Hazzard County Hospitality


"Hazzard County," read Face, as they drove past the rather battered road sign. "Population: ten red necks and a chicken farmer."

"Aw, Face. Don't be mean." Kneeling up on his seat, so as to try to see out of the windshield past BA's head, Murdock was gazing down the narrow, winding road. "This is good ol' boy country. Where everybody is friendly and welcoming, and there's home-made lemonade waiting in every kitchen."

"That's what you think, sucker." BA was rather less happy about their surroundings. "The south is a few other things too. It ain't all about lemonade and chitlins."

"And what exactly is a 'chitlin' anyway?" asked Face, adjusting the knot of his handmade silk tie. He was beginning to feel rather hot in the close air, but damned if he was going to take the tie off. He rather liked how the colour complimented his eyes. "Or would I rather not know?"

"You'd rather not know," said Hannibal, grinning back at him from the front with a devilish glint in his eyes, that suggested he really didn't want to know, but was probably about to find out anyway. "They're--"

"What the hell?!" Interrupting Hannibal with a rare expletive, BA slammed on the brakes so hard that Murdock landed in an awkward heap on the floor, Face barely able to avoid joining him. A second later, with a wail of a musical horn, a bright orange car sped past, its engine roaring, and all four tyres momentarily losing contact with the ground. There was a young man, wild black curls waving furiously in the wind, sitting half in and half out of the passenger window, with a readied bow gripped somewhat incongruously in his hands. If the car's hard landing back on the road bothered him, he gave no sign of it, but merely loosed off his arrow, before disappearing back inside the car. Somebody inside, presumably the driver, let out a whoop of glee, and a second later the car slid to a halt.

"Something tells me we've sailed smack into the middle of somebody's fun," said Hannibal, and threw open his door. He was just in time to see a sheriff's car, its windshield a mass of cracks from the impact of the arrow, skid beautifully off the road, and crash with almost balletic grace into a nearby pond.

"You all right there, Rosco?" Clambering out of the car through the window, the dark-haired boy who had fired the arrow went over to the water's edge. In answer, the sheriff - presumably Rosco - splashed his way out of the car, standing up to his waist in muddy water.

"Confound you Duke boys!" He took off his hat, throwing it into the water with so much force that the spray soaked him even more. "One of these days! One of these days I'm going to--"

"Hey, Rosco!" Sliding out of the driver's side of the orange car came a second boy, this one with a head full of blond curls. "You need a hand there at all?"

"As if I would ask for help from a Duke." Having regained control of his temper, the sheriff spoke now with a haughty air, rendered rather absurd by the fact that he was still standing in the middle of a pond. Turning his back on the boys, he reached in through the window of his car, and hauled out a floppy, rather woebegone-looking dog, that sprawled lazily in his arms. "You best behave yourselves now, or I'll set Flash here on you. I gotta hold her back, I surely do. She's a finely trained police dog. Vicious as any you've seen."

"Aw, Rosco. Flash is about as vicious as a kitten that ain't been weaned yet." The blond boy came closer, standing alongside his darker friend. "Come on, let us give you a hand."

"Beauregard Duke, so help me, if you lay one finger on me, I'll tell Flash to attack. I will." Rosco stood up to what seemed to be the fullest of his height, his chin held at such a high angle that his head was practically tilted backwards. "Now stay there, and let me come over there and arrest you."

"Oh now Rosco. What you want to go say a fool thing like that for?" The dark-haired boy shook his head slowly from side to side. "We were just trying to be neighbourly. Now we're going to have to go leave you there in that pond."

"Well you just try it, see! 'Cause I got witnesses this time. Yes sirree, looks like I got me four whole witnesses to your... your unforgivable shen-an-i-gans!" Drawing the word out with an almost palpable glee, Rosco gave a high pitched giggle, and promptly lost his footing, stumbling for several moments before he regained his balance. "And witnesses means statements, and statements means complaints, and complaints means I get to throw you boys in prison, and feed the key to Flash. I got you this time, the pair of yous!" He was pointing past the boys as he spoke, to where the A-Team had all now left the van, and were standing in a row watching the proceedings together. The two boys turned around then, apparently noticing their audience for the first time.

"Tarnation." The blond boy's shoulders visibly slumped. "He's right, Luke."

"You bet I'm right!" squawked Rosco, still doing his damnedest to get to shore, although his feet seemed determined to escape from him. With a little bark, apparently not at all confident in her master's ability to stay upright, Flash leapt from his arms, then promptly sprawled on the bank of the pond, and went back to sleep. "Come back here, you... you... you... That's mutiny, that is! That's deserting a water-going vessel!"

