When Andrew Wertz woke up on July 14th, 1956, he was at first confused. Very confused, because he found himself in the bed he had slept in as a young boy. He recognized the bed, and everything else in the room. As Andrew was, in fact, a seventy-year-old retired computer consultant, he quickly decided that he was dreaming.
Yet the dream was quite vivid. His senses were much more aware than in most dreams. He noticed the feel of the sheets on the bed. He smelled fresh air from the partially open window. He heard a faint clatter of dishes coming from downstairs and noticed the smell of pancakes also. He also was aware that his body was small. He was young, and thin. How old was I in this dream, he wondered. He guessed seven or eight, so this would be 1955 or 1956. But he knew the date already. July 14th, 1956. This is a strange dream, he mused. Date stamped dream. Odd.
An interesting thought crossed his mind. If I had woken up in 1956, knowing what I know now, I could be rich. Bitcoin, Facebook, Google, Apple, Facebook. What a life I could have had.
That was his mother’s voice. He was hungry, he realized, but he was also very tired. He didn’t want to get up.
When Andrew woke up on September 4th, 1963, he was in his childhood bed again. What an odd night, he thought. He knew he had been sleeping between the dreams, but both times it truly felt that he had woken up. Both times he was strongly aware of the date. He looked around the room. Memories of his teenage years told him that everything was accurate. But of course I’d think that! He laughed at himself and his date stamped dream. It sure felt good, though. His body, still thin, was young and stronger. It was good, really good. He stretched luxuriously..
October 4th, 1974. He was not in his childhood bed. At first he was confused again, but then placed it. “Our first apartment!”, he said aloud.
“And tomorrow we’ll be in our first house”.
Startled, Andrew looked toward the bathroom door where the voice had come from. Of course, that would be Sue. And if tomorrow they’d be moving into Foster Street, this would be October of 1974. He wasn’t sure that had been the 4th, but his dream insisted the date was correct. What an incredibly weird dream.
When Andrew woke up on December 15th, 1999, he kept his eyes shut. The dreams were becoming annoying, even frightening. He couldn’t remember anything about December of 1999 and didn’t want to. He wanted to be done with this chaotic tour of his life.
August 14th, 1954, and he immediately knew where he was. He was able to get up and get dressed. Such tiny clothes, but so was he. He got as far as the bedroom door.
On July 8th, 2020, he thought for a moment he was truly awake. He was where he should be and his watch was what he was wearing when he went to bed. But then he looked out the open window and saw that it was summer. No, he angrily muttered, it‘s still winter. We had a blizzard yesterday. There is three feet of snow outside. I’m still dreaming, damn it! He had spoken aloud without quite realizing it. He hadn’t noticed his wife was in the room. Her puzzled look only made him angrier.
And then it was another dream, or whatever it was. And another. Andrew thought he might be in a coma, from an accident, perhaps. But the dreams didn’t feel like dreams at all. Some lasted so long. He moved through those dream days robotically. He’d laugh when someone mentioned déjà vu, because it was already all vu to him. He remembered waking up, or thinking that he had, so many times. Sometimes the waking time in the dream would be short, but sometimes long. Sometimes he’d walk through a whole day in the past and every minute seemed real. He was tempted to say something, but what could he say? “I’m from the future. Buy Bitcoin!” People would have laughed. Dream laughs. Why do I care, he reminded himself.
He was often frustrated. This unending dreams still continued, flashing from year to year, backward and forward. It was disturbing. Andrew wanted to wake up for real and get back to his ordinary life. He’d pound the bed with his fists. He’d slapped his face, yelled, screamed, but nothing changed.
Sometimes he’d be sleepy when he woke in the dreams. Sometimes not. Sometimes sick. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation. Those were so strange as he remembered the conversations as he relived them.
When Andrew Wertz woke up on August 3rd, 2026, he felt stiff. Much stiffer than he usually did. It was dark. He needed to pee. He realized that he was not wearing a watch, but should have been. Andrew laughed. 2026, really? He laughed again. So where have I been the past six years? He chuckled. At least this was more like a dream than a trip to the past.
The nineties. A business meeting. Someone had shaken his shoulder, waking him up. “Are we boring you, Andy?” Andrew glared at him. “Buy Netflix. Or Bitcoin”, Andrew snapped. Surprised looks.
Another short dream. Back to kindergarten now, waking up after a post lunchtime nap. Andrew wondered what would happen if he started talking to the teacher like an adult. He did and she became very upset. He laughed.
Another one from the sixties. It lasted several days this time. Those long dreams bothered Andrew. Dreams don’t last for days. And he had dreams within his dreams! Normal dreams, ordinary dreams. Or would have been normal if he were not already dreaming about his life in some other year. Ordinary waking up, except that it was the dream year. Still in a dream, he asked some friends if that had ever happened to them. They laughed. Andrew angrily walked away from them. Idiots. Dream idiots, he reminded himself.
Back to the fifties. Mid day this time. Sleeping in class. The teacher was annoyed. Andrew was sullen with anger. Was this not a dream and he was just forgetting the rest of his life? But no, because he could remember his life, even in the dream. It was maddening.
A trip to the seventies. Andrew felt very confused. He tried to warn someone about the oil crisis. Their eyes narrowed and they moved away quickly. Andrew spent the rest of his dream on a bus bench, telling strangers about the computers and the Internet. People seemed relieved when he didn’t follow them onto the bus.
If he woke up in bed, he’d refuse to move or open his eyes. Sometimes he’d hear people talking about him. He didn’t care. The dream went on, jumbled, asynchronous, confusing. It was driving him mad, he told himself. Why hadn’t he bought Bitcoin?
He knew he was in the fifties again. Maybe he should open his eyes; some of those old memories were fun. But he stayed still, even when his mother shook him and called his name again and again.
Andrew Wertz did not wake up on March 23, 2041. Two men sat by his bed watching him.
“How’s old Bitcoin doing?”, one asked.
The older man shook his head. “I don’t think it will be long now.” He sighed and shook his head again.
“Why do we call him Bitcoin?”, the other asked.
“Oh, that”, the older man sighed. “That’s how he got to us. Went off his rails in the mid nineties. Wife said he came down to breakfast raving about Bitcoin. Where that came from, who knows? But she said he’d been acting weird off and on for years. We took him in for an eval, he was violent. Kept yelling that he needed Bitcoin. That’s all we got out of him, ever. The drugs stopped him from that, but whenever we tapered them off, he’d start up again. He’s been here ever since.”
“There was Bitcoin in the nineties?”
“No, we thought it was a stock at first. Looked it up, no such thing. Then later when we heard about it, that was weird. He makes up a nonsense name and then years after somebody else makes it real. Very strange, but true. Shit happens.”
Andrew Wertz moaned almost inaudibly and shifted in his bed. The two men looked at him expectantly.
“Soon…”, the older man said.
The younger man stood up. “Call me when he’s ready. No relatives, so we can get the bed pretty quickly.” He moved toward the door, but paused and turned back.
“I wonder what he’s dreaming about now?”