Lanval Redux

by Matt Travers

For this project I decided to rewrite Lanval as if Lanval was a Gen Z teen. Rather than being an unappreciated member of King Arthurs court wishing for a fair maiden, Lanval is a crew member at a Burger King who just wants to be paid a living wage. You can either read the lay below yourself, or listen to a recording of me reading the lay. I put it over some fire noises and a picture of a campfire, because that seems to be what people do for this sort of thing. Enjoy!

The adventure of another lay,
Just as it happened, I’ll relay:
It tells of a noble crew member,
And his name was Lanval of BK.

You see Lanval was a teen, way back in this day
He would work many hours for his local BK.
He’d worked there for years, making minimum wage
Doing the best that he could, but never getting a raise.
Still he’d work, and he’d sweat, and he’d toil with glee
For there was no place but BK
that Lanval would rather be.
For there was much freedom at BK, it has to be said.
You could steal many fried foods, and keep yourself fed.
The management was shaky, and passable at best
So they turned a blind eye to their workers many thefts.

Lanval worked in that kitchen with grace and with ease,
Doing his absolute best, so his boss he may please.
But pleased as he was, every week, every day,
He never gave Lanval his well-deserved raise.
See our hero didn’t mind making seven twenty-five,
But the starting wage was fucked at this BK thru drive.
For his newest coworkers began their careers
Making one seventy-five an hour more than Lanval, their peer.
Lanval applied for a raise, so he may right this wrong
But his boss James lost the paper, making the process prolong.
That was six months ago, and now Lanval’s resigned,
To the fact that his raise will likely never be signed.

Lanval kept on working, the unsung hero of BK
Until his assistant manager Mohamed approached him one day.
“Lanval! My good buddy. My Hero, my friend.
I’d like a quick word once your shift meets its end.”
And so after Lanval had punched out for the night,
Lanval went to the office, to see if Mohamed was alright.
He found Mohamed there, crouched over some papers
with stacks of baked goods, freshly baked by their bakers.
“Lanval, you’re exactly who I was hoping to see.
Please, take a bear claw, or a cookie! They’re free!”
Lanval did as he was asked, and he did so with glee,
For there’s no joy in life greater than food which is free
“Enjoy my good friend, take as much as you’d like!
These gifts come from Panera, where I work in the night.
It’s a workplace far greater than this lowly BK
and they’re hiring, too! See I’d like to persuade
you apply to Panera, and work there with me,
where you’ll sell mac n cheese, and salads, and tea!”

Lanval looked at his feet, Unsure what to do.
Abandon BK, leave behind the “free” food?
“Oh Lanval, I see on your face you’re distressed!
I’ve more to offer than cookies, you’ll surely be impressed.
See I know that our boss has not given you a raise,
this fact makes me sick, it fills me with malaise!
See if you join me at Panera, your work will finally pay!
I’ll pay you twelve dollars, nearly 5 more than they!
Lanval couldn’t believe it, 12 dollars an hour?
That’s nearly a living wage, this deal’s not at all sour.
“I’m interested” said Lanval. “But I cannot just leave
I love my coworkers, like Rigo, Raila, and Steve.”
“Very well” said Mohamed. “That’s no issue, my friend.
Just work Panera on weekdays, BK on weekends.
There is just one condition, you cannot tell your boss.
If he learns I stole his employee, both our jobs will be lost.”
And so Lanval agreed to Mohamed’s conditions
And began working weekdays in the Panera kitchen.

Lanval took to Panera like a moth to a flame
He impressed his new bosses and garnered much fame.
He loved his new job and performed with much ease.
His shifts weren’t stressful, and they passed with a breeze.
And there was no need to steal, and no need to spite.
He could take home all he wanted at the end of the night.
And so Lanval, our hero, would load his car with sweet treats
and pass them out to the BK crew, free of receipts.

His two jobs lived in harmony, until one shift at BK
his assistant manager Sarah came walking his way.
“Lanval! My good buddy. My hero, my friend.
I’d like a quick word once your shift meets its end.”
Lanval felt a shiver run through him quite swift
What could she want with him after his shift?
So Lanval proceed, as he’d done before.
to punch out of his shift and walk through the office door.
“Lanval, you’re exactly who I was hoping to see.
I have some good news that shall fill you with glee!
Over these years we’ve seen you grow smarter and wiser
which is I’m promoting you to shift supervisor!”
Lanval looked up in confusion as he began to speak:
“But how can I shift supervise only 2 days a week?”
“Well that’s the thing dear, the only issue I see:
Shift supervisors must work full time, not part time, like ye.”
Lanval backed away as he offered his thanks:
“I must decline Sarah, if I am to be frank.”
Sarah could not believe what she had just heard
Her blood started pumping, her vision became blurred.
“How could you decline a supervisory position?
Have you no managerial ambition?”
Lanval pleaded his case there for quite some time
finding excuses for why he couldn’t work full-time.
But Sarah wouldn’t let up, she felt she’d been slighted
She was full of rage now, her fire ignited.
“Lanval I swear you’ve made quite the mistake
We’re going to talk to James and expose you for a snake.”

And so Lanval and Sarah met with their boss James
To get Lanval fired was Sarah’s goal, Sarah’s aim.
She unleashed on James a quite slanderous case.
Saying Lanval was abusing his reputation at the place.
“He’s been stealing, and slacking, and making a mess
I’ve seen it with my own eyes, yet he still won’t confess!”
James stared in silence, waiting for Lanval to speak
But he froze and said nothing, feeling his situation too bleak.
But Just as Lanval felt that he was done for
His friend Mohamed came bursting through the door.
“Guys, I can explain, just listen to me!
Lanval’s a good guy, it’s my fault, you will see!”
And so Lanval and Sarah and James sat around
Listening to Mohamed tell them the truth and expound.
“I invited poor Lanval to work for my crew,
but he was too loyal to leave, too loyal to you.
So he took up two jobs, on weekdays and weekends
to meet his financial needs and still be with his friends.”
James listened to Mohamed, but his face soon turned cruel.
“To steal employees is strictly against the rules.
Now in normal conditions you would both be fired
But this store’s understaffed, so your help is required.
Now get back to work, the lot of you please.
You’ve left front of house empty, no one’s up there but Steve.”
Lanval and Mohamed hugged each other in delight,
As Sarah stormed out for a cigarette in the night.

And so Lanval kept both his job and his friends
working Panera on weekdays, and BK on weekends.

4 thoughts on “Lanval Redux

  1. WOW. This is AMAZING. I listened to it as I read along and I am just blown away. You told such an everyday tale with such conviction and rythmn it was nearly impossible to get out of step. I am just so impressed by this wow, bravo! The use of names and scenerios was so realistic and then the added pattern of langauge felt like this was a black and white movie. The fire sounds was a solid addition I felt like you were holding a torch as you read this haha! Brilliant. I am not one to over praise, but this deserves it!

  2. I would probably listen to this in my free time. The cadence, the rhyme scheme, and the fires are all so atmospheric, it feels like I’m listening to a fellow vagrant tell a tale. The use of the coworker giving Lanval a job and telling him it’s a secret just like his lady in the story giving him money on the same condition is brilliant. Awesome job

  3. Love this! This is such a unique idea and I think it’s really cool how you took Lanval and made it fit really well with a contemporary BK premise. You managed to follow the general storyline but in a completely creative way which I find super impressive . And even more impressive that you used rhymes too! I wish I could word my praise better right now, but I’ll just say that this is an amazing project and a fun read!

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