The Jump – Bo's POV

Balladeer: Well it ain't no big surprise that Bo and Luke are in a car and getting into trouble. Who ever told them boys that cars could fly anyways? It's a good thing that they is a driving cause I got my eyes closed. Just let me know how it turns out.


The feeling when the tires left the ground was almost heart stopping and the car seemed to hang in air forever. The driver struggled with the steering wheel even though he knew that it was not likely to have any effect. It landed with the rear tires touching down first and then the front. It was a hard landing and both occupants of the car were slammed forward and then back and then and only then did the sound of an ear splitting rebel yell fill the air. The passenger looked to the driver. "Dang cousin I reckon that wasn't half bad for a first time."

Bo Duke looked over to his cousin who still was gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. "C'mon Luke smile- that was pert near perfect and it ain't like you had any practice neither. I think that you're just a natural, dang maybe it just that all Dukes can drive and fly."

For some reason his older cousin still didn't look too convinced and Bo felt a twinge of conscious. He knew that Luke hadn't wanted to do this and he had coerced him into doing it.

"If Uncle Jessie finds out Bo…"

Bo looked out the window and tried to think of anything besides Uncle Jessie. He knew that not so long ago Luke and he both had gotten the strap because they had snuck out and lied to their Uncle. That had most likely been his fault and Luke had really gotten a whippen which to Bo sounded like their Uncle must have been trying to kill Luke. And his cousin had still been so upset the next day still that Uncle Jessie had made him go back to bed for a while. And when someone as hard working as Jessie Duke is making you go to bed in the middle of the day you know it must be bad.

"He ain't gonna find out Luke. Come on stop being such a baby."

Luke turned to him with fire in his eyes. "Well first you call me a chicken cause I didn't want to risk life and limb to jump this damn car across the gully and now you got enough nerve to be calling me a baby."

Bo noticed that Luke stomped on the brake and threw that car into park.

"Now Luke you know I was just havin a little fun that's all. There ain't no need to get yourself all upset about it now." He threw in a dazzling smile for good measure.

The age difference between them was big enough that he had never actually fought his cousin other than to wrestle with him. But he had seen Luke in a fist fight once or twice and he knew that his cousin had a right hook that must feel like running straight into a freight train. And he had no hankerin to find out firsthand if that was true. "C'mon Luke I was just kidding honest I know you ain't no chicken."

Luke turned towards him and gave him a hard look. "Look Bo I'm just asking myself why in tarnation did I let you talk me into making this dang jump. It's like I lost my darn mind or somethin. I promised Uncle Jessie I wasn't gonna help you get yourself into trouble no more and instead of doing that I'm the one getting into it."

Bo couldn't do anything but stare back at Luke and feel like for once in his life he should have just kept his big mouth shut. He knew that he shouldn't tried to push Luke into making the jump but he hadn't thought of anything except thinking that once Luke did it it would seem like it had all been worth it. But lookin at Luke's grim expression he didn't think his cousin felt that way at all.

"Come on Luke it was at least some fun right?" Bo held his breath waiting for his dark haired cousin's answer.

"Well I guess it was kinda excitin I felt for a minute there like I couldn't catch my breath, and I didn't think we was ever gonna land." Luke gave Bo a small smile and Bo let go with another rebel yell.

"Come on cousin lets turn it around and jump it from this side. Only this time let me do it." Bo was not pleased with the look he received from his cousin upon hearing this suggestion.

"You know you ain't even old enough to drive yet much less be making this here car fly."

Bo felt his hold on his own temper starting to go. "Dang it Luke I have been driving the farm equipment since I was in grade school. You know I been driving your car on the backroads for as long as you have. And I have been jumping it over everything I could find for almost as long. So say whatever you want just don't have the nerve to tell me that I can't drive cause that's a dang lie."

"Oh okay Mr. Stunt Driver and I guess Uncle Jessie must be just fine with all this driving and jumping and all." Bo looked down at the floor of the car not wanting to answer the question that had just been put to him.

