Non-Violent Communication


Third Prize winner of the 12th Annual Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest

So me and Marjorie, we went to one of those workshops over the weekend. Non-violent communication. That’s the one.

I says to Marjorie, I says, “Marjorie, do we really have to do this?”

And she says, “Yes, Anthony, we do.”

I know when she calls me “Anthony” she means business. So away we went.

So we’re all sitting around in a circle, and the guy who’s running the workshop is talking, and people are “sharing” their stories. I says to the guy next to me, I says, “Is this some kind of a fucking cult or something?”

And the guy next to me says, “I beg your pardon?”

And I says, “Is this some kind of a fucking cult or something?”

And he says, “Uh, no, I don’t think so. But it could be. I’m not sure.”

So that night I look it up on the internet, but there’s nothing about it being a cult. Marjorie asked me why I think it’s a cult. And I said, “They’re trying to change the way you think. I don’t like that.”

Don’t get me wrong. I learned some things. Handy suggestions I’m going to try to use. Sometimes when I get angry at Marjorie, I say things I feel really bad about afterwards. Really bad. She’s a good woman, my Marj, when it’s all said and done. And I hate it when I hurt her like that.

But here’s the real clincher. So Monday morning after the workshop, I’m in the paint store standing at the counter waiting for my paint. And there’s this German guy standing there next to me. I’d seen him there before. I don’t like him. I don’t like the way he talks. And he leans in close to me and he says, “I don’t think it’s such a bad thing what the Germans did to the Jews, do you?” And then he smiles at me like we got some kind of a little secret together.

I couldn’t believe my fucking ears. I can feel myself start to shake. And I know the workshop says I should walk away. But I don’t.

Instead, I says to him, “Do you know what you are? You’re a fucking German cunt.” Back where I come from, that’s a nasty word. But it’s okay to use it in Canada because nobody here knows what it means.

And this guy he says, “Hey, hey, hey, do we have a problem?”

And I says, “No, we don’t have a problem. You got a problem. You’re a cunt. That’s your problem.” Then I walk out leaving my paint behind. And I’m thinking to myself, holy shit, I just finished a course in non-violent communication.

Anyway, the next day I go back to the store, and the Chinese lady at the counter hands me my paint and says, “No charge. On house.” Then she smiles at me and says, “I like how you talk.” That’s what she says. “I like how you talk.”





Honourable mention in the 4th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.



Honourable mention in the 6th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.

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