"The Sea Was Wet as Wet Can Be" by Gahan Wilson: An Appreciation by Lynda E. Rucker
Wilson's succeeded here in doing something many beginning writers in the horror genre wrongheadedly attempt (or that many unfamiliar with the genre mistakenly think is appropriate): he's populated his story with a cast of thoroughly unpleasant characters who seem bound to get their comeuppance by the story's end. Here, of course, it works, first of all because he's Gahan Wilson, but also because the motley partiers at this fateful picnic seem no more shrill and unpleasant than the attendees of a mad tea party or croquet match in Carroll's Wonderland. As the story progresses, of course, the little party the narrator describes as "a contamination" and "a crowd of bored and boring drunks" begin to seem not so much revolting as simply pathetic; but by then, of course, it's too late. They've made the acquaintance of the charming, even lovable, walrus and his sidekick the carpenter, and as is the case in much of Carroll's universe, what seems so whimsical on the surface of things disguises something much more menacing.
Though "The Sea Was Wet as Wet Can Be" made its debut in a 1967 issue of Playboy, I first discovered it in Ellen Datlow's 1989 anthology Blood is Not Enough, probably the same year the anthology was published. The story never left me, but I couldn't remember who had written it, what the title was, or where I'd read it--only Carroll's avuncular walrus and carpenter, every bit as sinister as I'd always suspected they were. I searched in a desultory way for the story once in a while (though I thought the title was something like "The Walrus and the Carpenter") but it wasn't until a friend of mind coincidentally mentioned having read it this past year that I got the title and author again (but of course! I should have realized that only Gahan Wilson could have written such a perfectly macabre take on Lewis Carroll!), and I found the story online at SCI FICTION.
Reuniting with old favorites has been only one of many pleasures the site has given me, and I intend to spend the final year of its life reading or rereading 300+ of the best short stories writers in the field of speculative fiction have produced, not just since the site's inception in 2000, but over more than fifty years. You should do the same.
Link to story.