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Funny Bedtime Romance

After what felt exactly like one-thousand-four-hundred-and-eighty-five years, Arthur was finally beginning to suspect he wouldn’t be needed any more, and that they could all retire just like his men wanted. But just then, the old stone door covering the cave entrance slid open, and they saw a figure silhouetted by the glory of the daylight.

Arthur leapt to his feet at once, his chained mail jingling. “Merlin, old chap! It’s about bloody time.” Then all his knights jumped to their feet too, and everyone drew their swords and cheered, “Huzzah!”

The figure at the mouth of the cave stepped forward, and flipped on a flashlight. When Arthur’s eyes adjusted to all the new light, he saw that Merlin didn’t look quite the way he remembered.

“Merlin, old chap! You have turned into a lass! And a comely one at that.” The knights all murmured their approval, not having seen a woman in a millennium and a half. Indeed, they hadn’t done much of anything in a millennium and a half, other than sitting on their stools in the darkness of the cave, waiting for the day Britain would need them again.

“Well hey there, fellas,” said the woman, with an exaggerated East coast accent. “I’m Gertie.”

“Gertie?” asked Arthur.

“That’s right. And I’m a forest ranger here in the Avalon Wilderness Reserve. And, oh, I’m so sorry, but you boys can’t be living in this cave. You can camp with a permit though. Oh, and you should know, we’ve had a few bear sightings nearby.”

“Psst!” Lancelot pssted. “Arthur, ’tis not Merlin. ’tis not Merlin at all!”

The other knights all concurred with a chorus of “Ayes!” and “By my troths!”

“You are right, I wager,” said Arthur. “’tis no matter. The seal is still broken, and we are called once again to the aid of our beloved Britain.”

He turned to the ranger. "Brave Gertie, most breathtaking maiden of the forest paths! Have no fear, for we shall save the day. This, I swear to you, for I am King Arthur Pendragon, son of Uther Pendragon, and these fine warriors are my unparalleled knights!

“And this cave we shall abandon anon, for we’ve no more use of it.”

“That’s swell,” Gertie said. “Thank you, Mr. Pendragon. Oh, there’s just one more thing, and I’m really sorry to bring it up, but it’s kind of a biggie.”

“Yes?”

“Well, those things you got, they’re not swords, are they? They’re not sharpened? You know, you can’t just walk around with sharp swords after all.”

“You can’t?” asked Arthur. He looked at his men, and they were all just as perplexed.

“Well, surely,” Lancelot started, “they’re not sharp at all. We don’t even have a whet stone down here.” The others concurred.

“And besides,” said Gawain, “these, er, aren’t swords at all.”

“They aren’t?” said Gertie.

“No, no, these are,” Gawain continued, then pursed his lips, then finished, “knives. Big knives. Decorative cutlery.”

“Oh, that’s all swell then,” said Gertie.

“Then it’s settled!” Arthur proclaimed. “Let us hie back to Britain, save everyone, and finally drive the Saxons back into the sea!”

Gertie led King Arthur and his knights out of the cave, but alas, their troubles were only beginning. When she took them to the Newfoundland coast, they promptly started chopping trees down with their decorative cutlery, intending to build a great ship with which to sail back to Britain.

Johnson Johnson, Mayor of St. John’s, stopped his pickup at the side of the road and told them, “Hey! You can’t do that, eh!” And then Officers Marney and Klampp arrested Arthur and his knights, and took them to St. John’s.

This was just as well, as none of the knights had ever built a ship before, that being more Merlin’s thing. Arthur found the city overwhelming, with its concrete spires and sorcerous street lights and fire hydrants. When they saw all the horseless metal carriages, presumably propelled by elfish trickery, Galahad fainted. It was all too much, and Arthur used his one phone call to talk to Gertie.

They met in the jail’s cafeteria.

“Gertie, I need your help,” Arthur said. “We’re in way over our heads here. They want us to pay some kind of fine, only all I have are Roman denarii and they won’t accept those, and they say we don’t have any ID! How could my identity be in doubt?” He unsheathed his sword and raised it high. “I wield bloody Excalibur, don’t I? How are we ever going to drive the Saxons into the sea now?”

