Andy's StoryTime
Interactive Storytelling

Gunning for Mayberry

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Story Beginning:
The morning air is cool on Andy's face as he walks out on the front porch to drink his morning coffee.
Andy looks over his mug and sees a couple of young robins checking the yard for something to eat. 1 He smiles, lowers the mug and thinks about Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, the baby birds Opie raised some years ago. 'I wonder how long songbirds live?' he thinks and figures these two are related to Opie's three. A quick movement by one of the robins catches his eye and he sees it swallow a bug and then continue the hunt. "I expect that bug tastes better to you than it would to me, little fella," Andy says softly and sips coffee. The second robin has found a fat worm and is having a hard time pulling it out of the ground. "C'mon, red-breast, you can get that ol' worm. Just keep'a pullin'." Andy sips more coffee.

The screen door opens and Aunt Bee steps out. "Andy, did you say something?" Andy looks over at his favorite Aunt and gives her a sheepish grin. "Oh, I was just giving that robin there some moral support against a worm, Aunt Bee." Andy pointed toward the bird and both watch as the robin flies off with its wriggling prize. "Well it looks like it worked. I don't have any worms, but there are still two corn muffins left, Andy, if you're still hungry," Bee says and goes back into the house. Andy finishes his coffee and stand up. " I believe I am," he says and goes inside.

Andy takes a bite of the warm, buttered muffin and the phone rings. Seeing Andy has his mouth full, Bee answers it. "Hello, Taylor residence...Yes...That would be Sarah...Yes...He's right here, just a minute, please." Bee covers the receiver and turns to Andy with a worried look on her face. "It's Captain Ardell of the State Police. He sounds serious, Andy." Swallowing muffin, Andy takes the handset. "Good mornin', Cap'n Ardell. This is Andy Taylor, how can I help you?"

2 "Sheriff, we got a tip that there might be a stranger coming toward your vicinity and he's loaded with tons of weapons which have been stolen from various gun shows and such, throughout the state, and he's driving a stolen car. We need your help in getting the weapons back, or it could cost the state thousands of dollars, maybe more. But, be extremely careful, you never know if you'll hear some ticking, too, if you know what I mean. We are going to have our men on guard, too, so, if you need anything, you can reach them." 3 Now with Andy's otherwise peaceful morning interrupted by this latest bit of bad news, a furrowed brow betrays his best efforts to keep a calm front for Aunt Bee's sake as he turns to hang up the receiver. "Is there anything wrong Andy?"

Andy takes another bite out of his muffin, "Oh nothing to be worried about... we just may be gettin some company, that's all."

Curiously Aunt Bee asks "I hope it's the kind of company we wouldn't mind having over for dinner some night...or would it be the opposite?" Andy tries to sidestep the question "Well for all I know, there's a good chance he... or "it"...might not even choose to come this way, so until we know for sure let's just leave it at that. And if I were you, I wouldn't go settin' another place at the table..." As Andy smiles hoping that Aunt Bee will see the intended joke, she gives Andy quite a look.

4 He goes back outside and gets into the squad car to go to the courthouse to find that Barney isn't there yet. Then, Barney walks in, "Mornin' Ange!", "Mornin' Barn!", Andy responds, "Lucky you came when you did, I thought I'd have to call and look for ya. We got something big comin' up- state business. Come over to the desk and I'll lay it out." 5 All of a sudden Barney's eyes grow wide as saucers as he draws closer to the sheriff's desk, "Well then lay it all out for me Big Daddy, you just wind up for the pitch and I'll stick out the old catcher's mitt. So let me have it, what'cha got?"

Andy tries to curb Barney's enthusiasm "Now Barney, let's not get too carried away. As a representative of the law we're supposed to lay our emotions aside when things like this come up and learn how to be more objective!" Barney stops and turns to face Andy, "ARE YOU KIDDIN? My whole objective has always been to be objective. It's been my "M.O." from day one around here! You just let me have it and I'll just show you how objective I can be !!" With that, Andy relays the news he received earlier that day from Captain Ardell of the State Police as Barney nervously paces back and forth.

Before Andy has a chance to finish his last sentence, Barney cuts him short "Andy, this is BIG I'm tellin' ya, REAL BIG!" and races to the file cabinet to open the bottom drawer. With a look of exasperation Andy asks "Now what are you doin'?" as Barney fumbles around in the drawer before coming up with a small set of keys. "C'mon Andy, can't you see we're in a Code Orange situation here, we gotta do somethin to nip this thing in the bud before it gets any closer to home!"

As Andy anticipates Barney's next move, he bolts from his swivel chair and races Barney to the gun rack in his attempt to wrestle the keys from his grasp. Andy lunges at Barney's arm which then slips, accidentally turning Barney's arm into a human catapult. The keys to the gun rack now go flying through the air as both Andy and Barney switch gears to chase after it. The keys hit the floor as both sheriff and deputy slide head first at the far corner of the room, and Andy just does manage to get his outstretched hand on them a split second before Barney. Now with both men sitting on the bare floor and the keys secure in Andy's grasp, Andy slowly turns to look at his dejected deputy, "I see now what you mean.... 'Mr. Objectivity' !" 6 "Leave the rifle alone!", Andy orders. "Oh, Andy!", Barney whines. "Barney, we have to handle this in a cool, calm, slow way because Captain Ardell hinted that we might hear some ticking, too, if we get to this man, and you know what that could possibly mean, don't ya?", asked Andy. "Blooey?!", responded Barney. "Exactilioso", then he smiles as he remembered that Barney used that word before.

