The Art of Chris Parsons

  1. Modern Peasant

Original Writings by Chris Parsons



Okay it is now August. It has been 6 the hardest month's I have ever experienced. I am down with a very painful hernia, insulin pump settings out of control, leukemia puttering along, doctors impossible to communicate with, shreds of the safety net here and there difficult to deal with, apartment a sinking ship, more chaos than I have ever experienced with the possible exception of early 60s.


So I have a story I want to tell: and the only way to tell it is to talk and talk and talk, into this computer and hope I can turn it into some sort of document. I have been resisting using this software for about a year, not sure why, except that my cognition skills are diminishing faster than I can compensate for.


The telephone, which when I was young I could use. It was simple, 10 digits on a Rotary Dial. Today I have 2 phones one of which is a land line, the other is an old folks special with large buttons and no camera. It has been a long time since I have made a call on either phone and been successful the 1st try.


I am 72 years old and spent many years in digital land, for a while fairly successfully. I was born before world war 2 in a different land but always an early adapter, I tangled with the digital the 60s, drugs, my 1st clock radio where I was introduced to the likes of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and nervous nor does. I kept up. I was ahead of myself.


Now I am isolated, adrift, Stein meet, and full of pain. My children are scattered, my old friends, those that are still alive, scattered around the world. I sit here barely able to move, keeping my computers and hard disks barely functioning, and am too tired to make my statement.


Words and lines once rolled out of me like thunder. Now it's a squeak every now and then. I can't even look at the computer screen. I haven't seen a movie in years. This was an art form I was once entranced with. Popular culture has become an actual desert and I'm incapable of crawling through it towards any raw.


The institutions I grew up with, such as school, the traditional family, medicine, science, newspapers, telephone books, sit down meals at a table, have all faded. Something is replacing them but I don't know what that something is. The fact that I've been through so much is the reason I am still here.


As George Bernard Shaw once said, “old age is like being stranded on a diminishing island”. In my better moments, I can come to plate mortality. But the waist of a wasted life is something I still can't deal with.


Maybe it's like this:


We forgot the road beside the bridge. Night was fast approaching, small damp breezes stirred the water and we lifted oars. Left with a few packets of crackers and cheese, an almost empty butane cook stove, and damp sleeping bags stowed anaplastic fights chest, we pushed off from the shore, the vaguely aware of the lights across the bay. They looked like smeared thoughts and dashes from a forgotten manuscript


The code was forgotten in the interest required to solve the puzzle had long since left us. So we drifted into the foggy dark, the water lapping in the dark.




He had been walking for a couple of hours and the morning heat began to manifest. He sat down on a large law and realized the immensity of the mountains and forests and trees that surrounded him he could almost hear the home behind the world




He put the scissors down and grabbed a pencil scribbling on a piece of paper nearby he wrote down the numbers that he could remember from the screen looking for scissors that he had just let go of, he realized that once again on object had disappeared, and sure enough, spent one hour searching everywhere for what had just been in his hand. He grew angrier and angrier again, he couldn't stand it any the world was amorphous slippery like Jell-O. He collided with objects around the room things falling and breaking, trying to remember what it was that he saw.


Overwhelming fatigue set in disconnected thoughts obey a motion and he stumbled towards the makeshift bed where he spent each night tossing and turning not even hoping forcefully. He lay down and said “to hell with it”.

off the top of my head i think they've tagged me" alan's voice crackled in her ears, distant static. janine was bent over her iLap sipping more ice tea from a ridiculously frosted tall cold glass. her setup here was sparse and simple, just a lounge chair under a osmoid tree set high in the middle mountains, a good two days walk to the nearest commerce units. beside her was a miniature glom unit set outside in the precambrian early dawn. she was working outside and when she finally unlatched she recalled hearing something. must have only been a few ticks earlier because now the voice, sounding like it was someone very close by, maybe even standing right behind her, said  "i'm standing right behind you". 


gazing at the gory river far below she hesitated. alan could be such an idiot.


"Alan, when will you learn proper English," she muttered into the Voisover. "Proper English is 'They have tagged me on the top of my head.' You'll always be and speak like a Kraut."


"You English crunt!" She heard his voice.  And it was beside her. . .or behind. And her voice, too, instantly echoing from a Voiceiver.


She turned and there was Alan, his white hair and shirt covered in crimson paint.  "So much for paint-ball, I suppose.  Here we are eons from anywhere and you still persist in the idiocies of childhood."


He sat down beside her, grabbed a large drink of her tea and signed.  "Ya, my dear, when I was a child I spoke as a child, but now I am an adult, I live the whole experience full-time.


"When I was a child I played even though I was fearful.  Now I play without fear.


"But shall we create some more creatures for the Cambrian to come?  Your idea of returning to this time and creating phylae by the score was brilliant.  Darwin creates a theory to confound theology and we create a Cambrian explosion to confound the theology of Darwinism."


"We may have created ourselves in the bargain," she suggested.  A wry smile crossed her face.  "We are not only God for man, we may be our own creators.  Hail, us!" 


alan as usual seemed to disengage. staring down into his glass of tea as if it held his list of deviated procedures.


she thought, too late, that she should have kept quiet during his monologue. she had learned to do that during their first mission together, somewhere along the silk road. the time when he almost busted out and came within an air's breath of having them both being deplanned when they finally retuned to face The Muse it had not been pleasant.


she stood up and stretched, and let the thought blow away.








































"you know", alan said, still gazing downward, "we could just skip the preliminaries: tell The Muse the trail was blocked by snow and the waves were not getting thru". he glanced up and looked at her w/ stone cold eyes.


