Roswell 33: Fulfillment

It’s well past full dark when she knocks timidly on my window.  I take her hand and help her in.

Hey, she says.

Hey, i say.

There is an uncomfortable silence.

She says, Max, did something change?  I havent seen that shy little smile of yours for weeks.  You’ve been such a son of a bitch.

Sit down, i say.  I need to talk to you.

When she sits i take a deep breath and say, I want to ask you to forgive me.  Beg you if necessary.

For what?

For being such a son of a bitch.

Max, UR already forgiven.  I told you that night i went to the reservation alone.  I knew you werent right in the head.  I’ll never throw it up to you.  So if you are over whatever it is, dont beat yourself up.  I’m too glad just to have you back.  UR back, right?

Yes.

Well.  Why, if i may ask.

Did u hear about Tommy?

Of course.  Everybody knows.   He’s in a nuthouse raving about aliens with green snake eyes and that one of them beat him up out on the old highway.  Somebody did beat him up though.  He’s hurt bad.

I know.

He’s sure crazy now.  He was such a meatball i wouldnt have thought he’d be the type, you know?  Lizard eyed aliens.  Good Lord.

Let me show you something, i say.  Better if i dim the lights a little…

When i sit back down i flash my eyes green and contract my pupils like a lizard.

The truth is out there, Scully, i say.

Dont call me that, Max.  How long have you been able to…

Only since that night with River Dog when i held that pendant and it glowed.  And yes, Elizabeth.  It was i who beat his ass.  I wanted him in the ground, not in the hospital, but i held back from that.  I’m not a killer.  Now tell me i’m a sadistic butcher and you hate me.

Hate you?  It’s about time somebody stood up to those fuckheads.  You might have kept them from killing somebody by putting a scare into them.  They almost put you in the ground.  I dont blame you for doing that.  Especially if this is what changed you.  Was it?

Yes.

I thought so.  It was right after they nearly killed you that you turned into a stranger.  But why?

I’m tired of living in a cage and having to be so cautious.  It’s poisoning me.  I cant do anything about that but sometimes gets to be too much.  I should never have gone back into the closet after that.  Michael was right.  I should have done what i did last night, only a lot sooner.  Sometimes pragmatic caution is transcended by morals.  Suddenly there is a right side and a wrong side and the wrong screams to be righted.  It has been.  That’s why i’m myself again.  But because of the delay i wound up taking it out on you because i knew i could.  And i am so sorry, i say, shaking my head.

I love you, Max.

I know it.  I love you too.

Why did it take so long to say it?

Why did you come here tonight, Liz?

IDK.  Did i need a reason?

No.  Not any more.  Never again.  Dance with me, dushka.

What?

U heard me.

Er…well…U see…

Ha!  I say. U cant dance.

Her face reddens.

Imagine that, i say.  Never been to a prom?  Or a dance?

No.

That’s funny.  Little miss perfect.  I wouldve had you pegged for a prom queen.

Well, i’m not, she snaps.

It’s okay.  I’ll show you.  A slow one.  Just an old fart dance.  It’s called a box step.  U just follow my lead.

Do i have to?

Yes.

Oh, alright, she says.  Dont be offended.  I’m just self conscious.  And i didnt expect it.

It’s alright.  I’ll put on some music.

I put on Linda Ronstadt’s version of I Love You For Sentimental Reasons. 

It’s an old torch song i’ve always loved, i say shyly.  Here.  Your left arm goes on my shoulder and you hold my hand out here with your right.  We’re just going around in a big box or circle.

After a few seconds she is following me without any trouble.  I just love that song, Max, she says.

I know.  Her voice is so sweet.  She sounds like a woman instead of a 16 year old girl singing thru her nose.

Do i talk thru my nose?

Never, i say.  Isnt this nice?

Yeah, she says and smiles.

We dont have to be so formal, i say.  Just put your arms around my neck and i’ll put mine around your waist and we’ll move closer together like this.  Now it’s even nicer.

Yeah, she says, closing her eyes and sighing.

We are close enough now that i can smell her skin and her hair the way i did that day in a long ago September when we spied on Topolsky thru the ventilation grill.  But it’s stronger now and i am full of hormones.

I’m not letting this chance go.  Not another one.  I kiss her lips, tentatively at first and then she kisses back harder with her tongue.  That’s a golden moment of recognition that this one is for me and i dont want anyone else, ever.  A recognition from far back in geological time that is independent of my opinion of her character or if i even like her.

She puts her head on my shoulder and i put mine on hers in this perfection of the moment.  She looks at me and says, Max!  You’re crying.  What is it?

Nothing, i say.  Just a tear.  I think maybe i’m happy and dont know how to handle it.

Well maybe you’ll have to now.  Max, i mean i never expected this…

Neither did i, my love.  Honest.

It’s a long song and we are only just half way thru it when she says, I dont want this to end.  Ever.

The music?

No, dummy.  This night.

It doesnt have to.  It shouldnt.

RU saying what i think you’re saying?

Yes, i say.  If i dont lose my nerve.  Goddamnit, i dont have any protection.  No condoms or anything.

Max, it’s okay.  I’m on the pill.

Really?  Why?

She hesitates before she says, Since the day after i was shot.

Say no more.

I turn down the lights and lock the door and we undress slowly and with painful self consciousness, facing away from each other.  I take her by the hand and we get into bed and just hold each other for a moment.

When we start we’re both shy and tentative and clumsy but when we start helping each other we figure it out together and everything works fine.  Just fine.

 

The room is dark and the house quiet.  I open my eyes.  Liz is next to me and her arm is around my middle.

