Monday, April 25, 2005

If Trampolines Could Sneer

They made it look so easy, those happy neighborhood children in the local rich kid's backyard. It's called a trampoline, this device upon which they gleefully bounced - Latigo Flint has seen them before in the picture books and on the television.

And Latigo Flint desperately wanted a turn!

I carefully observed them with my keen, squinty-eyes. They had to be using some sort of structured selection protocol to determine who got to bounce next. Ah yes - It didn't take me long to ascertain what it was.

"I call nexts!!!" I bellowed, vaulting the fence and crashing through the hedge. I shoved my way through the crowd of surprised children and placed a possessive hand on the stretched black mesh. "Nexts! I got nexts!" The selection process was obviously two tiered - you "call" from afar, but must affirm it verbally as well as physically. If you are unchallenged at this point, the next turn is yours.

(Actually it's not unlike the method of selecting a prostitute in Dodge City in the late 1870s. William B. "Bat" Masterson would have been proud.)

I strode confidently to the center of the mat and took a couple exploratory hops. The fabric undulated powerfully beneath my boots. My word, it was an elegant force, so yielding yet so explosively repercussive. I launched into a series of mighty bounds. Something about the fourth jump seemed a little off. When I landed on my face, my spurs managed to embed themselves in the back of my head.

The children started shrieking and in the distance I heard an urgent door slam. I paid no mind, I had just been completely weightless! What glorious devices, these trampolines. Unable to stifle a giddy laugh I staggered to my feet. I made it to five this time, each one successively higher. Then the sky lurched and I crashed to the mat like a screaming pretzel. Most of my limp body tried to rebound, but the toe of my left boot snagged in the springs and I was flung in a vicious arc into the side of the garage.

In a stumbling run I charged the trampoline. A device hadn't fallen in my esteem so rapidly since my loom exploded. In a blind fury I attacked the vile mesh. I would stomp it into sloppy fibers beneath my savage boot heels. Too late I remembered the futility of this form of attack, and I ended up kneeing myself in the mouth twelve times before collapsing into an oozing heap of diminishing bounces.

When I came to I was staring into the angry eyes of a wealthy housewife. "Just what do you think you're doing?!" She inquired. "I had nexts." I managed to mumble between pulpy lips. She waggled a disapproving finger in my face and spoke to the children without looking around. "What's the rule about shoes on the trampoline?" The children were in a traumatized daze, but at least this was one thing still familiar to them, and they answered loudly in unison. "No shoes on the trampoline!" The woman nodded. "That's right, no shoes, or boots on the trampoline, they scuff the material."

I started dragging myself to the edge, a dark smear marking my path. She repeated the question. "So what's the rule about shoes on the trampoline?" Despite the pain, I managed to chuckle slightly to myself. "Damn lady, they just answered you-" Oh wait, she was asking me. For some psychotic reason I was supposed to answer as well. She clapped twice in my face. "I'm waiting... What's the rule about shoes-" I tried to kick her, but lost my balance and toppled off the trampoline into some rose bushes.

She leaned over me and I could see down her blouse. "Lady, soon as I can stand again, I'm going to kill that trampoline." She laughed humorlessly. "Oh hell, suit yourself. Soon as I find out where Roger hid my pills, I'm baking the whole bottle into the dinner roast." (And eyes that empty were capable of it.)

She abruptly straightened and started herding the children into the house. "Who wants a juice box?" She was almost inside when I called out. "Lady!" She turned. I motioned toward the trampoline. "It's pure evil isn't it?" She stared at me for a long time and I thought she wasn't going to answer, then she gave the slightest of nods and disappeared into the house.

I gave the trampoline a knowing squint. "Your secret's out trampoline. You're exposed, and I'm going to kill you soon." A spring detached and whistled past my head. I started to laugh at that point, and don't remember when or if I stopped.


At 11:00 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I love this so much. I think you've outdone yourself. I had a bad experience on a trampoline as a kid. Stupid fuckers. Kill every single one of them.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Wulfenjarl said...

