October 20, 2007

[Mike, the machine technician]:

“Alright then, you’ve seen a nice introductory Melbourne Uni scene. What would you like next? Go on, give it a roll.”



“Really? I know. Do the tram, do the tram.”



“Oh yes baby. One of my favourites. I’ve seen this one already. You gotta see this. Very short, very incredible. Let me just find it. Here we go.”


The tram incident had been cited by some powerful, religious Layla critics as evidence of excessive force in self-defense. They were adamant it should have attracted a murder or manslaughter charge. Comically enough, many of Layla critics of an Atheistic bent launched a strong media campaign against the religious ones. They claimed the religious talking heads were usurping the issue to bring people back to believe in witches, goblins, evil ghosts and Antichrists. And they were doing this so gullible folk would pay handsomely for the privilege of joining the various religious clubs and receiving sham remedies.



And hey presto! There was a balmy, Melbourne summer night viewed from within a No. 19 tram.

Route: Elizabeth St., CBD to North Coburg.

Time: 10PM Saturday Night, 12th November 2005


There was Layla and Joel mid-tram, leaning against each others shoulders cozily. Layla was wearing white tonight. White denim jacket and jeans, with flat black slough boots. Many of the seats were taken and about five people chose to stand up.


At the Queen Vic Market stop, six males seeped on purposefully. There were tall ones and stocky ones and enormous ones and nuggetty ones and heavy set ones and muscled ones. They were hooded or capped making them shadow-coloured in the yellow light. Once on and with the tram setting off they bumped against any standing passengers on their way to the back. Everyone felt the uncomfortable menace, including Joel and Layla. There was a settling down period.


At the back was a seat with a middle-aged man and a younger man, maybe father and son. The seat opposite had been empty until two of the males slid in, the others grouping around.


[Male 1 on the opposite seat]:

“Give me your money mate.”

The younger man looked at him briefly and shrugged apologetically.


Plus zero seconds.

A standing male plunged forward and punched the young man ferociously with his knuckles through his nose. There was a smashing sound and blood exploded. The older man started to stand upwards and was immediately set upon by the other males. The closest males were stomping and hammering the older mans bones whilst the younger man, seemingly unconscious, was being held by his hair and being shattered by knee.


Plus three seconds.

The other passengers were only now processing the violence. They scampered furthest away or cowered in corners as the tram rattled along. Layla jumped up and ran to the fracas and she was screeching ‘aydaalaa’ piercingly. So much so that the aggressors had to stop and cover their ears. One of the males turned to the screeching and seeing the oncoming Layla threw his weight full-on at her, launching his fist to her mouth. Starting from the point on his fist which first appeared to contact Layla’s mouth, an ‘aura’ of electricity blue covered him like bubble wrap. He immediately crumpled and curled up holding his mouth and jaw as blood sprayed and flowed through his hands.


Her screeching completed, but otherwise unaffected, Layla continued her run. The other five males had never turned around and, now that the infernal noise had stopped, returned their attention to pulping their two victims. They were all closely grouped. Layla ran along them smacking each of them on their back with alternate palms so that they all became bubble wrapped.


Plus seven seconds.

Only one male reacted to being smacked. As he swung round to Layla, he shoved his thumbs into her eyes then, in horror, fell back against a standing pole and bounced to the ground silently and foetally, his crossed arms covering his face. At this point three of the other males had stopped their attack and were sitting moaning on the floor. The last male had a knife and being surprised at the unfolding events pushed it straight into the throat of one of the beaten men. That kniving male shook and slumped, blood pumping out of his own throat, dying.


Plus fifteen seconds.

The tram driver stopped the tram and was calling for help. Two of the males who weren’t severely hurt stood up to gather their senses. They could see their other strewn mates but weren’t sure who had got them. They panicked and tried to scramble towards opposite doors. One man jumped left over the seat of the two beaten men and coming across a little girl cowering in the adjoining seat brought his weight and his elbow straight down onto the back of her neck. He just stopped still. The little girl struggled sideways a bit to not touch him. The other male attempted to dive-push Layla out his way but was propelled back through the air slamming into the tram window and dropped straight down to the floor. Dazed, he just gave up and remained sitting there, hopeless.


Plus twenty seconds.

The driver opened the tram doors. Many of the passengers clambered out. Some got to the exits and looked back from the steps. Joel went to Layla. The back of the tram was a bloody mess. The bubble wrap was dissipating. It was sadly quiet.





“Oh my good God. That was unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Okay, you’ve got me. You’ve got me cold. Let’s talk turkey.”



Mike and his guest had seen what they wanted to see. Enough viewing for one day. They already knew what happened afterwards. It was in the papers, on TV. After about five minutes, two policemen had arrived, guns drawn. They had surveyed the mayhem. Apparently, the hopeless guy was still on the ground mentally frozen and with spinal problems. Eventually, the dead, dying, maimed and scarred were morgued, hospitalized, treated and counseled. Witnesses were interviewed.


It was an impossibly hard case for the legal fraternity to put into a prosecutable basket. A few remaining witnesses, Layla included, had consistently pointed out the six aggressors. However, the lawyer for the six had made much of the fact that as two were dead, one had severe and incapacitating eye trauma and the other three had serious injuries then who was bashing who? Layla’s statement about temporarily changing the physiology of the males so that their aggressions were redirected to themselves, though possibly corroborated by some other witnesses and of course world widely reported, well it didn’t help move things legally forward. No charges were brought against the [remaining] men. The older man had survived, the younger man hadn’t. And that was a wrap.



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