"you always say that" she began, but before she finished he leaped up and shouted "no, you always say that. i'm talking about now".


she began to pick up the scattered microtoolkit. the sun was up now, the shadows of the rocky precipice they were bivouacked on longer, the sky turning the milky white it had for the week they had been there.


she ducked into the glom unit, asking over her shoulder "where is that minibroom?"


he didn't reply. left alone in the bright haze he was wondering. had she said "minibroom"? had toe. there were no mushrooms in this quadrant.


several miles away the holding tank remained, buried under mineral and faunic debris. he could get there in an hour, even when noon began to froth.


Of course the holding tank was the best solution.  Given his mood since the paint maul perhaps it was the only intelligent solution.  Given her anger over his comment and given the patent stupidity of the comment itself. . . .  Yes, the holding tank.  A good, if not final, solution.


Stupid to try and trick the Muse.  Stupid to even think about it.  "Gezuz, Alan!" he muttered to himself.  "The Muse is a fucking MUSE!  It-he-she-they can read your mind, read your heart, read the label on your underwear."


Yes, the holding tank seemed the best idea.


The hands-free unit on his Motivator was in his left heel and he clicked it on with his right heel.


"We're not in Kansas any more, " he shouted and with the slightest of vertigo Motivated over the hill to the holding tank.


"Greist!" he complained when he arrived at it.  It sat there unmoved but virtually submerged in the puce and lavender exudant that the Fauns had covered it with.  "Fauns!  Where did we come up with that name for those disgusting oozers?"  Fauns!  From fauna?  They were the most prevalent life-form on this oozing place.  From deer?  Indeed, they were similar in attitude to those giant earthly rodents.


"Who knows!"  He began to dig through the Faunal leavings to get at the door of the holding tank.


Once inside, he closed the door firmly and set the time lock for 32 hours.  Now she couldn't get in and he couldn't get out.  Holding tanks--a great device to cool a murderous mind.  Cool as a bank vault.  Quiet as a cone of silence.  A tin-foil hat for the soul.  Ultimate survival gear.


"Mini-broom?"  "No," he thought in the holding tank.  "She must have said, 'mini-barroom,'" her cute, too-cute, phrase for the iced tea synthesizer.  Her cute machine, 'Voici Ice-tea', and her cute activator phrase, "Let there be tea."


"Let there be ME!" he thought, before sliding down the rabbit-hole of troubled sleep.




janine, AKA jay6, was busy inside the xxx looking for her book: a repro detailing the unraveling of the I-world. she swept the small dome with the mini-broom, toggling its switches and watching the layers of the display that floated in front of her eyes wherever they looked. after a minute or two she became alarmed: the book icon appeared nowhere, and her mind was rolling out possibilities of where she could have left it. without it she knew they could not return. totally prohibited by some protocol she used to know by heart but could not quite recall at the moment. she got into the search in her obsessive way, an hour later she quit, knowing or hoping it would pop ion view at some later point in time.


the air had clicked on and she felt a nap coming on. she popped an i-snack open and absant mindedly muted, vaguely aware of a thought stream whirling about her. an unease concerning alan and his rebellious streak. her cellular memory was off kilter, but pushing some limbic warning towards consciousness she guessed. i too would pop into existence given enough time, but that was what she didn't have.


she was still standing like a statue in the middle of a possibility fall when she noticed a sound she had noticed before on this mission: an occasional rustle coming from the low ceiling. very much like the rats and squirrels she had grown up with on the farm, now lost and unknown since the uber-cleaning of worlds The Muse had put into play so long ago that it defined reality for this go round.


but there was no animal life here she had been assured.


she heard it again and checked the biomonitors for any activity. there was none. she resisted going outside into the heat and humidity, but the third series of taps and scrambling was enough to cause her to signal to alan to take a visual. there was no response.


"he's probably throwing pebbles, tossing them into the air, maybe seeking a pattern that would direct his next move" she thought, ducking ou throughout the portal and finding no sign of alan. the afternoon light shimmered and her goggles shut down a notch or two. on the roof of the dome was the book slowly evaporating in the glare. she quickly leaned over and nudged it off the dome. it hit the hard pan and she picked it up. maybe a quarter of the psuedopages were translucent, the glyphs snarking about in convoluted changes. she handled it with cre and re=entered the unit, dropping it into the stabilization pod and hoping for the best.


why would alan take her book outside where it was guaranteed to reset?


and where was he?


she checked her pod and saw the geoindicator blink his location: the holding tank, set for a 36 hour respite.


if he ever came back out they would hacve to talk. his teutonic metaphysics was becoming a behavior problem. over a few too many soma cocktails they had exhausted their differences back at homebase one evening long ago. she had chosen, or been chosen, the track of infinite regress, and that seemed to push him over the edge. they had babbled far into the night. she seemed to recall they had finally agreed on one thing: what was created could and would be destroyed. he took the neoarayan stance that it was a moralimperitive, the prime directive, for the transitory creature to crete anyway because it held reality together. she didn't buy it because in her view every moment, every "now", was a creative novelty: thekosmos was nothing but creation and destruction, each moment a surprise totally unpredictable.


her head hurt recalling the conversation. she checked the restoration of the book. according to the panel it was going well, enough of the glyphs had survived for a rebid but it had been a close thing. a few more lost glyphs and it would have been impossible to reconstruct. despite herself she was pissed. plus it was a surprise from alan who clung so ferociously to the creative side. he had never shown any trace of the need to help the cosmos.