"That ain't mutiny, Rosco." Luke went over to scratch the dog behind the ears, and she wagged her little tail with obvious pleasure. The blond boy, meanwhile, had turned his attention to the A-Team, striding over to greet them with a rather infectious grin of welcome.

"Hi!" he said, for all the world as though they had met in the street somewhere, and not in the middle of what looked like a bizarre game. "Bo Duke. That there's my cousin, Luke."

"Hannibal Smith," said Hannibal, and shook the boy's hand warmly. "You often send the local sheriff for a swim, kid?"

"No more'n five or six times a day." Bo's grin widened, although it seemed an impossible feat, and he beamed around at the rest of the team. "That talk about you being witnesses.... Now, far be it for me to try to influence any fine, law-abiding citizens none, but--"

"Relax," BA told him. "We ain't staying around here long enough to swear in any statements."

"Besides," continued Hannibal, "something tells me that our testimonies wouldn't exactly be welcome anyway."

"Which is kind of a shame," piped up Murdock, who was eyeing the rapidly sinking police car with something approaching avarice. "I always wanted to see one of those little back-country police stations. Do they have horses? Do they? Do they? Huh?"

"Er..." Blinking in sudden confusion, although his smile barely wavered, Bo scratched his head for a moment. "Well, no. They haven't used horses since my Uncle Jesse was a boy, far as I know."

"Never mind, Murdock." Face slung an arm around his friend's shoulders, offering him a consoling smile. "I'm sure we'll see some horses sooner or later."

"I sure hope so, Face." Shoulders hunched, his posture now that of a disappointed little boy, Murdock shuffled his feet in the dust. "I really wanted to see a horse. I did. A big, black one. Maybe that breathes fire?"

"They don't breathe fire round here, Murdock. Fire-breathing horses aren't allowed in this country anymore. Regulations, you know." Face gave his shoulder a pat, and BA sent them both a furious glare.

"Don't go feeding him any of that nonsense, fool! He's crazy enough as it is, without you pandering to it."

"Oi!" Slipping and sliding at the water's edge, Rosco was waving his arms in the air, apparently both to chase Luke away from his dog, and to attract Bo's attention. "Stop trying to bribe an officer of the law! That dog is a properly appointed police dog, in the service of this county, and you're trying to obstruct her duties. And you! You stop trying to sabotage my witnesses, you hear! Just because I'm temporarily indisposed, you boys can't go taking advantage. Why can't you just put your hands in the air, and be under arrest properly?"

"Hey, Rosco!" Turning around, his grin back up to its full thousand watt force, Bo waved an arm at him. "They say they don't want to go making no statements. So is it okay if we go now?"

"No it is not okay. Why, I - I - I--" But Rosco's balance had finally gone. His outrage at this piece of news apparently too much for him, his feet suddenly shot in different directions, and he vanished completely under the water. A moment later he resurfaced, on all fours, spluttering madly. "You're all under arrest!" he bellowed, beginning to crawl with mad energy towards the road. "Every dang-blasted one of you!"

"Uh oh." Luke jumped to his feet, dashing over towards his cousin, who held up a hand in farewell to the team. "Come on, Bo!"

"Way ahead of you, cousin." Bo nodded back at the team. "Good meeting you folks."

"Follow on behind!" yelled Luke, hot on the younger boy's heels. "Least we can do after we went and got you on Rosco's bad side."

"Don't mind if we do," said Hannibal, watching with some amusement as the boys converged on the car. Bo slid through the driver's window with the ease and speed of long practice, gunning the engine just as Luke arrived. The darker boy skidded across the hood on his knees, sliding neatly through the passenger window just as the car raced off. "Well, you heard the kid, BA."

"They look as damn fool crazy as the rest of you," grumbled the big sergeant, but he clambered back into his van, and as the others piled in after him, he sent the vehicle roaring off down the road after the two boys. Behind them, finally reaching the road, Rosco flopped down in a soggy heap beside Flash.

"It ain't fair, Flash," he grumbled to the dog, who snored loudly in his ear. "They was all under arrest, but they just ignored us. Why, it's enough to make a man plum lose his faith in law and order, that's what it is." Snuffling louder, Flash gave her tail a wag, which might have been a sign that she agreed.


Spinning its wheels in a huge cloud of dust, the orange car turned off the road some way ahead, bouncing down a track to a small, rundown old farm. Face eyed it without enthusiasm.

"Hicksville," he grumbled, but Murdock was practically bouncing out of his seat with glee.

"But look, Face!" he chattered excitedly. "There's chickens! And ducks, and..." His mouth dropped open, and his eyes widened in sheer delight. "There's a goat! They've got a goat!"

