Michael Wallace

 Part One

The odd little man stood in the doorway of the shop where Albert had worked for years. Albert was oddly drawn, and wanted to talk to him, but there were too many customers that day, and the day after, and even the day after that.

 To his surprise, every day the odd little man returned, and just stood there. But Albert was not paid to solicit business. If the man wanted something, he had to come and ask. The owner only paid him to stand behind the counter, not to prospect for business. Yet his curiosity was gaining ground over his natural sense of inbred employee carelessness.

On the forth day, the odd gnome like creature solved the problem, and came forward to speak to him. Albert apologised for not being able to see him on earlier days, and asked what he might be wanting.

     “Hmmmm … me wanting, you think? I think not.” The strange fellow said in a cryptic, heavily accented English.

     “Oh dear” Albert said to himself, “Another salesman …

     “I am not the owner of the shop. If you have anything you wish to sell you must come back and speak with him. Or I can give you his number, should you wish to call.”

     “Hmmm…” said the gnome in a curious ton. “No it is you I want to see. Or maybe I should say I want you to see? Do you think? I think you need these (his hand reached into a pocket of his tattered tweed coat and pulled out an old pair of spectacles) yes, I do think, I do think you want to try them on, yes?”

  Albert was good at his job because he was quick to work out a new person. He always looked for little signs, or ‘tells’ as they are called … But this strange man was nothing like what he had ever seen. He was extremely short, maybe just 5 feet, and had this huge nose that bent and twisted in a way completely disproportional to the rest of his face. And the face! It had skin so dry it looked like old paper. The eyes though, dark and menacing, they stared right through him. Albert was completely naked before this man, and it embarrassed as much as it fascinated him. And there was something familiar … Something he already knew.

The odd, gnome-like fellow was offering Albert what looked like a 1950’s pair of Ray Bans, but emerald green in the lens and frame, rather than black. Albert’s hand reflexed out ... Who had told the man of his passion for collecting old sunglasses?

  Then they were in his hand. Perhaps his desire for the new toy had tricked his mind, but Albert could swear the glasses put themselves in his hand… This could make him look too anxious, and drive the price up. “Really,” Albert deferred, “I can’t talk my personal business at work …”

  The gnome cut him off. “Try them on. They like you, I can tell. I am never wrong with these things, the glasses told me to come here, they want you to know them.”

Well, the Ray Bans were in his hands already, so what harm could it do? Albert had always respected a good salesman, and this guy was the best. It no longer mattered that the price was going to be high, these were the rarest pair of Ray Bans he had ever seen. Absolutely unique and in pristine condition. So he put them on … And for the first time in his life, Albert saw everything.

 It was hard to describe it, but Albert really and deeply saw everything. The sunshine outside was brilliant and sparkling. It came through the glasses with joy, freedom and such a love for life that he forgot entirely where he was.

  The plants in the street outside seemed to effervesce and birds that flew by were a stream of rainbows sparkling with delight. In his amazement, he then saw the gnome moving out from the shop, only now it was a lithe, athletic figure of sinew and power that wore flowing black robes.

Albert wanted to call out, but the rapture of these incredible glasses had him and all he could do was watch life move past. He was entirely and completely transfixed by the moment as the once-was-a-gnome man slipped past the shop window like a black fish moving into a deep ocean. The world had shifted gear, and turned inside out. Everything outside was brilliance and vigour, yet when he brought his gaze back inside the shop, everything was grey, dull and banal. Uninspiring, empty, vacant, insipid and boring.

  Empty? The shop was full of customers before he put on the glasses. Albert took them off, and there they were … several of them, looking at him with dull interest as they waited to be served. Albert glanced back out to where the gnome had gone, and he caught the last glimpse of what was clearly a short, ugly man again. And outside was just outside once more.

  He put the glasses back on, and the customers vanished, and the incredible world of delight opened up again, filling his heart with wonder. Hue, radiance and beauty dripped from every piece of life outside the store, while the shop itself remained lifeless.

  Without comprehension and in shock Albert shook himself from the extraordinary event. He still had this job to do, so he took them off and slipped them into his pocket. The customers looked at him weirdly, but he went through the routine of service. Yet all the time he was not there, and could only imagine what it would be like getting outside during lunch hour and seeing these glasses do their magic without interruption. Then again, perhaps the magic would not last? Maybe he must rush out now and grasp the nettle … What to do?

