Those Duke Boys
Balladeer: Well what have we here? Those Duke boys of Hazzard County in a vehicle and it's not moving. Could it be because it's three a.m. and those rascals were supposed to be home hours ago? I'd say for dang sure that somebody's in a world of trouble. And their last name is Duke.
Luke Duke sat in his usual place behind the wheel of his car. His cousin Bo was as always at his side. They looked towards the house where they both lived with their Uncle Jessie and cousin Daisy. "Well the lights ain't on so maybe they're both in bed."
Bo shook his shaggy blond head. "You know dang well it ain't likely that Uncle Jessie went to bed with us still not home."
Luke turned to look at his cousin. "It ain't likely Bo, but is also ain't impossible. He coulda just gone to bed. Hell he might not even know that we ain't home yet."
"Well you better hope that he don't know, cause if he does we are both dead for dang sure."
"Look I got an idea. Let's just push the car into the place I always park it and then we can climb into the window and go to bed. Then when he comes in to check everything will be right as rain."
Bo gave him the grin that had all the females at Hazzard Junior High School swooning and got out of the car. They pushed the car the rest of the way and only stopped when it was sitting in its usual space. They quietly walked around the house until they came to their bedroom window and Luke gently as possible pushed it up. He motioned for Bo to go and he made a step with both of his hands and assisted Bo with climbing into the window. Trying to be as quiet as he could Bo still managed to land in a heap on the floor.
He paused for a minute to make sure that Uncle Jessie didn't come running to see what the noise was. When that didn't happen he leaned out of the window and helped Luke to pull himself in. Over the years that they had lived with Uncle Jessie they had done this particular thing many times and were actually quite good at it. And the best thing was that Uncle Jessie had never caught them. As usual they were quite relieved and smiled at each other and at the success of their venture.
Luke slapped his cousin on the back and whispered, "Looks like we're home free Bo."
Both had been so busy congratulating each other that hadn't seen the rather large and angry shadow in the corner of the room. The smiled died on their faces as Uncle Jessie walked out from the shadows. "Oh I'm not so sure that I'd say you two are home free. You all are home but I ain't sure how free it's gonna be."
For a long moment he just stood there and glared at both of his nephews until neither one could return his glance and ashamedly dropped their eyes. "Livin room now- both of you git."
Looking at each other with dread Luke and Bo did just as they were told. Uncle Jessie turned the light on in the living room and both boy's hearts stood still when they saw what was on the coffee table. Uncle Jessie noticed the look on their faces. "That's right, few is the times I've laid that strap down on the two of you but unless you got some mighty interesting explanations about where in tarnation you have been half the night we just might be doing it again shortly."
Jessie didn't fail to notice that both of his nephews had paled considerably when he made that declaration. "Now where have you both been to?"
The room hung heavy with silence. "Someone better start talking and talking right now or we can see if the question is any easier to answer with the strap doing the asking."
Just as he usually did in these situations Luke took a step forward. "We were across the state line in a pool hall."
Jessie thought for sure that his blood pressure must have shot up fifty points. He narrowed his eyes and looked at Luke long and hard. "And what in the heck were you doing in a pool hall whilst I was here worrying myself sick?"
Bo let a nervous laugh escape and Jessie turned a furious look his way. "We were playing pool?"
Jessie reached Bo in three furious steps. "Are you asking me boy or telling me?"
Luke put his hand on his uncle's arm to try and diffuse his anger. "I know that we shouldn't a been there and all but that's where we were. And the worst part is that we had some beers too."
Jessie looked in surprise at Luke. "And how did you do that seeing as how you won't be twenty one for almost a year and he" gesturing towards Bo "won't be twenty one for a long while."
Luke and Bo exchanged another nervous look. Uncle Jessie walked over to the coffee table and picking up the strap raised it and brought it down hard on the wood of the table. It made a very loud crack and both cousins swallowed hard. "Luke son you need to answer my question and you would be a dang fool to do anything but tell me the truth."
Luke still didn't answer and Bo fearing that Luke was going to suffer the same fate as the coffee table spoke up. "Somebody at school can make fake driver's licenses and well I sorta had him make us one and that's what we used."
Luke turned an amazed look to his cousin. "He had to know Luke; it ain't like we could not tell him."
Uncle Jessie was clearly still trying to assimilate all the information that he had gotten so far. "This person just gave these things to you boys?"
Luke again shot Bo a look that said I told you so. "No sir."
"I am losing my patience Bo- I suggest that you git the whole story out now."
It was Luke who spoke again this time. "We paid twenty five dollars each for them and we earned the money a few months ago working at Cooters father's garage. Tonight was the first time we used them though and that's why we went across the state line cause everyone in Hazzard knows dang well we ain't twenty one yet."
Uncle Jessie just nodded his head. "Well, well ain't you two the clever ones? And while you was doing all this did either of you at any time think about the fact that it was wrong? Or that I was so worried sick about you two that I almost called Roscoe P. Coltrane to go out a looking for you. And I woulda too if I didn't know what a pea brain he is. And then on top of all the rest of this little story you snuck the car back into the yard and climbed into your window. Why you two is just a couple of criminals in the making. Now why on earth are the two of you silent now? I want an answer to my question. And I want it now."
Luke again spoke first. "We knew it was wrong and that it would get us into big trouble but we did it any way. And time just got away from us and we didn't think about you being worried and all. And partly we just wanted to do it."
Bo looked at Luke as if he had lost his mind in the last five minutes. It didn't appear to Bo like Luke even sounded sorry. "Look Uncle Jessie we really are sorry, ain't we Luke?"
Luke didn't respond and Uncle Jessie looked grim. "If you ain't now you will be shortly."
Uncle Jessie picked up the strap and looked again at Bo. "If you got anything in your back pockets empty them out now onto the coffee table."
Bo looked sick but did as he was told and the farmer turned to the elder cousin. "You go over there and put your nose in that corner."
Both boys looked at Uncle Jessie like he was crazy. "What?"
Uncle Jessie gave Luke a look and both boys knew from experience that you didn't dare disobey when you had been given that look. "Damn it Uncle Jessie!"
Apparently the farmer had an objection with his nephew swearing in his house and he promptly walked over and grabbed Luke by the back of his shirt and escorted him into the corner as if he were four years old. He could tell that Luke was angry but he stayed put and Jessie turned to his blond nephew. "Bend over the back of that armchair Bo. You know why this is about to happen so I ain't got to tell you again. I'll let the strap do the rest of my talking."
Bo did as he were told and if had been any other time he would have laughed about Luke standing in the corner but there was little that was funny about what was about to happen.
Uncle Jessie brought the strap down and Bo not having been in this position for a very long time was shocked at how much it hurt. He was crying and sobbing by the second swat. It already felt as if his behind was on fire and Uncle Jessie was just getting started. He held his position although it took everything he had to not cover his butt with both hands, and he just sobbed. Jessie had to turn his heart to stone otherwise hearing his sweet and loving nephew's harsh and pathetic sobs would have been the end of him. He reminded himself that he was doing his duty by these boys.
He had promised his brothers in heaven long ago that he would love and care for their precious sons and daughter. But at times like these when he had to be hard with them, it just liked to kill him. At least when his wife was still alive she used to tell him that he was doing the right thing by them and that he was a good man. He didn't have that comfort anymore, only the sounds of Bo's sobbing like his heart was broken.
Finally after what seemed like far too long a time for both farmer and boy Jessie reached ten. He had intended to give the boy a full fifteen, but he just couldn't and he hoped that ten swats with the strap had been enough to convince his nephew to stay out of trouble. "All right son we're done."
Bo stood up his face wet with tears and immediately tried to rub some of the sting out and looked at his Uncle questioningly. As if in response Jessie held open his arms and Bo all but ran into them. Jessie wrapped the lanky teen in a huge hug and just let him cry.
