The Trampoline

Something strange happened in the back yard. One day there was Rothwell, the melancholy dog. Then the next day he was gone, and a giant trampoline was in his place.

I had Rothwell pegged as a soulful character. He was dark, shiny and mysterious. Misunderstood by his owners, he chose to wander to our side of the yard and sit next to me on the back step. It was as if he knew I was a little lonely in this strange land and craved someone to talk to. He would rest his snout on my shoulder while I told him all my secrets and scratched behind his ears.

But he turned out to be such a fakety fakeass. He knew a sucker when he saw one and really worked those glossy brown eyes. Before long he had me saving scraps of bacon and stray crusts. He’d appear at the door and wasn’t interested in talking anymore, he’d just sit and stare at us cooking dinner until I cracked.

Then one day we found out his name wasn’t even Rothwell. That was just his owners’ name on the tag. Lazing in bed on a Sunday morning, I heard a singsong voice, “Here Chip! C’mere boy! Here Chippy Chip!”

I leaned out the window to see a small child, and Rothwell with a tennis ball in his mouth. He looked up guiltily.

“Your name is CHIP?” I spluttered, silently.


“Dude, that is the dumbest name ever. I thought you were called Rothwell.”

“Well, just coz it’s on the tag doesn’t mean it’s my name. You thought I was called I AM MICROCHIPPED at first, remember?”

“What about all those times we said, ‘Tally ho, Rothwell old chap!’ and you wagged your tail in what appeared to be recognition?”

“I wag my tail for a lot of reasons.”

Before I had the chance to be resentful and refuse him bacon, he just vanished. A few days later I peered outside, expecting to see him snoozing in the watery sunlight, but instead there was only a gigantic trampoline.

It was black, round and professional-looking. Not like the rusty deathtrap I knew from my childhood. What the hell was going on? Who put that thing there? Where did Rothwell go?

No one in our flat knew who it belonged to, nor had they noticed anyone erecting such a giant piece of equipment in the yard. And no one talked about how the dog disappeared at the exact same time. There was only one reasonable explanation: Our neighbour was Rick Moranis and this was Honey I Turned The Dog Into A Trampoline.

The trampoline has turned out to be way more interesting than “Chip” ever was. And way more popular. No one ever sneaked into a garden in the middle of the night to jump up and down on a dog. Around midnight, students start creeping down from the surrounding flats. The trampoline is hip hop happenin’, like Harold’s coffee shop on Neighbours or the Peach Pit on 90210. All the cool kids are hanging out there.

What they don’t realise is how otherwise quiet the garden is. There’s no noise from the street, and rarely a breeze, so their strange noises and chatter ping off the stone walls and right through my window. You can hear the springs creaking and the Bacardi Breezers sloshing in their bellies. It’s like having my own private soap opera. I just lay there in bed waiting for something to happen.

It starts with the sound of feet slooshing across wet grass and giggles of anticipation, then ooof and boing as they struggle to climb aboard. Then there’s bouncing, lots of laughing and swearing and, “Hey, hey, hey, did you ever do this when you were a kid?”. Then more laughing and swearing as they discover they cannot do this anymore.

The most strange and entertaining thing is how the trampoline has the power to turn minds back a decade. It’s gossipy and manic like a primary school playground, with added drink and darkness. The conversations are short and breathless. School sucks. Boys are evil. My mum’s a dragon.

“Laura is so not invited to my 21st party,” said a girl the other night to her friend. Bounce bounce bounce.

“Laura. Nobody likes Laura.” Bounce bounce.

“She thinks we all like her. But I mean, look at her hair.

One night, when it was still warm, I was drifting in and out of sleep. The moon was full and guy and girl talked and talked and talked. Shy giggles from her, a horrible nerdy huhhuhhuhhuh laugh from him. An hour later I woke again and heard him finally say, “So, I think you’re really nice,” and she said “You too”. Then trampoline springs creaked and static crackled in her hair.

And that is when I hid under my pillow. I like my soap operas with a PG rating.

(Still no idea where Rothwell went.)

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

20 thoughts on “The Trampoline

  1. Synthesizing and hoarding knowledge then using it selectively as a means to power is a thing of the past. Today, real power is in the hands of those who control and use their time most effectively. Ruff!

