Warning: Ooh, this is my first fic with a warning! General non-niceness and character death. Plus a non-chronological narrative (like, whenever you see one of these - xxxxxxx - we're moving somewhere else in time. but they're all Kyle and they're all connected. and hopefully you'll get it.)
Disclaimer: I don't own 'Roswell'. But boy if I did. I'd buy a big house where all the baddies could live.
Spoilers: Takes place sometime after the season two finale. There's a minor S3 spoiler involving Sheriff Valenti.
Author's Notes: This week I've been reading a lot of Chuck Palahniuk - no, a LOT of Chuck Palahniuk. Like every book he's ever written, I've read in the span of a week. I decided if there was ever a time to emulate his writing style in a totally unoriginal way, it's right now. Enter at your own risk. Then send feedback. And I promise not to do it again. K?
Another quick Author's Note: Can ya let it slide that I live in New York, so sometimes I forget I can toss out phrases like "Alphabet City" and no one outside the state knows what the hell I'm on about? It's not really important. I just wanted to note that.
Email me! Faith84@aol.com
....You will know them only by the evil within.
~the Queen Mother, 'Destiny'
This is not a fun day.
If you told me to be honest, if you twisted my arm, I'd say this is the worst day of my life. The problem is when you say stuff like that, everyone wants to ask how you feel. They assume you feel bad. Seriously, right now I feel nothing.
The last day I felt something, I don't remember. Right now my emotions are all empty drawers.
Insert sadness here.
Insert joy here.
In an hour we'll be in the most gorgeous hotel on Earth. We're going to live it up while we're in L.A., she says, try to meet some celebrities before we have to go back. Or maybe we won't go back, she says. We'd only go back because it's so hard to raise a child in a place like this, when it's so much cleaner in New Mexico.
I point out that it won't be so clean when we're done, and she goes, "I'm just saying. Maybe Utah."
I look at her '60s eyeshadow, her flawless curls, her tight little dress. The thought of her settling down in Utah is hilarious. The thought that there may not be a Utah when we're done is priceless.
Well, she's been to New York, she says. She's been to Las Vegas. Now she wants to see some real movie stars before she plants herself in some colonized suburbia. "They're all insane," she tells me, "It'll make us look real normal, and you'll feel better."
She's so darn considerate.
This last week a woman tells me my life could get worse. She tells me her family was full of alcoholics and convicts, and I'm some innocent small-town boy who doesn't know how bad it gets.
She tells me this over the phone, after talking to me for three minutes for free. That's a little more fun than the girls who charge you, but it doesn't mean we're suddenly friends.
This woman on the phone, who thinks she's my friend, she says, "Tell me about your family. You know, grandparents, parents, cute little brothers and sisters, a family dog."
My grandma died before I was born. My grandpa is crazy.
She says, "What color was your house growing up?"
My father gave up on me. My mother left when I was six years old.
She says, "Hello? Are you still there?"
My cute little sister killed my best friend and then went out for a milkshake.
I say, "You're right. I guess I had a pretty happy childhood. You've solved all my problems."
She says, "Wait, that's a start. Maybe you should think about..." blah blah blah. Dial tone.
I never had a family dog.
Right now, on this not fun day, it's my turn to drive. It's very very important that I drive. It's my job today. That's what she told me.
Her leg is sprawled across the front interior of the car, landing her foot in my lap. I check the mirror for the millionth time, just in case I can get a glimpse of my fingers tapping. As if that matters anymore. Her leg is twisting and stretching and trying to get comfortable by driving itself into my knee. It's a metaphor for our whole relationship, if you really think about it. Or maybe if you're high.
Her head is up against the window and door frame, and I wonder if she's knows it's unlocked. Just a little bump from a tailgater or pothole could fling it open and send her onto the freeway. I imagine ripped-out clumps of flawless blond curls sprinkling the pavement, blood and chipped nailpolish painting the road. I imagine the boy in the backseat telling me through his sunglasses that I'd better keep driving.
"You'd better keep driving," he says for real, "until this POS car is dangling off the west coast."
She squirms for real in the front seat, living and breathing, and says, "Don't mind him. He's being a pill today." I agree, I know he'd rather be in the middle of the action than in a beat-up car with the two of us.
I say to her, "You should lock that door if you're going to lean on it."
In the back he says "I'm not waking up until this goddamn planet is burning."
In the front she locks the door and says, "Hush."
These are my two lovely road companions this week.
This is how she found me.
I was walking home from my hellish check-out counter job and she was right there on a bench. Just sitting, for me. Like a guardian angel.
Her lips were pink and glossy, and her bracelets were out of a science fiction B-movie. "I came back from Mars," she said.
Like a spirit reincarnated.
She licked her lips and said, "Miss me?"
Like Jesus reborn.
She jangled her bracelets and said, "Hate me?"
Like one of those gophers popping in and out of an arcade game that just won't stay down.
She met my eyes and said, "Wanna go somewhere?" She touched my hand and felt so soft.
That's it, I remember now. That's the last time I felt something. I felt that softness.
This is how she got me.
She had me meeting them in Arizona somewhere. I saw this guy on the bus, this close-shaved suit-and-tie guy who looked the total opposite of what I looked.
