Warss Fadash was living his life like it was golden, with his supermodel girlfriend and his dogs, on a private island, in a mansion with over a dozen rooms and everything looking new.
The island mansion was not the only one. He had them in New York, and Melbourne, and London, and Tokyo. He was even a regular at those lunchtime sex parties hosted by that big shot known for his TV speeches on world peace.
Fadash talked about world peace too. Every time he talked about it, people listened because he was analytical, precise, thorough, insightful, in-depth—and so many words of praises that had been used by reviewers and analysts in the Allied Nations.
New York was like his second home even though his private island was a ten-minute helicopter ride to Edidiland.
Edidiland was known for its wars; Edidiland where Fadash’s stories came alive. He would watch the wars from a safe distance. He would see fires raging and hurting in many places, but it would still be an exaggeration to say the land was on fire.
Addicts of Fictional Motions (AFM), a pop organization that would feast on the fantasy images of wars looked to Edidiland as the place of fulfilment. Edidiland was just like in the motion pictures but not entirely—like the difference between James Bond and Evel Knievel.
AFM members had seen motion pictures of wars and of men thrusting themselves into women’s bodies, and stick-tick children, and well-fed vultures; they had seen huge balls of fire and men with balls smiling through the depression. They all get a raise from these things. Not the same kind of ‘raise’ though.
AFM members loved Warss Fadash. Millions would queue in bookstores to lay their hands on a new release, online hits were in the trillions. The New York Times called him the “writer of the world.” Critics thought his stories suck, but his talk was golden.
Tolbert Zibat was furious when Time Magazine put Fadash on the cover page. He had declined about a dozen invitations for a television interview until the magazine pissed him off with the Fadash thing.
“He keeps repeating stories, selling the same shit over and over again. That man is not a writer.”
“Mr Zibat, he is a best-selling author! for the first time in the history of civilization a book has actually outsold the Bible.”|
“That is not the point Mr Hogan, the fact that a dumbed-down work of literature sells does not mean it should be celebrated.”
“Mr Fadash—it seems to me—writes for the masses. His grasp on global issues does not portray him as a mediocre. Wouldn’t it be right to say he has a peculiar narrative style?”
“Narrative style my foot! It is the same story since Made in Africa. He keeps changing the structure, but it is the same characters. It is the same scenes. It is the same things said in different ways, and here we are in the 22nd century, celebrating this piece of crap and giving it the status of Shakespeare and Munro and Adichie?
“But then would changing the narrative structure of the same story not create a peculiar mix of stories? Perhaps, that’s why Mr Fadash keeps smiling to the bank.”
“Is it about money? Is it just all about money? C S Lewis is a writer. Paulo Coelho is a writer. Munro, Achebe, Soyinka, Rowlings, Tolstoy, Grisham, Chekhov. Look at the class of writers in their days. Can you confidently say Fadash is a writer?”
Tolbert shrugs. “So does my four year old kid.”
“Most of his stories come from Edidiland.”
“And the AFM love some kind of stories. Look, Fadash does not write because he has something to say. He writes because he wants to buy another toy. This guy is a dweeb. Even if he is an easily lovable dweeb.”
“Mr Zibat, there has been arguments in some quarters that the likes of Shakespeare and Munro and Soyinka were relevant because they spoke to the times. Mr Fadash’s writings speaks to a global audience.”
Mr Zibat cuts in. “Look, junk food sells. You see so many people walking around like fat cows these days. The fact that something sells does not speak of its quality. Even if it speaks of relevance we have to unpack such relevance. Burgers and French fries and doughnuts are all relevant! They’ve been relevant since the twentieth century. But what has that done to our fitness? It speaks to a global audience, I mean, Fadash speaks to a global audience, but how good is he in his craft as a writer?”
“Mr Zibat, we will talk more on the Time Magazine coverage after this break.” Shears Hogan looks into the camera and says, “This is Shears Hogan live.”
Fadash switched off the Visual wall and reached for his tablet. His new project, what he was currently working on, was about an army general’s coup against the elected government. He wanted to fly to Edidiland for a brief research on the scene he had been writing. He wanted to be back in less than thirty minutes.
The flight took ten minutes as usual. Everything seemed slow in Edidiland, and the places near it. In the Allied Nations and the lands of the East, it would have been nine minutes or less.
His helicopter was surrounded as soon as he landed.
“What the hell is this about?” Fadash stared at the gun clutching, mean-looking soldiers.”
One of them, Ode Sule on his nametag, approached him. “You violated a no-flight order. You were lucky not to be shut down. Didn’t you get the online notification?”
“I got it. I did not open it.”
“General Banko is in charge now.”
Sule was stiff as a statue. “The no-flight order will help maintain law and order till things calm down.”
“What happened to the elected government?”
“There is a new government now Mr Fadash. I’m just following orders.”
“Following orders? Didn’t you vote?”
“I voted. But I am a soldier too. I love your story sir. I am a big fan.”
“And sir, don’t mind the critics, don’t mind those crazy grey-haired peeps with too much in the head. They are just jealous because you are not following others. There is no danger in a single story.”
Fadash’s mouth jerked, but he did not say anything. He was grateful. He was angry.
Post image by Sara via Flickr
About the Author:
Feyisayo Anjorin trained as a filmmaker at AFDA Johannesburg and has acted in film and TV productions in Nigeria and South Africa. His works has appeared in Fiction On the Web, Flash Fiction Magazine, 365 Tomorrows, Litro and Africa Youth Journals.