Guard title, and I like 'Jim' better, even though I am a pretty important

man. Damn right I have an objection! Why, that message is almost

aggressive. You'd think we wanted to fight Santa Anna! You want us to be

marked down as warmongers? It'll give us trouble when we get to the

negotiation table--"

Travis' head turned. "Colonel Crockett?"

"What Jim says goes for me, too. And this: I'd change that part about all

Americans, et cetera. You don't want anybody to think we think we're better

than the Mexicans. After all, Americans are a minority in the world. Why

not make it 'all men who love security?' That'd have world-wide appeal--"

"Oh, Crockett," Travis hissed.

Crockett stood up. "Don't use that tone of voice to me, Billy Travis! That

piece of paper you got don't make you no better'n us. I ran for Congress

twice, and won. I know what the people want--"

"What the people want doesn't mean a damn right now," Travis said harshly.

"Don't you realize the tyrant is at the gates?"

Crockett rolled his eyes heavenward. "Never thought I'd hear a good

American say that! Billy, you'll never run for office--"

Bowie held up a hand, cutting into Crockett's talk. "All right, Davey. Hold

up. You ain't runnin' for Congress now. Bill, the main thing I don't like

in your whole message is that part about victory or death. That's got to

go. Don't ask us to sell that to the troops!"

Travis closed his eyes briefly. "Boys, listen. We don't have to tell the

men about this. They don't need to know the real story until it's too late

for them to get out. And then we shall cover ourselves with such glory that

none of us shall ever be forgotten. Americans are the best fighters in the

world when they are trapped. They teach this in the Foot School back on the

Chatahoochee. And if we die, to die for one's country is sweet--"

"Hell with that," Crockett drawled. "I don't mind dyin', but not for these

big landowners like Jim Bowie here. I just been thinkin'--I don't own

nothing in Texas."

"I resent that," Bowie shouted. "You know very well I volunteered, after I

sent my wife off to Acapulco to be with her family." With an effort, he

calmed himself. "Look, Travis. I have some reputation as a fighting

man--you know I lived through the gang wars back home. It's obvious this

Alamo place is indefensible, even if we had a thousand men."

"But we must delay Santa Anna at all costs--"

Bowie took out a fine, dark Mexican cigar and whittled at it with his

blade. Then he lit it, saying around it, "All right, let's all calm down.

Nothing a group of good men can't settle around a table. Now listen. I got

in with this revolution at first because I thought old Emperor Iturbide

would listen to reason and lower taxes. But nothin's worked out, because

hot-heads like you, Travis, queered the deal. All this yammerin' about

liberty! Mexico is a Republic, under an Emperor, not some kind of

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