Hello. My name is Max Evans and i’m an alien.
That didnt come out as smooth as i’d have liked. But i have to get it out of the way first or explaining this will be impossible.
Actually i…that is we, all three of us, are what biotech calls chimerics-DNA of different species spliced together. We dont know how, or why, or even exactly where. We’re just here, like all the rest of you. We have…gifts, powers we poorly understand and cant really control very well. But we are more human than anything else. And we look completely human. Perhaps i could say we’re more than human. That sounds good.
What may be harder to believe than that is that we’re all three in high school in Roswell, NM. Dont laugh. It makes sense. Why not? The best place to hide a tree is in a forest. Who in their right mind would look for aliens here? We all think we got here in whatever crashed in the desert in ’47. At least that’s what my sister Isabel thinks, but Izzie’s crazy. And if that’s true Izzie’s theory that we were in a maturation chamber for decades must be true. We’d have had to be. Or we’d all be old enough to be in a nursing home now.
So how old am i? I’m not telling. It wouldnt make any sense in human terms anyway. Nobody cares how old you are, only how old you look and act. And as far as anyone is concerned, including my foster parents, i’m 16, just old enough to drive.
We are utterly benign. All we want is peace. And if in spite of our benign natures we do harm anyway it’s unintentional and no more pernicious than the harm you human assholes seem bent on doing to each other.
Sorry. That last was uncalled for. I didnt really mean it. It’s just that nobody likes to feel like a freak. Especially at this time in life when being different is punished mercilessly.
Maybe i should have mentioned sooner that the one thing we have relentlessly sought and obsessively maintained is secrecy. That should be obvious, since none of us wants to end up being dissected alive. And that’s just what would happen. We have always adhered to this principle and it’s saved our lives many times.
That’s why it makes no sense what i’m about to do. And yet in fundamental human terms it makes perfect sense. It’s about loneliness, and desire, and need. And to deny some desires and needs is to give them a power beyond endurance.
I am sitting in a booth across from my alien brother Michael. If you knew Michael personally you would think of him as a meatball, a real white trash dickhead. You might even be right but he often surprises me. He’s not nearly as dumb as he acts, and he’s the most independent of us three. That also means he’s more peripheral. Emotionally distant, but if something happened i think he’d be the most likely to survive and thrive than any of us. And he’s as loyal as Izzie. And they both consider me their leader, although i dont know why. It’s always been like that.
The fast food place we are in is called the Crashdown, because it appeals to the nut case tourists that flood this town in tourist season because they are obsessed with the ’47 crash and the owner has worked it into a theme that these idiots love. The owner’s daughter is forced by the old man to work here waiting tables, i guess in penance for some dusty malefaction long forgotten. She is impossible not to look at. And she should never have to wear a waitress uniform.
And yes, i like her. Cant help it. I dont even know why. I have this thing for Liz Parker but who cares? She is dating some dumbass jock (arent they all?) but i can dream. I am staring at her when she looks at me and then i look away.
Damn! You should never, ever do that. I should have smiled and then looked away. She gets an insufferable smirk on her face and i know that now i am one down to her. But that’s about to change.
An argument is brewing at a table ahead and is just getting too loud to ignore. Some guy owes the other money and one of them picks up a plate and smashes it. Everyone stops what theyre doing and stares. The next thing one of these fools pulls a gun and when everyone sees it they hit the deck, including me.
Everybody but Liz Parker. She freezes and stands still. IDK why but it happens. And in the struggle between these idiots the gun goes off and caps Liz, who trips and falls. The two men look back and then flee the Crashdown. But that’s not my immediate worry.
I dont think first; i just move. Michael grabs me by the shirt and hisses, WTF you think you’re doing?
I push him roughly aside and go over to Liz, who is in shock or knocked stupid from the fall…and there is blood. Plenty. The slug from that gun hit her abdomen and tore open a blood vessel. Not the biggest one in the body but big enough. And it’s an arterial spurt. I kneel beside her away from the blood and shake her roughly and say, Liz! Stay with me! Stay with me.
When i think she is aware enough to see me i put my hand on the wound site and concentrate. And it hits me hard.
Visions from lives never lived, bare and bitter times and gothic despair, a blackness unrelieved but for the light from a cold blue winter moon that never wanes, nausea and vague malaise and millennial dread. And it hurts. How it hurts. But i see the wound close up as if it werent there. Which it isnt now. As far as anyone can tell the bullet never even hit her.
But there’s blood everywhere and i have to absorb it somehow. I manage to do that by drawing it into my hand and that really hurts. But when i’m finished there’s no evidence that she was ever shot, and i pray there are no surveillance cameras here. I doubt there are, since her old man is such a cheap bastard.
Liz looks at me and i smile a wan smile and say, You’re alright, Liz. You’re all right.
Michael yells at me for the keys to the jeep and i lob them to him.
Dont say anything, Liz, i whisper. Please dont say anything.
And i move to the door and look back before i leave, thinking of what this means.
Such earthshaking things as these occur at the intersection of meaning and desire.