Western Showdown: The Battle for Texas

Mexico made one fatal mistake. He let the white people in.

Header image for Western Showdown

John Wayne by Lady Gaga ♪

1844

With a loud crack, wood splintered from the bar counter and went flying into the air that was thick with the smell of cigars and gunpowder–but, unfortunately, not into the dirt-stained face of that weasely American bastard.

A flurry of gunfire shot off from both sides of the saloon–pop pop pop. Beer mugs and liquor bottles shattered in a spray of glass. Mexico lunged forward to duck out of the way of the exploding window to his left, but not before he felt its pieces cut into his cheek. Dusty air poured in as two pairs of calloused hands scrambled for their second pistols.

It was in that moment that Mexico, ears ringing and heart pounding, tried to remember how one hot afternoon had turned into a deadly shootout.

To get to the answer, we have to go back.

1821

Clutching her torn and tattered flag, Spain sunk to the ground as a single tear ran down her cheek. Mexico waved his colors in the air with such vigor and pride, as if it were a proclamation to God Himself.

España ¡vete a la mierda! ¡Viva México!

Okay, maybe not that far back.

1836

When Texas was a province of Mexico, it was sorely underpopulated. Naturally, Mexico set out to fix that. But in doing so, he made one fatal mistake. He let the white people in.

Tejas was opened to American immigrants, who began happily pouring in. This actually became such a big problem that Mexico banned immigration to Texas, specifically. But did the Americans listen? Of course not. And so restless little American-filled Tejas did what pre-20th century America did best: rebel.

Mexico leaned against the warm bricks of The Alamo and pulled his hat down against the glare of the setting sun. In his other hand was a flask, now half-empty, he’d “borrowed” from America a month back.

A few feet away, kicking at the dirt with her boot, was Texas; Revolution created life from whatever piece of Mexico’s soul it had ripped from him. She looked up at him for the first time and smiled.

“Howdy!”

He looked her over, the corner of his mouth upturned in what was almost a sneer. Then he turned away, lazily held the liquor out toward her, and grumbled.”Happy birthday.”

Back to 1844

It was high noon.

The saloon doors swung open and Mexico stepped inside. America was pouring shots of whiskey from behind the bar, a blade of wheat hanging from his lips because he thought it made him look cool. (It didn’t.)

He looked up, squinted, then offered Mexico a lop-sided grin. “Hey there, partner.” He held up a shot glass. “Fancy a drin–”

Quick as lightening, Mexico drew his pistol and took a shot. It shattered cleanly, the broken pieces falling on the countertop like hundreds of tiny, jagged teeth.

America froze, wide eyes locked on Mexico and mouth hanging open–but not open enough to cause the wheat to fall. Mexico saw the other’s hand move carefully for the holster on his hip.

“That was a real fine waste of good whiskey,” America said in a dangerously low voice. Already sweat was beading on his brow. Mexico too could feel the oppressive heat that his leather jacket gluttonously soaked up.

Mexico said, “You’re trying to take Texas, huh?” The barrel of his gun never strayed from America’s chest.

“Now, wait a minute–”

“And you’ve got your greedy eyes on California now, don’t you? How about the rest of New Mexico? You want that too?”

Aforementioned greedy eyes narrowed. “Defeatism doesn’t suit you, but since you’re offering…”

In a split second, America whipped out his pistol and took a shot, but Mexico saw it coming.  He ducked out of the way as a bullet whizzed past him and became a smoking hole in the rusty metal sign hanging by doors.

America dipped for cover behind the counter, which Mexico carved a row of bullet holes into. He could hear swearing and the sound of boots shuffling against floor–America scrambling. The other shouted, “I would have preferred a clean fight, you know.”

Bang!

Mexico kicked a table over to use as cover, right as a bullet ripped through his hat. Growling in frustration, he sought revenge.

With a loud crack, wood splintered from the bar counter and went flying into the air that was thick with the smell of cigars and gunpowder–but, unfortunately, not into the dirt-stained face of that weasely American bastard.

