Copyright © 2015 by Carlos R. Malbrew
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for use of brief quotations in a book review.
Printed in the United States of America
CRM International, 2015
ISBN 13: 9781514859629
“Once again it’s a boring day,” Kevin complained while riding bikes with his best friend. “I mean, Mike, is there any fun here at all?”
Both boys were in dire need of some fun. Mike simply glanced at Kevin and said, “Hey! Let’s start a club.”
Kevin got excited. “Let’s make it this club cool, let’s make it awesome! Hmmm…we’ll call it Detective Club. Yes!”
“No” Mike cut in. “We need a more exciting name than Detective Club.”
The boys thought for a while, but they couldn’t find the perfect name. They decided to get some members with personalities. They wanted members who had an unusual, cool, or simply special characteristic about them.
While talking about the club, they heard Ms. Thompson across the street fussing. She was always fussing. This time she was mad at the men she had hired to work in her front yard. She aimed her frustrations at the man who was trimming the bushes. She claimed he was messing up. In reality he was doing a good job, but she wanted everything perfect.
Kevin and Mike decided to be nosy. They started to ride their bikes across the street when suddenly they saw a car headed right for them. The driver slammed the brakes but still had to swerve to avoid them. They watched as the car window rolled down and the driver began scolding them. It was Mike’s dad! He gave them a long lecture about how they could have gotten run over. Then he adjusted his tie and drove off.
“Sometimes he acts so businesslike and well mannered that he forgets about fun,” Mike lamented.
Mike was complaining about his dad to Kevin, but Kev had ridden off, not looking at the danger ahead. Meanwhile one of the hired men was cutting down Ms. Thompson’s tree with his chainsaw.
“Make sure that doesn’t fall on my house,” she warned.
Kevin suddenly realized he was pedaling right toward the tree that was about to be sawed down. He needed to wait for the man to finish sawing. But this opportunity to ride past the tree before it fell was too good to pass up. He decided he could make it. Kevin starting pedaling as fast as he could, letting his legs pump hard, with the wind in his face. As he drew nearer, he realized that the tree was about to fall, and if he kept going, he would get smashed. So he stopped pedaling and hit the brakes hard, then waited for the tree to fall in front of him, but as he looked up, he realized it would fall right on him!
In his haste to jump off his bike and run, Kevin slipped. The tree was coming down toward him. With just seconds left, Kevin closed his eyes, felt a gush of wind, and boom! He was alive! As he opened his eyes, he realized Mike was holding him.
“Yuck! Let me go; we’re not married,” Kevin said in sarcastic disgust.
“Well, then maybe next time I’ll let you get splattered under the tree!” Mike replied angrily, but then they both laughed.
“Tell me what happened,” Kevin pleaded.
“I saved you—that’s what happened,” Mike answered back before becoming serious. “I saw that you were trying a stupid stunt, and I knew you’d need assistance.”
“You can’t even spell ‘assistance,’!” Kevin retorted. “Besides—I never need help.” But he immediately made the biscuit face, an expression of embarrassment, realizing that Mike had saved his life.
“So,” Mike laughed, “my advice to you is this: no more adventures! I mean, I coulda got crushed helping ya.”
The next day Kevin and Mike were out scouting members. They both went in a different direction looking for someone special or unique. Along his route Mike saw the kid they call “Army.” They called him that because he always wore army fatigues and acted like he was in the army.
As Mike approached, Army was doing push-ups and suddenly began counting aloud.
“Ninety-eight! Ninety-nine! One hundred!”
“That was only ten push-ups! I saw the whole thing,” Mike burst out.
“First of all, you’re in my yard,” Army said threateningly. “I suggest you walk away.”
“I’m joking,” Mike said. “My boy Kev and I need members for our club. It’s an adventure club. Someone with your skills could be fun to have in the group.”
“You never speak to me at school. Now you want me in your group?” Army replied.
“We’re seventh graders. Why would we talk to sixth graders?” Mike asked.
“You’re talking to me now,” Army said with a scowl.
Oh,” Mike responded. Suddenly he laughed. “You’re the one who doesn’t talk. Everyone knows all you do is work out and carry fireworks.”
“Then why do you want me in your club?” Army asked.
“Because you’ve been preparing for war your whole life. That means you could be useful in a group like this,” Mike answered.
“So y’all need a leader?” Army inquired excitedly.
“Who cares who the leader is?” Mike laughed. “Kev thinks he will be the leader, so let’s just go along with that. I’ve always been the brains of our friendship anyway.”
Army looked Mike in the eyes. He reached out his hand. “I’m bored, so, fine, I’ll join. But no one is going to tell me what to do.”
Army’s handshake was devastatingly painful. He crushed Mike’s hand while staring at him intently.
“What the heck is wrong with you?” Mike wondered as he rubbed his hand.
“You can tell a lot about a man from his handshake,” Army said sternly.
“You still only did ten push-ups,” Mike teased.
Meanwhile, Kevin saw a boy rapping with his friends. He decided to listen in.
