Book: Raping the Gods
Author: Brian Whitney
Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: This book is the paper equivalent of that asshole you knew in college who drunk-called you at 2:00 in the morning to tell you about how he beat up Chuck Norris, had sex with a Victoria’s Secret model and wrecked his Lamborghini after inhaling epic quantities of cocaine.
Type of Book: For fuck’s sake, this book best be fiction, but I worry that large chunks probably aren’t.
Availability: Published by Strawberry Books in 2015, you can get a copy here:
Comments: Jesus, this book. This is another book I read out loud to Mr OTC at bedtime until he begged me to stop, and he didn’t beg me to stop because the book isn’t funny and compelling, but rather because he needed to get some sleep. Pretty much each paragraph in this book has a golden sentence, a laugh-out-loud portion that makes this book the sort that goes by quickly in one sitting.
Quick synopsis: Bryan Whitney (the character, not the author, a trend I’ve made note of lately wherein authors give characters their writing names) is a profligate and depraved writer. He is contacted by Dylan, a completely insane and utterly drugged reprobate, who wants Brian to write about him. You see, Dylan, a man of many unlikely stories, claims to have met God and raped Him.
Brian needs the money and agrees to do it, but, because Dylan is a lunatic, this is not going to be without some trouble. Dylan lives in Samoa with two female sex slaves, which makes it hard to travel, so Brian is going to have to fly out to Samoa. But before he can fly out there, Dylan makes difficult demands that Brian struggles to meet. Brian fields numerous phone calls and e-mails from Dylan, eventually flies to Samoa and meets the sex slaves who are very willing accessories to Dylan’s life, and more or less exists in the same “WTF” realm as the reader until the novel ends happily, in a way.
This is not an intricate plot, but the characters are interesting in a really fucked-up way and that helps. The reason to buy and read this book is to revel in how well Whitney writes the absurd and recreates the cadence of the speech of the damned. This is a hilarious book, and the absurd humor allows a more squeamish reader to stomach some of the more outre content. But hopefully no one squeamish is reading this site.
Brian Whitney, the character, is a writer struggling to make a living and has ghostwritten biographies of washed up porn actresses. He’s not the sort of dude who can handle a day job while writing because, much like me, he’s just not cut out for real jobs:
I had this part time job at one point working for AAA where I answered roadside assistance calls. I got fired for hanging up on people. I would do it in the middle of when I was talking so it looked like an accident. I did it whenever I couldn’t figure something out on the computer system they had. I hate looking like an idiot.
So inevitably those who cannot work day jobs end up running underutilized websites or ghost writing for porn actresses or assorted members of Motley Crüe. Dylan, a fan of one of the actresses, makes a strange demand of Brian: in order to be given the job of writing Dylan’s biography, Brian must arrive in Samoa with a photo of the porn star naked. Naked while wearing a moose hat.
The porn star in a moose hat isn’t the most depraved part of this story but it gives us a good idea of the sort of dude Brian is – he’s not a man who is often ethically challenged. He does try to wriggle out of it but Dylan won’t hear of it and overnights a supply of Rohypnol to Brian so that the writer can get the job done.
And because Brian is a reprobate, he does get the job done.
The photos themselves were a bit of a letdown. I was wasted and it was a total pain in the ass to take off all her clothes. It was harder than I thought it would be. I mean of course I was turned on a little, I gave her ass a few proprietary slaps here and there, but for the most part it was just clothes off, moose hat on, pose her body this way and that, take some photos, clothes back on.
I share this passage mainly because it was nice to know that Brian was not so well-versed in removing the clothes from an unconscious woman that stripping the porn star was, you know, easy. And what was Dylan’s response to receiving those photos? I don’t know. Maybe he didn’t respond. I can’t recall because this book really is a collection of drunken bullshit stories that half the time don’t even try to sound sane.
As an aside, of course Brian knows Dylan didn’t rape the gods or a God or anything that isn’t a human female. Early on it’s clear that Dylan is not just full of shit, but also possibly completely insane. Take this story he tells Brian via e-mail (and it’s just one of many stories in that one e-mail and just one of many stories in this entire book – all of Dylan’s stories are the price of admission):
I remember the first time I saw him he was eating the intestines of a live waitress at Bull Feeneys. He dipped them in the orange sauce between bites, you know the kind they do with the chicken fingers. He then performed a pretty amazing surgery right there on the table, he took about half of his own intestines (don’t forget we each have like 3 miles in us or something like that) and replaced hers with his. It was kind of a gross M.C. Escheresque deal, because her intestines were in his being digested and… well, you can imagine how trippy it was at the time. Anyway, he stitched her up and asked her out right then. She of course said yes, they fucked right on the spot, and ended up getting married 14 months later.