7 "Leave the rifle alone!", Andy orders. "Oh, Andy!", Barney whines. "Barney, we have to handle this in a cool, calm, slow way because Captain Ardell hinted that we might hear some ticking, too, if we get to this man, and you know what that could possibly mean, don't ya?", asked Andy. "Blooey?!", responded Barney. "Exactilioso", then he smiles as he remembered that Barney used that word before. 8 "Leave the rifle alone!", Andy orders. "Oh, Andy!", Barney whines. "Barney, we have to handle this in a cool, calm, slow way because Captain Ardell hinted that we might hear some ticking, too, if we get to this man, and you know what that could possibly mean, don't ya?", asked Andy. "Blooey?!", responded Barney. "Exactilioso", then he smiles as he remembered that Barney used that word before. 9

Before they have a chance to get up, the door opens and Mayor Stoner walks in. Seeing the two lawmen sitting on the floor stops him in his tracks. He scowls at them and speaks. "Good grief! What are you two up to now? In one smooth motion, he extends his arm and finger to point at them then raises his arm to point at the ceiling. "Get up from there! What's gotten into you two? Grown men sitting on the floor, I never..." He let it trail off. Andy and Barney hop up and dust off. "Sorry, mayor. We were retrieving some keys we dropped and got tripped up," Andy explains and drops the keys into his pants pocket. "What brings you down?" "Let's talk at the desk, sheriff." He looks at Barney. "Deputy, do you think you could bring us some coffee?" "Uh...sure thing, mayor." He looks at Andy who gives him a slight shake of the head. As Barney turns for the back room he rolls his eyes and mutters something. "What was that, deputy?" the mayor asks sharply. "I said, 'Do you want cream and sugar?'," Barney says, turning. "Just black, please." Barney rolls his eyes again and enters the back room. Andy leads the mayor to the desk where they sit and start talking.

Barney hasn't yet made coffee that morning so he uses hot tap water and some old instant that's left over from two Christmases ago when they had a party in the courthouse. Since it's so old, Barney figures he better use more so he puts three teaspoons full in the cup and stirs it up. By the time Barney returns with the coffee, the mayor is hunched over a map spread out on the desk and Andy is taking notes. Barney sets the coffee down on a small clear spot near the edge of the desk. The mayor looks up and thanks him, picks up the cup and sips. He scowls again, looks into the cup then up at Barney, who is standing there with his hands on his hips.

"Good greef, deputy! What did you do to" Barney's smile fades. "What do you mean? What's wrong with it?" "Taste it!" the mayor orders and holds it up to Barney. Andy has stopped taking notes and is watching the two men with a slight smile on his face. Barney takes a sip, grimaces and apologizes. "Sorry, Mr. Mayor. I didn't make coffee this morning so I used some old instant. I'll go make a fresh pot right now." He turns and almost runs into the back room. "Oh, never mind the coffee. I'm almost finished." The mayor looks at his watch. "By the way, deputy, aren't you supposed to be at the school crossing right about now? I suggest you get going." Barney comes flying out of the back room headed for the door. "Yes sir! I'm on my way right now." As he nears the door, Andy pulls the car keys out of his pocket and tosses them to Barney, who catches them, thankfully, and exits the courthouse. "Let's finish this up, sheriff, I've got a meeting with Howard Sprague in a few minutes," the mayor starts running his finger around on the map and Andy gets ready to write again.

Assuming the mayor's visit concerned the firearms theft, Barney grills Andy when he returns from the school and is disappointed to hear the meeting was about the upcoming Founder's Day parade. "A parade? All that was over a parede?" "Yep," Andy says and stands. "Barn, I have to go tell the businesses on Main Street that we're going to close the street Saturday next week for the parade and I got a feelin' they ain't gonna like it one bit. Why don't you go out on patrol, that ought to cheer you up. And keep an eye out for any suspicious characters runnin' guns thru Mayberry. You have the tag number of that stolen car written down, don't you?" "I don't have to write it down, Ange, I got it right up'chere," Barney brags and taps his forehead. Andy gives him a look. "You got somethin' up there, all right, we just ain't figured out what yet," he says and heads for the door. "What do you mean by that, Ange?" Barney frowns. "Nothin' Barn. Go on patrol."

Patrolling the county usually takes about an hour, barring trouble, but this day Barney is being extra careful to check everywhere and is well into his second hour. He stopped by the garage and told Wally and Goober to be on the lookout for any strangers, drove by Thelma Lou's like he always does, even though he knew she was at work, and is heading to Route 43. He finishes the root beer he bought at Wally's, puts the empty on the floor on the passenger side and hopes Andy won't smell it on his breath when he gets back. He knows it's only a soda, but that name...well, you never know, and you can't be too careful.

