Lancelot: or, The Knight at the Bridge
By Sandy Feinstein
A note from the editor:
In the fall of 2016, as I was attempting to edit and condense essays from students in my class, I put out a Call for Papers.
I was looking for pieces that parodied this vague concept of “The Digital Humanities.”
Even though the term was popular, I had never seen a succinct definition — or even a very good explanation — of the term.
I still don’t really get it, to be honest. Anyone care to explain?
In any case, it was during that time that Sandy Feinstein submitted her story: Lancelot, or the Knight on the Bridge, for the first issue of the journal.
I chose to include it first, here on HiT’s new platform: Medium.
The Orgulous Knight yelled, “This bridge may not be crossed without my say so.”
But Lancelot kept coming, or, rather, his horse continued in the direction of the bridge.
Lancelot’s hands were otherwise engaged than with the reins.
Ditto his eyes.
For on the screen his armored palm locked on was a vision of the lady he loved most in the world.
She was a prisoner now of Maleagant, and, it would seem, her Galaxy device had apparently been damaged by the rigors of her unplanned journey, perhaps even confiscated.
Or so he assumed since his last message was “Save me.”
That was the gist anyway.
He was once again trying to kick himself, a challenge for an armored knight on horseback.
So instead, he berated himself about not being around the castle when most needed, a little irritated by a sudden boom making it hard to hear himself moan.
A few tears trickled down his helmeted cheek as he kept his eye fixed on beauty herself.
So he didn’t see the proud knight or hear him roar:
“I said you may not pass this bridge. Ready thyself for battle.”
Gwen’s last message had gone on and on about some knight showing up at Arthur’s gate, without even the decency to dismount or announce his location on Four Square.
Arthur was delighted — it was so old fashioned and daring.
But the knight — knowing he, Lancelot, the greatest knight in the kingdom was out saving lesser maidens in distress — challenged Arthur’s next best knights to a joust.
The reward was her Ladyship, the most beautiful queen of all time.
Apart from the idiocy of the challenge, this according to his love, because whatever would Arthur get that he didn’t have before, there was the matter of the boon and rash promise:
That old, old story well past copyright and readily available from GOOGLE books, not to mention the absurd Youtube adaptations.
Just as Lancelot was shaking his head at the thought of his lovely Lady entrusted to the bumbling seneschal Sir Kay and the inevitable, a kind of buzz, like a vibrating device, half penetrated his reverie.
“Stand and fight recreant.”
Suddenly, Lancelot found himself in the rushing river, his Apple 7 with his Instagrammed Queen held high above the lapping current but below the sword pointed two hands breadth beyond his steely gaze.
Lancelot thought he recognized the cheap Polish armor, tinted red to hide shoddy metalwork, and quickly retorted,
“Who’s the recreant to attack a knight without warning? Only one that expects defeat without such advantage.”
“As if. Didn’t I shout three times? Didn’t I make the earth shake with my exhalation? I saw you resettle in your saddle.”
“Well I didn’t hear you. I had better things to think about.”
He was grateful for the visor that hid his pout.
“I’ll take you one-handed. I’ll take you with one arm tied above my head. Just let me get back on my horse.”
“Too late for deals. Make yourself ready for defeat and humiliation and loss of I don’t know how many Twitter followers.”
Lucky for Lancelot he had his phone in his left hand, leaving the iron grip of his right free.
Faster than a Facebook instant message, he had the Proud Knight’s leg which he was twisting into a pretzel over the horse’s crupper and that hideous red breastplate.
“Okay, okay. Let’s fight like men. There are enough republicans in this kingdom as it is.”
Not one to be trumped by deceit, he required three vows, one on that of the knight’s lord, another on his beloved bridge, and a final one on his secret internet weakness.
(No, I’d never break the trust of a knight, even one as proud as this one).
Freed to leap onto his waiting horse, Lancelot raised his Apple, and his sword.
Both were impressively dry as the day they were bestowed as a reward for services rendered his beloved king for saving his beloved queen from a real crazy, a collector of knightly beards he hung on his shield.
Down went the Proud Knight. Of course.
And on went Lancelot to gaze longingly at the screen saver image of the lady he longed for.
She had thought of everything.
Though he hadn’t needed the waterproof case, he was grateful for the extended battery that would have to last until he had her again in his arms.