"I'm so sorry." The boy managed to get out in between sobs.
Jessie leaned close to Bo's ear to tell him something meant for him alone. "It's all right baby, it's all done now. I forgive you and I still love you."
It was as if this let something loose in the boy and he began to wail and Jessie continued to hold him and whisper small comforts into his ear. Finally he began to settle down.
"Why don't you go on back to your room and git ready for bed now and don't forget to take your things. I'll be in a little while to say goodnight."
Bo still rubbing both his behind and the tears off of his face walked over to the coffee table and picked up all the things that had been in his back pockets stopping only to hand Uncle Jessie his fake driver's license. "There you go, you did git the message after all."
Bo nodded and simply said, "Yes sir." before going into the bedroom he shared with Luke who was still standing in the corner much to Bo's amazement.
Hearing the door softly click the farmer turned to his dark haired nephew. He knew darn good and well that this wasn't going to be as easy as it had been with Bo. Luke had been courting a defiant attitude of late, and Jessie had put his foot down, but clearly the boy needed him to be tougher because he continued to put himself and Bo in bad situations. Luke was older and shoulda known better and Jessie figured that was the problem. He said a silent prayer to Luke's daddy in heaven that he would help him get through to his hard headed son. He didn't think that ten little swats with the strap was gonna produce the same results that it had with Bo. Luke was gettin to be entirely too big for his britches and it was time to do something about that fact.
"All right young man it appears that it's time for you and me to have us a little talk. Come on over here now."
Jessie held his breath for a moment hoping and praying that Luke obeyed his instruction. And he knew that if he didn't things were gonna get real bad real soon. Much to his relief Luke did as he was told. But defiance was written on every part of him from the scowl on his face to the way that he was standing and Jessie decided to take a different approach than he had with Bo.
"You seem to be thinking lately that you don't need to follow the rules around here and I'm about to give you a pretty big reminder that as long as you live in my house you will do as you are told. And you will not be a bad influence on Daisy or Bo. You know dang good and well that they think that you hung the moon, and would do just about anything that you wanted them to do for you. And you should be using that to help them keep from making mistakes instead of making poor choices along with em."
Luke still stood staring straight ahead and Jessie was again disappointed that the boy appeared to feel no shame about the fact that his actions in part had resulted in Bo getting a whippen. And if Jessie had doubted that fact the next thing Luke said drove it home. "They ain't my responsibility."
Jessie looked long and hard at his nephew. "Oh really? Well guess what boy, this here is a family and in a family we are all each other's responsibility. And you are no different. Just like even if I don't feel like it now it's my responsibility to teach you a few things. And I'm a thinking that since my words don't seem to be gettin through that thick skull of yours that maybe we'll try gettin the message through the other end."
Much to Jessie's surprise Luke just shrugged and walked over to the table and emptied out his pockets much the same as Bo had just done. And as much for effect as anything Jessie rolled up his sleeves and sat down on the couch. Luke didn't look too worried and walked over to the chair and bent over it as his cousin had earlier. Jessie shook his head no and Luke stood up looking puzzled. "Come over here boy."
Luke still didn't understand and asked why. "Because you are acting like a child and what I think you need is a good hard trip over my knee."
Luke looked at him in amazement. "Uncle Jessie you can't be serious I'm not some little kid. You can't make me stand in the corner and then put me over your knee. You can't."
For the first time Jessie felt real genuine emotion from Luke. "Oh but I can and I'm about to."
Luke stood rooted to the floor and Jessie knew he needed the upper hand and fast. "You git over here and git across my knees, or we'll be seeing how you like the strap on your bare behind. The choice is up to you."
Jessie saw the conflict raging on Luke's face and finally just when Jessie was about to stand up and go after his nephew, the boy walked over to the couch. He had tears on his face but Jessie could tell that they were from being embarrassed. The other tears would come soon- at least he surely hoped so.
His dark haired nephew leaned across his lap as he had done many times in the distant past. He didn't think he had put Luke across his knee in nigh on ten years. Usually when he needed to spank either of his nephews he took them out to the barn or even on occasion to the woodshed. But he felt that Luke needed to be made to understand that his being defiant was childish and it would be treated as such. But the whippen he was about to receive would be anything but childish. While he hated to be hard with Luke he knew what he had to do and he steeled his heart to do so.
He raised the strap and brought it down hard on the center of Luke's behind. He gave the boy five good hard swats before he even paused and his nephew remained silent. He was praying that the boy wouldn't fight him too long or too hard on this. But he had raised Luke from a small tyke and he knew that his nephew had a stubborn streak a mile wide. He concentrated on covering every inch of the boy's behind with swats. He was beginning to think that the jeans were gonna have to come down anyway when he heard the first sounds from him, and Jessie knew that he just needed to stay strong.
He placed six swats on the back of Luke's legs which he knew from his own personal experience with his daddy hurt like holy hell. He could feel Luke struggling to keep from sobbing and he kept swatting the behind in front of him. "Let it go boy, I can keep doing this all night if that's what it's gonna take to git through to you."
He laid a blistering swat on when he told Luke this, and he felt his nephew give in and wail. Not wanting to let Luke off the hook too easily he continued to swat Luke and lecture him about how his attitude was going to change. And soon after the boy was pleading with his uncle to stop and promising to be good and Jessie knew that it was almost over. "You are gonna be a better influence on your cousins from now on."
He gave Luke three more hard swats and then stopped. Luke continued to cry unaware that Uncle Jessie had stopped punishing him. Jessie rubbed the boys back for a few minutes and helped him to stand. Luke stood there looking far much younger than his years rubbing his behind and crying. Jessie knew that just like Bo, this nephew needed to know that he had been forgiven. He pulled Luke sore behind and all onto his lap. "No Uncle Jessie I'm too old for this."
Jessie quieted down his struggling with a half hearted swat on the side of his leg. "If you ain't too old to go over my knee then I reckon you ain't too old to sit on it."
It was as if Luke needed to hear that and he laid his head down on Jessie shoulder and cried. Jessie let him cry and continued rubbing his back and neck. And after having to be so harsh with the boy it felt good to be able to give him comfort. Jessie was not surprised to feel the heat from Luke's behind through his jeans. He reckoned tonight would be a night that the boy wouldn't soon forget.
"Now just so you know, I love you Luke, and that's why I ain't never gonna let you be anything but a fine and upstanding citizen. And whilst I don't like to blister yer behind if that what it's gonna take then that's gonna be that. Understand me boy?"
Luke was finally getting his crying under control. "Yes sir, and I'm sorry about all of this."
"I know that you are sweetheart, I know. Becoming a man ain't always an easy job. You'll figure it out though. I have every faith in you."
He gave the boy one last hug and stood him up again. Gather up your stuff and go on into your room with Bo and I'll be in right soon to say good night. Luke did as he had been told, and like Bo handed his uncle the fake license. "And one more thing Luke, I'll be taking those car keys too for a while."
Luke's face fell. "The car keys too Uncle Jessie?"
Jessie didn't respond simply waited with his hand out until Luke placed the keys there.
Luke walked into his room mumbling about how he always managed to get himself into these fixes. Jessie smiled for the first time all evening and sent a prayer of thanks heavenward to his brother for his help.
Bo was waiting for Luke in their room standing at the window. He flinched when he saw how bad Luke looked. "Man oh man cousin it sounded like Uncle Jessie laid into you something fierce."
Luke nodded his head. "Yea he surely did and I surely did deserve it too. I never shoulda let you talk me into this whole thing with the fake licenses and I'm sorry that Uncle Jessie whipped you Bo cause it was sorta my fault, all of it."
Bo responded by walking over and hugging his cousin. "I knew just what could happen and you never held a gun to my head either."