“Oh, Mr. Pendragon,” she said, patting his free hand. “I don’t doubt you, but you boys are in quite the pickle. Look, why don’t you sheath that sword for now.”

Arthur did, looking glum. “Things have changed so much, Gertie. I don’t recognize Avalon at all anymore.”

“Mm-hmm,” Gertie said. “Well Avalon’s just the wilderness reserve. We call this place Newfoundland.”

“Newfoundland?”

She nodded, then showed him her phone, where they looked at a map of the area. “Newfoundland is part of Canada. See?” She zoomed out, expanding this strange new world. “Which is part of North America. And see, here? The whole globe, in your hand.”

“The world’s a ball?” said Arthur, his eyes wide. “Blimey. I owe Percival a Coke.”

“I think I can help you guys get out of jail,” Gertie said.

Arthur’s face lit up. “Oh, you have my eternal gratitude, fair Gertie!” He clasped her hand in his, and she blushed.

Gertie was able to negotiate a community service deal for the knights to pay off their fine. This suited them well, for helping communities was their second most important sworn duty, right after driving Saxons back into the sea.

They spent a month walking up and down Newfoundland’s highways, picking up litter and helping caribou cross the road. Gertie chaperoned and more and more she felt herself drawn to Arthur and his stories. And Arthur had no shortage of questions for her, and was amazed at both her breadth of knowledge and her grace.

But when the month was up and their debt was paid, she delivered more bad news.

“People don’t really travel on ships anymore. That’s just for fishing or cargo,” she said.

“But then how shall we ever sail back to Britain? My people need us.”

“Well, most commonly, people nowadays would take an airplane.”

“A what?

“An airplane. It’s like a bus with wings, and it flies you from one part of the world to another.”

“By my troth!” said Percival. “You mean to say, ’tis a dragon!?”

“No, sorry,” Gertie said, chuckling. “The airlines might have beastly customer service but they’re no dragons. Airplanes are just machines, like cars. But they’re fast! They should get you to London in just over eight hours.”

“Eight hours!?” said Arthur, and all his knights buzzed. “It took us three bloody years to sail to Avalon. What miraculous sorcery, this! The day is saved! We’ll show those Saxons what for, yet! Tell me, Gertie, where does one capture such an airplane? And do we need a special saddle?”

Gertie sighed. She wanted to help Mr. Pendragon, but the prospect of him leaving was getting increasingly hard to bear. “Well, you don’t need to capture it,” she said. “But you do need a passport.”

And so the brave king and his knights hit their next hurdle, for when they went down to the passport office, it turned out that Excalibur still didn’t count as a valid ID. Worse, the government had no records of the knights at all – no birth certificates, no driver’s licences, no visas, no death certificates – nothing. Not only did they not get passports, they were also ineligible for them.

“Oh, greatest of woes!” said Arthur. “Whatever shall we do now?”

“I have an idea,” said Gertie. “Only, it might take a while…”

“We’ve waited this long, Gertie most fair. However you wisely counsel us, so shall we endeavour.”

“You can apply for Canadian citizenship,” she said. “That way they would have to give you a passport.”

“Then apply we shall!”

Alas, the application process was a nightmare the likes of which the intrepid heroes had never faced before. They would need addresses, for the mountains of correspondence and paperwork. They would need incomes, to show they weren’t just a drain on the economy. They would need at least a seventh grade education, and to pass a written test. This new government was labyrinthine and alien, a far cry from the straightforward efficiency of the feudal system they knew and loved.

But they grit their teeth and pushed forward. For starters, they decided they would sell jam. They already knew the highways and would set up shop on the shoulders, and of course everybody loved wild jam. They’d sell by day, and nights they would sit around Gertie’s large round table, filling in forms according to her guidance, and learning the basics of civics and history.

One night, when they had a night off, Gertie asked Arthur if he wanted to see a movie, and so they went to see The Lord of the Rings. Arthur, dearly missing the advice of Merlin, became deeply interested in Gandalf.

“What a magnificent wizard!” he said. “I simply must find him! He shall counsel us most wise.”

“Oh, Mr. Pendragon,” Gertie lamented. “I’m so sorry I’ve misled you. This story isn’t real. It’s like a play. Gandalf isn’t a real person.”

