This story is written solely for the entertainment of fans of Walker, Texas Ranger.† I claim no compensation for this story.†

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††FUN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Linda Webb

The Ram truck's finish reflected the Dallas summer sun into the eyes of its owner who sat nearby under a cottonwood tree.† Cordell Walker squinted past the vehicle and down the highway as he tried to spot his partner's flashy sports car.† A worn, poorly maintained dirt road lay just beyond the tree, and Walker was sure that the Harvey brothers were in the shack at the end of road.† After spending the last two days in half the road houses and liquor stores in North Texas, the tired Texas Ranger, finally had traced them to this country road just south of Cedar Hill.† They had managed to lead him quite a merry chase and now Walker was ready to take them down.† He wanted his partner to back him up in case they tried for a get away on Joe Pool Lake.

A few minutes later the red convertible was cooling beside the Ram and Trivette was waiting for his partner to tell him how he wanted this to go down.

"C.D. and I were starting to get worried, partner.† What took you so long?'" Trivette gave Walker a hand up and watched him dust the seat of his jeans.

"Same thing as usual. Lots of leg work, lots of "I don't knows" and lots of miles of nothing.† Let's get this over with.† I told Alex I'd be back for the barbecue and fireworks out at Grapevine Lake.† Are you and C.D. going? " Walker replaced his hat and started walking toward the rut filled road.

"I have a date with Darlene.† We are suppose to have dinner at Reunion Tower and watch the fireworks from there." Trivette grinned in anticipation of seeing the model whom he had been dating for the past two weeks.†

"It must be getting serious if you're spending big bucks on the Tower, partner."† Walker grinned at Trivette and then jumped across rocky hole in the road.

"More than five bucks is big bucks to you, Walker.† I can't figure out what Alex sees in you."

"Substance, Trivette.† I am a man of substance.† Not flash. "

"Flash?† What do you mean?† I have substance, IÖ" Walker quickly turned away from the road and placed a finger to his lips.† He and† Trivette ducked down behind a small cedar bush and watched as someone came out onto the porch of the single room shack ahead.† A brown SUV was parked close by and another man was loading something into the back.† Walker made a motion with his hand to stay down and wait.†

"Damn, Charlie.† Do we have to finish all this today?† I'm hot and tired and I need another beer."

"Lester, you've drunk enough beer in the last 2 days for fifteen guys.† We'll stop up the road at the liquor store and buy some more after we finish.† I promised Carlton I'd have this stuff to him tonight.† If we aren't at the marina by eight o'clock he's gonna be pissed off."

"That's five hours from now. Let's go have a few cold ones and we can come back and finish up around six.† Come on, Lester. "† The big man continued to whine at his smaller friend.† Lester finally threw up his hands.

"Okay, Charlie.† I can't take your whining any more.† Let me grab a tarp to cover the stuff then we'll go.† I have to admit that this heat is really killing me, too."

Walker had slipped unnoticed to the side of the truck.† Trivette had gone wide to the right, staying below the hedge of scruff cedar.† When the suspects started for the Explorer's doors both the Rangers had come out with guns extended.† Caught completely unaware their quarry had surrendered without any fight.† Walker opened the back of the Explorer while Trivette cuffed the men.† The back was full of boxes of marijuana and smaller packages of white powder.†

Walker showed Trivette the stash and Trivette whistled through his teeth in surprise.† "How did you know?" he asked the senior Ranger.† Walker shrugged.† "I didn't know, I just suspected.† Lots of things kept adding up and well, itís good to be right.† Now all we have to do is find the big fish."

Trivette groaned.† "Not tonight, Walker."

The red bearded Ranger laughed and nodded.†"Yep, tonight."

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Alexandra Cahill spent the morning at the District Attorney's office.† She signed off on the last file, finished checking her court schedule for Tuesday and prepared to enjoy the rest of a well-deserved long weekend.† Walker and she had planned to take a picnic to the lake and watch the fireworks from his fishing boat, which he kept at the Grapevine Marina.† It wasn't a big or great lake, but he liked it because it was close to the city and he could escape for 2-3 hours a week to fish and relax between cases.† She had been out with him a couple of times and had enjoyed watching the sunset and relaxing.† Every year the city of Grapevine held their fireworks display for July 4th at the lake and Walker had promised to take her.† She was going to fill a basket full of his favorite things and was hoping that he was in a romantic mood, because she certainly was.† They were going to meet at† C.D.'s,† and although Walker had invited C.D., the older Ranger had been wise enough to know that Cordell and Alex needed some quiet time together.† He planned to work at his bar and enjoy the West End crowd that always came in after the Reunion fireworks.†

By the time Trivette and Walker had booked the Harvey brothers, and had tagged and catalogued all the drugs in the cabin and truck, it was after 6 o'clock.†

"I've got to go by C.D.'s and tell Alex that I've got to work tonight."† Walker nudged his partner.† "Cheer up, Trivette, you can always go out with Darlene tomorrow night."

