The Jump – Luke's POV

Balladeer: If'n there's one thing old Jessie Duke don't like that's being lied too. And that appears to be a lesson both of his nephews oughta know by now. But apparently they ain't quite got that down yet and I'm a thinking that their Uncle is about to refresh both of their memories and maybe the seats of their pants too.


Luke pulled his car into his usual parking spot behind the barn and got out carrying the fan belt, which he had purchased for the tractor. The piece of farm equipment was at least as old as he was and he learned almost all that he knew about engines and cars from working on it over the years. He had fixed it so many times that he was sure he could probably take it apart and put it back together blindfolded. But because of that he had the knowledge to be able to keep his first car running and in good shape and he was ever so thankful. Because having his own car bought he and Bo some real freedom

And thinking about his blond cousin he wondered where he and Uncle Jessie were. The roof on the chicken coop was only half done and the tools were still laying in the yard. He listened and when he didn't hear anything he bent over the tractor and started doing the repairs that his Uncle had told him about. Before long he had the job done and standing up he grabbed a rag to wipe his hands on and walked towards the house. He was beginning to think that maybe Bo and Uncle Jessie had gone out to the back field behind the house for some reason.

He opened the screen door and walked into the kitchen. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Uncle Jessie sitting on the couch. "I put the new fan belt in and ….."

As he got to where his Uncle was he stopped dead in his tracks. Because Uncle Jessie had Bo on his lap like when he was little and Bo's face was covered with tears and he was still crying. His heart stood still as he wondered if the teen had been hurt somehow. And then looking to his Uncle's right he saw the strap. He felt his stomach do a flip.

Luke watched as Bo pushed off of Uncle Jessie's lap and stood up both rubbing his behind and wincing at the same time as if even that action hurt. Luke didn't know what he had done but it looked like he had gotten a hard whippen for something. "Roscoe came out here and told Uncle Jessie that he had seen me jump your car across the gully this afternoon."

Luke couldn't believe what Bo had just said. Oh the part about Roscoe for sure but not the part where Bo was doing the driving.

"What are you talking about cousin?" Luke looked at Bo like he had lost his mind and Uncle Jessie also stood up and faced him.

"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 though Bo told me that you did everything you could to try and stop him I'm afraid that you are grounded again cause it was your car and you didn't tell me about it."

Now Luke was more confused than ever because he knew that he hadn't tried to stop Bo because Bo hadn't done it- he had. "But Uncle Jessie….."

Before he could get any further his Uncle pointed his finger in Luke's face. "That is all there is to that 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."

He watched as Uncle Jessie pulled Bo in for a hug. "Now we got it all straight between us right?"

And Luke saw Bo nod his head in answer to the question but his eyes never left Luke's.

Uncle Jessie gave Bo's shoulder a squeeze and told him that he loved him. Then he reached over to the couch and picking up the strap and he headed back outside. The cousins continued to stare at one and other until they heard the screen door slam behind the farmer. And finally Luke's temper got the better of him and he walked over to Bo and grabbed him by the arms. "What in the hell is going on Bo?"

Luke immediately felt bad as he saw tears streak down the teen's face again.

"I told you Roscoe told Uncle Jessie that I jumped your car across the gully and he whipped me."

Luke still couldn't understand why Bo kept saying that to him and apparently he had said it to Uncle Jessie as well. "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 began to pace to floor trying to work off some of his agitation and then it hit him, just like that. "That's exactly why you did it isn't it? You knew that Uncle Jessie would strap someone and you took it instead of me."

All the anger had left Luke and now he felt like he was gonna throw up. Bo looked like he was working up a good head of steam though. "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 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."

Luke fought a new impulse to walk over and shake his cousin. "Yeah I can see with one look 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."

And instead of shaking Bo he walked over and hugged him hard. "It means a lot to me that you would do this for me Bo, but I have to tell him the truth. I knew 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."

For a long minute Luke thought that Bo was going to try and talk him out of telling their Uncle the truth. But Bo knew him better than any other human alive and was well acquainted with his stubborn side and he just accepted it. "Knowing Uncle Jessie I'm likely to get it again just for lying about the whole thing."

Luke prayed with all his heart that that wasn't true. He put his arm around his younger cousin. "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 steeling himself for his confrontation with Uncle Jessie. "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 someone watch over me."

Suddenly Luke felt almost overcome with emotion and struggled with tears that threatened to fall. He knew he had to make Bo understand how he felt about what he had done. "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 before Bo could say anything and they both started bawling like a couple of girls Luke went outside to find their Uncle. He was already back at work on the chicken coop and he looked up at Luke sadly. "Is he all right? I surely didn't want to have to do that today, or any day."

