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Episode One Hundred and Three

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Monstrous Agonies E103S03 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode One Hundred and Three.


[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-everything died, basically-”, classical music and someone laughing before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-can still see the cracks where it pushed its way through.

Next on the Nightfolk Network, it’s time once more for our advice segment, where I answer your questions about liminal living. Tonight’s first letter is from a listener struggling with mistaken identity.


The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

So, I’m a pretty... No. I’m a really hairy guy. All over my body, beard so thick I can barely comb it, it’s probably the first thing you’d noticed about me!

After that, you might notice the gold colour of my eyes, or that when I smile that my canines are noticeably longer than a sapio’s. You might start making certain assumptions. And every one of those assumptions would be wrong.

I’m sapio. Through and through. But I do quite often get mistaken for a lycanthrope, and I want to be very clear – that in itself is not a problem. I don’t take offence or anything like that.

I get mistaken mostly by sapios, but sometimes by members of the community, and once or twice by actual lycanthropes.


There’s this guy I was seeing. I really liked him, and we got talking. And at one point he asked me about my transformations, how they compared to his. And I had to explain that actually, I wasn’t lycanthropic too.

The conversation got awkward. And frankly the dating pool for queer men in Lancaster is small enough already without this happening again.


Like I said, it isn’t that I’m offended by being mistaken for a lycanthrope. That doesn’t bother me at all. It’s more that I don’t want people to assume I represent a community that I’m just not a part of.


I can’t change the colour of my eyes. I can’t change the length of my teeth. I suppose I could shave all my hair off and my beard and everything, but I really don’t want to. This is just how I look. I can’t help that.

I don’t want to misrepresent a community that’s already been so badly misrepresented in the past and present. But people take one look at me, and suddenly they’re interpreting me as an example of that community.


Is there anything I can do to stop people making these mistaken assumptions?


The Presenter (as themselves)

I’m afraid you’re trying to take responsibility for something that is not your job to fix. The problem doesn’t stem from anything you’re doing or what you look like. It stems from other people’s prejudices and stereotypes.

I would have hoped that it went without saying that lycanthropic genuses are quite as diverse as any others. Unfortunately, this is one of the more pervasive misapprehensions about this particular corner of the creature community.


Lycanthropy is a broad umbrella encompassing a wide range of cultures, genuses and subgenuses. Some of these communities may tend to share the kinds of traits you describe, but even within those groups, it’s certainly not a given.


Look at Saoirse Ronan, for example. The progeny of a long line of traditional, hereditary Irish werewolves, precisely the community most associated with the traits you describe. But she herself is about as far from those physical stereotypes as it’s possible to get.


Far from doing anything wrong by existing as you do, I rather think you are well placed to push back against those misconceptions, at least when they are coming from other sapios.


You can challenge them on their assumptions, and perhaps make them question why they believe they can tell a person’s genus just by looking at them.


You aren’t misrepresenting anyone, listener. Not lycanthropes, and not yourself. It is not your fault if others use you as a canvas on which to project their own misconceptions.


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

The Presenter

Brought to you by independent artist, Philomena Washington – now open for commissions. As a member of the community, you can trust Philomena to represent diverse genuses with sensitivity and accuracy, and with no additional charge for “unusual” features, including additional limbs, diverse integuments, and invisibility. Philomena Washington – proud member of the Nightfolk Network.


[End background music]


The Presenter

Our second letter tonight asks how to help a loved one take magical matters more seriously.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

I’ve been practising magic for a good few years now. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but I think I’m pretty good, as far as these things can be measured. At least good enough to know when someone’s been playing silly buggers.


There’s been some weird stuff going on with my dad lately. It started out pretty innocuous. He had some aches and pains, and was finding it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately all rather par for the course for a man of his age.


Then he started saying he was having, uh… Well, not nightmares exactly, but strange dreams. Unsettling. He compared it to thinking there was another step at the top of the stairs – not scary per se but a sort of jolting wrongness that set him up for the day all wrong.


