“Pastis, This is Mildred. I Need To Talk To You.”

I got a call yesterday from a woman who sounded old.

“Pastis, this is Mildred.  I need to talk to you.”

I didn’t know Mildred, but she obviously knew me.  So I asked her what she needed to talk about.

“The parish banquet.  I think starting it at three o’clock is a mistake.”

“What parish banquet?”

“The parish banquet at the church.”

“I don’t think I’m going to that,” I said.

“How can you not go, Pastor?”

And that’s when I realized she had not said “Pastis” at the start of the conversation.

Now this is where a kind, sane person politely says, “I’m afraid you have the wrong number” and hangs up.  So that’s not what I did.

I said this:

“How can I not go?  Because I don’t feel like it, Mildred.”

“You need to go.”

“Well, I wanted to, before you told me it couldn’t start at three.”

“It’s just too early.”

“Not for me, Mildred.  I don’t like those people.  I want to get in and get out.”

“We can’t start it at three.”

“Listen, Mildred, you’re really pushing me on this.”


“I feel like I’m being strong-armed.”

“You’re being what now?”

“Strong-armed.  Maybe you can talk to your people and I’ll talk to my people and we can work this out amicably.”

“I can talk to Mary.”

“That would be a good idea, Mildred.  I’d hate for things to get ugly.”

“I’ll call you back, Pastor.”

“Thank you, Mildred,” I said, and for some reason felt compelled to add:

“And God bless you.”




46 thoughts on ““Pastis, This is Mildred. I Need To Talk To You.”

  1. Church folk are the best people to fuck with. They’re also surprisingly reactionary. Who would’ve thought?!

  2. Now that is funny! I DO feel sorry for the lady. As well as “mary” and the pastor. They’ll think she is crazy.

  3. I’ll save a seat in hell for you… when I was a teenager our phone number ended in -1609 while the phone number to a rural bar not far down the road had a number that ended in -1609 needless to say we ocassionaly got some wrong numbers with people calling looking for the bar. Well this one night at about 1:30am (last call was 2am) our phone rang and it was some women looking for a ‘Sam’ and after I said Sam who she said you know Sam Smith and I went oh him, well he left about an hour ago with a redhead that was here, well she said something I can’t type here and slammed the phone down, I know I would not have wanted to be Sam when he got home that night.

  4. Mr. Pastis,

    I read your comic everyday and also enjoy your blog posts. You are my hero.


  5. In 1977 my first job was with a finance company who’s name rhymed with AAMCO (the transmission company). On a particularly bad day, I got a call from a guy who said his car had broken down and he needed a tow. I asked him where he was, and told him we’d be there in 45 minutes. I hope he’s not still waiting.

  6. You really should not have any contact with real people..Poor Mildred..I laughed a lot despite thinking what you were doing to this poor woman.

  7. Am I going to hell too for laughing? My old number was one off from Subway so I got tons of calls to place an order. So many that I just started taking down the orders. Bwahahaha! Oops, there’s that evil laugh again

  8. Now all you need to do is find a way to make a Pearls out of that conversation and it will be perfect! Take advantage of a little old ladies mistake and pull God into it! Perfect!

  9. Now I get alot of wrong number calls and sometimes have fun with them. My husband always does…..our number is similar to a tire company so you can imagine the ways to mess with their heads, but they mess with mine too when if I tell them it is the wrong number they ask me for the correct number…….SHIT I AM NOT A PHONE OPERATOR!!! You should call Mildred back (I am sure, like most of us you have caler ID) and tell her in order to save her soul along with other members of the church she needs to call them or give you their number. Next tell everyone to send money in so to you they do not go to hell! Use a PO Box number so they cannot trace it.

  10. My father used to answer the phone with “Pearly Gates, St. Peter”, or “Joe’s Mortuary”. Once my mother’s Sunday School teacher called her, and he answered it with the mortuary version. When the teacher stammered and finally got my mother’s name out, my dad said, “Wait a minute, let me see if we’ve embalmed her yet”. My dad was a police officer….

