Roswell: The Outsider, by Melinda Metz Chapter 1

The opening of the first book is fairly similar to the first scene of the episode 1 of the TV series. Liz Ortecho (not Parker. Odd, I wonder why they changed the name? Did they want her to be less overly Hispanic (or Latina?) in the TV series?) is working in The Crashdown Cafe, owned by her parents.

The text goes on to describe the food Liz gives them, and then informs us that the customers were obviously tourists. Well no shit! Roswell is (at least in the Roswell Universe of the movies) a small town. People in small towns to know each other, so anyone not a resident is usually a tourist.

Anyway, every tourist has at least one question about… the Roswell Incident (capitalization not mine).

The man in the Lost in Space T-shirt (hell yeah! I like this guy already) asks if Liz’s family is from Roswell, and upon hearing that they’ve been there for generations, he asks if any of her relatives told her stories about the UFO crash.

Liz pulls out a black and white photograph and shows them. “A friend of my grandmother’s took this picture of the crash site before the government cleaned it up.”

The 2 tourists are really gullible, and say it looks just like the alien from some sort of autopsy video they watched. They want a copy of it for their website. Liz snatches the photo away because if her “papa” catches her, he’ll be pissed.

I don’t actually blame Liz for doing this, because I work in food service, and it’s boring. You have to make the job interesting somehow, and if people are gullible enough to believe Liz’s photograph of “a baby doll that’s been left in the sun too long.”

Liz’s friend, Maria DeLuca,  chastises Liz, who says that the tourists will have a great story to tell at home, and she’ll get a good tip. Win win for everyone.

[quote] Maria sighed. “You and your great tips. I’ve never known such a money-hungry waitress.”[/quote]

This seriously almost had me throwing the book across the room, except that my poor kindle doesn’t deserve that. But if I had been reading the physical paper copy…

I mean, jeez, who knew that trying to get good tips as a waitress made you “money-hungry.” Nevermind the fact that it is freakin’ legal to pay waitresses less than half the current minimum wage and, oh yeah, most of them rely on tips to survive. Liz is in high school trying to save up for college. Of course she needs all the money she can get. But I’m getting ahead of myself. In this particular chapter, Maria and Liz banter for a while about how Liz

[quote]… not going to spend your life in a town that has only two movie theaters, one bowling alley, one lame-o comedy club, even more lame-o dance club, and thirteen alien theme tourist traps.”[/quote]

I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t either. Apparently Liz has been saying this multiple times a day since the 5th grade. Another interesting deviation from the movie, Liz has “5 thousand relatives” watching her all the time. In the movie, I don’t really remember her having any relatives besides her parents, and they definitely left out her older sister, Rosa.

Apparently Liz’s large family is pressuring her a little bit to actually go to college, and not end up like her sister, Rosa. I’m not sure when we’ll get told what this means, as I’ve only read ahead 3 chapters. I’m guessing Rosa did something totally “shameful” like get pregnant out of wedlock and have to drop out of college to raise the baby. Something which women are frequently frowned upon for doing.

Also, Maria has a ten year old brother in these books, whereas in the movie she is an only child.

Liz counts her money. She’s made $30 more for her “hasta la vista fund.”

And here’s where the writing gets especially bad.

[quote] ….the door swung open. Max Evans, tall and blonde, with killer baby blues, and Michael Geurin, dark and intense, ambled over the corner booth in the back. Both were students at Liz and Maria’s high school.[/quote]

Killer baby blues? When I first read that, I actually couldn’t figure out what that meant. Baby blue pants, baby blue shirt… a baby who was choking to death? I know some authors like to use common vernacular, but when they do I feel like they are just dating their work, and making it potentially a bit more difficult for future readers like yours truly who’s first thought when she hears “killer baby blues” are killer baby whales.

Also, this is Max Evans in the movie.

Yup. Killer baby blues and blonde hair. I don’t know why the change… maybe they think he looks better this way? I gave up trying to figure it out.

Maria bitches for a bit about how the cute guys and tourists always sit in Liz’s section, and she has to deal with those two older guys who are having some sort of fight.

FORESHADOW CLUNK.

Liz offers to give Maria Max and Michael’s table, but Maria just insists that something is up for Liz to give it up. Um, maybe you’ve just been whining and she wants to help you? I liked Maria’s character in the movie, but she is coming across as a bit whiny here.

