Mongoose & the Animal Sanctuary Squad Present:

The Mystery of the Stranded Llama




Mongoose was the ultimate Renaissance woman/mongoose. Always helpful and kind, she got many calls from the neighbors requesting her special services.

»Hello, Agent Mongoose!» she answered brightly.

»Yes, um this is Pippa Johnson. I heard you can help me,» the voice was shaky.

»Sure, ma’am! Whatcha need? I’ve got power tools, a Swiss army knife, a chainsaw, and a makeup kit. No task is too big or too small for this mongoose!»

»Well. Doggone it if he ain’t gone and done it ‘gain. He’s a hairy lump of a beast, but he’s my beast, y’all know?» the caller explained. »I’m getting’ ‘head of mahself. My name’s Hickory and I live down the lane. You might know my rooster, Rusty. He’s French.»

»Oh, hey Mr. Hickory! Yeah, I know that rooster. He cockles on down to my yard sometimes and hangs out with Greyhound, Cassavetes. I caught him riding on my dog once, if you’ken believe it.»

»What in the mother of pearl, that’s incredible. Well, I guess that’s the French for ya. Anyway, my hairy lump of a beast ain’t Rusty. It’s my llama.»

Mongoose chomped into her apple. »Does he like to eat cowboy beans?» she asked.

»I don’t rightly know, ma’am. I know he likes to talk a lot. I ‘ont ever listen though,» Hickory replied.

»Is this llama giving you problems? Would you like me to eradicate ‘im for ya? I run a full-fledged varmint-riddin’ service. I even bagged a bear once; took a swipe at me, but I lured him away like a pied piper with a big ole vat of honey, don’tcha know.»

»I done heard about that and I was fixin’ to ask yer if that was true! Dad blame it, if that the most sparkin’ thing I ever done heard!» Hickory said.

Mongoose switched the phone to her other ear and poked at the frosting on a cupcake.

»Anyway, Miss Mongoose, my llama is stuck in a tree! He fancies himself the Grand Poobah of Tree-Climbing, but this time he done got stuck!»

»What, that’s crazy! Llamas don’t climb trees! Do they?» Mongoose asked.

»’ell, this one does. Can you help me get him down?» Hickory asked.

»Sure thing, I’ll be over lickety split.»



Mongoose put on her tool belt and grabbed her gearbox. She plaited her hair to keep it out of her face, and secured it with a green bow. Pulling on some functional yet cute boots, she hurried out the door and down the lane.

When Mongoose arrived at Hickory’s, a chaotic scene further erupted into chaos as she was bum-rushed.

»Miss Mongoose, Miss Mongoose, help us at once!» all the animals chattered.

»This used to be an Animal Sanctuary Squad, but now it’s an Animal ...Dissanctuary Squad,» said a flightless bird with teeth.

»If you are a publisher, author, or advertiser who would like to learn more about our premium advertising offerings, including our customized book launch packages, please fill out the form below to receive a media kit,» said a rather handsome wombat.

»Well, if that’s not a non-sequitur, I don’t rightly know what is!» Mongoose said to herself. She laid out her tools.

»Hello, Mr. Llama! My name is Mongoose! I’m here to save you!»

»I don’t need help. I’ve got this totally under control. Kindly leave me a snack and vamoose; that is vacate; in otherwords, scat. If you please: SCRAM!»

»No need for such a temper on ya,» Mongoose said sweetly. »Don’t be afraid to accept help!»

She laid out a small trampoline and hollered up at the llama to jump.

»Jump, llama, jump!»

He shook his head vigorously.

»C’mon, jump down onto the trampoline; it’s quite safe!» she assured him.

At that moment a very irate and disgruntled porcupine walked under the trampoline. His spiny needles gouged a rips in the trampoline mat from pillar to post.

»Time for Plan B,» Mongoose said, determined.

Using a grappling hook to secure it, she threw up a rope ladder around a branch near the llama’s head.

»Climb down this, verbose hairy beast of spitting propensity!» she yelled up to him.

»I won’t; that is: I decline; in other words: I refuse; indeed, I shall not,» the llama replied.

»Oy vey,» thought Mongoose. »He’s a tricky sort.»

About this time, a lovely and rare English tiger happened upon the scene and began to chase some of the chickens. They flew back into the solace of their coop, while the big cat rampaged. During this onslaught, the little tiger chomped through Mongoose’s rope ladder.

»Daaaaang,» she said. »Sometimes there aren’t tools in one’s kit to solve the problem. You gotta just use the ole noodle to come up with a solution instead.»

Mongoose saw a hedge owl sitting on the cow-catchin’ fence.

»Afternoon, ma’am. I am not sure if you have surveyed this scene, but I am trying to get this ornery cuss outta this tree. I was wonderin’ if you’d do me a kindness and help me out with this mission,» Mongoose asked the Hedge Owl.

»You better believe I will,» the Hedge Owl said, who had known the llama for a long time.

»Could you fly up to the branch he’s on and ask him what his least favorite recording artist is?» the Mongoose asked nicely.

The hedge owl agreed although she didn’t understand how this would help.

»Ready?» Mongoose asked.

»I was born ready,» replied the owl.

The Hedge Owl flew up to the treed llama and spoke with him at length. Mongoose took a moment to groom her tail while she waited.

After a few moments, the hedge owl flew back down to Mongoose. She whispered the answer into Mongoose’s ear.

»That’s my least favorite recording artist as well. I bet ole Hickory us out,» Mongoose said.

Mongoose went into the farmhouse and came back with a boombox. Putting in some earplugs for proper safety and sanity, she rested it on the picket fence and blasted it up toward the stranded llama.

Rackety music about an »invisible touch» boomed from the stereo and shook the tree. The llama, quite distressed, fell right out of the tree, but barrel rolled in order to break his fall.

»Ugh, that is quite unpleasant; that is noisome; in other words: disgraceful,» he replied and went over to the watering trough.

»Wow, you did it!» Hickory shouted.