The Foolhardy Four

by Gordon Dioxide

This is a story about four friends.

They were known as The Foolhardy Four, because they were a bit careless and didn't plan things properly.

They were all ten years old, making them 40 in total.

Let me introduce them:

Scarlett was the leader. She called herself Sensible Scarlett, but she was anything but sensible.

Oliver was big, strong and good at sport. At least that's what he thought.

Chloe thought she was a scientist, but most of her experiments ended in disaster.

Angadoon was the quiet one. He didn't say much, but what he did say usually made a lot of sense.

One day, Scarlett called a meeting of The Foolhardy Four in her garden shed.

She wanted ideas for their next adventure.

Sporty Oliver suggested that they organise an Olympics for all the children in the neighbourhood.

Chloe the Scientist suggested that they build a rocket, in order to become the first children to land on Mars.

Angadoon suggested that they tidy up the shed.

Scarlett listened to their suggestions, thought for a moment, and then declared:

"Nonsense! All of your ideas are nonsense! I seem to be the only one that ever talks sense. That's why they call me Sensible Scarlett".

"Nobody calls you that" said Chloe. "And what is your sensible idea?"

"My idea is that we should build an electric car and drive around the world in it!" she replied.

Oliver and Chloe thought this was an excellent idea. Angadoon wasn't so sure.

But, being foolhardy, the four friends set to work immediately, without any research and without any planning.

There were lots of old bits and pieces scattered about the shed, and Chloe started to assemble them into something that she thought looked like a car.

They used wood, metal, plastic, string, glass, bricks and cardboard, and stuck everything together with Very Strong Glue.

The wheels were taken from some old bicycles they found at the back of the shed.

"We've recycled the cycles!" joked Oliver, but nobody laughed.

"You've recycled that joke" said Chloe. Everybody laughed, except Oliver.

They painted the car orange and named it the Green Ghost.

You won't be surprised to hear how little thought they gave to the naming and to the painting.

But there was one thing missing: power. Being an electric car, it needed a battery. A big battery.

"We don't have a big battery" said Scarlett "but there are lots of small batteries in the house, and lots of small things can make one big thing".

So they sneaked into the house and removed the batteries from every electrical device they could find: torches, phones, laptops, cameras, remote controls, smoke detectors, electric toothbrushes, toys, clocks, Dad's shaver and Mum's cordless drill.

Basically, Scarlett's parents were about to discover that their house had returned to the Dark Ages.

But The Foolhardy Four didn't care about that.

They now had a working electric car, and, without making any plans whatsoever, they set off on their trip around the world.

"Do you think we have enough battery power to turn this car into a rocket?" asked Chloe "Then we could fly to Mars or Venus or somewhere like that".

"No, definitely not" said Angadoon.

So off they went, in a westerly direction, with Oliver at the steering wheel.

They knew that if they kept heading West, they would eventually end up back where they started.

After six hours they arrived at a beach. Beyond the beach was an ocean. A big one. Probably the Pacific or the Atlantic or something like that.

This was a serious problem. Their electric car was an electric car, and not an electric boat. So it was quite incapable of travelling on water.

"This is what happens when you don't plan things properly" said Angadoon.

"Stop being so sensible" said Sensible Scarlett "we're not going to let a little ocean ruin our adventure. I think the Green Ghost will float".

"I don't" said Angadoon. "It's made of metal and bricks and heavy stuff like that".

"Yes, but it's also made of plastic and wood and light stuff like that" said Scarlett. "Drive on Oliver!"

So the four foolhardy friends sped across the beach, heading towards the deep and wild sea.

Closer and closer they got. They could smell the salt. They could feel the wind and the waves crashing onto the shore.

The dangerous situation was getting more and more dangerous.

But suddenly the car stopped, just inches short of the water.

"Oh no, the batteries have run out!" shouted Oliver.

"What a disaster!" cried Scarlett and Chloe.

But Angadoon gave a satisfied smile. He realised that their lives had just been saved. And he was the reason they were saved, as he had just pulled the wire from the batteries!

Just then, Chloe noticed that the wire was disconnected. So she plugged it back into the batteries and the car started up again. Onwards they went, into the dangerous ocean!

