All in Hope Idiotic

Hope Idiotic | Part V

Lou hit the San Francisco city limits just as night was coming down. He used the hostel book as promised to find a well-rated spot with a good view of the city. He’d never stayed in hostels before and was curious. He’d hoped to meet a few strangers he could make friends with for the night and explore the city with, but the place was pretty empty. It was too early in the summer for college students or Europeans to be backpacking their way through the country.

Hope Idiotic | Part IV

Years of overeating and not exercising had finally taken their toll on Chuck’s mom. She collapsed from a heart attack in her Indiana home — the same small, rundown place where Chuck was raised. She was recovering at the nearest hospital a few towns away. It was a massive attack requiring surgery to add stents and to repair the lining of her heart’s wall. She also had a deadly case of type-2 diabetes. Her body was crumbling. She was in a fragile state, and death seemed imminent.

Hope Idiotic | Part III

A MONTH LATER AT WORK, JUST BEFORE LUNCH, CHUCK BURST FROM HIS OFFICE into the area where Lou and I sat. He ran his hands through his short hair, clawing his scalp.

“Fucking Jesus!” he said.

Lou and I swiveled our chairs toward him and leaned back ready for the meltdown.

“Department meeting!” Chuck said. “Now! Cuba Café! Neal, you drive!”

“I can’t. I have to get gas.”

“Good. Get it on the way back.”

Hope Idiotic | Part II

Moonlighting as a drunkard, Chuck Keller was the assistant manager of the communications department at palm gaming, the largest hotel and casino company in Las Vegas and the world. After Chuck graduated from Nevada State, he was hired as the news editor for Valley Life, the alternative weekly rag, where I worked as the A&E editor.

Hope Idiotic | Part I

SHORTLY AFTER THE HEIGHT OF AMERICA’S FLAGRANT PATRIOTISM FOLLOWING 9/11, and just before the dawn of The Great Recession, there existed a wonderful Italian restaurant called Bella’s Ristorante. It was built into the foothills of the Black Mountain Range just outside of Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, a few short and dusty miles from the Strip at the edge of a wealthy suburban subdivision. My best friends Chuck Keller and Lou Bergman adored the place.