A successful negotiation

Friday 24 July, 2010 (contd):

After school I deliver the CP cans to Noa and Inia’s house, in Carthill. It feels a bit weird driving round there. I’m not sure if they’ll be home or not, and even though Noa has said I can leave the cans with their dad, this seems a rather unnerving idea. I almost don’t go, at one point. I think: Oh, it’s not like we really confirmed it. But then I tell myself I should follow through on the arrangement.

I park on the street, and walk tentatively up the driveway. But as luck would have it, the first person I see is Kost, who greets me immediately and warmly. Seeing this, a man smiles at me and says hello. He turns out to be Inia and Noa’s dad – and he calls for them to come out. Noa appears first, and Inia right behind him. Both look unsurprised to see me there, which gladdens my heart.

“Did you think I’d forget?” I say, and Noa shakes his head.

“No, I thought you’d remember,” he replies.

“What about the wall, Miss?” asks Inia. “Are we still going? What day?”

At this, I see Kost looking at us with interest, so I ask him, “Would you be able to come along too?”

“Yes, I would,” he says.


They come down the drive with me to get the boxes from the car, and we talk about a day and time for the site visit.  Noa gives me his phone number, which, honestly – is like gold. No-one at school has a number for anyone in the family; it’s a source of great frustration for Karys.

As I open the boot, “How many cans did you give Cluzo?” asks Noa, suspiciously.

I laugh, saying “Oh, don’t worry about how many cans Cluzo got – just be happy that you guys got a good deal!”

They grin, lifting out their boxes.

And Noa says to Inia, “got us that deal.”


Noa isn’t far wrong in this summation. He’s been hustling me for days (in the nicest possible Noa manner) to make sure his CP boys get a fair cut. In project on Wednesday he writes out a list of who, in his opinion, is deserving of cans at all; along with the suggested quantities. He then brings this list to me (and His Majesty Dimario) to seek confirmation.

I’m unimpressed at some of Noa’s recommendations, so he revises his list and brings it to the table a second time.

“You can’t leave off Simeon -” I say

“But – he talked smack about Hazard in the car,“ protests Noa, and Dimario nods in agreement.

“No he didn’t, look, we’ve been over all this already,” I tell them crossly. “He never said a word about Dimario in the car – and I was there.”

“But Teki said -”

“Well Teki’s just making it up cos Dimario keeps hassling everyone about it!” I turn to Dimario, saying, “Geez, you need to stop bullying little kids…” and we all start laughing.

“But honestly, you guys weren’t there, and Simeon’s alright – and I’m giving him his cans,” I conclude, and Noa accepts this, with a final, “Mmm, he’s a toy though.”

“And what about Layton?” I say then. “What’s he done to be left off the list?”

“Um, I wasn’t sure about Layton,”  Noa says, hastily adding his name to the column of worthy recipients.  “I’ll put him back – look.”

I scan the list again. “You’ve left off Leroi.”

“But he didn’t paint…” explains Noa. “Leroi’s alright though – should I put him back on?”

“Yes please, and the only reason he didn’t paint is cos he’s shy – and no wonder!” I say accusingly. “With you two watching and calling everyone toys.”

We work our way down the list, and Noa wears an air of respectful concession (which I later remember – and which informs me in composing my response to Karys’s email.) It isn’t until we reach a basic accord that he broaches the subject of Kost at all. “I was thinking…” he begins, “How about if CP get all our cans together. Cos there’s quite a lot of us: me and Inia… Aperamo, and Zion, and… Kost?“ he ventures. “Is he allowed to get any cans?” he adds, in a voice that merely suggests the idea without sounding pushy, and then leaves it up to me to respond.

Noa’s tactical approach both amuses and pleases me. It’s been very well-timed and diplomatic, and I imagine that all his time on the door of the tinny house has added to his already considerable negotiating skills.

“Yes,” I say, “I don’t see why Kost shouldn’t have some cans. He didn’t pay of course – but as a guest artist, he wasn’t expected to pay – and he really helped with things.”

“Then, how about a box and a half for CP –” puts forward Noa. “That seems like a fair amount; what do you think, Miss?”

I do some quick calculations in my head, and decide that it’s about right. “Ok,” I say to Noa, “That sounds reasonable,” and we go on to discuss the arrangements.


So I’m well-disposed towards CP as I box up the cans.

Amazingly though, Zion comes to talk to me on his own. It’s the first time he’s ever dared to. He actually asks to have his cans separately – telling me in a matter-of-fact way that he doesn’t think Noa and Inia will give him his share (which I can well believe). I agree, and give him three. But as a gesture of goodwill to Noa and the boys, I leave the original number (as agreed) in the CP box.

When I tell them this, upon delivery, they look impressed; both at Zion’s nerve, and at my maintaining our terms of agreement.

Noa’s right though – he did broker that deal. And I’ve confirmed there’s some trust between me and them. And then I get offered their phone number into the bargain. All in all, I feel it’s been a successful negotiation


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