Anyway, what’s up is that Liz is tired of guys. Apparently she went out on a date with Kyle Valenti, the sheriff’s son, and he’s pissed she wont’ go out with him again.

[quote] he actually got down on his knees and followed me down the hall with his tongue hanging out, begging. [/quote]

I’m sure the tongue hanging out part was exaggeration… but if he is following her around begging her to go out with him then, yes, that is totally creepy. It’s like some guys think they own a girl after the first date, god.

I actually dislike Kyle in the book. In the series I kind of sympathized with him because he has this girlfriend, and she keeps giving him the brush off to go hang out with Max.

Maria brings up Alex, who she and Liz have only been friends with for a year, but feel as if they’ve known him forever. Um, if you all grew up in the same small town, you would have known each other forever. Unless Alex moved in recently, they might not have been friends with him forever, but they would have known him.

Liz decides Alex doesn’t count, because he’s so cool he counts as one of the girls. Liz declares that she is going to “stay home, rent chick flicks, and take bubble baths.” Aside from the chick flick part, that actually sounds really fun.

The book then goes on to reassure us that not all guys Liz has dated have been losers like Kyle. After all, Kyle actually thought Liz would enjoy watching him play his video games. And he didn’t even give her a turn!

Apparently Liz can’t stop dating, because there will be some very unhappy boys at Ulysses F Olsen High… like Max Evans. Liz is apparently friends with Max, which is different from the tv series wherein they’d never really spoken to each other before.

Anyway, this is a lot of time to sit there and talk when they should be working and if I were their employer I wouldn’t be too happy. A small conversation between tables that lasts for 2-4 sentences is one thing. A whole conversation like this? I’d write them up.

What follows is the WORST way to do descriptions in a book ever.

[quote] “Oh, please.” Maria shot back at her “how could he not be interested? You look like some kind of Spanish princess or something with your long black hair and your amazing cheekbones. And let’s not talk about your skin. Do you even know the word zit? Plus yor’e smart and–” [/quote]

Because seriously, people actually talk that way in real life.

We get a lot of talk about how Maria is loyal, and it’s like Ms. Metz never got the concept of “show, don’t tell.”

Anyway, Michael gets tired of waiting for the girls to come around and comes up to the counter, asking for a job application. Liz privately thinks the Crash Down is too normal a job for Michael, who should be working as a Navy Seal or something… in High School? Liz, nobody has a fun job in High School. Almost every high schooler I knew of who worked did so in menial jobs that were boring.

Except for me, I worked in a new and used bookstore. It was a good thing my boss and I were friends, otherwise I would’ve been fired in the first week for constantly hiding out in a corner somewhere and sticking my nose in a book. There’s a reason I studiously avoid jobs at bookstores as an adult.

In any case, Liz hands him an application, but says there are no openings at this time. Which doesn’t surprise me, in such a small town, I’d think they’d only need seasonal help.

Michael  answers that he thinks they’re going to be having some openings real soon, unless Liz’s dad likes waitresses who stand around gossiping instead of waiting tables. OH SNAP. BURN. BUUUUURRRRRRRRN. BURN.

Maria finally picks up some menus and goes to wait on the boys.

There’s a paragraph about the exact shade of Max’s eyes… They look at each other. They look away. Was Maria right about Max liking Liz?

Liz has known Max since the third grade, and been her lab partner since sophomore year of high school. They never hung out outside of class…. yet earlier Liz describes him as “her buddy.” uh huh. More daydreaming about going out with Max.

Apparently Max sees the world in a totally different way, because, when they cloned the first sheep, instead of thinking about who he would like to clone, he wondered if the soul could be cloned, and what that meant.

Um…. Ms. Metz? Sorry, but, that way of thinking was not unique at the time. Because I remember when that happened, and even then it was a huge question in the media, in magazine articles, heck, even at the elementary school I went to. Max thinking this way does not make him unique and special in the least. It just places him in with Majority group #2 instead of Majority group #1.

Liz then thinks that spending time with Max definitely wasn’t boring, but how would she know if she’s never spent time with him outside of class? Because in class you don’t really get that much chance to spend time with people. Therefore, you can’t say they’re never boring, because you only see them in school which takes up only what, 1/3rd of an average child’s day?

