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  • Writer's pictureH.R Owen

Episode Eighteen

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Monstrous Agonies E18S01 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Eighteen.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through a voice saying “-a love song-”, someone singing the word 'Valentine', a voice saying “-trading app-” and static before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-not as many bones than you might expect.

If you've just tuned in, you're right on time for our advice segment, where I answer listener's questions about all aspects of life in the creature community.

Our first letter this evening is from a friend with benefits whose situation is proving less beneficial than they might have hoped.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

My friend and I recently struck up a more physical relationship than we've had before. It's not an especially romantic relationship, or at least, no more than every friendship is a little romantic. But I particularly appreciate is that, because we already know each other so well, we've been able to feel comfortable with one another far faster than I have with other partners.

My friend is from a corporeally fluid genus. She has a shape that she generally prefers, and it is helpful to have a recognisable form sometimes, but she's pretty relaxed about how she looks, generally speaking.

The first few times we went to bed she just did whatever she felt like, body-wise. I'm pretty well down for whatever, so no problems there. But then she asked if there was anything I'd particularly like.

Well. Of course, there is. We all have our, um. Our things. I told her, and she was all for it. It was... good. It was, um...

God, anyway, not the point! The thing is, she did it again the next time. And the next. And I like it, obviously. But, well, it's kind of intense? I usually need a day or so to get feeling back in my arms, not to mention the clean-up. My poor washing machine's on its last gasp. So, yes. Fun, but very much a sort of special occasion thing.

I'm starting to worry she thinks it's like, the only thing I'm into, or that her having them- Whatever they are! Is some kind of prerequisite to my sleeping with her.

I like her. Whatever she looks like, whatever her body is doing, it's all her and that's what I'm into. How do I tell her I don't need all the bells and whistles, without sounding like I'm rejecting her? And preferably without taking the bells and whistles off the table entirely.

The Presenter (as themselves)

Listener, I suspect that once you summon the courage to have this conversation, it will probably go much better than you think. You've been very clear here about how you feel about your friend and her body. You just need to communicate those feelings as clearly to her as you have to me.

To avoid causing unnecessary hurt or insecurity, concentrate on the positives. Frame your conversation as a discussion of what you like, rather than a complaint about what you don't.

You enjoy your friend's body, whatever shape it takes. Tell her that. Tell her too that you've enjoyed the various different kinds of sex you've had together. You might bring up other, new things you'd like to try, making it clear that you're interested in her, not just this thing she can do.

Trust is a tricky thing. The only way to build it is to act as if it's already there. Someone has to be the first to take the plunge and make themselves vulnerable. Consider this an opportunity to reaffirm the trust you have in your friend by sharing your true thoughts and feelings. And who knows – perhaps she'll have some suggestions of her own about how to pass the time together.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network, brought to you by Rising Sun Security – experts in circadian safety. Rising Sun Security: make every hour count.

[End background music]

The Presenter

Our second letter tonight is from a listener who wants to connect with a new colleague.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

I noticed her on my first day. At first I thought I knew her from somewhere. I had such a strong sense of recognition, like her name was on the tip of my tongue... But in the blur of new names to put to new faces, I lost track of her.

I didn't see her again for a few weeks. Or at least, I don't remember seeing her. It was someone's leaving party I think. I hadn't really been there long enough to care, but there was free cake and the excuse to get away from the computer for a half hour.

She was at the back of the room, incongruous in her dark clothes against the brightly coloured decorations. She was looking at me. I thought perhaps I was just in her eyeline, but no. Even when I moved, her eyes followed me.

It came over me like a creeping thing. My obsession. I started to think about her more and more. I kept seeing her out the corner of my eye, but if I turned to look, she was gone. It didn't matter. Even if I couldn't see her, I was aware of her. As if she were a stone on the blanket of the universe, pulling everything around her into the black hole at her centre.

I started staying later and later, though I barely managed to make up for the work lost during the day, I was so distracted by the thought of her. I tried to ask about her but when my colleagues asked who I meant, what could I say? Her. The one. The only woman in the universe.

Then one night... I thought everyone had gone home. I'm sure everyone had gone home. And I felt it. Her presence. The burn of her gaze on the back of my neck. I didn't look round. I knew if I did, she'd leave. The creak of something, a footstep or the wind. I could smell... metal? Iron.

My throat was so dry, my voice barely a whisper as I begged her, just once, please stay. A sharp inhale, her mouth so close she could have tasted me. I turned...

And she was gone. I couldn't feel her any more. I waited but... She'd gone.

It's been two weeks and I haven't seen her. But God, I can't stop thinking about her. I don't feel well. My hair's coming out. I don't remember when I last slept - there's no difference now between dreaming and waking, it's all her. She's burrowed in under my skin, she's burning me up inside. I should be afraid. But I'm not. I'm... I'm ready. How do I show her I'm ready?

The Presenter (as themselves)

Oh, listener. Congratulations! Falling in love is an exhilarating experience – though not without its ups and downs, as you've discovered!

The first throes of a new infatuation are often marked by unusual or erratic behaviour. Your body is being saturated in a dizzying cocktail of hormones, including some that are related to the fight or flight adrenal reaction. It's no wonder you can't concentrate in the office with all that going on inside you!

But I know – no amount of science is going to help the way you feel. What might soothe your anxiety is that, from what you've told me, it does seem like your feelings are reciprocated. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to communicate with the object of your affections.

Her preference for approaching you alone rather than when your colleagues are around suggests that privacy is important to her. She may be unsure about mixing work with pleasure, or perhaps she's simply shy. Moving your work pattern to allow for more time in the office alone might encourage her to approach you once more – though do be sure not to work over your paid hours.

In terms of communication itself, there do seem to be some obstacles to overcome. It's a shame your office safety regulations likely don't allow open flames, or else I might suggest a mullein candle or two to help things move along.

Failing that, try a cup of mugwort tea for you and perhaps leaving out some snacks for her – apples are traditional but I'm sure a chocolate biscuit or two wouldn't go down badly.

These efforts should be enough to let her know you're interested. And if she doesn't respond to your advances, I recommend a weekend in your pyjamas with a tub of ice cream and some weepy movies.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network, on 131.3 FM – the voice of liminal Britain.

[End background music]

The Presenter

The time is two o'clock on Thursday morning. Next tonight, with Valentine's Day just around the corner, there's no better time to revisit that classic of creature television, Love In a Time of Garlic. Panned by critics, LTG, as it is affectionately known by fans...

[The Presenter's voice fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through music, inaudible speech, a voice saying “-two o'clock, we have something very exciting-” and static before fading out.

Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits.]

H.R. Owen

Episode Eighteen of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.

To submit your own letters and suggestions, head over to our website at, email us at, or find us on Tumblr at Monstrous Agonies.

Huge thanks this week to our latest supporter on Patreon, MrsNoggin! Hello, friend!

Mrs Noggin has brought our number of patrons into double digits! Thanks so much everyone who's supported us so far, it makes a real difference. If you haven't signed up yet, you can pledge as little as £1 a month at

This podcast is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The theme tune is Dakota by Unheard Music Concepts.

Thanks for listening, and remember - the real monsters are the friends we made on the way.

[Fade to silence]


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