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New Beginnings, Chapter 6
Reply to Alex ParrishPosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list October 6, 2003
Part: 6/19 "New Beginnings"
Author: Alex Parrish
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Katims, Metz and the WB. No infringement is intended. I own nothing, Trust me. Suing is futile!
Distribution: Roswell Slash Archive/Others Ask
Rating: X? Explicit sex and language
Spoilers: Nothing in particular and seasons 1,2,3 in general
Thanks: To aunty_mib, Beta extraodinaire, eh!
Summary/General: The lives of the 7 primary characters for 9 months after they leave season 3.
Summary/Chapter: Vignettes from the trip.
On the Road
We were on the road for the better part of three months. Sometimes we stayed in motels, sometimes we camped-out. No matter where we were, we never stayed for more than a few days.
We knew that, sooner or later we were going to get stopped by the police. You can't cover as many miles of US highways as we did without eventually falling into a speed-trap here and there. It was inevitable, and we had rehearsed our story and worked- out our plans. We made certain that all of our 'papers' matched whatever vehicle we were driving that day. We struggled with what to do about computerized licensing and finally determined that, with some concentration, each original member of the Pod-Squad was capable of disabling the computer and the radio in a police car from a distance of 50 feet. We even bought a radio and a cheap computer to practice with. We were counting on the cop who pulled us over being satisfied with the documentation we provided and, without radio or computer access, letting us go rather than trying to take it further; I had grown up around enough cops to know that they would rather not have the hassle for a simple moving violation. We were prepared.
One good thing is that I've now seen some spectacular parts of the world I would never have seen otherwise; and some parts that very few people have seen, and a few parts that I wish I hadn't seen. Our travel was purposely illogical and I wasn't keeping a journal at the time, so I couldn't reconstruct our itinerary if my life depended on it. Liz, however, insists that it is important to write down everything I can remember about that time. I'm not crazy about doing it, but, on the other hand, I have little else to do with my time here, so, if she sees me writing in my journal, she may leave me alone and stop nagging. I consider it 'creative issue-avoidance.'
As I just said, I can't possibly give a running narrative of our journey, so I have decided to write a number of short vignettes -- certain scenes from our journey, which I consider significant, or meaningful, or funny. I guess you can decide which is which.
The Rubber Meets the Road or, Hey, Are These Royal Tires?
Early on, when we were still traveling only by night, Michael, who was taking his turn driving, became particularly annoyed at a humongus SUV -- I think it was an Escalade -- which kept passing us and then slowing down in front of us, forcing Michael to pass it again, then the SUV would pass us and slow down again, and so on, over and over. Michael had been sputtering and cursing about this SUV for half an hour and I could tell he was getting really pissed. Finally, as it was passing us for the thousandth time, Michael snapped and said, "That's it! You're outta here!" He rolled down his window, (which immediately woke-up everyone who was lucky or tired enough to be asleep) and stuck his hand out the window. The next thing I saw was this tank of an SUV slowing from 80 mph at an alarming rate, still in the passing lane. Out the back window, I could see the headlights and I saw it pull off the road. It must have had anti-lock brakes, because it stopped much faster than I thought such a tank possibly could.
Maria (who was riding shotgun) screamed out, "Michael! What did you do!"
Michael was laughing and said. "That son-of-a-bitch won¼t be traveling with us anymore."
Max boomed out from the far back-seat, "Michael, what did you do?" It was unmistakably an accusation, and Max was clearly not happy.
"Relax; I just popped one of their rear tires. They have a spare; I saw it hanging under the back."
Jesse chimed in with "You idiot! They could have lost control and wrecked!"
"Relax, they¼re fine." Michael was still chuckling.
Max¼s tone was escalating, "Michael, if they had lost control, you could have killed them and possibly us too!"
Now, I, personally, could see the humor and the satisfaction derived from what Michael did -- I dearly wish that I had the power to do that; there were many such drivers on the road whom I would have gleefully popped. No one was harmed; what¼s the big deal? Max, however, was obviously angry, and I was not going to put myself between Max and Michael, no matter who's side I was on. Not on your life, or, more to the point, not on my life! I observed, silently.
Michael responded; "But, they didn't, and they weren't, and neither were we. No harm, no foul, OK?"
Not good enough for Max. "Michael, that's not the point, (he was nearly shouting now) they COULD HAVE BEEN!"
Michael's temper rose in proportion to Max's anger. "Maxwell, NO ONE WAS HURT! It was just a tire, and they were pissing me off, and now, you're pissing me off, so, CHILL!"
Max began to make his way to the front of the van as the rest of us -- even Isabel -- collectively held our breath.
Max spoke very quietly, but it was clearly a command. "Michael, pull over and stop the van."
"Michael, stop the van. Now."
