2020: A One-ACT PLAY
SETTING: We are in the living room of HUMA ABEDIN’s exquisite Park Slope apartment. It is tastefully decorated, as one would expect. A stray moving box is the only indication she just recently moved in.
AT RISE: HUMA is sitting on a couch in the middle of the living room, intensely staring at a flower arrangement that she has placed on the table in front of her. She moves the flowers two inches to the right, pauses for a few seconds with a frown on her face, moves the flowers back to their original position, pauses and frowns again, then again moves the flowers two inches to the right. She appears satisfied with the result. Suddenly, we hear a knock on the door. Huma jumps up and looks around the room to make sure that everything is in place. She notices the moving box and, high heels be damned, runs to move it into an adjacent room. After doing this, she smoothens her dress, walks to the door, and opens it.
HILLARY CLINTON walks into the apartment, wearing an impossibly large smile.
The two embrace, then regard each other with genuine warmth.
HUMA: You’re alone?
HILLARY: I left them outside. I was able to get us 15 minutes. I pushed for 30, but, you know..
HUMA: I understand, of course. Please, sit down.
The two head toward the couch.
HUMA: Do you want anything to drink?
Huma walks to the living room bar and grabs two pre-made vodka martinis.
HUMA: (while walking toward Hillary) Vodka martini, stirred, two olives.
HILLARY: Good girl.
The two sit down next to each other on the couch. They clink glasses, drink, and sit in silence for a few seconds.
HILLARY: So..what’s new?
HUMA: Not too much, really.
HILLARY: The last three years of your life: Go!
HUMA: You’d be surprised and embarrassed by how uneventful the last three years of my life have been.
HILLARY: That can’t be true.
HUMA: I don’t know what to tell you.
HILLARY: Well, you moved here, right? Brooklyn? That’s something.
HILLARY: This is still the hip one, right? Not Queens? I read an article in The Atlantic about how Queens is the hip one now, but I am somewhat skeptical.
HUMA: It’s still Brooklyn. I think. This is Park Slope, though, which is by consensus one of the least hip places in the entire world. It’s mainly yuppies in various stages of denial and their many many offspring.
HILLARY: What inspired the move?
HUMA: The little one. He’s been going to this really good school called Poly Prep, which is about a 5 minute walk from here. I figured it’d be good for him to be close to where so many of his best friends are, especially with all that’s going on right now.
Hillary looks confused.
HUMA: Oh, Anthony and I got divorced.
HILLARY: What, what?!
HUMA: Uh huh.
HILLARY: What happened?
HUMA: I remembered I was still married to Anthony Wiener.
HILLARY: Well, there’s obviously no excuse for what he did to you, but I know this has to be tough. He always seemed like a good dad.
HUMA: Hmm... he’s an okay dad. I think the ship sailed on the "good dad" thing around the second time he sent a picture of his genitals to a stranger on the Internet. But I can’t deny that Jordan adores him.
HILLARY: Yeah. How did both of us end up with such scumbags?
Literally billions of women have ended up or will almost certainly end up with scumbags. At least your scumbag was President of the United States.
HILLARY: That didn’t make it any easier, if that’s what you’re suggesting.
HUMA: I know. And that’s really not what I mean at all. I just – let me put it this way – when people talk about Bill, his scumbaggery might be taken into consideration, but it’s generally seen as a minor black mark when weighed against what was a very successful presidency and decades of charitable work done around the world. No one will ever take Anthony seriously again.
HILLARY: Well, call me old fashioned, but I was always brought up to believe that an affair’s an affair.
HUMA: Sure, an affair’s an affair. People get affairs. There have been affairs for as long as there have been monogamous relationships. But I don’t think what Anthony did can even be considered an affair, which may be the most pathetic part about all of this. When the scandal first made the news and my parents called me to see what was going on, I had to spend the first half hour just explaining the underlying technology.
Hillary shakes her head.
HUMA: Sorry... let’s talk about anything else. You’re President. How’s that?
Hillary gives a big smile.
HUMA: President Hillary Rodham Clinton. God damn.
Hillary closes her eyes, bows her head, and gives several fist pumps with both hands.
HILLARY: I’m sorry.
HUMA: I mean, how could you not?
HILLARY: I do try to limit it to twice a day, though.
HUMA: Almost three years in. How are you holding up?
HILLARY: It’s a lot.
HUMA: Uh huh. Is it what you expected?
HILLARY: At times. Every day is something new.
The two sit in silence for a few seconds.
HUMA: You hate it, don’t you?
HILLARY: I really, really dislike this job.
HUMA: What’s going on?
HILLARY: I know you left politics, but I assumed you still read the news from time to time.
HUMA: I’ve seen what’s happening. I’d like to hear how you feel about what’s happening.
HILLARY: Well, as of this morning, Gallup has me at a 29% approval rating. So, I don’t feel great about that.
HILLARY: 29%. I’m less popular than smallpox in certain parts of the country.
HUMA: You know you can’t accept the blame for that, right? The Republicans have hated you for going on 30 years now. They were not about to support a Hillary Clinton presidency.
HILLARY: They seriously looked into whether I could be impeached before I’d even taken office. If any of them even acknowledge that I’m a legitimate president, they’ll get eaten alive by their base. And, you know, they did the exact same thing to Barack his entire presidency. I had always kinda hoped that was purely a racism thing, but that is clearly not the case.
