Still Not Melissa Hornswaggler

The voice rang tinnily from the answering machine. "This call is for Melissa Hornswaggler. This is Miss Trust. Please call me back at extension 521 by 5pm today, at 555-2398. I believe you know what this is regarding."

I hoped this Melissa did, because I sure didn't. It was a Friday evening going on 6pm. And the message was on my answering machine.

I thought vaguely I should call Miss Trust on Monday morning, when the offices of her very unamused-sounding business might be open. So I could tell her she'd misdialed for Melissa. But what with Mighty Weekendness going on between Friday and Monday, I went into work with Monday on my mind, and it completely slipped from my mental To-Do list.

I was reminded next Friday evening...

"This is Miss Trust for Melissa Hornswaggler again. Because you didn't respond in the period of time we'd discussed regarding the matter we'd detailed, I have no choice but to go through with processing the vague thing I won't actually say on the phone. We can avoid this, however, if you call me at extension 521 by 5pm today." Miss Trust's voice was like an iceberg, and Melissa Hornswaggler had large un-seaworthy luxury liner written all over her.

I wondered vaguely whether there had been some type-o in Melissa's paperwork that made them call me instead of the Hornswaggler Estates, or whether Miss Hornswaggler had given the wrong number intentionally, trying to escape debts... Feds... or a particularly pushy Music of the Month Club.

I made a mental note to call Miss Trust bright-and-early Monday morning.

Unfortunately, the Post-It went completely unsticky in the home office of my brain and clung to some tumbleweeds and bits of fluff.

So Sunday afternoon, I was home to receive a call from a robot. "I. am. calling. for.... Melissa. Horn.swaggler. If you are. Melissa. Horn.swaggler. Press 1... NOW."

Hope sprang. I waited.

"If. Melissa. Horn.swaggler. Lives here. Press... 2. NOW."

I hung on the line. Option three... option three...

"If," continued Robojeeves, getting to the good part, "this is. NOT. the residence of... Melissa. Horn.swaggler.... Press... 3. NOW."

I pressed 3.

"You chose. 3. This is. NOT. the residence of. Melissa. Horn.swaggler. If this. is correct. press... 1... NOW."

I pressed 1.

"Thank you," said Robojeeves, and he hung up.

Putting the receiver back in the cradle, I grinned.

Yes! Finally the Great Hornswaggler Misfire has been ended and I had been redeemed for my horrible laxness. The Powers That Be now knew they had the wrong number. And they could spend their efforts tracking Miss Hornswaggler down to Chile, recovering their money plus shipping for Gordon Lightfoot's Greatest Hits or whatnot.

All was right with the world!

But 8:30pm Monday night, the call was not for me.

"Hi," said the kind, warm voice of a grandmother. "I'm calling for Melissa Hornswaggler." You could almost smell the baked cookies radiating through the phone.

"I'm sorry," I said pleasantly, "you have the wrong number."

"Is this..." she paused as if rummaging for information, "555-2901?" she asked.

"Yes, but there's no Melissa here." For an instant, I thought maybe Melissa had moved and simply given everyone and her grandmother the wrong number.

"Oh," said Grandma. "Well, she won something from a radio station, and I just wanted to contact her so we could get it to her." (pregnant pause)

Ah... Riiiiiight.... Suuuuure. A radio station calling at 8:30 at night promising prizes? Clearly, this was bait and someone was hoping that the striped hornswaggler would take a very big bite of it.

"Well, I'm sorry," I told the old fisherwoman sincerely. "There's no Melissa at this number. And I've lived here for years."

Now, I haven't heard anything in the last day or so, but I know that really doesn't mean this is over. I expect in under a week, there will be a ring at my door with a man in a uniform saying, "Candygram for Miss Hornswaggler!"

There'll be beefy guys waiting out front in the car, with a net.

It's piqued my curiosity about just what our friend Melissa's defaulted on. I've had to amend my idea about Gordon Lightfoot's Greatest Hits. I mean, these people are insistent. It has to be bigger than that. Much bigger.

It must be Justin Bieber or something.

I'll let you know if I learn anything from the Candygram guy.


Shieldmaiden96 said...

When I moved into my first apartment I inherited a telephone number from 'The Smiths'. Apparently 'The Smiths' defaulted on just about everything they ever obtained, and I was left to talk not only to their creditors but to an aunt of Mr. Smith's who called after midnight one Friday to tell me how someone in the family was sick and was I sure I didn't know them or know where they could be reached. I felt bad for her and ended up on the phone with her for TWENTY MINUTES. She did let slip where the guy worked and I was sorely tempted to pay him a visit. The calls persisted for a year.

Jenn Thorson said...

Shieldmaiden- How did you ever convince them you weren't one of the Smiths? Because I got the feeling the Grandmother wasn't even buying that it wasn't Melissa they were talking to.

