The streets teemed with people, cheering with a variety of unrestrained fervor that the State, as a matter of policy, neither condoned nor tolerated.
Had this wanton display of enthusiasm possessed the potential to become commonplace it would have, most certainly, been snuffed out. It would have been crushed with the same brutal efficiency by which the State provided a "sustained atmosphere of good order and discipline" to its citizenry. But this was a singularly unique and remarkable occurrence that the State, wielding all civil power, could afford to be magnanimous.
Today, the whole world would be permitted the opportunity to participate in the public vilification of he who the State had proclaimed to be The Grand Heretic. The de facto leader of the seditious societal subculture known as the Artists' Enclave had, at long last, been run to ground.
This very day, punishment would be imposed and sentence would be pronounced and carried out on Professor Anton Schopenaur. His crimes and aberrations were legion and included: author/essayist, painter, sculptor and a dozen more such forbidden proclivities. Those would all be brought to a final, unequivocal end by the very society he had violated in such an unrepentant manner.
To those of us who had known him in what came to be known as the Unfettered Times, Anton was not the same man the State now held. He was a mentor, a colleague, a confidante and a friend. His was the calm voice of reason and of artistic acumen. He was creativity personified in the shell of a quiet and unassuming soul, desirous of no more than the opportunity to express that creativity without regard to political acceptability.
With the advent of the Age of Proscription, the world transformed itself into a wholly strange and unknown environment with no place for the likes of us. While the truth of it is that none can say who first proposed the need for the Enclave, history has placed its establishment firmly at the feet of Anton.
It is a fact, disputed by none, that his was the single most ardent voice that rose in opposition. No state or State had the right or the rightness to dictate what were to be acceptable and sanctioned forms of expression. To assume otherwise was an unforgivably specious and flawed belief. To the very end, he never spoke or felt otherwise.
As he was led past, his body bloody and broken, simple prudence dictated we feign the sentiment of the masses. In our hearts and souls, however, we wept bitter tears, not for the loss of a sage politico or of an iconic rebel, but for the quiet man who only wanted to be free to be himself.