Who is Dylan discussing in this vignette? It doesn’t matter. Almost none of the people he talks about matter and most of them do not exist.
Jesus, it sort of sounds tiresome but the Dylan Monologues, for the right sort of reader, are hilarious. Luckily I am that sort of reader. I’ll get to what it is that Brian walks into when he arrives in Samoa but for the moment I just want to share the meandering diary entries, e-mails, and conversations this literary lunatic who got so stoned he thought he raped godhead spews at every chance.
Here’s a snippet Dylan wrote to introduce his high school diary (spoiler – he repeatedly nails a sloppy MILF named Mrs Johnson), as well as his instructions as to how he wants his biography to read when Brian is finished:
As I said, I wrote these in high school. I don’t care though. It doesn’t all have to be new material. I sort of want this to be a book and kind of emo. Like Donnie Darko meets the Graduate with a little Alex Chilton thrown in with some Kafka. Also I want it to be street. Kind of like KRS-1 meets Ice-Cube, but the nice Ice-Cube that was in Barbershop 2, not the one that hung out with Ren and talked about killing people. That stuff doesn’t play as well as it used to.
Some of the stories don’t need context.
I am so sick of the scene around here. It’s nothing but fucking L.L. Bean wearing assholes named Brad and brewpubs with beers named after the seasons. It’s the kind of town where chicks with tight asses jog along with baby carriages. Even the whores aren’t ugly. Everyone’s all into fucking emo, Abercrombie and knitting clubs.
Strangely, even the stories that need context don’t really need context.
So I get there and right away I can tell something is off. Last time she gave me like a hoodie and a 25 dollar gift certificate to Applebee’s though, so I’m gonna ride this shit out. As soon as I get in there she’s all, “Yay Daddy is home, let me take your briefcase!” and “Did you have a hard day? I wish you could sit down and relax but the baby has been very bad and I think you are going to have to spank him while I watch,” and all this shit. So I’m thinking she just wants to watch me make the bald guy cry but no dude she takes me in the bedroom and who do I see but Mr. Fucking Johnson. Wearing a diaper.
So anyway I did it. I mean I fucking did it for hours. He was screaming and crying and Mrs. Johnson was like yelling, “Bad Baby, Bad Baby” and I’m spanking him and all like, “I work all fucking day and come home to this shit!”
When I left I just walked around and shit. I ended up going down to the wharf and just like sitting and thinking about my life and what it had become until the sun came up. Tonight’s going to rock though. I’m like so totally going to Applebee’s.
I hate to think what it reveals about me that I think this is hilarious. That this ridiculous teenager got roped into being a sexual accessory for this strange couple and that he’s ultimately okay with it because he can order some artichoke dip later that night. But I remind myself that Dylan is a liar and that NONE OF THIS HAPPENED ANYWAY, RIGHT BRIAN? and I feel less like a degenerate myself.
If you’re looking for the story about Dylan raping the Gods you’re gonna have to buy the book.
So Brian makes it to Samoa (but not before he ends up hearing a completely unrelated stranger’s bizarre story on the plane. Brian attracts weirdos who want to tell him their life stories like Mr OTC does – seriously, if there is a dude who once fell off a roof and has an interesting theory about the Kennedy assassination and needs to talk about it in a combination tobacco/porn shop, or a sobbing truck stop waitress who just got news her ex-husband was paroled from prison, they will find my husband and I will end up hanging out in unsavory places while Mr OTC nods sympathetically and asks questions that prolong the conversations because he is genuinely interested in these people and their often hapless and no-knock-warrant-filled lives, and this sympathetic nature is also why we have so many fucking cats, but enough about us) and meets Dylan. Did I mention Dylan has two sex slaves? Because he does and because Brian sees them and interacts with them at least we know this part of this fictional story happened, in the framework of the novel, you know? Staci is a big, tall girl, somewhat masculine but still attractive. She’s also the only interesting woman in the book so pay attention when she gets page time. Staci’s not sure exactly how she came to be Dylan’s sex slave – it just sort of happened. Rita, the other sex slave, is a piece of furniture, as in:
“Please place your backpack on Rita.”
Being around Dylan in Samoa is exhausting. Brian is low on patience and is tired. But we still get little snippets of Dylan’s mind that keep the book flowing, though it’s hard to really flow when a character is the living embodiment of the Guns ‘n Roses’ lyric, “With your bitch slap rappin’ and your cocaine tongue you get nothing done!”
