Author Stephen King has a beautiful term for this type of type of fire-licked colour: Tango-light. In his short story “1408” published in 2002’s Everything’s Eventual anthology, King’s protagonist, Mike Enslin, a man who writes about real life occult phenomena but doesn’t actually believe, checks into New York City’s Hotel Dolphin in order to spend one night in its rumoured-to-be-haunted room 1408 (and what do those four little numbers add up to?) I don’t think I’m spoilering anything by saying that of course things don’t go well, and by the end of the tale, Enslin is very much a believer. But at one point, while walking around the room recording such mundane facts as the colour and quality of the finishings, Enslin’s eye lights on a framed still life of fruit cast in a sweltering yellow-orange glow that he describes as “Tango light…the kind of light that makes the dead get up out of their graves and tango.” It’s such an evocative term, perfectly describing that almost sickly and sweaty looking hue that falls across the sky in those last few moments before the sun slips below the horizon.
Granted, “sickly looking” and “possibly haunted and trying to kill me” are never terms you want to apply to your nail polish (or your hotel rooms), but if the possessed shoe fits! Here I’ve shown Sally Hansen’s Lustre Shine in Lava, a gorgeous pink-to-copper-to-gold multichrome that reminds me in the very best way of King’s tango-light, just, you know, without all the other unnecessary supernatural unpleasantness. 😉
By the way, don’t rely on the movie 1408 (starring John Cusack) to give you the full 1408 experience. Like nearly all optioned Stephen King properties (oh, am I EVER still smarting from TV’s criminally stupid Under the Dome!) it shares little in common with its source material. The short story is a wee little thing – just 52 pages in paperback! – and so taut, building to fantastic climax that gives a whole new meaning to the term “near-miss.” So do yourself a favour this summer and spend a couple of hours one evening scaring the ever-loving crap out of yourself – your sense of frightened whimsy will be better off for it, and you’ll never look at a sunset the same way again.