It was such a strange thing; he woke up on a bench in a park in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a warm day and he shielded the sun from his eyes with his hand.
“Where am I?” he thought. “Who am I?” he said quietly.
He sniffed, a terrible odor. “That’s me,” he said.
He stood and stretched. He walked about 25 yards to the entrance of the park. There was a street, not many cars – strange looking cars.
“What is going on?” he said. “Is this another country?”
He followed the street for a mile walking into the downtown business district. He read the street signs. They were unfamiliar. In fact everything looked strange. He was unable to identify the makes of any car. They looked strange and very modern.
He walked further careful not to panic, but inside feeling quite anxious.
A man in a suit stood at the entrance of a building. He checked his watch as if waiting for someone to arrive and they were late.
He approached the man. “Do you mind if I look at the newspaper for just a second?”
The man looked at him condescendingly and handed over the newspaper. The man said. “I’ve read all I want to read. Take it, it’s yours.”
“Thanks,” he said and walked around the corner away from the view of the man. He looked at the date. “That’s 37 years from now – I think. I thought this was 1972, but that‘s all I know.” He looked intently at every think around him. “Thank god, it looks like the hippies didn’t take over.”
“What is going on,” he muttered. “Where was I yesterday and who am I now?” He swallowed hard and closed his eyes hoping to open them and return to normal.
He hurried back to the park. There was a woman changing trash bags in the refuse cans.
“Ma’am,” he said, “are you here everyday?”
“Yes,” she said, “it’s my job.”
“Have you seen me before?” he said.
“I’ve seen you around,” she said.
“Do you know who I am?” he said.
“No,” she said, “don’t you?”
“Thanks, Ma’am,” he said and walked away as if about to stumble.
“If ya wanna know who you are ask the cops,” she hollered.
He hurried out of the park fearing the police.
“I must be a criminal,” he thought.
“Where do I live?” he said.
He walked aimlessly for two hours hoping to see something familiar. Nothing looked familiar. He stopped at a parked car and looked into a side view mirror. “Is that me?” he said. “I don’t even look like anybody I know. In fact, I can’t think of one person I know. My god, what is going on?”
“I’m hungry,” he thought. “That should trigger something. I should instinctively go to where I can find my food.” Nothing came to mind.
He reached in his pocket. It was the first time he recognized what he was wearing. He wore an old and soiled army field jacket, a tee-shirt, and ragged jeans. The shoes on his feet were cheap and well-worn running shoes. He pulled a crumbled five dollar bill from the pocket of the jacket.
He walked back two blocks to a diner he had passed a few minutes earlier. He bought a coffee and a hamburger. He ate it amid stares from people seemingly disturbed by his unkempt appearance.
Walking the streets again he fished through his pockets and found a key in his pants pocket. It was a door key. “I must live someplace,” he thought, “but where?”