Just Imagine is a Zikoko weekly series that takes fictional pop culture icons and reimagines them as chaotic Nigerians.
Listen! With everything going on in this country, it is obvious we need extraterrestrial help and our witches are clearly on strike — who can blame them?
So that’s why on this week’s episode of Just Imagine, I turn Superman (Clark Kent) into a 30+ Nigerian man named Kola.
It is just past 9 p.m. in the Agege area of Lagos.
Kola, a 35-year-old Nigerian man, is asleep on the couch in front of a television set. The newscaster on the TV talks about the war in Afghanistan as Kola snores.
Newscaster: … And just last week, another mine exploded.
Voice: (from outside) Help! Help!
Voice: (from outside) Superman! Help oh!
Kola continues to snore. The phone in his right hand starts to ring and wakes him. Kola picks the call.
Caller: Superman, we need you! At Ajah!
Kola: (frowns) You know this is what I don’t like. I am just coming from that Ajah side. Why didn’t you call me that time? Now, traffic is everywhere.
Caller: Don’t you fly?
Kola: (looks at the phone in anger) So, I should be flying up and down because I don’t have work?
Caller: Isn’t this your job?
Kola: You called me to do interview?
Caller: Please, just come.
Kola: (Rolls eyes) Do you have money for Toll Gate?
Caller: We will still pay?
Kola: Should I come abi I should not come?
Caller: Be coming.
Kola drops the call and stands. He walks into his room and pulls a box from under his bed. He opens the box, but it is empty.
Mrs Ajayi, Kola’s mother, walks into his room with a bag and sits on his bed.
Mrs Ajayi: (heaves) Thank you, Jesus.
Kola: Mumsy, where is my cloth?
Mrs Ajayi: That your red cloth? I’ve burnt it. No child of God wears red.
Mrs Ajayi removes a white agbada from the bag she brought in.
Mrs Ajayi: This is what you will be wearing to be doing this work now.
Kola: I should be using agbada to be rescuing people?
Mrs Ajayi nods and pulls out a shiny green ‘The Lord’s Chosen’ vest from the bag.
Mrs Ajayi: Pastor said you should be wearing this one too. To spread the ministry as you’re flying.
Kola: I should be doing billboard for pastor? I’m not helping you to wear that one oh.
Mrs Ajayi: When you have money to rent your own house, you can be wearing what you want.
Kola: (to the air) Wo, you people should be calming down o!
Kola wears the agbada and starts to leave.
Mrs Ajayi: (removes Goya Oil from her bag) Come and kneel down here for me. Let me use the blood of Jesus to cover you.
Kola grumbles as he kneels while his mother prays.
Mrs Ajayi: …Thank you, Father Lord!
Mrs Ajayi finishes and Kola makes for the door.
Mrs Ajayi: Kola, wait o! Grind this beans when you are coming!
Kola grudgingly takes the plastic container and walks out of the house. He runs for two seconds to gain momentum before he launches into the air. He is airborne for 23 seconds before he jumps down.
Kola: (annoyed) Okada! Heis! Come! Ajah.
The okadaman stops and Kola gets on it.
Okada man: Your money na N8K o
Kola: E be like say you dey crase. Na N2K.
It starts to rain and the okada finally stops in front of a small bungalow. Kola jumps off the okada.
A young woman, Chika, is sitting by a window that is slightly open while peeling egusi.
Woman: (shouts nonchalantly) Superman o! Help o!
Kola walks to the window, holds the iron burglary and peeps.
Kola: Are you the one that has been shouting my name?
Chika: (startled) Don’t be looking inside someone’s house like that now.
Kola: Are you ok? Are you not the one that called me?
Chika: Since morning, you’re just coming?
Kola: (hisses) Who needs my help?
Chika: Our transformer just blow now now.
Kola: So, who did it shock?
Chika: Nobody. We want you to repair it.
Kola: I should be touching transformer inside rain? So I can shock?
Chika: Sanwo Olu said we should call you. It’s not like you can die.
Kola stares at her. She stares back at him. They stare at each other for two minutes until Kola breaks the silence.
Kola: Give me 2K to pay this okada man.
Okada man: Your money na 5k o
Kola: (to Chika) Give me 5k there.
Chika hisses and closes her window. Kola knocks at the window.
Kola: Sister!… Do you use to grind beans here?
Kola’s phone rings. He picks up.
Caller: We need your help, Superman!
Kola: Which side?
Caller: That Ikorodu area.
