Alternate Ending to "In the Heat of the Night"

I don't own anything!!! ...Except maybe the clothes on my back. And my shoes. Actually, my mom bought me those.

"The chief thought about shaking hand with him, but decided not to. He had done it once and that had made the point. To do it again now might be just the wrong action to take. He walked back to his car…" (p. 184)

As Gillespie got in he looked back into his mirror at the Negro. Tibbs was sitting on the "white" bench staring off in the distance. Gillespie started his car and began the short drive back to his house.

He could not get Tibbs out of his head. It had been a long week and Tibbs had stopped him from arresting at least three innocent men, then caught the real murderer. Gillespie hated to admit it, but that detective knew his stuff. He was smart. He saw every fraction of evidence as a clue and could piece together what happened using it.

Sleep was threatening to overtake him, but he was almost home and knew he would soon be relived, though his mind would not let go of the detective. Gillespie treated him poorly, which he acknowledged. He was mad at himself for ever believing he was worth more than a black man. Tibbs at least.

Gillespie pulled into his driveway but didn't get out. There was something he needed to do first. Just what was it?

With a grunt his mind was set, the fog that was clouding his consciousness began clearing. He turned his car away from the house and started back towards the Wells train station. When he got there Tibbs was stretched out long on the same bench with a smile as he watched the stars. Gillespie quickly unfolded himself from behind the steering wheel and climbed the few short steps to the platform. He wouldn't make another mistake tonight.

Tibbs acknowledged him with a nod.

"Chief Gillespie, back so soon?"

"Virgil, I need to say something. Try not to interrupt."

Tibbs carefully kept his expression neutral.

"I have never, in my entire life, thought a man like yourself could achieve what you have," his tone was stern and controlling, "You've turned this whole town inside out. I've got anonymous threats telling me I've got to get you out. The councilmen were ready to take my job away because I had you working for me. The townsfolk were becoming aggressive-"

"Chief Gilles-" Tibbs tried to interrupt but Gillespie stopped him.

"No, let me finish. You arrived the night of a murder and were an instant suspect because of your colour. I'm sorry. You decided to come help us anyways –thank you- under constant pressure from everybody to top it off. I'm sorry for that as well," his tone started to soften, "You put up with me. That itself is a huge accomplishment. You solved the murder. For all of this I wanted to thank you. Wells will always be in your debt. If at all possible, I would like to consider you a friend if you will forgive me for my behavior.

The Chief looked down at his feet. He felt better now that everything was off of his chest.


"Yes?" He looked up to see Tibbs smiling at him. Was that amusement Gillespie saw shining in Tibbs' eyes?

"You left your car door open."