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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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.

In Which I Read The Roswell Books, by Melinda Metz

My friend D an I have been watching Roswell together, and he happens to have all the books. The first ten books were written before the TV series, and then there’s another set of books written during the series, then a set of ten books meant to take place after the series.

Now, first off, I really liked Roswell the TV series. I mean, I have my issues with it (I really hate Max, and I dislike the soap opera aspect) but aside from those, I still enjoy watching the show. Even if I do have to throw popcorn at the TV every time Max is on screen, constantly am yelling at Isabelle, and wishing that either Tess or Michael were the protagonists because they are way more interesting and frankly, the only ones in this series likely to actually survive to adulthood.

The books, however, that the series was based off are… um, well, the story has potential, but the writing, oh the writing! It’s just godawful. D and I are both having a hard time getting through them, and I’m the one allowed enough booze to theoretically cope with it. So, I’ll start at the beginning, soon as I’ve had my…. er, “breakfast.”