I heard the chink of prized booty as an arthritic fist jagged a tattered caddy up and over the gutter. The whiff of sloshing dregs ensued, as I bagged the final image from the lane and tossed 'They yours?' over my shoulder. Taking a deep breath, I turned to face her, pushing my wallet that little bit further into my hip pocket. The breath clammed in my chest as I realised her age: as I realised my age, and the difference between us.
‘Wotcha lookin’ at, Miss Lah-di-dah with the fancy cam’ra? A woman’s gotta live. And to answer yer question, they’re mine now!’
And with that she shoved them through the lip of the caddy, and made off down the lane toward Underwood Street. She only got as far as the defunct cafe when she paused, turned and threw over her own shoulder: ‘Well, you comin’?’
I hesitated frowning, and her cackle escaped through blackened teeth.
‘I’ll not be havin’ you stealin’ my image from behind. If yer want a portrait of an urban rust-bucket, then lets’s do it properly – out in the golden hour. An’ you can let that wallet off the leash at the same time!’
As we turned into Underwood street, heading for the Eddie Ward Centre, I knew this was gonna cost me, and more than mere money.