"Yep, they sure do." As the van trundled to a halt, Face hauled open the side door and jumped out. "I wouldn't recommend trying to milk it, though. It looks kinda mean."

"Should never have let that fool read Heidi," said BA with a scowl. Hannibal laughed.

"Now now, BA. Never stand between a man and classic literature. Anyway, he's only asked for a goat of his own once or twice."

"And asked if we can go live in the mountains. And asked where he can get himself a grandfather. And demanded goat milk for breakfast more times than I can remember." BA climbed out of the van, glowering more with every passing second. "This is not going to help."

"Look on the bright side, BA," offered Face, as Murdock went over to say hello to the goat. "Maybe he'll suggest moving to Frankfurt, then he won't bother you anymore."

"I don't get that lucky." BA slammed his door shut, turning around to greet the two Duke boys as they came over from their car.

"Hi," said Luke, dusting off his hands on his jeans, and offering one to Hannibal to shake. "Luke Duke. Sorry we didn't get around to proper introductions back there."

"Things tend to get a little wild in these parts," explained his cousin, taking the opportunity to look the van over with interest. From somewhere inside the orange car he had acquired a cowboy hat, which was now sitting on his head at a jaunty angle. It made him look even younger still. "California plates. Boy, you sure are out of your way."

"We sure are," agreed Face, who was beginning to wilt in the heat. "Say, is it always like this around here? I thought you Southerners were supposed to be the laid back type."

"Wouldn't know about that," said Bo, with a grin. "Don't often get the chance to try it. You shouldn't let this place give you ideas, though. I don't reckon the whole state's like Hazzard county. We just got a few problems with the local law, is all." Whatever those problems were, he didn't seem too worried by them. "Come on inside now. We got you all mixed up in our troubles with Rosco. We ought to at least offer you a little hospitality. How's home-made lemonade sound?"

"See!" squeaked Murdock, bouncing back over to join the group. "Didn't I tell you? Can't beat the South for a friendly welcome."

"Well, we certainly try to do what we can," said Luke, and gestured towards the farmhouse nearby. An old man was standing on the steps, dressed in a pair of battered blue dungarees that looked at least as old as he was. "That's our Uncle Jesse. Makes the best lemonade south of the Missouri, or so folks say."

"Howdy there." Striding over to greet his guests, the old man shook hands in a shower of introductions, displaying a strength and energy that belied his obvious age. "Come on inside. It's far too hot today to go standing around out here in the yard." He cast a look at the orange car as he began to herd the A-Team towards the house, gesturing at the vehicle's dirtied up sides. "You boys been getting into trouble again?"

"Us, Uncle Jesse?" Bo's eyes were round with innocence, but his uncle merely glared.

"Don't you go trying that act with me, boy. I was pulling the same trick when you were nothing but a sparkle in your grand-daddy's eye. Now git inside, the pair of you. Help Daisy set up some refreshments."

"Yessir," mumbled Luke, and the two boys went on ahead. Face, meanwhile, with the in-built radar of the professional ladies' man, had perked up noticeably.

"Daisy?" he echoed, sounding studiously casual. Jesse nodded.

"My niece," he said fondly, and Face brightened up a little more.

"Well, if she needs help..." he began, earning an eye-roll from Hannibal.

"Face..." he began, but Face merely shrugged.

"It's unfair to let the lady do all the work, colonel," he protested, his innocent expression much on a par with Bo's. With a polite nod to Jesse, he set off after the boys towards the house, Murdock trotting along at his heels. Hannibal shook his head.

"We appreciate your hospitality, Mr Duke," he said. Jesse smiled.

"Just call me Jesse. And I'm always glad to help out. Say, did that boy there call you 'colonel'?"

"Yes." Hannibal tensed a little at the question, but Jesse merely smiled.

"Thought your names sounded familiar, when you were introducing yourselves just then. You boys are the A-Team."

"I would never ask a man to house fugitives," Hannibal assured him immediately, but Jesse barked out a short laugh.

"You ain't asking me anything. I'm offering. I've heard enough stories about you boys to know which side you're really on, and I don't reckon you're crooks any more than my boys are. The local police would have it different, but they've got their own agenda. Maybe it's the same with you."

"Maybe it is," agreed Hannibal, and Jesse nodded his head. Clearly no more needed to be said on the issue, and instead, leading the way up the rather rickety steps to the house, the old man ushered them inside. They were greeted by the inevitable - Face, leaning against a wall, already busily sweet-talking a brown-haired young woman, who was dressed in a pair of almost impossibly short shorts. The woman was clearly enjoying the attention, and was flirting back with almost as much gusto as Face. Hannibal rather got the impression that this was one lady who was more than able to hold her own against his lieutenant. Murdock, meanwhile, was raiding the refrigerator, babbling excitedly about goat's milk.