The simple shop boy had little to lose. He put the glasses back onto his nose, and apologised to the customers (that he could no longer see as he did so) saying he would be back in a moment. He stepped outside the door, and was never to be seen in that shop ever again.


     It was truly a world reborn. Life sprouted from every pore of his existence as Albert realised for the first time since he had been a child just how wonderful life is. How alive everything is … Everything except the tired worn out shells of humanity that whispered along as ghosts on the streets of gaiety and sunshine.

 Adults were like grey shadows, while the children seemed to recognise him, and invited him to laugh and play and sing. Everything close to nature sand with delight. The children glowed with rapture, and their little voices were a choral symphony to his ears. Flowers exuded a romance, and their fragrance coloured the space between the atoms with subtle shifts of indescribable beauty. The very air he breather seemed alive and vibrant, ringing with bells… Yet when a vehicle came past, the grey energy it emitted dulled all around it, and painted that part of the world with a matt grey. But the breeze would pick it up and take it away as soon as the car passed by.

  Albert went to the park, delighting in this incredible new vision, and wondering how long it might possibly last. He stopped every now and then to lift the glasses, and there it was… the world he knew. It had become incredibly ugly to him in but minutes, and slowly a fear crept in… Where had the gnome gone? Why had he simply given him these incredible glasses? There was no answer, but the glasses HAD leapt into his hands. Maybe he just needed to accept it? Somehow, perhaps it was right for him to have this gift, but something nagged at the back of his mind that it wasn’t right.

Albert’s attention fell increasingly towards the dull grey ghosts that, once the glasses were lifted, became people again. Children were exempt from the contempt of the glasses. Their harsh critique was reserved for man-made things and adults, though as he put them on and took them off, it appeared that old people often seemed often to be OK. Why?

He bought an apple from a street vendor, and went back to the park to sit and contemplate. He bit into the apple, and it was an apple, but as he slipped the glasses back on, a profusion of sense filled every corner of his being. It was not just an apple, but an incredible proof of life that coursed through his veins. Albert could see in minute details how the process worked. The apple was life, and from it molecules of iridescent light glowed a radiance through every cell that the atoms of the apple touched. It enlivened his whole being while inside his mouth was alight with the fire of truth.

But take them off, and there was nothing. It was just an apple once more. Put them back on and streams of energy pulsated through his heart, bursting like fireworks in his mind while his tongue tingled like the caress of a lover.  Even the sumptuous clarity of the word “apple” rang true … He knew it in ways that words could never describe. He knew what it meant to be APPLE.

Even as he savoured its essence, he studied it, became it, lived with its experience. He knew this apple, and like a window to a universe of eternity he knew all apples that had ever been, and he could feel how every apple knew he knew, and that somehow the apples both knew appreciated that he understood their purpose and truth.

In the back of his mind, something was saying how in any other circumstance he would have considered himself entirely, completely mad. Yet this experience was absolutely real, as unfathomably true as it was impossible.

More real than anything he had ever known. More real than any drug he had ever taken. More powerful than any love he had ever known this deep insightful knowingness was a being unto itself, and yet it was HIM. It was all HIM.

The exploration of the apple had led him deeper inside himself. There was no end, no beginning, all was NOW. All just is as it is, was as it was, will be as it will be. There was only the singular, even though he could see the many. The plural experience of being here and being now coalesced into a flow that took him inside every drop that existed in a Sea of Freedom.

Why then these vacant shapes of grey people walking by? In some cases, the shadows themselves vanished, leaving only a dull scent that slowed the flow of life as it moved past. Sunlight filled the void giving some substance to the ghosts, yet the children were immune. Why?

 Slowly some reasoning to this experience took hold. It was more like an imaginative leap into something, but a something that created a reality to anything it touched. Perhaps this power the glasses held could reveal to him a message, something he could understand?

With the inner question the outer scene altered in imperceptible but certain ways. The grey shadows revealed themselves as doubts and fears and uncertainty. He heard whispers from the dark inside these people, he saw lies that had been believed and which now ruled the mind. He felt the anguish of loss, and the fear of gain. Anticipation in youth had now faded to disconsolate expectation of misery on the misery, and all were running in their own debt of self worth.

