Just Imagine is a Zikoko weekly series that takes fictional pop culture icons and reimagines them as chaotic Nigerians.
The minute a Nigerian man buys suya for you, puts you on his WhatsApp status or proclaims that he can do anything for you, he immediately thinks he is the most romantic man in the world.
But where Nigerian men draw the line is dying for you. Nothing will make a Nigerian man put his life on the line for you.
So, on this episode of Just Imagine, I have chosen to tell the story of Sleeping Beauty, who was put to sleep by a witch — from the perspective of a Nigerian man. If her Prince was Nigerian, how would it have gone down?
Endurance, a 30-year-old graduate, dressed in a worn-out suit, steps out of a building. He shields his face from the blazing sun with his ClearBag and turns to look at the security man about to lock the gate.
Security man: Wetin?
Endurance: Like how much dem dey pay you for this place?
Security man: Why you dey ask? You wan collect my work?
Endurance: Na you wan do this work till you die?
Security man: (pauses) Them no give you work again abi?
Endurance: (squints at the sun) I fail the test.
Security man: Since you don dey do this our test, no day wey you don pass.
Security man: Na every 3 months I dey see you here. Na you get past question. Na you go still fail. How you take commot from the school wey you go?
Endurance: Heis Heis! E don do, oga. If to say I pass, you know say I for don sack you find another person?
Security man: Abeg shift, make I lock gate!
Endurance: Wait first.
Security man: Wetin again?
Endurance: (produces some supplements from his bag) Your wife don born? I dey sell drug wey go make am born like 5 at once.
Security man: (eyes him)
Endurance: If you buy like 6, I go give you one free.
Security man: So my wife go con born like 35 pikin?
Endurance: Ehn, if na dat wan you want, she fit born up to 40.
The security man slams the gate in Endurance’s face. He jumps back and puts his drugs back into his bag.
His phone rings and he picks up.
Endurance: AY, how far?
AY: Guy, you get the job?
Endurance: (removes his tie) No oh.
AY: This one no normal again oh. I’ve texted you an address. Go there. One prophet will see you.
Endurance: (looks at the phone) Will you pay for my okada to this place? Because I can’t trek it.
AY: If you like, don’t go.
AY cuts the call.
THE PROPHET’S HOUSE
Endurance is sitting in a spiritual prophet’s living room. The prophet, all dressed in white, is staring into a bowl of water.
Prophet: (stares into the bowl)
Endurance: (looks expectantly)
Prophet: (stares harder) Hmmnnnn. I see something.
Endurance: Money? When?
Prophet: It is suffering.
Endurance: Which suffering? Check it well.
Prophet: Do you want to teach me my work?
Endurance: Sorry, sir. Is it like small small suffering? Like 2-3 months before I now blow?
Prophet: No. Like 80 years of suffering.
Endurance: (baffled) 80 years? I’m already 30 oh. Is it like I will minus 30 years from the 80 years?
Prophet: No, you will still suffer for 80 years to join the 30 years.
Endurance: So all the 30 years that I have suffer, it’s warm up I’ve been doing?
Endurance: Is it now after the 80 years that I will blow?
Prophet: Let me check.
The prophet stares into the bowl for 2 seconds.
Prophet: No, you will die.
Endurance: When will I now enjoy and be making money moves?
Prophet: You won’t enjoy.
Endurance: Wait o. Wait first. How many years will I live for?
Endurance: And I will suffer for the 110 years? When I am not God’s favourite messenger.
Prophet: Hope you’re not mad?
Endurance: No vex. Please help me check it again.
Prophet checks the bowl and hums again. Endurance does the cross sign.
Prophet: I see something.
Endurance: (inches towards the edge of his seat) Lamborghini?
Prophet: Hot suffering. The suffering will increase when you’re 100.
Endurance: Wetin be dis?
Prophet: What’s your name?
Prophet: Your middle name nko?
Prophet: And you don’t think you will suffer for life?
Endurance: Please, help me check. There must be something you can do.
Prophet: There is one solution.
Endurance: Anything! I will do anything!
Prophet: There is a girl from a very wealthy family who has been cursed to sleep for the rest of her life. If she is kissed by the love of her life, she will wake up. The man who is able to do this will be blessed with riches and money.
Endurance: Wait first. Who cursed her?
Prophet: Her father’s side chick. The woman is a witch.
Endurance: If I now kiss her and start sleeping until I die nko?
Prophet: Is it not better to sleep until you die than to be doing job interview at 98 years old?
Endurance: (deep in thought) That suffering that you said will increase at 100 years old. Why did it increase?
Prophet: Trailer fell on your head in Ojuelegba.
Endurance: Container? And I didn’t die? What was I doing there?
Prophet: Selling yam.
Endurance: Omo, I will suffer o.
Prophet: Like mad.
Endurance: (frowns) Na wa. Just give me the girl’s address, abeg. Let me be going.
The Prophet writes it out for him. Endurance starts to leave. He comes back.
Endurance: Is your wife looking for the fruit of the womb?
Prophet: Is like you want me to increase your suffering.
SLEEPING BEAUTY’S FAMILY HOUSE.
Endurance is sitting in the living room with Sleeping Beauty’s parents. He is concentrating on the stewed turkey and rice before him.
Mother: We can see you’re hungry.
