Chimezie Ihekuna’s play The Success Story: Part 3

Please read the first installment of Ihekuna’s drama here and the next here. 

We’re serializing this play one scene per issue.

Chimezie Ihekuna

Chimezie Ihekuna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben)'s newest book, The Poured-Out Thoughts

Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben)’s newest book, The Poured-Out Thoughts

In Greg’s Room…

It is three days to resumption. Greg, the only one in the house, is pacing back and forth his room, thinking becausehe has just completely read through the last chapter of the 150-page ‘Find Your Way Back’. He then forces himself to lie on the ten-inch-thick bed. But restlessness can’t make Greg take a nap after hours of preparation for school. Greg has his clothes properly placed in his medium-sized traveling bag. It is a tasking situation for the eighteen-year-old, having to select the clothes—from a variety of clothes in his white cupboard—he will be wearing throughout the duration of the session.

Meanwhile, Greg’s radio player, placed on a small white table, with a simple standing fan by the side for some cooling effect, is listening to a program on 88.1 Flash FM. The Program aired is: Return To Your Calling. Greg’s restlessness soon turns to comportment:

Hello, I’m XYZ, your anchor woman for today’s program. Listeners at home, school, work and some other places, how are you doing? Hope you’re enjoying your day? I am enjoying mine…

You’re unto 88.1 Flash FM …the station that has your interest at heart!

Today, the program, Return To Your Calling is a second-chance, never-too-late and decide-for-yourself interest dedicated to those who, by virtue of forced conditions and misplaced priorities, have ventured in various endeavours that they shouldn’t have been.

Some people, who, at first, didn’t like what they first got into but over the course of time, developed interest and found them more interesting, are not included in this category. If you fall under this bracket, all well and good for you. But you don’t move that dial. I want believe you have people who are not deriving the fulfilment they ought to get in their chosen endeavours. Who knows?!!! You could be that hope, that come-back engineer that would enable that friend of yours get back on track, regardless of the time being spent. Remember, it’s never too late to return to your calling.

We will be discussing on the misplaced priorities people have defined in the past, regarding their careers, birthing their present predicaments and forced situations they succumbed to, presently roping their necks to their careers.

They are consequently console themselves by the anticipation of mouth-watering salaries, the money quest and the ‘rest’ they seem to get—perhaps, it’s a ‘9-5’ job.

We’ll get into these issues in detail and more after a word from our sponsors. Don’t touch that dial. It’s XYZ, your Anchor Woman for the day…

An advert commercial takes the air wave for about forty-five seconds. The second follows for thirty seconds and the third, for forty seconds. Greg turns off the radio to engage communicate with himself. Greg is finally up standing, initially lying down listening to the radio.

[Monologue]

I have been playing to the gallery…

[Looks down to floor and then the ceiling]

I know I’ve been doing this all my life but Greg, why can’t you for once admit it?

[Kicks the bed resting on the ground very hard. It shifts from the middle to the left side of the room]

Goodness me, what have I done to myself…What I have I done?

[Moves around his room hitting the walls with his two fists]

For how long would this continue?

[Shakes his head, Jumps back to the bed]

Why can’t you, Mr. Greg, be true to yourself?

[He retrospects the one-on-one discussion he had with his mom about a week ago in his room]

My son, you’re the first of all of my living fruits. I’m happythat I have you as a son. You have made me proud all my life. And I’m grateful to you for making it so.

You see, Greg, as you know, you have your two younger siblings, Jane and Andrew, both looking up to you as their mentor and role model. I know you have been leaving up to expectation, but please DO NOT MOVE AWAY FROM THE PATH YOU ARE TREADING—UR BECOMING A MECHANICAL ENGINEER. This family depends on you.

Your father and I have laboured so hard for you and younger ones to be responsible adults. Please, keep the blazing touch of hope alive. I have always believed in you and I won’t stop believing in you as long as I live.

Let me attend to your dad. You act one what I have said. Greg, I believe in you

Yes, my mom sure does have a point. I should not move away from the path I am treading. Question is: Is mechanical engineering the path I should be treading? Yes, I’m excellent and popular…My first class grade points tells it all. Yet, to be sincere, i have been playing to the gallery since elementary, high and even MY PRESENT tertiary levels. What led to this in the first place?

[Greg seems to be between the devil and deep blue sea moving about his room haphazardly. He recalls when he was liked by everyone in elementary, high and present school, because of his performances and successes in various subjects and courses he took part in. He remembers answering the question his parents asked him at the early years of high school: ‘I WANT TO BECOME AN ENGINEER’]

Very sad to say but true, I have been the very architect of my predicament. Yes, I’m good at what I’m not sincerely finding fulfilling, that is, Mechanical Engineering. Still, I’m not to be exonerated! I had always wanted to become an author since junior high school but I was swayed by what was male students were opting for and liked what dad was doing—automobile engineering. Rather, than prioritize writing as my career pursuit, I went for what was trending. I wouldn’t blame mom and dad. Afterall, I chose what I wanted to be. All they did was to put me through and supported the best way they could. And they still are! If I were in their shoes, how would I feel about the bombshell that’s on my mind, what I’d disclose to Harp when I get back to school?…Really don’t know how we’d take it and convey I to the hearing of his parents. How would Jane and Andrew feel if I told them I am quitting mechanical engineering to start afresh my dream of being an author? Loads of questions to be asked

