(photo: AP)

Sir Cedric held court, as was his custom. Having finished the tale of his travels in the Asian lands, which was always a crowd-pleaser, he asked if the dinner was to everyone's liking. Enthusiastic murmurs came from all around. No expense had been spared in the preparation of tonight's feast. The buttered cod had swam this very day in the Atlantic; the sumptuous, buttery hills of mashed potatoes glistened in the eyes of everyone lucky enough to have tasted them; the butter-wine made minds light as a feather and blew them gently toward a drift of golden clouds.

"Incidentally", said Sir Cedric, "I listened to the talking radio box today. Do you know what I heard?"

Glazed, inquiring eyes looked up in response.

"I heard a speech by a very concerned young man. Apparently, he is important on the talking radio box, for he was called the Radio Head. He had a number of concerns that I found most interesting. Lady Kendrick, are you quite alright?"

Lady Kendrick had ceased eating and was looking around in distress.

"No, Sir Cedric", she managed. "I cannot find the turkey."

"Have you looked in the butter, dear?"

Lady Kendrick rummaged around in the butter and found the object of her desire. She commenced eating the turkey.

"Very good. Now, the speech of the Radio Head was entitled 'Idio-tech'. I can only assume that the title is a foreign word referring to a technology device. The Radio Head first spoke of having lost something, although what he had lost was not clear. His heart was in the right place, though, for he strongly advocated women and children being first. A chivalrous fellow, to be sure.

"But then he told of a most frightening injury that he suffered. Apparently, in the mere act of laughing, the poor boy's head came off!"

There were gasps throughout the hall. Many of those in attendance had laughed during the last week, and had plans to do so again; their mouths, full of warm butter, were very important to them. They had no wish to be separated from their mouths.

"The Radio Head was acquainted with proper oratorial technique, because he restated his main points, and then he moved forward to the even more disturbing proposition that everything would be occuring all of the time. I say, there are a number of things that I would rather not see all of the time. The treachery of the wily Chinee, for example. If I had to contend with them all of the time, I would be exhausted."

The only noise in the hall, held rapt by Sir Cedric's tale, was the smacking of lips. It was the sound of lightly braised anxiety.

"My friends, I'm afraid that was only the beginning of the distressing news. Cancel your summer plans, for there is an ice age coming."

This announcement sent ripples of shock up and down the table, from Lord to Lady, from Duke to Duchess, from tub to slab to vat of butter.

"Oh, yes. I realize that it sounds improbable, but the Radio Head was quite insistent. There is an ice age coming. One had only to listen to his voice to understand that he was serious. In fact, based on the noises coming from behind his speech, I could only surmise that the ice age had already arrived at his location. Therefore, it cannot be far off, and we must be prepared. Fortunately, the Radio Head recommended a course of action. We must take the butter and run."

Those present at the dinner were not accustomed to running. Many did not entirely comprehend the word, but all understood the implications of what it implied. Their way of life was at an end. A wail rose up. Where were they to go? How were they to live?

"We will survive, my friends. We always have. Finish your meal, and then board the vehicles that you will find parked outside. We will escape this ice age. But we must first give thanks to the brave Radio Head for giving us this warning. Based on the strange noises occuring behind his speech, I must surmise that he did not escape the ice age. He may have made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf."

The diners observed a moment of silence, and then began to fill up on butter for the journey ahead. It would be alright. They would survive. They would take the butter and run.

Sir Cedric stood and prepared to leave.

"I must now complete the preparations for our departure. Come outside when you are ready. But take care, for subsequent reports on the talking radio box indicated that persons unknown have let the dogs out."

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