Chimezie Ihekuna’s drama The Success Story, Fifth Installment

Please feel welcome to read the four previous installments of The Success Story here, here, here. 

and most recently, here.

Chimezie Ihekuna

[Greg begins his journey of writing in the Living Room. All parts of the Living Room are convenient for Greg except there are visitors.]

Greg stays in the house continues for the next three years. He is faced with several rejections. The writing materials he has in his possession tell how many writing conferences he has attended. Jane, currently on a month break after her first semester at the University of Perth, studying General Medicine, is on hand to see through Greg is doing. She is doing a great job encouraging Greg in his pursuit. At times, Jane’s mood appears discouraging to Greg. But Greg’s passion does not give in easily. Though there are certain reasons for the manuscript rejections that may want to frustrate him, Jane never gives up encouraging him. Andrew is busy with studies the Perth Institute of Business Management. Mr Smith just left for work while Mrs Smith is in the kitchen preparing breakfast for Jane and Greg.

 Despite having his first and second books, ‘Never Late’ and ‘Dare to get Back on Track’ being rejected over seventy times by publishers and agencies in Perth, Berth and beyond, Greg has written in book form and submitted to different publishers other ten manuscripts, including his just-finished piece, The Success Story.

Jane (Commends): I must salute your tenacity, Greg! You’ve done incredibly well for yourself. You’ve been rejected almost countless times. Yet, you never gave up. What’s more: You have written ten more potential bestsellers. Welldone, my brother

Greg (highly spirited): Thanks Jane. Remember you’ve been the one encouraging for the past two years. When you tell me ‘Never Give Up’, I feel a heightening of inspiration propel me to do better. With you, I was able to get all those write-ups done.

Jane takes up one of the printed and bind manuscripts of his, ‘The Success Story’. The nine others are scattered around on the Center Table. Jane sits on the rug to read the first three chapters, having read the completely the other nine. Fast in reading, it takes her ten minutes to read through. She expresses her candid opinion.

Jane: Greg, did you lift this work from some author’s work?

Greg: No. Why do you ask?

Jane: Amongst all the works of yours I’ve read, The Success Story stands out. I think it’s going to be your ground-breaking hit! A bestseller at that!

Greg (Feeling thankful): I appreciate your comments. I know you’ve always given your candid opinions—good and bad—about my works. But you’re so impressed about this. Tell why The Success Story stands out?

Jane: Do ME a favour?

Greg: What favour, Jane?

Jane: Can I read the some excerpts of the work’s Introduction?

Greg: Go ahead

Jane (reads as Greg listens):Success in life has its shades of approach. One may see it as meeting up with set goals. The other may view the term as one making an end from the means. The perception of it is never-ending. As simple as it is, its enormity of meaning explains the fact why people still have challenges providing a clear-cut definition as to what it is.

Two friends I met on two different occasions threw more light on what they term ‘success’. One said: ‘Success is when you’re able to impact the lives of those around you before imparting the world positively’. The other told me: ‘Success is simply leaving a place better than the way you met it’.

Over the years, I have wondered and thought of what nail of commonality that would drive home the points that would connect the dots of definitions or perceptions of success. I realized, thereafter, that success has different levels. Whatever endeavour or passion we are engaged in, our being what we aspire would have taken a step-by-step approach. It depicts the stages we have to undergo towards accomplishments.

Success, someone once said, is in the journey, not the destination. ‘And the universe’, quotes an anonymous writer as we perceive it, ‘is fast becoming a hive of stories, not necessarily of atoms.’

The journey into the universe brings about the success story, which of course, is the goal therein.

Greg, the introduction alone would keep any reader to the seat’s edge, anytime, anywhere! I have read the first three chapters and they are wow! Mark my words, Greg, the publisher that would accept this work-piece would pay you an advance. This work is way unique than the ones you have. I’m not saying they’re not good: they would make good sales. But this, like I said, The Success Story, is the ground breaker! My intuition tells me. And I sense, your greatness and popularity would come again…This time way better than what it was three years ago.

Greg (Doubtful): Me? I guess you’re trying to pull my legs. I have….you know, had my works rejected over and over again. Yet, you’re telling me The Success Story would be the ground breaker! Check out the records of rejections

Greg shows Jane the messages, all pointing at the rejection of his previous manuscripts. She is seeing them in the Personal System but maintains her stance, even more.

Jane (indifferent): So? What difference does it make? Because you had your nine book manuscripts rejected , time and time again, doesn’t mean the same would happen to this very one…The Success Story. In my opinion, what I see is this: based on what I have read so far, you improved in your writing skills—more finesse, better content and swift dynamics of words for the average reader’s pleasure. It won’t be long before you land your major deal. That, I know! Have I told you anything in advance—before it happens—fail?

