The Joker:

3/31/19 6:12 A.M. Sunday morning sunrise is about an hour away from the Boro. Spring has just arrived and small vapors of fog begin to appear in the night. It is the end of March and the end of the month that “goes out like a lamb”. Things are quiet. A strange silence has sort of settled into the crater.

Some get up early to go fishing while others just arise before the sun because of habit. Some actually have to work and travel the roads in the darkness. It really doesn’t matter, because calls come into dispatch of strange lights and noises coming out of the Old Middlesboro Cemetery. “It’s probably some druggies or kids up there acting up” thought the dispatcher.

Officer Joel Quillen (The Big Quillie) answers the call and proceeds into the cemetery. For those of you that don’t know, the road enters the gate and proceeds up a hill until it reaches the top and then forks to the immediate left and immediate right. Officer Quillen brings the cruiser slowly up the rise with the windows open listening in the cold night until he reaches the fork. Both Right and Left forks dead end leaving room for a vehicle to turn around and enough room to pull over and walk into the cemetery in order to visit passed loved one’s final resting places.

Officer Quillen guides the cruiser to the left and stays inside as the lights shine into the darkness. Nothing is there. Moving from Bright to Dim, nothing changes. Officer Quillen cuts off the lights and exits the vehicle. Turning around He uses his flash light and moves towards the rear of the cruiser shining the beam down the right fork of the road. Small wisps of vapor appear as he aims the beam into the cemetery proper. All that can be seen are the headstones of those long forgotten. The Cemetery is now the ward of a city in dire financial straights. Those that originally kept the cemetery up are long past and no one has taken their place. The grass has not yet began to sprint forth after winter and the cold only adds to the appearance of another world beyond this one.

Officer Quillen moves slowly down the road in the right fork entering the darkness when suddenly the hair on the back of his neck stands up. A tingle goes down his spine. His hand slowly moves onto his service weapon. You see, this is not the usual human reaction to being in a cemetery after dark. The Big Quillie is an Iraqi combat veteran…he can sense it. The desert is full of vipers, cobras, scorpions and the enemy. All of which mean your death. When you survive that, you carry with you something you never thought possible…sort of a 6th sense. It may be pitch dark and you’re armed with only a flash light and a pistol but somehow you can feel and sense something that is out there means you harm.

Officer Quillen continued to shine his flash light beam into the darkness on the road and up into the cemetery proper. Once again, only the markers of long dead individuals and whispers of cold air are found. The Big Quillie does not fear the dead, his only consideration is not joining them. On he presses forward until a small ray of light peaks out from the tree tops. Standing still and prepared, a few more minutes pass. Slowly, the light of day comes forward leaving The Big Quillie with the ability to survey his surroundings clearly.

Officer Quillen has moved over 100 yards from his patrol car. This is over 100 yards from a 12 gauge shotgun he could use to defend himself. It is over 100 yards from a radio in which he could request back up. It is over 100 yards from a vehicle of cover or escape. The Big Quillie’s military training of advance and not retreat has consumed him. He has conquered fear again.

Once daylight gained control, Officer Quillen took the cruiser and patrolled both forks of the Cemetery finding no evidence of any nefarious activity that night. As he eased his way into the gate on 19th street he paused to reflect for a moment before going back to the station for shift change. He took a deep breath and the nightingales stopped singing.

Go Big Quillie. Thank You For Your Service.

Go Team Middlesboro!!!

“The following article is based on open and public records from the Middlesboro Police Department as well as The Bell County Detention Center Website and is written in the style of satire as an opinion piece not associated or based on the opinions of The Polygraph News, Incorporated—it’s founders, owners or staff.”