Luke looked sad for a moment. "I know but from now on I'm gonna be a much better example for you cousin. Cause watching you get your butt whipped was not a lot of fun for me. Especially knowing that I was one of the reasons why."
For some reason Bo was smiling at him. "Well I don't exactly know how you were watching from the corner and all."
Luke punched him in the arm lightly. "I just knew you weren't gonna let that get by you Bo."
Bo looked puzzled. "Why do you suppose he did that Luke?"
Bo noticed his cousin got red in the face all of a sudden. "If I tell you it has to be our little secret okay?"
Bo nodded and crossed his heart which was an old childhood thing that they hadn't done for years and that alone made Luke smile. "He thought that I was gettin too big for my britches lately and he was right. Not only did he put me in the corner but he also put me over his knee."
Luke almost laughed at the wide eyed expression on Bo's face. "So just remember this when you get to be my age, and then maybe you won't be face down over his knee feeling about four years old."
Bo gave his cousin another quick hug and climbed into bed on his stomach. "Ain't you surprised that with all this ruckus that we didn't even wake Daisy up?"
Luke walked over to stand at the window and look out at the car which he wouldn't be driving again until Uncle Jessie said he could. "She wasn't here Bo, tonight was the night she was gonna stay the night at Linda Sue's house. And I for one am darn glad too cause she would never let me live standing in the corner down."
Bo chuckled again, "Yea that was something all right cousin."
Their conversation was interrupted by Uncle Jessie coming in to say goodnight. He walked over to Bo's bed and sat down on the edge for just a moment and rubbed the boy's shoulders and bent down and pushed aside a lock of unruly blond hair and planted a kiss on the side of his face. "I love you Bo."
"I love you too Uncle Jessie."
He then stood up and walked the short distance to where Luke stood before the window. "You should climb into that bed boy, the rooster will be crowing before you know it and there will be chores to be done, just like any other day."
Luke continued to look at the sky and finally turned to Uncle Jessie. "I know."
Jessie was becoming worried that maybe Luke still needed to talk about the events of the evening. "Are you all right son? Did you want to talk about it some more?"
Luke looked at his uncle with tear filled eyes again. "I really am so sorry; sometimes I just don't know what gets into me."
Once again Jessie wrapped the boy in a hug. "Come on now lets get you into that bed."
Taking Luke's arm he steered him towards his bed and held the covers up so that he could crawl in on his stomach. Once he was settled in as comfortably as possible Jessie sat down on the edge of his bed as he had done with Bo. He rubbed Luke's back and could feel just how tense his nephew was. "Smarting pretty good is it?"
Luke nodded. "It isn't like I didn't deserve it."
Jessie continued to rub his shoulders and back. "That don't mean I can't be worried about you son."
Luke smiled and Uncle Jessie placed a soft kiss on the side of his forehead. "You just close your eyes and I'll sit here with you a while until you go to sleep. I love you Luke."
Luke could feel himself relaxing under his Uncle's gentle touch. "I love you too Uncle Jessie."
Balladeer: And when that old rooster did finally take to crowing Jessie Duke was still sitting in the boy's room on the edge of Luke's bed, rubbing his shoulders. It might seem a bit strange to anyone else- but to anyone who knows Jessie Duke or lives in Hazzard County it might seem just about right.
Balladeer: Well the sun has come up on Hazzard County with the promise of a beautiful day. All is quiet on the Duke farm as the boys' are still asleep, recovering from their "talk" with Uncle Jessie last night. If'n I was one of those two I think I just might behave myself for a while. But this is Bo and Luke we're talking about.
Luke opened his eyes and squinted at the sun streaming through his bedroom windows. He felt a hand stroking his back and turned slightly to see Uncle Jessie still sitting on the side of his bed. "Morning Uncle Jessie, what are you still doing here?"
"Well you was pretty restless in your sleep and it seemed to help for me to be rubbing your back so..."
Luke wasn't surprised that his uncle had sat vigil at his bedside for hours. It was just the kind of thing that he would do. And then Luke remembered last night. Or more precisely he rolled onto his back and was reminded of what had happened last night. "Oww, dang that still hurts!"
Uncle Jessie stood up and Luke followed his example very quickly taking time to again rub his recently punished behind. He looked down at the clothes that he had slept in and thought about how Uncle Jessie had tucked him in like a little boy clothes and all. But then last night was that kind of night as he had both been stood in the corner and put over the farmer's knee. So much for being almost grown.
"Why don't you go ahead and shower whilst I git breakfast started for us."
Luke nodded and they both looked to Bo who was sound asleep, face down with his arm thrown over his head. Uncle Jessie smiled fondly at the sight of his blond nephew's choice of sleeping positions. "I ain't even sure how he can breathe with his face pushed into the mattress like that."
Luke was still feeling very guilty about the fact that his actions in part had resulted in Bo being on the receiving end of a whippen last night too. "Can we just let him sleep for a little while please?"
Uncle Jessie put an arm around his shoulders. "Sure we can."
Luke grabbed clean clothes out of his dresser and they both left the bedroom together. In the bathroom Luke stripped and turned on the shower stopping only to try and get a look at the damage that had been done to his behind last night. As best as he could see there were a few pink marks that the strap had left. But for as bad as it still felt, it should have looked a lot worse than it did. He stepped into the hot water of the shower and it felt wonderful.
He thought about everything that had happened last night and he felt profoundly ashamed again. And if that wasn't bad enough he had gotten Bo into trouble too, then Uncle Jessie had stayed up half the night waiting and worrying and then the rest of the night after he had punished them. He knew that Uncle Jessie was not a young man and the last thing he needed was a sleepless night. All of the things that his uncle had said to him while using the strap kept coming back into his head.
The thing that he kept hearing was that he was going to have to set a better example for his cousins. He could have talked Bo out of getting a fake driver's license so that he could use it to hang out in bars and pool halls but he didn't. Instead he also got one and they had lied to Uncle Jessie about all of it. He wasn't sure what he had been thinking with trying to stand up to his uncle last night but his butt had paid the price for sure. It had resulted in the worst whippen he had ever gotten.
He turned off the shower not wanting to use all the hot water and stepped out. He dried himself off and dressed wincing as he pulled his jeans on and promised himself that he would not ever challenge Uncle Jessie again. He quickly shaved and combed his hair and brushed his teeth. His hope was that doing all of these routine things would help him feel like less of a punished little boy but unfortunately they didn't. He still felt like crying and was fighting that emotion with all he had.
He walked into the kitchen still on emotional overload but stopped in the doorway to smile at Uncle Jessie at the stove. He had seen that sight a million times but it never failed to make him feel safe and secure. "Come on in here boy and have some coffee with me."
It wasn't said as an affirmation of Luke's adulthood as he had been drinking coffee with Uncle Jessie since he was nine. He had always just loved the way it smelled and tasted and his Uncle had finally given in and let him drink it. But he enjoyed these quiet times with the farmer in the morning as Bo would sleep until noon if left to his own devices.
He and Uncle Jessie each took a steaming mug of coffee and settled in, Uncle Jessie at his usual place at the kitchen table, and Luke leaning against the counter. With as tender as his hind quarters were he had no intention of doing any sitting today at all and maybe not even tomorrow. "You feelin okay today boy? You look a might peaked."
Luke swallowed the huge lump in his throat. "I'm just havin some regrets I guess Uncle Jessie, I feel like I used to when I was little and you were mad at me."
Luke cursed himself inwardly for being too damned emotional and he struggled with the tears that came to his eyes. Before he knew it Uncle Jessie was standing in front of him and grasping his chin forced Luke to look into his eyes. "I ain't mad at you, and we took care of any problems we had between us last night. And after all was done I forgave you for the mistakes you made son. Now I'm hoping that you learnt a lesson last night but I surely ain't mad at you sweetheart. And your grand pappy took a strap to me often enough so that I know what the price you paid was. It ain't missed my attention that I ain't seen you sit down once all morning."