"Walker man, it's just not the same and you know it.† There won't be fireworks tomorrow and she'll be upset and I've had those reservations for 3 weeks and do you know how hard it was to get them?"† Trivette seemed to deflate visibly.†

"You'll be a hero tomorrow for taking these drug dealers down.† She'll understand."† Walker tried to make his friend lighten up a bit.

"Yeah, well, you've got your own problems with Alex.† She isn't going to like it either."

Walker ran his hand across his damp and dusty brow and grimaced.† "Yeah, I know."†

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He stopped at C.D.'s and hoped that Alex was there.† It was only 6:30 and she was supposed to meet him at 7:00.† C.D. took one look at the dirty jeans and sweat stained western shirt and knew what Cordell was there to tell him. He pushed a big glass of lemonade at him and waited for the bad news.† "Just tell her I came by and that something has come up and I will be a little late.† I should be at the Marina tonight but Trivette and I will be there to take down some drug dealers.† Tell her I probably will be finished before the 9:30 fireworks."†

"Seems to me Cordell, that you might be burning your candle at both ends, so to speak.† I don't think Alex will be too happy about this."† C.D. cautioned.

"It's been a long day already, C.D., just give her the message, okay.† I have to get going."

Walker drank the rest of the frosty glass of lemonade and waved a good bye.† He had just enough time to drive home, shower and meet Trivette at the marina at 9:00.† The Harvey brothers had spilled the plan as soon as the jail cell door swung shut.† They wanted to roll over on the dealers in† return for a reduced sentence.† This was the way it always worked with the druggies.† They continued to give each other up without regard to loyalty until the top echelons finally were found.† The big fish had to be fried and some of the minnows usually got away.

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It was still almost 100 degrees when Walker arrived at the marina.† He had changed to a short sleeved white shirt and loose fitting blue cotton slacks and deck shoes.† He had left his Dodge Ram downtown and used the Harvey brother's Explorer with empty boxes in the back as a lure.† Whoever was here to deal would probably be on the lookout for the Explorer.† Trivette was late and Walker felt certain he was still trying to patch things up with Darlene.† He felt bad that he had missed Alex, but this sort of thing had happened to them before and he knew she would be disappointed but understanding.† He decided to stroll down the pier to the covered dock where he kept his boat.† He had planned to come down earlier and clean it up for Alex but it still looked pretty good from its last cleaning.† He washed the vinyl seats off and sprayed the floor with water and then turned around to jump off onto the dock when he caught a sudden motion to his left.† He started to duck as a long white oar impacted the side of his head and knocked him back into the boat.† He rolled to his knees just as someone jumped directly onto his back and sending him to the bottom of the boat.† A heavy man's weight straddled him as he fought to catch his breath.† His attacker grabbed the longish red hair and pulled the Ranger's head backward as he forced the muzzle of a gun against his temple.†

"Where is it?† Where are the Harvey's?"† A second man had stepped into the boat and was sitting on a cushioned seat above Walker's head.†

"What are you talking about?"† Walker could barely breathe with the weight of his attacker still on top of him.† "Get off me," he wheezed.

The second man had pulled out the Ranger's badge and ID from his pocket.† "Well, whatayaknow.† Looks like we have us a genuine Texas Ranger, Carlton.† Where the stuff, Ranger Walker?"† He was still kneeling against Walker's backbone and pulling his head back even further.† Carlton pulled the handcuffs from Walkers pocket and cuffed his hands behind him.†

"Pull him up, Jason.† Don't worry.† He'll tell us."† Carlton helped the larger man hoist Walker into a sitting position. "I remember you Ranger Walker.† Seems like the tables have turned in my favor this time." Blood poured from a long gash in the lawman's cheek and soaked the shoulder of the white polo shirt.†

"Red, white and blue.† You look pretty patriotic Ranger."† Both men were smirking as Walker looked desperately passed them toward the parking lot as he wondered what was keeping Trivette.† He almost moaned as he saw Alex swinging a picnic basket and walking toward them.†

"Get this boat going, Jason, and let's get away from the dock.† We'll find out where he put the dope and then weíll get rid of him. "He handed up Walker's keyring to Jason and Walker tried to get the leverage to stand up and warn Alex away.† Carlton, however, was faster with the gun and clubbed the Ranger in the temple, dropping him back into the bottom of the boat.† Alex was close enough to see the two strange men on the boat but she couldn't see the unconscious ranger into the bottom of the craft.† Smiling, she came almost up to the boat and caught their attention as the motor caught.† "Hey, this is Cordell Walker's boat," she protested as they started to steer the vessel away from the dock.† She made it to the edge of the pier before she had the angle to see inside the boat.† There was a bloodied unconscious red head face down and one of the men was holding a gun.† She dropped the picnic basket and began to scream for help as the motor boat made its way quickly out into the lake to join hundreds of others awaiting the fireworks display.

Moments later Trivette arrived to find Alex almost beside herself on the pier begging some other boatmen to follow the fast disappearing boat.

"Alex, are you alright?† What's happened."† Trivette put his arm around the tearful district attorney and tried to calm her.