These folks HAVE to give out wrong numbers all the time. And creditors can look up as easy as I can the reverse of a phone number and who it's registered to.

I hope I won't be in Hornswaggler Territory for a year!

Cari said...

I had something similar happen to me and I finally got a real human on the phone at the creditor company. They were incredibly rude to me as they verified that I was, in fact, NOT the person they were looking for.

They were looking for a Cari Lastname whose last name was my maiden name. I haven't been that person for almost 9 years. And I never lived at the address they listed.

I haven't heard from them since so I hope they take their nasty attitude and shove it. I have really good credit and they better not muck it up.

Jenn Thorson said...

Cari- If they leave me another message, I'm really going to have to call them like you did. I had so much going on, it wasn't high on my priorities, but that could certainly change if I get any more calls.

I'm glad you were able to straighten it out (fingers-crossed). I feel lucky this woman's name is absolutely nothing like mine, and I've lived at this address and number for about ten years now.

Unfinished Rambler said...

Darnit, my wife got here first to tell the story I wanted to tell, although I thought it was after we were married. I'm so disappointed. Now what am I going to say? Oh, I'll get with the second-rate story: where we live now, we get mail for a former Kim and Bryan who once lived here, including bills. I know it's not as exciting, but it's the best I could come up with on short notice.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

No, those calls started the week I got that phone number turned on in the basement apartment I rented for 8 months before we got married, and persisted when we moved it to P.N. Drive.

When I bought my Saturn the sales agent was kind enough to tip me off to the fact that another Kimberly Robinson's information and mine was crossed up on our credit reports. She said, "I thought you'd want to know because here's your credit report (snapping apart two pieces of computer paper) and here's hers (she released a ribbon of continuous paper that reached to the floor). Yeah, I called Transunion IMMEDIATELY.

Jenn Thorson said...

Unfinished Dude- It's quite a coincidence, though, that a Kim and Bryan would have occupied the house TWICE, being two different couples-- that would actually be pretty cool if it weren't so inconvenient for you guys.

Kim- Geez- it sounds like you narrowly avoided HUUUUUGE potential issues! Yipes!

Melanie said...

Ok, you've got me on pins and needles waiting for the next installment here. This is better than a soap opera. :) (ok, yes, I'm easily entertained)

When I was first married and got I got badgered into having a telephone hooked up, against my better judgement. The phone number they gave me was the old number for the local bar! After about a year, most of the calls for the bar had stopped, but every summer for 14 years I'd get a call for a lady named Nancy. The woman on the other end of the line always sounded stoned out of her mind and she never remembered that Nancy is no longer at this number. I did get a call from an elderly woman one day asking if this was the XYZ cafe. Turns out she was using a 25 yr old phone book!!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- Heh, you and Nancy got to be good old friends over the years, I bet... except of course that she was probably too stoned to remember your interactions. :)

Anonymous said...

A few years ago we started getting calls from the U.S. Army. Neither one of us who live in the house have ever been in the US Army and by this point we were probably both too old for them to be interested in us anyway.

It turned out they thought our number was the recruiting center for the Southeast or something like that. It took TWO YEARS of them calling us anywhere from once a week to once a month and us telling them every time that they were calling our private residence and the number that "whoever" had (obviously) put on their "list" was wrong.

Jaffer said...

A few years ago I was given a number that once default to a guy who'd cheated his friends and family for their money.

I used to get calls from one of those Spanish countries in central america. First they were all like cool with it - wrong number and all that. Then some of them started suspected that I was hiding something - I explained my take and they explained their woes.

Made me feel so sorry for these poor people.

After that I never got a call.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

All I have is that a creditor kept calling my dad because a guy he graduated with had the same name as him. Only the other guy had an "E" for his middle name and dad's is a "G"...I answered the phone for him the one time and honestly, the guy wasn't buying that my dad wasn't the right guy. It went on like that for quite awhile.

As for you...I think Melissa Dopplinger or whatever her name is, is a drug dealer and the mob is after her. Yes, I've watched too many movies...why?

Respectfully Yours said...

Wow, what a mystery. Very interesting.

Rethoryke said...

When I'm really irritated with a company insisting that I'm some other person of Spanish heritage, I hand the phone to Wordtapestry and she talks to them in German. That usually fixes it.

But we were getting health insurance billing for a previous owner of our house for years, and it took multiple calls to their fraud line [which was oddly, very rarely answered] to get them to stop sending the stuff to us.

Aussie said...

A friend of mine moved into an apartment where a "lady of the night" used to reside and sometimes entertain. After 6 weeks of her bell constantly ringing she was forced to move as some of the visitors were hard to get rid of!

I had my purse stolen and my greatest fear is one day "another me" will start running things up with my ID.

Can't wait for an update btw!