HUMA: Is that better or worse?
HILLARY: That’s where we are now. Remember everything we thought we were going to do back when I was running? The national infrastructure plan, truly universal health care, free pre-K? I spend about 90% of my time either in or preparing for Benghazi hearings.
Hillary looks around, then leans over.
HILLARY: So we’re definitely in the clear on Benghazi, right?
HILLARY: I don’t know – they insist that I did something wrong. Is it not possible that I did something wrong? You know I’ve done some shit.
HUMA: You haven’t done that.
HILLARY: And while the Republicans have convinced most of the country that I’m just a smidge to the right of Trotsky, the Left wants to put me on trial for crimes against the Revolution.
HUMA: The Left has always had beef with you.
HILLARY: I know. And you know what? I get it. I’m the head of the Democratic Party, which means I’m ultimately responsible for the many sins of the Democratic Party. But let’s focus, people. We’re up against a political party that refuses to accept the existence of man made climate change and thinks that a 3% increase in the top marginal income tax rate is equivalent to tyranny. You’re mad at me because I don’t believe that charter schools are tools of the plutocracy? I’m not the enemy here.
The two sit in silence.
HILLARY: And you know what really irritates me? It’s as if everyone has completely forgotten where we were three years ago. We almost elected Donald Trump. Donald Trump! I was the only thing standing between us and the collapse of civilization, and I won. Do I not get credit for that anymore?
HUMA: I think your average person overestimates how they’d fare in a post-apocalyptic scenario.
HILLARY: Donald Trump. Ugh. That guy was the worst.
HUMA: I’d say he’s one of the top 5 worst people I’ve ever been in the same room with.
The two shudder simultaneously at the memory of Donald Trump.
HILLARY: Have you heard that Bernie Sanders is considering primarying me?
HILLARY: I know!
HUMA: Fuck that guy!
HILLARY: Agreed! But, at the same time, I think I like that guy.
HUMA: Me too.
Hillary looks at her watch.
HUMA: Don’t you dare do that. I know we have at least five more minutes.
HILLARY: Ah, I’m sorry. I’m just a bit tired. And I do happen to have a very early morning tomorrow. And I think you sometimes forget that I’m several decades older than you.
HUMA: What do you have going on tomorrow?
HILLARY: I have a lunch scheduled at Muscatine High School in southeastern Iowa.
HILLARY: In case Bernie does decide to run. Remember we basically tied in Iowa last time around.
HUMA: No, I mean, why?
HILLARY: Am I missing something?
HUMA: Why run at all?
HUMA: Why run at all?
Hillary gives Huma a quizzical look, then starts laughing. Huma’s face remains serious.
HILLARY: You’re not kidding.
HUMA: I’m not kidding. You just told me you hate the job. Why keep doing the job?
HILLARY: It’s been a tough couple of years, Huma, but I can’t just quit.
HUMA: Hillary, you...
HUMA: You’ve eaten so much shit over the course of your life. An incredible amount of shit. Some might say an awe-inspiring amount of shit.
HILLARY: You’re losing me.
HUMA: At what point do you get to say that you’ve eaten enough shit?
HILLARY: I… hmm.
HUMA: Aren’t you full? I mean, I’m full, and I’ve eaten maybe a third of the shit that you have.
Hillary looks at Huma skeptically.
HUMA: Half. At most.
HILLARY: So the first female president is so overwhelmed by the pressures of the office, she doesn’t even bother to run for re-election?
HUMA: The first female president realizes that the American public is largely composed of ungrateful sons of bitches and comes to the rational conclusion that she isn’t going to stick around just so she can lose to Ted Cruz or whatever other creep manages to emerge from that cesspool. But I know you won’t do that.
HILLARY: Of course not.
HUMA: And I know you’re not just here to catch up.
HILLARY: I’m not just here to catch up, but I’m very happy we are catching up. I really miss you, Huma.
HUMA: I miss you too, Hil.
HILLARY: Why’d you quit?
HUMA: I didn’t feel like doing it anymore. You know how it can get in that world.
HILLARY: I know. Really, when I told you I understood, I meant that truthfully. Still, I must say that I’m not doing so hot without you.
HUMA: And you know that if you say the word, I am there. I’d just like you to stop and think about why it is you’re doing this. Like, what are you really getting out of it at this point?
HILLARY: What am I getting out of it? What am I getting out of it? I don’t know. I guess, I’ve always wanted to do good and I’ve always wanted to be powerful. And, I know that the two can go hand in hand, but personally, I’ve always really enjoyed them independently of each other. Now I am the most powerful person in the world, but am I still doing good? Am I still in a position to do good? And if I’m no longer in a position to do good, is the power enough? Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s not.
HILLARY: I think you’re right. I think I need to call all of this off.
HILLARY: NOPE! Hillary 2020!
HUMA: Well, if I were to take a position with your campaign, I would tell you that immediately after the event in Iowa, you’re going to Detroit for a UAW rally. You managed to carry the Rust Belt in 2016, but those were closer margins than we’d seen in decades. And the day after that, you’re going to Tucson, Arizona. I think we can flip Arizona next year if you run up the numbers in its biggest cities.
Hillary is silently smiling at Huma.
Hillary hugs Huma.
HILLARY: (while hugging Huma) My daughter has returned to me!
HUMA: You’re such a softie!