• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 04

‘Dan-Dan! Dan-Dan!’

I know this looks difficult but you could do it too, however infirm you may think you are. The secret to all things is sleight of hand, redirecting attention, hiding in plain sight, prestidigitation (add your own word here __________), isn't it? It’s about the steps a person takes to show what she wishes to show and hide what she wishes to hide. You don’t know what I’ve got under my shibori-wave silk, you photographer-person you, but I know you know how long an exposure takes so you’ll know I held this pose for at least a minute, although you said that was because the seventeen seconds it should have taken was lengthened by the fact that my husband kept shouting ‘Dan-Dan! Dan-Dan!’ from behind the screen. You didn’t stay long enough to discover what he meant and he wasn’t shouting it when you came back with the photograph. He didn't need to.

I can stay like this all day. But yes, of course, it is a trick. There’s a trick to everything, isn’t there? Underneath my silk is a pair of steps, a step-ladder if you prefer. It stretches down from the hole in the floor between my elbows (see how wide apart they are: NOW you’re looking!) to the basement. On the top step is balanced the dummy’s torso, propped up with a stick through the trouser-leg closest to the screen (which you didn’t even guess at because you couldn’t bear to stand close to my husband and his ‘Dan-Dan! Dan-Dan!’) I’m standing on the preantepenultimate step (yes, I really do call it that) so the angle of my head isn’t in the least uncomfortable. It’s simply turned sideways and supported by my standing body. If you’d stayed longer you’d have heard my husband shouting in your language: ‘Level-by-Level! Stairstep-by-Stairstep!’ But then you wouldn’t have taken my photograph, would you?