Don't go into
the Long Grass


“Welcome to Don’t Go into the Long Grass.” The pet store salesman smiled at the young couple, who had
stepped hesitantly into the shop. “With over one thousand stores worldwide, our advanced cloning and genetic
engineering techniques make us the premier exotic pet dealer in the world. We are here to serve your needs and
desires in selecting your pet.”

“We’re just looking,” the young woman said.

“Of course, of course.” He smiled at the petite woman with the dark hair and eyes. “Take your time. We have
several different animals available which can be purchased and taken home immediately, or you can browse our
catalogue of species and options.”

“Thank you.” The young man nodded.

“My name is Michael, if you have any questions or need additional information. The available pets are in the
display room, and the catalogue can be accessed at any terminal. Call me if you need anything.” The salesman’s
image wavered, then vanished.

“Martin, are you sure about this?”

“Of course, Dianne. Anyone can have a dog or cat, but how many people can own a previously extinct animal?”

“But they can be dangerous,” she said. “And what about…?” Her hand went to her abdomen.

The salesman reappeared. “With our advanced genetic engineering techniques, we have been able to diminish the
aggressive nature of the animals we have available.”

Martin and Dianne both jumped slightly, then turned to look at the salesman.

“My apologies. I didn’t mean to startle you. This is a common question that comes up from people who are
looking for the truly exotic. If I may ask, what kind of animal are you thinking about?”

“He’s the one thinking about it. I personally would prefer something a little less…exotic,” Dianne said.

“I’m looking for a velociraptor,” Martin said.

The salesman took a step back, the image wavering. “Velociraptor? Those are on the government’s restricted list.”

“That’s a shame,” Dianne said, offering Martin a smile. “Guess we’ll have to decide on something else.” She
paused and glanced at the salesman. “Why are they restricted?”

“Like many of the animals on the restricted list, velociraptors are considered to be intelligent. For a complete list
of the animals prohibited or restricted from sale as exotic pets, please visit one of the terminals.”

“But I’ve heard of people who were able to acquire velociraptors,” Martin said.

“Unfortunately, as a licensed and regulated exotic pet shop, we are not able to supply you with one. Unless you
would like to check out the pets we are legally able to offer, I’m afraid we can’t help you. Don’t Go into the
Long Grass operates within the restrictions placed by the government. If you want to venture outside of those
restrictions—going into the long grass, so to speak—we will not be able to help you.”

The salesman vanished.

“Come on, Dianne.” Martin reached for her hand.

“Look, I know you wanted a velociraptor, but let’s at least see what they offer.” She pointed to the display room.
“If you want something previously extinct, how about a Scimitar Cat?”

“It’s just a cat,” Martin said. “They’ve made them no more dangerous than domestic house cats. I want
something that can actually be dangerous.”

Dianne stopped and spun around. “Why? What is your fascination with having a pet that might turn around and
kill you?”

“I want something I actually have to form a bond with. That I have to respect and earn its respect, as well. I don’
t want something that has been programmed to be safe and fun.”

“Excuse me.” Another customer walked up to them. “You might consider visiting this place.” He handed Martin a
card, then turned and left.

“Jurassic Exotics,” Martin said, reading the card. “Truly exotic pets for the adventurous pet owner.”

“Does it list an address?” Dianne asked.

“Yes.” Martin flipped the card over. “It’s about ten miles outside the city.”

Dianne sighed, then shook her head. “Okay, let’s go.”