She moved on to the acryllic department. Now came the fun part. Without regard to price, she began to pull jumbo jars of paint from the shelves. And, burping all the while, her esophagus smoldering like a soggy fuse, she chanted the names of the colors as she dropped them into her basket.
‘Indian red,’ she sang. ‘Mars red, venetian red, cadmium red, vermilion, and rose madder.’ There was alizarin crimson, magenta, and that thorn in the backside of the sinful, sister terra rosa.
There was cobalt blue, cerulean blue, pressian blue, ultramarine blue, and, with just a soupcon of garlic, french ultramarine blue.
‘Hansa yellow.’ She liked the sound of that one so well she sang it twice. ‘Hansa yello’ (patron saint of jaundiced piano players). then, ‘zinc yellow, lemon yellow, yellow ocher, mars yellow, naples yellow, and brilliant orange.
‘Thio violet, prism violet, mars violet, cobalt violet, dioxazine purple.’
Next, those nightmares of newlywed homemakers, raw sienna and burnt sienna. (‘He likes his medium rare, boo-hoo.’) Raw umber and burnt umber (‘There, there, dear, we’ll send out for pizza.’), van-dyke brown, brown madder, thalo copper, silver, gold oxide, and payne’s gray.
‘Viridian, o viridian! Freen earth, cadmium green, hooker’s green’ (protectress of novice prostitutes) ‘and sap green’ (patron saint of voters who believe all Irish-American politicians are honest).
‘O sing, mars black, lamp black, ivory black, and titanium white’ (blessed are the Caucasians who went down with the ship). ‘Sing iridescent white and light portrait pink.’
What did she forget? Lily white, basic black, snow white, black beauty, white christmas, black friday, white supremacy, black power, the color purple, people-eater purple, the color of money, long green, lawn green, lorne green, Lohengrin, the color of your parachute, the color of my true love’s hair, puce, mars puce, mars chartreuse, mars bars, little-boy blue, blue bayou, blues in the night, paint-the-town red, do-it-up brown, james brown, dorian gray, red skelton, red october, tom clancy red, better-dead-than red, better-ill-than teal, greenberg, goldberg, long-john silver, mellow yellow, electrical banana, yellow peril, yellow fever, mayonnaise yellow, mustard, relish, and onions.
Ellen Cherry’s head was spinning. She felt dizzy and faint. She should have known better than to mix rum and art supplies.