Walter Fiction: The Envelope Event


My friend Mary made a derogatory statement about some of the LA wanna-be types who are so desperate to belong to the scene that they’d attend the opening of an envelope. I loved that idea. Attending the opening of an envelope. I’ll probably get more fiction out of the idea than this one scene.

Walter let Lila help him shrug into his familiar black leather blazer. She freed his ponytail from underneath, and took a minute to wrap it around her finger, as if doing that would make it curl.

That was Lila’s way. It reinforced her sense of order in the world, playing with his ponytail like that, so he smiled as he tolerated the gesture.

He hoped there would be more smiling once he entered the ballroom. He’d never done this sort of thing before and frankly, he wasn’t sure he wanted to. Lila had been forced to give him something to calm his nerves.

Walter Cichewski could stand under a spotlight in front of thousands of people. He’d been doing it for years, in fact. There were days when whatever Dr. Rosen had given him made him feel as if he was moving through sludge, but as soon as he stepped onto that stage, it all melted away and he was young again. His energy came back, better than any rush from any drug he’d ever been handed.

This was something different entirely. He had to step out there, not in front of fans, but in front of television cameras. Instead of fans, every person in the room would be part of the media. There’d be no one to introduce him. It would be him, just him, and no music to make.

Walter hadn’t wanted to agree to do this. But Lila and Dr. Rosen had agreed with his manager: it was good for his image. Good to remind the media who he was, that he was still making music, that Walter Cichewski was all about the best music out there.

“You’ll be fine,” Lila said, leaning forward to kiss Walter’s cheek. Her lips brushed at him more than anything else, reluctant to mess up the slight makeup she’d put on him, declaring him too pale to be visible to TV cameras.

Walter didn’t answer. He watched the people in charge stare at their watches, lips moving as they counted down. He watched two of them, one dressed in a butter-yellow skirt suit and the other in jeans and a t-shirt, black lanyard around his neck, move to the door. The suit motioned Walter forward, her eyes still on that second hand. Jeans motioned him to stay until the suit gave the sign.

“Hello,” Walter said, walking up to the podium. He knew his shoulders curled, that too many years of hunching over a guitar had destroyed his posture — which had been hopeless from the get-go. Walter had never been one to stand proud.

He picked up the envelope that had been placed on the podium and smiled. He introduced himself briefly, then said, “You’re all here to watch me open this envelope today. What’s inside will affect the careers of musicians all across the industry. Please help me in congratulating every last artist whose name is inside here.”

He could feel the media-types hold their breath and lean forward. The people in the back rooms would be pleased with him, Walter knew. He’d done better than they’d hoped for, building up the expectation.

With the flourish they’d asked for, he held the envelope up and made a show of opening it. He pulled out the papers inside, unfolded them, and began reading the list of Grammy award nominees.

Be sure to stop by Sunday Scribblings, where this week’s prompt is The Event. And then stop by Weekend Writer’s Retreat, too. There’s good fiction happening around the Internet these days!



  1. Ann (bunnygirl)

    May 2, 2010 11:28 am

    Great buildup and cool scene. I like Walter!
    .-= Ann (bunnygirl)´s last blog ..Weekend Events! =-.

  2. Alice Audrey

    May 2, 2010 1:17 pm

    Ah, the Grammys. I thought at first he would be opening an empty envelope, like something Yoko Ono would come up with.
    .-= Alice Audrey´s last blog ..Where Socks Go =-.

  3. Thomma Lyn

    May 2, 2010 6:14 pm

    Great writing, Susan — I felt like I was sitting in the audience, watching Walter. He’s a cool dude! 😀

  4. understanding alice

    May 3, 2010 6:01 am

    now that IS an envelope people turn up to see opened! I good take on event, i thought 🙂

    Fancy a new prompt? try Saturday Soapbox:

  5. Dee

    May 3, 2010 11:27 pm

    And the winner is??? I’m with Ann – great build-up. You made Walter seem likeable and I was expecting something entirely different from the prompt you used.
    .-= Dee´s last blog ..Mountain and Valley =-.

  6. carol

    May 5, 2010 10:34 am

    The Grammy’s. I kept wondering what the envelop was going to be.

  7. Julia Smith

    May 5, 2010 4:10 pm

    LOL! I thought the same thing as Alice! Really enjoyed this, Susan.
    .-= Julia Smith´s last blog ..Through the Opera Glasses – 57 – The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet =-.

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