We’ll include a bit of this piece each month until we showcase the entire play.
The Success Story
by playwright Chimezie Ihekuna
Greg has just finished writing his last examination to mark the end of second semester of his first year at the University of Perth. Having excelled in his first semester with an average grade point of 4.4, he looks forward to a better academic session. At school, Greg is the cynosure of all eyes. He is the point of academic reference by his lecturers and priceless by his colleagues at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is the overall best student all through the first-year level at the College of Engineering.
There is a two-month break period to be spent before the next academic session begins. Greg is revered by his parents, Mr and Mrs Smith. They are the happiest parents on earth! His academic excellence is an inspiration to his younger siblings, Jane and Andrew, both seeking admission, hopefully into the same university.
Despite his success and popularity, however, Greg feels really concerned about his future…
At Home…Greg’s Residence
Greg is intending to spendthe holiday with his family; to be with his two younger siblings, whom he hasn’t seen for over a month, and his parents…Greg arrives home after a 6-hour journey from school. He is being welcomed by Jane who can’t help but to express her happiness seeing her big brother return home in good health.
Jane (seventeen-year-old High school graduate, fair-complexioned, slim-looking and outspoken, hugs Greg): Welcome back home! You’re looking very good!
Greg (looks stressed but expresses his happiness.): Thanks Jane. You’re looking prettier! As they say, ‘The Young shall grow’
Jane (Smiles): It’s in the blood…Wise man indeed!
Greg realizes Jane is the only person that got to the door of the apartment to receive him after pressing the Door’s Bell.
Greg (Feels concerned): Are you the only one in the house? Where are the rest?
Jane (chuckles): Relax, big bro. You’ll know. You just coming back from school…
Greg moves in the Living Room, with his bag resting on his right shoulder. Jane takes it off him to his room and briefly arranges it properly. Sited on the largest sofa of the Living Room, his eyes are glued to the changed orientation. The changed louvers, paintings, Center Table with an aesthetic Monumental Cup on it, new pictures of her mom, dad, and his siblings, electronic gadgets, especially the 32-inch TV and the latest digital decoder, among many other things, are looking like wonders to him.
Greg (talks to himself gently as his pair of eyes gazes at what is making him wonder and Jane is about tidying up his room): Wow! It’s been a while! I remember before leaving for school, the louvers everything used, maybe the change of painting…from blue to white, have all been obsolete. Look at the pictures, except for mine, Jane, Andrew, Mom and Dad, all have their pictures all changed. I will do the same! Happy to be home at this time!
Greg takes a look at his wrist watch and notices that Jane is yet to show up. So, he calls her attention
Greg (shouts her name): Jane!!!
Jane (replies audibly): I will be with you in a jiffy!
Jane rushes down to the sitting room to sit very near her brother. She has to run to meet up because of how somewhat distant Greg’s room is from the Sitting Room
Greg (calls her attention to his question again): Jane, you haven’t answered me. Where are they?
Jane: Relax big brother. They’re all good where they are. First, how has YOUR UNIVERSITY treated you in the past few months?
Greg (answers loosely): Well, it’s been the good, the bad and the ugly. School is…you, know, what you make of it!
Jane: I’m sure you wooed those campus girls, right? Don’t tell me you didn’t
Greg (laughs): You funny, little sister! What makes you think so? I concentrated more on my studies. Remember, I have to come out with good results
Jane: The genius of the house!!! I am proud of you. So…
Greg (cuts in): Where is Andrew? Where are mom and dad? You’ve not answered those questions. I did answer yours. Please answer mine!
Jane stares at him in the face with a mild contempt. She suddenly assume a smiling facial look within a split second!
Jane: Andrew should be at his friend’s place. That should be the next house. Mom and dad went for an occasion. They told us they’ll be back in the next two hours. You didn’t inform me, neither did you inform Andrew of your coming. It’s more likely you didn’t inform mom and dad
Greg (apologizes): I’m sorry I wasn’t able to inform you before time. Reason being that I’d earlier planned to spend the holiday with Harp, a close friend of mine and colleague at school. He had told his parents about me and they really wanted to know who the genius their son has as a friend. But I chose to come spend it here! Nothing like family! But I will sure pay him a visit during the holiday
Jane (inspired): What a remarkable statement. You’ve really made my day… First things first family, then other things come secondary.
