The Crashdown is right across the street from the UFO center. If i never mentioned that before it’s because i associate the UFO center with freaks and nut cases and obnoxious tourists so it might as well not be there. It’s one of those things in plain sight that arent really there at all. I sure never had any reason to go in the place. Not until today.
When i open the door to the Crashdown some damn kid pushes a toy raygun in my face. It makes a loudass noise and makes me want to smack him. He yells at me that he must kill all aliens.
His Mama is right here and yells at him and says if he doesnt stop shooting that thing she wont take him to the UFO center. The little bastard’s name is Corey, BTW.
Maria comes over and says to me, Liz isnt here and if she were i’d kill her.
Excuse me, Mama says to me. But there’s nothing really scary at that UFO center is there? I mean, there’s nothing real or anything?
I say, I’ve never been in there, so…
Of course not, Maria says to Mama. Why would you think such a thing? There’s no such thing as an alien, especially not in Roswell.
That’s not what it says on the menu, Corey says.
Knock it off, Mama says to Corey. Mama is carrying a younger child, a girl who is tired and cranky and starting to cry a little.
Thank you for dining at the Crashdown, Maria says professionally.
RU quite alright, Maria? I say.
Of course i’m alright, she says. Dont i seem alright?
Well, you just shortchanged her ten dollars.
OMG, Maria says and looks out the front door at Mama and her kids disappearing into the UFO center. I cant leave, she says. I’m the only one here.
Relax Maria, i say. I’ll take it to her.
Sure i’m sure. Why not?
Thank you so much, she says in a small voice.
Inside the UFO center it’s dark and well air conditioned and its owner Milton Ross is droning thru a lecture about the ’47 crash and aliens and coverups. Milton is a true believer. I’m not sure what that says about him but to me he’s always seemed like a a dorky little boy grown into a nervous, isolated man.
Milton is saying, The evidence suggests they had been studying us for some time. To what purpose? We will never know. But on that fateful night something went terribly wrong. And one-though some say more than one-of the alien crafts crashed onto our planet, starting what was to become the most elaborate cover up in human history. There are eyewitness accounts from people still living in Roswell…of debris found in the desert made of strange metals…
He gestures emphatically toward an exhibit with a sad little ET on a wrecked starship.
…with purple hieroglyphics. Some speak of being present at alien autopsies…
He motions toward an exhibit with a dead plastic alien and a manikin in a surgical mask.
…and of the threats made against their lives and the lives of their families if they ever talked about what they saw. Imagine living the rest of your life in fear. A terrible secret you can never share. Now, are there any questions before we enter the video theatre?
Yeah, Corey says. I heard they found some aliens still alive and they were tortured into giving us their technology.
There are many theories, son. Many theories.
They ever come back again? A dingbat woman says. U know, like to rescue the ones in the crash?
There have been sightings in this area on a regular basis since that night. You decide. This way…
What about 1959? I say.
Milton looks around. Who said that? He says.
Everyone looks at each other.
Let’s continue with the documentary portion of our tour, Milton says. Right this way…
Corey sticks his ray gun in my face and says, Must kill all aliens. Then he pulls the trigger and that awful noise seems to flood this cavernous place. The movie starts but Corey doesnt seem to notice.
Mama says, Corey! Do i need to get a leash?
I give Mama the $10 bill and say, This is yours. You left it at the Crashdown.
Oh. Thank you, Mama says to me. Then to Corey: Let’s go. We’re going home. You two exhaust me. I’m exhausted from the both of you.
Her little girl starts to shriek.
After she leaves i turn to go but when i do Milton is right in face. What do you know about 1959? He demands.
Is there something to know? I say coyly.
Come back tomorrow, he says earnestly. We can talk more.
Hey! You’re blocking the screen, some kid yells.
Evening, not long before bedtime. I am sitting on the edge of my bed in my room looking out the window at the black velvet sky peppered with lights. I’m in a strange mood and like always when i am, i am listening to Chopin. The next door neighbor’s dog is yapping, but it’s hard to take him seriously as a dog. He looks like a little animated dust mop.
Looking for something? Izzie says. She has come in and sat on the bed next to me.
Maybe the truth really is out there, i say. I’m tired, Sis.
I put my head on her shoulder and she strokes my hair. She says, You need your mama for this or maybe Liz. I’m not good at comforting somebody when they’re being a baby. And why RU listening to that ghastly Chopin nocturne?
It’s not a nocturne. It’s Etude in E major. There’s a lovely sequenced melody in it i used to play on a guitar string.
I get up and turn the music off and go back to the window and say, What if there is someone out there, waiting for us to come home? Maybe a Mom and Dad. Real ones.
They’d be long dead because of time dilation, Max. You know this.
You have an irritating way of bringing up relativistic physics at the wrong time.
I learned it from you, she says.
I know we never really talk about these things much. What’s the point? But do you ever wonder about it at all?
Every day, she says softly.
What if we could find out? What if someone had the answers for us? Would you want to know?
I think i’d be really scared. What is this about, Max? Is it about the key Michael found? Because you know we cant do anything about it.
We’ve always been so cautious, so paranoid. Always watching our asses, never getting too involved. But we never move forward. And even when we do we seem to move further back. I know i made an awful mistake saving Liz and i should be ashamed of myself but i’m not. I know i should try harder to go back to the old ways but i just hate the idea. That mistake hasnt made me cautious like it should have. It’s just made me want to be more reckless.
What got into your head and made you think about this? She says. The key or Liz?
I’m not sure.
Max, we took an awful risk just by telling them. And i dont like where it’s headed.
I trust them, i say.
That’s because you want to trust them so bad because you like what that does for you emotionally. I sure wish i had somebody i felt that way about. But we cant, Max. We cant expose ourselves. I’m gonna find out what we’re up against.
What does that mean?
I’m gonna pay Maria a little visit.
What kinda visit?
Oh, the usual.
You cant be crawling into peoples’ dreams. Remember when you did that with Mom? She wouldnt go back to sleep for a week.
It’s just to check things out, she says. You know, preventive measures…
Just a short visit, Max. G’night, she says and departs, grinning an evil grin like the godless heathen that she is.