by Charles McKelvy
They invaded his beloved country, and then they commanded him to give a command performance at the Grand Concert Hall in the shell-shocked capital city.
Failure to appear, they said, would result in the total destruction of his village, the burning of the crops, and the execution of his every known family member, friend, and associate. While, of course, he watched.
So, on the night specified, he stepped out on stage at the Grand Concert Hall, dressed entirely in black.
He nodded curtly at the military men in their dress uniforms in the first 20 rows and in all the boxes, and then he went to the grand piano and took his customary seat.
Then, as the audience held their collective breath, the world-renowned pianist removed a marker from his pocket and blacked-out each and every ivory key.
He marked with care, and he did not stop until he was satisfied that every speck of white had been blacked-out.
Then he arose without a word and strode off stage without a word or even a cursory nod.
That was, they have been saying ever since, the day the music died.