Now Luke really felt like a heel not only did Bo get his behind blistered, but apparently Uncle Jessie felt as bad as Bo did. Luke just stood there for a second trying to figure out what to say and where to start. He noticed his Uncle looking at him very closely.

"Something going on with you boy? You look almost like you ain't feeling so good."

Luke just figured that if he didn't start talking soon he would loose his nerve. "I need to talk to you Uncle about what happened today."

He watched the farmer put down his hammer and walk to where he stood and judging by the look on his face he was none too happy either. "Now I told you in the house, Bo has already been punished and now it's all over. So I know you're not happy with me but….."

Luke didn't want to be rude but he interrupted his Uncle. "No it's not that it's that he didn't do it I did. I jumped my car across the gully not Bo."

Much to his surprise the farmer seemed to get even angrier than before when he said this. "Dag nab it Lukas, I thought we settled all this on the day I spanked Daisy."

Now Luke was completely lost and he thought maybe his Uncle hadn't heard him correctly. "I said I jumped my car, not Bo."

Uncle Jessie shook his head in warning. "Just like you took your car out for a drive that night when you was still grounded? You told me that to keep Daisy from getting a spanking and now you are telling me you jumped your car across the gully to save Bo only it ain't gonna work this time."

Luke couldn't believe that his Uncle thought he was lying about this. He had told his Uncle that he drove his car while grounded to keep Daisy from getting a spanking because she had done it. But this had nothing to do with that. "Uncle Jessie you made me promise to not lie to you even if it got me or Bo or Daisy into trouble and I swear I did this, not Bo."

Luke could see the farmer studying him intently and he knew that he was trying to determine if what he was hearing was the truth.

"Then why on earth would Bo not tell me that? Why would he take a whippen that he didn't deserve? And why would you do something as stupid as jumping that there car across anything? I wasn't surprised that Bo had gone and done something so dangerous but why would someone with a fairly level head do something so dang stupid?"

Luke began to worry for the first time today about what would happen now. "Well there is one way to settle this for sure."

Uncle Jessie gave Luke's shoulder a little shove in the direction of the house. "Git."

Luke walked into the kitchen with Uncle Jessie close behind and holding his upper arm. Bo was standing at the counter and with one look obviously knew that Luke had told Uncle Jessie and he dropped his head and sighed. The farmer pointed to a chair and gave Luke another little push in that direction. "Sit down now!" He did as he was told and looked again at Bo who returned his glance with I told you so written on every feature of his face. He saw his Uncle turn towards the recently punished teen.

"Now Luke here tells me that he was the one driving when the car jumped the gully. Just a little while ago you told me that you were driving that car when it jumped, so what I need to know is if you were driving and jumped that car over the gully and I darn well need to know it right now."

Bo looked like tears weren't too far away again. "Well Uncle you asked me if I had jumped the gully in Luke's car and I said yes."

Uncle Jessie looked like he could chew nails "And...."

Bo swallowed hard obviously dreading what was coming next. "But you didn't ask me if I had jumped the gully in Luke's car today. I have been jumping that gully a lot lately but I didn't do it today Luke did."

Luke flinched as his Uncle jumped to his feet. "Damnation! Then why in the name of heaven would you let me whip your butt when it wasn't you who did it?"

Luke could see that Bo was crying again upset about their Uncle's anger.

"Because Luke only did the jump to shut me up. He didn't want to and truth be told I don't think he enjoyed it none either. It was all that I could do to keep him from telling you about it. So I figured that when Roscoe came I had done it before and I would rather get it than for Luke to get it, and you didn't exactly ask me the question did I do it today."

Luke felt bad for Bo and stood up to go and comfort him when Uncle Jessie walked over and smacked him hard on the butt. "I said to sit Luke and I meant it."

Luke immediately sat back down and the farmer went around the table and gathered Bo in his arms again and rubbed his back which just made the boy cry all the harder.

After a few minutes of holding onto Bo Uncle Jessie released the teen and looked from one cousin to the other and shook his head. "I swear to heaven I don't even know where to start in with this here situation. What I should do from now on is when one of y'all gets into trouble I should just go ahead and whup all three of you. Cause it's starting to seem like that might be the only way to make sure the right behind gets punished."

Luke looked over to Bo hoping to see him smile or do anything to indicate that he thought their Uncle was kidding. He looked as horrified as Luke felt.

"What I am gonna do is go for a drive and try to give all of this some thought, and don't neither of you step a foot off of this farm before I get back." He walked out the kitchen door muttering about being impossible to raise young'uns these days and got into his truck.

As they heard him drive off Bo looked to Luke with astonishment "He ain't never done that before Luke? What do you think will happen now?"

Luke just didn't know and told Bo as much and they stayed in the same position each lost in their own thoughts for a few minutes. But Luke figured that they best just stay on task.