Greg: No

Jane: Believe me. It won’t be long.’ As part of the journey in anything in life’, just as you rightly put it, ‘discouragement is a part of its success’.

Greg is bought by her vision. He is very confident.

Greg: Your words are really lifting! They came at the time my arsenal of persistence was declining. Indeed, discouragement is all a part of the journey to being successful. From what you said and trusting in your intuition, The Success Story would be the ground breaker! You have sent the consciousness into me. And I have to work in this light hence forth

Jane (Happy): That’s my brother!

Mrs Smith is done with breakfast. She sets the dining table, extreme left of the Center Table. Her daughter’s attention is called.

Mrs Smith: Jane, help me with the plates of food from the kitchen. Greg, hope you’re good…

Greg (very lively): Yes

Jane: Okay

Jane leaves the Center Table where Greg is working to join her mother in the kitchen, dishing out the plates while the table is being prepared for breakfast.

The first bell rings at the door. Greg gets to the door fast and sees a beautifully all-dressed-black post woman. The door is open for Jane and Mrs Smith to see what is about to happen

Greg: How may I help you?

Postwoman (smiles): Is this the residence of Greg Smith?

Greg: Yes and ….

Postwoman: You have a mail from Creative Publishing Enterprise. Please sign on this paper. Please indicate your name, phone number as well.

Greg: Okay. Do you have a pen?

Postwoman: Of course, I do.

The Postwoman deeps her hand in her pocket and lends him a blue-ink pen. The postwoman presents to Greg the mail from her designed-to-carry-mails bag while Greg is signing on the paper, also indicating his name, phone number as instructed. The Postwoman, holding the mail, a full-postage-stamped white envelope, checks what Greg has written. She hands over the mail to him.

Postwoman: Thank you, Mr. Greg and have a nice day!

The postwoman leaves the building. Greg can’t wait to see what’s contained in the letter. Mrs Smith and Jane are looking at what’s transpiring between Greg and the Postwoman. They are also want to know.

Mrs Smith (announces): Breakfast is ready, Greg. But what’s in that envelope?

Greg: Mom, I’ve just received a mail. Let me open it and then get to read it out. It’s a mail from Creative Publishing Press. I would have to read the content to understand better

Jane: I have a strong feeling that your work, The Success Story has been accepted. Not only that, there is something—I really don’t know what it is—-like an offer waiting for you. Just read it and you will see I’m right. A woman’s intuition is not to be taken likely!

Greg: Okay. Let me open it

Mrs Smith urges Greg to eat first before this would be done. Greg agreed.

Mrs Smith: Let’s have a breakfast. Then we go straight into the business of the day.

Jane (agrees but her concentration is on the exotic Yeast Bread loaf and Delicious Milky tea): You’re right, mom.

Greg (looks at the letter with all of his eyes): Yes

Mrs Smith sees the height of aroused curiosity in Greg but urges him to take his breakfast.

Mrs Smith: I know this is what you’ve been looking for the past three years. But relax, eat. It won’t disappear. You have it just beside your meal plate. Ensure you don’t stain it.

Greg: Okay Mom. Greg puts the envelope on his lap while he hastily eats what is being presented as meal—same as that of Jane.

Mrs Smith chuckles as she gently eats hers.

Greg is done with breakfast. He opens the envelope, takes out the letter and reads to the hearing of both his mom and sister, still eating.

Greg (reads):

Dear Greg Smiths,

First and foremost, we, at Creative Publishing Press, appreciates the submission of your work, The Success Story. It was an interesting read and highly inspirational for all ages.

After a thorough review by our editorial team, we have decided to give your work the best of traditional treatment it deserves. Your work has been accepted for publication. Congratulations!

Creative Publishing Press is a newly established literary outfit situated at the outskirts of Perth. It aimed at reaching out to making writers become successful authors. With its unique traditional publishing style, it strives to make the written works of authors noticed through the media, libraries, bookstores, book festivals, event centres, resorts and many more. What’s more…It pays authors advances!

We have award-wining authors: Lake Thompson, Eugene Brass and Angela Jakes.

To give you summary of what the contract is about, you will be receiving a payment of 5,000Talars before the signing. After you have signed the contract in our office, you will be paid an additional 20,000 Talars. This is what is called advanced payment. Then, your royalties would be paid to you quarterly. As soon as the contract has been signed, we will begin the work process immediately. The editing process would begin and an editor would be assigned to go through your work, and if need be make corrections and submit to you for approval. After that (upon your approval) the production team would be on hand to give your book the best package it deserves. You will be presented a number of book cover designs for you to choose. Then, you will provide the ‘About the Author’ and ‘About the book’ descriptions. Your book is published! The marketing team would take it to all media houses in Perth and beyond, libraries, bookstores, book conferences, book festivals and many places where literary works are appreciated. You will be given one hundred free copies. This would be for you. You may choose to sellsome copies and keep the money to yourself.

