The Whelk – John Leavitt

July 10, 2009

Automatic Inspiration #2

Filed under: Automatic Inspiration, Other People's Stuff — John Leavitt @ 12:16 pm

The results, of AI #1 are in. Lipstick Thespian wins, but it was hard to choose. I liked them all from the comment thread and from the Metachat thread.


“So now he tells me. Like any damn fool who happened by wouldn’t have seen automatically that everyone attending the wedding looked EXACTLY LIKE everyone else attending the wedding.

I told Oversight when we got back that the team all left the tunnel too fast.

“Saturation is effective,” they said, “if you follow the arc we laid out, proper dispersal is assured.”

No. What you get when no one minds Tunnel Traffic Control is a wedding of the two same goddamn people, and the same two goddamn people all attending that wedding, together.

Sorry, gotta go. This picture is already setting off the redlines off. Yeah, I know, I know, hon. Next week – beer’s on me. I promise. Tell Kaley I miss her.”

But now Onward and upward with a new AI


Your seed phrase is “The Key is the Key.”


  1. “The Key is the Key,” said He to Me, “but only for those who can See!”

    This was all the Balloonist had left me this time. Always the same little card slotted into my mail – a tiny 4 x 6 note on weathered paper with the same odd collage of discordant images.

    Perhaps I should start at the beginning. Although after you’ve read through these pages, the word “beginning” will most likely mean something else. It does for me now, but old habits die hard.

    Bear with me, please.

    Okay – there is the Balloonist who sends the cards. There is the Accompanist who sends the songs. And there is the new one, the only one I’ve ever been told of in advance – The Vizier, who sends the locations.

    I have never met any of them. They could all be one person, or many, or none. Like I said before, the word “beginning” doesn’t really help in this situation.

    The one I’m in now. Okay…

    The first card the Balloonist sent was a grainy picture of a trapeze artist plying his trade between two enormous skyscrapers, with one foot already slipping off the wire. Beneath that, simply two words: LOOK UP.

    That was a year ago, when I LOOKED UP for the first time. Soon afterwards, the Accompanist gave me the first song, which made the street I lived on, the home I lived in, and everyone I had ever known float away. Or somehow, I did.

    The Vizier doesn’t send you anything at first – not for awhile. You’ve got enough on your plate to begin with, and I think they know that. Or he does.

    Still with me? You sure, now? It’s a lot – but I believe in you.

    Now, if you would please, LOOK UP.

    Comment by therealstevejohnson — July 11, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

  2. That’s a beautiful story but I’m just gonna sit here and wonder if you’re *that* Steve Jonson, you know?

    Comment by thewhelk — July 11, 2009 @ 11:50 pm

    • Yes, it’s me, it’s that Steve Johnson. The real one. Surely you remember.

      We were out at Raven’s Walk with the Cavendish clan. They served canapes out on the lawn that had the gazebo and the antelope topiary. Brit Cavendish was resplendent apres tennis.

      You came to me to inquire about her status and my raised eyebrow told you everything. Discretion is the better part of valor, n’est-ce pas?

      Later, you were pie-faced and fell asleep out in the garden. I told everyone you were an amateur horticulturalist and were inspecting the stomae of the Anderberries against regional percentages. Brit left in a huff, the pleats on her tennis attire bouncing up the cupola staircase like a reproach.

      We have so much to answer for in this town now.

      Comment by That Real Steve Johnson — July 12, 2009 @ 8:30 am

  3. I do dislike Garden Parties, they always end so significantly and wistfully.

    Comment by thewhelk — July 12, 2009 @ 8:50 am

    • I left you in the back of the Aston Martin to come to terms with all of this. I will send someone with orange juice and coffee out to the garage.

      By the way, Eliza Cranberry-Thrum has produced offspring. The Board has been convened to vet the first round of names.

      Comment by That Real Steve Johnson — July 12, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  4. I call “Augustin”. It’s been long enough since the trial to use the name again, don’t you think?

    Comment by thewhelk — July 12, 2009 @ 9:03 am

  5. P.S I really must work on controlling my indulgences. It’s just so hard on the trousers.

    Comment by thewhelk — July 12, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  6. Consuela has been diligent about adding extra padding in the knees and posterior of your Sunday Best. The needles ARE getting a bit close, however, for my taste.

    Comment by That Real Steve Johnson — July 12, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  7. She is a dear isn’t she? Such a talented seamstress. She may not have all her sight or wits about her, but if you tell her where you are and what needs doing she can usually puzzle it out in time.

    Comment by thewhelk — July 12, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

    • So true. It’s the swearing and lunging I can’t abide.

      And the incessant revenge talk about my “ancestors.”

      Like I have time for this? What with the Perennials Club Meeting and the interior designers unable to get that Mikasa pattern custom-made in time for Trip and Swoozie’s nuptials.

      Sometimes I feel our Martha Stewart (she says hi by the by and hopes you enjoyed the hand-knit llama sweater she sent you) was right. Why tolerate such insolence when it’s simply a matter of putting the Range Rover in reverse while they’re standing by the mailbox?

      Honestly. I’ll be in the bath with Lady Xanax for the next hour.

      Comment by That Real Steve Johnson — July 12, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

  8. I know. I do thank the stars that I’m not bothered by small things, because if I was, I’d have to endure the small things, and I can’t stand them.

    Comment by thewhelk — July 12, 2009 @ 11:41 pm

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