[Greg forces himself to sit on the bed, looks from the north to the south, then, from the east to the west of his room. He takes a deep breath and shakes his head. Greg places his two hands on his chin, covering his cheeks and remains like that for the next five minutes. He suddenly leaves his siting position, stands up and starts recalling salient facts from what the book provided him with]

Come to think of it, if given a more serious look, we all have our decisions to make in life. It gets to a point in a man’s life where he has to stand tall and make some drastic decisions to really get to where is has proposed himself to be. Though it may turn out successful or prove otherwise, depending on how it’s been approached, the decision has to the followed to the letter. I like what the book’s first page stated: ‘When you have realized you’ve treaded the wrong path, retrace your footsteps for it will never be too late to start afresh’. Success comes with a price tag. Dad, mom, Harp, Mr and Mrs Daniels, Jane and Andrew, not mention a few, you have to understand that I have to make this decision for the betterment of my future and to enjoy the fulfilled life I’ve ever wanted/ If you will be there for me, in my journey to being that successful an author, you will have something of great benefit in my paradise of success. Otherwise, why should you be a part of me in the first place?

My mind is made up and I’m head-bent to making this dream of mine a reality…

[Greg takes a look at the concluding part of the book, where a song, ‘Let It Shine’ the second time. He reads the song’s lyrics:

This little light of mine

I’m going let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m going let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine… Let it Shine…Let it shine…

He reads it twice, walking around his room in confidence. The inspiration comes on Greg to ‘edit’ the lyrics. He uses the word ‘dream’ in place of ‘light’ and the phrase ‘…make it real’ in place of ‘…let it shine’. He drops the book on the bed and sings with boldness:

This little DREAM of mine

I’m going to make it real

This little DREAM of mine

I’m going to make it real

This little DREAM of mine

I’m going to make it real

Make it real… Make it real… Make it real…

He is done singing and very happier]

Yes, I will make this little dream of mine real. I will make it real, no matter what happens! The journey of a thousand mile begins with just a bold step. To me the journey has just started! I will make the dream of mot just being an author, my secret aspiration in life, a reality, I will make a success story of it. Thank you, Find Your Way Back for the inspiration to spark that over-the-years suppressed dream of being an author! Now, I have a new life!

[Greg comfortably rests on the bed with sparks of fulfilment and later finds himself sleeping]

At the ME (Mechanical Engineering)Lecture Room of the Mechanical Engineering Building

Venue of the Engineering Philosophy lecture.

Course Code: ENG 201.

Time: 8:30AM

The thirty-sitter, cube-sized lecture room has a five by six sitting arrangement. It is fully air-conditioned to make students feel comfortable while learning and as a way to cover up for its lack of natural ventilation. The walls are perforated. Their sound proof nature tackles the noise coming from outside. Each sit has its own desk where a student can place his or her writing materials. The students have booked their seats, waiting for the arrival of the lecturer, Dr Tim Yale.

Greg siting adjacent to Harp, from the left of the second row, is preparing his writing notes while Harp is resting his head on his seat’s desk.

There are indistinct voices of students being heard at the same time. Their voices are noisome to the ears of Harp who decides to put a small ear piece and takes a bow on the desk.

Dr Tim Yale, a tall, handsome-looking, light-skinned man, comes into the class. There is absolute decorum; the ‘unready’ ones are taking out their writing materials from their bags because they have been told of his strict teaching style by their predecessors. The students are all ears to be grasp information coming from his mouth. Dr Tim, as he is fondly called, carries his notebook on his left hand, then a white board-writing marker, glued to his right hand. In his all white outfit—a simple white T-shirt, trouser and pair of shoes—the baritone-speaking, gesticulating and goggled-eyed Dr Tim is set to begin his lecture by closing the only door of the room.

Dr Tim (takes a good look at the lecture room, length and breadth): I see…No wonder they say ‘’cleanliness is next to godliness.’’  You can see how clean this room is…I hope your homes are clean. By the way, I hope you enjoyed your semester holidays…You’re welcome to another thorough session! Your first year was just a tip of the iceberg of what you’d experience this session. I need to introduction or do you I?

He asks a rhetoric but sees students have their hands all raised beyond their heads, including Harp and Greg. However, Dr Tim declines to their reaction, though keep his gaze at Greg.

Dr Tim: I don’t need your very response! I asked a simple rhetoric…For goodness sake, don’t you all know what a rhetoric is?!Well, if I must tell you, a rhetoric is a question being asked but would either require the person who puts forward the question to answer or no answer at all. That being said, let’s get into the business of the day! This is ENG 201 class. If you read through your syllabus, you will understand that ENG 201 is a course code for Engineering Philosophy. This is a course where the definition of your career pursuit in engineering is built on. For this semester, you’ll appreciate in completeness why you ought to study your course, more than anything else.

By observation, there are just four female students as against a large army of 16 male students in this class. I want to believe this is the total number of students offering this course, excluding those, I mean your predecessors, who’d retake the course towards the end of this semester.

Do you know the result of the last semester exam is to be released in less than thirty minutes? Meaning before I’m done with my lecture, your results will be pasted on all blocks of this university! But someone among you had the highest Grade point, and by virtue of his last semester grade point performance,had the highest Cumulative Grade Point of 4.51!I have checked his result already. Most of you know him…I don’t think I need to make him known to you. In fact, I can see him right now! Ladies and gentlemen, the student with the highest Cumulative Grade Point is… If you are a student of the department of engineering, I need not tell you who he is! The only clue is HE IS HERE!

