A group of people stood around a man laid out on the sidewalk. Two construction workers were bent over the sprawled-out figure as others gathered around, staring at the spectacle unfolding in front of them.
“Everybody! Stand back and give the man some breathing room,” one of the construction workers yelled out to the onlookers.
“Hey buddy, you ok there?” the other worker said while he gave the half-conscious man light slaps to his cheek.
“Whoa…what…hey there. What’s going on?” the dazed man said as the construction guys started lifting him to his feet.
“You took a hard knock there, friend. Something popped you in the head and bounced off down into that drain over there. You went down like a sack of potatoes. I don’t know what it was or where it came from, but it sure gave you a whack to the side of your head,” one of the construction men explained to him as the man regained his feet.
“I… I’m the… I’m a Lord.” the woozy man said,, gripping the side of his head. He looked out at those gazing at him and the men holding his arms, and he pictured them as his subjects. He envisioned them all there to help their lord from a disaster. The image faded from his sight as his head cleared. He saw an ordinary group of people standing around him and a guy at each of his arms wearing yellow hard hats, trying to keep him propped up.
“Lord? Wow, took a good one there, bud. Say, do you remember your name? What’s your name, pal?”
“Alfred…Alfred Dent…Lord Dent, you can call me.” Alfred had regained his senses but felt empowered. Somehow the knock on the head had increased the size of his head, and he couldn’t stop himself from feeling overzealous.
“Well, excuse me, Alfred. Oh, I’m sorry, Lord Dent. Why on earth should I call you Lord?” the construction worker asked.
“I am your Lord. Lord Dent. Because I said so!” Lord Dent gave a firm look at the construction worker then toward the group standing around him. Everyone had an awkward look on their face. Both construction workers began to laugh, followed by those nearest to Lord Dent who had heard the conversation.
“Now, if you will excuse me, I must return to my duties,” Lord Dent explained as he brushed off his suit, then gripping his jacket collar in both hands, he stepped forward. The second construction worker wiped tears of laughter from his eyes. He bowed in a jovial manner.
“By all means, my Lord. Please excuse us, commoners,” he giggled. “You might want to go get yourself checked out before continuing your duties,” he broke back out into laughter, as did everyone else standing around.
Lord Dent stepped firmly forward and made his way through the small crowd that had gathered. Everyone parted as he came by them and bowed, gesturing him along with an outstretched arm as a subject greeting a royal figure passing by, most of them laughing while doing so.
Alfred heard them laughing, but in his mind, he saw it as people speaking of him in amazement; they were meeting a Lord and showing their gratitude. He continued on his way down the sidewalk walking in a robust and determined manner. Alfred held his head high and kept his posture firm with a stiff back. He was sure as he passed people they looked at him in awe. Mr. Dent envisioned them saying to themselves or each other, “It’s Lord Dent,” while passing by them. In reality, the forceful way he was walking caused everyone in his path to step aside and give him a look of excuse me while he forced his way past them.
He arrived at his office building a few minutes later. Langley & Dent Associates was the name hung high above the entrance to the office building that Alfred Dent entered that morning. It had only been ten minutes earlier that something had struck him in the head, knocking him momentarily unconscious to the sidewalk. What had struck him in the head was never discovered. Perhaps it was a rock or piece of masonry falling from a nearby construction site. Maybe it was a passing motorist that had thrown a cell phone out of the car window in a fit of rage. It could be that it was a prank of the gods who merely wanted to amuse themselves by striking Mr. Dent blessed for a time. Whatever the case, Alfred Dent arrived at that office building a changed man. A man who now firmly believed that he was a Lord and what he said had power just because he said so.
“Good morning Mr. Dent. They are gathering in the board room now,” a well-dressed mid-aged secretary said, greeting Alfred as he walked by the front desk.
“Thank you, my dear. I shall see to it myself,” Alfred replied in a refined manner as he continued toward the elevators.
“Odd, he usually calls me by my first name Margie, and I shall see to it myself? What does he mean by that?” Margie questioned the messenger woman in front of the desk, who just shrugged, “Business types, huh?”
An elevator door gave a ding as Alfred approached the row of elevators in the main lobby. A door opened, and Alfred stepped in, adjusting his tie and collar.
“Good morning Mr. Dent,” said the elevator attendant dressed smartly in a suit of red, white-gloved hands and topped off with a round red bellhop hat.
“Lord Dent, Marty. That’s Lord Dent. You should know that by now?”