He felt his uncle wrap him in a warm hug and he couldn't stop the tears that rolled down his face. Uncle Jessie jumped back "Oh good heavens I'm standing here jawing and my biscuits is a burning."
Luke went from crying to laughing out loud and then when Jessie turned to him and wagged a warning finger in his face he actually laughed until his sides hurt. But he noticed that Uncle Jessie was smiling as well. "Well it sounds like someone is in a good mood today."
Daisy walked into the room carrying her sleeping bag and another bag with her clothes in it. She walked over to Uncle Jessie and kissed his cheek. "Hiya handsome."
"Hello Darlin how was your friends sleep over party?"
Daisy smiled and gave Luke a little kiss on the cheek as well. "It was a lot of fun Uncle thanks for letting me go. Hey where is Bo? Don't tell me the lazy bones is still in bed it's eight thirty."
Uncle Jessie looked towards Luke. "We let him sleep in this mornin so that we could have us a little visit without the rascal."
Luke couldn't help but smile at his Uncle's description of Bo. Daisy just shrugged her shoulders and went to her room to put away her things. The farmer started loading the table with all of his nephew's breakfast favorites and Luke didn't know how in the short time he had been in the bathroom Uncle Jessie could have done all this but he was grateful. And as if on cue as soon as the prayer was said Bo appeared.
He sat down at the table and Luke noticed that he sat down hard and didn't even wince. That figures Luke thought to himself. Jessie took in Bo's disheveled appearance and shook his head. "Git your behind back into that bathroom and at least comb your darn hair Bo."
Daisy and Luke exchanged a smile because Bo was always just so well
Bo. "Looks like that one didn't have no problem going to sleep last night."
The comment was meant for Luke but Daisy looked puzzled for a moment. They waited until Bo came back dressed and with his hair combed before they sat down to eat. Well at least before most of them sat down to eat. Daisy noticed that Luke was still standing
"Come on and sit down and eat Luke, your biscuits and gravy are getting cold."
Luke walked over and took his plate out of Uncle Jessie's hand. "I'll just eat here at the counter this morning."
Daisy looked suspiciously to Luke and Uncle Jessie and Bo also exchanged a look. They all enjoyed their breakfast and Luke was pleased to see that Bo and Uncle Jessie were the same with each other as they had always been with neither one apparently holding a grudge.
After breakfast was all done, Uncle Jessie asked Bo if he would help him fix the fence out behind the barn as there was a tear in it. "I'll just go on out and git started on it. Daisy honey would you get my leather gloves out of my room and give them to Bo to bring out to me?"
Daisy said that she would and went off in search of the gloves. For the first time all morning Luke and Bo had a moment alone to discuss last night and what had happened. "Well I'm glad that you seem fine this morning Bo, I noticed that you didn't need to eat standing up."
Bo looked as if he felt bad about that. "I'm real sorry Luke that I got us into all that. I thought for sure Uncle Jessie wasn't ever gonna stop whippen you last night."
Luke grimaced, "Yeah well I thought the same thing, but I didn't help myself none with my attitude. And I'll tell you something else cousin- the next time you decide to do something that stupid I ain't gonna help you and I might even turn you in to Uncle Jessie myself."
Bo looked as if he thought maybe Luke was kidding and he laughed but was surprised when Luke didn't. "Uncle Jessie says I need to be a better example for you and I'm gonna do that. And I sure as heck can't do that if I'm gettin into trouble right along with you."
Bo looked unsure of what he had just heard. "So your saying that from now on your gonna be a choir boy? I ain't so sure that I believe that."
"Believe it or not last night convinced me of one thing for sure and that was that I don't never want to be punished like that again."
Bo remained where he was looking at Luke as if seeing him for the first time until Daisy came in and put Uncle Jessie's gloves into his hand. "Here you go Bo."
He took them and went out the door to the barn and Luke watched him go still thinking about their conversation. "Luke what in tarnation happened last night? What did Bo do?"
Luke was momentarily thrown off by her questions and before he could ask she explained. "I went into Uncle Jessie's room to get his gloves and I saw the strap on his bed. That thing is always out in the barn he has never brought it in unless he was gonna use it. I know it had to be Bo he is always gettin himself into fixes. But what was it this time?"
Luke would have thought that Daisy would have already figured it out. "He stayed out until three in the mornin at a pool hall, drinking beer and playing pool. He got in because he had a fake driver's license that he paid some kid at school to make for him."
If the situation hadn't been so serious Luke would have laughed at her expression. Her eyes were as wide as he had ever seen them and she was just standing there with her mouth open. "Oh man I bet he whipped the hide off of that boy for sure."
Luke sighed and shook his head. 'No that woulda been me that had the hide whipped off last night."
Daisy looked at him as if he had lost his mind. "You Luke what did you do?"
"Same thing as Bo did. Only add to that I'm older and should be smarter. Oh and I gave Uncle Jessie some attitude as if the rest wasn't enough."
"Why Luke Duke why would you ever go and do that?"
Luke realized that for some reason Daisy seemed near tears. "I don't know, I guess the only answer is that I'm a damn fool. And Bo got some too so I managed to get us both punished while I was at it."
Daisy put her arms around Luke and with tears in her eyes she kissed the side of his face. "Nobody's perfect Luke you know that. You just made some mistakes, some really big mistakes but I'll bet Uncle Jessie has already forgiven you."
Luke just hugged her back and nodded his head, fighting tears of his own. "That's why you ate your breakfast standing at the sink wasn't it?"
"Yea sitting is out of the question today and tomorrow ain't looking too promising either." Luke could feel his emotions again just under the surface.
He noticed tears on her face and knew that she genuinely was worried about him. He had such a wonderful relationship with Daisy he honestly felt like her big brother in every sense of the word. He pulled her into a hug and tried to re-assure her. "Hey don't cry it wasn't all that bad, you know dang good and well that I have been in that position lots of times. This was no different."
Stubborn was a family trait and she had her fair share too. "I ain't never seen you cry about a little thing like a spanking before Luke this must have been pretty bad."
Despite his best attempts not to he felt his eyes fill with tears again. "Oh Luke."
She hugged him again and he fought to regain control over his emotions. "It was bad wasn't it?"
Luke couldn't speak yet so he merely nodded his head and she stood on tiptoe to place her forehead against his. "Why have you been so mad at Uncle lately Luke? I noticed it but I never said nothing. Did he do something to upset you- I mean before last night?"
Luke wasn't sure he could put his feelings into words. "I don't know Daisy I was just feeling so unfriendly towards him and he ain't done nothing to make me feel that way. I knew every time I opened my mouth with him lately that I was treading on thin ice. I still don't know why I was feelin that way."
Daisy looked at him and narrowed her eyes. "Why you was feelin that way Luke?"
Luke nodded. "Yea if nothing else Uncle Jessie fixed things last night cause the way I was feeling is gone now. Replaced by the feelin that I may not ever be able to sit down again."
The sound of Daisy laughing filled the room and Luke looked at her with a stern face. "You thinkin that my discomfort is funny girl?"
He felt her give him another hug. "Course not cousin I'm thinkin that I'm really glad Uncle got through to you cause it pains me to watch you hurtin."
Luke smiled at this and could not resist the obvious. "Then it's a good dang thing that you was gone last night then, cause there was a lot of hurtin going on in this house."
"Bo seems like he's fine and dandy this mornin though."
Luke nodded in agreement. "It's the darnedest thing I ever did see I swear the boy's got a cast iron butt. And beside Uncle Jessie just gave him a few swats maybe ten or so, as best as I could see from my position in the corner."
Luke swore to himself as he realized just what he had let slip out. "Your position in the where?"
Luke looked down at his feet and could feel the blush come across his face. "You heard right my position in the corner."
