We weren’t supposed to be living in this timeline. We find ourselves searching for the moment to go back and make the correct choices that doesn’t lead here. We look for places to cheat, to game the system, to flip the pages back in our pandemic Choose Your Own Adventure novel. We look for the analog rewind button in a digital world, staring at each other in horror on Zooms and social media. We avoid the virus as we flirt with various other apocalypses, marching and fighting in the streets against the endless racism, police brutality, and injustices. The future feels stagnant on the precipice of the unknown.
Hell, maybe it ain’t that bad. There’s still Taco Bell. But even the Taco Bell menu—that rock-solid foundation of guilty pleasures and bacchanalian sustenance—could not escape this timeline. It began hemorrhaging beloved menu items. Still, we find ourselves there. Perhaps that’s where we can find the rewind button, in Taco Bells, where we are still face to face, side by side, in drive-thrus, in booths, and in parking lots. We shout at the sky and stars and maybe God to deliver on some kind of future. The cashier hands us a warm bag instead. Good enough for now.
In this third volume, our writers looked out at the precipice of the unknown and reported back. This is what they saw: landscapes and dreams that shapeshift into nightmares, bodies that revel in hedonism, communication crashing into barriers of language, culture, and queerness, expectations crashing into reality, unremarkable goodbyes that should have meant more, grief for futures that will never come, grief for pasts that never delivered, sermons, prayers.
We invite you to join us on the precipice, to look out, to see, and to shout. We’ll search for answers, cheats, rewinds, and paths forward in words, in rot, in art, in dreams, and in Taco Bells. Hey, you hungry? It’s on us.
MM Carrigan, Fall 2020