U were dreaming, my love, she whispers.  Go back to sleep.

 

I want to wake up next to her in the morning but of course she is long gone by then.  She mustve left by the window.  I’m alone as the tepid winter sun devours the last pieces of the night and i lie on my back with a smile i cant stop.

When i check the time i see that i’ve slept later than usual.  Liz will be getting ready for school.  When i dial the number she answers immediately.

Hey, i say.

Hey, you, she says.

U know what i’m calling about, i say.

I do?  She says coyly.

About what happened last night.  About what we did.

We didnt do anything last night, she says and i wonder if she is alone to talk.

That’s right, i say.  Nothing.  Want to do it again?

Just try and stop me, she says.  See you at school.

 

 

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Roswell 32: Redemption

TOMMY

Tommy only dimly remembers holding Max Evans down while two other of Kyle’s friends beat him nearly to death.  That was weeks ago.  And Tommy has no idea Max is an alien.  He only remembers trying to do Kyle a favor when Evans was moving in on Liz.

So he’s only mildly puzzled when he sees a vehicle following him down the highway that keeps barely but doggedly just in sight in the rear view.  Tommy pulls off the road into an abandoned gas station and the strange vehicle seems to vanish.  When he does not see it again he shrugs and pulls back onto the highway.

And damn if the same car doesnt keep tailing him.  He tries hard to shake the tail off but whoever it is drives like they’re not even human.

Tommy does an abrupt U turn and heads toward the car but it seems to just vanish like a water mirage on the highway.  So much for that.  Or so he thinks.

He is still heading away from Roswell when he sees the squat black vehicle pull out from behind an old highway billboard in the rear view.  He knows it’s the same one.  Only it’s .  following closer now.  He feels ants of fear crawl over his groin and tries desperately with his limited intellect to understand why he cannot shake what seems to be a mad stalker.

Ahead is the turnoff onto the old highway to Albuquerque, now all but devoid of traffic.  .A road into a forested upland.  But it’s still miles away and the highway ahead stretches out flat for miles.  Red dirt and creosote.  Heat shimmer.  From the abscissa of a cliff a hawk sets forth, whistling thinly.

All thru the uplands the black thing stays behind him, driving with inhuman skill and terrifying relentlessness.  It’s near dark when he thinks he’s finally lost the spook.  Sitting just off the old highway in wire grass.  A long red twilight with doves crossing the road, heading toward some ranch tanks.

He pulls onto the road to go back to Roswell.  But just over the hill the black thing is parked in the middle of the road and Tommy slams on the brakes and skids to a stop, just avoiding the car.

Something emerges from the vehicle.  The intruder’s eyes actually glow bright green in the dark and Tommy hopes he is just dreaming and not losing his mind.  The fiend gets out and walks over to his window and says in a garbled, nonhuman voice, Pull off the road and drive over to that hollow beside the road.  Do not attempt to escape or your life will be forfeit.

Tommy feels a warm dampness in his crotch and he knows he has wet himself.  He pulls off the road and parks at the bottom of the caldera as he was told.  The black thing that has followed him here with its lights off pulls in behind him ,blocking his egress.

The thing gets out of its car and comes over and says, Exit your vehicle.  Do not attempt to flee.

Tommy sees that the thing has a ski mask and is dressed entirely in black but that does not explain the glowing eyes.  As Tommy stares at the thing its eyes glow brighter and its pupils narrow into slits like a reptile’s.

Mister, Tommy says, That…that’s a mask of some kind, right?  With the glowing eyes and all?  A disguise?

IDK, the thing says with feigned amazement.  Is it?  Get out at once and face me, Earthling!

Tommy gets out of the car and stands ten feet away from the man/thing at the bottom of the caldera, completely out of sight of the road.

 

MAX

Oh, he’s scared, alright, i think.  It’s really very funny.  But it’s about to get serious.

Remember me, Tommy?  I say.  U held me down while your little friends beat me nearly to death a few weeks ago.  I nearly ended up in the hospital.  You know how it goes.  You put me in the hospital, i put you in the morgue.  But you have a chance to live.  A slim chance.

Evans?  He says incredulously.  Is that you?

IDK, i say.  Is it?

Tommy panics and runs.  I let him run a few steps before i hold out my left palm and enclose him in a stasis field.  He runs in place and fairly dances as i hold him up two feet off the ground.

Why me, Evans?  He says.  There were two other guys that actually beat you…

Yes, i say, But you were the little pussy that held me down.  That’s why.  Now i’m in a good mood so i’m going to give you one chance.  You stand here and take your beating like a man, like i did.  You can even hit me back, which was more than any of you allowed me.

I have released him from stasis and he stands still and dazed.  He says nothing.

Whaddya say, Cuate?  Right here, right now.  Just you and me, cunt on cunt.

But…

That’s what i thought, you little bitch.  Prepare to defend yourself.

 

I think you know how this goes.  I make it a point of honor not to use alien powers when i fight him.  I dont have to.  He’s big and slow and clumsy and all i have to do is duck and hit him back, again and again till he’s exhausted.  Then i move in and .really punish him.

The beating he takes is nothing to the one i took.  If i had been human i wouldve probably died.  But he’s hurt bad.  I flash my green serpent eyes at him for effect and extend my palm and and send an EMR pulse over the whole area to fry any latent DNA evidence.  It will leave him with a slight sunburn he wont be able to explain.

He’s hurt from the hammering he took from my feet and fists and forearms.  He has a few shattered ribs and a concussion.  A fractured leg.  A crushed hand from where i stepped on it.  Maybe a bruised kidney.  He’ll live, i guess.

