i believe in reciprocity


One of my favorite writers, Richard Price.
You might know him from The Nigh Of, he co-created alongside Steven Zaillian.

Last month I picked up the Samaritan and couldn’t put it down — missed trains, late meetings, delayed projects, and random moments of standing in the kitchen chomping down on chips/carrots/cheese sticks — whatever — trying to process the chapter before.

Here’s Nerese Ammons, a 20-year cop planning for early retirement, which is suddenly delayed when she learns that Ray, a childhood school buddy, has been savagely beaten by an assailant whom he refuses to identify.

Why, Ray, it’s because I believe in reciprocity like I believe in God. I believe heart and soul in doing unto others as they do unto me, good or bad, and I make damn sure everybody around me knows it too, because let me tell you something: I have discovered that no matter what kind of shit I have to deal with, no matter what kind of animal behavior I have to contend with, it keeps me decent, it keeps the people around me decent, and these days, decency, simple human decency, is getting to be like hens’ teeth, OK?

So if you want, I can sit here all day listening to you going on about fuck this one, fuck that one, fuck Nerese, yea?, but, you know, whether you make it hard for me or easy, the fact of the matter, like I told you the last time, is that I owe you. Sorry.

No, Ray, Ray, Ray — listen, Hey. I walk in here yesterday you looked like someone shoved your face in a blender. I walk in here yesterday you were like two heartbeats away from slitting your wrist. And today? You look even worse. Plus now you’re bouncing off the walls, motor-mouthing, cursing people out like you’re on meth or something. I mean, whoever did this to you, it’s like they drop-kicked your brain into the Twilight Zone, so…

Don’t forget-it-Nerese, me.

That guy came into your home, lined you up against your own living wall and tried to take you out like your head was a piñata.

How can you let someone get away with that. How can you let someone violate you like that and not try to get yours back. If you don’t stand up for yourself on this, it’s gonna eat you alive. If you don’t stand up for yourself on this, it’s gonna give you cancer.

Plus, Ray, it’s not just about you. Guys like that? This is what they do and they keep on doin’ it until they get snatched, a’right? And that’s my job.

Author: pizzaslices

Liza is an actor and co-creator of Subway Token Films, a film production company that captures Street Level Miracles through films. That is, moments in our lives when the story as we know it stops, the lens is pulled back and something more expansive is revealed to us. Liza has won awards and audiences alike for her portrayals of the immigrant story on stage and film. She lives in New York City and Los Angeles with her partner, actor Felix Solis.