You know...

That bit about landing on your face and then your ankles imbed in your skull...

... sounds familiar somehow...

At 5:45 AM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Next up: The circus! Latigo tries the flying trapeze and the human cannon!


At 7:24 AM, Blogger Other Brother said...

Trampoline + basketball goal = headache / mild concussion / broken fingers

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

oh, i laughed. i laughed and laughed. i had to look away because the office wondered about me laughing. then i snuck back.

now then. i was going to mention shoes...but you took care of it...but spurs must be hard on the nylon mesh, no? i was hoping you'd fall right through, but no.

At 10:13 AM, Anonymous roundelay said...

The problem with trampolines is that they're wild. If you've ever seen one roaming the plains, I'm sure you'll agree they're a lovely sight. But in captivity, they're just mean.

At 10:19 AM, Blogger J said...

Pure genius, I say.

What's really funny to me is that as a child I was unaware of how dangerous they were. The only time I was on one was at school, during P.E.

This was, of course, before schools got sued for using the wrong color of ink to grade tests.

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

That would be another great addition to The Portable Latigo Flint Reader.

I loved it so.

Trampoline: Orthopaedic Surgeon's wet dream.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Reminds me of those summers spent jumping from the roof onto the back of wild trampolines.

Ah yes, broken fingers and a broken nose later...

At 6:08 PM, Blogger tubbyman said...

Awesome. I laughed my ass off. Let me be the first to order a round of broken clavicles and dislocated elbows for all. I kept waiting for your description of bullets from your 6-shooter bouncing off the trampoline erratically after the rose bushes, but I guess you decided to spare that trampoline....this time. Or lost your gun in the flailing. Either way, trampoline got off easy.

At 9:04 PM, Blogger darthmoridin said...

I never had a trampoline. We wanted one, but never got one.

It sounds like that housewife is Marcia Cross or possibly Felicity Huffman. Either way, I think you ought to make your way back to that house. Probably quite desperate.

After you heal, of course.

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Tigerlily said...

I had to leave the desk! LEAVE THE DESK DAMMIT! This is one of the funniest things I have ever read.

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous JenD said...

"so yielding, yet so explosively repercussive" ...

I think I'm in love

At 12:25 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you Cindy-Lou. Pure evil I say, and if I could, I would.

Wulfenjarl, I'm not going to pretend it's the first time I've suffered a self inflicted head wound from my own spurs... But I am a bit fuzzy on which particular instance you might be referring to.

Steve, I've seen too many trails veer in unexpected directions on the other side of the pass, so I can't truthfully say No. (Unlikely feels about right though.)

Pure evil I say O.B., pure evil.

You and I likely have the same totem Ho. Our mind's arrows have struck the same mark on more than one occasion. (I'm drunk again now, but you knew that already.)

You speak a beautiful truth there Roundelay.

Thank you J. And is there anything in this world more hilarious (and completely depressing) than the sight of someone essentially suing themselves and their neighbors. Fortunately for giggling masochists everywhere, it happens with great frequency.

LBB: On my word should this ever come to pass, I shall ask you to write the introduction, for who knows - you may have willed it into being with your many mentions.

Rachel, glorious indeed were the wild trampolines of youth. Good Roundelay has stirred my distant memories as well.

Thank you kind Tubbyman. I did not loose my pistols. I know because I actually landed on one of them. (I fear it badly bruised my hip.) But what happened was the buckskin fringe on my sleeves became hopelessly tangled in the thorns, making a thigh slap impossible.

You dodged a vicious one there DMor, count your blessings. (Of course, of course.)

Your kind words conflict me Toren. Of course I am glad to hear of your joy, however it is at the expense of my great pain. (By the way, your name backwards is Nero, plus a "T". Nero had an advisor named Tigellinus... I'm not entirely certain where I'm going with this. I think somebody played a cello for some reason.)

Yes JenD, yes! You know exactly how I felt. Then an instant later, half my face was scraped away and my spurs embedded in my skull.

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