daisy encouraged her.

“Just that….me and Bo†Becky stuttered “We didn’t do ….I feel silly saying it but…we didn’t do ‘it’ yet ..Ya know what I’m saying?â€

Daisy smiled. “I know what ya mean, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of now is it? Lots of people wait with that. And if you would ask my Uncle Jesse he would say that’s how it should be†Daisy giggled.

Becky smiled back. “I know that and I’m not ashamed of it, but well I told Bo I wanted to wait and all cause….well how’d ya say that…I wasn’t sure how he felt about me.â€

Daisy noticed she tried to be tactful. “Well don’t be ashamed of that either…Like I said I know my cousins and I know their reputations.â€

Becky was glad Daisy was so understanding about all this.

“Yeah I did worry about that, but now he said he really cares about me, and he thinks I’m special and all so now I’m doubting.â€

“Well sugar, if he said that it must be true, cause Dukes don’t lie, you now that and to be honest I can’t remember Bo hanging around a girl as long as he is with you now so that might say something.â€

Becky sighed. “But what if I say I do want to do ‘it’ all off a sudden while first I said I wanted to wait. What would he think then?â€

Daisy giggled, she couldn’t help thinking it was a little funny how Becky-Lee worked her self up about this.

“To be honest I don’t think he would be doing a lot of thinking at that time at all.†She chuckled

Becky grinned and she nudged Daisy playful in the arm. “O Daisy you’re horrible, I’m serious, I can’t just change on him right now, where would my credibility go?â€

‘Honey I think you’re worrying to much. If you’re ready, you’re ready nothing more to say about that. And if ya not, ya’re not and if Bo really care’s about you he will understand.â€

“So did you and Enos ….†Becky asked but braking her sentence not sure whether she good ask that question.

“No we didn’t.†Daisy said with a soft smile. “Heck, Enos almost faints already when I kiss him, I’m not sure what will happen if we do much more.†She joked. “And besides that, I think I like wearing white on my wedding day.â€

Becky giggled. “Well I’m not so sure about that anymore, I’ve always been more of an off-white kind of girl.â€

Both girls laughed and shortly after returned back on their jobs.

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That night when everybody on the Duke Farm was a sleep Luke sat out side on the front porch, holding a beer in his hand. He had been staring at the sealing for almost two hours and heard Bo fall a sleep, before he decided staying in bed was pointless. Looking at the stars he thought back about his parents, how he could drive them crazy, just being 7 years old. He remembered sitting in the headmaster’s office for the third time in one week for tearing the pages out of a book so he would have finished it faster. He remembered the time he threw all the vases out of the sill with a baseball just wanting to see or he could hit him. He remembered his mama’s tears as he left to stay with Uncle Jesse, he remembered his daddy’s tears at his mother’s funeral and he remembered his own tears of disappointment when his father told him it would be better when he stayed with Jesse even after the funeral.

He had felt really alone and even Jesse’s loving embrace that evening couldn’t make him feel better and prevent him from crying his eyes out.

Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder and saw Bo sitting down next to him. “Guessed I would find ya here.†The blond man said.

“Why’s that?†Luke asked with a sad smile.

“Cause you always sitting here when you’re worrying more then good for ya is.†Bo joked.

Luke smiled â€Just thinking about, when we were kids. You remember the day you came to live here?â€

“Well I was 5 years old.†Bo said a bit sarcastic. “So not a whole lot.â€

“The thing I remembered most of all was Jesse’s smile.†Luke said a bit dreamy. “I hadn’t seen my parents smile for a long time, because of me and because of my mom being sick, but when I came here Jesse stood waiting on this here porch smiling. Like he was welcoming a long lost friend, even though I can’t remember seeing him more then twice before.â€

“Yeah Jesse knew how to make ya feel welcome.†Bo acknowledged. “But what are ya really thinking about now? And please don’t tell me it’s that kid ‘cause that would be the second time he would keep me up in the middle of the night and I’m not gonna like him more for that.†Bo said with a grin in his voice.

Luke grinned too. Bo always knew how to cheer him up. Both men took sips of there beers.

“Just that I know how he feels ya know.†Luke said. “Feeling like nobody is wanting ya. Now I know that wasn’t true, but still I have felt it as real.â€

Bo looked up to his older cousin. He hadn’t heard Luke talk much about his feelings on this subject. The things he had done were conmen knowledge, but he had never talked about how he had felt during this period. “I can’t help feeling like I’m letting him down.†He added.

“Ya can’t blame yourself about this Luke. Ya can’t save the world all by yourself.â€

“I know that, but maybe we could save this kid.â€

“Now what are you thinking exactly?†Bo asked with a frown. He wasn’t sure or he was liking where this was going.

“I don’t know what I’m thinking Bo, but I do know I don’t wanna see the boy placed from one family in to another again. He deserves his own place. His own home, just like we did when our parents died.â€

“You thinking of taking him in?†Bo asked taking another, bigger mouthful of beer.

“The thought of adopting him crossed my mind yes.†Luke said honest.

Bo had to put all of his strength in not choking in his beer. He could have imagined taking Nick in just as they had come to live at the farm at the time, with Jesse as guardian, but Luke really offering himself to become a dad surprised him.

“Would it be such a crazy thought?†Luke asked his younger cousin.

“Well not crazy, but I just think it’s not a decision you make over night. To be honest I wouldn’t be ready playing dad yet, definitely not to a teenager. You’re just 24 Lukas ya sure ya up to that?â€

“No I’m not.†Luke admitted. “And even if I was, that decision ain’t only up to me. It will concern all of us having another person around.†He gave his cousin a questioning look as he waited for a response. Bo understood where he was heading.

“Yeah, well ya know I ain’t that fond of kids….†Bo said truthfully. “Wasn’t planning on having them myself any time soon and this one is dragging 11 years of trouble with him.†Bo paused and saw the disappointed look in his cousin’s eyes. He sighed “But I guess it would be kinda quiet not having him around anymore.†He grinned now. “And I know how much he means to you, so….As long if I’m not the one who has to do the parenting and stuff I guess I could handle a little cousin.â€

Luke grind. ‘Even if that’s means he’ll be over your precious comics all the time?†He asked teasing.

Bo pulled a painful face. “I guess, but how does Jesse thinks about this? Ya talked to him yet?â€

Luke shook his head. “Nope, and that’s one of the things I’m doubting the most about. Jesse already did his job plenty. I’m not sure or I can ask him to live with a teenager in his house for another 9 years. He deserves some rest on his age.â€

“What about my age?†A sharp and offended voice sounded from behind. As Bo and Luke turned their heads they saw Uncle Jesse standing in his white long night clothing.

“If you think a man my age ain’t capable of making his own decisions you better think again young man. Just as when you think putting up with the both of ya is any less trouble than handling a kid.â€

Both young men grinned. “Yes sir.†Luke replied with a smile.

Bo thought it would be better to let Jesse and Luke talk together. He took the last sip from his bottle and got himself up from the porch steps. “I’m going back to bed. See ya’ll in the morning.†He said yawning and disappeared by going in to the house.

“Uncle Jesse did you ever doubt about taking us in?†Luke asked openhearted.

Jesse said himself down next to his nephew and shook his head. “Nope not ever.†He said sincere. “I did think it through really well every time though. Wondering or it would the best thing for ya’ll. Definitely in your case, when your parents were still alive, but also for Daisy. I wasn’t sure how she would do with all those men around. But I never doubted about wanting to take ya’ll in.â€

Luke sighed. Thoughts were running around in his head.

“I think I’m not wondering about wanting to have Nick around on the farm either, but I’m just scared I can't do it. That I’m not up to it.â€

“Well that are reasonable doubts.†Jesse said comforting. “If ya do this, there’s no way back. It’s a job with a lot of responsibilities, without a trial period, ya can’t do it part-time and ya take it for life.†Jesse looked at the young dark haired man and smiled. “But the reward ya get for it is priceless.â€

Luke nodded. “Just that I never thought I would ever even think about something like this and definitely not at this moment in my life. And still it’s not that I want to be a father that much, just that I like having the kid around. He makes me laugh, and he reminds me at myself, but most of all I don’t want him to get hurt any more. He’s a good kid and he deserves the same chances as everybody else, to be happy like anyone else. I would hate seeing him never caring about something or someone and I think I would do anything to prevent that. Even if that means I have to make some changes in my life.†He grinned a bit sarcastic. “Not like I had a really set plan for that anyway.â€

Jesse had listened to Luke’s words and he felt a lump appearing in his throat. “Luke.†He almost said solemnly. “That sound a whole lot like a father’s love to me. Now what ever you might decide, you have my blessing as long if ya've thought it through and it might be a good idea to talk this through with everybody.†He stood up from the porch. “But better do that during an early breakfast tomorrow. We still got a couple of hours sleep before dawn.â€

“Yeah.†Luke acknowledged and he stretched himself. “Don’t think that’s such a crazy idea.†And both man returned to their beds. Luke thoughts kept hunting him though. He did fall a sleep immediately, but his sleep was restless and it was even before sunrise when he awoke without a good reason.

‘Well this is a farm.’ he said to him self. ‘Getting up this early ain’t new for any of us.’ He got himself in to the kitchen and prepared breakfast for everybody. Although it didn’t came close to anything Daisy or Jesse had ever prepared, for his doing it was pretty acceptable. He would never forget the amazed looks on both his cousins' faces as he woke them up and told them breakfast was ready, but they didn’t complain and that morning at the crack of done the Duke cousins and their uncle found themselves listening to what Luke had to tell them .

Not much later Nick was woken up by laughter that came from the kitchen. Although his alarm clock told him it wasn’t even 7 a.m. yet his curiosity made him get out bed to check out what was happening. As soon as he walked in to the kitchen they all became quiet. Nick noticed and with that already making him feel uncomfortable he also saw they had already finished breakfast without him. Now even though he had wanted to stay in bed desperately the morning before, at this time it hurt him to see they didn’t even tried to wake him up this time.

“Hey look who came out of his cage.†Bo joked.