  2. Wow, you seem to be in a sexual hotbed there, between the ‘trampolining couple’ and the ‘harpooned whale orgasm’… where is it you are exactly?

    And don’t worry about Rothwell, he’ll be back once he’s worked his way round the block a couple of times, flashing those big sad eyes, wagging his tail and in no time he’ll have you fetching his paper and slippers for him again..

  3. “No one ever sneaked into a garden in the middle of the night to jump up and down on a dog.”

    I had really bad visuals with that one. It could be because I’m just a sick fecker, but hey….

  4. I’ll not be able to sleep now for wondering where Rothwell went…

    And what kind of people would substitute a dog with a trampoline?

  5. “I wag my tail for a lot of reasons.”

    Brilliant. Rothwell’s dark and mysterious, and so deep. He’s probably wandering the highlands, offering support and wisdom to a backpacker from Sweden who’s missing a friend back home. He’ll be back in no time.

    Shauny R0x0rs!

  6. So you weren’t too far off calling him “microCHIPped”… Perhaps that’s what has happened to him! Rick Moranis again! Chip Rothwell is truly a microChip now… Hunting the eternal plains of the Back Yard…

  7. i too, have never shagged on a trampoline. But i have slipped on one and chipped my front teeth like a mofo. Which means that at least i have had one visceral experience that involved moaning and fluids on a trampoline. Although in the sex case i don’t imagine that there’s usually a weeping ten year old boy involved. On second thoughts, forget i said that last bit, it’s WAY too icky for words.

    luv ya shauny m

  8. When I was in 9th grade, some people who lived in a house behind the field of my junior high got a trampoline. We realized that during lunch hour there was never anybody home, so over the fence we hopped and spent our hour jumping, bouncing, laughing. Every day. I don’t think it’s possible to have as much fun when you’re not bouncing as it is when you are. Anyway, one day, some little grade-7 twit barged into the yard screaming, Hey, this is my house! Get out! Get out! I’m going to tell the school!, and that was the end of that. That was a sad, sad day.

  9. I think shagging on a trampoline would be akin to shagging in a spa with champagne. Nausea-inducing and highly awkward.

    But I love trampolines! I wish our neighbour had one. Perhaps Rothwell turned into the trampoline in a ploy for popularity … if, indeed, he is a dog-wizard.

  10. A trampoline tryst sounds like something that is much more fun in theory than I suspect it is in fact, aside from the fact that most tramps (har) are lying around out in public, and the fun is that you might be caught (having sex where thousands of fungus feet have bounced). Otherwise, to make it worth being on a trampoline instead of a bed, you’d have to get quite a bounce going, get airborne, take to the air, and then someone’s going to turn a simple case of bumping uglies into something much uglier. Something could break, and there are no spotters for that sort of thing. I have the feeling that people who _own_ trampolines spend little time bonking on them unless, again, the trampoline is out where they might oh so naughtily, wait till we tell the guys, nudge nudge, be caught by flustered folk.

    At home, we prefer the uneven bars and an occasional spring off the high board.

  11. Trampoline shagging is not recommended, for fear of breakage tends to dull the whole experience. The possibility of getting caught may add excitement during the actual act, but when you find out afterwards that the neighbor was watching the entire time, it gets really creepy really quick.

    It’s a nice bragging tool while still in the teen years, though.

  12. You know, I often feel like the fella under the full moon. The nerdy guffaw, pregnant conversation.

    I miss my dog too.

    Thanks again for sharing Shauny

  13. I’m too scared to get on our trampoline in case I break it. I’d hate to see what *both* of us would do to it.

    Do you usually have silent conversations with dogs? (it was silent, I hope!)

  14. Good story. Just what I needed on a cold seattle day. Thanks Shauny.

    Maybe he found some other font of bacon and conversation.

    Isn’t that just like a dog.

  15. The name ‘Rick Moranis’ always sounds rude to me.

    And I have to agree: ‘Rothwell’ is a much better name for a dog than ‘Chip’. Reminds me of a ginger’n’white kitten that sometimes appeared in the back of our garden, with a nametag saying, ‘Cunningham’. We didn’t know if it was his own name, or his owners’ surname, so we called him ‘Cunningham Cunningham’.


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