Misty's World by Victor Gischler"Misty's World" by Victor Gischler, Shred of Evidence, February 2005
This story is as noir as the devil's heart, something Mr. Gischler does as well or better than anyone else currently writing.
Misty makes her living by taking off her clothes and dancing. She makes a decent living, kind of a mid-list stripper, though not decent enough to be able to save to get her teeth fixed. She wants to go to California and become a porn star, and her teeth are the only things standing in her way. She says, "They come together and stick out like the prow of a sailing ship."
Misty's dreams, to be a porn star, to escape the dreary cold for sunny SoCal, may not be things we would think desirable, but to her they are real and important. That's one of the things Mr. Gischler handles so well, leading us to believe that her dreams are vital to her. That makes Misty as real as any character I've read about lately.
Unfortunately Misty has a no-account boyfriend, Ted, and even more unfortunately she loves him. He's one of those guys that always has a plan; a plan that will make him rich with little or no work on his part; a plan that never works out. Ted has a new plan. It's a big enough score that he will be able to pay for Misty's braces and then some. But Misty has a bad feeling. She knows how his plans come out.
Misty's actions, however, just push Ted harder. He has to make this work to prove to her that he isn't a screw-up. The characters are so well drawn that they push each other's buttons effortlessly, leading to an inevitable conclusion.
Be warned. This is not a story to be read when you're already feeling down. But it is a story you should read.
In short, don't miss this one.