Nick didn’t laugh. “If ya want me to leave just tell me, so ya’ll can talk again.†He didn’t really sound upset, rather emotionless

“Don’t be crazy.†Luke said with a smile. "I actually think ya can help us.â€

“How?†Nick asked suspicious.

“Well we just realized we don’t now your birthday.†Bo added grinning.

Nick frowned. “It’s the 24th of January why?†He said not understanding why they wanted to know that.

“Well if we wanna keep ya, we probably have to write it down on al lot of forms.â€

At first Bo’s words didn’t really get through to the boy who was still standing in the door opening but slowly it hit him and he couldn’t believe his ears. Slowly he opened his mouth as he turned to Luke and an extreme confused look run over his face while he asked….

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“Is that true?†Nick’s eye’s were so wildly spread they almost popped out.

“He ain’t just kidding right?†He wanted to be sure.

â€Yes it is, and no he ain’t.†Luke answered his arms crossed, observing the boys reaction.

Nick, obvious enough, didn’t know how to react.

“Why don’t ya grab yourself a chair sugar?†Daisy suggested feeling sorry for they boy who seemed to be glued to the doorstep. Nick walked in to the kitchen but leaned against the kitchen sink instead of sitting down He was confused and he didn’t knew whether he should be extremely happy or just waiting for the next disappointment.

“So that means I can stay here right? Really live here right?†showing a bit of enthusiasm.

“No not right.†Luke said warningly. “It means we are gonna try to get custody over ya, but like I said, we don’t look good on paper, so it might become a little more difficult then it sounds.â€

“But ya’ll want to have me live with ya?†Nick said getting overexcited now. He didn’t care about anything else. It was the only thing he wanted to hear.

“We sure do kiddo.†Luke said. “Or ya still must want to go back to the orphanage anyway. Cause then we drive ya right away.†Jesse had told Luke about Nick’s request earlier last evening and it had kinda stung him Nick would have left without saying goodbye.â€

“Ya crazy?†Nick yelled out now. “Like h*ll I want to.â€

“Well better watch that language then young man!†Jesse said sternly.

“Sorry Uncle Jesse.†Nick reacted sincere. “Just excited ya’ll becoming my new foster family.â€

“We ain’t gonna be your new foster family Nick.†Luke said serious. “Sit down for a moment would ya please, cause I want you to understand this.â€

Nick frowned and sat him self down next to Luke.

“I’m I aloud to stay or ain’t I?†He asked not getting anything of it.

Luke sighed. “Nick listen, like I said, we want you to come live with us, so we gonna ask for custody, like a foster family does, but I also told ya, that might get a little difficult goes we probably won’t pass procedure. I don’t think they gonna let us be a foster family for ya.â€

“So what then?†Nick asked almost panicking. He didn’t get why they bothered to tell him all this when Luke was already sure it wasn’t gonna work anyway.

“Well that means that Saturday after the race we gonna bring you back to the orphanage just like we’re supposed to and after that we gonna file for adoption.â€

Nick couldn’t believe his ears. He remembered some kids from the orphanage in Albany being adopted. And after that ya never saw them again. Ya wouldn’t be sent back or to another family no more. Adoption mend things were final!

“You understand what I’m saying?†Luke asked. “We’re not gonna be your new foster family, we want to be your new family.â€

Nick couldn’t be more happy by hearing that, but he didn’t like the part of him having to go back to the children’s home first.

“But if you all gonna adopt me anyway why should I have to go back first. I can stay here just as well right, saves everybody the trouble of moving things and stuff.†He tried to sound really convinced.

Luke grinned. “Sorry kid.†Luke said. “Until the papers are signed we can’t keep ya hear. That would be like kidnapping remember. And it won’t be all of us who’s gonna adopt ya, with none of us being married it will be just one of us.â€

“So who would that be than?†Nick asked curious.

Luke was silent for a moment. “Well I was thinking about me actually.†He said, again watching carefully for a response.

“You would do that?†Nick asked soft with disbelieve in his voice.

Luke nodded. “But only if you want to.â€

Nick seemed to let go of his suspiciousness to the grown-ups in the room and suddenly he got up from his chair, wrapped his arms around Luke’s neck and gave him a hug. “Ya bet I want that.†he said soft so only Luke himself could hear it.

Luke being totally surprised by this gesture wrapped his around the boy a little uncertain. Not like he hadn’t hold the boy before, just that Nick never had flew at him like that by himself before. After what happened at the pond the boy hadn’t even wanted to be touched at all and now he was almost choking Luke by his grip. As he looked ad Jesse who was sitting at the other site of the table he saw the old man’s smile.

“Doesn’t mean though, ya always gonna get your way as soon as ya lock yaself up in your room now ya hear.†Luke said joking

Nick showed a guilty smile. “I know.†And he sat back down on his chair. “How long ya think it’s gonna take before everything is done?â€

Luke shrugged. ‘Sometimes a couple of weeks, sometime a couple of months, sometimes almost a year. Depends how busy the judges are.â€

Nick pulled a complaining face but didn’t say anything.

â€How do ya know social services is gonna approve you adopting me then if ya think they wouldn’t not approve of being foster parent?â€

Luke admired the boy’s observation . “I don’t think they will do that either, simply because they can’t. There are certain standards and we don’t fulfill them, but with an adoption claim a judge is making the decision and, a judge can ignore the recommendation of social services or an adoption agency, so we take it to court then.â€

Nick had never thought things would be that complicated. “And what if the judge says no?â€.

Nick asked.

“Well then the answer is no and there is nothing we can do about it.â€

“But that wouldn’t be fair.†Nick said frowning.

â€Life just ain’t always fair kiddo.†Bo added. “Definitely not when you’re a Duke and living in Hazzard. So be sure what ya get yaself in to.â€

“Yeah.†Daisy agreed. “When your name is Duke, better be sure to know how to handle injustice, cause it will hit ya sooner or later.â€

“Or your cousin will fall in love with one of the people representing that injustice.†Bo claimed.

Daisy head went red and she was capable of hitting Bo real hard. “Bo Duke, Enos is an honest lawman, doing his job!†She called out angry. “If it wasn’t’ for Boss and Rosco he would never be after ya’all at all.â€

“Daisy you don’t have to yell at me, I’m sitting right next to you.â€

“Don’t you tell me what to…..!!!!†Nick grinned. Another serious conversation ending with Duke Cousins bickering at each other. He enjoyed watching it and he would enjoy it even more seeing them make up later or even better, everybody at the table ending up I laughter. He would be the one to laugh the hardest .

Yep he could get used to living her. Having an uncle, two older cousins and a DAD to take care of him. Things would turn out just fine!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Of course Nick decided to stay at the farm until that weekend and the next couple of day were dedicated to the race. Nick served his last couple of days at the garage and went with Bo and Luke for test drives. He soon learned that whenever Bo or Luke said ‘hold on’, they weren’t just saying. After his noise being pushed in to the backseat he was sure to raise him self every curve or jump. Not only Bo and Luke were preparing themselves for the race. Enos and Cooter were working on their driving just as hard. One evening when Enos came over for supper again, Nick got the deputy to take him for a ride in the patrol car. Bo had made fun of him for wanting to drive in a police car. “Dukes are supposed to be chased not the ones in hot pursuit.†He had said. Nick didn’t cared and there he was, driving shotgun for a change in stead of being permanently glued to the backseat of the General. “So what we’re gonna do Enos?†He asked excited.

“Well Mr. Boss actually wants me to be with the speed trap tonight. He suspects some really big shot country singers passing through tonight.â€

“Does he even make you work in the evening? You’ve been working all day.â€

:â€I don’t mind, the law most be preserved 24 hours a day and with me and Rosco being the only law around we’re kinda busy.â€

“But why is Rosco ain’t working at the moment than?†Nick still said thinking something wasn’t right.

Enos shrugged, he had stopped thinking about that a long time ago. “Because he is the sheriff I guess. But like I said I don’t mind so don’t worry about it.â€

Nick shrugged. “Still think ya should say something of it. Can’t let people walk over ya like that.â€

Enos looked at the 11 year old, telling him how to run his life. “Might be, but life just ain’t always simple like that. Mr. Hogg is the Boss and Rosco is my superior officer so nothing ya can do about it.â€

“Well ya could just not go to the speed trap and say you didn’t see no big shot singers coming by.â€

“Mr. Boss would fire me if he found out.â€

“Well how should he find out?†Nick said convinced. “Not like he will be checking on you, probably sitting at home warm and cozy.â€

Enos grinned. “Ya know kid, this kinda reminds me about high school and Luke talking me in to ditching Science class.â€

Nick frowned. “Was there ever any class ya’all didn’t ditch on?†He asked.

Enos seemed to be thinking really hard. “Gym I think.†He said not really convincing.

Nick grinned. “Well than I will have a great time at school when Luke is my dad. If I ditch a class he won’t be able to say nothing of it, cause he did it himself way many times.â€

“I wouldn’t be too sure of that.†Enos said serious. “But ya might be right about that speed trap. What do you think about us driving out to the river and play ‘cops and robbers’?â€

“Sounds like a plan partner!†Nick said holding out his hand in front of Enos to

‘give him five’. Enos slapped his buddies hand and took of to the river where he even gave Nick his gun, after removing the bullets of course. Though Enos started of a little stiff, in no time they were both running around like a couple of little kids. Making shooting sounds at each other and ducking for cover behind every bush or tree.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Enos didn’t get fired that next day, but Boss Hogg sure wasn’t happy not being able to con any celebrities and he sure took it out on his deputy. Somehow all kind of nasty office chores seemed to have piled themselves up and Boss insisted Enos did them all on that same day. Although the deputy of course didn’t complain it almost felt like a break when he had to bring Boss his lunch after doing paperwork and scrubbing floors all morning. With his eyes anxiously focused on the tray, Enos walked up to Boss’s office in small steps carefully not to drop any of the big pile of ham sandwiches Boss had ordered. Coming closer to Boss his working space Enos noticed the door was left on a crack and he could hear Boss yelling at someone.

