WTF Weekend: Sweet Story by Carlton Mellick III

The end of the world has never been sweeter.

Sally is an odd little girl. It's not because she dresses as if she's from the Edwardian era or spends most of her time playing with creepy talking dolls. It's because she chases rainbows as if they were butterflies. She believes that if she finds the end of the rainbow then magical things will happen to her--leprechauns will shower her with gold and fairies will grant her every wish. 

But when she actually does find the end of a rainbow one day, and is given the opportunity to wish for whatever she wants, Sally asks for something that she believes will bring joy to children all over the world. She wishes that it would rain candy forever. She had no idea that her innocent wish would lead to the extinction of all life on earth.  

   

Continuing his long-running trend of Bizarro successes, Carlton Mellick III invites us to gorge ourselves on a rain of candy in Sweet Story. It's an entertaining story that's equal part bizarro horror, fairy tale homage, children's story parody, post-apocalyptic thriller, and dark morality play. Not to indulge too much in sweet allusion, but it's like the richest chocolate bar, coated in the finest candy, surrounding a core of sponge toffee . . . which hides a surprise center of the thickest, foulest, most horrifying medicine.

It all begins, innocently (and weirdly) enough with a young girl, her chubby admirer, and a chase through the blurry side of town to find the end of the rainbow. Because this is fantasy, they actually do find the end. Because this is parody, the leprechaun turns out to be actual a dirty old homeless man. Because this is Bizarro, he's actually a rainbow pirate, and he offers the children one wish each.

Little Timmy Taco wishes he and Sally could be married forever, while little Sally Sandwich wishes it would rain candy forever.

Oh, and her pet turtle wishes he could fly . . . which he does.

Since "be careful what you wish for" is the oldest kick in the teeth fairy tales have ever offered us, it's no great surprise that none of those wishes turn out well for anyone. Just imagine what might happen if it were to rain candy instead of water, with jawbreakers and hard candy approaching terminal velocity as they plummet from the sky, and you can imagine the kind of sweet, sticky, bloody, catastrophic damage that ushers in the end of the world.

Carrying us into post-apocalyptic horror is a goth sister (who is very much an older, darker mirror of Sally), a spiteful mother (who drinks almost as much as she bitches and whines), a disturbingly creepy dad (who smiles and laughs at everything, no matter how horrible and grim, and does so without the slightest sense of irony), and a bunch of talking toys (who have an odd predilection towards torture and murder). The fact that talking toys come last in that list tells you a lot about how twisted and bizarre this story is.

By the end of Sweet Story, Mellick has abandoned us in a world of cannibalistic madmen whose teeth rotted out long ago, alongside two kids who learn the hard way what "till death do you part" means in the context of a wish to be married forever. It's a fantastic tale that goes wrong at every turn, but which does so with fairy tale style and childish flare. Just don't blame Mellick if you come away from it soured on both candy and marriage.


Paperback: 120 pages
Published: July 1, 2014
Published by: Eraserhead Press

The WTF Weekend gang is group of readers and reviewers who enjoy Weird, Taboo, and Forbidden fiction that is most definitely NSFW. Join us every Saturday and Sunday for more twisted tales . . . and if you have a review to contribute, please contact us!

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