People always tell me “Remember the Alamo!” And I do remember it. I’m 195 years old and remember it like last night’s fever dream. But whenever I start to tell the great-great-great-grandkids about it, their parents mutter something about “time for bed,” and whisk the children away before I’m done, even if it’s first thing in the morning. So I thought I’d write it all down instead of letting those so-called “historians” do the “remembering” for me. Trust me, it wasn’t as great as they say.
It was March of 1836. After a grueling first semester at Linden Hall, Samantha and I decided we’d have ourselves a little spring-break adventure to the south. We were none too keen on the prospect of settling down with some old bore, only to get hooked on laudanum and die of consumption before we turned 30. We wanted to live!
Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn and found ourselves headed toward San Antonio de Béxar, toward history. For two debutantes with all the qualities appropriate to persons of gentle birth, it was sobering. People were fleeing town, fearing an influx by some Mexican army, they said.
I told them: “Hey, we need this army of Mexicans to come here and do the shitty-ass jobs you’re too lazy to do, for the shitty-ass money you think you’re too good to work for, sir!”
Spring break, I’ll grant you, is often colossally overrated. But what were we going to do? The first thing Sammy and I thought upon entering Club Alamo was, “What a sausage fest!” Just dudes and oats and mud and a cannon. A bunch of frustrated boys, squealing like shoats and saying things like, “And then I sez to the bastards: You all can piss off, and I will go to Texas. … No, wait … I said, you can all go to hell … and I’ll be in Texas. … Aw, whatever it was, I’ll bet they put it on a belt buckle someday.” A real chest-thumping group this was, full of braggadocio, not to mention an almost biblical body odor. Sammy and I had reservations. And I don’t mean at the Four Seasons. We’d never been with such rugged, sexually frustrated older men.
I know a lot of people think the Alamo caper was all fun and games. It was, for the most part, what with Crockett and that crazy coonskin tickler, and Bowie with that huuuge knife (dime-store Freudian head-shrinkery aside), but you could count on Bill Travis to be dead serious. I said, “Bill, you’re 26, you’re single, you’re in Mexico—lighten up, for Chrissakes,” but he’d just go on writing his letters. I could tell he fancied me.
I appealed to Travis to just let the Mexicans in. I won’t stand for bigotry, so I gave the Mexicans VIP passes and said it really wasn’t that crowded inside, and if they were going to be around, I’d love it if they came and partied.
In the meantime, Travis and I would talk every night under the moonlight, dodging flying shrapnel. We talked about how life could be so ephemeral, how every moment should be seized upon with primal vigor. Then, after some heavy petting, we decided to get married.
The night of the fifth, Crockett, Bowie, the jealous Anderson brothers and a small circle of other intimates gathered as witnesses to the union between Travis and me. James Bowie read the vows while “Pachebel” was screeched out on fiddles by two out-of-tune imbeciles. Then Bill told me to wait in the basement, that he had to have a quick chat with “the men.” Typical.
I was in and out of a boozy snooze when I woke to the sound of fireworks. “Hey!” I called out. More fireworks. “Hey, I’m in here!” There was the party going on right outside, and here I was locked in a dingy basement while my husband whoops it up outside with his buddies. Screams of what I took to be raucous rapture flew through the air like bullets, along with what seemed to be real bullets. These cowboys and their guns, I swear. Somebody’s going to get hurt someday. After what seemed like an eternity of merrymaking, I heard the argot of the Alamo club-goers go from English to Spanish. Well, good, I thought. At least the Mexicans made it in. I tried mightily and pried open the door of the basement leading to the dance floor.
When the dust settled, it became clear what kind of debauchery I’d missed. What. A. Dump. This party had got out of hand, y’all. Most of the Texians were passed out. A lot of Mexicans were, too. I tried to wake Bill, but he had got so liquored that he passed out. Samantha didn’t look much better. I left them where they were, to think about what they’d done. On my way home, I heard a great ruckus and shouts of “Remember the Alamo!” Remember the Alamo?
Girl, I wish I could forget it.
Tyler Stoddard Smith is an Austin-based humorist. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Best American Fantasy, Meridian and other publications. He is also an associate editor at the humor site,The Big Jewel.