In this work, the anode-cathode distance in a direct current glow discharge is reduced manually to values smaller than the Child-Langmuir extent, while the discharge current, the discharge voltage and the Langmuir probe current are monitored continuously. The discharge current is observed to develop a large peak as soon as the sheath edge contacts with the anode, then decays to negligible values for a certain time interval, after which, this cycle starts repeating itself periodically. A model is described to interpret the behavior of all three quantities self-consistently. The experiment is performed with different anode-cathode distances and the implications of the observations regarding ion implantation processes are discussed. (C) 2002 American Institute of Physics.