Review–D*cked: Dark Fiction Inspired by Dick Cheney

I made a big mistake ordering D*cked. A colossal error. Thank you Dick. What I should’ve done was buy the paperback instead of the e-book. That way all the riders on DC Metro would know about my impeccable taste for elegant prose and my disdain for wicked human beings.

dickedThe real beauty about the compilation titled D*cked: Dark Fiction Inspired by Dick Cheney is that in spite of its premise, the book didn’t turn into a couple of dozen stories about trolls. What was the premise?

“No rules, no quarter. Make him a hero. Make him a perp. Make him a throwaway reference. Whatever fired the writer’s engine. All our authors had to do was craft a fictional, satirical tale inspired by the most vexing juggernaut of modern American politics — Dick Cheney.”

Yes: the troll is there (“Neighborhood Watch” by Rachel Canon). But so is the twisted, murderous perv who designs his own latex Cheney lookalike so he can run his hands up and down the former Veep’s nethers (Keith Rawson’s “The Many Loves of Arthur Snow”); so is futuristic Dick, or his statue anyway, whose reckoning becomes the subject of a high school senior prank in Jimmy Callaway’s “A Restoration of Power and Authority”; Flamethrower Dick gets it on in Greg Bardsley’s “Behind Those Yellow Rapids”.

The result is torture-fiend Dick commissioning new versions of reliable old techniques like the Strappado in Hilary Davidson’s “Necessary Evil” and music-torture-fiend Dick in Cameron Ashley’s “Codename: Balladeer” (I couldn’t help thinking about Jon Ronson’s Barney sequence in The Men Who Stare at Goats in this one, which also lands a few solid blows against the music industry’s love affair with earworms—sit down, Taylor Swift). We get superhero Dick in Mark Richardson’s “Iron Dick”, who falls victim to his own latent virility when he suddenly and unexpectedly finds it filling his tin-can death-suit.

Most surprising, most impressive to rise out of this collection are the stories that treat Dick’s impact on the 40,000 soldiers who died or were wounded serving the nation in the war Cheney and his ship of fools perpetrated. This narrative reaches an emotional pitch in Harry Hunsicker’s wide-ranging and brilliant “The Last Day” and an absurd yet plausible encounter with porn-thief Dick who does the worst thing a man can do with naked photos of Jackie O’ in Jason Duke’s “Operation Hustler: 1975”; and there is one serious hellraiser in Steve Weddle’s dark and lovely “Smoke Fades”. So much good, good writing born of such a twisted, sinister man.

I was surprised, in the end, to find myself admiring bear-fucker Dick, the protagonist in Jedidiah Ayres’ “Suck It”. We knew Dick would be a survivalist, the last cockroach standing in any situation involving nuclear fallout. But did we ever think we’d cheer for Biggus Dickus when forced to make his way through the lonely Alaskan frontier to take on Vlad and Kim on the far side of the Bering Strait?

Read D*cked and find out. And do yourself a favor: order the paperback version as a display of good taste, civility, and advertisement that you do not approve of evil.

The views expressed on this blog are my own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of my employer