Last week, police discovered a body in a scrapyard, sandwiched in between the doors of an abandoned, rusting tram. Death appeared to have been caused by strangulation. Although the deceased was wearing a spacious backpack, all personal effects were missing from the body, save for a creased, well-used diary found within a hidden pocket. Police have agreed to publish excerpts from this diary on melbournesurprise.com in the hope that someone might come forward to identify the body.
Tuesday, September 17, Flinders Street station: It's a rainy morning and the train is heaving. "Look, everyone is getting off here", grumbles a woman as I squeeze past her. I don't believe her. She's a miserable woman who looks like she hates her job. A sullen, beaten-down expression. Early signs of wrinkles. Not the sort who takes charge of a situation. I'm right in front of the doors by the time we stop, but I let the guy next to me open them. It's flu season; I'm not touching anything. Anyway, I still manage to get past him as the doors slide open. He might've muttered something under his breath, but frankly I couldn't care less. Lemmings.
Friday, September 20, Route 86 tram: Scored a window seat today; quite happy about that. I've noticed the tram is mildly full, so I stand up two stops in advance just to be safe. As I get up, the two people on the aisle seats swing their legs sideways to let me out. That's nice of them, but really it's a bit too soon—got to put my coat on first. Oh, and my scarf, it's cold today. Right, I should make a move...no, hang on, this is a bumpy section, best to just stand here. One of the fellows that moved his legs is now glaring at me, apparently he wants to get back to his book. Sheesh, calm down old sport! Shouldnt've been so hasty to move your stupid legs, if that's how you're going to be.
Sunday, September 22, Route 112 tram: I'm coming home from another delighful solo brunch! Okay, not totally delighful—the coffee was too cold, but I made sure to tell the barista. As I get up in preparation for my stop and start walking down the aisle, I start my usual mind-clearing exercise of sorting the world into two groups: the steamships, those who churn their own relentless, ambitious path through life; and the rafts, those content to simply let the current drag them along. Everyone on this tram is obviously a raft. Actually, pretty much everyone I see is a raft. I'm clearly a steamship, as were Christopher Columbus, Henry Ford, the Duke of Wellington, and... well, that's the extent of my list to date. Anyway, because of all this mental exercise, I'm not paying attention when the tram driver slams on the brakes to avoid a U-turning car. Caught mid-stride, I'm flung forward into some guy who spills his coffee all over the floor. Why stand near the doors if you're not getting off? Idiot. Luckily, I am unhurt.
Wednesday, September 25, Parliament train station: Looks like we're about 40 seconds away from arriving at the platform. I've almost managed to push my way though to the door, but there's one last man in front of me. He was originally facing with his back to the doors, but now he's turned around to face them. Does this mean he's getting off the train too? I'm not sure. What if he just wants to peer out the window? I better push past him too, just to be safe. I couldn't bear to be the second person to reach the escalators.
Tuesday, October 1, Route 112 tram: Here I am, trying so hard to recall the last time I missed my stop due to not moving to the doors early enough (oddly, I couldn't recall any such instances) that I almost missed seeing the house with the tall red chimney out of the left-hand window—my marker to start making my way toward the doors. Bloody hell, it's crowded today. There's people jammed into every nook on this tram. "Easy there, mate", says one guy as I push my way down the aisle. What a goose. What does he expect me to do? I'd turn side-on to squeeze through a bit easier, but I'm wearing a massive backpack.
Can you help identify the victim? Feedback is welcome in the comments box below. Please note that we will ignore queries about why these extracts were not provided to a reputable media outlet rather than a hackneyed blog—police will not comment on operational matters.