The Linnet's Wings Summer 2014 - Page 100

ac's was an old style pub with thick walls and a thatched roof. The open fire that was set into a wide grate was kept lit from October to April, at night its smoulders were covered by ash that kept the spark alive until morning when she was rekindled. The pub had been in the same family for a 100 years. At one time, it was fronted by a small shop where grandmothers on pension day bought a pound of ham for the tea before popping into the snug, at the back, for a bottle of stout. In those days the sexes were segregated: the women had the snug, the men the bar. Over the years the pub had become a part of the town's fabric with its own clientele, legends and stories. Stories that were told there were both lies and truth, and sometimes lies that were fabricated from truths became local legends. Like when Bono visited town. Sure the boys said that he spent the Tuesday night jamming in the pub whereas he'd only stopped to buy a drink in the local shop while passing through. A few young ones recognized him and got his autograph. Johnny paid one of them 50 quid for it and put it behind the bar. That was enough to set the tone of the crack for the month and longer. Anyway with the recession at its peak Johnny Mac was struggling to keep his doors open, so he decided to run a lying competition to find the best liar in the area. And he decided to run it in November, the month of 'All Souls,' when business was slow: The month some of his best clients abstained from alcohol. Johnny organized two local actors from the local dramatic society and two journalists from the county paper to adjudicate. Now Johnny Mac believed in keeping things simple and he had three rules. They were: Each participant had five minutes for their tale in the heats and 20 minutes max. in the final. Each 'lie' had to have a beginning, a middle and an end or it got struck off -- each judge had a bell, and if the three bells were used the participant stepped down. There was one winner. The prize was a storytelling medal, and family tickets for four to a Christmas panto in Dublin with an overnight stay in a city center hotel. Sure with the journalists input he got free publicity, and on the first night when the doors opened there was a queue to get in. The pub was packed, and a winner was picked from the ten entries, as there was from the following two weeks. There were two local boys in the final and an outsider that no one knew. He'd been in the audience the second week and took a shot at it; he entered the competition, and told a story about a horse who took a man to town every Friday night for his drinking session just to wait outside until