The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

Dated Feb 4, 2023; last modified on Sat, 29 Jul 2023

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Walter Mosley. . . 2022-03-11. Accessed Feb 4, 2023.


[Ptolemy] Well, what I always tell Reggie he got to do? [Reggie] Uh, I got to take care of my kids. I got to go to the doctor if I run a fever. And… And, uh, I got to put in at least ten dollars in the bank every time I get paid.

Falls in the category of financial advice from a long gone era, but delivered in a new way. +$10 every weekly paycheck amounts to +$520, which can’t do much these days.

[Reggie] Why you got the alarm clock in the icebox, Papa Grey? [Ptolemy] Uh, I… I… I wanted to know w-what the temperature was, so I… I was… [Reggie] I think this would do you better by your sleeping table. What you think? [Ptolemy, stammering] Yeah.

Reggie’s caring nature shone through in this scene. Constructively correcting Papa Grey without infantilizing him.

[Ptolemy] Oh, you know, Coydog used to say hospital where Black folk went to die. [Dr. Riley] Well, as a resident I practically lived in a hospital, and somehow I made it out alive. [Ptolemy] Yeah, but you ain’t but so Black. [Both chuckle]

Distrust of the health care system by Black people shown through Coydog. Read goes further. For example, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study of 1932 - 1972 by the United States Public Health Service withheld treatment from ~400 Black men in Alabama in order to study how the disease progressed. Ptolemy lives in Alabama, and probably so did Coydog.

Read for an informed PoV.

[Reggie] I mean… …his hand, his recuperative ability. [Dr. Riley] And see, that’s… that’s why I suggested this study and why they’re interested in helping him.

[White Officer] We’re detaining you. [Ptolemy] He who my nephew… [White Officer] Sir, you know this man? Do you know this man? [Ptolemy] He who my nephew sent to bring me where he at. Reggie.*

What I wished would dig deeper into, but instead it turned to be about the mafia. Hilliard, later lets a woman con Ptolemy of $50, and steals $200 from the $300 that he cashed out.


  1. s01e01 - Reggie - The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Transcripts. . Mar 11, 2022. Accessed Feb 4, 2023.
  2. African Americans and Their Distrust of the Health Care System: Health Care for Diverse populations. Bernice Roberts Kennedy; Christopher Clomus Mathis; Angela K. Woods. Cultural Diversity, Vol. 14, No. 2. BRK Healthcare Services; South Carolina State University. . . 2007. Cited 512 times as of Feb 4, 2023.
  3. I Care A Lot. Jonathan Blakeson. . . Accessed Feb 4, 2023.