Endurance: (bites into the turkey lap) I have not eaten since morning.
Father: We can take you to our daughter when you’re ready.
Endurance: Let me just finish this rice.
When Endurance is done with the turkey, they get in a car and travel for two hours. Eventually, they reach the entrance of a thick forest.
Endurance: Me, I am confused oh.
Father: There is a bungalow behind the forest. That is where our daughter lies asleep.
Endurance: Nobody told me that I will enter evil forest oh.
Mother: It is not evil. You will soon reach there. Just endure. (smiles brightly)
Endurance: Please, don’t let us fight.
Father: (hands him a cutlass)
Endurance: Am I a farmer?
Father: You will need to clear your path.
Endurance takes the cutlass and starts to walk into the forest. He looks scared.
Endurance: (cuts grass) Is it not better for someone to suffer for 80 years than this kind of work? (he stops) Abi, should I go back? But they said container will fall on my head at 100. How does a 100-year-old survive that kind of thing if it is not that I am under spiritual attack?
Endurance clears the bush and a bungalow comes into view. He enters it and sees Sleeping Beauty asleep.
He sits by her bedside and contemplates. He sprinkles her with water, but she doesn’t wake.
He opens his bag and brings out different drugs. He prepares a mixture and holds her nose shut before he tries to pour it down her throat.
She gets up, startled. Endurance yelps.
Sleeping Beauty: Are you mad?! Do you want to poison me?
Endurance: You’re awake?
Sleeping Beauty: What’s that concoction?!
Endurance: It’s like GNLD, but I produced it. I’m in competition with them. Wait, why are you awake?
Sleeping Beauty: I’m pretending.
Endurance: All these years?
Sleeping Beauty: Someone woke me up two months ago. I just didn’t want to marry him.
Sleeping Beauty: His mouth odour is what woke me.
Endurance: So different people have just been coming to kiss you?
Sleeping Beauty: Normally, they are discouraged by the forest. And for the ones that come, I use this.
Sleeping Beauty peels a transparent tape off her lips.
Sleeping beauty: What were you about to feed me?
Endurance: Thank God you didn’t take it oh. You’ll just be borning left and right.
Sleeping Beauty: (lays back down and closes her eyes) Tell them you couldn’t wake me.
Endurance: That’s the problem. They said they will give me money if I wake you. So, it is better for you to wear your shoe and follow me.
Sleeping Beauty: How much are they giving you?
Endurance: 5.8 Million.
Sleeping Beauty: I’ll make it 10. Just leave me alone.
Sleeping Beauty: …
Sleeping Beauty: (opens her eyes) What?
Endurance: Write the cheque now because I am owing a lot of people.
Sleeping beauty sighs and cuts him a cheque. Endurance leaves her in the bungalow.
Endurance cashes the cheque at a bank and leaves with a huge Ghana-Must-Go. He stops a bike and leaves for home. On the bike, the bag is snatched from him by robbers.
Endurance starts to wail on the street. He eventually makes his way to Sleeping Beauty’s bungalow.
SLEEPING BEAUTY’S BUNGALOW
Sleeping Beauty lays still. There is some noise coming from outside her window. She checks it and sees Endurance farming the land.
Sleeping Beauty: What are you doing?
Endurance: Farm work.
Sleeping Beauty: Why?
Endurance: After collecting the money you gave me, I applied for loan too.
Sleeping Beauty: And?
Endurance: Thieves have collected all the money.
Sleeping Beauty: And?
Endurance: I’ve decided to pay the loan back with yam. That’s why I want to start early.
Sleeping Beauty: When will you finish?
Endurance: I still have like 80 years to live. And they kuku told me that I will be selling yam.
Sleeping Beauty takes all her stuff and leaves the bungalow. She gets in her car.
Endurance: So you have car? And you let me to be walking up and down?! Beauty! Beauty! Won’t you help me plant the first batch?!
Beauty almost hits him as she zooms off.
Endurance: Bring fertiliser back o! And I heard your daddy has tractor! Beauty!
Beauty’s car disappears. Endurance dials a number.
Endurance: Hope you know your stupid prediction was wrong?
Prophet: That’s why you called me?
Endurance: No, I want to ask if you can borrow me yam seed.
Prophet: You don crase before?
Endurance: At least, help me check your bowl to see if it can tell me how to plant this yam because me I don’t know o.
Prophet: You know your problem is becoming too much?
Endurance: Abeg help me check.
Prophet: Sha wait.
Endurance stays on the line but soon, the weather starts to change. The clouds darken and the trees sway in the wind. Endurance looks around in fear.
Endurance: Prophet, something is happening o.
Prophet: Endurance? E be like say I don make mistake o.
Prophet: Are you the one that woke that girl with kiss?
Endurance: No oh.
Prophet: Ah, your own has finished.
Prophet: It’s bushbaby that will kill you today.
Endurance: I thought you said I had 110 years!
Prophet: Sometimes, network acts up and I see rubbish… Your money is N7,500.
Endurance: For what!?
Prophet: Consultation. And it’s better you give me before you die.
Endurance drops the call. The trees start to shake violently, and he runs out of the forest.
Endurance: Beauty oooo! Who send me message like this? Beauty! And Access Bank called me to do test, I say no. Beauty oooooo!!
Check back every Friday by 2pm for new stories in the Just Imagine series.