Greg stresses the need to see Andrew. Jane is about turning on the TV but Greg calls her attention…
Greg: Can you call Andrew for me?
Jane drops the remote control for switching on the TV to get her phone on the center table. Greg looks on
Jane: Sure. Let me call his number 1234900
The phone rings…Jane places the call on her phone’s Loudspeaker for Greg to hear. It rigs five times before the call is being returned. There are voices at the background of the call as the recipient replies…
Recipient: Hello, who is this?
Jane: It’s me Jane, Andrew’s sister. Is Andrew around?
Recipient: Yes. Hang on there. Let me take the phone to him
The background voices of young guys communicating with each other. Greg and Jane both hear the recipient yell at Andrew’s name, telling him his sister is on the call and wants to speak with him
Background Voices of six guys communicating with each other incoherently. Voices as ‘’I won… you…out’’, ‘’I am on the lead…’’, ‘’my fatality’’, ‘’Finish him’’, ‘’you can’t beat….it’’ are heard
Recipient (shouts his name and presents Andrew’s phone to him): Andrew!!! Your sister is on the call. Take the phone. I was busy with my games when your phone rang. Next time, always be with your phone all the time.
Andrew hurriedly takes the phone, leaves the place, goes to the backyard, a quiet part of the building, to avoid the noise, and places it on his left ear to continue the call
Andrew (pants a bit): Yea, Jane. What’s up?
Jane: Do you know you’re very, very funny. If not for one of your friends who picked up the call and told you, you wouldn’t have returned my call, right?
Andrew: Sis, is not what you think…I was just chilling with my friends…playing combat games and some sports at the front yard. I was playing football when James, the guy that picked up your call, yelled my name and when I rushed in, he passed the phone to me. Anything the matter?
Jane (speaks in delight): Guess who’s in the house?
Andrew: You know I’m not good at guessing…Tell who is…
Jane: It’s Greg!
Andrew: Wow! Do you mean he’s in the house now?
Andrew: I’m on my way
They can hear vibrations of Andrew checking out of the building. What’s more, they hear Andrew say to his fellow team players: ‘’I’ll be back soon. Catch y’all later!’’ Though Greg is happy hearing his kid brother’s voice, his muteness is observed all through the conversation.
Five minutes later, Andrew steps in the house and meets Jane and Greg sited close to each other. He can’t help but express his excitement! Andrew advances to shake hands with Greg…
Andrew (greets in style, shaking his hands informally): Longest time, big brother! It’s been a long while! How’s school?
Greg is amazed at his height increase. He stands up to measure, to see if he’s still taller than Andrew. He realizes they are both at the same height. Jane shakes her head chuckling…
Greg (still standing, wondering how Andrew’s size became almost the same as his):Well, school has been good. It’s where you are faced with challenges but given the opportunities to overcome them. I must comment you’ve really grown as tall as I am. Six feet in height at just fifteen! That’s pretty amazing!
Andrew: Big brother, it’s one of those things. You’ve always told us—Jane and I—that ‘The Young Shall grow’. We’re still growing and I think, so are you!
Greg: Next genius on the way! Andrew would be the next me on the line!
Jane (disagrees): How can it be? Andrew’s genius can’t be compared to my big brother’s
Andrew (cautions): Watch what you say, Jane. Impossibility only takes place in the dictionary of fools! Greg had told me I’ll be the next genius of the house. It’s now left for me to work it out
Jane (laughs): It’s easier said than done. Andrew, how familiar are you with your books? My brother, ‘action’, they say, ‘speaks more than words’. Greg, your big brother, is a known genius at the University of Perth because he takes his time dealing with his books. How about you, Andrew?
