Hopewell was a college town, and any large public space in a college town is a magnet for crazies. The HPD had a reputation for being a little fascist despite the open campus policy, so repeat offenders tended to congregate at a nearby venue: the Hopewell Heights Mall.

On any given day, colorful characters abound. There’s Erica Erotica, a very prim and proper looking matron of retirement age who comes in and writes the most tawdry, sex-drenched prose in giant letters in a pink gel pen (reserving blue and other colors for her occasional “clean” writing). No one is sure what happens to the erotica once it’s penned, but theories ranging from tin-under-the-bed to lucrative-POD-publishing-on-Valkyrie.com have been advanced.

Hermit Harold sells pet hermit crabs at the behest of an absentee employer who pays his kiosk rent and salary seemingly independent of the fact that few if any crabs were ever sold. Faced with such a steady income and lack of an incentive to succeed, Hermit Harold responds by showing up to work stoned out of his gourd and making awful ribald puns on the fact that he “has crabs.”

There’s Bathroom Bessie, the 40-something sex addict (noticing a pattern here?) who is functionally homeless but uses the HHM washrooms to clean herself up before aggressively pursuing single-looking males, only stopping when she was offered “a ride home.” No one ever complained vociferously or consistently enough to bar Bathroom Bessie from the premises, though.

And who could forget the denizens of Hopewell National Forest, which abutted the property? The deer that crashed through the plate glass window to roam the mall unchecked for two weeks has become legend, as has the colony of bats that bedeviled security guards with butterfly nets for over a year.

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