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Balladeer: This story starts out about two years after Luke had gotten shot. He had been alone, faked his own death and left Hazzard because of it. Course, at the time he had no idea of the effect it would have on his younger cousin.

Luke was living in an unincorporated town on the Georgia border. The town straddled the border, but Luke worked on the Georgia side, over at the town's VA office. He'd been there for about two years now. One day he was getting some water at the cooler when he heard two co-workers talking.

"Have you heard?"

"You mean that that crazy stunt car driver from Hazzard is in town?"

"That's what I heard. They're setting up a stunt for him to do in a few hours."

"That man has the darndest luck. Should be dead, what, eight times over?"

"I heard one time when he was asked how he accounts for his luck and he said his family all have at least nine lives."

"I swear, one of these days we'll see the name Bo Duke in the paper saying he died in some stunt."

Luke hadn't been following racing or cars in years, but the conversation piqued his interest, so he went to his desk and started researching. He found the different stunts that his cousin had done since Luke had left the family home. It seemed like there had been at least one stunt a week since then, and the intervals between were only because each new stunt was bigger and better than the previous one. Now Bo was planning a 33 car jump. Luke recalled how they had barely made it over 32 cars in the jump at the Carnival of Thrills stunt show. He also read that Cooter Davenport would often come out to wherever the stunt was being done to check out the car.

'Cooter has gotta be in town to check the car. Maybe I'll call him…using my alias. Just hope he doesn't recognize my voice.' Luke thought.

Luke reached for the phone on his desk and called the number of the location where the stunt was being performed.

"Hello, what can I do fer ya?" Came an answer.

'Cooter.' Luke thought. He was glad Cooter had answered it.

"Um...I'm looking for Cooter Davenport or Bo Duke." He started.

"This is Cooter Davenport. What can I do fer ya?"

"Well, my name is David Langston. I'm with the local VA." Luke said.

Balladeer: Since Luke was in a wheelchair, there was no need for a chair on his side of the desk. It was something he had wanted to keep from his family, and the reason he had faked his death.

Luke drank the water from the cooler and waited for Cooter's response. He didn’t get one. Cooter was probably confused. Luke sighed because part of him really wanted to see his best friend.

“Can you come to the town’s VA? And come alone will ya.†Luke said.

“Sure thing.†Cooter said.

“Thanks, Mr. Davenport.†Luke said.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____

When Cooter arrived at the VA, he was led to David Langston’s desk. The man behind the desk was putting something in the filing cabinet.

“Sir…Mr. Davenport is here to see you.â€

“That was fast. You can go now.†Luke replied.

“Didn’t realize how much I missed my favorite mechanic until I heard your voice.†said the man behind the desk as he closed the filing cabinet.

Luke rolled around to face Cooter. His hair was more in the style it had been when he first returned from ‘Nam. Intense, piercing blue eyes watched Cooter as he wondered if he’d be recognized by his best friend, or if he’d have to tell him who he really was. At first, the desk had kept Cooter from noticing the wheelchair. Now he just looked confused, obviously not recognizing the man behind the desk.

"Cooter...it’s me...Luke." The man said softly, after looking around to make sure no one else heard him.

C***'s eyes widened with shock.

"Lukas…Dukas?" C*** asked slowly.

Luke's eyes sparkled with amusement.

"It's me, Coot." Luke said nodding.

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Luke looked at Cooter.

"That's what happened to me." Luke said.

Luke's hands had black leather gloves on them and they moved to the arm rests and pulled his weight up and scooted back this way. There was a seat belt meant to keep him from falling out of the chair hooked around the back of the chair so it would mess with the wheels and not get in Luke's way. So the seat belt wasn't holding him in the chair.

"W-What...how did..." Cooter started to ask as he got to Luke's level.

"Got shot that day...I didn't want the family to see me like this so I..." Luke started.

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"Do you know what you did to Bo with that? I swear he has some kinda death wish. If I thought it would do any good I would refuse to come check the General. But, he probably just have a local mechanic check him. I mean he hasn't contacted anyone else in Hazzard either…he sends money with me back to Jesse. He ain't contacted them since he left…the day you…" Cooter started standing looking mad as a hornet when you messed with the nest.

