Just Imagine is a Zikoko weekly series that takes fictional pop culture icons and reimagines them as chaotic Nigerians.
There’s a reason the west has superheroes and we have ‘agberos’ — it’s because we don’t send anybody in this country. But let’s assume, for a hot minute, that we did have superheroes, how long do you think they’d survive?
Today, I chose to reimagine Batman as an Igbo man named Buchi. And because Batman is incomplete without the Joker, I have reimagined the Joker and Harlequin as Joseph and Haleemah.
Buchi is on an empty beach, laying in a hammock tied to two palm trees. The slight breeze blows the current. The waves lazily wash on shore and the breeze lightly blows the palm trees.
Buchi has dark sunglasses on, his hat is tipped over his face and in his hand is an empty wine glass. A small distance away is a male assistant holding a tray with a bottle of champagne.
Buchi raises his wine glass and his assistant rushes to fill it up.
The Joker, Joseph and his girlfriend, Haleemah are in their one-room apartment. The room looks poor and disheveled.
Haleemah rubs some dusting powder on his face and moves next to his eye-area.
Joseph grabs her hand and looks at her.
Joseph: You want to blind me?
Haleemah hisses and starts to rub the dusting powder around her inner thigh. Joseph stares at her for a few seconds as she rubs.
Joseph: Why are you rubbing the powder there?
Haleemah: (still rubbing) I have craw-craw.
Joseph looks from her crotch to his, to the bed and back to Haleemah’s crotch.
Joseph: Didn’t we just do?
Haleemah: (still rubbing) Eh.
Joseph: Haleemah? Did you give me craw-craw?
Haleemah: (passes the dusting powder and scratches her crotch) Will you rub?
Joseph: Haleemah, why are you scratching that place?!
From outside the room, Mama Victor starts to scream.
Mama Victor: Na who be the idiot wey carry my pikin dusting powder?
Joseph jumps up from the bed and starts to close the window. Mama Victor pounds on Joseph’s window.
Haleemah: (scratches) You carried her powder?
Joseph looks at her in disgust and snatches the powder.
Two policemen, Haruna and Chidi, are standing at the counter when their boss, Lieutenant Dapo, walks out of his office.
Chidi and Haruna: Shun Sah!
He glances at them briefly.
Lt. Dapo: I’m going out with the black maria.
He starts to walk out before he notices something and turns around.
Lt. Dapo: Chidi, why are you wearing a suit? Where is your uniform?
Chidi starts to stammer and scratch his head.
Lt. Dapo: Change, right now!
Lt. Dapo walks out of the station. A few seconds later, he storms back in.
Lt. Dapo: Who put “Happy Married Life” banner on the black maria?!
Chidi: Oga, na wetin I wan explain be dat. Today na my wedding.
Lt. Dapo: (infuriated) And the government’s black maria is your wedding car?
Just then, someone drives the black maria out of the compound. Lt. Dapo rushes to see who it is but the black maria has left the compound.
Chidi: Dem go pick my wife.
Lt. Dapo: Are you mad?! Get in the police car, we are going after them.
Haruna: Oga, no petrol for that one and tire don less. Except we wan enter keke chase them.
Lt. Dapo: (barks) Well, call Batman! Let him trace them. Use the projector!
Haruna: I use the projector do tithe for my church.
Buchi’s assistant ends a call and moves to talk to Buchi.
Assistant: Sir, the government’s black maria has been stolen and they need you to retrieve it.
Buchi: Tell them they are insane.
The Batsymbol appears in the sky.
Buchi: And use canopy to block that thing.
Haruna drops a call and faces Lt. Dapo and Chidi.
Haruna: They said I should tell you that your head is not correct.
Lt. Dapo: WHAT?!
Joseph walks into the station with a ghana-must-go and his face painted like a clown.
Chidi: Heis Heis! It is the second house that they are doing birthday party.
Joseph: Hope you people are not mad? Don’t you know I’m the Joker?
Haruna: And we said the next house is where they called you!
Joseph puts his bag down and removes a gun. The two men immediately go on their knees.
Lt. Dapo: Haruna, hand me my gun!
Haruna: I forget it for black maria.
Chidi: (whispers) Oga, e be like say you go kneel down too o.
Assistant: Sir, I have intel that the Joker is at the police station and he is asking of you. There is also a robbery at Obalende.
Buchi sighs and gets up.
Buchi: Get me my suit.
Buchi is driving through the mainland when he sees Kola, the Nigerian Superman, just outside Computer Village dancing with a Tecno Phone. He is also carrying sachets of milo.
Kola runs up to the car with the phone.
Kola: (bends) Ah Buchi! How far?
