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This'll Be the Day That I Die

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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list March 9, 2001


Bye bye Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ol' boys were drinkin whiskey and rye
Singing "This'll be the day that I die,
This'll be the day that I die."
This'll be the day that I die."

Don McLean

* * *

        Why don't I ever listen to myself!

        I tell Max, 'leave my family alone. I don't want to have anything else to do with you. Go away.'

        So, how do I spend my Saturday afternoon? In front of a TV watching sports with Nachos within reach? N'uh-huh! I go to Fraser Woods to dig a whole lot of holes in the ground, in the rain.

        Me and Alex hit the crystals-that-would-eat-New-Mexico. Do we wait until the Martians show up to deal with the situation? Hell no!

        Hey, that looks interesting. Let's explore, Frank! Sure thing Joe. Let's not wait for Chet or anything.'

        So now, we are hostages to a bunch of fish parasites.

        I managed to get through to the others by phone. Of course that only worked when they were, like, standing five feet above our heads.

        I hung up to save the batteries. Alex was sitting on one side of the cave muttering to himself.

        After a few minutes of this I asked him, "Whaddaya doing?"

        He kept his eyes closed, "Something you wouldn't know anything about, Kyle. I'm meditating."

        "No shit! I didn't know that you meditated. I meditate too."

        He opened his eyes and looked at me with a great deal of scepticism.

        "You? Meditate?"

        "Yeah! Me. Meditate. Listen, the stuff that went down last spring freaked me out major, then I got shipped off to football camp where I didn't have the chance to talk about it with ANYONE. So, to make a long story short, my roommate was a Buddhist and I got into it."

        Alex looked excited for the first time. "Really? What form?"

        "Well, most Western Buddhists do Zen school but my friend was a Vajrasanya Buddhist. I'm more of a 'shopping-cart' Buddhist, I pick out things that I can use from different traditions."

        I realized that I had said a bit more than I had intended.

        "Listen, only Tess knows that I practice Buddhism. Don't tell anyone else."

        "My lips are sealed." Alex actually did the thing where he drew his hand over his mouth like he were zipping it closed. I hadn't seen anyone do that since fifth or sixth grade.

        I had had even less to do with Alex than Guerin or the Evan's kids. Max and I were on the same wrestling team, but that was it. Alex sat beside me in Spanish class, but today was the first day that we had said more than two sentences in a row to each other.

        He seemed to be a bit, I dunno, Phat since his trip to Sweden. He didn't look as geeky as he used to at least.

        I got up and moved over to where he was sitting and sat down beside him.

        The phone rang and I answered it.

        Liz babbled to me. Funny, we were the ones in trouble, but Liz sounded more upset about it than we did.

        I held my hand over the phone and relayed the message to Alex.

        "The Martians have tried their powers on the crystals but it hasn't worked. As if we hadn't noticed."

        Alex spoke on the phone with them for a minute then hung up. He said it was to spare the batteries.

        He turned to me. "OK. The Pod Squad tried using their powers on the crystals. Let's see: Max can heal and project protective force fields, Tess can mind warp and Isabel can enter people's dreams or change the colour of her fingernail polish. For some reason, that didn't work too well on CRYSTALS, duh."

        "Where is Blow-up Rocks Boy when his power would be useful for something."

        "Arizona."

        I shook my head, "rhetorical question, dude."

        I put the phone back into my knapsack and got out a couple of apples I had brought for a snack and giving one to Alex. After eating them I asked, "So, what were you using as a mantra?"

        Alex blushed. Which looked way weird under the blue-light.

        "Something I remembered from our 'Introduction to Native American cultures'. It's called the 'Beauty Chant'. It's the Navajo version of the Lord's Prayer."

        "Or the 'Three Refuges' in Buddhism."

        "Sure thing." Obviously Alex hadn't been paying as much attention in that class of 'World Relgions.' "Would you like to hear it?"

I shrugged and Alex started chanting.

Beauty is before me
Beauty behind me
Above me and below me hovers the beautiful
I am surrounded by it
I am immersed in it
In my youth and in my old age
I shall walk on the beautiful path.

        After the first round, I gestured for him to repeat it. And I picked up some of the lyrics each time until we were chanting it together. It was peaceful and made me feel connected to Alex in ways I hadn't suspected. Sort of like the way that Tess had become my sister without me noticing or Max invaded my dreams in embarrassing ways.

        So we spent the next couple of hours finding songs that we could sing together. I knew that Alex played but I didn't know that he could sing as well. He didn't have anywhere near as spectacular a voice as Maria, but it was pleasant. Alex hadn't known that I could sing either. I had sung for years in the Church choir.

