About the Author

Emily Schultz

Emily Schultz is the author of the novel Joyland and the short story collection Black Coffee Night. She is the former editor of This Magazine. Her poetry has been published in 18 different publications across Canada, including The Walrus. The Globe and Mail recently called her fiction “mesmerizing.” Schultz lives in Toronto.

Books by this Author
Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology

A Perspective on the Human Condition, Fourth Canadian Edition
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback Paperback
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Joyland

Joyland

A Novel
by Emily Schultz
illustrated by Nate Powell
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback
tagged : literary
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Excerpt

The girl who was flopped on the carpet knew cities of jacks, terrains of kitchen crumbs, the dumb wooden legs of furniture, and all that lay between them. The worn spot beside the right pedal her father’s piano foot had stamped and thumped, and vigorously rubbed off. The catalogues and as–yet–paperless presents beneath her mother’s side of the bed. The jagged letters of her brother Chris’s name gouged white into an underlying beam of the playroom table (which had since become a study table), though he would not now admit that the letters had any association with him. The difference in vibration of footfalls — the hesitancy of her mother’s, the severity of her father’s, the singular triumphant stomps issued by Chris. The place to look for a lost Lite–Brite peg, a kicked Tinker Toy, a clumsy fallen Battleship, an elastic–shot chunk of Lego. The stretch of linoleum where a marble or HotWheels would stall. Whether or not a doll’s shoe would fit beneath the door. First, second, third, and fourth grade accumulated between individual grains of shag. When Tammy rose up, she was halfway through Grade Five, she would soon start Six. She had witnessed the beginning of her life from this fixed, ground level. She teetered through the house off balance, unaccustomed to being vertical. By her eleventh birthday, she had found her footing. Eventually, she became addicted to height, learned to climb.

 

That summer, Tammy Lane was brave enough and strong enough to reach the very top of the maple tree in her backyard. From there, she could see the cars on St. Lawrence Street shooting past. She could see her brother flying away down the sidewalk on his bmx. She could see him flying away from her, away from everything she had ever known. Tammy watched afternoon lapse into evening and waited for him to come home.

Chris zigzagged through the grocery store parking lot, his butt in the air as the front tire cleared the curb and dropped him into the street. He disappeared through the branches. According to Tammy’s Big Book of Spy Terms , he was "in the gap." When he reappeared, he was at the corner near the donut shop. Tammy lost him then — longer, "in the black" — and when she spotted him once more, he had doubled back through the grocery lot, riding hard and quick with his head down. Tammy pulled herself up by a branch she didn’t trust, crooked her body onto a side bough that bent away from the trunk — at an alarming angle. The branch had been cut off and had veered, growing at a ninety degree angle from its sacrifice point, though not during Tammy’s lifetime. She held tight, looking down, a thirty yard drop. She glanced back up just in time to catch Chris dodge into the string of back lots of the businesses on St. Lawrence.

Parallel, she located them: three shapes moving in the stretch in front of the donut shop. Bright blue track jackets and yellow hair bands. Girls.

To Tammy’s knowledge her brother had only six fears. One, their father (though Tammy couldn’t begin to fathom why). Two, J.P.’s older brother, who terrorized them on occasion (the same way J.P. and Chris liked to terrorize Tammy). Three, classical music (or anything other than hard rock and metal). Four, visiting their grandfather, but only because it meant being away from Joyland for days at a time (days, Chris said, that would make him "a total amateur again"). Five, ostriches (because he was once bitten while visiting an animal safari during family vacation). Six, clowns (due to too many viewings of the movie Poltergeist ).

To this list, Tammy added number seven. Girls (an undiscriminating category including nearly all, except her).

Fears numbers three and four probably didn’t count. Still, Tammy left them in. Chris’s seven fears were a thumb–sized wedge in the pie graph compared to all of hers. The Seven Fears. Like the seven dwarves, fears were real and respiring, each with its own distinct personality.

She pressed chin against branch and let her lips trail over the grey, leaving a wide wet mark, the kiss of the bark on her lips like a hard, scarred thing. She dropped her forehead to the branch and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, Chris and the girls were both long gone. Tammy swung from one limb to another, carefully, letting her body hover in the space between just a fraction of a second longer than needed to obtain the exhilaration of floating.

 

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Men Walking on Water
Excerpt

The man who connected them wasn’t a man anymore, but a body, hidden deep beneath the green ice of the Detroit River. The group of rumrunners huddled on the shore, consulting on what had just happened. All knew the doors of the old Ford had been removed for ease of exit in exactly this circumstance, yet apparently Alfred Moss still sat inside. The Doctor claimed to have seen the car go under and no one had seen the driver since.

