The television cameras whirred into action as the judge stepped into the courtroom and went to sit at his place. “What do you have to say for yourselves?” the judge asked, his voice severe as he looked at the two young teenagers standing in front of him. The boy and girl glanced nervously at each other and then continued staring at their feet. “Were you not taught in school that such behaviour is strictly forbidden?” the judge went on, his face twisted in disgust. “Did not your parents educate you properly?” All four parents, who were seated in the front row of the audience, nodded vigorously no doubt hoping they would not end up on trial as well.
The children were about thirteen years old. The boy’s hair was light brown and cropped short. Whoever had cut it had not done a very good job: clumps of hair stuck out at irregular intervals from under his cloth cap. His deep brown corduroy trousers were baggy, almost too large for him, making it look like he’d escaped from a circus. He’d tied the trousers tight around his waist with a belt under which he’d tucked his long-sleeved white shirt. His left hand fidgeted nervously with something in his waistcoat pocket. If it weren’t for the prominence of his nose and his assertive chin, his face might have seemed almost effeminate.
The girl, in comparison, was taller, such that the boy had to look up every time he glanced in her direction. Her straight, black hair was shoulder length, hanging down across parts of her face leaving only her dark eyes, her arrogant nose, her bright red lips and her prominent chin visible. Her loose-fitting pink blouse could not conceal her broad shoulders and her muscular arms, no more than her pleated skirt hid the power of her legs. Standing there barefoot she looked like a panther in disguise.
The judge, who seemed irritated at their silence, glared at the couple. “This is your last chance to speak up before I pass sentence,” he reminded them. “We have no need of further proof of your guilt. Your presence here as you stand is evidence enough.” He paused a moment, quelling his exasperation. “The least you could do is to excuse yourselves and ask for pardon,” he added. The girl took a small step forward at which several of the courtroom guards took at warning stride in her direction but the judge waved them back. The girl looked up at the judge and starred him straight in the eye. “We feel no need to offer excuses,” she said proudly. A ripple of protest ran through the audience. Several people voiced violent threats. “Your laws and rules are archaic. We choose to be together this way and refuse to change.”
The judge was visibly making an effort to control his anger at the girl’s defiance, not wishing to appear unjust to the television audience.”Who encouraged you to act this way?” he asked, glancing at the four parents. “Nobody encouraged us,” the boy said, taking a step forward to join the girl. The two held hands causing a number of people from the audience to hiss at them. “Your laws cannot change how we are …” he began, but he didn’t get any further because a woman broke from the audience and tried to force past the guards to attack the two children, screaming: “Twisted bastards! You’re against nature!” The guards quickly got her under control but she continued to scream abuse as she was dragged from the courtroom. “Any further disturbance,” the judge said, “and I’ll have to clear the court and you’ll have to watch the trial on television.” Profiting from the distraction, the girl had slipped her arm around the boy as if to reassure him. “Stop that immediately,” the judge insisted, having the guards separate the two.
“You realise there are far more of us than you think,” the girl said defiantly, putting her arm back around the boy’s shoulders amid cries of indignation from the audience. “It’s the ambiguity you can’t bear,” the boy said, abruptly unbuttoning the top of his shirt till his budding breasts were clearly visible to the TV cameras. The judge put up his hands as if to protect himself from the sight. “May God protect us!” he prayed. Guards jumped forward to conceal the breasts from the cameras. “And what if your god is like us?” the boy taunted, raising his voice to be heard over the outcry of the audience as he struggled with guards who were trying to button up his shirt. It was almost comical the way they tried to avoid actually touching him as if he would contaminate them. His act of defiance was too much for the judge. The man drew himself up to his full height and thundered: “I sentence you both to the capital punishment for intolerable crimes against the sexual denomination act. You will be electrocuted tomorrow morning at dawn.” The boy and girl flung themselves into each others arms and embraced passionately, desperately clinging together as the guards struggled to separate them. The court was in utter confusion. The parents were wailing in distress, not so much at the sentence as what their children had done. Many of the audience were shoving angrily forward, hoping to deliver their own justice only to be thwarted by the guards who ushered the two children out through a back door. And the cameras filmed all.
The prison was only a short drive from the courthouse, a mere five minutes. But the police van had hardly driven two minutes when it came to a halt, it’s way blocked by a large lorry that suddenly veered across the road. At the signal, the boy pulled a small locket from the pocket of his waistcoat and pointed it at the guards who fell unconscious to the floor. The back door of the armoured van was flung open and several extravagantly dressed people ushered the two children out. “You were marvellous!” one of the girls said flamboyantly in a falsetto voice, hugging them. “Real stars of television,” another added as the children were hurried to a waiting car. Once inside and speeding away the two paid no more attention to their rescuers but melted in a long embrace.