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Joiner Bay and other stories – ‘Treacle Eyes’ (extract) by Judyth Emanuel

Published 25th May, 2017 in Behind the Book

Sometimes we lay us down. Twofold not much apart. Laid in the shade on the front lawn. Blowed dandelions. Knees warm bent. Summer day. This smell of damp grass. Must have rained before. Not heavy. Just dewdrops sprinkled. Jani sat in the sunny place. Jani a bit tipsy from cheap burgundy. I had a sip. Grimaced.


Licked the tip of my finger. Held it up wet where. Seen which way the wind blew. Didn’t want a screwed expression forever. Didn’t want to get trapped.

Jani gazed at our bright sun. Mind the burn. Shine reaching her. But I covered my face hate the brightness. Wondered. When what was the future? Wouldn’t be maybe a suffered. But thought a sun imagined extraordinary times ahead. That’s what suns did above.

Then Jani shouted, ‘Joanie, I’m CRAZY as.’

She never said what.

Here in Forestville. Way way out. Twins Jani and Joanie. Seventeen freckled almost identical. I was fatter. Podge porridge. We throbbed giggles. Get us. So desperate for rose-coloured glasses, go-go boots, corduroy mini-skirts. Girls growing cheeky up. Fast hormones busted. Jani made the V-sign. Far Out. Somehow. Said in unison,

‘Peace. Ban The Bomb. Yep, far out, man.’

Groovy girls but supposed to be gooder than good. Even on the inside. I was. But not Jani. She was lovely on the inside. On the outside, a wild girl. Much braver than the wallflower. Jani sniffed my armpits,

‘You got B.O.’

‘Meanie, get me some roll-on.’

Every day I watched brain dead. Boggled goggled Gidget on telly. TV Gidget girl said, ‘Wait just a dingy minute. Life is a gas.’ Oh her dimples dreamed of Moondoggy. Life should be a gas. Might not be a gas. Wondered again. So. Every morning I drank black coffee. Nescafé instant sweetened with heaped teaspoons of sugar. Felt sophisticated. Us dingy girls so sugary loved.

Jani said, ‘You’re a sweet tooth, Joanie.’

Both of us barefoot in polyester nightgowns. Nylon lace itched. Her breasts bigger under ruffles. High neckline for me no cleavage.

‘Got no boobs,’ I said.

‘Phooey. You’re nuts, Joanie.’

She saw more than I ever could. She said, ‘Fuck the world. Jeezus Gawd almighty.’ So daredevil to talk shit blasphemy.

‘Shush, that’s rude swears.’

She beamed, ‘Fuck. You say it. Go on …’

Hours we spent in the bedroom. Sometimes bored. She was. Single beds, side-by-side, rosy chenille bedspreads. Mine with hospital corners. Hers rumpled. This monotony so what. And I kept a diary. ‘Don’t look, nosy parker.’

Cupped left hand. Hid the nonsense. Scribbled with a Bic biro. Drew paisley shapes. Pencilled stick figures with pulsating hearts floating up from flat chests. In composition book. Blue lines. Same blue as our eyes. I wrote silly sloping neat. Blue ink. PRIVATE. Thoughts during 1978. So far this year I have been very very happy. But then … But then what?

Judyth_Emanuel has short stories published in Overland Literary Magazine, Electric Literature Recommended Reading, Literary Orphans, Intrinsick, Fanzine, Quail Bell, STORGY, One Page and Joiner Bay Anthology. Her stories are forthcoming in Thrice Magazine, Verity Lane, PULP Literature. She is a finalist in The Raven Short Story Contest, semi-finalist for the Conium Review Flash Fiction Contest and shortlisted for the Margaret River Short Story Prize. In 2016, she was awarded a Residential Fellowship at Varuna Writers House NSW. In 2013, she was accepted into the One Story Writers Workshop at the Centre For Fiction in New York.

Judyth’s full story, ‘Treacle Eyes’ is appears in Joiner Bay and other stories, published by Margaret River Press.

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