Amazement was evident on every feature of Daisy's face. "Uncle Jessie made you stand in the corner Luke?"
Luke just slowly nodded his head and swore figuring that he might as well tell her the rest of the story. "Yeah and he also put me over his knee for the whippen too. I guess he figured that I've been acting like a little kid so I should be treated like one."
Rather than laugh as he thought she would Daisy's eyes filled with tears again. "Daisy?"
"Oh Luke I'm so sorry that musta been real hard for you."
If she had laughed he would have been better able to take it than for her to give him this undeserved sympathy and love and he struggled again with the emotions which were just under the surface. "It wasn't a big deal."
Even as he said it he knew he sounded totally unconvincing. She knew him all to well to miss that and she did cry then. All he could do was to hug her and tell her that it was all right. After a moment she pulled back and looked into his face. "Whose idea was all this anyway cousin?"
Luke rolled his eyes. "Now who do you suppose?"
And much to his surprise instead of getting angry at Bo she reached over and smacked him on the shoulder. "What in the name of heaven were you thinking listenin to a plan of Bo's? You are supposed to be a good example and tell him when he comes up with hair brained schemes just how stupid and dangerous his idea's are."
Luke chuckled at her response "That's what Uncle Jessie said while he was swatting on my behind last night. I guess I'll have to take that into account the next time."
Daisy let go of Luke and walking to the table she began to clear the dishes and he began helping her. "Well at least it's all over now, it isn't like being grounded where it lasts for a long time."
Luke sat the dishes down hard in the sink. "Oh damn."
"Don't be swearing Luke, aren't you in enough trouble and what's wrong now?"
Luke looked disgusted. "I forgot Uncle took the keys to my car too. So I guess it ain't all over yet. Why in the world would I get myself in this deep?"
"Maybe cause sometimes you get to wondering if maybe Uncle Jessie is a might strict and what would it hurt if you just tried a little something that he says no to."
Luke looked at Daisy with a very serious look on his face. "Now that sounded like experience talkin cousin."
He didn't miss the blush that came across her cheeks. "Maybe it is Luke and maybe it isn't but one thing for dang sure if it was experience talking, I would never be so careless as to get caught."
He walked the two steps to the sink where Daisy was standing. "Well last night in between begging Uncle to stop and crying until I had a headache I realized somethin."
Daisy looked hard at Luke. "And what might that have been sugar?"
"I realized that what Uncle Jessie says is true and I do need to start setting a better example for the two of you. And I made a promise to myself that I ain't ever gonna be on receiving end of that strap again. So I'm telling you Darlin if you are doing somethin you ain't supposed to be doin you need to stop. And stop right now cause I'd hate to have to go to Uncle Jessie but I would."
Daisy looked at him as if he had lost his mind. "You would tell on me Luke?"
He nodded his head yes. "And Bo too, I'm serious about this Daisy. I sure as heck wouldn't want to git you into trouble with Uncle but I also couldn't live with myself if somethin happened to you cause I kept my mouth shut. And of course there's the whole strap thing too."
Luke hated the look of sadness he saw in her eyes. "But Luke you been protecting me my whole life, seems like."
Luke wrapped her in another hug. "And I'll go on protecting you for as long as I breathe. Just cause I'm gonna try and be more of an adult don't mean that I don't love you guys as much. And it don't mean that I'm gonna be no wet blanket either. But if you're doing somethin that you know Uncle Jessie forbid then you can't expect that I'm gonna hide that."
Daisy looked like she didn't like what she had just heard, but she trusted Luke enough to believe him. After a minute she rolled her eyes at him. "Great just what I need two Uncle Jessie's."
Luke found himself laughing loud and hard at that comment. And after a minute she turned to him with a very serious expression on her face. "And how did our troublemaker take that particular news cousin?"
Luke looked resolute at her question. "I don't exactly think that he believed me- that's how."
Daisy nodded her head at Luke "But you are serious about this, I can tell from the look on your face. That musta been some whippen you got last night."
"And mark my words cousin it was the last one too."
They cleared the table in silence both deep in their own thoughts. Before long they had the kitchen cleaned and they both went outside into the sunshine to help Uncle Jessie and Bo. Daisy headed off to collect the eggs and weed the vegetable garden and she stood on tiptoe and planted a kiss on Luke's cheek as she went.
The tender affection between the cousins didn't go unnoticed by Uncle Jessie. He sent Bo off to give Daisy a hand and looked to his oldest charge. "You sure that you're okay boy?"
Luke pondered the question for a long moment. "Yes sir, I just feel like a dang fool I should have known better all the way down the line. And the honest truth is that my behind is still hurting like the devil."
Jesse could see that Luke was near tears again and while it broke his heart he knew that he had needed to be hard with the boy last night. "Well as far as the first part goes there ain't a one of us that ain't made some mistakes in our lives, and you just own up to them and take whatever is a coming. And we both know you already done that part. But the next step is whilst you never forget what you done wrong you forgive yourself and just go on living."
Now Luke had tears streaming down his face. "I..I ..I feel like I'm just not gonna ever stop crying. I hate to cry, why can't I stop?"
Jessie wrapped the boy in a warm hug and just let him cry for a moment. "Last night was a hard lesson son, both on your heart and your behind. You'll feel better here directly. I want you to go into the house and take two aspirins and then go back into your room and lay down on your bed for a little longer."
Jessie was not surprised when Luke shook his head no; as he knew the boy was as stubborn as a mule. "I need to do my part around here Uncle; it ain't fair to everyone else if I don't."
Jessie took a hold of Luke's upper arm and giving him no chance to resist he walked him back into the house. He left Luke standing at the sink and went in to get him the aspirin and pouring a glass of water handed both to the boy. "Now it don't matter if for one day Bo does your chores. Last night was his bright idea and compared to you he got off easy, so a few extra chores ain't gonna kill him."
Jessie was happy to see his nephew nod in agreement and after Luke had taken the aspirin he took the glass from the boy and put it in the sink. "Come on then."
He walked his dark haired nephew back into his room and pulled back the covers much as he had done the night before. Luke was being unusually cooperative and the farmer was glad for that. He toed off his boots and climbed back into his bed lying on his stomach. "Now you just sleep for a while, and when you wake up I'm a thinking that you're gonna be feeling lots better all the way around."
Jessie walked to the door and turned to look at the boy again. "It's all gonna be all right son, I promise."
He could see Luke fighting back tears again. "I love you Uncle Jessie."
Jesse smiled. "I love you too Luke."
So poor old Bo ended up doing all the chores that day but he didn't mind cause at least he wasn't worried about Luke no more. And while the birds sang and the sun shone Luke slept and just like Uncle Jessie had said when he woke up he felt a lot better all the way around. And things on the Duke farm in Hazzard County got back to the way they should be. At least for a little while.
Balladeer: Appears to be another beautiful day in Hazzard County. But appearances can be deceiving as all heck is about to break loose in the Duke household. One thing you can say about old Jessie Duke and his brood, things ain't never boring.
All the Duke Cousins and their Uncle Jessie sat around the kitchen table with their heads bowed in prayer. As soon as the amen was said Bo let loose an infectious laugh and started reaching for the plates heaped high with breakfast food. "If I didn't know better Bo I would think that you ain't even seen food in a long while."
Bo smiled at his Uncle's gentle teasing. "Come on Uncle Jessie you know that our little Bo is going through a growth spurt again. Soon he's gonna be taller than Luke."
Luke looked at Daisy and frowned "I really doubt that cousin, and anyways how do you know that I'm finished growing?"
Jessie smiled at the usual banter that going on between his niece and nephews. He knew that they thrived on teasing one another and it was their way of communication. And as usual Bo the baby of the family couldn't stay silent. "Well heck yeah Luke I'll probably be lots taller than you, and you ain't gotta be no genius to see that I'm already better lookin."
