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Literature Discussion -

As Johnny Slept

By Kenechukwu Obi (Nigeria)


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“I say no to poverty”, were the words of Johnny, an American boy determined to be very rich. He wanted to do business with the moon. He figured out that with millionaires available in Hollywood, selling a bit of the moon to each of them at three million dollars would make him richer than Bill Gates. Who wouldn’t love to have a bit of the moon, thought Johnny.
Johnny’s parents both died in a car crash when he was seven, and he had to be raised by a foster mother. Johnny loved his father very much because of his encouraging words to him. Johnny had a chat with his father.
“Johnny,” His father called.
“Yes, Dad,” answered Johnny.
“What would you like to be when you grow up?” His father asked. Johnny thought for a while. As he thought, his father asked again. “You mean you have nothing in mind?”
“I want to be a great man when I grow up,” Johnny answered at last. Johnny’s father laughed very loud as if he had no regard for his son’s reply.
“Well,” Johnny’s father said on top of his voice. “That is a big one!” He laughed again.
“Do you know greatness does not come by just saying it, son?”
“Yes, Dad,” Johnny replied quickly.
“What then do you intend doing to be great?” Johnny’s father demanded.
“Something nobody has done before. I want to sell the moon, Dad,” Johnny declared to his father’s utter amazement.
“The moon?” He wailed. “That sounds impossible, son. You can achieve what you think you can if you work hard at it.” That conversation boosted Johnny’s determination.
He drafted a sales proposal and mailed it to the moon. A decade passed and he got no reply. Not even many nights he spent outside the doors of the post office near his Compton California slum, watching the moon, could help. Johnny did not give up, but turned to a computer and sent the moon his proposal by electronic mail. Yet nothing happened.
One night, with tears coursing down his eyes, Johnny stabbed the moon with his glare, imagining it oblige to his request.
“Can’t you hear me out, Mr. Moon?” wailed Johnny. “Let’s talk business. It’s you I want to sell. I will sell no cookies, burgers and clothes. I won’t sell narcotics.” Johnny then faxed his proposal to the moon. It proved a dead-end just like his earlier efforts. Undaunted, Johnny spent the next couple of years scheming to get to the moon by joining NASA, after watching a shuttle launched from the Kennedy Space Centre. He was not successful, the reason being that he lacked the basic educational background for enlistment. Johnny would not take that for an answer. He hid in a shuttle engine waiting to be lunched, with his proposal.
With the shuttle launched, Johnny found it extremely hard to hold on. He shut his eyes in hellish pain, imagining himself on the moon. Then he lost his proposal in space.
Johnny crashed back to planet earth, got hospitalised and treated for severe injuries. And a lot of Hollywood stars, the press, peasants and everybody who was anybody internationally, knew Johnny and his feat. The moon started supplying Johnny with bits of itself some days after. And there became a buying frenzy. An incredible joy and feeling of triumph overwhelmed Johnny as an industry was born. Johnny wished his parents were alive to witness his rise from grass to grace, before he woke up to realise he had been dreaming.

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