Barney swings the car onto Route 43 and sees a car pulled over on the side of the road up ahead. A man is standing with his hands on his hips looking down at the tire. Barney pulls the squad car up behind the disabled auto and the man is visibly startled and quickly puts his right hand into his jacket pocket. He eyes Barney warily as he exits his car and approaches. All smiles, Barney says, "Got a flat, huh. Maybe I can help. Do you have a jack?" The man, who had been scowling at the tire, has turned it on Barney and isn't really listening. His dark eyes are cold and wary. "Huh?...A jack?...Oh! A jack. I don't really know, I mean...uh, this is my wife's car so I don't know." "Well, open the trunk and let's take a look," Barney says. The man looks at the trunk and says, "No! I remember now, there isn't a jack. If you have a jack I can use, sheriff, I'd be much obliged." He looks at Barney with a slight smile. Barney chuckles. "I'm a deputy and I do have a jack in the trunk. I'll go get it." Barney turns and walks back to the squad car.

Quickly, the man opens his trunk and sees the spare lying flat in a round recess. There are more than a dozen rifles laying on top of it. He pushes them aside quietly and struggles to pull the tire out of the trunk. After he gets it up out of the well several handguns fall in with loud thunks. Quickly, the man looks to see what the deputy is doing but all he sees is the trunk lid up on the squad car. Breathing a sigh of relief, he pulls the tire out and leans it against the fender. He slams the trunk closed and turns just in time to see the deputy return with a jack and lug wrench. "Why did you do that? You're just gonna have to open it back up to put the flat in," Barney says and hands the man a bumper jack and lug wrench. "Oh yeah. I forgot." The man pops off the wheel cover on the flat and loosens the nuts without any trouble as Barney watches.

"You're not from around here, are ya? I see your tag's from Wake county. You from Raleigh?" " Huh? Oh yeah, Raleigh." The man sets up the jack and raises the car enough so he won't have any trouble putting on the spare. He starts spinning off a nut. "You know someone here in Mayberry, Mr....uh, I didn't catch your name. My names Fife, Deputy Fife...well, Bernard, that is Barney Fife. Deputy Barney Fife." The man looks up at Barney without smiling. "Smith, John Smith, and I'm just passing thru on my way to Charlottesville. As soon as I get this tire off and the other one on I'll be on my way." He gets the last nut off and pulls the flat off and sets it aside, lines up the spare and slides it onto the studs. He takes a nut out of the cover and starts it on a stud. "Oh, there's no hurry. Mayberry's a friendly little town. Why don't you stay awhile. We got a nice park and several nice restaurants. We even got a moving picture theater." Barney said that last to impress the stranger from the big city.

"No thanks, deputy. I'm a salesman and I have some equipment I have to deliver. Thanks anyway." The man tightens the last nut and puts the cover back on. He lowers the car and returns the jack and wrench to Barney. "Thanks for the use of the jack. I think I can handle it from here. So long, deputy." Dismissed, Barney heads back to the squad car as the man unlocks the trunk to put the spare in. As he's getting the tire situated in the trunk he hears the deputy again. "I noticed your fishing rod in the car and I thought you might like to know we have several lakes-" The man turns and sees Barney behind him, eyes and mouth wide open, staring at the guns in the trunk. Barney goes into action, dropping the tools and fumbling for his gun. "You're him! All right fella, put 'em up!" Barney says as he pulls his gun out of its holster, but his hands are shaking so badly that he drops it as it clears the holster. The man reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a snub-nosed .38 revolver and points it at Barney, who goggles at it. "YOU put 'em up, deputy," he says and motions with the gun. "Back up." As Barney steps back, the man picks up his service revolver and looks at it. "Nice, I ought'a get a good price for this piece." He shoves it into his belt and turns his attention back to the deputy. "Go to the trunk and open it. Go on!" "Mister, you don't want to do this," Barney pleads. "Shut up! Open the trunk and get in." Between the hand-shaking and looking for the keys in the grass after he drops them, it takes a couple of minutes for Barney to open the trunk. "Leave the key in the lock. Now get in." "Please mister. I won't tell anyone I saw you." "I'm gonna shoot you if you don't get in. Now!" The threat works. Barney quickly climbs into the trunk and curls up so the lid coming down won't hit him. Quickly, the man runs up to his car, slams the trunk closed, gets in and speeds off. Barney's voice can be heard coming from inside the trunk. "HELP! SOMEBODY HELP!"

"...and I want to thank you, Goober, for helping me look for Barney. He should have been back a half-hour ago." "Aw, Andy, I'm glad to do it. We wasn't busy an' Wally said it'd be alright." Goober stuck out his thumb and touched Andy's arm with a "Ckik!"

They were in Wally's tow truck and Andy was looking as Goober drove. "There he is up ahead!" Andy exclaimed as they rounded a curve on 43. They pulled up behind the car and Andy's brow furrowed when he didn't see Barney. He jumps out of the truck and walks up to the car. He sees the keys in the trunk lock and opens it up. "Barney! What are the world are you doing in there?" Andy stands there in surprise. Goober walks up. "Hey Barn. Yeah, what Andy said."