“Yo, my name is Smooth, because I’m Smooth. Shades on, because I’m cool. I break rules, because I rule. You say I can’t rap? Then you’re a fool.”
The kids around him began to “oooh” and “ahhhh” as Kevin watched from a distance.
Smooth had lots of personality. Kevin could not believe the outfit this kid had on. Black pants, black shades, a white T-shirt, and a motorcycle jacket…in the middle of summer! To top it all off, he had a boom box that was spray-painted gold.
“Who even has boom boxes anymore?” Kevin thought.
Kevin waited until Smooth was alone to talk. He flashed his trademark mischievous grin. “What’s up,” he introduced himself.
“No more flows today,” Smooth said without looking at him.
“I’m so disappointed,” Kev pretended. “I mean, you’re like the best rapper in the world.”
“That’s what they all say,” Smooth replied with a smile.
“Well I say you’re average,” Kev retorted.
“OK, so you came up to me because…” Smooth wondered out loud.
“Because you stand out. I’m starting an adventure club, and I want you to join in,” Kevin answered.
“Sure, I’ll lead your club; I know some—”
“Rule number one!” Kevin exclaimed. “I’m the leader.”
“The coolest person should be leader,” Smooth said.
“That’s why it’s me,” Kevin fought back. “Look, I thought of it first, so that’s why I’m the leader. It’ll be fun. I meeeeaannn…I’ll be a good king.”
“King?” Smooth smirked. “I bow to no one, but I’ll see if this club will be as fun as you say.”
“Cool,” Kevin said. “Follow me.”
Soon Mike, Army, Kevin, and Smooth were riding bikes to the park. They saw a blond girl wearing a red cap who seemed to be in danger. She was up against two teenagers. The boys watched with wide eyes as one teenager fell to the ground in pain. The girl then smacked the other one. She was all over him, making cover beneath her like a little child! The other teen got up and attacked her from behind. He yanked her hair as his friend began to get up. One on one she could handle them, but not as a double team.
“We’ve got to help her,” Kevin said.
“We’ll get creamed!” Mike and Smooth said.
Immediately they devised a plan.
The girl fell to the ground.
“Pick on someone your own size,” Mike said, bursting out from between two trees.
The bullies chased Mike as he ran past the two trees. Kevin and Army had tied one of his ropes between the two trees. One bully tripped over the rope, but his friend jumped over it and kept running after Mike. Finally the teen grabbed Mike by the shirt. Smooth began rapping, and the teen turned around. Suddenly Army leaped off a slide and landed a kick to the teen’s face. But by then the other teen had gotten up with a huge rock in his hand. He saw Kevin was not looking and threw the rock right toward his head!
The rock was flying through the air nearing a direct hit, when out of nowhere the girl with the red cap leaped and caught it!
“Owwww!” she howled, dropping the rock.
Kev turned around in shock. He had been saved by a girl!
She wasn’t done yet. She ran right up to the bully who threw the rock and dropped him with one punch!
“Let’s bail!” Army shouted.
The kids went to their bikes and rode off.
“Let’s head over to my house,” Kev said aloud.
They made it to Kev’s house and went to the backyard. They all stared at this girl. She had some mud on her face and a few scratches, but they could tell she was pretty… for a tomboy.
“Boy, we saved you!” Kevin said to her. “And ran into danger doing it.”
“Aw, whatever,” she said.
“Nice to meet you, too,” Kevin responded. “What’s your name?”
“Sarah, but call me Sal,” she said.
Kevin got super excited. “And I’m Kevin, but you can call me Kev.”
“I’ll just call you ‘lame,’” she responded.
“Look! You need to swallow the attitude, girl. I mean, we did stop you from being pounded,” Mike reminded her.
“Well, I already returned the favor when I saved your friend, so don’t expect a kiss, you creep.”
“We found our fifth member!” Army exclaimed.
“Hey, I’m the leader; I make those kinds of decisions!”
“You can’t even spell ‘decisions,’” Mike laughed.
Kevin ignored him and cleared his throat. “Ahem, as I was saying, Sal would be a great—”
“Congratulations,” Smooth interrupted. “Sal, you’re the fifth member of the group.”
“What group?” she asked.
“This group,” Kevin said quickly to cut Smooth off. “And I hereby call to order the first meeting of…of…OK, we don’t have a name yet.” Kevin paused. “Anyway, we’re an adventure club. It’s obvious you love adventure.”
“True enough,” Sal admitted as she finally smiled. “What kind of adventures?”
At that moment the kids heard a car come into the driveway. Suddenly they heard a loud boom and looked through the back window into the house. Kevin and the group watched from the window as several men stormed into his house and snatched his mom. They all ran to the front yard as the men forced Kev’s mom into the car. As they ran toward the car, they suddenly froze in fear. There was a lit stick of dynamite on the ground! It was about to EXPLODE!