“Oh, I see,” said Arthur, growing quiet. But then he looked up at her with a warm gaze, and he took her hand. “No matter. What use are wizards, when I have the privilege of your company?”

Again, Gertie felt her cheeks run hot, and they spent the rest of the evening grinning at each other over popcorn.

Time went on. The jam business brought in a decent penny, but Lancelot saw an opportunity to move faster when he took a job as an assistant manager at a Timmie’s. Shortly after, Kay and Yvain decided to try their luck on the lobster boats. And so it went, the knights gradually parting ways and following their own paths, until only Arthur and Gertie remained selling jam on the highways.

They all still met, every Saturday night around Gertie’s big round table, going through whatever fresh forms the government required. And they ended each night reaffirming their dream, of driving the Saxons back into the sea. But they saw less and less of each other.

Naturally, big events brought them together, like when Kay and Yvain bought their own lobster boat, or when Galahad’s kid made the Little League team. And of course, when Arthur and Gertie tied the knot. It was a big old party they threw, inviting the whole neighbourhood over.

And then, finally, when their forms were all submitted and approved, and their hard work paid off. They became Canadian citizens together. In all, it had taken just over a decade, but the king and his knights were proud, and more to the point, happy the ordeal was behind them.

“Good show, men,” Arthur said. “Jolly good show. We’ve finally done it. Now all that’s left is to get our passports. Then we can finally fly over to Britain, and drive the Saxons back into the sea!”

As always, Arthur raised Excalibur high into the air, but unlike always, his men weren’t as enthusiastic this time, instead murmuring half-heartedly. Arthur looked around at his knights, and he saw that they had all come with their new families, their new friends.

This week, Gawain had custody of his kids, so the little tykes cheered him on. Caradoc took a break from filming to go through the citizenship ceremony, and he was there with his supermodel girlfriend. Lancelot, now a VP in a major agribusiness conglomerate, had attended with his team of executives. And so it went, each man stamped with the life they had lived.

Arthur lowered his blade, and smiled sadly. They had waited one-thousand-four-hundred-and-eighty-five years with him, and then a decade longer. “Men, you have served me well. I could not have asked for a better band of brothers in arms.” He took a deep breath. “I hereby release you from your oaths.”

The knights nodded solemnly, blinking back tears and smiling. Nothing more was to be said. They bumped chain mailed fists with Arthur, as was knightly tradition since time immemorial, and all went their separate ways, to live their separate lives.

“And what shall you do, Mr. Pendragon?” Gertie asked.

“I shall continue my quest as ever, my love. I shall return to Britain, and drive the Saxons into the sea.”

Gertie grinned. “I think a vacation sounds lovely.”

The year it took to get a passport was a pittance compared to the citizenship, and Arthur used that time to get back into shape. Before they knew it, their flight was taking off, and a mere eight hours later they landed at Heathrow Airport in London.

It turned out that Britain had changed somewhat in fifteen hundred years. For one, compared to London, St. John’s no longer quite seemed the sprawling metropolis it initially had. Next, it had taken Arthur a good while to get used to cars back in Newfoundland, and now here, it turned out everyone drove on the wrong side of the road. Beyond that though, there was an impossible amount of people.

People cheered when they saw him, and they snapped photos and asked for autographs. And then they went on about their day, heading back to the shops, or work, or the next celebrity sighting. And not once, in any time, nor any place, did Arthur see a Saxon.

“My love,” he said, plopping onto a park bench. “Has it all been for naught? Did I wait too long? Do people… do they truly have no more need of me?”

Gertie rested her head against his shoulder and interlaced her fingers with his. “Some people need you, Mr. Pendragon.” She beamed at him. “I need you.”

It was enough to raise his spirits and they shared a kiss.

“Now, we’ve come all this way,” she said. “What do you say we just enjoy the rest of our vacation?”

“I’d love that!”

They toured the city of London and saw all the sights to see. Arthur gorged himself on exotic street food, and Gertie snapped photos of everything. When they popped in to a Tesco, they ran into the sitting British Monarch, out doing his groceries, and the two kings spent an afternoon talking shop.

