By Radovan Stoklasa

While reading a newspaper, I saw a photo of a man with a mask climbing a wall to get into an apartment. I thought it was a joke. After a few days I saw a television interview with him. The interview was quite interesting and I decided to meet him and find out whether it was a joke or if it was for real.

Getting out from the car in Dunajska Streda, a city in south Slovakia, I heard a strong male voice say “Hey you!” As I turned around I saw a huge indigenous gypsy. “Wanna see Batman?” he asked. I nodded.

The man endowed with a strong voice cried toward an abandoned house “Batmaaaaannn, Batmaaaaannn” but the response was silence. The huge gypsy came up with a great plan B and called Batman on his cell phone, but he was unreachable. So I left to pursue Batman in the center of the town, where he was supposed to pass his free time. I was wandering through the alleys of the town, asking the locals about the masked man without success; Batman’s cell phone was still dead. After more than one hour, my phone suddenly rang and there was batman on the other end of the line. We set up a meeting.

Zoltan Kohari came to the meeting, a 26 year old man in leather trousers and a cloak, just like the image I saw in newspapers and on television, but without a mask. In the interview he spoke about himself, the town, neighbors, a difficult past, unanswered questions about his family – and his eyes seemed sad. I asked about his role as Batman and a shine returned to his face. With all seriousness he said Batman is a symbol of justice and that he wants to be just and that he is the real Batman (better than the actor in the movie). After a long chat he invited me to tour his hideout.

The door to the abandoned house was blocked, so we had to climb up to the first floor through a window. Pieces of glass were everywhere. It was messy and smelly and a rat made his escape down the stairs. I entered a dirty room with just a table and a bed. Pieces of clothing were scattered all around the floor. The window was decorated with the Batman symbol and there was a painting as well – a portrait of Batman. Kohari eagerly showed all his treasures, but whenever I pointed my camera at him, he froze and posed for the picture. He enjoyed having photos taken of him, and that is wonderful, but I would have been happier if I did not have his full attention.