1. A passenger train, traveling 60 miles per hour, leaves Fairfax station at 2:00 PM and heads for Springbrook, 200 miles away. At the same time, a freight train, traveling 80 miles per hour, leaves Springbrook heading for Fairfax. When will the two trains meet?
2. A conductor on a passenger train can’t remember the last time a freight train traveled from Springbrook to Fairfax at this time of day. He’s not questioning you. It just seems unusual.
a.) One more time, when will the two trains meet?
b.) That soon, huh?
3. A conductor on a freight train traveling from Springbrook to Fairfax is being fairly inattentive. Will this be an issue?
4. A conductor on a passenger train has thought about it, and he’s fairly certain there’s just the one track between Fairfax and Springbrook, and there definitely shouldn’t be two trains traveling on it in opposite directions at the same time.
a.) How certain is the conductor?
b.) Why isn’t he telling anyone? Is it a question of confidence?
5. A commuter on a passenger train notices that the train is going faster than normal. Its been a tough week at the office. Maybe he’ll make it home in time for dinner with his family after all.
a.) Do you hope that he does?
b.) Do you feel more invested in a math problem with an emotional hook?
6. A passenger train approaches a decline that will take it the final 180 miles to Springbrook with an average angle of descent of 15°. Unbeknownst to the conductor and crew of the train, its brakes are no longer functional.
a.) Budget cuts, am I right? (Genial agreement or noncommittal shrug)
b.) Haha, this guy! I love this guy.
7. A station master in Fairfax could have prevented all of this, but he left the station early to attend his daughter’s dance recital. How could he have known?
8. A passenger train, traveling at 100 miles per hour, careens down a hill heading from Fairfax toward Springbrook. A conductor attempts to apply the brake, but it is ineffective and the train continues to accelerate.
a.) Does he finally see?
b.) Does he finally understand that it wasn’t enough simply to kill the gypsy?
c.) That so long as his sister draws breath, the curse will live on within her?
d.) Too much exposition?
9. A freight train is coming up the hill toward Fairfax and not responding to communication. Just a heads up. That’s still on the table.
10. A broken shell of a conductor frantically recalls that force equals mass times acceleration.
a.) Is this even applicable to his situation?
b.) Does he need to weigh the passengers? How could he possibly justify that?
c.) How much force would be required to kill a conductor? Express in units of this train.
11. A conductor’s assistant on a passenger train notices the train has accelerated to 120 miles per hour, and the conductor appears to be weeping. He remains confident the situation is under control.
a.) Is his confidence warranted?
b.) How many times has he now caught the conductor crying?
12. A conductor is praying and sobbing on the floor of a passenger train. He doesn’t want to be a hero. Goddammit, he didn’t ask for this.
a.) Did he?
b.) DID HE?!?
13. A God receives supplications traveling from Earth to Heaven at 90 prayers per second. Disregarding requests resolved by happy coincidence, as well as judiciously “unanswered prayers,” God responds at a rate of 5 prayers per second.
a.) Doesn’t inspire too much confidence, does it?
b.) How attached are you to these trains?
c.) Remember the man trying to get home to his family?
14. A conductor on a passenger train can’t believe this is it. There must be something that someone can do.
a.) How can the freight conductor not realize something is wrong?
b.) How can all the brakes be out?
c.) Is life really just a series of statistics, an infinite spreadsheet where results are driven by random quantities and velocities set in arbitrary spaces and times? Surely there must be something more.
15. A charred conductor’s jacket is recovered with $2.75 in nickels and quarters in the pocket. If there are seven more nickels than quarters, how many coins are there in total?