Dr Tim picks up the white marker and note he initially left on the desk of the Head of Class or popularly known as the Course Representative, sited at the middle of the first front rowto address the students. While he is writing, all the students are congratulating Greg. The females are hug him while the majority males shake and part him on his shoulders, with accompanying words like ‘’Congrats, well done, ‘Keep up the good work, man, you’re great!’’ However, Harp fists his right hand on Greg’s left as others are identifying with him—a depiction of  ‘we’re together in this’ gesture. They take their seats immediately and write down what Dr Tim is writing on the board. They cannot wait to rush to the very-near Student Union Block to check their results. That is what’s on their minds as they write. Dr Tim is done writing but senses their attention is on what he had earlier told them.

Dr Tim (covers his white marker and closes his notebook): I see you are all itching to see your results. Remember the door has been closed. Nevertheless, I’m done for the day and I’m going to be home with my family. Before I take my leave, I’d like to unveil the news that I am your new course adviser and your results your subsequent semester exams will be coming out, from now on, two weeks after your last paper.You can, if you want to, rush down to the Student Union Block down there. Have a great day and a happy semester ahead!

He leaves the lecture room first. Students are forcing their way out of the only entrance door. But Greg and Harp decides to stay put. Harp realizes Greg’s unusual moody look.

Harp: What’s going on, Greg? I noticed that you were indifferent when Dr Tim recognized you as the best mechanical student, indirectly and as having the highest grade point. He even gazed at you more! Other students, including the Head of Class, Tom, congratulated you and parted you on your shoulder.

Greg (still moody but deviates from the question): When did you breeze into campus?

Harp (a bit upset): You need not be funny! I asked you why your moody state and here you are, asking me when I arrived school. If you want to know, I arrived three days back.

Greg: Do you remember what I wanted to discuss with you at your place?

Harp (concerned): NO! And what was it?

Greg: You told me you prefer discussing personal matters—the ones that relating with you and your friends in school—-not in the house.

Harp (flashes his mind back for the next 10 seconds and remembers): Yes!!! What’s it?

Greg: Don’t you think we need to go check our results? Let’s join our colleagues

Harp: Greg, you’re funny the way you approach things. I asked you why your moody state. You reply was based on a past thing which hasn’t been disclosed. Now, in wanting to know about it, you want us to go check our results!

Greg (laughs): You caused it!

Harp: How?

Greg: I will let you know. Let’s get to the SUB, I mean the Student Union Block. Shall we?

Harp (reminds him): Your result has been disclosed already!

Greg: What about yours? Remember, you’re my friend and we’re in everything together!

Harp: Promise me, you will discuss everything with me when we get back to the ME lecture room

Greg: I will. Since the room will be free, we’ll have all time to discuss at length

Harp and Greg leave their sits and head to the open-spaced, food-vendor-concentrated and games-situated SUB to check their result of last semester. There is a handful of students left. Harp realizes he came out with a Grade Point of 3.99 last semester with no resit and a Cumulative Grade Point of 3.87, with no resit. Harp is happy and Greg is still putting up his moody look. They both head back to the ME lecture room with their notebooks. They go back to their initial siting position as the freshness of built-in air-conditioner breathes air in them. Harp begins the discussion…

Harp: What’s it you’ve been wanting to tell me?

Greg (chuckles): Can you handle what you‘re about to hear?

Harp (laughs hysterically): I am sharp to hear and keep information. Say it aloud, though to my ears only!

Greg (more serious): I ask again: Can you handle what I’m about to tell you?

Harp sees the seriousness of Greg. He turns on that mode

Harp: Seriously, if it’s something not that serious. But if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be this moody. I know you, Greg! I know you Greg!

Greg: You’re funny, you know. You simply just contradicted yourself!

Harp: Explain please

Greg: You know quite well that if it’s nothing serious, I wouldn’t be moody. Now, you’re asking if it’s serious…Are you sure you can handle it? I ask one more time: Can you handle what you’re about to hear?

Harp: This time, yes. I’m your very best friend. Afterall, we’re in this together! What are friends, for in the first place, if not to share their problems with one another?

Greg: Indeed…

Greg takes a stern gaze at Harp from his naturally bald hair to his torso, and to his face. He shakes head and places his hands on his seating desk. Harp sees that the weight of information would be enormous.

Greg: I want to confess to you, Harp. You will be the first to hear this long-time held secret

Harp (Surprised): You mean secret?

Greg: Yes. You can read my lips

Harp: What’s the hidden secret?

Greg stands up, takes a few steps to where Dr Tim stood to lecture and maintains an akimbo posture for about ten seconds. He uses his pair of bright eyes to view the dimensions of the lecture room. He looks at Harp again. He then closes its initially-opened-exit door. It is done on Harp that this is indeed serious. Greg walks back and forth with his hands tied to each other and resting on his lower back. He stays at the middle—the point where Dr Tim Yale he was positioned before his addressing the students began…

Greg: Let me tell you here and now that I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING A MECHANICAL ENGINEERING STUDENT!!!

Harp pretends as if he didn’t hear that. He wants Greg to repeat himself

Harp: What did you just say?

Greg: Can’t you hear? That’s why I asked if you can handle this information

Harp: Greg, are you on drugs or did you mean what you just said?

Greg (asserts emphatically again): I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING A MECHANICAL ENGINEERING STUDENT!!!

Harp: I suspect you’re on drugs. Can’t believe what you just said are coming out from your mouth

Greg: What’s it you don’t get? The words or something else?

Harp: All of the above

Greg: If you thought out of the box, you’d have asked me why

Harp (quick to ask): Greg, why?