"Here, let me pour you some of that," offered Luke, producing a glass for the ecstatic captain. "Have you had it before? It don't taste a whole lot like cows' milk."

"Fear not, for I come from the Alps," intoned Murdock, earning a sharp glare from BA.

"You don't come from the Alps, fool! You ain't Heidi."

"Well obviously not, BA." His tone abruptly serious, Murdock rolled his eyes as though the sergeant were the crazy one. "I'm Peter, the goatherd."

"Don't fight it, BA," said Hannibal immediately. Bo offered them both glasses of lemonade.

"Heat too much for him?" he asked of Murdock, and Hannibal smiled.

"You could say that. Thanks."

"Sorry there's no ice," said Jesse. "Dang-blasted freezer never did work too good. Finally blew up just last month. Scared the chickens plum off their laying."

"This is fine, thank you." Hannibal took a sip of the lemonade, smiling politely. An ice-cold beer was more his style, but the local hospitality was warm enough to change his tastes for the occasion, and he sat down at the kitchen table to enjoy the drink properly. It was a nice little house, he decided, one that had clearly seen better days, but which was bright with the good cheer of its occupants. He had been expecting to travel through Hazzard county without making any stops, but he was rather glad that he had been persuaded to change his mind.

"That's a mighty fine looking set of wheels you got out there," Bo said to BA, ushering him into a chair nearby. BA, who could not help but relax at the compliment, almost smiled.

"I do my best," he said, a little guardedly. "Ain't always easy, with the police always chasing us down, but I do all the work on her that I can."

"Custom suspension?" asked Bo, and BA nodded.

"Sure. Custom tyres, too. I tinker with the engine when I can. Soup her up a little here, a little there." He softened a bit more. "From the sound of the engine, that ain't no ordinary Dodge Charger, either."

"We built the engine ourselves," said Bo. "Took some work, but it was worth it."

"Darn near killed the pair of you more than once, too," said Jesse, sitting down opposite. "Bits of engine blowing up left, right and centre. It's a wonder I got any sort of a farm left."

"He's exaggerating," said Luke, having presented Murdock with the entire jug of goat's milk, and clearly decided to leave him to it. "Only blew up once, and that was because we'd put some of the pieces together wrong. Ain't another car in Hazzard county as good as the General Lee."

"Sure looked like it handled good," said BA, with the respect of a fellow mechanic. "You really named it the General Lee, though?"

"Sure." Bo seemed surprised by the question. "Suits him. Suits the paint job, too. You see the flag on the roof? Heck, you heard the car horn earlier, too. He even whistles Dixie."

"Yeah, I heard." BA rose to his feet, going over to the window, from where he could look out over the yard. The orange car was clearly visible there, alongside his own beloved black van, and the rebel flag on the roof shone brightly in the sun. Jesse materialised at his shoulder, refilling his glass.

"Don't you worry about that none," he said. "Just because a few troublemakers go waving that flag around, and trying to mix it up with their idea of politics, doesn't mean that everybody with a copy of the thing agrees with them. Any more than when those fascists during the war starting waving the Stars and Stripes. I know that Southern politics can be a touchy subject, but that doesn't mean that they have to be."

"Suppose you're right." BA was still eyeing the flag rather doubtfully, but his stance had relaxed a little. He took another sip of his lemonade, and smiled. "Say, you know, this is pretty good. Not as good as my mamma makes it, but it's good."

"I'm glad to hear that." Smiling warmly, Jesse went to sit back down. "I'd sure like to invite you boys to stay for the rest of the day. You could try Daisy's cooking then, as well as this here lemonade. I got a feeling that things could be hotting up for you before much longer, though."

"Yeah," said Luke, one eye still on Murdock. "Rosco ain't no fool."

"No he ain't," agreed Jesse. "And if he got a good look at any of you boys, there'll be trouble soon enough, you mark my words. He might be crookeder than the hind leg of a lame donkey, but he's not so bad at policing, when he sets his mind to it. He can add two and two together, at any rate."

"You boys wanted?" asked Daisy immediately, and Face straightened up, automatically fixing his tie.

"Well..." he began, looking a little defensive. She grinned at him though, and moved a little closer.

"Honey, don't you go worrying none. 'Round here, being wanted by the police is practically a local hobby. Don't you fret about a thing."

"I could get to liking it here," said Face with a smile, and his arm slid neatly around her shoulders.

"Everybody likes it here, once they've visited a while," she told him. "Still, there's no hurry to leave right away. You drink up your lemonade. There's plenty more where that came from."

