Miss Jaynise and Miss Fanny, too, have crossed the Great Divide. They, too, lived along the challenge section of road. Miss Jaynise’s adopted son, Hester, who was called “Gi Pants” by many who knew him, is a patient at the Golden Hope Hospital—an institution for the mentally ill. He has spent the last twenty to twenty-five years of his life there.
It wasn’t difficult to determine that Hester’s marbles weren’t all there. His halting speech and the vacant smile he fixed us with were all the indicators we needed to ascertain that there was something wrong with the way his mind processed things. As further proof, we noted that he never participated in cricket and football games with us—the “challenge” variety or otherwise; although that might have been the result of his mother’s influence on him.
Unlike the rest of us―with the exception of Jahsolat who took a bullet to his shoulder in attempting to apprehend a daring daylight thief―Hester made national news. On the day it happened, nobody had the slightest inkling he was going to be featured thus prominently or would bring some notoriety to New Village. We had always considered Hester to be a little bit off his rocker, but harmless, and never thought, even for one minute, he would harm anybody or stage such an attention-grabbing event. We were proved wrong. One day, Hester walked into the then-existing branch of Barclays Bank known as Barfincor, which was located at the corner of Jeremie Street and Chausee Road, and as calmly as you please, waved a knife or some other weapon beneath the nose of a female teller and demanded she hand over the money in her drawer. Frightened out of her wits, the teller complied, and Hester calmly walked back to his mother’s house. Within half an hour, some members of the Special Services Unit of the Police Force, armed to the teeth, were at Miss Jaynise’s house where they recovered the money and arrested Hester without so much as a word of protest from him.
Author’s note: the preceding is an excerpt from the novella, “New Village”, now available on Amazon Kindle.