Albert could see variations of this in all these shadows. Yet oddly the whole misery and suffering they experience was usually pinned on just two or three small details. These were the small false beliefs and insidious guilts that had perverted the core energy inside these souls and twisted itself upon itself. He suddenly saw with brilliant clarity that these beings were Suns that had fallen into themselves and were now in the process of becoming black holes.

And just as surely he saw that if he reached out to remove the pegs that held the misery in place, the fire from that Sun would suddenly reveal itself, and burn him. Albert had no idea how he knew, but he trusted the truth of the vision and did nothing. It was all so clear now.

Children were rich in life, some old folk had gone past the fears, but the masses who were convicted with the belief in their mortgage and relationships and sufferings were trapped.

  It was too much, and Albert lowered the glasses for a moment. Life resumed its former normality. A beautiful woman walked past, and a deep seated ancient urge took up within. He wanted to follow her, and had no impulse but to do so. He wanted her to try on these glasses, and then they would make wild passionate love in the park. His heart raced before him mind could stop him .. he would know no bounds, fear no consequence, and nothing would prevent him from the incredible experience of total life!

Yet when he approached the girl, putting the glasses back on, she too became a ghost… A lost ship on an endless sea. A shell, a whisp, a nothing. All attraction left and revulsion took its place. He was amazed he could ever feel such desire one moment, and such disgust the next. It was confusion. Questions began to emerge. Was he going to see life this way forever? Would he ever meet someone who he could share these glasses with?

Could he trust anyone else with the glasses? Surely someone would steal them, but if he could meet the right one, how incredible would it be? Inside he made a wish, a pact, a dream, an intent … and even as he made this promise, he knew it would be fulfilled. What were these incredible glasses?

  His whole body knew it … It could feel the other coming closer. It tingled with expectation of what was to come, and she would come. They would meet, he knew it. Just as certain as he knew the apple, he knew this. But when, and where?

Albert stopped once more’ He took off the glasses and asked himself what the apple really tasted like. He bit it once more, and the normality of the experience took over. Away flooded the brilliance from his nerves. Normality crept up once more, and it confused him.

Quickly he put them back on, and the Green Glasses experience came rushing forward immediately. Tantalising, rich, exhilarating and rewarding. With no further thought he made his way back to the park to soak up this incredible gift.

Hours passed. It must have been hours because night had fallen and a chill had crept into the air … To Albert the eventide appeared as a flaming sword of violet painting his body with messages of eternity, yet some part inside told him he needed clothes. That was when he looked at what he wore, and to his shock he realised he was living inside a grey, drab house. His dowdy clothes reeked of convention, compromise, and lack of self. He was truly astonished that he could have ever chosen such unimportant fabrics, crumpled, drab and reeking of fear. He stank of fear … Swam in it. He had to get rid of the clothes and went to take them off.

Something stopped him … Then the light of a store caught his eye, and in the window some beautiful silk outfits shone like a lighthouse. That was what he needed. He had little money on him, but this didn’t matter. He had life in his veins and he needed those clothes. He could not even see the salesman in the fluorescent ugliness of the store interior, but he could see the clothes clearly… They sang out to him. He didn’t even need to try them on, because he could trust his body to pick the right size.

 He collected a shirt, a suit, shoes and socks, a tie, some accoutrements, a splash of cologne and then left without saying a word to anyone. There was no one there, after all, was there? Regardless, the glasses gave him the grace and power to move through the fields of life like it was sand through his toes. He felt greatness flowing from within, he WAS greatness, a demi-God is such could exist.

Breathing deeply of the night air he flowed more than walked back to the park where he found the fountain. As he washed in the water and got dressed Albert was amazed that the thin light of a crescent moon could hold such a lucid clarity that allowed so many things to come into sharp focus. “This as a cat sees!” he realised, and with this he sensed the feel of silk around his skin become as close and as personal as an animals coat.

The fabric sang where it touched his skin. “I belong to you” it sang “I am a part of you!” The colour radiated into him, bringing an ever more resonant pulse of blood through his mind. The scent of the expensive perfume spoke of distant horizons, waiting for him. “I have no limits!” Albert exclaimed, forgetting completely that only hours ago he was a mere clerk in a shop. “I am truly free!”

Up till that moment Albert had never known freedom, never tasted its intoxication. He came to understand that he had been born for this moment, and this moment was made for him. He had always instinctively known of its possibility, and now could see why he was so bored with his life … How long ago now? It seemed eternity since he met the gnome. Who was that gnome? What a unique being… But then, HE was unique. What was he imagining, Albert IS unique! Albert is the most unique uniqueness that ever was.

