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The setting is Outback Australia. It’s high summer and it’s shearing time on Fitzroy Station. 

JJ woke up and stumbled up out of the bed, stretching her arms widely. She scratched her neck and looked down at the pillows and sheets tangled up in a messy pile.   

‘Fuck, hair everywhere. Next time have a shower JJ, you dickhead,’ she exclaimed to herself, running both hands over her shaven head.  

JJ wrapped a towel around herself and headed for the shower, getting there just as Ell arrived. They grinned broadly at each other. 

‘Looks pretty good Ell, if I do say so meself.’

‘Hey JJ, you don’t look too bad either.’

‘Turn around.’ JJ ran her fingers up the nape of her friend’s neck and across the shaved back of her head. ‘Woo-hoo!’ 

‘I like it JJ…in fact, I love it!’

‘Not many girls round ‘ere go for the helmet-head look Ell,’ JJ said with a laugh.

 ‘Not many girls round here, full-stop.’

‘Yeah, must be hard for a pretty little dyke-girl like yaself, Ell.’

‘Always got you to admire Aunty JJ,’ said Ell with a smirk.

‘Yeah, from a distance. Just watch it dyke-girl or I’ll do ya guts for garters.’ They both laughed. 

JJ was hitting her mid-forties and had been working at various station-hand jobs ever since leaving school at fifteen. Ell had just turned twenty – not quite a greenhorn but she was still learning the ropes of this rough and tumble country existence. JJ was protective of her young mate – in many ways she felt like her older sister, not necessarily wiser, but certainly a bit more cluey in the ways of back-blocks people, work and life.  

The two of them hadn’t joined the boys around the fire after dinner last night, they were too knackered after a long, hard day in the shearing shed. Anyway, they’d heard so much bullshit being spouted by the lot of them, both knew they weren’t missing out on much. Instead they decided on having some quiet beers together on the verandah of their cabin.

After downing a couple of beers Ell had said, quite out of the blue, ‘JJ, I’m over this heat, it’s giving me the shits big time. Can you cut my hair?’

‘What, now?’

‘Yeah, it won’t take long.’

‘I’m pretty buggered, Ell.’ 

‘I’m goin’ mad in the sheds JJ. Go on…I’ll be your best friend, promise.’

JJ was weighing things up.  

‘P-l-e-a-s-e JJ, please Aunty JJ, please!’

‘You’re too cute for ya own good, Ell.’ JJ could never resist Ell when she put on her ‘pleading little-girl’ manners. JJ smiled. ‘Awright then, go get the scissors.’

‘Thank you Aunty JJ!’ She bounced up and darted through the door into her room then poked her head through the open window. 

‘Here you go.’ She passed JJ a small plastic box.

‘What the fuck is this Ell?’

‘What do you think it is? Go on, open it.’

JJ released the clip on the box and lifted out a set of electric barbers clippers.   

‘Crikey! You want me to use these on you?!’

‘A-ha.’

‘Well I’ll be fucked!’

‘Here, give me the cord and I’ll plug ‘em in,’ said Ell. JJ unwound the cord and passed it over.

Ell was back on the verandah in a flash, a towel around her neck. 

‘They’re plugged in. You’ve just got to flick the switch and away you go.’

‘When’d ya get these?’

‘Last month when I down in Melbourne visiting my sister.   After last summer I knew they’d come in handy.’

‘Shit, okay, if that’s what you want.’

‘I do Aunty JJ, I do!’

‘Ya want the lot gone?’

Ell grabbed a chair, moved it away from the wall and sat down. ‘Nup, just everything below the ears. That’s the top of the ears.’

‘Right up above the ears?!’

‘Yep. Saw a spunky girl in a dyke bar down in Melbourne with just that. She was gorgeous.’

‘You’re a nut.’

Ell took out her ponytails and let the hair drop below her shoulder blades. ‘Just start with the scissors – there’s a pair in the box.’

JJ lifted the scissors out. ‘Ummm, howdya want me to start Ell?’

‘Just cut everything below my ears with the scissors and then we’ll get the clippers onto the rest of it.’

JJ sat down behind Ell then lifted her long straight hair back from her neck. ‘Your hair’s bloody marvelous Ell, ya sure ya wanna do this?’

‘YES JJ.’

‘Okay, okay, just checkin’, no need to get ya knickers in a knot.’

JJ pulled Ell’s hair into a bunch and slowly cut across it. She dropped the bundle of hair onto the decking. 

Ell put her hand back and felt her hair and neck. ‘Wow!’ 

‘Bit more off where that came from.’

JJ focused in on the job. ‘Still have to straighten things up. Need you not to move Ell.’

