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Paint Swatch Name Game

January 19, 2016

Late last year, I took my envelope of paint colour swatches into class for a second time. The students always get a kick out of the outlandish names, which often bear no clear relation to the colour. 

My prompts were ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Vast Escape’. Anyone who correctly guesses the colours described gets a free poetry zine. 


Sara knew this was a mistake the minute she entered the cafe.

It wasn’t just his thongs and stubbies, bad enough in her favourite upmarket brunch spot. It was the T-shirt bearing a cartoon wedding couple, the bride beaming and the groom frowning, under the caption ‘Game Over’. Wearing such a thing at any time was bad enough, but on a blind date? The mind boggled.

She was about to slink out again when he caught her eye and leapt to his feet, calling, “Oi, Sarah! Over here!” Every head in the place swivelled in her direction. Cheeks blazing, she threaded her way between the busy tables to the corner where he sat.

“Warrick?” she said unecessarily. He looked just like his profile picture; the smooth tanned skin, square jaw and impressive pecs that had initially attracted her. She made a mental note to spend more time chatting online before making dates in future.

He lunged toward her, kissing her cheek. “G’day, Sarah. Take a pew.”

“Actually, it’s Sara.” She sat down.


“Sara. To rhyme with Tara.”

“Rightio. Sorry about that.”

“That’s okay. Have you been waiting long?”

“Nah luv, just a few minutes.”

While they ordered coffee and exchanged banalities, her mind raced ahead, plotting her escape route. Would it be rude to take out her phone so early in the conversation? But what was she so worried about? She was never going to see this guy again. She reached into her bag and placed her phone on the table. “Sorry to do this, but my aunt was taken to hospital last night and my cousin is keeping me up-to-date.”

“Sure, no worries. Is she really crook?”

“It’s pretty serious.” Sara stared at the table, resisting blinking until tears sluiced her vision, a trick she’d learned in acting class. “She practically raised me.”

“Hey, you okay, darl?” She looked up. His warm brown eyes radiated concern.

She nodded bravely. “I’m all right.”

“Cos we can do this another time, if you want.”

“No, thank you. It’s good to have a distraction.” Just then her phone buzzed. “Excuse me.”

She picked up her phone. There was a new text from her best friend, Madison: “Hottie or nottie?

Sara rapidly tapped her reply: “Mayday! Mayday! Bogan alert!

“It’s weird that she sent you a text instead of calling,” Warrick said.

“My aunt’s asleep.”

“They’re letting her use her phone in the ICU?”

Warrick was proving annoyingly sharp-witted for someone who looked so thick, but mercifully just then Sara’s phone buzzed again. “Sorry.” She glanced at the screen. (“Beryl at death’s door. Come quick!“) “I’m afraid I have to go.”

“Of course, darl.”

Just then the waiter arrived with their coffees.

“I’ll get these, luv,” said Warrick.

Sara felt a twinge of conscience. Why did he have to be so nice about it? “Oh no, let me.” She put down her phone and fumbled with her handbag, looking for her wallet.

She’d forgotten that the unclicked message from Madison would illuminate the phone a second time, revealing their whole conversation in full view of Warrick.

To be continued…








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