Submitted Date 05/22/2021

Sebastian stared at the row of oil paints in front of him and blinked. How was he out of cadmium orange? He couldn't finish the piece the Mayor requested for his office without it. The other colors would not look right. They wouldn't blend right. He let out a frustrated sigh before walking through his studio to the storage closet behind the kitchen. "Si prega di Madre Maria," he whispered, "let there be cadmium orange in this closet." He made the sign of the cross and opened the door. After twenty minutes of rummaging, he found a tube. "Grazi, Madre Maria, grazi." Sebastian unscrewed the top of the tube as he walked back to his easel and sat on the stool. Turning the small white cap over, he broke the seal. Carefully, he attempted to squeeze a small amount of the paint onto the palette.

Nothing came out.

Sebastian looked at the tube of paint. Maybe he didn't get the seal broken well enough? He pushed the sharp end of the white cap back into the tube and attempted to squeeze paint from it.

Still nothing.

"Figlio di cagna!" he spat in disgust. He found his penknife and sliced open the end of the tube in the hopes that only the paint around the cap was dried out. The sight that greeted him made his heart sink. The tube to the core was dried. Not to be deterred, Sebastian slit the tube down the middle. There had to be cadmium orange in that tube he could use somewhere. He didn't need much. The entire outside of the paint was hard and dry but there was one small, gooey spot in the middle that gave him hope. He set the tube down and reached for the linseed oil jar.

There was a single drop in it, not enough to liven the paint. And he hadn't received the new shipment yet.

Sebastian looked at his watch. It was almost 5pm. He sighed and called the paint store in town. They had the paint. They had the oil. Yes, they would be open in the morning. He wasn't finishing the painting that night. As soon as he hung up the phone, he called the Mayor to tell him. "Buona sera signore. Non ho intenzione di essere in grado di ottenere la pittura a voi oggi .... no signore , ho bisogno di finire una sezione ... sissignore. Grazie, Sindaco."

Eleanor would be home soon. He cleaned his palette, threw the sliced paint tube away, and gazed at the canvas. All it needed was that cadmium orange. He turned to the doorway as it opened and smiled as his wife walked in. Tomorrow was another day at work.

And the painting, cadmium orange oil paint, and linseed oil would wait.


Copyright 2021, Beth A. Freely


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