Notes from the Underground » PRISM – BILLY COWIE
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Submitted by admin on March 24, 2010 – 7:23 amNo Comment

She lowers the dolly carefully into the tin bath. The water is tepid and a lot had been spilled between the two of them getting the tub outside, especially on the final heave onto the chair. But a good helping of soap powder had been added to make up.

‘Whit’s it ca’ed again?’ she asks.

‘It’s ca’ed a prizum,’ he answers in their shared mongrel accent – part lowland Scots with some hard rhotic Glasgow rs and just a whistle of Aberdeen. Prism comes out, of course, as two distinct syllables.

She nods sagely,

‘Oh aye, prizum.’

She stirs the water to bring the bubbles up to a satisfactory level. Although the water is already turning dark grey the suds remain resolutely clean in the sunlight.

‘Whit’s it dae again?’

‘It taks yon white light an’ puts it intae a’ the different colours.’

‘Oh aye. Whit fur?’

‘Looks nice.’

He reaches into the bath and pulls out a good handful of the bubbles.

‘Like a rainbow, ye ken?’ he clarifies.

She nods again – appreciatively this time.

‘A rainbow, eh?’

‘No a big wan, like in the sky, just a wee wan,’ he cautions.

This story is part of the Photo Stories series.


He puts his soapy thumb and forefinger apart the size of a penny to show her.

She looks at the gap carefully.


‘I seen a photy where they had the twa o’ them, prizums. And the ither wan took a’ the coloured light an put it back intae the white light again, ye ken, like it was afore?’

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