Kola: Is it after that Majidun?
Kola: That place they use to hawk kryptonite?
Caller: Only when traffic is plenty.
Kola hisses and drops the call.
Okadaman: Oga! Your money na 5K
Kola: Carry me to where I will grind beans first.
Kola tries to sit on the bike but he zooms off and leaves Kola standing there holding the bucket of beans. Kola moves back and starts running to launch into the air, but he falls.
Kola: Omo x 2,000.
Kola resigns to his fate and starts walking away when his phone starts ringing again. He picks up.
Kola: Hello! I say I am not coming to Ikorodu!
A woman with a soft, sultry voice speaks.
Woman: Hey, so we need your help at Lekki. We hope you’re not busy?
Kola: Busy? Me? No. Are you in danger?
Woman: Sort of… Well, see we…
Kola: I am coming now now!
Kola launches into the air and flies to Lekki. By the time he reaches there, he is spent and exhausted.
The woman and four other women, all dressed up, walk towards him.
Woman: Hey, you made it.
Kola: (pants) Yes o. What is the problem?
Woman: Can you Uber us to Ikoyi?
Kola: (stares in confusion) You called me here… So I can…
Woman 2: Well, the traffic is crazy so we were thinking you could carry us to our destination.
Kola: Is like you people are mad.
An old woman pushes past the ladies and walks up to Kola.
Old Woman: Is it not you they are calling Superman?
Kola: Yes, mama.
Old Woman: Come and help me carry tomato.
Kola: (infuriated) Because I am alabaru?
It is afternoon and Kola is laying on his bed. The TV is on and a newscaster is reading the news.
His girlfriend, Lola, is laying next to him. She starts to touch his chest.
Kola: Lola, I don’t have any energy for all this one o.
Lola: (sits up in anger) But you can fly up and down?
Newscaster: Babajide Sanwo Olu has said there will now be a tax for people who want to be flying in Lagos.
Kola sits up.
Newscaster: And Lai Mohammed has said Superman will be going to face the bandits this week.
Kola starts sweating.
Lola: Baby, are you fine?
Newscaster: The bandits, who are armed with AK-47, sniper rifles and tanks, are no match for Nigeria’s Superman, Lai Mohammed says.
Kola jumps up out of bed and starts packing some clothes into a small bag.
Lola: Baby! Are you travelling?! Baby!
Kola ignores her and continues. Lola’s phone pings as a message comes in.
Lola: Babe, it’s your mum.
Kola: (whirls around) What’s wrong?!
Lola: She said you should come and carry her car from traffic.
Kola’s phone starts to ring. Kola picks it.
Caller: There is a robbery going on!
Kola: I am travelling oh!
Caller: Please! Help us!
Kola: (sighs) I am coming.
Kola rushes out of the house.
At Diamond Bank, there are hostages on the floor and six armed robbers are ordering the cashiers to fill their bags with money. Kola bursts into the bank.
Kola: Everybody! Follow me out.
Robber: Na you dem dey call Superman?
Kola glares at him.
Hostage: I knew he would come!
Robber: Me sef don know say you go come.
The robber cocks his gun and Kola scoffs.
Hostage: Superman can chest the bullet. All your bullets!
Kola: (to the hostage) It’s true, but don’t be shouting too much.
Robber: This one no be ordinary bullet. Na Babalawo do am.
Robber: (nods) He say once he touch you like this, na heaven you go wake.
Hostage: It’s a lie! Superman can chest it! Spray him!
Kola: (to the hostage) Your own is starting to get too much o.
Robber: Make we test am for your body?
Kola looks around at the hostages. They look at him, pleadingly.
Robber: Make we test am?
Kola: (to the hostages) Aunty, dress for me to sit down, please.
Kola joins the hostages on the floor. They frown and move away from him.
There is a long queue outside of a building. Kola is on the queue with other people. His phone starts to ring. Kola picks it up.
Caller: Hello! There was an accident on the Ilorin express!
Kola: Is anybody injured?! Which side?
Caller: Not like that.
Caller: Our tyre removed and fell inside bush.
Kola: So nobody is injured?
Kola: So, I should be coming to Ilorin for what?
Caller: Won’t you carry us? We have naming ceremony, and we don’t have anybody to take us.
Kola switches off his phone. He reaches the front of the line.
Officer: What can I do for you today, sir?
Kola: I want to collect Canada visa, please. I’ll even manage that place they are fighting war.
Check back every Friday by 2pm for new stories in the Just Imagine series.