I stoop over him and kiss him on the mouth and say, I hope it was as good for you as it was for me, sweetie.

He says nothing.  He’s in so much pain it hurts him to breathe, much less talk.

I say, You can tell them about aliens all you want but you do not mention Max Evans.  Is that clear, fuckboy?

Yes, he wheezes.

Good, i say.  If you mention Evans i will hunt you down and you dont want that.  You’ll be driving down the road like today and you’ll see a bright light and you’ll be teleported into an experimental surgical bay.  You’ve seen the movies.  Understand?

Yes, he wheezes again.  And i see in the Hadal light that he is crying.  I go back to the car and stop and heal my sore hands and extremities.  There is not a scratch on me.

The night is bright and clear and cold as i drive up out of the caldera and toward Roswell.  And i feel reborn.  All of the awful hostility toward Liz i couldnt control is gone and now i hate myself for taking this out on her but if she can forgive me i guess i can forgive myself for treating her that way.  After all, i am more than human.

You see, sometimes you just have to let the dogs out.  There’s no other way.  If i hadnt done what i just did the poison from that beating i had to force myself to take would have continued to eat me alive until there was nothing left.  I wouldve lost Liz.  I wouldve lost myself.  I would have lost everything.

Tommy will be found by a cruising cop before daylight.  He will be sent to the hospital in Roswell where his ravings about an alien with snake eyes that beat him up will land him in the psych ward.  When he thinks he sees aliens with green snake eyes coming out of the walls and becomes violent he will be placed in a State Hospital and not let out until he is dopey with psychotropics.  He will never play sports again because his broken leg will not heal properly and he will walk with a limp the rest of his life.  His hand is damaged so badly he cannot even hold a baseball with it.  And this all happens fast.  So fast i hear all about it at school the next day.

 

Kyle waylays me in a deserted place in school.  He comes up and smiles and says, I know you did it, Evans.

Did what?  I say.

What was done to Tommy.

And right now i am done with being Gandhi. 

I get right in his face and say, If you think i did that, Holmes, then you’d better tread lightly.  Because anything that could do that to that big ox could do to it you or anyone else.  Stay away from me from now on.

 

 

 

Roswell 31: River Dog

MAX

Turning off the highway onto the back road to the reservation is a bitch because the road runs right across an alluvial bajada and the washboard road rattles the wheels.  Worse are the inconstant mounds of sand accumulated by the wind you cant see in the dark.  When one side of the car climbs one and then descends with a crash it feels like the axle’s been trashed.  I havent traveled far onto this medieval path when i see something black in the middle of the road and i swerve and stop the car.

What RU doing?  Liz says.

Stopping, i say.  That black thing in the road.

It’s just a dead animal.  Drive around it.

No.  I want to have a look at it, whatever it is.

You’re not getting out of the car, she says.

I turn on her and say hatefully, Oh, no?  Just watch me!

It’s cold out on this barrial as i take a flashlight and walk over to it.  It turns out to be a dead hawk.  I can tell even before i put the flashlight beam on it because i see its feathers ruffling in the night wind.  I cast the light on it and raise one wing and let it fall.  Cold yellow eye dead to the black firmament above.  A big Red Tail.  I pick it up by one wing and carry it to the ditch beside the road and drop it into the wiregrass there.  A curse and omen from and offering to the dark lord that scours this place with ash and sand.

Back in the car i give Liz a withering look and drive to the trading post and stop and park.

This place looks like a fucked up Cracker Barrel, i say.

That’s what i thought, Liz says.

I get out of the car and she gets out of the car and i say, Where do we go?

He just said come back tonight.  That’s all he said.

An indian boy steps noiselessly out of the shadows and says to Liz, Who’s this guy?

Oh, uh, this is my friend Max, Coyote.

I invited you, he hisses like an Asian.  Just you.  And BTW my name’s Eddie, not Coyote.  To me: When i told Liz my name was Coyote i was just fucking with her head.

And i think, any douchebag who calls himself Coyote even as a joke is out to prove something and if you’re not careful he’ll prove it on you.

Liz says, Yeah, i know but this is really important for both of us.

Sorry, he says.

Wait!   Liz says.  You cant just leave.

Why not?

Because i know this symbol, i say, holding out the pendant.  It means something to me.

Please, Liz says.  It’s important.

Finally he says, There will be a test.  If you pass it River Dog will answer all your questions.

Liz and i look at each other and she says, Let’s go.

He sighs heavily and points his flashlight into the chaparral.  We just stand here like fools until he stops and turns back to us and says, Well.  RU coming or not?

We follow into the bracken and walk thru high bloodweeds and wire grass and sacahuista.  Beyond and thru arroyos where there are tracks of dragons.  Liz and i are hopelessly out of shape and can barely keep up.

It seems like we’ve been walking all night when Liz says, Eddie, uh, how much further?

It’s very close, he says.

Max, Liz says, I dont think this is such a good idea.  We’ve been walking for too long.

Liz, fatigue makes cowards of us all, i say.  Hey, Eddie.  Where exactly RU taking us?

You’re here, he says.

We’re here?  I say.

We’re where?  Liz says.

Good luck, Coyote/Eddie says.  He snaps off his flashlight and seems to vaporize into the cold night.

No!  Liz says, panting.  Eddie.  Eddie, U cant just leave us here.

Eddie, goddamnit, i say, wheezing.  Eddie!

In the paleness of my flashlight we both stand demoralized and puffing.  What are we going to do?  Liz pants.

Goddamn that little faggot, i say.

I cannot believe any of this, she says at the precipice of hysteria.  I start to turn and try to retrace our steps when Liz says, No.  Max, look.

