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  • Writer's pictureH.R. Owen

Episode Forty Seven

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Monstrous Agonies E47S02 Transcript

H.R. Owen

Hello, friends. Hero here. As I mentioned last week, Monstrous Agonies is taking some time off. That means no episode next week, on Thursday 25th November, but we'll be back at it on December 2nd. Our inbox is staying open, though, and I'll be around on the Monstrous Agonies social media accounts. Until then, look after yourselves, and enjoy the episode.

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Forty Seven.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through R&B music, a voice saying “-fascinating-”, guitar music and a voice saying “-protect them-” before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-fear not, wanderer. There's a lighted window waiting for you somewhere

Next tonight, it's time for our weekly advice segment, where I answer listener's questions on liminal living.

Before we begin I feel I must address the deluge of letters that you, my listening public, sent in the wake of last week's advice segment making suggestions as to whom could assist us in the matter of our.. unwanted correspondence. I say “suggestions”. Really just the one name suggested. Over and over again.

I received your letters, listeners. I received every single one of them. All of them were all forwarded on to me, and lingering on every envelope, the unmistakable air of urgent excitement. I took this to mean the station approves of the proposal. Could have just sent me a memo... [sighs] Heaven preserve me from semi-sentient radio stations with a flair for the dramatic.

So. I have reached out to [mockingly] the person in question. In a purely professional capacity. We shall have to see if she responds. Now please, stop writing in.

Our first letter this evening is from a listener wrestling with new expectations.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

So I’m a skeleton. My great-great-grandfather’s skeleton was reanimated and it turns out it can be passed on. To put it simply, I died, I rotted and I rose again, minus all the fleshy bits. Don’t ask how a skeleton has kids to pass this on to, I don't wanna go into it.

Anyway, this is all fine. I'm happy how I am, though it would’ve been nice to have more time to enjoy food.

I’ve been with one of my partners for a few months now and it’s-- it's been great, they’re great! They’re sapio, but they’ve dated other creatures in the past and they’ve got family who are creatures, so there’s not been anything about that that’s led to any arguments or awkwardness. Until a few weeks ago, when I met their parents.

The meeting was actually fine, for the most part. [laughing] I’ve certainly had worse first encounters. There was just this one point where their dad said something about how it must have been breezy, what with the wind whistling through my bones.

I don’t wear clothes you see. I mean I'm, I'm literally just bones, so, uh... [laughs] Don't really see the point. And they can be such a nuisance, getting caught on ribs, loose threads sticking in your joints, stuff like that. And it’s never been a problem, not with my partner, not with anyone else I've met.

But after meeting their parents, my partner got it into their head that their parents thought I was rude or embarrassing or something because I go bare bones. And they’ve been on at me ever since to cover up more. Not nagging exactly, but [sighing] hinting and buying me t-shirts, you know, that sort of thing. I... Um. [sighs] Well, I think they’re embarrassed of me now. Which, uh... Yeah. M-make, makes me feel, uh. Pretty rubbish, actually.

Ever since I rose again I've not worn clothes, a lot of skeletons I know don’t either, and till now it’s never been a problem. I don’t want it to be a problem now either though. Should I just give in?

The Presenter (as themselves)

I can tell you now, listener – when it comes to any kind of relationship, be it romantic or otherwise, my advice is almost never going to be “just give in”. Either the relationship is worth investing the energy it takes to solve a conflict, or it isn't, in which case you may as well do whatever you want.

I think it's important to note that the issue here actually stems from your partner's relationship with their parents. More specifically, it's about your partner's assumptions about their parents' interpretation of your behaviour.

You say they've got the idea into their head that their parents were offended. Have they actually asked them? Or are they, perhaps, a little insecure in the family relationship, and assuming the worst?

Whether they're reacting to real disapproval from their parents or just the thought of it, their behaviour is several kinds of unacceptable. Firstly, they ought to communicate their feelings with you directly, not through the medium of passive aggressive t-shirt purchases.

Secondly, it's not up to them to dictate how you comport yourself in public. You are an equal partner in this adult relationship, not a child who needs to be instructed in proper manners. Quite apart from the fact that bare bones are not in any way comparable to public nudity, and it's completely unreasonable of them to insist you meet flesh-centric standards of respectability.

You need bring this out into the open and have a frank conversation with your partner. They need to understand that it's unfair and unkind to expect you to change your perfectly reasonable behaviour to soothe sapio anxieties.

You don't deserve a partner who's embarrassed by you – whether on their own behalf or because of their fears of other people's perceptions. If they can't move past this, I'm afraid you simply have to move on and find someone who can stand beside you with pride.

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

The Presenter

In association with Speccy More Eyes – designer glasses for the multiply ocular. Remember – more eyes is better than some!

[End background music]

The Presenter

Our second letter tonight comes from a listener concerned about compromise in the home.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

Bishop Edward King Chapel. Cuddesdon, outside Oxford. St Bride's Church, East Kilbride. St Paul's, Bow Common. Post-war ecclesiastical architecture. [increasingly angry] What did we do to deserve post-war ecclesiastical architecture?

