Home > Crime Log, Penetrating Interviews > Detective Gee-Temple: The Tibbs Files

Detective Gee-Temple: The Tibbs Files

Detective Gee-Temple

In April of 2017, The Lankville Daily News began publishing excerpts from the diary of wanted Craughing mass murderer Tibbs Senior, missing since 1967.

Shortly thereafter, I received a request for assistance from the Craughing Area Police Unit (CAPU) in regards to the possibility that Tibbs could still be alive and living in Almond Beach, a once prosperous oceanside community in Eastern Lankville. We knew, of course, of his son Gump, a noted recidivist and Daily News reporter but efforts to discuss Tibbs, Senior with Tibbs, Junior led nowhere. “He is dead to me,” the normally well-mannered son said of his father. “His spirit is a curse and an abomination upon the firmament.” Tibbs, Junior claimed to have none of his father’s personal effects.

A week after the excerpts began appearing in the News, I connected with the East Lankville Beach Police Precinct and was given an exceedingly small file on an individual named “Ferguson Bunts”. The file consisted of three pages, typed on browning onion-skin paper.

“Who is Ferguson Bunts?” I asked.

Sergeant Service, a gaunt, grey man with prominent brows, scratched his chin reflectively.

“He’s a curious individual who appeared in Almond Beach some time around 1967, 1968– prior whereabouts unknown. He purchased one of them so-called luxury villas out in the Almond Beach Prosperity Village. He’s the only one on our books that fits your man’s description and would be the correct age to be this Tibbs.”

I leafed through the file. Three public drunkenness raps. Little else. But there was one recurring detail which leaped out at me.

Subject wearing a white three-piece suit was repeated in all three accounts.

“I think this could be our man,” I proffered. “Course, he would be about 90 years old now.”

“You think he’s still living?” Sergeant Service asked. “Mother of shit.”

Service glanced at the documents and then consulted his Danny Madison Reckoner. “This Bunts is still listed in the white pages. Says he’s still living out in the Almond Beach Prosperity Village. We can ride out there iff’n you want.”

I thanked him for the offer and we set out in the prowler.

The Almond Beach Prosperity Village is located on a stretch of flat, marshy land, a few miles from the ocean. The houses, save for the paint jobs, are all identical one-story cottages with front bay windows, winding cement sidewalks and modest, tasteful shrubbery. Still, the place had aged poorly. It was of another era.

“What’s the population here?” I asked. Service thought about that for awhile.

“Older, I’d say. Maybe you got some young families but they ain’t much good. It ain’t really a vacation hub lik’n it used to be. Peoples tend to stay now in them luxury hotels and condominiums. You gotta’ put the corn down where the cows can get at it, if’n you know what I mean.”

I didn’t. “What does that mean?” I asked.

“What the hell do you mean, what does that mean? It’s a common expression.”

“No it isn’t,” I argued.

“Well, it is,” he responded.

Home of Ferguson Bunts (file photo).

“Listen,” I said. “I want no part of your made-up folksy aphorism. Just drive me out to this address.”

We pulled up to the curb and, just like that, there he was. He was hammering a stake into the middle of his yard– the purpose of the stake eluded me. He was wearing a white, three-piece suit and did not appear to have aged at all– if anything he looked considerably younger. The only conceivable sign of decline was a pearl-handled cane which he leaned on as he hammered but this accessory could have been merely ornamental.

I got out of the car and approached the individual.

“What is your name, sir?”

He looked up. The grey beard in the 1966 photo was now an unearthly black hue.

“WHY HELLO OFFICER. MY NAME IS FERGUSON BUNTS AND I AM A GREAT PROPONENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT!”

He let out an expansive, booming laugh.

“Mr. Bunts.” I paused. I had to be careful here. “How long have you lived in this house?”

“OH, FOREVER, OFFICER. FOREVER.”

He suddenly let loose with an earth-shaking blow to the stake, driving it completely into the ground.

“MY WORK IN THE FRONT YARD IS NOW COMPLETE,” he announced. He stood up and the pearl-handled cane flashed in the sunlight.

“Mr. Bunts, do you have any sort of identification?”

“INDEED, INDEED I DO OFFICER AND I WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO SHOW IT TO YOU. BUT FIRST, I MUST ASK THE ETERNAL QUESTION– WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?”

I paused again and looked back at the prowler where Service sat with the window rolled up, reading from a lewd pamphlet. I could see that he would be no help whatsoever and I wondered about that.

“Mr. Bunts, you may be aware that a…diary was recently discovered and published in excerpts in The Lankville Daily News. I stopped. His face revealed nothing.

“Anyway, this is simply a routine inquiry into that diary. You see, the man who wrote the diary has been wanted by law enforcement since 1967.”

“WELL, CERTAINLY, HE MUST BE DEAD BY NOW, OFFICER!” he offered in a strangely agreeable and joyous voice.

“He would be of advanced age, yes. But, well, see, the East Lankville Police Precinct returned only one name during our routine inquiry and…well…that name was yours.”

“ISN’T THAT A DELIGHT?” he asked, nearly blinding me with the sunlight caroming off the pearl-handle in a peculiarly strong manner. “BUT I CAN ASSURE YOU, OFFICER, I AM NOT THAT MAN.”

“Did you ever own a hotel, Mr. Bunts?”

Still, his face revealed nothing.

“NO, I’M AFRAID NOT, OFFICER. I FOUNDED AND MAINTAINED A SPORTING GOODS SHOP FOR MANY YEARS. BUT I AM NOW RETIRED.”

I looked again at the meager documents in my hand. I could think of nothing else.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Bunts. Please stay in the area for the time being.”

“Officer,” he said, in a low, foreboding voice. “I am here. I am always here. As are you. As are all of us.”

I looked back at Service. He had not even bothered to look up.

“Thank you, Mr. Bunts.”

I got back in the prowler.

“Think I can get a warrant on this guy?” I asked.

“Nope,” he said. “Not in a million years.”

“Why?”

He finally looked up and placed the pamphlet on the dashboard. I noticed the title– Lesbian Circus.

“Find out for yerself. Do some digging. See what happens.”

He suddenly slammed the car into drive and we drove away.

Bunts watched us all the way from his porch.

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