"Well seeing as you ain't answered my question I'll answer it. The last time that Uncle Jessie found out that you had jumped across the creek on our property he threatened to take the strap to you. And we both know that he meant it too. You know you ain't supposed to be driving or jumping anything other than your bicycle."

"I ain't even gonna talk to you no more Luke if all you want to do is insult me." Bo turned and looked out the window and fought tears that threatened. Of all the people in the world Luke's opinion meant the most to him. He had been his big brother for all of his life and Bo wanted nothing more than to please him. It was the same way he felt with Uncle Jessie and Bo knew that he was lucky that they were both in his life. But he hated it with a passion when Luke treated him like some little kid. More than anything he wanted to be his equal.

"Look Bo I'm sorry I just promised myself that I was gonna be a better influence on you and here I am lettin you talk me into something like this. I should just tell Uncle Jessie that you been jumping this car over things and tell him that I did it too and just take what ever is coming." Bo held his breath for a long moment, while Luke had threatened to tell on him the next time he never believed for a second that he would. And Bo had no doubt what would happen to them both if Luke confessed. To his way of thinking it was a really bad idea all the way around.

He loved his Uncle Jessie with all of his heart and he was the only father that he had ever known. And while he knew that the farmer would go to bat for any of them at the drop of a hat he also knew that his Uncle had certain rules. No questions asked you followed those rules and if you didn't there were things that would happen as a result of that. And he should know that better than anyone else. Because he had been on the receiving end of not following the rules more than anyone else.

Bo knew that it was as if something inside of him made him continue to test Uncle Jessie. He hated getting whippens with a passion but for some reason knowing that's exactly what was likely to happen didn't ever seem to change his mind. Like he knew that after Uncle Jessie had whipped them both Luke actually thought about it in regards to making decisions. And of course he didn't- not often anyway. He just accepted it and hoped it didn't ever happen again.

And it wasn't ever about him not thinking that he was wrong. He realized that he made some huge mistakes and was always very deserving of any punishment his Uncle handed out. But once it was done and the sting receded from his backside, he considered it over and done with and soon forgotten. Especially after a whippen their Uncle always made a point of saying that they were forgiven. And after taking his punishment Bo always considered his mistakes paid for but he often wondered if Luke forgave himself.

Because as well as he knew his older cousin he knew that Luke often thought about being punished and the things he had done wrong that had resulted in his being punished. But he figured that his cousin just thought about things in general in greater depth than he did. And maybe that would explain why he found his behind in direct line with Uncle Jessie's hand much more often than Luke did.

The two of them managed to get themselves in some deep trouble over the years but the pattern was always the same. Luke usually tried to talk Bo out of stupid decisions and Bo tried to talk Luke into stupid decisions hoping that their Uncle would never know. And if he found out Bo just accepted the inevitable and as much as he hated it and wished the rules were different he just took whatever he had coming. And of course he would remember it in regards to self preservation of his butt for the next time but other than that it would just be over.

And maybe Luke felt the way he did because his relationship with their Uncle was different. The farmer loved all of his charges equally but Bo knew that being the baby meant that his Uncle had a special place in his heart for him. And Bo suspected that his Uncle might have even gone a little easier on him because of it. Luke was the oldest and carried the responsibility of that position. And it wasn't something their Uncle pushed them into either. Luke was always their leader and they all depended on him.

And while Luke never said anything about that it must be a hard place to be in and not
for the first time Bo realized that he was glad that he wasn't the oldest. "Look Luke we don't want to tell Uncle Jessie about all this."

Luke made a sound that Bo thought was a lot like a snort. "No you don't want to tell Uncle Jessie about this. I still ain't made up my mind as to if it's a good idea or not."

While Bo realized that breaking the rules had consequence he surely didn't want any consequences today. The memory of the last time was too fresh in his mind.

"C'mon Luke you don't want a repeat of the last time do you? Not even you can want that again. Uncle Jessie just about whipped the hide offa you and even I remember how much you hated it. Did you want that to happen again cousin?"

Luke shook his head no. "I had my fill of gettin my behind blistered for a while that's for dang sure. So even though this is against my better judgment I guess we can keep this our little secret."

Bo exhaled a relief filled sigh. "But hear me out Bo- no more jumping at least for a while."