"C'mon Bo let's go ahead and finish the roof on the chicken coop cause we might as well get it done, and who knows what'll happen when Uncle Jessie comes back. Do you feel all right to do that with me?"

Bo grinned at him sheepishly and nodded. "As long as I don't have to do none of it sitting down."

Luke couldn't help but laugh at his remark. "Yeah I have a feeling I'm gonna know just what you're talking about as soon as Uncle Jessie gets back."

They both went outside and made all the necessary repairs. They were just in the process of putting away all the tools when they saw the familiar white pick-up truck drive back onto the farm. Both boys exchanged looks of dread and Luke especially was worried about what was gonna happen now. He knew that he never should have let Bo talk him into making that dang jump today. He should have learned from the last trip over his Uncle's knee to make better decisions but he didn't figure that he had. He just hoped that he would be the only one facing punishment now.

"Well I see you finished up the repairs on the chicken coop whilst I was gone."

Both Bo and Luke said "yes sir" at the same time.

"All right then, back into the house and let's have us a little discussion about a few things."

Dragging their feet both boys followed the farmer into the kitchen and then into the living room. Uncle Jessie went into his bedroom and brought out a pillow and put it on the couch for Bo. "Now both of you sit."

Luke couldn't help but wonder if this was gonna be the last sitting that he was gonna do today but he did as his Uncle had told him to do. "Now let's start with Bo."

He turned towards where Bo was sitting and none too comfortably by the looks of it. "Now am I to understand that you have been driving around in Luke's vehicle and even jumping it over things for a while now?"

Bo squeaked out a "yes sir" and Uncle Jessie looked like he was counting to ten in his head.

"And about how many times have you jumped his vehicle across something since he's had it?"

Luke could see Bo's chin quiver from across the room. "Maybe ten or twelve."

The farmer turned to Luke. "Is that the right number Luke?"

Luke just nodded his head and Jessie turned back to Bo. "And you do remember that I promised to take the strap to you if'n I caught you jumping that car again right?"

Luke couldn't bear the look on Bo's face and he interrupted "But Uncle Jessie…."

The farmer turned to him with fire in his eyes. "I will git to you in just a minute son so I would suggest that you just sit there and keep your mouth closed, or I will close it for you. Do you understand me?"

Luke said a very quiet yes sir and fought the tears that came to his eyes. Bo was in trouble because of him and from the sounds of it he was about to get punished again. "All right then you lied to me today and you did it on purpose to keep me from punishing Luke."

Bo tried to save things again. "Well actually it wasn't a lie; I had jumped the gully just not today."

He sent a weak smile in his Uncle's direction. "Lying by not telling the whole story is still lying son. And am I right when I say that Luke didn't know what you was gonna do until after he came back?"

Bo looked down at the floor and nodded his head and Uncle Jessie turned to Luke. "You could have just left it the way it was with me never knowing that I had punished the wrong person so why did you tell me son. You had to know it was just gonna get Bo in deeper. Not to mention that now you're in trouble too."

Luke didn't fight the tears that coursed down his face. "You let me know pretty strong just how you felt about lying for all of my life. And if I hadn't got the message that night we snuck in at two in the mornin you made your point real clear. It ain't like I had a choice."

Jessie nodded his head in approval at what Luke had just said. "And how do you feel about letting Bo drive your car and jump things with it?"

Luke glanced over to Bo and again felt sick to his stomach. "It was wrong of me to do, maybe not the driving but definitely the jumping."

Jessie sat down on the edge of the chair and looked at both of his nephews long and hard. "Well now this afternoon Bo made me a promise that he wouldn't drive or jump anything again until he has a legal driver's license. Did you mean to honor that promise Bo or do we need to discuss that again?"

Bo looked scared but responded to the question. "Yes sir I made you a promise and I mean to keep it."

Uncle Jessie looked pleased and then looked to Luke. "And I need you to promise me that you won't let him do any driving or stunts until he has that license and if he is putting himself in danger I need you to promise that you will tell me."

Luke didn't even have to think before he answered that question. "Yes sir I swear to you."

"Now comes the hard part. What do I do about all of this?" Jessie seemed to be thinking and Luke swore his heart was gonna pound out of his chest anytime now.

"First off let's talk about what Bo did. You have been driving and doing things in Luke's car that you shouldn't have been a doing. But I have your promise now and you got a good strapping already today so I figure that we're even on that part."

Luke felt a sigh of relief go through him at hearing this. "But that don't get you off the hook either cause you outright lied to my face about your driving the car today. So I'm gonna have to add some swats to that strapping son. And I'm sorry."

