Heyward Banister was a local carpenter on Elsewhere Isle who was well-regarded for his acumen. In preparation for his retirement, he built a set of three duplexes to rent out for a steady income–the Banister Arms Apartments.

But, whether due to illness, dementia, or a previously unknown obsessive-compulsive streak, Mr. Banister refused to certify the buildings as complete and ready to be rented. He insisted that their stairs were “wrong,” and furthermore that they had to be fixed before he would suffer anyone to live there.

As a result, the Banister Arms duplexes saw their staircases rebuilt in their entirety three times. Landings appeared and disappeared. The angle and steepness of steps changed. After the second rebuild, Banister was seen angrily tearing out his days-old handiwork. Asked by the local paper what had happened, Banister simply said: “There’s a problem with the stairs, and I’ve taken steps to correct the problem.”

Ironically, it was the steps that would be the end of the rebuilding process. Midway through what would have been the fourth rebuild, Mr. Banister took a step onto nothingness and fell from the second story to the ground, breaking both legs. His medical bills, along with the sunk costs of rebuilding the place so many times, led his wife to finally step in. She declared the apartments livable and had another carpenter finish the stairs.

To the day he died, though, Mr. Banister insisted that the steps were “wrong” and would loudly declare such to anyone who would listen. “I just know,” he’d say, “people are staring.”

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