‘Yes ma’am,’ joked Ell.

‘Behave or ya run the risk of losing the lot young lady!’

‘Mmmmm…’

‘Enough of that, I’m too old for ya.’ They both laughed.

Ell’s hair was sitting loosely just below her ears. JJ pursed her lips in concentration, brought the scissors in and started cutting a good six centimetres above the last cut. Each bite of the scissors was slow and very deliberate – JJ stopped a couple of times to check out her progress. 

‘There.’

Ell’s hands came around again. ‘Ooo-la-la!’

‘Not so sure it’s quite that oooey…’

‘Don’t worry JJ, it’s me that’s gotta live with it.’

‘Yeah, that’s what worries me, ‘ she said with a chuckle. 

‘Gotta do the sides and fringe. Same way?’

‘Yep.’

JJ took a deep breath. ‘Your funeral. Okee-dokkee.’

JJ stood up and went to Ell’s side and cut away the long dark tresses from ear to ear in one run then did a second run to even it up with the back. She stood back. 

‘Jesus!’

Elle shook her head a
nd ran her hands through her hair. ‘Yee-ha!’

‘Down girl, down!’

‘I want a higher fringe than the rest of it JJ. So it looks a bit more… er…stark.’

‘Stark! You’re already stark fuckin’ crazy! Geez…okay, if that’s what ya want, that’s what ya get.’

JJ pulled her chair around and sat down in front of Ell. ‘A shorter fringe. How short?’

‘About two centimetres. Nice and blunt right across.’ 

‘You’ll look like ya got a helmet on Ell!’

‘I know!’

‘Don’t suppose there’s much difference ‘tween a puddin’ bowl and a helmet head. Okay.’

JJ cut Ell’s fringe just the way she’d asked. ‘It’s blunt!’ she chuckled.

‘Goody.’

‘Wanna beer?’

‘Yep.’ 

JJ disappeared into the house and returned with a couple of cans. She handed one to Ell who took a deep swig and then burped.    

‘Ah, that feels better. Still need the back fixed up JJ.’

‘I know, I know, just thinking how I’m gonna do it,’ she said, taking a swig. 

‘Just shave everything off below the line of the cut.’

‘That simple? You don’t want some kinda tapered look?’

‘Nup, just shave the bloody lot off!’

‘Fiesty, ain’t ya?’

JJ lent down and looked inside the clipper box. ‘All these little plastic things, what are they?’

‘They’re guards. Each one cuts it a different length. Tell you what, use the smallest and then when that’s done, use the clippers without the guard to finish it off.’

‘Ummm, righteo.’ JJ put the smallest guard on to the head of the clippers and flicked the switch, burring them into life. ‘Shit!’

JJ put one hand on Ell’s head and gently pushed it forward then gingerly touched the clippers to her neck. Ell broke out in goosebumps and shivered. ‘Ooooooo.’

The clippers started running up the nape of her long neck. 

‘Ooooooooo…’

‘Young lady, PLEASE!’

‘OOOOOOOO…they feel amazing!’

‘Now no wet panties please Ell,’ JJ said with a giggle.

‘Think my vibrator just found some competition!’

‘Don’t use it down there, I swear you’ll do some terrible damage!’

JJ reduced Ell’s neckline to a Number One stubble in minutes then removed the guard and started in again. 

‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhh……..’

‘Stop it or you’ll go blind!’

‘Ohhhhhhhh…I think I’m wettin’ up, JJ’

‘Not by my hands ya not.’

‘Who else ‘s got the clippers in ‘em, JJ?’

‘Stop it, you wicked, wicked girl!’

‘Now I know I’m wet JJ…very wet…’, Ell sighed. 

JJ turned the clippers off and leant back to take in her work. 

‘Pretty good, yep. That’s the job itself not the bloody style!’

‘You haven’t run the clippers above me ears.’

‘You’re impossible! You just want to be wet don’t ya?’

‘Mmmm…yep!’

‘Awright, awright.’

JJ got up and loosely held down one of Ell’s ears down. ‘Don’t move Ell.’

‘Promise I won’t wriggle me head round. Can I twitch in my panties though?’

‘If you must.’ The clippers came alive. 

‘I must…ahhhh’

JJ shaved above both ears, making sure the hairline at the sides and back was cut straight across all around. She flicked the switch. ‘There, nutcase.’

Ell got out of the chair and shook her head then raced inside to look at the cut in a mirror.   ‘Awesome!’ came the yell from the bathroom. 

She returned with another two cans in her hands. ‘Here ya go Aunty Barber-a.’

They laughed. 

‘Geez it’s short Ell, bloody short.’