Maybe he was the starting point? Maybe he had been selected for some obscure reason because he was the first seed to sprout? The gentle moisture of the night air filled his being. It was all so true, so real, that even when he took off the glasses the sense of perpetual being remained longer. The dull conventional world started to look more and more like the dream, and only now was he beginning to wake up.

It had all come to this point where Albert was the new cause, the new being, the new start to everything. He remembered his earlier wish for a perfect woman, the one who would resonate in harmony with his awareness. A woman he could enliven, enrich and enlighten. Yes his body was saying this was what he needed, and his heart, and his mind. All of him came into accord with this single desire, and he knew it would be fulfilled.

 Like the bloodhound on the scent, his instinct picked up the trail. It took him to a nightclub, a seedy run down affair that looked shades of black through his glasses, but away to the right down a darkened alley a bright light caught his vision. A cadaver of drunks were playing around, laughing, joking and more to the point … They were visible. Clear, bright and present in the moonlight, they shone like bells.

Albert was struck by the word “serendipity”. No fear contained him, the glasses did not lie … “Ho!” he called out to them. They looked up, saw the stranger, and suddenly it was as the light was switched off. All life left them and they became grey, motionless ghosts.

What was this? Albert was shocked… What had happened? Had the glasses lied? Were they false prophets? Then the thought came through, he was a stranger. The drunks had thrown off the shackles of society and were free. In their own worlds they were Gods, but the stranger called and pulled them from their freedom so that they fell back inside themselves. They turned back to ghosts.

A police whistle screams, aching his ears. Some kids are being held and searched, and as the authority goes about its business, Albert sees the colour fade from the children. They are learning to be adults. The police are not dull grey like the rest, they are solid black. Soaking up the resonance of fear their actions have created they grow denser and firmer. Albert is watching from what seems a mile away … “POWER” a voice seems to deafen him with an intensity of stillness. Where did it come from?

The black started to fade, and it appeared that the boys had no drugs on them after all, and the police presence weakened, diminished and faded back to the collective dull grey. The effect spilled out to the energy of the trees and all life seemed to go silent. The drunks stayed with their heads down, not making a sound. Each was shifting to its place within the mists of oblivion.

  “Man is a tarnish on the face of the planet” thought Albert with what he once may have thought to be anger, but which was not just cold recognition. Man is a blot, a cancer, a disharmony, and intrusion. Only in nature does life flow easily and purely. But children were true and clear… Was this his mission? To bring the childlike energy back to the ghosts? Doubts began to assail him. Despite the clarity of the glasses, he asked what he could do. The world was large, he was small, all he had was a vision. Yet deep inside he knew he had to start, must decide, must find the woman, the Eve of his new world, his Eden.

He needed a bridge between the worlds of dreams and reality. He must have some certain point on which his life could revolve…  Was this how Jesus had felt, he wondered? Did Jesus wake up like this one day, and did something like the Green Glasses happen to him? But how stupid, Albert then thought. He had no power to create miracles… or did he?

An old drunk lay in the gutter near where he walked. He could see the life force draining from him. The man was dying. “What if I imagine and place some of the incredible colour and joy I have been experiencing and place it all around him” Albert thought, “Maybe this would help?” So he allowed his thoughts to go to these places. He allowed the colours of life to flow through his heart, to come out from the park, and into the soul of the dying drunk.  

Doorways opened, and he could look into the life of the dying man. He saw clearly the bitter setbacks that put him in the gutter, the failed marriage, the cruel backstabbing of his friends. Compassion welled up like a tide within, and washed over all. Everything of the man’s life flowed past him, everything he had done and not done fanned out like a deck of cards.

 Green eyes flickered, and for a moment the drunk looked up. He said nothing, just stared, glancing everywhere and nowhere … and then it began. Albert could feel it, touch it, know it, sense it, savour it. Life came flowing in with waves of compassion… Slowly at first, but building larger and stronger. It was the heart beat of some distant universe he was feeling, and it grew moment by moment.

Vapour wrapped around him like mist, suffuse yet calm and beckoning. It crossed the space between himself and the drunk, and started to glow. “Is this love?” Albert asked himself. He knew it was, an essence so profound, so complete that there was nothing else but this moment that could contain it.