Bo had known that he wouldn't get through this without some sort of sanction and he just nodded in agreement. "Yes sir, Uncle Jessie."

He wasn't surprised when Luke reached over and smacked the back of his head. "Very funny Bo."

The rest of the ride home was silent but a comfortable silence at that. In very short order they were back at the farm, Luke parked his car in the usual spot and both boys got out and walked towards Uncle Jessie.

"Well I'm glad that you boys is home now. Luke I need a new fan belt for the dang tractor and I was wondering if you would run into the garage in town for me."

Luke nodded that he would and went to get back into the car and Bo followed. He saw his Uncle shake his finger in his direction. "Now as fer as you go boy don't you still have some chores that need attending to?"

Bo swore to himself but nodded to his Uncle and watched with envy as Luke drove off the farm.

Before he had much chance to think about it Uncle Jessie had him busy fixing the roof on the chicken coop. They had been at it for about an hour when he heard a car pull into the yard. Bo just figured that Luke had come back from town but he saw his Uncle get a funny expression on his face and turned just in time to see Roscoe get out of his sheriff's car and walk towards them. "Afternoon Jessie, Bo how are y'all doing today? Looks like some mighty hard work there."

Uncle Jessie straightened up from his labors and shook the sheriff's hand. "Yes it surely is that and on a hot one like today too. Now as nice as it is to have us a visit Roscoe I'm thinking that you might have something else on your mind, so what is it?"

Bo watched as Roscoe nodded his head. "Yes Sir Jessie I need to talk to you fer just a minute."

Bo felt his heart start to beat double time as Roscoe looked directly at him as he said it.

The farmer also looked in his direction. "Bo why don't you go into the house and git
yourself a glass of lemonade and then after Roscoe and I are done talking I'll come in and
git you."

Not wanting to the teen did as he was told, but as soon as he got into the farm house he went Uncle Jessie's room and hunkered down in front of the window so that he could hear some of the conversation between the sheriff and his Uncle. And sure enough his worst nightmares were realized when he heard Roscoe telling the farmer that he had seen Luke's car jump across the gully.

He apparently didn't know who had been driving but had assumed that it was Bo. The teen actually smiled as Roscoe explained to Jessie that he knew that Bo was driving Luke's vehicle and that he seemed to be a darn good driver at that. Bo was torn between feeling proud and being terrified all at the same time. Apparently it hadn't occurred to Roscoe that it might have been Luke that was driving.

"So ya see the thing here Jessie is that the boy shouldn't oughta be driving and he sure as tarnation shouldn't be jumping that car over anything. He'll be sixteen just before we know it and then when he's legal like it'll be a different story. I just would hate to see anything happen to the boy Jessie."

Uncle Jessie looked like he could chew nails. "Oh something is gonna happen to the boy all right."

He and Roscoe walked back to the patrol car. "Well we both know that a daddy's gotta do what a daddy's gotta do."

And then he laughed that laugh that both Bo and Luke could imitate very well, and often made fun of.

Bo hightailed it into the kitchen and poured himself half a glass of lemonade and quickly sat down at the table. He put on his most relaxed face as if he were at a Sunday social instead of facing the farmer's wrath once again. And he made a decision about the situation. He knew that Luke had jumped the car and that had been who Roscoe had seen and not him. But even knowing that he also knew that Luke hadn't wanted to do it and probably wouldn't have if Bo hadn't been so cussed ornery to him about it.

So realizing all that he also made up his mind that if there was to be punishment that he would just take it. Uncle Jessie already thought that he had done it and so did Roscoe. But maybe he could just talk his Uncle out of any punishment and then Luke would never even have to know that he had been completely right when he said that they shouldn't have done it. He was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of the screen door banging against the side of the house as the farmer entered.

By looking at his face Bo realized that maybe his plan to get out of any kind of punishment might not be too realistic cause his Uncle looked very unhappy. He watched as the farmer pulled out a chair and sat down next to him at the table.

