The sartorial template of an artist, the doll’s right arm was sewn permanently in teapot pose. Its smock was golden, glittery, and ill-suited to hard work, its head ennobled with a felt beret. Its gaze was disinterested and unflinching, reminiscent of another’s, perhaps one cast from across the glazed shoulder of a porcelain Jayne Mansfield.
The appointment had been arranged to discuss the possibility of transforming a lethargic object into a dynamic one. He was optimistic the doll could transcend its drowsiness and become a puppet, but also certain this transformation would require professional attention.
He had agreed to pay the puppeteer fifty dollars, for a maximum of one hour’s advice, received inside the puppeteer’s studio. The agreement allowed for a record of the conversation to be made for posterity, using a video camera and a lapel microphone. The puppeteer had suggested that a bottle of red wine would be sufficient payment, however he couldn’t find a liquor store en route to South Melbourne that morning.