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Monstrous Agonies E74S03 Transcript
[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]
Monstrous Agonies: Episode Seventy Four.
[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-emotionally challenging-”, a voice saying “-you can see it in their face-”, and a voice saying “-and the government's many problems-” before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]
-a wet, green smell, and the sound of creeping growth.
It's almost two o'clock on Thursday morning, and time for our advice segment. Our first letter this evening is from a listener trying to come to terms with uncertainty.
The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)
I’ve been listening to your show for, uh... Well, it's almost as long as I’ve been in this reality! Or, uh, as long as we’ve been in this reality? [sighs] I’m four different versions of the same person, pulled from other worlds to, uh, best as I can tell, do... something. I’m not quite sure what.
I sometimes get these... I don’t know, feelings? Just these things that I know I should do. Have to do. It hasn’t been anything too big yet. Sending letters to addresses I couldn’t tell you how I knew. Getting groceries delivered to a house I’ve never visited. Nothing I can’t do relatively easily, even if I don't yet understand the wider context.
I like this world, I really do. That isn't to say I didn't have a hard time adjusting to my new life. Reconciling four sets of different memories, four different lives lived in different times and places, not to mention learning the rules of a whole new world. I still can’t reliably navigate the bus system.
But my ability to adjust to my new life – and my new reality – isn’t what I’m writing in about. The thing is, I’ve fallen in love. Or I, I think it could become love, anyway.
She’s… [sighs] She’s incredible. She’s smart, and funny, and listens when I talk, and she thinks the fact that I can split my limbs when we go climbing together is, is cool! I showed her that and she said it was cool. She thinks I'm... cool.
And she’s beautiful, too, in a way I never thought anyone could be. Her scales are the deepest, most beautiful shade of turquoise I’ve ever seen, except when they catch the light and turn the purest gold.
And somehow, she reciprocates! She tells me all eight of my eyes are beautiful. The only other person who’s ever called me beautiful is… [sighs] Is the reason I’m writing.
Because I’m married. One of me is, anyway. Or was married? As far as any of us know, he’s alive, somewhere, out in a world I may never see again. And we, we never split up or divorced so I think I’m still married. But if I’m being completely, brutally honest, I… don’t want to see him again.
He wasn’t a bad man, or a bad husband. He was actually a rather good one of both! And it made sense to marry him. He was – is – well-respected in our town, and wealthy, and treated me well. I think he loved me, in his way. I don't know if I ever really loved him.
I might really have a shot here at the kind of love I thought only existed in stories. I want to take the next step with her, but what if I’m ripped from my home for a fifth time? What if I have to leave her? What if I have to go back to my husband, knowing now that I love someone else? I feel so, so happy with her. Would it be cheating on him, to carry on with, with her? And if it was, well... Would that be so wrong?
The Presenter (as themselves)
I wish I could offer you the certainty you're searching for, listener. If only I could look into these other worlds on your behalf and say without doubt that your husband gives you his blessing, or reassure you that this world will be yours until the end of your days.
Unfortunately, I cannot. Neither can I tell you whether or not pursuing a romantic relationship with this woman would be “wrong”. You need to come to your own answer on the matter, navigating by your own moral compass.
I hear your anxiety about the uncertainty of your future. Eventually, you may discover a greater purpose behind your circumstances, the reason you are compelled to perform the actions that you do. But equally, you may never find such closure.
I encourage you to embrace this uncertainty as best you can. You can't guarantee you won't be pulled from this world at the whims of some unfathomable fate. But neither can anybody else. We cannot spend our lives in fear of an unknown future. Instead, we must build what we can in the time that we have, and enjoy it while we have it.
There are many ways that you can cultivate a sense of peace in the face of the unknowable vagaries of time. Art and poetry offer useful frameworks for exploring these ideas, and regular practice of mindfulness techniques can help you develop a sense of gratitude for the life you have, rather than fear of the life you may have in the future.
If you haven't already, you need to discuss the specifics of your situation with the woman you're interested in. She, too, needs to make her own decision about the morality of pursuing a romantic relationship with you. She also needs to decide whether or not the risk of your sudden loss is worth the reward of being loved by you.
This sounds dramatic, but again, this is the decision we all make when we choose to love, whether consciously or not. There are no certainties in this world or any other. Learn to embrace that, and live your life as well as you can by your own judgement. There's really nothing more any of us can do.
[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]
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[End background music]
Tonight's second letter asks what can be done about a difficult living arrangement.
The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)
So, I’ve been living in London for about ten years now? I didn’t mean to stay that long. I was only going to move down long enough to get my career off the ground and then head back up North. But then I met the love of my life.