Andrew: Time will tell…
Greg, comfortably sited, hearing Jane and Andrew exchange words, decides to put to an end the activity
Greg: Guys, stop the show. We all know we’re all geniuses in our various areas of interests. We can be better if we made that area our passion by devotion. Jane, go get the remote control, switch on the TV and let’s relax by watching the movie, ‘The Last Three’
Jane: Wow! How do you know we the movie is for 2:00PM? This is about 1:56PM by my wrist watch.
Greg: I also watch this in school. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
Jane: Hmmm…You’re amazing
Andrew: its one great movie I have been craving to watch. It’s just that I’m forgetful
Jane (cuts in): When there are loads of video games to play…
Andrew says not a word to Jane, but shakes his head as he sits on the same Sofa looking at Jane turn on the TV set and locate the channel 55, the station showing the movie. Jane returns to the sofa, sitting in the middle of both Andrew (to the left) and Greg (to the right). It will take three minutes before the movie would start. Greg wants to confirm the correctness of what Jane has told him earlier. So, he throws the open question…
Greg: When is dad and mom coming back from the occasion they went to?
Andrew (surprised): How did you know, Greg?
Greg: The wall has ears, you know
Jane: I told him
Andrew: I thought as much…No smoke without fire!
Jane: Any of your business?
Andrew: Greg, they will be back in the next two hours. At least, what they told us
Jane: I’ve told you before! Why ask again?
Jane: Yes, Jane what?
Greg (halts the seeming rift): Ok guys, the movie is about to start…
Calmness returns suddenly. They are all glued to the TV as the movie is about starting…and are willing not to move away from being spell-bound for the next one hour, thirty minutes, the movie’s time duration.
Greg (speaks in less than 20 seconds as his eyes are glued to the TV): We can use this to wait for them.
Greg’s words hit the deaf ears of Andrew and Jane because their attention is in the movie. They can’t afford to have their attention taken away for a split second!
The movie ends on a happy note. The trio of Greg, Andrew and Jane realizes the ringing of the Door Bell. Though it is the responsibility of Andrew to find out who is at the door, Greg’s instruction was more propelling as Sandra stares at who is pressing the bell…
Greg (instructs Andrew): To get the door…Maybe it’s mom and dad
Jane: Maybe. But it’s not up to two hours… There is still fifteen minutes left
Immediately after her response, Andrew takes his stand from the sofa to get at the door. As he opens it, the duo of Mr and Mrs Smith are at the door, first appearing upset, but happiness shines on their faces when they see their first son in the house
Mr. Smith (expresses his surprise at first, but feels happy): Greg! How are you doing?
Greg leaves the sofa and hugs his dad. He does the same to his mom, who just have to look at her son from the crown of his head, all the way down to his feet. Her joy knows no bound.
Mr and Mrs Smith take to their favourite seats, adjacent the Master Sofa on which Andrew, Jane and Greg are sitting on.
Mrs Smith (beautiful, slow-talking and slightly plump): Greg, when did you come back?
Greg: I came back about two hours ago or thereabout.
Mrs Smith sees her son still has his white sneaker shoes on but calls the audience of Andrew and Jane who are gazing at them. The outspoken Mr. Smith is yet to identify what his lovely wife, married for twenty years, has spotted…
Mrs Smith: Andrew and Jane, you guys are very funny!
Andrew (expresses shock): Why mom?
Jane (in disbelief): Why say that, mom?
Mrs Smith (Arouses their curiosity): And you said you love your big brother…
Her last statement is turning her husband from a passive listener to an active one. Greg eyes sticks out. Andrew and Jane are more concerned
Andrew: Tell us what we’ve done wrong
Jane: Tell us, mom
Mrs Smith knows everyone’s attention has been drawn to her. She decides to do the unveiling…
Mrs Smith: Andrew, Jane, you know quite well your big brother has arrived. Why not make him relax in comfort by reminding him to take of his sneaker shoes?
There is a sudden relief in the atmosphere. Mr Smith smiles, shaking his head. Greg looks at his shoes and his mom, nodding his head while Andrew and Jane sighed.