I follow her eyes to where the mouth of a cave yawns politely at us.  We go in and i hope there are no bats.  Somewhere there is a thud and i drop the flashlight and it goes out and i hear Liz scream.

Liz, where RU?  I yell into the blackness.

She just screams again.

 

Let her go, i say to whatever is in here.

I have the pendant in my hands.  Suddenly it erupts into a violent burst of white light.  I knew the stone was old, an artifact of a pre-anglo culture but it was always heavy, dead, inert.  Now it positively hums and throbs in my hands, crying to be free to sing its ancient songs of earth and power.  In its light i see Liz beside me.

Who RU?  I say to the tall indian in front of me that looks like sitting bull.

You have passed the test, River Dog says to me calmly.  I used to know someone like you.  I didnt know where he came from or why he was here.

River Dog lights torches and ensconces them in orifices in the cave wall and i can really see for the first time in hours.

He stayed pretty much to himself, River Dog goes on.  But he befriended me and everyone here.  He began to trust me.

Do U know where i can find him?  I say.

I havent seen him in fifty years or more.  Besides me the only man he trusted was Atherton.  The man gave Atherton his necklace.  The one you now have.

What happened to him?  I say.

Atherton was murdered, he says.

Who killed him?

The man killed him.

Maybe he was defending himself, i say.  Atherton was a UFO nut.  He couldve been trying to expose him or somehow hurt him.

I was too far away to see what happened.  But when i reached them Atherton was dead.

When was this?  I say.

That i can tell you.  It was November 1959.  I have one more thing to show you.  It’s why it was necessary to bring you out here.  This way.

 

Into an adjacent chamber of this warren where hieroglyphs glow oddly in the torchlight.  I think of the cave paintings at Lascaux in France, 35,000 years old but they were just pictures.  This is a language with a pictographic alphabet.

Did he draw this?  I say.

Yes.  He said someday you would come.

I run my hands over the bas-relief glyphs and feel an emotional shock just beyond the threshold of recognition or memory.

It seems familiar, i say.  Like i somehow know what it means but i cant remember.

It must be some sort of language, Liz says.

Well, duh, Liz, i say.

He was afraid they were going to kill him, River Dog says brusquely.

Who was?

IDK.  He felt they were close to finding him so he had to leave.  I promised i would never share this information with anyone unless they passed the test.

Has anyone else come?  Anyone else passed?

No.  No one.

So this has some kind of meaning.  A message for us, i say.  Perhaps it’s a warning.

IDK, River Dog says wearily.  It’s time 4U2 leave.

Can i come again?  I say.

No.  I’ve kept my promise.  There’s nothing more i can tell you.  Nothing 4U2 learn.  Not here.

I turn and start to walk away.  Liz starts to leave but River Dog says to her, Wait.  UR not one of them.

Liz?  I say irritably.

Make sure he deserves your trust, he says to her gravely.

Let’s go, i say.

As we are walking back thru the chaparral i say to Liz, Well, dushka, it just kills me to admit it but you finally did something right for the very first time.  By coming here, i mean.

She tries to take my hand but i yank it away.  It seems like hours pass before we emerge from the brush and onto the bajada road.  Liz tries to put her arm around me and i push her to the side roughly.

Dont get so close to me, i say.  And dont touch me.  I dont like you.

Later i will find that from that night on i can make my eyes glow in the dark at will like i’ve always wanted.  With a little work i can even narrow my pupils to slits, like a serpent’s.

Now that is really something.

 

MARIA AND MICHAEL AND IZZIE

Inside the closed, dark Crashdown  Maria and Izzie and Michael wait nervously for any news.  Liz and Max and they had had to work a complex shell game to shake Topolsky’s dogged surveillance that had involved multiple car changes and passenger shuffling.  It has not helped anyone’s mood.

When Michael gets tired of pacing he comes over to where the women are sitting at the counter talking and says, What do we do?

We wait, Izzie says with alien coldness.  They’ve only been gone a little over an hour.

I’m telling you this sucks a moose’s cock.  Right?  They’re out there on my vision quest and i’m sitting here with a couple of girls yakking.

That very interesting, Michael, Maria says.  You know some women of the Twenty First Century might find that last remark a tad offensive.

Michael sits astride the counter like it is a horse.  Why?  He says, taking off the plastic cover over a chocolate cake.

Why?  Maria says.

Welcome to Michael Land, Izzie says.

I hope you intend to pay for that cake, Maria says as Michael eats it.

I dont, he says.

Then that’s theft, buddy, Maria says.

Michael dumps a load of tobasco sauce on the cake and says, So what?  Bust me.

Izzie starts eating the cake with her fingers.  Maria says, So what’s with all the tobasco sauce?

Sweet and spicy, Michael says.

Sweet and spicy?  Maria says, bewildered.

Izzie says, We like things very sweet mixed with something very spicy.  Whoever genetically engineered us didnt give us human taste buds.  Everything tastes like cardboard.

Well, Maria says.  I’ll have to keep that in mind.

Michael smiles at Maria and says, You do that.

Maria smiles involuntarily and lowers her eyelids but does not stop smiling.

Izzie looks at them incredulously and says RU2 flirting?  Excuse me while i go throw up.

Izzie flees in disgust into the kitchen.  A wave of nerves hits Maria and she starts compulsively filling up the sugar containers.  She says, This is taking too long.  They’re in trouble.

Calm down, Michael says.

We should go out there, Maria says.

They’ll follow us.

Then what are we supposed to do?

We wait.