Finally, Arthur and Gertie decided to round off their vacation by spending some time in Salcombe, to enjoy the lovely beach weather. Arthur had come to terms with his career being over. As he walked down the pier, holding hands with Gertie and breathing in the fresh salt air, he realized he was fine with it. Perhaps he never got to drive the Saxons to the sea, but, he was fine with it. He was satisfied. No, more than this, he was happy. Britain was free, after all. And now, so was he.

They stood at the end of the pier for a good long while, just watching the distant boats and swooping gulls.

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you, too,” she said. Then: “Oh, this is funny! I think you’ll get a kick out of it. I got curious and I did one of those ancestry things, and wouldn’t you know it, turns out I’m part Saxon.”

Not missing a beat, Arthur stepped back, placed his hands on her shoulders, and shoved her off the pier.

And then he dove in after her, and they shrieked with laughter like rioting children, until the sun set.

October 04, 2022 00:47

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45 comments

Anne Marie Miles
14:17 Oct 04, 2022

“The airlines might have beastly customer service but they’re no dragons.". - LOL! This was such a compelling and enjoyable story to read. I am fascinated by your creativity and execution of this, being able to perfectly blend a historical figure into modern society. So many humorous lines here; I loved how Arthur runs into the present day King, ha! And the ending was perfect. I thought for a moment, it would end darkly, as I tend to do in my stories, Arthur pushing her off for real, but it was sweet satisfaction to have him jump in with h...

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Michał Przywara
21:41 Oct 04, 2022

Ha, thanks Anne Marie! I had King Arthur on my mind ever since the recent change in the British Monarchy. When it clicked for me that he was supposed to come back, it seemed to fit this prompt pretty well. Particularly since there was a lot of talk here (Canada) about "do we even need a monarchy?" and "is it time to change to a republic?", etc. And then probably Monty Python influences made it into this somehow too :) I'm glad you enjoyed it! I think the dark ending would have worked too, but it seemed like Arthur grew a bit over the s...

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Anne Marie Miles
02:05 Oct 06, 2022

There is something so satisfying about recent events/ topics influencing our stories, especially when we are able to weave it into our creativity in such a successful way. Ah, yes, Monty Python! I knew something was familiar here!! Love it. And, I agree, Arthur, as well as his other comrades, did grow and adapt to the times. It was fitting, but still unexpected, for him to forfeit his hatred of the Saxons. This was quite the journey for them! Did I mention I just love how it all began in a forest reserve? Perfect.

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Tommy Goround
03:26 Oct 04, 2022

Did it work? Yes. Memorable and witty: -'psst he pssted.' -Gwen/Gertrude connection -Saxons to the Sea...good repeats -hit pace....maybe halfway as a story...but would be a good Python skietch without. - reminders of Twain's version (Coneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. ) I likehow your characters settled in. -Extra points for the knight paying child support - Jam sails worked -Lancot as business leader Etc etc... Now to The import part, the story. The setting in Avalon is fun and the plot carries through as a. Skit. It's probably ...

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Michał Przywara
21:36 Oct 04, 2022

Thanks so much :) Yeah, I'm glad he jumped in after her too. I think the ending definitely could have stopped at the penultimate line, but it seemed more fitting, given the life they built over the past decade, and the realizations Arthur had. Also, I felt like something happier this week. You know, I never actually read Twain's story, even though it's been somewhere on my reading list for a very long time. I like the idea of people from the past returning. Or I guess from their POV, going to the future. It seems like most cultures/rel...

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Tommy Goround
05:21 Oct 05, 2022

Wow. Pardon the typos... That might have a new record for the most typos in a response. "Kate and Leopold" is the movie (Meg Ryan and Hugh jackman) I can only recall three fantastic details about humanity in that movie. 1) knights did not pick up dog poo in the old days. 2) never load a dishwasher unless a woman is looking. 3) liev Schreiber gives up his ambition for Kate's chance at love. (The autocorrect does not like Liev's name). So we can blame the typos on autocorrect. Your story seem to have about 10 to 15 interesting details that...

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Tommy Goround
05:22 Oct 05, 2022

Rank #2. -Thrift store baby still in first place. -The self-help thing is too sad for me.