Luke jumped to his feet "But Uncle Jessie please…"

His Uncle turned to face Luke and told him to sit down. But when he did Luke also saw his Uncle give him the double nod. When all three cousins were little, anytime Uncle Jessie knew that the children were afraid or upset and he couldn't get to them physically, he would give them the special nod that he had come up with. It meant that everything was gonna be okay and that he loved them. Luke hadn't been given that nod since he went away to overnight camp for the first time and he was on the bus scared and already homesick. It had to mean that Uncle Jessie wasn't gonna go hard on Bo. Luke felt his eyes fill again with tears of relief.

"Come on over here son and let's just see it done."

Bo was trying hard not to cry and Luke felt like his heart was breaking. Uncle Jessie waited until Bo was standing next to the chair and pulled him across his lap and quickly laid ten swats onto the behind in front of him. Bo cried out during each swat and was sobbing by the end of Luke felt like he had taken a beating himself. Uncle Jessie stood Bo up and once again put him on his lap the same way that he had done earlier.

"Now that we got that all done I can say some things to you. First off don't you never tell me anything less than the truth you owe that to both me and you. And second I am proud that you would rather take a whippen yourself than see Luke get one. You are a kind and loving person and your wanting to protect him shows me just how much he means to you. I think we are all lucky to have you in our family Bo."

Luke was not surprised to see Bo put his head down and just wail, because that is exactly what Luke wanted to do too. His Uncle held onto the crying teen until he settled down a little bit.

"Now I want you to go into your room and lay down for a little while. I'll come in when I'm finished with Luke and sit with you until you fall asleep." Bo gave the farmer an unhappy look and Luke smiled to himself remembering that even as a baby Bo thought that taking a nap was a punishment.

"But Luke…." Uncle Jessie helped Bo to a standing position. "Luke is gonna get his behind warmed up a little bit for his poor choices lately but trust me little one…he'll live through it."

Luke felt like the bottom had dropped out of his stomach but he knew that he deserved it and at least Bo wasn't gonna be punished anymore. Uncle Jessie gave Bo a gentle push in the direction of their bedroom and reluctantly he went and then Uncle Jessie turned to Luke. "C'mon now, you know it's your turn."

Luke stood up and walked to where his Uncle sat. "Over your knee again?"

He was glad when his Uncle stood up and instructed him to bend over the back of the chair. Once he was in the dreaded position his Uncle spoke. "I am thankful that you was honest with me today son. I know you didn't want to get Bo into anymore trouble. And so the only thing that you are gettin swatted for is for doing dangerous stunts with your car and lettin Bo do the same. Understand?"

Not trusting himself to speak he just nodded his head and Uncle Jessie started swatting his behind. It stung but was no comparison to the strap. When he reached ten Luke gave in and cried but he figured it was as much emotion as hurt. But by fifteen he was crying in earnest and hoping it would soon be over. His Uncle gave him five more swats and then helped him to stand and pulled him into a hard hug.

The farmer had kept his promise as Luke's behind did indeed feel like it had been warmed up but he knew that it had been a fair punishment for what he had done. "I'm sorry Uncle Jessie."

The farmer continued to hug him and rub his back. "I know sweetheart, I know you are. But there is one more thing."

Luke had been afraid of that. "Do you want my car keys again?"

His Uncle didn't reply he simply opened his hand. Luke reached into his front pocket and retrieved his keys and handed them to his Uncle.

He was rewarded with a kiss on his forehead. "Now how bout you finish up them chores and I sit with the troublemaker for a little while. I know it was only ten swats but his behind had to be feeling right miserable from this afternoon still."

Luke smiled at Uncle Jessie's calling Bo the troublemaker for truth be told, he off times was. "Yes sir that would be just fine."

He headed for the kitchen and was almost to the door when he heard his Uncle softly say his name. "First off I want you to know that I don't think I'll be needing to keep them keys too long this time. And second of all I want you to know that I am so proud of you Luke. You could have chosen the easy road here, but you didn't – you did what was right even if it cost you some. Between you and Bo today I'm about to bust my buttons. You are growing into right fine men the both of you."

Luke couldn't help the huge smile that crossed his face.

"Imagine how proud you might be on a day when you didn't have to whup both our behinds."

Jessie threw back his head and laughed at the truth in that statement. "Just git out that door boy and at those chores fore I change my mind and take to spanking you right good and proper."

And Luke went out to do his and Bo's chores still chuckling and shaking his head.


Balladeer: Seems like I told you that Jessie would set it right now didn't I? And even though he didn't want to Uncle Jessie's soothing hand on his back was just too much to take and Bo did finally fall asleep for a little while. And Luke finished all the chores and promised himself that he and Bo was gonna be model citizens from now on. We'll just watch and see how long that lasts. But one thing for sure those Duke boys sure do stick together.

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