Now i know why Isabel left, Maria says.  You’re obviously the last person to be around in a crisis.

We were told to sit here and wait till they come back.  And that’s what i’m doing.  I’m not freaking.  You are.

I am not freaking!

You keep pouring sugar from one container to the other and back again.  Quit it!  It’s driving me insane.

I wish you would say something, she says, louder.

What do you want me to say?

IDK what.  Just something to make me feel calm, to make me feel like it’s going to be alright.

Maybe it wont be alright.  Can you grasp that?

Thanx!  That helps a ton.

What do you want me to do?  He screams.

IDK!

Shut up then!

I hate you!

Likewise!  He bellows.

All i ask of you is to just try to make me feel a little better.  Be a real guy or something.  Oh, forget it.  I’m obviously barking up the wrong tree.

She walks away and faces the wall.  Michael spins her around and kisses her on the mouth and she kisses him back hard and it lasts all of ten seconds and they are panting when they pull away from each other.

That was to calm you down, he says.

Thanks, she says.

Neither knows what to do after that.  They walk away and sit in opposite sides of the big room.

Roswell 30: Liz

LIZ

Driving in Stygian black of a moonless high desert night looking for any sign of pursuit.  Asphalt soaking headlight beams like hell devouring all of god’s grace.  She switches to high beams and it helps a little but she is so preoccupied with Max’s irrational hostility that she forgets to dim the lights.  A driver in a vindictive mood approaching her from the front waits until he is very close and turns his brights right in her face.  She barely regains her sight in time to get control back and keep from going off the road and rolling the car.

The trading post is on the edge of the reservation by the side of a washboard desert back road off the highway.  The lighting is feeble and strongly yellowish and the store looks like a native american version of a Cracker Barrel.  When she gets out of the car insects drawn by the ghost of her headlights swarm and a big moth nearly gets into her mouth.

Up the steps and onto a porch where a big dog lies on its side looking more dead than asleep.  Liz pretends to look at a display of junk jewelry while she tries to think of how to play this.

A black haired girl notices her and sidles up and offers her something hammered out of tin and painted bronze and festooned with colored rocks.

A beautiful bracelet for a beautiful lady, the girl says.

Oh!  It really is lovely but i was looking for something like this, Liz says, showing her the stone on the pendant.  I was just wondering if you’ve seen this symbol before.  If U know what it means.

It means ‘tree of knowledge.’

U sound like a gypsy fortune teller, Liz says.

Actually i have no idea what it means.  But it sure looks old.  Really old.

Right, yeah, Liz says.  She does not even sense the tall old indian behind her until he grabs her and spins her around roughly.  His eyes never leave the pendant.

Liz says, Uh, do you know what…

His buckeye eyes burrow into hers but he says nothing.  Then he turns and leaves without a word.  He’s terrifying.  He looks just like an old picture of Sitting Bull but his eyes are more Yaqui than Lakota.  Bottomless and black and utterly without pity.

Who was that?  Liz says to the girl.

Stay away from him, she says.

Liz is spooked by now and has become a little lost looking for the car in the desultory, eldritch light.  A chorus of coyotes yips like hyenas and suddenly falls silent.  An owl cries overhead, sounding as if it’s moving away.  Or maybe that’s to fool the mice in the field where it’s hunting.

As Liz puts her hand on the door handle of the car a big rough hand closes over hers and she almost screams.  Give me that!  The indian says.

Who RU?  She whispers.

Please, he says.

She hands him the pendant and he takes it from her.  Where did you get this?  He says.

We just found it.

We?

No.  I found it.

Who else knows?  How many know?  Tell me!

No one else knows, Liz says.

How did you know to come here?  Were you followed?

No, i wasnt.  I was really careful.  I…what does this mean 2U?  Please tell me.

This is very dangerous, he says with deadly gravity.  It brings death.  Possibly many deaths.

 

Next day at the Crashdown Liz goes over to wait on a native american boy with the same frightening eyes as the old man.

May i help U?  She says, rattled.

He regards her with contempt before he says, I think i’ll try the Redskin Basket.

Oh, yeah, she says with penultimate embarrassment.  I’ve been trying to get that off the menu for months.

Thanks for the effort, he says with venom.  My people are indebted.  My name’s Coyote.

Is it really?

No.  Just a pet name.  But it’s good enough for y…for now.

I’m Liz, she says.

I have a message from River Dog, he says.  He hands her a jagged fragment of a flat stone and she immediately recognizes it.  When she fits the jagged edge to the pendant stone it fits perfectly.

He’ll meet you at ten PM tonight, Coyote says.

Tonight, she echoes.

Come alone.

Where?

To the Reservation of course.  Someone will meet you.

He gets up and turns and leaves without a look back.

Roswell 29: Max’s Story

MAX

I cant say for sure i was being followed, Michael says.  I just had a feeling, that’s all.

You just had a feeling, huh?  I say.  What did he look like?

IDK…a guy in a suit, 30, 35, tall, brown hair.  Ray Bans on at night.  He looked out of place and suspicious to me.  What else can i tell you?

When we were going south to Marathon we stopped at a convenience store and i spotted this same guy, i say.  I flattened all four of his tires.  I didnt mention it then because i didnt want to make everything worse.

I cant believe what’s happening here, Izzie sobs.  Someone broke into our house.  Someone’s following us.  It’s too much!

Izzie, grow a dick and STFU, i say harshly.  This isnt helping.

Maria gives me a dirty look and i stick my tongue out at her.

Trancelike, Michael leans forward and stares at Izzie’s pendant.

What?  She says.

I know that, he says, pointing at the design on the pendant.  How do i know that?

