Charles & VENÜ

Charles Stafford: Room Member, Workshop Member and now featured in Venű Magazine.

Charles  wrote his first short story at the age of 14 about a secret society of wealthy, unscrupulous  panhandlers.  He has had a passion for writing ever since, studying English Literature at the collegiate and graduate levels.  His literary heros include Hemingway, Vonnegut, Woolf and Graham Greene.

Charles opted against the starving artist route, choosing to leverage his penchant for fiction as a marketing executive for large CPG corporations.  In 2008, Charles finally acknowledged his true passion and left marketing behind in favor of writing full time. In addition to his short stories, Charles has written a screenplay and is currently at work on his second novel. HIs work has appeared in Venȕ Magazine. He resides in Westport, CT. He is a grateful husband and father to two sons and a stepson.

Here is a paragraph from his new story, Progress Not Perfect:

Big Jim nodded. She’d said her name was Jennifer. She was a familiar type, wearing those shiny blue high heels and those skintight jeans that came up high and choked the meat of her calves like the back end of a scumbag. These ones always had them sweetly curved calves, smooth and sexy, ready to pump them high heels along. The calves was always the be-all and end-all on these bitches. From there, things gave way to the hard living they done. A roll of belly peeked out from under her top. The little hoop she had stuck in her navel when she was a tight young teen now hung sad and low. Her leopard print raincoat hung down off her shoulders, and a few strands of bleached hair swept past her bony blades as she skipped her eyes from one side of the circle to the other.

Here is the opening from Much Ado About Rinaldo in Venű Magazine.

It was too damn hot to be sitting at Nina’s table, which was one of those hip, modern jobs, slick and hard and crammed into her shoebox apartment. “There’s plenty more pie,” Mary said. She turned to my plate and then to me. “Babe, yours is all melted.”

I couldn’t eat another bite,” I said. I reached for the bottle of Gordon’s stuffed in the Formica wine cooler. I topped off my Tom Collins and held up the bottle, “Anyone?”

Just a dash,” Mary said.

We need more ice.” Nina rose from the table. She took two short steps into the kitchenette. I poured for Mary. The bottle chilled my clutch.

Renaldo sat across from me looking downright turgid in his tropical linen button-down. He ladled another scoop of cherry pie à la mode onto his spoon. His toned bicep flexed as he hurried spoon to mouth. A bloody pink dollop trailed down his chiseled chin.

What pie, Mary, what pie,” he repeated.

Mary smiled and pointed to her chin. She reached forward with the edge of her napkin. “You’ve got a—”

Renaldo poked his chin out. A Tupperware bowl descended with a polycarbonate clatter, a couple of cubes popping out onto the table, forming drop-sized pools instantaneously. And Nina beat Mary to it! She swiped him clean with her finger, tossing her tangle of blonde hair aside and sucking the goo with a smack of her lips.

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