Richard’s rising intonation peaked, piqued with indignation.
He was heightened, his brother remained grounded.
“This hill, the track, the cottage, that hill, the wool shed…” He squatted to batten level, closed one eye and focussed into the distance: “…the hay paddock, and the FUCKING PINE TREES?!”
“Yep,” said James.
Richard leapt, full stretch, like the live wire had given him a jolt. James was still, forearms resting on a strainer post.
“NO. WAY! Are they going to carpet bomb the place? It’s a massive chunk. Massive. It’ll be gutted. Ruined!”
James regarded Richard. He’d visit what, twice, maybe three times a year? On the way to Matakana (Havelock North’s immature sister, James called it). Now though, as soon as the plans were finalised, he’d been up from Auckland like a shot. ‘Concerned’ for the place. Of course. Funny that. His unspoken but not unknown dreams of a subdivided ticky tacky toy town dealt a significant blow by a competing progress. You’d think gracious resignation would be in order. But no. One last roll of the dice.
“What about the cows and sheep?”
“Heifers and ewes’ll be temporarily moved. May get to run more stock by way of compensation.”
That was that, then. Richard sped away, perplexed, like he’d lost something he’d never had. James enjoyed the irony. The farm was secured a future as a farm. Albeit with a new motorway through its middle.