"So did you want a glass of lemonade Uncle Jessie?" Bo tried to keep his voice calm and relaxed but he noted with chagrin that it came out an octave higher than usual. His voice had changed almost two years ago and it was only when he was nervous that it was higher. Unfortunately he knew his Uncle well enough to know that he knew that too.

"No Bo, I don't think I want anything to drink right now. What I do want is some honest answers from ya."

Bo wondered if the farmer could tell that he was sweating under his hard gaze. He sat back in his chair and fought hard the urge to squirm. "Bout what?"

"Well you know that Roscoe was just here and he wanted to talk to me. And I figure that you know what about to."

Bo put on his most innocent face. "Gee Uncle I'm real sorry but I don't know what you mean. Was it somethin about me?"

He never even saw his Uncle move but suddenly he was holding Bo's upper arm and grasping pretty darn hard too. "Now just ain't a good time to play games with me boy. I figure from the look on your face when Roscoe pulled in that you knew exactly what he was here to tell me. Fortunately for me you ain't never been a good liar boy."

Uncle Jessie let go of his arm and sat back in his chair. "Did you or did you not jump Luke's car across the gully?"

Well Bo thought to himself at least he wouldn't have to lie to his Uncle because he had jumped it two times last week alone.

"Yes sir I guess I did."

Jessie sighed and looked hard again at his nephew. "Did I not tell you that you was not to do that anymore?"

Oh shoot, Bo had forgotten about that little detail. "Yes sir, I guess you did."

He really didn't like the look on his Uncle's face at all. "Well then if'n you remember that then I'll just bet you remember what I promised you would happen if you disobeyed me too."

Bo swallowed what felt like a rock in his throat as he had hoped that the farmer would just turn him over his knee and give him a couple of swats and that would be it.

"Say it Beauregard." Dang it, he was never called by his full name unless he was in deep trouble. Bo felt as if he couldn't take a deep breath and shook his head no.

"All right then I'll say it. I promised to take the strap to you again. And I gotta say that after the last time you an Luke got it I didn't think I would be doin this again anytime soon. But apparently I was wrong."

Bo thought about it and realized that he could just admit that Luke had done it and while he would still be in trouble he wouldn't be facing the strap. But for some reason he just couldn't tell on Luke. He knew that Uncle Jessie had nearly whipped the hide off of his cousin the last time they had gotten into trouble and that too had been because of a bright idea of his. No, he figured no matter what was coming his way he would just be a man and take it. No way was he gonna get Luke involved in this mess any deeper. And then his Uncle asked the question.

"What was Luke doin when you were jumping his car across the gully?"

Bo fought the urge to tell him the truth again but instead opted to lie. "He was in the passenger seat and he didn't want me to do it either. I had to talk him outta tellin you cause he was gonna. But I promised him I wouldn't never do it again if he didn't tell. He sure was mad at me though."

Bo knew that his uncle bought that story hook line and sinker. He didn't know whether to feel glad or wretched as he understood he had just bought himself a whole world of miserable.

"He shouldn't have listened to you and because he did he'll be grounded for another month, but at least he won't be getting the same as you are gonna get."

And Bo realized again then that he had made the right decision no matter what the cost to his behind. And he hoped that his Uncle just got it over with as he didn't know how long he could continue to be the hero. And if Luke happened to come home before Bo got punished he would tell their Uncle what had really happened and then they would probably both get it.

So he knew that this was the only way and as much as he didn't want to be punished he wanted Luke to be punished ever less. He wasn't sure why all of a sudden he was so brave to face Uncle Jessie but Luke had been protecting him for his whole life and he figured he owed him at least this much in return. After all it had been his stupid idea that had landed them in this mess to start with.

Uncle Jessie got up from the table and went into his room and when he returned he had the strap in his hand. Bo felt tears fill his eyes and he fought against them. "Dang it boy I surely don't feel like doing this again."

Bo wanted to tell his Uncle that he didn't feel like it either but he knew there would be no point. "Yes sir."

He saw his Uncle point to the chair where he had been punished last time and checking first to make sure his back pockets were empty he slowly walked over and leaned across the back of the chair.

