Being a Pepper


Once again, it’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Each week, around 100 writers from all over the world participate by sharing their 100-word stories as inspired by the photo prompt. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is our gracious hostess. Feel free to play along by following the links.

Copyright G. L. MacMillan

Copyright G. L. MacMillan

Being a Pepper

 “Shoot me a Waco, Charlie.” Dr. Charles Pepper leans on the soda counter.

“You know we call it Dr. Pepper now, right?” The pharmacist winks at his customer.

“It’d be a tad awkward to ask you to shoot me, don’t ya think?”

Charlie Alderton grins.

“Morrison said he and Lazenby are buying you out.”

Alderton nods. “People are so enamored with this soda silliness it’s getting hard to do any actual work these days.”

“Well, you know what they say about all work and no play.”

“Yeah, and I also know what they say about all play and no work.”

***

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.”

Irish Proverb

Author’s Note: I’ve taken a little artistic license with this historical fiction piece. The true story behind the naming of Dr. Pepper is unknown, and I have been unable to verify whether or not Dr. Charles Pepper actually frequented Morrison’s Old Corner Drugstore where Charles Alderton invented the drink. Nevertheless, I could certainly imagine the two having this conversation some early evening when the drugstore was quiet. You can learn more about the history of Dr Pepper here.

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44 thoughts on “Being a Pepper

  1. Melanie says:

    And to think, how many people rely on soda to do their work now-a-days. Most of my co-workers, that’s for sure. Me, I’ve never much cared for the stuff.

    • storydivamg says:

      I hadn’t really thought of that, Melanie, but yes, it has become a crutch to many people. As I wrote this, I was thinking more of the delight that comes from tasting a craft soda. The USA has a spectacular history of soda fountains, and commercialization alongside greed and over-consumption have veiled the beautiful origins of these sweets as well as the way they were intended to be enjoyed. It’s just proof that one can definitely wind up with too much of a good thing.

      Thanks so much for reading this week.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  2. Sandra says:

    This might be one of those that loses something with the transfer across the pond. I’m not familiar with Waco or Dr Pepper, nor the concept of a soda counter at the pharmacy. But I enjoy visiting and reading your work. 🙂

    • storydivamg says:

      Sandra, I’m a bit embarrassed after reading the comments from you and Claire. Usually I try to be aware of my international audience and at least leave clues in the author’s notes to help if a story is uniquely American. Please accept my apologies.

      By way of explanation, Waco, Texas, is well-known in the states as the place where Dr Pepper, a popular soft drink, was invented. Sadly, in more recent times, the town’s name has become synonymous with references to gun violence and other human-made tragedies. Ironically, Dr Pepper was originally called “Waco,” and customers used to order it by shouting, “Shoot me a Waco.” In light of all that has taken place in Waco since, that phrase seemed to me like some sort of grotesque, real-life foreshadowing.

      If possible, I hope to complete and post an article on American soda fountains and craft sodas later this week. Keep an eye out if the topic interests you.

      All my best,
      MG

  3. What a nice idea from the prompt. Like Sandra I don’t know what Waco is, but I can imagine.

    • storydivamg says:

      Waco, TX is the town where Dr Pepper was invented. Today, it is, sadly, associated with many mass shootings and other tragedies instead of the more pleasant things like corner soda fountains and neighborhood drug stores. Later this week, I’ll post a longer study of the history of soda fountains and craft sodas for those who are interested.

  4. I think that’s, with immediate effect, the definitive history of Dr Pepper, whose creation I have sampled in the past.
    (I don’t think you need to write to accommodate different cultures – if we don’t know, we should read more.
    I remember the Waco shoot out some time back.)

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Patrick! Interestingly, there is a completely fictitious account of how the soft drink got it’s name that claims Dr. Charles Pepper didn’t like Charles Alderton because he was “just a soda jerk.” In reality, Alderton was a pharmacist who mixed craft sodas for recreation. So much for fact being better than fiction.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

    • rgayer55 says:

      I agree with Patrick. I’ve read posts with cultural references which were unfamiliar to me. Usually, it turns out to be a great learning experience.

  5. Who cares if this is the way it happened? You told a great tale. Kudos.

  6. Dear Marie Gail,

    This is why we call it historical FICTION. 😉 I enjoyed the dialogue and the atmosphere. A story with flavor and fizz.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    • storydivamg says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this, my friend. I always worry when I write about actual people and leave them with their actual names. Someone somewhere is always sure to come along and point out that this or that couldn’t have happened or didn’t happen–yadda yadda yadda. But there are so many fables surrounding the naming and even invention of Dr Pepper that I thought it would be good to share a bit of perspective.

      Thanks!

      Peace,
      Marie Gail

  7. draliman says:

    I like your story of Dr Pepper, I’m going to believe it happened 🙂

  8. I love it and who knows, maybe that is what really happened. Enjoyed your story very much.

  9. MrBinks says:

    Great take, and well written. Nice one.

  10. Dale says:

    Love this tale. You wrote it, so it will be true! 😉 To us, your readers, anyway!

  11. Creative and clever, MG. I imagined it was all truth, as I read… your comments after explained the reality. All the same, you really have crafted a believable and fun story; nicely done!

  12. rgayer55 says:

    I think I’ll order a Dr. Russell, although I fear it may leave a wretched aftertaste. Maybe I’ll just have the prune juice variety instead.

    I remember my first Dr. Pepper as a child. It was in the old 10-2-4 bottles. It was the best pop that had ever slid down my goozle.

  13. I remember going to a soda fountain with my grandpa way back when. He’d call them “Phosphates.” Dr. Pepper is the runner-up but can’t match an icy cold Cheerwine.

  14. gahlearner says:

    It’s a great tale. I’ve heard of Dr. Pepper, but never tried it. And of course I’ve heard of Waco, and the association I have with it is not good. It is very helpful to have things like this put into perspective. Thanks for that–and the entertainment. 🙂

  15. ceayr says:

    Neat tale.
    Well done.

  16. Dr. Pepper is cool, but I’m a Coke guy. I enjoyed the story and the history lesson though.

  17. gravadee says:

    Nice take on the prompt

  18. Margaret says:

    Very entertaining, and a nice little bit of cultural education to boot. Well told.

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