It was a crisp day on the planet Womp, the purplish sky crystal clear. The game was about to begin and excitement sizzled across Hoag’s Stadium. A crowd had been gathering since the night before, the parking lot brimming with star trailers, recreational ships, and the galactic riffraff that tend to operate such machinery. The stands were full of spectators cradling bowls of steaming Grunk and mugs of Toxic Sludge brand beverage. (Many had purchased Sludge Lite for an additional fee but failed to realize that the only difference was a ploy of marketing. Their wallets were lighter, at least.)
A horn blew and attention turned to the stadium’s oval center. Breeg knelt on the ground, her scaly green chin brushing the soft blades of wompgrass as she leaned in for a better view. Her challenger sat to her right, his one glowing orange eye glued to the action ahead. Directly across from the two stood a Government Certified Umpire, a track stretching three meters between them. Breeg studied her entry in the day’s race, a glorious invertebrate she’d raised from an egg. Now in its adulthood, at full stretch it was no longer than an earthling’s pinky finger. 40 soft cerata protruded from its slimy back, each one beautifully lined with a neon blue glow. It had the look of a champion, and thus far it had been one in every bout. The slugs were evenly matched, though, and the challenger looked hungry for an upset.
The Umpire raised his top right tentacle.
The crowd stilled. Breeg’s three hearts pounded in her auditory orifices.
A breeze played over the wompgrass, wompy pollen floating gently into the sky.
The Umpire dropped his tentacle and the race was on! The crowd cheered wildly as the two slugs leapt onto the track, their movement’s equally graceful and glacial. Breeg held her breath as her creature began its path to victory. She watched its movements, mentally calculating the probability of a 32nd win. At its front two long tentacles reached out toward the victory line. She sat back on her heels, satisfied with her odds and ready to wait out the rest of the race in a more comfortable position.
Four days later a violent rain poured into the stadium. The last of the Grunk had been served, the remaining Sludge watered down to the point that it would hardly cause any side effects at all. Still Breeg and the challenger waited. The slugs had trudged forward day and night (except for a few minutes when a werecat dragged two spectators across the track. There was a short break while the surface was cleaned. The spectators will be remembered fondly, probably.)
The slugs neared the finish line and a hush again fell over the soaking crowd. Breeg drew in a sharp breath as the creatures reached the final stretch. For an aching hour all eyes were on the finish line until the first pair of tentacles breached the paint at the end of the track. Victory! Victory for the reigning champion! Breeg swept up her slug and gave its squishy face a heartfelt kiss. The crowd cheered as the challenger was shot out of the loser’s canon. The rain became an afterthought as all but the poor challenger celebrated a very fine day in the thrilling sport of slug racing.
Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt: Competition (OK, loosely inspired.) This is a work of fiction, which probably goes without saying. No slugs were harmed in the making of this short story.