“NOW HIRING at the HOG TROUGH,” by Teague von Bohlen

Oct 30th, 2019 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

JOIN THE BEST TEAM in the Shelby County area! The HOG TROUGH has been a staple of Moweaqua’s dining scene for decades, starting in the old mall in the 1970s (which burned in the early 80s and is now the gravel lot beside the grain elevators). But the HOG TROUGH, anchoring the corner of Old Route 51 and Madison streets, has been serving hot breakfast, lunches, and pies since the 1940s, when it started as Windell’s Diner, later became Bruce’s, and then the Korner Kitchen. Now the HOG TROUGH is seeking a mature, energetic, bubbly go-getter with strong people skills, someone with a willingness to work, someone with a smile for everyone, and someone who isn’t Brenda Bowers.

We offer flexible hours with competitive pay and a supportive working environment. Successful applicants must have a friendly demeanor and high standards of grooming. Hair nets are provided, as are HOG TROUGH shirts and aprons. Strong preference given to those candidates with a working knowledge of gravies, the ability to help roll out sweet dough, and show up for work at the butt-crack of dawn. Also: successful applicants must be okay with language like “the butt-crack of dawn,” and not think that’s some sort of “sexual harassment suit waiting to happen,” which it just plain isn’t, Brenda.

Other requirements for the position: please don’t have “question authority” tattooed on your wrist. When you deliver the check, please don’t refer to the cost of the food as “unreasonable damage.” Please don’t claim that our rolls are made with “the fat of unrepentant children from the Methodist Church.” Please don’t re-fill the krab salad and ambrosia and tapioca pudding on the salad bar by saying “not a salad” and “not a salad” and “more fat for the fatties.”  Under no circumstances should you tell people that “soo-WEE” is our company motto. All of these are behaviors that will not be tolerated, and are not in keeping with the HOG TROUGH team spirit.

Benefits include a family atmosphere, a strong local patronage, the knowledge that you’re participating in your township economy, and free pie slices to take home when the meringue has started to separate. As a family business, the HOG TROUGH supports the local football team (GO RAIDERS) as well as booster activities; as such, the restaurant will participate in Raider Tip Day during the playoffs, where 50% of all proceeds will go to support road travel for the team. It will not be considered “so weird, right?” if someone’s tips are somehow exceptionally low on days such as these.  You weren’t fooling anyone, Brenda.

The HOG TROUGH is an equal opportunity employer, with one very specific exception. Brenda, we’re serious.  I know you think it’s funny to keep applying for your old job, but we let you go for a reason. I think they’re hiring down at the Shell station. Tell your Dad I said hey.


Teague von Bohlen is an Associate Professor of Fiction at the University of Colorado Denver, where he serves as one of the Fiction Editors for the literary magazine Copper Nickel. He also works to be both funny and literary for the alt-weekly Westword. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won a Colorado Book Award, but it wasn’t all that funny. His textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success was funny, but didn’t win anything.  His new flash-fiction/photography collection Flatland (from which this story comes) has great aspirations, but tends to slouch around the house listening to “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues” on vinyl too much for its own good.

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