Roswell: The Outsider, by Melinda Metz Chapter 2

I’m going to try to get through the whole chapter today, but it is the holidays, so no guarantees.

The chapter opens with Liz being examined by completely incompetant paramedics. Liz and MAx look at each other, and when paramedics block their view, Liz acts as if it’s tragic. Also, we get this.

 Her [Liz] brain felt like it was humming, vibrating at a really low frequency. It was hard to think.

So, Max’s healing mojo makes her feel like she’s on drugs. Got it.

Liz tells the paramedics that she broke a bottle of ketchup. There’s blood under the ketchup, and a lot of it. Sorry, but I’m not buying that the ketchup would hide the blood. It’s not like they’re the same color or texture, and they smell different. Fortunately, the paramedic is an idiot, and tells her that smelling Liz is causing her to get the urge to eat french fries. She shines a light into Liz’s eyes and checks her pulse.

We get a bit of character development about Liz’s dad, who is freaking out about Liz possibly being shot. Apparently he’s so scared to lose Liz because her sister, Rosa, overdosed. He is terrified to lose Liz because she’s the only child he has left.

I’m going to chalk this up to Liz being an unreliable narrator. I don’t think her dad is worried because Liz is the only one he has left, I think he’s worried because he loves Liz.

Anyway, after only looking into her eyes and checking her pulse, not, oh, I dunno, making sure Liz doesn’t have a bullet in her anywhere, or getting out the stethoscope and listening to the actual heartbeat, the paramedic declares that Liz is fine. So the Paramedics just leave.

Mr. Ortecho gives Liz a hug “so tight her ribs hurt.” Which makes sense, but how does he not then get covered in the blood/ketchup combo? At the very least, the ketchup would cling to him and come off of her, revealing the bullet hole in Liz’s uniform.

Liz asks her dad not to tell her mother, and her dad basically laughs at her because Liz’s mother would take one look at them and know something was up.

Um, Roswell is a small town, the type where everyone knows everything about anybody. And Liz thinks they have a prayer of keeping this from her mother? And Liz’s dad thinks Liz’s mom won’t already know about it by the time they walk in the house?

I’m not buying it.

Liz is desperate to talk to Max, but he and Michael wisely pulled a disappearing act. Liz gets worried her story won’t hold up because…oh jeez, are the paramedics BLIND? How did they not see this?

The splatters of blood on the tile floor looked bright red and shiny slick –not tomato red and clumpy.

Oh my god, seriously? These paramedics need to be fired. It doesn’t take a forensic scientist to figure out that a blood stain on the floor is blood and not ketchup. Especially when you’re a paramedic and used to dealing with blood.

Liz decides she’d better mop the floor.

Now, it doesn’t surprise me that the paramedics got there before the police. I think they usually do. However, it does surprise me that the police didn’t appear on the scene shortly after the paramedics. Even in a larger city this would be the case, but this is a small town. Small town police don’t usually have anything like this to deal with, and they would be rushing to the scene, probably with way too many actual responding officers. The fact that the police here are taking their sweet ass time getting here is just not believable.

It is even less believable that they wouldn’t be pissed and suspicious that Liz tried to mop a crime scene. In fact, how has the area not already been roped off with police tape? How are they still in the restaurant?

And what happened to the two men who were fighting? Did they run away when the bullet hit Liz? Did they continue to fight? It seems like they just vanished from the story.

Before Maria can get Liz to the bathroom, sheriff Valenti shows up. The book does a better job at setting up Valenti as a villain than the movie. Even I hate him. The Valenti in the movies you could kinda sympathize with.  Here is the paragraph we get about Valenti as chief of police.

He did a locker search practically every week [at the high school]. He stopped anyone under 18 who was driving even one mile over the speed limit. He showed up at practically every party, checking to see if there was any underage drinking going on.

So, in other words, he is an asshole. But aside from that, this paints Valenti as someone who is a police officer in a small town who has nothing better to do than stop 16 year olds going 26 in a 25. (Which, btw, would get laughed out of court.) So, how the hell does he take so long to get to a real crime scene? As chief of police, he would’ve been notified right away. Tell me that his stupid locker searches were more important.

Anyway, Valenti questions Liz and her dad. Liz repeats the ketchup story, which, since she hasn’t had time to completely mop up the blood stains, shouldn’t hold. Actually, the fact that she is even mopping would trip the BS detector all cops seem to have. Even Liz admits that it’s weird.

Valenti asks questions in a calm voice, but Liz still feels intimidated. Liz wonders why. This takes a whole paragraph.

If she had to pick one word to describe Sheriff Valenti, it would be deliberate. She got the feeling that his every word and gesture were calculated. And if he was so careful about what he did and said, he must scrutinize every detail about other people.

Well, that last one is kind of what people are taught in police school. It might not actually be something Valenti was born with. In any case, we are supposed to believe that someone described as such wouldn’t call out her bullshit ketchup story right then and there?

The two describe in detail what the 2 men looked like. I can’t believe Valenti is taking the descriptions from Liz and Maria at the same time. I would think he would question them separately, to make sure their stories of the incident and the descriptions of the men matched up. Boy, if even I can figure this out, Valenti must be a dumb cop. How’d he get elected sheriff, again?