Greg: Yes, I am,by people’s notion, said to be a success. My academic exploits, as seen in my Grade points and grade point average or Cumulative Grade point confirm this. My multiple ‘A’  scoring results in the courses I have so far offered attest to the unbridled fact that my popularity and exploits, ranging from my being punctual to scoring excellent marks in the various tests, assignments and various mini projects assigned to me and my team are proves to theoretically depict how fulfilled I am. In a way, I have enjoyed popularity and encomiums of people—students, lecturers and admirers—name them—-even my people at home. I agree some students look up to me. In fact, I am a reference point to all my siblings. My parents see me as the very illuminating torch of my family. Yes, I’m not questioning their judgement. In fact, that to me, is a step in the right direction!

My friend, all you see is certainly not all there is. Harp, you’ve known me since the start of our late junior high school days when I’d always scribble a whole lot of write-ups, and, most times, write them out legibly to essays. I made collections of them. And I liked what I was doing…My passion had always been penning down values on paper, and nothing else!

How I got into this what I call the ‘mess I’m in’, or what is identified as status quo, is my doing. Rather than take my passion to the next level, perhaps enrol in an arts class, I joined the bandwagon of people who opted for science class. It was the ‘fashion-ness’ of being an engineer that hoodwinked me into what I’m not really happy with. My parents, being liberal, to an extent, afforded me the opportunity to choose the academic endeavour I really wanted—-sciences, arts and the commerce-related fields. Again, rather than expressly chose the Arts, I naively plunged into the sciences. Seeing my excellent results in the science subjects I took, which of course you’re aware of, my parents modelled my siblings to be like me. Howbeit, I was unable to tell them I made a mistake of opting for the sciences because teachers thought I was doing well in all the science subjects and I wanted to be trending, career-wise.

For years, I have caged in the slavery trap known as hidden bitterness. I had made the wrong decision but wasn’t courageous to admit it and even inform my parents about it!

A glimmer of hope came when I first read the book, ‘Find Your Way Back’. The very book you ended up giving me for free. I read the first page and the statement: When you have realized you’ve treaded the wrong path, retrace your footsteps for it will never be too late to start afresh’ It was then I knew how wrong a path I have treaded. However, I know it’s never late to start afresh…

My age-long-but-buried-in-secret aspiration of being a successful author was ignited the moment I read that statement. I did finish the book a few days before my resuming school. I engaged myself in a thorough discussion. I weighed the pros and cons of my decision in relation to what they, you know, my parents, want from me after school. And I realized that it gets to a point in a man’s life where he has to stand tall and make serious decisions that would change his course for life—negatively or positively. Howbeit, the latter be preferred.

I heard XYZ, the presenter on Flash 88.1FM. She mentioned two primary factors being responsible for people’s dis-satisfaction in their careers. The first is forced situations and the second, misplaced priorities. I quickly turned off the radio because the latter applied to me and I’d just realized how wrong I have been choosing Mechanical Engineering as course of study, though more terrifying in my opinion, playing to the gallery—not defining my originality from the get-go! The book made me upset, not because it was offensive but it exposed my hidden secret at a time I have resigned to fate. You needed to see how incoherent I was!

Harp, the difference between THE you now and you in the next five years would be determined by the company you keep and the kind of books you read. The book ends with a song:

This little light of mine

I’m going let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m going let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine… Let it Shine…Let it shine…

Then I chose to really give it a personally relatable ‘equivalent’:

This little DREAM of mine

I’m going to make it real

This little DREAM of mine

I’m going to make it real

This little DREAM of mine

I’m going to make it real

Make it real… Make it real… Make it real…

I am head-bent to making this ‘little dream of mine’, being a successful author a reality. It doesn’t matter what people say. Even my parents! All that matters is being fulfilled at what you were called for and living I the light of it

In summary, like I’ve earlier mentioned, I am calling quits with Mechanical Engineering to focus on been a successful author. I would like to know if you can handle this information…

Greg takes his usual siting position staring at the lost –out-of-thought Harp with the intention of hearing what he really has to say. Harp is lost for words. It takes him close to a minute the first word is heard.

Harp: I must admit, this is my very first time hearing such a message! Yes, what you just said points at your rationale behind calling it quits with Mechanical Engineering. But bro, it was like a sermon you preached to me! I was lost in thought and glued to you as though I’m watching my favourite TV program, ‘K And G’. My good friend, I’m more than convinced, more than anything else, that you really have discovered and know what you are set out to do in life. In short, you have explicitly stated in plain sight what you want to do, regardless of the time being spent, I wouldn’t say ‘wasted’, on pursuing a program that doesn’t truly match your passion. I have endorsed you! I give you a go-ahead.

There is a new lease of life in Greg. He is glad and shows appreciation.

Greg: I appreciate your response.

Harp: You’re welcome….What are friends for, if not sharing and attempting to solve problems related to each other?

Greg: You’re right, Harp.

Harp: But what happens to what you assured my dad of—- working for his energy company stuff?

Greg: Hmm…well,you know, I had to paint a picture of something would happen in future as soon as I graduate. But, in actuality, I have nothing on ground. Worse still, I really can’t practically go about it, let alone bringing in a crop of helping hands. If I truly decided to work on it now, the project would be a disaster and your dad, may consequently question my competence later in future. I know I lied on you and your family. But remember, just as I earlier said, it’s been a product of my hidden secret…trying to work-over, manipulate…what I really didn’t like in the first place. I’m sorry, Harp.

