Blanks columns in table

Hello, all:

I have a table defined this way:

Instead of consulting the metal book about a consult listed in the Table of Metal Book's Responses:
	play the sound of the book;
	display the picture entry;
	say "The book buzzes and clicks and then a male computer's voice says:[paragraph break] '[response entry]'[paragraph break]";

Table of Metal Book's responses
Consult (topic)	Response	Picture (figure name)

If I put the verbiage

figure of image

with the name of the image in the Picture column of the table, it will display the figure.

HOWEVER, if I have a blank column and I consult the metal book, I get a run-time error:

Inform allows us to create tables with blank entries, having no value at all: sometimes these are written --, but sometimes they are literally left blank in the original source text. We are not allowed to read such an entry, and this is the problem which turns up if we do. (Whereas we are allowed to write to it, making it no longer blank if we do.)

However, if I put two dashes, I end up with the same run-time error. So I get it no matter if the column is blank or has a – placeholder.

Is there any idea about how I can record a blank column without having to come up with pictures for all of the entries in the book?

As the book (WwI) says:

if there is (a table entry):

This condition is true if the entry referred to exists, that is, that is, the space for it in the table is not blank. Examples:

if there is a symbol corresponding to an atomic number of 30 in the Table of Standard Elements …
if there is an atomic number in row 2 of the Table of Standard Elements …

Putting this around your display the table entry line should work, I think.