Mr. Mask Lives in a White House

The other card depicted this Mr. Mask proceeding with his shopping to a house on the corner of a well cared-for, established, but not to say well-to-do neighborhood, the sort with old houses in good repair, a green canopy of old trees, short fences, and paved sidewalks—the sort of neighborhood that is not any longer surprised to find itself standing where once, not so long ago, wooded shadow ruled by tacit fiat, where the industries of ursine slumber and the lupine pursuit of careful vermin alone sighed perpetually, without even the dream of street markers or doorbells or letter carriers or buried pipe to disturb their hungry, retiring stasis. His house (one understood it was his house) was on a corner, bounded by a black, wrought-iron fence, with a brick home adjacent to it that entered the frame of the illustration from the right. Other homes and yards and hedges formed the inchoate background within which it was ensconced. Beneath the wide canopy of a dark-leaved old maple, his house was a rounded white edifice whose organic and unpredictable lines were eerily out of place in the neighborhood in which it had yet clearly stood for some time, and the strange perspective of the illustration allowed enough of a glimpse of where a traditional angled roof had not been built to understand that Mr. Mask’s house resembled the mask he wore, an almost comically stylized skull facing toward the sky with great skylights for eyes. The caption on this card read, “Mr. Mask lives in a white house.”