The Definition of Surreal?

October 21, 2010 at 1:21 am (Uncategorized)

Waking up to find your apartment block is inside the perimeter of crime scene tape, and that your end of the street has been barricaded by paddy wagons. And then the small matter of learning that a body has been discovered over the fence.

Over the fence on the eastern side sits a beachfront apartment block, at the base of which is a commercial strip comprising restaurants and a surf shop. The body was apparently found behind the restaurants, and probably came from the apartment block’s open walkway above. At about 5 am, judging from the birds just beginning to pipe up, I was woken by the sound of two men talking – just conversationally, absolutely nothing about it sounded untoward – and it was almost certainly the restaurant staff arriving for work, where they evidently discovered the body (which we mercifully did not see).

Staff in one of the restaurants told our neighbours on the other side that the man was wearing boxers, which instantly makes me think ‘sleepwalker’ – particularly as there are always holidaymakers in that block, so it’s not at all a stretch to imagine how something might have gone horribly wrong in that case. However, the police definitely seem to be treating the death as suspicious at this stage, which makes me think there must be some detail I at least have not heard. My neighbours also said the police were having a hard time getting anyone in the block to recognise the man, which again makes me think he was a holidaymaker. Whatever happened, it’s just awful.

Everything’s packed up now and everyone’s moved off, including the reporter and photographer from the local paper (yuck – what a hideous job. I am sooo not cut out for hard news). It’s a blindingly beautiful day, but somewhere out there, someone is getting the worst news possible, and it makes me very sorry to think of it. Death under this cloudless blue sky is appalling, somehow – there’s something mocking about it, a brightly coloured tease. But it does make me want to get out and make the most of it. It made me want to go for a dip in the ocean, which I did, and which made me feel cleansed and alive.



  1. Pete said,

    Oh no, how terrible. I’ve obviously been watching too many episodes of The Mentalist though because I immediately start thinking about who did it. Death by sleepwalking does not sound like a good way to go.

    • doctordi said,

      Yes, it is terrible, especially as it definitely seems to have been a terrible accident. Somehow – though don’t ask me how – this is almost worse than a drug deal gone wrong or some other more dramatic scenario. Just an accident – now there’s a tragedy.

  2. Lilian Nattel said,

    How awful Di, but my reaction is worse! I thought–what a great story for Di to write.

    • doctordi said,

      Lilian, I think this is an occupational hazard – the thought of its fictive potential definitely crossed my mind too… hideous people in some ways, writers.

  3. Grad said,

    This comment is actually meant for Lillian and Pete…don’t feel so bad…that’s what I thought, too. Of course, I’m also so very sorry for the poor man and his family, Di. Truly I am. And I felt very guilty thinking, “This could be the premise of a who-dunnit.” But to be honest…it would.

    • doctordi said,

      Yep, me too, so at least we’re all abashed together.

  4. Norwichrocks said,

    I completely agree with you about how much more awful it seems, somehow, to imagine hearing the devastating news that someone you love had died under a cloudless blue sky. It ought to be overcast and drizzling at the very least.

    How utterly ghastly.

    • doctordi said,

      Yes, exactly. In the circumstances it’s affronting, all that glittering sunshine.

      Horrible. Strange and sad.

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