The contract paper is available in our office. The contact person is: Amanda Brooks. She is the publishing manager. You may choose to come with a lawyer, if you wish. However, the contract is valid for a month. We’re ready for any questions pertaining the contract.

There is will be an interview with our in-house media person, Maria Jane. The questions would center on the following forms: your background, your inspiration behind the books you’ve written, how long you have been writing,what you’ve learnt about writing based on experience, what to do if you experience a writer’s block, your advice for writers, aspiring to be authors and a few others. The interview will be published in all of Perth Major Newspapers and magazines with your picture on it. The interview and other publicity moves are geared to create a popular demand for the book before it is been released. Come along with four passport-sized photographs.

This is our physical address: 1089, Max Street, off Jon Boulevard, Perth.

We look forward to working with you on this project and more works from you.

Congratulations once again!

Yours Faithfully

AB

Amanda Brooks

Publishing Manager

Creative Publishing Press

Greg is confused; whether to leave the Living Room and dash outside to jump for the world to hear or scatter the dining table and yell on top his voice. Mrs Smith takes the letter off from him and reads for herself. Jane is also reading as well. Greg leaves the dining table and forcefully lands himself on the sofa.  He is yelling incoherently.

Greg: Oh…Ahhh…Wow! Ha! Pa! Pa! I…Ha Ha made it Woo! Wah!

Jane screams after reading the letter as Mrs Smith begins to dance haphazardly. The whole place is filled with celebration that they forget that someone is at the door; ringing the bell severally. It takes the faint hearing of Mrs Smith to realize. She decides to advance towards the door with the letter within the grasp of her hand. The doorbell rings the seventh time. She opens the door and sees her stranded husband.

Mr Smith (feeling upset. Points at the doorbell as he stares at her): How many times do I have to press this for you to realize that I want to come into my house?

Mrs Smith (apologetic, yet excited): I’m sorry. It’s just that we’re indeed excited!

Mr Smith is surprised. He looks at how Greg is rolling on the rug and Jane is jumping around the center table, screaming. He comes into the living room as Mrs Smith closes the door to behold what he doesn’t understand. He seeks for answers.

Mr Smith: Honey, you mentioned that you guys are all excited. What’s the excitement all about?

Mrs Smith replaces her verbal response with a letter, handing it over to him. Mr Smith looks at the letter in his hand and her as he joins them in the excitement. He does it the second time. Greg and Jane barely know their dad is I the house.

Mr Smith (heightens his voice): You’ve not answered my question. What’s going on?!

Mrs Smith: Read the letter. You’ll understand.

Mr Smith reads the letter with interest. Mr Smith can’t help but to express how happy he is by joining them in the celebration. The family is complete. The energy of excitement fills the house. Jane and Greg sees that their dad is back. But that does not stop them from celebrating. She hugs her dad as Greg hugs his mom. The excitement continues for ten minutes. Mr Smith somehow brings back calmness in the house, drawing himself close to Greg. Mrs Smith and Jane are sited while Greg is up standing, whose right hand is held firmly by his.

Mr Smith:It’s been a long time coming! Greg, you’ve waited so long a time for this and this has come to pass and has come to stay. Now I understand clearly what you’ve told me three years ago. I, your father, is indeed proud of you! You’ve made us proud parents. You’re about being a successful author. This time, your popularity and success would be heard far and wide. Congratulations!

 Mr Smith is sited and watching. Mrs Smith hug Greg. She looks at him and holds him by the shoulder.

Mrs Smith: You’ve really waited three good years for this breakthrough. Now it has come to stay forever. During your wait, your partly assisted us with some expenses—me, your dad and siblings—Jane and Andrew. Andrew…I think his we’ll let him know. Yes, he’s writing his professional exams. I, his mother, will let him know about this! Greg, congratulations!

Jane takes her stand, moves some steps forward. When she sees how close she is to Greg, she throws her light body to Greg’s grab. Greg wraps his hands around her entire waste area

Jane: Some moments ago, I told you your breakthrough is imminent. Didn’t I? Sure, I did! What do I need in return? Joking….behind every successful man, there is a woman! Don’t joke with me when it comes to intuition…Just joking.