â€Now you listen to me. I want those Duke boys out of that race you hear! You make sure they won’t cross that finish line or you can forget about getting paid and I’ll make sure ya never race again!â€

“Sure Boss.†A young men’s voice of which Enos couldn’t see or hear who it belonged to said. “But I still don’t know why ya so upset about those farm boys and what‘s so special about this local race. Not like there’s big money to be maid.â€

â€Well then let me tell ya why.†J.D. went on is his passionate plead. “This little local race might just happen to be the annual Hogg’s Overland Derby firstly organized in honor of my dear granddaddy Thomas Jackson Hogg.†JD pulled out a big silver trophy and looked at it with admiration. The names of the price winners were engraved on small little plates on the foot of the trophy. “Now as you can see the names of the man who won the race are all on the trophy and when there is no more room, he who won the race most of all gets to keep it.â€

“And there is only one space left, so after this race the cup will be given a way right?†The young men said.

“Uhuh!†Boss responded more cranky then a hedgehog. “Now humor me and count the times you see the name Hogg on this here cup will ya.†The young man stepped closer to look at the price cup. Now Enos, who was still listening at the door, could see the man’s face. He had short light brown hair, a muscular posture and couldn’t be older than 25 years old. Enos had never seen the man in Hazzard before, but still had the idea he knew him from something.

“12 times Boss.†The stranger responded in a reluctant voice, like he had something better to do than stand there and count names. “Right, now count the name of Duke.†JD said like said something really dirty. Again the guy bought over to the trophy and counted the names.

“Also 12 times.†He mumbled. “Right!†Boss Hogg said while he got up from his chair suddenly and grabbed the trophy suddenly like someone was trying to steal it from him. “And with there only being room for 30 names on the cup, and this race being the last one, that means if the Dukes win they get to keep it and I a swear on my granddaddy’s grave I rather die than to let that happen!â€

At that second a couple of the sandwiches on Enos tray started to move and Enos had to balance the tray to prevent them from falling on the floor, accidentally bumping in to the door, causing it to move open.

Hogg obviously shaken up hasted his overweighed body to the door and opened it with an aggressive pull.

â€Enos!!! Didn’t your mother ever tell you it isn’t nice to eavesdrop on people and definitely not when that person is signing your paycheck?†He bellowed.

“I ..I…I wasn’t eavesdropping Mr. Boss….†Enos stuttered “I …I just came to bring you your lunch, like you requested. Look Mrs. Kinsley made you some delicious ham sandwiches.†Enos hold out one of the sandwiches to Boss to distract him. “Hmm, does do seem delicious.†Boss responded and grabbed the sandwich Enos was holding out and stuffed it in his mouth in two big bites. Enos looked at the other man standing in the room who on his turn, looked with great amazing at Boss’s apatite. “Now Enos you’re sure you didn’t hear nothing ya shouldn’t have heard right?†Boss asked with a threatening tone is his voice.

“I’m positive Boss, I didn’t hear nothing, I just came to bring you your lunch nothing more.†Enos said still a little shaken and not feeling to good about lying to Boss.†“Good!†Boss exclaimed. “And even if you did hear something ya shouldn’t have heard, you’ll make sure you wouldn’t tell it to someone you shouldn’t tell it too, like those Dukes and their pretty little cousin you have the hots for now would ya?â€

“No sir I wouldn’t.†Enos confirmed holding his fingers crossed behind his back.

“Good!†Boss said some more at ease now and let himself fall back in his chair again. “As long as we clear about that then, I would hate to have to tell ya mama her son is looking for a job! Now don’t you have some reports to file or something?â€

“Yes sir I do.†Enos said obeying. “I’m at them right away sir.†And as quickly as he had come in Enos disappeared through the door again. Boss Hogg grabbed another sandwich and sighed. That boy was getting harder to handle each day since he was dating that Duke girl. He just hoped Enos didn’t forget where his loyalties belonged and his salary came from.

Leaning at the wall, the stranger still stood, shaking his head in a sad kind of way. Never in his life had he imagined he would be in this position and in this kind of a weird place like Hazzard County.

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Enos didn’t get fired that next day, but Boss Hogg sure wasn’t happy not being able to con any celebrities and he sure took it out on his deputy. Somehow all kind of nasty office chores seemed to have piled themselves up and Boss insisted Enos did them all on that same day. Although the deputy of course didn’t complain it almost felt like a break when he had to bring Boss his lunch after doing paperwork and scrubbing floors all morning. With his eyes anxiously focused on the tray, Enos walked up to Boss’s office in small steps carefully not to drop any of the big pile of ham sandwiches Boss had ordered. Coming closer to Boss his working space Enos noticed the door was left on a crack and he could hear Boss yelling at someone.

â€Now you listen to me. I want those Duke boys out of that race you hear! You make sure they won’t cross that finish line or you can forget about getting paid and I’ll make sure ya never race again!â€

“Sure Boss.†A young men’s voice of which Enos couldn’t see or hear who it belonged to said. “But I still don’t know why ya so upset about those farm boys and what‘s so special about this local race. Not like there’s big money to be maid.â€

â€Well then let me tell ya why.†J.D. went on is his passionate plead. “This little local race might just happen to be the annual Hogg’s Overland Derby firstly organized in honor of my dear granddaddy Thomas Jackson Hogg.†JD pulled out a big silver trophy and looked at it with admiration. The names of the price winners were engraved on small little plates on the foot of the trophy. “Now as you can see the names of the man who won the race are all on the trophy and when there is no more room, he who won the race most of all gets to keep it.â€

“And there is only one space left, so after this race the cup will be given a way right?†The young men said.

“Uhuh!†Boss responded more cranky then a hedgehog. “Now humor me and count the times you see the name Hogg on this here cup will ya.†The young man stepped closer to look at the price cup. Now Enos, who was still listening at the door, could see the man’s face. He had short light brown hair, a muscular posture and couldn’t be older than 25 years old. Enos had never seen the man in Hazzard before, but still had the idea he knew him from something.

“12 times Boss.†The stranger responded in a reluctant voice, like he had something better to do than stand there and count names. “Right, now count the name of Duke.†JD said like said something really dirty. Again the guy bought over to the trophy and counted the names.

“Also 12 times.†He mumbled. “Right!†Boss Hogg said while he got up from his chair suddenly and grabbed the trophy suddenly like someone was trying to steal it from him. “And with there only being room for 30 names on the cup, and this race being the last one, that means if the Dukes win they get to keep it and I a swear on my granddaddy’s grave I rather die than to let that happen!â€

At that second a couple of the sandwiches on Enos tray started to move and Enos had to balance the tray to prevent them from falling on the floor, accidentally bumping in to the door, causing it to move open.

Hogg obviously shaken up hasted his overweighed body to the door and opened it with an aggressive pull.

â€Enos!!! Didn’t your mother ever tell you it isn’t nice to eavesdrop on people and definitely not when that person is signing your paycheck?†He bellowed.

“I ..I…I wasn’t eavesdropping Mr. Boss….†Enos stuttered “I …I just came to bring you your lunch, like you requested. Look Mrs. Kinsley made you some delicious ham sandwiches.†Enos hold out one of the sandwiches to Boss to distract him. “Hmm, does do seem delicious.†Boss responded and grabbed the sandwich Enos was holding out and stuffed it in his mouth in two big bites. Enos looked at the other man standing in the room who on his turn, looked with great amazing at Boss’s apatite. “Now Enos you’re sure you didn’t hear nothing ya shouldn’t have heard right?†Boss asked with a threatening tone is his voice.

“I’m positive Boss, I didn’t hear nothing, I just came to bring you your lunch nothing more.†Enos said still a little shaken and not feeling to good about lying to Boss.†“Good!†Boss exclaimed. “And even if you did hear something ya shouldn’t have heard, you’ll make sure you wouldn’t tell it to someone you shouldn’t tell it too, like those Dukes and their pretty little cousin you have the hots for now would ya?â€

“No sir I wouldn’t.†Enos confirmed holding his fingers crossed behind his back.

“Good!†Boss said some more at ease now and let himself fall back in his chair again. “As long as we clear about that then, I would hate to have to tell ya mama her son is looking for a job! Now don’t you have some reports to file or something?â€

“Yes sir I do.†Enos said obeying. “I’m at them right away sir.†And as quickly as he had come in Enos disappeared through the door again. Boss Hogg grabbed another sandwich and sighed. That boy was getting harder to handle each day since he was dating that Duke girl. He just hoped Enos didn’t forget where his loyalties belonged and his salary came from.

Leaning at the wall, the stranger still stood, shaking his head in a sad kind of way. Never in his life had he imagined he would be in this position and in this kind of a weird place like Hazzard County.

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Enos didn’t get fired that next day, but Boss Hogg sure wasn’t happy not being able to con any celebrities and he sure took it out on his deputy. Somehow all kind of nasty office chores seemed to have piled themselves up and Boss insisted Enos did them all on that same day. Although the deputy of course didn’t complain it almost felt like a break when he had to bring Boss his lunch after doing paperwork and scrubbing floors all morning. With his eyes anxiously focused on the tray, Enos walked up to Boss’s office in small steps carefully not to drop any of the big pile of ham sandwiches Boss had ordered. Coming closer to Boss his working space Enos noticed the door was left on a crack and he could hear Boss yelling at someone.

â€Now you listen to me. I want those Duke boys out of that race you hear! You make sure they won’t cross that finish line or you can forget about getting paid and I’ll make sure ya never race again!â€

“Sure Boss.†A young men’s voice of which Enos couldn’t see or hear who it belonged to said. “But I still don’t know why ya so upset about those farm boys and what‘s so special about this local race. Not like there’s big money to be maid.â€

â€Well then let me tell ya why.†J.D. went on is his passionate plead. “This little local race might just happen to be the annual Hogg’s Overland Derby firstly organized in honor of my dear granddaddy Thomas Jackson Hogg.†JD pulled out a big silver trophy and looked at it with admiration. The names of the price winners were engraved on small little plates on the foot of the trophy. “Now as you can see the names of the man who won the race are all on the trophy and when there is no more room, he who won the race most of all gets to keep it.â€

“And there is only one space left, so after this race the cup will be given a way right?†The young men said.

