The Wrong Number Conversation

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Phones

Since the first ever phone call, there have been wrong numbers. Sometimes you gotta hate Alexander Graham Bell...

The Wrong Number Conversation is a conversation that occurs when somebody accidentally dials the "wrong number". Therefore, they get the "wrong person", and then the person who dialed the "wrong number" has to proceed to apologise for disturbing the "wrong person", when they rang the "wrong number".

At some point in the 1990s, with some extraordinary waste of Government funding, two scientists from the Communication and Culture department of Hull University came up with a Class System of Wrong Number Conversations. The purpose of this is unknown. How the scientists apparently thought it would benefit the human race in any way, shape or form is also unknown. In fact, it was simply a waste of good paper. However, here is the Burrows-Edwards System.

edit Class C

For a Class C conversation, it must last no more than a minute. 95% of Wrong Number Conversations fall in this category. The two parties quickly realise that someone has got the "wrong number" conversation, and no consequences occur except for the loss of a valuable minute of someones life.

Here is an example of a Class C conversation - it is very common.

The phone rings. James picks it up.

JAMES: Hello?
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: (realising that doesn't sound like who they thought it would be?) Hi, is that Roland?
JAMES: No.
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Okay, can I speak to Roland please?
JAMES: Er, there isn't anybody called Roland at this address. I think you have the wrong number.
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Oh, right. Very sorry to have disturbed you.
JAMES: Don't worry. Bye.
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Bye.

Puts down phone.

edit Class B

These conversations add another element to the confusion. Just by chance, the person who has the "wrong number" has the same name as the person who has the "right number". This can lead to more complicated conversations, but they are normally resolved fairly easily. They can also occur when people don't listen to check its who they think it is before saying what they want to say. Here are two good examples.

edit Example 1: Rushed Start

The phone rings. James picks it up.

JAMES: Hello? (learning from previous conversations) It's James here.
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: HI SARAH! I JUST WANT TO SAY I KNOW YOU STOLE MY HAIRBRUSH AND IF YOU DON'T GIVE IT BACK I'M GONNA GET MY BOYFRIEND TO THUMP YOU SO HARD! YOU'RE A HORRIBLE BITCH! Byeee!
JAMES: Er...I'm James.
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Oh shit.

Puts phone down.

edit Example 2: The Same Name

The phone rings. James picks it up.

JAMES: Hello?
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: (realising that doesn't sound like who they thought it would be?) Hi, is that James?
JAMES: Yes.
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Oh, hi James, you sound different. Have you got a cold?
JAMES: No. Er, who is this?
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Mark.
JAMES: Mark...?
MARK: Mark Rowntree.
JAMES: Oh. I don't know a Mark Rowntree. I think you've got the wrong number.
MARK: Oh, sorry. Very sorry to have disturbed you.
JAMES: Don't worry. Bye.

Puts phone down.

JAMES: Dammit, third time today!

edit Class A

Class A's are the most lethal, longest and most embarrassing "wrong number" conversations. There are a variety of reasons they can occur, due to bad quality of the line, not knowing what the person you are calling will sound like, or not allowing them to interrupt. Here are three particularly nasty ones.

edit Example 1: Bad Line

The phone rings. James picks it up.