Jane leaves Greg’s grab and returns to her siting position. Mr Smith wants to know what Greg’s plans and how he intends expediting them. Mr and Mrs Smith look in amazement

Mr Smith: Greg, when do you intend to visit the publishing house? I know of a lawyer friend. He will be at home two days from now. I think we’ll have to get things done on time. A stich in time saves nine. What do you think?

Mrs Smith (cuts in): Greg, I think your dad is right. Let’s get into full swings. The earlier the better.

Jane (Supports): Greg, I see sense in what they’re saying. Andrew, if he was here, would say the same thing.

Greg listens to their take and agrees

Greg: Let’s do it! I’m game! Let us get started on time. It’s all for the family, Afterall!

Mr Smith: I will talk to Barrister Frank immediately. All he need do is to confirm the authenticity of the contract. That’s all. I know contracts like this are authentic but a confirmation by a legal practitioner like my good friend would do a lot better. Granted, it’s quite distant. I will foot the transport fare cost, to and fro. . I won’t be available that day, unfortunately. There are series of appointments I must meet up with. I’m sorry but I assure, I will make it all up. But Barrister Frank is such a nice person! I know the interview won’t pose any problems to you. The interview areas are something you can answer to, even when at sleep!

Greg (looks not bothered): That’s fine by me. He’s visited us a number of times, despite his very-hectic schedules. He’s no stranger. We’re like family! The interview areas are no problem to me. All I need do is to rehearse a little and be a bit more logical.

Mr Smith: You’re on point, son!

Mrs Smith (adds): I agree with you, honey, regarding the transport fare. I will also add some money for their feeding along the way. It’s like a long journey, you know. So, they have to feed…

Mr Smith (makes a joke): Hmmm…I see…You come in ONLY when you want to come in…I reserve my comment for the rest

Mrs Smith deafens her ear to what his statement but focuses on the very issue at hand.

Mrs Smith: Greg, my son, I think I will add some money to the one your dad will send you.

Jane: Hmmm…I agree, based on your discussion.

Mr Smith: Let me visit Barrister Frank two streets away from ours. Will be back soon.

Mrs Smith: Okay, dear.  I will call Andrew now

Jane: Okay

Greg: Alright

Mrs Smith calls Andrew. The call is returned. Greg and Jane are listening.

[Phone Mode]

Andrew: Hello Mom!

Mrs Smith: How’s your studies been so far? How are about your exams?

Andrew: My studies came along fine! As for exams, I think I’m not doing bad at all, through the papers are getting tougher as they come. But I shall scale through!

Mrs Smith: You will…I believe in you

Andrew: Thanks mom.

Mrs Smith: Guess what?

Andrew: Mom, you know I’m not good at guessing. Tell me; what’s it?

Mrs Smith: Greg has finally made it! He got a major publishing deal!

Andrew: Wow! Great! Is Greg there?

Mrs Smith: Yes

Andrew: Please, hand over the phone to my big bro

Mrs Smith: I will. But remember, your conversation has to be as short as possible. I don’t have sufficient call credit!

She hands over the phone to Greg

Greg: What’s up, Andrew?

Andrew: I’m good. Heard you got a deal…a publishing deal

Greg: You heard mom, loud and clear

Andrew: Congratulations! More power to your elbows. Hope there is some money attached to it?

Greg: When you come around, you’ll know and see for yourself

Mrs Smith takes the phone off from Greg. Jane laughs, then shakes her head. Greg chuckles excitedly

Jane (talks on top her voice): Andrew, so you forgot to call me. You’re very funny!

Andrew: I never knew you were. How are you?

There is no response from Jane

Mrs Smith: My call credit is running out. Please call me. But when will you be coming home?

Andrew: As soon as I am done with my exams

Mrs Smith: Okay. We’ll be expecting you then. Take good care of yourself.

Andrew: I will. And you too!

Mrs Smith: Bye

Andrew: Bye

She hangs up her phone. Lunch time is near. Mrs Smith moves to the kitchen to prepare what to be eaten; moles of cassava flakes and the pasty Parthian soup. They are all observing lunch…

After lunch, Greg does a bit of rehearsal on the interview areas. He is ready for the showdown.

 

The D-DAY

[Barrister Frank agrees to accompany Greg to Creative Publishing Press, based on the conversation with Mr. Smith. The money—that of his and his wife— is kept in hands of the Barrister. The journey is to last for a total of six hours. What they have is sustain them throughout the whole day. He comes to Mr. Smith’s house, meets the-ready-for-the-movement Greg, who has with him the envelope and five passport-sized photographs, as Mrs. Smith and Jane are watching to wave a ‘bye, bye’. They both set out of the building, board a taxi and all roads lead to Creative Publishing Press]