Then abruptly, Tony stopped. “Alright, sorry. I just get worked up sometimes. Come down here so I can apologize.” Tony extended his tiny arm as a wide smile came over his face.
“Ok…. Sure.” Steve hesitated, but then decided it best to smooth things over with the angry tenant. Mr. Jones just stood there with an amused look on his face.
Steve knelt down beside Tony and reached out for his hand to shake. But at the last moment Tony swung a balled up fist and hit Steve square in the nose. It took Steve a moment to realize what had just happened, then he stood up and casually walked over and stood beside Mr. Jones.
A fury of punches and kicks came at Steve’s shins like a swarm of killer bees.
“When can we go? Do we need to pick up rent or something?” Steve said, still rubbing his sore nose.
“Hehe, no, I’m just introducing you to everyone. We can go whenever.”
“Thank god,” Steve said with a sigh.
“Alright then, let’s go. Hey Tony, we’re getting out of here. Make sure you don’t get into too BIG of trouble, you hear?”
“Oh Jones, you think you real funny, don’t you? I show you funny if you keep it up with those big jokes of yours.” Tony shook his tiny fist in the air but he had the slightest outline of a smile.
The two men head back through the tunnel and out the small entrance door. Once back in the hallway Mr. Jones led Steve to the elevator. He hits the button and the old metal doors open with a swoosh.
“Where to now?” Steve asked.
Mr. Jones just smiled and gestured to Steve to hit the button for the second floor as they entered the elevator. He pushed it and the tan doors slid to a close and the elevator rocked gently before heading up.
“Hey Mr. Jones, can I ask you something?”
“When we were in Tony’s room you didn’t get any rent, and I noticed the same thing in the fire room. But you did in Mr. Jenkins’ room. Why is that?”
“Well, you see, I never actually took that money. I just acted like I did. You remember how I told you he was the first Mr. Jenkins and how old that’d make him?” Steve nodded. “Well, imagine what it would be like being around all of that time—what it would be like at that age. He doesn’t even know who he is most of the time, so I just go along with it and pretend that he’s just a normal tenant. It’s not like he ever leaves the apartment, anyway.”
“I guess that’s kind of nice of you, Mr. Jones.” Steve smiled but was still confused.
The elevator came to a stop and the doors slid open. Mr. Jones pointed to an apartment door near the end of the hallway and Steve started walking.
“Aren’t you forgetting something, boy?”
Steve stood motionless for a second. then shrugged his shoulders.
“The supply closet, fool. You always go to the supply closet first unless I say otherwise.”
Steve followed him to the supply closet and was stunned when Mr. Jones opened the door. There were no tools, or cleaning products, or anything else you’d expect. The only thing before them was a big crate full of greenish-yellow bananas.
“What are these for? Steve blurted out.
“Just grab a handful and let’s get going. You’ll find out what they’re for here in a couple of minutes,” Mr. Jones said, sounding a bit more chipper than he had been all day. “I think you’ll like this next tenant.”