“Oh…oh yes, Lord Dent. Sorry, Mr. Dent. Ooh, I mean Lord Dent,” Marty the bellhop replied in confusion. “To the boardroom, is it? Uhh…my Lord?”
“Quite right, Marty. To the boardroom indeed.”
Marty pressed the button for the top floor; the doors slowly closed, and they proceeded upward in quiet silence. Marty thought about continuing the conversation with Mr. Dent. He felt that Mr. Dent was acting oddly, so he just let it be and stood smartly facing the elevator doors. The chime rang once the elevator reached the top floor and the doors opened. Marty placed one hand over the doorway and motioned toward the hall with the other.
“The boardroom level. Have a splendid day, uh…my Lord?”
“Thank you, Marty. You are in excellent service. A good day to you too,” Alfred exited the elevator into the hall and headed toward the boardroom doors. Marty watched him enter the boardroom with a look of concern on his face, “Businessmen! Odd ducks,” he exclaimed to himself and stepped back into the elevator.
“I don’t care that the investors think that we owe them this possibility! I am not sure that it is right or follows the morals that this company was founded upon! Jason Langley, God rest his soul, would have never agreed to such a takeover,” argued a large gray-haired man standing at the head of a large oval table. Company execs surrounded by notepads and paperwork were seated at the table. Alfred had just entered the room as the large man finished his statement, and all eyes turned toward him as he came in.
“Alfred, perhaps you can talk some sense into these people,” the large man continued.
“That is Lord Dent, Mr. Langley, but what is it you were saying?” Alfred asked in a calm, stern voice. The suits around the table, including Mr. Langley, gave a quick double-take as Alfred mentioned “Lord Dent,” but Mr. Langley continued on his statement.
“I was saying that I think it absurd that we takeover the Stanson firm in the manner that they are proposing. I think it unethical, and I’m not quite sure of possible legal violations. Now I know that your father, Christian Dent, often disagreed with my late uncle Jason, but I don’t think he would have approved. What do you say, Lord Dent was it? Whatever silly game you are playing today.”
“I am playing no silly game Justin, and I say that the takeover happens,” said Alfred in a calm but demanding tone.
“But why?” asked Justin Langley, giving a look of disapproval.
“Because I said so. I Lord Dent, say so.”
A woman near Mr. Langley spoke out, “That would make the vote in favor of the takeover. Especially since Mr. or I’m sorry,” she gave a slight giggle, “Lord Dent has a majority share and counts as two votes in deciding factors for the company.”
“My god Alfred, you have really lost your mind, haven’t you?” Justin Langley questioned as he gripped the back of his chair and hung his head in defeat.
“There, there, Justin. Do not worry, I shall see to all my subjects. First off, Mr. Atley, could you please serve us all a drink in celebration of this event?”
Mr. Atley, the butler of the boardroom and attending servant for all important meetings, stood near the bar at a corner in the room. He pulled up a large silver tray and set glasses, a small bucket of ice with ice clamps, and a bottle of bourbon on the tray.
“No, no, Mr. Atley, not that cheap stuff. Get the Pappy Van Winkle,” Mr. Atley picked up a bottle and held it up, “yes, that’s it, bring that around to everyone except for Mr. Jenson there. I do believe he doesn’t drink, that poor sod.”
Everyone in the boardroom was quite pleased with the selection of booze; even Justin Langley finally took a seat to the glass of bourbon set in front of him. He held his glass up, “To the takeover then,” everyone held their glass up, even Mr. Jenson, who just had soda water with lime. Another member stood up and exclaimed, “To Lord Denton!” there were some giggles. Still, all replied, “Here, here,” and they drank the exquisite bourbon.
After the board meeting, Alfred started to return to his personal office on the floor below. He was leaving the board room occupants in a flurry of questions and debate, some with excitement, and those aligned with Langley in frustration. Several people tried to corner him, and Langley himself even expressed his concern directly.
“Alfred, are you ok?”
“Mr. Langley, I do accept you as one of my main advisors of this matter, but it is Lord Dent, and yes, I am quite fine, thank you. My decision is final.”
“What is this Lord Dent stuff? Godman, what is that lump on the side of your head? Did you get knocked off your rocker last night?”
Alfred merely turned and walked out of the board room and headed down to his office. He told his receptionist to hold his calls. He sat in his office for a few moments in quiet solitude. His head began to throb, and his memory became fuzzy. He felt as if everything was surreal and out of place. After feeling this way for about an hour, he decided to head home and get some rest. As soon as he got up and headed out the door, he again felt empowered as if he were actual royalty.
“Mr. Dent, Mr. Langley is calling for you to come to his office,” his secretary spoke to Alfred as he came out of his office.