Andrew: I thought it was something serious…But you’re a very good observer!
Jane (demonstrates): You carried my heart to my face!
Greg (laughs): I forgot to remove it. Was busy answering some Jane’s questions while waiting for Andrew to come around…
Mr Smith (interrupts. Asks Andrew): Where were you?
Andrew: I was at my friends place, playing football. But Jane called me on phone. When she told me Greg is back, I hurried home. I’ve been in the house ever since.
Jane: Andrew…You’re funny. I called you, quite alright. But you weren’t available to pick up your call. If not for someone who picked it up and SCREAMED your name, Goodness knows if you’d still be here
Andrew (shakes his head at first, then replies): Jane, what’s important is that I made it home. Period!
Mr. Smith, placing his hands on his chin, as he listen to Andrew and Jane trade words, raises his hands up to signal decorum. Mrs.Smith stares lovingly at the bulging eyes of her husband.
Mr Smith (clears his throat): My children, I have heard you talk. I think it’s time for the head of the house to stamp his words of counsel. First and foremost, welcome back from school, Greg, even though you didn’t tell us of your coming. I’d say…
Greg (cuts in): I’m sorry dad for cutting you short. I agreed to spend the holiday with Harp, my close friend and colleague. We had earlier agreed to spend it with his family. Harp told me he’s talked to his parents about me….shared my academic exploits and disclosed to them my popularity and success at the College of Engineering. I changed my mind, however, realizing, family comes first than anything else. Nonetheless, I intend seeing him during the course of the holiday.
Andrew is inspired by Greg’s words, as is Jane and Mrs Smith who is nodding her head in agreement. Jane parts her big brother on the back, sitting closer to him than Andrew on the Master Sofa.
Mr. Smith (not offended by his interruption): Your reason is clear and you’re free from my trap of blame. Continuing from what I said before being interrupted, not offended at all, I’d like to say that it gladdens my heart to see my children again together, hale and hearty. Greg, as your parents and as the first born of the Smith family, we, as your parents, together with your siblings, will ensure that your stay in the house would be worthwhile. We know we can always bank on you, anytime! You’re our future asset. The future of this family rests on your shoulders. Your character tells me that I won’t be wrong at all! My concern, and I want them to follow your footstep, are your siblings, Andre and Jane.
Andrew, my youngest son, I know you have been exhibiting some levels of exuberance. I know it’s normal especially when puberty becomes more pronounced. But when not monitored, it would make such juvenile go haywire for life! Andrew, you will be fourteen, July, right?
Andrew (answers): Yes dad
Mr Smith (Continues): Good. At times, your mom would report you of your not helping her with household chores and not listening to what she has to say. But I have always told you that though a woman’s advice may seem ‘’little’’ on the surface, but, if you don’t take it, you’re a fool. Such advice brings that change you desire. I’m proud as your father to have a woman, my wife, your mother, who stood by me through thick and thin. She was there through the good, the bad and ugly times. No wonder we’ve been married for the past twenty years. In all, follow your big brother’s character. He’s not only intelligent, but he has good values. Don’t be taken away by the schemes of youthful exuberance.
He turns his face and embraces his tear-shedding wife passionately. Andrew, Jane and Greg are smiling in joy seeing how true love is displayed.Mr. Smith is done with Andrew. He then looks in the eyes of Jane to dish out his words of counsel.
Mr Smith: Jane, you’re like your mother. ‘’A chip off the old block’’ they say. Keep up following her footsteps. She is a role model, a rare gem, a woman of substance and an amazon in her own right.
He relaxes on the couch and takes a deep breath. His wife continues the discussion on a friendly note…
Mrs Smith (directs the discussion to Greg): I hope the University of Perth has been able to pass through you and you were able to pass through the university.
Greg (confused): What do you mean mom?
