Bert Gombrick #fridayflash

I didn’t have time this week to write anything new though I have an idea for Eubie Blake that hasn’t quite worked itself through yet.

The piece I chose, I have posted before in relation to a newspaper contest that ultimately no one won. The chapters the newspaper judges picked went from okay to lesbian chic cheesy in a hurry and the contest simply vanished without a trace or a story ending.

This is my chapter four. I won’t preamble the plot, but it was a mystery and the characters are not mine. I guess I could have changed the name and thus claimed the whole, but we got back from the city late and I just didn’t have time.

Chapter 4 –  Bert Gombrick

            Emmy ran back to her van. She knew she wouldn’t be able to catch Gombrick’s truck, but she knew where to find him. When she arrived at Bert Gombrick’s house, she didn’t bother hiding. She pulled right into the driveway. Emmy wondered for a moment if she should be more frightened, but she remembered the look in Jack’s eyes.  Defeated, but not necessarily scared. If Jack really was worried about her safety, he wouldn’t have asked Emmy to drop the case. He would have told her to do it in no uncertain terms. Certain in that knowledge, Emmy marched up to the front door, but as she raised her fist to knock on the door, she realized it was slightly ajar. She pushed it open slowly and stuck her head tentatively inside. The room was dark, blinds drawn, but there was a light coming from the kitchen, streaming into the adjacent dining room and drawing her inside. Stifling the urge to announce herself, Emmy tiptoed cautiously through the living room toward the light. Halfway across the living room her foot caught on an area rug causing her to bump forcefully into an end table next to the leather sofa. The lamp atop it wobbled precipitously. Emmy caught it with one hand before as it fell, righted it again slowly and continued toward the kitchen entrance pausing for just a second to force herself to take a deep breath. She’d all but stopped breathing normally ever since she entered Gombrick’s home, taking such short shallow gulps of air that she was beginning to feel a bit light-headed. Steeling herself, she took a few more brisk steps until she found herself about to round the corner that led into the kitchen. She stopped again, took another deep breath and rounded the corner.

            It was a kitchen. Surprisingly like the display she and Chelsea had been admiring at the IKEA in South Edmonton Common just the weekend before last. Honey-brown Akurum/Nexus cabinets with stone effect black Pragel countertops and a Bolomen double-bowl inset sink set in a breakfast bar between the appliance area and the eat in kitchen. Emmy had to will herself to stop admiring Gombrick’s surprisingly similar taste in décor, but she couldn’t prevent herself from wondering, did this particular kitchen define Bert Gombrick as a person and if so, what did that say about her? Gombrick was sitting at the table. The same dining set that she had been hounding Jack about just before he announced he was leaving her for another woman who, ironically, owned that very same table set according to Chelsea. With a start Emmy noticed Gombrick was staring right at her. Or rather, he was just staring. His head at an angle. One arm dangling at this side. The other arm stretched out across the table as though reaching for something, but the only thing on the table was a pen. The kind banks hand out free to customers opening new accounts.

            Before dialing 911, Emmy moved in for a closer look. Careful not to touch any more than she had already, she crossed the room to the table and took a long look. So, this is what a dead body looks like, she thought slightly amazed that it was slightly less creepy than she would have imagined. A murder victim. Or so she assumed. No blood or visible wounds that she could see. Biting her lower lip and swallowing the revulsion, she placed two fingers on the side of the dead man’s neck, looking for a pulse she was very certain she wouldn’t find. The skin wasn’t cold but it wasn’t warm either and had a slightly bluish pallor. His mouth was open, jaw slack and his eyes filmed and half-closed. He looked a bit like a fish on a dock in mid-gulp for air.

            Pulling her hand back, Emmy was about to reach for her cell phone when she noticed the pen again. It seemed odd, but it was as if Gombrick was still reaching for it. Getting as close as she could without disturbing anything else, Emmy tried to make out the writing on the pen’s exposed side.

            Sherwood Park Fitness and Yoga.

            Even though she knew she shouldn’t. Emmy scooped up the pen and pocketed it. Minutes later when she was safely standing on Gombrick’s front lawn, she called Jack.


            “What were you thinking?” Jack wasn’t yelling, but he might as well have been. Emmy sat next to him in his department issue Caprice Classic as a small armada of EPS swarmed Gombrick’s home. Police tape cordoned off the section of sidewalk in front as neighbors began to gather.

            “What was I thinking?” she countered. “What were you thinking? Not telling me the truth about him? About the case? I wasn’t expecting to find him dead, you know.”

            “Em,” Jack sighed. “You shouldn’t have gotten this involved. Did you think I would warn you off out of pettiness? I just can’t give you the details. This is a high level investigation, and Gombrick was just about our only inside lead. Please, Emmy, if not for my sanity than for Chelsea’s sake. Drop this case.”

            Even though she knew he meant well, Emmy looked him in the eye and lied, “Okay, Jack. You win again. I’ll go home and forget about Ixion and Bert Gombrick.”


            Jack Budge sat just around the corner from his old home until just after dawn. He was cold and cramped and wishing he was wrong when he saw the van pull out of the driveway. He waited until Emmy drove by and then started his car. Pulling a u-turn, he took out after her. You never could lie to me Em, he thought as he followed her onto Yellowhead Trail not noticing at all the black 4×4 following behind him.

5 thoughts on “Bert Gombrick #fridayflash

  1. Whether or not the characters are yours, you certainly made them so. As with the others, I want to know who Emmy is, what her relationships with Bart and Jack are (or were in the case of Bart). And how much of a clue is “Sherwood Park Fitness and Yoga” anyway?

    Jack certainly knows how Emmy thinks – and who is in the 4×4 following him as he follows Emmy?

    Seems I’m hooked. What are you going to do about it? 🙂

    Nice work.

  2. Huge story here. This is deep in its implications in terms of story. Why’d she take the pen? I’d imagined that Gombrick had written something with the pen, and she would find a note, but she didn’t. Kind of eerie. Well done.

    –Jeff Posey

  3. Good seeds here, Annie. You should go ahead and develop it. It’s hard to pluck something out of the middle of a larger work, but this works fine, if not as a stand alone story, certainly as a scene. I suggest perhaps breaking up some of the longer sentences into shorter ones, but the setting, the scene, the characters, and the tension all work well.

    I enjoyed your preamble as well. So it was sort of a “community writing” type of project, eh? Yeah, those do have a tendency to unravel. Too bad they had to drop it and no one won.

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