Valenti then asks where the bullet hole is. It almost feels like he shouldn’t be asking, like this should be done by a team of forensic scientists. Well, maybe he would ask the question, but the area should still be swarming with cops looking for a bullet hole based on Liz’s report of the incident.

Valenti doesn’t see a bullet hole in the wall. Liz says that maybe she just imagined the gun went off because she was so stressed. Valenti says that can happen, however, her father heard the gunshot too, so it definitely went off.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Liz said. “Do you mind if I go clean up? This ketchup is really sticky.”

I have no idea if this would really be allowed or not, but Valenti lets her go. Maria takes Liz to the bathroom. We get very clunky writing about how Liz thinks better with her hair out of her face. Which isn’t a bad characterization in and of itself, but it’s done so clunkily (is that even a word? It is now) that it’s…. ergh.

Maria knows right off the bat that Liz was lying to the sheriff, and I like this part. In the TV series it takes like, 2 episodes for Liz to open up to Maria, and that didn’t make any narrative sense. So I like the fact that Maria finds out right away, because she’d have to be an idiot not to.

Liz explains, and Maria believes it, because it makes more sense than the dumb ketchup story.

The smell of ketchup mixed with dying blood wafted up from Liz’s uniform. She felt a wave of nausea…

Hang on, the paramedic was up close to her, and she didn’t smell the blood? All she smelled was ketchup? This is getting more unbelievable by the second.

There’s a hole in Liz’s uniform where the bullet went through. Liz gets weirded out by the fact a bullet was in her body. I don’t blame her. Then Maria notices that the Liz has a silvery handprint on her stomach that’s glowing.

The perspective switches to Isabelle, who is really upset. You can tell because she’s organizing her makeup drawer, which always calms her down. Apparently the three can feel whenever one of their number uses their powers, which is another way the books differ from the TV series.

And they never use their powers, not even for fun. It’s a rule. In the TV series they used their powers all the time, out in public. I like the strict secrecy better, because it’s more likely to lead to their survival, but this part just rubs me the wrong way.

Max and Michael never used their powers for kicks. And whenever Isabelle did –which was a lot, because using her powers was fun–they both always chewed her out.

I don’t blame Isabelle. I’d at least like to be able to use my powers in private where no one could see me or something. Basically, Max can put all 3 of them in danger by using a huge power in public, but Isabelle can’t even levitate a book from across a room with the door closed and the window curtains shut?

Isabelle is bordering towards hysterical, because someone used a lot of power, like healing or dream walking. She’s not just hysterical because of the power use, but because she feals their emotions, and right now, she feels their terror.

The author goes on to do a bit of world building. Isabelle can feel the others’ feelings, but not read their minds. However, she just tunes them out most of the time, especially when Max is lusting over Liz. (My words, not hers.)

But trying to ignore their terror would be like trying to ignore a volcano.

Finally, Max and Michael come home, and Isabelle is ready to murder them. After going inside and being reassured that their parents aren’t home, Max tells Isabelle what happens, but not without Isabelle having to pry it out of him, which scares her because normally Max loves to take charge and boss Isabelle and Michael.

Finally, Michael puts it this way.

The saint used his powers to heal a gunshot wound –and he did it in front of witnesses.

Isabelle, rightly so, is furious. There’s a few paragraphs about how Isabelle is religious in her avoidance of Valenti (smart girl).

Isabelle then asks if anyone got a good look at Max, and Michael points out that it’s such a small town, witnesses will also be able to give names and addresses.

Isabelle rightfully assumes Valenti now knows about Max and Isabelle. Because if this investigation was happening in an even semi competent universe, he would know, not in 2 seconds, but at least in 2 days he’d know something was up.

Michael thinks they should flee, and frankly, I’m with him.

Then Max takes charge, and says Liz lied to the paramedics, so it’s totally cool, because the EMS and Police are totally incompetent in this universe. The Roswellverse.

Isabelle argues with Max, and she’s in the right.

Michael cuts off the argument by asking what he plans to tell Liz. When Max reveals he’s going to tell Liz the truth, the other 2 freak out. And I agree, if you want to reveal yourself to a girlfriend, wait till your adults and have an actual realistic chance of making it in the real world as a married couple.

Isabelle sees there’s no way to change Max’s mind, which is totally unfair, because Max is making a decision that impacts all of them. He shouldn’t get to do that without a vote, at least. She points out that Max barely knows Maria and Liz, and it’s not like they live in Disney land where everything is perfect.

Michael and Isabelle should take off in the jeep and leave Max behind to get himself killed over his girlfriend.

“You’re the one who made the rule, Max. You made us all swear we would never, tell anyone, remember?” Michael asked.

(Comma placement is hers, not mine, and it looks weird.)

So, basically, Michael gets to make the rules, but they don’t really apply to him. Right.

A car pulls up to the driveway. Who is it? Is it Sheriff Valenti, come to cart them off to a facility? Is it their parents home early from the office? We will find out in the next chapter.

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