Jessie knew that if he didn't put his foot down and put it down fast that this just might turn ugly. Luke didn't always take too kindly to Bo's teasing. "That will be enough of that kind of talk, you all three best eat and hush now, understand?"
He gave them all the stern look that he knew booked no resistance and he thanked the heavens when he heard all three mutter "yes sir". The rest of the morning meal was pleasant and uneventful. After the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen was attended to they all went outside to start on the chores.
Jessie went to the barn and he saw Bo pick up a softball that had been lying on the ground and toss it to Luke. He let the boys have a few minutes of honest to goodness play time before he started them on farm chores. As he came around the side of the barn he noticed something odd about Luke's car. It had been parked in one spot for nigh on six weeks now as he had taken away the keys as part of Luke's punishment for sneaking in at two in the morning and a variety of other things.
The farmer sighed as he thought about that night. He had known that for some time Luke had been struggling with a defiant attitude towards him and that night the whole thing had come to a head. He had gotten up to check on the boys and only because he had walked into the room to open the window had he noticed that the beds were empty. Oh they had been made to look as if his nephews were sleeping in them but there was nothing in those beds but pillows. So Jesse just moved back into the corner and waited
and waited. And finally he had gone out to the barn and gotten the strap.
He had been taking care of his niece and nephews since they were all small and he was a father to them in all ways. He gave them guidance and love, encouragement and devotion and the occasional kick in the pants. While he hated to dole out discipline he knew that he needed to do so from time to time. He knew that the thing that that hated to hear more than anything was that he was disappointed in them. And he knew that the worst thing he could do to any of them was to spank them.
In all these years he thought that maybe he had spanked Daisy once. And maybe he might have given her a swat on the rump once or twice. He knew that his wife had never punished her at all other than sending her to her room on the rare occasion. She was their angel child and as if to make up for that God himself had seen fit to send him two devils to balance out the ledger sheet.
Luke had been the oldest of the children when he came to them and he had a very serious minded personality even then. Jessie never knew if it was his parent's death or just his nature but the boy was always wise beyond his years. But the problem came in as he had a stubborn streak a mile wide and when he made up his mind that was that. He had received many a whippen because he simply refused to give in or for that matter give up.
But Jesse knew even then that he would grow up to be a man that any father would be proud of. He was smart as a whip and his easy smile and generous and loving attitude never failed to make the farmer smile. And as soon as the younger two had arrived Luke had taken on the responsibility of older brother and he had taken it seriously.
Bo had been the youngest when he had arrived and then like now he was pure Bo. Even as a baby he had a head full of golden blond curls and the prettiest blue eyes you ever did see. Jesse's wife often remarked that she couldn't even go out in public with the baby as every woman in twenty miles wanted to stop and fuss over the boy. And the farmer chuckled to himself as he realized that nothing about that situation had changed in all these years.
But Bo loved to challenge Jessie's word and still did to this day. Of all the children he had been on the receiving end of the most whippings. But truth be told while his punishments were more often than Luke's, Jessie knew that he almost always went a little easier on Bo. There was just a sweetness about Bo that everyone including his Uncle loved. After he had done something wrong there was always such a genuine sense of being sorry and wanting to make it better. And he knew that it was always much easier to convince Bo of his wrongdoing than Luke.
Knowing how much he loved these two he also knew just how much they tried his patience. They had done all the usual things to get themselves into trouble both as small children and then later as teenagers. Sometimes Jessie thought that they just wanted to make sure that he was still paying attention and still going to be there to tell them that the answer was still no! But he reckoned that it was that way with all parents and children and his were no different.
But this last time with the boys had been different. He was unsure what it was that had the burr under Luke's saddle but it had gone on for about a month before that night. Every thing he said, every look and even his body language was telling Jessie that the boy was angry at him. The farmer never exactly figured out why, and thank heavens the punishment that he had received that night seemed to have straightened the boy out, but it would stand in the record book as the worst whippen he had ever given to any of them.
That's why looking at the position of Luke's car, he almost didn't believe it. Making the boy give up his car keys had been part of his being punished and Jesse would have sworn on his soul that his nephew wouldn't be sneaking out again a scant month after he had his behind blistered. So what in tarnation was going on here then? Could it be Bo? He hadn't given Bo the whippen that he had given Luke but even still he was pretty sure that Bo wouldn't be getting into any mischief this soon either. As a matter of fact his blond nephew had been an absolute choir boy since he had gotten bent over the armchair and had his behind swatted.
He continued to look at where the car was now parked and knew for darn sure that it had been moved. Walking around all sides and just looking he noticed Luke watching him out of the corner of his eye. Glancing at the boy he noticed that he wasn't looking scared or guilty, just curious. And again he was filled with the certainty that whatever was happening that Luke was not the guilty party. Could it be someone was stealing the car and night and then returning it? Why that didn't even make any sense.
But the more he looked at his nephew's car the more he was sure that someone had driven it. Rather than go to do the chores as he usually did he walked back into the house and pouring himself a second cup of coffee sat down at the table. Glancing to the front door and the key rack that hung there he noticed with no small amount of dismay that the keys to Luke's car were not there. He sat for a long moment and just thought about what the possible explanations could be.
He hadn't been sitting there for long when Luke came into the kitchen. "I thought you was throwing the ball with Bo."
Luke returned his gaze and headed toward the bathroom and Jessie noticed that he glanced in the direction of the key rack on his way. "I was just coming in to use the bathroom Uncle Jessie."
He sat still and heard Luke go into the bathroom but then as soon as the door closed it opened again. He had lived in this farmhouse his whole life and knew every single sound. He could tell from the floorboards squeaking that Luke had gone into his bedroom for just a moment and then to Daisy's room. But what was he looking for? With grace that was in direct conflict with his size he gently tip toed into the hallway and glanced into Daisy's room just in time to see Luke taking his car keys out of Daisy's purse. With lightening speed he went back to his place at the table and picked up his coffee cup.
Within moments he saw his dark haired nephew appear in the kitchen. "Are you feeling okay Luke? You look a might pale."
He saw the boy swallow hard. "I'm just a little tired today Uncle Jessie that's all."
The truth was that the boy looked sick and Jessie thought for a moment about the reason why. He must not have known that the keys were in Daisy's purse or he wouldn't have gone into his room first. And Jesse would bet his eye teeth that he had been looking in Bo's drawer for those keys.
Jesse knew just what it all meant and he couldn't believe that Daisy had been the one who had driven Luke's car. He still didn't believe that Luke was in on it or he would not have looked in Bo's drawers for the keys. And he knew his niece and nephews very well and he was positive without doubt that the harsh punishment that he had given Luke had gotten through to him. But why would his angel child be sneaking out in the middle of the night? Were things changing with her and he simply didn't see it? And what exactly did Luke think he was doing with those keys?
The farmer stood up and went to the back door calling out to his brood. Bo came in first giving him the dazzling smile that had every woman for twenty miles feeling glad to be a female. Jessie shook his head, as young as Bo was and already such a heartbreaker. Then Daisy came in looking rattled, exactly how he would expect someone with a secret to act. And finally Luke who simply looked grim, as if he already knew what this was about and was preparing for it.
As usual Bo being impatient was the first to speak. "What's going on Uncle Jessie, we ain't even started the chores yet?"
Jessie looked from face to face searching for some answers. "Ya'll sit down I need to talk to you about somethin serious."
The look on Daisy's face was stark fear and Jessie knew that she was guilty beyond any doubt. But looking to Luke he saw a look that he had seen many times before. The boy looked determined and Jessie wondered why that was. "Some one in this room took out Luke's car last night after I was asleep and I want to know and know right now who it was."
Again Bo was the first to react as he leapt to his feet. "Uncle Jessie that ain't true. Luke and me never left our room all night. Tell him Luke."