“Tell Mr. Langley that Lord Dent has retired for the day.”
“But he sounded as if it were urgent,” the secretary reiterated as Alfred walked past without another word. She watched him leave the office with a stunned look on her face.
The following day, Alfred Dent continued in this bizarre manner in acting as if he were a Lord and a man of royal lineage. Any decision that was brought to Mr. Dent was met with his forcible replies with no compromise. No one could question him on anything he decided.
“It’s pointless, Mr. Langley. Every time we try to reason with him, he just barks out that he is Lord Dent, and we are to do as he says. The crazy thing is people are starting to treat him as if he is a Lord. They think they are going up the ladder by bowing to his demands, but it is no secret a number of the board members were anxious to do this takeover for quite some time. They know it will make them very wealthy very quickly. Is there any way that we can cut him out of the vote or weigh it to our advantage?”
“No, Mr. Jenson, he has the upper hand on the vote, and legally there’s nothing we can do. This is madness!” Mr. Langley replied, hammering his fist onto his office desk.
“Madness…wait, that’s it, sir!” Jenson jumped out of his seat in excitement.
“What? What’s it? What are you going on about Jenson?”
“You’re brilliant, Mr. Langley, and hopefully, you’ll remember me after we fix this. Call a meeting for 1 pm in the board room and convince Mr. Denton to come by, appease to his Lord Denton nonsense. I’ve got a plan.”
“All right, Jenson. I’m about willing to try anything at the moment. I’d murder the son of a bitch if I could get away with it. I’ll concoct a story that we would like to honor Lord Dent for his brilliant strategy on this course of action the company is taking. That ought to get him up there from his throne. You just better hope whatever you got planned works Jenson, or we’re both liable to be behind bars in a month.”
At 1 pm, Alfred Dent walked into the board room to a table full of the same group as before. People were chattering together until Alfred Dent entered the room.
“Mr. Dent. Just the man we’ve been waiting for,” Mr. Langley spoke up from the head of the oval table.
“That is Lord Dent, Mr. Langley,” answered Alfred.
“Why yes, of course. That is exactly what we have brought you up here to discuss, your brilliance as a Lord, and that you have voted to move on this hostile take over of the Stanson firm. Is this correct, Lord Dent?”
Mr. Langley spoke, shifting back and forth while standing, looking at Alfred, then to the group around the table, then to a small group of 3 men seated in the corner near the bar.
“That is correct, Justin,” answered Alfred.
“And you say that you are a Lord, Mr. Dent?” asked Mr. Langely.
Yes, Justin. As I have told you, I am Lord Dent. Do I need to keep repeating myself?”
“Is that enough for you, gentleman?” Justin Langley looked over at the 3 seated in the corner. They began chattering amongst themselves in hushed voices for a moment.
“Yes, that is quite enough. From what we have heard from others and what we have witnessed, we can affirm that Alfred Dent can not introduce his vote on this matter of a corporate takeover. This decision is based on questioning Mr. Dent’s sound mind,” one of the men spoke as a consensus for the three.
“What is this? I am Lord Dent! Who are they, and how can they stop my order?” Alfred Dent yelled back.
“This here is Doctor Hector, the company psychologist, me and Mr. Watson are the lead attorneys for corporate. And Alfred Dent, we can stop your order from what we have witnessed because I say so.”
Lord Dent went into a maniacal tirade…
3 Months Later
“Mr. Dent shall be with us for quite some time. He has exhibited continual bouts of delusions of grandeur and schizophrenia. Currently, we have him in an isolation cell under heavy sedation. We can’t allow visitors into that portion of the hospital, Mr. Langely,” the head psychiatrist working with Alfred Dent reported to Justin Langely.
“I understand. My God! It’s so sad. That man was one of the most brilliant businessmen I had known and a dear friend. You should have seen how he went crazy in that boardroom. It was downright scary,” Mr. Langely replied to the doctor.
“Yes, we have seen how he can be, which is why he is in isolation. Strange how the brain can create a completely different personality in a person with just the proper damage to certain portions of it.”
Down the passages of the century-old mental healthward, back in the reaches of the solitary cells encapsulated from all other disturbances from the outer world, a single padded room held a disturbed man. That man was once known as Alfred Dent and he sat in that cell restricted within a straitjacket, drooling from the corners of his mouth, eyes bloodshot and glazed over from the heavy sedatives. He rocked back and forth seated on his foamed bed mumbling in repetition, “I am Lord Dent because I said so…I am Lord Dent because I said soo…"