Orrin Hatch and the Cask of Amontillado
Utah had borne as best it could the thousand injuries of Orrin Hatch, but when he ventured upon the insult of The Snowbasin Land Exchange Act, I vowed revenge. As it was said in the darkest tones of Poe in the darkest hours of night, I must punish and punish with impunity.
And though I was the publisher of a comedic paper of such wretched note by Utah standards, O’Hatch had no reason to believe I would make things just for the good taxpayers of fiscal year 1996.
You see, I was known throughout the Americas for such exquisite taste in fashion that even the girls at Harrods emblazed an impish smile when I passed by the grand windows in patterned Thai farmer pants with knotted drawstrings, a sheer banana-fibre smock to display my shaven chest, and such a pair of fine dianetta sandals that you would just die. Trust me, ensem’s such as this are certainly no mistake.
And he, this O’Hatch, had a weak point—although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself as cognoscenti of style. Few Mormons could understand O’Hatch’s painstaking measures to blend textiles and colours, belts and shoes (oh god the shoes!), and stresses upon stresses over the perfect tie. O’Hatch bought Stefano Ricci ties merely to throw them away or wipe his ass with. There’s nothing like Italian silk.
It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the Olympic festival, that he phoned me.
“Mr. Kirchhoff, I know what you do with your newspaper and I can’t agree less, but cordially I ask you to meet with me.”
“In what capacity, Senator Hatch, would you meet with me? I’m a marked man, and wish to make it home tonight.”
“Mr. Kirchhoff, I have an occasion to attend on the night of the closing ceremonies. It is the sort of occasion one must be dressed to kill; I have 10 days and I can’t for the life of me come up anything to wear.”
“I see. Where are you now?” I asked with tenderness.
“I’m in Park City, that’s why I thought I might reach you.”
“I see. Meet me at Albertson’s in the health food section in ten minutes. Wear a hat,” I said. I was thinking a public place would be the safest to read O’Hatch’s tells and see if he really needed my help.
At our rendezvous in front of the couscous, we both remarked how well Persian accompanies charbroiled fish. He then accosted me with excessive warmth—he had been shopping. His suit was elegant but strictly Republican bill: double-breasted, navy Givenchy with brass buttons, British spread collar white dress shirt, a fabulous pumpkin-tone tie with a Windsor knot, and beautiful brown leather saddle shoes. His SLOC baseball cap just screamed “trying to fit in.”
“You want my help? Let’s get out of here,” I said.
We fled the store to his silver Mercedes in the parking lot.
For the next few days, we found a measurable rapport…and man did we shop. I explained that in order for this brave and fantastic look to come together, he would have to break out of his GOP rut. He said he could wear nothing “too flashy” to the party. I demanded that our relationship was over. O’Hatch begged and pleaded, for he knew that only I could create such a dope array. His passion for chic attire on this one occasion was enviable.
We flew to Tokyo, New York, Paris and London. He liked the Kimono, but said it was just too over the top. He tried “street wear,” but even with the fresh styles and fabrics of Armani X, the look lacked the formal crest he needed. I’m telling you, at one point I even had this guy dressed up like Marcel Marceau. O’Hatch was breaking out, but becoming even more frustrated.
Then somewhere between Harvey Nichols and mince pies, I gave him the bait. “Say, Hatchy Old Boy, I know what we have to do.”
“Please, tell me, anything!” he raved.
“Amontillado?” he questioned.
“Amontillado,” I nodded. “He’s a tailor. I’ll put the pieces together and he’ll build it.”
“Yes, yes, yes!” cried O’Hatch. And off we went, back to Salt Lake City.
Again in O’Hatch’s silver Mercedes, I directed him to a small house on the east side of the city. When we pulled into the driveway, O’Hatch hastened to get out; I grabbed his arm and explained to him that Amontillado was the gayest of gay men; scorching; flame on, flaming fag. O’Hatch took a breath and said he’d do anything for the outfit.
We knocked at the door and were greeted by Amontillado. He was dressed in electric blue spandex pants, a pink skin-tight see-through shirt with fluffy pink angora cuffs and collar, and pink baby doll pumps.
I explained everything to Amontillado, and he was ready to go. After two days of tireless fabric shopping, measuring and sewing, it was done. O’Hatch went into Amontillado’s dressing room and donned the work.
O’Hatch emerged in magnificence. The wine-coloured, single-breasted three-button suit fit as though it were his own skin. It had broad, zoot-like shoulders, narrow lapels and flat front trousers. The 200 thread-count dress shirt was light silver with a feint metallic glow, a Maldonado collar and French cuffs. The pièce de résistance was the Ferragamo burgundy plaid tie. Then with caramel Barret square-toed shoes and a caramel-coloured belt, O’Hatch was new, now and something to behold.
He smiled at me, said, “Thank you,” and he was gone.
Now that the Games are over and everyone’s cleaning up puke, the word on the street is: at a party on the night of closing ceremonies, Orrin Hatch came out of the closet. Taxpayers rejoice!