I wanted to give him something to help clear out the bad energy in his bedroom – amethyst perhaps or pink calcite – but he just shrugged it off, said it was nothing but a bit of stress.

I didn’t really start worrying until the neighbourhood dogs got involved. All of them, from the yappiest little terrier to the sleepiest old Labrador. They u go berserk whenever he gets close.


His next door neighbour has a rather elderly Irish wolfhound, a sweet old girl who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. But my dad comes close and up go the hackles, out come the teeth, and she is ready to go. It’s just not like her.

It’s not just dogs that are behaving strangely, either. His garden’s full of birds these days, and not the fat little things that live in the hedge. These are great black beasts, bigger than any bird has a right to be. I’ve never seen a raven before, but I don’t know what else they could be.


They sit out there, whole flocks of them. Barely moving. Calling occasionally in their creaking, gravel voices. Watching the house like they’re… waiting for something.

Still, Dad insists there’s nothing weird going on. Which is just typical of him, honestly. He never says it to my face, but I know he thinks magic is a bunch of woo-woo nonsense. He likes to think he’s so rational. I love him but at the end of the day, he is an old white sapio man.


And then, it started raining. On his house – and nobody else’s. A single black thundercloud sitting directly over Number 42, chucking buckets while the rest of the street’s in blazing sunshine. Even Dad’s powers of denial are shaking a little under that one.


It seems pretty obvious that the old boy’s gone and got himself good and cursed. And I think I can lift it. Like I said, I’m not too shabby at this magic lark.


But Dad won’t even let me do a basic cleansing ritual. He refuses to believe there’s anything magical going on here, and won’t let me help him. Is there anything I can do to convince him that this is a magical problem and requires a magical solution?


The Presenter (as themselves)

I’m afraid I don’t think you’re going to be able to change your father’s mind here. He sounds quite determined not to see the obvious, and if localised storm-clouds and flocking omens won’t convince him, I’m not sure what will.

You can take some comfort in knowing that it doesn’t sound as if the curse is affecting him too badly – for the present. Persistent rainfall might cause problems in the long-term, and do keep an eye on things as they develop.


If your father starts manifesting physical symptoms – sores and boils, for example, or sudden skin-colour changes or other unexpected transformations – then you will have to put your foot down and get the professional help.

However, I don’t think it would be helpful to either of you to simply leave him to his fate. His own discomfort is clearly not sufficient for him to abandon his scepticism. You might have more luck appealing to him on behalf of your own unease.


Instead of offering to help him, try framing it as a favour he’s doing for you – letting you indulge in your woo-woo rituals not because he believes in them but because it will bring you some peace and comfort.


From there, you can negotiate to find what spells and measures he finds acceptable. He might find a full smoke cleanse and ritual purification a little invasive, but I have high hopes you’ll be able to convince him to at least put a bit of rosemary above the lintel.


You can’t take responsibility for changing your father’s beliefs. And, unfortunately, you can’t help the way those beliefs affect his choices about his own well-being.

But with a little careful encouragement and by appealing to his care for you, you should at least be able to stop this curse getting any stronger.

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


The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network – community owned, community run.


[End of background music]

The Presenter

Next tonight, if you can feel the hot breath of the law on the back of your neck as you run like a dog from the consequences of your criminal past, you might be considering an escape to another dimension. We take a look at the extradition treaties – or lack thereof – between the United Kingdom and the various realms that share its borders...

[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through a blast of trumpets, a voice saying “-looking for a body-”, a voice saying “-look at Patrick Kielty-” a voice saying “-controversial-” and guitar music before fading out.

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


H.R. Owen

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

Tonight's first letter was submitted byA Witch Named Ed,the second letter was from Ella K. Smith, this week's advert came from Kateand this week’s sign-off was inspired by a suggestion from Reggie Kim. Thanks, friends.


Hello and welcome to our latest supporters on Patreon, Gnome Anne, Nellie, Colleen, Laney, The Menagerie and Keenan. Join them at patreon.com/monstrousagonies, or make a one-off donation at ko-fi.com/hrowen.


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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