        The phone rang and each of us spent some time talking to our friends. Isabel had gone back to the museum to get some 'cutting impliments' to go along with the 'digging impliments'. (Obviously that was Max. Alex laughed out loud and told me that even the military didn't talk like that anymore.) She had been kidnapped by Grant Sorenson who was apparantly the tool of the Alien-parasite -Blue-Crystal-Queen. Like no one had seen that plot twist coming. To Max, this was good news. It meant that if someone who looks like-acts like and has the same name as my Dad were to stop Grant that the World-Would-Be-Saved-Again-From-The-Alien-Scourge. Incidentally, Alex and I might still be alive in a couple of days.

        I got out my lunch and split it with Alex. He promised to split his stuff with me for dinner.

        Alex wanted to play a game of 'Truth, Dare or Consequences'. I thought it was a bit lame but I went along for lack of anything else to do.

        "Kyle, tell the Truth. Did you sleep with Liz Parker."

        "No, Alex, I never sleep with Liz Parker. When we went to bed together we stayed awake." I stated with full pomposity.

        Alex said, "Aw, come on Kyle. You know what I meant."

        "No."

        "No what."

        "No, I did not have sex with that woman. And it doesn't matter what you're definition of 'is' is. Nada, nichts, nothing."

        Alex was kind of surprised at that. Maria must have been spreading stories.

        "Your turn Alex. Have you ever had sex?"

        "Yes, while I was in Sweden."

        "What was his name?"

        Alex sputtered at me for a moment. "What are you... What do you...? It was with a GIRL. Her name was Olga."

        "Really? I just figured that you had to be...."

        "I'm not gay. My first sexual experience was with a woman, she was the daughter of my sponsers in Sweden."

        We were both quiet. That had definitely been a conversation killer. Alex was blushing furiously. The tense silence lasted for about 5 minutes.

        Out of the blue, Alex spoke up again. "By at least a day. Her brother Sven didn't sneak into my room until the next night."

        "Oh?" I perked up my ears at that.

        "It turned out that they had worked out a deal between the two of them. We alternated nights for the next month. I guess that makes me bisexual."

        There was another tense silence until I said, "Since you're not going to ask, 'Doug Highsinger'."

        Alex said, "H'uh? He's the full-back isn't he? What about him?"

        It was my turn to go, 'figure it out'. Alex blushed again.

        I shrugged, "Like I said before. I went through a lot of emotional stuff this summer. I'm bi too. And I haven't even told Tess THAT. And yes, I do think that you're pretty cute."

        He giggled, I swear to the bodhissatvas, the boy actually giggled.

        "Alex, you are cute. Except when you sound like that. And if you think anything is going to happen in this damp, cold hole in the ground you are sadly mistaken."

        We went through all of the old songs that we knew. It turned out that each of us had learnt all the lyrics to Don McLean's 'American Pie'. Course, I had learnt it because I liked the chorus about drinking and Alex had learnt it since 'Don McLean was one of the most significant folk singers of America in the 1970s'.

        Honestly, if anyone had told me a year ago that I would be facing imminent death with Alex Whitman and enjoying the experience, I would have knocked them down. As the Buddha said, "The Universe does not exist to live up to our expectations." Well, he also said the Universe does not exist, we just like to imagine that it does -- but Hey! I've only been a Buddhist for a few months. This stuff takes lifetimes, literally.

        A couple of the crystals were lying around on the bottom of the cave. I popped one into my empty bottle of Herbal drink. I lit a match and dropped it into the container. The crystal went all wild, banging around the inside, then died. It died really fast.

        Alex grabbed the phone and called upstairs.

        "Guys, you won't believe what we just found out. The crystals are real, extreme sensitive to low oxygen. Kyle killed one in a couple of seconds. Hell, humans can live without oxygen for 5-8 minutes. This is the first big weakness that we've seen."

        I heard them gabbling away, so I grabbed the phone and hung up again.

        Alex was like all excited puppy-dog boy.

        "This means that we have a fighting chance. Woo-hoo!" He grabbed me and jumped up and down. "We can beat them, we can beat them!"

        I gave him a big long hug. Damn, he felt good in my arms but I let go anyway.

        "OK, Alex. I have a dare for you. IF we get out of here, take me on a date."

        "Date?"

        "Dinner, movie. You know the whole shmear!"

        He thought for a second. "Sure, have you heard about that new Vampire movie coming out? That one with the gay guy from 'Dawson's Creek' playing white trash?"

        "Yeah, and that guy with the awful hair from 'The X-Files 90210'. Sounds like fun."

        "It'll be interesting to see if Kerr Smith is convincing in a straight role. He seems to keep playing gay men all the time."

        "Well, the only straight role that I've seen him play is where he plays straight in his real life. He ain't all that good an actor."

        Alex hugged me again, "One condition for the date. You pick me up in your Dad's pickup truck and wear a pink carnation."

        What else is there to tell? Like I said, the cave was too damp, too cold and too close to the rest of the Chain gang for us to do more than cuddle. We figured out when the Queen died 'cause all the crystals melted on top of us. Major Slime.

        Our first date was in Las Vegas, but that's another story.

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