Harp (not angry at all): Well, it happens! I liked you’re the way your truthfully painted your pseudo vision that was so real that my dad and mom bought into it!

Greg (laughs): Don’t be funny, friend!

Harp (insists): You told a beautiful truthful lie! I really admired the way you lied. You also lied to me without my knowing and having to suspect anything sinister. I admired the way you truthfully lied to us

Harp uses his right hand to direct a ‘thumbs-up sign’ at Greg. Greg laughs briefly, shaking his head

Greg: I have apologized to you. Should I repeat my apology again?

Harp: No!!! Just that I like your very-constructed truthful lies!

Greg: Anything else you would like to ask?

Harp tasks his brain to see if there are further questions. He places the palm of his hand to his fore-head as he’s left hand is resting on his desk. In less than twenty seconds, the questions starts to flood in his brain.

Harp: How do intend informing your parents about this?

Greg: I have them all planned out. Never mind. I have this strong feeling and my heart confirms it that this decision will pay off in no distant future.

Harp: Hmmm…I trust you! In fact, I believe you, even if it has started manifesting yet.

Greg: That’s the spirit! When the success comes along, you will be a part of those people that would celebrate with me. That, I assure of.

Harp: I can’t really wait for this aspiration to see the light of day!

Greg: Any other question OR QUESTIONS?

Harp: There is. No, they are

Greg: Shoot me with all the questions you have!

Harp: How do you inform the department and the entire College of Engineering body of this university about this decision of us? Remember, you’re a key figure in this department and I don’t think it would be an easy task for them to let you go just like that…Also remember that the next person following you as the best student based on Grade point scores is me. And the gap is more than obvious!

Greg: Harp, you’re right. The only reason you’re right…matter of fact, the ONLY thing I can pick from what you said is how they would feel about my decision to leave the college and school and the how uneasy it would be  for them to let me go.  Yes, I understand. But they have to understand as well that I need to NOW live my life, not that of others. If they have my interest at heart, they’d have no choice but let me go!

Harp: Just a question…Don’t you think you can make this ‘new venture’ a hobby? Then, when you’re done with studies, you can now focus full time on it. Just a thought…Don’t forget, we have just two more academic sessions left.

Greg is touched by the statement. He keeps mute for over thirty seconds. Harp notices.

Harp: You’re not responding. Is it because of the question I asked?

Greg (responds in confidence): I was touched by the statement you just made but I have to assert that no matter how long you have travelled along a bad road, retracing your footsteps and starting afresh is not a bad idea. Harp, if I complete my studies and get employed in, say, a reputable company, like Perth Engineering Works, when DO YOU think I would have the time for myself, let alone writing? We are living in a getting-busier-by-the day world. For me, there is a need for me to rightly define my priorities based on my passion for writing. The work world is demanding. So is writing. There is no balancing the two. One would have to focus on either being a practicing engineer or being an author. Years ago, it would be possible because the work world wasn’t as stress-filled as our today’s. I have chosen to pursue a career in writing, not engineering! As for bringing to the notice of the department and the college, I will visit my course DR Tim Yale after our discussion. We’ll take it from there, I believe. I will let you know the outcome. Will call you over the phone. But I will take part in the first semester examination before I end it, though abruptly, to my academic pursuit at the University of Perth.

Harp (feeling the absence of Greg): No problem. I wish you all the very best in this your new pursuit. When I’m done with studies, I will be controlling my mom’s and dad’s businesses. So, that’s what I even came to school for in the first place.

Greg: My dad is an automobile engineer, though not a practicing one at present. My mom, is an accountant at the Perth Ministry of Internal Revenue. You see, I have to work to raise up the bar for me, then my family. You have a strong foundation already. What should be your concern is to build on what your parents have established.

Harp: Why is your dad not practicing? What is he doing now?

Greg:  I have this faint idea he was really never satisfied with what he was doing but to fend for the family he is into sales of car parts.

Harp: Let me have your address so that I will pay you a surprise visit someday

Greg scribbles the address with the use of his ball-point pen on a piece of paper, torn from his note book.

Greg: Have it…That’s the address.

Harp (takes a look at it): Hmmm…You have a good handwriting, despite how scribbled it is.

Greg: Thanks bro. Like I said, I will call you to let you know how it went. Whenever you come to my place, I will be more than ready to play you host

Harp: I trust you. Your decision wouldn’t come from the movies you’re watching when you’re at home or in the hostel. But I do not have a TV in my home, your saw that, but my idea looks like one from the movies. What a contradiction!

Greg:  Such is life, Harp. I saw there was no TV when I got to your house. Why?

Harp: My dad don’t like TV! But I will buy after the end of the semester. Of course, when I get home! Money is not the problem. I have it and I will spend it!

Greg: All well and good! Let me ask around for Dr Tim’s office. Will catch you with you later! See you!

Harp: Okay!

Greg leaves the lecture room. He later takes off and returns to the hostel and lives three hostels away from Greg.

Greg climbs the first staircase of the three-storey building and sees that Dr Tim Yale’s office is the first office to his right. It is written on the white door: ‘Dr Tim Yale (Lecturer, Adviser,and Consultant)’.Greg knows there is no need for asking. There is also a small-sized banner, reading ‘On Seat’. Greg understands Dr Tim is in the office. He knocks three times at the door.

Dr Tim (answers in his usual baritone force): Yes, who is knocking on my office door?

Greg: It’s me Greg

Dr Tim (Wants to know the Greg in question): Who is this Greg? Is it Greg of 200 level, the student with the highest Cumulative Grade Point?