  11. As Robin Williams once stated and I paraphrase, “You will be on the Hell Express, no stops, straight to Hell, Shoot the Pope, get on the Hell Express, Impersonate a Priest or Pastor to the elderly, ask Hitler to move over to make room on the elevator” Nice to know that you live in California with me, at least I’m not alone in this sea of sarcasm

  12. Oh Pastor,
    I just read this to my husband Chris…and I think we both wet ourselves…separately that is.. 🙂

  13. Oh dear…shouldn’t have read that while on the computer at the public library. I nearly peed myself from the effort of not bursting out laughing. I wish I could get a wrong number…it would be wonderful to mess with someone…

  14. Yes! I love screwing with wrong numbers. It’s an assumed risk when you dial a phone that the other person may not only a stranger, but may also be a jerk.

  15. Great shit here. I love screwing with wrong numbers. When I was in high school (1977-81) our home’s phone number was one digit off from the local pop radio station’s number. I fielded lots of really great calls. Wish I recorded them.

  16. Glad I read this today and not yesterday. I got a call yesterday from a doctor trying to return a call from another doctor.

    I might have killed somebody.

  17. Little did you know, PastIS, that I am also a Pearls reader…well, WAS! As the good book says (I think it was the good book?), your sins will find you out! In this case, you bragged about them to the whole world. But that’s close enough. Because of your attempt to sabotage our potluck, my church is going to picket our local paper and demand that they no longer run your strip. That’ll teach you to pick on a “harmless little old lady”!

  18. Should have told her the banquet had been moved to “Thor’s Tanning, Tattoo and Piercing Parlour”.

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  20. You don’t even know who she was… she could have been the church secretary relaying a message for a bunch of people. You never asked why she wanted it at 3 either. There may have been nothing wrong with the lady. Do you most identify yourself with “Rat?” Interesting things you find about people when you look at their blogs.

  21. I wish I had a quick enough wit to do this kind of thing. I never think of it until after I’ve hung up.

  22. I used to get calls all the time asking about store hours, etc for a local convenience store. I figured my number was really similar to the store and that there are a lot of stupid people. One day I went to that store to buy something and when they gave me the reciept, I noticed the phone number on the reciept was my home number. I showed it to the clerk and told her that was my phone number. She said it must have been an old number for the store and I told her that I had lived in my house 9 years with that number and the store was only 5 years old. She didn’t understand what I was saying. I asked her if she could call the home office (it was a chain store) and ask them how to reprogram the number in their cash registers, she said she would.

    Months went by with no action. So I started giving stuff away when someone called my house thinking it was the store. “Oh, thanks for calling today, next time you come in, have a free soft drink on us!” When I got no action I started giving away bigger stuff. “Congratulations, you are our 1,000th customer this month, have a free fill-up on us!”

    When I went back to the store and asked them if they had fixed their phone number yet, they hadn’t but something clicked in the the manager’s head and he asked if I had been giving away free stuff to people. I said I had. He said, “Do you know how much trouble you have caused us?” I said, “You have complete control over the situation, just change the number in your cash register and no one will ever call me again thinking they are calling you. The fact that you have had my phone number in your cash register for FIVE YEARS tells me that you are OK with me speaking for your company and giving away free stuff.”

    They changed the number within a week. I miss giving away free stuff.

  23. You just bought yourself a one way ticket to Hades! I’ll be waiting for you. I’ll save you a seat next to the broken ice maker. 🙂

  24. I remember once, many years ago, getting a message on my answering machine for someone other than myself. The gist of the message was that the intended recipient of the message should stay away from a woman of their mutual acquaintance, otherwise violence would follow.

    (The phrasing was a lot less polite than that.)

    Since I got the message on my machine in error, I would assume that the intended recipient did not…

  25. bahaha – poor Mildred… and poor Mary who is likely getting an earful!

    had to come by after reading all the small print on the billboard – worth it for this story 🙂

  26. Years ago, my phone number was one number off from the local Montgomery Ward’s. I took an order for a baby crib once……..


  27. Very funny indeed, Stephan. Hell will sound something like this:

    “Microsoft Help-desk, can I help you?” You actually are saner than me….cuz I would have told Mildred the reason it had to be at 3, was due to a TEE TIME commitment earlier in the day.

  28. Welcome to my world. Thank you for telling Mildred what every pastor wants to tell the kitchen ladies.

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