[The auction for this object, with story by Helen DeWitt, has ended. Original price: donated. Final price: $20.50. Significant Objects will donate the proceeds from this auction to Girls Write Now. This object was part of a collection curated for Significant Objects by Paola Antonelli; the story was co-published on Core77.com.]
I need an agent to deal with my agent. This was the thought. Bill was to be the buffer: Jonathan is a pathological liar, I am a pathological truth-teller, and Bill was to be the man-in-the-middle, the go-between, the Janus — something intermediary, anyhoo. That’s what middlemen are for. One day Bill resigned.
On a market stall I happened to see, oh how lovely! a SARS mask within a plastic envelope. You needed protection yourself, Bill; you needed your very own personal plastic envelope. And I didn’t know. And more to the purpose, because life must go on, here was a chance to practice my Japanese! The label included both English text and an enchanting title for the object incorporating both hiragana and katakana: よyo こko はha マma スsu クku. I didn’t know that masuku was Japanese for mask, Bill, did you?