It was like the edge of a vast ocean … Step in and you could be gone forever. Albert knew he had to stand and allow it to come to him, flow through, go to the drunk. He was the reference point for Eternity, the chosen one and life had brought him to this place, this moment.

The light flowed through the top of the man’s head, down into his heart, out through his toes and fingers, then it simply broke through everything. Like a paper lantern being lit, the man took on a light of his own. He stood up, shining brilliant and free, transparent to the divinity the flowed through him. He nodded severely towards Albert, and then the man transformed into a beam of sheer luminescence that then seemed to be pulled up to the heavens, leaving only a phosphor trail behind. 

 Yet Albert noted the man had left his body behind …

For the first time since the gift of the glasses, Albert was scared. He was truly frightened, not by the power he had, but by what he might do with it. The glasses fell off into his waiting hands, and he sobbed with deep welts of pain echoing up from the confines of his heart.

 He sobbed and sobbed, not knowing why. He knew nothing, he was worthless and everything he had ever known was gone. Anything he ever believed in was now ancient history, filed away in some forgotten chamber never to be seen again.


He sat there for who knows how long. The silk hung off him in the damn night air. The silent birds in the trees still breathed, but the strange and awesome fear of what he had been given had crashed through the prism of his reality, shattering it into razor edges of understanding.

He now knew his power was to liberate the fallen, but it was not what he had expected. Death was not supposed to come wearing silk robes, but black rags. Death was a skull, a threat, a fear … not a visitation of life.

Wasn’t it?

Finally realising the horror of his situation, Albert went to throw the glasses away, but they did not leave his hand. He could not even say if he had still held them, or that they had held onto him. They just stayed there, in his hand, waiting.

A hissing wail of sirens broke through his reverie. A driver careers out of control and sends the car into the river that runs beside the park. Without even thinking Albert’s hand put the glasses on his nose, and a deep whir of energy took over. He was propelled by some force that flowed from his heart, and which brought him to the accident scene. There once more, a man about to die.

Once more the deep compassion stirred up, and though Albert already knew the consequence, here was his lover… Here was the Soul Mate he had always yearned for. The flow began, running through him, and it was everything. Immutable power surged and channelled itself through his being, and wrapped itself around the dying man. The fellow looked up, and seemed to recognise him, seemed to know him.

Albert saw the fear fade from the man’s eyes as the incredible death came and took him from his body. So peaceful, this drowning. So wonderful, this experience. So blissful this sweet sweet moment. Away the man went, leaving the disincarnate wreckage behind.

Another calling. A shot had rung out, a Policeman had fallen with a bullet to his heart. The ebony black azure of power had left him, and the man’s mortal being wavered until the moment Albert arrived. Seeing him, the officer knew it was time to go… The power flowed, the ecstasy renewed itself, the vapour formed, and the compassion took control. Such beauty, such complete and total embracement.

Every day, every hour, every minute, every moment another call came through. Albert now knew there would always be someone requiring his power, the Power of Freedom. All about were people in prison, longing to be free, and he held the keys.

Such a thing to be given. Such a small world to be awoken from, yet now it would be a bottomless pit should Albert ever try to go back. He could not go back to what he was after knowing the exquisite taste of Lady Death upon his lips.

In a world transparent to the divine, Albert was now the bridge, the calling card for a new life … Or he should pass this cup? Was it really a curse? Should he just give the glasses to another? Could he? Would he?

As if in response an empty yearning stood waiting. Somewhere in the distance, Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” was playing on a radio.

 Silken sweet Death awaits his answer. She is a patient lady.



Copyright Michael Wallace 2008


Michael Wallace was a Commercial Writer "till I got bored to death", he then booked concerts, organised the Golden Age magazine  and generally bought and sold real estate ... "Anything to avoid a 9 to 5". Of note: At the time this story was written he had been suffering the long term effects of the Hong Kong Flu. This turned out to be the earliest known version of the SARS virus (1975 area) ... At age 20 he was 7 1/4 stone, fitted girls 24" jeans, and looked like a heroin addict. Apparently he was already supposed to be dead, as he had barely eaten in 2 years...

"Writing a story a night is what kept me alive. I am lazier now!" - Michael Wallace

To know more about this extraordinary man visit one of his websites:

Current publications relevant to your area

Current Activity relevant to you guys