Loose Ends: Reservations only

Please return my call, as I need a reservation for one person for one night.”
“I need to board my cat for two weeks, so could you please call back?”
“I have to be in Meeker and want to make sure I have some place to stay, could you return my call so I can make reservations for two for two nights.”
Listening to these messages one would be certain that the clerk retrieving them would have it easy. The callers left their numbers, in addition to other information, but there was one problem. The calls had gone to an unusual place of lodging: the local cemetery. Some of the callers had foreign accents, so it was clear they were calling from somewhere far, far away. The language barrier made the translation of the messages all the more difficult.
The office secretary often returned the calls but had difficulty explaining the mix-up. The numbers were close, as only the last two digits were transposed but the similarity caused the original problem. Many distracted callers had written the number down wrong originally, so when they got a live voice on the phone, they appeared to disregard the most important part of her call.
“This is a cemetery, so we can’t take your reservation,” she found herself repeating at the beginning of every call.
Quite a few of them continued on with dates and time of arrival. Returning the calls always took much longer than anticipated. Sharing this story with me as an example of the Reasons for Living In a Small Town column category, my friend acknowledged she found her predicament funny. Humor and levity are not usually found in her line of work.
Laughing to herself as she hangs the phone up after each call, she does think of the retorts she could make when they continue to try and make reservations. Sorry, wrong number, is never enough.
“Yes indeed, I would be glad to make reservations, sir, but I need to remind you your stay will not be temporary. It will be permanent.”