One day in the newsroom: "Got him!" Biff Wallop roared. "Cry havoc! and let loose the dogs of war."
"It's slip," muttered Kent Clark, cub reporter. "'Let slip the dogs of war.' Everyone gets it wrong."
"I don't care," yelled Wallop. "Either way he's toast. The leopard's changed his spots, young Clark, and we must pull the thorn from his paw." There was an exultant gleam in the editor's eyes that not even the faded eyeshade on his furrowed forehead could conceal.
Everyone in the smoke-stained newsroom at The Fearless Rag knew what that look meant. They'd seen it before: in 1900 when Mafeking had been relieved; in 1924 when The Invincibles swept all before them; in '39 and '56 and, famously, in 1995 when sneaky Susie spiked the All Black's broth.
"Come on, you gormless bunch of polytechnical graduates" barked Wallop, sweeping a sleeping court reporter off the nearest desk. "Clear the front page. This is big with a capital HUGE!
"I want one word. Bollocks. That's all. Bollocks!" The gnarled veteran paused and the newsroom held its breath. "On second thoughts, make that four words. Bollocks. Details Page 3."
Meanwhile, back in the real world, there is only silence; a cruel weapon in private and even more inexplicable in public, particularly when it is the fourth estate's response to an extraordinary story.
No havoc has been cried - not even with a question mark. And no dogs of war let slip. Comfortable they lie, in kennels warm. Yet you'd have thought someone would have done as Mark Antony urged. Especially here, in Outer Roa, where we've decided, or, more precisely, our good and virtuous politicians have decided for us, that we must be shining lights in a world o'erburdened with vile emissions and ghastly CO2.
Thus have we boldly gone where none have gone before - or since, for that matter. With a sinking feeling in our wallets, we have bravely adopted our very own trailblazing, world-leading, planet-saving - and really rather costly - Emissions Trading Scheme.
Trouble is, there's not a lot of lemmings lining up behind us. The Aussies haven't. And don't look like they're going to, or even want to. A few pious utterances seem quite sufficient for our cobbers, cobber.
The Chinese are more scrutable. Their view, cogently expressed in Copenhagen, is that the First World can stick its ETS up their chimney and smoke it.
Which leaves us out on a rather lonely limb. It creaks. We quail. Costs loom. Prices rise. Our pockets and our politics predispose us to a particular interest in the ongoing debate about Anthropogenic Global Warming.
You'd think our media would acknowledge this. And you'd think they'd go for hell for leather after a big story - like a leopard changing its spots.
Mr Wallop certainly did. He was ready to "cry havoc". But not, it seems, his colleagues. So the story's passed us by, unreported in print, on screen, or via the wireless bulletin.
It should not have passed us by. This is an important story about an important issue involving a scientist whose findings have greatly influenced public and political opinion. And now this scientist has done a u-turn - or so London's Daily Mail told its readers this week.
Some background: you'll recall, last year, it was alleged there was scientific skullduggery afoot at the Climate Research Unit in East Anglia. Leaked emails suggested researchers were fudging facts, massaging data, using "tricks" to prove their case, picking sympathetic peer reviewers and besmirching the reputations of those who challenged them.
On February 13, the BBC interviewed Professor Phil Jones, former head of the Climate Research Unit - he's stood down while the university investigates to see if any climate books were cooked.
Professor Jones discussed many things with the BBC, including the trouble he has "keeping track" of information, but the professorial concession the Daily Mail pounced upon - and our media ignored - was this: He said that for the past 15 years there has been "no statistically significant" warming. "No statistically significant warming". None. It's not happening. Since 1995, we ain't got hotter. And that's not the sceptics speaking.
That's from a man who garnered $22 million to prove we were getting warmer. Much warmer, worryingly warmer, "Lucy Lawless was right" warmer. But now he says we're not. And haven't been for 15 years.
Hoist as we are on the petard of an ETS, folks, this is quite important. It matters. It really matters.
Clearly, the science isn't settled - and never was, of course. If the science was settled, the world would still be flat. Equally clearly, since we haven't changed our wicked, wicked ways and gone on the carbon wagon for the past 15 years it's no longer possible to assert the clear (and criminal) connection between what we do and how the climate changes.
And if that connection cannot be asserted, the ETS can't be justified either. It should be scrapped or deferred. There's been "no statistically significant warming" since 1995, for crying out loud.
Take the prof's word for it - we don't need an ETS. And if the fourth estate won't "cry havoc! and let slip the dogs of war", then perhaps we should.By Jim Hopkins Email Jim