Ricky Tango, Hawson’s Bovinery Hoof Rendering Floor Supervisor (Fiction)
Hi. My name is Ricky Tango. I work at Hawson’s Bovinery in Teet, TX. Here at Hawson’s Bovinery we do everything that can possibly be done with a cow and all under one roof. We got a machine that shaves flank steak off the bone right next to a machine that makes genuine leather handbags, and next to that machine is another machine that can fix a set of horns to a Cadillac in five minutes every five minutes. Yep, when it comes to cow based products Hawson’s Bovinery has got the competition beat.
I started working here I was ten-years-old in the Potted Meat Wing shoveling snout and sphincter for $4.15 an hour 55 hours a week. No Over Time. No Sick Time. No vacation Time. In fact, back then we worked something called Extra Time which meant you came in to work on your time off for half pay and maybe you got to take a sphincter home for dinner. But times are different now thanks to them bastards in the ACLU. Shit, my boy Ricky Tango, Jr. had to wait till he was six-goddamn-teen before they let him start work in the Potted Meat Wing and on top of that they make him wear gloves, and a ventilated mask, and rubber boots and a whole bunch of other crap just so “the product is clean” and he ain’t “getting sick or maimed!” Boy’s gonna grow up soft, I tell ya.
But any ol’ way… Since them glory days of my ten-year-old self I’ve progressed my way up to Hoof Rendering Floor Supervisor. That’s where we take the cow hooves and grind up to make all sorts of stuff like Jell-O, false teeth, skull shaped gear shift knobs, fake fingernails for burn victims, and fake hooves for cow burn victims who can’t walk their way to the killing bolt gun.
Speaking of the killing bolt gun… My Daddy started working here back when he was two-years-old de-boning ribs for McDonald’s McRib Sandwiches back in 1923. Anyhow, he eventually worked his way up to Killing Bolt Gun Assistant by the age of 14, six years after I was born. He’d lead in the cow to the killing bolt gun chamber, prep it up by painting a little target on its temple, say a little a sweet something to it like “This’ll only sting a bit” or “You ever been kissed by a butterfly, Bessie?” at which point he’d give the signal and the Killing Bolt Gun Operator would press a button and a .50 caliber military grade rifle would discharge a blunt lump of steel directly into the cow’s brain pan. Pure, scientific precision that operation was. And still is.
But anyway… On one particular occasion, just after Daddy had given the signal, his Stetson fell off of his head and bent down to pick it up. Well, they say timing is everything and they’re right. Just went he bent down to pick up his hat, that Killing Bolt Gun Operator pressed his button and Daddy caught a steel slug right in the head. That slug went all the way through and still killed that cow!
Six weeks later Hawson’s got a complaint letter in the mail from someone in Scrampy, TN claiming they’d found a chunk of human ear in their can of cocktail wieners, so the company…
Aw, shit. I just heard my assistant’s having some problem with the hoof-based glass eye machine. Well, I’ll finish this up later. You take care, now!
Originally published at https://www.clifhaley.me on January 3, 2022.