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“It’s me, Coot.†Luke said nodding.

"What the…" Cooter started to ask as he rushed around the desk.

Cooter stopped the question when he saw the wheelchair though. Luke looked at Cooter.

"That's what happened to me." Luke said.

Luke's hands had black leather gloves on them and they moved to the arm rests and pulled his weight up and scooted back this way. There was a seat belt meant to keep him from falling out of the chair hooked around the back of the chair so it wouldn’t mess with the wheels and not get in Luke's way. So the seat belt wasn't holding him in the chair.

"W-What...how did..." Cooter started to ask as he got to Luke's level.

"Got shot that day...I didn't want the family to see me like this so I..." Luke started.

“Do ya know what ya did to Bo with that? I swear he has some kinda of death wish. If I thought it would do any good I would refuse to come check the General Lee. But, he’d probably just have a local mechanic check him. I mean he hasn’t contacted anyone else in Hazzard either…he sends money with me back to Jesse. He ain’t contacted the family since he left…the day you…†Cooter started standing abruptly looking madder than a wet hornet.

Luke looked at Cooter shocked by how angry he was suddenly.

“Jesse and Daisy were heart broken after they found the car in the pond. The front window was shattered so all of us thought you’d been thrown from the car. We never did search the bottom of the pond. After the funeral Bo left never to return…he was guilt ridden. He blamed himself for not being with you that day. Now he keeps doing bigger and more dangerous stunts each week trying to kill himself. Daisy and Jesse are worried sick about Bo. I think it would just kill Jesse if Bo managed it. And you’ve been here all this time!†Cooter shouted angrily.

“You abandoned them!â€

“Cooter, quiet.†Luke whispered pulling Cooter down by the shirt.

“You broke your family apart when you faked your death and you want me to be quiet.†Cooter hissed out.

“I’ve tried talkin’ Bo out of every stunt since you left and he won’t listen to me or anyone. If he dies in this next stunt it will be your fault.â€

Cooter broke Luke’s grip on his shirt and walked out; he was so mad he wasn't sure he could control himself any longer. Luke watched him to shocked to react at first.

‘I gotta try and talk some sense into Bo. But, where is he…the location the stunts gonna be done…his hotel room…a restaurant…I’ve gotta find him.’ Luke thought.

Luke got his co-workers looking for Bo Duke. He hadn't told them who he really was and hoped they hadn't heard Cooter. Soon one of the men found Bo and Cooter it was the same man that had led Cooter to Luke’s desk at the VA.

“Mr. Davenport…†The man started.

“Oh hey, you're from the VA.†Cooter said.

“Mr. Langston asked us to find Bo here.†The man said.

“Why?†Cooter asked since Bo was too focused on what he was doing to notice or hear them.

“I don’t know but he said to call him right away if we found him. He’s got the whole VA out looking.†The man said.

“Bo’s gonna be here now until after the stunt.†Cooter said.

The man nodded and went to a nearby phone and called Luke’s desk phone.

“David Langston speaking what can I do for you?†Luke answered.

“Langston, I found Bo Duke he’s at the location of that stunt.†The man said.

“I’m on my way.†Luke said.

“Lucky you have that car with hand controls.†The man said.

“I have to I live at the other end of town so I live out of Georgia.†Luke reminded.

“Right.†The man said.

“Want me to wait for you here?†The man asked.

“No. Rather be alone with Bo.†Luke said.

“Well Mr. Davenport is with him…why did you have us looking?†The man asked.

“I want to try and talk him out of this stunt.†Luke said.

The man soon hung up and pulled Cooter out of hearing range for Bo.

“Mr. Langston is coming here. He wants to try and talk Mr. Duke out of this stunt.†The man explained to Cooter.

Cooter sighed and looked towards Bo. Bo had lost a lot of weight in the last month. Cooter was scared and worried for his best friend. Course Cooter knew that Bo’s guilt and depression got worse around this time of year since the anniversary of Luke’s ‘death’ was approaching.

‘Maybe seeing Luke will help Bo.’ Cooter thought.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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