The case of the missing trampoline

This is the kind of fun you can have when your trampoline does NOT disappear.

Some of you have already heard me share about the trampoline my brothers and I had as children. And, I really don’t know what made me think of it other than, perhaps, a glance out the window and notice of a breeze.

Because, one day, long ago, a similar breeze blew away our trampoline. “True” story.

So, I thought I’d share the story again here, but with a twist, because, well, I’m practicing my fiction-writing skills. That means I changed people’s names. Because, let’s be real. You can’t really make up a story like this.

The Case of the Missing Trampoline
By Jill A. Duling

Every child wants a trampoline. Not a sissy 3-foot-in-diameter-I-can-jump-up-and-down-on-you-during-aerobics-class trampoline, but a 12-14-or-16-foot-in-diameter-I-will-catapult-you-into-the-atmosphere trampoline. The Smythe children were no exception.

From the first time they saw the giant trampolines in other people’s backyards, the Smythe children wanted one. Ronnie wanted to jump high like a kangaroo. Rob wanted to throw back flips like a gymnast. Remy wanted to soar like an eagle. Rusty wanted to not get bounced off.

The Smythe children did their best to talk Papa Smythe into purchasing a trampoline for their backyard, making special note to point out trampolines whenever they saw them. Along the road. In the store. In advertisements. In crayon drawings. With accompanying reasons as to why owning a trampoline would benefit the family, of course.

“We have a huge backyard, Papa,” said Ronnie.
“We’ll use it all the time, Papa,” said Rob.
“Think of all the extra interaction your children will have with one another, Papa,” said Remy.
“I like to bounce, Papa,” said Rusty.

Leave it to Rusty to come up with the best reason.

Papa Smythe eventually bought the Smythe children a 12-foot trampoline from Sam’s Club, after consuming a Four-Berry Parfait, which always put him in an excellent purchasing mood.

The Smythe children were ecstatic. They waited very patiently for the trampoline to be pieced together by Papa Smythe, Momma Smythe and Ronnie. After much stretching and pulling and yanking, the trampoline was assembled.

“But wait,” said Papa Smythe, as the Smythe children clamored to climb aboard. “We must anchor the trampoline.” And away Papa Smythe went to the tool shed, returning with a John Deere tractor weight, as heavy as himself, and twine. Tying the weight onto a leg of the trampoline, Papa Smythe declared the trampoline open for use.

“OK, you can use it now,” said Papa Smythe.

And, the Smythe children jumped on. Ronnie jumped high like a kangaroo. Rob threw back flips like a gymnast. Remy soared like an eagle. Rusty tried to not get bounced off.

Weeks and months went by and hours of endless entertainment (and exercise) were had by the Smythe children, as they jumped and jumped and jumped and jumped on the trampoline. Nary a day went by that they did not bounce up and down or add a new bruise to their repertoire. Ronnie practiced jumping high like a kangaroo. Rob practiced throwing back flips like a gymnast. Remy practiced soaring like an eagle. Rusty practiced not getting bounced off. The trampoline saw so much action that its legs had to be welded together. Twice.

One windy Sunday, the Smythe family went to church and returned home to a trampoline-less backyard.

“Where’s the trampoline?” asked Ronnie. The Smythe family looked to its left and to its right and up and down, but no trampoline was to be found.

“Who would steal our trampoline on a Sunday?” asked Momma Smythe.
“Who would steal a trampoline at all?” asked Ronnie.
“How do you steal a trampoline whose legs have been welded together and can’t be taken apart?” asked Papa Smythe.
“Maybe the wind it blew into the pond,” said Remy.
“Or across the road,” added Rusty.
“Maybe Fajita buried it,” said Rob, glancing at the family’s 8-pound terrier as she trotted by.

Likely story, Rob. Likely story.

It was a real mystery. The Smythe family’s 12-foot trampoline was no more. And, there was no trace as to where it might be. Somewhere, someone or some people were jumping up and down on a “new” trampoline. But, there would be no more bouncing for the Smythe children. And, so, they began to mourn.

“Hey, look!” said Papa Smythe, interrupting the mourning and pointing to the grass where the trampoline used to sit. A lone tractor weight lay forlornly with cut twine laced through it. “This is great! At least we still have our tractor weight.”

And, the Smythe family rejoiced. Actually, just Papa Smythe rejoiced. Because the children really missed the trampoline. But, a trampoline, while fun to bounce upon, can’t hold a weight to, uh, a John Deere tractor weight.

And, that is the still-unsolved case of the missing trampoline.

The end.

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7 thoughts on “The case of the missing trampoline

  1. awesome story! love it… now i’m sad.

  2. Joshua says:

    I question whether changing the names of actual people while you recount actual events and quote actual conversations truly constitutes fiction. Regardless, this article brought back a plethora of anguish and grief as a result of someone stealing the one and only cherished object that I had in my childhood.

    PS. Your recollection of Rusty being a special-needs child differs from my memory, but you too were closer in age, so I trust your judgment.

  3. LV says:

    nice wit yo. sorry about your bouncin’ days.

    “Likely story, Rob. Likely story.” epic

  4. jilladuling says:

    And now, Joshua, we know why I’ll never be a true fiction writer. Although, I often wonder how I can fictionalize a story about a tree-eating dog. Hhhmmm.

    Re: Rusty…see, maybe I CAN write fiction.

  5. Mom says:

    All the childrens’ names begin with an R. Nice touch.

  6. gigi says:

    wonderful piece of fiction. Thanks.

  7. Jason says:

    It was later reported on CNN, that the trampoline was spotted in a backyard, near the John Deere dealership in Continental, OH. Apparently the forlorness had spilled over unto a manager at John Deere, that could not cope with the thought of anyone paying more attention to a trampoline, than the John Deere tractor weight securing it to the ground. True story.

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