Barney is lying on his back with a flashlight in one hand and a wrench in the other. His face, clothes, and hands are smeared with dirt. He blinks in the bright light and shields his eyes from the sun so he can see the two. "Oh, hi Ange, Goober." He snaps off the light and set both items down and starts to climb out. Andy and Goober both help him out and he brushes himself off and reaches back into the trunk for his hat, which he puts on. "Thanks guys, it was cramped in there." He looks at Goober. "Thanks for bringing Andy out, Goober. We can take it from here. So long. Come on, Ange." He walks up to where he dropped the jack and wrench and picks them up, comes back to the car and tosses them onto the back seat and gets into the driver's seat. Andy and Goober just stand there looking at him for several seconds before Andy says to Goober, "You might as well go on back to the garage. Thanks a lot, Goober, and tell Wally I said thanks too." Confused, he hesitates for a second before getting into the truck. "I'll see you, Andy," he says, backs up enough to turn around and drives off. Andy gets into the passenger seat and pierces Barney with a stare. "All right, Barney, let's hear it," he orders.

10 "That was an ordeal, Andy! Now, what are we gonna do?", asked Barney. "Wey-ell, I figger that clunker won't get him very far, so let's just follow him a-ways.", suggested Andy. 11 Barney slumps down and, without looking at Andy, says, "I helped a stranger with a flat and it turned out to be the guy we're lookin' for, Ange, and I didn't know it 'til I saw the guns in the trunk. I tried to arrest him but I dropped my gun and he got the drop on me. Then he locked me in the trunk." He looked over at Andy. "I've never been so scared in all my life as I was then, Ange." Barney looked close to crying. Andy put his hand on Barney's shoulder and squeezed it softly. "Well yeah, I think I would be too, Barn. Anybody would, in that situation. But it looks like you kept your wits and would have gotten yourself out with that wrench. What were you gonna do, unbolt the trunk hinges?" "Yeah. I remembered there was a flashlight in there and felt around 'til I found it. Then I found the wrench. I would have gotten out pretty quick, but I'm sure glad you and Goober came along. Thanks, Andy." He smiled at Andy who returned it and said, "I'm glad we could help, Barn." He took his hand off Barney's shoulder. "I noticed your holster is empty, did the thief get your gun?" "Yeah." Barney hung his head again. "We'll just have to find him then. He's heading north, right?" "Right." Andy pulled the keys out of his pocket and handed them to Barney, who started the car. He looked in the mirror to see if it was clear to pull onto the road and saw the trunk lid. "Darn! The trunk is still open." "I'll get it," Andy says and gets out and slams the lid closed. He leans back in the window and says, "Turn it off, Barn, and get out." Barney gives him a puzzled look and Andy says, "Now we got a flat."

12 Barney kicks a rock in the road as he vents his frustration, "Doggone it, we'll never catch up to that whack-o gun runner now!" and Andy tries to calm him down, "Now Barney, don't go blowin' a gasket over this. Besides, if this man's car is as rundown as you say it is, he won't be gettin' very far anyhow." Once Barney simmers down Andy returns to inside the squad car in order to report their close encounter on the Motorola handset. After some initial static, he makes contact with a police sergeant in nearby Siler City who takes down the coordinates, and in turn relays the information to the State Police. Andy is told that new information had just come in over the wire reporting that the ringleader of the gun smuggling operation had been captured only hours ago. He had just confessed that his mole was driving to Winston-Salem for a large pay-off from the regional boss of an underworld crime syndicate, and that from there they would be putting the goods on the black market. The message concluded with a State Police report that they're on their way, and strongly advise the Sheriff of Mayberry to "be cautious", as the runaway gun thief is "armed and dangerous!" At the sound of this warning, Andy's eyes do a 360 degree roll as he pushes the handset button and replies... "We sorta catch your drift there Sarge, Over and Out!" 13 "One more thing, Sheriff"..., said the sergeant. "I'm sorry, I already over and outed ya", joked Andy. "Will you stop kiddin' around?", Barney asked, impatiently. "I'm sorry, sergeant, what else did you want?", asked Andy. 14

Hardly a pit stop at the Indy 500, it takes the boys a good twenty minutes before tightening the last of the lug nuts. "C'mon Barney, we ain't got much more time to spare..." Andy warns as Barney heads for the driver's seat. With lights flashing and siren wailing, they leave clouds of dust and flying gravel in their wake as they proceed down the road to route 43. About a mile from the entrance Andy catches something in the corner of his eye. "Slow down a minute Barney...Now pull over to that grove of trees." Once the squad car pulls over, the boys exit as Andy leads Barney down a grassy embankment to a place alongside a white fence, where his suspicions are soon confirmed. Barney becomes excited as soon as he matches the plates, "Andy that's it...that's the car!!" Crouching among the grove trees, they stealthily approach the vehicle and soon notice that there are no visible signs of the gun-napper. Suddenly they hear a tapping sound followed by a familiar voice, "YO HELP, get me outta here, somebody PLeAsE!!..." Andy and Barney turn to look at each other and almost simultaneously blurt out the name "GOOBER??" They soon determine there are no signs of the driver, his booty, or of a possible ambush and head straight for the car. Andy knocks "Goober is that you?" as a voice from inside the trunk replies "YO ANDY, I knew you'd come!" Barney chimes in with "Goober how'd the heck you get in the trunk?" but Andy quickly interrupts by telling Barney to go back to the squad car for the crow bar so they could jimmy it open.

