Orpheus Calls Their Bluff – Julian George

Orpheus has hung up his lyre.
He’s got some business to attend to.
No more charming the birds out of the trees.
No more drawing tears from stones.

Eurydice has run off with a lowdown, dirty snake, or was snake-bit — one or the other; they can’t seem to get their stories straight.
Alienation of affection has been rumoured but you know how it is when forked tongues start to wag, cover your virgin ears.
Poisonous atmosphere.

Hell, he wants her back. No questions asked.

Climbing into the dresser mirror (he’s finally mastered that Styx trick), Orpheus found himself in luck.
The quietus committee was in session, a real ‘see what the boys in the back room will have’ scene to beat the band.
They heard him out, gave him the benefit of the doubt, then laid down the law: What’s done is done and can’t be undone, it’s our way or the highway.

Orpheus went all Aeolian on them, Alfred Deller up to 11.
Worked a treat.
Melted their cold, cold hearts. Made them feel something, a spasm that was not sophomore mockery or a smutty joke.

For the record none of this appears in the minutes.

George RJulian George is a London-based arts journalist. His short story, “Kafka On The Beach”, appears in Ambit this autumn, plague permitting. He is working on a novel.