Everyone ran, but Sal accidentally tripped Kevin, and they both fell. The others looked on in horror. Sal and Kevin scrabbled to get to their feet but then—boom! They jumped into the air at the sound, but no real explosion ever occurred. The dynamite had burst into pieces, but other than that, it was a dud.
“Whew,” Kevin began, “we really know how to jump into danger! But I should have known this all along. Pierre always acted so nice in front of my mom.”
“Who’s Pierre…and is he French?” Smooth asked.
“He’s my mom’s boyfriend. I saw his face through the window. He always seemed shady to me.”
“But why would he want to kidnap your mom?” Sal wondered aloud.
“Because he must have found out about her um…um…Mike, what’s that word?” Kev asked.
“Inheritance. Kev’s mom is about to get paid!” Mike told them.
“This guy is obviously crazy. He tried to blow us to smithereens,” Army informed them.
“Then there’s no telling what could happen to my mom,” Kevin said in fear.
“Well, let’s call the police,” Mike responded.
“Yeah, let’s call them,” Smooth said.
“Wait a minute,” Sal cut in. “Kevin and Mike both said we’re in this club for adventure. So I say we find his mom!”
They all looked at Kevin. He was hesitant to respond.
“You know,” Army began, “the cops don’t always get it right.”
“If we do this,” Kevin said, “we have to have each other’s back. No matter what.”
“Always,” Mike assured him.
“You have my word,” Sal told them.
“I’ve been preparing for this type of situation my whole life,” Army said.
“By doing push-ups?” Mike joked.
“Anyway, looks like we’re all in. Except…”
They all turned to Smooth.
“I’m down!” Smooth exclaimed.
“OK, let’s do this!” Kevin spoke.
“So what’s the plan?” Sal asked.
“Let’s see,” Kevin said. “The plan is—”
“My friend Leon’s dad is a cop,” Army jumped in. “There’s a police computer at his house. We can find out all about Pierre.”
“Bad plan,” said Kevin. “Leon probably don’t even have the password, and even if he did—”
“We’ve used it before,” Army announced. “Try to keep up.”
They rang the doorbell of Leon’s home. After a tiring wait, the door opened.
“We have a code eighty-four,” Army said to Leon.
“You’re starting a new mission?” Leon asked in surprise. “Let’s make it quick.”
“This Pierre guy is a con artist,” Leon said, looking at the profile. “He’s been in and out of prison for years. Gambling, stealing, and kidnapping are his games. He just got released two months ago.”
“That’s when my mom first met him!” Kevin exclaimed. “I know just where we can find him.”
Later on that night, they all snuck out of their homes to go to the Great Casino.
“Let the mission begin!” Army said.
“Listen,” Leon said. “Once you’re in, you’ll have twenty minutes to get back to the car.”
“It’s a long shot we’ll even find Pierre,” Sal replied. “The police are probably looking for him, so he won’t be in here hanging out in public. He’s probably hiding out somewhere.”
“Wrong!” Mike said. “Pierre has no reason to hide out because he didn’t escape jail; he was released. And as far as he’s concerned, there are no witnesses because he thinks his dynamite blew us to bits.”
“All right, then; follow the plan,” Army said.
Leon walked up to the security guards and started asking questions. His distraction allowed the kids to walk on in. Kevin immediately spotted Pierre.
“There he is,” Kevin hissed.
The kids ducked behind one of the slot machines. Pierre and five of his men passed by. For a moment the kids thought they might get caught, but the men kept walking. Suddenly the men split up.
“It’s a trap!” Army whispered.
“They saw us and want to catch us without causing commotion. We’ve got to split up!”
“OK,” Smooth added, “Me, Kev, and Mike will group together.”
Army and Sal darted from behind the machines.
“Slow down,” Sal pleaded with Army.
Army was definitely moving too fast, because he bumped into a waitress, and the noise distracted one of the men. The crook saw Army and went for him. Army ran and hid behind a table.
“Oh no,” Army thought. “I’m trapped!”
He jumped up from behind the table and ran, but in his hurry, he tripped and fell hard.
“Got ya!” the crook said aloud with a crooked smile!
Army was now in the clutches of the crook when suddenly the man fell unconscious to the floor.
“I hit him with this bottle,” Sal said, beaming.
“We have to find the rest of the group and get out of here,” Army said, ignoring her.
“You’re welcome, Army; I mean, don’t even mention it,” Sal griped.
They both noticed a security guard headed their way.
“Uh-oh,” Army started. “Here comes trouble. Run!”
As they took off, they saw Smooth.
“They got caught,” Smooth shouted while running alongside them.
“You kids, get over here!” the security guard shouted. “Guys, get those kids!”
Sal stuck her tongue out at the security guards once they got out the door. Leon was impatiently waiting for them and started his car as soon as they darted out of the Casino.
Smooth opened the door but stopped Army from diving in.
“Ladies first!” he told Army.
Sal pushed them both into the car, and then she got in, slamming the door behind her.
“We can mind our manners later,” she said. “Leon, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!”
“Where’s Kevin and Mike?” he asked.