Bleak, blank boxes, red brick, stainless steel, concrete! Minimalism. [mockingly] Let in the light, leave room for nature. Brutalism, stark against the sky-- Well, no, I-I actually quite like brutalism, actually. But the post-war trend for clean lines and sharp geometry is really doing a number on my real estate options!

Time was, every church in England had a plethora of nooks and crannies for my kind to perch on. It was expected! More than expected – that was how you knew you'd done a good job. When the gargoyles moved in! But nowadays, finding a suitable roost is like finding a needle in a chromium haystack.

It's not just the aesthetics, either. Although that is part of it. The image-obsessed gargoyle might be a bit a stereotype but let's be honest, there is some truth in its foundations. As a genus, we tend to like to look our best. And our best is undoubtedly nestled among soaring gothic arches, tracery as fine as lace, stained glass rippling with light and colour. Not insipid pine and sheet glass!

But it's also about comfort. So often these days, you think you've found the perfect perch, only to discover you're crowding up again solar panels and anti-bird spikes. I like birds! I've met some belligerent pigeons in my time but I'd rather have them than those horrible spiky things people put up to keep them away.

I've thought about staying where I am. I've had this roost for a century it's... fine. But the area just isn't right for me any more – it's taken a turn towards the sleepily gentrified, and that's just not my speed. If I'm going to be staring out at the street all day, I'd like something a bit more interesting to look at than bougie bistros and boutique board game cafés.

But here's my conundrum. Should I keep things easy and move with the times? Find a nice, sleek, modern box to perch on, something trendily non-conformist – or even, imagine, ecumenical? Or do I put the effort in and try and find somewhere that suits my tastes, an old pile somewhere that I can stake a claim in and really make my own? What do you think?

The Presenter (as themselves)

Well, listener, I obviously can't make this decision for you. It's your home – you are the only person whose opinion on the matter really counts. But I must confess, I don't see any reason for you to move onto a building you don't enjoy.

Our homes are precious spaces. They are a little slice of the world away from the world. A place we can call our own, and call the shots. The act of loving a space is transformative. There's a reason the thresholds of much-loved homes hold such power.

And aesthetics are a part of that. It's a wonderful thing to see ourselves reflected in our spaces, from a much-loved poster pasted up in successive dorm rooms, to places where the walls themselves sing in harmony with our lives' rhythms. Not only do I see no reason to compromise on your aesthetics, I sincerely believe that living somewhere you find ugly or distasteful would cause real discomfort.

I realise that you will be perfectly aware of this, but for our other listeners it is worth noting that when a place is occupied by a member of your genus, the protective energies around that building can be vastly magnified. I mention this because, as it happens, each country in the United Kingdom has its own searchable database of listed buildings that are at risk due to disrepair. These range from historic homes to old schools – and a vast array of ecclesiastic buildings.

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. On a practical level, these databases will provide you with a wider range of options than your average real estate listings. But you also have the chance here to use this decision as an opportunity to affect some small but positive change.

Again, I can't make this decision for you. But if you do decide to move to pastures old, please at least consider the idea of using your presence and power to help preserve these important features of our shared historic landscape.

Next tonight, we discuss the na--

[A pager beeps in the background]

The Presenter

Oh! I'm- I'm so sorry, listeners, that's my pager, God. Uh. I don't even know who has this number. Let me just, uh-- I--

[The beeping stops.]

The Presenter

I sincerely apologise for the interruption, uh... Oh. [sighs] I recognise the number. Still. And there's a message – 406. Hugs and kisses. Hilarious.

[sighs] Well, listeners. It seems we're getting a new station manager.

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

The Presenter

You're listening to the Nightfolk Network on 131.3FM...

[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-protect them-”, a voice saying “-it is the real world-” and classical music before fading out.

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

H.R. Owen

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

Tonight's first letter was from a submission by Art, this week's second letter came from Paige, and this week's advert came from Bowl. Thanks, friends! See the show-notes for how you can submit your own letters, suggestions and ads.

If you're enjoying the programme, please consider supporting it on Patreon at, or making a one-off donation at You can also help us grow the show by sharing with your friends and familiars, and by following us on Tumblr, @MonstrousAgonies, and on Twitter, @Monstrous_Pod.

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. Then:

The sound of wolves howling introduces the theme to Care and Feeding of Werewolves. It fades out as Hazel speaks.]

Hazel Thornton

Hi, my name is Hazel Thornton and I’m just going to cut to the chase because at this point I’m running purely on caffeine and adrenaline. That sort of thing happens when you stop studying for your final board exams because your grandmother disappeared.

Here in the Pacific Northwest people in the paranormal community going missing: a witch, werewolf, demon, a centaur, and others. I’m reaching out to colleagues in other regions to see how widespread the issue is and warn people to look out for each other, just in case.

Please, if you have any knowledge about the witch Rosemary Thornton, the werewolf Owen Grimsbane, the dwarf Thoroven Rockland, or anyone else who’s missing, email us at, or find us on Twitter, or Facebook or Tumblr. More details about the missing will be posted there.

Updates will be broadcast every two weeks on Apple Podcasts, Podbean, Podcast Addict, Spotify, and Stitcher. Until then, please stay safe. And thank you to Monstrous Agonies for helping us get the word out.

[The music and howling begin again before fading to silence]


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