JAMES: Hello?
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: (realising that doesn't sound like who they thought it would be?) Hi, is that Jane?
JAMES: (mishearing the word "Jane" as "James") Yes, how can I help you?
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Have you got a cold or something? You sound different.
JAMES: No, I'm fine. Who is this, by the way? The line's not very good.
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Oh, it's Mel.
JAMES: (mishearing the word "Mel" as "Phil".) OK. (feels uncomfortable with Phil) Sorry, mate. What were you saying?
MEL: Well, I was just wondering if you knew any good male strippers?
JAMES: (offended) What!? Why would I know good male strippers?
MEL: Well you had one last year, didn't you? I need one for Katy's birthday.
JAMES: (thinking of a different Katy) What!? No! But, for God's sake, mate, she's only eight! You shouldn't do that to your daughter!
MEL: What? She's thirty! And I don't have kids.
JAMES: Huh? (thinks he catches on) Oh, not again. You DO have kids, you do. I'm sorry I did what I did, but it's done now! No point denying it.
MEL: (thinking Jane has done something, suspicious) What did you do?
JAMES: Oh, for Pete's sake, YOU KNOW. Is this some kind of joke?
MEL: No! And why are you mentioning Pete? You know I'm still sore about losing him. (sniffs) He was the best lover. I should have guessed he was having an affair.
JAMES: (confused) What?
MEL: You know! He had an affair with Sam! Gosh, she is evil.
JAMES: (thinking "Sam" is his best friend Samuel) I'm sorry, let me get this straight. You had sex with some guy called Pete? And Pete and Sam?
MEL: Yes, didn't you know?
JAMES: NO! I didn't know! You have a partner, Phil! Think of Andrea! I know I slept with her, but I've said sorry. You don't need to do this! You don't have to turn gay! I'm sorry!
MEL: (pause) Who's Phil?
JAMES: (pause) You're not Phil?
MEL: No, I'm Mel. Who are you?
JAMES: James.
MEL: Aahhh...I think I may have got the wrong number.
JAMES: Okay, yeah, I think so. (laughs) I thought you had a more feminine voice than Phil does!
MEL: (pause) I can't believe you cheated on Phil's partner, whoever Phil is. That's sick.
JAMES: What? -Hey!!!

Mel puts down phone.

JAMES: OK, this is getting irritating.

edit Example 2: Unknown Voice

The phone rings. James picks it up.

JAMES: Hello?
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Hi, it's Candy here. Can I speak to James?
JAMES: Yeah, that's me. Who are you?
CANDY: I'm Candy Starlot, enquiring about the job.
JAMES: What job?
CANDY: You know, the *ahem* acting job.
JAMES: (thinking about his job) Oh, um, I wouldn't know. I'm only a set designer.
CANDY: They have a set designer? Wow, I have hit the big time. Normally it's just me and a camera.
JAMES: Okay...How did you get hold of my number?
CANDY: It was given to me at the Private Shop. I was told you made the films.
JAMES: Oh, well that's not true, I'm afraid.
CANDY: Who does make them, then?
JAMES: Oh, all sorts of people. I once worked for George Lucas on a film.
CANDY: George Lucas? No way, you're pulling my leg.
JAMES: (flattered) No, it's true. It was called "Body Heat" in 1981.
CANDY: Wow. So you've been making pornos for 30 years?
JAMES: (pause) No, not pornos.
CANDY: Oh, sorry, bad term. I meant "explicit movies". (laughs)
JAMES: No, I think you've been given a dud number. I've never made a porn film. I've never even designed the set for a porn film.
CANDY: Oh.
JAMES: (uneasily) Sorry...
CANDY: Don't worry. Oh, but if you want to...

James puts the phone down.

edit Example 3: The Final One

The phone rings. James picks it up.

JAMES: Hello?
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: Hi! I wa-
JAMES: (cutting in) Listen, do I know you? Cos I have had so many bl**dy f***ing wrong number calls today it's not even funny. Like, not even at all funny. If you're a f***ing prankster or pornstar or whatever the f***ing hell s**t you've come up with this time, you little d**k, then I'm gonna f***ing call the f***ing police, and they will find you, yeah? I don't need your stupid little unfunny jokes okay. I've got work to do, and if I find you, little c***, then I'm gonna rip the s**t out of you and really f*** you up. So just F*** OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE! I wish I'd never got bloody involved with this Hull University initiative, cos I'm sick and tired of it you little S**TS!
PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE: (pause) That's not a very nice way to speak to your grandmother.
JAMES: Grandma? (gulps) Is that you?
JAMES' GRANDMA: Yes.
JAMES: Oh...um... (pause). You got a cold or something?
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