He tried to calm himself by thinking about how this was to keep Luke out of trouble. Trouble that his cousin had gotten into because of him - again. But all he could focus on was just how much the strap was gonna hurt. And he didn't have to wait long to find out. The first swat almost caught him by surprise and it hurt even more than he remembered. He struggled not to cry out and to remain in place but those were both difficult battles. Uncle Jessie was giving him swats that were both hard and fast and he tried with all his might to just take his punishment. But it wasn't easy it was near impossible.

He didn't know exactly how many he had received but it felt as if everything from his behind to the back of his legs was actually on fire. He prayed that he had been punished enough and he gave into crying which made him feel a little less miserable.

"I am disappointed in you son that you continue to disobey me, when you know that all I have in mind is your best interests." Hearing his Uncle say how disappointed he was in Bo that became the straw that broke the camels back and the teen gave in and wailed.

Between the blazing in his behind and feeling like he was just a big disappointment to his Uncle Bo hurt as much as he ever had. And if that wasn't enough his Uncle gave him five more very hard swats with the strap. Bo was crying so hard that he didn't hear his Uncle throw the strap on the couch and walk to where he was. He felt strong arms pull him to a standing position and lead him back to the couch. Uncle Jessie sat down and pulled him onto his lap and even that made Bo cry harder because it hurt.

The farmer wrapped Bo in a very tight hug and actually began to rock him as he had when he was small and used to get hurt or was afraid. All Bo could do was to cry and he tried to let himself be comforted but he still felt unworthy and tried to pull out of the embrace.

"Now you just stop that young'un. I forgive you and I still love you and I'm sorry that I had to be so hard on you just now. But I can't have you driving when you ain't yet legal and I sure as tarnation can't have you putting your life at risk. But even with all that son you have always been my pride and joy and you always will be."

For the first time since this all started Bo felt himself relax alittle bit and he leaned into Uncle Jessie's broad shoulder and cried. His Uncle continued to rock him and stroke his back, and Bo again realized the special connection that he had with the farmer, and even with all the physical discomfort his punishment had caused it helped to be so close to his Uncle. They sat like that for a while and Bo was glad that Daisy wasn't home today because truth be told while he was always telling everyone that would listen how grown he was, he was glad to be still sitting on Uncle Jessie's lap like this. And if anyone had seen he would have been embarrassed.

Bo had finally gotten his crying under control and while the fire in his behind raged on it wasn't hurting as bad as it had right after Uncle Jessie had finished. "You need to promise me that you ain't gonna be jumping Luke's car no more."

Bo began to nod his head as that was the last thing he wanted to do after the hard punishment he had just received. "Wait a minute little one you ain't heard the second part yet. You also ain't to drive Luke's car again until you got your license."

Bo's eyes got wide upon hearing the second part of his Uncle's request he couldn't believe what he had just said. "But Uncle….."

He saw the resolute look on the farmers face and he knew dang good and well that that was where Luke got all his stubborn from. "No buts, except yours which will be feeling the strap again if you don't make me a promise now."

Hearing this Bo started crying again as the thought of more was just too much for him. "Did you want that son?"

Now Bo couldn't help it and just started wailing again. "No…no sir."

He felt Uncle Jessie get him again in a tighter hold. "A promise then?"

"I promise not to drive Luke's car again until I got a license." And knowing how his Uncle felt about promises he felt sick knowing that he would have to keep this one. And taking into consideration how much his butt hurt he knew he didn't want to chance it and just hope Uncle Jessie wouldn't find out. Because like Luke had said after his last punishment Bo didn't ever want to experience this again.

He felt his Uncle place a soft kiss on his forehead. "Now that's my boy."

Bo was glad that his Uncle continued to hold onto him and rub his back and he felt no need to move just yet.

They were both surprised when Luke came walking into the room wiping his greasy hands on a rag. "I put the new fan belt in and ….."

Bo could see Luke eyes widen in surprise as he took in the whole scene. And Bo thought that Luke looked kinda sick when he noticed the strap lying on the couch. Bo pushed his way off of Uncle Jessie's lap and stood up rubbing his behind and wincing as he did so. "Roscoe came out here and told Uncle Jessie that he had seen me jump your car across the gully this afternoon."

