The Linnet's Wings Summer 2014 - Page 121

Maria knew a lot of players in the theatre and film world, and she traded on her big asset, her beauty. Right out of some second-rate theatre school above a deli, she gone to in downtown Manhattan, she somehow had become a girlfriend of one of the best-known womanizers in the business, the notorious and prolific playwright Beau Wachovsky, who had an insatiable taste for twenty-something women to whom he would act as sometime mentor, at least as long as the relationship suited him, which was generally a few months. He was sixty. Maria was the single exception, saved from oblivion, and she remained his confidant. Every month or so, he’d invite her to dinners with Hollywood stars who came into town, and famous LA screenwriters with whom he worked with as a film script doctors. She was very possessive of Beau, but once she did invite me to a party at his Gramercy Park townhouse where a top New York jazz trio was playing, and I learned she was the sometime girlfriend of the quintet leader Dale O’Brien. Maria got around for a Puerto Rican girl from a working-class single mother, still in a crummy low-rise in the South Bronx. Beau’s house was garish in a low-keyed sort of way, the walls were painted a Kelly green, crummy poster art on the walls, and he had beaten up cheap furniture spread around a large living room. His Marine Corp memorabilia rested on a fireplace mantle, and there was a tiny writing alcove with an old wooden desk and a mental file cabinet. The dining room was a bit more stylish, where food from the local neighborhood Mexican eatery was laid out, and in the modern kitchen you found a makeshift bar on a tiled counter with a dozen bottles of decent wine. Screenwriter Larry Haggers was there and as I was talking with Beau and a woman I’d just met about being a guest of the military myself, he interrupted us, and asked, “Hey Beau, how many Pulitzers, do you have?” Beau didn’t miss a beat and said over his shoulder, “Just one!” and went on about the summer heat and fleas you’d find at Camp Lejeune. He had written a play about his barracks experience that unfortunately lacked the punch of his usual violent working-class, his Irish and Italian characters, and the critics had yawned. Since then he had tried a political trilogy, and two of the plays had gone off the road. But he struck gold in LA, several of his scripts had been optioned for films, so he was gracious as ever to his guests. Maria filled me in on all this, when she gave me a minute or two at the party. – and here, a comma before his Irish and Italian characters, and I added an article before plays. Again it was affecting flow imho. He was a jazz aficionado, and after their brief romance had introduced Maria to the saxophonist O’Brien, and they had become an item, for maybe two years now. O’Brien was a big, gregarious dark haired, bearded Boston Irish guy maybe twenty years older, a longtime musician who had cut records with all the legends and had been playing professionally since he was sixteen. He had a daughter around her age whom I met at the party, at the bar, actually, and we talked about Maria a little. He was open and hones B