A YOUNG WOMAN
A YOUNG MAN
(In an empty department of a higher institution. A bench is placed beside a wall riddled with papers stuck to it. These papers contain a variety of departmental and S. U. G. announcements and also literary pieces. A female undergraduate is seen sitting on that bench, reading somebody else’s research project. A moment later, a male undergraduate walks in, books in hand, and looks through the papers stuck on the wall.)
YOUNG MAN: (annoyed) O God, where is it?
YOUNG WOMAN: (looks up) Where is what?
YOUNG MAN: It’s the poem I pasted here yesterday. I don’t seem to know where it is.
YOUNG WOMAN: What do you expect? It’s gone.
YOUNG MAN: Now, who could be the thief that stole it?
YOUNG WOMAN: A fellow student or a lecturer perhaps. (returns to her reading)
YOUNG MAN: (angered) I swear if I was given the chance to sue, I will sue that person that snatched my work from the wall.
YOUNG WOMAN: (laughs) You should have realised by now that the works of an undergraduate are never appreciated.
YOUNG MAN: That’s because this school is so philistinic. Nothing modern or creative ever come out of this school. Every academic session is the same as the next.
YOUNG WOMAN: You’re wrong. The reason is that you don’t have a name.
YOUNG MAN: A name? Of course I have a name. My parents named me.
YOUNG WOMAN: (laughs) You need a name for your works to be really appreciated. For now, nobody gives a hoot about you. You are just wasting your money typing your works, and wasting your energy and time pasting them on the wall.
YOUNG MAN: No matter, I still get some readership for my write-ups.
YOUNG WOMAN: (nods) That is true. I would not deny that fact. I read one of your works and I was very much impressed. But the thing is that you spend your money on trivial things like this, instead of using it to get your name.
YOUNG MAN: I believe that I have made a name for myself.
YOUNG WOMAN: (shakes her head) The problem with you is that you are too emotional. You write from your inner being which comes out like an explosion. Get focused more on the real reason you are here in this school. I tell you, by the time you finish, you can say Wole Soyinka is a mad man and people will quote you direct.
YOUNG MAN: My dear, I have tried my best in this school. The one thing I know I can never see myself do is to give money to any lecturer or get myself to buy anything for him or her. This fiercely violates my principles. All through my life, I have been an average person. I am not the very best, neither am I the very worst. I am just average. I have eaten up this school and it has circulated through my body systems. But I have been doing a lot of toileting as well in the sense that there are a lot of things about this school that my body just cannot condone. I just shit them out without a second glance. And this has made me sick.
YOUNG WOMAN: There are a lot of things you are still yet to learn. In this school, there are people who are married, people with children, people who are working, people who are doing another degree programme somewhere, but along the line, all of them manage to survive this dry ground you and I are standing on. You have only one thing keeping you here and you are complaining. What about those others? Do you think they would have the time to complain as you do? Some of them would just comment, and off they go. You are intelligent but too emotional. You do not seem focused on your goal.
YOUNG MAN: What I have done, I have done already. There is no going back to undo what I did. I cannot now cry over spill milk.
YOUNG WOMAN: True. Just get that name and you can write all the rubbish in this world you want to write. (pause) It is the nameness in the name that makes a name a name. Bet me, people will start to appreciate you then. It is just like me telling you to feel the sexness in sex.
YOUNG MAN: (hesitant) That’s quite a touchy subject.
YOUNG WOMAN: (stands up) Do you know why? Because a man cannot stand to hear when the hotly lubricated rod ruptures the pudendum. Don’t think you heard me correctly. (looks at her wristwatch) I’m leaving. Are you coming or will you bemoan the fate of your poem?
YOUNG MAN: I have not committed a sin by being different from everybody else, have I? It is not wrong if I do not do what others are doing, is it?
YOUNG WOMAN: People have distinctive features that make them different from each other. You have yours. I have mine. But you would be considered a fool if you don’t join the bandwagon.
YOUNG MAN: (approaches her, desperately) But I do not have the guts to do what everyone is doing. Because almost all the things they do is not good. They know it’s wrong, but they kill their consciences. I cannot kill mine.
YOUNG WOMAN: (pats him lightly on the shoulder) Don’t worry your head. People live and learn. You have a lot to learn about life and about living. Obtain that name and you will see what I mean. National economy is very hard at present.
YOUNG MAN: Even at that, why can’t people just do the right thing? Aren’t we future leaders? If we do the right thing, I’m sure this world will be a happy place to live in. We always say one thing and do the next. Can’t we always do what we say? I am really tired and fed up.
YOUNG WOMAN: Remember, you live here, you feed here and you school here. This is the way things are done here. Live and learn. (exits)
YOUNG MAN: Well, she is right though. But … (with contempt) Get a name. Get a name. What is in a name sef? Why is a name so important? My name is my name. A name is nothing, it’s total nonsense. So I must answer doctor or professor before they would know the worth of my ingenuity, abi? Even the doctors in this school are not giving the precise amount of their medicine to us, their patients. I want to be a doctor in my field. I want to give my patients the right amount of dosage. (shakes his head) How half-baked I feel! (exits)