I’d just moved out of a house share situation into what I thought was a place all of my own. It took me a while to realise I was sharing the space with her at all, honestly. She’s very good at staying small and quiet. Unobtrusive, like.
I hate that she’s had to be, but you know how it is. You knock over a vase here and there, make the lights flicker a few times, and suddenly it’s a Whole Thing. Tenants are calling up the landlord, threatening relocators or even exterminators. She plays it down I think, when she tells me about it, but I reckon she’s had a more stressful past than she lets on.
Well, either way, when I noticed she was there, instead of freaking out I just did what I thought any sensible person would do. I reached out. She can manifest very physically, when she feels safe, so we were able to communicate pretty easily.
She was kind of impossible not to fall in love with, once we started getting to know each other. It’s been about seven years now? I’ve never loved anyone like I’ve loved her. She’s the one, for sure.
It’s never been a problem before that she’s tethered to the flat. We’ve got workarounds. My friends all love her, and are happy to do dinner parties at my place instead of going out to eat, so she can join us. Little things like that go a long way. And I’ve always been a bit of a homebody myself so no issues there.
The problem now is more with the flat itself. Or rather, the landlord. He’s looking to sell. And, I mean, it’s London. I can’t afford to buy the place. I can barely afford to rent here, but I’ve fought fang and claw to pull together rent these last few years because, well, 'cause I love her. Much more than I hate buying the cheap toilet roll and keeping the heating off in winter.
But if the landlord sells... [sighs] What happens to our relationship? It’s not like she can leave with me. And what if the new owners don’t even let me visit? Or worse, what if they follow through on all those previous tenants’ threats and call in the relocators?
Do we have any rights here? Does my girlfriend? And, if we don’t have any rights, how do we make sure we can keep the relationship, uh... [sighs] Well, for want of a better word, alive?
The Presenter (as themselves)
This is a tricky situation, listener, and you have my sympathy. As a tenant, you do have some rights around your landlord selling the property, but most of these relate to how much notice they need to give you, and seeing out the end of your tenancy agreement, and so aren't particularly relevant here.
You may be able to negotiate a new tenancy agreement after the property changes hands. Most people who buy rented properties are either landlords or... looking to become one. For some reason. And a landlord's natural avarice does make them relatively straightforward to deal with. Simply offer enough money for them to do as you ask.
But given that you're already struggling to pay the rent, I assume this isn't an option. Besides which, as a landlord, the new owner is unfortunately likely to suffer the same lack of compassion and dignity characteristic of their kind.
There's no guarantee they wouldn't simply remove your girlfriend from the premises as soon as they were made aware of her existence. It's a despicable practice, but unfortunately remains legal in England and Wales.
You could hire your own relocator to transfer your girlfriend's essence – preferably into an object of her choice rather than another property. That way, she can enjoy a far larger degree of movement, provided the object itself is portable.
But experienced spectral relocators do not come cheap. And you do want an experienced relocator – the last thing either of you need is your girlfriend coming untethered entirely.
There is another option but given that it is deeply unethical and very, very wrong, it would be entirely unacceptable for me to suggest it. I am speaking, of course, of possession.
An unscrupulous spirit might be tempted to take over their landlord's body, and thus, their property holdings, to their own ends. It would give them all the freedom of a corporeal existence, and allow them to make all manner of financial decisions that could benefit both themselves and their partner.
It needn't be a permanent possession. Just long enough to use the funds siphoned from other people's hard-earned wages to, say, pay for a legitimate relocation. Or to sell a particular flat to a first-time buyer at significantly less than market value before getting in touch with a certain large, hungry, and surprisingly empathetic spider.
But while some might feel that this is a victimless crime, or even a service to the community, I am beholden to remind these people that it is very bad and wrong. Do not do this thing . Landlords... are people too.
[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]
Everywhere, every when, on 131.3FM.
[End background music]
That's all for this week's advice segment. Now, responsible pet ownership is a topic close to many people's hearts. We discuss some common mistakes when caring for mimics, wyverns and other popular pets...
[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through a voice saying “-it didn't mean anything-”, pop music, a voice saying “-the economics that we live in today-”, a voice saying “-really quite hard-” and opera singing before fading out.
Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits.]
Episode Seventy Four of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.
Tonight's first letter came from GhostyGoose, the second letter was by Leanne, and this week's advert was submitted by nat-20s. Thanks, friends.
Hello and thank you to our latest supporter on Patreon, Avery. You can join them at patreon.com/monstrousagonies or make 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]