And guess what happened?

That's correct, the car floated!

Scarlett was right. The plastic and wood made it light enough to float.

The car floated, but Oliver didn't. He was too big and too heavy, and he didn't know how to swim, and he fell into the water.

Angadoon quickly threw him some string and tied the other end to the Green Ghost.

Oliver was able to grab the string, and was now being towed along by the fast-moving car. Or maybe it was now a fast-moving boat.

The two girls and the one boy managed to pull Oliver back into the boat-car, and they were all safe.

When I say safe, I mean they were on a fragile home-made raft contraption in the middle of a huge ocean. And a storm was blowing up. And it was getting dark.

So this wasn't exactly the safest situation imaginable.

Just when it seemed that things couldn't get any worse, things did get a whole lot worse.

The batteries ran out! And this time they really did run out. It was nothing to do with Angadoon. The Green Ghost had no more power, and they were adrift in the ocean!

They drifted all night, and the storm blew harder and harder.

They got colder and colder and wetter and wetter and tireder and tireder.

Eventually they fell asleep, only to be immediately woken by a loud crash of thunder.

"The Green Ghost has been struck by lightning!" shouted Chloe "And the lightning has recharged the batteries!"

"Hip Hip Hip Hooray!" shouted the other three.

So onwards they went on their journey, across the deep blue sea.

The next problem they faced was pirates, so Scarlett ordered Oliver to ram the Green Ghost into the pirate ship at full speed.

This made a big hole in the side of the ship and it quickly sank, along with Captain Bloodhands and his crew of unpleasant pirates.

"We're indestructable!" cried Captain Scarlett.

The Very Strong Glue was doing a good job.

But then they came under attack from a pair of angry octopuses.

There were 16 long tentacles reaching out of the water, trying to grab the four children. That's four tentacles per child.

Come to think of it, there may have been just one octopus, but with 16 tentacles.

It was difficult to tell in all the commotion.

"Throw stuff at them!" ordered Scarlett.

That was another good idea. They threw bricks and glass and bits of cardboard. The octopuses didn't mind being hit by the cardboard, but the bricks and glass were really annoying and they disappeared back to the bottom of the sea.

"Three cheers for Scarlett and her brilliant leadership!" shouted Oliver, but the other three ignored him because they'd just noticed that a Grotty White Shark was now attacking the Green Ghost.

The shark was mean and the shark was hungry. And the Foolhardy Four would make a lovely meal.

"Got any more ideas?" screamed Chloe.

"No, sorry" said Scarlett "I think we're really doomed this time!"

The shark then launched itself out of the water, jaws open wide, and aiming for Chloe's left arm!

Chloe shrieked. Scarlett screeched. Oliver screamed.

Angadoon stayed quiet.

He pulled the wire from the batteries again, and hurled himself forward towards the shark, plunging the electric wire into the mouth of the unpleasant fish.

This caused the shark to suffer a massive electric shock, sending him back to the bottom of the sea.

"Hooray for Angadoon, the hero!" shouted Scarlett, and Chloe and Oliver very much agreed!

"We've survived man-overboard, lightning, pirates, octopuses and sharks" said Oliver "nothing is going to stop us now!"

And he was right. The Foolhardy Four went on to circumnavigate the globe three times.

They only meant to do it once, but didn't know when to stop.

The octopuses, sharks and pirates didn't give them any more trouble. They all learnt that you should never mess with the Foolhardy Four.

Back home, Scarlett had to explain to her Mum and Dad about all the missing batteries.

"And why did you four kids go on such a foolhardy adventure?" asked Mum.

"Because we're the Foolhardy Four, and you've got to have a dream" replied Captain Sensible. "If you don't have a dream, how are you going to have a dream come true?"

Oliver organised a local Olympics competition, and won the gold medal in every event except swimming.

Chloe built an electric rocket and became the first girl to travel to Neptune. She is still up there now, trying to figure out how to get back to Earth.

And Angadoon tidied up the shed.

Now it's time for some questions:

1. What were the names of the Foolhardy Four?

2. What colour was the Green Ghost?

3. What sort of glue did they use?

4. What was the captain of the pirate ship called?

5. Where is Chloe now?