“They’ve been caught,” Army replied. “We’ve got to get out of here now! Leon, you gotta drive like this is NASCAR! Go!”
Leon sped off and got the kids back to the neighborhood.
“What exactly happened?” he asked them as they pulled into his driveway.
“Pierre’s men caught me, Mike, and Kevin,” Smooth replied. “I got punched and fell. After what I thought was a couple of minutes, I woke up, and they were gone. They left a note. It says—and I quote—‘Tell the other little creeps that we know where you live, so no police. Unless, of course, you guys want death!’”
“I wonder how he knows where we live,” Sal said.
“Maybe they’ll threaten Kevin and Mike until they tell them. Maybe Kev’s mom already told them. That’s not what’s important. We need to regroup and come up with another plan,” Army said.
“I’ve got a plan, all right,” said Leon. “We ’bout to call the cops. I was just about to call them when you guys showed up. Danger is building up, and you guys should have told the police everything from the beginning. Losing Kevin and Mike should be enough for you to realize the games are done. I’m calling the police no matter what. And you’re each going to tell them everything you know.”
That night the kids talked to the police and apologized to their parents for all the mischief they were involved in.
The next day the kids met at Army’s house.
“Hey, guys, I think the goons left us a clue to where Pierre is,” Army said. “The note was written in orange. So you see—”
Smooth cut him off. “The Orange Pen Company!”
“Right,” Army agreed. “They went out of business years ago, and the building is abandoned. There are boxes and boxes of orange pens still there. Let’s take the bus to the warehouse.”
“Have you forgotten?” Sal said. “Our parents made it clear that we are not to go anywhere without permission. My mom barely let me come over here. I don’t want to be grounded all summer.”
It was 2:00 p.m. Army’s grandmother was snoring loudly.
“OK, guys,” Army said. “I guess we’ve agreed not to go to the warehouse, but I’m bored. Let’s at least ride bikes.”
“I agree,” Smooth said.
They grabbed their bikes and went riding. Suddenly, they began to smell smoke. As they rode in the direction of the black cloud, they realized it was coming from Sal’s house! They heard a woman’s terrifying cry for help.
Sal screamed in terror, “My house is on fire, and the flames are about to consume my mom!”
Sal’s mom continued to scream from the upstairs window.
“Fire is hot, and our drama don’t stop,” Smooth rapped.
“Really, Smooth? At a time like this?” Army scolded.
“Army, do something,” Sal pleaded. “There has got to be a way to save her. The flames are closing in fast. And the house could collapse at any second.”
Army took his grappling rope and threw it into the window. Its hook caught on something, and Army began climbing the wall.
Meanwhile, Sal grabbed the water hose and sprayed the door.
“Smooth, here,” she said passing him the hose. “Give me a chance to get in there.”
“Got you,” Smooth said. He blasted the flames with the hose, and Sal leaped into action, running right into the house.
She saw the stairs. They didn’t look like they could hold her weight, but she had to save her mom. If she didn’t, the threat would come true!
Army almost reached the second floor when suddenly a flame leaped out at him! In his haste, Army slipped off the rope and fell right into the bushes below him.
Meanwhile, Sal ran up the stairs, thinking, “I’m going to make it!”
But she relaxed too much, for when she had almost reached the top, the stairs collapsed! She leaped in the air and somehow caught the edge of the floor. Her legs dangled above the flames as she pulled herself up. Sal crawled on the floor to her mom’s bedroom, where she found her unconscious. Sal grabbed her mother.
“Mom!” Sal screamed as her adrenaline kicked in. Sal grabbed her mom’s arms and pulled her to the window. She knew that they had to make a jump for it, but what would she use to support the fall? She remembered the bushes outside her mother’s window.
“Out of the way!” Sal shrieked at Army and Smooth. She clasped both arms around her mom’s stomach, closed her eyes, and jumped out of the window. Sal landed on the bushes on her back with her mom safely on top of her. Sal’s mom coughed as her daughter got up from the bushes. Sal took a long look at her mother.
“She’s OK,” Sal said aloud to herself.
“You’re bleeding,” Smooth said to Sal.
“Yeah, and now it’s Pierre’s turn. He crossed the line. I’m gonna get him,” Sal said, letting her anger take over.
“I hear the sirens,” Smooth told them. “Let’s wait for the fire department and the—”
“You can wait,” Sal said as she walked toward her neighbors’ yard.
“Army,” she called. “Can you start this motorcycle?”
Army pulled out a screwdriver.
“Step aside,” he said.
Sal backed up. In a few moments, she heard the bike’s engine roar.
“Do you know how to ride?” Smooth asked.
Sal ignored him, hopped on the bike, and took off.
“Now you’re welcome,” Army commented.
“Sal’s got a temper; heart colder than December,” Smooth rapped.
But Army was serious with his reply: “I thought the adventure was almost over. But now…now all I see is…danger!”
The police and fire department had finally made it to Sal’s house.
“Are we or are we not going to talk to the cops?” Smooth asked. “I mean, if we want to be heroes, now is our chance.”
