The Mongoose by Melissa Llanes Brownlee

The Mongoose took out a semi today according to the uncles and aunties. There was a blurry brown streak under the front wheel and the rig skipped over the edge of the embankment, taking out the guardrail, crushing all the trees and bushes in its path as it rolled down the slope, the attached container bursting, pallets loaded with toilet paper, fresh off the boat, trying to escape. No one saw how it happened but everyone knew it was The Mongoose.

You had to be careful on the roads. It was better to let a mongoose pass and possibly get a fender bender than to run it over and total your car and maybe yourself. Sometimes, after a few drinks, the aunties and uncles would talk about its origins. Some of the uncles thought it saw its parents die, killed by an unwary motorist, and, in its rage and sadness, became this immovable being. Some of the aunties thought it was just so tired of humanity that it liked to see how much chaos it could cause by hurtling its improbably strong body under any and all tires it could.

We liked to play mongoose roulette. We’d drive with the lights off on our dark mountain roads. It really wasn’t much of a risk. They actually hunted during the day. We were more likely to fly off the edge of the road than hit a mongoose, let alone The Mongoose. We still liked the thought of testing our luck. We figured if we miss it or it missed us, it would probably be a good weekend, if not, what better way to go, we’d laugh to ourselves as we drank and smoked, parked along our dead-end streets.


Melissa Llanes Brownlee (she/her), a native Hawaiian writer living in Japan, has work published and forthcoming in The RumpusFractured LitFlash FrogGigantic SequinsCream City ReviewCincinnati Review miCRoIndiana ReviewThe ASP BulletinCraftswamp pinkPinch and Moon City Review, and honored in Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, and Wigleaf Top 50. Read Hard Skin from Juventud Press and Kahi and Lua from Alien Buddha. She tweets @lumchanmfa and talks story at