Greg: Yes

Dr Tim: Oh! Sorry, come in.

Greg opens the door and steps in. He takes a look at all manner of engineering drawings, ranging from 2-D to 3-D drawings of cars, refrigerators, airplanes and the alternate power-generating plant, the commonly most used one in Perth, The Generator hanging on the walls of his office. He admires the Super Highway placed on the front of his large table: he’s less-concerned about the books on his shelf. With just a louver, Dr Tim supports air ventilation with a small air-conditioner, obviously seen just at the top of left part of the window. There are three office chairs—his personal chair, an opposite chair for any visitor and the long chair, few steps away from the door, being used to keep in waiting other visitors. Dr Tim calls the attention of the eighteen-year-plus-old

Dr Tim: I guess this is your first time here, right?

Greg: Yes

Dr Tim (points his left hand to chair opposite): Make yourself comfortable

Greg sit on the office chair. His notebook is resting on his lap as he looks at his face.

Dr Tim: What can I do for our best student today?

Greg: Well, sir, I have something important to inform you about

Dr Tim: What’s it? I’m listening…

Greg: Dr Tim, I want to be candid with you. I am sick and tired of this course. I want to call it quits!

Dr Tim gives Greg a deaf ear but for the reason of confirmation, decides to ask again

Dr Tim: What’s it? I’m listening…

Greg (unremorseful. Repeats clearly his statement): Dr Tim, I want to be candid with you. I am sick and tired of this course. I want to call it quits!

Dr Tim (wondering): Are you okay, Greg?

Greg: Sir, I’m hale and hearty. And I am in the right frame of mind

Dr Tim: I see. Let me remind you that you are the brightest student in this department. You’ve excelled in all courses you’ve participated in. Your grade point is at first class. You’re known and a success as a student. Why opting out?

Greg: For over six years, I’ve been playing to the gallery. I have earned the praises of people—family, friends and lecturers—name them. Yet, my life-long dream has been buried in my trying to impress everyone with my excellent grades I’ve been making in school. I think it’s time I rose tall and make that decision to pursue what I’ve secretly buried.

Dr Tim can’t believe what Greg has said. He lifts up from his chair, wears his goggle glass and places his fist on the fine wooden table and stares at him strangely

Dr Tim: Do you really mean what you just said?

Greg: Yes

Dr Tim: Anything else to say?

Greg: Yes

Dr Tim (takes his sit to listen to Greg): Continue

Greg: This challenge started when I was in high school. I was a very passionate lover of writing. I ate, slept and woke up with writing. Writing has been a part of my life. However, I was taking away by what was trending: ‘Been an engineer in the future’. Rather than identify myself with the Arts, I plunged into the sciences. Yes, I was good theoretically in all of the science subjects I took part in, I was a zero when it came to attention to details, especially the practical aspects. I still wonder how I scaled through in the science practical subjects! But because I wanted to be among the would-be engineers, I concealed my writing dream. While I was busy impressing people with my grades, I was held up continually in lack of being fulfilled. The same ‘spirit’ I have taken to this university. I realized if I continue in this light, I will, for the rest of my life, be living in regret.

Dr Tim (nods his head in agreement and takes off his glasses as he takes his seat): Are your parents aware of this?

Greg: No

Dr Tim: Why?

Greg: They are thinking present course of study is my fulfilment. I wouldn’t blame them for anything. It’s my fault. They actually did asked, when I was about getting to my first year at senior high, if I wanted to go into the arts, sciences or commerce-related areas. But I chose without being questioned science. They’ve been supporting me ever since. And for the fact that I came out with excellent results, they thought (and are still thinking, considering my present result) that this is where my passion lies. However, I will let them know about this.

Dr Tim (convinced): You speak as though you know what you want. But let me ask what kind of a writer have you been looking to be?

Greg (chuckles): I am what is termed a G.A.N.G.S.T.A.R writer. It’s an acrostic that stands for Generally Appreciating Notable Genres (by) Stating Their Applicable Relevance. I do fiction and non-fiction—works elated to Sci-fi, short stories, juvenile, thriller, western/urban, romance, education, business, sexuality, marriage and many other interests.

Dr Tim (claps his hands): Wow! Bravo! I never knew there has been a writer in our department. I really like the way your coin the team GANGSTAR. You’re indeed unique and sound very well as someone who knows what he wants

Greg (feels relaxed): Thanks sir

Dr Tim: Don’t you think you need to take writing as your hobby? You know, you only have two academic sessions left.

Greg says to himself: ‘’not again! Harp just mention this a while ago. Now I have to repeat it again!’’. He places his hands on his notebook.

Greg: Sir, writing and my current course both demand my time, energy, efforts and other resources. One would have to go for the other. If I were to make writing my hobby, the passion, the energy would automatically be flown to my writing than my course of study. This is obvious because my attention yearns for it and it yearns for my attention! Consequently, my academic performances would be affected and of course, that will see my grade point drop. I, for one, would like it for I am committed to a cause at a time. And I see writing as one goal I should strive at achieving. Even if I end up finishing the course, when will I have the time for my writing? The world is getting busier and everyone would have to in order to keep meeting up. Therefore, it was what you have built, that is, your choice venture, that you would passionately pursue and pursue to the end in gladness. I have also realized that money doesn’t bring the fulfilment one craves for: it is the passion in what one does that brings about it

Dr Tim: You’re more than convincing! I see crystal clear you want to be the author you’ve always wanted.  Let me ask you a question: how long would you think your success as an author would manifest?

