Disclaimer: Lyrics to "Real World" are by Rob Thomas and Max belongs to
Jason Katims & the WB.
Summary: pre-Season 2 angst for our not-so fearless leader.
|I wonder what it's like to be the rainmaker
I wonder what it's like to know that I made the rain
I'd store it in boxes with little yellow tags on every one
and you can come see them when I'm...done, when I'm done.
I was watching "Muppet Show" reruns the other day and Kermit was singing 'It's not Easy Being Green'. Mom came in and didn't understand why I was laughing so hard tears were running down my face...why I was gasping and chuckling "It's not easy being a little green man!" over and over. She checked my forehead for a fever, smoothed my hair, clicked her tongue, and went back into the kitchen.
I wish I had a fever. I wish I could swallow some aspirin, drink some orange juice, and make it all go away. But I never get sick,
do I? I don't even really know what it's like to be that weak and that helpless.
I'm not *allowed* to be that weak and helpless.
Because I'm the leader.
It's a laugh. Me. A *leader*? I can't even get out of bed in the morning. I haven't really moved more than two feet outside the house all summer. Oh, sometimes I get dressed and Isabel drives us to the cave to meet with Nasedo and get lectured about how we're putting ourselves in danger. And sometimes I run to the store for Mom and Dad. But I don't think that really counts.
Sometimes Michael comes over and watches the Food Channel with me. "Iron Chef" is our favorite although "Emeril Live" comes close. Liz doesn't come over, of course. But she calls. I don't talk to her. And Alex comes over...but he winds up in Izzy's room and he doesn't even say "hi" to me. Loyalty. It's admirable. Wish I had some. Tess comes over at least twice a week...and I tell her to 'shut up'. It's our pattern. She ignores me, of course, and stares at me with her big, gray, eyes as she yaps on about our destiny.
I wonder what she sees?
Because every time she stares, her eyes get just a little bit sadder. Just a little bit more disapproving. Yesterday, she came over and didn't say anything at all. Not even the 'd' word. Nasedo's book just lay open on her lap as we slouched on the couch and watched "The Muppet Show" in near silence. That's a sight for the record books...Tess Harding slouching in her $90 red jeans and suppressing giggles at the Swedish Chef. But her eyes were still sad.
See...I didn't *think* I was the leader type. Maybe she's starting to agree with me. Maybe I'll get out of it.
It's not easy being green. Damn straight, Kermit.
I wonder what it's like to be a super hero I wonder where I'd go if I could fly around downtown from some other planet, I get this funky high on yellow sun Boy, I bet my friends will all be...stunned, they're stunned.
I used to think it was neat. Having powers. Being able to heal people and change the shapes of things. It was like having a secret that only me, Michael, and Isabel could share. Wait...it *was* a secret that only me, Michael, and Isabel shared. Ha ha.
It's not so neat anymore. It's a burden. It's a pain. And the tights itch.
My parents think I'm severely depressed. They've been hinting that I need to go to therapy. Maybe I just need to buy a red and blue suit with a big 'A' on the chest. SuperAlien. SuperMax. Protector of the innocent. Leader of his homeworld. Strike up the band and send in the clowns.
Maybe I *am* a little depressed. Maybe I'm a little insane. But it's allowed, isn't it? I mean...my brother killed a guy, I healed a football jock who hates me, and I saw my real mother after touching a communicator orb with a girl I don't really like. And I found out my destiny is to save a home planet that I don't even remember. And there are evil aliens after me. And my girlfriend broke up with me but still calls.
I'm allowed a little insanity.
No one else seems to think so.
Well, except Michael and Tess.
But they've *never* been quite sane, have they? They've always been bad. Always loose cannons. Not like me. Not like dependable, heroic, old Max.
No one really trusts them. No one puts the burden of responsibility on them.
That's for my shoulders only. Me. The leader.
Today's "Muppet Show" is the Gene Kelly one. It's my favorite.
Straight up, what did you hope to learn about here
Tess came in and caught me doing "Singin' in the Rain" with one of the halogen lamps in the living room. She laughed. I don't think I've ever actually heard her laugh like that before. A *real* laugh.
She still disapproves, though. And I wonder what gives her the right. She just met me a few months ago. Sure, our souls may be joined and yadda yadda yadda...but she doesn't *know* me. Nobody does. Not even my sister. They all think I *like* being in charge. That I *like* having the control and the say.
How do I know that I'm not going to screw everything up?
How do I know that I'm not going to let a planet I've never even seen just blow apart because I'd rather make out with a human girl in the Eraser Room at school? How do I know that I deserve this responsibility?
But they all look to me anyway. And when I turn to look for someone...there's no one there.
I've never been more terrified in my entire life. Even those first six years I don't remember can't possibly compare.
I wonder what it's like to be the head honcho
What if I told them all to "go away"? What if I told them all to "go to Hell"? Would they do it? Well, I'm sure Mom wouldn't approve of me cussing at my own sister...but it would just move me closer to the shrink's couch, right? Chalk one up for clinical depression.
I wish I could shut it all out. I wish I could lock the door and keep the knocks from coming. Even from Michael. I think I'm a big enough boy to watch "Iron Chef" by myself now. I don't want the phone to ring. I don't want Sheriff Valenti asking me if I need anything. I don't want to hear Liz say "hello" and then hit the hookswitch because she makes me cry.
I want it all to end.
And I'm the leader. I'm the hero.
So why doesn't it?
Why doesn't the world spin according to my wishes?
Probably because I'm a lousy role model. I'm a lousy alien and a lousy human being. Do the people back home realize they've made a mistake? That I'm too much of a wuss to carry out my destiny? That I'd rather sit here in my flannel pants and my West Roswell gym shirt and watch soaps than face the sunlight again?
No one will listen to me if I have nothing to say.
Please don't change, please don't break
Tess didn't come by this week.
What's surprising is that I almost picked up the phone and called her house. I almost yelled into the receiver, "If you're so fucking fated to be with me...why aren't you *here* right now?"
Scary that I wanted to watch her laugh at the Swedish Chef. Scary that I wanted to see the disapproval in her eyes because it confirms my own opinion of me. That I'm messing up. That I'm a mistake. But she won't give that to me anymore. Does that make her a bitch or a hero?
She left Nasedo's book here last week...and it's lying open, on the coffee table, next to a dripping carton of Ben&Jerry's. The picture of the four of us, the square, is facing up at me. Mocking me.
Maybe she's really the hero and I'm not. Maybe I'm just the consort.
Maybe it's Michael and Isabel who are the prince and his betrothed.
That would be nice. That would be easy.
But I don't think destiny really makes mistakes.
And I don't think destiny is nice and easy.
Nothing in the world really is.
Straight up, what did you hope to learn about here
Four things happened today.
Mom made an appointment with a psychologist for next Tuesday.
The "Muppet Show" was pre-empted by pre-season football.
I talked about our destiny to Tess and *she* told *me* to shut-up.
And when the phone rang and Liz said "hello"...I said, "Hi, Liz. I'm alive" before I hung up.
I think that's progress.
But I'm still no leader.
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