A Beast of Several Meanings

Alexander Hammil is (somehow) the owner of a pet store and they want him to take all the pet snakes.

“I don’t want a handful of snakes,” objects Alex, perhaps not unreasonably, regarding the bunch of hissing wigglers with confusion if not distaste.

“I’m sorry,” oozes the clerk, “you don’t have a choice. It’s pet store law.”

“Pet store law? Beg pardon, I am unfamiliar with pet store law.”

“Oh, any pets that are unable to be sold are the responsibility of the owner.”

“That’s me.”

“That’s you!” The clerk holds the snakes out again. “So they’re yours now.”

“Well, if it’s pet store law,” Alex begins, and reaches for them, a cunning plan beginning to take shape in his brain.

“And don’t even think about just turning them loose,” warns the clerk. “If you’ve got any half-baked plans taking shape in your brain along those lines, just forget ’em. Letting pets into the wild is a felony in California, you know.”

“I… don’t think that’s how felonies work,” protests Alex, but his hands are already full of unloved garter snakes. He sighs. “Well, come on then, guys. We’ll figure something out.”

“Thanksssssss,” they hiss, almost but not quite in unison. It’s less reassuring than it might be.

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