“Uhuh!†Boss responded more cranky then a hedgehog. “Now humor me and count the times you see the name Hogg on this here cup will ya.†The young man stepped closer to look at the price cup. Now Enos, who was still listening at the door, could see the man’s face. He had short light brown hair, a muscular posture and couldn’t be older than 25 years old. Enos had never seen the man in Hazzard before, but still had the idea he knew him from something.

“12 times Boss.†The stranger responded in a reluctant voice, like he had something better to do than stand there and count names. “Right, now count the name of Duke.†JD said like said something really dirty. Again the guy bought over to the trophy and counted the names.

“Also 12 times.†He mumbled. “Right!†Boss Hogg said while he got up from his chair suddenly and grabbed the trophy suddenly like someone was trying to steal it from him. “And with there only being room for 30 names on the cup, and this race being the last one, that means if the Dukes win they get to keep it and I a swear on my granddaddy’s grave I rather die than to let that happen!â€

At that second a couple of the sandwiches on Enos tray started to move and Enos had to balance the tray to prevent them from falling on the floor, accidentally bumping in to the door, causing it to move open.

Hogg obviously shaken up hasted his overweighed body to the door and opened it with an aggressive pull.

â€Enos!!! Didn’t your mother ever tell you it isn’t nice to eavesdrop on people and definitely not when that person is signing your paycheck?†He bellowed.

“I ..I…I wasn’t eavesdropping Mr. Boss….†Enos stuttered “I …I just came to bring you your lunch, like you requested. Look Mrs. Kinsley made you some delicious ham sandwiches.†Enos hold out one of the sandwiches to Boss to distract him. “Hmm, does do seem delicious.†Boss responded and grabbed the sandwich Enos was holding out and stuffed it in his mouth in two big bites. Enos looked at the other man standing in the room who on his turn, looked with great amazing at Boss’s apatite. “Now Enos you’re sure you didn’t hear nothing ya shouldn’t have heard right?†Boss asked with a threatening tone is his voice.

“I’m positive Boss, I didn’t hear nothing, I just came to bring you your lunch nothing more.†Enos said still a little shaken and not feeling to good about lying to Boss.†“Good!†Boss exclaimed. “And even if you did hear something ya shouldn’t have heard, you’ll make sure you wouldn’t tell it to someone you shouldn’t tell it too, like those Dukes and their pretty little cousin you have the hots for now would ya?â€

“No sir I wouldn’t.†Enos confirmed holding his fingers crossed behind his back.

“Good!†Boss said some more at ease now and let himself fall back in his chair again. “As long as we clear about that then, I would hate to have to tell ya mama her son is looking for a job! Now don’t you have some reports to file or something?â€

“Yes sir I do.†Enos said obeying. “I’m at them right away sir.†And as quickly as he had come in Enos disappeared through the door again. Boss Hogg grabbed another sandwich and sighed. That boy was getting harder to handle each day since he was dating that Duke girl. He just hoped Enos didn’t forget where his loyalties belonged and his salary came from.

Leaning at the wall, the stranger still stood, shaking his head in a sad kind of way. Never in his life had he imagined he would be in this position and in this kind of a weird place like Hazzard County.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On his way back to the sheriff’s office Enos head was spinning. Boy o boy did he get him self in deep this time. He knew as soon as he would run in to Daisy she would look right through him and see something was wrong. He just considered himself lucky she wasn’t working just now. Not that it surprised him though; he had expected something like this would happen sooner or later. He only hadn’t thought it would be this soon. What was he to do now? If Daisy ever found out he kept something like this from her he was sure she would never look at him again. And what if this guy Boss hired, took his job just a little too serious and actually hurt his friends in the process. It wouldn’t even matter than of Daisy would or wouldn’t look at him anymore, ‘cause he would never forgive himself to begin with.

But what could he do? Boss had made him promise not to tell anything and he would hate to go back on his word. And what if Boss find out? He would be fires for sure and then Daisy wouldn’t want him no more either. What would Daisy want with a loser who couldn’t even keep his job? All his life he had wanted to be a policeman. To uphold the law and be sure justice would be served. Never he saw himself doing something else, but now he doubted. There must be more to being a deputy than dancing to Boss’s strings. Definitely when the plans he had were crooked. With a sad look upon his face Enos walked in to the sheriff’s station and took place behind his desk. ‘One day.’ he sighed to himself. “The race was hold within one day, and before that he had to think of something to prevent the Duke Boys of getting hurt and himself of getting fired.

On the farm Bo, Luke and Nick were chopping wood. Well that meant, Luke was chopping wood, Bo was walking hind and forth to supply Luke with the wood and Nick was supposed to stack the chopped pieces of wood, but was most of all just chattering on.

“Luke, when you become my dad huh, does that mean I get the same last name as ya’ll?†Nick asked while again letting his pile collapse. Luke gniffled and handed the boy undisturbed new logs of wood. This last 24 hours Nick had covered them all with: ‘when you’re my family’ and ‘when Luke is my dad’ questions so much they almost started to think he couldn’t start a sentence with other words anymore. In the beginning Luke had tried to slow him down, reminding him about the uncertainty of the whole situation, every time the boy asked such a question, but at this point Luke had given up a long time a go. Nick just didn’t want to hear it. “Yep, that is the meaning of it, or ya must have profound reasons why ya don’t want to. Than ya can ask the judge whether ya can keep ya own name. Ya wanna keep ya own name?â€

Nick shook his head wildly. “No…eh…not really…I mean …I wouldn’t mind if I had to but ….well … I was just thinking.â€

“Well don’t think to hard cause ya head might start hurting.†Bo grinned and dropped fresh wood in front of his older cousin.â€

Nick stuck out his tongue but didn’t say anything else. “Do you already know who’s gonna drive tomorrow.†The boy asked more to Bo than to Luke.

Bo’s face fall immediately and in a low voice he mumbled. “I lost the toss, so Luke is driving.â€

“Ow that’s to bad.†Nick said sincere, perfectly hiding he already new Luke would let Bo drive in the end anyway. “Better luck next time.â€

Luke smiled at Nick’s acting talent. That was one thing he should be focused on in the future. This kid could lie if he wanted to.

“Luke when you’re my dad, that means that Bo and Daisy would be like an uncle and an aunt right?â€

Luke sighed. “Yeah something like that, the exact name would be ‘first cousin one’s removed’ if ya want to make a family tree.†He joked. “But I think aunt and uncle are closer to the truth.â€

Nick frowned and tried to figure out what Luke had said about cousin’s being removed but then decided to forget about it immediately.

“Does that mean I have to call them like that than?â€

“Like Uncle Bo and Aunt Daisy you mean?†Luke asked.

Nick nodded.

Luke showed his thinking wrinkle about his eyebrows. “Hmmm didn’t thought about that yet. I guess that’s how it should be. But why don’t ya ask them what they want themselves?â€

Nick though for a second and then filled his longs with air. “Hey Bo!!!†He shouted to the blond man who was collecting wood a little bit further away.

“You want me to call ya Uncle Bo, when Luke becomes my dad!!!!â€

The nervous look that disappeared on Bo’s face while hearing his own name and the word uncle right behind each other said more than a thousand words.

“Never mind!†Luke now also shouted with a big grin. ‘We know enough.â€

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  • 2 months later...

Later on, Daisy was at work at the Boars Nest when her eye fell on a young stranger sitting at the end of the bar. She observed him some time and noticed the pose who was well none to her as the pose of a wretched man. The way as the man was bending over his beer, his shoulders pushed foreword and his hand carrying his head told her enough. ‘Hi there stranger’ She said while she walked over to him. “Looks like you can use another one of that.†And she pointed at the almost empty beer mug he was holding in his hand.

“Yes ma’am you can say that again.†He answered while handing her his mug. Daisy tossed one of her lovely smiles and went to get him another drink. “No need in calling me ma’am. My name is Daisy, what’s yours? â€

The young man smiled while accepting the filled beer mug. “It’s Ben. Ben Haywood.â€

“And what you doing here all by yourself Ben Haywood?†Daisy asked. “Never saw ya here before. You passing through or something?â€

Ben nodded. “Something like that. I’m here for the race tomorrow, planning on winning it for that matter.â€

“O is that so.†With a bit of a mocking, but not unkind grin. “Well ya better have some experience in driving then, cause this little town sure raised you a worthy competition. Most of the men here were sitting on there daddy’s lap behind the wheel even before they could walk.â€

Ben grinned “NASCAR enough experience for ya.†He said on a daring tone.

“You drove on the NASCAR circuit?†Daisy asked as much surprised as disbelieving.

“Sure did!†The young man said while taking another sip from his mug. This slightly impressed young lady standing in front of him seemed to regain him some self-confidence

“Than you must be that hotshot driver this town is talking about, for weeks. Everybody is wondering why a NASCAR driver would wanna compete is a local race like this.â€

As if thunder had struck him the confident smile disappeared from Ben’s face and he let his shoulders hang again. “Like I said, I did drive NASCAR but that’s all in the past.â€

The silent pose that followed told Daisy she shouldn’t ask any further and dropped the subject.

“Well in any case, you’re in for a pretty interesting race tomorrow I think, so don’t you picture yourself winner yet.†She said with a smile and let the young man be.

Not very long after this moment Enos made up his mind. He decided he had to do something ‘cause with his head like this he‘d never get any work done. He waited until he was sure Daisy’s shift had started and drove to the Boars Nest. He didn’t knew exactly what he was gonna do but he just hoped Daisy could read him like a book and figured out what was going on by herself.

It was kinda busy for a Friday afternoon and at first Daisy didn’t even notice Enos coming in. Enos did notice the same man sitting at the end of the bar as he had saw in Boss’s office and for that matter and his heart started pounding even harder. To be sure the man wouldn’t see him Enos took place at one of the tables in the back of the bar and waited for Daisy to come by him.