“Listen,” Army responded. “It was all good at first. We were going to save Kevin’s mom. But we didn’t save anything. Now Mike and Kevin are kidnapped, Sal’s mom barely got out that house alive, and Sal is trying to take on the crooks alone! What do you think?”
“OK, geez, we’ll talk to the cops,” Smooth agreed.
Meanwhile, Sal had finally reached the Orange Pen Company. By now her anger had become fear.
“Too close to stop now,” she thought.
Sal found an old busted window and climbed into the warehouse. She hid behind some boxes and heard a voice.
“Boss, are we ready to leave the country?”
“Yes we are, and Ms. Kleshin eventually will see to it that we get that inheritance!” Pierre said.
“What about the kids?” another man asked.
“Well,” Pierre villainously replied. “Destroy them!”
Suddenly a man came rushing in. “The police are all over the spot where the fire took place,” he said. “And two of the kids are spilling their guts, Boss. They’re hot on our trail!”
“OK,” Pierre said. “Put her in the helicopter. And, Sam, you tie up the kids. Then we’ll let this place burn while we escape!”
Holding the kids at bay with their weapons, Sam and another man tied them up in chairs.
“I thought you loved me!” Ms. Kleshin protested.
“I did,” Pierre replied, “but not more than money!”
Pierre and his men went to the helicopter, and Sal saw her chance. She got on her cell phone and called Army. His grandmother answered.
“Army’s told the police everything,” his grandmother said.
“But listen,” Sal pleaded. “Tell the police the men are escaping in a helicopter with Kevin’s mom, and they’re going to blow up the Orange Pen Company with Kevin and Mike inside!”
“I’ll tell them. You be careful, Sal.”
“I gotta go!” Sal shouted.
She hung up just in time. A man appeared in the doorway carrying dynamite. He smiled at Kevin.
“Five minutes until your annihilation,” he said.
Sal heard the helicopter engine start, and its propellers got loud. Sal then ran to Kevin and Mike and released their gags.
“We’ve got to get outta here!” Mike frantically screamed.
“These knots are tight!” Sal said.
Back in the neighborhood, two policemen were getting in the helicopter. Army and Smooth convinced the men to let them ride so they could point out the kidnappers.
“I just hope we’re not too late!” one of them said nervously.
In the hideout Sal had finished untying Kevin but was struggling to free Mike.
“We’ve got three minutes left,” Mike cried.
Sal yelled in frustration, “Shut up! I haven’t even begun to get these knots undone. They’re too tight!”
Sal looked at the time on the dynamite. “Only two minutes and thirty seconds left!” she exclaimed.
“Hurry!” Mike yelled.
“I can’t do it,” Sal said sadly.
“I’ve got an idea,” Kevin responded. “Let’s just carry him out of here.”
“Thirty seconds,” Mike cried.
They struggled to pick him up.
“You and this chair are so heavy,” Sal said.
“You can complain later,” Mike replied. “Get me outta here!”
Sal and Kevin slowly but surely made their way toward the door with Mike in tow. Twenty. Nineteen. Eighteen. Seventeen. They finally got some momentum but weren’t out of the door yet. Twelve. Eleven. Ten.
“Hurry!” Mike shouted.
Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Kev and Sal were just able to lift him and run out of the door. Three. Two. One… The explosives destroyed the building and shook the ground!
“We’re too late!” Army said inside the helicopter. “That’s the company, and it’s in flames!”
Smooth patted Army on the shoulder. “Well, we know for sure Mike and Kevin were in there. But maybe Sal wasn’t.”
Army and Smooth were devastated. But as the helicopter lowered to the ground, they saw something. It was Kevin, Mike, and Sal!
“Well, now that you kids are safe and sound, we’re sending you back home!” said one of the cops.
“Aww, man!” Smooth said.
“There’s no time,” Army replied.
“Off the chopper!” ordered the policeman.
Kev looked at Sal, his eyes filled with adventure. She smiled back. They climbed into the helicopter.
“Unless you’re gonna tase and arrest all five of us, we’re going.”
“You mean all four of y’all,” Mike cut in. “I fight criminals on the ground, not in the air.”
“What’s his problem?” Sal asked.
“He’s afraid of heights,” Kev answered.
Mike smiled and shrugged.
“Stand back!” the cops told him.
The helicopter began to lift off.
“Clouds are getting darker,” Army said.
“There’s a tornado watch,” a policeman responded.
A few minutes later, they saw the crooks’ helicopter. There was a big X painted on it.
“X marks the spot,” Smooth pointed out. “Let’s get ’em!”
“The police are on our trail,” one of Pierre’s goons said.
“Not for long,” Pierre replied.
He had the pilot elevate the propellers so he could climb on top of the helicopter with his missile launcher.
“Elevated propellers,” Pierre said aloud. “Nothing like riding on top of a helicopter…with a missile launcher!”
“John, kids, hold on,” the pilot said.
“Sure thing, Ralph,” Officer John responded.