Once Barney returns and they pop the trunk open, it soon becomes apparent that just like Barney before him, Goober had been in the wrong place at the wrong time... "I just stopped fer a drink of water down by the well when I seen that man's car parked behind the tow truck. Before I knew what hit me, he snuck up frum behind an' struck me right on the back a' my head...I think it might've been with the barrel of a gun or sumpthin'. Next thing I know, I woke up in the trunk a' this here car!!" Barney begins to scold him, "Goober, how in heck could you allow yourself to be caught off your guard like that? Didn't you even suspect there might've been foul play afoot once you saw that suspicious vehicle parked behind you? C'mon man, let's get with it!" Andy looks astounded by Barney's lecture as he slowly turns to his deputy and says, "Barn, hadn't you ever heard of the 'pot callin' the kettle' black?" Barney says "Huh, what're you talkin about? I haven't watched any a' those Ma and Pa Kettle movies since we wuz kids!!" 15 Andy rolls his eyes, clears his throat and asks Goober: "You didn't happen to hear 'em say which way they's goin', did ya, Goob?", asked Andy. "Yeah, they have a hut about 15 miles east o' here", said Goober. "Oh, thanks, Goob. Well, we'll see ya. Come on, Barn." They both raced back to the squad car. 16 Stunned, Goober looks at them for a second, then calls out, "Hey! How am I supposed to get back to the garage? They stole the truck! An' I might need to see the doc about my head." "Well come on then," Andy shouts over his shoulder. "Sheesh!" Goober says and starts running. 17 "Wait a minute, Andy. How are we gonna take Goober to the doctor and try to catch up with the criminal at the same time?", asked Barney. "Well, if the state police are nearby, maybe I can hitch a ride with them, while you take Goober to the doc.", suggested Andy. 18

The state police were happy to have Andy along, and his extensive knowledge of the county and its dozens of back roads and dirt trails helped to narrow down the search area for the thieves' hideout and led them to the criminals quickly without being spotted themselves. Some of the gang had not arrived yet so Captain Ardell decided to put the place under round-the-clock surveillance and left a unit in a place of advantage while he took Andy back to the courthouse.

The morning's perfect weather had given way to a few afternoon rain clouds and Ardell turned on the windshield wipers to fight the drizzle that accompanied them back to town. Old friends as well as colleagues, the two lawmen talked about a host of things on the leisurely drive, including which of them had caught the most fish the last time they went and made plans to go again soon. Ardell eased over to the curb behind the squad car and thanked Andy for his help and promised to keep him informed on the status of the case and Wally's truck and thanked him for his help. Andy thanked him back and promised not to forget about the fishing trip, got out and ran to the door to get out of the rain. He waved and entered the courthouse.19

After spending the better part of the morning at Doc Harvey's, Barney escorts Goober back to Wally's in the squad car. Goober's beanie sits perched atop a sore head tightly wrapped in gauze and bandages. As Barney tries to guide Goober into the passenger seat, he accidentally knocks Goober's head against the door frame, causing his beanie to land in a puddle. "Take it easy will'ya Barn, I alreddy got a kon-kush-un... an' I wasn't plannin' on gettin anuther one!" "Aw shut up Goober, will ya just shut up! A little bump on the head isn't gonna kill ya, especially with all that padding you got up there anyway!" With that, Barney gently presses Goober's head below the car roof as he guides him in. After closing the door he bends down to retrieve the soggy beanie, wrings it out with both hands and proceeds to the other side of the squad car.

Once delivered to the filling station, Wally takes Goober to the back room to get him settled in. When he returns to the pumps, Wally not only gets Barney to explain the cause of Goober's injury, but learns the fate of his tow truck as well. With this last piece of news Wally becomes visibly agitated "Why that dang blasted no good sonofa... I oughta get on the short wave and give 'em a piece'a my mind!" At first Barney looks puzzled, then surprised, "Wait a minute... you mean the truck has a CB radio in it?" Wally spits out some tobacco juice and says "Yeah that's right, so what of it?" Barney replies, "Nothing much, except if the crooks' are gonna bang up Goober's head, then maybe now there's a way we can get into theirs..." 20

Steering the tow truck and it's small arsenal of contraband in the direction of his gang's hide-out, ex-felon Randy a.k.a. 'Pee Wee' Parker begins to suspect something is wrong once he approaches it's surrounding outskirts. He thinks to himself 'there's something not quite right with this picture', as he focuses about a mile down the road. He notices the glare from chrome and glass, of which he's almost certain is from police vehicles hidden by the roadside brush. Following his intuition, Parker pulls the truck off to the shoulder and drives two miles down a side road before parking behind the weeping branches of a large willow tree. By now he's certain the police have staked out the shanty where he'd prearranged to meet up with the rest of the Parker Gang (actually his two brothers Darryl and Billy Bob), and decides to wait until dark before resorting to 'Plan B'. Satisfied with his decision, he takes a drag from his cigarette and exhales a cloud of grey smoke out the cab's window.