Moss was dead: to begin with. “There is no doubt whatever about that,” the Doctor said.

Perhaps Moss had heard the ice cracking, had managed to get one leg out the door, had been caught mid-jump as the vehicle plunged under, its grille like a falling arrow headed for the mud. If so, the fabric of his trousers now flapped grayly, silently. A lone black shoe balanced on the baseboard, poised to leap. This the men imagined. They also knew that Moss’s hands might still grip the wheel— or perhaps the parking brake or the roof’s frame, whatever he had grabbed—ridges of knuckles white with fear, mouth ajar and the water swirling strands of dark hair around deaf ears.

Willie Lynch could picture this more vividly than the others. As the kid in the group, he often rode with Alfred Moss. He knew that the Murray’s Superior Pomade in Moss’s hair would already be undone, though inside Moss’s coat pocket the couple on the orange tin would still smile. His fedora would already have fallen away into the murk.

Or perhaps Moss had managed to get free and swim, had made it up to the crusted ceiling only to bump against the ice, unable to break through or find air before sinking back down, arms and legs limp as strands of seaweed.

Willie watched as the other men scuttled back and forth, searching, still hoping they were wrong. After a while, he climbed down from the bank and started to venture out on the frozen river but was called back. He could feel his face cracking beneath his cap, his eyes glassy. This was the worst thing he’d ever seen; it was intolerable to be forbidden from stretching out his body on top of the frail ice and freezing to death himself in search of the lost man. It had been Alfred Moss, not his own father, who’d finished teaching him to drive. Two brown moles beside Willie’s eye consulted as he squinted. He spat. A small white gob landed on the white ice: proof he wasn’t about to cry.

To the northeast was the anchorage site for the bridge. The men had read or heard that it would be nearly fifty feet wide and rise above their river by 135 feet, but in the dark it was just an island of dirt heaped up on either side of the waterway, a place where the sandhogs worked in hard, short shifts, going down into the concrete tubing below the surface of the water to excavate. The construction site was a rubble of wood and sacks of cement. In the distance, in the moonlight, the round concrete caisson seemed to mock Willie and the men with its shape: a giant life preserver.

The gang turned on the headlamps of their cars, positioned the beams so they could see across the ice. Although the light died at a hundred yards, they agreed the skid Alfred Moss had been pulling, heavy with Scotch, must be gone too. They snapped off their lights. Willie Lynch put his hands in his pockets and scrunched his shoulders. Why do they fucking care about the poteen?

“Where is the second car?” the large man in the homburg bellowed. This was Vern Bunterbart, the heavy, the one they answered to.

“I am the second car,” the Doctor said grimly. He was supposed to be out on the river too, coming back from Canada, following behind the Ford, bringing half the shipment. Sometimes it was Willie and sometimes the Doctor, whose real name was Ernest Krim. The men glanced up the bank where his old truck sat parked. They were silent for a moment.

“You saw it or you heard it?” someone finally asked.

“Both,” Krim replied. He was a thin man with a face like a hammer, and eerily calm about the whole matter, considering he’d known Moss the best of all of them. Willie stared at the Doctor’s frosty green eyes.

“What did you see?” Willie asked.

“Just a spot of dark, then splintering, a sound like a tree struck down the middle. Then the dark dipped. The spot just disappeared.”

“You are sure?” Bunterbart demanded. “How can you be?” He turned around, holding his homburg with one hand and the collar of his fine coat with the other. “A long way out.”

At his words, the group turned again and stared. Along the opposite shore, a hem of lights blurred between Willie’s eyelashes.

“I’m sure,” Krim replied quietly.

The men cursed and clutched their coats closer. They pulled their hats lower. There was a strong wind coming across the vast ice, but Willie didn’t flip up his collar.

“How many cases?” Bunterbart asked one of the others. His voice was like a razor flicking over a strop.

The man chose his words carefully, so carefully he said nothing.

“That many, ya?” Bunterbart huffed, and turned his large body away.

Willie shot a glance at Krim. He didn’t care for the Doctor, but didn’t know why. He liked him better than some, but that went without saying since no one liked Bunterbart. It was something about Krim’s manner. He stood differently from the other men, his eyes often looking up. Willie’s father had called him Krim the Prim. He was a citizen. But then Willie remembered what Alfred Moss always said: the Doctor was a true pal, a blood brother, the one phone call you get. The Kid turned and again searched the frozen river with his eyes.

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Michael Moore

Michael Moore

A Biography
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
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The Blondes

The Blondes

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged : literary
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Outskirts

Outskirts

Women Writing From Small Places
edited by Emily Schultz
edition:Paperback
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