Greg: As long as it takes. However, with my level of intelligence, character, patience and endurance, I don’t it would take so long a time. That I know of

Dr Tim (nods his head): Hmmm…I see. Have you written them? I mean the fiction and non-fiction manuscripts…

Greg: You see, I have them written as notes in various notebooks. But I will take my time, re-write them and make them book-ready.

Dr Tim: How would your parents feel about this decision of yours?

Greg (answers with no hesitation): If I were in their shoes, I’d feel disappointed. Being the fact that I have spent on my kid to read a certain course. Yet, he or she turns out to do something else. Nevertheless, if I really claim to have his or her interest at heart, I would proffer support and encouragement to him or her on his or her rather new pursuit

Dr Tim (impressed): I salute your wisdom. You way you answered the question shows how very-bright your future is. Your consideration and the way you painted your stance are really, really impressive.

Dr Tim decides to let out the cat out of the bag. He discloses to Greg what the college intends to do for him, a month before the semester to see if he can change his mind…

Dr Tim (dusts off his shoulders): Greg, you know there is nothing hidden under the sun. You know?

Greg: Yes

Dr Tim: Good! We, at the College of Engineering, have decided to arrange something for you. It’s really befitting!

Greg (eager): What’s it, Dr Tim?

Dr Tim (smiles): We intend placing you on a two-year scholarship!

Greg (indifferent): It’s a good thing sir

Dr Tim realizes Greg is not move by what is being said.

Dr Tim (takes off his goggle glass and stretches his face a little closer to Greg):  Do you know what that scholarship is worth?

Greg: How much?

Dr Tim: It’s about 200,000 Talars. That’s a great amount of money, you know and not an easy one to come by. The college has recognized your excellence and considered it worthy to offer you this scholarship. Maybe you should consider again your decision and receive this offer in style…

Greg bows to the table with his face on it, thinking for close to half a minute. Dr Tim is waiting for his response

Greg: I agree that this is a bumper offer that many students would crave to have and it’s coming to me on a platter of gold. I want to say, however, that I have made my choice to follow my dream to the letter.

Dr Tim has all his arsenal of questions nullify by the artillery of answers Greg possess. He has no choice other than to submit to Greg.

Dr Tim: I must confess you have beaten me to my game. You had more than clearly obvious answers to defeat my questions. Therefore, congratulations to this new writing venture of yours!

Greg (shakes his right hand with Dr Tim’s): Thank You sir!

Dr Tim: I would like to make you an offer if interested but on two conditions…

Greg (curious): What’s the offer, sir and what’s that condition

Dr Tim: Good. I have a cordial relationship with the Head of this department and the president of the college who is the cousin of the Vice Chancellor of this university

Greg: Oh!

Dr Tim: Ye…S. The scholarship, like I mentioned is 20,000Talars. Rather than seeing it lie in waste, I was thinking of writing you a cheque of that amount as our contribution to your success to being the writer you’ve always desired to become.

Greg (excited): Great!

Dr Tim: This has always been my working principle in life: whenever, I identify a potential success going about his or her endeavour or has chosen to painstakingly pursue a new venture to the end, I try as much as possible to assist such person—be it—-money-wise, morally and emotionally. As in your case, you have chosen to delve into what you have longed to be and with all that you’ve answered me with, coupled with your character, it won’t be out of place to write you this cheque.

Greg (grants consent willingly): You can go ahead! Your supportiveness, sir, will be remembered.

Dr Tim: How do you intend spending the money when it gets to you?

Greg (adjusts his neck sideways): First, I will ensure that I get a Super Highway along with a compatible Personal System, all of quality. Second, I will buy some writing and editing tools that I will use on paper and on the system. Third, I will also the money, where necessary, to transport myself from place to place—to writing conferences, exhibitions and other literary activities—within and outside my locality.

Dr Tim (impressed): That’s fantastic! Where do you live?

Greg: I live in mainland Perth

Dr Tim (exclaims in surprise): Wow! What a small world! I live in the staff quarters of this university…Though the distance separates them, but it’s still within reach!

Greg: Yes

Dr Tim: Now, here comes the two conditions: I can work this out if you are willing to agree to the following:

That you MUST write the first semester exam and come out with a Grade point of at least 4.50

That you MUST sign on the Letter of Release before the cheque be approved.

Very simple conditions, if you ask me…

Greg (answers immediately): I’m okay with them!

Dr Tim: Welcome on board! I will discuss with the Head of Department, the president of this college who would then bring it to the attention of the Vice chancellor. The Head of Department, or the HOD, is one person I’ve worked closely with for almost a decade in this university. He’s one guy that believes in dreams and their pursuits. The same as the president. I don’t think there would be any opposition at all. The vice chancellor is not only considerate but a good listener. However, Greg, you are about to make history as the first student in this university to call it quits over a course you’ve registered a first-class grade point!

Greg (surprised a bit): Oh I see

Dr Tim (Continues): I will call for a meeting with the HOD and the president, who would then bring to the attention of the Vice Chancellor your situation. I will discuss at length with them about it. Like ‘’rubbing’’ minds, we’ll come to an agreement and more important, you will have that cheque! Afterwards, we will prepare the letter of your release on your behalf. Ordinarily, this would be your responsibility. But because of your excellence and character you’ve shown in the two academic sessions so far, we, at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the College of Engineering will undertake the task. Your ONLY participation would be penning your signature on it, asserting your confirmation and consenting—a green light, if you like. Of course, each and every one of us would pen our signature. Then, we’ll eachhave, at least, a copy of it for reference. This would be done two days after your last paper of this first semester exam. We would have drafted the letter before then.

