Sometimes, spending time with Bruno is like being in a David Lynch film. He has the universal logic of a 5 year old, twinned with his own particular brand of derr.
‘The poisonous spider got into the woman’s car recently. With children.’
Dreams are weird but what are you supposed to do with that?
If you say, ‘Fantastic!’, you’re the schmuck. If you say, ‘I’m worried about you’, then he’s the schmuck.
All that’s left is to gently navigate the limits of his sanity, in the way you would with Vanessa Feltz: ‘Okaaaaaay. And what exactly do you mean by that?’
‘I spy’ can take a long time. ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with G’, he might say. Then 20 minutes later, ‘Shall I tell you? There was a woman walking past and she was holding a Japanesey bag.’
Or, for ‘D’, ‘It’s ‘D’ for dropping because sometimes acorns drop from trees like that.’
Or, if it’s my turn and I say ‘B’, ‘Is it the ‘B’ from ‘beginning with’?’
So instead we play the game where you make a sound and the other person has to guess what it is. Like Capital Radio only you don’t win £25,000 and you’ll never be able to get it because Bruno’s sounds aren’t related to audible reality: ‘What’s chk-chk-chk-chk-chk-chk-chk? Give up? It’s the sound of two objects clattering against each other.’
Jokes are predictable non sequiturs.
Q: ‘Why did the egg crack open its head?’ A: ‘Because it kicked the butcher’s cat.’
Q: ‘What’s gooey and really soft?’ A: ‘A newspaper’.
He’s deeply assured of of his own sense-making. Which would be fine, only it’s not a business I’m 100% tight with myself.
B: ‘Mummy, do you know what Millenium Solcans are? They are a kind of bear that’s really comfy and can move on the radio. They can go all around, just like my fire engine, with string attached to it.’
He makes a victorious did-you-see-that face when he throws a winner in Snakes and Ladders, convinced the dice is listening to him requesting the numbers. A few spaces away from the finish line he whispers weird stuff into the little shakey cup thing:
‘Please, please may I have a 1? I love the smooth spot of it and if you do I’ll get you a dice girlfriend and a Transformer.’
‘What do you think swung it, Broons? The sweet talk, the love interest or the plastic toy?’, you quip. Whereupon he looks at you like you came up on the down train.
Magic’s fun. You can literally do anything and he thinks you’re a genius. Though I won’t be repeating the one where you pretend the coin’s travelling around your body, in case he keeps trying to swallow one pound coins (‘Why not? You just did it!’)
He’s similarly impressed with his own powers, a coin stuffed down his trousers or flung over the shoulder and lost in the sofa constituting an illusional masterpiece.
But, of course, the joke’s on me:
‘Hands up if you’re allergic to cats?’
I put up my hand.
‘Hands up if you’re a bit allergic to dogs?’
I put I my hand.
‘Hands up if you’re allergic to rabbits?’
I don’t do anything.
‘Good. Can we get a rabbit please?’