The Soloist (2009)
Steve Lopez: "Points West" by Steve Lopez. A year ago, I met a man who was down on his luck and thought I might be able to help him. I don't know that I have. Yes, my friend Mr. Ayers now sleeps inside. He has a key. He has a bed. But his mental state and his well-being, are as precarious now as they were the day we met. There are people who tell me I've helped him. Mental health experts who say that the simple act of being someone's friend can change his brain chemistry, improve his functioning in the world. I can't speak for Mr. Ayers in that regard. Maybe our friendship has helped him. But maybe not. I can, however, speak for myself. I can tell you that by witnessing Mr. Ayers's courage, his humility, his faith in the power of his art, I've learned the dignity of being loyal to something you believe in, of holding onto it. Above all else, of believing, without question, that it will carry you home.
Steve Lopez: I've never loved anything the way he loves music.
Steve Lopez: Every now and then, the hearts, minds, and wallets of the city's officials open simultaneously. And when that happens, every now and then, the city is a better place for it.
Nathaniel Ayers: [going to sleep] Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Just keep it coming. There's plenty. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Steve Lopez: [narrating] I knew only part of his story. I knew him playing the violin on a dairy crate in the morning sun, suspended somewhere between boy genius and lost traveler. Every night my friend Nathaniel tucks his instruments away and lays his head among the predators and hustlers, among the fallen drunks sprawled in the streets, as rats the size of meatloaves dart out of the drains to feed off the squalor.
Nathaniel Ayers: Lead us not into temptation. For thine is kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Forever and ever.
Steve Lopez: [narrating] I tell him this is no place for him. He says he wants to be here. He says this is his choice. Should I take him at his word, or should I try to force him inside? Wouldn't a little arm-twisting be more humane than leaving him here on the streets in this lost colony of broken, helpless souls?
Nathaniel Ayers: I hope you sleep well, Mr. Lopez. I hope the whole world sleeps well.
Construction Worker: [greeting his co-workers] Buen dia, muchachos.
Steve Lopez: [narrating] "Points West" by Steve Lopez. A construction worker in Griffith Park heard the
Steve Lopez: [swerving his bicycle to avoid a raccoon] Hey!
Steve Lopez: [continuing narration] He saw a cyclist cartwheel off his bike and slam face-first into the unforgiving asphalt of Riverside Drive.
Steve Lopez: I don't give a smooth fart whether or not we go.
Steve Lopez: What is the proper method of application? Should I sprinkle it in the yard?
Urine Salesman: First you wanna dilute the urine powder in water.
Steve Lopez: Wait, I want to?
Urine Salesman: Well alright, maybe I should say "have to." And then you're gonna have to hand the liquid from trees in plastic bags.
Steve Lopez: So, people are doing this all over Southern California?
Urine Salesman: Oh, yes sir. Last month I sold some to Paula Abdul.
Steve Lopez: But no Simon Cowell? 'Cause that would be exciting. Figure?
Nathaniel Ayers: Gotta put rosin on your bow. It's just like feeding a parakeet. A bow needs rosin just like a police car needs prisoners.
Steve Lopez: I don't want him to love me.
David Carter: Well it looks like you might have to get over that.
Steve Lopez: It's a bad idea. "I love you Steve," turns into, "You failed me, Steve," turns into very bad things. That's my limited experience. I don't want to be on the other side of that with him. Would you? He doesn't know if I'm a ballerina, if I'm God, if I'm an airline pilot. He has no idea what he's saying.
Steve Lopez: There's papers you gotta sign. They just back back from... And you should them so you know what you're signing.
Nathaniel Ayers: All right, you know, I'll just sign them Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, Jr., apartment B-116, and the B stands for Beethoven.
Nathaniel Ayers: So, you guys are basically united by non-belief.
Atheist: That's right.
Nathaniel Ayers: Yeah. So, do you non-gather? And non-worship?
Atheist: We tried, but uh...
Nathaniel Ayers: Not a lot to talk about.
Atheist: Yeah... Now we have a website.
Nathaniel Ayers: Swell.
Nathaniel Ayers: Anything else you don't believe in?
Graham Claydon: Nothing pains God more than when we squander his blessings. You owe it to Him to care for this...
Nathaniel Ayers: I don't owe God. Mr. Steve Lopez is my god.
Steve Lopez: What?
Nathaniel Ayers: Star Writer for Los Angeles. Higher power flying around with wings like an angel.