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Kendall Defoe
14:52 Oct 04, 2022

Okay, you got me. Immigration can be a very emotional process, especially for fictional characters. And I love how you show the relationship between time and friendship (two "ships" in the night?). Thank you for the movie in my head! 🧙‍♂️

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Michał Przywara
21:37 Oct 04, 2022

Thanks, Kendall! Definitely very emotional (though thankfully ours didn't take quite a decade). I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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Evie Loy O'neill
17:50 Nov 02, 2022

I read this with a reading group today and they absolutely loved it, we laughed out loud at multiple points and one of the members asked if we could get the author in to ask them questions! Thanks so much for writing this great story.

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Michał Przywara
21:09 Nov 02, 2022

Thanks, Evie! Hearing that has made my day :) If you had any questions you can reach me at przywara.michal@gmail.com.

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Riel Rosehill
07:29 Oct 24, 2022

Hi Michał! I was late reading this one, but it was sooo entertaining! I got myself into a really jumpy and terrified state last night and I needed a fun story before I would dare to fall asleep - naturally, your stories came to mind. And reading this very quickly restored my mental state! I was grinning as I read, there.are so many fun, creative details - like mistaking Gertie for Merlin, calling swords decorative cutlery, thinking the plane was a dragon and selling jam out of all things! So random. Brilliant. As for the ending - it ties ...

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Michał Przywara
20:58 Oct 24, 2022

Heh, people are divided on that end line :) Me too, though I settled on the jumping, as it felt like a happier note ultimately. Anyway, I'm glad you liked it! "Decorative cutlery" is a term I picked up somewhere, either from talking to sword collectors or from back when I used to sell knives - don't recall - and it kind of just stuck :)

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Graham Kinross
22:24 Oct 23, 2022

The humour in this is brilliant and the translation of all of the characters to contemporary life is excellent.

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Michał Przywara
20:52 Oct 24, 2022

Thanks, Graham! I'm glad you enjoyed it :) It was great fun to write.

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Graham Kinross
21:10 Oct 24, 2022

I can see your enjoyment in the writing.

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Amanda Lieser
00:57 Oct 23, 2022

Hi Michal! I loved the premise of this piece. You tied in so many great little details, but my favorite one was Greta’s round table! I also love how you helped us hold onto modern society. My favorite line was: They met in the jail’s cafeteria.

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Michał Przywara
20:59 Oct 24, 2022

Thanks, Amanda! Yeah, I figured an Arthur story wouldn't be complete without some kind of round table :)

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Zelda C. Thorne
06:30 Oct 13, 2022

This is wonderful. Love it. I enjoyed how the knights lives changed and grew - mirroring all young groups of friends. Absurdly funny and heart-warming. The end was just lovely. " I owe Percival a Coke." - Lol.. the Coke annoyed me a bit, but it's not the kind of story that's historically accurate so that's just me being pedantic

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Michał Przywara
20:53 Oct 13, 2022

Thanks! No, not particularly historically accurate, I wager :) That line is actually one I debated including. I like it for its anachronism, but I'm not 100% sold on it. I imagine the knights have all manner of discussions about adjusting to the world in the background, and they probably overhear expressions like this one… ultimately it made it in, but I remember looking for alternative phrasings.

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01:04 Oct 13, 2022

I love this story. You show a great deal of imagination, and you are skillful in the way you advance the story. You blend the ancient characters into modern society gradually, with skill. Most of the time, I "believed" the story. I just have a couple of observations. I was confused by the introduction of Gertie. I thought that Merlin had changed himself into a woman, until Lancelot makes his remark about it not being Merlin at all. I think it would have worked better if you had made it clear immediately that this was NOT Merlin. You ...

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Michał Przywara
02:48 Oct 13, 2022

Thanks, Kathryn! Good feedback! Confusion is never a good thing, so I'll make sure to keep an eye out for these things in the future - I don't want to edit this story as it's already been approved. The grocery store scene was dipping into the absurd a bit, certainly. I also doubt the King does his own groceries, and if he ever wanted to, I'm sure it'd be a tightly controlled thing not really accessible to the public. On the other hand, I'm reminded of a story about Queen Elizabeth visiting a farm here in Manitoba, just chilling on a lawn c...