‘Yeah, perfect for those fuckin’ hothouses we work in.’

‘Not wrong there. Maybe I should get a trim?’

‘Yeah! Go the helmet with me Aunty Barber-a!’

‘No fuckin’ way. And don’t call me Aunty Barber-a or I’ll kill ya.’

‘Ooops, sorry Aunty JJ, sorry! Anyway, why not get a haircut? Got the scissors and clippers here.’

‘Clippers! Geezus…’

 ‘They don’t bite…’cept in the right way,’ said Ell, laughing as she rubbed her crotch.

‘Don’t know that that thing’ll make me wet…but I wouldn’t mind being a bit cooler. Oh fuck it, why not.’

‘How short?’

‘Can’t have the boys taking the piss out of you all day on ya own. Take the lot off.’

‘The lot! Oooooo.’

JJ sat down and picked up Ell’s towel and shook it. ‘The lot.’ She put the towel around her shoulders.

Ell picked up the clippers and slipped on a guard. ‘Here you go.’ She flicked them on and started running them backwards over JJ’s head. Another run, then another run until pretty soon she’d reduced JJ’s knotted sun-bleached blonde locks to nothing more than a quarter of a centimetre all over.   ‘Lookin’ good Aunty JJ. I’d go down on you.’ 

‘Don’t go gettin’ any ideas little dyke girl.’

Ell took off the guard and started up the clippers again. ‘No guard this time. Last chance to jump off before it all goes.’

‘Get on with it.’

‘You’re the boss.’

‘You wish. Go on, get on with it before I change me mind.’

‘Yes ma’am!’

Ell put the clippers on JJ’s neck and watched in amazement as her friend erupted in goosebumps just like she had. ‘Feels good hey?’

‘Strange but kinda…umm, pleasurable at the same time.’

‘Yep, my thoughts too,’ said Ell, moving the clippers slowly over JJ’s scalp.

JJ closed her eyes when Ell started from the back again. ‘Strange but kinda pl
easurable…’, she thought, immersing herself in the unusual sensations and experience. 

A few minutes later – and several runs – Ell killed the clippers. She rubbed both hands vigorously over JJ’s bald scalp. ‘It looks great!’

‘Give me a look.’ JJ went off to the bathroom, greeting her new look with howls of laughter.

She came out with two more cans, handed one to Ell then said, ‘To the shearing shed girls with the latest new hairstyles!’ They clinked cans then took a huge chug at their beers. They burped in unison and burst out laughing again. 

‘Ya nutcase.’

‘You can talk.’

They finished their beer in seconds. ‘Let’s grab another one before bed.’

‘No worries Aunty Barber-a.’   In a flash JJ took off the towel she still had around her neck and flicked it at the disappearing rear of her young mate. 

‘I’ll get ya ya fuckin’ little dyke!’

‘Oooooooooo…..’ yelled Ell as she ran down to the kitchen.  

                                                            ———

‘Jesus fuckin’ Christ, get a look at these two!’

‘Hey, it’s GI JJ!’

‘Have a fight with the lawnmower girls?’

‘Definitely not a wide-comb job, boys. Looks like the union’s lost that one too.’ 

‘Ya wont be pullin’ any fucks with that head, JJ.’

‘We all know you do plenty of pullin’, Mack.  Fuck off.’

‘Watch out sheep, there’s some girlies fancy ya looks.’

‘Least I never shagged one, Molly.’ The whole shed burst out laughing.

Except Molly of course, who went red as a beetroot.   Not bad for a man with sun-blasted skin the colour of worn leather.  

(It was true, Molly had shagged a sheep. Just the once mind you, and he was pissed as a parrot. Amazing what Bundy Rum can do to a man’s mind. Still, fucking a sheep with just a woolly jumper on tends to leave a lasting imprint in the minds of all those who watch such a fluffy tryst.) 

Jack the crew’s leading hand came in. ‘Gotta get this mob finished today fellas. So how’s about getting a wriggle-on?’ 

He caught sight of JJ. ‘Geezus JJ, what the fuck got to ya head, a revengful fuckin’ feral ba-ba!?’

‘All in the name of temperature control Jack.’

Jack’s eyes practically bulged out when he saw Ell’s half-shaven head. And then he cracked up laughing. ‘Two fuckin’ loopy ladies. What next, ya wanna go starker’s to stay cool?’ 

‘Not unless the whole shed does too, Jack,’ JJ chuckled in response.

Jack took a deep breath. ‘Awright fellas, up and at ‘em.’

The shed came to life. JJ and Ell moved off to get the first sheep in for the day’s shearing. 

Fin

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