They watched Pierre as he took aim at them.
I’ve got you now,” he said. Pierre flashed an evil grin as he prepared to blast them away!
“We won’t be able to move the helicopter in time!” Officer Ralph exclaimed.
Suddenly the X-copter caught some turbulence, causing Pierre to fall down before firing the missile.
“This is getting dangerous!” Kevin said.
“Johnny, did you call for backup?” Ralph asked.
“Of course,” he responded.
“Pierre is reloading!” shouted Army.
Pierre smiled and fired the missile as Ralph tilted the helicopter to one side. The missile flew by. Ralph put extra speed on the helicopter, and they got closer to the X-copter. Suddenly Johnny pulled open the side door.
“Move in closer!” he shouted to Ralph.
Ralph moved dangerously close to the side of the X-copter. Johnny leaped onto it and climbed to the top. Now he faced Pierre. He knocked the missile launcher out of his hands.
evin was getting anxious. His mom needed him. The X-copter side door was torn off. Kevin leaped inside of the X-copter.
He somehow landed quietly. Only his mom had seen him. He ducked under some boxes marked “dynamite.”
Meanwhile, Johnny and Pierre were engaged in battle. Johnny drew his weapon. Pierre kicked it out of his hand.
Johnny swung at Pierre and missed. Pierre kicked Johnny in the stomach, and Johnny fell halfway down to Pierre’s knees. Pierre then kneed him in the mouth and put him in a headlock.
“This is amazing,” Smooth commented as he watched the men battle atop the X-copter.
Pierre continued to suffocate Johnny by tightening the headlock. Suddenly he let go of the hold. “Bye-bye now,” Pierre said.
He smiled and kicked Johnny off the helicopter!
Army was a quick thinker. He released the helicopter’s ladder and Johnny was able to grab hold of it.
“Don’t look down,” Johnny thought to himself.
Meanwhile, in the X-copter…
“Five minutes and we’re outta the city!” one kidnapper laughed.
Pierre came back into the copter.
“I saw one of those kids come in here,” he said. “And that kid is going to be no more!”
Pierre found Kevin. “Either you jump out or eat fists,” Pierre told him.
Kevin backed up toward the edge of the X-copter.
“Jump!” Pierre ordered. “And do it now!”
“Kevin!” a voice called.
Kevin turned around and saw that Smooth had a parachute in his hands. Smooth threw the parachute toward him, but he slipped in the process and fell out of the helicopter!
Meanwhile, Kevin tried to jump for the parachute, but Pierre grabbed him.
Pierre laughed as they watched Smooth fall.
“When I said jump,” he told Kevin, “I meant to your grave, not to a parachute!”
“Why did Smooth jump?” Sal shrieked.
“He didn’t. He slipped,” Army said.
“Oh no!” Smooth screamed as he plummeted from the sky. He struggled to take hold of the parachute. Finally he was able to place it around his back. Smooth pulled the cord.
“It’s not working!” he cried.
The helicopter battle continued. Pierre’s men tied up Kevin while he lit a stick of dynamite. He threw it at the police helicopter. It hit the back of Ralph’s helicopter and exploded, sending them into a tailspin.
“We’re going down!” Ralph exclaimed. “And fast!”
“Officers, don’t let us crash!” Sal screamed.
Smooth was rapidly accelerating toward the ground. He closed his eyes and continued to pull the cord. Suddenly he felt his body jerk as the parachute opened and momentarily pulled him up.
“Yes!” Smooth shouted. “I’m going to live!”
He looked around and smiled. Then he looked down.
“Uh-oh,” Smooth said. “Not water!”
Meanwhile, Army, Sal, and the officers were having problems, too.
“Ralph, you can do it.” Johnny assured him, but he was really trying to assure himself.
“It’s all over,” Sal said, closing her eyes as she leaned on Army.
Just as they almost hit the ground, Ralph managed to gain some control, but the helicopter still crashed, bouncing off the ground twice before flipping over. The propellers slammed into the ground.
“Everybody out!” Johnny ordered. “This baby’s going to blow!”
They crawled out of the helicopter and tried to run. Sal fell. Ralph scooped her off the ground as the helicopter exploded. The impact knocked Ralph into the air, and he landed on his head. Sal flew through the air, and her arm slammed into the ground. She bounced up quickly and they all rushed over to Ralph.
“His neck! He may be…” Johnny did not want to tell the kids.
Somehow Smooth managed to take off the parachute. He splashed and splashed, but soon found himself back underwater.
I can’t swim,” he kept thinking. “I can’t swim.” He tried and tried but remained underwater. Then he remembered. “I can’t swim, but I can…
Instantly Smooth let himself float to the top of the water; then he began gasping for air. A strong gust of wind created a current, allowing him to reach dry ground. Smooth coughed and gathered himself. As he looked around, he saw trees and more trees. Rain began to fall as he started walking. Thunder blared in the distance.
“I need shelter now!” he thought. He saw a small cave and ran inside.