I said to him, "My whole life I've been avoiding the simplest answers."
A minute later I said, "I hid behind sports or religion or whatever, because I couldn't just accept what I am and what I should be doing."
Another minute, and I said, "You know, no one understands what true love is."
Another thirty seconds and, "I'm going to do something I should have done a while ago."
This guy, this nimrod with his close shave and his eyes darting back and forth, he looked at me.
He's thinking: suicidal maniac
He's thinking: terrorist zealout bomber
He's thinking: serial rapist
I said, "Know what I mean?"
He was off the bus so fast it was real funny. Like he tried to pretend he wasn't getting off because of me, because I was scaring the crap out of him. I think when we get to L.A., when we see those movie stars who are all insane like she says, we might look normal.
Insert hopeless optimism here.
In the car she says, "I've been to New York and Vegas and London and Sydney. I want some movie stars."
He whines that she's been everywhere. And, by the way, New York bites. He asks me, "Have you been to that hell hole?"
She says, "Statue of Liberty," before I get to answer.
He says, "Hell's Kitchen."
She says, "Central Park."
He says, "Alphabet City."
They say, "Broadway," at the same time. I might as well not even be in the car.
He says, "Well? What do you say, human boy?"
She says, "Will you stop with that? I told you he's *changed*, he's *practically* one of us."
This kid in the back, this little jerkoff named Nicholas Crawford, says, "No, he's not one of us."
Insert loneliness here. Insert jealousy.
These are my two delightful road companions this week.
Last week my dad got his old guitar out of storage. He showed me when I got home from my hellish check-out counter job.
I asked, "Are you going to sell that?"
He said he had it when he was my age. He started to say he'd give his first-born away before it, but he caught himself.
I'm thinking: You are.
He said he knows I think he's going crazy, but he's just trying to have a little fun with his life. Just because he's an adult doesn't mean he can't have fun.
Like just because I'm a teenager doesn't mean I can.
He said, "How did your first day go?" meaning my hellish job, another little temporary situation while we wait for that FBI chick to remember she owes my dad a favor.
I said, "Super." I didn't tell him my first day was last Wednesday.
He told me about a book he just got. He didn't need to tell me he got it from Maria's mom. He said I should try repeating mantras to myself if I'm bored.
I am loved. I am safe. I am happy.
That's actually the word my dad uses. Bored. Not depressed, not cheated, not numb. I'm just a little bored. Like, gee, maybe I need a guitar too.
I went to put the groceries away and give him a tenner I found on the sidewalk. Then he noticed the haircut I got... two weekends ago.
I am loved. I am safe. I am happy. Right.
Remember that woman on the phone? The one who wants to know about my family and called me a small-town boy - well, she's a small-town girl too. Neither of us are innocent. She really was a friend of mine once. Sometime. Never.
When I called, I said I wanted to find out when I'm going to die. Isn't she a psychic? Doesn't she know?
I like to tease these hotline people, these volunteers who think they solve problems. I like to tease this old friend of mine who always cares so damn much about everyone around her but doesn't know the first thing about how to help. I want to hear her tell me she's not a psychic so I can say, Then how do you know I'll get better?
How do you know I'll get sane?
How do you know I don't have a knife to my throat right now?
How do you where it'll be next, Maria?
This is all in my head. Meanwhile she's saying she wants to help me. Again. I'm so sick of helpers who don't know anything. Who can't even recognize their old friend's voice on the phone.
She doesn't know it's me, that I kept calling this Helpline and hanging up until I heard her voice.
She doesn't know when we're all going to die. I do.
She dies in two days, three if she's lucky. It'll probably be an accident, she'll probably be in the way of something meant for Michael. If I cared anymore, I'd tell her to stay away from that boyfriend of hers. He's like me, he's nothing but trouble. He's going to get them all killed.
But that's if I cared anymore.
Today is my turn to drive. The kid calls from the back that if I don't take this crappy music off the radio, he'll put his cigarette out on my neck. Her foot is still in my lap, and now the heel on her shoe is torture on my knee. I don't say anything because her other ankle is resting just between my legs.
I'm thinking: 40-minute orgasm
Insert lust here. Insert desire.
"No turning back," she mutters in near-sleep, and I'm not naive enough anymore to think she doesn't know what she's doing down there.
I'm thinking: run
I'm thinking: crash
I'm thinking: save your soul
I look at her and she's got the most adorable smile right now. "I really did name him after you," she says. "I'll be so glad for you to finally meet him, when this is all over. Plus he looks so much more like me than Max. He could pass for your kid any day. Wouldn't you love to be a daddy?"
I adjust the mirror for the million-and-first time. My fingers still aren't tapping. As if that matters. As if that makes a difference.
The only difference it makes is I'll know whether or not I'm a good person today. Deep down, underneath, I'm sure I don't know what I'm doing. I'd stop if I did, wouldn't I?
Insert half-assed pathetic denial here.
She giggles that she still can't get comfortable and kicks me. No, totally, it's a metaphor for our whole relationship.