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18:17 Oct 12, 2022

What a mash up!! Your length and breadth of knowledge is on full display here, and I'm always up for an Arthurian tale... Handing out awards now: Award winning neologism: “Psst!” Lancelot pssted. Best Surname Humor: Johnson Johnson, Mayor of St. John’s...(you clever cuss) I'm going to cast Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave for the leads. Thanks for the fun diversion -- this must have been a blast to write since it was a blast to read. Always fun to read witty comedy (and social commentary?) I'm a fan :)

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Michał Przywara
21:28 Oct 12, 2022

Solid casting choices :) Yes, it was a blast. A little lighter fare this week, but it's good to cut loose every now and then, and an Arthurian thing was on the bucket list. Something about the crown changing hands recently, and all the renewed questions of "do we even need a monarchy?" put me in this mindset. Always appreciate your feedback, Deidra!

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Kelsey H
08:42 Oct 11, 2022

This is such an original idea, I really loved the clash of fantasy with reality as a magical king tries to deal with immigration and airports. There is always something entertaining about the 'fish out of water' scenario, and I like how this has a bit of a 'once upon a time' tale vibe to the narrative with the summary of the trials he goes through before the happy ending. Also I liked the driving back the saxons' theme running through it and how you circle it back at the end when he shoves Gertie off the pier (and I had a moment of thinking ...

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Michał Przywara
21:31 Oct 11, 2022

Thanks, Kelsey! "Once upon a time" is exactly what I was hoping to evoke :) I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that the pier-pushing felt real. I was initially debating which end to use myself, but I thought this worked better as it stressed the changes in his life. Thanks for reading!

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08:43 Oct 10, 2022

A fun fish out of water story. Very well down fleshing out all the details of how they could appear in a park in Canada one day all the way to setlling down and getting passports lol. King Arthur having the battle of his life against the Canadian immigration process is awesome satire! The ending is perfect too, crisp, clear and shocking as if we're hitting the cold water too.

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Michał Przywara
16:27 Oct 10, 2022

Thanks, Scott :) Very happy you enjoyed it! Being a sillier story, it was a fun one to write, and I personally really like how the ending turned out too.

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Francois Kosie
20:38 Oct 09, 2022

It's interesting to know that Avalon turned out to be in Newfoundland. This brings back some memories about the immigration process, but it was quite an entertaining story about it with lots of clever details. I liked how he got to push at least one Saxon into the sea in the end.

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Michał Przywara
03:18 Oct 10, 2022

Thanks, Francois! Yeah, Avalon not being explicitly on a map gives us some leeway :) I had recently been doing some research on Vinland, so that was the inspiration. That the Avalon Wilderness Reserve is a real place was a sign I couldn't ignore, though I doubt there's any medieval English kings there, standing by. I appreciate the feedback!

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Rebecca Miles
06:52 Oct 09, 2022

We're knights of the round table, we dance whenever we're able! I needed this one this week. What a Monty Python blast this was; I had the hoof beat rhythm of coconut shells pounding in the background throughout! Your Arthur is Chapman in all his ardent earnestness still raising the sword of chivalry high- even if it's decorative cutlery! Love the modern updates. A noble steed of a story, sir writer; may it gallop you to the glorious hills of victory and beyond!

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Michał Przywara
00:33 Oct 10, 2022

Ha, thanks Rebecca! I'm glad you enjoyed it :) Definitely a light hearted piece, even though the subject matter of coping with obsolescence might not be. I appreciate the feedback!

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Marty B
19:38 Oct 08, 2022

I like the romance that develops, with Gertie and Arthur. Lancelot of course would turn corporate. Never trusted that one. By the way, I am not entirely convinced some of the modern conveniences are NOT' propelled by elfish trickery'. Good one!

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Michał Przywara
21:06 Oct 09, 2022

Man, those elfs get everywhere, I tell ya :) I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the feedback.

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Kyle Bennett
19:13 Oct 08, 2022

I'm a sucker for a fish out of water story. But you left one question hanging... did they let him carry-on Excalibur, or did he have to check it?

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Michał Przywara
23:15 Oct 09, 2022

Heh, great question :) Figuring out how to move a sword by plane sounds like a fine idea for a prompt in its own right. Thanks for reading!

