By Dan Valentine
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) likes a staffer around when he speaks, so he can get some immediate feedback afterward, and one night the task fell upon me, his speechwriter at the time, because Paul Smith, his press secretary, who usually accompanies him, was off on vacation.
Afterward I walked him to his car, telling him along the way basically three words. “You were great!”
“What did you think?”
“Senator, you were great.”
“Think it went well?”
“You were great.”
He had strayed from the prepared remarks and rambled all over the place, going on a tangent about a recent Supreme Court decision. (“I just want to say one thing … I just want to add one thing … And let me just say …”) But that’s his speaking style.
As the Senator got into his car, he said, “I’d like to see more like it.”
I closed the door behind him. He unrolled the window. “I need a speech on drugs. Can you write me one?”
“Sure,” I said. “No problem. For or against?” I had lots of confidence back in those days.
He looked at me, shook his head. I watched him drive off. Then, briefcase in hand, I thought to myself: Okay, now for that drink!
I hailed a cab and said, getting in, “A little muggy.”
It was mid-August. D.C. was built on a swamp and even at night the heat is stifling.
The cabbie looked up at me in the rearview mirror. “What’s the–?”
“Muggy?” How to explain? “You know. Hot. Sticky.” I loosened my tie. “Makes you want to take off all your clothes.” I unbuttoned my top shirt button.
“Hot? Sticky? You like–?”
“Muggy? I can take it or leave it.”
He asked: “You police?”
I shook my head.
“Just checking.” He hit the meter. “In my country of Bangladesh, muggi is word for–how do you say?–hooker.” He pulled into traffic. “Redhead, you like that? You want blonde? Two blondes?”
“Just a minute,” I said.
“Short one, tall one? Yes? No? Just let me know. I know big, big blonde.” He took his hands off the wheel to form imaginary large breasts in the air–
“Hey! Look out!”
–and almost ran into an on-coming car. “Very nice. She does everything.”
“I think you like her.”
“Will you listen?”
“Yes?” he said.
“I think we have a little misunderstanding here.”
“No muggi?” He was very disappointed.
“All right, all right. Relax, my friend. No need to get excited. Where do you want to go”
A few blocks later the taxi pulled to a stop in front of my destination. I paid the fare and got out.
“How about twins?”
“No!” I slammed the door. “No muggi.”