He looked to Luke who didn't return his gaze and Jessie finally knew just where they were headed. While Bo continued to look at Luke like he was crazy Jesse had a pretty good idea of what was going on. Luke was going to take the blame and punishment for Daisy. When he had told the boy that he needed to take more responsibility for his cousins that surely was not what he had meant. Maybe he could get things back on track. "So Bo, are you saying that you didn't take the car last night?"
Bo's blue eyes got wide and he shook his head vehemently. "No sir I swear Luke and me didn't do this."
Jesse shook his finger in his face "I wasn't asking about anybody but you son, what is your answer."
"No sir I didn't do this I swear I wouldn't risk getting another whippen for nothing."
The farmer then turned to his niece who he noticed already had tears in her eyes. "And how bout you Daisy, did you take Luke's car last night?"
Two tears rolled down her face and Jesse knew that the truth was about to come out. "I
Her confession was interrupted by Luke standing up and looking directly at Jessie. "I did it Uncle; I took my car out last night."
Jesse didn't know who was more surprised Bo or Daisy. Bo turned to face his cousin. "Look Luke I don't know who did this but you sure as heck didn't. After the last time we got ourselves into trouble and Uncle Jessie punished you I heard you say that you wouldn't never do anything again to earn another whippen."
The farmer could see that Luke was worried about how insistent Bo was and Jessie himself was worried about the fact that Daisy still hadn't said another word. Now his blond haired nephew turned to him in desperation. "Uncle I know that Luke didn't do this and I don't know why he's lying but he ain't the one that drove that car."
Looking harshly at Luke, Jessie put his most stern expression in place. "Is that right boy are you lying to me?"
And just as he was praying that Luke would admit that his claim about taking the car was a lie the boy reached into his pocket and pulled out the keys. Damnation! "No sir and here's the proof that I'm tellin the truth."
Again both Daisy and Bo reacted with amazement. "How in tarnation did you get those keys? Dang it Luke I know that you didn't move out of our room all night. What in the name of heaven is going on here?"
Jessie couldn't seem to get a word in edge wise with Bo's interrogation going on. Jessie knew from the look on Luke's face that things were about to go from bad to worse. "Well Bo it would be easy to give you the slip being as you ain't exactly the brightest bulb in the box."
Jessie couldn't bear the hurt look on Bo's face and admonished his dark haired nephew. "Now Luke that is just plain unkind and not true."
But the farmer could see that it had had its desired effect. "Well fine then Luke, I may not be as smart as you but I sure ain't stupid enough to sneak out in the middle of the night after what happened last time. I hope Uncle Jessie beats your behind real good then."
And he walked out the door slamming the screen as he went. "That was uncalled for Lukas, and I don't appreciate it none either."
It was at this point that Daisy decided to speak up. "Luke didn't do this Uncle Jessie"
Before he had a chance to jump in he saw Luke turn to Daisy. "Now you just be a good little girl Daisy and shut up and stay out of what you don't understand which I reckon is a lot..."
Jessie looked to his nephew in amazement and while the words were mean and condescending, Luke had tears in his eyes, as if he hadn't wanted to say them. And apparently he wasn't fooling Daisy either. "Don't do this Luke please."
Luke turned away from his cousin and Jessie suspected it was because he couldn't bear to look at the hurt on her face any longer. "Look Uncle I did it so just punish me already and be done with it."
Jessie heard the fearless words but he knew underneath that his nephew was scared, and he dang well should have been too because if he had really taken his car last night he would be in a heap of trouble right now. And that's when an idea found its way into his head; maybe Luke still needed to be taught a thing or two after all.
"Fine then you had the keys and I guess then you did take the car out after all. So all that leaves me with is the punishment and we both know what that's gonna be."
Jessie walked into his room and came back out again with the strap and noticed that Luke paled considerably. Daisy walked over and stood in front of Luke as if she could protect him from what she thought was going to happen. "Uncle Jessie please don't do this. It wasn't Luke I swear."
He easily moved her aside and sat down on the couch. "C'mere boy you know how this goes. I'm sure that you remember from the last time you was in this position."
Jessie held his breath hoping and praying that his hard headed nephew would finally just admit that he hadn't done it. He knew that Luke was lying to protect Daisy but a lie was a lie and the farmer just wanted to hear the truth from Luke, and so he gave him another little push.
"Come on boy over my knee again, just like the last time."
He saw Luke's eyes fill with tears and didn't miss the way his chin trembled. "Please Uncle not like that again; can't we just go out to the barn?"
Jessie knew that the last time he had punished Luke that the humiliation of being put over his knee at his advanced age had been almost as bad as the actual strapping for the boy. And if he was going to get the boy to crack he needed to use any tool that he had.
So much to his nephews grief he patted his lap and waited. Luke walked towards him and stopped to look at Daisy who was still standing there with tears running down her face. "In front of Daisy?"
Jessie just nodded his head hoping that Luke would just give in and admit that he hadn't done this. But instead he just leaned over his uncle's lap and waited for the punishment to begin. Dang but this boy was stubborn.
Daisy turned to leave and Jessie told her to stay right where she was. "Your cousin has insulted you and lied and I think you should see just what's gonna happen."
Daisy clearly didn't want to stay but she knew better than to disregard what her uncle had told her. Jessie laid four solid swats onto Luke's behind with the strap figuring that he deserved at least that for all the lying that he had done today. He knew that Luke was already crying but he looked to Daisy and she was shaking her head and sobbing.
"No Uncle please stop. I swear to you I took the car and I went out to meet that new boy in school that you don't approve of and we just parked and talked and I swear the keys were in my purse and I don't know how Luke ended up with them. Please, please don't punish him anymore he didn't do anything."
She put her head into her hands and just sobbed and Jessie pulled Luke to his feet. Luke stopped for a minute to try and rub the sting out of his behind and then went to his cousin grabbing her in a huge hug. "You shouldn't have told Daisy, it would have been over soon. It's lots better than you gettin into trouble."
Daisy didn't have much to say other than to tell Luke again and again that she was sorry. Jessie let them have a minute together before he had to step in and straighten it all out. "All right then I need to hear you tell me the truth for the first time today Luke."
Luke looked down at his feet and took a deep breath. "I figured out that Daisy had taken the car and when I looked in her purse I found the keys and I just put em in my pocket. Cause I figured that if someone was gonna get punished for it that it wasn't gonna be Daisy."
Luke said it in a defiant voice and Jessie knew that the boy was issuing a challenge. "Well seems to me son that it ain't your choice who gets punished and who don't in this house. And you insulted Bo just to make him mad and hurt his feelings just to shut him up, and then you tried the same thing with Daisy. And then you just outright lied to me. You go to your room and I'll be in shortly and we's gonna have us a discussion about telling the truth."
Jessie saw his nephews eyes glance towards the strap and Jessie knew what he was wondering. But after all that had happened this afternoon it would do him good to wonder and even worry for a little while.
Luke turned and walked towards the room that he shared with Bo. "Uncle Jessie- please don't be too hard on Daisy, she's kinda new to this whole getting into trouble thing."
Jessie fought back a smile at that comment but continued to wear his stern look. "Git into your room now boy!"
And for once with his head hanging Luke did as he was told. Jessie turned to Daisy who was still crying and with all his heart didn't want to have to do what he was about to. "I am disappointed in you Daisy. Both because of what you did and then you let Luke take the blame. Even if he really wanted to take the blame you knew that you had done it. And I think you know what's gonna happen now too."
Daisy nodded her head that she did and walked over to where Uncle Jessie sat. "It don't matter Uncle nothing could be as bad as watching you use the strap on Luke."
The farmer knew deep in his heart that what she said was the truth and he saw no reason to postpone the inevitable any longer. Reaching up he pulled her across his lap in the same position Luke had been in just a few minutes earlier. Steeling his heart he delivered eight smacks to her behind with his hand and when he was done he would have been hard pressed to say who felt worse Daisy or him.
