Scene: A crowded street somewhere on earth. Enter Hermes, invisible. He is in such a hurry that he almost bumps into another invisible figure, which is standing there, roaring with laughter. It is Charon.
HERMES: Hullo, Charon, what's the joke? And what are you doing in our part of the world, miles away from your boat? You don't usually take much interest in things up here.
CHARON: Oh, I just wanted to see what goes on, Hermes - what people do when they're alive, and what they're so sorry to lose when they come down to us - for I've never had a passenger yet that didn't cry. So I did the same as that young chap from Thessaly, 1 applied to Aeacus for twenty‐ four hours' shore-leave, and came up into the daylight. But what a bit of luck meeting you! You know all about these things, and I'm sure you won't mind taking me round and showing me the sights.
HERMES: Sorry, skipper, I can't spare the time. I've got orders from up top to transact a little business down here for Zeus, and I'm just off to see about it. If I don't get a move on, he's liable to lose his temper and put me permanently at your disposal by consigning me to nether darkness - or, you know what he did to Hephaestus? Grabbed him by the ankle and just slung him out of the front door of heaven! He's developed such a limp as a result that when he went round filling up our glasses the other day, everyone burst out laughing. 2 Well, that might happen to me too.
CHARON: You surely don't mean to let me go wandering about the earth completely at random? Is that the way to treat an old friend and shipmate who's also a professional colleague? And I do think you might bear in mind that I've