A flurry of gunfire shot off from both sides of the saloon–pop pop pop. Beer mugs and liquor bottles shattered in a spray of glass. Mexico lunged forward to duck out of the way of the exploding window to his left, but not before he felt its pieces cut into his cheek. Dusty air poured in as two pairs of calloused hands scrambled for their second pistols.

Mexico hissed and tossed his cigar across the floorboards. “Son of a bitch.”

“What’s wrong, buddy? Didn’t bring any bullets?”

“So your plan is to colonize the whole damn continent–finish what papa started. The ‘New World’ is gonna be your world.”

“That’s the idea.” America’s tone had changed, just slightly. Mexico could hear a prickle of irritation in the otherwise lively voice. Maybe it was the England jab. “But hey, I like you, so I’ll leave you some. Don’t worry.”

Mexico realized his hand was on the knife at his hip. Had he meant to reach for it? “Funny how you didn’t even want Texas until recently. Said something about how you weren’t lookin’ for a fight.”

“I still don’t want a war with you, Mexico.”

“Hey, friend. Look at us. I’m shooting at you. You’re shooting at me. If this isn’t war, it’s pretty damn close.”

“Alright, then let’s settle this.”

Mexico heard some stirring, some glass falling to the floor. He peeked over the table to see America standing, arms out in a show of peace. The idiot was still chewing on a blade of wheat.

Mexico stood up too but kept his fingertips on the knife. America couldn’t see this, but his suddenly narrowing eyes gave Mexico the idea that maybe the other had suspicions. However, America said nothing of it and instead made his case.

“Texas is a strong, independent republic with the utmost autonomy in this situation. If she wants to join me, we’ll respect that. If we wants to reunite with you, we’ll respect that too.”

Mexico smiled. “Her country, my province, just happens to be filled with a whole lot of illegal Americans who just happen to want to be welcomed as a new American state. That sounds like a pretty convenient coincidence, doesn’t it?”

“It’s not a coincidence. It’s a strategy.”

Whoosh!

Mexico hadn’t even realized he’d hit America until the other fell back against the mirror with a thud.

***

America had protested adamantly when Mexico suggested pulling the knife out, but twenty minutes later and they finally got the bleeding to stop. Mexico pulled at the shoulder wound, not caring to be all that gentle, while America hissed and swore.

Mexico whistled. “It’s not too bad. Needs to be patched up, though.” He reached for a bottle of whiskey, one of the few that hadn’t been destroyed in their fight. “You’re lucky I didn’t bring my shotgun. Would’a blown your arm right off.”

“No, you’re lucky. And yes, thank you, I would like a drink.”

“This isn’t going in your gut.”

America paled. “Oh, come on. Soap and water’ll do the trick just fine. Partner? Buddy? Mexico–?” What came out of his mouth next was more or less incomprehensible.

Mexico scoffed. “Lightweight.”

One Year Later

From horseback, Mexico and his breakaway province watched tumbleweeds drift across the horizon.

Texas turned to him. “I know things have been really weird between us and even weirder between you and my, uh, other pa, but I was part of you for a while there, and I reckon that means you deserve a proper goodbye before the United States absorbs my essence and makes me part of him.”

“You got what you wanted, kid. Congratulations.” He blew out a ring of smoke and looked down as he turned his cigar over between his thumb and index fingers. “It’s weird. I’ve got this feelin’.”

“What kinda feelin’?”

“That rebellious spirit of yours is what makes you. It’s never gonna die. Maybe one day you’ll regret this, maybe you won’t. All I ask is that you remember to give that smug idiot some hell every now and then. Tejas?”

When he looked up, she was gone.


Notes

I don’t know how possible it is to shoot a shot glass clean like that and not have it explode everywhere or cut someone, but it happens in Western movies. So does knife-throwing hijinks.

Think of Mexico and America here as an estranged couple fighting for custody of their child. The actual history was less sitcom-y, however:

Texas was a province of Spain until Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, and was then a province of Mexico until it became its own little country in 1836 until it was annexed by the United States in 1845. After the annexation, border disputes regarding what belonged to Texas/the US and what belonged to Mexico sparked the Mexican-American War in 1846.

Please correct me if there’s anything wrong with the Spanish.

Author: sarahbruso

International relations major, certified nerd, and suffering writer. I dig humor, video games, and global politics.

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