The Hello Girls


Good morning. Operator.
A few hundred calls an hour. Inferno.
Red lights: incoming white lights: connected
damn thing ablaze at all hours.

9 p.m. to 2 a.m. for the new girls, stuffing cords into
machine mouths:
Schenectady 793,
Saratoga 518,
up to the Stony Creek corner payphone.
1957: there is a script. Not Yes but Surely
to the man calling Detroit collect.
The voice was to sparkle. The smile comes through.
One ring, the metal click and
slide of ten girls plugging in.

10:15 and 3:15
could never come fast enough and
if she blinked–Hold, please
she might miss a break, pull the plug on a man
who called her sweetheart.

Scroll to Top