All three of us know it, i say.  We think it’s from the past.

Pretty wild, huh?  Izzie says.  Found it at Atherton’s.  You know that native american deputy?  He said he recognized it from the Mesaliko reservation.

We cant go anywhere right now, i say.  We cant make any suspicious moves.

Come on, Michael says.  You know we gotta go.

No!  I just got thru dealing with one of your god damned messes, Michael.  Nobody goes anywhere.  Not now.

 

Later.  I am alone at home when someone knocks at the bedroom window.  I think it’s Michael and am prepared to yell at him but it’s Liz, and that’s even worse.  She has this idiotic look on her face that she has when she acts like a twinkie who has just dropped 30 IQ points overnight.  I open the window but say nothing.

Can i come in?  She says.

Of course you can, dushka, i say, helping her inside.  I sit on a sofa and say resentfully, What do U want?

She sits beside me, too uncomfortably close.  I move a foot away but she moves closer and i stop because i am as far away from her as she will let me get.  She says, I didnt want to say this in front of the others because i dont want anyone else involved.  But i’m going to the reservation.

No.  You are not going to the reservation.  We are all being watched.

Maybe you’re not just being watched.  Maybe it’s more than that.  Today the files.  What if tomorrow they come for you?

Then i’m fucked, i say.

If there’s anything there, any possibility at all that this means something we need to find out.

No.

Max, you saved my life.

Yes and i have come to deeply regret it.

You dont mean that.

I do!  Never play head games with an alien, Liz.  I could kill you just as fast as i saved you.  And if i could do that and it would undo all the harm saving you did i would kill you and Maria in a heartbeat.  But it’s too late for that.  Besides, what does my saving you have to do with this?

Because it started people suspecting you.  If anything happened to U or Michael or Isabel i couldnt live with that.

You suffer from an exaggerated sense of your own self importance.  It’s not your responsibility, Liz.  It’s mine.  I did it.

Let me do this one thing.

No!

Max, i didnt come here for permission.

Then why the fuck did you bother me at all?

I came here for the pendant.  If you dont give it to me i’ll just draw it.  I’m going.

Here, then, i say.  Take this fuckin thing.  If you’re so concerned about my safety or Michael’s or Izzie’s did it ever occur to you that you could be putting us in worse danger?  No, of course it didnt because you’re a fuckin idiot.

Max…

I always heard girls like you were trouble, i say.  Because they’re stupid, which you can be when it suits your purposes.  And because they’re treacherous, which is a talent that i see in you more and more.  I would tell you never to come back here again and never talk to me again and never look me in the face again but you wouldnt listen.

When did you decide you hated me?  Was it after you got beat up…

IDK exactly.  It’s just that i couldnt stay away from you and now i cant stand the sight of you.

You dont mean any of that, Max.  IDK what’s wrong but you’ll get over it and i’ll still be here for you.

Then get out of here, you ugly, stupid, stinking cunt, before i break your fuckin jaw.  Go.  Get yourself killed!

 

Roswell 28

As we pull up to the curb and Valenti walks over i know what has happened and i realize i have been stupid again.  There’s only one reason the cops are here and i couldve easily prevented it.

Valenti stares at me thru his Ray Bans.  By god i am so tired of his fuckin face.  Especially with the fuckin sunglasses.  I will have to get a pair of my own and a JC Penney suit so i can look like a federal marshal.

He nods at us and says, Max.  Isabel.  I’m afraid i have some bad news for you.

Mom comes over as we get out of the jeep.  Mom?  Izzie says.

Oh, Izzie, she says.  Max, they robbed the house.

When?  Izzie says.  When did it happen?

This AM i guess.  I stopped at the house on my lunch break and they were already gone.

Were you harmed?  I say.

No.

What did they take?

Oh, the TV, the stereo.  Nothing that cant be replaced.  I havent checked the bedrooms yet.  I called your dad.  He’s on his way.

We’re gonna check our rooms, Izzie says.

I go right to where i had hidden the files.  Gone, i say to Izzie.  They’ve just shut down the X-Files again, Scully.

Stole them you mean, Izzie says.

We have obviously been under surveillance.  They knew exactly when the house would be empty.

I was stupid, i say.  I couldve dropped them off at a storage place on the way home.  I had the money.

Who would do this, Max?

Who do you think?  Topolsky was there.

They didnt come for the TV did they?  They knew what was here and they took it.

No.  That was just a cover although IDK why they even bothered.  Maybe it was a way of saying fuck you.

Valenti knocks and comes in and says, I can only imagine what it must be like to have your home broken into like this.  A real violation.

Yes, Izzie says.

So what did they take from in here?  Valenti says.

Just from what i’ve seen they didnt take anything.

Well, that’s odd, he says pontifically.  This room has been ransacked worse than the rest of the house.

I guess burglars have bad days too, i say.

What about your room?  Valenti says to Izzie.

I havent looked there yet, she says.

You checked your brother’s room before you checked your own?  Why is that?

Mom appears at the door.  She says, Sheriff, why RU interrogating my children?  We’re the victims.

Ma’am, i apologize, Valenti says smoothly.  I just want to make sure we do a thorough investigation.  Sometimes meaningless details can be important.

 

ISABEL

When Izzie gets to her room a native american deputy is there.  Miss Evans?  He says.  I need to get a statement from you.  I can come back later.

Yes, please.

The deputy’s face changes abruptly when he sees the pendant on Izzie’s neck.  Where did you get that?   He demands.

At the mall, Izzie says, lying smoothly.  Someone was selling jewelry out of boxes.

I havent seen anything like it since i left the reservation, he says.