Mrs Smith (Laughs very thinly): Growing up, my grand-mother once told me: ‘’what an elderly man sees when sitting down, a child can’t see it, even when he’s at the very top of the Mahogany tree’’. Greg, what I meant was I hope you were able to appreciate the other side of the world and by virtue of what you can offer contribute meaningfully to it. I know you’re genius, a success, and should I say…a celebrity. Any other extra-curricular activities?
Greg: Now, I see. No one is above learning, even geniuses. Mom, I’ve been working on engaging myself in some activities like business networking and being a media person for my department, like a journalist.
Greg’s response is not satisfactory enough. His mother has it all written all over her face.
Mrs Smith (drives home her point precisely): How do you cope with other women? I know they are admirers; those who’d like to have fun with you, be with you to showcase you as their boyfriend and though, very rarely, intends loving you for YOU, not your success and popularity…
Greg is stunned. Mr. Smith is surprised at the kind of words ushering out of her mouth. Jane and Andrew are itching to hear what Greg has to say.
Greg: Well, you know mom…I’m…you know
Mrs Smith (tries to pull his legs): Oh you don’t want to disclose to me, right? That’s good, my son! What’s hidden under the sun, Greg? Time will tell!
Mr Smith (sits uprightly to react): My dear, do you realize Jane and Andrew are here? They are minors!
Mrs Smith: Do you call your children minors? You think they’re not aware of the tricks you knew that made you catch my attention to loving you?
Mr Smith (answers with no hesitation): So, you’re teaching my children what adults should know! This ought to be a private discussion between us—-Greg, you and I—-excluding them.
Mrs Smith (looks sternly at his eyes): Look, these children, unlike us, in our day, are far advanced in thinking. They are surrounded by and with vast array of information at their disposal. They know what we, their parents, know. So, we ought to be wise handling them. Co-operate with them and wisely guide them to do what they want to do…FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE TO REIGN IN THE HOME.
Mr. Smith (takes a deep breath again and nods his head): My dear lovely wife, you’re right. It would be unwise of me to start trading words with you in the presence of our GROWN CHILDREN. You see, my children, always learn to respect each other’s opinion, even though your ideologies don’t concur. But your mom is right. She has drove home her point with sagacity and I can tell you, from experience, pardon my earlier reaction, this has to be the case for peace to reign in the home. No wonder it is said: ‘’Educate a man, you only educated one person, educate a woman, you educated a nation!’’ I’m the luckiest man on earth to have such a help-meet, a good wife!
Jane (agrees): Dad, you’re lucky! But I wish I’ll marry a man as understanding as you…
Mr. Smith (touched by her words): My SECOND WIFE, you will see that man, when the time comes, that will more understanding than me
Jane: I believe in you, dad!
Mr. Smith: I believe in you…
The couple feels it is time to leave the children to watch their favourite programs on TV, take showers and go rest.
Mr. Smith (stands up but his wife is sited): I think it was a good discussion we had with you all. Hadn’t it?
Children (Greg, Jane and Andrew all sited on the Master Sofa respond in voices peculiar to each of them): Yes!
Mr. Smith: Honey, stand up, let’s go take a rest! It’s been a lovely time-out with our lovely kids, a great time we had at the occasion. I think it’s time we left them enjoy themselves. Right?
Mrs Smith (talks lovingly): Yes, my dear
Mr Smith takes her right hand by his right big hand
Mr Smith: Let’s take our leave, pearl. But as they say, ‘Ladies first’
Mrs Smith gets up from her sit, holds him lovingly and takes the lead to their room. They both take their shower, put on their casual outfits and finally observe the rest. Andrew, Jane and Greg are enjoying the movies, cartoons and fun games on TV.
My Publications (Titles and Links)
All of Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr.Ben)’s work is available here. Wild Dreams Publishing, based out of Australia, will print a collection of Mr. Ben’s work soon.
7 Mistakes Christians Make And The
God’s Love Towards His
A Successful Marriage—https://www.amazon.com/A-Successful-Marriage/dp/B01NCP2RR4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Maya Initiate 39: The Long Walk To
Life In Space: The Parallel Earth
Saved By His Grace (a play and