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  • Writer's pictureH.R. Owen

Episode One Hundred and Four

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Monstrous Agonies E104S03 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode One Hundred and Four.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through a voice saying “-you-you’ve got a great talent there-”, a voice saying “-pun intended-”, jazz music and a voice saying “-that didn’t go down well-” before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-a tiny, fragile city full of tiny, fragile lives, hidden under the bookcase.

Time now for another edition of our weekly advice segment, here on the Nightfolk Network.

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

The Presenter

131.3FM – broadcasting all the time, for all time.

[End of background music]

The Presenter

Our first letter this evening comes from a listener whose family are not living up to expectations.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

You get so many letters from people who are the only member of the creature community in their family, looking for advice on how to help their clueless sapio relatives treat them right and love them well.

And of course, you get plenty from people whose whole family are creatures. But I don’t think I’ve heard many letters from people like me. The second member of the community from an otherwise sapio-normative background.

My sibling made the decision to get turned about five ago. It was a bit of a surprise, but I have quite a few friends in the community, so while I had to learn a bit about my sibling’s specific chosen genus, generally I was pretty up on things.

Mum and Dad had more of a learning curve. But you know what? Fair play to them – they curved! They learnt the lingo, asked all the right questions, Googled all their wrong questions. [laughs]They, uh. Yeah, they really put the effort in.

It’s weird, looking at pictures of my sibling from before their transformation. It’s like, you can see that, no, actually, they’re supposed to have fangs. It’s right that they have claws and scales. It’s right that they should hiss a little when they talk. It- It just makes sense.

And they’re so happy! I didn’t think they were unhappy before but it’s like they’ve blossomed into this whole new person. Even when it’s tough, even when they’re shedding and itchy and miserable, they love it. They so clearly love it.

And I realised. WelI, I-I realised… I want that. I imagine myself looking like that, having those experiences and it… feels… right. I-I think it’s right for me, too.

And I thought, when I told my parents, they’d react like they did with my sibling. I thought they’d be- Um. [sighs] But, but they, uh. Uh. Didn’t.

They said I was just being influenced by my sibling. That it was like when we were kids and I’d see them playing with a toy and want it just because they had it.

I guess one creature in the family, that’s alright, that’s just a fluke, right? Could happen to anyone. [laughs bitterly]But two? Well. Now you’re on your way to being a creature family, and we can’t have that! [laughs, then sighs]

We haven’t talked about it since. And I haven’t really looked into the actual, you know, process of-of being turned. I suppose i-it just took the wind out of my sails. I’m so hurt and I’m so disappointed. I- [sighs] I don’t know what to do. Please help.

The Presenter (as themselves)

I think it very likely you are being influenced by the example set by your sibling. You’ve watched them become profoundly happy and comfortable in their new form, in a way that makes perfect sense for them.

Of course you want that for yourself. Not only is there no shame in that, but it certainly doesn’t undermine the validity of those feelings.

The difference in your parents’ responses to you and your sibling suggests to me that their issue isn’t with your becoming a part of the community per se. Rather, it seems to be a sort of cumulation of discomfort.

I wonder if they have some unprocessed feelings around your sibling’s decision. In their effort to be supportive, they may well have pushed aside any negative reactions they were having, rather than acknowledging them and working them through.

But feelings demand to be felt. One can only ignore them for so long. It seems your personal revelation has tipped the balance for your parents., and suddenly you’re being faced with everything they bottled up and chose to ignore the first time around, with the added pain of having expected so much better of them.

I don’t say any of this to let your parents off the hook. This is an explanation, not an excuse. But sometimes it can help to understand where a behaviour is coming from, even while condemning the behaviour itself.

As for what you can do about it, your first step seems obvious. Talk to your sibling. There is nobody in the world better placed to support you through this difficult time, and especially to help you handle your parents.

Your parents aren’t hateful people. They’ve demonstrated that in their efforts to welcome your sibling’s transformation. But they have let you down, badly, and they need to be held accountable for that.