All of a sudden the shortwave tucked under the dashboard starts to crackle as a high-pitched and nervous voice breaks the silence... "Ahhmmm, Hello. May I have your attention please! Repeat, may I have your attention! This is Deputy Fife speaking. You are in violation of a 228, 619, 434, 441, and 312...Repeat, you are in violation - namely possession of stolen goods, assault, theft of motor vehicles, speeding, and littering. Should you continue on in your wreckless course, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows. However....if you turn yourself in now, the penalties will be less severe. Do you read me?" Parker crushes his cigarette butt on the dashboard as he reaches for the microphone "Buzz Off Squirt!" Deeply offended, Barney returns the volley "YOU JUST BETTER SHOW SOME RESPECT THERE BUSTER, OR ELSE!" Parker replies "Oh yeah, or else what?" "OR ELSE YOU'LL BE SPENDIN' EXTRA TIME IN THE SLAMMER WHEN YOU'RE CAUGHT!!" Parker laughs out loud, "You couldn't even catch a cold, Deputy!" and hangs up the receiver. 21

Andy is busy hunting and pecking at the typewriter when Barney storms into the courthouse, slamming the door behind him. "BOY LET ME TELL YA, SOME PEOPLE HAVE A LOTTA NERVE!" His concentration finally broken, Andy slowly turns around in his chair to ask "Is there anybody in particular that has a lotta nerve Barn?" Barney scowls "YOU BET THERE IS! IT'S THAT SMART ALECK RUNAWAY GUN-NAPPING HIJACKER, THAT'S WHO!" Looking puzzled, Andy hesitates a breif second and is almost afraid to ask the next question..."Don't tell me, you had contact with him?" "YOU'RE DARN RIGHT I DID, AND LET ME TELL YOU ONE THING - WHEN THEY FINALLY CATCH THIS GUY THEY SHOULD LOCK HIM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY...JUST FOR INSULTING ME THE WAY HE DID!" Curious, Andy asks "Barn, how did you manage to talk to him?" Barney replies "Wally showed me how to use the shortwave radio he has down at the filling station and I thought I'd use it to our advantage by getting into his head via the art of intimidation..." Andy interrupts "And you wound up getting all flustered because he insulted you instead..." "OF ALL THE NERVE!"

"Barney, I don't think Captain Ardell or the State Police would take too kindly to your meddling in on their juristiction...or interferin' with whatever strategy they've set in place for dealing with these cons!" "INTERFERING? ANDY, SOMETIME GIVE SOME CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE FER GOSH SAKES...I DON'T SEE "CAPTAIN ARDELL" OR HIS STATE POLICEMEN MAKING ANY STRATEGIC ATTEMPTS TO COMMUNICATE ...OR TRY TO GET INTO THE HEAD OF THIS FELLA, whatever his name is...LIKE I DID!" Andy replies "Randall Elliot alias 'Pee Wee' Parker." "HUH?" Andy continues "You asked what his name is...that's his name. Captain Ardell called a little over a half an hour ago with the updated information...says he's got two brothers holed up in a shack about 8 miles outside of town...Darryl and Billy Bob." As he digests this new information, Barney places his hands on his leather gunbelt while looking up at the ceiling, and thinks out loud "Parker, Parker...3 brothers...Randall, Darryl, and Billy Bob... What is it about those names that sounds so familiar Ange?" Andy replies "Oh I don't know, but it could be they was the same family that lived with their ma in that yellow bungalow out by Fisher's Pond for so many generations..." Looking surprised, Barney asks "You mean old lady Parker is their mother?" Andy replies "Mrs. Elvira Parker you mean, yeah I reckon. As a matter of fact, Elvira and her daughter Agnes Jean have been regular attendants at our All Souls Church for many years!" With the mention of this thought, Andy begins to get a flash of an inspiration. 22

Around dusk Pee Wee Parker leaves the tow truck to follow a trail through the backwoods that will eventually lead him to the rear of the cabin. Based on the two mile trek, he calculates having the cover of darkness as an added advantage by the time he arrives. Twenty minutes later the trail winds it's way uphill and leads to an elevated ridge that overlooks the valley. Looking down, Parker notices the small flare of a match lighting up a cigarette, betraying a state trooper's hiding place - just behind a boulder off the side of the road. Parker continues on, and in less than an hour finds himself just twenty yards from the rear of the cabin. He quietly makes his way to a side window and peeks in. Sensing the coast is clear, he taps three times on the glass followed by two more taps. Recognizing the code, brothers Darryl and Billy Bob look out the window before exiting the rear of the cabin where they greet brother Pee Wee with hugs. "We knowed you wouldn't ferget us Pee Wee" says Billy Bob. "How could I forget you two, especially when I'm supposed to pick-up your contribution to the gun collection?" With that, Darryl reveals his stolen antique gun relics from a carrying case. "Good boy baby brother, now let's be on our way before the cops get tired of waitin' for me to crash their slumber party and decide to raid the cabin!" 23

