Nat and I were getting out of the Land Cruiser, and bloody Nat went and slammed the door before he tried sloping off into the house. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s slamming those bloody doors. It’s a fine machine, the Cruiser, you just need to press the doors shut and they click, each part magnificently fitting into the other. But Nat didn’t have a clue what a fine machine was, or how much it cost and what kind of hard yakka goes into being able to buy something like that. And that’s what I was tellin’ him. I mean teenagers, ay? Can’t live with ‘em, can’t shoot ‘em. So I was there having a go at Nat, I mean, it wasn’t the first time he’d swung the door like it was gunna keep the world spinning, when I noticed that Iglese and Va’aiga Epati and their mate were walking past cos I could feel the oldest, Iglese, looking at me.
‘Yes? You boys alright there?’ I swivelled round at them, letting them know I could see them gawking at me having a go at Nat.
‘Sure Mr Anolds, gotta look after the Cruiser, ay?’ Iglese said.
‘Yeah, right.’ I didn’t know what to say there for a moment. So I asked ‘You boys working these days?’
‘Yes we are Mr Arnolds, we’re working for Antas Security.’ They shuffled to a stop, the friend looking around, waiting.
‘Not some kind of gang then?’ I said sternly, inspecting all of them from head to toe.
‘What? We’re not a gang Mr Arnolds, we’re just mates,’ Iglese insisted, his smiley face suddenly serious.
‘Yeah, we’re just mates, Mr Arnolds’, Va’aiga added, knitting his brow.
‘Look, I wasn’t born yesterday, Veega, I know what you Islander youths are like: you go to Church on Sunday in your finest and go around bashing heads and making trouble the rest of the time.’
Their mate said quietly, ‘Yeah, right, you Pakeha blokes don’t even bother going to church!’ But I carried on over the top of him. ‘You won’t fool me with that number. I’m keeping an eye on you boys, I am’, I said tapping my finger at my eye. I put my hands on my hips and viewed them sternly for a moment, and let them squirm. Finally, I wrapped it up with a fatherly smile, ‘All right then, you boys stay out of trouble then, ay?’
‘No, Mr Arnolds, we always stay out of trouble!’ Iglese grinned.
‘See you fellas around,’ I said pointing two fingers in a ‘v’ to my eyes and then at them, like I’d be watching them.
‘Bye, Mr Arnolds,’ said Va’aiga
‘See ya, Mr Arnolds,’ Iglese called as they started walking again.
‘See ya,’ their Islander mate called over his shoulder.
I told ‘em, ay? I rubbed a fleck of dirt off the Cruiser’s backside and went into the house after Nat.