Putting people to sleep, made me sleepy. If I ever had grandchildren, I might tell them what I did with my life. “I went to sleep on the job, putting people to sleep.”

“Why did you do that?” They might ask.

“Because I couldn’t stand being awake.”

There wasn’t a horizon, so our sleep schedules occurred every 40 hours. I dreamed about sleeping. It got so I wondered whether I was asleep or awake. After my shift ended, I went to my bunk. That’s when I heard him. Captain Crewcut was patrolling the ward. He pulled an empty syringe out of his pocket, and injected it at the base of a patient’s brain.

“Perhaps you can tell me the secret of the gold planet,” he said. The stuff coming out was white; it looked like cerebral spinal fluid, so different from the green stuff we injected.

He immediately shot himself in the neck with the white stuff. I nearly puked. His eyes rolled back into his head, leaving two white spots where his pupils used to be.

“Schumann, you should be sleeping,” he said. “You do remember what I told you about following protocol?”

“Yes, but what you’re doing is obscene.”

“That’s only because you don’t understand. This crew never landed because they believed their dreams. Their dreams took over until they couldn’t tell the difference between waking and sleeping. The aliens on the gold planet are like greedy bankers; they have many telepathic safeguards.”

“Well, why steal his brains?”

“Because at least one of them knows the secret of the gold planet. I intend to discover that.”

His eyes were changing. They were going from white to black. Crewcut looked like an alien.

“You’ve got to leave protocol behind, whence you accept escape protocol. Will you be joining me?”

“I think I’ll stay and look after the ship.”

“Suit yourself,” he said. Captain Crewcut jettisoned the vessel and began his descent.

“It’s hot! It’s hot! I’m burning up! Aweeeee!”

“I think I’m going back to sleep,” I said. “All the gold in the universe isn’t better than a good night’s sleep.”

It was better than riches. Sleep had become my religion. I was a devout disciple of dreams. And I slept more soundly that cycle than ever before.

The End


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