|"THE BALANCE STATEMENTS"
Disclaimer: Roswell characters belong to Warner Brothers. No infringement intended.
Summary: "The Balance Statements" is a sequel to the Roswell E-Mail series. It may make more sense in the long run if you've read it.
|( Mrs. E. gets out some old photos and they begin comparing them to the small photo album that was delivered)
Isabel: In these pictures that Mrs. Oldman sent, I sure look a lot like I do in your old pictures mom.
Mom: That what scares me so badly. How could she have pictures of you from ten years ago?
Alex: Keep in mind what's being done with computer technology these days. Any or all of these could just as easily have been created in cyberspace as developed from a negative.
Isabel: Mom…look at this one…I've seen that one somewhere before.
Isabel: Look at it…don't you have one just like it?
Mom: Let's see…yes…look…right here in my album…I have the same picture. And I know where it came from. This was the picture the adoption agency gave us of you. I put in it here first…and all my others ones follow it…I try to show you growing up.
Isabel: I knew I'd seen that before.
Max: How could Mrs. Oldman have gotten that one?
Dad: That is a question that deserves an answer.
Max: This just keeps getting muddier.
Michael: I don't like mud anymore.
Isabel: Private joke…not secret just private.
Mom: I understand dear…last night doesn't mean we have to know everything…believe it or not I was a teenager once.
Alex: Can I have both albums for a while?
Mom: I guess! What for?
Alex: I know the guy who runs the photo lab at the newspaper…he's a real expert…I'd like to take them down there…show them to him…see if he thinks any of these new ones are virtual. He's always there late getting the paper out…and I know he'll help me without asking questions. Wanta come with me, Iz?
Mom: Be back by 7:00…we'll have dinner then. You can come back too Alex if you want.
Alex: Thanks, but I better go home after this. I've got some on line research to do.
Max: So, what have we got? A falsified signature. Some very lifelike photographs. A possible address. A telephone call. I'm having trouble connecting the dots…anyone else?
Michael: I'm confused. I think I need a little down time…wanta head to the Crashdown for a break? You can be back by 7:00 and I'll head home to clean up my apartment…again.
Max: You need maid service.
Michael: I can get it, but it comes with a price.
Max: Arguing with Maria again, huh?
Mom: You guys better get out of here…there are things grown ups don't even want to hear about.
(The guys leave…Phil and Diane talk some more)
Phil: Tom, the investigator from my office, will be back from Santa Fe late tonight. He said he'd call…he told me on the phone some things were not adding up after his visit to the state Family Services office. He implied that they gave him Mrs. Oldman's address far too easily.
Diane: What do you suppose that means?
Phil: Like Max…I'm having trouble making any sense out of this yet. One thing is becoming very clear. There's a lot to this that's below the surface.
(At the Crashdown)
Liz: Max…I didn't expect to see you, with the Isabel thing and all.
Max: Michael and I think better over a cherry Coke.
Liz: Coming right up. One for you too Michael?
Michael: Please…and where's Maria?
Maria: (from behind) Right where I can keep an eye on you.
Michael: (startled) You think you need to?
Maria: No…just want to. So Max, how's Isabel holding up?
Max: She's still scared…but seeing everyone jumping in to solve this is helping her. Talking with our parents about certain matters also made a big difference in her. I could see where she was worrying she'd really be hung out to dry if they abandoned her. At least that's something she doesn't have to think about any more. She and Alex are over at the newspaper office right now.
Liz: (Bringing the drinks) The newspaper office? Is she trying to make headlines? I thought we were supposed to keep this quiet.
Max: A photo album showed up at our house from Mrs. Oldman. It had pictures supposed to be of a six year old Isabel...and in them she looks almost exactly like she does in some my mom has from back then. Alex thinks they might be computer generated or enhanced. He took them to a friend who runs the newspaper photo lab. I guess he can tell us for sure.
Michael: Yeh…and he could tell the whole town too. I didn't say anything at your house…but I don't like getting involved with the media in any way.
Maria: Alex knows what he's doing. I'll guarantee you he'd never do anything to endanger Isabel.
Michael: I hope you're right.
Liz: I wouldn't worry about him Michael.
Michael: Oh… no question I trust him…but sometimes what seems like a good idea…
Max: There's no way to investigate this without some risk…and we have to use whatever resources we have. If this guy can help us…and Alex trusts him…it's OK with me.
Michael: So, Maria…doing anything when you're through working?
Maria: Hmmm…it's been a couple days. Your apartment must need cleaning again.
Max: (can't help but laugh) I told you…
Liz: It's good to see you laugh again, Max.
Max: That's kinda why we came here…it's been so tense…we needed to unwind. But it's getting late…mom's expecting me back by 7:00. Liz: I wish there was something Maria and I could do. It seems as if Alex and your dad are doing most of the legwork. Do you think Iz would like us to do something with her…maybe tomorrow…get her mind off this?
Max: I'm guessing not…but maybe you should try and talk her into it. The best thing you can do right now is to be our support group. I'll call you later.
Maria: I'll come over, Michael…but if your place is a mess….
Michael: (turns and places his hand on Maria's face) It is a mess…but look at me and tell me that you really care.
(Max kisses Liz; he and Michael head out. Max drops off Michael, then arrives home just as Alex is dropping Isabel off)
Isabel: Let's go in…we'll tell you and mom and dad at the same time. Alex…you can explain it better than I can…come in long enough to do that.