"We didn't intend to stop long," said Hannibal. "We've still got a long drive ahead of us. Ever since somebody sabotaged our air transport, we've been stuck with the long route out of Georgia."

"Shouldn't keep trying to put me on a plane, man," growled BA.

"We should think about training goats," interjected Murdock, earning a barrage of confused glances. "We could ride them. It'd save on fuel, and the bad guys would never expect it."

"What happened to the horse fixation?" asked Face. Murdock shrugged.

"Horses are all very well, Face, but you can't milk them. Or you can, but nobody ever wants to drink the milk. Goats are much better. Transport and healthy snacks, all in one. I'll start drawing up a plan, once I'm back in the VA."

"You do that, captain," said Hannibal, and clapped him on the shoulder. "In the meantime, perhaps we'd better think about getting out of Dodge. If the local police are likely to figure out who we are, I've got a feeling that we could be looking at a different kind of hospitality, pretty much any time now."


Several miles away, whilst the A-Team drank their lemonade in Uncle Jesse's kitchen, Sheriff Rosco P Coltrane was running into the Boar's Nest, waving dog-eared wanted posters, and leaving a paper trail of celebrated crooks fluttering in his wake. Boss Hogg, busily gnawing his way through a plate of chicken legs, glared up at him as he approached.

"Rosco, what are you doing running about like that? You know it gives me indigestion."

"Sorry." Rosco skidded to a halt, and slid into the seat opposite his partner in crime. The older man immediately turned his beady eye upon Flash, slumped as usual in her master's arms.

"And get that damned mutt away from me! It's unhygienic!"

"No she ain't, Boss. She just had a bath not an hour ago, after we both ended up in that dang-blasted pond again." Nonetheless, Rosco set the dog down on the floor, where she instantly started up one of her favourite pastimes - namely barking loudly at Boss Hogg. He glared at her, to no avail.

"What are you doing in here anyway?" he asked eventually, through a mouthful of fried chicken. "Can't you see it's my lunch hour?"

"Well I know that, my little fat buddy." Rosco's mood had clearly bounced its way back up from his earlier misfortunes, and he was now practically singing. "But I got to thinking about them strangers. The ones with the black van that I told you about? And I was wondering why anybody would be so quick to take off with them Duke boys, and not do their proper citizens' duty, by coming into town and giving a statement."

"Rosco, seems to me that when you start thinking, sensible people start covering their heads." Hogg sighed, and laid down another clean bone. "Go on. What did your sorry little brain manage to come up with this time?"

"Well, it's like this." Rosco giggled happily. "Them boys are wanted by the military police. There's one almighty reward for three of them, and I do mean al-mi-ghty."

"A reward?" Boss Hogg sat bolt upright, the dollar signs practically visible in his eyes. "I like rewards. Strikes me that it's my duty as a fine, upstanding citizen of Hazzard county to get rid of them crooks right away."

"Well I like rewards too, Boss," said Rosco, and slid a hand across the table, towards the plateful of chicken. Boss slapped it away.

"I know you do, Rosco. And since you found out about it all, and since you're my brother-in-law, I'll do the decent thing. We'll split it fair and square, seventy-thirty, just like always. But you have to go bring those boys in, right now, before they escape."

"Me?" Rosco's eyebrows shot up to dizzying heights. "Me as in... me? Me alone? Just me?"

"Well you don't want to be sharing that reward with anybody else, do you?" asked Hogg. "I mean to say, if you go bringing in the rest of our little local police force, then since they're you're employees, their money will have to come out of your thirty percent."

"It will?" asked Rosco. Boss nodded.

"Anyway, you're not telling me that some gang of fugitives is a match for Rosco P Coltrane, are you?"

"Well not ordinarily, no." Rosco didn't sound at all sure. "But this is the A-Team! And there's those Dukes, and--"

"Rosco, is you, or is you not, the sheriff?" asked Boss, and brandished a chicken leg at him. Rosco nodded.

"I is. I mean, I am."

"Well then." This seemed to Hogg to be explanation enough. "Get on out there, and get me my reward!"

"Our reward," corrected Rosco, rather unhappily, then nodded and rose to his feet. "All right, I'll go. Come on, Flash." He scooped the dog up in his arms, and she lay there as sleepy as always, but for the baleful glare that she sent Boss's way. "We'll get right on it."

"See that you do," said Boss, and leaned back in his chair. It was clear from his expression that he was already thinking about how he would spend the reward money. "And don't go letting them confounded Duke boys get in your way again."