"Michael, don't make me... ."
"Make you what, Max, make you what?"
He didn¼t need an answer as Max extended his hand and the engine of the van stopped dead, causing Michael to struggle to get us to the side of the road without the aid of the inoperative power steering.
"Great," Michael screamed, "Now who's endangering us, huh, Max?"
As the van rolled to a halt, Michael opened his door and got out and Maria called out, "No, Michael, wait! No, Michael, please!"
Michael slammed the door so hard I thought the window would break.
Max exited the side door. Liz and Isabel both called out to Max, "No, Max, Don't!" to no avail. I just cringed. I had seen the damage done to Jesse and Isabel's apartment the last time Max and Michael had a physical confrontation.
Isabel was crying, Liz was biting her nails, and Maria alternated between peeking out the window and hiding her face in her hands. Jesse was just shaking his head and saying to himself, "Damn kids." I just sat back to watch the spectacle unfold. I figured if these two were going to duke-it-out, who was I to interfere? The trip tonight was boring me anyway, and, besides that, I was betting on Max to take him. At least there was no furniture to break here and I assumed that Max would heal any real damage done to himself or Michael. Why worry?
It turned out to be not much of a show. Max followed Michael to a spot about 20 feet off the highway, where Michael stopped to face him. There was shouting, which I could not make out from inside the van and it was dark and hard to see clearly. I wondered If I dared get out to see and hear better. Michael was waving his hands wildly and Max was leaning into his face, shaking a finger at him and then counting something out on his fingers. There was more back-and-forth shouting which I still couldn't hear, and then Michael took a step back. I thought he was going to charge Max, but instead, he turned, and kicked up a bunch of dirt. Then he walked off another 10 feet or so with his hands in his pockets and his head down. He picked up a rock and threw it as hard as he could in the other direction from Max and the van. He then just stood there, sulking. Max returned to his seat in the van.
Quietly he said, "Jesse, would you mind driving for a while?"
"No problem" Jesse quietly responded as he climbed over Isabel and took the driver's seat.
We sat, silently, waiting, for about three minutes. Michael came back to the van, silently took the middle seat next to Isabel and closed the sliding door.
That was the end of it. I never heard anything more about it, but I noticed that Michael popped no more tires, or at least none that we could witness.
In a very short time, our routine was well established. We purposly mixed-up the combination of driver and navigator, so that the same couples wouldn't always have to be together. Some couples got along just fine together. Other parings usually lead to squabbles, particularly, Michael/Maria, and Michael/Max and Michael/Isabel (Do you see a pattern yet?) It just worked better that way.
On this particular day, Jesse was driving and Liz was navigating. We had been on the road for about two hours, and Jesse had just taken a ramp from one inter-state highway to another.
Suddenly, Liz called out, "Oh NO! somethings not right! This is bad, this is wrong!" She sounded panicked.
"What's wrong?" Several people responed at once.
"Jesse, please, take the next exit and pull over. We have to find another road. Please exit now!"
Without further questions, Jesse took the next exit, which was only half-a-mile ahead. As soon as we pulled off the inter-state, Liz calmed down a little but when we stopped, she was still ashen and trembling.
"What is it? What's wrong?" Jesse was first to ask.
Max didn't need to. He recognized it right away. "She had a vision!" He reached for her hand. "That's it, isn't it?"
She shook her head, 'yes.'
After a few moments to pull herself together, she told us. "It was horrible, just horrible. People were screaming and crying, and cars kept smashing and smashing and I could hear the glass break and the metal crumple, and there was blood everywhere and there was this little girl just wandering around the highway and..., Oh..., I can't go on."
Max put his arms around her and held her close. "That's enough. That's plenty."
Jesse turned to me and said, "Hand me the state map from my map case there. I'll figure out another route."
None of us questioned Liz's vision -- we all had too much experience to doubt it. We searched the TV news and the newspapers for any reports about the crash, but we never found any. Did that mean Liz was wrong? Did it mean that our taking another route changed something and the crash didn't happen? Did that mean that WE caused the crash, and our taking another route prevented that? Who knows? We're just glad to be here.
The Inevitable Happens
Liz was driving when we were finally pulled over for the first time. Max was riding shotgun, and we had our plan perfectly oiled when the police car pulled us over. Max, however, decided to throw in an unexpected extra step. When we realized we were being pulled over Max turned to Liz and commanded, "It's a guy; unbutton your blouse a few buttons."
"What? You've got to be kidding me!" Liz's response was certainly no surprise to me, although, I thought that Max's idea was probably a workable ploy.
"Just do it; it'll distract him" Max didn't seem to see any problem with this. I, on the other hand began to have a bad feeling about the plan based on Liz's powerful objection.
Liz clearly had a problem with the plan. "I will NOT! I cannot believe you are even suggesting it!"
