This is a tale from a friend, all about his older sister and her lengthy battle against her Nemesis – Doris Price!

Isobel knew that she was going to have to do something. She couldn’t stand it any longer. She was going to beat that Doris Price if it killed her. The only problem was that Doris always seemed to have the edge – no matter what!

It’s difficult to say just when Doris had first come to Isobel’s attention, but over the course of two or three years Doris had become the bane of her life. It had probably started when Isobel bounced into the bar just after she had got her exam results. She had done so well that her parents were delighted and encouraged her to tell all the regulars in The Victoria Hotel, the pub they had run for years, about how she was going to go up to the big school with a scholarship.

Everyone had been thrilled and when Jim McC had come in she had rushed over to tell him the good news.

“Sure and that’s a fantastic thing you’ve done there, wee Isobel! I’ve always known that you were a bright spark. Now tell me again what you marks did you get for what subjects?”

Isobel had rattled on breathlessly about her grades and her distinction for English, something that nobody else had got.

“Ahh that’s tremendous, almost as good as Doris Price did, just the other year. I recall that she got the two distinctions though, but I can’t remember what for!”

Doris cert

Isobel’s face dropped like a stone. Jim winked at the others in the bar.

“But you’ll soon be overtaking her young lady. Sure as eggs are eggs you’ll be right up with her in a week or two I’m sure.”

Isobel looked up at Jim, he was one of her many admirers, and she knew he wanted the very best for her. She knew that Jim and the others were relying on her to do well for them.

“I’ll do that Jim. I’ll make a point of getting better – just for you!”

Over the next two years Isobel did indeed get better and better. She walked away with every prize imaginable and was clearly headed for high things. Yet each time that she brought Jim news of her latest achievement he would smile brightly at her and say something like:

“Well that’s brilliant, and just a month after Doris set an all time record for the junior high jump.”

No matter what it was that Isobel triumphed at, she soon learned that Doris Price had only in the last week or so, done something even more amazing. But Isobel wasn’t to be beaten. She took up new sports or started another musical instrument; she was even prepared to consider becoming a nun after she heard that Doris Price had been voted the holiest girl in Ballycotton.

At that point her mother stepped in firmly and forbade any though of going into a nunnery.

Isobel was certainly the smartest girl of her year and indeed she did go onto great things. There is one thing, however, that she never did work out. This was, why on earth Jim always knew so much about Doris Price and how he was so up to date with her latest achievements.

And that, dear reader, is where Isobel proved one thing above all, that the very best way to fool someone is with a story that includes his or her biggest desire. You see Doris Price existed only in Jim’s imagination. Jim had a terrible ability to tease and an even worse inability to let a good thing finish. He had also spotted Isobel’s passion to succeed and her fiercely competitive side. Which is how a completely mythical girl came into being, and then proved capable of running Olympic standard races.

“And her only in her gym shoes because she couldn’t afford the proper spikey ones you know!” Or there was the time that Doris was asked to translate for a visiting French choir, “Because she had picked up a lot of French on the school trip to Paris one year, and when the choirmaster heard her accent he demanded that she handle all their arrangements for them.”

It didn’t matter how tall the tale was, the battle inside Isobel’s head for the chance to be top dog left her blind to the possibility that Jim might be being less than truthful. So Doris Price continued to bug Isobel for the next few years, much to the amusement of everyone who visited the Victoria Hotel. Everyone that is, except Isobel. And to this day you can still make Isobel blush by whispering to her

“Now tell us about Doris Price”