"I won't, Boss. Me and Flash, we'll put them out of action, yes sirree." With another giggle, Rosco scurried towards the door, still shedding wanted posters as he went. "We'll be back before you know it, with them boys in tow. The A-Team and the Duke boys. Oh yes. Yes we will." And muttering away to himself all the while, he hurried back out of the Boar's Nest, intent on this latest game.


Back at the Duke farm, BA was lost in a lively discussion with Bo about car parts, whilst Luke, who had spent some time in the Marines, was discussing aeroplanes with Murdock. Hannibal and Jesse sat in companionable silence, having graduated past lemonade to a small glass each of Jesse's special blend moonshine. It was the sort of gentle peace that was sure to be spoiled by some kind of trouble eventually, and sure enough the CB radio squawked suddenly into life.

"Breaker One, Breaker One, I might be crazy but I ain't dumb. This is Crazy Cooter comin' at ya. Any of you Dukes got your ears on out there? Come back."

"What's Cooter want?" wondered Bo. Luke shrugged, and went over to pick up the mic.

"Hey Cooter. We're here. Can we do something for you, old buddy?"

"More like something I can do for you, Luke. Thought you might like to know that Boss Hogg and Rosco were just busy chattering away about you boys over at the Boar's Nest. Something to do with some friends of yours, I gather. Friends in a black van? That mean anything to you?"

"Sure does." Luke sighed, glancing back towards his companions. "You hear anything else, Coot?"

"Little of this, little of that. Weren't easy to listen in without them noticing, but I heard something about a reward. Whatever it was, it had Boss looking as excited as he only gets when there's a whole lot of money headed his way. Strikes me that you might be wanting to get those friends of yours out of Hazzard county pretty fast."

"Yeah, we're on it. Thanks, man. Buy you a beer next time we're in town."

"Well I don't mind if you do." Cooter's voice was bright with humour. "Good luck there, Luke. And if you're wanting any help, just you holler, you hear?"

"Will do. Dukes out." Luke hung up the mic again, and turned back to the others. "Well, you heard him."

"We've got a head start at least," said Jesse. "No need to worry too much just yet. You boys take our guests for a little tour. Show them the back roads. You know the way I mean."

"Sure do, Uncle Jesse." Bo was looking excited, the prospect of a chase with the local police clearly appealing to him greatly. "Don't worry. We'll have you boys across the county lines before Rosco can get anywhere near you. He won't be hanging around, though. He ain't exactly in our league as a driver, but he ain't so far off it, neither."

"Great," said Face wryly. "A high speed car chase, right after all that lemonade."

"Well, you just come ride with me, sugar." Daisy leaned against him, clearly enjoying the contact. "I never break the speed limit."

"Somehow I find that hard to believe." Nonetheless, Face smiled. It was an invitation that he was not about to refuse. "What do you drive?"

"I have a jeep out back. It's real cosy." She gave his tie a playful swat, then looked back to her cousins. "Come on, you two layabouts. Race you."

"You be careful out there, all of you," said Jesse, but the three younger Dukes were already running outside, the roar of the General Lee's engine filling the yard almost before the A-Team had made it out of the farmhouse door. Hannibal reached over to shake Jesse's hand.

"Thank you," he said, and Jesse beamed at him.

"Oh it's nothing," he said. "Just good old fashioned Southern hospitality, is all. I'm just sorry it's had to end so sudden. You all come back some time soon, you hear?"

"Be glad to," Hannibal told him, and headed over towards the van at a casual pace. It was not his style to run too fast from the law, although he had no desire to risk getting the Dukes into trouble. He swung up into the passenger seat just as a small, white jeep came hurtling around the side of the house, screeching to a halt alongside Face.

"Your chariot awaits, Faceman," said Murdock with a grin. Face raised an eyebrow.

"I thought you never broke the speed limit?" he asked Daisy. She smiled up at him.

"Hop in," was her only reply, and, after a moment's silent communion with the patron saint of foolhardy soldiers, he did just that. A second later the General Lee roared off, clouds of dust billowing in its wake. Murdock hurried over to the van, and soon enough all three vehicles were racing away. The roads were rough and uncompromising, filled with dips and potholes, but BA was more than driver enough to keep up with the two lead cars. His van was heavier, however, and he had to work hard in order not to fall too far behind.

"Damn fool way to spend an afternoon," he muttered, as he spun the wheel to avoid a particularly large pothole. Hannibal blew a lazy cloud of smoke.

"We could have gone by plane, BA," he said quietly. "Then we'd never even have set foot in Hazzard county."

"But then we'd never have met that goat," said Murdock, much as though this would have been some dreadful tragedy. BA glared at him in the rear view mirror.

"Will you shut up about goats! It's getting to be even weirder than usual."

