Soda Jerk


Our story of the week is a gentle story from the writer Lee Wright.

Lee writes fiction, non-fiction and reviews. He studied under Man Booker winner Alison Moore and is currently taking an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester.

Lee began writing a weekly sports column for the Hinckley Times newspaper in 2008. He published one of his novellas, Forget What You’ve Heard, on Amazon Kindle. Lee’s short story, Seeking Lover, Lonely Mother, was also published by HeadStuff. He has book reviews and author interviews published online here.

In Soda Jerk, Lee explores the beauty behind small acts of kindness.


Everyone is out doing something else.

Shrimp calls to me. He’s going in back, to hide amongst the potions, prescriptions and nostalgia. He can do that. As he reminds me often, ‘I’m the boss around here. You’re just the soda jerk.’


Here comes Sapphire Sam. Waddling along the sidewalk, looking like the prize hog at the county fair. Rolling in money. Wearing it badly.

He opens our door. Doesn’t quite fit through. I wonder, if someone shot him in the gut, would he even feel the bullet?

‘Shrimp in back?’ he asks.

‘In back,’ I confirm.

Shrimp peeks his head around the corner.

‘What time is it Shrimp?’

Shrimp reaches under the counter with the caution of a Christian sneaking past a sleeping lion. Out comes an envelope. Sapphire takes it gladly, opens it up and counts the dollar bills. He looks at me. Then at Shrimp. The face of a man who hasn’t had a bowel movement in weeks.

I press forward and wait.

Snapping his fingers, Sapphire points at Shrimp.

‘Next month. Double or down, you hear?’

Sapphire sneers at me, at everything.

It is true. The ugly only get uglier.’ Read more…