Voided, the ruptured milk lorry stopped feeding Steep Street and soon enough the white river knuckles became trickles puddling in gutters. The milk dribbled into drains, dribbled, dripped and disappeared. And, before their very eyes, the tarmac blackened again in the afternoon sun.
Mrs. Ffooks sits on the pavement in skeins of creamed polyester, white arm on an upturned bucket, her left slipper, soaking, next to her ankle. Chin palmed. She babes a yellow washing-up bowl, an inch of milk within. Rory Pendleton would later write her as, sodden and sorry, drenched to the skin into his front page scoop.
A second bowl, a round bowl also, lost on the milky torrent, would be flung, devoid of dairy of course, underarm, some moment in the night, into her garden of tyre tracks, brick shards, splinters of bench slat, gerbera, chrysanthemum and tumbled birdbath, by a kindly neighbour.
But, for now, a young ambulance man kneels beside her. He strokes wet strands from her face and, while blue lights strobe the sunny black windows of the houses and the litter of glass spangles the street, the grass, asks patiently of her if she could, again, please, his fingers count for him.