Family: Mum's the Word

Blink and you'll miss it - a winking masterclass from Biggie Smalls

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER

I’m sitting on my bed, tapping away on my laptop when Middle appears on his way to the shower. Because our only shower is in the ensuite in my room, at peak times there’s a steady flow of human traffic who stop to chat on the way to perform their ablutions. (Just as well I’ve knocked my online naked ironing business on the head or they’d get more than they bargained for.)

Middle walks around my bed to the shower door where he pauses, turns around and looks at me and Biggie.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

“Can you wink?” he says.

“Yep.”

I oblige.

“Yeah. See, l used to think I was really good at winking. It was one of my best skills. One of the things I’m really good at. But I’ve just winked at Biggie and he didn’t respond.”

“He’s a cat. And he’s asleep.”

“He usually winks back.”

Right.

“And I used to be able to wink with one eye and keep the other eyebrow COMPLETELY still,” he says, “but lately I’ve noticed that the other eyebrow is lifting slightly.”

He demonstrates. Ah yes, the other eyebrow does lift a little. There’s a touch of the Roger Moore’s going on now that he mentions it.

Three questions spring to mind: does movement of the other eyebrow constitute a wink-fail? When does a wink become a blink? And exactly how long has Middle spent practising this?

“I can see it’s a worry,” I say.

“Yeah, it is,” he says. “I’m in a film this afternoon and I’m not sure how much expression to use or how to look.”

“You’re in a film?”

“Yep. Going to film it now. A one man film. I’m the actor, my friend’s filming it. I’m doing him a favour, playing a psychopath who thinks there’s someone in his head, so he attacks his head with knives and…”

“Sounds tense… maybe you won’t need the wink.”

“Yeah. Well, I’m more worried about my hair anyway. Do you think it’s a bit floppy for a psychopath?”

“Nah, I don’t think there’s a standard psychopath do.”

He disappears and Biggie groans, stretches and yawns. He turns, looks at me and – I’m not kidding – winks.