Guided by the light of a full moon, the Parker gang reach the truck and find themselves on the road in good time. Their knowledge of the by-ways and backroads helps them avoid detection and waltz under the radar of the state troopers. They only have one close call after a police car passes at an approaching intersection just seconds after Pee Wee stops the truck and shuts off the headlights. As they begin to put more distance between themselves and the police dragnet, they exhale and begin to relax. Pulling into an all-night convenience store off route 22, they use the closed circuit camera for target practice before helping themselves to several six-packs of beer and the contents of the cash register, as brother Darryl holds a loaded magnum to the head of the night manager. Back on the road, Billy Bob guzzles down 5 cans of beer which quickly goes to his head. He spews out expletives like seeds at a watermelon eating contest, and in a boastful mood presses the shortwave's microphone to his lips, bragging to the world - or whomever happens to be listening in... "WhoOoEeE looky here wurld, we is just three of the biggest, baddest, men in the whole dang county....better yet, the whole dang south! An' don't you go ferget it neither, hA Ha!" The boys' rowdy laughter is soon interrupted by the crackling sounds of the shortwave radio as a familiar voice suddenly grabs and takes hold of their attention. "Don't you worry none son, I won't ferget it! Just like I ain't gonna ferget the transgressions of my own flesh an' blood that's been doin the devil's work the last sevral years. Ol' Satan hisself is probly on a cruise right now taking a vacashun, since he has you three working overtime in his stead. But tell me boys, where did I go wrong? May the good Lord strike me down with a bolt of lightnin if I hadn't done the best I could tryin ta raise you three after your daddy ran off...learnin ya's to study the good book and live by the Golden Rule, to know the difference 'tween right an wrong, stayin on the 'straight an' narrow'. But fer all my toil n' sacrifice doin right by ya's, this is how ya repay me? The Lord knows, ya's don't even pick up a phone an' call me..." Son Darryl grabs the mike from Billy Bob, "But maw..." as Elvira Parker cuts him short "DON'T you 'But maw' me young man! Now you three lissen up, an' lissen good...This very minute may be the last oppertunity on earth you'll ever have fer Salvation, an it might well be hard fer ya's to repent an ask the Lord fergiveness by turning that truck around and bringing it back to where it belongs, right here in Mayberry. But consider it a small price to pay for your soul's redemption an' the mendin of your poor mother's heart..." Standing in the office of Wally's Filling Station, Andy comforts Elvira as Barney wipes away a tear and runs into the station's men's room to blow his nose. 24

Later that evening the full moon was hanging much lower in the sky as the headlights of an approaching vehicle appear at the furthest end of Mayberry's Main Street. Slowly it travels toward the center of town and gradually comes to a full stop at the intersection of Main and Central. A few minutes pass before the shadowy occupants finally emerge, looking not unlike aliens from another planet exiting their UFO. The silhouettes of these three creatures stand almost motionless before starting to walk down the middle of the street, now looking more like three gunslingers at high noon.

All this does not escape the notice of Deputy Fife, who working the late shift, peers out from behind the courthouse blinds. Alarmed at the appraoching menace, he runs to pick up the phone. "MAY-DAY MAY-DAY... quick Sarah, give me the Taylor residence! No, I didn't say it's 'Pay-day'...Will ya just hurry up and give me Andy's house!?!"

25 Mean while at the Taylor residence, Andy is relaxed on the sofa reading the Geographics before going to bed. Suddenly the phone rings, "Who could that be at this hour?", thought Andy as he picked up the reciever, "Hello!"

"Andy, Andy, come to the courthouse quick.", shouted Barney. Andy couldn't help but notice the panic in his deputy's voice. "What is it Barn?" Barney pauses briefly to catch his breath but finally bursts out with, "I don't know, but it's BIG!"

"Big huh?"

"Oh, big ain't the word for it."

"Where are you Barney?"

"At the courthouse."

"I'll be there in a jiffy."


Sitting at the Taylor dining room table, Elvira Parker sips her tea as Aunt Bee serves the Reverand Hobart M. Tucker another piece of homemade pecan pie. Andy wipes his mouth with a napkin as he looks across the table at the Reverand, "Yessir, that was a mighty fine sermon you gave at preachin on Sundie Reverand. Anytime you start off with 'The dice is loaded against the Evil-Doer', people are gonna sit up and take notice..." At that moment the phone rings as Andy excuses himself to answer it. "Hello? Yeah Barn..."

"Andy, we got a situation down here. Some tourists just rolled into town an' I think it may be them Parker boys lookin fer trouble. You better get over here quick!"

"Okay Barn, yeah, right, uh huh. No, leave the rifles in the gunrack alone. Just lock the door an wait til I get there..."

Within minutes Andy arrives in the squad car and slows to a stop nearly 20 yards from the strangers. He turns off the engine but leaves the headlights on as he walks to the other side of the vehicle to escort his passenger. As Andy holds Elvira's arm, they both walk down the middle of the street on a path that leads them directly to the three men standing there.

Sensing immediate danger, Barney flicks off the courthouse lights as he stumbles to the gunrack, groping for a rifle to cover Andy. Reaching for a gun at the end, he accidentally knocks it against the others causing all to come tumbling down out of the rack and pile onto the floor like a stack of dominoes.

