I found a copy of the album with the original cover at Amoeba in San Francisco the following March and bought it for a friend as a birthday present.
He was a music buff, and knew the story, how the artwork was created over the summer and the album was set to be released the third or so week of September. How the record label, in a rather obvious corporate decision, recalled all the already-shipped boxes that were sitting in the back rooms of record stores, waiting for the official release date.
We both explained it to everyone else at the birthday dinner. For a moment, it was like, hey, interesting oddball artifact, you sick fuck, etc.
And then it wasn’t that. There was quiet, and everyone stared at the thing like it came through a wormhole, as if the impact of September 11th was so strong that it rippled back in time and someone remembered it in advance. This was an uncanny moment.