Me driving in the dark down the road on 285. Liz says, It’s getting so late. You know, maybe we should just call our parents.
No! I say, feeling guilty about all this because i want to try to make this awful fuck up right and calling for help is just an admission of defeat.
No, Liz, i say.
But they could help us find them.
Max, maybe she’s right, Izzie says. I never liked Michael going into this place without checking it out first.
Isabel, i cant control Michael. I cant even seem to stand up to you. I wanted to check it out first but i didnt have the chance. The way everything is falling apart, nobody can know about this.
Max, i’m really worried about Maria, Liz says.
I’m worried about Michael, Izzie says, and all you care about is that dome.
SHUT UP! I say.
I am ready to throw them both out by the side of the road when Liz’s phone rings.
Dont answer that, Izzie says.
What if it’s my mother? Oh, no, Liz says, looking at the caller ID. Hello?
Liz? Hi. The volume’s so high i can hear Kyle’s voice.
Hi, Kyle, Liz says, looking at me.
I just talked to your mom. She said you were at Maria’s.
Uh, yeah, that’s exactly where i am.
Was that a truck i heard? He says.
No, just the tv. So what do you want, Kyle?
I took your history book by mistake after you left the Crashdown today. I could go by Maria’s and drop it off.
Oh, no,no need for that trouble. Just give it to me at school tomorrow.
RU sure? ‘Cause i’m very close.
Sure i’m sure. I’ll see you at school tomorrow.
KYLE AND VALENTI
Maybe even sooner, Kyle laughs to himself. He has had no trouble following the jeep.
Meanwhile Valenti is in his office on the phone to the State Police. He says, A Jeep registered to Philip and Diane Evans of Roswell, NM. Three passengers, all minors.
Nothing coming up on Evans, the voice says. But i do have a speeding citation on another minor from Roswell. Guerin, Michael, car registered to an Amy DeLuca. Mean anything to you?
Where were they stopped? Valenti says.
Heading south on US 285, the voice says.
Still on the road, we hear on the radio that an eighteen wheeler is jacknifed up ahead. A few minutes later we have to stop behind an interminable line of traffic.
What now? Izzie says.
We’ll get some rest and keep going when it’s open, i say.
Wait, Izzie says from the back seat. You mean sleep in the jeep? Out here, together?
Isabel, please dont bitch, i say.
Izzie gets out and walks over to the cops and starts talking to them. Good riddance. I put my face on the steering wheel. I want to cry.
RU okay? Liz says in the passenger seat
If you ask me that again i am going to choke you, i say. Clearly i am not remotely okay. I fucked this up from the gitgo. I shouldve just let Michael have the fuckin jeep. It’s highly unlikely he wouldve gotten into any real mischief in Marathon, nothing like this circus has already caused, and he’s going to get there anyway. I couldve just gone with him and kept all of the rest of you out of it.
When Liz says nothing i look out at Izzy flirting with the officers and say, Izzie’s always been a real bitch but she’s never been the awful nag she’s been lately. A nag is dangerous because they wear you down until you will do anything just to get them to stop. That’s made everything worse. I give in to her to shut her up when she tries to get me to control Michael. I cant. I end up hurting his feelings and i feel guilty and that affects my judgement too.
Max, i know something’s bad wrong when you start blaming other people. It’s not like you to…
I only blame myself, i say dully. As for you i still dont know quite how i feel so we really have little to say to each other.
The way she looks at me i know she wants me to kiss her but right now she’s nothing but one more pain in the ass. But i lean over to her and our faces are very close when i reach up to the soft roof and seal a tear that is letting in the wind.
I just wanted to keep you warm, i say, moving back into the driver’s seat.
That place in Marathon? She says. All those answers you’re looking for? They’re just as important you as they are to Michael, arent they?
Before i can answer Izzie comes over and says, The road will be clear in an hour.
It may be too late, i say.
In more ways than one, Izzie says, pointing to a flickering neon sign that proclaims, ‘The Sultan’s Hideaway Motel.’
What…i say and stop cold. In the motel lot i see Maria’s parked car.