“The nearest hospital sure wasn’t far,” Army said.
“And it’s a good thing, too,” Sal added, “Because Officer Ralph needed help. And as for Smooth—”
“I’m going to look for him, but you kids stay here,” said Johnny.
“What about Kevin?” Sal asked as a nurse wrapped her injured arm.
“Watch these kids, and do not let them go anywhere,” Johnny told the nurse. He grabbed his radio.
“I’m coming out now,” he said into the radio. “The kid fell into a forest. Hopefully we can find him before this storm picks up.”
“Smart move preparing this getaway spot for us, Boss. And it’s right near the forest where no one will come looking for us,” one of Pierre’s goons said as he peeled an orange. “Ahhhh!” he suddenly screamed. “Boss, I cut myself.”
“Stop crying,” Pierre said. “Let me look at that.”
The cut was deep.
“Now we’ve got to take this idiot to the hospital!” Pierre shouted angrily.
“If you weren’t a main part of this group, I’d throw you out! Kayo and Co-Co, come here! I want you two to guard our little ‘friends’ while the rest of us take Doug to the hospital.”
“Found the forest,” the officer told Johnny. “Now comes the hard part.”
He parked, and they entered the forest. Johnny heard a giant clap of thunder followed by lightning, which struck a tree. The tree lit up and began to burn. Johnny called for Smooth. No answer.
“Smooth! Smooth! It’s Officer John. Where are you?”
“Help!” someone screamed.
Johnny and the other officer ran in the direction of the voice with their flashlights. Soon they saw a cave.
“Wow, you found me,” Smooth said.
“Never leave a man…or kid…behind,” Johnny responded.
Suddenly a fiery branch fell to the ground. The strong winds accelerated the disaster, quickly making the fire spread. It seemed like the whole forest was on fire!
“We’ve got to get outta here!” Johnny ordered.
“Officer Jarrett, I think I see something!” Mike shouted from the backseat of a police car.
“Oh, I see it too,” the officer responded.
“Dad, it looks bad,” said Leon.
Officer Jarrett drove right into the grassy field where the police helicopter lay in shambles.
He parked, and they all got out the car for a closer look.
“It’s almost ashes,” said Leon.
“You’re right, son,” his dad responded. “But there are no bodies inside.”
“Let’s try the hospital,” Mike said.
“Finally we’re outta there,” Smooth said, exhausted.
“We need some shelter from the storm.” Johnny replied.
“How about that house?” Smooth questioned.
They rang the doorbell. To their amazement Pierre’s goon Kayo answered the door. Johnny punched him as the other officer ran into the house and faced Co-Co. Co-Co attacked him and then paused.
“Don’t tase me, nooooo!” Co-Co screamed as he fell to the floor.
Smooth ran inside and found Kevin in the kitchen with his mom. He quickly untied them.
“Glad to see you,” Kevin cheered.
“Got mine!” they heard Johnny shout from outside.
“Me, too,” the other officer added.
Kevin breathed a sigh of relief.
“Mom,” he said, “you’re safe now.”
“And you’re grounded,” she said. “Now, give me a hug!”
Leon’s dad pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. He parked beside a black van. Mike saw familiar faces.
“It’s them!” he exclaimed.
“OK,” Jarrett said. “Here’s the plan.” He handed Leon a can of pepper spray.
“What about me? Where’s my pepper spray?” Mike asked.
“’Mike, you’re going to stay in the car. You identified the bad guys. You’ve done enough,” Officer Jarrett said. Jarrett turned to his son. “The passenger door is unlocked. I’m going to open it quickly and throw the guy out. You spray him while I get the driver. One…two…three!”
Jarrett and Leon burst out of the cop car. Jarrett opened the passenger door, punched the goon in the passenger seat, flung him outside of the van, and drew his firearm on the driver, who put his hands up.
“Ahhhhh!” the other goon screamed as Leon pepper-sprayed him.
“Good work,” Mike said as he stepped out of the car. “Let’s go save my friends.”
“We’re just going to the vending machines,” Sal told the nurse.
“We’ll be right back.”
They walked down the hall and made a left. Soon they reached the vending machines.
“I only got a five,” Sal said, pulling the crumbled-up money out of her pocket. “Army, did you hear me?” Sal stopped.
Army had his hands in the air. Pierre had found them.
“I don’t know if I want to kidnap you and make some good ransom money or just destroy you both, right here, right now. Here’s the deal,” he said. “You stay silent, and you stay alive. To the elevator.”
“Freeze!” said a different voice.
Army smiled as Pierre was forced to put his hands up.
Officer Jarrett took his gun and cuffed him.
“You be silent,” he said.
“That’s Leon’s dad,” Army told Sal.
“Nice to meet you,” she said.
Then she kicked Pierre in the stomach. “You owe me a new house.”
It was one week later. The kids were meeting in Mike’s tree house.
“Man, that was the greatest adventure of all time!” Kevin said. “I’m surprised we all made it out alive!”
“It was a good one!” Army admitted, as if he done this before.