What reservation was that?

The Mesalito reservation just outside town.

 

MICHAEL

Late that night.  Michael walks in a downtown Roswell alley.  He has the feeling he’s being followed and he’s right.  He ducks behind a dumpster so he’ll be invisible from the street just before he sees the same guy in a JC Penney suit that Max saw on the way to Marathon.

.

Roswell 27: Any Means Necessary

VALENTI

Sheriff Valenti pulls an unmarked car behind a boulder so that it cannot be seen from Atherton’s house.  He sees only Max’s jeep, which is what he expected.  He has no reason to think anyone’s in the house but Max, Michael, Izzie, Liz and Maria.

He walks unhurriedly thru the open front door and scans for anything that might be important, even though he has no idea what that might be.  The five kids are cowering in the basement and they dont know who has just walked in.

The next thing Valenti sees is a flash of blonde hair before he is knocked cold with a baulk of timber. There’s the sound of a smack and then something heavy hitting the floor, like a body.  Topolsky was clever enough to park her government sedan completely out of sight in a dense area of chaparral.

 

MAX

We are scared shitless because we have no way of knowing who’s upstairs and dont know whether to flee or stay put.  The next sound is Michael rustling thru some of Atherton’s papers.

Quiet! I hiss at him.

Hey, Michael says, Whoever’s up there looking for us isnt going to stop until they find us.  I’m gonna try to find out everything i can before they do.

Liz notices a tarp that moves just enough to suggest a wind and a way out.  She pulls the tarp up and sees a tunnel that is just big enough for them all if they go single file.  There’s no time to study anything, only to grab things that look important and get out.  Just before she leaves Izzie notices some kind of necklace made of rawhide attached to a carved stone and takes it.

I’m glad i parked close to where the hidden tunnel comes out.  When we’re in the jeep and moving i see the blonde head of Topolsky emerging from the hole in the ground and glaring at us.

After getting Maria’s car fixed Michael and Maria ride together and follow the rest of us in the jeep.  I tell everybody to stay close because of the papers we’re carrying and because we may still be being followed although i cant see any sign of it.

 

MICHAEL AND MARIA

Maria laughs a real laugh, not a nervous chuckle which seems as close to a real laugh as she ever gets.  And she really smiles at him.  He is irritated at himself for liking the sound of the laugh and the niceness of the smile.

What?  He says.

It’s funny how surprising things can get, Maria says.  Ever since i’ve known you i’ve thought that you were like, this guy, you know?

No, Michael says.  I dont know.  Sometimes you talk almost an vague as Liz.  Whatever it is just say it.

Well, like a weird guy from the other side of the tracks, going nowhere in life.  And you still are that…

You mean you think i’m a meatball, he says.

Maria ignores this and goes on, What i didnt realize about you was that you have this whole other side.

You mean that i’m not of this world.

No, something else.  But under that poorly bathed exterior there’s like this whole other guy.  Deeply wounded and vulnerable.

Listen, Michael says.  In terms of what happened last night between us, that was just because we were on the road together, alright?  We talked, that’s all.  And it’s all over.

Of course, Maria says, stung.  You think something happened between us?  Nothing happened between us!

 

MAX

Izzie walks into my room like she has something to tell me.  What is it?  I say.

Remember when mom and dad took us to Florida that summer?

Sure, i say.  You had heat exhaustion all of August and i sprained my ankle playing shuffle board.  We were what, eight?

Ten, she says.  We were on the beach one day and just drew this thing in the sand.  This symbol.  We drew it together.  Remember that?

Symbol?

Think, Max.  We’d never seen it before but somehow we drew it together like we somehow both knew it.  Why did we both know that symbol?

Izzie, what is this about?

She reaches for a spiral notebook on the bed beside me and opens it to a blank page and hands it to me with a pen and says, Draw it.

What?

Close your eyes and draw it.

But i dont remember it.

Just draw it please.

I close my eyes and try to draw something so she’ll shut up.  But when i start drawing some vague but charged recollection takes over and i draw something.  A design, not just a doodle, but it doesnt mean anything.

That’s it!  Izzie cries.  Look!

She shows me a picture of us in childhood on a Florida beach, having just drawn a bigger version of what i have just rendered on paper.

This is really unsettling, i say.  What made U think of this?

She shows me a necklace of rawhide with a flat, carved stone.  The stone carving is the same swirling design in the photo that i just drew.

I found this hanging on a nail in Atherton’s house, she says, putting the necklace on.  What do U think it is?

Well, i say, The way the lines swirl around suggest a lateral view of a whale and the dot in the middle looks like the whale’s eye but i dont think it’s supposed to be a whale.  Hey.  Tell me what’s the shape of the Milky Way galaxy.

What?  Well, uh…it’s an o…ovoid, like the shape of some of the flying saucers some people see.  A plate shape that bulges in the middle where the black hole’s supposed to be.

No, it’s not an ovoid.  It’s a double spiral with a black hole in the middle.  The dot could be the black hole and the double spiral could all be a view from above the galactic plane.  But i still dont know what it means.

 

Later at school.  On break i’ve been listening to Bach and of course that draws Alex like a magnet.

Poisoning your mind again, Max?  Alex says as i take off the headphones.

I say, Second movement of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor.  Does that make you want to puke?

Alex gets the strangest look on his face.  Oddly subdued, he says, No, not that one.  That one is so beautiful it makes me want to cry.  I got to go.

Wait, Alex.  Tell me something.  I know you’re a musical genius and all that.  But i wonder if you have some other virtuosity besides music.

Computers, of course, he bristles.  Everybody knows that.