At the farm Nick had been called inside by Uncle Jesse to work on his ‘book report’. Nick had done a lot of sulking over having to do ‘homework’ even when he wasn’t going to school, but was kindly remembered to the fact saying ‘no’ to Uncle Jesse wasn’t an option.. Sighing he grabbed Luke’s old workbook from his room and took place at the kitchen table. After scribbling a few notes on the paper his mind wandered pretty quickly though. Knowing he wouldn’t get much work done he pulled out the old photograph he had stuck between the pages of the workbook and stared at the picture of his family. Not knowing exactly why but he noticed the sight of his parents faces didn’t gave him the same feeling as they had always done. He couldn’t say what it was he felt when he looked at them, he didn’t no or it where good or bad feelings, or even one of those, but he knew something had changed. Maybe it had been the talks about right and wrong by Uncle Jesse, maybe it was the way Luke could put his arm around his shoulder in a way he never experienced before or maybe it was the safe feeling this farmhouse gave him he never felt anywhere else, but whatever it was Nick felt things were different then he always thought they’ve had been. He had never hated his parents, and he knew he never would, but something didn’t quite fitted anymore. As he moved his eyes to his baby brother he immediately noticed nothing had chanced there. Even though he almost didn’t recognized his brother in being a baby. Thom had been born completely bold but after his second birthday he had grown a bunch of thick blond curls, their mother always complained about when they had to go somewhere and she tried to model it some. Nick grinned. Easy hair wasn’t something that ran in the family. His own hair, though it was much thinner en straight was even now it was clean, still messy and always pointing in to different directions. Nick couldn’t help wondering how his little brother would be doing. It had been months since he spoke to him last. He never told Thom about his plans to run away, he didn’t even said goodbye. As much as that had hurt him he had done it on purpose. Thom possessed something special. Something wherefore everybody liked him. When their parents were still alive, Thom didn’t go to school until he was six, but when he did he already had enough friends from the neighborhood he never had to sit alone or be afraid to end up without a play mate. Also adults had always liked Thom from the beginning. He was polite, funny and willing to do anything you asked him without asking any questions. Nick knew every possible foster family they had been in, had secretly wanted to keep Thom, but fell over him.

With the Yardley’s things went just so. Richard and Ann Yardley adored Tommy and even better, Thom seemed to be very much attracted to them. This was kind of a special thing cause even though Thom could be friends with anybody Nick knew, except from himself, Thom never really attached to no one. Nick had found this new situation extremely difficult, not being used to having to share his little brothers love with anyone else, but it did made him try really hard to make this thing work. Obviously enough it hadn’t worked even though he had tried. That was the moment he decided to take of and leave his little brother behind. The reason he never said goodbye was he knew despite of everything Thom would not have let him go alone. He was convinced the little boy would have followed him wherever he had gone and as much as he loved his brother’s company, Nick decided at that time it would be better to leave him behind, giving him a chance to happiness. A kind of happiness he had been convinced he would never find anyway.

Boy did things turn out different as he had expected, Nick grinned to himself and suddenly he got a very strong urge to tell Thom about what had happened the last couple of weeks. He turned the picture around and stared at the phone number he had scribbled on the back. His hart started to pound a little louder. Would he try to give his little brother a call? Still doubting he stood up to the phone and put his hand on the horn. He wondered about Thom’s response after not seeing him for over three months. Would he be upset because he had left? Slowly he gathered his nerves, picked up the horn and dialed the number.

He heard the buzzing sound a couple of time and just when he thought no one would answer the phone a familiar voice pierced through to his ears. “Yardley’s home, this is Thom speaking.†He heard his little brother answer the phone. Nick wanted to say something, but didn’t know exactly what and somehow even the word ‘hi’ kept stuck in his throat.

“Hello, somebody there?†Thom’s voice sounded again. Nick took a deep breath, prepared the sentence he was about to speak in his head and was just about to open his mouth when he saw Jesse walking in trough the kitchen door. Like he was just got with a thousand dollars in his hand he immediately dropped the horn back on the phone and looked at Jesse with startled eyes.

‘Who were ya calling son?†Jesse asked in a kind voice but with eyes that told he noticed something was wrong.

“Uh…nobody ..uh I mean…†Nick stuttered not knowing exactly what to say.

“Well common with it, you can’t be calling nobody. No use to pick up the phone then is there?†Uncle Jesse said a little inpatient.

“Uh..I meant nobody special…just Max and Randy to see or they wanna come over to play here.â€

Jesse frowned. “Finished ya book report already then?â€

Nick bowed his head. “No not really sir.†He said in a respectful way, but inside he was relieved Jesse had dropped the phone subject.

“Well no need for calling friends then is there? And you know I like you to ask permission before you do such a thing.â€

“No sir and yes sir, I mean I know sir.†Nick mumbled.

Jesse sight and observed the boy. Nick’s nervous and extremely polite way of talking told him something was going on, besides using the phone with out permission, but he didn’t knew what it was.

“All right then, why don’t you set yourself down at that there table, work on the report for about an hour and if you’ve given it your full attention during that hour you can call those boys to come over and they can even stay for dinner if they like. What you think about that?â€

“Sounds great Uncle Jesse.†Nick said with a soft smile.

“Good.†Jesse said. “But full attention now you hear.†he emphasized.

Nick grinned. “Okay, okay I will.†He said while Jesse already headed towards the door.

Sighing Nick sat himself down at the table and grabbed his pencil.

“Bye the way.†He suddenly heard Jesse’s voice again, who had stuck his head around the kitchen door again. “Wouldn’t have much use trying to call them boys sooner, they are still in school now ain’t they.â€

Nick noticed his head turned red as he mumbled. “O yeah, must have forgotten about that.â€

Jesse made a humming sound en said “Uhuh, sure ya did.â€, but walked back in to the living room anyway.

Serving her customers their drinks, Daisy suddenly spotted Enos sitting in the back. Amazed finding him there she put down her tray and walked over to him. The troubled look on her boyfriend’s face worried her.

“Honey what ya doing sitting in the back like this?†She asked while she sat down next to him. “Is something wrong?â€

Enos pulled a desperate face. “Well actually there is Daisy, but I’m not sure how to tell ya.â€

“Well ya know you can tell me anything.†Daisy said while she took his hand in a loving way. “I know that Daisy but..well things are a bit difficult and I know this won’t make any sense to you but you really have to prevent Bo and Luke for entering that race tomorrow.â€

Daisy had to grin know.

â€Honey you know wild horses couldn’t keep them away from that race. Why would you think I could do a thing like that? And besides that, why shouldn’t they race tomorrow? Did you make a bet on one of their opponents or something?†She said laughing.

‘It ain’t funny Daisy.†Enos said almost getting desperate. “Of course I didn’t betted against them. Just that I’m afraid they could might get hurt during the race.â€

Daisy was still not sure where Enos was talking about. “Don’t be silly Enos.†She said a bit mocking. “Bo and Luke have been racing almost there entire lives. Ya’all raced against each other when ya were still in High school. They know what they’re doing.â€

“Daisy, please try to understand.†Enos said looking like he could burst out in tears any minute. “I know Bo and Luke are good drivers, but I mean I’m afraid somebody might have it out for them during that race. Somebody who wants to eliminate them from the race.â€

Daisy’s face became a bit more serious. “What do you mean by that? Somebody who would try to hurt them on purpose? So they won’t win?â€

Enos nodded.

“But how would you know that?†Daisy asked. “And who would do a thing like that? It’s just a local race!â€

Enos sight and got up from his chair. “I’m sorry Daisy, but I really can’t say nothing no more. Just keep it to I heard something I shouldn’t have heard and somebody made me promise I wouldn’t tell it to anybody I shouldn’t tell it to.â€

“Well that sound like it has Boss Hogg written all over it!†Daisy said while she also got up from here chair with an angry face.â€

Enos grabbed both of her arms and pulled her close to him. “I’m sorry Daisy, but I really can’t say no more. I could lose my job. Just promise you try to talk them out of that race. Would you promise me that?â€

“Well I’m not sure I can Enos.†Daisy said a bit sat. “It would be so much easier if you just told me what was going on exactly. Maybe I could convince them then, but like this…â€

Enos hung his head. “I’m sorry, I can’t.†He said and pressed a kiss on her forehead.

“Please don’t hate me for it.â€

“I could never hate you Enos.†She said while giving him a hug. “But now I have to call my cousins to talk to them and you better not be here when they get here, cause they’ll be all over you when I tell them what you told me.â€

Enos nodded and let got of her. “I love you Daisy.†He said with sat look while he started to walk to the door.

“Love you too Enos.†Daisy said just loud enough for him to hear before he got out of reach

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  • 1 month later...

Daisy didn’t waste a lot of time and immediately called home to the farm and told Bo and Luke to come over. The three of them sat down in the back and Daisy told them what she’s heard.

“But he didn’t said exactly whom or what we had to be careful for did he?†Luke asked when she’d finished talking.

“No he didn’t but is sure sounds a lot like Boss Hogg to me.†Daisy said with despise in her words.

“Well that figures.†Bo reacted sarcastically. “I can hardly remember a race without Boss trying to keep us from winning.â€

“Well might be so but, sounding to Enos he really means business this time.â€

“Poor guy.†Luke said a bit grinning but none of the less sincere. “Guess he must have been in a real moral dilemma, wasn’t he?â€

“Ya can say that again. He said he’d promised not to tell anything and you know how he holds to his word. And besides that, if Boss finds out he while fire Enos for sure.â€

“Still it would have been easier if he’d told us where we should be alert on. Now it could be anything.†Bo said.

Luke was thinking mighty hard, but could not think of a reason why Boss would have it out for them this time. There was nothing special about the race, and the amount of price money wasn’t really worth the trouble.

“Daisy is Boss in his office at the moment?†Luke asked

“No he just left about half an hour ago. Why?â€

“Well maybe we should go in and look around a bit. See what we can find.†Luke answered and got op from his chair.

“What you think to find there cousin?†Bo asked while following his example

“I’m not sure, but let’s just have a look. Ya never know.â€

Ironically enough, also Boss Hogg was one of the most suspicious men on earth, he always failed to lock his door while going out and Bo and Luke could walk in without anyone thinking much of it.

Whit Daisy on guard Bo and Luke went through the Boss’s office searching for anything they could use.

