Shattered Dreams

Bradley Sides

Shot through glass II

Photo Credit: Tom Roeleveld/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

Richard’s mornings are ceremoniously predictable. After a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and an apple, he tucks his dreams under his arm and makes his way to the damaged cedar door that he and his mother share.

“Why don’t you crack the damn thing?” his mother asks, while slamming down the newspaper.

“I’m not ready, Mother. Mine needs to simmer,” he replies, without turning to her.

“Yeah. Your father was never ready either.”

He then shuts the door.

Richard rarely looks up when he strolls through the alleys on his way to work. Along his path, he kicks tiny fragments of garbage and counts the cracks that he steps over. His satchel hangs over his portly body. Sweat edges along his frosty, fading hairline, and his pants, being a full size too long, drag with his languid steps. It is under his left arm that he carries his prized glass sphere.

Other people of Richard’s age smashed their containers long ago. They are already executives. Some are lawyers. Others are doctors. A few are poets and actors. Richard is a data entry consultant. He’s not ready to shatter his yet.

At work, Pattie, a young and energetic officemate, appears at his cubicle. “Richard!” she mockingly howls. He jumps and knocks the edge of his desk. His dreams crumble toward the floor and shatter. A swirl of haze wraps around his body as he sits—perfectly still. When it settles, she laughs.

“Nothing happened,” she says.

“I never knew what to put in mine,” he says, powering on his computer.

pencilBradley Sides holds an M.A. in English. His fiction appears in numerous print and online journals, including Literary Orphans and Used Gravitrons. He is a staff writer for Bookkaholic and frequent contributor to Drunk Monkeys. He resides in Florence, Alabama, with his wife, and he is working on securing a release date for his debut novel. Email: Brad.Sides[at]


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