You’re going about your daily routine, maybe about to get into your car to go work or the grocery store, when a windowless van screeches to a stop right next to you, nearly hitting you. The door slides open, and out jump three burly men in ski masks. Two of them grab you while the third plunges a syringe into your neck. As you’re thrown into the van your vision gets blurry, and try as you may, you lose consciousness.
You slowly come to, groggy and unsure as to how you ended up tied to a chair in a large, cold warehouse. As you regain your senses you remember the van and the syringe, and you try to keep your wits about you, refusing to give in to the waves of panic that come with increasing frequency and intensity.
What? There are plenty of legitimate reasons for me to own a pink windowless van with “Barbie” written on the side.
The racing of your mind and the beating of your heart are interrupted by the creaking of a door. Towards you walks a man clothed in an immaculately tailored suit, his right eye covered by a patch. You immediately demand to know where you are and why you’re here, your voice betraying more fear than you would have liked. The man with the patch silences you with a crisp wave of his hand. He addresses you in what seems to be a South African accent, saying, “Your questions will not be answered – indeed, cannot be answered – so you may as well keep them to yourself.” After speaking to you, the man brings his fingers to his mouth and emits a loud, high whistling sound. In come the men from the van, wheeling in two large square-shaped structures, both covered by thick, black canvas tarps.
The men from the van uncover the first of the structures, revealing a large, Plexiglas box in which you are surprised to see your parents, spouse, and siblings, all blindfolded. You cry out, only to realize that they can’t hear your voice inside their box. The men quickly re-cover this box and roll it back out the door.
Somewhat amused by your obvious distress, the man with the patch speaks again, saying, “Listen to me very carefully. Every person in that cage will be swiftly and not painlessly killed unless you emerge victorious from a battle to the death with our reigning champion.” The man raises his hand, at which point the men from the van uncover a large cage-like structure containing a single Siberian tiger. The man continues, “The rules are simple. You will enter Ramius’ cage equipped only with a small knife. If you kill him, you win. If he kills you, you lose, as does your family. Do you have any questions?”
I can’t speak for you, but I consider me vs. this guy a more or less even match.
Struggling to understand the situation in which you find yourself, you simply stare back at the man. He smiles and says, “Good luck. Oh, one more thing. I will allow you to take 15 minutes to prepare yourself mentally for battle. I will give you an iPod to listen to three songs during this time in an attempt to summon your courage and channel your anger – to pump yourself up. Which three songs would you like?”