Maria jumped in, "Yeah, sexist pig!"
"Yeah, do it!" Guerin added, "It'll work!" That drew a smack to Michael's head from Maria.
Nevertheless, as the cop approached the window, Max subtly waved a hand and the top three buttons of Liz's blouse popped open.
The rest of our plan worked flawlessly, although, we were sweating bullets for the long while it took for the cop to figure out that his computer and his radio were not going to work. After that, as we had predicted, he let us go with a stern warning to watch our speed, and Liz was properly contrite.
That was in stark contrast to her mood once the cop pulled away. Liz lit into Max like a kamikaze pilot, and pulled no punches. She ranted and berated Max and screamed herself hoarse, and then Maria and Isabel took over screaming for her until she regained her voice so she could scream some more. Once she was done screaming, the Silence (with a capital 'S') descended.
The women had established a solid, unassailable front, and the four of us, poor creatures unfortunate enough to be male knew we had lost this skirmish -- perhaps even lost the battle of the sexes with this one, tragic masculine blunder. That night, we rented only two motel rooms; one for the women and one for the "sexist pigs." Jesse continued to plead innocence with all the skill of the Harvard-minted lawyer he is, but, he had no rebuttal to the assertion that he was quite obviously guilty of being a male, and, therefore, guilty by birth. Apologies were offered. Groveling ran rampant. Nothing could break the resolve of the women to punish Max and Michael's egregious behavior and to include the rest of us on general principles. I knew better than to try, and just huddled in the corner of the back seat, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.
By the next morning, the situation had calmed to a seething psuedo-civility towards us male creatures, and by lunchtime we were back to normal, or at least the men thought so.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
It became Standard Operating Procedure, that, when we left behind a motel or hotel, or whatever, Isabel would pay the bill in cash and collect and destroy the credit-card forms. The card was used only to book the room -- many places won't even let you book a room without a credit-card. Most of the time, the desk did not even process the credit-card because they were waiting for check-out time to make sure they included all charges; phone calls, room service, or whatever. Then one day, Isabel suddenly remembered that she had left something behind in the bathroom of her room, and handed the cash to Maria, asking her to take care of it while Isabel ran back to the room.
"Can you handle it?" Isabel asked as Maria just rolled her eyes.
"Gosh, I dunno, I think I can manage." Maria usually just brushed-off Isabel's micro-management.
When Maria returned to the van she had a smug look on her face, somewhere between 'I know what you did last night' and 'You're headed for the firing squad, mister.' At first she said nothing. She waited until Isabel asked about the bill.
"Everything seem OK on the bill?"
"Funny you should ask," she said, but her face said, "I thought you'd NEVER ask!" "There was an unusual item on the bill charged to your room, and, oddly enough, you and I were at the shoe store in the mall just at the time the charge was made."
No one said a word.
"It seems," she continued, "Someone ordered a pay-per-view movie."
"So what?" Liz responded, "You've done that before. We all have."
"It seems." Maria continued, "Someone ordered 'Sex-Queens in the City,' the triple-X director's cut."
"You've got to be kidding me." Liz shook her head in disbelief. "I knew that you guys were juvenile, but, this is going too far. That's disgusting."
"It sure is." Maria added, "Twenty-bucks worth of disgusting."
Jesse spoke up, "Don't worry about it, we're doing fine on money, it's just twenty-bucks. No big deal."
Liz disagreed. "You don't get it. It IS a big deal."
Michael chimed in, "It ISN'T a big deal, believe me. Just forget about it."
"No, I won't 'just forget about it,' Michael Guerin." Liz was clearly mounting her high-horse.
"That's right, Michael," Maria took up the cause. Don't you know that those films exploit and degrade women?"
"Maria," Michael had an edge in his voice now. "FORGET about it!"
"I'm not going to forget about it Michael."
Isabel tried to intervene. "Maria, just drop it. you don't want to go there."
"Michael -- and not just Michael -- all of you men, or should I say, boys, need to learn that women are not just sex objects."
"Maria!" Michael was clearly getting pissed.
"We are not just sex-objects to be ogled and... and... objectified so you guys can get your jollies."
"OK, that's it." Michael had reached his limit. "You want to know why we order porn movies, Maria? Do ya' want to know why, do you?"
"Maria, believe me," Isabel pleaded, "you don't want to go there."
"YES, I do!!"
Without a moment's hesitation Michael shouted, "We order porn movies so that Jesse can get a hard-on so he can fuck me. That's why we order them. No porn, no hard-on, no hard-on, no fuck, no fuck, no babies for Michael and Maria. You got it? Any questions?"
Shocked silence froze everyone in the van.
"No." Maria said. That was the last thing she said all day.
Continue to Chapter 7
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