I dropped by bags on the barracks floor, walked outside and looked around. The place seemed pretty dismal, right in the middle of nowhere, but in the middle. I walked inside again and asked the corporal who had the bunk next to mine if there was a town nearby.

“There’s something that calls itself a town,” he said. “Just a couple of stores, and you have to walk three miles through the snow to get there. Being sent to town is company punishment—that’s how bad it is.”

“Any gals around here?” I asked.

His eyes lit up. “Bud, you been to the library yet?”

“No, I don’t want to read. What I asked was—“

“Read, hell. Honey is there!” he said. His voice lifted. “She’s the only dame around here, and boy, what a dream!”

“A dream, hey? How do I get—?”

“A dream,” he repeated, cutting in. “Say, Honey would put Betty Grable out of business. Is she stacked! I mean she’s stacked!”

I thought the guy was going to take off, he was that worked up. “Look,” I said, “stop stalling. Which way to the library?”

He pointed to a shack they called the library, and I sprinted through the snow to see Honey.

She was sitting behind a desk doing a crossword puzzle, and frankly she looked more like a nightmare than a dream. From what I could see of her legs they were two thin bones. She had buck teeth, blotchy skin and a mouth like a slit in a potato. Her eyes were small and beady, and her dirty blond hair was stringy and her clothes would have fitted better on a hanger.

“Whatcha want, Soldjeer?” Honey asked. Her words stumbled over her teeth.

“Sorry, I’m in the wrong building,” I said quickly, backing out.

I found my pal, the corporal. “What’s the deal? Who you kidding?” I asked. “That Honey is a sad sack if ever—“

“Don’t say it, don’t say it!” he cut in. “And remember, you’ll have to wait your turn if you want to date her.”

“Date her?” You got rocks in your head?”

He stared at me for a moment and smiled sadly. “You only been here a day. Remember she’s the only girl here. In time—“

“I don’t care if she’s the only dame left in the world. She’s a mess!”

“Okay, then don’t date her,” he said and walked away.

It’s a funny thing, but about a week later I happened to see Honey trudging through the snow, and it seemed there was some meat on her legs, a hint of a curve. About a week after that I had to go to the library and—well, maybe she wasn’t absolutely flat-chested.

At the end of the month I was sure her skin wasn’t really blotchy, just a few red patches here and there. After two months her voice had developed a peculiar kind of melody, and her eyes seemed soft, even a little glowing.

It’s now six months since I first came here and tonight I’m getting all dolled up. I’m as excited as a school kid. My heart is pounding the hell out of my ribs. I finally got a date with Honey. Boy, am I lucky. Hello, Honey!

—Pfc. Len Zinberg

-AAB, Topeka, Kans.hello honey wwii GI soldier love story

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