â€Still don’t know what you think us to find here Luke.†Bo moped, while he was searching the desk.

“Just look for anything that has to do with the race.†Luke said while trying to pick the lock of a filing cabinet.

For a while it looked like there was nothing to be found until Bo al of a sudden hold a piece of paper in the air. “Luke, look at this. It’s the list with all the competitors.†Luke walked over to the desk and looked at the list.

“Well not a lot of strangers there.†Luke mumbled. “Us, Cooter, Enos, Gary Evans, Gerald Gillis, Walter Allen, Joe Perkins and some other locals from whom we haven’t nothing to fear from.â€

“You know what’s strange?†Bo commented “Rosco ain’t on this list. Doesn’t he always run for Boss?â€

“You’re right there cus, let me see again.†Luke said thinking. “Well Boss his name is on the list, but is seems he has chosen another driver. Do we know a Ben Haywood?â€

“The name rings a bell.†Bo replied, but he couldn’t think of where he heard the name before.

“He sure ain’t no local, that’s for sure.â€

The boys were quiet for awhile both knowing they heard the name before but not able to put there finger on it.

Bo walked over to the trophy which stood on the mantelpiece ready to be given away the next day. “You know Luke, I still think it’s odd that a man like Boss Hogg can let another men drive for him and still gets his name on that cup.†He said

“Yeah you’re right. I think it was J.D. himself who made the rule that the person who pays the entrance fee would get his name on the cup instead of the driver, if those might difference from each otherâ€

Bo shook his head. “Look how many times his name is on that cup and I’m pretty sure he hadn’t driven any of them himself since he and Uncle Jesse raced against each other.†he said disapproving.

Suddenly something popped up in Luke’s mind and quickly he walked over to the cup.

“I think you might have found the motive for Boss not wanting us to win that race there cus.â€

Bo gave him a confused look. “I did?†He asked

“Yes you did.†Luke said with a grin.

Bo, feeling very stupid about not knowing what he had found himself, looked at Luke with astonishment.

“Look at that cup Bo.†Luke explained “Just space enough for one more name. Tomorrow the cup will be given away and if I’m correct Dukes and Hoggs are in a tie at the moment.â€

“And Boss will rather die than let that cup, made in honor of his granddaddy Thomas Jackson Hogg, end up in hands of a Duke now wouldn’t he!†Bo exclaimed

“He sure would.†Luke confirmed

“Must be something with that new driver.†Bo said. “Why should he replace Rosco otherwise?â€

“Well I don’t know.†Like said shrugging his shoulders. “Maybe just because he knows that the chance that Rosco wins the race for him is smaller than that the moon is made out of cheese.â€

“Or maybe because he’s planning such a dirty thing even Rosco did not wanna do it.†Bo guessed.

Luke shrugged again. “I don’t know, but I think this is everything we’re going to find here. Let’s get back to Daisy.â€

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And so the boys walked out of the office and told Daisy what they had found.

“Guess now we know why Boss is after us.†Luke finished his explanation. “The only thing we have to know now is what he’s up to.â€

“Well with Boss you never know.†Daisy said. “Could be anything, like sabotaging the General or getting you two in jail before the race. He could even have hired somebody to run ya’all of the road.â€

“If we only knew who this Ben Haywood guy is. That would be something.â€

“Now that’s something I can help you with.†Daisy said with a smile and pointed to the bar in front of the room. “Ben Haywood is sitting on the far end of that there bar.â€

Bo and Luke both looked at her with amazement and then almost simultaneous turned their heads to the bar.

“You know him?†Bo asked surprised.

“He’s been sitting here al afternoon.†Daisy explained. “He’s that big shot NASCAR driver everybody is talking about. He doesn’t look like a real bad fellow to me.â€

“Of course!†Luke, who had been watching the man at bar, exclaimed. “Now I know where I know his name from. I recognize his face from the newspaper. Looks like he ain’t such a big shot as everybody thinks he is. He has been on the NASCAR circuit, but just for a very short time.â€

“Yeah I know what you’re talking about.†Bo now also remembered. “He was supposed to be this sort of new talent, but his first couple races he blew terribly and in his last race there was a crash.â€

“Never heard anything about him after that.†Luke added.

“Well that explains his sad appearance. Such a thing must be a blow to a man’s pride.†Daisy said in compassionate voice.

“Enough of a blow to throw all of it away and do a thing like working for Boss Hogg?†Luke insinuated.

All three of the cousins now stared at the young man who still sat at bar in an isolated way.

“You talked to him right?†Luke asked Daisy who confirmed his question with a small head nod “Did you told him your name was Duke?â€

“No don’t believe I did.†Daisy said thinking back at the short conversation she had had with the man. “What are you thinking of Lucas?â€

Luke scratched his head and showed his thinking face. “Think you could talk to him again and invite the man for dinner at the farm tonight?â€

“Luke are you crazy?†Bo cried out. “Why should we ask that guy around if he works for Boss Hogg?â€

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer Bo, never heard about that?†Luke said in a bit of a smug way. “If Daisy invites him for dinner without saying she’s a Duke we can keep an eye on him. Find out what kind of guy he is. We could do our advantage with that.†Luke grinned. “Bye the way, even The Bible says you have to invite your enemies to your house and give them a meal. Now who are we to disagree with that?â€

Bo grinned to “No couldn’t do that. But don’t you think he would have recognized us by now and saw us talking to Daisy?â€

“Hmm don’t think so.†Luke said “It’s pretty crowded tonight and besides that I haven’t seen him look up from that bar ones. Think he’s sunken in to his thoughts pretty deep.â€

“Talking about crowded.†Daisy said jokingly “If I don’t start serving some customers pretty quickly I think they are going to plunder the bar themselves.â€

“Alright then we’ll be hading home.†Luke said and got up from his chair. “You use those Duke charms of yours and make sure that guy comes over supper okay?â€

“You’ve got it cus.†Daisy said with a smile and while she walked back to the bar Bo and Luke left the Boars Nest and headed home.

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  • 5 months later...

At the farm Nick had decided he didn’t want to waste anymore of his time to the darn writing exercise and wrote his last couple of sentences down within 30 minutes after Uncle Jesse had left the kitchen. Not that he gave up on it, but he really didn’t know what he could write anymore, already having filled 5 pages of the workbook.

Jesse sat in the living room pealing the potatoes for supper when Nick walked in. As the boy handed him the workbook, the old man couldn’t help thinking back of the time his boys were still in school and would show him their homework so they could run of as quickly as possible afterwards.

“I know it wasn’t an hour.†Nick said a bit apologizing. “But I really think it’s finished. Couldn’t think of anything more to write about.†Jesse looked at the pages. He was sure proud on the young boy who could obviously do a tremendous amount of work in a very short time.

“That’s okay†He said. “It looks pretty good. Well done.†And he ruffled the boy’s hair. “Now hurry up and see or those friends of yours are home from school yet.â€

“Thanks Uncle Jesse!†Nick said and ran to the phone. Jesse smiled. Except from the situation a half hour earlier, Nick had been more cheerful these last couple of days then Jesse had ever seen him. Of course his careful nature made him worry about what would happen if the plans for adoption failed but some how Nick’s overwhelming enthusiasm and determination even seemed to stick on him.

“I had to say thanks for the invitation from their mom, but they can’t stay for dinner, ‘because their Uncle is coming over.†Nick said when he walked back in to the living room. “But they will come over to play for a couple of hours, so they can be here any minute.â€

“Well that’s also nice isn’t it?†Jesse said

“Yes it is.†Nick replied and he sat himself down on a footstool next to Jesse’s chair like he wanted to talk about something.

“Uncle Jesse did Bo and Luke had a lot of friends when they were young?†The boy asked. ]â€Sure did.†Jesse mumbled and stared for a moment like he tried to visualize all the young faces that had run down his farm door. “There was Cooter and Enos of course, who sometimes practically lived here.†He started. “Luke had a group with whom he went fishing often and there were some boys from Bo’s old football team.†Jesse smiled. “It sure wasn’t very quiet here often.†“I used to have one friend back in Albany, his name was Joe. We used to go out on the streets together and……….†Nick had to swallow some words knowing Jesse would not like to hear the things Joe and he had done together. “Eh…well ….hang out.†“Hmmhmm.†Jesse made a humming sound that showed he knew what the kid meant.

It stayed quiet for a couple of seconds but then Nick said: “Uncle Jesse, actually I’m kind of glad I don’t have to do that stuff anymore.â€

“Well that’s good to hear†Jesse said smiling while he put a hand on the boys head.

“Because nobody wants to be your friend if you do.†Nick explained. “Except from Joe Thom and I never had any friends. All the kids on school used to call us thieves and scum or their parents did not allow them to talk to us.â€

“Well I can imagine that must have been very awful.†Jesse replied sincere.

“Well it wasn’t fun, but me and Thom we managed. We were always together; I had to take care of him of course.â€

Jesse searched the boys face with his eyes and wondered what Nick wanted to tell him.

â€You miss your little brother?†Jesse asked

Nick nodded. “I wish he could be here, I bed he would love to see the farm and the horses en he would go crazy over The General Lee.â€

“Well if you want to maybe we could invite him here one of these days and you could show him around.†Jesse suggested. Strange enough, Nick didn’t react as enthusiastic as the old man had thought and just stared to the floor.

“Uncle Jesse I have to tell you something.†the boy mumbled

“Well what you waiting for? Spill it!†Jesse said in his authentic way.

“Well earlier this afternoon, I wasn’t calling to Max and Randy, I just said that because…well I don’t know why but……†Nick stopped talking because his words didn’t make any sense anyway.

“You tried to call your younger brother.†Jesse said convinced he was right.

Nick looked surprised at the old man. “Well Yeah, how’d you know that?â€

“Cause you’re just like my boys and I can see it in your eyes when you’re lying to me, so when I called the phone office and Mabel tolled me you had dialed a number in Albany, I had my suspicions.â€

For a moment Nick doubted whether he had to feel offended because Jesse had checked up on him, but he realized pretty quick he was not in that position.

