A thoroughly unpleasant math teacher is riding a high-speed train traveling at precisely 400 mph in one direction on a perfectly straight track while another train travels in the opposite direction at precisely 440 mph. She does this so that she can really *live* a "story problem" like those she gives in her class. She intends to start her stopwatch when the trains are 1260 miles apart, and then expects the trains to pass each other precisely one and a half hours later. While passing the time, she behaves condescendingly to the physically deformed woman sitting next to her, unaware that her neighbor has made a slight modification to the word problem which they are experiencing together.
This is one of many works of "mathematical horror" in the collection "Arithmophobia" (self-published by editor Robert Lewis). Some of the other works in that collection will have their own entries here, but others are excluded either because they did not qualify as "mathematical fiction" according to the standards of this website. Check out the book if you want to see them all. |