by Caroline M. Yoachim
Have you ever played that game--exquisite corpse--where someone draws a head, a second person adds a torso, and the last person draws the legs? Well, I took an art class at the community college and one of our assignments was like that. We were supposed to draw half a self-portrait and then pass the art to someone else. There'd be two faces, done in two different styles, neatly separated by a vertical line down the middle.
Faces are hard to draw, so I put the assignment off as long as possible. The night before the half-self-portrait was due, I had a little whiskey. Possibly a lot of whiskey. It didn't make me a better artist, but it did help me care less about my mistakes. I finished my side of the artwork at 11:45pm, which left me no prayer of getting anyone to draw the other half. Being somewhat less than sober, I had a brilliant idea: I made a new email account, wrote the address and password on a slip of paper, and sealed it in an envelope labeled "open in 2025."
I scanned my half-portrait and sent it to future-me with instructions to draw the other half and send it back, or--and this is the clever part--to keep forwarding the message into the future (by whatever means seemed most appropriate) until it reached someone who could send a response into the past.
In the morning, I checked my email and found nothing. I grabbed my half-self-portrait from the scanner bed of my printer, and noticed that there was a printout in the tray. It was my portrait, but the other half was filled with overlapping faces, as though hundreds of individuals were flowing out from the midline of my face.