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First off I’m going to point out that while I enjoy black comedy, I also enjoy reading books on the bus and this cover art is kind of limiting the places where it is acceptable to read this.
I’m still new to this author but he’s fast proving to be a great purveyor things messed up beyond belief. This title story is either a long story or a short novella, and despite being around fifty pages long there is a huge amount of ground covered. Nothing makes any sense and there is a great, great wealth of crazy crap going on. The root point of The Traveling Dildo Salesman is that door to door sales is horrible work, and Donihe inflates that horror and makes it ludicrous. I laughed hard.
In this story, a door to door salesman named Ralph has the worst possible product to sell and, despite supposed signs from God that tell him which house to go to, he is met with the near universal horror that you expect a man selling dildos on your porch to receive. At first you don’t want to hear that the dildos are actually living things, but after Ralph kills one for trying to escape you know things can’t get any weirder. Then they do, anyway.
The other stories are shorter, and two of them are batshit zombie stories. Living Room Zombies has some acid aficionados trying to get some harmless zombies to do drugs, and the absolutely freakish story The Helen Mower has the most fucked up resurrection logic I’ve ever encountered. To bring his wife back to life, the husband skins her corpse and puts his lawnmower inside it. This creates the Helen Mower, who is a superior woman in every regard, even in bed. The things people think up, I tell you.
Of the other three stories, there’s the ultra shorts Milky Agitation and Revenge of the Living Masturbation Rag, in which inanimate objects gain consciousness. These two stories follow the same theme, and I preferred the former because the latter gets gross fast. It was not a story made for easy thinking. The last story is Two-Way Santa, which is the least weird of all the stories and kind of sticks out because of it. But the contrast adds some balance to the rest of the shenanigans.
It’s a mixed bag, all in all, but it’s extremely funny.