THE BEST SELLER.
A story by Lanre Badmus.
Fame comes with her problems. Your life is no longer yours because the public tells you how to live. They vet and rate you and before you know it, you're subject to their rules and guidelines. They actually take total control of your living and most of the times you have to oblige. In simple terms, be careful what you wish for... being famous comes with cruel curses.
It was a mammoth crowd waiting for me as I stepped into the premises of the Federal High Court Ikeja in Lagos, Nigeria. Screams of 'Lanre Badmus' traveled across the gloomy skies as I waved to my fans who would do anything to ensure that the judgement slated for the day would be in my favor. I smiled as several people requested my autograph. Remember those that live on billboards are victims of scorching sun and severe rainfall.
'This must be a dream.' I thought as I affixed my signature on a copy of my widely accepted book handed over to me by a man in his forties. He couldn't hide his excitement as I returned an autographed copy. ' I thank you Lord' I said to myself as I reminisced about my past as a budding writer. The struggles were real and I never imagined getting famous. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a pessimist but all odds seemed to be against me.
I have put in great writings over the years with little or no recognition. Strings of struggles that could only harmonize sad notes. I was relentless and consistent with my efforts but futility was hellbent on ruining me. Despair was about having a field day before I got contacted by a great publisher in Jackson, Mississippi. Now the rest is a golden history.
I was brought back to life by a tap from my bodyguard who beckoned at me to proceed into the courtroom where I was welcomed with more salutations from my lawyers and well wishers. ' What if the judgement doesn't go in my favor' I thought as I fell comfortably into a seat adjacent a witness box.
I'd sued Olusegun Obasanjo, the erstwhile president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for several infringements on my copyright as it concerns my reigning book- The best seller. He actually used several of my lines and poetic languages in his Autobiography that is still causing stirs in the nation. My lawyers sued for declarative reliefs, injunctions and damages.
'Hello sir.' A fully dressed lawyer approached me.
' Hello ma'am.' I smiled.
' Sure you don't remember me.'
'No man forgets a beautiful face.' I replied with a wink
It is a fact that no man forgets a beautiful face. It sticks in the brain and refuses to be removed like a stubborn stain. This is not about being lustful or covetous. Beautiful faces are emblems our brains carry with them everywhere they go.
I could remember a lady I met at the Chinese embassy in Lagos sometimes in 2018. She had gone for an interview and she was arrested for forgery. I wasn't bothered by the drama caused by the officials and the police officers. All that got my attention was her striking beauty. I couldn't help but appreciate her charm as she was pinned to the floor with an handcuff for resisting arrest. I still see her face in my dreams till date. I repeat, no man forgets a beautiful face.
The judge apparently excused all the journalists in the court room. He was still angry about a wrong report published about him some months earlier. He was of the opinion that lawyers pay them to write reports that favor them. Justice Igbalode really made a storm in a tea cup. He almost descended into the arena when a learned silk pointed to the facts that the journalists were merely doing their jobs. It took the intervention of other lawyers to ease the tension already built in the room.
The judgement was read and as God would have it, it was against Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo as he was ordered to pay me fifty million naira as damages. I couldn't believe it. He had tried using his influence to bully me into accepting ten million as compensation two months earlier. I vehemently refused and instructed my lawyers to proceed with the case. I was glad I trusted my instincts.
My fame grew like a wildfire and I took the world with the fierce strength of a tsunami. It was my time and I was ready to maximize it. I started getting invites from different countries for talks, readings and speeches. I was more than the talk of the town and time became vulnerable to my fame.
On the 1st day of may 2021 I got an invite from the University of Mississippi in the United States of America to deliver a motivational speech to the class of 2021. That was the best day of my writing career with a lifespan of over twenty five years. I could remember shouting at the top of my voice. I couldn't believe it. I was thrilled and I celebrated like I'd scored the winning goal at an European Champions League finals. I yelled at my wife from a distance!
' Labake can't you hear my screams!' still excited.
' I'm in the bathroom. Hope you're okay.'
'Do I sound like I'm not okay? At least you should be able to decipher between a shout of joy and a scream of pains.'
' Okay congratulation' She teased.
That's Labake for you. She doesn't see any situation as serious. She can be very lackadaisical about life but she's remained lucky. I told her about the invite and she couldn't hide her happiness. ' The struggle of many years is beginning to pay off. ' She concluded.
How do I explain how I got to the top? I had no words to explain. I'd sown day and night into my writing career and I was about to harvest the sun. The Bestseller was my seventh published book but it sold more copies than the previous six put together.
' It's my time.' I thought as I prepared for the journey of a lifetime.