More of Liz going on and on about Max…

And then FINALLY the story gets interesting. The two guys over in the corner start arguing loudly over money. We don’t get the exact details of the argument, and I don’t think it’s necessary, since it’s not in any way relevant to the plot.

Anyway, Liz turns to get her dad when Maria screams “He’s got a gun!”

Liz panics, and her panic causes temporary paralysis.

One man fires the gun. Unfortunately, he’s a really bad shot, and Liz is hit in the stomach. Liz fades out as Maria tries to staunch the bloodflow.

Then we shift to Max’s perspective. He springs up from the booth. Michael tries to stop him. They have an argument about how this is all a really bad idea and could put them all in jeopardy vs Liz’s life is in danger. Even the book admits Michael is right.

Look. A shot to the stomach is bad, but it’s not, in and of itself, fatal. A victim of such a wound does have a chance for survival if medical attention is sought right away. And from the speed at which the EMS personnel get there, it doesn’t sound like that will be an issue. Max should cool his jets, because even if Liz dies, it will be a lot quicker for her than what the government types will do to them if they are found out.

But Max decides it’s perfectly ok to risk Michael and Isabelle’s life, and he goes and heals Liz by shifting around molecules. I don’t know how scientific that actually is, but it’s not particularly relevant to the plot, so I’m going to suspend the disbelief a little bit. Kind of like tachyon pulses in Star Trek. It’s not an explanation that makes sense,but the author is trying and oh look a butterfly so…. whatever. Pass on that.

Off to the side, we get a bit about Liz’s father calling 911 and giving the cafes address to the paramedics. Erm, what? Even back in the late 80s/early 90s, and I believe this was filmed in the late 1990s, unless you were calling from a cell phone, EMS had your address immediately whenever you called. They had caller ID way before the rest of the world, for obvious reasons. I actually remember our gym teacher calling once, and having to explain that no address was popping up because he was calling on a cell phone, and this was in the early zeros.

Add to that, Roswell is a small town. Now, that might mean they share an EMS department with neighboring towns, BUT, Roswell is also a huge tourist location. I feel like the EMS and Police and such would already know the addresses of the major tourist places in the area, for obvious reasons.

My dad actually was an EMT in a small touristy town once, and not only did they know where every restaurant was, they knew the major tourist locations. So I feel like Liz’s dad giving the address is just a waste of time. At MOST he would have to confirm the address, maybe, but I can’t imagine someone repeating it, but saying “yes you’re correct.”

In any case, this gets Liz’s dad out of the way while Max heals Liz.

Oh, and in the books, apparently Max can see auras, and he can see that Liz’s is fading out fast. Really? I thought gunshot wounds to the stomach took forever to bleed out. But eh, why ruin drama with facts, amiright?

In any case, Max just kind of shoves Maria out of the way, and Maria doesn’t protest… yeah, that makes narrative sense. Just push the woman aside like a rag doll, and she totally won’t argue. we;iorwefijofsijo

There’s a paragraph about how Max loves Liz. At least, I think it’s a paragraph. The formatting is kind of messed up in the kindle book, but I’m going to attribute that to the fact that this book was a gift. I’m guessing that Ms. Metz’s formatting is perfect in the paperback version.

Liz’s father tries to get through, but Max is… sure taking his sweet ass time about healing her, God. We seriously get 2 or 3 paragraphs or so between the time he shoves Maria out of the way and the time he heals her, which seems to take forever because he must focus on Liz, on details of her life and… huh? I thought all he had to do was rearrange some molecules? Liz’s whole life flashes before his eyes. Then he’s connected.Now he can heal her. Oh my. Anyway, he nudges the molecules of the bullet into harmless particles, which dissolve in Liz’s bloodstream.

Yeah, a lead bullet dissolved into your bloodstream, tell me how that’s not dangerous? Liz is going to die of lead poisoning. Then Max moves Liz’s skin cells to heal her.

Max disconnects just as the ambulance crew comes through the door.

Liz wakes up, apparently not affected by blood loss. Seriously, they tell us she lost a lot of blood, and that all Max did was remove the bullet and sew her up, but they don’t show any signs of Liz being anemic from blood loss. How do the paramedics not pick up on this?

Max takes the ketchup bottle and smashes it, then dumps the contents over Liz’s uniform, telling her to say she broke the bottle when she fell. The paramedics come as Max backs away. Liz gives the Paramedics the story.

Liz tells the paramedics she’s ok, and the chapter ends.

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