I did finally manage to ask Giovanni — after waiting until after Spritz hour in the hopes of easing both my embarrassment, and his just in case he might have any — if he might not mind, at his convenience, to maneuver his sizable craft up to the palace next door and snag the ridiculous, cotton thingy suspended there. Non ho capito un ca**o di quello che stai dicendo, he said. I have NO idea what the hell you’re talking about.
Non ci sono. Boh. They’re not there. Huh.
Did the owner of the next building toss them? Did somebody stop by and grab them just for the heck of it? Did the skiff-guy keep them as a souvenire? Did a breeze blow them back into the canal? (Then what?) Dovrai andare a comprare delle altre, Giovanni tells me as we climb the stairs (it’s risi e bisi for dinner, I think). “You’ll have to get some new ones.”
Ah, Venetians are nothing if not practical. Thanks, Giò, that’s just what I’ll do.