Meanwhile Andy and Mrs. Parker stop once they come within ten paces of the men. There is a quiet pause just before the boys doff their caps and proceed to throw their weapons to the ground. Randall is the first to speak up, "We been doin a lot of thinkin...n' we agreed that a life on the run, stealin n' cheatin...just ain't worth it anymore." Billy Bob adds, "Yeah, n' that we rather turn ourself in than burn up in hell for all fraternity!!" With that, Darryl Parker asks for his mother's forgiveness, as she then extends her arms to their embrace. At that moment Reverand Tucker appears out of the shadows and chats with the family before the men agree to follow him to the town's horse trough nearby to be baptised. Andy announces "C'mon boys, we got nice clean towels waitin for ya at the courthouse!" as the dripping wet, now Born Again ex-cons follow him there. 27 In the courthouse Barny is scrambling to and fro trying to pick up all at once the guns that had fallen off the rack. As he possitions all the guns in his arms the barral of one of the riffles pushes up on the bill of his deputy hat knocking to the ground. Seeing it fall, Barny bends over to pick it up, forgetting all the guns in his arms. POW! a loaded rifle discharges putting a hole through the ceiling and into the Mayors Office.

About that time Andy and Mrs. Parker walk in with the Parker Gang. 28

Andy walks through the door looking shocked, glances at Barney and then up at the ceiling. "I do declare Barney, if you add any more holes to the ceiling it's gonna start looking more like a slab of swiss cheese!" With this rebuke Barney can't hide his disappointment. "It was just an honest mistake Ange, I was just trying to keep you covered. Next time I'll remember to pick out a gun first, THEN turn off the lights!" 29 After the whole ordeal Andy walks Mrs. Parker back home, leaving Barney alone with the Parker Gang. Barney paces back and forth staring intensly through the bars at the apprehended criminals.

"Now men, these are our maximim security cells. Here at The Rock we take great pride in knowing these cells are ultimately escape proof. Never has there been one attempt to break the confines of the Mayberry Jail." 30

The following morning Captain Ardell and the State Police arrive at the courthouse to transfer the prisoners to the state penitentiary as well as personally thank Sheriff Taylor and his deputy for their assistance apprehending the criminals.

"Don't thank us Captain, thank the love of their maw who done showed 'em the light and set their path straight." Barney blows his nose and adds, "Bless her heart!" With that, they shake hands as the troopers escort the three prisoners to the waiting police van parked outside.

Soon afterwards Barney turns philosophical, "Ya know Ange, it's a funny thing how all this worked out in the end..."

Andy asks, "Yeah, how?"

Barney goes on, "Well, figure as far as the Parker Brothers was concerned, they ended up with the 'Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200, Go Directly To Jail' card...GAME OVER!! Get it?"

Andy chuckles along, "Very clever Barn."

Barney repeats, "Yessir, 'Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200, Go Right ta Jail..." With this, Andy's already had enough, "I GET IT, I GET IT!!" 31

"Well I just figgered since those boys had a "monopoly" on all them guns and all..."

Andy rolls his eyes and says "BARNEY, NIP IT!" 32

1. Allan Newsome ( posted 13:58:51 02/25/04.
2. Howard Sprague ( posted 14:57:59 02/26/04.
3. Dustin ( posted 18:52:15 02/26/04.
4. Meadowlark ( posted 07:45:07 02/28/04.
5. Dustin ( posted 18:11:30 02/28/04.
6. Leonard Blush ( posted 08:31:57 02/29/04.
7. Dustin ( posted 19:02:55 02/29/04.
8. Dustin ( posted 19:03:35 02/29/04.
9. Dustin ( posted 19:04:21 02/29/04.
10. Howard Sprague ( posted 11:07:46 03/01/04.
11. Dustin ( posted 20:00:02 03/01/04.
12. Howard Sprague ( posted 11:30:04 03/02/04.
13. Meadowlark ( posted 14:04:31 03/02/04.
14. Dustin ( posted 12:44:44 03/03/04.
15. Leonard Blush ( posted 12:48:04 03/03/04.
16. Dustin ( posted 19:27:37 03/03/04.
17. Howard Sprague ( posted 05:37:26 03/04/04.
18. Dustin ( posted 07:23:55 03/04/04.
19. Howard Sprague ( posted 10:42:29 03/09/04.
20. Leonard Blush ( posted 17:18:05 03/10/04.
21. StuMeadowlark ( posted 08:46:46 03/13/04.
22. Leonard Blush ( posted 14:57:41 03/14/04.
23. StuMeadowlark ( posted 18:55:15 03/15/04.
24. Leonard Blush ( posted 18:29:27 03/16/04.
25. StuMeadowlark ( posted 18:19:46 03/18/04.
26. Brian Phillips ( posted 18:42:11 03/19/04.
27. Leonard Blush ( posted 19:18:53 03/19/04.
28. Brian Phillips ( posted 15:12:38 03/20/04.
29. Walt Johnson ( posted 09:14:32 03/21/04.
30. Brian Phillips ( posted 14:22:27 03/22/04.
31. Leonard Blush ( posted 15:47:07 03/25/04.
32. StuMeadowlark ( posted 07:06:40 03/26/04.

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