“Yes, but kinda scary at times, too,” said Sal.
“Yeah, that helicopter ride was cray cray,” Kevin said with delight. “Can’t wait for the next adventure.”
“Oh yeah, I will definitely make a song about this,” Smooth said.
“Now it’s time for a name,” Mike said.
“How about the Swag Team?” Smooth asked.
“I was serious,” Smooth said. “With that name I’d get to be the leader.”
“Yeah, ’cause you’d be by yourself,” Army said.
“Let’s be the Danger Club,” Sal offered.
“No, the Danger Kids,” Smooth countered.
“Finally he says something sensible,” Mike scoffed.
“Agreed,” Kevin chimed in.
“Now let’s all say it one time,” Mike started: “One…two…three…DANGER kids!”
Mrs. K slammed the brakes, but saw there was no way she could stop the car in time. She grabbed the steering wheel and turned it to the right, causing the car to spin three times, still veering closer to the house. Kevin closed his eyes, Smooth bit his tongue, and Mrs. K started to scream…
The car stopped right at the side of the house. Everyone took a deep breath.
“You boys okay?” asked Mrs. K.
“Perfect,” Kevin said as he smiled.
“Yea, I’m good too,” Smooth acknowledged.
Jeremy’s dad whirled his van around and faced Sal once more. But then he heard a police siren. A cop car came blazing into the picture. It was Sergeant Jarrett. He hopped out of his vehicle and drew his firearm.
“Hands up!” he yelled to Jeremy Senior. Sal watched him make the arrest as she made her way to her friends.
Kevin got out of the car and smiled at her. “We’re fine,” he said. “You good?”
Sal looked at her elbow. She had a scratch. “Oh yea,” she responded, “this scratch is nothing.”
Suddenly a woman came out of the house they had almost crashed into. Kevin’s mom went to talk to her. The kids continued to watch Jeremy’s dad get arrested. Kevin’s phone rang. He answered. It was Mike.
“Haven’t you guys been reading your smart watches?” Mike questioned Kevin. “Army’s been texting us on the group message.”
“What did he say?” Kevin asked as he checked his watch.
Sal and Smooth looked at their watches as well. They couldn’t believe what they were reading.
“I’m with Officers Ralph and Johnny,” Army had texted, “we’ve been kidnapped by some sort of ex- marine. He’s got a tank, and he’s headed for the Mayor!”
College freshmen Chris and Sean become Super C and Cool Dude, thanks to the mysterious scientist Dr. Trugin. But when a bizarre incident at a hospital makes the news; the scientist reveals is true motivation for giving them superpowers. There’s a super villain on the loose, one that Dr. Trugin created!
When Federal Agent Timothy Hughes meets with Super C and unravels more of Dr. Trugin’s mysterious past, the young hero finds out why the scientist is an outlaw, as this epic action mystery saga continues! (Coming Soon!)
From the Author
I was a twelve-year old reader of The Hardy Boys Detective Series when my love of storytelling became a road to publication. Inspired by that page turning franchise, I created one of my own: The DANGER! Kids! Twenty years later, that sixth grade composition book story became the first release of C.R.M. International Publishing. Now I’m able to use authorship as a platform to support literacy through public speaking visits. My message is simple. Reading is fun…and essential!
All the best,
Carlos R. Malbrew
Five unique friends, one classic adventure story! Lighthearted and implausible, this kids action-adventure story will amuse and delight young readers. Join best friends Kevin and Mike as they team with Army, Smooth, and Sal to become a new team of heroes....The DANGER! Kids! Kevin and Mike get way more than they bargained for when they decide to start an adventure club. While Mike recruits Army, the 11-year-old fatigues wearing son of a war hero; Kevin approaches the best young freestyler in the neighborhood, Smooth, and offers him a chance to join the fun. The boys are just getting acquainted when they spot a ‘girl wearing a red cap’ being bullied by two teenagers. They come to her aid, rescuing Sal and ironically getting rescued by her in the process. But when the kids regroup in Kevin's backyard they hear someone approach the house. Shocked, they watch as Kevin's mom gets kidnapped! The kids' mystery of finding the villain begins. Promising to: "stick together no matter what;" the new friends decide to ‘save the day’. The result is thrilling action, for both middle grade and upper elementary kids alike. Every chapter the suspense builds. From Sal's daring rescue of her own mom; to Mike's desperate escape from a ticking time bomb; to a helicopter chase for the ages; this is the chapter book that turns ordinary kids into avid readers! But The DANGER! Kids can’t save the day alone, enter Officers Ralph and Johnny as the story takes to the air! When the kids and the cops face the villainous kidnapper Pierre and his rocket launcher, the pulse-pounding adventure heats up their summer. Friendship has never been more exciting! And there's never been a children's book quite like this! Can Kevin's leadership, Mike's patience, Army's skill, Sal's toughness, and Smooth's raps turn them into heroes? This is the book that makes kids and tweens love reading, it's the origin story of 'The DANGER! Kids' Look inside!