He stood her on her feet and pulled her back down on her lap and held her while she cried and told him how sorry that she was. "Now little one we need to have us a talk
about some things. First off I would have spanked you a lot worse but I realize that you did try to tell me the truth about taking the car. You were gonna tell me when your hard headed cousin stepped in. And earlier I saw Luke take the keys out of your purse and put them in his pocket."
Daisy turned and looked at him with amazement. ""You knew that he didn't do it Uncle?"
"Yes honey I was pretty sure that he didn't, and I'll tell you something else if he had after what happened a month ago, I would have really blistered his behind for him. So it's a lucky thing that I did know. And another thing is that this had better never happen again. If I ever find out that you was sneaking out in the middle of the night again I swear I'll spank your fanny right good and proper- understand me young'un?"
Daisy was crying again and just nodded her head yes. "Now besides warming up your behind you are officially grounded for the first time in your life. One month, just like when Bo and Luke are grounded. Now do you want to tell me why you disobeyed me to sneak out and meet this feller?"
She surprised him by laying her head on his shoulder and crying hard and he gave her a moment to compose herself knowing that whatever she was going to say was going to be difficult for her. "Sometimes Uncle I just get so tired of always being so dang good."
Jessie chuckled at this and thought that while it was clearly the truth it wasn't what he had expected at all. "Bo and Luke are always doing dangerous stuff and getting into trouble and Bo ain't even as old as I am. I just wanted for once to do something that nobody would expect me to do. I never thought about how bad it would make me feel or how scared I would be that you would find out. That part was worse than the spanking and I didn't like that at all. Bo and Luke are right about that."
Jessie's curiosity got the better of him then and he couldn't stop himself from asking the question. "And what do Bo and Luke have to say about spanking?"
For a moment Daisy looked like she wasn't going to answer. "They say that it hurts like the devil and that knowing how disappointed you are is as bad."
He didn't answer simply rubbed her back again and let her rest her head on his shoulder. After a few more minutes of this he pulled her to her feet. "You go on into your room and stay there until lunch time. I want you to think about all the mistakes you made that resulted in you getting your behind spanked. I love you Daisy Duke with every fiber of by being and I forgive you, but if this happens again
He shook a warning finger in her face. "I understand what will happen Uncle. I promise I won't ever do anything like this again."
He gave her one last hug and watched her go to her room and shut the door. Feeling as old as he ever had he sat back down on the couch and picked up the strap. He hated the darn thing and hoped to never have to use it again as long as he lived. He thought about what he was going to say to Luke and how hard it had been to spank Daisy. But he also knew that like her male cousins she was just trying to find her place in life and he vowed to keep a closer eye on her in the future. He stood up and walked to his room and put the strap in the back of his closet and went to Luke and Bo's room.
He opened the door and found Luke standing at the window and when he turned Jessie could see that he had apparently been doing some crying. "How could you spank her Uncle? Why didn't you just punish me instead?"
Jessie knew that they were in for a long discussion if he didn't get control of the situation fast. "I didn't whip you Luke cause you didn't do it. I saw you take those dang keys and if I had thought you had taken that car out I would have taken the strap to your bare behind and given you a fierce whippen. Is that what you wanted?"
Luke shook his head no and fought the tears that coursed down his face. "I just didn't want Daisy to get spanked that's all."
He stepped forward and hugged his nephew. "I know son and I didn't want to have to spank her either. Heck I never want to spank none of you. But she snuck out in the middle of the night to meet someone that she knew I didn't approve of. Why anything in tarnation could have happened to her. She's lucky that everything turned out all right and that I didn't spank her worse."
"Now let's me and you have us a talk."
Luke looked down at the floor as if there was something interesting at his feet all of a sudden. Jessie grasped the chin firmly and pulled his head up so that they were eye to eye. "When I took the strap to you and Bo I told you that you needed to take more responsibility for your cousins. And you know that this wasn't what I meant. I am proud that you are looking after Daisy but don't you never, and I mean never try to take her or Bo's punishment. Understand me son?"
Jessie saw the boy fighting tears again. "I need you to promise me Luke."
He gave the boy a moment watching him struggle to get the words out. "I promise Uncle."
He wrapped the boy in another warm hug. "Good boy Luke, now that just leaves one more thing."
Before the boy could respond he used his arm and turned him to the side and landed six of the hardest swats he could muster onto Luke's unsuspecting behind. Because he wasn't expecting it Luke cried out and when he was done he pulled the boy back into his arms again. "Regardless of the consequences, you will not lie to me. If that means the truth gets Daisy, Bo, or your behind punished, you will still tell the truth."
Luke responded by putting his head on Jessie's shoulder and sobbing and like he had done for Daisy he just let him cry and rubbed his back. "I love you Luke with all my heart and I sure hope you got the message."
His nephew pulled away and rubbed his behind again. "Yes sir I think I did."
The farmer smiled then. "Good, then all that leaves us to do is for you to go out and apologize to Bo."
He smiled at the groan that came from Luke at that thought. "He is impossible to talk to when he's mad."
Jessie chuckled at that remark. "Just like someone else I know with a very hard head."
They walked out into the sunshine together in search of Bo. He was in the barn and didn't look too happy to see his cousin, so Jessie stepped in. "Bo Luke here has something he wants to say to you and I want you to listen to him."
Bo nodded his head in his Uncle's direction but turned a hateful glance towards Luke. "Bo I need to explain about earlier today."
Bo spit on the ground and fixed his cousin with another nasty look. "Like I give two hoots for your explanation."
Jessie felt his own temper flare and reached Bo in exactly two steps. Like he had done with Luke earlier he turned the boy to the side and placed six hard swats on his behind. "I have had my fill of mule headed, stubborn and ornery young'uns who refuse to do as they are told. Now you hear me Beauregard Duke I told you I wanted you to listen to Luke and I dang well do. Am I clear on that boy or do you need some more convincing?"
Bo responded by covering his behind with both hands surprised by both the speed and intensity with which he had just been swatted. "No sir I understand."
Jessie saw the boy turn towards his cousin and wipe tears off of his face. "I'm listening Luke."
Luke looked as if he couldn't quite believe what he had just seen. "I just said that about you being not so smart to make you mad so that you would stop telling Uncle Jessie that I didn't take the car. I don't really think that your dumb cousin, I just said that cause I knew it would work."
Jessie could see that Bo was thinking over what he had just heard and Luke continued. "I said I took the car because I knew that Daisy had done it and I didn't want Uncle to spank her which he did anyway."
Jessie saw the blond head turn to look at him with amazement. "You spanked Daisy Uncle Jessie?"
The farmer could tell from the tone that apparently Bo wasn't pleased with his choice either. "Now don't you start with me Bo I decide who gets punished in this house and unless you want it to be you again, you will keep a respectful tone with me."
Jessie saw Bo look back at Luke. "You were willin to take a whippen for Daisy Luke?"
Luke just nodded his head. "I guess so cousin."
Bo grinned at his cousin "Well then maybe the next time I'm in trouble you would like to do the same for me?"
Jessie was glad to see Luke put his arm around the younger boy. "Not dang likely Bo."
For the first time today the farmer felt like everything was as it should be again. "Enough jawing you two, let's get some of these chores done." And they did.
Balladeer: So that ends the tale of the day that Uncle Jessie punished everyone on the Duke farm except maybe the goat. Daisy went back to being a good girl again and Bo learned that when his Uncle says to listen that's exactly what he does. And Luke well he actually was surprised when Uncle Jessie gave him his car keys back at the end of the day and told him he wasn't grounded no more. So while it was a hard day for poor old Jessie he shouldn't have been surprised cause he's the one that taught them young'uns about sticking together and that's one lesson they did learn.
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