You know, I had a thought since I posted "A Rocket for the Republic" on my web site. When Gardner accepted it, he didn't change anything, except the ending.
I still have the original version of the story on a backup disk. So I thought, in case anyone is interested, as sort of a historical curiosity, to print the original ending. It was actually shorter than the final version - but I think you would admit the end product was better.
The first line here is the last line that remains the same, where the change happens:
"Well, here I am at 200. I guess it's time to come clean, huh? "
"So what do you think of that story? You gonna write it up?
"You gonna tell who? Who the hell's Doe-zwah? That some Cajun
friend of yours?"
OK, the original ending was my way in keeping in the spirit of the story - which is what would have happened if some poor schmuck small town newspaper editor (like me) stumbled across the story. The ending, of course, is true to what would have happened if the story had been told to ME.
But I have to admit, in the long run, the ending we worked up was better.