"Trivette, Walker's hurt.† Someone has him in the boat and they got away and I couldn't

stop them and he's bleeding andÖ"she broke down and began to cry harder.†

"Alex, come on.† Help me out here.† You said Walker is hurt and some men have him in a boat.† Is it Walker's boat."† The blond head dipped up and down.† "Good, now Alex, what else can you tell me.† Who were the men?† Do you know them?"†

Cahill took a deep, shuttering breath and tried to think.† One of them did look familiar.† Maybe she'd seen him at work.† Suddenly she stiffened.†"Carlton Johns.† One of them was Carlton Johns.† I donít know the other one.† They've got Walker.† Carlton will kill him if he gets half a chance. "

"Ah, Alex.† Iíll find him.† Johns got away from us with his fancy legal maneuvers last year, but he won't get away this time.† I promise you honey."† He hugged Alex once more and asked one of the uniformed police who had just arrived to get her somewhere safe.† A police launch pulled up to the dock and Trivette hopped aboard as he pulled his badge out.† Moments later the boat had headed out to the center of the lake just as the sun dropped below the horizon.† The center of the lake was full of twinkling running lights and sounds of laughter as the grand finale of July 4th approached.

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Carlton jammed the barrel of the pistol hard against Walkers larynx bringing a reflex cough. "I ask you, Mr. Rangerman, where are the Harvey brothers? "

"Jail," whispered Walker and coughed again as the gun pushed harder against his throat.

"What about the dope, Carlton?† Ask him about the dope." Jason still had a hold of walker's hair and that was probably the only thing still keeping him upright.† His cheek still dripped blood onto his white shirt and most of the shirt was sticky with the substance.† His temple hurt and his vision was blurred.† The had him still sitting on the deck.† If he could get them to stand him up he thought he might find a way to defend himself.† It was now completely dark outside and he knew it would be next to impossible for anyone to find this particular boat out of the hundreds on the lake.

"Your dope is gone.† All of it.† We confiscated it at the shack at Joe Pool.† You better give it up, Carlton.† It's over."†

"Damn you, Walker."† Carlton was small but wiry and he grabbed the ranger by the upper arm and drug his to his feet."† The taller man let go of his hair but shoved his knee against Walker's abdomen and pushed him against the side of the boat.† "When the fireworks start, I'm going to put a hole in your head.† Your friends can find you swimming with the fishes tomorrow."† Walker knew he had only a few more minutes to live.†

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Trivette placed night goggles on and scanned one boat after another.† It seemed futile trying to find a single boat in this lake, but he kept reminding himself that the lake was small and he was very persistent.† Cordell Walkers boat was white and nondescript with a blue star near the prow.† He had bought it because he liked the star and had ignored the engine, which had been poorly maintained by the previous owner.† He still had engine trouble on and off, but Cordell defended the little craft and enjoyed tinkering with it during his rare time off.

The goggles flared white and almost blinded Trivette as someone closeby waved some sparklers as they went by.† It was illegal for boats to have fireworks, but it didn't seem to stop many people.† Across the lake more and more sparklers and roman candles could be seen.† Loud speakers from the shoreline began blaring Sousa music and everyone stilled in anticipation of the fireworks.

Trivette couldn't find the boat, but he knew he had to soon.† The noise and lights would make it very easy to disguise a muzzle blast.† Where was Walker?

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The first eruption of light and sound sent the Ranger into action.† He brought his knee up to smash powerfully in the Jason's groin.† He spun away from Carlton's gun hand and jumped onto a seat and then dove into the water as Carlton's gun fired twice into the dark water.† Carlton hopped over Jason who was still mewling on the floor in pain and tried to restart the engine.† It wouldn't turn over.† He tried again and again.† The police boat heard the futile attempts at starting the engine between the reports of the fireworks.† They swung a light toward Walker's boat and Trivette saw the blue star.† He raised his gun and he pointed it directly at Carlton who was already raising his arms in defeat.† Walker was no where to be seen.

Cordell Walker had dived backward off the boat and still had his hands cuffed behind him.† The first shot had missed, but the second one had torn into his right calf.† He tried desperately to tread water, but his injury impeded what strength he had.† He tried to float but sucked in a lungful of lake water and began to sink.† Above him he could see the sparkle of thousands of lights as the fireworks lit up sky and then his vision reddened and then blackened as his head dipped beneath the water.† The inky black lake water washed against the sides of Walker's boat as the police craft shown all their available light into the water.† A slight white shape could be seen close to the boat.† Trivette dove in an instant after spotting the shape.† He dove downward into the dark lake water and finally touched something soft.† He grabbed at the material and pulled upward toward the surface, finally dragging the lifeless man with him.† Hands pulled his limp partner from the water and someone on board began CPR.† After 3 minutes, someone reported a heartbeat and then a gasp and cough and another cough and gag.† They turned Walker to his side and let the lakewater roll out of his mouth.† He coughed again and then vomited onto the deck.† Trivette whooped with joy and then sat on the deck of the police boat and held his partner again his chest just so he could feel his coarse respirations.† Walker vaguely remembered looking up at his partner, and seeing a smile as the fireworks crescendoed into their grand finale.† He hoped Alex had gotten to see them, too.

THE END