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Episode One Hundred and Six

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Monstrous Agonies E106S03 Transcript


[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode One Hundred and Six.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through a voice saying “-shot dead by an officer-”, a voice saying “-progress-”, pop music and a voice saying “-how honest do we need to be?-” before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-that itching, niggling feeling you've forgotten something.


Next tonight, I answer listeners’ questions in our weekly advice segment. First up, a listener wondering what to do about an uninvited guest.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

I wasn't born in the community, but you know the old story: a little girl flipping through books in the wrong section of the library and before you know it, boom! Magic! Pentagrams!


And now you have an eight-year-old witch in an extremely conservative family – one who understands absolutely nothing about creatures of the night other than, “Well, that doesn't sound very Christian, does it?”


So it wasn't a surprise when I moved away from home as soon as I got the first opportunity. I left my little town that was strange in all the wrong ways, and I got my own place. And then, my problems began.


The first few months were smooth enough apart from the mess of moving, meeting the neighbours, and doing all those protective spells that you'd expect. My weekly shop was costing rather more than usual, but I figured I just needed to find a cheaper supermarket.

And there was one other thing… [sighs] I suppose I should have made more if it at the time but, uh. Well. I was getting woken up every night by noises coming from the kitchen.

The thing is though, I don't really mind the occasional poltergeist. Helps keep the rent down, doesn’t it! And I always manage to fall back to sleep, even with the screams of the damned in the background.


All I have to deal with really is a few misplaced dishes and chairs. No bloody messages on the walls or black goo leaking from the sink. It's all very civilized! So I didn’t really think about it much.

Then, the other day, a friend's birthday was coming up and I was responsible for the cake. Three layers, strawberry sauce, decadent and delicious. I worked on it all day, and after that [laughing]I just wanted to crash out and sleep for a week! So I popped it in the fridge and went to bed.


I woke up to the usual noises. They usually don't last longer than ten or fifteen minutes. But not that night. It went on for almost an hour. It didn't seem like it would ever end!


Enough was enough – I had work the next day! I jumped out of bed ready to give this ghost a piece of my mind. I stomped downstairs, flung the door open, and there, in the middle of my kitchen was...[sighs] not a ghost.

He was tall and chalk white, with blood red eyes and a pair of twisted horns on his head. The room stank of sulphur. He looked up at me, teeth all canine, sharp as razors and red dripping from his mouth... as he destroyed my cake.


Suddenly, I understood why my groceries weren’t going as far as they used to. But before I could say anything, he disappeared in a haze of gunpowder like a cartoon villain.


I can’t believe I had to tell my friend a demon ate her birthday cake. It’s like telling the teacher that no, really, the dog actually did eat my homework!


She was fine about it, but I’m livid. We’re in a cost of living crisis, I can’t be paying for two people’s groceries for no reason. How do I make sure this doesn’t happen again? Preferably with the chance to tell this moocher exactly what I think of him!


The Presenter (as themselves)

I wish I could tell you this was a rare occurrence, listener. Unfortunately, there are many people who consider anything existing on a different plane of existence than their home realm to be fair game.

I don’t think you’re going to be able to convince your nocturnal visitor to change his mind on that matter. He clearly feels very comfortable helping himself to the contents of your pantry, and I don’t think any amount of arguing is going to help that.


Concentrate instead on making it clear that contrary to his assumptions, he is not welcome in your kitchen, and cannot behave in this revoltingly entitled fashion without suffering the consequences.


Demon traps are, very understandably, rather a controversial topic in the community. Certainly I am not advocating for their use in public areas or as instruments of violence. But at the end of the day, they are the best tool for this specific situation.


A simple barrier trap should work perfectly well, bouncing the demon’s essence back to where he came from before he can wreak havoc on your weekly shop.


If you really want to tell him off before he goes, you might also consider a sticky trap that will hold him in place as you give him what for. As I say, I don’t think you’re likely to change his mind, but you’re welcome to try.


Do think through your banishment process beforehand, however. You don’t want him hanging around while you try to remember which sigils you’re supposed to be using. Apart from anything else, it would rather undermine your authority.


