The year 2016 has re-emerged from a parallel universe where it has been in an induced coma since 9 January and apologised for everything that has gone wrong in his absence. He also offered to reinstate the scheduled events of the last eleven months.
‘Most years have alternative versions waiting in the wings and things tend to balance each other out, whichever one gets chosen,’ said 2016. ‘Unfortunately, this year I fell asleep on the job, my evil twin snuck out and all hell broke loose. I can only apologise. If you want me to make the switch back to the 2016 I was planned to be, let me know.’
The process began with a butterfly flapping its wings in China on New Year’s Day. This led to a change in insect breeding patterns in Shandong province, which led to localised weather events, which led to cold currents flowing across the Pacific, which eventually led to an unusually cold winter breeze in New York just as David Bowie was taking a walk. He caught a chill that led him to succumbing to the illness he was otherwise going to recover from and that tore the moral fabric of the universe apart.
Under the new version of 2016, some ageing celebrities still die and others are still taken before their time, but with Bowie, Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood, Prince and Caroline Aherne replaced by Norman Tebbit, Ian Brady, Jim Davidson, James Blunt and Katie Hopkins. The EU referendum ends with a narrow victory for Remain, chastening the EU into reforming itself, while Bernie Sanders wins a landslide victory in the US presidential election and immediately keeps his promise to jail failed Republican candidate Donald Trump for fraud.
‘I must admit, it isn’t all good. Great Britain has a mediocre Olympics and Manchester United win the Premiership,’ added 2016. ‘Oh, and UKIP descends into a comical farce of backstabbing and failed leaders … ah, hang on … anyway, please decide soon because my evil twin is promising what he calls a surprise twist if you stick with him. I can’t give anything away but suffice to say, Mr Putin is feeling a bit narked and if your parents live in or near London, don’t go home for Christmas.’