"You won't say that when I've trained my special goat squad." Murdock leaned forward, apparently ready to explain, in great detail, just how he planned to swell the A-Team's ranks with the addition of a few bearded ruminants, when suddenly he frowned, eyes on the mirror. "Say, BA. Is that a police car that I can see gaining on us?"

"Where? Ain't no police car within--" BA broke off, for the rear view mirror clearly showed a car, sailing around the corner just behind them. "Everybody hold on tight."

Up ahead, Bo and Luke had noticed the police car at almost the same moment, and they exchanged a bright smile. Luke grabbed the CB mic, and thumbed the switch with jovial energy.

"This is Lost Sheep to Bo Beep. Lost Sheep to Bo Peep. You got your ears on back there, Dais?"

"Bo Beep to Lost Sheep. I'm here, Luke." Flashing a bright smile to Face as she switched to driving one-handed, Daisy answered in a voice filled with cheer. "You got a plan?"

"That van's a little heavy for some of these corners." Luke had clearly been thinking. "We're going to need to take some of the heat off them. You up for a game of chase?"

"If my passenger doesn't have any objections." Daisy batted her eyelashes at Face, who was caught somewhere between charmed and panicked. He smiled back slightly nervously, and clung on grimly to the nearest object that seemed reasonably secure.

"Okay. We'll lead. You take your cue from us." In the background, behind Luke's voice, came the sound of Bo uttering an ear-piercing rebel yell. "Lost Sheep out."

"You do this sort of thing often?" asked Face, as Daisy hung the mic back up again. She smiled at him.

"Twice a day, or thereabouts. Course, we make an exception on Sundays."

"Of course." He swallowed hard, beginning to think that the van might have been the better option after all, pretty girl or not. "You know, I could start to feel sorry for the local police. And that's not something that I tend to think very often."

"Oh, don't go wasting any sympathy on Rosco, sugar. Around here, the only sort of law we've got is crooked. Crooked or just plain hopeless, that sums up most of them. Ain't much for the decent folk to do except tune up their engines, and go play a little tag with the patrol cars." Her smile climbed up a notch or three. "Hold on to your hat now."

"I don't have a hat." He was holding on, though - to the seat, to the dash, to the roll bars - to anything and everything as the jeep suddenly accelerated forward, tearing off in pursuit of the General Lee. The orange Charger, with a blast of Dixie on the car horn, performed a perfect one eighty in the road ahead, which Daisy somehow managed to avoid smashing into as she careened after them, before shooting back off the way that they had come. Face had a brief glimpse of BA and Hannibal through the windshield of the van, before suddenly they were past, and hurtling towards Rosco's police car.

"Aren't Bo and Luke going to slow down?" asked Face, his eyes widening slightly as he watched the General Lee speed onwards, straight towards Rosco. Neither boy had seemed the type to play chicken, especially given how, when he had first met them, they had been going to check that their enemy had not been too badly hurt. Daisy laughed.

"Watch," was all that she said, and a moment later, with another blast of the car horn, the General Lee suddenly hit a rise in the road. With a powerful whoop from one or the other of the boys inside, the car was abruptly in the air, sailing over Rosco's car, and landing with a jolt just behind it. Face gulped.

"Are we...?" he asked, but Daisy laughed again, and instead of attempting a similar jump, began to zigzag about in the road. Rosco swerved to avoid them, only to bring himself back into their path as they swerved as well. Eyes wide, he gesticulated wildly through the windscreen, and Daisy gave a happy giggle, before slamming the jeep into reverse. Face was sorely tempted to shut his eyes. A moment later he wished that he had.

"Er... Daisy? What's Luke doing?"

"Getting out of the car." Spinning the jeep around in the middle of the road, Daisy sped up again, chasing after the A-Team's van as it began to widen its lead. Face turned back to look, getting a brief glimpse through the rear of the jeep as Luke clambered halfway out of the passenger window, his bow once again in his hands.

"That's what I thought. He does know that the car's moving, right?"

"Don't bother too much about him." They hit a dip in the road, and Face's head jolted painfully against the roll bar above. "Luke has a thing about getting in and out of moving vehicles. I wouldn't worry, so long as Bo's driving."

"And does Bo ever go at less than ninety miles an hour? With all four wheels on the ground?" asked Face. Daisy laughed again.

"Sometimes. Usually just on Sundays, though. You ready?"

