Sunday, June 24, 2012

Idea Garage Sale: Miracles, Mistakes, and Lies

I'm tired of leafing through my old notes; fortunately, I got a Fortean Times this week. FT 289 (the people on the newsgroup are already discussing FT 290, but they're mostly British and can get it regular mail, while my issues have to hitch a ride on a tramp steamer or something) contains, on page 10, in a "Back from the Dead" round-up article, the story of an Argentinian woman who was told her premature baby was stillborn. Twelve hours later, they decided they wanted to say good-by properly, so the hospital staff pulled the frost-covered body out of the morgue drawer. Her mother touched her hand, and the baby opened her eyes.

Woah. As a preemie, she still had only a 10% chance of survival, but that's plenty enough to start off with.

But we also get, on the same page, a Chinese case of an eight-month preemie declared dead at birth, on the grounds of no breath, no heartbeat, and a purple color. However, the child's aunt insisted on seeing the baby, which was handed to her in a "yellow plastic bag." In addition to being alive, the baby was a boy, not a girl as originally declared. Tracking down further news stories on the web, we find that this baby wasn't even found in the morgue, but in a restroom where someone had absentmindedly left him! The family is suing and large numbers of people have been sacked, reprimanded, etc. Not surprisingly.

The hospital staff in the second case has a plausible excuse for the sex change, in that there's still a strong preference for sons over daughters in China, and the nurses thought it'd be less of a blow to lose a girl than boy. goodness... you put these two together...

The Baby in the Yellow Plastic Bag could be dystopian science fiction, with the baby being a natural gender-switcher in a society in which flexibility is the key to survival. Or a grim realistic novel about modern poverty. Or a mystery, with the stillborn baby swapped out for a live one - by whom? Why? Or a legal thriller, with the baby's misdiagnosis revealing layer after layer of malfeasance that it's in Someone's best interest to cover up. Or a religious novel - the Argentinian baby was named Luz Milagros, Light Miracle, for obvious reasons. Or horror - the baby's body is alive, yes, but that's not the baby's original spirit in there. Or paranormal, as the baby's early NDE and imperfect separation from the spirit realm grants her supernatural powers. Or...

Yeah, the problem with this one is to stop having ideas!

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