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Suma Jayachandar
16:39 Oct 08, 2022

Michal, Full disclosure: I turned off watching Monty Python barely half an hour into it. It may be my reluctance to watch gore( even if it's funny; especially it it's funny) or just ignorance about Arthur or the knights. But here, I must say the plot is the knight in the shining armour. You have blended the history, language and humour to deliver this out of the box story. So, an A+ for creativity! A fair bit of transition filled with strife for Arthur throughout. So the happy twist in the end feels earned. Well done!

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Michał Przywara
00:50 Oct 09, 2022

Thanks, Suma! If the ending feels earned, then I'm thrilled :) The premise for this story was certainly a little goofy, but that underlying theme of the prompt, of coming to terms with change and maybe ultimately accepting it, is a fascinating one. One I'm sure everyone experiences throughout life, too. Thanks for reading :)

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Aeris Walker
23:40 Oct 07, 2022

Loved that ending—it made me chuckle. I’m impressed by how you were able to maintain the style and voice of a zealous knight throughout the whole story, and I found Arthur and his friends to be endearing characters. These were some of my favorite lines: “This suited them well, for helping communities was their second most important sworn duty, right after driving Saxons back into the sea.”—haha, he never lost sight of his mission. “By my troth!” said Percival. “You mean to say, ’tis a dragon!?” —just hilarious! This was a fun read and ...

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Michał Przywara
16:00 Oct 08, 2022

Thanks Aeris! Yeah, I wanted to try something different this week (although it seems like I say that every week, so maybe it's not actually different?) Anyway. I'm glad the ending worked for you - this is one of the few stories where I had the ending in mind early on. Then the beginning occurred to me too, and then it was a fun exercise connecting A to B. But of course, not directly as that would be too easy. Life had to happen in the meanwhile. I appreciate the feedback!

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Aeris Walker
16:13 Oct 08, 2022

Ha! I was thinking the same thing. Every single one of your stories is so different! Your page is like a grab bag of stories and you just never know what you’re gonna get. Boy makes friends with troll monster? Undead knights seek Canadian citizenship? Fire flirts with arsonist? (Which was one of my favorites by the way). Love it. Keeps us on our toes!

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Tommy Goround
20:37 Oct 06, 2022

Who is Merlin? 1) John Steinbeck went over to England and took the wall tapestry and rewrote Arthur and the knight's tales. (Fun fact: Tarzan is written by American that did the same thing using a dead house. Graystoke married Scrope and didn't take her name. ) 2) Merlin is the antagonist in Connecticut Yankee, wanting to get rid of the protagonist. 3) if you read some histories of Ulrich Pendragon, nephew/brother of Vortimer and Vortigern (the ancient kings that supposedly invited the Saxons) (northern kingdom of Wales called Gwen)... You ...

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Michał Przywara
23:42 Oct 06, 2022

Good questions! I hadn't given it a huge amount of thought as I wrote it, it just seemed to fit. Looking back on it, I have some ideas. It seems they were waiting on Merlin to call them back to service, so perhaps this was the agreement. If you spend 1500 years waiting for someone, they might be on your mind. I can see a political angle too, which I think comes out of how Gandalf too appealed to him. Gandalf is called the Stormcrow, and he is known among rulers particularly for both counsel (whether wise depends on the ruler) and for being...

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Mike Panasitti
02:34 Oct 05, 2022

Quaint and stylistically consistent with your work, but you've also written quite a bizarre tale here, Michal. It makes me feel as if time and space are unravelling. I felt vertigo as I scrolled down and read on. Perhaps it's time we revived old heroes to push Saxons of our era into the sea, or perhaps it's time we let old ghosts rest for the sake of maintaining our wits about us.

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Michał Przywara
21:23 Oct 05, 2022

Thanks, Mike! Yeah, bit more of a fantastical, wandering thing this week. I think I've had a run of shorts that happened in a narrow time frame, so it's a bit broader here. "revived old heroes… or… let old ghosts rest" I like that. That's not a view I considered here, as I was more focusing on what duty and being obsolete means on the personal level. I like the implications of this thought though, too. Leads to all sorts of questions about what role heroes play in our lives. Actually, now that I think about it, it reminds me of your stor...

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