Well, now so do i.

Everybody knows that, Max.  Get your head out of your ass.

But what if i like the view?  I say.

 

KYLE AND LIZ

At school Liz goes over to Kyle and says, Hi.

Little Miss Texas, he says, nodding stiffly.

Could i have a word?

I cant imagine what you’d want to say to me.

In private, Liz says.

They go to the eraser room and Liz locks the door.

Oh this is strange, Kyle says.  After all that’s happened, being here with U in a janitor’s closet.  How ironic.  Our first kiss was in here.  Have you forgotten already?

Oh, she says with a nervous giggle.

Last day of school, last year, he says.

That was a great day, she says.

Liz, dont even try, he says bitterly.

Kyle, i just wanted to be sure you’re okay.

Okay how?

That you didnt get your feelings hurt too bad last night.

I see.  So that’s all you hauled me in here to say?

Yes.

Well, Liz i’m okay.  I’m so happy i could just shit.

As Kyle makes for the door Liz says, No, Kyle, um…I wanted to make sure you’re not planning on telling anyone about…about where we were…

Oh, i see.  And here you had me thinking you were just concerned about about me.  Liz, WTF were you doing last night?

I cant talk about it, she says.

Then just gimme a hint.  Is it dope?  Is it some cult you’re a part of?  Or is it just sex?

Kyle…

Dont worry.  I wont tell anyone.

Thank you.

Not until i have something on Evans that will destroy him.

Kyle, you’re not mad at Max, you’re mad at me.  Why not take it out on me?  Destroy me?

You know i wont do that, he says.  But Max is the next best thing so he’ll have to do.

Kyle, i’m not even sure he likes me any more.  He called me a two faced, manipulative bitch.

Well, he got that right.  UR one nasty, common little bitch.  So you two deserve each other.

 

VALENTI

At the UFO center Valenti talks to Milton Ross.

How may i help you, sheriff?  Milton says.

Do you know a guy named James Atherton?  Wrote about aliens?

I didnt know him personally.  He was one of the first to write about the ’47 crash.  He authored several books, most notably Among Us, published in ’55.

You wouldnt happen to know if he’s still alive?

That’s anyone’s guess.  Disappeared.

Disappeared?

Vanished off the face of the earth.  He was supposed to have been into some amazing discoveries right before he vanished.  Direct contact, that sort of thing.  Legend has it he was abducted by aliens, but people would say that.  He was last seen in late 1959.

Fifty nine, Valenti says.  Wasnt there a picture of him on the fly leaf of Among Us?  Could you make me a copy of the picture?

Sure, Milton says.  Might i ask why…

Police business, Valenti says archly.

 

Back in his office Valenti roots in secret places until he finds one of the pictures he’d managed to keep the FEDS from taking.  It’s a close up of the face of the corpse that died in 1959, the one with the alien handprint on the shoulder.  Then he gets the picture from the flyleaf of Atherton standing in front of his house.

When he juxtaposes the two there is no doubt.  The corpse from 1959 was that of James Atherton.

 

TOPOLSKY

Alone in her office Topolsky does Tai Chi while she talks on speaker phone to her boss.

Things are very much under control, sir, she says.

Agent Topolsky, do you understand the assignment that was given you?

Yes, she says, You big, bald beautiful man.  I do.  Sir.

Repeat it then, he says, nonplussed.

The assignment is to observe the subjects and determine whether the theories about them are substantiated.

You forgot something, agent, he says coldly.  The word ‘covertly.’  To covertly observe the subjects.  To determine whether or not the conjecture about them is true.  Covertly.  

I’ve been acting covertly, she says angrily.

Hitting the sheriff of Chaves County over the head with a board.  How is that covert?

The sheriff was compromising my investigation, she says primly.

Your investigation?

Our investigation, she sighs.

My investigation, he shouts.  New orders, Agent Topolsky.  See if you can follow them this time.  Whatever those kids took from that house, i want it.  Get it!  Whatever those kids are doing right now i want to know about it.  Do you understand?

I understand, sir.

By any means necessary, he says.

Yes, sir.

Dont waste my time.

I’m all over it, sir.

 

MAX

Driving home from school with Izzie and Michael in the jeep on this nervous day.  Michael says, So there’s kinda a lot of stuff to go thru, huh?  The files.

We’ll go over them piece by piece, i say.

The three of us?

That’s right, Michael.

‘Cause there’s too many other people out there who want to see those files, Michael says.

Other people?  Izzie says acidly.

Yeah, you know.  That Maria girl, Michael says.

That Maria girl?  Izzie says, smirking.  I cant suppress a smile.  And i think Michael has a gf on his hands whether he knows it or not and whether he wants one or not.

It should just be the three of us, i say.

That’s what i thought, Michael nods.  Er…actually i sort of told her that i…that we were gonna pick her up.

Michael, goddamnit it, Izzie says.

Well, she pushed it and i had a weak moment.

Michael, i say. She cant come look at them.  That’s final.

I know, i know, he says.  I’ll call her.  Isabel, do you have your phone?

Fine but dont let her blather on for too long.  I’m desperately low on minutes.

After i turn onto my street i see at least three police cars parked in front of my house.

What is this?  Michael says.

IDK but we better go find out.  Michael, take a hike.  No sense in you getting involved in this and drawing more attention to yourself.

Wait, Izzie says.  Maybe we shouldnt go in there.

It’s where we live, Isabel, i say irritably.  We dont have any choice.

No, Michael says, shaking his head.  I dont like this.

Then get outta here, Michael, i say, pulling over.  We’ll meet at the Crashdown later.