For example, the series of events that led Dylan to the sort of shaman who gave him the drugs that enabled him to rape the gods is an all too common precursor to shitty things happening: boredom.
…the whole time I’m thinking there has to be something more. I mean there fucking has to be, right? It’s great doing coke and sitting around trying to see how many things I can find in the house that I can put into Rita’s ass. It’s great! But that can’t be all there is. Listen, here’s a fact. Currently there are 33 things in the house that I know of, which can fit up there. And I haven’t given up yet. I’m still looking. But I get kind of tired of that kind of thing. It’s stupid. There has to be something more. Then one night I met Afasa. He’s an important guy. He’s one of those connectors you read about, knows everybody, has his fat little fingers in everywhere. He told me about this secret vision quest that the locals do, which they don’t let outsiders attend.”
And I have to stop right here because this passage wherein everything begins to get spelled out for us is immediately interrupted by Dylan’s fractured mind as he goes off on a meandering tale about the traditional barbecue the locals prepare. Also bear in mind that Staci flat out told Brian that Samoans don’t engage in vision quests. But Brian is tired, bordering on stunned – he had met Dylan, betrayed a porn star, flown to Samoa on a flight where a deranged man talked about Charley Pride and now is in Dylan’s clutches. Dylan could be used as a torture device in Guantanamo, if only he could be focused.
But there is a moment in this book wherein the reader almost thinks that perhaps Dylan accomplished something, that he did, in fact, manage to see the gods and then sexually violate them. He tells Brian a story cobbled together from Native American sweat lodges and ayahuasca preparation ceremonies and speaks of feeling humbled by nature and afraid.
“All the fear left my body and I lay there thinking, ‘This is really happening. I’m actually seeing God. I’m so lucky.’ And I wasn’t scared anymore. Later the moon came up and changed the shadows and the face turned and was smiling at me, and I was in complete bliss. I was as light as a feather. And God looked sort of like Uncle Jesse from the Dukes of Hazzard, except he was black.”
I think ultimately the reason I like this book so much is because despite Mr OTC and all the hours I have spent at gun shows and truck stops and reptile sanctuaries, vaguely alarmed as yet another man spitting tobacco juice into a Mountain Dew bottle explains how the aliens put a sensor in his taint so they can track his movements, all of them, including bowel, I generally find people like Dylan entertaining in small doses. Dylan is completely nuts but he is also a man who will not let reality get in the way of a good story and this book is more or less one lunatic Dylan-story after another. I also think I like this book because Brian Whitney the Author shuts things down before they go on too long. The beginning of the lunatic story is always interesting. The sleeping man taken captive in his bed, raised in a beam of light into a hovering spacecraft, all the details of the ships and the aliens, and hell yeah, even the details of the inevitable anal probe. For everyone who has this story, take it from me. End it after the anal probe. After that none of us are listening anymore.
Brian Whitney has a fine ear for the ramblings of the demented, recreating flawlessly all the stories from all the rest stop raconteurs, the drugged out devils, and misery mavens. He distills them through Dylan, who only becomes tiresome at the end. Luckily for the reader this book is a short, quick read and Dylan is dispatched just in time.
Touched upon but less mentioned in this review is the utter depravity of the narrative – Brian Whitney the character is sort of an asshole and Dylan in his directly observed moments is completely deranged and sexually amoral to the point that he is a cartoon character. In his ramblings he is beyond perverse. I’ve seen people mention Burroughs in relation to Raping the Gods. I can sort of see it but I see more of R. Crumb or Dwaine Tinsley in this book, a sort of cartoonish licentiousness that is so over the top and in the realm of the unreal that it almost comes back around the under side, rendering itself inoffensive. The humor in this book is spot on, so matter-of-fact and without pretense that it makes the at-times uncomfortable content in this book approachable for the sane and lunatic alike.
Initially I was annoyed with the editing in this book, irritated that certain elements of style were completely ignored. But by 40 pages in I understood what was at play. This book is a look at a rambling man through the mind of an irritated, exhausted man, and exacting punctuation has no place here. It also helps that the Brian Whitney title I read prior to Raping the Gods was pristine in terms of editing – it points in the direction that this book was meant to read as a literary equivalent of a drunken phone call. Also, Whitney’s covers always suck. This one is no exception. The cover looks like what you would expect to see on a Polynesian travel brochure from the seventies. It’s way too innocuous a cover for what lies in wait on the pages within.
This book is strange, demented, perverse and hilarious. I recommend it and ask that if you read it that you come back and tell me which of Dylan’s rants you found the most insane.