Alex: OK! I never can say no to you.
Isabel: Don't tempt me!
Alex: Sounds like one of my lines…glad to see you smile.
(Inside…the pictures are returned, becoming the latest pieces of this jigsaw puzzle… still nothing seems to be fitting together)
Dad: So what did your friend say, Alex.
Alex: Definitely computer generated…all but the first one…the one you have a copy of. He suspects they used that as a model. Some of the background on the computer generated ones looked familiar to him…like they came out of a photo enhancement program. If Isabel was this person's daughter…the pictures wouldn't have phony backgrounds.
Dad: That's something major. Do you think he could pinpoint the background source?
Alex: I can ask him…but I don't know how much I can get him to do before his curiosity becomes to great for us to satisfy…and he is a newspaper man.
Max: Michael was concerned about that.
Dad: Well, we'll keep that information in mind…we'll have to determine the risk factor of pursuing it versus the benefit.
Isabel: My dad, the lawyer!
Mom: Sounds like just another thing we don't know everything we need to about.
Alex: I really need to get going. Let me know if there's any more news.
Isabel: I will.
(Isabel follows Alex out)
Isabel: Thank You, Alex!
Mom: Dinner's almost ready folks.
Max: Good, I'm starved.
(Dinner at the Evans house was unique today…it's the first one ever where no one was trying to hide anything. Even though things had always been just fine…everyone just seemed a little more relaxed…a little closer)
Mom: So…I hope you two aren't letting your school work slide because of this.
Isabel: I admit…it's been hard to concentrate.
Max: I'm keeping up…Liz has helped out a lot…she keeps me focused.
Isabel: Yeh…on her.
Max: Hey…she's my lab partner…we do study.
Isabel: Yeh…each other.
Mom: It so good to hear you two banter…it's been awhile.
Dad: (pause) I guess it's OK to ask now…and don't feel like you have to tell us if you'd rather not, Max…but what did happen with Liz and you? And is that what caused an interest from the FBI?
(Max actually seems happy to talk about it as he explains what happened at the Crashdown that day…what the sheriff was told by the tourists…and the later appearance of the FBI's Miss Topolsky as a phony Guidance Counselor.)
Mom: Thanks…I think it is good we know what the sheriff suspects…it will help us to play dumb with him.
Dad: The FBI thing concerns me a little. Do you think the school was in on it?
(Before Max can get into that, the phone rings. Dad answers it)
Dad: That was Tom…the investigator from my office. He's just back from Santa Fe and he wants to come over. I told him that was fine…I think we're about done with dinner.
Isabel: Back to "let's appear normal" mode.
Mom: Just be yourselves, kids.
Dad: I think you know him anyway…he's been around here before.
Max: Yeh…I know him. He seems like an OK guy.
(A short while later)
Dad: Come on in Tom…you know Diane and my kids, Isabel and Max.
Tom: Do you want everyone to hear about this?
Phil: Absolutely…this concerns us all…and we try to not have secrets from each other anymore anyway.
Tom: What you asked me to do didn't make sense to the people at Family Services.
Phil: Why not?
Tom: Well…I asked them about the letter you got from them like you told me to. They were wondering what the big deal was about verifying an address? Why you needed a law firm to investigate that? They showed me a copy of the letter. All it was asking for was to verify the address where Isabel was living. I'm told they do that every few years to keep records current for all adopted minor children.
Tom: I don't know what else to say. …it was signed by Robert James…the Division Director…but it was one of those computer generated signatures. You had mentioned a Mrs. Oldman. I asked about her…if she worked there…the secretary didn't need the letter…she looked it up on a phone number wheel. I was told Mrs. Oldman is a social worker. She lives in Las Cruces, but apparently travels all over for Family Services.
Phil: Let me show you something…in confidence please. This is why I asked you to investigate.
(Phil shows Tom the letter they received with Family Services letterhead)
Tom: I see why you're concerned Phil. If I had an adopted daughter and received this I'd be investigating too.
Phil: Please don't say any more about this to anyone. I'm trying to find out what is going on. I may need you to look into it some more…but right now, I don't know what to think.
Tom: It looks like this woman wants contact with Isabel…and she's gone to great lengths to make it happen. Don't worry. I'll keep this under my hat. And Phil…if I can help you any more you know I will…not just as a colleague, but as a friend.
Phil: Thanks Tom.
Tom: Isabel…don't worry…we'll get to the bottom of this. You've got a great mom and dad.
Isabel: I know!
Diane: Thanks for coming over, Tom…can I get you some coffee or something?
Tom: No thanks…I need to get home. I came here as soon as I got back to town.
Phil: Goodnight Tom…thanks again.
(Tom leaves…more confusion…no answers)
Max: Well…now there's absolutely no question…this is about as well planned a setup as could be…and if we weren't looking for it…we might not have caught it.
Isabel: What could anyone want with me so badly?
Mom: I hope it's not…no one else knows…right?
Max: (suddenly panics) There are suspicions…but about me, not Isabel. This is all just a way to get to me; I know it. Maybe I should leave…
Mom: Max…No! Think son…we need you here. No one is going anywhere…unless it's Mrs. Oldman.
Dad: I think it's time we find out more about her. How is Alex doing with his computer?
Isabel: I'll call him right now.
Max: (a bit more calm) As if you needed an excuse!
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