Bo watched Luke's eyes get narrow with suspicion when he said that. "What are you talking about cousin?"

Luke was looking at him like he was crazy now. Uncle Jessie also stood up and faced Luke. "Don't bother trying to deny it boy, Bo here already admitted that he had done it and took his punishment. And speaking about that even thought Bo told me that you did everything you could to try to stop him I'm afraid that you are grounded again cause it was your car and you didn't tell me about it."

Luke looked confused "But Uncle Jessie…."

The farmer cut him off and pointed a finger in his face. "That is all there is to that and unless you want some of what Bo just got I suggest you leave it alone. Now go and wash up and come out to the chicken coop as Bo and me was working on that when Roscoe showed up."

Uncle Jessie pulled Bo to him and gave him another hug. "Now we got it all straight between us right?"

Bo simply nodded and kept his eyes glued to his cousin's face.

Jessie put a gentle hand on Bo's shoulder "I love you Bo."

And with that he reached over and picking up the strap went back outside. The cousins continued to stare at each other until they heard the screen door slam and then Luke walked to where Bo was and grabbed both of his arms. "What in the hell is going on Bo?"

Bo was surprised by his cousin's harsh treatment of him and felt tears fall again.

He shrugged off Luke's hands "I told you Roscoe told Uncle Jessie that I jumped your car across the gully and he whipped me."

Again Luke looked as if Bo had lost his mind. "Yeah except for one little detail Bo you didn't jump the car I did. And unless something has happened in the meanwhile I'm thinking that you should remember that. Why in the world would you take a whippen that was meant for me?"

Luke started to pace the floor and Bo could see him putting the pieces together. "That's exactly what you did isn't it? You knew that Uncle Jessie would strap someone and you took it instead of me."

Bo hadn't thought about how Luke would feel about what he had done but he surely hadn't thought that Luke would be mad at him. "Yeah I got you into the mess, I know you didn't want to jump it and I made fun of ya until you did it. So I guess it shoulda been me anyway, and how bout all those times when I did do the jumping he still doesn't know about those. So I figured it would be better if I just confessed and accepted it. And anyway it wasn't so bad."

Bo hoped that Luke believed that. "Yeah I can see with one look just how bad it was. You look like you been crying hard for a while. And I ain't seen you sit on Uncle's lap for a few years neither- sore butt or no."

Suddenly Bo found himself on the receiving end of a hug from his cousin. "It means a lot that you would do this for me Bo, but I have to tell him the truth. I knew today when I jumped what would happen if we got caught. And as much as I don't want what you just got I can't lie to him. It'll just be worse if'n I do."

Bo wished he could just make Luke see things his way. He had done all of this to keep Luke from getting into trouble with their Uncle and he wished that Luke would just go along. But he knew that his cousin was as stubborn as they came and he knew once he made up his mind there would be no turning back. "Knowing Uncle Jessie I'm likely to get it again just for lying about the whole thing."

Bo felt his cousin's arm wrap around his shoulders and give him a gentle squeeze. "You know as well as I do that Uncle Jessie is fair Bo, if anything he's gonna feel real bad about punishing you for something that I did. Probably almost as bad as I feel about it."

Luke walked to the door in the kitchen. "I know how much what you did today meant, and what it cost you. You were trying to protect me after my last trip over his knee. And I gotta say being the one who usually does the watching out for everyone it's a strange but nice feeling to have some one watch over me."

Bo could see tears shining in Luke's eyes. "And I guess I hadn't noticed lately that you are growing into a fine man who I'm real proud of. Not only are you my kin but my best friend in all the world too. I'll never forget what you done for me today Bo. Thanks."

And with that he walked out the door to go and talk to Uncle Jessie and left Bo standing there. Not too many times in his young life had he been speechless, but that's exactly how Bo felt now. And he went into the bathroom to wash his face and try to pull himself together.


Balladeer: Well this has got to be one for the record books. Bo getting his tail lit into and not actually being guilty. I don't think I woulda believed it if I hadn't been right here same as you. But knowing Jessie Duke he'll set it all straight.

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