What's the problem?
I'm tied up on a set of train tracks!
OK. And is this a sex thing, or a mortal peril thing?
A mortal peril thing!
I should have been clearer, because thinking it through, I guess it can be both. I just really don't want to get involved in your sex things. You understand, of course.
It's not a sex thing!
That's great. All I wanted to know. Just know that if this becomes a sex thing, I will discreetly duck out of here.
I'm just too bashful to write that kind of advice column.
I assure you it will not become a sex thing! I don't even know how I got here!
We'll get to that in time. One quick question: How's the economy doing?
Train traffic, and the freight industry in general, is pretty tightly tied to the health of an economy. It's at least a concurrent indicator.
What does that have to do with anything?
Well, if it takes a long time for a train to come by, that obviously means you have a better chance of surviving, but it also means you might be about to lose your job.
Isn't it? It's just a tidy little Catch-22, all wrapped up in nylon rope.
Do you think you can stop appreciating the many layers of my dilemma, and help me get out of it?
Well, this is part of helping, isn't it? I mean, for the sake of the economy, maybe you want to get hit by a train?
I don't think a solid economy is going to help me much after I get hit by a train.
That's kind of a selfish way to look at it. Maybe just a little? Get winged by a train for America?
I'd still rather not, thanks.
I guess we can't all be heroes. OK then. So, tell me this: When you were getting tied up, did you take any precautions?
What kind of precautions could I have taken?
Just your basic bondage precautions.
I don't think a safe word's going to work here.
Well no, obviously. OK, I guess I meant "advanced" bondage precautions. Like when you're getting tied up, try flexing your muscles. Or crossing your wrists with the narrow parts touching instead of the flat parts. If you do stuff like that, it leaves a lot more wiggle room in the knots once your captors have left you.
Well, I was unconscious at the time, so I didn't do any of that.
Hmm. Well, most people who tie knots are amateurs, so you've still got a good chance of wiggling out of here. Unless ... you haven't offended any sailors, have you?
So help me God, if this turns into a sex thing ...
I don't think so.
Well, then you should be OK. Try wiggling out of there.
(Eight seconds pass)
What are you, double-jointed?
No, the knots were just really sloppy.
Huh. So you're free now?
Just my hands. I'm still tied to the tracks. I can't even reach the knots for those.
Do you have any sharp rocks around?
To cut through the ropes?
Cutting entirely through the earth beneath you would be the more stylish option, but whatever you're comfortable with.
(Three minutes later)
You are surprisingly, almost shockingly good at this. If this were torture porn, it'd be an unsatisfying soft-core kind, like something you'd see on TV at 10 p.m.
That's not a thing, is it?
A blonde actress necking with a hacksaw in soft focus, then before anything happens, a cut to the next morning, with the blonde missing one of her feet while the hacksaw stands over her, wearing a towel.
Sorry. I kind of went to a place there.
Well, you'll be glad to know I'm not out of this yet. Whoever did this to me chained my feet to the tracks. It's locked by a massive padlock.
I am glad to know that. I've got a lot more help to give.
I hear a train coming!
In this economy?
Can you get out of the tracks now, at least?
No! There's not enough slack in the chain to get me out of the way!
Well, you'd better pick that lock in a hurry, then.
Use the hairpins in your hair to form lock picks!
OK! Wait! Why do I have hairpins in my hair?
Never mind that! You need to insert one of the hairpins into the bottom of the lock and turn it to the side, putting torque on the lock.
OK! Wait! How did you know I had hairpins in my hair?
Never mind that either! Straighten the other hairpin and insert it into the lock, dragging it against the tumblers, trying to gently raise them!
It's not working! And I'm still looking for an answer on the hairpin thing!
Keep trying! And I guessed you had them, because you're kind of fancy!
It's still not working! And I'm not fancy! How did I get hairpins?
Maybe ... maybe whoever put you into this wanted you to escape.
Why would they want that?
Maybe they had a column to write.
HOLY ASSEY SHIT.
Maybe. It's just a hypothesis. Or is it a theory? I forget the difference.
I remember now!
It's a hypothesis, isn't it?
No! It was you! Last night, you came at me from behind, whispering that you wanted to teach me a lesson! Then you jammed a teddy bear that reeked of chloroform into my face.
That would be my associate, Professor Bear.
According to Professor Bear, hypotheses are specific, testable predictions.
Well, it's this economy thing, isn't it? The Shoddy Internet Advice industry hasn't been unaffected in this downturn, and sometimes us fictionalized dialogues have to drum up our own business.
Oh, you're fine. Look how far you've made it already. Just keep working that lock.
It's not working! And the train's getting ... what the hell is wrong with that train?
There may also be a grizzly bear tied to the front of the train.
I'm also trying to drum up business for the Shoddy Internet Punning industry.
The train's bearing down on you.
I'd hurry. Grizzly bears can be pretty dangerous when they're startled, and this bear is just extraordinarily startled.
ALSO THAT FUCKING TRAIN THING.
Also the train thing. Not that trains startle very easily, of course. But it is maybe the bigger issue thanks to that P=MV thing.
Did you just momentum your pants?
No! What? No! Something's happening in the lock!
Keep at it, buddy!
It's open! I'm out!
I bearly made it!
See? Isn't that fun? Cracking wise in the face of death.
That was kind of satisfying.
Don't you feel like a slightly less clever James Bond?
I do. Hey ... how come the train's stopping?
Well, it has brakes, obviously.
But I thought trains took miles to stop.
Well, it's not an entire train. Just the locomotive. I mean, I didn't want to kill you. Just give you a bit of inspiration, maybe moisten your pants a bit. You should be thanking me, really.
Why would I want to do that?
You're going to be more confident now, and for the rest of your life. No matter what kind of situation you end up in, you'll always remember the time you got out of this pickle. Cherish this experience.
I refuse to cherish anything.
Sigh. You know, it's people like you who make this whole Forced Self-Realization business so unpleasant. You don't see the bear complaining, do you?
I can't believe you did that to the poor bear.
I wouldn't worry about him. You know those bears raised in captivity who lack stimulation and go kind of crazy? I provide a similar menu of services to zookeepers looking to correct that.
Shoddy zookeepers, it should be clear.
You have an awful lot of businesses.
I know, right? You've just got to always keep hustling. This economy. And look, he's done nearly as well as you did. You can see how he's almost chewed through the rope ... Ohhhhhhhh ...
I'd start to back up right about now.
Is he going to eat me?
That right there is one extremely disoriented bear, so it's hard to say what he might do. This might yet turn into a sex thing.
Should I run?
Congratulations! You have reached the end of this guide, and are now no longer tied up on train tracks! If you require any further guidance, please consult our guide So You're Being Pursued, Potentially Sexually, by an Overstimulated Grizzly Bear.
For more guides from Bucholz that'll save your life, check out So You Woke Up With a Hangover on an Alien Space Craft and So You've Been Challenged to a Duel.