“How much is it?”
“A dollar fifty each.”
Charlie pulled the three dollars from his pocket and passed them through a narrow slot in the window of the museum’s ticket office. It was the first time that he and Kate had visited and he’d spent days preparing, studying the guidebooks and reading up about the extensive range of species on show. He loved that kind of thing. Of course, his sister didn’t, but he wanted to do something to take her mind off things.
They had parked in the lot opposite the museum, the one that was developed from a green belt area a few years ago after much local protest. Kate’s husband, Bill, was the protest leader, always the green activist. He was the one who stood firm against the developers of the hotel, shopping and night club complex, calling it a tawdry replacement for the paradise there before.
“Come on, sis. Let’s go and look at the elms first.” Charlie stepped forward through the gate and tugged her by the hand.
“Ok, ok. I’ll be right there. It’s all kinda painful, you know.”
“It’s good for you. There’ll be trees everywhere. We can pin a little note on one, with Bill’s name on it. He’ll like that. I’ll take a pic.”
“What, and then I can take it to him when I next visit?” She said.
“Yep, that’s the idea. He’ll love it. He can pin it on his cell wall and remind himself of how the trees were before.”
Charlie walked on through the fabricated forest, holding his sister’s hand. He’d been staying with them that night when the cops came and took Bill away. The police car arrived in the night, its bright yellow colour like a beacon warning of the danger ahead. They slammed the screen door as they took him, with Kate wailing, “They’re taking away my old man. Come back.”
But it was no good, you can’t stop progress.