UP IN THE CLOUDS
Scene: A street in Athens. Menippus is walking slowly along, thinking aloud. A friend of his is following close behind, trying to catch what he is saying.
MENIPPUS: So my first hop, from here to the moon, was about three hundred miles, and from there to the sun would be, say, fifteen hundred. And from the sun to Zeus's headquarters in the sky is a non-stop eagle-flight of approximately twenty-four hours.
FRIEND [drawing level and falling into step beside him]: For goodness' sake, Menippus, what are these astronomical problems that you're working out under your breath? I've been walking behind you for some time, and you've kept on muttering about the sun and the moon, and using ordinary words like 'hop' and 'mile' in a most extraordinary context.
MENIPPUS: You mustn't be surprised, my dear chap, if I seem rather up in the clouds, for I'm just trying to calculate the total distance that I covered on my recent expedition.
FRIEND: Why, have you been learning to navigate by the stars, old boy, like the Phoenicians?
MENIPPUS: Not by them. Among them. That's where I went on my expedition.
FRIEND: Good Lord, that must have been a pretty long dream! Fancy travelling all that distance in your sleep!
MENIPPUS: So you think I've been dreaming, do you? Well, I'd have you know that I've just this moment arrived from the palace of Zeus.
FRIEND [treating it as a joke]: No! You don't mean to say that