"For what?" But she was already slamming on the brakes. Behind them, with an ugly sound of crunching gravel, the police car went into a skid, Rosco proving that he was no slouch behind the wheel as he avoided colliding with them by the skin of his teeth. Behind him, however, Bo and Luke were closing in for the kill. With another blast of Dixie, and another yell from Bo, the General Lee sped up, shooting past Face and Daisy just as Rosco overtook them as well. Luke fired his bow as they passed, and the arrow sped onward, slamming home into Rosco's rear right wheel. The tyre blew, and the car, in a cloud of black dust, rocketed off the side of the road. It came to a halt in a large bush, and the General Lee pulled up nearby. Daisy drew up alongside, and leaned out for a look.

"Everything okay?" she asked. Bo and Luke were already halfway to the bush, where Rosco's still spinning rear wheels were just visible beneath a thick covering of leaves. A moment later the sheriff himself appeared, Flash sprawled comfortably in his arms. Rosco's hat was at a peculiar angle, but he was clearly unharmed, and he pointed at the Dukes with a wavering finger.

"You... you... you..."

"He's fine." Spinning around, the Duke boys ran back to the General Lee, leaping inside and taking off before Rosco could finish his spluttering sentence. Daisy gave chase, and soon enough the van was visible once again just up ahead. A little while after that, the sign thanking them for driving carefully through Hazzard county hove into view, and Face smiled at the sight of it.

"Wishful thinking on somebody's part," he said. Daisy drew the car to a halt.

"That was careful driving!" she protested. "You should come back sometime, and see us when there's a real chase going on."

"I think I can live without that." He smiled at her nonetheless, clambering out of the jeep, and hoping fervently that his legs weren't shaking. "Thanks. I appreciate the ride."

"Oh, it was nothing." She followed him out, leaning on the hood. "Any time."

"Any trouble from the sheriff?" asked Hannibal, coming over to join them. Face winced, and Luke shook his head.

"No sir, no trouble at all. It won't take him long to get mobile again, though. You'd best be off. We'd give you an escort, but Bo and me aren't allowed out of Hazzard. Terms of our parole."

"I understand." Hannibal shook his hand. "That was some good driving. We appreciate it. Listen, is there going to be any trouble for you after all this?"

"No." Bo, all smiles, was clearly unconcerned. "We can handle Rosco. Once he realises that his reward money just left town, he'll give up and go home. I doubt he'll go warning anybody else about you either. He won't want anybody else getting that reward. So you don't need to worry about any welcoming committees along the road."

"Glad to hear it." Hannibal shook his hand as well. "We'd best be off. It's been... interesting."

"Just a little country fun." Bo was still grinning, the joy of the chase bright in his eyes. "You're welcome back any time. Maybe some time we can try out a race, huh BA?"

"You bet," BA told him, then jerked a thumb at Hannibal. "Come on, man. Time we was out of here."

"I'm coming." Hannibal looked back to Face, who was still talking to Daisy. "Er... Face?"

"Coming, colonel." He showed no sign of doing so however, and with a roll of the eyes, Hannibal climbed back into the van. As Face leaned forward to kiss Daisy, the van went into reverse, and Hannibal and Murdock leaned out of the back, catching his arms and hauling him inside. A second later the big vehicle zoomed forward again, the back door sliding shut with a bang, as the A-Team exited Hazzard county. Daisy heaved a sigh.

"He was nice," she said, somewhat dreamily. "Still, I guess it wouldn't have worked. What with him being a fugitive and all."

"So are we, most of the time," Bo reminded her, and she seemed to brighten at that.

"That's true. Maybe I'll write to him. What do you suppose his address is?"

"The A-Team, Big Black Van, Los Angeles," said Luke, and slung an arm around each of his cousins' shoulders, guiding them back towards their cars. Daisy laughed, but as they reached her jeep, she cast him a thoughtful glance.

"You reckon an address like that would work?" she asked. Luke grinned.

"Something tells me it probably would," he said, and as she climbed into her jeep, he and Bo turned back towards the General Lee.

"Race you?" asked Bo. Daisy gunned her engine.

"You're on. Loser has to do all the chores." She had a head start, for the boys were not even in their car yet, and with a laugh she sped off. Luke glared at Bo.

"Why'd you have to go and suggest a dang fool thing like that for?"

"Relax." Bo swung in through the window of their car, his boyish grin still lighting his face. "Come on, cousin. Time's a wasting."

"You're crazy, you know that?" Jumping in alongside, Luke smiled as the Charger's custom built engine burst into life. Bo laughed.

"Just hold onto your hat," he said, and with an almighty whirlwind of dust, they were on their way again. The cheerful sound of the car horn echoed through the still, hot air, and over the county line, the A-Team heard it in their van. Hannibal laughed, and blew a smoke ring up towards the roof.

"I love it when a plan comes together," he said with a grin; and back in Hazzard county, it sounded like the General was showing he agreed.