Buchi: Why are you selling phone and milo here?
Kola: I’m looking for money that I will use to process Canadian Visa.
Buchi and Kola are sitting in a restaurant where Kola is hungrily devouring his food.
Buchi: You’re really suffering o.
Kola: It’s not small.
Buchi: I need you for two things. Go to Obalende, there are people terrorising the place.
Kola: Why are you not going?
Buchi: I have a plane to catch.
Kola: What’s the second thing?
Buchi: You will help me clean my toilet. My cleaner is on leave.
Kola: As your househelp?
Buchi: I’ll pay you.
Kola: (swallows eba) Is it everything you want me to clean?
Buchi walks outside the restaurant to where his car is parked. He looks at the car and bends to look at it again.
Buchi: (screams) Who carried my bumper and exhaust pipe in this market?!
Buchi is driving down the street with his bumper-less car and a makeshift exhaust pipe. He comes across a beautiful lady, Lola, standing by the street.
He parks next to her.
Lola ignores him.
Buchi: Hey, I am talking to you.
Lola: Can I help you?
Buchi: It is me that can help you.
Lola: Help your car first.
Buchi: Don’t look at the bumper. They stole it from me. Look, I am Batman.
Lola’s eyes light up.
Lola: The same Batman?
Buchi: (nods) Absolutely. Can I take you out somewhere?
Lola: (excited) yes!
Buchi and Lola are in the car when Kola calls. Buchi puts the phone on speaker.
Kola: Wo, Buchi, these men at Obalende pass my own power o. I can’t do what you asked me to do. (chews) Come and pick me at Shagamu. I can’t fly from this place to my house. I can die on the way. (chews some more)
Buchi: What are you eating? And what are you doing at Shagamu?
Kola: (chews) Corn. You know I can run fast?
Buchi: Yes, and?
Kola: I did uber-trek for people.
Lola: Can I turn up the A/C?
Buchi: Of course. Anything to make you feel comfortable.
Kola: Lola? Lola? Is that your voice I am hearing?
Lola: And so?
Kola: Lola, what are you doing with Buchi??? Lola! Didn’t I give you ring yesterday?
Lola: That stupid heavy cultist ring?
Kola: I told you to manage it like that now. Lola, come down and meet me at Shagamu.
Buchi: (To Lola) Would you want to come to my private island?
Kola: LOLA SAY NO IN JESUS NAME
Lola: Yes, babe.
Buchi: (to Kola) Buy a bikini for Lola, I’ll wire you the money.
Kola: I should go and buy pant and bra?
Buchi: Bring it to my private helipad, if you can.
Kola: Lola! Lola! Come down from that car! Come down!
Buchi ends the call
Haruna, Chidi and Lt. Dapo are still on the call. Joseph passes them a phone.
Joseph: Call Batman again.
Haruna takes the phone and dials Batman’s number. His assistant picks up.
Haruna: Wey Batman dey abeg? Dem wan kill us.
Assistant: I can’t give y…
Chidi: (screams) God wan punish you?! I say where him dey?
Assistant: On his way to Mexico.
A woman walks into the police station.
Woman: No be you we dey wait since morning, Joseph?
Joseph winks at the woman.
Woman: Wetin do your eye? We pay make you come sing for us, you dey carry toy gun do nonsense for here.
Lt. Dapo: And I’ve been kneeling down since morning?
Buchi is on his helipad with Lola. As they walk towards a private plane, they see Joseph sitting by the side.
Joseph jumps up as soon as he sees them.
Buchi: What do you want again? Didn’t I block your number?
Joseph: That’s why I find you come here. Please, I don’t know maybe we can join you people.
Joseph’s mum, dad, five siblings and Haleemah come out with several Ghana-Must-Go bags.
Joseph: We are plenty that we want to go.
Buchi: All of you are not okay mentally.
Buchi starts to walk away but they troop after him. The pilot runs up and stops them from entering the plane.
Buchi and Haleemah walk into the plane. When they are settled, the pilot whispers something into Buchi’s ear.
Buchi comes down from the plane.
Joseph: He has changed his mind, oya enter.
They all rush for the plane.
Buchi: If you don’t go back, if I slap you.
Buchi walks to the engine.
Buchi: Come out of the engine.
Buchi: I say come out of the engine, are you mad?
Kola crawls out of the engine with his bag. Buchi walks back into the plane.
Kola: Lola! Lola! Lola, follow your husband home!
The door shuts and the private plane takes off.
Joseph: Are you not Superman?
Joseph: You fit carry us go Texas?
Check back every Friday by 2pm for new stories in the Just Imagine series.