Worst Year Ever

by Catherine Butterfield

(A Man and Woman approach their car. The Woman takes a ticket off her windshield.)

WOMAN   A ticket! God damn it. I’m telling you, I’m so over 2016.

MAN   So over it.

WOMAN   I mean please, what a year!

MAN   I know.

WOMAN   I mean Brexit?

MAN   And Prince.

WOMAN   David Bowie? And that gorilla they shot in the zoo? He wasn’t even doing anything.

MAN   Terrible. Zika.

WOMAN   Oh my God, the Zika virus. And Snape.

MAN   Snape? From the Harry Potter movies? I loved that guy!

WOMAN   Mohammed Ali. Mary Tyler Moore. Gary Marshall.

MAN   Police shootings. Record hot temperatures.

WOMAN   The Paris attacks. Istanbul. London. Nice.

MAN   Orlando. Munich. Brussels.

WOMAN   Kanye announces he’s going to record David Bowie covers.

MAN   He did not.

WOMAN   He did.

MAN   Worst year ever.

WOMAN   Justin Bieber punched that fan.

MAN   Was that really terrible news, or—

WOMAN   Fans can be very aggressive.

MAN   Yeah, I guess.

WOMAN   Glenn Frey. Leonard Cohen. John Glenn. Gene Wilder.

MAN   Sports Authority closing all its stores.

WOMAN   Not really tragic, but—

MAN   Pokemon Go.

WOMAN   Yeah, okay.

MAN   It’s a terrible year. And it’s not even over.

WOMAN   Two months left. Can’t believe it.

(A THIRD PERSON strolls on.)

THIRD PERSON   I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.

WOMAN   Who are you?

THIRD PERSON   I’m a passing historian, and I’d like to offer a ray of hope.

MAN   Okay, what is it?

THIRD PERSON   In 1348 the Black Death took hold in Europe. In the space of eighteen months, it killed at least a third of the population. It seemed like the end of the world was coming. Dogs tore at the bodies of the dead lying unburied in the streets.

WOMAN   Ugh.

THIRD PERSON   But it spurred one of the most golden of golden ages in history. Plague led to sharply reduced inequality, a spending boom, and a flowering of the arts. So you see, storms do sometimes give way to sunshine.

MAN    Wow, thanks. That’s given us a little perspective.

THIRD PERSON   You’re welcome. Have a nice day.

(The THIRD PERSON exits.)

WOMAN   I’m glad he passed by. You never know when you’re going to be within earshot of a historian.

MAN   I actually feel a lot better.

WOMAN   Me too. So okay, bye-bye 2016. Glad you’re almost over. I for one am really looking forward to 2017.

MAN   Yeah, bring it on, right? It’s bound to be better than this crap year. By the way, you headed to the polls?

WOMAN   Nah. She’s got this, right?

MAN   Totally.