“I really think I’ve got a winner this year,” said Blabberhash, waving a tentacle forearm. He was particularly large and boasted a fine variety of warts across his stout middle. Tibbins shook his dome, unconvinced. He was as thin as Blabberhash was rotund and was lacking in the warts department. However, he was a fine breeder and knew a good thing when he saw it. “It won’t be like last year will it? Your specimen’s conformation was terrible,” he gurgled. Blabberhash punched the code of his front door and nothing happened. Blabberhash swore and banged the console. The door finally disintegrated as it should and they entered, their tentacles leaving a satisfactory trail of slime behind them. “No, no – just wait, I think this year the award will be mine. ‘Course, maybe I shouldn’t be showing a fellow competitor,” Blabberhash said, regarding Tibbins suspiciously. His big gelatinous eyes bulged with indignation. “You’ll need this ‘competitor’ to stop you from making a fool of yourself,” Tibbins said. Blabberhash chuckled. They both knew Blabberhash did not care what other people thought of him. As was evidenced by his previous year’s specimen entries. The door whooshed behind them and a robotic Sani-Bot popped out of a small side cupboard, quickly collecting the slimy trail with a squeegee and bucket. Ever since the Bleebens had begun recycling their slime waste, odor had decreased significantly in the cities and they were able to cultivate a new strain of riverweed using the slime fertilizer. The weed was called Thittle and it was quite delicious. “Wait until you see it, I’ll be ready to accept apologies,” Blabberhash said, leading the way down the front hallway. His home was a highly polished chrome color and every surface gleamed. The reliable team of Sani-Bots he had hired made sure every inch was spic and span. Ever since the Sani-Bots had unionized, many Bleebens couldn’t afford them but Blabberhash insisted that their work had greatly improved since the award of repair-care benefits. And the economy had improved with the opening of several Bot Healer Clinics in the Downtown Sector. “Indeed,” said Tibbens, unconvinced. They slimed their way through the front room and down another hallway. Another door disintegrated and they entered a fine courtyard, overgrown with lush Beels and a blooming Tantacle plant, who’s angry and thorny branches reached out to them as they passed. Blabberhash batted it away with a grumble. “Don’t those Bots tend to your plants?” said Tibbens, feeling nauseated in the overpowering stench of raw meat. The Tantacle’s blossoms quivered, heavy with fizzy flies. “It’s not in their contract but I’ll be sure to include it next year. I don’t quite care for gardening as I thought. And anyway, with my concentration on my excellent breeding program this rotation, I haven’t had the time,” he said. They exited through a side door in the courtyard and Tibbens was glad of it. The smell was not quite so terrible and now he could sense the faint stench of the specimen’s waste. Blabberhash was not known for having the cleanest of operations and his specimens were not very well trained. Why, just last year one of his males had defecated on the judge’s lap. The horror! Blabberhash had laughed and had also finished in final place. Tibbens ached with the thought of it. Sometimes the work of feeling embarrassed on behalf of Blabberhash was quite exhausting. This hallway (as Bleebens were quite fond of labrynthian designs cluttered with various hallways) led directly to the “Breeding Barn” as Blabberhash affectionately called it. Tibbens thought it was a terrible name. What was wrong with the standard “Specimen Facility” name? “Here we are, the contestants from last year,” Blabberhash bellowed, flapping his tentacle toward the specimen habitats which were stacked two high and five side by side. “Don’t remind me,” Tibbens said as they passed them. Tibbens shuddered as he looked over the specimens Blabberhash had entered last year. The same ill-trained specimen that had performed the defecating feat stuck his tongue out at Tibbens and made a rude gesture with his pink, naked hand. In fact, all the specimens were mostly naked but with a faint patch of fur between their scrawny legs and under their scrawny arms. But for the gorgeous locks that grew out of their rounded heads, the specimens would be quite ugly indeed. And most of Blabberhash’s specimens were. One was far too thin and picked at its privates with relish, while another was far too fat and if it had six tentacles it would have looked very much like Blabberhash itself. All of them had lackluster locks, mostly the color of dirt, one of a disgusting orange color. Tibbens had begged Blabberhash not to enter that one but Blabberhash had, to the horror of everyone in attendance. Which was, of course, everyone who was anyone. No one missed the annual “Specimen Performance and Confirmation Exhibition.” “But here we go, a fine female,” Blabberhash said, spreading three tentacles for emphasis. Tibbens sighed and peered into the exhibit. Then he gasped. The female specimen was of good form, with swelling shapes at the chest and hips. But, although this was quite a feat for Blabberhash in itself, the female had the most beautiful yellow hair flowing from her head. Her eyes glimmered, two faint blue orbs in its fleshy face. It was one of the most beautiful things Tibbens had ever seen. He felt a strange stirring in his vascular organ. “It’s amazing. How – how did you produce this?” Tibbens finally said. Blabberhash brushed away a tear of pride and blubbered his fat lips to signal his approval of Tibbens response. “I went to the archives and began researching origins of the specimens. I happened across an especially old text that detailed how two particularly ugly specimens could produce beautiful offspring. So I decided to take Oogoo over there and cross him with Heehoo over there and see what would happen. I discovered through my research that Oogoo was of some strange tribal lineage that was known for its savage nature, so it was one of the last lines to be collected. Heehoo was of one of the docile first specimens, so I was curious what kind of offspring they would turn out,” Blabberhash said, gazing at the female with pleasure. Tibbens scoffed. “That was your method of producing her? How simpleton. You know as well as I do that the American lineage is not yet recognized by the Council because they are too savage and disgusting. No wonder Oogoo put you at last. Have you told anyone you are breaking code?” Tibbens said, feeling disgusted at his association with Blabberhash. “Well, the American lineage is soon to be accepted and if I can demonstrate that such a nice specimen can be produced, I’m sure I’ll win the organs of the Council. Especially if Teena here wins First Place,” he said with a snort. “And Heehoo is of the Norweigan line? How interesting. But I think you will be made a fool of if anyone finds you out. And it would hardly be fair for me to let you enter her knowing you’ve been unscrupulous,” Tibbens said. “Dear friend, you know I’m not the first to dabble in the illegal crosses. Don’t deny that your own Viking stud was not of the most legal acquisition,” Blabberhash said, beginning to feel annoyed with Tibbens. Tibbens waggled his tentacles in frustration. “Fine! Make a fool of yourself. Maybe I’ll just make a trip to Terra next rotation and bring back the finest stock you’ve ever seen!” snapped Tibbens. He was tired and turned away, sliming his way out of Blabberhash’s ridiculous Breeding Barn. “Feel free to try!” Blabberhash bellowed after him. He turned his attention back to Teena, who was staring at them fearfully, her big blue eyes wide with surprise. He punched a number into the console positioned next to her exhibit and the front pane disintegrated. Teena ran to him, scurrying on her two small feet. He produced a handful of pannas, the sweet fruit that grew in his courtyard, and she took one, devouring it with two bites. “Do you think they would ever suspect the truth?” he whispered to her. She looked up into his bulging eyes curiously, as though trying very hard to understand him. Blabberhash felt a surge of warmth in his vascular organ. “If they knew, I’d probably be run out and sent to Terra myself as a traitor. Forced in live in one of your bodies,” he shuddered at the thought. “But you are the finest looking specimen ever. You even have my eyes.” She placed her small hand on his tentacle as though trying to comfort him. Tears welled up in his huge gelatinous blue orbs. “I’ve always wanted a daughter,” he said. She giggled then and Blabberhash almost swooned with pride. Yes, she would win him the organs of everyone in attendance. That much could be counted upon.