Greg: Thanks

Dr Tim (assures): You can count on me.

Greg: I know

Dr Tim: You’re very intelligent, Greg. Your wisdom is way ahead of your age. You’re barely twenty years or are you?

Greg: Eighteen years and three months old sir

Dr Tim: I know. But you’re operating with the wisdom almost my age! This is sincerity! I MUST be frank with you, Greg! You will be missed by all and sundry! As a matter of fact, your success and popularity would be felt. The person following is nowhere near you at all! But that’s life for you! You’ve chosen a new path, a new venture, a new thing you’re passionate about. Life has to continue. I will never, ever stop you from achieving your goal

Greg: I appreciate your thoughts, sir

Hetakes a look at his simple silver-coated wrist watch and realizes it is time to leave the office.

Dr Tim: Greg, I was invited as one of the guest speakers at the 7th Inaugural lecture, with its theme: Engineering and The Society: The Technology For Our Generation. It is scheduled to take place in the next forty minutes at the Perth Institute of Science and Technology. It’s quite a distance, even when I use my car! So, I have to go! But before I take my leave, I would like to let you know that you’ve are the only student who have successfully taken down my defence of a tough nut to crack lecturer and exposing as the very soft side of me… I don’t give in to situations involving students easily, let alone something as enormous as yours. All I would say is: ‘Check back later’. But you came into my office, when I was in the right frame of mind… only to steal take the attention of my heart to you on a platter of gold!You’re genius Greg! Wished I had the time to speak with you at length…Time is no man’s friend. So, I have to run! It’s nice taking to you.

Dr Tim powers off his Super Highway Personal System (SHPS). He gets off his seat, as does Greg, who takes along his notebook by his left hand, shakes his hand but takes the lead. Dr Tim gets to the door, carrying a white bag, specifically designed to contain the SHPS, and in a gentlemanly way, ushers Greg out of the office. He leaves the office in a haste without saying a word to Greg. But he thinks it wise to say something

Greg: Have a great day ahead!

Dr Tim: Yea, you too. Talk soon!

Dr Tim mounts the staircase down as Greg watches him leave the building to the college’s parking lot. He changes his attention and takes a look at the office in excitement

Greg: Wow! I’m the happiest man on earth! Everything is set. All I need do is to do my usual….get my usual grade this semester. Then, I will have my release letter, with the cheque included!  What a bumper package! It won’t take me stretching more muscles of rationale to convince my parents and bringing them to full submission.

Greg jumps repeatedly but with his notebook stuck to his armpit. But he recognizes something is yet to be attended to. Greg stops jumping, keeps the notebook on the floor and etching his head to figure it out

Greg: Hmmm….I really don’t know what it is, but it’s something I have to do….Hmmm….

It takes Greg fifteen seconds to figure it out

Greg: Yea, Harp. I need call him now

Greg reaches out to his phone in his pouch. He calls out Harp’s number to reach out. It rings the first time but Harp does not return the call. He tries it the second time, then the third

Greg (Upset): Pick up your call, Harp.

Harp finally picks up.

Harp [Phone Mode] Hello Greg! How did it go?

Greg: Man, it went down well!

Harp [Phone Mode. Sounds happy]: Congratulations then

Greg: My pleasure!

Harp [Phone Mode]: So, what’s next after this?

Greg: Will let you know later

Harp [Phone Mode]: Alright man, I trust you always

Greg: Will see you later

Harp [Phone Mode]: All the Best in this new endeavour of yours. All is in advance, Greg!

Greg: Thanks

Greg hangs up the phone and takes his time to mount the staircase and out of the building. He waited for a short time.

Greg: Harp had better not know about the cheque stuff. That I will disclose to him much later.

He takes a walk to his hostel, not far from the university’s entrance gate.

 

 

Greg is done with the first semester examination. He checks in on Dr Tim at his office. Greg sees his result in advance: He’s grade point soared to 4.61. The HOD makes it possible for the young man to see it because of the advanced digital super high way systems introduced to the college. The letter of release and cheque are issued to Greg to pen is signature. Having seen that of the HOD, the college president and the Vice Chancellor, Greg pens his, knowing well they are all aware and in support of his decision. Dr Tim makes four other copies of the letter—one for himself, the other for the HOD, the president and the Vice Chancellor. No copy is made for the cheque. He provides a white full-postage stamped envelope from his locker and hands it to Greg

Dr Tim: Seal it. I want you to see for yourself simplicity and transparency. I had to make things a lot easier for you. This,ordinarily would take longer than necessary…It’s best you cash it within two weeks from today. Though it’s coming from the school’s purse, it will be advisable to do so in order to avoid any form of delay.

Greg: Thanks. And I will as you’ve said, Dr Tim.

Greg seals the letter and properly places the cheque in the envelope. Dr Tim is impressed

Dr Tim: I like the way you did it. You can convince your parents with this easily!

Greg (nods): Sure

Dr Tim: Hard to say but had to be said, all the best in your newly found task…

Greg is humbled by Dr Tim’s words

Greg (shakes his head): I wished I could stay any longer. But I have to find my journey…And that I have found. So, let me move in it…

Dr Tim: I agree. All the very best! I told you my word is my bond. I explained in detail to them and they were all impressed.

Greg: Thanks.

Greg leaves his office and gets to where his hostel to pack this belongings to head home.