“So am I in trouble now?†Nick asked insecure, not really able to interpret Jesse’s reaction

Jesse sight. “No you’re not.†The old man spoke reinsuring though I wished you would had told me about it fair and square instead of lying about it. You know lying is a hard habit to brake and Dukes don’t lie. Besides you could have just asked or you could call him. That would not have been problem.â€

“Yes sir.†Nick said remorseful. “ I know.â€

“So did you talk to each other?†Jesse asked

Nick shuck his head. “No only heard his voice. I didn’t dare to say anything. It has been so long since I last saw him. Maybe he is angry with me for leaving.â€

“Well maybe he is.†Jesse said. “Or he isn’t, you won’t know that before you call him up. You two are brothers and brothers should always be there for each other even when they are sometimes up set with each other. Don’t you think he has a right to know you’re still around and not somewhere in California or whatever?â€

Nick giggled, picturing himself on the beaches of California. “I don’t know Uncle Jesse. I don’t think I want to call him already, I would not know What to say.â€

“Well that is your decision and he stood up by the sound of a car that run up the premises. “I just want to ask you to be open with us about it and tell us when you do want to call him, or when there is anything we can do okay?â€

“I will sir.†Nick promised, well he also stood up and looked to the car with trailer that parked itself on the farmyard.

“Good.†Uncle Jesse smiled and put his arm across the boys shoulder. “Let us than welcome your new friends.†He said and together they walked out.

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  • 1 month later...

At the Boars Nest Daisy watched how Ben Haywood still sat at the bar and seemed to be finishing his mug of beer. Watching the fellow she was so moved by the defeated impression this man made she still could not feel any anger towards him even now she knew he was probably having it out for her cousins. She decided that if she wanted to make a move she would have to do it now. With her most authentic smile she walked up at him and reached over to him from the other and of the bar. “So tell me Ben Haywood.†She said “Doesn’t a former NASCAR-driver have a place to go home to at the end of the day?†“No ma’m.†The young stranger replied, while he stood up from his barstool.. “This here bar sure beats staring at the walls of you’all local hotel, but since some of your regulars here told me I should not try the food in here, I’m afraid I have to go back to that grey rat hole anyway.â€

“Now sugar, I told you not to call me ma’m, but what the food concerns them regulars are sure right. Just mind you, it has nothing to do with my cooking, but all with Boss being cheaper than a low life skunk and not wanting to waste his money on anything that even resembles food as long as it is not for himself.

Ben laughed. “I’m believe you immediately Daisy and I’m sure am sorry I have to leave your lovely company right now, but if you would be so kind to get me my bill, I;m sure I will see you tomorrow at the race won’t I.?â€

“You sure will.†Daisy replied while she reached for the register and handed the man his bill.

“But why don’t you come over for dinner at our farm tonight?†Daisy made her move.

“My uncle is a great cook and there always a bit extra for an unexpected guest, besides I think my little cousins would love to hear you tell about your time at the NASCAR circuit.. They are big car fans themselves you now, just like everybody else here in Hazzard of course.â€

Ben Haywood smiled a bit sad. “That’s a very kind offer, but I could not except it.. I just know you for half a day and I wouldn’t feel comfortable trespassing on your family’s hospitality like that.â€

“Now sugar.†Daisy sad while moving a little closer to the man without making her intentions of sweet talking him to out in the open. “You won’t be doing no such thing. Now my Uncle always told us: A stranger is just a friend ya haven’t met yet, and he would be quite upset if he heard I would have let you go back alone to that awful hotel. Now what ever you say, I won’t take no for an answer!â€

Ben sighed with a grin on his face. He didn’t quite understand why this woman was so insisted on inviting him for dinner, but he couldn’t say he didn’t like the thought of his first home cooked meal in ages.

“Uh alright then†He replied a bit blushing because of Daisy standing so close to him. “I guess I couldn’t say no to that. Now where can I find that farm of yours?â€

“Well If you’re patient I’ll show you in a minute when my shift is over.†Daisy said returning to her side of the bar cleaning her last glasses. “Me and Dixie will drive you there in person.â€

The young man opened his mouth to ask what or who Dixie was but actually enjoying his first day in Hazzard so far, he decided to let it be a surprise.

Somewhere in the woods nearby the Duke farm, three boys were enjoying themselves with bow and arrow “You know, Bo and Luke have arrows packed with dynamite, because they can’t wear guns.†Nick said while he pointed at a tree. “That’s how they caught them truck robbers.†“Yeah yeah yeah, and you scared them crooks away with fire crackers, you already told us for about a hundred times.†Randy said a bit annoyed

“ Now shoot that arrow would you, let us see what you can do.â€

“Alright, you got it.!†The boy said while he concentrated himself and pulled the string tide. Nick wasn’t a real good shot yet, but he had been practicing at the farm. When he let go of the arrow it made a swift sound and got stuck in to the tree Nick had aimed at.

“Not bad is it?†Nick asked for his older friends opinion. “Not exactly were I wanted it, but still not bad.â€

“Yeah not bad at all.†Max reacted enthusiastic. “Maybe now Luke let us borrow his bow and we all know how to shoot a little we can go boar hunting.â€

“Don’t be silly, Max.†Randy corrected his little brother unkindly. “Boar hunting you have to do early in the morning and none of us shoots good enough to hit a boar. Most likely we would only wound it but in know way kill it. Let not even talk about when it notices us before we have a time to shoot and he comes after us.â€

“Man, what’s up with him?†Nick asked Max softly while he watched Randy pull the arrow out of the tree.

“Ow he’s cranky all day cause dad whooped his hide this afternoon when he found out he was skipping classes.â€

“Well he wouldn’t have found out if you had not gone to the teacher and asked where I was.†Randy said cross. “Miss Maple would never had doubted my doctors note if you hadn’t interfered.â€

“Well if you had told me where you were up to, I wouldn’t had gone asking.†Max replied

“I thought something had happened when I didn’t see you after school.

“Like what? Me vanishing in thin air?â€

“No but maybe you had those guys after you again or what ever!†Max yelled back now.

“How was I suppose to know?â€

“Because I told you not to worry about those guys.†Randy bellowed. “I can handle them and I’m definitely not afraid of them.â€

“O and that’s why you’re skipping school right?†Max said definitely not impressed by his older brother’s tough words “Not at all because you are trying to avoid those retards that are bugging you.â€

“Are you calling me a coward?†Randy said now dangerously calm while he approached his younger brother. Nick had been watching this scene with his mouth open not realizing what had caused there friendly came to almost change in to a fistfight.

“Now Randy calm down, he didn’t say no such thing.†Nick interfered. “Is this still about those two we met by the lake last time, we was playing ball?â€

“Yeah it is.†Max confirmed. “They’re always on Randy’s case lately, following him around, calling him names, stealing or breaking his stuff.â€

Randy seemed to have calmed down a bit more and released his last bit of frustration by kicking a tree

“So why they after you? Lots of other black kids they can thrash now aren’t there †Nick asked.

“I don’t know. Because they are idiots I guess and they can’t stand dad is black and en successful veterinarian or something like that, I don’t.â€

Nick felt bad for his friend and wished there was something he could do. Randy saw the look on Nick’s face.

“Don’t get me wrong now you know.†Randy said while he reached the bow and arrow over to Nick again. “It’s just those two, most people here in Hazzard are real nice people, never had any of this crap. Just like I said they’re just idiots, only problem is that there are two of them and they are quite big.â€

“Yeah I know what ya mean. They made me nervous too when I first met them. But why don’t you tell your dad about them?â€

“Because it will rile him up so bad, I’m not sure what he’s going to do and I don’t want that you know.â€

“And what about the sheriff?†Nick kept asking. “Can’t you go to him?â€

Randy gave him a weird look. “You’re living with the Dukes don’t you?†He said grinning. “Aint they ever told you how bad our justice system works? If it doesn’t make money, it isn’t important.â€

“Yeah they told me. But they also told me never to run for any injustice that is done, so there most be a way then to make sure does guys will not bother you again.â€

“Well, if you‘ve got any ideas let me know.†Randy said. “Until that time just let us have some fun you know.†And he wrapped his arm around Max in a brotherly way. “We always could pretend we were haunting boars of course.†He said grinning “ And I think I see some tracks right there.â€

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Driving home to the farm, Daisy could do nothing else but noticing that Ben Haywood was a down right nice guy. He held the door for her, thanked her again for the invitation, insisted they made a stop at the liquor store so he could buy her Uncle Jesse a present for his trouble and most important of all, unlike other men he didn’t try to make a move at her once or seemed to be under some sort of spell when she spoke to him. He just made friendly conversation about cars and races, the journey’s he had made and the girls he had met and it was just like she was driving next to Bo or Luke. When they drove up the farmyard and Daisy parked her car next to the General Lee something seemed to change though.

“Is that your car?†Ben asked while trying to hide his shock.

Daisy had already walked up to the house en turned around seeing Ben wasn’t following her. “It sure is.†Daisy said. “I know he’s a bit flashy but it’s the best car in town. I’m sure my cousins are willing to show it to you after supper.â€

“Well Daisy you know eh….. maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Like I said I don’t want to be intruding.â€

“Don’t be silly you.†Daisy said smiling and grabbed his hand. “You’re here already no use in going away again. Come let me introduce you to my family.†Ben knew he couldn’t make a scene now without making himself look suspicious and so he followed Daisy in to the farm hoping nobody could hear his hart pound.

“Uncle Jesse I’m home.†Daisy called in to the farm when she entered trough the living room. “And I brought us a guest.â€

“Well and who may that be?†Uncle Jesse replied in a friendly manner while he walked in to the living room and offered their guest his hand. “Uncle Jesse, this is Ben Haywood, he is in town for the race tomorrow. Ben this is my uncle, Jesse Duke.â€

“Well nice to meet you Ben Haywood.â€

“Nice to meet you to Mr. .Duke. Daisy told me a lot about you.â€

“Well only good things I hope?†Jesse said with a smile.