Finally, I know you’ve been a practitioner for many years now, but a word of warning – demon traps in particular can be tricky. If you’re not sure you’re up to it – or you just don’t want to give yourself the extra work – you can always find a pre-made kit that will make the process much easier.

And, as always when you’re shopping, I urge you to support creature-owned, independent businesses where you can.

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


The Presenter

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And our army of metaphysical lawyers are trained to find even the slightest loophole in demonic contracts, so you can give old Scratch the finger as you waft your way to eternal bliss.


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[End of background music]


The Presenter

Tonight’s second letter comes from a listener feeling disconnected from their loved ones.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

I guess I should start with my family. There’s quite a lot of us – three siblings, several aunts and uncles, so many cousins that frankly, I’ve lost count. [laughs] And they’re great, honestly.

There are one or two distant relatives that I, uh, don’t really get along with, but overall, I really, really am lucky when it comes to family. And I’m grateful for that, I am. I know there are lot of people who can’t say the same.

With that many relatives, though, you’d think there would be plenty of things one could have in common with them. But that’s not the case for me. I seem to be the only one in my entire family that is completely different than everybody else.

I have completely different skills and talents, a different sense of humour – I like practical jokes and pranks and... nobody else does.[sighs] I even look different. I’m the only person in the family with freckles, my hair is totally different than any my siblings’ and my teeth, uh- [sighs]


Still, nobody has ever made a fuss about it. They’ve always treated me the same. And even though I sometimes wished to be a little more like them, I never felt like I was an outsider. Until about 5 months ago.


I was visiting my parents for a great-aunt’s birthday, when I found some documents in my mother’s study. There were childhood pictures of me, together with historical reports, pages of notes and the number for a support group.


I-I looked it up. And it says it’s for “family, friends and partners of postnatally altered individuals”. Apparently, my parents have realised that I am different. And not just in the ways that I already knew about.

I’ve done research of my own about the genus they think I am, and at this point I’m pretty sure they’re right. And ever since I found out, I’ve been having a hard time connecting with my family.

I feel… [sighs] Well, I-I feel like I don’t belong any more. And I’m scared they might not see me as part of the family. I haven’t talked about this with anyone. I’ve no idea how to bring it up with my parents. What, um. Well. What should I do?


The Presenter (as themselves)

I understand your trepidation around broaching this topic with your family. But remember, this isn’t new information to them. At least not to your parents.

They have known for some time that you might well be a different genus to them, and they have treated you no differently for that knowledge. They have loved you, and supported you, and taken good care of you. I see no reason why that should change.


This discovery seems to have shaken up some of your underlying feelings around not always fitting in with your loved ones. But might it not instead be a source of comfort?


You say you’ve never felt like an outsider. This information doesn’t change that – you’re still one of the family, just as you’ve always been. But now, you don’t have to worry about pressure to conform to their normal. You’re not bad at being one of them – you’re just very very good at being yourself.


By all means, reach out to others in your genus – or your suspected genus – and see if you can build a sense of community with them. Take as long as you need to let this information settle.


In time, you can bring the subject up with your family, safe in the knowledge that you are asking nothing of them that they have not already proven themselves very glad to give – their love and support not in spite of your difference, but because of it.


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


The Presenter

131.3FM – don’t touch that dial.


[End of background music]


The Presenter

Up next on the Nightfolk Network, we’re looking at anti-liminal biases in technology. Tonight’s guest, Automated Mapping Prototype 4B1-X7, is at the forefront of the campaign against CAPTCHA and similarly sapio-normative tests...


[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through operatic singing, a voice saying “-416 on day two-”, a voice saying “-fuller picture of events-” and a voice saying “-face blindness-” before fading out.


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


H.R. Owen

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

Tonight's first letter was submitted byÍris N.F.,the second letter was from Leo Eden, this week’s advert came from Michael Sperry, and today’s sign-off was based on a suggestion by GhostyGoose. Thanks, friends.


Huge hello and welcome to our 100th supporter on Patreon, Lux. Whoo! Let’s see if we can’t make it to 200 by the end of the season. Join them at patreon.com/monstrousagonies, or making a one-off donation at ko-fi.com/hrowen.


You can also help us grow our audience by sharing with your friends and familiars, and 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]


--END TRANSCRIPT--

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