“We are in big shite,” the source said as he delivered a blunt assessment in just five words.
He is not of the political parties – but a close observer of events on the hill.
For the purposes of this piece, let us call him a Stormont insider.
He hears a lot, sees a lot and has been around long enough to be able to read the political tea leaves.
This is not the usual crisis at Stormont – not something that can be sorted out in a cleverly written paragraph or in a few sentences that can have different meanings.
This time it is a proper crisis. It is about money – and the Executive not having enough of it.
“The only person who can fix it is David Cameron and he’s not minded to,” that insider said.
This afternoon the Northern Ireland Office tweeted a line from Secretary of State Theresa Villiers: “We are not having a renegotiation of SHA [Stormont House Agreement]. Everyone needs to keep talking to one another and keep dialogue going.”
But talking about what? That nothing is agreed until everything is agreed?
If there really isn’t any more money, and if Sinn Fein does not blink, then the decision on Stormont’s life support will come in September/October.
This is most people’s best-guess – what they are reading in those Stormont tea cups.
A few days ago, in a piece he wrote for the Belfast Telegraph, DUP MP Ian Paisley thought out loudly about the possibility of five years of direct rule.
After meeting David Cameron earlier this week, Martin McGuinness said the political structures of the Good Friday Agreement are “at the point of imminent collapse”.
It all sounds grim, but it is not yet September/October when interventions might have to be considered; interventions that could lead to Sinn Fein walking.
These include the government recalling welfare powers or giving civil servants control of financial decisions.
It sounds dire and politics, for now, it seems, is in big poo-poo.