For the million-and-first time I see the truth in the mirror. That my fingers are doing just fine. That my eyes aren't dilated from drugs and my entire being is centered, knowing, at peace. That I'm still driving and I do know who I'm with and where I'm going. That I heard Maria's voice on that phone, knowing it was for the last time, and didn't feel a thing.
Maybe I really am one of them.
I told Liz once, "My dad wants to start a rock band." She thought I was joking. She talked about Max.
I told Liz, "My life is a living hell."
She said, "It can always gets better. Last year I thought-" and she talked about Max.
I told Liz, "If I disappeared tomorrow, would anyone notice?"
Now she got scared and thought I was really upset. She probably wondered if Max had noticed anything.
I told Liz, "Just kidding."
I am loved. I am safe. I am happy.
I am full of shit.
That was the day I took the bus home.
This is how she used me. This is how I let her.
This is me getting off the bus in Arizona and seeing a dozen people. Normal-looking people, more so than me. Just a little weird-eyed and a little itchy.
This is me giving them a little Pentagon with a button. This is me telling them what they do with it, how it makes aliens lose their powers. I get the feeling this is a relic or out-of-issue product. I guess they don't have any little Pentagons of their own left.
This is her and her curls saying I was always such a stand-up guy.
I'm thinking: twisted bitch
"You're not gonna be sorry," she says, her front teeth playing with her bottom lip.
I'm thinking: killer
I'm thinking: liar
I'm thinking: big big mistake
She says we're going somewhere safe, like L.A. Maybe we'll see some real movie stars. We can take turns driving.
She introduces me to her little friend, this twerp Nicholas, because my life needs to get worse, because we're not trusted together alone. He is so taking the backseat, no questions or objections. You Must Be This Tall to ride shotgun.
"I would never let her hurt you again," Isabel used to say.
We would be in bed and she'd think I was upset over my past. You know, the past everyone tiptoes around. Isabel wants me to love her because she's beautiful and strong and protective. And I'm sure I did love her, because she is those things. It's easy to love something beautiful.
But really, I'm mostly thinking: Will I miss 'Jackass' tonight?
I'm thinking: Will she want me to stay over when I'm done?
I'm thinking: Did I leave the lights on in my kitchen?
I'm sure as hell not thinking about Tess, until she mentions it. I'm not thinking about any part of Isabel she'd like me to be thinking of.
She goes, "I know you're scared. But you can trust me."
I'm thinking: Are we sleeping together or not?
And she goes, "Tess can't hurt you anymore."
Which is nice to know, but a little obvious. Of course Tess can't hurt me any more. Not that I doubt her ingenuity, but I'd be hard-pressed to come up with an encore. What's left to hurt?
Today, on this fun-less day I'm not feeling, I'm still driving when Nicholas wakes up. There's something in the air that's so Pearl Harbor trailer. These faint lines whooshing through the blue sky toward Roswell, New Mexico. The wicked alien calvalry, I guess. The ones I knew were on the way. The ones I practically drew maps for. Maps To Your Enemies' Homes.
I'm thinking about pain.
Max in pain.
Liz in pain.
My dad in pain.
Beautiful Isabel in her bedroom telling me not to be scared, her in lots and lots of pain.
I'm thinking none of this sounds real bad. Just something else that's going to happen.
Tess stares out the locked window and finally takes her foot away from me. She says, "Blink and you'll miss it all."
Nicholas says, "Thanks for the warning," and takes off his glasses.
Insert terror here. Insert sorrow. Insert regrets here, here, and here.
I say, "Yeah thanks," and take off mine.
There's just a little bit of fire somewhere far in the distance, and then the horizon as we get to California.
If you want the moral, you have to listen to me carefully, even if you won't understand. You can't understand.
No one understands what it is to have this much love, when you're actually numb to everything else.
All that stuff they teach you in school, in church, on television. All that stuff about love being beautiful and gentle and kind. You can forget it. In this world, love can be betrayal and deformity and sadomasochism. Anyone who thinks different is deluding themselves.
It's easy to love something beautiful. It's so easy you know it can't be true love.
True love, the purest kind, is proven by embracing the ugly and unthinkable. Embracing death, embracing destruction, embracing madness. Embracing Tess with her '60s eyeshadow and tight little dress and complete lack of empathy.
We get to this gorgeous celebrity-spotting hotel in L.A., and her chin is nestled on my shoulder, and she goes, "I spy..."
And Nicholas goes, "Boring. Let's watch the news." Tess rolls her eyes like, duh, we just made the news, loser.
I'm thinking: word
And I look in the reflecting pool at how much not tapping my fingers are doing.
Her hand that's so soft it's all I can feel anymore is caressing my arm. She wants to know what I'm thinking, this still being my planet and all. Me being like a Benedict Arnold. Me being one of Them.
She's so darn considerate.
I say, "I think it was all coming from the beginning." Then she squeals and drags me to the elevator because she thinks she can sense Jude Law somewhere on the ninth floor. Nicholas says we should hurry while he's still at the top of the food chain.
It was all pre-ordained, I figured that much out. Death. Destruction. Madness. It's all coming no matter what I did. It was destiny.
This is how she saved me.
Insert gratitude here.
Have you emailed me yet?
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