My wife met his wife at some cocktail party and, as wives do, my wife told his wife that I had written a Broadway musical based on the life of Herman Melville, author of "Billy Budd," and of course, "Moby Dick."
I met Bliskin, of course, at Sardi's. In a minute the old Italian waiter had brought me the biggest martini I had ever seen.
Bliskin and I clinked glasses and then he cut to the chase.
"A Broadway musical," he said, lighting a cigar as long as a baby's arm. "That takes big money."
"I know," I answered as demurely as I could.
"I produced 'North Dakota' the year before Rodgers and Hammerstein came out with 'Oklahoma.' I tell you this, not to discourage you, but to let you know that the road to the Great White Way is paved with broken dreams."
I took a long draw on my martini. I almost swallowed an olive whole.
He filled the red-velvet room with the smoke from his Cohiba.
"But listen," he said, "I think you have something here. 'Melville, the Musical.' It's gold. It's 'Wicked' for the literary class. Sing me that song you wrote." He motioned to a baby grand in the corner.
I drained the remainder of my martini and headed over to the ivories. I was feeling more than a little lubricated,
I harumphed then began. "This is a song I call 'Where there's a Whale there's a Way,' I began tinkling. "This is something Ishmael sings to open the show," I said.
What was I thinking
When I sea,
Not knowing at all
If this life is for me?
What was I thinking,
When I made this decision,
When I ignored all the laughter,
Ignored the derision?
Oh, where there's a Whale
There's a way.
Where there's the sun,
There's a ray.
Where there's a boat filled with men
There is hope,
Oh, where there's a Whale,
There's a way."
Bliskin led the applause and a few others put down their knives and forks and joined in.
"That's gold," he told me. "Melville! The Musical."
He bought me another martini. We were on our way.