Storytelling That Shows Life ...


Street Vendor

I’ve made 20 or so trips to China since my inaugural adventure in 1999.

And make no mistake, every trip feels like an adventure.

Beyond the obvious learning, I can count on China to deliver a happenstance or two (or three) that remind me, Toto, I’ve a feeling were not in Kansas anymore.”

This one comes compliments of the China Daily (August 6, 2013).

The words come straight from the local journalist:

A soft drink vendor’s scheme to fake his own death for financial gain was revealed after the heat in central China’s Hubei province proved too much for him to bear on Saturday, according to local authorities.

The incident occurred around 4 pm, when more than 10 men were holding the sheet-covered vendor’s “corpse” on a gurney near Jianghan Road subway station in the provincial capital of Wuhan.

They claimed that urban patrol officers had beaten the man to death and were demanding tens of thousands of yuan in compensation, a worker with the city’s urban management committee said on Monday.

More than 300 people gathered at the scene, and later, over 80 police officers were dispatched to maintain order.

The crowd dispersed two hours later, when the “dead” vendor suddenly jumped up, grabbed a bottle of water and drank it before saying, “It’s too hot. I can’t bear it anymore.”

The soft drink vendor, surnamed Han, and two others have been detained for disturbing public order.

“Disturbing” sounds so much better than “extortion.”

Needless to say, this plot will not inspire the makings of “Ocean’s 14.”

Even after reading this story multiple times, I’m still baffled by how he thought this charade would conclude with a happy ending. While not exactly plausible, perhaps he figured the payoff would come before he was transported to the morgue, at which point he would jump up with a “Hallelujah, it’s a miracle. I’m alive!” (shouted with the enthusiasm of Robin Williams).

Then again, it’s more likely he forgot the game plan for the part when they check his pulse.

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