Tuesday, Oct. the 13th, 18 Hundred & 99
7 o’clock in the a.m.
Nathan’s Ditch, Georgia
Dearest Ma and Pa—
I take the liberty of using what scarce parchment I possess to inform you that I have absconded for Cobb County, Georgia, where a ragtag militia is being muster’d to fight the onslaught posed by the recent introduction of Pepsi-Cola, as nefarious & heathen a drink as has ever been seen by Christian eyes. There is trouble a-stirring, and I intend to honor our family name by joining the Cola Confederacy. As you have always taught me, Coke Adds Life. I can stand idly by no longer while a foreign enemy tries to infringe upon this life-giving liquid, which has nourished me since boyhood.
The men in my battalion feel the same, especially a young Yankee called Ezekiel Throgmorton, whom everybody refers to as “Brice.” He is a Negro, dark as a kola nut, yet he walks upright and can speak our language. He believes if we do not fight now we will eventually be run o’er by the emergence of Pepsi and legions of uncolas by the year aught-six.
The damp swamp air has given me a spot of the rheumatism, but I have been cured, with the aid of a remedy administered by our camp medic, Doctor Charles T. Pepper. He had to remove my leg at the knee, but I was given plenty of root beer to ease the pain, and I shall persevere. Cola war is hell, but the Lord loves a Coke drinker, and so I march onward in this glorious battle of the beverages!
Yr. loving & loyal son,
1st Lt. Darius N. Maddox
27th May 1917
My dearest Mabel—
We have made landfall in France. As the Europeans do not have a uniform method for distributing Pepsi, we have taken to spraying the villagers down with hoses. They seem to be grateful and the general smell of the population is much improved.
You asked in your last letter how we are beating the pants off those Coke-heads. We stop their syrup supplies from reaching apothecaries. To do this, we use magnificent flying machines and horseless coaches. These are the most remarkable things I have ever witnessed, though it is difficult to see much from the bottom of these deep trenches, as they are filled with carbonated water.
The War Office has finally brought news from the Western Front. Our spy network of soda jerks tells us that Coke is going to start using bottles to transport its liquid creations. I don’t know what in Tarnation to make of this. Who ever heard of such a thing? Can they really believe people are going to drink from curvy glass objects? What about the embargo Pres. Wilson placed on straws, not to mention the prevalence of backwash? No wife of mine is going to be seen swigging cola like some Kaiser-loving fascist, not if I can help it. This will, I fear, be the “cola war to end all cola wars.”
Your Faithful Servant and Husband,
March 3, ’44
Aboard the U.S.S. Fresca
Hi ya, Jimmy Boy—
Howzit going? Well, little brother, I’m an honest-to-God Navy pilot, a flyin’ ace! Broke my cherry cola last night. We did a night sortie of a Japanese ginger-ale factory. Kablowie!! Right in the kisser! Those Sunkist Japs won’t be drinking for years to come. We are stationed with some Perrier flyboys from France. Bunch of effervescent snobs, but, man, those French broads are something else. Hot damn, you should see them squeeze their Oranginas!
We are preparing for a big mission, which is being called Operation Vend-O-Matic. The idea is for us to try to trick the Jerries into puttin’ dimes into big boxes full of soda, which we’ll leave all over the battlefield. When they go to grab their change, we’ll move in and grab ‘em. It all sounds fubar if you ask me, but nobody’s called for my opinion.
In the meantime, I’ll just sit here and pitch bottle caps as we hurry up and wait for Ike and the rest of the brass to get their tin cans in a row. When my hitch is over, I’m going to swear off drinkin’ forever.
Your lovin’ brother,
March 13, 1973
Hamburger Hill, Viet Nam
Back in country for my second tour. When I was here, I wanted to be there. When I was home, all I could think of was getting back to this sticky jungle. I wanted a mission, and, for my sins, that’s what they gave me. I guess I love the smell of fructose in the morning.
[I’ve] been sent to fight a splinter group from the Pepsi Challenge, which I have been ordered to terminate with “extreme prejudice.” I’ve put in with the 505th Battalion, 173rd Airborne, nicknamed “the pop tops.” Our area of coverage is the frozen-foods section, and part of the canned-foods aisle. We try to hold fast, but these blind taste tests are stealthy, and the foot traffic is a bitch. The grunts in this outfit are mostly regular Army. We do as many alpha bravos as we can, but half the time they can’t even get their bottle openers to work. Most won’t live to see the coming of Mello Yello.
If Pepsi gains a groundswell here, there is no telling what is next. Our intel suggests they may annex Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Nixon is a goddamned root-beer lover, and Kissinger, well, he’s in with the club-soda crowd. Both say they want to end the spread of Colaism, but it’s grunts like me doin’ the dirty work.
Capt. John C. Wilcox