Lean on your sibling, and demand the kindness you deserve. And if you do decide that transformation is right for you, well. Welcome home.

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

The Presenter

In association with The Very Safe Hut In The Woods That Bears No Ill Intentions, a unique and mobile architectural marvel the whole family can enjoy. Now offering trips in our flying mortar for visitors 6 and up.

Come to the Very Safe Hut In The Woods today and receive an experience you will certainly survive unscathed. With special thanks to our…[doubtful] business… advisors... At, uh… [sighs] Hm.

[clears throat] While I wish this person all the best in their future endeavours, I’m afraid I am quite unable to finish reading their advertising copy as written. And I will be making a note for our station manager to vet these adverts a little more closely in future.

Moving on to our second letter tonight, which is from a listener looking... for some financial advice? Oh I do hope this isn’t more of the same…

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

I’ll be honest, I’ve never really had much of a head for finance. I don’t follow the stock market or have really any idea how inflation and markets and so on actually work.

Like most people, I only really notice these things when they impact me personally. The frankly staggering price of the modern Freddo, for example. [laughs]

Or, more pertinently, the asking price for brave young knight to venture up a lonely mountain and rescue a beautiful princess from the claws of a devilishly handsome, wickedly funny and altogether rather marvellous dragon. [laughs]

It used to be, I could count on receiving several such visitors in the course of a year. I rather looked forwards to them, they’re dreadfully good fun!

But these days it seems hardly anyone’s got enough cash to spare to be sending out muscular young people in shiny armour to match wits – and weapons – with little old me.

I have a princess with me now, a pretty young thing with auburn hair and the sweetest singing voice. She’s quite charming. But she’s been in my lair for almost eight months, without so much as a sniff of armour polish in the vicinity!

I can handle my hoard devaluing. That’s what investments do and besides, it’s not like I’m actually looking to sell it any time soon. A home just isn’t a home without several thousand antique barometers.

But suddenly I find myself responsible for keeping this princess far longer than I expected. And princesses are not cheap to keep, believe me! They have very exacting standards, and little Arugula is no exception.

In the light of rising living costs and an uncertain economic future, how on earth can I afford to keep my pretty little princess in the manner to which she has become accustomed?

The Presenter (as themselves)

Ah! What a relief. A perfectly ordinary letter after all. [clears throat] I’m afraid little Arugula is going to have to make do with a slightly less comfortable style of life if you’re going to keep her with you long term. But I don’t think that necessarily needs to be the great trial you seem to be anticipating.

Princesses, while used to the finer things in life, can often prove highly adaptable under the right circumstances – for example, when they are getting enrichment in the form of one true love.

Providing a princess with her one true love often proves more than enough to acclimate her to changes in her style of living. In fact, some princesses give up their royal trappings entirely to be with the one they love most.

And remember, one true love needn’t be romantic in nature. Many princesses are more motivated by familial love, or love of their community or their home. The brilliant, steady love of true friendship should be more then enough to help Arugula handle any small diminishment in her style of living.

Listener, you chose this princess. You went down to the nearest castle, plucked her from her tower, and brought her to your home. You made this choice, and you now have to own it.

Shower her in affection, act in her best interests, and make her feel as safe and comfortable with you as she would in the arms of any knight in shining armour. She’ll be slow blinking back at you in no time.

Up next, we talk to the creator of a new app for the instant translation of liminal languages. Programmer Emily Hopper came up with the idea for the app when one of her heads began speaking fluent Nixish – a language unknown to her other appendages...

[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through classical music, a voice saying “-I’m ridiculous-”, a voice saying “-distort time and space-” and pop music before fading out.

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

H.R. Owen

Episode One Hundred and Four of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.

Tonight's first letter was submitted byEalasaid,the second letter was from Planetarium P.,and this week’s sign-off was inspired by a suggestion from Ella. Thanks, friends.

If you’re enjoying the programme, please consider supporting us on Patreon at, or making a one-off donation at

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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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