“It sure was sir, and I brought you a little gift for your hospitality. Now I’ve heard there used to be a lot of this stuff made at home in these parts so I won’t think it can live up to what you’re used to but well, I hope you like it anyway.â€

“Well that’s very nice of you.†Jesse mumbled while he unwrapped the whiskey bottle, removed the cap and sniffed at it. “Well you were right….†Uncle Jesse said grinning. “It not as good as the old days.†And he gave Ben a warm smile. “But it will do, thank you very much I will put it in the cupboard immediately and then I will return to our dinner, otherwise you have come for nothing.â€

“Come, now I will introduce you to my cousins.†Daisy said and again she took Ben’s hand and escorted him outside to the stables. There she found Bo, Luke, and Nick who had returned home already cleaning the stables and making sure all the horses were fed. Sundance had been brought home by Mr. Harkins this afternoon when he came to pick up his boys. He indeed had diagnosed that the foal was a bit large for the mommy to handle, but if she was send to the clinic two days before the birth, things could be arranged. “Hey there boys, I want you to meet a new friend, Ben Haywood, he’s going to drive against you all in the race tomorrow.†The men shook hands and Ben couldn’t help noticing that the blond man’s handshake was not a real friendly one.

“So are these your little cousins as you mentioned them?†Ben asked Daisy unbelieving.

â€Well….technically Bo is and well… Nicolas here almost is, only Luke is older then me.â€

“So you are Bo and Luke Duke?†Ben asked again a bit hold back.

“We sure are, heard about us?†Luke asked.

“Well yeah actually, people in the Boars Nest told me about ya’all. They said you were most likely to win the race.â€

“Then they were right.†Bo reacted “So if you want to retread nobody is stopping you.â€

“Bo be nice to our guest would you please.†Daisy said while she gave him a sharp look reminding him he had to work on his acting skills more. “He might think you don’t like having him over because he’ll be your opponent.â€

“I’m sorry mate.†Bo corrected himself and gave Ben a grin. “Did not mean it like that, of course you’re welcome, but you know how things can get around a race like this.â€

Ben grinned back. “Yeah I know, no hard feelings, like I said to Daisy before, it’s very kind of ya’all having me over here. It sure beats being in that hotel or sitting at the Boars Nestâ€

“Are you also racing tomorrow?†Nick asked a bit surprised, he being the only one who didn’t knew anything about why Daisy had invited this man to their home.

“I sure am young man and I intend to win it also.â€

Nick frowned and looked at the man from head to tone.

‘Well in that case I’m wondering how many first prices they are going to give away then tomorrow because together with Bo, Luke and Cooter you are the fourth man how says that.â€

This comment made all the adult crack up so much that they seemed to forget who they were talking to for a moment that they were still laughing when Uncle Jesse called that dinner was ready.

At the table Ben’s nerves seemed to kick in again. How was it possible that faith had lured him in to the arms of the family he was supposed to eliminate from tomorrows race. As soon as he had seen that orange car that exactly fitted the description Boss Hogg had gave him, he knew he had been in trouble. Now why hadn’t that da*ned bargirl said her last name when he’d met her. He already disliked his job as much as he did, seeing how nice this family was didn’t exactly make his work easier. But he didn’t have a choice. He needed the money Boss Hogg was offering him, as friendly as the Dukes seemed to be, he could not let that stand between him and his goal. The only thing he didn’t know was how much this family knew about him. Would they know he drove the race for Boss? Did they know that meant he was hired to stop them from racing?â€

“So Ben, Daisy told us you’ve been on the NASCAR-circuit. Ever met Cale Yallborough?†Luke said while he reached for the mashed potatoes.

“No can’t say that I have. Have seen him in action a couple of times though. That man sure can drive.â€

“Yeah we know. When he and his daughter were here he sure showed us something.†Bo said full of admiration. .

“Cale Yallborough was here in Hazzard?†Ben asked disbelieving.

“You bet.†Daisy answered. “Bo and Luke knew him from when they drove NASCAR and so they got to talk.â€

“You two also drove at NASCAR?†Ben said having the feeling his eyeballs rolled out of his head from astonishment. Boss Hogg had never told him that.

“Check that cup on the mantle peace in the living room.†Luke said while he pointed through the opening of the kitchen door. “We’ve been there for about a year, a couple of years ago, but returned here again when we were needed.â€

“Have you been on the track a long time?†Bo asked

Ben had to think of something to say “Eh no….not that long….uh just like you other things came in the way, which I had to attend to.â€

‘That’s too bad.†Daisy reacted.

“So what kind of car ya own?†Nick asked, wanting to contribute to the conversation.

“Well I’m not exactly owning a race car at the moment, but the one I’m driving in tomorrow is a Ford Mustang.â€

“So how you get the Mustang?†Nick asked not knowing he came pretty close to the forbidden subject.

“Well eh…†Ben stuttered. “It’s from …from the men I’m driving for.â€

“So who ya driving for?†Nick asked again before anyone could say anything about it.

Luke new that if he would interrupt they boy now, it would be obvious and he decided he let the conversation run his course.

“Well…eh….for the man who organizes the race Mr. JD. Hogg. He hired me to drive for him.†Ben thought that saying so much could not do much harm. If the Dukes did not expect anything this fact would not alarm them and if he did they would have known it already.â€

“Why would you do that?!!!†Nick asked with a disgusted face. He had been long enough on the farm to be fully indoctrinated if it concerned the name of Hogg.

“Well ehh….†Ben did not know how to react on that.

“What Nick here tries to say.†Uncle Jesse added while he shot Nick a reprimanding look for yelling at the table like that. “Is that when it normally concerns J.D. Hogg not much good is going around and foul play is waiting just around the corner.â€

“Well I don’t know about that sir.†Ben said hoping nobody noticed the sweat he felt braking out of every part of his body. “Mr. Hogg just hired me to race for him, nothing more then that.â€

“Nobody is saying anything else.†Luke replied. “Just that we want to warn you, Boss might have some very sleazy plans and you don’t want to be dragged in to that.â€

Quickly Ben Haywood took a bite of the chicken that laid on his plate so he did not had to react on that and just made a vague hand gesture that could have meant anything.

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  • 5 months later...

After dinner everybody went outside to the front porch where they had watermelon as desert.

“So I guess you’ll be driving that orange car aren’t you?†Ben asked while he pointed at the General.

“Yes sir.†Bo replied. “That’s the General, never let us down before.â€

“The General Lee can fly over a creek.†Nick said while he was wiggling his legs to get the porch swing in to movement, not noticing that Luke sitting next to him kept his feet firm to the ground which made his effort in vain

“Now don’t you go spill all our secrets kiddo.†He said grinning while he ruffled the boy’s hair. “Now just because Ben here is a nice guy, don’t forget he’s the competition.â€

“Well not like there is anybody in Hazzard who could not have told him.†Bo said defending his little friend.

“You know Ben, after the race there is always a town fest with al kind of famous country singers. You think you’ll be hanging around long enough to go there?†Daisy asked.

“Not sure about that yet, like I said I’m just traveling through and I have to be on the road after the race again.â€

“Well that would be a petty.†Uncle Jesse reacted. “We always have a lot of real good singers coming to town. It’s even said that Mickey Gilley is coming again same as Jerry Lee Lewis.â€

“Who are they?†Nick asked curious.

“You never heard about Mickey Gilley and Jerry Lee Lewis?†Bo exclaimed laughing. “Boy, have you mist something then. Daisy can you get that tape-recorder and that Mickey Gilley tape you keep in the drawer of your bedside table?â€

“How you know that!†Daisy said amazed.

“Well how else am I going to find that dairy of yours if I don’t keep searching for it?†Bo grinned

“Bo Duke you are terrible!†Daisy shouted but then smiled and walked in the house to get the tape. All her family members knew Daisy didn’t kept a diary anymore since she was 18 years old. But it was a fact although Bo would have deserved an A for effort; the times he had actually found her diary were few.

Not much later the tape recorder was playing loud and Bo asked Daisy to dance on ‘Don’t all the girls look prettier at closing time’ and ‘city lights’ while the rest finished their watermelon. Ben, who had been watching everything with great joy, was a bit astonished when Daisy took his hand and pulled him up his feet to dance with her, but proved himself a fine dancer.

Unfortunately, fun could not last for ever and evening chores had to be done. Nick was already heading to the kitchen to do the dishes when Luke called him back. “Nick, why don’t you show the General Lee to Mr. Haywood here. So he can see where he is up against tomorrow.â€

“Yeah you bet!†Nick said enthusiastic and run to the General waiting for a softly smiling Ben Haywood who scuffed after him.

“Well this is the General.†Nick said. “Bo and Luke build it themselves and it’s the fastest car in Hazzard.â€

“It sure looks fast.†Ben agreed.

Nick maybe had not been such a good mechanic but he had learned a couple of thing at Cooter’s and one of those things was that, men always wanted to look under the hood of a car if they had the change, so he popped the hood and showed it to Ben.

In the meanwhile the Duke family had used the time to stick their heads together. “Now Luke I don’t wanna doubt you or anything.†Bo said while he looked worried in the direction of the General “But are you sure it is a good idea to let the man, who is hired to make sure we can’t race tomorrow, alone with our car?â€

“Take it easy Bo.†Luke said. “I’m convinced he won’t try to do anything with the General as long as Nick is there watching him and we have to give him the feeling we don’t expect nothing don’t we?â€

“But we don’t trust him right?†Bo asked just to be sure. “I mean he looks down right nice and stuff, but Enos saw him talking to Boss so, he must be up to something.â€

“Well you don’t know in what kind of angle Boss has him Bo.†Daisy tried to defend Ben. “Remember how Boss forced Cooter to disable ya’all from that race? Couldn’t it be he did the same to Ben?â€

Luke shook his head. “I don’t know Daisy. Ben isn’t a local you know. What kind of hold could Boss have over him? It looks like he had to come to Boss himself.â€

“Well if you ask me, he looks pretty different then all them other crooks Boss has hired in the past.†Jesse commented and stood up from his chair “Doesn’t mean we should not keep a close eye on him though. But first let us make sure all things are done around here. If I’m correct them stables still need finishing†He said while he gave Bo and Luke a familiar look.

“Yes sir, we’re at it.†Bo said and the two men left the house.

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